Want to start a blog this year?
Lots of people do – it’s one of those big projects that people want to pick up when the new year ticks over. My blog was the same – I first started this blog in January 2019 and I haven’t looked back since.
And it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. The barrier to entry is low – all it requires is your time and dedication. That is extremely appealing, especially when you learn of people who earn six-figure incomes from their blog.
And while earning money is one reason to start a blog, that isn’t the only reason why you might want to.
Starting a blog has been one of the most educational and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. It represents a body of work many years in the making, and one that I hope will continue to grow for many more years.
If you’re hoping to start a blog in the new year, I have some tips to share that will help, whether you want to make some money or if you just want to have fun.
1. Choose a Topic You Could Write 100 Posts About
Now, one hundred posts might seem like a lot, but if you plan to do this for longer than a few months, you’re going to need something to write about. Posting once a week for a year is already going to require a minimum of 52 posts.
But it’s also important to make sure that this is something that you feel confident you could write about for a long time. If you don’t think you could write even 100 posts about a topic, it’s probably not the right topic for your blog.
2. Make Sure You Know What Your Goals Are
Why do you want to start a blog in the first place? Because you have a passion for a certain topic and want to start a new hobby? As a way of generating income? Are you trying to promote your own business or brand?
What you plan to do with your blog will dictate a lot of how you use it, what you post, and how much time and money you’re going to want to invest.
It’s also important to recognize that if you are hoping to use a blog to earn money, or as a part of your brand platform, you’re going to need to take it seriously.
3. Figure Out How Much You Are Willing to Spend
The cost to run a blog can vary widely – you can start one without spending a dime, but you can also spend hundreds of dollars a month. This is why it is so important to know what your goals are – you might not be willing to spend $100 a month on a hobby blog.
It’s also not a good idea to throw money you don’t have into a project that you aren’t sure will pay off. Not all blogs will succeed and a lot of people quit because running a blog is not as easy as it may first appear. Be honest with yourself about how much you are willing to spend AND how much you can afford.
I will always recommend that the first thing you spend any money on should be the domain. If you’re not ready to do anything else, I would at the very least suggest that when you are ready to invest, you start there. It’ll run you $20-30/year, and is a real step up in terms of professionalism and showing the reader that you are committed.
If you’re trying to stick to a budget, I have a huge post of 58 free and inexpensive resources for bloggers that you can check out. Know that what you decide not to pay for with money will probably cost you in hours.
4. Be Consistent
The reason for this is three-pronged. Firstly, if you are consistent, your readers will know that you are committed and can expect regular content from you.
Second, Google likes it when you regularly update, and the more you post, the easier it will be for Google to understand what your blog is about and serve it to the readers who need it most.
And finally, it’s important for you, the blogger, to get used to writing, editing, and promoting your content regularly.
5. Create a Schedule You Can Manage
Learn from my mistakes – don’t overcommit at the beginning, even if you’re really excited about getting started. Figure out how much time you can realistically commit to your blog each week or each month and adjust as necessary.
You can always increase how often you post, but going backwards becomes a lot more difficult the longer you do this and the more readers you have.
6. Look at Your Blog on Multiple Devices
People are going to visit your blog on devices that aren’t their computer, and you want to make sure the reading experience is just as easy on the eyes on a phone or tablet.
Your provider of choice should give you the option of viewing your pages and posts in different formats. But in the off chance it doesn’t, at least make sure that you take a look with your phone once you’ve published a post and make any necessary adjustments. This will allow you to break up paragraphs that might look passable on PC but are just walls of text on a much smaller screen.
And don’t mess with the code of your blog. Even if you know the basics, I don’t suggest messing with any of it unless you have real experience with website coding. Any small adjustments you might make so it looks more appealing on your computer might not look so nice once that same page loads on a tablet or phone.
7. Start a Newsletter
If your plan is to run a blog for a long time, and especially if your blog is in any way related to your job or business, you want to start a newsletter right away. But if you have no readers and next to no content, who is going to want to sign up for your newsletter?
The reality is this: if you are posting high quality, valuable content, people are going to want more. Lead magnets are recommended for a reason, but as soon as you start posting, you should also have your newsletter set up.
There are plenty of places that allow you to get started for free, like Convertkit, Mailchimp and Mailerlite. Regardless of what happens to your blog or your social media accounts, you will always have that direct line of communication between you and the people want to hear from you.
8. Tell People About Your Blog
Unfortunately, there are millions of blogs out there, and you’re going to have to get comfortable talking about your blog if you want people to find it. And I don’t just mean in real life (though that’s a good idea, too).
If you’re on Quora or Reddit and you happen across a question that you have the perfect blog post to help answer, then drop the link.
When you make a new post, post it on your social media of choice. And then do it again in a couple of days in case someone missed it the first time.
If you go to a convention or meet someone in a coffee shop and you start talking about something you cover on your blog, then tell them about it.
Get accustomed to telling people about your blog and promoting your blog where you can. And I don’t mean in a spam-y, sales-y way either. If it’s something you are passionate about, and if you think you are genuinely creating valuable and entertaining content, then don’t be afraid to talk about it.
Keywords and SEO are great for getting Google to see you, but you’re not writing for Google – you’re writing for people. So tell those people how great your new blog is!
- 4 Lessons Learned After One Year of Blogging
- 14 Ways to Update Old Blog Posts (& Free Checklist)
- Blog on a Budget: 58 Resources to Get You Blogging Without Breaking the Bank
How long have you been blogging? Did you start a blog this year? Why did you decide to start one? What has been the most exciting part so far? What has been the hardest? Let me know in the comments!