Whether you only have an idea for a blog, or you’re a small business owner trying to up your content marketing game, these Blogging Tips will help you get started!
In 2012 started a mom blog called Strawberry Mommycakes (a name I LOOOOOOOATH entirely).
When I told everyone I was going to start a blog to make money. They thought I was out of my mind.
Or it was more of an “Okay, Erin…just another one of your projects” kind of thing.
But after a year of owning a blog, I made my first profit.
And now, I changed my business name (thanks goodness!), I have a full-time income with part-times hours and it’s the best kind of “I told you so.”
BUT I had an advantage. I started my blog before EVERYONE owned a blog. Before everyone was an influencer.
Now that the market is saturated, you need to be smart. And you need resources.
And that’s where you have an advantage. You have dinosaurs like me that have been doing this for a while and can give you the best blogging tips and advice to get your business going.
I also want to add…these tips aren’t just for moms who want to stay at home and do arts and crafts. I mean…it’s what I do…
But even if you’re an established brick and mortar, or you have an online presence but want to create a content marketing strategy (that’s blogging, folks) – this post will be a HUGE help in getting you started.
Also, I should warn you. Talking shop is pretty much my FAVORITE thing in the whole world, so this post is going to be packed with a lot of information.
Make sure you pin it or bookmark it for later.
How to Start a Blog
I mean, you can’t have a blog without owning a blog. Yep, you have to buy all this stuff first.
It’s pretty inexpensive to get started, but you need to make sure you have your ducks in a row before you do that.
So…I’ve placed this up at the top, but don’t jump the gun on that domain name just yet. Make sure you love it (remember that whole Strawberry Mommycakes fiasco?), make sure it’s not trendy, and FOR THE LOVE make sure no one owns the trademark of your business name.
I also recommend honing your craft and learning basic photography and design skills, too (just scroll on down for those).
- Hosting – I used a really inexpensive host and it worked for a couple of years…but once your traffic grows, your cheap host will get SLOWER and SLOWER or it will stop working completely. So…my advice? Go with the cheap host at first, then come email me so I can give you a recommendation for a private server host.*
- Domain Name – I really like NameCheap.com for domain names. I’m a serial domain name purchaser and that business name doesn’t lie. This is the least expensive place to buy a domain name and super easy to work with – while you’re there, you might as well sign up for hosting. Make sure they can set you up with WordPress, too.
- WordPress Theme – Once your hosting is all set up, I recommend getting a theme. My favorites come from Pretty Darn Cute Themes. They use the genesis framework and she does solid coding, plus they really are pretty darn cute.
*If you do go with a cheap host first, keep in mind you’ll need to transfer your hosting over to the new host. Most hosting companies will do this for you without a fee, but check with the new host first.
Social Media Planning
Another thing to look out for when choosing a business name? Make sure it’s not also taken on social media.
Secure your Social Media Accounts
Check for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – those are the top social media sites at the moment and even if you don’t plan on using all of them consistently, you should still reserve your name.
You don’t want a spammy porn site with your business name on twitter because people might think it’s you and that’s no bueno. Capeesh?
There are plenty of schedulers out there, and trust me…I’ve tried A LOT, but now I only use Tailwind for scheduling Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
You can try Tailwind out FOR FREE before you pay, so if you want to check it out now and your not quite ready to start your blog, you can do that with the free trial.
- Tailwind Pinterest Scheduler – I love scheduling pins because I can add multiple images from a post to multiple Pinterest boards in one swoop. Since Pinterest is where I get most of my traffic, it’s pretty important I schedule all my new posts!
- Tailwind Tribes – So um…yeah. As of the time I’m writing this post, you can still see my face on that page. I was an early adapter of Tailwind tribes and one of mine took off. I love tribes SO much they asked me to do a video review. Basically, I love tribes because it’s easy to collaborate with other bloggers with the right tribe you can get a CRAZY amount of reach. Like Billions, people.
- Tailwind SmartLoop – for some reason, it took me a while to get on board with this. I had another loop system in place an my numbers really dropped when that ended…but Tailwind SmartLoop is BY FAR the best looping program. It takes a little bit to set up, especially if you have over 600 blog posts like I do, but for beginners, you will be so glad to have this in place.
- Tailwind for Instagram – Gonna be honest…IG is not my jam. And because of that, I have to have a good system in place to maintain a presence. Tailwind auto posts to IG so I don’t have to think about it. I write out my descriptions and add it to my queue of optimal times. BONUS – you can create your IG and Facebook posts at the SAME TIME with this tool.
- Tailwind Analytics – another great thing is you can see which pins or IG posts are performing the best. That way, you can create your content schedule around analytics.
- Tailwind now has VIDEO scheduling – Video performs well across all platforms, and it’s a great way to start a Pinterest promotion.
I could literally write a whole blog post about Tailwind, but I wanted to give you a quick overview why I think it’s amazing. If you’re starting a blog, it’s my personal opinion that Tailwind is the best way to get your posts scheduled.
Let me tell you…do not make the mistakes of those who came before you! I used to blog what I felt like, when I felt like it.
Can you see the problem with that? What successful business has employees that work when they feel like it? Or only work on the things they feel like working on?
I recommend writing out a rough content schedule with blog post ideas for a year.
Then write out a more definitive schedule for one to two months out. A yearly schedule makes me feel overwhelmed, and I hate having to move things around. I’ve found a month or two in advanced is my sweet spot, but you might need something different.
Now, I have a couple of content tools for you:
- Perpetual Calendar – If you’re a paper person, I recommend you get my perpetual calendar. You can type on the computer in Adobe Reader, or print and write on it, or a combination of both. This includes a monthly, weekly and daily calendar, with a journal and plenty of space for note taking.
- Goal Planner and Tracker – this would be a great space to write down the goals you have for your blog and base your content schedule around that.
- Airtable– if you need something that’s online only, Airtable is for you. I would literally forget EVERYTHING if I didn’t have Airtable. I wish I was organized enough to only have printable planners, but I lose track of paper so easily. I’ve tried Trello and Asana and Airtable is a lovely combination of both. Think of it as a prettier, user friendly excel program on steroids.
SEO is something that you have to continually learn and get updates about, but these are my favorite SEO tools:
This is for SERIOUS bloggers. The lowest price is $99/month. That’s pretty steep for a newbie, but I wish I had this program from the beginning.
Basically, it gives you analytics for the posts on your blog that are ranked (you want to aim for the first page of google), has an SEO tool to analyze posts you are writing, tells you which keywords have the most traffic, how likely it is you’re going to rank for that keyword…
Really there are so many tools in SEMrush that I know I should learn about, but it’s been instrumental in getting some of my posts on the front page.
If you’re a beginner, the Yoast SEO plugin is a great place to start. It will show you how many words you have in your post, tell you if you have plenty of keywords in all the right places, and it will give you a green light if your post is good to go.
You can get the pro version, but start out with the free version – you can always upgrade if you need to.
Other Blogging Tips
You know I could go on and on…but this should give you a good place to start. If you’re looking for something more design related , check out these posts:
Design Blog Resources
This post about Printable Design Resources goes into more detail, so if you’re want to start a design related blog, check that out after you read through this blog resource guide.
How to Make Money Blogging
Want to learn about ways you can make money blogging? This is how I do it!
Need inspiration for your creative space? Check out my at home office decor ideas: