In this article we discuss everything you need to know start and grow a blog, I am going to share you some lessons I have learned over the past few years that have allowed me to grow my blog and also help me get featured on many publications in the country such as the Huffington Post, The Business Report just to name a few. 

For those of you who are serious about blogging and would like to grow your blog from zero to a thousands of visitors a month, if you want to know how to hack the media and get featured on major publications, if you want to help your business grow or make money online, I will encourage you to take our online course  How to start a blog, which goes into details on how to create a successful blog based on years of experience.

Below we discuss all the critical steps necessary for starting and growing your blog, after this article make sure you read, Market Research, Buyer Persona, Creating a Blog Website, and How to Market Your blog.

The Steps on How to Start a blog are as follows:

1. Planning

There are many reasons why people want to start a blog, for some it is to share ideas or thoughts with the world, for some, it is to drive traffic to their business website and lastly, to some, it is to make a living out of it. Whatever your reasons are, the steps to follow are similar and it all starts with planning. When I started blogging years back, I thought I could just watch a few YouTube videos and read a few articles online about blogging and boom I will have a successful blog, I tried that and failed miserably. I found out that anyone can create a website or blog, that’s easy. The real challenge is growing your blog, getting organic traffic and finding the perfect niche. This is why in this tutorial we going discuss how to plan for your blog so that it won’t fail.

Objectives and goals

What does success look like to you? How will you know when you have achieved it? These are important questions you need to answer before you start a blog. You need to define the goals and objectives of your blog, maybe it is to raise awareness (to who?) , maybe it’s to make money (how much money?), maybe it’s to get traffic and sell ads (how much traffic will be enough?) but whatever your goals are make sure you write them down and centre your blog around them.

Learning curve

Do not make the mistake of thinking that after reading a few articles online (like this one) and watching a few videos you will become an expert in blogging, if you are serious about blogging you will need to invest time and money into quality learning material such as online courses, books, and maybe attend a few seminars. It always amazes me that almost 80% of people that take my online course have already tried to start a blog in the past and got frustrated because the blog wasn’t growing, some of them have even been blogging for years. When I did my survey I realized that most of them were like me in the past, they tried to take shortcuts and tried to “freestyle” and “hustle” their way through, and the conclusion was? You can’t cheat the system. In addition to the online course I encourage you to read other materials from other people with experience such as Gary Vee’s book on Social Media Marketing, then also read Contagious Why Things Catch on by Jonah, then read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, these are the books I invested in before building my blog.

Time management

Before you start blogging you need to plan how much time you are willing to invest a week in making your blog a success. Are you a student? Are you working? Do you have other commitments in life? These are honest questions you need to ask yourself to determine how much time you can possibly invest in your blog. When I was a student I invested approximately 20 hours a week on my blog and most of the time was spent learning different things about blogging. If you are working and have other commitments you may not be able to achieve that but I recommend a minimum of 6 hours a week, the most important thing here is to discipline yourself and commit to your schedule. You should be spending your time on research, writing articles and creating content, marketing and improving your blog.

Budget

This is what turns most people off but it is important to put skin in the game. There are very few things worthwhile having in life that doesn’t require you to make an investment, and a blog doesn’t even cost that much. For example, to host your website blog can cost as little as buying a coke and pie a month, and that’s not a lot. Before you start a blog, create a budget with a timeline of things you need in order for your blog to be successful and you don’t have to invest all in one go.

Start by investing in learning materials you need, then getting website hosting, then invest in marketing, and later on you can invest in more professional tools. If you are working already this shouldn’t be a problem it will cost you a few hundreds a month. If you are a student or unemployed, you can do what I did, that is to share the costs with other people. For example to buy the books I needed I used my student card which was sponsored by my bursary, then for the online courses I used the free wifi computers on campus (if not a student you can use the library), then for hosting I paid it myself, for marketing I only started after 3 months of launching my blog. I also learned how to create websites online, and I used the money to invest it back in my blog. So it really doesn’t matter whether you are a student or you are working if you really serious about your blog, you will make means to make it work.

2. Market research

Blog Market Research infographic for how start blog

Market research is the first thing you should do before starting a blog or any business adventure. This where you find your blog niche. Should you blog about fashion or should you blog about cars? To help you answer that question, you need to do some research as to how many people online are interested in that topic? And there many ways to find that information, in the online course we discuss more in details how to use free tools such as Google trends, Keywords planner, and many others to understand your market online.

The most important metric in your market research is the search volume, how many people are searching for that topic on the internet. For example in our online course, we create a blog from scratch, to know if whether or not people will be interested in reading our blog online we had to do a search on Google Trends and Keywords Planner to know how many people are searching about tourism in South Africa. Once we know how many people are searching for Tourism related topics, we also narrow down our search and look at specific keywords people use, for example if we see that most people search for Tourism guides more than tourism reviews then we know we should invest more of our efforts to the blog in helping people with tourism guides. Those are the benefits of using Keywords Planner and Google trends.

You can also extend to other platforms as well such as using Google Analytics, or Twitter to check out what topics are trending. I normally use Twitter to get ideas for blog articles for example, if you run a soccer blog and you see on twitter the UEFA final is trending you can then write an article about that and you are sure to get people reading it because that’s what everyone is talking about.

Learn more about market research here.

3. Buyer Persona

Tourism blog buyer persona example template for how start blog

A Buyer Persona is your ideal customer or in the context of blogging your ideal audience. The Buyer Persona comes after your market research and it is used as a guideline for all content created on the blog and all marketing campaigns. The Buyer Persona determines what content is created and who is it marketed to.  Without a Buyer Persona, you will be creating a blog for everyone and anyone, and even though that might seem like a good strategy to get followers it is actually a bad one. You can’t create a blog that appeals to fashion enthusiasts, sports fanatics, old people and teenagers all at the same time, if you try and do that you will lose all of them. You need to have a good understanding of your audience, what they like, how they talk, how to find them, and what their challenges are. Understanding your target market (audience) is one of the best strategies to distinguish yourself from your competitors in terms of creating content that is engaging and useful. You also need to know your unique selling point and the value proposition of your blog, you can’t be just another cat blog on the internet.

Read this article to learn more about creating your Buyer Persona.

4. Creating a successful blog website

Creating a blog website is the easy part, knowing what to put there is not so easy. Even if you know nothing about building a website the article below will explain all the fundamental ingredients you need to create a successful blog website. We will cover website hosting, different blogging platforms, and website content. If you are serious about starting and growing your blog, I would also like to encourage you to take the online course which will go into details where I show you in more details how to create a blog website from scratch.

Read this article to learn more about creating your own website step by step.

Watch the video below showing you how to create your own blog website (Read the previous articles first to better understand what’s going on).

 

5. How to write an interesting blog article

I have found out that most people don’t believe they can write good articles or what they have to say is interesting and that is not true at all. If you take the time to learn, you can also become a confident good writer, you don’t have to write at publishing level you just need to write in a way that people can understand and can relate to. The secret to writing an interesting blog article is in the planning and also understanding your audience very well. If you haven’t read our article on Blog Market Research and Blog Buyer Persona I would like to encourage you to go through them thoroughly as they will help you to better understand your audience. Alternatively, you can also take our online course “Step by Step guide how to start a blog” where we go into more details on how to write an interesting blog article and I show you an example of how I wrote a blog article that got me featured on the Huffington Post. The most important things you need to write a good article are:

  • Planning-Good research on the trending topics and relevant topics for your audience
  • Good writing skills-Brainstorming skills, layout, and structure
  • Editing and SEO- Adding relevant images, using the right tone and also optimizing your articles for search engines
  • Proofreading and publish-How and when should you publish your articles?

Read this article to learn more about writing interesting blog articles.

6. How to do blog marketing 

Growing your blog following is perhaps the biggest challenge that most bloggers have and in this article tutorial, we discuss a few strategies you can use to market your blog. It is also worth mentioning that your blog will not get thousands of organic visitors every month overnight, it is going to take some time and it’s going require you to be diligent. There are many different strategies out there but at the end of the day, the best way to grow your following is to create great content on a consistent basis. In the online course, we get into more details on how you can grow your blog and how you can from zero visitors to thousands of visitors a month and I also reveal the best method to get backlinks from major blogs and referrals from major blogs.

These are some of the most important point we discuss in more detail in the article.

  • SEO-The ultimate goal for your marketing strategy is to get organic traffic coming to your website and the best way to do that is by improving your website’s SEO.
  • Forums-Join online communities in your industry, if you a run a sports blog join online chat groups about sports and start participating. This will increase your reputation online
  • Social Media-Leverage social media such as Facebook and Twitter to share your blog articles and encourage your followers to share it on their pages as well. This will help you build social proof and trust for your brand.
  • Email Marketing-This is the best way to keep your visitors engaged with your blog. Learn how to create your own marketing campaigns and how to grow your mailing list.

Read this article to learn more about marketing your blog.

If you follow all the steps above it will set on the right path to creating a successful blog and I encourage to read all the articles. It is very difficult to summarise everything you need to know about blogging in a few paragraphs that is why we split the tutorial into separate articles and I hope you will have a better understanding of blogging. If you feel like you need more help or don’t have time to learn everything, and you would like us to help you setup your blog or to help you grow it…you can visit our business page here.

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