How to Start a Successful Blog

I launched my blog late April 2017, but I made the decision to start a blog in January 2016. Why so long? During that time, I did a lot of preparation, planning, and getting my site together. This doesn’t mean that you have to wait this long to launch your site. 

In preparation for launch, I’d recommend at least:

  • Three published posts 

  • 5-7 posts in drafts

  • A completed website that includes: an About page, Landing page, and Home page. 

Of course you can have more or less of the points listed above. Though, I recommend that you have those things at the least. Whichever additional pages you choose is entirely up to you. Also, be sure that your website is desktop-friendly, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate.

Throughout all of the research I did before launching my blog, the most important thing that I found was to find a niche market to base my blog.

Finding a Niche

Here, you’ll connect the people you want to visit your website to your content. Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself:

  • Who needs the content that  you provide?

  • What separates you from your competition?

  • Is the topic large enough to base a blog?

Then, you can focus your brand, website, and content solely on your niche. Trust me.

No niche = no blog.

Choose a Domain and Blogging Platform

The first place that comes to mind when choosing a blogging platform is WordPress.org. It is free and easy to use, but you have to find your own hosting. Some sites to host include eHost.com ($1.99/mo.), Bluehost.com ($2.95/mo.), and Siteground.com ($3.95/mo.). The cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean the best. It all depends on your preference on rewards, such as free business email, free domain, etc. I’m currently hosting with eHost, who offers free business email and a free domain.

I would say to create your blog platform with WordPress.org. Keep in mind that they also have WordPress.com with a few limitations, such as complete control over your domain name and themes. Complete control means that you can do whatever you want and you OWN the website. Isn’t that the goal…to own something?

When choosing a domain name, it should be directly related to your brand. Be sure to pick something that is simple, easy-to-read, and memorable so that your readers know where to find you. 

Establish a Brand

Besides choosing a niche, this is also very important. This gives you a way to stand out from all the other blogs in the same niche. Earlier I asked,

"How will you stand out from your competition?"

Well, this is how…along with other things such as specifics related to your niche. A brand allows you to directly connect with your audience of interest. Obviously, those over 40 years old will be attracted to things that are much different than those that are under the age of 20.

When developing your brand, write down a few keywords and adjectives that describe your vision. Some of the words I chose was ruthless, sophisticated, and feminine. The colors that came to mind was red, pink, and gold. I organized my thoughts by putting them into a mood board, very similar to the one below.

 

You can find a similar template to create your own mood board here. Next, I created a brand board to organize my logos (secondary and primary, if applicable) and fonts used for my website. You can find alternative brand board templates on Pinterest. The template above requires Photoshop. If you don't have it, you can just create a secret Mood Board by simply pinning photos like the one above.

Choose a Posting Frequency

Quality over quantity.

No one is going to read a post that is not well-written, has spelling errors, and is simply just a bad post. Focus on things that your audience wants to read. I would say a good rule of thumb is to post at least once/week so that you can remain relevant. Though, I’m all about promotion over creation only because people won’t read a post that they don’t know exists. I always learned 80% promotion and 20% creation, so plan accordingly.

This post was highly requested and I’m so happy I am finally able to share it with you all. I’ll be happy to answer any questions. 

If you’re planning to start a blog soon or in the near future, COMMENT your niche of interest below.

About the author: LeAndra Slayton

11 comments to “How to Start a Successful Blog”

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  1. Louise - September 14, 2017 Reply

    I’ve seen a lot of posts on how to start a blog but none as concise and clear as this one! The information you provide is exactly what someone new needs – I could have done with this where I started out!

    • LeAndra Slayton - September 16, 2017 Reply

      Thank you! It’s definitely the exact steps I took when first starting out.

  2. Lorna Duff - September 14, 2017 Reply

    I’ve been blogging for seven years, but I’m planning a kind of re-launch, so this is great. Thanks for the human, real talk tips. Signed up for your newsletter, too.

    • LeAndra Slayton - September 16, 2017 Reply

      Thank you so much! I appreciate it and we have so many good things planned ahead of us 🙂

  3. Aishwarya Shenolikar - September 14, 2017 Reply

    Brilliant post for people who are starting out! Finding your niche is really important!

    • LeAndra Slayton - September 16, 2017 Reply

      It’s very important! It took me a while to grasp the concept or understand its importance when I was first starting out.

  4. Heather Johnson - September 14, 2017 Reply

    You offer a lot of great tips. I have been blogging since 2010, but so much has changed in that time for blogging!

  5. Sarah Bailey - September 14, 2017 Reply

    These are some great tips for people who are starting out blogging, I have to admit I have NONE of it when I started, I wish I had been more prepared however.

  6. Alaina Monster - September 14, 2017 Reply

    These are some great tips. I moved from a couponing blog to much more of a personal lifestyle blog. It was a big move, and I wish I knew some of these tips before I started.

  7. Erin Morse - September 16, 2017 Reply

    Leandra, you are so official now! I am so proud of you. Everyone loves your website!! I love reading everything you post. Keep up the amazing work, boss ? Love you girl!

    • LeAndra Slayton - September 16, 2017 Reply

      Awwww, love you Erin! Thank you so much for commenting and reading. It means so much when people I know take the time to check it out :). This makes me so happy. Thank you again!

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