First Steps to Starting a Blog – The 9 Step Plan
Do you need help with the first steps of starting a blog?
Are you overwhelmed by all the information and would love a step by step plan?
Starting a blog is very much like having a little baby. It takes planning and preparation for a successful labor day, I mean blog launch day! My mission is to help you through this blogging journey. I want to set you up for huge success. And success comes with having the right foundation, the right plan. You need a plan that gives you the first steps to starting a blog.
Do you remember your pregnancy? The ups and downs? The happy parts, the tired parts, the super sad parts? Blogging is similar to a 9 month pregnancy. It takes time to plan for your blog baby, to prepare for it. You have to set time apart, nurture it and watch it grow.
I want to help you relate your past pregnancy journey with a plan for your blog.
The First Steps to Starting a Blog – Can You Relate to the Struggles?
I’ve received so many emails stating.
“I think it’s time for me to get started. I’m a little scared and intimidated, though…., once I figure what my first steps are.”
“I just started a blog so I am totally lost at what exactly to do lol!!”
“I am still a little lost on how to start especially with all the other things and planning going through my head.”
“I have absolutely no idea where to start!!!”
Remember the doubts when you were pregnant? Am I up to the task? Will I be any good at this? My mom is awesome, but what if I’m not? Or that other blogger is amazing, I’ll never be able to create a blog like that. I don’t know if I can do this? And a million others, sometimes at 2:00 am while watching reruns of your favorite shows on Netflix.
And then someone you know and trusted would tick off all the areas where you excel. They could give you confidence that you can do this. They would remind you of all the things you could do, all the talents that you forgot in the haze of pregnancy. And you were okay. I want to be your help during this time of starting a blog. If you complete the steps below you’ll be set up for a very successful blog launch!
I am passionate to give you a step by step plan for not just creating your blog and helping you through the technical side of it through my blogging course for moms, but to actually help you set your foundation.
With your pregnancy you had a plan. You had 9 months to prepare for this little blessing. So why not prepare the same way for your blog baby? But instead of 9 months, we’ll do it in 9 days.
You can do not have to do these 9 steps consecutively, (you can skip a day here and there), but you do have to do them in this order.
The First Steps to Starting A Successful Blog
What to Expect When You’re Expecting (a blog)
You just found out you’re going to start a blog! Congratulations! You know there’s a ton of work ahead of you, you know this won’t be easy. But gosh, other people have successful blogs that are potty trained, counting to 100 before age 2, and saying their ABCs backwards! If they can do it, you can too! You can grow a money making little blog, you just need the right plan. So again, congratulations on your good news, let’s start planning for a successful labor, I mean launch!
Starting Your Blog With The End in Mind
Oh my goodness! Soon you’ll have a little baby in your life. Just imagine in all the ways your life will change! You need a plan. At a super high level I’m sure you’ve discussed with your partner how you will care for the baby, how you will raise her and what dreams you have for her.
A blog is very similar. Your first exercise is to make your 5 year plan for your blog.
Questions to ask yourself before starting a blog:
- Where do you see your blog in 5 years?
- What do you want it to achieve?
- How will it change other’s lives, and how will it change your life?
Why is this important?
It is important to have a future vision of your blog and business and set up a goal to aim for. Having a goal and writing it down makes you immensely more likely to achieve it.
So write down your blog’s five year goal on a piece of paper and look at it daily. Let it motivate you!
Planning A Successful Blog Topic & Niche
Ah, you’re getting sick. You’re tired. You have no time to do anything. This is harder than you thought.
Yup, those are the same emotions you experience when you decide you want to start a blog. Your tummy hurts because you’re excited about the potential of your blog baby, but goodness, you’re sick with overwhelm. There’s just too much information! And your biggest concern right now is, what should you blog about?
Let’s do a little exercise and answer these questions below:
Questions to answer when planning a blog:
- What are your passions?
- What do you like to do?
- What do you not like to do?
- What are you super interested in?
Why is this important?
List those things out. You want to chose a blog topic that you are passionate about and that you have an interest in.
For example, you could blog about a passion you have. You love crafting with your kids, but you hate the mess. You can blog about clean crafting with children. This would be a blog about sharing a skill you already know.
Or you could start a blog showing your journey as you learn a new skill. You’re super interested in photography, but you’re pretty terrible at it right now. Why not blog about how you grow from being a beginner photographer, to intermediate, to finally becoming a professional photographer. People love ‘journey’ blogs. They feel they learn with you. And slowly you start to establish yourself as the expert in that space.
The hidden benefit of starting a blog:
I hope the examples make you excited! You don’t have to be an expert yet, you can start off knowing just the basics. Blogging can be your own school to increase our skills.
Just like motherhood. You were a much different mom on day 1 than on day 1,000. You learn and grow. Your blogging skills will follow the same journey.
Understanding Your Blogging Strengths
So you’re in the middle of your first trimester and you’re tired all of the time. But you still need to get work done. You need to know yourself and understand your most productive time.
Starting a blog is similar to this stage of pregnancy because it takes a lot out of you. You’re growing a baby, I mean a business. It takes energy and effort.
You need to understand when your most productive time is and set some standard work for yourself. For me, it’s the early morning hours. I work my little tushy off from 5:30 am – 8:00 am (or however late my children wake up). I am fresh and dedicate my best brain cells to growing my business. Because we all know mommy brain is a very real thing!
You may function better late at night when the house is asleep. Or maybe you have a dedicated day that hubby takes care of the kids and you go to Starbucks for 3 hours to knock off a few posts.
Even as you are starting your blog through these first steps, you need to have a rough idea of how you want to make this business work. Standard work is a beautiful thing and can eliminate a lot of stress in your life. Of course it will change as you grow as a blogger, but initially start with a plan.
When I started my blog I would work super late into the nighttime hours. I got burnt out pretty quickly. I later shifted my standard working times to the morning and only on weekdays. I would also only answer emails in the mornings and not any other time during the day. I used to constantly check in and reply. But having a time block for each activity does wonders for my productivity.
Questions to help you make time to start a blog:
- Be honest with yourself. When do you have the best thoughts?
- When can you make time for this new blog baby?
- What things in your life can you eliminate or outsource so you can work on your business?
- What days of the week will you work on your blog?
Tips to help you make more time as you’re starting your blog:
- You can use my super simple weekly schedule to help you manage your to do list.
- I love to use my bullet journal as my time management tool
- I definitely have a No List – it’s my easy way to stop wasting time
It may not be a lot of time, but try to find a bit of quiet uninterrupted time to spend with your new budding business.
Understanding Your Market Before Starting a Blog
Okay, now that you have a topic and time, you’re well on our way to a great foundation for your blog. It’s also around this time in your pregnancy that you undergo a ton of tests to determine the health of your baby. In a similar fashion, you need to determine the health of your blog idea.
Questions to test your blog idea:
- How strong is your idea for your blog?
- Will it be successful?
- Is there a need for your blog?
- What problem are you solving?
- Have you done some market research? Wait wait, what’s that?
Actionable steps you can do:
There are a few ways you can test out your idea.
- Send a survey or quick email to your family and friends. And ask them what they think about your future blog idea. They may not be your ideal market, but they can give you great insight.
- Who do you look up to? What do you like about their life? If they are in your niche, then research the comments on their blog. What are their readers saying? These readers could potentially be your customers one day, listen to them.
- Browse Facebook groups in your niche. What questions are they asking? Where can your expertise help?
- Track all of your ideas and research so you can pull from it later.
Use this information to create our ideal avatar for your blog.
Pin this infographic as a quick reference to the 9 steps!
The Ingredient for a Super Successful Blog
Ah, so you just found out the gender of your baby! Congratulations! And you can finally start to decorate the nursery. But of course you don’t want it to look like every other baby’s nursery, so what will you do to make it unique?
Questions to help your blog topic stand out!
- Similarly, with your blog topic, what will make it unique?
- What will set your blog apart from all of the other blogs on that same topic?
- What do you do when the market is already so saturated?
- What quirkiness of your personality can you show in your blog?
- What past skills can you incorporate into your blog topic?
Just like people have many friends, they also visit many blogs. Even if you’re in the same niche as another blogger, you could both be serving the same reader in different ways. Maybe she connects with your spunky personality but likes the other blogger’s sweet motivational quotes. Don’t let the abundance of other bloggers scare you off, embrace the blogging community so that you can help build each other up.
What works for me
Every person has a unique skill they bring to their blog. So even if there are 1,323 moms who blog about kid’s crafts, your personality and your view of the world will set you apart. How can you enhance that uniqueness so others see you as different?
In all honesty, I initially wanted my blog to be anonymous. But it is precisely my personality and openness that drew my readers to my blog. We could be friends. We can connect on a more personal level than just ‘here are the steps to blogging’.
I am setting myself apart with my background in engineering, my passion for blogging and my love for motherhood.
Who would have thought engineering + blogging + motherhood would make sure a beautiful bouquet?
Don’t try to be like others, allow your personality and unique skills to shine through. The right readers will connect with you and you will build up your 1,000 true fans!
Actionable steps to find our uniqueness
So the exercise for this step is to figure out what unique spin you can put on your topic and how you can make that difference stand out!
If you find it difficult to come up with your unique strengths, enlist help for this step! It’s far easier for us to believe someone else than brag on our own skills. So call up your family and friends and ask them their opinions, you may be surprised what they say and discover a few things about yourself!
Planning a Successful Blog with Bite-Sized Goals
In the first month we discussed having a long term vision and plan for your baby. Where do you see her in five years, what would you like to help her accomplish?
Similarly, your blog will grow too. But do you have smaller goals to help you get there? And do you have a plan how you will achieve these goals?
You need time and you need steps.
Questions and examples for bite-sized goals when you’re starting a blog
- What daily, weekly and monthly goals do you have for your blog?
- Daily goals need to be short and push the needle forward.
- Create a pin image for my newest post
- Write an email to my list
- Finish my post draft
- Reload my Tailwind queue
- Weekly goals take a few more days to accomplish
- Post once a week
- Finish 10 more pages of my ebook
- Network with 4 other bloggers
- Monthly goals could include:
- Finish my ebook
- Setup a mastermind of 8 bloggers in my niche
- Post 4 times this month
- Grow my email list to 300
- Hit 10,000 page views
- Make $500
Five years is a long time away, so you need to break down your goals into more toddler sized pieces.
If you’re interested I could break down my daily, weekly and monthly goals for you and exactly how I grew my blog from $0 in January to over $6,000 10 months later. Let me know in the comments below.
What Type of Blogger Are You?
You need to decide with your partner what type of parenting style you two will use. Will you be laid back parents? Helicopter parents? Leave-the-kids-at-grandma-ever
Regardless of the type of parenting style you adapt, you need a plan.
Questions to help decide your blogging style
- Likewise, what type of blogger do you want to be?
- Do you want to post every day?
- Do you want to post once a week?
- How long do you want your posts to be?
- What type of voice will you use?
- Do you want to be seen as a friend? A teacher? An expert?
Planning what type of blogger you want to be is very important. Line it up with your five-year goal and make sure it fits with your lifestyle.
I love writing long, in-depth posts. It takes me days to research and plan each post. And I only post four times a month.
I know some moms that post once or more a day. Quick, bite-sized articles that offer advice on the go. And that works super well for them!
Why is deciding on your blog style SO important?
It is super important to decide on your style and your voice. I want your blog to feel like an extension of yourself, kind of like how your baby is. It needs to be a natural home for you on the internet.
When you have a plan of what type of blogger you want to be, it takes the stress and pressure off yourself when you see other bloggers succeed in their style. Often times I see bloggers that post quick, witty posts on current events and I want to jump ship and copy them. I want a quick burst of traffic from hopping on the hot topic of the day. But those types of posts do not work for me. My readers have come to know me as a teacher, not a quick-win writer.
Knowing what type of blogger I want to be and what type of lifestyle I want with my blog helps me immensely when dealing with outside pressure. I wish I knew this when I started my blog!
How To Make Money with Your Blog
Oh the fun part! Money! How will you pay for this beautiful little baby blessing? How will you pay for college? For toys? For diapers?
Initially, your blog baby will cost you a few dollars, but if your mission is to make your blog baby work for you, it is super possible!
Use this month to plan at a high level what ways you want your blog to work for you. If you dedicate time and energy to grow a beautiful blog, it will be able to produce money making fruit for you. Am I getting too far into my symbolisms?
Five main ways to make money with a blog
- Sponsored posts
Ads and sponsored posts work well with a high traffic blog. And affiliates, services and products work well with a highly engaged audience. Of course, all four of these methods benefit from high traffic and high engagement.
Questions to help you decide your monetization strategy
- In your high-level plan for your blog, where do you want to monetize?
- Do you hate ads and never want them on your site? Or could you care less?
- Are you eager to write a book and build an audience?
- Do you want to design a course and teach others your expertise?
Think about these monetization methods to help you plan a successful long term goal for your blog.
Deciding On A Blog Name
Oh my goodness! Your baby is almost here! Do you have a name?
You are almost ready to actually create your blog and name it!
Questions to help you decide on a blog name
- But what makes a good blog name?
- Should you use your own name?
- Should you use SEO keywords in your blog’s url?
- Or should you make up a world like ‘google’?
Honest advice when choosing a blog name
This is often times where many bloggers get stuck. They have great ideas for their blog, but they just can’t name it! Here is my honest advice about choosing a blog niche and name.
Ah, congratulations! You are ready to birth your baby, I mean blog. Now that you have covered all of these steps below, you are setup for creating a super successful blog. Let’s recap how far you have come!
STEP 1: Your Five Year Plan
STEP 2: Your Perfect Blog Topic
STEP 3: Know Yourself
STEP 4: Market Research
STEP 5: What Sets You Apart
STEP 6: Bite-Sized Goals
STEP 7: Your Blogging Style
STEP 8: Methods of Monetization
STEP 9: Naming Your Blog Baby
So the next step is to actually ‘birth your blog!’ Now that you have a successful plan, you can follow my step by step guidance in starting your blog in the Blog by Number blogging course for moms. Good luck!
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[…] Planning your blog through these first steps and setting up a solid foundation. […]
In your youtube videos you’ve mentioned having affiliates. My question is how do they become affiliates? Do you approach the company and you receive your own web link? Sorry I’m just starting and I’m not sure how it works. Thanks for your help!❤
Any of my students can be affiliates for my products. As for other companies, you’ll search their blog or reach out to become an affiliate.
[…] Start a Mom Blog – I came across Suzi on Twitter and she quickly became my favorite blog email dealer. (Honestly, Suzi and Jen send out the best emails.) I’m not necessarily a new blogger, so I know how to build a blog; I just don’t want to make dumb mistakes or make things more complicated than I should so I’ve purchased both Blog by Number: Every Busy Mom’s Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog and The 9-Step Blog Plan. […]
Extraordinarily done! Quick question: did you take a course on creating online courses? I’m in my education/strategy mode and while I’m feeling sort of burnt out, I want to learn as much as possible. I’m currently taking the MSofS Affiliate course. Thanks!
Natasha, thank you for the reply! No, I have not yet taken a course on creating courses, but I have read and absorbed as much information as possible. And I’ve honestly just gone with my gut on a lot of things. I feel I can learn super valuable lessons by actually doing, than by just reading all the time. So my strategy is to learn as much as I can, and then just dive in and do it! And then go back to learning. But I’m always eager to do it than to just read about it. 🙂 I hope that inspires you too! Enjoy the affiliate course, I took it a while ago and it was great!
Great way to keep things in perspective & in check as you get started!
Thank you Jessica! I wish I did this when I launched my blog! 🙂
Thx so much for this creative post! I’ve been struggling with the monthly-weekly-daily tasks of keeping my blog up & running! It’s so busy working and being a mom. And making time for blogging! Keep up the great work! Your blog has helped me a ton!
Thank you so much! I am so happy I can help other moms! It’s hectic juggling it all, but we can do this! And when we reach success, it’s just THAT much more amazing 🙂 Sending you lots of great luck!
Great instructions, very detailed! I’m using WP to build my blog, it’s easy.
Fantastic! Yes, WordPress makes is easy to build a blog! It’s a great time we live in!