Note from Lana | Lifestyle Queen Bee: When you first start a blog, you never realize how much work really goes into it. There are some days where I have a million things going on in my life that pull me away from my blog that is why being organized is key. If you’re thinking about starting a blog or have just launched yours and now are wondering ‘what next?’, today’s guest post by Christine H. will be an informative and timely read.
Many people start a blog thinking that it’ll just be a hobby; but if you want to be able to generate revenue from it, it requires a lot more than a hobby’s worth of investment. It will take time, education, consistency, and a clever game plan in order to be successful.
As an online marketer in a company that focuses on SEO, I’ve learned a few things about what makes a site thrive. Every blog will be different, but it might be helpful to see a brief outline of a game plan that can help your blog’s launch be successful. As with all marketing and communication ventures, an integrated and time-released approach can help you get the most out of the work that you do.
[ Stage 1: Setup ]
Did you know that Google has a time delay on how they rank websites? It’s very difficult for a new site to get any kind of traction on search results during the first few months of its existence. This is Google’s way of weeding out sites that pop up and then quickly lapse as the webmaster or blogger loses interest quickly. That’s why the earlier that you start your blog, the better!
This is your time to figure out all the technical aspects of your blog. Choose a host, a CMS platform, a name and domain. Pick a theme and tagline, and fill out your “about me” section.
This stage of development can be the most fun, but it can also be difficult to get the impetus you need to get going. Remember that you can change the appearance of your blog whenever you want, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it perfect from the get-go. The site will grow and develop as you do!
[ Stage 2: Content, Content, Content! ]
The key to a successful site is valuable content. Why else would people come visit? Most search engines value original content more than any other factor. Readers, commenters, and fans will naturally follow when you put out high-quality and steady content. So, before you start to worry about marketing and social media, make sure that visitors have a comfortable place to visit. Set yourself a content schedule and try to create something new regularly.
At the beginning, brainstorm some topics you want to write about. Think about certain series that you could do. Research topical ideas, like focusing on mental health month or talking about the hype before a big movie or book is released (all depending on what it is that you blog about, of course). Remember that not everything you write has to be about what’s new for you this week. Find tangents, do research, and explore new things!
[ Stage 3: Social Media Management and Networking ]
Once you have a good amount of content on your site, you’re ready to start propelling new visitors. This is an area where time is important (building a good following will take you a few months, at least, of solid effort). However, you don’t want to launch your social media pages and invite people to like it before you have content on your site. You might turn off some of your best cheerleaders if they don’t see anything there to attract their attention.
Set up accounts on all the major social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. If you want to build your blog as more of a business, you might want to look into Google+ pages and LinkedIn as well. In order to streamline your efforts there, you can set up a HootSuite account, which syncs all your accounts and makes it possible to manage multiple platforms at a time.
Start by inviting your friends and acquaintances to like your accounts and your blog. At the very least, share links for your new content on social media. However, you should go farther than that. Engage in conversations around your topic. Follow other bloggers who talk about similar things and share their content as well. Comment on others’ efforts, and adjust your own content to react to what’s going on in the niche that you occupy.
Reach out to other bloggers that interest you. Look for opportunities to build your audience through guest blogging, link parties, and syndicated content.
[ Stage 4: Stay Consistent! ]
Second only to your initial startup efforts, this is the hardest part of blogging. Stick to the schedule that you set yourself for content creation. Set yourself specific goals and evaluate past successes and failures in order to be more effective as you progress. This post has some great suggestions for keeping the impetus you need. Keep working on your social media sites. Reach out to new people and be responsive when people reach out to you.
After 4-6 months, you’ll start seeing amazing returns on all the time that you’ve invested, so keep your chin up until then!