Starting a blog and growing an audience is still the best way to earn money in the long term.
No one can argue with that. WPBeginner started as a simple blog in 2009, and now it has been an 8-figure company for multiple years now.
But blogging is getting harder due to the increased competition. Start your blog wrong, and it’ll cost you more time until you make it profitable.
Have you ever wondered if there are a few essentials you need to absolutely know before starting blogging, so you can save time and kick-start your blogging journey?
This is exactly what you are going to discover in this post. You’ll discover the 10 things you need to know before starting a blog in 2020.
- 1. Blogging Takes Time & Effort
- 2. It is Crucial to Decide What to Blog About
- 3. Choosing the Right Domain Name is Crucial for Your Blog
- 4. Your Blog Deserves a Good Host
- 5. Self-Hosted WordPress.org is Still the Best Blogging Platform
- 6. Learning Internet Marketing is Important to Grow Your Blog
- 7. Consistency is the Key to Blogging Success
- 8. A Good Looking Blog Design is Important
- 9. Building an Email List is a Must
- 10. Treating Your Blog as a Business and Investing Money on It
1. Blogging Takes Time & Effort
Blogging is a long journey. It takes time and effort to build a following around your content and make people in your community trust you.
Many people get into the online thing hoping to make money fast and think blogging a “get quick rich scheme.”
Blogging is not like that. It takes time, but once you start growing, things will take off by itself. That is why it is the best long-term strategy for making money online and monetizing your expertise.
2. It is Crucial to Decide What to Blog About
Many people make the mistake of starting a blog and writing about everything that interests them with the hope of building their readership quickly. The more the better, right?
No, it’s 2020 and people don’t want to read everything under the sun on a single blog. They prefer authority blogs.
If you write everything on your blog that comes to your mind, you will not be considered an expert in any of them.
So you need to niche down when starting out and be known for something. And then you can branch out as you go on related topics.
For example, if you are going to start a marketing blog, you can talk about copywriting, blogging, SEO, podcasting, video marketing, list building, conversion optimization, and so on.
A better strategy would be to niche in and focus on talking about one topic till people know that you are the expert about that small thing. And with the halo effect in place, people will consider you an expert in everything related to that main topic.
This is what Brian Dean did. He started talking about link building only. After he became an expert in link building, he started focusing on other aspects of SEO, and people listened because they consider him an expert. He even started talking about conversion optimization and video marketing and people listened.
So focus on one topic, niche down and then branch out to related topics as you grow.
For more advice on how to decide which topic to blog about, check out this post.
3. Choosing the Right Domain Name is Crucial for Your Blog
A domain name can sometimes make or break your blog. If people misunderstand your name, they won’t understand what you write about until reading multiple posts which no one can do.
So you need to have a good domain name. (Check: 23 Examples Of Good Domain Names)
Here are few tips for a good domain name:
- .Com is still the king.
- Easy to understand domain names is still the best. Like RoadToBlogging.com and SmartPassiveIncome.com.
- Don’t use hyphens or numbers.
- Make sure your domain has no copyright issues
For more tips, check out the 10 Tips for Choosing a Good Domain Name.
Most importantly, you need to avoid free domain names like name.blogspot.com. First, it is long and it doesn’t look professional. If you can’t spend 10 bucks a year on a domain name, why should someone trust you as an expert?
4. Your Blog Deserves a Good Host
You need to own your blog. Going with a free blogging platform like Blogspot is not a good idea.
They can easily shut down your account without any notice. Instantly, all your efforts and the community you’ve built are gone, and you’ll need to start all over from zero.
I made this mistake. I started my blogging journey with Weebly. On a fine morning, I found that they have deleted my blog for some ToS issues.
That is why the best thing to do is to get a host and have your content hosted there. You can install any platform, but we recommend WordPress (more on that below.)
But having a bad host won’t do you any good. It’ll add more headaches to you in the future. That is why you need to go with a reliable host.
5. Self-Hosted WordPress.org is Still the Best Blogging Platform
WordPress.org has been here forever. Since it launched, many blogs have adopted its technology. Even magazines like Huffington Post uses it.
And to this date, the self-hosted WordPress platform is still the best blogging platform you can have. The developers are working and developing it every day to make it better as you go.
However, don’t get confused by two types of WordPress – WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Only WordPress.org offers the self-hosted solution. That’s why we recommend it.
The most important benefit of WordPress.org is the flexibility you can have going with this platform. You can also add plugins to help you do anything.
The marketplace is full of many sites that offer free and premium plugins to help you do anything. Also, the vast amount of themes available will help you find one that perfectly suits you.
6. Learning Internet Marketing is Important to Grow Your Blog
Now that you are done and your blog is launched, your next job is just to post content and hope for it to go viral, and your audience will magically appear, right?
That is why you need to learn internet marketing to grow your blog. You need to spend more time promoting your blog than writing it in the first place.
Also, you need to learn copywriting to know how to write attractive content that gets people on the internet to read your post. You are not just writing another essay at your college. Your job is to make people reading. This means no more big boring paragraphs.
You need to make people continue reading your post from beginning till the end. Learn how to write a magnetic headline, how to write a mouth-watering introduction, how to close with a style, and how to structure your post.
Having all this in mind, you really need to learn internet marketing and invest time and money in doing so.
If you are just a beginner, I’d recommend you take one of these blogging courses.
7. Consistency is the Key to Blogging Success
As you know by now, blogging is a long-term strategy. You need to work consistently for months before you can start seeing results.
Ignoring your blog and coming to it from time to time is not a way to build a business. You need to be consistent. Set a posting schedule that you are going to stick to. You don’t need to post content every day, I don’t suggest you do so anyway.
You can post twice weekly, or once weekly, or once every 2 weeks. Just set it, and stick with it.
8. A Good Looking Blog Design is Important
Many people just slap any blog design and go with it when they start. Some people even leave the default theme on WordPress and ignore changing it.
Your design is way more important than you think. Derek Halpern has gone all the way to say that design is king, not content.
When people come and visit a blog, everything from how the blog looks like, the typography, the way you write, is important to keep them staying. That is beside the quality of your content.
Have a bad design and expect a bounce rate very high that people don’t even read your blog.
That is why it is wise to spend some money on purchasing a good WordPress theme with good support.
9. Building an Email List is a Must
When you ask most of the big bloggers you know what their #1 mistake is, 90% of them will say not building an email list from the start.
Email is still #1 for reaching out to people.
People can come to visit your blog, like the content, and then leave your blog never hearing from you again.
Instead, you can capture their email address and keep contacting them over time, making them know you and trust you. And after some time, you can sell them your products/services and get them to pay you money without much sales talk because they already know you.
It is also a great way to send traffic to any new post without doing any effort.
Your most important job as you go is to get high-quality subscribers as you grow your blog. This is more important than your pageviews/month and so on.
10. Treating Your Blog as a Business and Investing Money on It
As you know, you are building a business, and you can get started with practically no money, but that is not a wise strategy to go with.
You need to invest money in a domain name and a good web host and a good design as we mentioned above. You also need to invest in some good plugins to help you run your blog more smoothly.
You also need to invest money in yourself and learning more about internet marketing and how to grow your blog and your email list.
And once you earn money, don’t take it all off the table. Invest more money in your blog and grow it further. Blogging is not a short-term strategy.
You need to be playing for the long haul. That is how you win the game.
Just play for the long haul and invest in your business as you go, and don’t just take money off the table.
The other side is much better when you win and have a successful sustainable business.
So these are things you should consider before starting a blog to get a good start.
If you need any help regarding this, feel free to ask me via comment.
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