The thought of starting a blog is cheering, exciting, and thought-provoking.
Countless questions run through your mind.
What if I’m not a good writer? What if my blog is not good enough? What if I couldn’t make money?
If you already trampled those mindless questions and you’re ready to start a blog. Don’t forget these 8 must things to do before you start a blog.
Let’s dive right in!
Choose a blogging platform.
Before anything else you’ve to choose a platform, you’ll use it to blog. There are free options out there.
I have an entire blog post about free blogging websites, check it out here. (If you want a detailed summary of all of these free options).
Anyway, here are some of the best free options available.
All of these are nice and most importantly free. But, do you know you might blog for years on these free blogging platforms without earning a single dollar.
In other words, you’ll only waste your time as well as your energy.
Please note I’m not hating these free blogging platforms, in fact, I also started blogging with one of these free options Blogspot.
And I would like to recommend you too.
Start with a free option but not earn anything except experience. Because that’s the only thing you’ll end up with.
The biggest drawback of these free sites is the subdomain.
I mean a domain doesn’t cost more than $10 paid annually. (Sometimes it can be free, but only if you’re starting a self-hosted blog).
What kind of impression are you trying to give to your visitor?
That your business can’t afford $10?
Obviously, that’s something you’ll never want your customer to think. The first impression matters. So give a better one.
So, do your business and yourself a favor and…
Own a domain.
Go to domain.com and search for your domain.
Congratulations! If it’s available. And if it’s not, you have to be more creative.
Don’t think too much about it.
Remember, the old SEO trick keyword in domain name doesn’t work nowadays. That being said, don’t think too much about using any keyword there.
You can’t change it later, so be wise and a bit quick because overthinking is only going to refrain you from getting the work done.
And remember, done is better than perfectly done. So, go for it and grab the opportunity.
For the sake of professionality, now you have a domain name that looks extremely good.
WordPress powers more than 40% of websites worldwide.
Why do you think these people choose WordPress?
The answer is because of unlimited customization. Think of any kind of feature a website can have and there’s probably a plugin for that.
That can make your work easy in just a couple of clicks.
Self-hosted WordPress is the best option one can go for. But it’s based on my personal experience with it.
I’ve built a couple of websites with Wix and once with Weebly.
But, nothing seems as beginner-friendly as WordPress.
Find low competition keywords.
The only way your blog is going to stand out in this crowded community is by producing quality content.
Produce quality content constantly.
Or in Neil Patel’s words.
Create content that teaches. You can’t give up. You have to be constantly awesome.
But, you can’t start a new “cycling” blog and write your first article on “best cycles in 2021 “.
Because these keywords are already being dominated by bigger blogs.
So, the best thing you can do for your blog is to find at least 15-30 underserved or you can say topics that you can rank #1 for.
Finding them may sound hard but it’s not.
We will learn two methods for finding underserved topics.
Let’s say our niche is “cycling“.
Now put yourself in the shoes of a casual searcher. A searcher who is trying to find something about cycling.
How will they start searching?
Is cycling… how cycling… do cycling… or being more specific like which cycle…
So, head over to Google, and let’s start…
Ok, we’re going to start with “is cycling a”.
Now, filter keywords that you think are not already written much about.
See here “is cycling a sport”. Obviously, this one is something that a lot of blogs would have already written about.
Now, we didn’t found any underserved topic here. So, now try “is cycling b…” then “is cycling c…”
I found one within 2 minutes.
“Is cycling 20km a day good”.
Let’s search this.
Aha! there you go.
The first website is swiftfilms.co.uk with DA of 17.
The second result is completely unrelated to the search term and the third one is a forum.
Note: Quora has DA of 93 but it is a forum. That means people are responsible for all the content written there. And content created by users is tagged as UGC (User Generated Content) and a new website with a detailed article can easily beat it.
This can be a good keyword to write an article about.
If you click on the website at the top, you can see two things:
- Their website is not secure. In other words, they’re not using SSL certificate.
- There are no images in the article plus they’re using huge walls of text that can be difficult to read on mobile devices.
I read the article it’s perfectly written and well formated but since Google prefer https over http, that means there is a room for improvement. And you can win this keyword with a better in-depth article.
I can’t take the full credits because this method is not mine. I learned this from Morten Storgaard from Passiveincomegeek.com.
I found the keyword that I can rank for in less than 2 minutes but it can take you more if you’re doing it for the first time. But, things will get easier as you do this.
Keep on doing this until you find the first result on the SERPs is one of these:
- A forum.
- The search query doesn’t match the results.
- A low-quality article.
- A website with bad UX.
And never try to compete for keywords where Google returned answers with one of these:
- A high domain authority website with a lot of links.
- An article so amazing that it covers each & every aspect of that specific topic.
- A renowned brand or influencer.
Don’t worry because the next one is a piece of cake!
If the previous one was hard for you. This one is just for you.
Head over to Ubersuggest and log in to your account.
Enter a seed keyword and click “keyword ideas” from the left-hand side navigation.
Here you’ll see this box called “Page 1 ranking potential” with a beta label on its left.
Enter your domain in this box and let Ubersuggest do its work.
Now Ubersuggest will scan your domain and return the keywords that you can probably rank number one for.
It’s not that easy. Because you still have to check those keywords manually one by one by simply putting them in Google’s search box.
Because the results are filtered by AI. You can’t trust it 100%. Because if you did, you might miss some great keywords you can easily rank for.
Now search those keywords and check the SERPs. If there’s no content on that topic. Congratulations! If there is an article or two, make sure to create 10X better articles than them.
Schedule or plan your content.
Mark your calendar or download an application on your mobile phone to keep you focused on your goal.
Create a content schedule and stick to it.
In order to get your content indexed by Google, there are these small spiders called Google bots that crawl through your content and test if the content is worth getting indexed or not.
And, it is said that Google bots memorize your content calendar. In other words, if you’re pushing out new content every Friday, google bots will visit your website every Friday to test the newly written content.
One of those hundreds of benefits a content calendar has is it helps in indexing.
Plan your monetization strategy.
Just like a lot of people think ads and affiliate marketing are not the only two ways a website could earn.
There are hundreds of different ways website owners are making money.
I have a separate article where I’m breaking down 20 ways to monetize WordPress. Here is that post, if you’re interested check it out.
Back to the point, there are many more ways you can use to monetize your blog.
Doesn’t matter how you’re going to monetize it, have a clear vision of when and how you’re going to do it.
Set a goal and achieve it.
Despite a lot of people hate ads as a monetization method, ads can be profitable if used correctly.
By correctly I do not mean aggressively.
And another thing that people don’t usually understand is the difference between advertisement networks.
The most common one is Google AdSense. Super easy to get accepted and accept all kinds of publishers (whether you are an established authority or a brand new website AdSense is for everyone).
Some website owners reported a 200% growth in their monthly earnings after switching to an alternative like Ezoic. (Source)
The point I’m trying to make here is that every single monetization method is profitable if you have targeted traffic or traffic that converts, you’ll never struggle to monetize your website.
Doesn’t matter what method you choose, it’ll take a bit before returning good rewards. So, in the meantime…
Have a strong mindset.
This might be an unexpected subheading here, but I want to clear things up.
Who doesn’t like money and the idea of earning them through your blog?
And a lot of people get overwhelmed by this thought and end up earning nothing.
To save you from being one of those, I want you to have a strong mindset.
Don’t expect to earn a single dollar before 6-8 months.
A blog usually takes at least 4-6 months to get traffic from search engines. And are you planning to earn money from your blog without traffic?
Note: these words are not to discourage you but to show you what reality looks like. There have been cases where people start earning a decent amount of money off their blog within 6 months. But most of the time, that’s not the case.
There is this YouTuber who was saying it took him almost 2 years to earn his first dollar from blogging.
That’s also not always the case. Because the blog you’re reading earned its first dollar just after 16 days it was created.
But the point here is not about the first dollar but earning enough to make a living from your blog.
And I’m certain that is going to cost you at least 24 months.
Undoubtedly, blogging is one of the most profitable online businesses, but just like a real business, it will not turn you into a millionaire overnight.
Enough of the mindset now, let’s get back to technical things.
Learn the basics of search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge topic. So huge that there is always something new to learn every day.
So, I don’t want you to spend all of your time learning SEO but learning basics can help you boost your takeoff.
If you’re starting a completely new website, you can’t ignore SEO. Because you can’t go far without it.
The best thing you can do for it is, take a couple of blogs and YouTube channels and add them to your watch list.
YouTube channels I would recommend:
- Passive Income Geek.
- Income School.
- Below Average Blogger (this one is new, but shares pretty awesome tactics).
Blogs I would recommend:
- Search engine journal.
- Blogs by Sarmad — ok, this one might seem biased but it’s not! Here you will not only find actionable SEO tips but also proper blogging advice that actually works.
Once you start watching these blogging & SEO videos you’ll stumble upon thousands of other people selling you their crappy outdated SEO advice or tools.
But be sure not to follow each & everything you see on the internet.
A lot of people will tell you to sprinkle LSI keywords throughout your blog post but that’s irrelevant because John Muller clearly said:
Learn on-page optimization.
On-page optimization is an important part of SEO. Luckily, I have a detailed guide on this exact topic. You can find it here. And it is the only guide you’ll need to learn and master on-page SEO.
It means optimizing your page for a specific keyword.
Since search engines are getting smarter, it’s necessary to optimize your page for search engines as well as readers.
But that does not mean stuffing your targeted keyword here & there.
I know you didn’t come here for all of this SEO stuff, so I’m cutting it off. And if you want to learn on-page SEO in detail, head over to this post.
Create a lead magnet.
Look, there is a reason why everybody talks about email subscribers.
- The average expected ROI is $42 for every $1 you spend on email marketing.
- 81% of small businesses rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% for retention.
- The U.S. spent over 350 million dollars on email advertising in 2019.
- There are 4 Billion daily email users.
Have a look at these stats and you’ll understand why having a vast email list is essential.
To grow your email list effectively, you’ll need a lead magnet. I mean give your visitors a solid reason to hand you their emails.
High-quality content is a lead magnet itself. But, you can’t just put all of your eggs in the same basket.
So, a couple of days ago I visited this website codeinwp. The design is pretty good but the content is even better.
Before I left this cool lead magnet caught my attention. Have a look at it:
I immediately typed in my email address to get access to that course. In the end … I wasn’t disappointed.
So, did you know what that course taught me?
That takes us to our last point…
Use a good host.
I learned some pretty awesome tricks to speed up my website.
Like disabling pingbacks can speed up a website. Cool!
But, did you know what? There’s nothing better than using a good host.
I mean there are
There are cheap options starting from like $0.99 every month. But do you know what’s the problem with them?
Just because they’re cheap does not mean they’re good. These cheap options do not offer many useful things like SSL certificate, good server uptime, 24/7 support, good bandwidth, and the list just goes on and on.
But that also does not mean the expensive the better.
The best one (in my opinion) is “Hostinger”.
It’s affordable plus reliable. The best thing is their super fast 24/7 live chat support.
Have a problem? Just hit them up with a message, their team will get back to you in no time. Also with 99.99% server uptime.
All that in just $1.99/mo. What else can you ask for?
Or you can also try Namecheap. I’ve had a great experience with them.
Don’t announce your blog on social media (optional)
I know I said the subhead before this one was the last because this is optional. You can announce it if you want but it’s better not to.
You might feel excited about your blog and ask your friends and family to check it out. But, that won’t do any good for you.
Let me tell you why.
Because let’s take the example from the above, you’re running a cycling blog, because you’re interested in cycling.
But, your parents and a couple of your friends won’t be (necessarily) interested in cycling. So, they are going to open your site and be like “hmm, this one’s nice site you’ve built” and gone forever.
Resulting in an increment in the bounce rate.
And Google measures bounce rate as a ranking factor. And if your bounce rate is high Google is going to ignore your site just like the girl you’ve had a huge crush on.
It might feel hard, in the beginning, to work continuously without a single person looking at your hard work. But don’t worry. We’re all in the same boat.
Choose a blogging platform. Free or paid, however, a self-hosted WordPress blog is best of all.
Then use Google’s autosuggest or Ubersuggest to find low competition keywords you can rank for.
Write content and plan your content calendar.
Write more and more content with a monetization plan in your mind. A combination of affiliate marketing & ads is the best option most of the time.
Keep creating content with a strong mindset. You’re not going to be a millionaire overnight.
Learn search engine optimization. You can’t go far without it.
Create a lead magnet. However, good-quality content is also a fantastic lead magnet.
Use good hosting. You can research on your own and find the best one. In my opinion, Hostinger is the best option.
And that’s it.
Thanks for coming to Blogs by Sarmad. I hope I didn’t disappoint you and you got to learn something new here.
And if you didn’t, accept my sincere apologies. Until next time.
Did I miss something that you think is a must to do before you start a blog?