You’re all set to start writing! You’ve found your niche, picked a domain name and set up your hosting. Chosen a theme and successfully installed it. Now it must be time to write your first blog post.
Well maybe. You could just launch straight in but there’s a lot more to the art of creating a successful blog. Writing is just one of the skills you need to conquer. Do these things now and you’ll save a heap of time later…
#1 Set Up Your Email Account
This is a business you’re running. It may be early days but if you’re blogging about money saving tips and your email address is [email protected], there’s a chance no-one’s going to take you seriously.
Fortunately, if you’ve signed up for hosting with SiteGround, it comes with a free email service (or two). In fact on their GrowBig plan you get a mailbox quota of 4000MB and can set up all the accounts you need.
(Alternatively I suggest using hover. It’s the email provider I use with my WP Engine account and it’s really affordable).
For SiteGround users, you need to set up your email in your cPanel by clicking on Email Accounts.
This is an example from one of my test accounts on SiteGround. Just pick a name such as “[email protected]”, choose a password and click “create account”.
You could forward your blog email to your main email account so you just have one account to check. I use Outlook and find it’s easy enough to check all my accounts at the same time rather than mess about with email forwarding.
#2 The Boring Stuff
Before you get wrapped up in writing your first blog post, there’s some boring stuff to take care of. The business stuff…
But, it’s just a blog I hear you splutter! Yes, at the moment. Yet the whole point of this blog is to make money and that makes it a business.
Okay, I know, you don’t need to get too carried away setting up a business right now but take a look at this post of mine, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Starting out with a blog it will be enough to keep records of EVERYTHING for the first few months. Every payment you make and every payment you receive. To begin with, you can get away with using your personal PayPal account for small affiliate payments.
BUT at some stage, you will have to make everything official (because your blog’s going to be successful – right). That’s when you’ll need a business bank account, decide if you need an accountant and whether you want to set up as a limited company. Just be aware…
#3 Set Up Your Social Media Accounts
This is something I do as soon as I pick my domain name. In fact, checking my name availability on social media is something I normally do BEFORE I finalise my domain name.
Why? Because social media is a big deal in 2019 plus it helps me check if there’s someone -else using the name I’ve chosen.
If my chosen domain name has an account on Instagram with 100,000 followers, I will probably need to find a different name. Otherwise, I’m setting myself up for confusion and I could even run the risk of being sued for “passing-off” as another company.
This has happened to me! That’s why I’m super careful when I pick a name. My first ever business ran into a dispute over its name. I’d secured the Trademark for a clothing company but failed to realise there was another business in the same sector with the same name!
The only thing that stopped me from having to destroy all my marketing material and start over, was that the name chosen was based on the initials of myself and my business partner. It was our names, so we couldn’t be accused of passing-off! But it was a close call! Be warned and do your checks.
When I set up SimplyHatch.com the only name I struggled to secure was on Twitter where my handle is @HatchSimply. (Simply Hatch on Twitter is used for an inactive private account).
Sign up for ALL the social media accounts you can think of.
This doesn’t mean you should use ALL the social media accounts – no way! Using too many social media accounts is a good route to failure. You end up spreading yourself too thinly. Instead it’s best to concentrate on one or two.
But signing up for everything now just gives you options in the future. It’s also a great way to protect your name and stop any pretenders.
#4 Get Organised for Blogging
In a couple of months time, as you build your successful blog, you’ll be knee deep in information. Post ideas, affiliate marketing links, blog design changes… There’s a lot that goes into the day-to-day running of a blog.
My tip is to get organised now. Go and get yourself a file and put all the important information in one place. It will save you so much time over the coming months.
My Hatch A Blog eBook and accompanying WorkBook has your organisation covered. The Hatch A Blog Workbook includes 41 pages for organising your weekly schedule, making your 12-month blog plan, setting your monthly blog goals, and recording all the information that goes into building a blog from your plugins to your site changes and affiliate links.
#5 Making Your Site Secure
Have you ever noticed how this site and many others have the web address https://domain_name.com? Plus they all have a secure padlock sign in their browser?
When you first set up your blog , your site address will be http://domain_name.com and most visitors will get a warning if they try to access your blog. Instead of the nice secure padlock in the browser there’s a scary red triangle and a security warning.
How do you fix this? You need an SSL certificate and if you’re a SiteGround user you get one for FREE. (SSL means Secure Sockets Layer. It establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This means that as you browse a website all data passed between the site and your browser remains private and integral).
#6 Plan Your Blog Topics
You’ve chosen your money making niche but have you thought in detail about what you’re going to write about? What key posts will you need to help visitors instantly understand what your blog is about?
For example, a blog about health & fitness is likely to have the key topics of diet, exercise and the benefits of being fit and healthy. It makes sense for the first 3 posts to cover the basics for each of these topics.
Not everyone agrees with me here. Some bloggers will tell you its fine to have a really broad blog. Write randomly, see what your visitors respond to, then organise your blog into topics.
That’s all very well, but we’re trying to get a head start here! Writing randomly then narrowing down your topics will waste a lot of time (and send some confusing messages to Google).
So decide what your blog is really about before you start writing. You can always make changes later, but it’s best to start with a plan.
#7 Start Learning
Blogging is a huge topic and these posts just scratch the surface. I know its so tempting to jump right in and start writing your first blog post. Instructions? Who needs them you cry! (We have so many wonky bits of IKEA furniture in this house).
But seriously, you will benefit hugely from learning how to set up your blog correctly. Take some time to dig out information online or do yourself a favour and splash out on a course.
I’m plugging my Hatch A Blog ebook, it’s new and up-to-date for 2019. The Hatch A Blog ebook covers everything you need to know to set up a conversion focused blog – ready to start making money from Day 1.
Yes I know it’s frustrating that there’s so much to do when you’re itching to just start blogging! But seriously if you cover all the groundwork first, your blogging journey will be so much smoother in the coming months.
Take some time now to plan and discover everything you need to know about blogging. Or if you’re in a hurry and want to fast track sign up for my Hatch A Blog ebook.