At this point, it’s no secret that having a blog is great marketing for your business. It helps you provide valuable content, it helps you position yourself as a subject matter expert in your field, and it helps you monetize in different ways.
However, I will admit that trying to start a blog these days can seem overwhelming. Back when I started, there weren’t really dollar signs attached to it. It was just something you did for fun or as a form of catharsis. Now, people know the value of a blog from a marketing perspective and they know there’s a lot to do.
Because of this, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what you should actually do first when you start a blog. Here’s a five-point checklist to help you out.
Get your own hosting and domain name.
This may seem obvious when you start a blog, but there is actually some confusion as it pertains to hosting and domain names.
Many businesses try getting a free blog like Blogspot or WordPress.com, but the reality is that if you want to monetize and have the liberty to do what you (legally) want with your site, then you’re going to need to pay for hosting.
Fortunately, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg when you’re just starting out. There are plenty of affordable web hosting options you can try and then you can upgrade as you need to.
Sign up for an email marketing service.
The next step when you start a blog is to find yourself a decent email marketing service for your business.
Email is the lifeblood of your business, so you always want to make sure that you are capturing the emails of people who visit your site so you can continue communicating with them. One of the greatest reasons being that if social media sites shut down, you still have your list.
Figure out your opt-in.
An opt-in refers to a freebie your website visitors will receive in exchange for their email address. This opt-in is delivered via the email marketing system mentioned above.
You’ll want to create something that solves a problem for your audience. For example, are you a health coach? Then maybe you can create a freebie PDF about foods to avoid if you’re trying to lose weight.
Once you figure out what your freebie addresses, then it’s time to figure out what medium you want to use. Do you want to give away the information in a free video, an audio, an ebook? What you choose is pretty much up to you, however, it could be helpful to poll your market and see what they prefer.
Get a design up.
When you’re just starting a blog for your business, you don’t need to spend thousands on design. That can come later when you’ve gotten a better handle on things and are making more money.
That being said, your site can’t look terrible either. Fortunately, there are plenty of free and low-cost WordPress themes you can install on your website. These options are easy to use and they can help make your site look more professional without spending an arm and a leg.
Final step: Start writing content.
Once you’ve got the aforementioned sorted out, it’s time to start writing useful content. This is the part where you may want to poll your audience to see what it is they are struggling with and how you can help them. The entire premise is to create content that helps them solve a problem.
Writing content isn’t just when you start a blog, it’s forever. So make sure you get in the habit of creating powerful content consistently.