How to Start a Blog: Your First 10 Moves

May 2, 2018  •  Writing & Productivity

So you have a message and you want to share it, but you aren’t sure exactly how to do that. Maybe someone recommended you start a blog, but what should you do first?

I understand the overwhelm that comes with the spark of an idea. At Platform University, it’s our job to give you a step-by-step guidebook to set you on a path for success.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock Photos

If I could go back five years ago and tell newbie blogger John Meese exactly what to do, I’d cut right to the chase with these 10 steps. Getting started doesn’t have to be complex and complicated. A roadmap exists and we have it!

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1. Figure out your branding.

Most people only think of colors and logos when it comes to branding, but branding is really about the message or promise you are making to your followers and readers. Get crystal clarity on your message and your niche before you begin. If you miss this crucial step, you’ll hit so many roadblocks up ahead.

This is why we address branding right out of the gate with Module One in our Core Curriculum inside Platform University. It’s an essential step to get you on the right track.

2. Decide on your blogging platform.

You have many options when it comes to where you’ll build your blog in the online universe. We recommend a self-hosted WordPress.org site for many reasons. Many free options exist, but if you want to do it once and do it right, getting a WordPress.org site hosted by a reputable host like WP Engine (affiliate link) is the best way to go.

3. Purchase a domain.

After you pick a host, you’ll need to purchase a separate domain that can be mapped to any site you own. We recommend Hover (affiliate link).

4. Pick a theme that makes sense.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a web developer to find a great WordPress theme. Ask yourself these questions when choosing a theme:

What do you want your readers to do when they visit your site? How do you want them to interact with your content? What tools will readers need to make the most of your content? Start with functionality and let that inform the structure you create with your theme.

5. Commit to a content creation strategy.

When will you write? Or will you use another medium as your main form of content? Will you try to post once or twice a week? And how will you attract readers? These are all questions you need to address in your content creation strategy. It’s important to make a commitment to your strategy and …

6. Create consistently.

Consistency is what makes or breaks bloggers. You will never gain momentum if you can’t commit to a content creation strategy and execute it.

7. Establish your email list.

It’s never too early (or late!) to start growing your email list. As a platform-builder so much of your value is in your list. Users hop on and off social media, but if you have their email address, you will always have a way to reach them.

8. Create an optin to grow your email list.

It can be a simple PDF download, how to list, or free ebook, but get something up there to entice visitors to subscribe to your list. Just offering a little something is often enough to cast a wide net and start collecting addresses. Don’t let any more site visitors slip through your fingers!

9. Establish your social media embassies.

Social media can be a major headache. Don’t get bogged down with your numbers. Concentrate on finding quality followers to engage with on your social media platform of choice. And don’t start everywhere—just choose one and get to work.

10. Don’t get stuck analyzing and tweaking.

As a platform-builder you’ll be tempted to constantly change your strategy and shift your focus. Try to avoid doing this. We recommend you work within a quarterly schedule. Execute a plan for three months. After three months, evaluate your progress.

Did you see the results you wanted? If not, go back to the drawing table. If you did, how can you amplify those results even more?

I realize we barely scratched the surface with these 10 steps, and honestly, that’s why we created our Core Curriculum because we can go really deep on each of these points. I’d love to share more with you. If you’re curious, you can see what our curriculum is all about right here.

QUESTION: Which of these steps have you completed so far? Let us know in the comment area below!

About John Meese

John is the Dean of Platform University, and spends most of his time looking for new ways to serve Platform University students. He lives south of Nashville, TN with his wife and two young kids.