I hear from aspiring bloggers all the time that really want to get a blog started, but just don’t know where to start. And that makes total sense – starting a blog from square one is quite an undertaking!
Now, when it comes to the technical side of getting your blog up and running, I’ve got you covered – I did a tutorial a few months ago that walks you through the process of getting set up. But let’s be honest – there’s so much more to starting a blog than just putting your site online. You need a focus, topics, a schedule.
So where do you even start with the planning process of starting a blog? Well, it really is as simple as the 5 W’s (and an H) that you learned in elementary school – who, what, when, where, why, and how. Sitting down and really answering those questions will give you a focus, the start of an editorial calendar (something I consider to be a must, no matter where you are in your blogging career), and a good idea of your target audience.
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You guys know I explain best by making printables for you. 🙂 So I’ve got a whole set of printables that will walk you through planning a new blog!
Let’s take a look. (Click either the graphics or the linked printable name to download a printable copy!)
THE WHERE: Getting Started. This simple sheet will help you pick a blog name, nail down social media handles (check to make sure they’re available first), and make a concise (no more than 2 sentences) blog mission statement that will keep you focused on the goal while planning the rest of your startup sheets. Keep this mission statement in mind with everything you do – if what you’re doing doesn’t accomplish the mission statement, don’t do it. Simple as that.
THE WHY: Why do I want to blog? Really sit down and have a heart-to-heart with yourself with this one. Is it just for money? If so, I’ll be brutally honest here – this might not be the right fit for you. While, yes, blogging can be very profitable, it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to get there. This isn’t a get rich quick scheme! However, if you want to blog because you have a topic you love and want to share with others, you’re in the right place. The money is just a nice side effect. 😉
THE WHO: Who are my readers? Knowing your target audience before you ever start is crucial to tailoring your content to the people that you want to see it. As you get further into your blogging career, you will need to both know and present this information to potential partners for sponsored posts and ad agencies. Not only is it important to know demographics for outside companies with which you’re partnering, but it’s important to customize your content for the people that need to see it!
THE WHAT: Main Topics and Subtopics. I’d suggest picking no more than 2-3 main topics for your blog. If I had to name 3 for mine, it would be organization, food, and home. Then, see if you can start brainstorming subtopics that could lead to potential posts ideas. For example, under organization, I might have a subtopic of home organization ideas, a section for printables, and a section of meal planning. More than 2-3 main topics can get a little jumbled, so try to keep a generalized focus when picking the main things you want to talk about. Remember – you’re going to be discussing these topics for a very long time, so pick something about which you’re passionate!
THE WHAT: Blog Post Ideas. This is a list that you’ll just start initially…I have a running list that’s been going for years. As I think of a new idea, I jot it down here; as I add that idea to my editorial calendar, I mark it out. See if you can go on and write down 5 post ideas…remember, you don’t necessarily have to use them, this is just a nice starting point!
THE WHEN: Editorial Calendar. Let me go on and tell you – no need to completely fill this out in one sitting! This will also be a printable that will be forever changing. It’s ok to not have even a complete month when you actually start your blog, but I would recommend having at least 2-3 weeks mapped out to give a good running start. This is a great chance to decide how often you’ll be posting per week as well. Remember – quality over quantity! I’d much rather get 2 quality posts out per week than 5 thrown-together messes that don’t benefit the reader.
THE WHEN: Social Media Calendar. Anybody that’s in blogging right now will tell you that keeping tabs on your social media content is just as important as scheduling out your blog content. I personally use blog post days as promotion for the new blog post content on social media, whereas I use the other days for promoting older content and/or throwing in some personal insights. This calendar will help you start to map out how you want to structure your social media post times and content! I included 3 of the big 4 platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) on this calendar for space sake – Pinterest is another one to consider, but it’s difficult to really map out posts for Pinterest on a calendar. Instead, I use Tailwind to schedule pins once a week or so.
THE HOW: Goal setting. I am a huge fan of having goals (both big and small) in every area of your life – and a blog is no exception. Having a focus for what you’re doing with your blog is a great way to move forward and really turn it into a thriving business! This printable includes a “big picture” goal section, as well as smaller action steps (maybe to complete monthly) for those goals.
Complete these printables to really get a focus and a starting point for your blogging journey! And, if you need help on the technical side of starting your blog, click here for that tutorial.
One thing I encourage new bloggers (and really old bloggers too for that matter) is to really invest your time and energy into educating yourself about the best practices of blogging. Sometimes it can feel like you’re all alone in your blogging journey – let me assure you, there are many, many people out there that are having the same challenges you face! I love brainstorming challenges with other bloggers on social media and really taking the time to educate myself about the newest ideas in blogging.
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And one more thing! In a few weeks, I’ll be starting a monthly newsletter that gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at my blogging business. I’m hoping to share an income report, blog stats, and successes/failures to help those aspiring bloggers out there grow their business as well. I’m excited about this – this is a topic I’ve wanted to dive into for awhile (but I’ve been to chicken to put it on my blog 😉 ). I think it’ll be a fun chance to reflect each month and help you guys! You can click here to sign up (or use the form at the bottom of this post).
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