I know many of my friends wonder if I’m just a serial blog starter – they just see me start one, get frustrated and move on. I can see from the outside that that’s how it might look.
But to me…it’s all part of the process. Very few people get lucky enough to choose the right platform, topic, audience, monetization, promotion and content strategies right out of the gate.
For me…it’s taken trial and error to find what works and what feels right…and yes, now I’m starting another blog…but let me explain before you start rolling your eyes!
My Blogging Story
When I was about 12 weeks pregnant with my first child (I was NOT a happy pregnant person), I had a few people tell me “you’re so funny, you gotta start a blog.” All my family was out of town, so I thought it might be a good way to keep them up-to-date.
So I jumped on Blogger and came up with some crazy name that included .blogspot.com in it and posted to it weekly…or monthly…or whenever I wasn’t too nauseous to write.
Then in 2011 I started a home based business. My mentor preached the benefits of having a blog to support your customers, which totally made sense, so I started a second, more professional blog on WordPress, Play 2 Learn with Sarah.
Once again my posting schedule was far from consistent. Then my business fizzled after about 9 months (although I did win a 6 day 5 night trip to Disney for my family first) and I thought, “Well maybe I should just try to do the blogging thing as a business.”
So in December 2012, I decided to start posting daily…to help me establish the routine. That lasted for 3 months. I built up a good content base for my site and learned what I did and didn’t like about blogging….and what a good posting schedule was for me.
Then in March 2013 I decided it would be fun to share what I was learning, while I was learning it, with other new bloggers to help them through my experience. I asked my two blogger friends, Carrie and Elizabeth and The Blogging Bunch was born.
Why I’m Starting a New Blog from Scratch
I continued to blog through 2013 and 2014, but kind of struggled because I wasn’t feeling I was being authentic to my personality with a mommy blog where I was trying to please everyone and do crafts for kids and be the all around good mom…that I didn’t feel I was really being (all my kids are in school now too).
It seemed to put a lot of pressure on me. I worked and worked to make it fit, but have slowly come to the conclusion that I like to swear and drink wine and laugh about inappropriate stuff…and my mommy blog ISN’T the place for that.
Deep down I feel that my life circumstances have changed (plus I’m just plain old now) and I need to reflect that in my writing….so yes, I started a new blog.
But this time I have YEARS of blogging behind me to help make the right choices (hopefully) and make this next blog much more successful.
I thought it would be fun to chronicle what, exactly, I’m doing while starting a blog from scratch in hopes that just maybe it will help you find your way to your perfect blog much faster.
The First 10 Steps
1. Decide on a content, target audience, marketing and monetization strategy. The first step is NOT to buy to a domain. The first step is to decide what your main topics will be; who your target audience will be; how you will promote your site (FB, Pinterest, guest blogging, etc…); and what your monetization plan will be (ads, affiliate sales, sponsored posts, your own products).
2. Purchase a domain. Be sure and read these 8 tips before you buy. I purchase all of my domain names from Namecheap. Then I wnet into my Hostgator account and added the domain (I have the Baby Plan so I can have unlimited domains.). Then I went back to Namecheap and redirected the nameservers so they pointed at Hostgator. Then back into my control panel and installed WordPress.
4. Create a Gmail account. Next I created a Gmail email for the blog using the blog name.
5. Create a list in MailChimp. Then I went to my MailChimp account and created a list for this blog.
6. Create an Optin Gift. Next I created an AWESOME optin gift that gained me 13 subscribers in the first 24 hours! If you’d like to see it, go here.
7. Create a Coming Soon Page. I used my Leadpages account to create a coming soon page and connected it to my Mailchimp account. I loaded my optin gift to help encourage people to sign up BEFORE I HAVE ANY CONTENT AT ALL. Did you catch that? I’m driving traffic to a page that has just a place to collect emails.
9. Create secret boards on Pinterest. I’ve created some secret boards on Pinterest to start building ideas of style, design and topics that I want for my site. These are secret because a) I don’t want to flood my followers while I collect massive amounts of ideas and b) I want to keep it all a surprise. I will publish the boards once I publish the site (which by the way is set for March 23, 2015).
10. Hook up Google Analytics. You want to know how many people are coming to your site from the start!
I hope this helps you see my process for starting a blog from scratch. I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts and watched webinars with gurus and read books and posts…and this is what feels right for me right now.
There’s really no one right way to start a blog, but I’m hoping that by taking it slow and building momentum first, I’m setting myself up for success.