Congratulations! You’ve just launched your new blog! So… now what?
If you’re a new blogger, you may be wondering what to do once you actually get the blog set up. Here are the next five steps you can take to set yourself on a path to success.
1. Decide on your niche. It’s your blog, and you can talk about anything you want! But if your first three posts are a brownie recipe, a review of a TV show, and a how-to on changing your own oil, it might be a little confusing to determine your target audience! Your niche can be as broad or narrow as you like, but there should be some sort of theme. Otherwise, how will readers know if they want to follow you or subscribe?
Now… if you’re writing your blog for your own personal satisfaction, or for your family, and you don’t care whether anyone else ever reads it, then the sky is the limit! But if you’re hoping to gain a following, or possibly even monetize your blog down the road, a niche will help you settle into your own corner of the blogging world.
2. Choose your social media platforms and set up accounts. Social media is big business, and if you’re a blogger looking for an audience, you want a piece of it! With so many platforms, how do you decide which ones, and how many accounts to use?
My personal opinion: Select two or three platforms to start out. One I would definitely recommend is Twitter. One of the biggest surprises when I started my website was how HUGE the writing and blogging community is on Twitter. I’ve found a lot of other bloggers to follow, and they have been so helpful in networking, sharing one another’s work, and offering support.
Aside from that, choose another account or two that best fits your niche. (That’s why choosing your niche was step one!) For example, if you’re blogging about local interests or activities, you might want to get on Facebook to follow and interact easily with other local organizations. If your blog will be heavy on photography, that would translate well to Instagram. An account on Goodreads is the perfect fit for a book blogger, while Pinterest is great for all types of bloggers, and another one I would highly recommend you explore. (Want the rundown on Pinterest for bloggers? I wrote about it here!)
There are options for everyone! You can always add more later, but if you can focus on just a couple of accounts at first, you can build a good base while not spreading your attention too thin… otherwise you could literally spend all your time on your social media accounts instead of actually blogging!
3. Write your first post! Already done? Write another one! The best way to build your blog is to get in the trenches and write. Most of us, immediately upon setting up a blog, will write some sort of welcome post. That’s a great start, but the more content you get up on the site, the more people can read on their very first visit. And you know what they say about first impressions! In your very first week, if you can get another post or two written and published, you’ll be ahead of the game!
Now, even though we were talking about finding a niche… it doesn’t mean all of your posts should be exactly the same! For example, I’m primarily a book blogger. But in addition to writing reviews, I post lists of books, share posts from others, and write about blogging and social media… like this post! So don’t be afraid to mix it up a little to keep things interesting!
4. Network with and support other bloggers. Blogging, above all else, is a social activity. When you take the time to connect with others who are in the trenches with you, it’s good for everyone. Bloggers who network learn from one another, promote one another’s work, and offer support on the days you want to throw in the towel. (You just started, and the blogging world is shiny and new, but those days will likely come at some point!)
Find other bloggers on the social media accounts you’ve set up. Share your new blog with your friends and family and see what other blogs they enjoy reading. Read, comment, and follow when you find a new blog you enjoy. All of these activities will help you build connections.
5. Build some margin and balance into your life. Blogging can be exhilarating and addictive. It can also be draining and exhausting, mainly because you’re the only one setting limits on yourself.
When you’re first starting, it’s easy to throw every moment of your free time at this new project, especially when you see so many bloggers posting like crazy. Do yourself a favor: don’t. Yes, you’re going to have to spend a substantial amount of time on your blog to achieve success, whatever success looks like for you. But make time for other things. Keep reading good books. Keep going out with friends and participating in social activities. And whatever you do, keep sleeping. Don’t stay up until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning trying to perfect a blog post. Too often. Not that I know anyone who’s done that…
Stay social and stay healthy. Balance is key!
As a semi-new blogger myself, I know all the ups and downs you’re going through. Take a deep breath. And welcome to the blogging world… you’re gonna love it here!!
Want a few more tips? Try this: New Blogger Insights: 3 Things I’ve Learned in My First 3 Months!
Readers, what do you think… what’s your best “next step” for a new blogger?