Alright. You’ve done all the prep work it takes to start a blog. You’ve come up with your website’s name, you’ve registered for a domain, and you’ve signed up for all the relevant social media accounts with your brand. So… now what to do after you start a blog? (Besides start writing blog posts.) There are a couple more things that you HAVE to do in the early stages of your new career as blogger that will set you up on the right track for long term success.
#1. Find Your Niche
The subject of having a very specific niche is kind of controversial in the blogging world. To me, it’s all about the intent of your blog. If you created a blog just to practice writing, communicate to your friends, and to have a creative outlet, then a niche-less, diary style blog is 100% a-ok. However, if your plan is to monetize your site in the hopes of living off of your blog (a dream!), then it is important to have a couple solid topics that you stick to.
Why are blog niches important? Well, for one, it makes it easier for you to market it. If you have success in writing posts about gardening, and you see pins go viral and links being shared for your gardening content, you’re suddenly now considered an authority on the subject. That means, the more articles you write about gardening, the easier it is for your posts to be shared and read. It’s all a waterfall effect – the more readers catch onto your wonderful gardening blogs, the more often they’ll sign up for updates, share with their friends, pin to their boards, and link you on their blogs.
Do you need just one niche? I say no. “Lifestyle blogging” is a wonderful term because it can entail so much. However, you have to have to have to make sure that everything you write still makes for one cohesive brand. If 90% of your blog is about cooking and DIY with a couple health and self-improvement posts thrown in there, it would seem off-brand if all of a sudden you had a post advertising the best deals on auto loans.
Find your niche naturally. When I first started blogging years and years ago, not even on kaijumaddy, I wrote about EVERYTHING. I wrote about my outfit of the day, I wrote about a book I just read, I wrote about what I did during the weekend, etc. etc. It was kind of a mish-mash, but after a while, it helped me whittle down to what I really wanted to write about. I don’t regret how off the wall it was, because 1. it gave me practice, 2. I was able to see what posts my readers responded to traffic-wise, and 3. I learned what I actually WANTED to write about. What topics do you keep coming back to? Let that guide you. Your passion on the subject will shine through and readers will 100% notice.
#2. Download the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress
Yay, Yoast! SEO is kind of overwhelming for beginners. Well, very overwhelming. The hardest part of SEO to me is that it’s so secretive. Google doesn’t WANT you to know what algorithms they use to decide ranking, but through some educated guesses and historical evidence, we can kind of figure out what they want. Part of this free tool is to help you have the right keywords set in the right places, both in your post and behind the scenes. The other part is like a mini-coach/check-list; it tells you when you need to add alt text to images or to shorten your URL, etc.
Yoast SEO Plugin allows you to edit your meta description and SEO title (the information that shows up on Search Engine Result Pages, or SERPs). It also just gets you into great habits of knowing little SEO tweaks that will make a huge difference with your traffic after you start a blog. And it’s free.
Here’s an example of the meta description and title editor for this post using the Yoast SEO plugin.
#3. Start to Research Social Media Marketing
Obviously, at this point, we all use social media in our personal lives. But, each platform can be harnessed for marketing purposes in ways that you might not realize yet! I think there is no time better than right after you start a blog to start educating yourself on social media marketing. The big three (in my opinion) for new bloggers are Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
Pinterest Marketing. Pinterest is the secret traffic-earning platform. If there is ONE social site to focus on, Pinterest is it. There are so many articles out there explaining the basics of Pinterest Marketing, but one investment that I did make when I started kaijumaddy was Pinteresting Strategies — a $32 eBook detailing how this blogger used a manual pinning technique to start getting over 200K views a month from Pinterest AND to help her earn over $5000 a month. I know it’s hard to want to drop money into your blog before you start earning, but I think this course was well worth it.
Facebook Marketing. I love Facebook groups. I know that it’s maybe not the best long-term solution for maintaining traffic, but it is nice to get your posts in front of your key audience. Do a search in Facebook and single it down to the Groups section and you’ll see relevant pages to your niche. Join the group, make sure you are following their rules, and share!
Instagram Marketing. Instagram can be a great tool if you own an online shop or if you want to work as an influencer. I also think Instagram is a great way to network with other blog owners after you start a blog. Searching through hashtags, commenting and liking, adding accounts of bloggers you like – it can all add up in the long run.
#4. Create an Organization System that Works for You
Blogging can be a lot to keep track of. The further in you get after you start a blog, the more there is for you to remember. What Pinterest group board have you applied for, which Facebook groups have you posted your most recent blog to, if you have a guest post article you’re supposed to be writing, etc. You gotta stay organized.
Excel. Classic and simple, but for a reason. I use Excel to manage my budget (income and expenses), track my social media following numbers, as well as keep lists of what sites I’ve pitched, including Pinterest group boards.
Planners and notebooks. I LOVE planners. I love writing things down and I love buying pens and stickers. I use a regular Five Star notebook to log all of my group boards and when I pinned to each of them (and which pin), and I have my Kikki K planner, where I log all my goals and milestones and reminders. (Although, this Filofax agenda is miiiighty tempting to use as my “blog planner.”)
#5. Network with Other Bloggers
Everyone needs some friends in the industry! After you start a blog, start looking around on social or blogs you like to find some groups to join. I’ve joined a couple Facebook groups that I’ve learned so much from already, as well as gotten good advice on pins or posts, a bit of traffic, and even guest post opportunities. When you have friends with blogs, you have the chance to help each other, as well as to promote the other.
#6. Keep Posting!
A no-brainer, but some people need reminding! Just starting a blog and having a good amount of articles isn’t going to cut it — you need to consistently post to maintain (and increase) traffic levels, keep your site relevant to Google, and, really, just to stay in the habit of it. If you’re like me, you’re blogging in addition to a full-time job – it’s gonna take work to keep blog ownership in your day to day life, but once you commit to it and have a regular schedule and expectations for yourself, it’ll be easy. Research says that a habit takes 21 days to form.
When I restarted kaijumaddy, I committed writing a post a day for thirty days for my 30 Day Yoga Challenge. Part of that was because I wanted to reintroduce the habit of yoga to my daily routine, but also to start blogging again. Yesterday was day twenty, and I’m still here writing, so something must be working!
Related: How To Think of New Blog Post Ideas
What To Do After You Start A Blog
So to recap. The 6 things you should do after you start a blog:
- Find Your Niche (Naturally)
- Download the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress
- Start Researching Social Media Marketing
- Create a System to Stay Organized
- Network with Other Bloggers
- Keep Writing!
Let me know in the comments below if you have any other advice for new bloggers! Next time, I’ll explain the things you should do after you’ve been blogging for a little while, including more in-depth SEO tips, more detailed social media strategies, and more.
(Note: this post contains affiliate links.)