Are you thinking of starting a personal development blog, but have no clue where or how to begin? No worries! This post is the blueprint you need.
It takes time to build your tribe and create a reputation as a personal development blogger. With that said, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed if you make a plan and stick to it.
So, what do you need to do?
Step 1: Narrow Down Your Niche
According to blogging expert David Risley, you absolutely must pin down your niche if you want to create a distinctive brand and make money. Starting a generic personal development blog isn’t going to win you a following.
Think “narrow” rather than “broad.” Don’t try to target everyone. For example, you will probably have more luck creating a blog explicitly geared towards career women in their thirties than women in general.
- Make a list of all the personal development topics that interest you.
- Narrow your focus down to a well-defined demographic.
- Check that the topic will hold your interest over the long haul because you’ll be writing about it for years to come.
Step 2: Brainstorm Your Content
Research by Blog Tyrant reveals that 59% of bloggers have abandoned at least one blog. Why? One reason is that they run out of things to say. Don’t let that happen to you. Write down a list of 50 post ideas. This will give you two posts per week for the first six months.
- Make a list of problems your readers want to solve.
- Write down ideas for articles that will help them solve these problems.
Step 3: Choose Your Hosting Solution
Having established the aim and scope of your blog, it’s time to think about the practicalities of setting it up.
Basically, you have two options. You can sign up for a platform that includes hosting, design tools, and a domain name. Wix and Squarespace are two such examples. Alternatively, you can sign up with a hosting provider such as Bluehost or Dreamhost, and then download a theme or site builder from another source. Research both options carefully, because they require different skill levels and have their own learning curves.
- Decide which of the two solutions above best fits your skill level and preferences.
- Sign up to the services you’ve chosen, and spend a couple of hours finding out how everything works.
Step 4: Pick Your Design
With so many sites competing for attention, great design has never been so important. Here’s a simple rule: Unless you happen to be a professional in the field, either use a readymade template or hire someone to do the job for you.
Check that your site is mobile optimized, because most of your viewers will be using their phones or tablets to read your blog. Another rule: Simple is usually best.
- Visit three other blogs in your niche. Take note of what you like and dislike about their designs.
- Choose a design that you find aesthetically pleasing and will allow your content to shine.
- Start researching freelancers or design companies if you aren’t confident in your ability to produce a good-looking blog.
Step 5: Start Publishing!
So you’ve got your site, you’ve got your content planned out, and you’re ready to go! It’s time to hit “Publish” and have a mini launch party. Sign up for accounts across the social media platforms most relevant to your sub-niche, and start networking with potential readers.
- Publish your first post. Google currently likes posts that are approximately 1,200 words in length.
- Start following your target audience on social media. Don’t just promote your own content. Engage with them. Join the conversation!
Step 6: Grow Your Following
Ramsey at Blog Tyrant notes that 69% of bloggers cite a lack of traffic or readership as their leading worry. It’s normal for your blog to be quiet in the early days, and most blogs don’t gain traction in the first few months.
The solution? “Keep publishing high-quality content, keep engaging with your audience on social media, and grow your presence by guest posting on other blogs”, advices Jodi Wright, Trust My Paper senior copy editor. “Teach yourself the basics of SEO to attract more organic traffic.”
- Make a posting schedule. Try to post twice per week for the first few months.
- Reach out to five other bloggers in your niche and ask whether they accept guest posts.
- Learn the principles of SEO, and use them.
Bonus Tip: Start A List!
Finally, set up an e-mail list from the very beginning. Give visitors the chance to sign up for regular updates from your blog. Entice them by offering them the chance to access exclusive content in your newsletter.
If and when you want to monetize your blog, a list of people who have already shown an interest in you and your message will go a long way in helping you make sales.
- Choose and implement a plugin or widget on your site that allows you to collect visitors’ email addresses.
- Check that your plugin is compliant with the data protection laws of your country.