When I started my blog 15 months ago, I had no idea how to make it a successful blog. I didn’t know what steps I needed to take to make it prosper and grow and leave an impact. Phrases like, “Search Engine Optimization” and “Email List” meant nothing to me. I thought that “Social Media Marketing” and “Branding” were things only big companies needed. Turns out, you need all those things to make a successful blog.
This post will help you know how to begin a blog with the right tools to make it successful. Or, it will help you can learn what you need to add to your existing blog to help it continue to grow and leave a legacy.
What is Success?
First, I want to define the word success because it can have a lot of different meanings.
To me, the word ‘success’ means leaving a legacy. It means impacting the world for good and teaching other people how to make their dreams a reality. It’s growing a community of like-minded people who want to live life on their terms. And, it’s about helping the world – both the people and the planet we live on – to be a better place then it was when I was born.
Alright, that’s enough about that. Let’s learn how to make a successful blog together!
1. Understand That Your Blog is a Business
Understanding this fact is essential for building a successful blog. No matter if you want to make money from your blog or not, treating your blog as a business will make it successful. When you treat it like the business that it is, you will make wiser decisions about how you cultivate your brand, content, and community.
2. Your Mission Statement is The Foundation of Your Successful Blog
To build a successful blog, a compelling mission statement is imperative.
I’m stressing the importance of a mission statement so much because I didn’t have one when I started my blog. And that is one of the very few things that I regret about starting my blog. This led me to spend months brainstorming the foundational mission for my blog. Because of that, it’s taken me even longer to even begin to build an inspired community around my blog.
Start by Brainstorming 1-3 Words That Describe What the Core of Your Brand Is
Your mission statement is a condensed description of your blog. It tells everyone who lands on your blog who you are and what you stand for. I’ve learned that the best place to start is by brainstorming 1-3 words that describe the brand that you want to develop.
I started with the word ‘Inspire’ in May of 2017. Over the next 9 months, I developed my full mission statement. Today, I’m proud to tell you that Daring to Inspire exists, “To inspire and equip today’s dreamers to be tomorrow’s leaders.”
Once you have a foundational mission for your blog, you can cater all of your content to fulfill that mission.
3. A Meaningful Blog Name
The name of your blog is what everyone will remember your blog by. It needs to be memorable and intriguing.
It’s okay to come up with your blog name before you come up with your mission statement. The meaning behind a blog name doesn’t need to come from the definitions of the words themselves. You can add the meaning that you want to these words.
Take your time coming up with the perfect blog name.
Choose a name that means a lot to you and goes along with your mission statement. You could use your own name for your blog and give it a wonderful, touching, meaning. Your blog name can integrate the 1-3 words that summarize your mission statement. The name of your blog can even be a word that you make up.
Words themselves don’t necessarily have much meaning. We humans add meaning to words by how we use them. Remember, this is your blog and your brand and you get to make it as unique as you want!
The most important part of all of this is to have fun. Take your time with this step. Figure out what things mean a lot to you and what you want to do with the brand, and develop your name from there.
There are so many parts of branding that I cannot get into all of them in this blog post. (Keep your eyes open for a future blog post that goes into more detail about your blog’s branding.) Branding is a mixture of your blog’s mission, goals, ideal audience, colors, fonts, topics… To be honest, everything about your blog is part of its brand.
We already covered your mission statement and the name of your blog, in a moment we’ll cover your ideal audience, colors, and fonts. But for now, let’s get down to business to defeat the… Wait, this is not a time to sing Disney songs. (Extra credit to you if you know what movie that song is from.)
Branding is Essential to Building a Community
Once you have a clear, cohesive brand around your blog, it’s easy for people to become passionate about what you’re doing. And, passionate people can change the world. Humans are very caring beings. If you can capture their emotions and make them believe in what you’re doing, they will support everything you do.
Branding is my favorite part of blogging
I am a total nerd who obsesses over marketing and understanding what attracts people. This means that brainstorming where I want to take my website in the future. The businesses I want to build from it, and so much more has been my passion for months. (I’ve probably gone into too much detail about what I want to do in the next 5 years. But hey, if you don’t reach high, you’ll never find out how far you can go.)
Rebranding is Always an Option
When I started blogging, ‘Rebranding’ made even less sense to me then the word ‘branding.’ Now, I’ve learned how important this concept is.
If you’ve already started your blog but you’re realizing that your vision for it is changing, rebranding is like the icing on the cake for your already amazing blog. I would love to go in depth on rebranding here but that would turn this into a 4,000-word post. So, I will be coming out with a blog post very soon all about my blog rebrand and in it, I will share how you can rebrand your blog!
Don’t be afraid of change. Your audience will understand what you’re doing. And, a clear brand for your blog will attract an even bigger, dedicated community to your blog.
5. Ideal Audience
Narrowing down your ideal audience is a very enjoyable activity. (At least it was for me.) Thinking about what kind of person would want to read this blog, kept me captivated for hours.
You can go as in-depth on this part as you want. The key parts of defining your ideal audience are brainstorming their trials, triumphs, and struggles. Brainstorming an idea of their dreams for the future is helpful too. These elements tell you exactly what kind of problems your content needs to help your audience solve.
What makes a business successful is how well their product or service solves a particular problem. Your blog needs to solve a serious problem for your readers. Catering the content of your blog to solve problems will explode your engagement. This, in turn, will grow the community around your blog.
6. Colors and Fonts Make Your Blog Recognizable
Now we’re getting into the fun part of building a brand. Deciding what colors and fonts you want to use all over your products and services.
The colors and fonts that make up your brand give it a cohesive brand presence.
When you use the same colors and fonts everywhere, your brand becomes recognizable. Whether you’re posting a quote on an Instagram story or designing an E-book, your brand will shine through. Spend a few hours contemplating what you want your audience to feel when they come on your site. Then, you can find colors and fonts that exude the same feelings. Let’s say you want your readers to feel very passionate when they come on your blog, using shades of red will spark those emotions in your audience.
I personally use the colors: White, Black, and Light Blue for Daring to Inspire’s Brand.
Black is a color that brings to mind elegance, formality, and mystery. White is associated with innocence, purity, goodness, and is the color of perfection. Blue is associated with depth and stability, it brings to mind feelings of wisdom, trust, and truth.
The science of how colors affect our emotions is absolutely fascinating and I would highly recommend researching it as you plan out your brand’s colors.
7. Understanding and Using Search Engine Optimization Will Explode Your Traffic
Search Engine Optimization is the most foundational thing that you need for a successful blog. I could (and will) spend hours divulging the correct ways to research quality keywords and how to use them in your blog. But today, we’re going to do a brief overview.
At its core, Search Engine Optimization is the process of using specific keywords to make your website pages rank in search engines. It is a very complex process to understand but once you get the basics of it, it’s pretty easy to have good SEO. (Especially, if you use a plug-in to make it a million times easier.)
Search engine optimization is something that I have studied for months and yet it still fascinates me. I’m going to do several blog posts about SEO very soon because I’ve learned that it lays the groundwork for the success of a blog.
8. Build Your Blog With WordPress
I can not say enough good things about WordPress.
(I’m in no way affiliated with WordPress, although I’d love to be. I just appreciate this company so freaking much.)
If you’re not ready to learn what self-hosting is or spend money on it, please, please, please, at least set up your blog on wordpress.com. Doing that will save you so many headaches in the future if you decide to go the self-hosted route.
WordPress one of the easiest platforms to build a website on. I had NO experience with code or building websites when I started my blog. In the months since starting, I’ve learned tons on my own through articles, YouTube videos, and good ol’ trial and error.
Thankfully, WordPress doesn’t have too much of a learning curve when you’re first starting out. You can use the platform to code your own site, but I’d recommend going with one of their free themes in the beginning. There’s hundreds of thousands of them and you can customize them effortlessly. (And, you don’t need a degree in code to do any of that. In fact, you don’t have to touch any code at all.)
Building my original site on wordpress.com was one of the best decisions I made with that site. When I switched to self-hosting with SiteGround, someone from SiteGround was able to transfer everything from my original site in a few hours. I didn’t have to touch any of the back-end stuff. All I had to do was go in and customize the site when they were done.
Related Post: Why You Need To Start a Blog Today!
9. Social Media is the Best Way to Advertise Your Blog
Social media is literally FREE ADVERTISING for your blog. You don’t need thousands of dollars and a marketing team to generate engagement on your blog. All it takes is decent photography, minimal writing skills, sprinkle in some people skills, and some good ol’ patience. And in no time, your blog will grow and become successful.
There’s no way I could explain everything about each social media platform here. (I would literally have a 10,000-word post and I don’t think you want to read that right now.) But have no fear, I will be covering every social media platform I use in the coming months as we continue on this path through my “How to Start a Blog Series.”
10. Email List
When I started my blog, I had no idea what an email list was or how to make one. I thought that they were something that only ‘big blogs’ with lots of followers had. Turns out, no matter what size your blog is, you need an email list.
Filling up an email list with loyal subscribers is your most valuable tool to make your blog successful. Your email list is like a VIP group of people who want to get to know you and your mission better. Through the list, you can give them perks like sneak peaks of future blog posts. They can be the first ones to know when changes are coming to the blog. You can send them secret discount codes to encourage them to buy your goods and services. An email list can be cultivated around courses that you offer. You can share freebies with your email list that help your VIPs grow in what they’re doing.
Now, this step might seem a bit odd. I bet you’re asking yourself “Why is Self-Care important to growing a successful blog?” As it’s been said dozens of times, “You can’t pour from an empty glass.” If you don’t take care of yourself – physically and mentally, you won’t be able to help your readers.
Remember, self-care is not selfish. It’s important to regularly take time to unplug from social media and work. You should spend the “off time” on yourself and with close friends and family.
Self-care is arguably the most important step to building a successful blog. If you give all of yourself to your readers, you will eventually run out of things to give and everyone will suffer.
Those are what I consider the 11 most important steps to building a successful blog.
All of these steps take a lot of time to put into action. But, I can personally attest that every single one of them is foundational to building a successful blog that will leave an impact on the world. Don’t be afraid to put in the work needed to make your dreams a reality. I know that you can do it if you work hard enough.
Which of these steps have you already implemented to help your blog become more successful? What step are you going to put in place right now? Remember, reading and understanding something is one thing, but practicing what you’re learning is vital to growing in that skill.
If you liked this post, be sure to share it on Facebook and Twitter. And tag someone who you think could benefit from these tips! Also, you should totally pin it to Pinterest, that way, even more people can learn how to make a successful blog!
Remember, community is so much greater than competition.
Soli Deo Gloria,