I spent hours of my time researching about blogs before I started this one. And I’m going to be honest, it’s not always super easy. Sure, there are parts that are simple, but then there are complex stages too. So, to help give you a little balance on your journey of starting a blog, I’ve compiled a list of things you need to do before you launch your blog. That way you can feel confident in knowing that it’ll be a success.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you choose to use one of my links to make a purchase, and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. BUT, I really want you to know that I only mention products/services that I personally use and find beneficial or love! If you do decide to use one of my links, I couldn’t be more grateful since it helps me keep this blog up and running! <3
Here are 13 things you need to do before starting a blog:
Pick a niche
You’ll find this on every list out there about starting a blog. That’s because it’s so important when starting a blog. Your niche is what you’re going to be writing about. When deciding, ask yourself what you’re passionate about, what your hobbies are, what you like to talk about, etc. For me, I knew I wanted to write about topics that were part of my experience.
Helpful Tip: Remember that when choosing your niche you need to be helping your audience in some way by answering a question or solving a problem.
How do you want your blog to look? Do you want to use a certain color palette or a specific font? Do you want a logo from the start? And what message do these send out? These are common questions you should be asking yourself before starting your blog. You don’t want to have to change any of this after you launch. Figuring out your blog’s purpose and your why will help you figure this part out because it should relate.
Your why is the message you’re putting out there for your audience. It is the solution you’re offering to a problem. For example, say you’re a mom who loves DIY crafts. What problem can you be solving? Perhaps you’re trying to solve the dilemma of keeping your child content as a stay at home mom with DIY crafts and activities.
Generally, you’ll need all of this ready to go once you start designing and creating your blog later on.
Start with the right mindset
I learned that mindset is everything when it comes to starting a blog. You need to be in the right frame of mind while understanding the importance of consistency and the amount of time and effort you’re going to have to put in if you want it to be successful. So ask yourself questions like, Do I have the time to commit to a blog? Am I going to stay on top of things? What am I going to do to stay motivated and prevent burn out?
If you’re truly inspired to get the ball rolling, then that’s awesome. You’re on the right track with your frame of mind. Remember, stay positive as you embark on your blog journey, because there may be moments your patience is tested, but that doesn’t mean you won’t come across times of pure excitement and happiness.
Write blog posts
When I was researching starting a blog, there was one thing I definitely wanted to be done before launch: Having a number of posts ready to go on launch day.
Why is this important? It gives your audience content to read so they can stay engaged while they’re waiting for more updates. It allows them to learn about your why and if your blog is something they want to follow daily. It’s hard figuring this out from only 1 or 2 posts.
How many posts should I have ready for launch day? The answer to this varies. I saw ranges starting as low as 5 posts and going up to 25. I think it really depends on what your niche is and how many topics you plan to write about.
I wanted to start with 10. However, I think I started at 8, but that was better than 2. A good rule of thumb (in my opinion) is to start off with at least 3 posts in each topic.
For example, when I was in the midst of starting my blog I decided to start with 5 topics, knowing that I may want to add to it later. But, 5 times 3 is 15. Essentially, it would have been good for me to launch with 15 posts. Having 3 posts completed and posted on launch day per topic gives readers content they can dip their toes in to learn about the direction of the blog and if it’s something that’ll keep their interest.
Have patience and plan
You need to be patient from the start. You’ll see post after post on how to start a blog in 10 minutes or less (or something of the sort). If you already have experience with starting a blog then go for it. But if you don’t, I recommend having patience and planning. (Basically what this entire post is about.)
This will prevent you from getting overwhelmed and wanting to give up before starting (or just after).
Here’s my advice: Do a little research on what goes into starting your blog. Get a general idea of what you’ll need to do to get it up and running. This is also a good time to ask yourself if you want to invest any money in it. Then, pick a launch date. After that’s all done, create a list of things you need to get done beforehand.
I recommend giving yourself at least 2-3 weeks, maybe a little more time depending on what your responsibilities include like… Do you work full time? Are you a stay at home mom? What commitments take up your time?
This is where your patience comes in. I wanted to start right away because I was so excited to start and share my thoughts with all of you. But I knew how important it was that things were done right. So, I had to control myself to take my time with it. Looking back, I’m glad I waited and planned things out because I would have been in over my head had I decided to go live with my site right from the start.
Decide if you want to monetize
This is the question of the hour. Do you want to monetize your blog? If so, then there is one must that you have to do. You need to be self-hosted. This means you have to own your own domain and website. If you’re using a free blog website then you’re not self-hosted.
If you’re with WordPress, then you need to have a paid plan with wordpress.org not wordpress.com. Blogger and wordpress.com are the most popular free blogging platforms out there. Just remember, they’re not self-hosted, meaning you cannot make money from a blog on their sites.
I pay for my hosting through Siteground. When I was researching hosting, I found many great reviews about Siteground. Make sure you research and compare different hosts to match your needs.
Keep in mind that hosting means you’ll be needing to spend money. So, while researching, this may be a deal breaker for you. Are you ready to invest your money into starting a blog? A lot of hosts require you to pay annually (yearly), but the benefit is that it’s discounted, so keep that in mind.
Why did I choose Siteground?
I didn’t want to be spending an arm and a leg on hosting, especially since I wasn’t making any money with my blog at that point. By choosing their lowest plan (3.95/month), I was able to keep my costs down.
When starting a blog, I recommend that this be something that is always important to you. Why? Because if you ever have any issues or need help, you want smooth sailing. Before I signed up with Siteground, I contacted customer service with questions. They easily answered them all and in terms that I understood clearly.
While doing my research, I came across quite a few bloggers mentioning their blogs having slow speed and websites crashing with other hosting providers. I definitely didn’t want this and every review I read about Siteground told me that this wouldn’t happen. This helped relieve some of the worries I had with choosing and now I couldn’t be any happier with the provider I selected.
Have your newsletter ready to go
Not only is this a must have for starting your blog, but it’s super important for monetizing as well. Having subscribers means money, but first you need to pick what emailing service you want to go with.
This is something I highly recommend having done before your blog launches. You’ll thank yourself later when visitors are turning into subscribers. Think of it this way: If you don’t have social media to connect with your audience, how would you do that? The answer is through your newsletter!
I chose Mailerlite because they’re free up to 1000 subscribers and have amazing customer service. Their online chat customer service is one of the best I have ever come across. And their customer service is 24/7. They have a great list of free features like automation, landing pages, drop and drag editor, and so much more. If you don’t want to spend money starting out then Mailerlite is a great option.
Helpful Tip: Some email providers may require that your blog be up and running before you’re approved. At least this was my experience with Mailerlite. A ‘coming soon’ page does not suffice. They need to see real content up and running. I recommend publishing your site a few days prior to your launch date so you can work out any errors as well as making sure your newsletter is set up properly and working.
Know blogging laws
When starting a blog, I think this is something lots of people skip over. But, it’s really important that you don’t. It’s vital for all bloggers, especially those who want to monetize.
I found this great post from a blog called Jade & Oak. It’s run by a blogger, Jackie, who is an attorney too. She shares some great information and it’s worth checking out.
Helpful Tip: Using affiliates is only one of many ways to monetize your blog. Keep in mind that the affiliate programs you sign up for may have their own requirements as far as this topic goes.
It may be a good idea for you to contact a lawyer to learn more about these laws because I’m no professional. They may be able to ease your worry and send you in a direction that leaves you feeling more confident about starting a blog.
Design your blog
When I was starting my blog, this was one thing I was really excited to do. My creative side came out and wanted to play. Know that this part is time-consuming.
WordPress offers lots of free layouts. I learned that some of them are a little tricky for someone just starting out. Each layout has different features so you really have to ask yourself what it is you want to do and offer on your blog.
Get Google Analytics
Google Analytics helps you track and report website traffic. This is really important if you want to see your daily visitor count, what posts are the most popular, and so much more. I highly suggest creating your Google Analytics account and having it ready to go the moment you launch your blog.
It’ll save time later and provide you with information about your blog that you probably won’t be able to find elsewhere.
Create flawless pages
Okay, the overachiever in me is coming out now with this ‘flawless’ thing. It’s quite possible that with everything you need to get done that there may be a thing or two slacking that you’ll have to go back to. And sometimes that’s just how it works. I’m a mom, I get it. BUT, try to make sure that your pages are as flawless as you can get them.
What I mean is… Make sure you have a contact page, make sure there aren’t spelling or grammatical errors throughout your posts, be consistent to your niche and brand, etc.
When people come to my blog, I want them to be impressed. I want them to leave, knowing that they’ll be back for more content later. Creating flawless pages helps with this!
This is just a small list of things you should do before starting a blog. In reality, you’ll always be learning new things and needing to do more or update. That’s all part of the process, but as long as you don’t mind then it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
However, go into it prepared with a list of things to do before you launch. I promise that it’ll make everything so much easier. You won’t have to stress about getting your blog optimized for something specific after it’s already been launched. And you definitely won’t have to worry about content being up and ready.
You should be starting your blog with overflowing confidence. And while I know that it’s hard to balance it all at times, having a list and planning it out will keep your stress levels down and your balance a little less wobbly.