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How To Start A Blog: Planning & Research

How To Start A Blog: Planning & Research

I am launching a NEW series: Starting Your Own Blog! I am going to be sharing quite a few tips and secrets that I have learned along the way in my 8-year blogging journey. Also what I wish I had known before starting a blog. My Instagram family requested this series and sent in a ton of great questions to help kick this NEW series off!

 

Blogging is all about providing a unique voice and VALUE! I think this often gets lost in the influencer world.  When I started blogging over 8 years ago. Instagram was not even a platform. Being an "influencer" was not a career. You certainly did not get paid for it. A lot has changed!

 If you are interested in blogging and potential turning it into a career this NEW series is for you!

 

 


Why Start A Blog?

I started blogging in 2011 after long hours at my corporate media job. I had been following a ton of fashion blogs and realize I needed my own creative outlet. Blogging was very new to me! A lot of what drew me to blogging was the likeminded driven community of women I found in the space. I also loved the digital and technical elements that went along with the creative & fashion side of blogging.

 

How you approach blogging and your blog mentality is very important as you have no one but yourself to keep you on track. When you first start no one is cheering you on or paying you to create content. Blogging requires a certain amount of passion and discipline. Publishing consistent relevant content that inspires and adds value is key to building a community.

Blog Tip: You have to be self-motivated, have good time management skills, and continually evolving with the technology across social media and in tech. 

 

First, ask yourself a few questions:

Why do you want to blog? 

What do you want to blog about?

How is your blog and content adding value??

Who is your audience??

 

  1. Understand Your Niche & Audience

Who is going to be reading your blog? If you are really hoping to build your blog into a career you need to think beyond family and friends. It's important to understand your readers’ goals and values, their pain points, to better provide them with content that really resonates and addresses their issues.

 

The better you know your audience demographic - the more focused you can be with your content strategy and scaling your blog to a profitable business.

Audience Demographics - age, gender, or geographic location of your targeting audience or readership 

Example: Women 25-34 in Seattle, New York, and San Francisco

 

Determine The Content You Want To Create

 

2. Content Outline & Editorial Calendar

Whether you want to run a blog about fashion, cooking or fitness it is important to determine the type of content you want to create for your blog and develop a content plan. This involves building a content outline around core topics you would cover.

 

EXAMPLE:

FITNESS BLOG TOPIC IDEAS                                        FASHION BLOG TOPIC IDEAS                            

  1. Fitness apps you use on your phone                                  1. What To Wear for 4th of July
  2. Your favorite fitness website                                               2. 15 Summer Dresses Under $50
  3. My Favorite Ab Workouts                                                    3. My Favorite Summer Accessories
  4. 10 No-Equipment Workouts                                                4.  10 Stylish Outfits for Work

A content outline and editorial calendar will help you be more timely and relevant with topics that your audience is looking for. The content and keywords you use for your blog are very important for SEO and to drive traffic.

 

Search Engine Optimization - (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine (Google) will show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword or content topic

 

Blog Tip: It's ok if you are not entirely sure what you want to blog about as long as you have a topic focus. When I started blogging I wanted to share my personal style and document my work wear. My blog has evolved into travel, career advice and NOW a blogging series for the modern women.

♦I love to use HubSpot as a resource to find key Social Media and National Holiday Day to create relevant content around!

 

Establish Blog Posting Schedule

 

3. Publishing Schedule

I publish content across WhitWanders.com every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This schedule allows me to be consistent in creating new content and my reader knows that they can expect NEW content multiple times a week.

 

A single blog post can take me anywhere from 4-12 hours to complete depending on everything involved (shoot concept, shopping & styling, photography session, editing & affiliate linking, copywriting, social content and promotion, etc)  - typically longer for Brand Partnership and Sponsored content.

 

Find a publishing schedule that works for you! And this may even help identify the type of content you can produce more consistently. I typically schedule 1-2 photo shoots with my photographer to ensure I have enough content for the month and relevant to the current season or any holidays.

Blog Tips: Publish content 3-4 weeks before a major Holiday to have better pick up for SEO and allow your readers time to convert to a sale or purchase through your content

Determine Your Value Proposition

 

4. Tagline & Selecting A Blog Name

Define yourself to your audience so they better understand what they can expect from you and your blog! An About Me page & tag line can really help with this. This tag line would work well in your Instagram profile or blog description.

Tag Line - Develop your brand mission statement. This should summarize your blog and what you offer in 1-2 sentences! This is mine:

 

"Hi! my name is Whitney, My blog, Whit Wanders aims to empower & inspire the modern woman in all areas of their life. I share fashion, travel destination and career advice Monday, Wednesday and Friday."

 

Blog Name - It is very important to research your blog name. Make sure it's not taken already. I also recommend choosing a blog name that is also available across social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. You want consistency across all platforms for branding and so you are easy to find. Pick a name that allows you to grow and evolve. Are you trying to establish yourself as a brand? Your name might be the best way to brand yourself online.

Tip: Use Google, GoDaddy.com, and Instagram to search for blog names and social handles to see if they are available

 

I chose Whit Wanders because it's an ode to my childhood as well as the current journey I am in. It has the first part of my name, Whit, to allow for better branding. It also allows me to share from all different parts of my life from fashion to travel to my corporate work experience along with my focus on women's rights & activism.

 

5. Backfill Content & Blog Topics

Make sure you have content already on the blog once you finally go live. If a reader comes to your blog - and there is only 1 post to read - that is not giving them much to connect with. I recommend launching with 10-15 blog post with 5 more ready to be published to start building frequency.


DOWNLOAD MY BLOG CONTENT BRAINSTORM SHEET




Next week I will show you how to purchase your domain, set up hosting for your domain and establish your WordPress Site & Theme. Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you don't miss the next post!

 

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