29 Best Tips BEFORE You Start Your Blog
Looking to start a blog but trying to avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls most newbie bloggers run into??? These best tips BEFORE you start your blog will help you stay on the right path!
This post is EXACTLY what you need. Lauren and I started two blogs at the beginning of our career trying to “make money online.”
The first one failed epically.
The second makes us over 10k per month in less than a year and is almost on complete autopilot.
The inspiration for this post came from the mistakes we made on our first blog and what we changed the second time around.
There are a lot of tough lessons and painful moments you can avoid by following these tips!
Best Tips BEFORE You Start Your Blog
1. Spend less time on your domain name.
Our popular health and fitness blog that makes us over 20k per month is called Avocadu.com.
That’s not even a word, does not mean anything, and is a mouthful (Ah-Vo-Ca-Do). We do not enjoy trying to explain it to people who ask us what our website is.
But despite all of that, it’s quite profitable and successful!
Here are some other companies with weird names that never have a chance of success 😉 :
Our point is that your name really does not matter as much as you may think in business or even on a small blog.
Don’t overthink this. Spending anymore than 2 hours selecting a good name is a waste of time and energy. `
If you’re really struggling with finding a name, just use your own! We have learned over time that your content will define you, not your name.
2. Spend more time on the VALUE you can bring to the world.
We spent almost a full week figuring out the name of our first blog and our “about us” page on our first blog, which ended up failing… It was a complete waste of time.
Fast forward a bit, and we spent less than 2 hours coming up with Avocadu.
Once we started to shift our focus away from ourselves and our flaws and focused more on other people and what they needed, we finally had clarity on what matters and what we could ignore.
Spend your time and efforts thinking about what value you can bring to others.
For us, we could bring engaging content and effective products in the weight loss and yoga space. That’s what we knew we could do, and that is the value we focused on.
3. Start before you’re ready.
You’ll never be 100% ready to do anything. When Lauren and I started our first blog, we had no clue where we were heading with it.
While the first one did end up failing, we learned so many valuable lessons for starting our second blog that we would do it all over again. The reason for our success kept us moving forward.
We kept creating.
We kept going.
And we did things before we were ready!
Life is a trial and error process and not a puzzle that can be solved in your head. Getting into the habit of starting things before you’re ready will serve you well in your professional and personal life!
4. Choose a reliable webhost.
We started with Siteground.com but had a few big issues as we started to get traffic. Specifically, whenever our traffic spiked from Pinterest at certain times, our website would crash. This was costing us money, hurting our customer experience, and was very frustrating.
These problems continued until we signed up with Bluehost. Now we have ZERO problems, even though our traffic is 10x higher than it was during the days with Siteground.
Bluehost also has a package to help you buy your first domain name and get hosting. It translates into far fewer headaches for you. Get started with Bluehost and take advantage of our reader discount of $2.95/month!
If you don’t have a host or a blog yet, you can also check out our post on how to start a profitable blog from scratch. It will walk you through the EXACT same steps we took to start ours which led to quitting our jobs!
5. Blog about the right topic.
By the “right” topic, we mean something you’re passionate about AND something that can be profitable. We love all things health and fitness, but choosing our niche gave us lots of headaches in the beginning:
Our first topic, recipes, was incredibly difficult to monetize. There’s just not a lot of money to be had, and it’s a ridiculously competitive space (especially on Pinterest).
Our second topics, weight loss, was MUCH easier to monetize. The reason for this is because people are seeking a solution to a problem.
With recipes, people are generally just searching for new ideas and not looking to buy anything. This is also why most recipe websites are forced to monetize with ads and cheap recipe books.
Choose a topic you are passionate about AND that has some serious revenue potential! 🙂
6. No coding needed, yo.
Use. Effin. WordPress.
You don’t want to learn code, because ain’t nobody got time to learn how to code a website.
Yes, there are other website builders out there, but our favorite is WordPress, because of the many theme options. Squarespace also seems to be a good platform, but doesn’t have the capabilities of WordPress yet.
Our favorite theme and the one this blog is running on is X theme, and it’s incredible. It’s VERY customizable, user-friendly, and they have the best support team we’ve ever seen.
7. The beginning is going to be difficult.
The process of making a blog look exactly how you want it too can be very frustrating. This is going to happen with ANY software you use and is just a growing pain from lack of experience.
We had the the same thing happen to us. We had to fiddle with WordPress for awhile to get things right, and nothing is ever perfectly like we want.
Welcome to owning a website.
As long as you start out expecting a little frustration and time needed to understand the platform, you will do fine. Having success online has a lot to do with setting the proper expectation, and this includes creating your website.
Once you have the website created, your focus should be on…
8. Create awesomeness consistently.
At the beginning of our blog’s success, I was writing new posts every day.
Then for whatever reason, we stopped. We started focusing on other things and forgot that in order for a blog to survive, there must be CONSISTENT CONTENT.
The crazy thing was that as soon as we started publishing more content, things got easy again.
Sales grew, visitors tripled, and everything was better.
Keep creating awesomeness consistently if you want to succeed.
If you need some inspiration or help on this topic, see our article on What to Blog About for some direction.
9. Find a partner for motivation.
The only reason Lauren and I succeeded so quickly was because we had each other. I tried many businesses on my own, and I have to tell you, there is no comparison.
Working with a partner or friend is infinitely more fun, rewarding, and easy to find success at.
The reason for this is three-fold:
- You have sometime to share highs and lows (there will be many of each).
- Someone to constantly motivate you (probably the most important reason).
- Someone to bounce ideas off of.
I resisted partnering for awhile, because splitting profits seemed crazy with such small margins; however, I have had 10x the success working with others.
If you don’t want to have a partner that shares income with you, then find a partner who also wants to start a separate blog and team up for motivation.
10. Know where you plan to get your traffic from.
Traffic can come from so many different sources, but you need to have a main outlet your target audience is using.
We mastered one social media platform. Instead of the typical blog fashion of mastering every form of traffic and social media platform out there, we chose one and stuck with it.
Knowing where you plan to get your traffic from will help you greatly as you can design your content to be optimized for that source.
11. Know that traffic is earned, not given.
Creating blog posts and just expecting traffic to show up is a pipe dream. Traffic has to be DRIVEN to your posts.
Especially if you want organic traffic, you need to understand that creating posts/topics that are searched for is the only real way to get people to your blog.
You can spend money on ads, but unless the post you’re sending the traffic to is VERY profitable, it’s not going to work. We focus every article in on topics people are seeking out in order to drive so much traffic to our website.
12. Starting a profitable blog is not about you.
Subtle mistake, my friends. Even if you want a blog that has your name in the domain and your face plastered everywhere, it’s not about you.
It’s about your readers.
Lauren and I wanted to drink mimosas, make delicious recipes, and make money.
Yes, those are actual photos that we took for our old blog… #mimosagame
The problem was… People didn’t want that (obviously).
Our readers wanted a source for weight loss information they know and can trust.
Understand that any business you create has very little to do with you and much more to do with the people you’re trying to sell to.
Useful Tips Before Writing Your First Blog Post
13. Avoid complexity at the beginning.
There are a million ways to complicate the look and feel of your blog:
- Expensive Plugins
- Fancy video graphics
Again, one of the mistakes we personally made was trying to make this really cool and complicated video graphic on our homepage.
We sort of got it to work, but…
- It didn’t work right on mobile.
- It slowed down our website.
- And worst of all, it burned through lots of our time just trying to set it up.
What we learned the second time around: Avoid all complexity until you have an audience.
Until people are consistently visiting your blog and engaging with your content, just start with the basics. This will be great for keeping you sane as well as helping you focus on what matters.
14. Make sure it looks good on mobile.
Lauren and I would sit down and create a beautiful image/post for our website, post it, and not really think about it again.
The problem: we never checked mobile.
It may seem obvious to do this since 60% + people will be visiting your blog via mobile (and that number will continue to grow), but after making an entire post, it’s kind of the last thing you’re thinking about.
When we looked back at some of our original posts, the mobile version was TERRIBLE (despite having a responsive design).
Make sure that you check your website regularly on your phone and get used to how visitors ACTUALLY see your website.
15. Get across your message in as little words as possible.
Now this is going to seem painful hypocritical coming from a post that is around 3,000 words long, but it’s true.
People hate fluff.
There’s just too damn much other content out there for you to be wasting people’s time with lots of filler. Instead, focus on:
- A short intro/summary
- Valuable and useful content
16. Find the content people actually want.
Before you start writing, make sure it’s content people actually want to see and hear about.
How do you do this?
Get familiar with search engines.
Simply type in your niche to google and start scanning through articles to get ideas.
Your content does not have to be 100% original. It can be a new spin off things people already love.
17. Headlines are everything.
Spend 80% working on your headlines and 20% of your time writing your content.
We do this, and it has served us very well. This is because without a good headline, NOBODY is going to see your blog post anyway.
Focus lots of energy on producing the best headlines possible for your posts.
18. Keep the sentences short.
You know what’s really daunting to read? Content like this. Unless you’re are a seriously amazing writer and know the ins and outs of keeping reader attention, paragraphs like these are a total pain in the ass to read. Ain’t nobody got time for your MLA formatted paragraph structure that only academics care about anyway. What’s worse is paragraphs like these are usually a way to drone on and on about a topic and stuff keywords. Stuffing keywords like “tips before starting your blog” or “starting a profitable blog” or “make money online” yada yada yada. See what I did there? Please for the love of god stop publishing posts that look like this. Your reader will be so thankful and more of your content will be consumed.
19. Use images purposefully.
This follows along the same principles discussed above. Think of images as a way to break up your content and not content in themselves.
It’s a way to give the reader a break and to look at something other than the words you’re writing.
You’ll notice that we don’t use images for every topic point either. We feel like this also becomes boring in its own right and gives your article the feeling that the images just get stuffed into the content.
Use images occasionally as a way to keep readers engaged, and use them when it makes sense.
Also be mindful of copyright laws. We have a Shutterstock plan for this reason.
Stock image plans are pretty pricey, but we find it 100% worth it to have thousands of beautiful images at our fingertips without the worry about copyright and infringement laws.
20. Add a signature to the bottom of posts.
This is just an opinion, but using a signature at the bottom of our posts seems is a friendly and professional way to end a blog post.
We always sign off with a “Cheers” to keep it light, and Lauren made the follow signature in Canva:
We have them on all of ours and it helps people remember the creators of the content. It makes us more relatable.
Final Tips Learned From the Growing Pains of Our Blogs
- Your first post is not going to be perfect. It’s hard to not be a perfectionist when it comes to your blog. If you accept that things don’t have to be perfect for your blog to succeed online, your road to success will be much quicker.
- Money will seem to magically fall from the sky when you focus on creating awesome content. If you have a good topic and blog and your focus on creating awesomeness for people, the money will come. We have always noticed a correlation from the content we are producing to the income we are making.
(Leo knows what we’re talking about).
- Save things as drafts before publishing. It seems obvious, but make sure to review everything in “draft” mode before sharing with the world. We messed this up a couple times and shared some content we didn’t intend to share.
- The most sharable content seems to be “How To” posts and “Listacles. When starting out, your first few posts should be “How To” articles like this: “How to Start a Blog” or lists like this: 16 Zero Calorie Foods for Weight Loss (one of our most popular articles on Avocadu). These articles are the most sharable content and have the best chance of getting viral traffic.
- Most blogs lack focus. Our blog used to have information about abs, recipes, workouts, nutrition, weight loss, yoga, and more. It wasn’t until we decided to focus on yoga and weight loss did we start making any actual money. Focus on 1 or 2 things, and be AWESOME at them.
- Big markets are big for a reason. Don’t be scared of competition. That’s usually just an indicator that people actually like the content and buy things. Weight loss is incredibly competitive, and the reason why is that there is LOTS of money in it.
- Writing is a labor of love. Not every day do I feel like writing. In fact, most days I do not. However, when I sit down and begin to type (even if it sucks), things almost always begin to flow. Learn to love the writing process, and it will love you back! 🙂
- Dream big. Don’t waste your time making small plans. Lauren and I quit our jobs and are making a full-time income (10k+ per month) in less than a year. You can too!
- If this is the 3rd blog post you’ve read on this topic, it’s time to stop reading and start creating. This one is for all of my over-thinkers out there. There are many of you who have now read a few posts about starting a blog but are still being held back for whatever reason. It’s time to start. It’s time for you to switch your mindset over from being a consumer to a creator.
Just do it!
Start your blog today and don’t put this off for another moment. The sooner you start, the sooner you will reach your goals.
- FREE 7-Day Blogging Course for Beginners
- Why No One is Reading Your Blog
- 8 Biggest Blogging Mistakes and How to Fix Them Fast
Thanks for being here with us! Now go out and create something awesome today!
Alex & Lauren
P.S. What are the biggest struggles you are having with your current blog or starting your first blog right now? Share them with us in the comments section below, and we will do our best to help!
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Alex & Lauren
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