29 Best Tips for Starting a Blog
Looking to start a blog but trying to avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls most newbie bloggers run into? These best tips for starting a blog will help you stay on the right path!
This post is EXACTLY what you need.
Lauren and I have started a few blogs at the beginning of our blogging career trying to “make money blogging.”
Our first blog failed epically. The second blog that we started now makes us over $20,000/month and is mostly on autopilot. So, it’s safe to say that we have learned a LOT on our blogging journey in the last two years.
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 for starting a blog!
Here is an overview of the different types of new blogging tips we will discuss in this article:
Useful Tips for Before Starting a Blog
Spend less time on your blog domain name.
Our popular health and wellness blog that makes us well over six figures is called Avocadu.com.
(Ah-Vo-Ca-Do) — It’s not even a word, does not mean anything, always autocorrects to “avocado,” and is a mouthful to say. We do not enjoy trying to explain it to people who ask us what our website is.
But despite all of that, our blog is very profitable! Here are some other companies with weird names have achieved great success:
Our point is this:
Your domain name really does not matter as much as you may think in business or even when it comes to a small blog. It is your CONTENT that will define you. Not your name.
Overthinking this is exactly what you should NOT do when starting a blog.
Spending any more than two hours selecting a good domain name is a waste of time and energy. If you’re really struggling with finding a name, just use your own! This is a route that many lifestyle bloggers go with great success.
Spend more time on the VALUE you can bring to the world.
We spent almost a full week figuring out the name and the “about us” page on our first blog, which ended up failing anyway… Add another few days spent trying to figure out the logo. It was a complete waste of time.
Fast forward a bit, and we spent less than two hours coming up with the name Avocadu. Sure, it’s not great. But we’ve already established that it doesn’t matter much anyway, right?
Spend that time and effort thinking about what value you can bring to others instead.
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.
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.
Start a blog 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. At times, we felt like fish flopping out of water and struggling to breathe.
While the first one did end up failing, we learned so many valuable lessons for starting our second blog that we were able to achieve success much faster.
We held tight to our goals of financial and time freedom, and we kept creating. We kept going because we believed (and hoped) that we would achieve these goals at some point.
Life is a trial and error process and not a puzzle that can be solved in your head. Sometimes you gotta think less and just DO.
Getting into the habit of starting things before you’re ready will serve you well in your professional and personal life!
Procrastination often leads to a somewhat similar end result but with a lot more pain along the way.
Choose a reliable blog hosting platform.
We started with Siteground 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.
Now we have virtually no problems, even though our traffic is MUCH 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.
You can get started with Bluehost for as low as $2.75/month (through our discounted affiliate link)! 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!
P.S. If you’re considering starting out with a FREE blog plan, please read our article on why free blogs are a mistake if you want to take your blog biz seriously: WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org (free vs. self-hosted blogs).
Select the right blog niche.
By the “right” niche, we mean a topic that you are passionate and/or knowledgeable about AND something that can be profitable.
We discuss more about profitable blog niches and how to find your blog niche in this article: Blog Niche Ideas: 3 Steps to Finding Your Blog Niche
Our first blogs were about health and wellness because we were both passionate about the topic, and I also had experience in it as a certified personal trainer for a few years.
Look for a topic that you can discuss that also ties into a problem people are seeking a solution for (money, weight loss, self-help, dog training, etc.).
With a topic like 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 blogs with ads and cheap recipe books.
Choose a blog niche that you are passionate about AND that has some serious revenue potential!
Choose a blogging platform that doesn’t require coding.
One word: 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.
Choosing the right blogging platform AND blogging theme can end up saving you hundreds of dollars in wasted time and money when you are starting your blog.
The beginning of your blogging career is going to be difficult.
The process of making a blog look exactly how you want it too and getting your blog design just right 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 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.
One of the best tips for beginner bloggers that we can offer is to hack away at this until you get good at it, and remember to take breaks when necessary.
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…
Create awesomeness consistently.
At the beginning of our blog’s success, I was writing new posts every day. Then for whatever reason, we stopped. Usually it was because some other big project came our way, we went on vacation, etc.
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 almost immediately starting looking up again.
Sales grew, visitors tripled, and pretty much 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.
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 someone 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.
You can also join our free blogging community group for additional motivation and support as well!
Decide where you plan to get blog traffic from.
Blog traffic can come from so many different sources, but you need to have a main outlet your target audience is using.
How did we succeed in getting so much traffic?
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.
We also have a FREE 4-Day Pinterest Marketing eCourse for Beginners as well, so please feel free to check that out if you’re just looking for some additional information on how Pinterest for business works!
Know that blog traffic is earned, not given.
Creating blog posts and just expecting traffic to show up is a pipe dream. It doesn’t work that way.
Traffic must to be DRIVEN to your posts.
Especially if you want organic traffic — you need to understand that creating posts and 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 on searchable keywords for Pinterest in order to drive more traffic to our website. More on this on #16.
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 (this could be a big reason why no one is reading your blog).
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.
Tips for Before Writing Your First Blog Post
Avoid complexity at the beginning.
There are a million ways to complicate the look and feel of your blog:
- Expensive or Unnecessary Plugins (See our list of favorite WordPress plugins)
- Fancy video graphics
Again, one of the common blogging 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.
Make sure your blog 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.
Get your message across 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 and they can see right through it. 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 introduction and summary
- Valuable and useful content
Done! Do not embellish for embellishment’s sake.
Create blog content people actually want.
Before you start writing a blog post, make sure it’s content that people actually want and are searching for.
How do you do this?
Get familiar with search engines.
Your content does not have to be 100% original. It can be a new spin on things people already love.
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.
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.
Keep your 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.
Use images in your blog posts purposefully.
This follows along with 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.
Add a signature to the bottom of blog 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 following 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
You won’t ever 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.
Again, remember points like what we said about your domain name.
Spend the majority of your time on the tasks that truly matter the most to your success. Hint: It’s content creation.
The money will seem to magically fall from the sky when you focus on creating awesome content.
If you have a good blog topic and you focus on creating great content that really HELPS people, the money will come.
We have always noticed a correlation between the content we are producing to the income we are making.
(Leo knows what we’re talking about).
Over time, you will learn what kind of content your audience likes the most based on how they respond to your content. Pay attention to that feedback.
Save posts 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.
It’s sometimes helpful to write several posts in advance and have them “ready” to publish on a weekly (or twice a week schedule) so that you can focus on other tasks in the meantime.
The most shareable content seems to be “How To” posts and “Listicles.
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 shareable 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.
Again, you will learn what your audience is most interested in over time as you publish more content and drive more traffic to your blog.
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.
Blog writing is a labor of love.
I certainly don’t feel like writing every day. 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.
You’ll find that it gets MUCH easier with practice as you gain more confidence in your writing abilities!
Learn to love the writing process, and it will love you back! 🙂
Don’t waste your time making small plans. Lauren and I quit our jobs and starting making a full-time income with our blog (over 10,000/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 working to overcome your fears of starting a blog. It’s time to start! It’s time for you to switch your mindset over from being a consumer to a creator.
Lastly, 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. You can start a blog by clicking here and going to Bluehost, and then visit our post on How to Start a Successful Blog.
You can also sign up for our FREE 7-Day Blogging Course for Beginners if you need some additional help with finding your niche, selecting a good blog name, etc.
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!
If you enjoyed this article on the 29 best tips for starting a blog, please feel free to leave us a comment or question below!
Alex & Lauren
Latest posts by Alex & Lauren (see all)
- From Accountant to Professional Blogging Career: How I Quadrupled My Salary in Two Years - April 23, 2018
- The 4 Phases of Online Blogging Success: Poop to Profits - April 8, 2018
- Why is No One Signing Up for My Email List on My Blog? - April 2, 2018