5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Start Your Blog

So many of us wonder how to start a blog, if it's even worth the time, etc. Well I'm here to tell you that starting a blog is worth it and it totally doesn't have to be a headache. Here are 5 things you can do right now to start your blog.

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1. Pick what you wanna blog about  

It's super important that you have a niche or a topic that you want to talk about. This helps you determine who your target market will be, how you'll brand yourself, etc. Pick your passion topic and move on to step 2. 

2. Pick out your website name

And pick out like 2 or 3 just incase. Sometimes the name we choose will be taken and it sucks. So pick 2 or 3 names you want to use. I'll admit this part can be difficult but it's what defines your blog ! Think of words that relate to your topic for example productivity/planning I picked paper and a plan. Cooking you could do two pots and a pan (LMAO!) Or something. Think outside the box and see what you come up with. 

3. Research hosts and pick your favorite  

I personally use squarespace for my domain and hosting. Others include ning, wordpress, Wix, etc. They all have different plans, costs, etc. So make sure to research a little bit. Once you find one, be sure to test your website name ideas to make sure they're available.

4. Sign up for mailchimp like now.  

Trust me when I say you're gonna want to start your email list as soon as you possibly can. Even if you're sending out a newsletter or post notifications, having a client base is super important for later down the road. Be sure to offer an incentive or a reason for signing up. Like discounts, freebies, etc.  Plus when you sign up using my code you get $30 in mailchimp credits to use if you sign up for a paid plan. Dont worry, you can stay on the free plan until you hit a certain subscriber cap! 

5. Make your social media accounts  

You'll want to have corresponding social media for your blog to help promote it. Normally you would want your social media to match your website name so make sure that's available as well! Instagram is a very good one to have if your brand is more visual. Check mine out here; @paperandaplan

Why your email list is so important

Most of us know of the famous "email list". However, it's even more common that we have no clue how to start them, or what to even do after you set it up. Mostly, why this is even important in the first place. 

We are all told that from the start we should have an email list.... And that's pretty much it. "It converts followers into clients" or "if your website magically goes down, what will you do?" Are commonly said phrases.  

 

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Why your email list is so important 

 First off, let's cover why your email list is so important in the first place.

I mean, you have social media right ? What do you need a list for ? 

Social media vs email list

Having an email list is one of the most targeted ways to reach your audience that CARES. When you sign up for an email list, most often it's because you wanted to see more content by them, they offered an incentive, or you signed up for a webinar or something like that. You normally don't just sign up without an incentive. If you do, then you're definitely interested in their content. With social media, anyone can follow you, and for a number of reasons. Maybe you were featured somewhere, or perhaps they just liked your feed. Your email list is often filled with the followers who show up often. I can definitely say that I recognize a lot of names from my Facebook group and Instagram. 

To start preparing

It's very important that you start creating your list early, so when you have a product, service, ect. You already have an audience to sell to. This is the main reason a lot of people create email lists to begin with. Say you have been building your list for a year, and you have 1,000 email subs. Awesome job! Once you have a product or service you have 1,000 people who your email is guaranteed to hit their inbox. On the other hand, if you don't have a list it can be a bit harder to reach your ideal audience. You would kind if just be shooting in the dark. 

Okay, it does convert followers into customers

So of course it converts followers into customers. Think of this on a larger scale. You hear about a new brand and you're looking at the shop. An email sign up box pops up and it says join the list for 10% off. So you sign up, and you buy something. They can continue to contact you about new sales and new releases which gets you to become a repeat customer. Not everyone is going to convert. You'll always have the people who don't want to pay for an ebook or who don't want to pay for online courses or webinars. There's so much free stuff out there, why would they? However you stand a better chance this way.

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So, what do you do once you have your email list? 

This is probably the part that stumped me the most. I knew it was important for the sake of growing my target audience. What I didn't know is what the hell to do once I had it. I still really don't (haha!....yeah there we go. I admit it.).  However, none of us really ever know 100% what we are doing so it's all good. 

Here's what I do know:  

Email lists can be used for plenty of things. Some of which I listed above. However there's so much more you can offer your list ! You want your audience to feel like VIPs. I aim for this so often, and I hope my email subs feel this way.   You can achieve this by offering exclusive freebies, pre-sale information, new blog post updates, give them sneak peeks of your latest project, ask for feedback, etc. Your email list is your own little personal army of dedicated friends. 

Take advantage of asking for feedback

feedback is one of the most valuable things we can receive from our audience. When you receive feedback, you can then tailor your content, products, services, etc. to the needs and wants of your audience. There's no guessing and checking here! They are literally telling you what they want. So make a small form and send it out! I got a lot of great results from my last survey.

Give them an incentive to stay around

This can be done with monthly freebies, weekly coupons, or really anything. Think about the email lists you're subscribed to. What do they have to offer that makes you want to stick around? I give away my free monthly calendars, and I also have my email list on my priority list to get any freebies I give away first. This is of course a little different for me because I don't have a product to sell (yet!). So I have to get a little creative. 

Don't just keep them around for the selling and promotions

Make sure that your email list doesn't just feel like a marketing platform. Nobody wants just emails about products or services all the time. Make sure to send at least one email every once in a while with nothing but useful information! The reason they are around is because you're helping them in some way. So supply them with some value about a topic they might relate to. 

I really hope this post helped give you some insight about email lists and what to do with them. PLEASE if you have any questions at all, leave a comment on this post and I can get back to you, or go to my contact page and send me an email. I would be happy to help!

As always, thanks for reading.

Creating a Blogging Schedule - Blogging for beginners

This is the second post in my blogging for beginners series, and I'll be showing you a couple of ways to create a blogging schedule. First we will go into how many times you should be posting, and what the exceptions are. Then I'll go over the different ways to create a blog schedule that works around your week. 

Most beginning bloggers don't know how to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. I didn't really know what I was doing at first either, admittedly, which is perfectly okay! If you don't really know where to start or what you're doing, then sit tight because this post will hopefully help give you some clarity.

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How often should you post to your blog?

This has always been a topic of conversation, because nobody can seem to figure out the perfect formula to what works the best. So this is the best advice I can give you as to what to do.

First off, take a general look at how your schedule is from day to day. This is the most important thing. If you can manage 2 blog posts a week, do it. A number of studies show that posting twice a week helps with your search optimization. So basically, your website is considered "active" by Google or whatever search engine. This helps your site show up closer towards the top of the search. I always recommend putting out as many posts as you can when you're first starting out. Maybe you do twice or three times a week. 

However, once you get active readers coming to your blog (which is a lot more attainable than you think!) you can tone it down a bit if you need to. However, two times a week is still recommended. 

What's more important than how many times you post, is how consistently you post. This is where the schedule comes into play. If your readers know you post twice a month, then stick with that. If your readers know you post three times a week, stick with that. It's equally how many times you post, and how consistent you are with it.

How to make your blog schedule

There are a few ways you could go about making your ACTUAL schedule. However, there are a few things you should do before hand to accomplish this.

  1. Look at your weekly schedule for re-occurring events
  2. Brain storm a lot of ideas (like.... A LOT)
  3. Figure out what type of schedule you like best: digital or paper

I'll go over both digital schedules and paper schedules.

Digital schedules

Bloggers usually prefer this method because it allows you to move things around without much repercussion and mess. It's super easy to just change the date or time on your event  versus scratching something out. 

I suggest using google spreadsheets or excel for this one. Most of the time they will have calendar templates built into the program. I know for sure google does.

The digital method doesn't work as well for me, so I use paper.

Paper Schedules

This is great for those of you who need to have it in front of your face, physically in order to remember. Writing things down also helps you remember more than just typing something into your phone or computer.

There are a ton of different planners out there. More recently; however, I have ALWAYS recommended an hourly planner. 

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Actually Creating the Schedule

First what you'll want to do is dissect your week. Look at what events are reoccurring and schedule those in first. Then look at the time you have left. For example: if you work a 9-5, then you know what needs to get done has to be before or after those times. Maybe you have a one hour break for lunch. LEAVE SPACE FOR IT! You'd be surprised how much you can get done in that hour break period. 

Now that you have your reoccurring events down, look at what other major events you have.  Some examples would be doctors appointments, school activities, date night, etc. Be sure you schedule time for these next, or you might accidentally schedule something over it.

Last should be your other obligations, and/or hobbies, and errands. THIS is where you schedule in time for you blog. If you're looking at your schedule thinking "omg I can't do this". STOP. It's not that hard. You're making excuses for yourself, and you know it. If your blog is high on your priority list, then you'll get it done. Trust me. 

If you have to get up an hour earlier, then do it. If you have to stay up an extra hour, then do it. If you have to spend 30 minutes of your 1 hour break making graphics, then do it. If all you have is Friday night or the weekend, you gotta do it if it's that important to you.

Be stubborn with your schedule once you have it. However, make sure you have some cushion room. What I mean by this is: if you get out of class at 1:25, and you have to drive home, but you schedule yourself to do your blog post at 1:30. This probably isn't the smartest thing to do because you aren't allowing yourself that cushion time to get home and chill out for a second. If a task takes you longer than you thought, you want to make sure there's a time cushion.

Something you should keep in mind is that you do NOT have to get everything done in one sitting AT ALL. I actually recommend breaking things up and doing them throughout the week. It's less overwhelming this way. 

If you want to get a better look at how I schedule things out, be sure you are following me on my planner Instagram. I share how my planner looks and some awesome tools I use in conjunction with it.