.When I decided to start my blog I knew I wanted to treat it as a business. I wasn’t looking at my blog as just a hobby but rather as a brand I could grow. Yes, my goal is to reach millions with my message of living debt free and enjoying life on a budget. It can be done. You need to understand that it is possible no matter your income level. Anyway, off that soapbox. I always intended for this to be a blogging business. I treated Budget and Bliss that way from day one.
If you are going to start a blogging business there are a few things you need to understand from the beginning.
Choosing the Right Platform
You should build your blog on a platform that allows you complete control.
I chose to host my blog with Siteground and use WordPress.org as the platform for my blog. WordPress.org is open source software meaning you have total control over your content. You can use plugins or other add-ons to create exactly what you need for your business.
There are websites like Wix and Squarespace that you will see advertised. However, these platforms are not an open source platform. Your website can be shut down for any reason that these platforms see fit. While they make beautiful websites you don’t own it and have total control over it.
WordPress.org intimidated me at first but I took an informative free course from Grayson Bell or iMark Interactive that I can not recommend enough. This free course gave me the knowledge I needed to get my blog up and running.
Are you invested in your blog?
Now, a lot of blogs that teach you how to build a blog end here with their quick start guides. They lead you down the path to thinking you start a blog for $5 monthly and that is it. This is very misleading. I recommend hosting through Siteground that is a low monthly fee but you need to sign up for a whole year at once. You’ll be spending anywhere from $50 – $100 to start with your hosting. If you can afford a plan for longer than one year, go for it. That will lock you in at the introductory rate which is considerably cheaper than the renewal rate.
A host and wordpress.org are all you need to start your blogging business but there are tools that will make your journey much easier. If you chose to stop at just signing up for hosting and not investing another dollar into your blogging business understand that it may take you longer to get noticed in the noisy online world. I am not saying this to scare you. When I first started my blogging journey I was one of those people that believed that a blog could be started for $3.95 a month. I was led to believe I didn’t need to invest in my blogging business.
If you are ready to take your blog from hobby to business I have a few more recommendations for you. These things are not necessary but they have made my journey much easier. I am not a big blog by any means. I currently have less than 50 posts on my site and minimal traffic. However, I understand investing in my business early on will help propel me forward. It is a marathon and takes a lot of work to get going in the beginning.
Pick a Theme That is Mobile Responsive and Beautiful
A mobile responsive website is a must. More content is consumed via cell phone than an actual computer now. If your website is not mobile responsive it will not look nice and will not be user-friendly. You want to invest in a mobile responsive theme from the beginning.
The Restored 316 theme is the pretty part that you see when visiting a website. The theme is all of the colors and styling you see. I chose Restored 316 for my theme because they are feminine, have amazing customer support, and are beautiful right out of the box. You can use the theme with little customization or you can tweak it to fit your personal style. The creator has detailed instructions on how to make minor changes if you want.
Organize Your Blogging Business
It is imperative to have an organizational strategy for your blogging business. If you are not organized it will take you much longer to get things done and find the information you need. I am currently using Trello to organize my personal life and business. Trello is comprised of boards that you add cards to. These cards are all of the information you need and can be drag and dropped as needed.
Trello is free for the basic features and also has a paid plan if you need to integrate more than one power-up into your boards. Their pricing is also reasonable which is nice especially for a new business owner.
If you are in need of an organization system I definitely recommend taking a look at the Trello blog and playing around in the program for a bit. It takes a bit of work to get used to but once you figure out how to use Trello it is a game changer. The best part is Trello has a mobile app! You can add to your boards on the go and stay up to date with your business without being at the computer.
Create Pretty Images
Photos are taking over the world! Okay, that may be a bit dramatic but photos are a key feature to any blog post and social media. We are in a very visual world and your photos can speak a thousand words without someone actually reading your blog post.
There are two key things I use for my images in my blogging business.
Canva is the software I use to create pretty images. I love Canva because they have templates that help layout your images and text in a cohesive manner. If I was making images without Canva I am sure I would have text all over and it just wouldn’t flow nicely. Canva is free but limited. It is working well for me now but I can see that Canva for Work will be necessary for the future unless I upgrade to an Adobe product.
The second thing that is necessary for creating pretty images is the images themselves. I buy stock photos from Ivory Mix. These images are exactly what I was looking for with my business. The images are soft and feminine while still conveying the message I want. It is also a smaller company so I haven’t seen the images across as many blogs as I have with other stock photo sites. I also like Ivory Mix because the creator asks for feedback and wants to know exactly what we are looking for.
If you plan to use your own photos for your blog I highly recommend learning how to take clean crisp photos and invest in camera equipment that will make the job easier. Taking your own photos is key in some niches (like crafts or recipes) but has its own learning curve. You want to lure someone in with your photo which can be difficult.
Share Your Content
Sharing your content is the last piece I am going to share today. You can share your content for free. But if you are willing to invest in your blogging business you can make sharing content much easier.
Pinterest is a key content sharing strategy for many blogs. Pinterest wants you to share content every day to stay relevant but that can be hard. This is where Tailwind comes in handy. Tailwind is a Pinterest approved scheduling tool. It that allows you to pin your own content as well as other people’s content. It distributes the pins throughout the day when your audience is most likely to see it.
While I just started using Tailwind I have noticed more traffic coming to my website and more views on my Pinterest page. Just last week I was only receiving about 1100 monthly viewers on my Pinterest profile. Now, just five days after starting to implement Tailwind I am receiving about 9300 monthly viewers. This doesn’t mean that all 9300 monthly viewers are ending up on my website. However, it is giving me a chance to get my content seen and pinned more. I am sure in the next few months I will see Tailwind paying off for traffic and income.
Facebook is going to be the next platform I tackle. It is a pay-to-play platform. You must invest in Facebook ads to be seen. That is fine by me. I know other bloggers who have invested in Facebook ads and have seen a huge return on investment. I am excited to tackle the platform and learn how to use Facebook ads for my blog. This is something that I am going to work on in Quarter 4 of 2018 and will be sharing more on at a later date.
Your blog is a business, treat it as such.
I truly believe that starting a blogging business and treating it as a business from the beginning is going to have a huge impact on how well I do with this content platform. There are tools that you need to start a blog like hosting. Then there are additional things you can pay for that will help your business move along faster.
The key things I believe any new blogging business owner should invest in is a mobile responsive theme, stock photos or equipment to take your own photos, and a way to get your content into the eyes of your ideal reader.
Blogging can be done for free. By investing in your business from the beginning it will help you take it more seriously and gain traction faster. Most new bloggers don’t see a return on their time right away. They quit before they have started making money because they weren’t willing to invest in the business.