The feelings you have as you start up your first blog can probably be described as equal parts exciting, confusing, and terrifying. Although it will be awesome to finally have a platform for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and information, you probably also understand that the process of launching and maintaining your blog will be no easy feat.
Although building and growing your blog into a successful site can be pretty difficult, there are several smart moves you can make early on to set yourself up for success in the future. Here are five smart moves all first-time bloggers should make as they launch their blogs to facilitate success later on.
1. Identify your niche audience
One of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make is to neglect their blog’s niche. When you start out without a target audience in mind, it becomes more and more difficult to develop a target audience over time as you create more content.
Before you even start to check out potential designs for your blog, consider who your target audience will be and how your content will appeal to them. What insights do you have to offer and who might benefit most from them?
Maybe recent college grads would enjoy your humorous posts on post-grad life. Perhaps working moms could benefit from your time-saving tricks and productivity hacks. Find your niche audience and tailor your site’s design, content, and social media efforts to fit its unique needs and interests.
If you need a little help identifying your niche, I recommend checking out this guide from Elle & Co design.
2. Invest in solid hosting
Although the free hosting offered by website template providers might be enticing to a first-time blogger on a budget, it’s important to remember that investing a small amount of money per month (probably less than $5) in hosting will help you build a secure and high performing site. Not to mention, paying for a solid site host will allow you to create a custom domain name which will be important for brand recognition later on as you work to promote your blog on third-party platforms.
If you’re not already familiar with the hosting industry, it can be a bit difficult to fully understand your options without doing your research. I recommend checking out this hosting guide to evaluate your options and find a hosting service that will best support the needs of your blog as it grows. This can help you identify some solid options that will keep your site not only running at optimal performance, but secure against potential hacks as well.
3. Track user behavior
Understanding how your blog’s visitors behave once they land on your site will help you understand how you can keep them on your site longer and bring them back to view your content later. This is why it’s important to enlist the help of analytics tools early and often to understand your site’s visitors and what they want and need from you over time.
There are many tools you can use to evaluate the behavior of your site’s visitors like heat maps, AB testing, and surveys.
Instabug provides a solid list of user behavior tracking tools if you’re not familiar with website visitor tracking
4. Monetize your content
One of the most important things to do early on to ensure that your blog has a chance of turning a profit for you is to monetize your content. This essentially means that you implement sponsored content like relevant ads and affiliate links on your site.
A couple of the most common methods bloggers use to monetize their sites include Google AdSense and Amazon Affiliates.
AdSense is an ad platform that runs display ads on your site and pays you when your site viewers click on one of the ads. Amazon Affiliates uses promotional links on your site to promote products within your content. For example, if you’re a mommy blogger writing about the best baby monitors, you could use an Amazon Affiliate link for the baby monitors you recommend to monetize your article.
These are only two of the many ways you can monetize your blog. I recommend checking out this guide to learn more about your options.
5. Use third-party platforms to promote yourself
Once you’ve created an optimized site with solid hosting and a target audience, it will be time to get out and promote your blog on third-party platforms. This is an absolutely essential step as potential audience members are unlikely to find your site through search engines when it’s new.
One way you can promote your site is to exchange content with other bloggers. Pitch your ideas to fellow bloggers within your niche and offer to write a post or two for them in exchange for a byline that promotes your blog.
Social media will also be essential. Whether your platform of choice is Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or all three, investing in social media advertising is essential for bloggers looking to leverage the full benefits of social media promotion.
If you’re not sure where to start with putting together a social media marketing strategy, I recommend checking out Social Media Examiner’s guide for beginners.
Hopefully these five moves will help your site become profitable and successfulcin the future. Are you a seasoned blogger with a tip you’d like to add? Share with fellow readers below!
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