So, if one morning you woke up with a thought “I want to start a blog”, here are a few recommendations from my personal experience…
1. Take Your Time & Think About Your Blog
Before I started this blog, I did a lot of thinking. Probably about a year. And that’s OK. See, when you have a young family – time is precious. I just wanted to make sure that every minute invested in my blog is worthwhile! What does it mean?
I spend every free minute working on my blog. Every minute taken away from being with my family is precious. So, it better be something that I love to do and has a potential to become a business. I finally started My Income Report series.
Yes, let’s face it. Unless you have a well-paid job, some spare time, and something to say, and you just want the whole world to hear about it, you can do blogging just for fun. Nothing wrong with that. You are one lucky guy or gal!
But even if you are that person, more likely you would like to gain the audience for your blog. What is the point to have a blog if nobody is reading it?! Well, it will make a great online diary.
2. Blogging for Business
Having a Business Degree and previous experience being self-employed, I can go on and on about the importance of a business plan.
Just have it! It doesn’t matter if it’s written on a napkin, just have it! Don’t look online for a form or wait till your friend gives you one. Just write down how you are planning to monetize your blog before you start it!
Think of your blog as a business from the very beginning and have a mini business plan. Don’t go into a lot of details, just the main points. Many opportunities will come up as your blog grows. Just have a plan whether you will make money through advertising, freelancing, selling a product, becoming an affiliate etc.
A common mistake many online entrepreneurs make is not having a monetization plan of their blog. They have an idea, dive right into it and think they will figure out the money making part later. Once they spent countless hours working on their website, it still doesn’t make money. I personally worked with those people.
3. Research Your Competition but Don’t Overdo It
Before I started iFOODreal, I spent some time researching other food blogs. Having previous online marketing experience and a marketing/web design/development guru aka husband, I didn’t spend too much time on research this time.
I just wasn’t sure whether I want a recipe blog, a fitness blog, or a combination of both. I’m not a certified trainer, nutritionist or dietician, but I know how to work out and eat right. Do I want to do videos or write blog posts?! I was all over the place. The more I looked at other food and fitness blogs, the more confused I became, the less I knew what I want to do.
I was into a research for a couple of months when Alex told me “At some point research should end. You can research the web forever. Just do it! Start blogging and it will all come together!”.
And I did it! With a mini business plan in mind. And guess what?! Alex was right.
I started with video posts and switched to writing later on. I just enjoy writing more than recording, and it works better with my schedule. Can’t do much videos with toddler running around all day.
I never thought photography would be one of the main focuses of my business. I learnt that beautiful photos are the key for a successful food blog.
And finally, after only 3 months I know that I know how to get the traffic to your website without spending money on advertisement.
SEO aka Search Engine Optimization is something that I love to do as much as cooking. So, now I write about SEO as well. Who would have thought?!
So, look around the web, see what others in your industry are doing but do not spend too much time doing research. Just start your blog now! That takes me to my next point…
4. It’s OK to Experiment
Be confident in yourself and your idea. You won’t know if something works unless you try it.
So, if you have an idea put it out there and see how the audience reacts. If it works – koodos to you! Give yourself a nice pat on the back and continue doing it! If it doesn’t – move on! Don’t get discouraged, try something else. All successful people went through many failures before reaching the heights.
It’s like me and photography. We are not best friends yet. We are still fighting. I need to practice, practice, practice. It’s OK, I’m learning every time I take photos.
I used to get really discouraged when food submission websites like foodgawker would reject my photos one after another. Nowadays, still only 50% of my photos are being accepted. It’s OK, I will get there.
Before, as soon as I saw an email from foodgawker “Hi ifoodreal. Thank you for your recent submission to foodgawker. Unfortunately, your post titled “Banana Chocolate Chia Pudding” was not accepted.”, my heart sank. Not anymore! I just keep practicing and working on SEO that is taking my blog up in Google rankings without submissions to third party websites.
So, instead of getting discouraged, just keep working and try new things! Success wil come!
5. There Is Enough Room for Everyone
You do not have to copy your competition or reinvent the wheel.
Don’t think “This has been done, and that has been already done. There is no way I can be successful in this niche.” Pick a niche, do the same as your competition but better. And learn, learn, learn. Arm yourself with the right knowledge of how to have a successful blog.
For example, when I googled “Protein Balls” almost 8 million other web pages came up in 0.22 seconds. Wow. Well, that’s a lot but it doesn’t mean there is too many of them, I shouldn’t publish my recipe and it will never get to the 1st page of search engines.
So, I posted Pre or Post Workout Snack – Coconut Protein Balls Recipe. 3 weeks later this post, with Page Rank 0, ranked #1 out of 7,880,000 web pages. Above the Oxygen Magazine Peanut Butter Protein Balls page with Page Rank 3. Wohooo! This is the power of SEO, particularly the right keyword research and rich snippet implementation.
So, don’t get discouraged by similar ideas. Just do what you enjoy doing with your mini business plan in mind.
6. To help you get started I put together a list of helpful topics from my Blogging Tips section:
I can’t stress enough the importance of a reliable web hosting. I have been with GoDaddy and FatCow, both were slow, had down times and horrible customer service. I’m extremely happy with InMotion Hosting now. You can read about my experience here – Fast Web Hosting for WordPress.