Here Are 13 Things You Should Do Before Launching Your Blog

“I’ve decided to launch a blog,” you excitedly say. “Oh really?” Your friend says. “When?” Your smile slowly fades as you stare into the distance, thinking of all the tasks that have to be done. Your heart starts to race, and your palms get sweaty. You look back at your friend. “In a few years,” you answer, still stressing about the mile-long list of pre-launch tasks.

Here Are 13 Things You Should Do Before Launching Your Blog

Yes, launching a blog is a huge, exciting, scary undertaking, but you don’t have to live in a constant state of stress before you launch. There are really only 13 critical things to do before you launch, and we’re going to cover those today.

Want to go through a step by step tutorial on creating a blog? Then signup for my free course below!



1. Choose Your Web Host

If you’re just starting a new blog, and you want to self host it (which you should do), you’ll need to find a web host. Without a web host, your website will ever get off the ground. The nice thing about hosting is that it doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you’re a new blogger. Many hosts offer budget hosting (also known as shared hosting) options for anywhere from $3-$10 a month. Just be sure to compare what’s included in your monthly cost.

In our opinion, Bluehost is the most high quality & cheapest host for bloggers that are just starting out. Click here to get startet

There are plenty of web hosts out there, but not all of them are created equal. If you’re using WordPress, look for a host that specializes in WordPress websites. Ideally, the host you’re looking at should offer a one-click WordPress installation to make things easier.


2. Pick Your Blog’s Theme

After you install WordPress on your web host, you need to choose a blog theme. A theme dictates the layout and appearance of your blog. It’s both fun and frustrating to pick a theme because there are so many options. It’s like walking into a candy store and being told to choose just one piece of candy (or maybe that’s just me?).

When it comes time for you to choose a theme, you’ll find that there are two broad categories of themes: premium and free. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a premium theme, don’t sweat it. There are some free themes that are just as nice as premium themes. The only thing about free themes is they’re more common on websites, so your blog won’t look quite as unique.

Another thing to consider when choosing your blog’s theme is your ultimate goal for your blog. Do you want to monetize your blog by selling products on it? You may want to try a theme that’s optimized for on-site selling. Do you want it to focus solely on being a blog and leave the products on another platform? Find a theme that focuses on blogging.


Related: 7 Blog Niches That Have Six-Figure Income Potential


3. Determine Your Niche

While it is possible to blog about everything and the kitchen sink, it’s not advisable. Most of the popular, successful blogs have a niche and a clearly defined audience. There’s a reason for this. Blog readers like to know what they’re getting into when they visit a blog. If you blog about web design, then your readers will expect to see a post related to web design when you publish. In this scenario, if you stick with your web design niche, then you meet your readers’ expectations, and everyone’s happy.

Don’t make your audience guess what your next post will be about. That has the potential to frustrate them, and that’s not something you want to do. You can avoid all of this by determining your niche before you even launch your blog. Find the place where your passion and your knowledge intersect. That’s a great place to look for your niche.



4. Determine Your Branding

“I have this great logo and these three awesome colors, so my branding is all set.” Um…no. It’s not. Branding is so much more than just the physical appearance of your blog and your social media picture templates. You do need to have things like fonts, colors, graphic templates, and a logo ready when you launch, but branding doesn’t stop there. True branding, the branding that will make your blog stand out, is all about creating a cohesive experience for your readers. How can you do this? Through your blog posts, through how you interact with people online, and through your social media feed.

Think about what you want people to say about your brand and create your colors, font, logo, and brand experience from that. So if you want people to see your brand as sophisticated and modern, choose a proper color palette and define what being sophisticated means to you. How would you act so people describe you as sophisticated? Going in with a clear branding vision can save you lots of time in the future. You won’t need to redo your graphics or overhaul your website just a few months after the launch.


5. Complete a Blog Business Plan

Spend some time thinking and planning your blog’s future. View it as a business and ask difficult questions to really hone your blog’s purpose. Questions you may want to consider include

Why do you want to blog? Do you want to monetize your blog? How will you monetize it? What impression do you want your blog to give first-time readers? How will you use your email newsletter? Where do you see your blog in one year? What about five years?

One thing you can do when making a business plan for your blog is look at other blogs in your niche and see what they’re doing. Don’t copy what they’re doing, but get an idea of what works. Are the bloggers selling ebooks or ecourses? Do they offer just online products or do they sell physical products? Looking at what other bloggers are doing can give you ideas for how you can make your blog successful. Just be sure to make it yours and don’t steal ideas or products.


6. Get Active (On Social Media)

Get the word out about your launch before it happens. This is a great way to build excitement and anticipation around your launch. You can release previews of your blog posts or opt-in incentive. You can give your followers a glimpse at your branding methods or design. The best thing about getting active on social media is that you don’t have to post everything yourself. Use a social media scheduler like Buffer or Hootsuite to post things while you work on your blog (or sit on the beach sipping rum punch. Whatever).

Join a Facebook group in your niche and become active in it. Don’t just post your own things. You need to add value to the group, so ask or answer questions. Be present and show an interest in other people. That interest will likely be reciprocated over time.

Another avenue to drum up interest is Twitter. Find Twitter chats related to you niche and hop in. The first few chats you join may be overwhelming, but you’ll get the hang of it, especially if you use Tweetdeck as your secret weapon. It lets you streamline your feed so you only see the relevant hashtag for the chat.


Related: 7 Things To Do In Your First 3 Months Of Starting A Blog


7. Network

You blog doesn’t exist in a black hole. There are lots of other blogs out there in your niche, and you need to get to know some of the bloggers behind them. Networking with other bloggers is great for growing your audience, getting word out about your launch, and (perhaps most importantly) making friends. Your blog won’t thrive if you don’t put in the effort to become part of the online community.

Take some time to start reading other blogs and leave thoughtful comments. Follow other bloggers on Twitter or Instagram and share their posts when you think your audience will benefit. Being a good netizen (you know, sharing and commenting on stuff that’s not yours, offering helpful advice to others) will encourage people to take an interest in you and your blog. You’ll find that when you launch, you launch with an audience. That’s pretty awesome.


8. Have Posts Prepared

You wouldn’t invite your family and friends (or the whole neighborhood) to an empty house for a housewarming party, would you? I hope not, so don’t do it to your audience. Before you launch your blog, you need to have at least two or three posts ready. You want your visitors to have a few things to read when they visit your site. It’ll give them a better idea of your writing voice.

Having an About or Start Here page as well as a Contact page is great, but people don’t really connect with you on those pages. They connect with you through your content. That’s where your personality really gets to shine. Having several posts published also gives people a little more confidence in your blog. Your readers don’t want to invest their time reading your posts only to learn that two months into blogging, you’re throwing in the towel.


9. Create an Editorial Calendar

While it may be tempting to fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to deciding what to write for your blog, that’s not a good strategy for long-term growth. What is a good strategy is creating an editorial calendar and sticking to it. An editorial calendar lets you see the big picture for your blog. You can plan out your posts month-by-month or every other month. Heck, you could even plan your posts for the year.

The real value in an editorial calendar lies in predictability. You know what posts you’ve got coming up, and you can write them well in advance (no staying up until 3 a.m. finishing the blog post you’re going to publish in a few hours). Want to reduce your stress? Start an editorial calendar for your blog.


10. Create a “Start Here” page

While I’m all for About pages (and I had one for a while), I like Start Here pages more. They’re great for multiple reasons. First, they tell your first-time readers exactly where to go. I mean, the page literally says Start Here. Directing your readers to a central point works in your favor. You have the opportunity to point them towards whatever you want. You can pick your best (or most popular) posts and point readers to them.

You can also use your Start Here page to give your readers an overview of your blog. Tell your readers what your niche is and what value your blog will offer them. They want to know what benefit your blog can offer, and the Start Here page is the perfect place to lay it out. It differs from an About page because About pages tend to me more focused on the blogger and not the blog. While your readers do want to know about you, they’re really there to learn why they should read your blog. Use your Start Here page to convince them why.



11. Choose an Email Software and Test It

It may seem silly to start thinking about an email newsletter before you even launch your blog, but it’s really not. As you grow your audience, you’ll want to have a newsletter ready to send out. Newsletters allow you to connect with your audience on a more personal level and give them some extra awesome content. To send out your newsletter, you’ll need an email service or software.

There are several popular options to choose from, including MailChimp, ConvertKit, ConstantContact, and Aweber. Whichever one you choose, be sure to test the user experience before you have any of your readers go through the email sing-up process. You need to know what your subscribers will see, so you can work out any kinks in the system or email design.


12. Create an opt-in incentive

If you want people to sign up for your email newsletter, you’ll have better sign-up rates if you use an opt-in incentive. When you create your opt-in, keep in mind these two very important things. First, your opt-in needs to be relevant to your audience. So if you’re launching a food blog, you could share a super secret family recipe as an opt-in. You want your opt-in to be relevant to your audience and niche because that ensures that only people who are interested in what you have to say sign up for your newsletter. If you’re launching a food blog but offer an opt-in that focuses on knitting, you’ll attract a lot of knitting lovers who may not be interested in your food blog.

Second, you need to make sure that your opt-in is valuable. Don’t just create a hasty one-page checklist and slap that in an opt-in form. You want to wow your readers with your offer. If you give something away that’s really valuable, not only will your readers be impressed, but they’ll be more likely to buy from you in the future. I mean, if your free stuff is super duper awesome, they’ll believe your premium offers must be otherworldly.


Related: The Mechanics of Starting a Blog (10 Minute Guide to Getting Your Blog Online Right Now)


13. Check Your Links

This task can be tedious, especially if you have a lot of links on your blog, but it’s necessary to prevent reader frustration. No one likes a 404 error (a.k. Page Not Found). It’s disappointing to say the least and frustrating at worst.

Imagine this: A reader hops onto your site and sees a link to a post your wrote titled My Five Best Tips for Making Awesome Pizza. This reader has been longing to make awesome pizza, so he excitedly clicks on the link, expecting to be rewarded with your five brilliant tips for awesome pizza. Instead, he’s sent to your 404 page and is heartbroken. He resolves never to visit your site again.

Dramatic? Maybe a little, but it show the importance of making sure that your links are in order, especially if you’re just launching. You want to make a great first impression, and broken links are definitely not how you do that. Set aside some time before you launch to go over your site and check every link. You’ll be glad you did.


Conclusion

Don’t forget to signup to our FREE 6-day-email-course on starting a successful blog. You have know the chance, don’t wait any longer, signup below now!

How To Start A Blog FREE Course


Are you looking for a how to start a blog free course?

If you’ve been wanting to start a blog, then today is your day. I recently created an email course for those who are interested in starting a blog, but haven’t made the leap yet.

Best of all, this course is free!

You can sign up by clicking on this link, or by entering your information in the form below.

I started my blog, Project Afford Anything, in April of 2008 and have built a great business. It allowed me and my husband to leave the day jobs we disliked to pursue something that we loved. Now, we travel full-time, make a great living, have a flexible schedule, have more time to spend with loved ones, and we will be able to retire early.

I’ve learned a lot over the years about blogging, and I am continually learning new things in order to improve my blog. And that’s where this blogging course comes in.

I’m sure many of you are interested in starting a blog but aren’t sure where to start. There’s a lot that goes into blogging, but I make it easy with this course.

With this free email course, I will show you exactly how to create a blog, from the technical side (it’s easy – trust me!) all the way to earning your first income and attracting followers. Each day for seven days, you will receive an email in your inbox that will help you create a successful and profitable blog, all from the very beginning.

Here’s a quick outline of what you will learn in this free 6-day email course:

  • Day 1: The Fundamentals Of Starting Your Blog
  • Day 2: Finding A Profitable Niche
  • Day 3: Developing Your Blogging Strategy For Massive Success
  • Day 4: Driving Traffic To Your Blog (First 1,000 Views)
  • Day 5: The Most Effective Ways To Monetize Your Blog
  • Day 6: Executing A 90 Day Plan To Grow Your Blog

You can sign up by clicking on this link, or by entering your information in the form below.

7 Things To Do In Your First 3 Months Of Starting A Blog

You’re off! Starting a blog is the easy part, but now what? You’ve probably Googled just about every term related to blogging in hopes of getting as much information as you can.

Slow down and let’s take things one step at a time. There is a vast amount information on the Internet and it’s easy to get caught up in trying to learn it all when it comes to starting a blog.

You may be wondering, “What do I need to start a blog?” And possibly you’re already dreaming up things to start a blog about. There are certain things you will want to focus on and we’ve laid it out for you in hopes of making your first 3 months of starting a blog a smooth ride.


WHAT TO DO DURING YOUR FIRST 3 MONTHS OF STARTING A BLOG

Here are the action items that will help make your first 3 months of starting a blog enjoyable and a lot less stressful! Note: this post contains affiliate links which may give us a commission at no additional cost to you.



1. Decide to go for it. 

Ok, this first step assumes that you’re still on the fence about starting a blog. I know it can be a difficult decision, it certainly wasn’t easy for me to take the plunge, but here’s what I recommend if you’re struggling with the decision.

Ask yourself which you’ll regret more: not trying or going for it regardless of what happens. Really, it seems simple but I think the answer to that question will tell you what to do. I asked myself that same thing and it was instantly obvious to me that starting a blog was at least something I had to try. I was of course worried about failing. Or what people would think–especially my friends and family. But I decided to push all that aside and do it.

So that’s your first task. Be honest with yourself and do what you feel your gut is telling you to do.

Check out my step-by-step guide to starting your blog in less than 10 minutes!


2. Determine your focus: who and what.

One of the best things you can do now in your first 90 days after starting a blog is establish a very clear focus for your blog. Ask yourself who you’re blogging for and for what reason.

This will put you in one of two categories:

1) you’re blogging for personal reasons and it’s primarily for yourself, family and friends or

2) you’re blogging for a greater audience and hoping to earn an income one day.

Those two things are incredibly different and you need to make that distinction now. Without a clear and dedicated focus, it will be difficult to establish a loyal audience from the beginning.

Anyone that comes to your blog should be able to figure out what it’s about in less than 60 seconds. Now, let me clarify something: figuring out your focus doesn’t mean you’re locked into that forever. It’s totally do-able to transition your blog content over time, slowly adding in new things here and there. But in your first 90 days, when everything is fresh and new, you need to stay laser focused on what you’re writing about and why.


3. Build your content before going live.

Before I ever hit publish on my blog for the very first time I had about 5 posts written and on my site. That way I had content to share from day one.

I highly recommend doing this and there’s a few reasons why:

1) once your blog is live, for the whole world to see, you’ll want readers to have something to actually look at. Having a handful of great posts done and already published will give you that content you need to get started.

2) You can start pinning your content right away and driving pageviews to your site.

I’ll get into more detail about Pinterest and all that jazz later in this series, but trust me–you want content on Pinterest ASAP. Start pinning your photos NOW. Just make sure those first few posts are stellar and build from there with new and fresh content.



4. Create a schedule for yourself and define your GOALS.

This is a big one for me and it’s especially helpful when you’re just getting started. I’m a huge advocate for writing down your schedule and defining goals at the first of every month.

You’ll definitely want to do this when you’re just getting starting a blog. Figure out what kind of schedule you want to keep and stick to it. Be consistent!

Do you want to publish 2 posts a week? Maybe 3? That number is completely up to you based on your time/resources/caffeine intake. Commit yourself to that schedule for the first 90 days and then take time to re-evaluate how to move forward from that point.


5. Focus on building quality content and great photos.

Great posts and awesome photos are what drive page views to your blog, so definitely focus on building the best content you can in those first 90 days. By this I mean lots of amazing photos (I’ll talk about that soon!), posts that are helpful and informative, hot topics, easy to follow tutorials, etc.

Whatever it is you’re blogging about, try to focus on writing evergreen content in those first 90 days. Evergreen content is a term you’ll hear a lot in the blogging world and it basically means writing posts that will be useful to your readers for a very long time.

Typically personal posts and things of that nature don’t qualify as evergreen content. But a great DIY tutorial or a great recipe are things that can bring page views to your blog for months and months. Even years. For example, I wrote a easy DIY bakery sign tutorial in the very first month of LVN and it’s still one of my most popular posts.


6. Give yourself some grace.

In your first 90 days of starting a blog you will have no idea what you are doing and that’s OK.

Don’t compare yourself to bloggers that have been at it for years, that will only lead to frustration. Instead, remember to give yourself some grace in those first few months. Heck, I look back at posts I did in my first 6 months and cringe. But it’s ok and I was learning.

You are too. Over time you will get better and better at creating great posts.


7. Create an email list. 

From day one after starting a blog you should have an opt-in somewhere on your blog for people to sign up for your newsletter. I started with ConvertKit and I still use them. One of the best email providers for bloggers!

You’ll want to start collecting names and email addresses now, even if you don’t have any plans to use it for a while. And if you’re really on it, try creating some kind of opt-in incentive that will give your readers a little “thank you” for signing up.



[BONUS] 8. Start using Google Adsense now.

I’m going to do an entire post about monetizing your blog, but you should go ahead and get started with simple ads on your site from day one. In my opinion, the best place to begin is with Google Adsense. That’s what I did and it worked very well for me.

Once you’ve got a few posts going and you’re feeling good about things, you can start manually plugging in small ads directly in your posts and in the side bar. Just do a quick search on YouTube to see exactly how to do this, but it’s actually very simple. Don’t go overboard with it, people get turned off by too many ads, but a few here and there will start earning you money from day one.


[BONUS] 9. Hustle, hustle, hustle.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: hard work and dedication is the foundation of any successful blog. You’ll have to put lots of long hours in to make it grow.

And not just in your first 90 days after starting a blog, but from here on out. But the good news is that it won’t feel like work if you love blogging. If it’s your passion and something you enjoy, I promise you will love it.


[BONUS] 10. Educate yourself.

I’ll be honest, you’re going to feel a bit overwhelmed in your first 90 days of blogging. If you’re anything like I was, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a completely different world where words like “widgets” and “plugins” seem like a foreign language.

But don’t freak out. I repeat, don’t freak out. You WILL learn. Do your research and educate yourself as much as possible. There’s a ton of free info out there that can help you navigate the tech side of blogging. And if all else fails, just YouTube it. Trust me, that’s the fastest and easiest way to find a solution for just about any problem.

Whew. That was a lot, right? I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with these things to do after starting a blog. There’s a lot more I could say about your first 90 days, but I better stop here. I am so excited about this new blogging series and I really hope it helps those of you that are just getting started! I plan on talking about photography, social media, earning an income from your blog, and more.


Here are a few other blogging posts you should check out: 

The Mechanics of Starting a Blog (10 Minute Guide to Getting Your Blog Online Right Now)

Alright! Today’s lesson is where the rubber really meets the road.

In the next few minutes, you’ll register your domain name and get your blog online (if you haven’t done so already).

In today’s guide, I’ll also walk you step-by-step through installing WordPress as your blog’s content management system (CMS), configuring it with the right free plugins to maximize your search engine optimization (SEO) abilities, and get you on the path to publishing your first blog post ASAP.


1. Registering your domain and setting up hosting.

We’re going to start by heading over to Bluehost and using my 65% off discount to register your domain name and choose the best hosting plan for your needs—personally I recommend the Choice Plus Plan that includes domain protection—to really kick things off.

The setup process is pretty intuitive and easy to follow along with on Bluehost (should take less than 5 minutes). but just in case…

Here’s a video tutorial from Ryan Robinson that’ll walk you through this setup process:

Grabbing your domain name and choosing your hosting plan.

Head over to my special 65% off discount page on Bluehost and you’ll see this:

Next, you’ll click on the green “Get Started Now” button and you’ll be taken over to the next page.

This is where you’ll select the best hosting plan (more details about hosting in the next section of this guide below, but hosting is the service that actually gets your blog hosted and keeps it live on the Internet).

I highly recommend choosing the Choice Plus plan—because it comes with Domain Privacy, which will protect your personal information (your full name, email address, phone number and home address) from being published online. That means no spam/scam emails or phone calls.

So, choose your plan and that’ll look like this right here:

How to Start a Blog Step 2 Bluehost web - marked up

As I said above, I highly recommend choosing the Choice Plus plan, so that you’re getting the Domain Privacy feature that’ll protect your personal information online.

Next, you’ll get to the page where it’s time to choose the domain name for your blog:

How to Start a Blog Step 3 Bluehost web-cropped

And after you choose your domain name (or go for the option to decide on it later), you’ll complete your checkout process and we’ll be off to the races!

Once you’ve registered your domain through Bluehost, you should receive a welcome email and receipt delivered via email. And you’ll be directed to a page that looks like this where you’ll create your password for your blog:

Next up, we’re walking through setting up the WordPress configuration for your blog and I’ll be showing you how to publish your very first blog post.

WordPress is the Content Management System (CMS) that sits behind the scenes and serves as the platform for running your website, making changes to the appearance, and publishing blog posts.

2. Configuring your WordPress install and publishing your first blog post.

Here’s a video walkthrough of configuring the right settings for your new WordPress blog (and he also covers publishing your first post).

Naturally, we didn’t cover EVERYTHING about WordPress in just one short video.

But those are the basics you need to be concerned with first.

Spend some more time poking around in the backend of your blog, exploring, testing things out, and you’ll develop a much deeper understanding of how everything is connected and which things you can quickly change about your site’s appearance. This is all about experimentation!

Quick rundown: The basic WordPress settings you want to become familiar with.

There are many different reasons for starting a blog and just as many unique goals you may want to accomplish with your site, but regardless, it pays to have a basic understanding of the broader aspects of your CMS.

Let’s dig into a few of the bigger picture settings.

1. Permalinks

I touched on this in the walkthrough video above when I customized the URL for the first blog post I published. And when you set up your WordPress blog using Bluehost, the permalink settings will already default optimized to publish new blog posts in the format of domain.com/post-name (like you saw in the video).

If your permalink settings aren’t already set to this format, it’s important to change them right now. This’ll help you rank better in search engines like Google, because your title’s text will appear in each of  your URLs.

Go to Settings > Permalinks to make this adjustment.

2. Your blog’s theme

Like I said in the video above, I don’t recommend buying a paid WordPress theme like the one I use called OptimizePress, until you have some traffic and are generating at least a little income form your site. While OptimizePress is an incredible theme, diving into something like that at this stage will be a distraction from your most important priorities.

WordPress comes with a ton of free themes to choose from, so start with any of the options you see in Appearance > Themes, without wasting much time on this for now. You can always come back and change it later.

3. Your default site URL

Next, you want to change the default URL of your website to include a “www” before your site URL. So you’ll go from https://sideprojectideas.com to https://www.sideprojectideas.com. You can change this quickly by going to Settings > General and following this format:

All of the pages on your blog will now be redirected automatically to the www version, which looks much cleaner and trustworthy.

4. Setting your  homepage

As I recommended in the walkthrough video, my advice is to just set your homepage to be where your blog posts display. You have the option of setting your homepage to be a static, custom designed page that can serve to capture email sign ups, sell a product, or otherwise in the future. But for now, stick with just a list of your recent blog posts.

If you’re setting your home page to be the blog, then one thing you can consider is changing the settings to show the complete text of your blog posts right on the homepage, rather than a list that has short previews of each post.

Since you won’t have many posts on your blog for the next few days or weeks, this’ll make it look like there’s more content in the short-term, and you can change the settings back to a list and preview format once you’ve gotten your first 5 or so posts published.

To change this setting, just go to Settings > Reading.

5. Your blog menu

For right now, you won’t need a menu until you’ve published your key pages (About, Contact, Hire, Shop, etc), but when you’re ready to create a homepage or footer menu, just go to Appearance > Menus and you can create them in just a few clicks.

Now, let’s talk plugins…

As I mentioned in our very first video of this series, we’re going to install a few crucial plugins that’ll help get your site up to the standards major search engines like Google want to see.

Installing the top (free) essential WordPress plugins on your blog.

Here’s Ryan Robinson’s next video that covers installing most of the top (free) WordPress plugins you’ll want in order to optimize your blog for search engines.

These plugins are just the basics I recommend setting up before popping back in to explore, test and experiment in the backend of your blog—and ultimately you’ll learn about and want to install new plugins that seem well-suited to the type of blog you want to create.

Here are the links to where you can download all of the plugin files I mentioned in the walkthrough video, plus a few more you may want to consider installing:

1. Yoast SEOThe more people that can find your content, the better your blog will do. Yoast helps you to optimize your blog post titles, descriptions, content length and other elements across your entire blog so that you can be found easier by search engines.

2. MonsterInsights. This is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress and comes already installed out-of-the-box with your Bluehost blog, so there’s nothing you need to do here. It’s already live on your site and in the video above, I show you how to connect it to your Google Analytics account (you can sign up for a free Google Analytics account right here) and you’ll get a ton of insights about who’s coming to your site, how long they’re sticking around, and what your most popular blog posts are.

3. W3 Total Cache.Faster websites rank better in Google and give your readers a better experience. W3 Total Cache reduces your file sizes so that your blog loads faster for everyone.

4. Insert Headers and FootersSometimes to edit your theme you’ll have to add code snippets to your header or footer (it’s not as scary as it sounds). However, doing it in the code of your theme can cause issues. This plugin lets you add small snippets of code easily.

5. Sumo.Social shares, email captures, and more. Pretty much a no-brainer if you want to build and grow your blog.

Bonus plugins to consider installing:

6. BackupBuddy. Sometimes things go wrong. It’s always smart to have a backup of all your hard work, and this plugin can back your site up at regular intervals.

7. MaxCDN. Speaking of speed, MaxCDN makes images and other static elements of your blog load faster as well.

8. MemberPress. If you want to build a gated community around your blog content, there’s nothing easier than using MemberPress. You can create subscription, restrict content, and set up payment options.

10. Akismet. Once you start getting readers for your blog, this plugin that protects your site from spam comments by automatically detecting potentially spammy comments will be a life-saver. It’s protected my blog from literally tens of thousands of spam comments, saving me a whole lot of time along the way.

That’s it! You’re ready to rock and roll…

Now that you’ve registered your domain, installed WordPress, configured your main settings and added all the essential plugins, I’m turning the keys over to you…

Explore, poke around, test things out behind the scenes of your blog.

Spend some time seeing how a change in the backend affects the appearance of your blog.

Never again will you have the luxury of being able to test major layout changes, new plugins or themes without showing some of your readers radically different experiences—or without having some down time on your site while you make changes.

And if you decide you want to experiment with different WordPress themes for your blog (which I’d place a relatively low priority on today), here’s my criteria for evaluating alternative blog themes.

If you haven’t already, then go ahead and register your domain so you can get your blog online right now.

Pause right here until your blog is online. It’s ok, we’ll wait 😊

Next, I’ve got a couple of bonuses for you.

The first section here is about the qualities and characteristics you should look for in the WordPress theme you choose to use for your blog, plus links to a few resource guides that break down the best themes out there today.

Second, to give you a little preview of what we’ll be covering in the lesson of this course about how to monetize your blog… I’ve got a breakdown of some of the biggest benefits I’ve experienced as a result of starting my blog.

BONUS #1: How to choose an alternative WordPress theme (and my top theme)

Picking a new blog theme can be a lot of fun. But, as I’ve said countless times here today… it can also take up a ton of time that you could otherwise be using to write and promote your posts (and thus getting to your first blog readers and income faster).

It’s also very easy to get swept away by themes that look awesome, but might not be so great functionally.

Here’s exactly what to look for when checking out new blog themes:

  • Keep it simple: At the end of the day, the goal of starting a blog is to share content that can be easily consumed (read, watched, experienced). And unfortunately, a lot of fancy blog themes get in the way of that. Don’t get too drawn in by crazy looking themes that compromise on legibility and usability. If a theme looks good, but doesn’t help you share your thoughts and engage with readers, it’s not a good theme.
  • Responsiveness is a must: Responsiveness refers to themes that make sure your blog looks as good on a laptop, as it does on someone’s smartphone. Today, more and more people use their phones to read blogs and depending on your audience, that number could be 50% or higher (like mine is). Google also favors mobile-friendly websites and ranks them at the top of their organic search results. If you’re not totally sure whether a theme is mobile friendly or not, copy and paste the URL of the theme’s demo page into Google’s Mobile Friendly Test page. (This test will almost always show some warnings. But major red flags to watch out for are text too small or content wider than screen.)
  • Does it work in different browsers? Your readers won’t just be using different devices, but different browsers. Most theme developers rigorously test their themes across browsers, but sometimes mistakes slip through. Try testing on a couple different browsers just to make sure.
  • Supported plugins: If you’re using WordPress, the real power of your blog comes from plugins (like the ones you’ve already installed). Make sure the theme you’re choosing supports all popular plugins. If you’re unsure, ask the developer.
  • SEO friendliness: SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to how well Google and other search engines can find your information when people search for it. Some themes use bulky code that makes it difficult for search engines to read. And while no one expects you to inspect a theme’s code you should see if the developer has said it is optimized for SEO.
  • Support: Problems happen. And when they do, you want to be able to ask for help. Lots of free theme developers won’t offer support for their products. So that’s one thing to be aware of when making your choice.
  • Ratings and reviews: Look for themes with a good track record. If the theme is sold on a third-party marketplace you should be able to see reviews no problem. For free WordPress theme, you’ll see the ratings just below the download button.

My favorite blog theme (OptimizePress)

If you’re looking to set up landing pages, a blog, and a membership site, my favorite blog theme (and the one that I’ve been using for years here) is OptimizePress. One of the biggest reasons why I love this blog theme so much, is the visual editor—which ensures I never have to write custom code in order to do something on my blog.

How to Start a Blog on the Side Guide OptimizePress Editing Theme

This is important to me for many reasons, most of which being that I don’t have to rely on help from someone else in order to make changes to my blog. Not only does OptimizePress give you a powerful and visually appealing blog template to start with, but it can help you accelerate your progress toward building an online business with things like:

  • Templates and themes for landing, marketing, and sales pages
  • Mobile-ready versions of every single page you create
  • Tons of monetization options like membership portals, courses, and webinars

Price-wise, OptimizePress is definitely on the more premium side of things.

But the functionality, support, flexibility, and ease of use has made it a no-brainer for me—and if you’re here to start a blog with the goal of building an online business for yourself, this is the best route to go.

Over the past few years, I’ve saved hundreds of hours and more than a few headaches by using it. So if you’re looking for a great foundation for a blog that can evolve into an online business (and you have the budget right now), this theme is an awesome option.

Though, OptimizePress is not the only theme out there.

Here are a collection of some of my other favorites:

Now remember, let’s not get lost in the weeds here.

BONUS #2: The 5 biggest benefits to starting a blog (today)

#1: Build your marketing skills

The original purpose for building my blog was to experiment, learn and build my marketing skills.

I was interested in a brand new area of marketing called content marketing and was applying for jobs in the field. So, my blog was going to be a testing ground for figuring out how to become a better writer, experiment with different tactics to promote my blog posts (like Facebook Ads, getting content to go viral on Reddit, guest posting) and start attracting readers of my own.

Blogging is hands down the cheapest and most effective way to learn content marketing.

Now that I have this skill, even if my blog were to disappear tomorrow, I could still command six-figure jobs (or freelance gigs) with the expertise I’ve built over the years.

And it all started with my decision to launch a blog… and learn through doing.

For years, my blog was only a place to sharpen my skills. Little did I know it would become my primary source of income.

#2: Help, meet and entertain others

My blog’s allowed me to meet and help thousands of incredible people from all over the world.

From one of my earliest posts breaking down the disastrous failure of my first business (around a product I built in college), I’ve been able to help thousands of readers and course students avoid some of the most painful mistakes along the path to growing a successful business.

Similarly, you can help countless people through your blog.

It’s as easy as starting with your skills (and interests) and teaching them to others. Surely you have 2 or 3 of these in your wheelhouse…

  • Writing
  • Graphic design
  • Web development
  • Video or audio editing
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Accounting or tax prep
  • Admin work
  • Tutoring
  • Language coaching
  • Social media
  • Traveling tips and tricks
  • Photography
  • Interior design or architecture
  • Dating and relationships
  • Food or restaurants
  • Brewing coffee or beer
  • Building products
  • Data analysis or other technical expertise

The list goes on and on… If you have a skill or interest area that you want to educate others about, a blog is the perfect destination to execute on that—and to eventually monetize.

(Don’t worry, our next lesson is all about picking a well-defined niche that YOU should start a blog about)

#3: Land a better job

In early 2016, I was living at home with my parents. I wanted to move to San Francisco, but needed a job there in order to make it happen.

I started applying to startups, directly emailing the founders and including the link to my new blog in my emails… with the goal of showing them I knew what I was talking about when it came to online marketing (one of the early topics on my blog).

Having a blog where I regularly published about my side projects, marketing experiments, thoughts and interesting findings became a small but meaningful factor that differentiated me from hundreds of other applicants out there. And (my still friend) Matthew at Popexpert took a chance on me.

Click "display images" to see the first email I got from what became my first job in San Francisco.

#4: Get high-paying freelance clients

A little over a year into running my blog, it had already helped me land 2 full-time jobs and my first $500/mo freelance client.

Having a blog gives you a public space to demonstrate your skills and expertise. Because I was getting better at crafting engaging, long-form content on my blog, over time it started to attract people at companies who wanted to publish similar content to their blogs.

Kristen, who ran content for a big eCommerce website (Selz) commented on one of my blog posts about time management shortly after I published it.

Click "display images" to see Kristen's comment on my blog

After seeing that comment, I sent her an email and started a dialogue that led to Selz becoming my first paying freelance client.

#5: Creating sustainable side income (and eventually a full-time business)

Since starting my blog, it’s helped me unlock numerous new sources of side income…

  • Sponsored content on my blog. As my readership has grown, I’ve been able to charge brands like Skillshare, Slidebean and others $1,500/ea for me to write up a sponsored post (and email) for my blog. They pay me to do what I love, write.
  • Selling my content marketing services. I regularly book new freelance clients (like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Adobe) for $5,000/mo or more where I’m brought on to advise and execute on creating content marketing campaigns for the brands.
  • Online courses. I made over $20,000 alone on the last course about validating business ideas when I launched it to my blog readers.
  • Podcast sponsorships. In 2017, launching a podcast gave me an excuse to begin interviewing some of my biggest heroes in the world of startups and business. Now that I have a show, I regularly sell sponsorship slots to brands like Freshbooks at $500/episode to reach my audience.
  • Business partnerships. Because of my blog, I’ve been able to meet some incredibly talented entrepreneurs. We’ve collaborated together on projects ranging from content marketing agencies, to launching new niche websites, and building online tools.

Those are just the main sources of side income my blog provides for me, and it’s possible to do a whole lot more.

There are multiple ways you can make money from a blog (and build the right skills).

It may take you 1, 3, 6 or even 12 months to start earning a meaningful amount of income.

But, the more you learn… the more you earn.

The next lesson will be coming your way tomorrow—or if you’re ready to jump straight into it right now… then head back to the email for this lesson and click on the acceleration link at the bottom of the email.

If you haven’t already, it’s really time now 😊

7 Blog Niches That Have Six-Figure Income Potential

Your blog niche is crucial for your success. Blogging is lovely & lucrative; it attracts a lot of people into this business every day.

You may have noticed a lot of niche blogging sites that’ll help you start a blog. All you got to do is find a good hosting, select a domain name, install WordPress and *BAM* you’re golden!

Starting a blog is REEEAAALLY easy nowadays. 

But making money from it? Well… not so much!

7 Blog Niches That Have Six-Figure Income Potential

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure for more info.



Some influential business figures claim that to make money, you’ll have to target the right audience. 

50% of which is done when you choose a niche.”Blog Niches” is a thing that a lot of people are concerned about because a niche drives a specific audience group. Which converts to more income.

But conversely…. it is not the absolute necessity for you to niche down your website to selected topics. Take Chasingfoxes.com for example. What is their blog niche? I have no friggin idea. Their blog covers everything under the sun, which gets MILLIONS of pageviews every single month.

And yes, more pageviews = more $$$.

Sooo…Why choose blog niches?

As said above, Choosing specific blog niches increases your chances to attract the like-minded audience who are only looking for what you have to offer, Which in turn increases your blog income.

Though there are many popular opinions around the blogging world that say ” You should always choose a niche you’re really passionate about” OR “Select a niche that you truly love “, If you’ve decided to make your blog niched, then choosing one of the some selected niches might be your best bet to grow fast.

Because some specific blog niches DO perform better compared to other blog niches (Income wise).

If I had a Yoga Teaching Blog, making money from yoga will be pretty damn hard for me unless I start a yoga clothing line or a sell a meditation music series or yoga courses. Yoga is good for traffic but terrible for money, even if you’re using ads, MILLIONS of pageviews a month will be required to make a decent income.

But a Personal finance blog will thrive despite getting only a fraction of that traffic.


Yeah! Making money online is funny (and confusing) like that. But I’ll admit that Niche does play some part in money making.

Eitherways, to have a blog that makes six figures (at least),  you probably have to join major affiliate programs Such as Flex offersAwinImpact, and ShareASale. (Which are pretty easy to join, even for a brand new blogger).

Join Affiliate programs –

1: Flex offers

2: Awin

3: Impact

4: ShareASale


So, Given below are the blog niches (in no specific order) that have the potential to make a six-figure income.


1) Food And Recipies

food and recipies blog niches

Out of all the blog niches present, Food blogs get millions (We are talking MULTI-MILLION) of pageviews each month. It is a bit challenging to sell products through a food blog because almost no one in the audience gives much attention to your product, they are there just for the recipes. 

Despite that, receiving such a large amount of traffic is enough to boost your income through display ads.

Another way to make an increase to that income amount is to write sponsored posts. Certain companies pay proper amounts to promote their content in these high traffic blogs.

One of the reasons why Food blogs are so popular is that the majority (80%) of Pinterest users (With around 200 million active users at the time of writing the post) are Females, Food blogs are a massive deal in the world of Pinterest.

Top Food blogger –


2) Personal Finances And Money Making

finance blog niches

Personal Finance and Money blogs thrive on the internet because most of us suck at money matters. 

Frugal living, budgeting and expense management are those boring but useful things that help make our lives a little bit better. But the majority of people have no clue how to handle financial changes.  Thus, makes this niche evergreen.

Did you know that saving money, money making and other topics related to capital is one of the most significant blog niches on Pinterest? There are some massive group boards just for frugal living blogger.

 

Top Personal Finance blogs –

Related: 11 Terrible Mistakes I Have Seen Amateur Blogs Make (Real-life Examples Included!)


3) Health And Fitness

fitness blog niches

This is the most obvious one! I mean, who hasn’t in their life googled tips to lose weight, gain muscles or any fitness stuff in general.

We all do it.

Now, more than ever people are obsessed with fitness and getting in shape. Moreover, there is a veerryy low chance that you’ll go wrong in this niche, as because almost all the demographics in the world is into health and fitness.

Alternate health solutions are also widely popular in this area; people will always love alternative cheap remedies and cures to specific health problems compared to the mainstream medicines and surgical techniques. 

 

Now when it comes to Monetization your blog, you can always rely on display ads, sponsored posts, fitness coaching, and online courses.

Fitness blogs can also be as popular as Food blogs, and both the niches unite when it comes to “Healthy – Cooking.”

 

Top Health And Fitness blogs –



4) Blogging And Entrepreneurship

blogging blog niches

Entrepreneurship blog niches are pretty popular. Take Forbes and Business Insider, for example; they are massive. Even Blogs based on blogging are an excellent example of an Entrepreneurial domain.

As the time is changing, new income methods are beating traditional ways of earning. Entrepreneurship blogs are just a small window to reflect those methods, and sure enough, the audience loves it.

These blogs are also a great source of motivation for a good number of people who are struggling to earn or are not happy with the way they are making their money. 

 

Top Blogging And Entrepreneurship blogs –


5: Parenting

parenting blog niches

Parenting blog niches Come to great help to those who are going to be parents, new parents as well as parents with teenage kids. And then again when the kids become parents.

The cycle goes ON and ON.

Parenting is no joke, Being a parent is a hard task to do (which lasts for many years). I know because I am a son, and I was such a brat around the house that thinking about that now makes me realize

HOW MY PARENTS EVEN TOLERATED ME? Ughhh

Besides that, Parents are always on the internet searching for the tips and guides to know what is best for their kids, which food is healthy during their growth, and educational activities for their kids. And these web searches is what makes parenting blogs win. 

And with such search terms, there are potentially thousands to millions to be made with affiliate marketing just by selling some guides, tips or games which parents think are might be useful to their kids.

 

Top Parenting Blogs –


6: Travel

travel blog niches

I want to travel.

My friends want to travel.

Most of my family wants to travel.

WHO DOESN’T WANT TO TRAAAAAAVEL?

And for people with a job, these travel blogs is a great escape from their nine to five lifestyle. 

According to statistia.com in 2016 the global revenue generated by the traveling industry including transportation, accommodation, entertainment, and attractions was 7.6 Trillion dollar.

A significant benefit of being a travel bloggers is that, if you have a huge blog following, then certain companies will offer you to stay in their hotels and let you travel for free (or with a significant discount) if you share positive experiences about the hotel and services to your audience.

 

Frequently, what happens when we plan to travel somewhere?

We Google Zillion of things. Where is the best destination to travel, how to book cheap tickets, OK hotels, food, safety, attractions in that place, etc.? Travel bloggers provide in-depth knowledge to questions like these, the do’s and won’t’s, etc.

Though unlike most of the other blog niches, you HAVE to go and travel places to fill up your blog content, you can’t use your imagination. 

 

Yes! You have to make a beforehand investment for your traveling plans even before you start your blog. This very reason makes a lot of newbie bloggers NOT to choose “Travel” as their primary niche.

Top Travel Blogs-

Related: Here Are 13 Things You Should Do Before Launching Your Blog




7: Lifestyle

lifestyle blog niches

Lifestyle blog Niches are MASSIVE regarding content and area of topics it covers.  A lifestyle blog is a blog that may have many different sub-topics. These blogs generally target one type of demographic – Self-confidence, college kids, pet lovers, style, inspiration, gardening, etc.

Or one can make their blog a combination of many subtopics like the ones mentioned before. Because of this idea, some bloggers think you can’t generate an income with a multi-topic blog which is not true at all.

For example:

Ashli from The Million Dollar Mama covers about 8 Topics in her blog – from recipes to blogging to travel and more. And she makes around $5000 just from Amazon by referring people.

One of the Biggest Advantage of Choosing a lifestyle blog is that you will NEVER run out of topics to write about. This very fact is the reason why bloggers can write more consistently without repeating the same topic over and over.

Top Lifestyle blog niches –


Conclusion

Choosing one of the above blog niches might be your best bet if you want to grow fast. But, The mentioned blog niches above and all the popular blog niches present out there have one thing in common, which is-

They all make enough money to let bloggers leave their jobs and go FULL-TIME as a Blogger. Which is pretty amazing!

And if you haven’t started your blog yet because you’re unsure if this is ever going to work out? I would strongly, wholeheartedly suggest you to at least give it a go. You don’t even know what you might be capable of until you try it.

Know how to Start A Blog in this step-by-step Guide.

Is 2019 your year?

Is this your year when you FINALLY start your very own blogging business?

Related: 3 Simple Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Blog

Free PDF Reveals How I Went From $0 To $10,000 Monthly Income Just Blogging As A Beginner

There have been people that have followed the method described in this PDF that have made more than $10,000 by the end of 90 days JUST BLOGGING WITH NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE.

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