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There’s so much content written out there on how to start your blog or how to launch your blog or even what you need to remember before you start blogging.
But what about the next phase?
Launching a blog is just part 1 or maybe 1/10th of the effort it takes to be a blogger.
Once you’ve launched, how would you like a roadmap or a hand-held guide that tells you what you should actually be doing as a blogger?
In this post, I chalk out a step by step roadmap for your first 3 months as a serious blogger.
As someone who has been blogging for over a decade and who’s made huge mistakes along the way, I figured I’d share this for anyone who’s wondering what are the first steps to take as a new blogger.
Now, assuming you aren’t a new blogger and have got some months or years of experience in this space, I’d still urge you to check out this post.
If, however, you feel confident about having launched your blog, check out my free 20-day Blogging bootcamp instead to scale up your blog for success.
This post contains Referral/Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on any of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete disclosure policy here.
- (Week 1) Create a blogging roadmap
- (Week 2) Put together a content calendar
- (Week 3) Lay a Strong Foundation for your blog
- (Week 4) Start Writing Content
- (Weeks 5-6) Work on your Pinterest Account
- (Week 7) Set up your other Social Media Accounts
- (Week 8) Set up a posting schedule for Pinterest
- (Weeks 9 – 10) Start working on SEO
- (Week 11) Start an e-mail list
- (Week 12) Learn to Monetize your Blog
Month 1: CONTENT IS KING/QUEEN
Everything starts with content. A Blog that is focused on high quality content is sure to do sustainably well in the long run.
This is where your journey will begin.
(Week 1) Create a blogging roadmap
Decide what your primary goals are when it comes to your blog.
Do you want to just reach out and connect with other people/fellow bloggers in this space? If so, the rest of this post will really not be relevant to your needs.
If however, your goals are different, read on.
Do you want a larger audience that lands on your blog, by searching for ideas via Google search?
Would you like to monetize your blog and use it as a source of income, part-time or full-time?
Most important, are you willing to put in the hard work, free of distractions, to make this blogging thing work in your favour?
It’s so easy to be swayed by what everyone says. Instead, I want you to listen to the one person who matters: yourself.
Goal setting is a very crucial part of the entire blogging puzzle. Set aside an entire week to get clarity on this aspect.
Confused and wondering what to do?
Start with my post on how to set 90 day Blogging goals for your Blog
(Week 2) Put together a content calendar
While this doesn’t have to be elaborate or exhaustive, this exercise is what I recommend to all my coaching clients.
This part includes 2 aspects:
What to write about (niche)
How often you can write (frequency)
WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT:
Any niche or topic that you choose has to have two core components:
A) Your interest/expertise in the topic
B) An Audience that is available for the topic
You cannot blog sustainably for a long time (think years and years) unless you truly believe in what you write about.
So the interest part is very relevant and important here.
Similarly, you cannot blog consistently if there is nobody available to read your blog.
Do this 2-step free writing exercise now.
- Write out the niche that excites you the most. It should be a niche that you are both comfortable talking about and willing to learn more about in the coming months.
- Start writing out blog post topics, as many as you can. They don’t have to be perfect. Start writing them out. That’s all that matters.
Once you’re done with that, take the rest of the week to determine how often you’re willing to post content.
Can you post once a week? Twice? Daily?
While there is nothing wrong with posting daily, it can lead to burnout, especially as a new blogger.
Only do the daily writing exercise if you can follow these 7 cardinal rules.
Want help with this? Book a 30-minute coaching session with me today to get clarity on your blog. (It’s VERY inexpensive, I promise! ) 🙂
(Week 3) Lay a Strong Foundation for your blog
Now that you have your goals and content strategy in place, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty of the blog itself.
For that, the first thing you need to do is to identify the following:
- A good Domain Name (I recommend NameCheap)
- A reasonable Hosting plan (I personally recommend Chemicloud)
- A Theme
- Add an About Me Page
While those are the absolute basic things to focus on, use the rest of the week to set up two more things: Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
This foundation portion is essential because it’s a one-time set up and you can then get back to focusing on the things that actually matter: your content.
For a complete step by step tutorial on how to set up your blog, read my post on how to start a blog and set it up for success.
(Week 4) Start Writing Content
Okay, now the fun begins!
Aim to write one blog post a week, to begin with.
If your blogging schedule is once a week, focus on the following things:
- An in-depth post with emphasis on details
- High quality images to supplement the content
- Structuring your post well for readability
- Sharing it on the right social networks
I’ve put together a 10-step checklist for you to follow as soon as you finish writing a blog post.
MONTH 2- Grow your Traffic
(Weeks 5-6) Work on your Pinterest Account
The easiest way to drive traffic to your blog, as a new blogger, is through Pinterest.
Pinterest is organic traffic, but more important than that- it’s FREE traffic!
And it requires no social media participation or sharing your post on multiple Facebook threads.
Start with my very simply tutorial here on 10 Best Practices for Pinterest- A Complete Guide for Beginners
After you’ve launched your Pinterest account, use this super-quick Pinterest checklist to see how you can optimise your profile.
This post contains links to the Amazon affiliate program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my complete Disclosure policy here.
In the next week (week 6), aim to start pinning content consistently to your Pinterest boards.
If you downloaded that checklist I mention above, it has a guideline on how to start creating boards and pinning to them. Don’t miss it.
Aim to pin about 10 to 25 pins per day.
Remember that Pinterest rewards consistency over volume. Pin daily. That’s what will get your content traction on this platform.
Don’t have enough content of your own? No problem.
Pin content from other people in your niche. Start introducing your own pins over time.
The key thing to note is that each of the previous weeks should serve as an add-on to the next week.
Meaning, by week 6, you should be comfortable doing the work of week 1+ week 2+ week 3+ week 4+week 5 and week 6.
This concept is beautifully explained in terms of fitness in this book by Rujuta Diwekar: The 12 Week Fitness Project
Didn’t I say this was hard work? 😉 But it’s all worth it, I promise.
(Week 7) Set up your other Social Media Accounts
The ideal thing to do in the first few months is to focus exclusively on your blog and driving traffic through Pinterest.
However, this is a great time to also set up your other social media accounts and lock in the names/handles that you need.
Create active accounts on each of the following platforms: Instagram, Facebook Page and Twitter.
You don’t have to actually start posting to them just yet.
Just create the handles and have them handy. Populate the bio of each channel and be ready to work on them a bit later, down the line.
This is because, you’re still determining where your audience is most active.
Once you get a good understanding of that, it will be easier to shift focus to that platform a few months later.
For example, I observed when I began blogging as a hobby blogger that Facebook was the most ideal platform thanks to all the networking opportunities with other bloggers.
Join some Facebook groups in your niche and seek to learn from the other bloggers in those groups.
Pro Tip: If you intend to get organic, search-related traffic, stay away from Facebook share threads and especially Pinterest share threads!
A few years later, I moved to Twitter and managed to grow that account to 5000+ followers which also helps with decent traffic to the blog.
As of 2020, my favourite social media platform is Instagram because it’s a great lead generation tool for my business and also sends the most engaged readers and subscribers my way.
(Week 8) Set up a posting schedule for Pinterest
By now, you must be familiar with posting regularly on Pinterest.
A consistent posting schedule will help you get daily traffic from Pinterest.
But, fair warning: Give Pinterest 3 to 6 months to work effectively. It’s a long game but well worth it, if you’re patient.
Manual pinning is great for the first month or so, since it gives you a good feel of the Pinterest platform.
In fact, one of the best people to follow in terms of manual pinning is Carly Campbell’s very reasonably priced Pinteresting Strategies course.
She relies exclusively on this model and gets well over 300,000 page views from Pinterest every month!
At the end of this week which also brings us to the close of two months since you launched the blog, think about getting a Tailwind account.
Tailwind is a pin scheduling service and is free to use for the first 100 pins. It frees up your time to work on more content creation and traffic generation tips (which we will cover in the third month).
Read about how to get started with Tailwind here and how I use it to generate daily traffic to my blog!
MONTH 3 – Expand your focus
(Weeks 9 – 10) Start working on SEO
It’s the one thing that many bloggers crave and equally dread: Search Engine Optimisation.
But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be!
See, Search Engine Optimisation is a very fancy term for writing quality content that fulfils your reader’s intent.
But there are a few basic guidelines that will really help you out.
For that, I recommend investing in these two books by Debbie Gartner, the one woman I trust when it comes to quality SEO information.
First, start with her book on Easy On Page SEO for Beginners.
Use this and get familiar with it over the course of a week.
After a couple of months, invest in her sequel to this book called Easy Backlinks for SEO.
Using the techniques in her books, I’ve had articles ranking on page 1 of Google Search within 3 months of publishing the post!
In fact, one post got on page one within 24 hours of going live on the blog 🙂
If you are strapped for cash, start with Brian Dean’s detailed guide on SEO and backlink building here.
(Week 11) Start an e-mail list
An E-mail list only halfway through the third month of blogging? What? I was told to start one right away as soon as I’d launched my blog!
As much as I’d like to tell you that this is good advice, the truth is you cannot do justice to an e-mail list unless you’re comfortable with two things:
Engaging with your Audience
So, once you’ve settled into a groove, pick your email service provider of choice( I personally recommend Mailerlite), and get started for free.
You can have up to 1000 Subscribers on their free plan and it’s great to get your feet wet.
Before that, however, first read this post on whether or not you ACTUALLY need an e-mail list!
(Week 12) Learn to Monetize your Blog
We now come to the part which everyone actually wants to know about- making money from your blog.
There are multiple ways to make money from your blog.
- Affiliate Marketing: This is my MOST favourite form of making money. You buy an item/digital product.
You then sign up to be an affiliate for the product and review the item on your blog. Readers who use your affiliate link to buy the item will generate a commission for you.
This is honest (because you’ve used the product) and targeted (because it’s relevant to your audience)⠀
- Ad Revenue: You need significant number of page views to be able to generate money through this source.⠀
- Product Reviews: You get products in exchange for honest reviews. You get paid for the effort of writing the review; NOT for praising the product because you got it from the brand.
- Sponsored posts: Where you work with a brand and promote their item on your blog. I rarely do this anymore although I have done so in the past.⠀
- Sell your own products: This involves a lot more effort in the beginning but over time this can generate a decent amount of passive income, based on how engaged your audience is.⠀
For now, start with these 6 Must-Follow Affiliate Marketing Tips for Beginners and set the ball rolling.
*One stay at home mom blogger makes $5000 per month with affiliate marketing! No kidding 🙂
Follow these steps diligently and I guarantee that you’re set on the path to a successful, money-making blog in 3 months.
Blogging is hard work, but the fruits of the efforts are incredibly sweet, if you’re willing to put in the spade work and wait for the results to appear.