I spent 13 years working in the financial services industry, before we decided to start a family.
Whilst I was pregnant with my first baby boy, I knew that I didn’t want to go back to that 9-5 job once he was born.
Don’t get me wrong, throughout my career I loved working in all the jobs I had and loved the people even more, however, I always knew that when the time came for me to be a mummy, I wanted to stay at home and raise my babies.
Luckily enough, I had an amazing, supportive husband who made it possible for me to do exactly that – stay home with my baby boy!
I’ve never regretted it and 7 years later, we now have two little boys who I couldn’t imagine my world without.
While I've been at home, it’s been extremely difficult for me to adjust to not earning or having any money of my own…
And… it’s been even harder knowing that I’m not contributing like I used to, leaving all the financial burden on my husband's shoulders.
That said, on and off throughout the 7 years I’ve been at home raising my children, I haven’t been sat on my backside doing nothing…
I’ve been dabbling in many things online to try and make some extra money, because I’ve always been adamant that going back to a “typical” job wasn’t for me anymore.
My life was now sooooo different, along with my priorities…
That being said, I've always wanted to continue working in some way and starting a blog has always been in the forefront of my mind.
I just wanted to contribute and help out financially!
I wanted to earn money whilst still being at home to take care of my children.
Some of the things I worked on succeeded – but most of the things I tried failed miserably…
I’ve also experienced many things online that aren’t exactly a great way to make a steady, regular income and they didn’t make me feel good either.
The internet world can seem like a scary place and it can be very easy to get caught up in things that aren’t what they seem to be!
Having said that, blogging is not one of those things…
Blogging is a legitimate, awesome way to build something incredible and I've followed many awesome bloggers over the years.
My entrepreneurial nature has meant I’ve always loved the idea of having my own blog.A space of my own to share things with other like-minded people.
Because of this, I’ve had multiple blogs in many different niches – (parenting and tropical fish to name a few) and I've made money with them all, but I’ve neverbeen passionate enough about any of them, meaning none have them have grown into anything major.
I never really gave any of them my all.
I didn’t give any of those blogs the time, dedication, effort and affection they needed to become a huge success.
However, as I delved deeper and deeper into the blogging world, I realized that it was the only way I would be able to grow a business where I could help other mums, which is what I wanted to do so badly.
I wanted to be super excited, passionate and actually enjoy building and growing something myself, alongside being able to make money too.
And above all, I wanted to help other mums make some form of income, whether they were stay at home mums like me or working mums.
I knew that if I had been searching for information about how to do this, then other mums would have been too!
Blogging for Mums is my absolute passion and I’m so, so dedicated and excited about using all the knowledge and information I’ve learnt over many years, to help other mums like you start their own blogs…
Furthermore, I want to grow this blog and take you on the journey with me, every step of the way!
We can all take this ride and grow together!
I know that we can do this and make a better life for ourselves…
More time and financial freedom is what we all desire, right?
More time to spend with our gorgeous children and family…
More money to spend on them and the things we want in life…
But before we get started, you really need to ask yourself one question first:
And – it’s a big one…
Is Starting A Blog Right For You?
Is Starting A Blog Right for you?
Read on to see whether starting a blog is right for you, because believe me when I say, it isn’t for everyone…
… and I don’t want you to waste any of your time.
This post (although a lengthy one) will help you decide whether you’re ready to begin your blogging journey…
We’re going to talk about a lot of things to help you decide if starting a blog is right for you and I’m going to answer a lot of questions which get asked all the time.
Of those 500 million blogs, over 2 million blog posts are written daily.
Blogging is about giving information and people are always searching on the internet for information
People check out blog articles all the time to find an answer to a question they have.
If you’re out there writing great blog posts for them to read, answering their problems and questions, then those people will start to know, like and trust you!
Trust is a big thing on the internet as so many people are out scamming the world.
By writing fantastic content on your blog, which is helpful, answers a problem, is exciting, interesting and readable, you’re going to stand out from the crowd…
As a result, people will want to come back to your blog again and again if you do this consistently.
So… what other reasons are there that make blogging relevant…
Let's have a look shall we:
Blogging gives you brand credibility!
Being credible is extremely important in the blogging world and you have to be able to show people you know what you're talking about.
You can’t just waffle on about rubbish and expect people to listen, trust and respect you…
Give helpful, honest advice and be transparent and people WILL like you…
And if they don’t, don’t fret about it – you can’t be liked by everyone and they know where the “x” button is on the tab bar, to make you disappear.
It takes time to build credibility and you need to get to a point where people can see you as an authority within your niche.
Practice what you preach and show your audience that you say and do what you teach.
Always be available for people to reach out to you and help wherever you can.
Be that person who is super helpful and goes above and beyond for your readers and eventually customers.
Be yourself ALWAYS. Don’t try and be someone you’re not and also don’t try and be like other bloggers you’ve seen. Having your own voice and giving your own unique stance on things is what will make you different from everyone else and ultimately will make your blog a success.
It gives you a platform to get what you want to say out there
Having a blog is a fantastic way to get what you want to say out into the world.
By having a niche blog, you can talk about all the things to do with that niche and you’re able to reach a whole array of people around the globe – amazing huh!
When you have your own blog, you can pretty much do what you want, when you want! (although there are some methods you will want to follow), because setting up and maintaining a blog needs to have some kind of structure to it.
When you have a blog with WordPress.org you own that website and are able to let your creative juices flow to the max!
You can design and set up a blog to look exactly how you envision it to.
When your blog looks amazing, you’ll feel amazing when you’re writing on it.
And feeling amazing when you’re writing blog posts means you’ll never get bored producing content.
Blogging should always be something you love to do.
It shouldn’t feel like a chore and should never create boredom.
If you love your blog, you can nurture it for years to come.
All great stuff when you're setting up a platform where you can share your greatness with the world.
What better way to get your views, opinions and knowledge out there, than on a blog.
You can start conversations and ask people to comment on your posts.
It’s a great way to involve people and make them feel a part of your life and journey.
Blog posts are one of the TOP types of content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the web
If you haven’t heard of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, it basically means doing things to your blog to make it more attractive to the search engines, so it ranks higher.
It does this by picking up on relevant keywords and phrases throughout your posts.
Creating regular, high quality blog posts will improve the overall performance of your blog.
Blog posts that stay on topic, relevant and “on trend” within your niche, will also help with your overall blog performance.
Blog posts help you to know what your audience really wants!
Once you've written several blog posts and analysed which posts get the most attention (google analytics), you can really see what types of content and posts your readers like and want more of.
Trust me – people who read blogs like to get involved, and they’ll tell you what they like, don't like and want more of (if you let them by having a comments section).
It’s important for you to check this data out so you’re always providing your readers with the content THEY want!
There’s no point writing about what YOU want all the time as you won’t be serving your readers and putting them first.
It’s about giving THEM the answers to their problems, wants and needs!
Blogging will eventually go full circle if you do it right!
You help them by giving them their wants and needs and they’ll repay you in the future by buying the products and services that you recommend.
Blogging is all about “giving”.
Blogging can be more than just a hobby
If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing that if you start a blog, you want to make it more than just a hobby!
Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a hobby blog, because you definitely can and many people start out hobby blogging, and then it just ends up taking a natural course into a business.
A lot of money can be made from blogging and your own blog has the potential to make substantial £££ once you get going and establish yourself.
However, what you need to remember is that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
It’s not just about how much money you can make and making a quick buck…
I love this quote from Michelle Obama:
“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives”
I really love Michelle and think she’s an incredible lady and leader, with a great business head on her shoulders.
If you want a good read, I highly recommend her book – Becoming which delves into her life before she became first lady.
Anyway, let’s get back on track…
You may not start making money straight away and that’s ok.
Blogging is for the long haulers, the people who are willing to put a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears into it.
If that’s not you, then you should quit reading this post right now!
You need to make sure your mindset is in “helping people” mode and not “making money” mode, as if you’re only in it for the money, you won’t get very far.
Your readers will see right through you if all you do is write posts saying “buy this” or “buy that”.
There’s ways to do it, where you can include links to the things you recommend organically within your blog posts.
Of course we all want to make money with our blogs, but there’s right ways to do it and wrong ways, and just asking for money off the bat all the time is totally the wrong way.
So what’s up next:
Why do people read blogs & how to make sure people will read yours!
Let’s look at why people read blogs, because there’s many different reasons people search the internet!
Why do people read blogs?
To learn something new.
To get expert advice and information on a particular topic.
To hear “breaking” news.
To see reviews on products and services they’re interested in.
To read people’s stories.
To become part of a community and connect with like minded people.
Because they love you, your brand and what you stand for. Your personality and your perspective.
They love the products and services you sell!
They love the content you create and share.
When you look at all those reasons above, you can see why there’s so many blogs in pretty much any niche and market.
There’s always room for a new blog in town… so how do you make sure people read yours and come back time and time again…
How do you make sure people read your blog?
1)Start by making sure your blog has a clear purpose and people know what your blog is about from the moment they enter your site.
2) Always produce consistent, quality content (don’t worry if you aren’t confident with this to start with, just keep at it and you’ll get better the more blog posts you write).
3)Keep your posts simple, to the point and interesting.
4) Network with other bloggers and see if you can guest post on their blogs or have them guest post on yours (this is great for credibility as well as building fab relationships with other bloggers).
5)Make sure your posts have easy ways for people to subscribe. Have sign up boxes in several places which are catchy, simple and stand out.
6)Use subheads, colours, numbers, graphics, images and bullets (like I have in this post) to break your content up and make it more readable for your audience.
7)Comment on other blogs and interact with other bloggers. This will go a long way to putting yourself and your own blog out there.
8) Find a need and fill it – start a blog in something which people are searching for information on all the time.
9)Mix your posts up. Have long posts which go in-depth for your readers and answer questions, pain points and problems. Have a few pillar posts which explain the main topics within your niche (these are ones which you can branch off of with other posts and link to them), and also have shorter posts as well. It’s all about testing and seeing what type of posts your readers like and creating more of the ones they love. You can also test out many other types of posts too (list posts, guest posts etc)…
10)Use Social Media to share your posts and content.
11) Keep your posts SEO friendly.
12)Try and answer as many comments as you can. Let people know you’re a real person there to help them. This is a lot easier when you’re first starting out, but when you start getting more traction and your blog becomes more popular, this may become harder to keep up with. That said, you should always try and connect with your readers as often as you can, as this will build up your community and keep your trust.
14) Make your whole blog visually enticing and inviting to potential readers. Make it somewhere you would want to come back to time and time again. You can do this with the array of different themes that are out there for WordPress – free and paid. I use Diviwhich is a paid theme, but you can do so much with it as it’s so versatile and easy to use.
15) Test out publishing your posts at different times. Try posting during the week when more people tend to be online searching for information or passing the time away (when they should be working). Again this is something you’ll need to test out for your own readers.
What should you know before starting a blog?
Before actually starting a blog, there are a few things to think about.
Check out the infographic below:
Why do most blogs fail?
A lot of blogs fail because there’s no action plan in place to earn any money…
There’s so many ways to make your blog a success, it’s just knowing what they are and putting them into action.
Let’s look at a whole host of things which can potentially make your blog fail miserably…
You give up too easily and aren’t willing to put in the time and effort required. Blogging takes a lot of hard work.
You're not allowing your blog the time it needs to grow (did you know it can take a year or more to build a successful blog).
You're not publishing posts consistently, meaning your readers don’t know when new content is coming out…Don’t let them down by not posting (having a posting schedule/editorial calendar is something to look into. This FREE one is great for starting out).
I’ve said it before in this post – blogging is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It takes time to build, grow and profit.
You’re not answering people’s questions or interacting with your audience enough/at all.
You aren’t driving any traffic to your blog – it’s no good having great content if no one can see it. Get it on social media platforms, email market etc…
There’s no plans or goals in place for the longevity of your blog.
You’re not in the right mindset – a business mindset is a MUST.
You aren’t treating it like a business. It’s “work” and you need to get your head around the fact it’s work and schedule it in to your day. Things won’t get done if you don’t plan and schedule your days properly.
You’re being too complicated – break things down into simple language for your readers.
You aren’t targeting the right keywords and your SEO is off.
You aren’t unique and you aren’t standing out from the crowd.
You aren’t investing any money into your blog. It’s a business so you need to put money in when it’s needed (blogging is a far cheaper model when starting a business, so invest those small costs)
Quality always wins over quantity! You must produce engaging, great quality blog posts and content. As long as you’re always sharing awesome tips and advice and you’re always thinking about your audience and how you can help them – you should be able to make a pretty successful, profiting blog.
You have to be really, truly passionate, as that’s the only thing that’ll get you through the hard days, late nights and lack of social life while you’re getting your blog off the ground and making this thing work!
You’re not aware of the fact that the internet is constantly changing and evolving and you have to keep up. The fundamentals of blogging will always remain the same, but in order to be successful, you need to keep up with the ongoing changes
Following on from the points listed above, now’s a good idea to talk about the mistakes to avoid when blogging!
Mistakes to avoid when blogging!
I’ve put together a list of all the mistakes (19 to be exact) to avoid when starting (and maintaining) your blog!
I’ve made a ton of mistakes over the years and don’t want you to waste time doing the same.
(I’ve even made it into a printable, so you can download it and refer back to it again and again!)
So we’re nearing the end of this post and I wanted to finish off by talking about why it’s important to have a blog!
I wanted to list down the reasons why I think you should have a little place on the internet you can call your own…
Being a mum means everything is all about our children (as it should be), but it’s great to have something in our lives which is just for us. Something which we can watch become successful and has the potential to make us some money too!
A blog is a great outlet for letting people know our opinions, our stories and our journeys. We can put ourselves out there, share our creativity, knowledge and ideas and help others to do the same. It’s important for us to get our thoughts out there…
It gives us a focus (because mummy brain is a very real thing). It’s something which we can grow and nurture and it can become whatever we want it to be.
It gets us outside of our comfort zones and pushes us to to get ourselves “out there”.
Blogs remain the top way to provide content to people all over the world, so why wouldn’t we want to share in the joy of helping others through our own.
People trust the blogs they read and often go back to them time and time again.
Blogging and social media can tie in nicely together. Your blog is a great way to showcase and share your social media platforms and vice versa! We live in a world where pretty much everything is online. Unfortunately or not, social platforms are almost essential in this day and age, so now's your time to get a piece of the action and get online too…
First things first… Picking a Niche & deciding what to blog about!
First of all, you need to know what you're going to start a blog in…
This step is called “picking a niche” & you can check out more information on this from the infographic below…
Deciding what to blog about and what topics you want to discuss, will create the structure for your whole blog!
The niche you pick will also fall into one of several blog types, which also plays a part in the decision making process (depending on what your vision & plan is for blogging in the first place).
The thing about blogging is, although you have free reign to write about whatever you want, you can't really talk about all kinds of different things on one blog…
Well you could, but it would be very confusing for your readers.
People visit blogs to get information on things they're interested in or they're browsing looking for answers to problems they have.
If they come across a blog which has answers to their question of “How do I maintain a healthy weight”, they're more than likely expecting the blog to be full of health, diet & fitness information.
For the same blog to then have information on fashion, parenting or gardening for example, would be completely confusing and would broaden your niche far too much, meaning you'd struggle to be found and rank in Google.
Picking a niche will be one of the biggest things you'll do when you start out…
You need to pick a nichewhich is:
Popular enough that people are searching for it all the time.
One which has the potential to make money with products & services you can provide (whether they be yours or other people's (this is known as affiliate products).
A topic which is broad enough that you'll have plenty to talk about, but not too broad that you'll be hidden among all the internet noise.
A niche where people are already spending money.
Choosing a blog name!
So after deciding what to actually blog about, it's time to look at choosing a blog name…
Choosing a name is really important as it reflects what your blog and brand is all about, however, when choosing one, don't take forever to do it!
Take a day or two to brainstorm some ideas and see what kinds of words go together, sound good together and feels good to you.
Take a look at other blogs in your niche and see what kinds of names they have – for inspiration.
Once you've come up with some ideas – ask family and friends what they think of the name you've come up with, or see if they have any ideas too!
You want to be unique and stand out!
I know we all want the perfect blog name, but seriously, do not waste a ton of time on this.
Your blog name needs to:
Resonate with what you're talking about.
Show off you, your brand and what your blog is about.
Be short, punchy and catchy.
Simple and easy to remember.
Is something which you like.
Reflects who your blog is for.
Getting a Domain Name!
Once you've decided on a blog name, it's time to get a domain name.
A domain name is your online address and it needs to reflect your brand and what your blog stands for.
It should match your blog name as well!
So for me, my brand and blog name is bloggingformums and therefore the domain name I chose, was bloggingformums.com.
My blog is all about teaching other mums like me how to start their own blog – so my domain name reflects that and my brand.
When choosing a domain name, try and think like a visitor to your blog.
When you visit a blog, what kinds of names stand out to you?
How accurately do they represent that company's brand?
It's good to look at other blogs to get an idea and a feel for what other people do.
It can really help you decide on the things you like and don't like for your own blog!
You also want to think about these few things when getting a domain name:
Try and get the .com version of the domain, because most people tend to assume and type a .com into their browser when searching. It's also the most popular version to have.
Use your keywords so that people know instantly what your blog is about.
Keep it short, as URL's which are too long won't be remembered and will take too long for people to type (they'll get fed up & leave).
Don't use hyphens.
Avoid using numbers.
Check Social Media platforms that you are going to be using to see whether your potential blog & brand name is available there too. You want to be consistent across all areas, so people know who you are… You'll be spreading brand awareness.
DO NOT copy other websites names or any names relating to Trademarks. YOU WILL get into trouble.
Don't pick a domain which is too “limiting”. As in, if you have a domain name which is something like icecreamdesserts.com, for example – you'll only ever be able to talk about desserts with ice cream and that could really limit the content you can produce and share.
Always remember that your domain is the first thing people see, it's the very first impression you get to make on potential readers – so really think about it!
If you get stuck with picking a blog and domain name, don't panic – you can always use your own name as well…
You are able to change it in the future if you need to, but know that it is tricky to do and people tend to get to know you from the off, so changing your brand/blog/domain name later down the line, could affect all that you've built!
Where to get your domain name from…
I get my domain names from Namecheap – a great website for some of the cheapest domain names out there…
It's so simple to use.
First of all, you need to sign up for an account.
I won't go through this as I'm pretty sure you've signed up for many accounts before and know how to do this… I have however put a couple of screenshots below to show you what the site looks like and where the sign up button is)
Once you've signed up, you just enter the name which you'd like to use as your blog domain (the one you've chosen after brainstorming & researching as previously explained in the post).
(I've just used tastyfoodforkids as an example)
Then simply click on the red button with the magnifying glass and see what comes up…
I love how at the time of writing this post, it was Christmas time and they had a cute little gingerbread man on their homepage!
I always love stuff like that (I'm easily pleased)…
Purchasing your domain name…
Once you've typed your desired domain name in and clicked search, it will come up just like in the image below.
If the .com is available, it will come up with a green tick next to it and an “add to cart” button.
Of course, you don't have to go with the .com.
There are many alternatives and it depends what's available, where you live and whether you prefer to use something else which is more fitting to you and your brand.
Once you've purchased the domain name, this part is done for now and you can move onto the next step!
Now you've purchased a domain name, let's talk about blogging platforms and what they are and do!
A blogging platform is basically a service used to publish your content on the internet.
If you want to blog, you have to have a platform in order to do so and we're going to look into this in more detail now!
Choosing a Blogging platform!
There are quite a few platforms out there, but I'm going to concentrate on just the one.
It's the one I use and know about and I always want to share and teach you things which I use myself!
There are two versions of the platform I use.
It can be very confusing as they're called the same, but the URL ends differently.
WordPress.com is a great option for people who just want to sign up and start publishing content, however, you never own your blog and you'll always have the “wordpress.com” URL tagged onto the end of your blog name.
This can make you look unprofessional as a blogger and give the impression you aren't serious because you haven't invested in yourself.
(I always say that if you're serious about blogging, you have to invest in it as there are going to be some costs involved)
This means you have full access and can customize everything within your site. (this is the one I use)
It has a super simple dashboard (the back end of your blog where you'll be putting everything together) and it has hundreds of different plugins you can use within it, which help your blog function more efficiently (don't worry, I'll be talking about plugins later).
WordPress.org is used by over 60 million blog and website owners online.
It's versatile, easy to customize and is brilliant for both beginner and seasoned bloggers!
When you self-host, you have your own domain name which you have purchased (like we talked about earlier on in this post) and can pretty much do anything you want to make your blog look and feel exactly how you want it to.
Using WordPress.org means you have complete control over the design and what you can create.
You want to be using this version, as you want to have full control over what you do with your blog!
I will only be showing you how to set your blog up with WordPress.org as this is the only one I've used.
Before we get into the WordPress installation stage however, there's one other step we need to do first!
It's getting you some hosting!
Getting Your Hosting Sorted!
Next up is the hosting company!
The hosting company provides services and technologies, so that blogs and websites can be viewed on the internet.
They do this by using special servers to host them.
Hosting is a necessity for any site, because without it, there'd be no blogs and websites online.
As always, there are many companies which can provide hosting, however, the one I'm going to show you is the one I personally use – Siteground.
They are absolutely amazing…
I've used a few hosting companies in my time, but Siteground are by far the best!
They have unbelievable customer support and will help you with anything.
I've messed up so many things on my blog and didn't have a clue how to sort it out and they've always got me out of it & had me back up & running within a few hours, if not sooner.
They also have a live chat feature, which quite frankly, I couldn't live without sometimes.
If I have a problem, I can hop on there and someone will be there to help within minutes.
This is a great option to have when you want to get back on track & blogging again fast!
It's not the cheapest of hosting companies out there – but it is by far the best and most reliable I've used.
I'd rather pay a bit more for a service and know it's going to help me when I need it most.
If you head over to Siteground, you'll need to sign up for an account.
Again, I'm not going to run through this, but you just click on the “Hosting” tab as per the image below to get started…
You can then choose the “WordPress Hosting” tab to continue…
Siteground have 3 plans available:
I use the GrowBig plan, as I have a number of websites I host with them, but when you're just starting out, you can use the cheapest option for just one website – the StartUp plan.
As you grow and add more sites, or go over what this plan allows, your hosting plan can grow with you… so you'll never have to worry about it not being right for your needs!
Next up, just click on the “Get Plan” button to get started…
Once you go onto the next screen, you'll need the domain name, which you have purchased from Namecheap.
This is the blog name and domain you've chosen, as per the previous steps in this post!
You'll see from the screenshot below, you now need to click on the “I already have a domain” and enter your purchased Namecheap domain name and click proceed…
Then you just complete all your details and payment information and click the “Pay Now” button at the bottom of the screen.
There are some additional options you can choose if you wish to add them, but they aren't necessary for now.
A Siteground account has now been created for you and you're able to log in with the email address & password you created when signing up.
Once you've logged in to your account – Siteground looks like the screenshot below.
You can see all the different tabs, making it easy to navigate around your account.
The “Websites” tab is where you should be able to see the new domain name you've added to the account.
Here is where you access the website's cPanel – the control panel for your whole blog!
We look at this in more detail later on in the post.
The “Services” tab is where you can see your account type (my plan type says GrowBig, as that's the hosting plan I'm on – yours will say StartUp…)
You can see on the screenshot below that it shows the domain name for the account (mine shows as bloggingformums.com but yours will eventually show your domain name here).
Your domain might not show up here yet, as we haven't installed WordPress as of yet, but it will show here once that has been done.
Woohoo, you're doing fab my lovely…
I know it's a lot to do and take in, but you only have to do this once when you set your blog up!
It's a one time thang…
So let' go ahead and actually install WordPress onto your blog.
WordPress is pretty simple to install and the following part of this post will show you exactly how to get it installed onto your blog domain…
First things first, click on the “WordPress/Joomla Toolkit” tab as per the screenshot below:
Once you’ve clicked on it, you end up going to what’s called the “Cpanel”.
This is the control panel for your blog and is where you manage all your web hosting accounts!
The screenshot below is my bloggingformums.com Cpanel.
You can see how many icons there are for different things to manage my blog.
It looks complicated, but you won’t use half of these things (at least not in the beginning anyway).
Next up – Scroll down to the icon “Wordpress” (it’s situated within the Autoinstallers section) and click on it.
You will then come to a screen where you can actually install WordPress…
Click on the “Install Now” button.
Make sure that your domain name is showing in the “Choose Installation URL” and add a Site Name and Site Description that resonate with your blog (this is just for your reference).
The “Admin Account” section is REALLY important!
This is where you need to make a note of the Admin Username and Admin Password.
You can change this to something you want or you can just leave it as the one showing.
It's entirely up to you – just make sure you write it down as you're going to need it soon!
Click “Install” and then it will load WordPress onto your domain.
You'll know it's working as it will have a “Checking the submitted data” percentage running.
Once it's done installing, you'll get a screen where it says “Congratulations, the software was installed successfully” and you'll be given the WordPress Admin link so that you can enter the backend of your blog.
Copy and paste this link into a Notepad document or a Word document etc, as we'll need it soon.
BUT… there's another thing we need to do first before we can log in to our WordPress Admin dashboard.
Something which I forget so often, and only realise I haven't done it when I get the screen saying the site can't be reached…
We need to change the Nameservers within our Namecheap account dashboard, so that both Siteground and Namecheap can work together to create our blog…
So let's look into Nameservers in more detail…
Nameservers – what they are and what to do with them!
A Nameserver is any server which has a DNS software installed on it.
The actual “Nameserver” part refers to the server which is owned by a web host (such as Siteground) which is used to manage domain names associated with their customers (such as you and I).
DNS stands for Domain Name System and is a database which converts a domain name into an IP address.
The domain name you type into your browser when you're looking for something, uses Nameservers to find the IP address.
That is all way too techie for my liking, but you don't need to look too much into any of this.
You just need a basic understanding of the terms used often when it comes to setting up your blog and to know roughly what it is these techie sounding things do…
We'll now look at exactly how to change the Nameservers when using Namecheap.
Start by logging into your account with them (which you would have created when you purchased your domain name) and then make sure you're on the “Dashboard”.
Then click the “Manage” button.
You'll then get this next screen where you need to find the Nameservers section and click on the drop down menu.
Click on “Custom DNS” as we're going to be entering custom Nameserver info in here.
There will be two Nameservers we need to complete:
Here we enter the Nameservers which are found on our Siteground Cpanel, under the “My Accounts” section.
Copy and paste Nameserver 1 in first and then copy and paste in Nameserver 2 and then click on the little blue tick button to Save them.
It will then save and a message will come up saying that it could take up to 48 hours for the updates to take effect.
Until this is complete, you'll have to wait as we can't move any further forward…
You'll know when it's complete as you should receive an email from Siteground to say your WordPress site is live, with the login link enclosed (just like the one below)
That's it for the WordPress installation…
Next up is installing the FREE SSL Certificate we need to have in order to make your blog secure.
But firstly, I've just given a bit of background (simply) to let you know what SSL Certificates are.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.
An SSL Certificate is a secure protocol developed for information to be sent securely over the internet.
It does so by activating a small padlock and the “https” protocol.
Websites that have it show the small padlock in front of the domain name (just like my bloggingformums blog) below.
This allows secure connections from web servers to web browsers.
It does so by encrypting everything and ensures a private connection for both you and your site visitors.
If you click on the little padlock next to the domain name, this information below will come up…
This is on my site and shows the connection is secure and that I have a valid certificate.
Before I had installed the SSL Certificate, my site was not secure and I received the message in the screenshot below, stating that my connection was not private.
You don't need to worry about what all the ins and outs mean too much, it's just important to have this certificate installed on your site, so that it's secure.
I get freaked out by too much techie talk for sure!
The great thing about Siteground is, their hosting packages support the FREE Let's Encrypt SSL.
We're going to install this now and it only takes a few minutes.
Log in to your Siteground account and head over to the “My Accounts” tab at the top.
(You can see that the new domain has been added and yours should show on this screen too now!)
Click on the cPanel button so that we can access all the icons we saw earlier.
You then need to scroll almost to the bottom of the screen where you'll find the “Security” section.
You need to click on the “Let's Encrypt” button.
As you can see from the screenshot below, I have an active Let's Encrypt Certificate for my bloggingformums domain.
You need to scroll down as we need the section which says “Install new Let's Encrypt Certificate”.
Make sure your domain is showing here and that the button is on the “Let's Encrypt SSL”.
You'll then have a “Successfully Installed SSL” pop up appear.
You'll know it's done correctly when you see this!
Just click ok and you'll be back to the same screen as before.
Refresh the page and your domain will then show as having an active SSL Certificate.
And that's it – it really is fairly simple to get all this techie stuff done and dusted. (remember it only has to be done the once).
If you do get stuck though, Siteground also have a full tutorial on how to install the Certificate + you can always contact them on their live chat and they'll help you out there and then to get this setup!
Setting up a Professional Domain name Email Address
It's important to have a professional looking email address when you're blogging and I'm going to show you how to set this up now from your cPanel and link it to a Microsoft Outlook account.
Please don't worry though if you don't have an email client such as Microsoft Outlook, which I talk about in a minute.
You can create a blog email address using a gmail account or something similar, if this is all you have.
I have a gmail account as well for blogging for mums!
I'm not going to show you how to configure a gmail address to your cPanel though, BUT – Namecheap do have some instructions on how to do this here…
If you don't have Outlook, just follow the instructions for setting up the email address within cPanel only and then follow the above Namecheap tutorial!
Log in to your Cpanel, scroll down and select the “Mail” section and click on the “Email Accounts” tab.
Then you will come to this screen which you need to create a password and add your desired email address in.
It will automatically pull across your domain name into the “Email” box, but I recommend you change this.
You could change it to be your name, HR, Support etc – anything like that at the beginning (depending on what you want to use the email address for).
In my case, my email address would read as email@example.com because I am a solo blogger and I've used my first name at the front, to make it sound professional, yet friendly.
This sounds like a professional email address, which you can use for your readers.
You can see that I have two professional email addresses for my blog, in the screenshot above.
I have a regular named one and a support one.
You're able to create as many as you like here.
Click on the “Generate Password” button and copy and save the password that comes up.
You can then “Create Account”.
Once you've created the account, the new email address will show up and it now needs to be configured.
Click on the “More” button and a drop down menu will appear – click on “Configure Email Client”.
Another screen will appear with a lot of information on.
You'll need these details in the highlighted grey box as we're going to do a manual configuration.
This is all you need to do within the cPanel.
The actual configuration is done via an email client.
I use Microsoft Outlook and always have, so that is what I'm going to show you how to configure today.
Open Outlook and then click on “File” and “Add Account”.
Copy and paste in your new “professional” email address.
Click on the “Advanced options” and tick the box for setting the account up manually.
Choose the IMAP option…
Enter in the Server details (this is yourdomainemailaddress.com), Port details (this will be within that grey box) and Encryption method information, which is SSL/TLS and click “Next”.
Enter your password which you generated when creating the email address in cPanel and Connect.
You then need to wait while it configures and tada! It's done!
This will then add your email address to Outlook and a test email will come through.
That's it – all done…
Now we're ready to go ahead and log in to the WordPress dashboard.
Logging in and getting into the backend of your WordPress dashboard…
This dashboard is the place where you'll be working from all the time!
Here's where you need the Username and Password I asked you to note down earlier on in the post and the link that was in the email confirmation from Siteground.
Click on the link within the email or copy and paste it into your browser and then the screen below will appear.
You need to enter the login details into the sections as shown.
You'll then be logged in!
And here it is – the first glimpse into the WordPress dashboard…
You can see the menu on the left hand side, where you'll find everything you'll need to create your blog!
I don't want to go into everything in too much detail as it's all pretty easy to navigate and simple to use.
It's also really easy to know what's what!
I just want to give you a brief idea on what there is within the dashboard, so it's not so daunting!
Let's start by seeing whats on the menu on the left hand side.
This is where you will navigate around the whole dashboard:
Home – this is where you can click to get back to the main home of your dashboard and you'll see a lot of information about plugins you'll have installed and statistics and activity that takes place.
Updates – If you click on here, you'll be able to see whether your theme and plugins (we'll talk about these soon) require any updates.
Posts – this is where you'll write all your blog posts from. You simply click on “Add New” to do this.
Media – this is where all photos, videos, audio files etc will show that you add to your blog (there's nothing to see here at the moment)
Comments – this is where comments will show from readers of your blog in time. You can choose not to have comments if you'd rather not, but I highly recommend keeping this as readers always like to voice their thoughts and opinions.
Appearance – this is one of the big ones that holds all the areas to customize the look and feel of your blog. There's far too much to go into on this post, however, I will be talking a bit more about choosing a Theme later.
Plugins – another big one which will be covered later on. This is where we upload plugins (pieces of software) to make our site better and more effective! On the screenshot below you can see one called “Hello Dolly”. This comes standard with all WordPress sites and isn't needed, so you can delete this.
Users – this shows all the users who can access your dashboard. At the moment this will just show you and your username, but eventually you may hire people to work for you and make them admins etc on your dashboard, so their username details would show here too.
Tools – there isn't a lot to show here, but you import and export files from here and it also has a site health check tab, which shows any recommendations WordPress may have for your blog. I have done a screenshot of my blog and it has made two recommendations for me to look at (I better do that lol).
The final section within the menu is the “Settings” tab.
This one also has a lot within it and controls the way your site functions, such as the URL, the date format, how you want to display your front page etc.
Just check out the different tabs and get a feel for what they do, as we will change some of these later on.
Thinking about Theme Colours…
Before jumping in and choosing a Theme, I wanted to briefly touch on colours for your blog…
Colours are important to think about.
They define the look and feel.
You want colours which are visually nice to look at and entice readers to check out your blog!
You want to pick some brand colours that go well together and match the theme of what your blog is going to be about.
For example: If you’re going to be blogging about relaxing techniques for people who are anxious and need to stay calm – you may want to look at colours like blue, pink and green, as these all represent quiet, calm and peace.
Doing a bit of research into colours and branding would really help you.
You want to choose colours which you like, as well as ones which show your blog off the best they can!
My brand colours consist of coral, navy, gold and pinks…
These are the exact colours below.
They go well together and make my blog feel really nice to look at and work on.
Now we're a bit familiar with the dashboard and where things are, it's time to get started with actually creating your blog!
And this starts with a Theme.
So what is a theme?
Well my lovely we're about to check this out…
A Theme is a selection of style sheets and templates used to make the look and feel of your whole blog…
It can be changed and customized to suit you and there are both free and paid themes available.
When you set your blog up, WordPress automatically comes with a few basic pre-installed ones.
However, there are many sites out there offering free and paid themes. Be careful and only download themes from reputable sites, as you don't always know what's in them and they could potentially harm your blog and computer.
I would only use sites recommended to you when starting out, and I'm going to talk about some very soon!
Things to think about before choosing a theme!
Before just diving in and picking a theme, let's have a look at some things to think about:
I've bullet pointed them to make it easier to read!
What features do you want?What does your blog need? Do you need to be able to make lots of customization's? Do you need it to be Social Media friendly? What colours do you want on your blog? Make sure your theme has colour options if you want your blog to look colourful, or does it need to be more serious and practical? Visual appearance is important. Are you going to want to have a lot of images? These are all things to think about when choosing a theme and you need to make sure the theme you choose is right for you and your blog.
Choose a Responsive theme!Make sure when you get your theme, that it’s responsive. This means you want it to look fab on Desktop computers, Laptops, iPad's and Mobile phones, without the look and feel being affected on each device. So many people are now on iPad's and phones these days that you HAVE to cater for this with your blog.
Plugin friendly!Your theme needs to be compatible with plugins, as you’re going to be using a few to make your blog function properly. There's plugins for all kinds of things including spam control, social media, email marketing and more…
Drag & Drop Page Builders! This basically means a plugin or theme, which has the ability for you to drag and drop things within your editor, when creating pages and posts. It makes life sooooooo much easier! I’ve literally found it a lifesaver for simple use and to make the layout of my blog look so much better. I use a theme called Divi, which includes the page builder, but if you have another theme, they do have the separate page builder plugin, which is one of the best out there (you just need to make sure whatever theme you have is compatible). The reason I use Divi for everything is because it’s simple, easy and has everything all in one place for me! I'll be talking more about Divi soon!
Regular Updates!Choosing a Premium theme will make sure you always have regular updates carried out. Regular updates are important to keep the theme running smoothly, updated and to sort out any bugs. Free themes do offer support, but a lot of the time it’s quite limited. A company may offer both free and paid versions of themes, however read over what the differences are, as you’ll be getting less with the free version.
Customer Support – always see whether there is customer support available. If anything goes wrong, you’ll want to be able to get in touch with someone about it. There's nothing worse than having a site down because of theme issues you can't fix! A blog which isn't working means your content isn't getting out there and money isn't being made.
So after looking into all these points, really research a good theme. Check out reviews and ratings of the theme from people who’ve actually used it and make sure it has everything you want and need.
Now we can look at what themes are out there and actually get one installed…
But before you do this – maybe have a break and have a cuppa as we've gone through so much up to this point and there's a lot to go still!
I don't know about you, but since becoming a mum, I can't concentrate as well as I used to. I get easily distracted and can go off on a tangent looking at stuff on the internet when I should be working – ooopppsss!!!
So if I feel like this, I have a coffee break to perk me up and give me time away from my computer screen…
Once you're all refreshed and raring to go again, head back to your dashboard home page, so we can continue setting your blog up!
Click on “change your theme completely”, from the home dashboard, so we can have a look at what themes are available for us to use and try out.
Here you'll find any pre-installed themes on your site.
If you click on the “Live Preview” buttons, you can see what they look like.
Have a play around and see what you like and don't like with the pre-installed themes.
These ones are completely FREE to use by the way as well.
Alongside these, there are some WordPress.org ones too.
If you click on this, a whole array of different themes come up. You can search through and see if any of them take your fancy and then you need to install and preview them.
These are also FREE themes…
Note: Don't have too many themes installed as it will slow things down. You can easily delete them, so maybe just have two or three at a time until you decide on one.
Once eventually decided, just have the one you are using and a default one as well.
I use a paid theme on my blog.
I have used free themes before, but I found them more problematic than not, because of the lack of support and regular updates required to keep an active blog going…
Using the Divi theme allows me to have so many more options and customization's.
I really cannot recommend Divi enough as it's so simple to use and I can do a ton with it.
If you can afford to get a premium theme, then I recommend going for it now, so that you don't have to change things over at a later date…
But… I'm very aware that when you're just starting out and you're a mummy and may not have a lot of spare cash (because it all goes on the kids right!!!), a FREE theme is ok to start with.
Talking of FREE themes, I want to let you know where you can get an awesome freebie from…
This is great for starting out as it has ready to use websites built in, is fully customizable, responsive and is compatible with a lot of popular, well used plugins.
Uploading your Theme!
Once you've chosen a theme, it needs to be uploaded…
I'm going to show you how to upload a theme to your dashboard now.
I'll be using the Divi theme for this tutorial as that's the one I use, however, the process is the same for any theme you upload.
Once you've downloaded the zip file from wherever you're getting the theme from, you need to upload it!
To do this, go to “Appearance” and click on “Themes” and you'll get a similar screen to the one below!
Click on “Add New”.
You can then click on “Upload Theme”.
Upload the zip file and then click on “Install Now”.
Once it's installed, it will show as “Theme installed correctly” and you can activate it by clicking on “Activate”
It's then installed, activated and ready to use!
As simple as that…
NOTE: Sometimes, in order for themes to work, they require some other plugins (as per the screenshot below). This can happen a lot with the free themes.
If this is the case, upload those plugins from within that screen (you can simply click on the “Begin Activating Plugins” and it will upload them all.
You then either click on them individually to activate them or you can click on the plugins white box (like below) and this will tick all the plugins which aren't activated.
Click on “Bulk Actions” and select “Activate”. This will do them all in one go…
If you had to do the above for your theme, that's all that's required.
We can now preview the site to see what it looks like.
To preview it, hover over the little house icon in the top left hand corner and it will come up with “Visit Site”.
Right click on “Visit Site” and it will open in a new tab.
Before, it looked like the first screenshot, which was a pre-installed theme (this is the Twenty Twenty theme and I actually think it's a pretty nice theme to use as well).
Then after installing the new downloaded “Divi” theme, it looks like the screenshot below…
It still looks very basic as nothing is on your blog yet and we haven't created anything, but it shows you how you can change the look by just uploading one zip file and maybe activating a few plugins if your theme requires it.
So what can you do with the Theme?
So you've installed a theme and now we can look at how to customize that theme a bit.
Every theme will have different things you can customize – so this part of the tutorial may not look the same for you, and some of the things may not be available in the theme you've chosen!
Start by clicking on the “Customize” tab so we can have a look at the different things to change.
The changes made here are in effect across your whole blog!
I'll run through the basics with you so you know what each tab does, however, I won't go into huge depth, as I'll do a blog post further down the line about Divi in more depth…
The screenshot below shows what it looks like within the “Customization” section of your dashboard.
You have a live update of what you change on the right of the screen, and all the menu tabs are to the left!
It's really easy as you can just click on a tab and change the settings to suit you and what you want.
Let's start with the “General Settings”
I just wanna check in with you first though…
How are you doing my lovely mummy!
Keeping in there I hope…
I know it's a loooooooooot of information to take in, but this stuff only has to be done once AND you don't have to do it all in one go.
You can always come back to it if it becomes a head masher…
This post isn't going anywhere!
Just because I've explained it all as simply as I can, doesn't mean I don't know how hard it can be to put it all into action, especially when there's sooooo much to do.
Just Remember – it's a marathon, not a sprint and I've got your back every step of the way
Before we get going with all the details of the Customizer – I just want to let you know that after each change you make under a section, you need to click on the “Publish” button for the changes to take effect…
So, first up is the General Settings.
Under the “General Settings” tab, you can change the following:
We’ll have a brief look into each of these now!
This is where you can change the Site Title and also have a site tagline.
TheSite Title is what your visitors will see at the top of every page on your blog. This is usually the name of your brand/blog/company etc…
The Site Tagline is simply a short statement placed right underneath your title… It’s a brief description of what you and your company/brand/blog are about!
The Site Icon (or Favicon as it’s also known) is the small icon you see in the browser tabs for companies. This is important to have as it makes you look professional. (I’ll be showing you how to do this later).
You can see mine is a simple “b” within a pink circle for my bloggingformums brand.
(since writing this post, I've actually changed my favicon slightly to the one below)
This section is where you can change the layout of your whole blog.
You can have a “Boxed Layout”, where everything is kept within a box.
It will look like the screenshot below…
You can change the width of the sidebar, if you want to have a wider sidebar, depending on what you’re going to show in there! (In the screenshot below I’ve made the sidebar as wide as it will go to show you).
You can also change the accent colour of your blog here too. (I’ve just changed it to a hot pink for this tutorial).
Here is where you can choose fonts you like and change the sizing.
I only change the “Body Text Size” and the “Header Text Size”. I don’t touch the other options for letter spacing and line height.
On bloggingformums, I have the following fonts and sizes:
Heading fonts: Raleway
Body font: Open Sans
Heading 1: size 40 px
Heading 2: size 32 px
Heading 3: size 27 px
Regular post text: size 16 px
Divi’s default theme happens to be Open Sans, which I didn’t realise when I chose my fonts.
You can have a different header font and body font or you could have the same font but different versions of it… (like in the screenshot below).
It’s automatically set to the “Default Theme Font”, but you can easily change this to whatever you like.
What I will say on fonts is, always pick ones which are easy to read on all devices and that aren’t too squiggly.
Squiggly may be pretty, but it isn't easy to read all the time (sometimes they give me eye ache lol).
There’s no point having amazing content on your blog, if the font is too difficult to see and read!
You can check out FontPair where you can see variations of fonts, to see what you like and what go well together.
The last option under the general settings is the background.
Here is where you can change the colour of the background, or you can use an image…
I've never used an image personally as I have my background as White, as I think it’s cleaner, crisper and makes it easier to see the content, but you can have whatever suits your blog.
Remember, your blog wants to look fun and enticing, but at the same time it needs to be practical and easy to see and read everything on there – so don't over complicate things…
I changed the background to pink in the screenshot below to show you where to change it.
If you want to upload an image, just click on “Select Image”
You can also remove and change the image from here as well.
There are some options to change the look of the image on your site too.
You can change the “Background Repeat” and the “Background Position”.
I'm not going to go into a lot of detail with this as I've never used an image background myself across my whole blog!
You can have a play around with it though and see what feels right for you.
Header and Navigation
Next up is the header and navigation settings.
Here is where you can add a logo, change the menu settings and show social share icons in the header, among other things.
Again, I’m not going into a lot of detail with all these, as it would literally take hours to go over it all thoroughly, but I want to show you all the different tabs within the Customization function.
This changes the look and feel of the menu, which currently sits in the top right hand corner of your blog.
The screenshot above shows the current default menu position along with how the logo sits too.
If we change this to the “Centre” for example, you can see it moves the menu to the centre, along with the logo (screenshot below).
We can also have the navigation menu vertical. It can be placed to the left or the right!
For the sake of this tutorial and the fact I prefer it, I've placed the “Header Style” back to the default settings, however, you can choose many different options including:
Centered Inline Logo
Check them all out to see which one you like and feels the most comfortable for you personally!
Primary Menu Bar (and Secondary Menu Bar as they are the same)
Here is where you can change the look of the top menu bar.
There are quite a few things you can customize here.
The image below shows it at it's default settings.
The things you can change are listed below:
Make the menu full width
Hide the logo image
The menu height
The logo maximum height
The text size and letter spacing
The text font and font style
The text colour and background colour
(This will be activated if you have a menu which uses a dropdown). I don't have one on my own blog, but I've nabbed a screenshot of my dads business website which I also designed and created to show you an example…
You really can make it as unique as you want!
Fixed Navigation Settings
The fixed navigation settings is for when your readers are scrolling the page.
Here you can change a number of things…
You can remove the logo, so that when the reader scrolls, it disappears from the top of the screen.
The first screenshot is what it looks like with the logo, and the second is when it's been removed.
You're also able to change the background and font colour for the scrolling menu.
It can be one colour to start with and as soon as someone starts scrolling, it can be another colour (as per the screenshot below).
This section is where you can add or remove the search icon and show Social Share buttons too.
There's also the option to add an email or phone number if you wish.
The Footer section is the part at the bottom of the screen, which should not be neglected in your blog.
The footer is a great place to have your important pages for people to check out (more on this later) and also to have social share buttons and a FREEBIE as well!
You can check out mine below…
I wanted it to be bright and to pop!
You always want to design your blog so that every element is enticing and interesting for your readers to look at.
I'm not going to go through every sub section now, like I've done with the ones above.
I think you get the idea of how you can check out each of the tabs and customize them for your own liking and needs…
I'll only be going through the ones which I feel really need it!
Let's get back to it with the Column Layout…
You can change the look of the footer using columns.
There’s a whole array of different layouts you can have.
If you change this, you won’t necessarily see anything right away, especially as we’re just starting out designing your blog.
As you add things into your footer area, they will show up in the columns you add here!
In the screenshot below, I’ve selected a 3 column layout and have changed the colour to purple for now!
This is where you can show social share icons – or not!
It’s up to you whether you want to have them here.
I do, as I think it’s a great way to make your readers aware of the social media platforms you have.
If you don’t want to have them here, that’s absolutely fine, as you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to have social share buttons within your posts and maybe on a floating sidebar too…
When it comes to customizing the buttons, this section is for when you use the “Button” option within the Divi builder.
I have added a button to the Sample Page within the customizer to show you how you can change the style of the button.
You can change the colour of the button border, text and size etc…
You can play around with this to get the buttons how you want them to look.
I've created a big button for my home page…
This simply puts changes into place that you want for all your blog posts! (text size, header size etc…)
It will pull the settings through when you write your posts and add in the header text, meta text etc…
Meta text is a summary which describes the content of a web page.
In our case, it's describing who the post is by, the date it was posted and the category it's been placed under.
Menus are where you create the pages you want to add to an individual menu within your blog…
You usually have a choice of 3 menu locations :
You can use one or all of the locations…
I just have a “Primary Menu” on my blog!
These can also be made into drop-down menus (like I’ve shown earlier on in this post).
A menu can be created for whatever you need it to do!
You start by clicking on “Create New Menu”.
You can then decide what style of menu you’d like.
For simplicity, I’ve just chosen to do a Primary Menu for now and I’ve named it “Main Menu”.
I then clicked “Next”…
And clicked on “Add Items”.
This is where you can add some pages in.
I’ve added similar pages to what I have on my blog to show you: (on top of the Home and Sample Page already there)
Once you’ve done this, they'll show up in the top right hand corner (or wherever you decided to have your menu).
This is also where you can decide whether you want your menu in several locations (as per the screenshots below).
And that’s it for the Menus (well the basics anyway as I don’t want to get overcomplicated on this).
What is a Widget?
It’s a funny little word “Widget”.
It made me laugh when I first heard it, but it basically means a component which performs a specific function, to allow you an easy way to control the sidebars and footers of your web pages.
As you can see from the screenshot below, some widgets have already been added into the sidebar, when we set this WordPress site up.
You can amend these and add information in, by clicking on the drop down arrow for each widget.
If you click on “Add a Widget” from this screen, it will open up a menu with all the other widgets available.
I have added the “Calendar” widget as an example, to show you how it gets added to the sidebar really simply.
This is simply where you decide which page you want as your “Homepage”.
You can either have your latest posts showing (which a lot of blogs have) or a Static page.
I’ve chosen the Sample Page as the static page as an example.
Woohoo! You've learnt some basics for how to Customize your Theme!
You did it!
You've learnt the basics of how to customize a theme within WordPress.
You now have the starter skills to create an amazing looking blog…
Remember – I've only shown you the basics for now. There is so much more you can do with the customizations available to you.
You’ve probably heard of Spam (not the meat variety) as most of us have spam folders within our email inboxes.
It protects your site from any spammy things getting through and hurting your blog!
This plugin isn’t a free one, but it is super cheap at £7 per year! (remember I said some things are going to cost you some money along the line – this is one of those things).
Stops spam comments
Stops spam contact emails
Stops spam registration
Stops spam subscriptions
Compatible with mobile users and devices
Checks and removes existing spam comments and users
Compatible with GDPR EU (General Data Protection Regulation) + many, many more features…
Once you’ve installed this plugin, you need to follow the instructions below to set it up…
The first screen which will come up, looks like the screenshot below and you’ll need to get an “Access Key”.
You can see that in the “Protection is Active” section, everything has a red cross next to it.
Click on “Get Access Key Automatically”.
The screen will buffer for a while and then it will come up like the screenshot below, showing a key code within the box and all the items in the “Protection is Active” section have a green tick next to them.
Click on “Save Changes”.
And that’s it… (there is an advanced settings tab, but I’ve not touched this).
You now have an anti-spam plugin installed to protect your blog.
This plugin allows you to create a coming soon page, or an under construction/maintenance page, if you need to work on your site and not have it live!
Once you set a blog up and you publish posts etc, these all become live and can be seen by anyone who comes across it on the internet.
When you start out, it can be a good idea to have a plugin like this so that they don’t see anything until you’re ready to launch your blog to the world!
I used this plugin for a long time while I was building out my blog with all my pages and posts and you can see in the screenshot below what it looked like in Maintenance Mode.
It made me feel comfortable knowing I could work on it all behind the scenes and all people would see is a screen saying something cool is coming soon, and not accidentally stumble across a half finished About Me page lol…
Works with any WordPress theme
Customizations for the look and feel + many more…
Once installed and activated, you need to do a little work on this plugin!
Head into the “Settings” and click on the “Content” tab…
Complete the form like the screenshot below (obviously using your own words, favicon and logo if you want to add these).
Save all changes and then click on “Live Preview”.
You can then see a simple, yet effective web page that will come up if anyone enters your blog domain name.
A social share plugin is a must so that your readers can share all the great blog posts you’re going to be putting out.
The Social Sharing Buttons by Mediavine is a great all in one plugin, which can link to your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Linkedin accounts for FREE! (you need to upgrade to the pro version to link to others)
Multiple share button locations
Social share counts
Easy installation and setup
Customizable button labels + more
Once you’ve installed and activated it, you need to click on “Go to the plugin”…
If you want to add share counts, you can click on the link which shows you how to do this. You can also click here and it will take you to the instructions as well!
It’s a really simple plugin to use.
You have the options of a “floating sidebar” or “inline content”. You can have both as well if you wish. Just toggle on or off your preferred preference.
A floating bar is great to have on all your posts and pages, but the inline content sharing buttons are great for within blog posts.
Once you have decided what you want – click on the settings tab and you’ll get taken to the screen where you can customize your social share buttons.
I’m not going into any detail on this as it’s pretty straight forward. You can customize it to how you want it to look with the different options available.
Just remember to save your changes once you’re done!
I am currently using the free version, but am pretty soon going to be upgrading to the pro as it has so many more features I want to check out.
We’ve talked about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) earlier on in this post and it’s a huge part of blogging!
If you have this plugin, it will help you massively with your SEO, helping you to rank higher in the search engines…
Title and meta description templates for more consistent snippets in the search engines
SEO analysis tool
Readability analysis tool
Looks after your visitors and the search engine spiders + more…
Once installed, you’ll get a “First- time SEO configuration” option come up on the screen.
Click on “configuration wizard in a new tab and complete this set up.
After completing this, take action on anything it’s asked you to do!
You can see that I need to fix a couple of issues on this test blog.
I had to uncheck the box for Search Engine Visibility.
I also had to change my permalink structure to “/%postname%/” which is the recommended structure for your URL’s in posts (I'm going to be talking a little more about permalinks further on in the post).
You can see in the screenshot above it states you should almost never change permalinks when a site is live, so now is the ideal time to do it, while your blog is in “coming soon/maintenance mode”.
Once you’ve changed this – save changes!
You can now see below that there are “0” problems!
We can’t really go too much into this one until you start writing some posts, as this is when the SEO comes into play!
You can now take a look and see all the plugins you’ve installed and what all your hard work has done.
That’s it for this plugin (and all the plugins I’m recommending for now).
As I come across new plugins or things I may want to upgrade or change, I'll update this post!
Connecting the Yoast SEO plugin to Google Search Console and adding a Sitemap
Google Search Console basically looks after the health of your blog and makes sure everything is ok in regards to its performance.
It takes care of any bug fixes and errors and gives you insight as to how search engines see your blog!
A Sitemap is used so that search engines can index your site easily and the Yoast plugin updates automatically, the more content you add to your blog.
Using the Yoast plugin makes it easy to do both of the above things!
Firstly, let's look at connecting Yoast to the Google Search Console (this part does involve contacting Siteground, or whoever you use to host your blog)
Click on “SEO” and “Search Console”…
If you haven’t set up a google search console account, click here to do this first!
Add in your domain name under the “Domain” property type and click continue…
You then need to reach out to Siteground Support within your Siteground dashboard and ask them to paste in the TXT record into the DNS configuration.
I always find the live chat option is great, so reach out to them there first and see if you can give them the TXT code that comes up (as in the screenshot below).
They may say you have to submit a ticket as it’s more technical, in which case you can do that…
It may take Siteground a while to sort this, but they’ll let you know once this has been done!
Once they’ve come back to you to say it’s done, you’ll need to Verify the site.
And that's it. You'll have been verified…
The image below shows that this domain has been auto verified, but that's only because I already own the primary domain (blogging for mums) and I am also already connected with Google Analytics.
Now I want to show you how easy it is to set up your Sitemap!
Start by going back to your dashboard > SEO > General…
Click on the “Features” tab at the top!
Make sure the “XML sitemaps” option is toggled to “On”and click on the question mark, which will open up some text.
Click on “See the XML sitemap” and it will open a new tab!
The link in the search bar is the link you'll need to copy and paste into the Search Console in a moment…
Head on over to the Google Search Console (which you set up earlier) and click on the Sitemaps tab at the side.
Now copy and paste in the link which was created a moment ago (like the screenshot below) and click “Submit”.
It will then show that it has submitted successfully!
You've now successfully set up and connected Yoast with your Google Console and set up your Sitemap within it too.
All done… you deserve a coffee break for sure!
Changing your Permalinks & Setting your Timezone!
I briefly touched on Permalinks already in this post, but wanted to talk more about it here, as it’s really important…
So a Permalink is a “Permanent Link” as the word suggests!
It’s the full URL which includes your domain name at the front and then a slug (the URL which comes after the domain name) and is used across all the pages, posts and other content on your site.
Having a simple permalink makes things simpler and easier for your readers to share and is also better for SEO!
It’s super easy to do and once it’s changed and set – you don’t need to worry about it again!
Ideally, you want to do it before you launch your blog, so that it’s visibility isn’t affected in anyway.
From within the Dashboard, click on “Settings” and then “Permalinks”
You then have many options you can choose from for the structure of your permalinks.
I’ve always, always had “Post name” as my settings, but you can have whatever suits you and your blog!
Just like in the warning though – it’s best never to change this when your site is live, as it could cause issues with your URL’s.
Setting Your Timezone
You'll need to check the time zone settings under the “General Settings”
Most of the time this is preset and defaulted correctly, to wherever you are in the world, but always check that it is right.
You can also change the date format, time format and the day of the week you want your week to start on..
I keep these to the default settings usually.
Creating the Important Pages
Every blog has what we call the “Important pages”…
These can differ from blog to blog, depending on what pages you want to have, however there are definitely 3 pages you must have on your site!
Terms & Conditions
These pages are all easy to create and I created mine using the Divi Page Builder (which is within my Divi Theme), along with simple templates, generated via companies online.
When it comes to the legal pages required, I’m only going to briefly talk about what they are and what they’re for, as it can go into a lot of depth, which I don’t want to use this blog post for.
I'll give you the links to 3 companies I use or recommend, along with further information to help you generate these pages.
The links will be for a free option, a cheap option and a more expensive option!
As you and your blog grow and you start to sell products and services – you should definitely pay for some better quality templates (the cheaper option or the more expensive one).
The more you grow, the more you’ll be selling and using advertising, therefore your legal liabilities will increase, so you want to make sure you’re covered!
The tutorial below will ONLY go into showing you how to generate and create the pages for the free option, which is the simple, free generator.
We’d be here forever if I showed you how to use every single option available.
The two paid options are very similar in that you get templates, but they’re more in depth and cover more!
I feel that this is the most important page to have on your blog!
Every blog should have this for legal reasons, because you’re collecting personal information from users, such as emails, addresses, payment details etc.
Users want to know that the information they provide you is safe and by having this page, you’re showing your users that they can trust you with the care of their details.
It’s also a requirement for third party services you may use.
WordPress do provide a briefing of what is to be included, so you can have a read of this here to get an idea!
It’s ok for me to share some templates with you and show you how to use them, but you should definitely get yourself well acquainted with the legal documents required for your blog (as I’m not a lawyer and cannot give advice on the ins and outs of the policies).
All the options I’ve mentioned offer templates. The third option (for when you’re selling and advertising) offers templates which have been created by a lawyer for entrepreneurs with online businesses, so they’re more meaty and in depth!
This is a good option to go with when you’re earning a bit of money from your blog and can afford to invest more!
Although it’s not required by law, it is something which I highly recommend having.
Follow the instructions exactly the same with creating the page and adding it to the menu…
You’ll then have all the legal pages you need for now!
As well as legal pages, there are other pages you may want to have on your blog!
I don't need to show you how to create each of these pages, but I will run through what you can have on them.
At the end of the day, you can be as creative as you like as long as the pages serve a purpose and aren’t over cluttered with too much going on…
The homepage is the first page a visitor will see when they come across your blog!
Some blogs use a default homepage, which tends to show all their latest posts alongside a sidebar (showing freebies and ads).
This is what’s known as the “standard homepage”
I’m not a fan of the standard homepage, because I just feel that with it being the first page your visitors will see, you want to give an amazing impression and give them a good starting point to your whole blog!
My homepage has a big, bold call to action at the very top, which offers a freebie to help mums figure out what they want to start a blog in!
This is a great way to get people to sign up to your email list from the off…
I then have a bit about what the blogs about and what my visitors will get from it, following my top 3 posts which will help my lovely mummy’s get started blogging!
Finally, I have my footer bar which contains my freebie offer once again (it’s good to give multiple opportunities for visitors to sign up) some social media buttons, disclaimers, my support email address and the legal pages…
It’s simple and not overdone, but has everything on there I want my homepage to have.
The contact page is basically where someone can go to reach out to you!
I have a basic contact form on mine, which I created in Divi with the “Contact Form” module.
I added my custom colours to it and made it look pretty, but it’s really simple for people to get in touch with me here!
I also have my support email address at all times within my footer, so people can contact me that way as well.
Having a way to contact you makes people trust you more, as they know they can reach out if they get stuck or have a question!
You want to make sure people feel comfortable knowing they have a way to make contact.
My Story Page
This page is my “About Me” page, except I didn’t want to call it that, so I named it “My Story”…
Everyone loves to find out more about a person – it’s human nature and I think it’s really important to share a little of yourself and your life, if you want people to know, like and trust you!
I share a little about myself and my life with my husband and children, along with what I love to do, my passions and how I really want to help other mummy’s like me start a blog!
I always check out a blog’s “About Me” page, as I love to put a face with the name/brand (most people have a photo of themselves on their blog as well – you should too!).
Because we can’t interact with each other face to face, having a story and a photo of yourself on an “About Me” page will let people get to know who you are and what you’re about…
You can check out “My Story” page actually on my blog here…
Blog pages are there to house your blog posts…
It’s an easy way to have them all in one place, making it simpler for your readers.
You can have a sidebar and utilise that for freebies and other advertising you might want to do, or you can just have it for posts like I do at the moment…
Some bloggers like to have headings for different topics/categories within their menu tab.
When these links are clicked on, the reader gets taken to a page with posts relating to that category…
There are so many different ways you can style your blog and it really comes down to what you like, what needs your blog has and how you’re going to serve your readers!
Check out some of the blogs you love and see how they put their blog pages together for inspiration.
I always do this if I’m having a moment where I can’t think how to design something.
It’s one of those things where you’re going to need to try something and see if it works and tweak it as you go along.
The more you blog, the more visitors you’ll have and hopefully you’ll be able to see what works with them and what doesn’t.
Trial and error is a big thing in blogging, that’s for sure!
This page is a great opportunity for making some money…
This is where I have affiliate links to products and services I use to keep my blog running smoothly.
I have a disclaimer at the top letting all my visitors know that I receive a small commission from purchases, so that I’m being honest and transparent with them.
I’ve broken mine down into sections to make it easier to see what’s what, but you can put yours together however you want.
You don’t have to include this page at the beginning if you don’t have anything to recommend. It can be added in at a later date when you do!
The main thing to remember with setting any of these pages up – they don’t have to be perfect. They just have to get done…
The beauty of using WordPress and Divi together is, you can always change things at anytime, so as you build your blog up and add more content, you can easily and simply add or remove sections into your pages.
Having a Plan & Setting Goals for your Blog
I feel we should always be dreaming big, because having hopes and dreams is what pushes us and motivates us every day.
It’s the dreaming big which leads us to setting goals, which gives us the reason to take action so we can achieve those dreams.
Having dreams and goals in the things we do, moves us forward in life!
Just wanted to put this out there today…
So it’s all well and good having a blog to write and publish posts, however, you need to have some kinda plan as to what you actually want to achieve with it in the long run…
Now I’m not saying you need to have clear, crystal goals right now, especially when you’re just starting out – not at all…
You’ll be concentrating on so many other things to get your blog up and running, but you do need to have a focus on what you want to be getting from your blog!
Ask yourself this question…
Why are you blogging?
Do you want to blog to:
Share your advice
Make money (hopefully this isn’t your only reason, but it’s a good motivation to blog for sure)
Promote your business
Reach more people out in the world
Find a job etc…
Knowing why you’re blogging in the first place will help you set some much needed goals!
It’s the same as when you’re brainstorming and writing blog posts – you need to be writing with a purpose, not just writing for the sake of it, or to fill your blog up!
Your blog needs to have a purpose for it being out there…
I blog because I LOVE it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but I also want to help as many mums as I can (just like you) start a blog so they can share their awesomeness with the world!
That is my goal – to reach as many mums as I can sharing my knowledge of blogging.
I feel I would be doing myself and you guys a disservice, if I didn’t share what I know.
What’s the point in knowing something if I’m not going to help others with it…
Goals for your Blog
There’s no set rhythm or rhyme to goals and how they should be set.
Everyone's goals are individual and unique to them, depending on where they want to get to and what they want to achieve.
Having both short term goals and long term goals are something you need to consider for your blog.
Short term goals can be as simple as getting your first blog post written within the next 2 weeks, or it could be getting your first email subscriber within the first month!
Whatever your short term goals are, they’ll help you get to your bigger, long term goals.
For me, I have roughly 3 daily goals of important things I want to get done that day. (I just write these in my notepad)
My daily goals are usually things like sending out an email (depending on what day I’m sending it), creating a pin image or two for a blog post, post on Pinterest/Facebook, publish a post etc…
I also have weekly, monthly and yearly goals of what I want to achieve.
My weekly goals are usually things like writing a blog post, putting together an email, recording a video for my blog post, planning the outline for the following weeks blog post etc…
My monthly goals would usually be a round up of all the things I want to get done in my daily/weekly goals.
The bigger long term goals are for things like:
How much money you'd like to make.
Making enough money to quit your job.
Increasing blog traffic
Creating a course
How many blog posts you’d like to have written over the entire year
How much time you want to spend each week on your blog etc…
So that’s a brief look into how I like to plan and set goals for my blog, but as I said, when you’re just starting out it can be overwhelming to have to try and have a whole heap of goals to think about – so you can do this more when you’ve been blogging for a month or two and have a feel for things more…
When you start, be more geared towards the processes you need to go through, as the goals will come later!
What do you want people to gain from your blog?
When a visitor comes to your blog, what is it you want them to get from it?
Are you a blog which gives news stories, so you want them to get the latest news to keep them well informed for the day…
Are you a blog which gives fashion advice, so you want them to know how to dress smart for the day…
What is it you want your blog to do for a visitor when they stop by:
Make them laugh
Inform them of something
Teach them something
Inspire them etc…
Whatever your blog’s about, think about what it is you want your readers to take away from it when they leave!
What Income do you want to earn from your blog?
Are you wanting to make money from your blog, because it’s totally possible and many bloggers make a lot of money this way…
If so, you need to have a plan of action in place as to how you’re going to do that.
You also need to look at how much money you want to make…
Do you want to make a little bit of money, maybe just enough to cover a few bills every month or…
Do you want to make a lot of money – enough to replace your whole monthly job income?
Maybe you’re looking to make enough to pay for holidays and a few spa treat weekends every year (all mummy’s need a spa weekend)…
These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to how much money you want to make from your blog!
Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on trees (we wish lol), so having solid “Money Making Goals” in place will set you on the right path…
The above are all things to think about when you’re setting goals and planning for your blogs future!
Brainstorm blog post Ideas
So, you have a blog set up now (basic, but set up and you can tweak and add things as you go and gain more confidence) and you’ve set some goals for what you want to achieve with your blog.
Now it’s time to brainstorm some ideas for your blog posts, because a blog is nothing without content…
Whatever niche you go into, you’re going to need to do some research to find out what people actually want to read about…
Get a notepad and pen (or google docs as I like to use for this) and write (or type) down some ideas you come across.
Look at what other blogs are writing about around your topic!
Check out their top posts and see what points they’re making in them.
What can you do better?
How can you write something better?
Look at the comments readers have left on the posts and see what they’re asking for, what they like and dislike about the post, what they didn’t get from the post.
You can then use these comments to write posts for your own blog, for things that are missing within the posts already out there…
DON’T STEAL OTHER BLOGGERS CONTENT THOUGH…
This is just an inspiration exercise, not a time to plagiarize someone else’s work.
You can get into serious trouble for taking other people’s stuff, plus, you don’t want to just copy and paste other’s blog posts and rearrange a few words – this isn’t ethical or right either…
Be unique and come up with your own style to get your information out there.
Find problems people are having
When it comes to problems – we all have them, on everything, so you’ll always be able to find problems and issues in whatever niche you’re in.
People are constantly searching online looking for answers to things…
I was just on google searching for “How to clean my washing machine the right way” lol!
Find those problems and provide a solution to them within your blog posts.
Everyone loves a bit of Google and that's because it’s super powerful…
I love the suggestions that it comes up with when you type something in.
I typed “How to start…” and you can see it automatically comes up with the most searched keywords.
I also love the “People also ask” section, as this can also give you some fab blog post ideas on things you may not have even thought about, but which are relating to your niche!
Quora is a question and answer site and is great for getting blog post ideas.
You can simply sign up and select 10 or more topics of interest to you (so you would select things that are to do with your niche) and then these come up within a feed.
The feed shows up with questions relating to your chosen topics.
You can then search through and see what people have been asking questions about… (a whole heap of blog post ideas)
It even allows you to ask your own questions, which is also a great tool to get information.
There’s a couple of great little tools I came across to get ideas for posts and even post titles.
Just enter in a subject and click the arrow and it will come up with loads of weird and wonderful title ideas for you, which in turn gives you actual ideas of post content!
The second tool is called the Blog Ideas Generator where you enter in a noun (or a few nouns) and then it will also come up with some cool ideas for posts.
You can also sign up to their email list and download a further 250 blog post ideas – not bad hey!
There are probably a lot of others out there you can check out, but these are the ones I’ve used (and laughed at a lot)…
Places where we spend such a massive amount of time nowadays (unfortunately) are Social Media platforms.
BUT – alongside just endlessly scrolling at really tasty looking food the mum from the school run has made and flawless celebrities we want to look like lol, it can be extremely useful and amazing for finding problems for your blog posts…
People love to join groups and ask questions all the time, so maybe join a couple of good Facebook groups within your niche and check out the posts being made and the comments also.
These groups can be a goldmine for finding topics for posts!
You can just ask your readers…
Once you have a few blog posts on your blog and people have left some comments, ask them what they want!
You can also do this when you have email subscribers…
Ask them what they want to hear about from you!
Ask them what kinds of content they prefer (written posts, videos, both).
The power of actually asking people what they want is incredible and will help save you a lot of time just writing about things no one wants to hear about…
This is a Chrome extension (so yes, you will need to have Chrome to use it) and once installed, it comes up with “Related Keywords” and “People Also Search For” down the right hand side of the screen!
You can see in the screenshot below that I typed in “How to start a blog” in Google’s search bar and then all the related keywords and things people also search for came up…
The final thing I would like to talk about in this section is “Mind Mapping”.
Brainstorming ideas using a mind map is fab because you never know where your ideas are going to end up!
The things that can pop in your head can be crazy!
They’re a great tool for planning out ideas and posts and you’ll be surprised how far you’ll go with them…
I use a tool called GitMind and it’s completely Free!
Check it out and start having some brainstorming fun…
Deciding how often you want to post!
How often you want to publish your posts is entirely up to you…
The whole idea behind blogging (and why so many people choose to do it) is because you can fit it in around you and your life!
Being a mum has a lot of challenges – with time and getting everything in we need to do, so make sure when you’re deciding how often and when to post – you find something you can stick to and what works around you and your kids!
Having a plan at this stage will help in weeks, months and even years to come…
Whatever you decide, being consistent and posting when you say you’re going to post is super important.
As you grow (and you will if you put in the hard work and stick with it) you’ll find that your readers will come to know when you post.
They’ll almost expect you to, as they’ll get into a routine of knowing what days and times your blog posts come out.
Be completely honest with yourself.
If you know that you can’t post once a week, then don’t try and push yourself to post once a week.
Post every two weeks instead, or even every month!
The main goal is to be posting consistently and to post amazing content.
If you know by posting once a week, it's going to be a hash job of throwing something together quickly, just because you want to get a post out there, DON’T!!!
It can do more harm than good to your blog.
Your readers would much rather wait and have something awesome to read, than have you post something you’ve not put any time and effort into.
It will show – trust me!
It may take a few months to get into the rhythm of things, but that’s ok as we all need time to get to know what suits us and what doesn’t.
It’s that whole trial and error thing again.
Scheduling your Posts
Once you know when you’d like to publish your blog posts, it’s time to think about scheduling those posts, so they alway go out when you want them to.
There are plugins available which you can install and set up to do this, however, the one I use is not a free one – it’s roughly £30 per year and it’s called WP Scheduled Posts!
I’m going to show you how to do it using the Gutenberg editor for FREE!
Scheduling your posts to go out on certain days and times is also great for making the most of “busy traffic times”.
You may be sleeping soundly when you want your posts to go live – that’s fine as you can “set and forget” your posts to go out at times and days/dates of your choice.
That’s the beauty of scheduling…
So with the post, once it’s written and you’re ready for it go out – you can either post it immediately, if that’s what you want to do (I wouldn’t as this is what we’re talking about scheduling posts here for) or you can schedule it for a specific time and date…
Within the post editor itself, head over to the right hand side where you’ll see the “Document” section.
Click on the “Status & visibility” tab and it will open up the “visibility” and “publish” options.
Under the “publish” option, choose a date and time you want to schedule your post for and then click on the big blue “Schedule” button!
It will then come up with a confirmation screen, making sure this is when you want the post to go out (date & time).
Click on “Schedule” and it’s all set up and ready to go.
You’ll then get a final confirmation stating it’s all scheduled to go out on the time and date chosen.
That's it – super simple!
Now you just need to write some posts to actually schedule…
Writing your first Blog post!
This is an exciting time – writing your very first blog post!
You’ve come so far in your blogging journey already, because you’ve set a whole blog up from scratch and now you’re ready to get some content on there.
Before you launch your blog, you ideally want to have between 3-5 posts already on your blog.
Putting a blog post together comes in stages:
Preparing your post
Writing your post
Editing your post
The PWE as I call it… (Prepare, Write, Edit)
Concentrate on preparing your post properly and writing will be something you can flow through and enjoy.
As long as you think about who you’re writing for, what you want to tell them and how you’re going to structure your post, you’ll make the process for yourself a lot easier.
The first posts you should always start with, are your Pillar Posts…
I have my 3 “Pillar” posts, which are on my homepage and are the lengthy, in-depth posts!
Pillar Posts are the foundation posts which support your blog and are usually larger posts with between 1000-2000 words.
They’re the posts written on topics which are actionable, engaging and will help your readers the most.
They’re also posts built to withstand time – the ones which can be updated and added to whenever required!
All other blog posts stem off the pillar posts and usually you’ll find many interlinks between pillar posts and all the other content you write, because the pillar posts will be referred back to over & over again.
You’ll probably find that once your blog has been going for a while, the pillar posts are the ones which generate you the most traffic!
Writing blog posts will eventually become a rinse and repeat cycle, as you’ll follow the same methods (whether it be mine or you create your own).
It will get easier and you’ll get more confident, the more posts you write.
Practice makes perfect so they say…
Earlier on in the post you brainstormed some ideas for blog posts.
Now you’ll need to take one of those ideas and plan out your blog post.
I can’t stress to you enough how it will make your life so much easier, if you plan your blog posts out!
I know you want to just sit down and start typing whatever comes into your head (I want to do this so bad sometimes), but not planning your posts out properly can end up wasting a lot of your time.
I mentioned how I have this on my Toolbox page as well, but I always, always have a disclosure for using affiliate links within my posts too.
I place it at the top of my post, before the reader gets into it!
This covers me and also let’s my readers know that if they do purchase something via one of the links within my post, I’ll receive a small commission from this, at no additional cost to them.
You have to be honest and transparent with them, or you could get into trouble. Also it's just courteous to let them know…
Purpose of the Post
Before I start writing anything, I always think about what the purpose of the post is going to be, because every post should have a purpose, which aligns with your blogs overall strategy…
Whether it’s to solve a certain problem, get a discussion going or getting them to download your amazing freebie – each post should always have a plan!
Look at these 3 things to determine your blog posts purpose:
Why are you writing the post? (is it to get affiliate or product sales, more traffic etc).
What do you want to get out of the post? (more email subscribers, sales etc).
How is the post contributing towards your blogs overall goals? (reaching those subscribers & money goals etc).
I always hate the whole “Keyword Research” thang…
It’s been drummed into me (and everyone else) that researching Keywords is all you need to think about when it comes to having great blog posts and getting seen in the search engines…
But that’s simply not true!
Yes you should have a look at what keywords you want to have in your post (a couple of long-tail keywords will do) but you don’t need to get stressed and overwhelmed trying to find the right ones…
It explains perfectly what long-tail keywords are…
If you let it, keyword research can end up being extremely time consuming (and a waste of time) if all you’re doing is trying to find the perfect keywords.
Your time is much better spent writing an awesome blog post from the heart, rather than having the keywords at the forefront of your mind.
Keyword research should NOT be your main focus…
Making your content relevant, on topic and the best out there, is what’s going to make you stand out from everybody else and rank higher.
That doesn’t mean to say though you should neglect checking out keywords for your topic…
I use the Keywords Everywhere tool (for Chrome) which I touched upon earlier, to help me find relevant keywords and also the Google Keyword Planner, both of which you need to sign up for, but they are free to use.
That’s all I’m going to say about keywords because although they are important, they’re not the main focus of writing posts…
Use bullet points throughout your posts.
Not only does it make it easier for your readers, but it breaks things down into sections of bite size chunks!
Having a ton of text on a screen, with no images or breaks makes it super difficult for readers to stay engaged and interested…
You don’t want readers to get bored of your longer posts, which are going to be full of text.
Just because you’re explaining something in depth, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, colourful and pretty to look at as well.
Linking to Social Media Platforms
It’s a good idea to have links to your social media platforms within each post.
I use the Divi Layout Block (within the Gutenberg editor) or the Divi Social Media Follow Module (already mentioned previously) to add my social media buttons simply and easily within my posts.
I use the “Floating Sidebar” option, as in the screenshot below, where they just float at the side of the screen all the time (this is used with a plugin called Grow by Mediavine formerly Social Pug).
And also within my posts too…
You can add them wherever you fancy!
I usually like to have them at the end of the post, just before the comments section and this is added via a module in the Divi theme (see below image).
The great thing about Divi is, it lets you place social media buttons on posts and pages, or not, if you don’t want them there…
I also like to have the social buttons in my footer bar (these were added when I custom created my footer).
It’s so easy, because you just add in whichever social platform link you want!
Call to Actions
A call to action is exactly what it says on the tin “A call to take an action”.
It is designed to drive your readers to take action (on whatever it is you want them to)…
A good call to actionleaves your readers feeling compelled to click, because they are intrigued and want to know more.
Call to Actions are called “CTA’s” for short in the blogging biz!
So what can a CTA be:
A freebie download in exchange for an email address.
Asking your reader to leave a comment.
Having a Quiz for them to take.
Asking for a social share.
Getting them to read more, with a “Read More” button.
Asking them to join your newsletter.
Links for readers to click on to be taken to further posts/websites or downloads…
The list is endless as you can have pretty much anything as a CTA…
I use lots of different CTA’s…
I have links for printables readers can download.
I have my primary & main freebie download, which goes at the bottom of each of my posts.
I also link to other blog posts, where I feel it can help my readers even more.
It also helps with Google ranking and your SEO…
Once you have several posts, you could also have related posts under your articles, to keep people on your site for longer.
Every blog post you write should always have at least one Call to Action.
Don’t let a reader leave without asking them to do something!
Have a clear structure for your posts
I find it easier to have some kind of structure when putting my posts together.
Yes, not all your posts are going to be uniform all the time, but if most of them can, it’s easier for you who’s writing them and your readers, who’ll get to know the look and feel of your posts when they’re reading them.
My posts all have the title, then a quote, my “What you’ll learn” introduction paragraph, my affiliate disclaimer, a pin image and then the actual blog post content etc…
I like to set mine out this way as they feel clean, structured and to the point.
I also use the same fonts and font sizes throughout (different ones for normal text and heading text).
Again, it keeps it looking uniform across my whole blog…
Get yourself a Graphic’s Creator
Blogging involves a lot of images and graphics.
My blog is full of screenshots, Pin images, featured images, stock photos, vector graphics, icons… (and breathe lol).
Creating them though is one of my favourite parts of blogging.
I don’t really think of myself as very creative, but when you get me in front of my computer on a “creating images” day (yes, I do call them that lol) I get super immersed and passionate.
I love being able to create unique graphics and watching my posts transform from boring pieces of text, to beautiful, colourful posts & pages.
It’s truly amazing what images can do for your blog!
I know when I check out a blog post, I love it when there’s screenshots to help and colour.
It just feels a lot nicer for me to read!
There are tons of tools out there you can use…
But I’m only going to mention the two that I use myself.
Powerpoint is another extremely powerful software for creating and designing.
When I first heard of PowerPoint, I thought it was just for creating slide deck presentations, but boy was I wrong…
It can do so much and I’ve created pretty much all my printables & infographics using it.
Above are some of the printables and graphics I’ve created in PowerPoint.
You can do loads with it and it comes with shapes, icons, SmartArt, WordArt, animations and so on and so on… so many options to create fab graphics, printables – whatever you want!
I wanted to mention PowerPoint as I know a lot of people have the Microsoft package already.
You don’t need to go and buy it though, because Canva is free to use and you can do almost all the same stuff in there.
Make sure your blog posts are relevant to your niche
The last point I want to mention when it comes to writing your first (and all) posts – is to make sure it’s relevant to your niche…
This is extremely important when you’re first starting out, because every blog post needs to have a focus in order to find an audience.
Branching out and talking about things completely off topic will cause your blog to fail (at least it will in the beginning).
People usually head to a blog to find certain information they’re after and it’s easier for them to establish a relationship with you if they know from the off, what it is you’re actually talking about…
You need to make it easy for them to know what you’re about, as soon as they hit your blog!
If your blog’s about “Cooking to Lose Weight”, then make sure all your content is related to this.
For example – having posts like “How this delicious curry will help you lose 5lbs” (I’m not sure many curry’s will do this lol) and “Use these 10 ingredients in every dish to shed that baby weight” are related to your core niche…
Keeping the content on track with your topic will help you become established as an expert, so people will want to keep coming back.
When you’re an expert and you recommend products and services, people will listen to you and want to purchase the things you recommend.
This is a great way to get those affiliate sales which help monetize your blog!
Once you’re more established, you can branch out into other things if it feels right to do so, but when getting yourself off the ground, sticking with the one niche and topic is a good idea!
Completing the Yoast SEO Plugin Info!
Now that you have a blog post or posts written, we need to add in the information to the Yoast SEO plugin…
This is what’s going to help you rank in the search engines and should be completed for every single post you write.
THIS SHOULD ALWAYS BE DONE AFTER YOUR POST IS WRITTEN… IN THE EDITING STAGE…
Once installed, it usually places itself at the bottom of your blog post.
There are three things you need to complete:
Let’s look at them now, so you know how to fill them out.
The screenshot above shows all the sections we’re going through below, as you’ll see them in your dashboard.
This is the phrase that you want to rank for in Google, when people are searching on the internet.
It can be one word, but is usually a few words, which is classed as a long-tail keyword (which we touched upon briefly, earlier in the post).
You want to include your keyphrase in places such as an introduction, titles, headings and subheadings and your meta description (which we’ll talk about in a minute).
So for example: if we’re writing a post about “10 things to do before bed to get a better night’s sleep” we could have the following kinds of keyphrases:
10 things to get a better night’s sleep.
Sleep better with these 10 things.
Wake up feeling refreshed after doing these 10 things.
The slug is the part of the URL which tells people what the content is about on that post/page (not the creature leaving a trail of slime everywhere it goes lol).
In order to boost your SEO as best you can, you need to write a good slug…
You can do this by adding your keyword into it and making it short, simple and descriptive.
You don’t have to include words like “the”, “and”, “a” etc… but you do need to make sure the slug makes sense.
The meta description is usually one or two sentences long and is there to get someone to click on your link.
An ideal meta description is short, sweet, can contain things like a call to action or your keyword, but it conveys the message of what your blog post/page is about!
It needs to match the content within the page/post you’re matching it too, otherwise you’ll probably have a high bounce rate (the % of people who come onto your site and then leave, rather than viewing other pages).
155 characters is what’s considered an ideal length at this point in time, however, you can have whatever you feel is right..
As you can see from the screenshot below, a green bar comes up when it’s the right length.
If it goes over, that bar goes to orange…
Once you have written the description, you can preview it as a mobile or desktop preview.
Assign it to a Category
It’s also important to assign your blog post to categories, as it makes it easier for readers to find things they’re interested in and looking for.
I have a few categories which are all relating to the topics I write about on my blog…
The Divi theme automatically places the Categories menu at the side (or bottom) of my post dashboard!
You can add new categories right here on the screen. You simply click on “+ Add New Category” and then type in the name you want and click the “Add New Category” light blue button.
A tag is a word or two which describes the content within your post.
It’s important to add these tags in for every post you write.
There is such a thing as overuse of tags and Yoast says here, that you shouldn't use tags which don’t relate the current post to any others on your blog!
Tags should not just be made up, they should be keywords that people search for, so think about what other posts the one you’re currently writing, relates to.
Tags should be gone through regularly and updated, as and when you add new content to your blog!
To add a tag > go to Posts > click on the post you want to add them to > see the “Tag” menu on the right hand side…
It’s so easy as you type in the tag words you want to use and click “Add”.
They’ll then show up in a list below the add box.
That’s all you have to do to add tags!
The final element I want to talk about in writing your first blog post, is how to add a Featured Image (even though I don't actually use Featured Images myself currently).
Setting a Featured Image for your blog posts is a great way to give an idea on what the post is about.
People love to visualize things and a good image can intrigue your readers to continue reading the post.
The best kinds of images are original, if you can, but you can use Creative Commons stock images and photos.
Creative Commons is a licence that enables free distribution for work done by others.
If an author wants to give rights to other people to share, use and make modifications to their work, this licence allows them to do so.
I only really use Canva Pro, because they have over 60 million (yes you heard that right) premium stock images, photos, videos and graphics, which is more than enough for all my blogging needs!
Adding a Featured Image
To add a featured image, there’s a menu at the side of the blog post dashboard…
The image will usually show near your post title, but this depends entirely on what theme you're using.
If you are using Divi, it has the option to have a “full width post title” module or a “regular width post title”.
They both do the same though, except one is full width…
Here you can change what you want to show:
Featured Image placement
It’s really versatile and you can show whatever options you like.
With regards to the Featured Image, you have a couple of options of how you want the title to appear:
Title/Meta Background Image
The screenshot below is the image below the title.
This next image is the image above the title.
And the final image is the title/meta background image. This one is where the title is over the image and can look really nice with the right image.
If you're using the Gutenberg editor, then you can add a “Divi Layout” block and choose the “Post Title” module within there.
The final thing I want to mention when writing your blog posts, is whether you want to have a sidebar or not.
Sidebars can be added to posts and pages, but you can choose whether you want them on each post/page you create.
Sometimes you may want one and sometimes not!
They can be placed in multiple areas, depending on your theme.
They’re known as “Widget-Ready” because you can add things into them with a drag and drop motion!
As you can see in the image above, there are many different widgets you can have.
There’s options for a sidebar and footer areas too.
Your theme may also allow you to have the sidebar on either side of the page, vertical or horizontal…
You simply just drag and drop the widgets you want into the area you want them to show.
You can see in the images below that the widgets within the sidebar match the ones on the blog post page…
You can also decide not to have a sidebar at all.
This is done from the menu under “Divi Page Settings”
I haven’t got any sidebars at the moment, but that’s not to say I won’t in the future.
I just don’t have a need for one right now.
A lot of bloggers use them to advertise products and services, to show things like their recent or popular posts and to have their archives etc…
It all depends on what your blogs needs are, as to what you want to display…
Freebies, also known as Opt-Ins, Giveaways, Sign-Ups, Lead Magnets, incentives and Free gifts…
They’re all the same thing – something which is given away to your readers for free, in exchange for an email address!
As people, we love getting something for FREE – it’s human nature…
Bloggers tend to use freebies to entice readers to join their mailing lists!
A freebie is offered in exchange for an email address (and this is done using an email marketing software, which I’ll talk more about in the next section).
I always LOVE giving things away to my readers and I often have more than one freebie per blog post.
Not only do I love creating them, I feel great knowing that I’m giving away valuable information, that can be used, implemented and taken action on…
I put just as much love and care into my freebies as I do for something I’d sell.
Just because you’re giving it away for free, doesn’t mean it should be a load of rubbish.
Never treat your freebies as tat!
Bad freebies will mean people won’t touch your paid products.
Make readers think that if the free stuff is great, then the paid stuff would be unreal…
As explained in the section above, I use Canva Pro and PowerPoint to create all my freebie giveaways!
Canva even has a Design School, with tutorials to help you learn how to create awesome projects.
I use a mixture of templates, which I customize and change to make my own (Canva Pro), next to creating graphics and freebies from scratch (usually within PowerPoint).
This can take a lot of time to start with (especially if you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me) but as you create more and more, you’ll get quicker and more confident in your creative skills!
Freebie creation will then become a natural process alongside every blog post!
It really is a lot of fun to do and you can let your imagination run wild!
I’m not going to show you exactly how to create a freebie using these tools within this post, as I’m going to do separate posts at a later date – it would also make this already very lengthy post even lengthier.
Try and think about the following things when creating your freebies:
Always create something to give away, which is relevant to your blog and niche.
Try and create a freebie for each blog post (this could be a Content Upgrade) and is something which reflects the post content, but gives your readers that bit more – a bonus piece of content… It also sees you staying fresh with the freebies you’re giving away.
Add your freebies to your homepage, within blog posts and in the sidebar!
Don’t create a freebie which is too long or too short.
Keep it to the point and ALWAYS give something which can help your readers.
Put time and thought into your freebies – plan them out as you would a blog post (although it won’t need to go into as much depth as a blog post plan).
What kinds of things can you have as a Freebie?
There are many different things you can create as a freebie…
List of Resources
Transcripts to a video or audio recording
Quick start guide
Plus many, many more ideas…
You can literally giveaway anything, as long as it’s of value and helps your readers!
So go ahead now and think of one thing you can create to compliment your blog posts!
Put in the time and effort to create something really great, that you’re proud to give away.
This will be your main, primary freebie and can feature anywhere on your blog…
Mine is my “What Should You Blog About” printable, as this will help any new mums with the first step, when they’re new to blogging.
Once you’ve created a freebie, you’re ready for the next stage, which is getting yourself an email marketing platform – a must for any blogger who is taking this seriously…
Just Checking In on you!
How you hanging in there lovely…
I know this is one of the biggest, craziest blog posts you've probably come across…
It's a huge amount to take in and put into action, but I know you can do it and we only have a few more things left to cover!
This post was never meant to be done in one sitting, as it takes time to create things and put everything into place.
You're so close to the finishing line of having your own beautiful blog set up and ready to take you into your blogging future…
I couldn't go through this post without checking in with you regularly. to make sure you're ok 🙂
And you can reach out to me at any point!
Getting an Email Marketing Platform to start growing your Email List + Adding a ConvertKit form to your blog post!
So, what is an Email Marketing Platform?
It's a piece of software which is used to collect email addresses and helps you create and send your own email messages out.
This is just a brief overview of what they do.
They do a whole range of other things including:
Landing page creation
Its a software that can deal with all your email marketing needs!
Collecting emails and building up your “subscriber list” as it’s called in the blogging world, is something you need to be doing right from the very start!
I’ve heard so many bloggers say that if they could do one thing over again – it would be to start building their email list right when they began their blogging career!
It’s an extremely powerful strategy and one where you can offer your readers a great freebie in exchange for their name and email address (just like we talked about above).
The idea is, you give away a free gift and then send them weekly or monthly emails etc (depending on what you want to do and what suits your blog niche and goals) where you can share other great content and inform them of products and services you recommend…
It’s a way of staying in touch with them and building a relationship and many subscribers stay on their bloggers lists for years.
If you always give great content and genuinely help your readers wherever you can, you’re going to build sustainable relationships with your audience.
It’s not the cheapest option out there, but it’s definitely not the most expensive either.
It’s also the simplest and easiest one I’ve ever used and that makes a huge difference to me.
The interface is also extremely simple and easy to navigate around, which you need it to be, as you’ll be in it a lot once you get going…
It's just started giving a free option, where you can build landing pages and forms for free!
This is so cool and was only introduced in 2019.
Once you’ve built up a bit of a list and want to start emailing them, you can upgrade your account to access all the fab features ConvertKit has to offer!
If there’s one piece of advice I can offer, it’s to pay for an email marketing provider as soon as you’re able to afford it.
It’s one of the paid tools I can’t stress enough, you should have, because it’s the tool which is probably going to help you make the most money over time!
A free platform that’s great to use is Mailerlite and is also fairly simple to get to grips with…
If you start out with a free option, when the time comes for you to move on to a paid one, you’ll need to move all your subscribers over to a new platform (if you don’t stay with your current free choice).
Mailerlite has a paid option so if you do start out with them, you can go onto the paid version at a later date and not move everything.
Everyone is different and it’s a case of seeing which platform you like and get on with.
They all pretty much do the same thing, just to different levels and ease!
I’m going to run through how ConvertKit works, as it’s the one I use and know about…
How does ConvertKit work?
The way an email marketing provider works is to connect with your blog using embedded forms and landing pages.
It can also be done via API (Application Programming Interface), where you use your account name & key to connect the two!
If you’re going to use the API (which you probably will), you’ll need to install the ConvertKit plugin first.
If you go to the plugins section from your dashboard and click on “Add New”, then type in ConvertKit, it will come up!
Install it and head to the “General Settings” for ConvertKit and enter in the API Key and API Secret and save changes…
This then links your blog and your ConvertKit account together!
When you sign up for an account, you can find the account details under your “General” account settings.
This is where your “API Key” and “API Secret” details are.
They’re the options you have to connect your blog to ConvertKit.
There are also many ways you can add opt-in forms into your content and have people sign up to your email list…
Creating an Opt-in form in ConvertKit
Once you have a freebie created, an opt-in form can be added to your blog.
There are many types of opt-in forms and the options ConvertKit offer are:
All these options can be used throughout your blog.
It’s a case of testing them all out and seeing what converts the most readers into subscribers!
It’s also a lot of fun creating different forms and seeing how they work…
ConvertKit is the email marketing software I use, however, most email marketing platforms offer these form types.
So you need to start by creating a form.
I’m going to run over this very, very briefly…
You’ll want to spend some time playing around with the form types and getting to know what they do and how they work!
Once you’re signed in and on the ConvertKit dashboard, click on “Landing Pages & Forms”.
Scroll down and click on “Create New”
Then choose whether you want to create a form or a landing page…
For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to choose a form and the “Inline” type.
Then you can choose from a number of beautiful templates (all fully customizable).
I’ve just gone for the simple “Mills” form.
The first thing I always do is name my form, as when you start creating more and more, you’ll want to be able to find it straight away.
You then have the chance to customize the whole form and get it exactly how you like it.
Before we get into it, you can see from the two images below what the form looked like before and after all the customization's.
I wanted to place this here now, so you can see the difference. I didn’t put a ton of effort into it, because I just wanted to show the basics and what could be done.
There are four sections to customize:
The Styles section is where you can change:
Have a background image if you like
Change the background opacity
I’ve changed the background colour and the border radius to show you how it looks.
This is where you can change:
When a visitor subscribes to the form
Here I’ve not touched the “Custom Domain” or the “Page URL” section as I want to redirect to another page, so I’ve left these blank.
I’ve checked the “Redirect to an external page” under the “When a visitor subscribes to the form” and added in a URL for a “Confirmation” page I created.
I want people to receive this confirmation page once they’ve signed up, as it gives them instructions of what they need to do.
You can see from the one I created, that it makes reference to the freebie they’ve opted in for with an image – so they can see what they’re getting, and details of what to do next to get the freebie!
The checkbox is usually ticked by default on this option in Convertkit, because it’s extremely important and recommended you use it.
Within the blogging industry, there’s a thing called:
Single Opt In” vs “Double Opt In
Single opt in is where a person enters their name and or email address, clicks a button to get a gift and they’re automatically added to your email list – knowingly or not…
Some bloggers still use this method still, because they want to make the process for their reader as simple and quick as possible.
The thing is, nowadays we’re all so protective of our information and with all the data protection (especially GDPR General Data Protection Regulation that’s been introduced in Europe since May 2018), most tend to go for the double opt in to protect themselves.
Double Opt In is where an incentive email gets delivered to the person when they click the button and they have to physically go into their inbox and confirm they want to be added to your email list.
It seems like a long winded process, but it really isn’t and for the sake of your reader taking a couple of extra minutes to do this, you’re not only making sure they’re happy to receive further emails and information from you, you’re making sure your email list is full of people who actually want to be there.
Subscribers who confirm are more likely to open and read your emails and it protects you from spammers.
To do it, you’ll need to check the “Send Incentive Email” box and click on “Edit Email Contents”.
Then go ahead and create a really awesome email (you can see the one I use below).
All the Styles – Header Styles, Subheader Styles, Field Styles, Button Styles, Guarantee Styles & Powered by Convertkit…
Once all the main components are completed for the form to work, you can now customize the actual style of the form…
The header and subheader styles are where you make the form come to life, because you change the text to say what you want it to…
Do a bit of research and see what other people’s opt-ins are like on their blogs, as this can give you some inspiration for how to word things and how they make them look with images and graphics etc (remember to not copy though as you’ll get into trouble).
I’ve found a couple of great examples of opt-ins, on some of the blogs I love…
1 – Setting a Default form for all pages and posts
This is done under the ConvertKit Settings within your dashboard.
You select a form from the list (if you have more than one form) and this will appear on all your posts and pages by default.
2 – Setting a form for an individual post
This option is where you choose a specific form per blog post and page.
This is definitely the better option, because once you start creating more and more freebies and opt in forms, you’re not going to want the same one showing all the time.
You also have the option here to have no form showing at all, which a lot of pages may require.
You scroll down to the bottom of the editor from within the post (you must have the ConvertKit plugin installed to do this) and then simply click on the list and “Update”.
This will then save the form into this post, which you created over in ConvertKit.
You can see in the above screenshot what it looks like when this action has been taken.
So that’s how you create your Convertkit form and add it to your blog posts.
We’re now going to look at how to create an email optin form, using the module for this within Divi.
Adding an opt in form to your blog post using the “Email Opt-In” module from Divi
To add an opt in form to your blog post, go to the post within the dashboard that you want to add the form, and add a “Divi Layout” block.
Next, add in the “Email Optin” module…
An opt in box will then come up and you’ll need to customize this to say what you want it to.
Make sure it’s enticing, lets your reader know what it is they’ll get and how it will help them!
Once you’ve customized it, you need to click on the “Email Account” under the “Content” tab.
Select who your email client is (mine is ConvertKit so I’ve selected this one from the list) and which list you want the email address to be added to.
The next tab to go onto is the “Fields” tab and you can make sure the “Name” option is selected.
And finally, the “Success Action” tab is where you can decide whether to display a message when someone signs up, or whether you want to redirect them to a URL (which is what I do as I redirect them to a thank you page).
You can now see the full blog post with this email optin module used…
I also made two more videos showing how to add ConvertKit opt-in forms to your posts.
The first way is using a shortcode and the second way is by using a modal form, which is triggered by clicking a link…
How To Embed An Opt-In Form Using A Shortcode
How To Create A Modal Opt-In Form Using ConvertKit
I filmed these additional videos so I could show you all the options available for creating opt-in forms within ConvertKit.
Setting up any Social Media accounts and connecting them to your blog!
Pretty much all of us are on some kind of Social Media platform – if not all of them…
When you first start blogging, you want to stick to just one or two platforms.
Do some research and find out where your target audience is hanging out!
The idea is to get really good at being social and sharing your content on one platform and also build up an audience of raving fans.
You can learn all there is to know and really get to grips with it, BEFORE you move on to another platform.
Once you’ve decided which platforms to go with, you need to set up your accounts.
I’m not going through that at all, as you either know how to do this already, or you can find out how.
So now it’s time to look at how to make money with your blog!
What you'll learn today…
If you’re taking blogging seriously (which I hope you are, as it’s an amazing way to make an income around your kids), then making money is going to be a natural next step.
Once you’ve set your blog up, have a few posts on there and are in the routine of running your blog and posting regularly – you can really start to think about making some money!
I’m doing this with you lovely and am sharing my journey as I do it too…
Today’s post will see us looking at a whole bunch of things including how you can make money from your blog as a beginner, how you can optimise your blog and content planning, amongst a ton of other things…
Everything I mention in this post has something to do with helping your blog on it’s way to making some money…
So let’s get this show on the road…
“This post may contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase using one of my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you”.
Well the answer to this is a simple and definite yes…
If you’re willing to take the time and put in the effort, you can have a successful blog!
If you can accept that it isn’t an overnight thing and that it can take months (or even years) to become successful and get your blog properly off the ground – you have to give it a go…
At the end of the day, what have you got to lose!
As I’ve mentioned at least twice already in my other blog posts, blogging is a marathon and not a sprint…
If you’re wanting to blog to get rich quick – quit right now because it isn’t going to happen.
Blogging takes a lot of blood (not literally), sweat and tears (I’ve definitely had a lot of those for sure), but you have to be able to pick yourself up and keep pushing through every hurdle you come across.
You have to be super passionate about what you’re blogging about, so that you can keep talking about it day in, day out…
What makes a blog successful?
When you hear the word “success”, what does it make you think of…
Achieving something (goals/plans).
Having lots of money.
Being able to retire at 40.
Success is different for everyone!
There are a number of things which make a blog successful, so let’s look at them now:
For example, if you had a food blog (of which there are thousands out there) to talk about all food would probably not get you noticed, because there’s just too many different things to talk about, but if you were to talk about say vegan food or organic food only and give all kinds of information and be super helpful in that one area, you could build up a following of super fans, who will see you as an expert!
Concentrating on a specific area, giving it your all, along with quality content will definitely help you stand out and keep people coming back over and over…
Also having a unique take on things and giving your writing a different twist, will keep things interesting!
Blogs where people are spending money?
A niche where money is being spent is also a MUST…
When people want help, tips and advice, they’re usually willing to pay for it.
All the big niches (mentioned above) are huge money makers!
They all provide a want and need for people.
For example, a lot of people love to garden and are very passionate about their gardens, so they want to find out all they can and purchase all the things they need to help maintain an amazing garden…
When it comes to Parenting, mums and dads will often do anything to find information out about how to get their baby to sleep at 3am (so they can sleep too) or how to soothe them when they’re teething (that high pitched cry can break your heart & your eardrum).
This niche has a massive market and a ton of money is being spent!
Blogs which are super helpful, valuable and influential to their readers, are going to become a success at some point, because as you build up trust, people will start buying the things you have to sell.
Write about what you love
You probably hear it a lot “Always write about what you love”…
It’s so important to have a blog which you love to write on.
If you want to be around in years to come, you have to be able to talk about your niche all the time.
Passion for your blog will show in your content!
If you don’t enjoy it, your posts will be stilted and uninteresting, because there’s no love being put into them.
Get the Money Making Tip Sheet
You can grab this and start making money today!
Find out all the tips to help make your blog profitable…
How do beginner blogs make money?
Beginner blogs can make money straight away!
How awesome is that… and I’ll share with you in a bit, the way in which you can do that.
Once you’ve launched your blog – you can make your very first £1… and then it can keep going from there!
It all depends how much time, effort and help you put out there.
As a beginner blogger, you can make some money… but it probably won’t be the thousands of pounds you’re led to believe from some bloggers out there (remember “it’s not a get rich quick” thing).
It’s a slow and steady process.
Building your audience (the people who are looking for what you’ve got) is where it begins.
People need to like and trust you, before any of their hard earned money is going to part with them.
Making money comes from helping people.
Find your audience and give, give and give…
Help them as much as you can and be there to give advice and answer their questions.
Do this and build good relationships with people and the money will follow!
Create and share interesting, useful and valuable content with your readers.
This will get them to realize you’re someone who they can trust to get decent and reliable information from.
Making money from your blog comes with blogging (creating the actual content) alongside money making methods, of which there are many.
These methods include the following:
We’ll look at them in more detail in a moment, but I want to say this…
You don’t have to do all of these.
In fact, you don’t even have to do half of them.
It’s about finding what works for you and your blog.
It could be one of them, or a mix of them…
Start out with one and then see how it goes and then you can incorporate another one and then another one if you want to.
Just get to grips with something properly and really try it out before moving on to another one, because you’ll end up super overwhelmed if you try and do it all in one go!
You need to give them a chance as well and not just try them once and give up!
I’m also a strong believer in not putting all your eggs in one basket (so to speak) and having several income streams!
So let’s look at each of the money making methods now:
One of my favourites is Affiliate Marketing.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to make an income, especially when you’re first starting out.
This is the method I mentioned at the beginning, where you can literallymake money straight away!
In basic terms, affiliate marketing is promoting other people or company’s products/services and receiving a commission (percentage of the total cost) from the sale.
You use specially created links and when your readers click on them, they get taken to the product or service (or whatever it may be) and then once (and if) they purchase – you’ll receive whatever the % commission amount is.
You may receive it immediately, or have to wait for a while.
This is entirely dependent on the platform and how their affiliate program works.
One of the best affiliate platforms to use is the fabulous Amazon…
Pretty much everyone I know uses Amazon or has done at some point in their lives.
It has EVERYTHING on there.
Whatever niche you’re in – you’re going to find something on Amazon which you can affiliate yourself with and recommend to your readers…
It’s super simple to sign up and you literally Join, Advertise and Earn (exactly like in the screenshot above).
You find something to promote (for this example I’ve chosen a very pretty yoga mat as I want to do more yoga).
Because I’ve joined the Amazon Affiliate Program, I then have this box which appears at the top of my Amazon web pages all the time.
This means whenever I want to promote something, I choose the product (like the pretty yoga mat) and then click on the “Get Link” section at the top.
This gives me a unique and specially created link, just for me…
You have the options of:
Text + Image Link
I’ve just chosen the text link as an example to show you in the above screenshot!
(NOTE: You cannot cloak Amazon links like you can with other affiliate links. Cloaking just means you can shorten links and make them look more pretty)
I always go for the short link option when using the Amazon link too.
When you add this link into your content, it will redirect to the yoga mat (or whatever product it is you’re promoting) and if someone purchases through that link – you’ll get a commission.
It’s as easy as that…
A great way to use Amazon affiliate links (and any other affiliate links for that matter) is to write a post and include the links throughout the content naturally.
People love posts where products and services are reviewed honestly, by bloggers who have actually used the product/services themselves.
This builds up trust between the blogger (you) and the reader!
Don’t just shove up a page with a load of products on there linking to Amazon though, as this will just look like you’re trying to sell all the time and it doesn’t give any real value.
Other big companies and places you could go to are:
They all work in similar ways, in that you sign up and register with them and then see what requirements there are, or you may have to complete an online form.
You may have to wait to be “vetted” and reviewed, to see if you’re a suitable candidate or you may get approved automatically.
Either way, it’s always worth checking affiliate programs out, because they have the potential to make you a lot of money.
For example, on one of my previous blogs, I had an image on my sidebar which recommended a membership program which I had been a part of, had gone through it entirely and loved it!
It helped me so much that I signed up to be an affiliate for the program via Clickbank (which is where the affiliate program was held).
I wrote a post about it and shared all the ins and outs of my experience using the program (and included affiliate links throughout the post naturally) and I also had a clickable image link to the program within my sidebar.
I made a fair amount of money from it – just this one product which I took a bit of time to write a post about and put a clickable image on the side of my blog posts and pages…
I just wanted to share that quickly, to show you that it can work.
That above was from just one product… and I had many more like that.
The guy who wrote the post shares programs in all kinds of niches including: fashion, beauty and make-up and gaming to name just a few…
With any company that sells products and services, there could be the potential to become an affiliate.
Some companies may not even have thought about having an affiliate program in place, so if you have an audience of people who you could sell a lot of certain products too, you could always reach out to the company and see if you could come to some sort of arrangement with them, in regards to being an affiliate.
At the end of the day, for them, it’s easy money, as you’ll be doing the selling!
They’d just need to set up an affiliate program (with a company such as Affiliatly for example) and then you get to work selling their products and services.
Anyway, that’s enough talk about Affiliates, because I could go on and on, as I love it!
I may do a more in depth post on this soon, so keep an eye out!
Next up we’re going to look at Ads…
Ads can be another great way to make an income on your blog!
They aren’t my cup of tea, because I don’t like visiting blogs when there are ads throughout the content and popping up all over the place.
For me, it ruins the experience and hinders my viewing of the blog itself, as I’m always having to click off ads…
That said, the example I mentioned earlier, where I had a clickable image in my sidebar – that is classed as a “Banner Ad” and can work well if you have one or two which really resonate with your blog.
Banner Ads are basically ads which are embedded into your posts/pages and are image based.
A lot of companies who use banner ads will have the image ads created for you, then you can just choose the one you want and embed it into your site.
For example, Siteground (the hosting company I use) has a range of different images in different sizes, for their affiliates.
You would simply choose an image and click on “Get Code” then embed it wherever you want it to show on your blog!
It’s super simple…
Banner Ads are popular and when clicked on, go to the site where you’re advertising.
If someone purchases from clicking through – you’d get whatever commission the program pays!
I may even test out a few banner ads on this site and see how they go. Watch this space…
Banner ads in a sidebar tend to be non-intrusive, unlike ads which pop up all over the place (the ones I don’t like).
Ads only really work on a blog if it has lots of page views and visitors, because the money only really comes in when the traffic is ramped up on your blog.
They’re simple to set up however, and there are a few places you can go to set ads up!
I’m not going through how to do it, as they’re all pretty straight forward. If you want to check them out you can and sign up for accounts, however, because I said that ads don’t really work until you have a lot of traffic, it may be something you want to come back to at a later date… especially as some of the platforms have certain requirements you need to meet before you can apply!
It was a monthly membership and I was part of it for over a year and learnt a ton…
She only opens it up once or twice a year though so you have to join a waiting list.
A great place to get some other ideas for services is a place called Fiverr.
It’s a freelance services platform, where people offer their services for $5.
I’ve offered services on here previously as it’s a great way to earn some extra money while getting things off the ground.
So that’s a little bit about Services, so go check out the infographic above and Fiverr to get some inspiration on the services you could offer…
Products – the wonderful world of products…
I’ve created quite a few products over the years, on my other blogs and they’re a great way to make money and get creative!
There are so many different things you can create products on and digital products are fab, because there’s no actual physical product.
You can create an eBook for example and set up a sales page or button – and be selling that eBook and delivering it digitally to people all over the world…
People don’t have to wait for days while it comes in the post (just a few minutes tops for it to hit their email inbox or create an account) and they can access it immediately and use whatever it is, right there and then…because it’s all done online!
This whole digital era we’re in and being able to access things straight away is a real game changer!
I’ve made a list below of all the different kinds of products you can offer your readers: (I’ve listed physical products and digital products as some of you may want or need to have physical inventory, depending on what your blog and niche is about)
This list could get quite long…
Printables (I love creating printables such as planners)
Replay of a Webinar
Templates (if you have a great template you’ve created and used such as a “blog post template”, then this is great to sell as a downloadable product)
Private Boot Camps/Groups (via social media group or page)
Stock Images (put together a selection of great stock images)
Digital Subscriptions (such as weekly recipes/classes)
Graphics & Digital Art (wallpapers, icons etc)
Animations & GIFS
Swipe Files (such as email/ad/sales page copy)
Toolbox with Resources you use
Bundles (templates, stock images, copy etc)
Physical Books & Planners
Baby Products etc…
The list really is endless…
There are just so many product options you have to sell on your blog, so you’ll ALWAYS find something, no matter what niche you’re in.
Amazon is a fantastic place to check out for product ideas, because it has loads of categories to sift through…
I can spend a few hours checking out all the things on Amazon and come up with ideas I would never have thought of!
So if you get stuck, head over there and get yourself some inspiration…
Physical products are great because they offer a higher perceived value and are also a fab extension to your digital products.
The last option I want to let you know about, when it comes to making money from your blog is Sponsored Posts…
In the blogging world, a Sponsored post is when a company pays a blogger to write about their product or service.
You get paid for writing a post and reviewing their product.
If you do a sponsored post, you have to mention somewhere within the post that it is sponsored.
As you become more established, brands and companies will start to notice you more and will want to create sponsored content alongside you.
I haven’t ever done a sponsored post myself, so I can’t give any feedback on how it turns out, but I know it’s a popular way to get further reach, engagement and sales.
So that’s the different ways you can make money on your blog, even when you’re just starting out…
I have to say, even making just £1 from your blog, will give you the most amazing feeling in the world!
And if you can make £1, you can make £10 and £50 and £100 and then £1000…
Once you can make that first £1, the world is your oyster and you get that buzz and that passion to make more, so what are you waiting for – go try one (or more) from the list above!
How Can I Make my Blog Profitable?
There are ways you can set your blog up to be profitable and any help in that department is always welcome by me!
So these are some of the ways that you can do that:
Start collecting email addresses from the off… building your audience is essential. Don’t wait!
Research what your target audience needs and wants are and give them what they want. It’s all about your audience and readers and what they want to hear about.
Add affiliate links where you can throughout your blog and posts (as long as it’s organically and naturally). This is a great way to earn money from recommended products and services that you love. You’re helping them which in turn helps you. Signing up for the Amazon Affiliate Program is great as well, as you can make money from all kinds of products!
Be in the mindset that blogging is a long haul ride! If you know that it isn’t a get rich quick scheme, you won’t be disappointed if it takes a while to get up, running and some cash coming through the door…
Plan and have goals… small goals (daily/monthly etc…) and bigger, yearly goals. This isn’t just income goals either, it’s setting yourself up for success. Setting targets such as hitting 100 subscribers/writing 10 blog posts/guest posting on 5 other blogs etc…
Be distinctive and different from other blogs in your niche, as you’ll stand out more.
Spend more money on things which are important – email marketing platform/theme/hosting. If you’re taking it seriously and you want it to be a business which generates you income, you have to spend money. You wouldn’t be able to set up any other business without spending some cash, so why would being online be any different. Yes it’s cheaper, but cheaper doesn’t mean FREE!
Take courses to help you grow and learn as this will make you a better blogger!
Optimize your blog for users!
Something to think about when you have a blog, is optimizing it for your users.
I’m going to give you a few tips for optimizing your blog for both your readers and the search engines, however, bear in mind that you should ALWAYS make sure your blog and posts are for your readers first…
Don’t start going optimize crazy just for search engines.
Google will know what you’re doing and won’t like it… they’ll know your content's main purpose isn’t for your readers (which in turn will affect your SEO anyway).
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which I’ve talked about in this post and the fab Yoast Plugin is something to always think about when optimizing your posts.
Targeting the right keywords in your posts is a great way to make sure they’re getting in front of the right people and using the Yoast plugin is a simple and effective way to do that!
Alt Text for Images
Alt Text (short for alternative text), also known as alt descriptions or alt attributes, is when a description is given to the images you place on your blog.
The main reason for this is to describe images to readers who have visual impairments and are unable to see them. It also helps things like image browser blockers and screen readers.
This takes you to a page where you can see when to use the alt text and for what images, as you don’t have to include a description for every single image on your site (it’s just for a little help if you need it)…
The idea of adding a description is to describe the image as best you can, without adding a load of spammy keywords.
Making your blog responsive basically means making sure it responds to some key elements that it needs to, in order to perform well.
One of the main things to think about, is having a responsive design. This means having your blog automatically scale to whatever screen size it needs to, no matter what device you’re reading/watching on.
Google set recommendations in 2015 for websites to have responsive web design and it has never been more important to make sure your blog can be seen perfectly on every device, to give your reader a great viewing experience!
Where do most people check out your content these days – smartphones and tablets…
These little mobile devices can be taken with us everywhere, so it’s no wonder we’re spending more and more time on them.
It also shows that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so you need to make sure your blog is super responsive.
Luckily for us, most themes available on the market today have already incorporated mobile responsive attributes – because they have to be designed that way in order to sell.
When people purchase themes, they want to know that the responsive element is already built into it, so that no faffing around with code is required.
I use the Divi theme and it’s amazing because it’s fully responsive.
Not only is it responsive, but you get to chop and change everything, to suit and tailor your blog's design needs, making sure your blog will always look good wherever it’s seen!
It does this by giving you the option to customize Desktop, Tablet and Phone elements individually.
So if one size of text or image looks fab on desktop but not on mobile, you can go in and change the phone text and image size ONLY, so that your mobile design looks fantastic too.
It’s so versatile and simple to use…
Having a responsive blog not only gives your readers a great viewing experience, it also helps a lot on the SEO front…
They generally tend to perform better and have a lower bounce rate than non responsive sites.
Having a speedy load time is also key, because this also has an affect on how your blog ranks.
No one wants to get to a blog or site and be waiting around forever to get onto it.
Happy load times = Happy Users…
The “acceptable” wait time is found to be between 1-2 seconds…
If a reader is waiting around too long – they’ll just end up leaving (and they probably won’t come back anytime soon).
There are several things which can affect your blogs speed and I’ve listed a few of them below:
Too many plugins installed (only have the necessary ones and ones which are supported and maintained with regular updates)
Too many large images (images should be 100kb or less, so make sure you optimize your images. I use the Shortpixel Image Optimizer plugin)
Too many ads
Your hosting plan may be too small
Don’t have too many blog posts on the homepage
Too many widgets
Videos – Don’t host videos on your site (use YouTube or something similar as its primary function is to host video files – your hosting providers isn’t)
Not having a Caching plugin (I use my Siteground hosting caching plugin, but there are other ones out there such as W3 Total Cache
There are many other things that could be slowing your site down, but these are the ones I could think of right now!
Format your Blog Posts properly
When you write your blog posts, think about your reader and what the experience is like for them.
If they’re too long with too much text in one chunk, this can be really off putting and difficult for people to stay focused.
Don’t let the way you format your posts affect the fabulous content you want to put out there!
Here’s a few ways you can make your blog posts read easier and be reader-user friendly…
Headers & Subheaders
Lists – everyone loves a list of things (I really love lists…)
Have relevant photos & images
Use Bold text
Have any links “Open in a New Tab”, so that when people click on them, they won’t lose your blog page
Have a unique writing style
Use some colours within your text (preferably your brand colours)
Always have a Call to Action (CTA)
Have infographics, charts – people love visual content
Have awesome blog post headlines
Create URL’s which are relevant and not too long
Have social sharing buttons within your posts (and on your pages)
Implement some or all of these things and you’ll make your posts the best experience you can for your readers!
Oh and also, use a spell checker (such as this chrome extension one called Grammarly). This works great with WordPress alongside the classic editor and the Gutenberg editor.
I use Google Drive to write a few of my blog posts first, as I find it easier sometimes than writing directly into WordPress.
If you choose to use a text editor like this (Word etc), they have built in spell checkers already!
There’s always going to be a few errors here and there – you’re human and you shouldn’t let it get to you, but if there’s too many incorrect spellings and poor grammar, people unfortunately are going to think you’re not very professional.
Know who your audience are!
Knowing your audience and who you’re talking to is extremely important when it comes to optimizing your blog…
If you don’t know who it is you want to reach, your content won’t reach the right people…
I think the best way to think about who it is you want to talk to, is to create a persona or avatar, so that everytime you write, you have that “persona/avatar” in mind… you can write as if you’re talking to that one person!
It really helps if you can picture someone you’re writing to. You can even find a picture of someone on the internet if it helps and stick it to your computer.
So as an example of an avatar:
Karina is 29 years old. She’s a stay at home mum with two young children. She wants to earn money for her family and be able to work around her children, without going back to the typical “9-5” job!
Sarah who is 35, has three children and is working full time, but has been researching how to make money online, to give her more time to spend with her family and financial freedom!
These are just two examples of “Avatars/Personas”.
When I write my posts or even pages (think your About Me page), it helps to have a clear focus, so I’ll keep a visual of my “avatar” in my mind, so that I’m making sure I write to them only.
So some other things to think about to optimize your blog:
Make it easy for people to sign up. Have opt in opportunities wherever you can (just don’t overkill it)
Utilize the sidebar as you can have your top opt-in offer there, or a banner ad, or whatever you want!
Make your blog easy to read and navigate around
Don’t have too many menus and options
Have a search bar
Have internal links to other relevant blog posts and links to other websites as well
To make money from your blog – you HAVE to have traffic!
Without traffic – no one’s seeing you and your fab content needs to be out there for all to see!
Traffic is a huge topic all of its own and there’s just no way I can talk about it all in this post…
So I’m just going to go over the basics and bullet point what I feel are the best tips and ways to get traffic to your blog!
Before we get into it – Traffic is the amount of visitors you get to your blog!
This can be gained in many different ways and through many different tactics!
Your blog should be all about giving value first…
Help others where you can and give great advice.
First and foremost you have to be writing about things people want to hear about and are interested in.
You aren’t going to get anywhere if you’re not giving people what they want.
A great way to do this is to check out other blogs and forums in your niche. This is where people leave their comments and ask questions on what they want to know…
You should also research what types of blog posts are well received in your niche – long form/list posts/infographics/how to posts etc…
Then you can create posts for what your audience wants and needs are!
You can also become involved more with other bloggers and share their content.
Leave comments on their posts (positive ones, we don’t want to be putting our fellow bloggers down at all) and their social media platforms!
Always be friendly, kind and treat people well.
This may seem a given, but trust me, there are so many people out there who are just out to try and put you down and have a negative impact on what you’re doing…
Also, if you try to sabotage another blogger, it won’t take long for you to get a bad name for yourself and be out of the game…
My advice is – don’t ever be negative and hurtful to other bloggers and take no notice and don’t interact with the ones who are negative towards you (there’s delete, block and remove buttons for a reason).
So on with the list of traffic tips:
Have a clear Blog Theme. There’s nothing worse than visiting a blog which has crazy amounts of stuff going on and you don’t have a clue where to find anything.
Everyone is super busy nowadays and just doesn’t have the time to wade through a mash of content.
Make sure your theme is clean, clear to read and easy to navigate around.
Don’t have too many pop-ups and sign boxes (as this can detract from your actual content and put readers off).
You can have these strategically placed all over your blog, without them causing your viewers grief.
Use a clear colour palette throughout your blog, well formatted blog posts and have consistency in the way your blog looks and feels!
Write decent, quality content that people actually want to read. Long pillar posts are often best (at least a few of them anyway) because they’re jammed with amazing info and will stand out on your blog.
They’re also the ones readers will come back to time and time again (hopefully) and the ones you should keep updated regularly, by adding to them…
Create evergreen content (content which is sustainable) and can be referred back to for years to come
Use long tail keywords – defined as phrases with 3+ keywords as they tend to work better in search ranking
Have backlinks (links from one website that when clicked, link to another website). If you write fab content, others will want to link to it and vice versa!!!
Have internal links on your own blog as Google loves interlinking and the more posts you write, the more you can entwine them together (as long as it’s relevant to do so of course).
Create amazing Pin Image which entices people to click and read your content.
Use your Social Media platforms and share your content. Interact with your readers and stick around so people can get to know you. Give away great content and remember to link to your blog (check where you can share your links though as each platform is different).
Get involved with other Social Media groups/pages/boards etc…
Build relationships! Don’t join them and be spammy and salesy, posting your own stuff. There’s usually rules about doing this anyway, but even if there isn’t – it doesn’t look good.
Comment on posts, help and give value and you’ll get noticed this way.
Create awesome, attention grabbing headlines for your posts, which make people want to know more. Entice their curiosity and draw them in so they want to read more… however, don’t give away everything in the headline – create mystery!
Always be building your email list and nurture them. Your list is yours so cherish it as it’s your biggest asset! Email consistently (not everyday – weekly will do) so they don’t go cold and forget who you are.
Create fantastic freebies to give-away! Ones which give quick results.
Make every post you write the best it can be. Put all your effort into giving as much value as possible!
Give your readers what they want, not what you think they want. Think about how you can transform their lives and help them out. What can you give?
Post consistently on your blog- have a content schedule. People want to know when your next piece of content is coming out and they can only do this if you’re consistent.
Post consistently on your Social Media platforms. It works the same. People are always on Social Media and checking out what’s going on. You want to be at the forefront of their minds and if they see you, they’re thinking about you and will want to check out your content.
Always ask your readers to comment on your posts as this keeps the conversation going. Have a Call to Action in every post, giving them something to take action on…
Stay active and make sure your content is up to date. This will make sure more people will click on your links.
Reach out to other bloggers within your niche and see if you can guest post on their blogs. Add further value to other blogs and you’ll get a ton of traffic from this.
Review other bloggers products and services and give great reviews. Share specifics and really big the product/service up (make sure you only ever review products you’ve used and tested yourself). Explain how it has helped you/changed your life etc. As well as getting traffic from this (as the blogger/influencer is more than likely to share this validation of their product/service), you could end up being able to promote it as an affiliate and make money from it. Double whammy!!!
You could also think about doing a list post where you include the top influencers who have helped you with something.
You can explain why they’ve helped you out. If you then reach out to the influencers and let them know you’ve done a post and they’re included in it, they’re more than likely going to be thrilled and if it’s a great article, they may even share it with their audience.
This could then generate loads of traffic for you!
Look at your competitors and see what they’re writing about!
A great way to find out what interests other people and what to write about, is to check out your competitors.
Checking out other blogs in your niche can give you some much needed inspiration.
Look at what their popular posts are and see if you can write something better, in your own way.
By something better, I mean look at what they’re missing within the post and see what the readers want (via their comments section) and include these things.
You can then answer their questions…
Talking of the “Comments Section” see what questions are being asked over and over that you could get a topic from!
If it’s being asked all the time, someone wants (and needs) an answer for it, so it’s the perfect opportunity to write a fab blog post about it and get more traffic to your blog.
As well as the comments, check out how many shares the posts are getting and see what’s getting shared the most.
Write something on this topic, as shared content is always a great find for topics. If people are taking the time to share it, find a way to write a post and put your own take on it.
Check out your fave blogs (even if they’re not in your niche)…
What and Why do you like them!
Is it the way they look? (layout/colours used etc) Is it the way they make you feel when you’re reading them? Is it how they write their content?
If you love something about them, maybe you can incorporate some of the things in your own blog (without copying).
Inspiration is a huge thing as we all get inspiration from all kinds of things.
What’s trending right now within your niche? Looking at your competitors can help you to find “hot” topics to write about.
This article can help you with ways to check out what your competitors are up to.
There are also tools which can help and be very effective with analyzing your competitors, but although they may be free to start off with, they can be costly thereafter.
Putting out fantastic content comes from having a content plan.
It also helps you to stop worrying about what you’re going to write about and what you’re going to put out there.
It’s great to be able to just write about anything (which you can to some extent), but your writing should be striving towards achieving your goals.
You have to be creating the right content to put in front of the right people.
Your content plan will change over time, especially if you’re just starting out.
As you blog for longer, you’ll have more content to measure and a larger audience to track and gather information on.
This means you can put the best content out there for your readers, making sure you’re satisfying their wants and needs.
You want to:
A) Write things which people want to hear and read about
B) Give your readers posts which are compelling, useful and relevant.
C) Write about things that are going to help your readers and give them a ton of value
Let’s have a look at the ways you can create a plan so that you’re always giving top quality content:
Brainstorm topic ideas and keywords
Research before you start writing
Make a list of all the topics you’d like to talk about on your blog
Pick a few topics where you can write pillar posts for which will be the cornerstone content for your blog, such as guides and in-depth content
Write 5-10 blog posts which relate to the cornerstone/pillar content posts eg: “The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog” as the cornerstone post and then posts such as “How to Set up your Blog with WordPress” and “How to Create Images for your Posts” etc…
Have a CTA within each blog post. You want people to take action every time they visit your blog
Keep your readers user experience in mind and cater to who your audience are with your content
I wanted to mention editorial calendars as they’re definitely something you’ll want to include in your blogging toolbox…
Again, as per pretty much all topics within blogging, it could have a whole post or even multiple posts written about it, so I’m just going to cover the basics of what it is and how it can be used.
You don’t necessarily have to worry about one right away (as you have so much else to think about and get to grips with) but once you’re in the swing of things and posting regularly, it will help you out loads.
Planning and keeping organised is key in helping you succeed!
Blogging can be chaos for your brain, because there’s so many aspects and parts to think about.
An editorial calendar can help you to organize and schedule the “content” chaos!
They’re extremely powerful tools.
They help build relationships, make sales and attract the right people to your blog.
Calendars are different for everyone as everyone has different content needs, so there’s no “one plan fits all”.
It can help with areas such as publish dates for your blog posts, promotions you may want to include at certain times of the year, types of content you want to distribute etc…
Some of the key things to think about including in your calendar are:
Who the author of the content is
What the content is (the details of the post/email etc)
What stage the content is at (for example: planning/editing/writing)
The date you want the post/email etc written by
The date that the post/email etc is going to be published
The title or headline of the post/email etc
What keywords you’re going to be using
What the CTA is going to be
Before you start putting your calendar together, look at everything you do and what you want to include, such as:
I find that the easiest way to differentiate the different tasks, is to have a colour coding system.
You can even use your branding colours (like I have in the example above) to keep it all in sync.
It’s just easier because every time you put a blog post in, you can have them as one colour and then your emails would be in another etc, and they stand out instantly!
Once you’ve decided what’s to be included in your content plan, you can then set up a simple FREE calendar using a tool called Trello.
Trello helps you to organise and manage any kind of project, so is ideal for organizing your blogging content strategy.
Sign up for Trello and then create a name for your board. I created the name B4M Editorial Calendar (short way of saying blogging for mums as I couldn’t fit it all on).
You can then create 3 lists which can be to do with the content you want to produce. I created as an example:
Then comes the creation of “cards”. Create cards for the things you want to do within those lists.
Under the “Blog Posts” card, I added the example titles:
It will then pop up advising that you can add any kind of information to the cards.
For example, I added in “Think up 10 blog post ideas” as it is for the “Brainstorm Ideas” card…
And then you’re done and can click on “Now you’re a pro! Keep building your board”.
You then get taken to the main screen where you can see all the cards and lists you’ve created.
You can create more and add to them and it’s really simple to use.
You can also choose a background image, to make it more personal and pretty to look at.
Us mums always like pretty things…
I chose a breathtaking mountain view with a pink sky!
You can click on the card you want to deal with, so I clicked on the “Brainstorm Ideas” one and here is where you can add more information such as:
Add items to the current checklist
Members if you have more than one
Labels (different colours)
Add further checklists
Due Date (and you can set reminders within this too)
Attachments of any kind
Cover (this is if you want to add a cover image)
You can also take other actions on the card such as move it, duplicate it, archive it etc…
Comments can also be added in the “Activity” section.
There’s a lot you can do with the Trello Cards so I highly recommend you play around with it, get familiar with it, so you’re comfortable using it.
Trello also has this amazing guide on how to get started, so check it out to get all the help you need to use Trello to its full potential.
Engage with your readers, reply to their comments & interact with them wherever you can!
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve commented on my fave blogs and their social media pages/platforms, if they reply, it means so much to me.
It establishes them as real people and knowing that they actually read the comments and respond, makes me love them even more…
We feel special and heard and that’s a big thing in the blogging world.
Building relationships with your readers is soooooooooo important.
Readers will never buy from you if they don’t know you, like you or trust you and the only way you can do this, is by showing up and putting yourself out there.
Engage with your audience – participate in their discussions and help, help, help…
Act on their comments…
Your readers have taken the time to say what they want to say and share their thoughts and opinions.
Take on board what they say and create content around what they want, have made clear and asked for within their comments.
You shouldn’t ignore comments on your blog unless they’re:
Any comments like this should be removed immediately.
You could also end up with an overwhelming amount of comments in the future (which could happen as you grow and become more popular and more well known).
If and when this time comes, you can only answer as many as you can, but a way to get around this is to answer comments within your emails to your subscribers.
Not only is this a great way to get people to subscribe (as you can say “I answer a lot of questions within my weekly emails”) you can also do Q&A within your email, or even a whole Q&A blog post answering all the questions in one place…
Finally on this point, say “Hi” to your readers and check out their blogs and what they’re doing…
This also helps to build great relationships as it shows you’re also taking an interest and care about what they’ve got going on!
Build your email list from the beginning!
Your email list is your best asset and you should start building it from the beginning!
Don’t wait… Sign up for an email client such as Convertkit, which I’ve talked about in my How To Start A Blog And The Tools You Need To Do It post… (have the link to the email marketing platforms section here in the above post)
Add some forms and opt in boxes to your blog so people can start joining your email list ASAP!
You could also use images as people love clickable images and pop ups too.
Stay in contact with your email subscribers on a weekly basis. You want to stay on their radar and can only do that by being in contact consistently.
People love to get something for FREE, so give your readers some amazing free content which will help them to take action on something (such as signing up to your email list)…
And finally, remember… building a successful blog takes time. It won’t happen overnight!
I wanted to end this post by saying (and repeating) the following:
Building a blog is a marathon, not a sprint.
It takes time, dedication, hard work and persistence to start one and keep it going.
You have to keep at it and NOT GIVE UP, even when the going gets tough.
Have goals and steps in place to achieve your goals.
Always engage with your readers, respond to their comments and be a friend.
The relationships you build all interlink with making money on your blog and there is nothing more important than the relationships you build with your readers and audience. No relationships means no people to buy from you.
Have a content plan in place so you know what you’re going to be writing about.
Have affiliate links and CTA’s in all your posts (just don’t be spammy and have them everywhere).
Make sure you’re driving traffic to your blog and try out only one or two methods first. Make them work (or before moving on, test them out thoroughly). No traffic means no action on your blog at all…
Use keywords and optimize your content for SEO
Build your email list from day 1…
You can sooooo make this happen and have your own successful, money making blog!
And don’t forget, I’m going on this journey with you.
Today I'm asking the question: Which of the 7 Major Blog Types do you Fall Under?
When I first started blogging (a long time ago) I didn’t realise there were different blog types!
I just thought a blog was a blog and that was it…
How naive was I!
What you’ll learn today!
In today’s post, I’m going to share with you the 7 different types of blog that I feel, cover pretty much all the main & popular blogs online…
If you have no clue as to what you want to blog about, you’ll probably find your idea fits into one of these 7 blog types anyway.
So let’s get into it…
“Before we get stuck in, I need to let you know that this post does contain affiliate links throughout and if you make a purchase using one of my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you”.
Marie is one of my favourite bloggers & female entrepreneurs out there…
Best known for MarieTV (which I absolutely love & you gotta check it out) B-School (her signature program) and her famous catch phrase:
The Place To Be To Create A Business & Life You Love!
She's truly dazzling & has one of the TOP digital educational empires around.
Personal Services Blog
What is it: This blog's main focus is on the personal services which can be offered to an audience.
Content is created around the service, giving as much information as possible, enticing them to hire the company or brand for it’s services.
This type of blog works beautifully within a local range, because people can take action on the services being offered.
These blogs can also make money via affiliate sales & ads.
What things are covered under Personal Services:
Mobile Pet Grooming
If you have a business which you want to get more traction & sales from, starting a blog & writing fun & enticing content could really help you do this!
From all those personal services mentioned above, there’s fab content which can be written on a blog, about every single one of them…
Let’s take the Beauty Therapist service as an example:
If you’re a beauty therapist, you can write all kinds of articles to help people & give them more information on your service.
How to look after your eyebrows in between treatments
How to relax at home after a massage
3 essential oils to use when giving yourself a home facial
Having a services blog not only provides information on the services you offer, it also gives more value to your readers & customers, by presenting them with a hub of helpful & valuable resources to go back to time & time again.
I've used this company as an example as it's not only a services website, but also a blog (I also loved the name of the website as it's super cute)…
Although it's advertised as a dog walking service, they're passionate about caring for all kinds of animals.
They offer a range of services & write interesting content on their blog!
What it is: This blog focuses on your reader & shares everyday fun activities & interests & are the most popular blogs to start.
It can be confused with the “Personal Blog” we’ve already talked about, because the two do have similarities.
The difference is, the Personal blogger shares their life with you through their writing, often wearing their hearts & emotions on their sleeves!
Their personal stories are put across on a more intimate & emotional level.
Lifestyle blogs however showcase a variety of different things in their content, including all kinds of activities, interests & goings on, which are inspired by their personal life, in a fun & exciting way…
They tend to be very visual, sharing their content with extremely high quality, gorgeous photos & videos!
They also share their content over Social Media, reaching a wider audience.
A lot of blogs out there come under the “Lifestyle” umbrella, & we’re going to look into what these are now… (and there’s a ton of them).