How To Start A Successful Blog: Part 1

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Today I want to finally address the question many of you ask me, which is how to start a blog. And I’m not talking about just any blog, but a successful, monetizing blog.

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My Personal Blogging History

To give you some background information, I’ve been blogging from 2001, since “weblogs” became a thing. Back then blogging was more like a personal journal where creatives from all over the world began sharing their stories, artwork, photographs and inspirations with their community. We blogged for fun and as a creative outlet, to add our voice to the ever expanding world wide web. Who knew that 10 years later, blogging would create full time jobs and help dreams come true for aspiring talents and creatives all over the world?

We blogged for fun and as a creative outlet, to add our voice to the ever expanding world wide web. Who knew that 10 years later, blogging would create full time jobs and help dreams come true for aspiring talents and creatives all over the world?

Today the blogging landscape is much different than what it was ten years ago. Nowadays it’s not uncommon to see popular bloggers quit their day job and make six to seven figure income. Even if you don’t become a top-tier blogger, with the right direction, focus and hard work, a mid-level blogger can make hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every month by working with brands and making affiliate sales.

While established bloggers make blogging seem easy and effortless, successful monetizing blogs are a result of hours of unpaid work, dedication, and focus.

I worked for 2-3 years without pay before I began monetizing my blog. If I had some tips and guidance, I believe I could’ve reached this milestone even sooner. So today I want to share with you some tips I’ve discovered over the years to help you become more successful with your blogs!

Why Am I An Expert In Blogging?

I’ve been blogging for over ten years and have used multiple blogging platforms such as Xanga, Blogger, Squarespace as well as WordPress. I have gone though multiple domain names and have experimented with various writing styles. I also have a background in teaching writing and have been writing professionally for over a decade.

I credit my strong writing skills for the success of my blog today. Sure good photos help immensely, but a blogger has to be a good writer first and foremost. Good blog writing doesn’t mean you have to write a lot, it simply means that your writing is clear, easy-to-read and relevant to the topic.

The best part? Your writing will improve with time.

Good blog writing doesn’t mean you have to write a lot, it simply means that your writing is clear, easy-to-read and relevant to the topic.

If writing isn’t your strength, consider becoming a vlogger or an Instagram Influencer. However, most people already have enough writing skills to write for a blog. You simply have to learn how to write a blog, a topic I will cover one day!

Most people already have enough writing skills to write for a blog. You simply have to learn how to write a blog, a topic I will cover one day.

If you’re like me and are full of ideas, creativity, passion, drive and dedication, starting a blog may be a good idea. The blogging world is saturated yes, but there’s always room for fresh perspectives!  Now let’s begin talking about tips on how to start your own successful blog.

If you’re like me and are full of ideas, creativity, passion, drive and dedication, starting a blog may be a good idea. The blogging world is saturated yes, but there’s always room for fresh perspectives!

how-to-start-a-successful-blog

1. Think About Your Niche

Think big, then narrow it down from there.

To begin, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to blog about?
  • What are my interests and passions?
  • What are my talents?
  • What makes me different than others?

It’s important to establish your niche, meaning you want to have a clear focus on what kind of topics you want to cover in your blog. However, don’t make this niche so narrow that you limit yourself years down the line.

For example, you might love cooking and creating new recipes but if your blog is entirely a food blog, it will be harder to add lifestyle later down the line. So instead of a food blog, consider making food one of your main categories.

2. Think About What Makes You Different (aka Marketability)

Create something new rather than copy what others are doing.

One thing I learned is that successful bloggers have their distinct styles and talents, that they create something new rather than copy what others are doing. If you spend some time browsing through Instagram, you’ll see similar looking accounts with the same photos, making it difficult to tell who is who. If your account looks like someone else’s, brands are less likely to hire you for jobs.

Nowadays brands are getting smarter about social media influencers and bloggers and when they hire someone, it’s for a particular reason. When I get on a call with a brand for a prospective job, it’s not uncommon to hear that they reached out me because they liked X and Y about me. They read through your content and look through your Instagram feed carefully before hiring you, so make sure your online work reflects not only your brand, but your interests, lifestyle, views, etc.

Brands read through your content and look through your Instagram feed carefully before hiring you, so make sure your online work reflects not only your brand, but your interests, lifestyle, views, etc.

In my humble opinion, it’s difficult to create a successful blog by simply copying others. Sure you can be inspired by them, but you must use your own ideas, creativity and talents that sets you and your blog apart.

3. Find A Catchy Name

Think of a name that reflects yourself and your blog as a brand.

This is the hardest but most important part. Think of a name that reflects yourself and your blog as a brand. All successful blogs are brands, not a personal entity although they usually start from there. If you add your name to the blog name, the blog immediately becomes personal which means you become the face of your brand. Or you can take the popular approach by giving yourself a blog name, a name that you’ll be known as.

Take some time to think long and hard about this because re-branding later down the line is difficult. I’ve seen some bloggers change their name later for various reasons, but this requires so much extra work such as re-directing urls, re-buying a domain name, changing all your social media handles, changing your logo etc. Thus its important to find the right name from the beginning.

Here are some tips for finding a good name:

  • Play with few key words you resonate with
  • Be true to yourself and your blogging voice
  • Visualize your aesthetic (i.e. minimal, colorful, feminine, classic, vintage)
  • Keep it simple yet memorable
  • Avoid unique spellings and word plays that can be confusing
  • Make sure no one else in your industry is using the same name

4. Buy A Domain Through Sites like Bluehost

Now comes the fun, techy part. Thanks to hosts like Bluehost, this process is much easier.

If you’re serious about this endeavor, I highly recommend starting off with a self-hosted WordPress, not blogger or Squarespace. I made the mistake of building my original blog on Squarespace which was limiting in so many ways. I only began monetizing after I made the switch to WordPress.

If you’re serious about this endeavor, I highly recommend starting off with a self-hosted WordPress, not blogger or Squarespace. I only began monetizing after I made the switch to WordPress.

There are many reasons for this but in general, WordPress is the industry standard for professional blogs. It allows more flexibility, customization, plug-ins and analytic tools, just to name a few. Often brands ask you to install certain codes into the blog post for tracking purposes and WordPress makes this process seamless.

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What’s great about Bluehost is that you can get a free domain name with 12-months subscription. I’d recommend starting with a basic package.

5. Follow The Steps

Once you register, choose your plan and make the payment, your account is open and you’re now ready to set up your WordPress page.

5. Choose A Theme And Design

Bluehost offers simple designs to begin. If you’re serious about your blog endeavor, I’d recommend investing in a professional looking template. My favorite site for templates is Creative Market. Here you can find WordPress templates with detailed step-by-step tutorials that you can install yourself.

What do you think? Did you find the above tips helpful? Please share your thoughts and comments below! Stay tuned for part 2 of “How To Start A Successful Blog” where I’ll discuss more about getting jobs with your favorite brands! 

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If you’re interested in reading more about my blogging journey, check out Why I Started Blogging. 

Angela
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16 thoughts on “How To Start A Successful Blog: Part 1

  1. Alina Orozco

    I totally agree on creating your own niche, even though it’s super hard not to get discouraged and start copying what other big successful bloggers are doing.

    xoxo, Alina

    Reply
  2. Julia Jverie

    I love this post!!! I am 100% with what you wrote and I can’t wait for the other parts as well! You inspire me to become a more committed blogger and I find your posts so useful with all the tips and suggestions. Waiting patiently for part 2 hehe

    Reply
  3. Anna

    Thanks so much. This is very helpful. I always wanted to start my own blog but didn’t know where to start. I love the fact that you were able to monetize from what you love doing!

    Reply

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