In my last business, I found success by documenting what I was doing. This simple step was my unlock to getting started. If I waited until everything was perfect I would never have started. This is the exact approach I am taking in writing this blog post. Just start writing and hit publish.
1- How to start a blog from scratch? Document Don’t Create your blog post
When I started my golf company in 2012, I literally had a dream and nothing more…no product, no brand, I was starting from scratch. So instead of trying to make the perfect blog, social post, or website…I simply documented my authentic journey from scratch. I didn’t know how powerful it could be to just be your authentic self and be transparent.
Documenting what you are doing is so much simpler than trying to come up with the world's best first blog post. The first time you start a blog, it is probably not going to be great. You can always go back and edit that blog post. So if you want to start a blog from scratch, start now.
Update: I have now written 40 blog posts and came back to this blog post to optimize it for the search engines. I have now established a methodology for ranking my blog posts in search engines.
2- Ask questions that you actually want answers to
I may change the name of this blog to simple money or something to that effect because I believe the most simple actions typically drive the best outcomes. This is a prime example of that. When I started building my golf brand, I asked my small following on social media and website real questions that would actually help me build a golf driver my customers would want. Versus me assuming I knew what my potential customers would want.
Why wouldn’t I just ask them?
It’s so simple it actually works. Not only did I learn a lot about my potential customers but guess what…I built a product they actually wanted and they felt like they built it because they truly were a big part of it! It changed the business from “I” to “We” and was a huge part of our success.
Plus…when you ask questions to your following via email, you get replies…this shows gmail and other email providers that your emails deserve. Don’t be surprised when your emails go from the promotions tab to the inbox. This is more of a secondary benefit to actually asking good questions and caring about your audience.
3 - keep it simple - copy is more important than design
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more fun than changing the button colors, font types, and even your theme templates…I could do it forever…but it isn’t the most important part when starting a blog or website. The actual copy and the content is what moves the needle. The pretty colors, images and logo are great but they won’t be the biggest lever you have.
4 - Pick a blogging platform and never look back (Most use a WordPress blog)
Although it’s the most fun thing to play with, it can be a distraction. Get a basic website launched then start documenting.
For this website, I decided to try Wix. It was the easiest site for me to get set up. I was able to get a simple theme, and a domain and start blogging in less than an hour. That’s with almost no experience with Wix before.
And for those looking to start from scratch, just being able to get launched abs started can be the biggest hurdle to well…starting a blog.
5 - How will you monetize your blog? (If its display ads, choose Wordpress)
Wordpress is better if you plan to monetize with Ezoic, Medavine or Adthrive. Take a moment to think about your monetization strategy. If you are going to rely on display ads that aren't google Adsense, then you likely will need to use WordPress for your blog.
Lastly, what I like about Wix and I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds on the platforms for blogging. But I can bang out a blog post on the Wix app. Making it super easy to do from anywhere.
Right now I’m putting my kids to bed and blogging. Don’t worry they are already asleep.
5 - Use the notes app on your phone for blog ideas
This is so simple I can actually do it! I often have my best blog post ideas when I am not in front of my computer. The notes app is my secret weapon for never forgetting my new blog post ideas.
I personally don't love having my phone near me all the time, but I keep it in the same room in case I am feeling inspired and need to write down my blog post idea.
6 - Buy a blogging course and join a blogging community
Although I thought I understood SEO and blogging when I first started this blog. I have learned a lot from other blogs and bloggers. I am a big fan and affiliate of the Fat Stacks Blog and community.
His course is specific to niche sites, I have learned how he runs a profitable blog and thinks about content creation. The community is full of experts, I hope to become a successful blogger with their guidance and support. Plus, who likes to work alone? Starting your own blog can be lonely. The community has been instrumental in starting my own blog.
7 - How do you define a "successful blog"?
I try to make easy targets that I can actually hit when I first start a blog.
Here is my simple silly list:
One blog post every 3 days
SurferSEO score 50 or higher (On first draft)
One RankIQ optimized blog post every 3 days
Review an old blog post and optimize it once a week
This simply list, makes me feel accomplished and gives me bite-sized goals that I can achieve. Every successful blogger I have spoken to said the key to success is to keep hitting publish. You just need to keep putting out great content and try to be patient.
I have taken their advice, but now try to be a little more scientific in my approach. I don't want to own a hobby blog with 1000 blog posts and no organic traffic. You need to be seen by search engines to get traffic.
8 - Do keyword research
Start a blog or do keyword research, which should you do first? My approach was to just start blogging, this document-first approach gets you over the biggest first hurdle.
Now, that I have dived head first into search engine optimization I can simply go back to my blog post concepts and optimize them for my target keywords. The overall theme of the blog doesn't need to change dramatically.
Now, I do keyword research first and then write my blog posts. But starting a blog would be nearly impossible if I tried to understand keyword research before I started the blog.
9 - Should you pick a blog niche or have a personal blog?
Many successful blogs go after a specific blog niche. I decided to do a personal blog because I had some momentum and exposure from my other online companies. If I did not have that momentum and back link opportunities I would have chosen a blog niche like fishing or skiing.
I am not saying those blog niches are great, but they are things I love to do. As long as you enjoy writing blog posts about that topic you will have success. A quick way to quit blogging is to choose a niche you know nothing about. It is so difficult to do something just for the money.
By being an expert or knowing the niche you can easily just start blogging. Your research time will be much shorter because you already have a passion for it!
10 - Don't worry about your blog theme
Blogging can be so confusing. Picking the perfect WordPress theme, Search engines, search engine optimization, google search console, web hosting companies, blog hosting, WordPress development: it all can make you want to quit.
Just pick a blog theme and get started. Content production is more important than content design. Have fun with your blogging journey, growth is never a straight lineup. Learn to improve, talk to SEO experts, talk to bloggers and see what makes you happy.
11 - Start a blog that you will be proud of and will make you happy to blog about.
I have always been a fan of building companies around something you love, then you will never feel like you are working. I think this is even more relevant for your blogging journey. I will say, a few industries that may be difficult to rank out of the gate are money blogging and health blogging.
You need a high domain authority for those categories.
Whatever you decide I hope you start blogging sooner than later, because patience is the key to long-term growth.