If you're reading this, you might've done the easy part already and that is launching a blog. Find a web host and install WordPress. Congrats, you've started a blog.
But what now? There are a million and one things you should be doing with your blog but trying to do them all at once would make your head explode.
Instead, let's just focus on just 7 things that you should do in your first 3 months of blogging.
This won't be your run of the mill advice.
Yes, you should establish a social media presence on the social media platform that makes the most sense for your blog. Yes, you should have an editorial calendar set up.
These things are given. What about the things that bloggers usually miss and only realize they've missed them until later?
These are the things that you will focus on.
1. Set Goals
You probably have a long term goal for your blog. Maybe you want to make $100,000 with it at some point, and that's great, but to get there, you need to achieve smaller goals first.
How many subscribers do you want to get in your first month?
How many page views?
Without setting goals, you won't know if you're making progress with your blog.
Setting goals helps you to also set up a strategy for how to achieve those goals.
For example, if you want to get 1,000 page views in your first month then that means you need about 33 page views a day.
That's definitely achievable simply by joining different blogging Facebook groups and sharing your content when appropriate.
Throw Pinterest and possibly link parties then you should be able to achieve 1,000 pageviews easily.
What if you wanted to gain 100 subscribers? Then that means you need an opt-in that entices your audience enough to subscribe which means you need content to supplement that opt-in.
What happens if you don't achieve a goal that you've set? Then you take the time to analyze what went wrong and you correct it and try again the next month.
Not achieving a goal isn't failing. It's an experiment where you learn about things and then try again.
Recommended Resource: If you want to start making passive income with affiliate marketing, I highly recommend taking the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. I was able to more than double my affiliate income following the advice in this course.
2. Think About Your Keywords
This is something that is very rarely discussed amongst bloggers because the general idea is that if you write great content then people will eventually come to you.
That might be true but are you willing to take that risk.
Instead, you need to make sure you come up with a decent-sized list of keywords.
Because Google will eventually become one of your largest sources of traffic for your blog and if you use Pinterest the same principles will apply.
The idea behind creating a list of keywords is that you are creating content that your audience is actively searching for.
If you have a gardening blog, it's great that you are writing posts that show updates on your garden but people aren't searching for that stuff.
They are searching for "best soil for roses" or "how to grow pumpkins."
If you want any chance of growing your blog, then you need to understand what your audience is looking for and create content that helps them.
3. Focus on One Social Media Platform
You might want to dip your toes into all of these platforms but getting your blog off the ground and trying to become an expert on all of these is just too much.
Instead, pick a platform and put all of your focus into that. Once you feel comfortable with it and are seeing good growth then you can move onto the next one if it seems like a good fit.
It's important to keep in mind that not all social media platforms are a fit for your blog.
If you run a fashion blog then Instagram is going to work better for you than Twitter.
If you run a personal finance blog then Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest have more potential than Snapchat. I use the Tailwind online tool to schedule my pins on Pinterest.
You're simply trying to be where your audience is at and not hoping that your audience magically finds you on a platform that they don't use.
Recommended Resource: I use and recommend the MiloTree smart pop-up for growing your social media accounts. MiloTree will help you increase your followers on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. There is also an option for increasing your email list. I used MiloTree to help grow my Pinterest account to over 10,000 followers. Try a risk-free 30 day trial.
4. Have One-on-One Discussions With Your Subscribers
At the beginning, you don't know what makes your audience tick. You can pretend to know, but you don't know until you talk to them.
Because your blog is new and your list is still small, this is a perfect opportunity to get to know your audience.
When someone signs up for your mailing list, have an autoresponder ready letting them know more about you and then ending it by asking them to tell you about them.
You'll be amazed at how many people respond to you which will allow you to have one-on-one conversations over email with them.
These talks are invaluable to better understanding your audience which will allow you to take your blog in a direction that makes sense to your audience.
Recommended Resource: I've used Converkit to build my email list to over 14,000 subscribers.
5. Create a Tripwire Product
What's a tripwire product?
A tripwire is a low-priced product that you offer to help vet your audience.
The idea behind it is that if you can find the people willing to pay for a low-priced product, it will be easier to get them to pay for higher-priced ones.
Sales studies have always shown that it's easier to sell to your existing customers than it is to try and get new customers.
A tripwire product can be something as simple as a small ebook. The ebook itself might only be a couple of pages, but it is packed with value.
How do you sell it?
When someone signs up for your mailing list, instead of sending them to a generic thank you page, you send them to a page selling your tripwire product.
That is their one chance to get the product at a low price.
This is the start of building lifetime customers for your blog.
6. Start Commenting on Other Blogs
Over the long term, you want to build relationships with other bloggers in your niche.
It's much easier to build a blog up when you have other people promoting it for you.
When you are first getting started you might be too nervous to email the bigger bloggers. Heck, some probably won't even read the emails, so another great way of trying to get their attention is through blog comments.
However, don't just leave a generic comment. Leave a comment that genuinely offers some value to the blogger.
Your job isn't to promote your own site. Usually, you can put a link to your site in your name so no need to spam it further.
If you continue to pop up in the comments of specific bloggers then it becomes much easier when you actually reach out to them.
7. Understand Google Analytics
Google Analytics can be a little bit scary when you first open it up but it will become one of your most invaluable tools as a blogger.
Since your blog is new there won't be many numbers to look at but that doesn't mean it still can't be useful.
Take the time to dive around and understand the different sections of Google Analytics so you can find ways to improve your blog down the road.
Things you want to look at are:
- Pages per session
- Avg time on site
- Bounce rate
Each metric on its own doesn't signal success or failure for your blog but being able to step back and look at the big picture can help you assess the health of your blog.
For example, if you have 100 people visit your site today but they are there for just 5 seconds on average then they really aren't there at all.
In contrast, someone else might have 20 people but they stick around for 2 minutes which shows you that their content is connecting with their audience better.
Blogging is about making constant, small improvements and Google Analytics is one of the tools that will help you do that.
For assistance with installing Google Analytics, check out my tutorial, How to Add Google Analytics to WordPress.
Blogging Is About Connecting
Blogging is really about finding an audience and building a connection with them.
Too often bloggers spend the first 90 days of their blog's existence doing things that don't build connections.
What happens then is that they either give up blogging or realize that they need to spend more time trying to build their audience.
While there are more than 7 things you should be doing with your blog, keeping these 7 things in mind will help to push your blog closer to success.