Just Started a Blog? The Next Steps Are Vital

The whole process of starting a new blog is a really exciting time—you’re filled with ideas, motivation, and a whole bunch of get-to-work energy.

But, when you sit down to begin, you realize there’s a lot to work on. From setting up a mailing list and crafting helpful content, to ensuring you are optimized for search engines and readability. This can all be a bit overwhelming. But, what you do next is vital to ensure your blog’s long term success.

In this post we’re going over all the tasks you should think about before you start a blog, and once you’re up and running, to ensure that you move forward in a deliberate and effective fashion.

1. Have a solid strategy

The first and most important thing you can do is ensure that you have a strategy for the next few months. This will help keep your content and marketing on track as you grow.

Unfortunately, a lot of new bloggers start a blog and then write lots of posts without a strategy in hopes that something will stick. This rarely works and leads to a frustration and wasted time and energy. Remember, it isn’t easy crafting all those beautiful articles!

While you don’t need to have a full corporate marketing plan developed, it is important to have a few key goals written down to be a more efficient blogger.

So what should a strategy contain?

  • Your end-goals for each visitor
    Start by figuring out what it is that you want each visitor to your blog to do before they leave your site. It might be signing up for a mailing list, purchasing a product, or something else.
  • A basic content plan
    Your articles should never be stand alone pieces, but rather form a comprehensive web of topics that are all related to your end-goals. For example, start with a 5,000-word “Ultimate guide to X” article and then make your next few articles deeper studies of sub-topics within that.
  • A simple means of promotion
    Try to come up with some ideas for how your will promote the blog. For example, you might create graphics and videos and then send a little paid traffic to them for added engagement.

When you create a strategy you will find that your writing and promotion time is spent much more effectively and you will have concrete measurements to track your growth.

2. Set up a mailing list from day one

Another mistake many new bloggers make is to wait until their blog is more established before adding an opt-in form that collects email subscribers.

This is a big mistake because as you grow, your mailing list becomes one of your primary methods of promoting new content. Simply put; the more email subscribers you have, the more they will help you attract other email subscribers.

A large and engaged mailing list also helps to protect you against Google algorithm changes which could—one day—take away a large portion of your traffic.

What is a mailing list?

Basically, a mailing list is a place for people to subscribe to your blog to receive email notifications each time you publish a new article.

Many bloggers also offer a free download or bonus content (like a newsletter, or training course) when you sign up.

So, how do you get the most out of a mailing list?

Make it easy to find on mobiles and desktop

Once you’ve signed up for  a mailing list provider such as,  Constant Contact, you can then add a form to your site that will collect email addresses.

It’s important that the form match your page design to establish a fully integrated look.You’ll also want to make sure that you install it in prominent positions like the top of your sidebar and above the fold. This ensures that people don’t miss it when reading your content.

Set up a landing page to promote it

One thing that can produce excellent results is a landing page that is devoted to promoting your mailing list and its benefits.

For example, let’s say you give away a free eBook to everyone who signs up for your mailing list. You can then have a landing  page that tells them what they’ll get when they sign up, what the process will be, and how long it will take.

Split test to see if you can get better numbers

Once you’ve had your opt-in form installed and active on your blog for a while you can perform A/B tests to see whether your form is performing as well as it could be.

This is basically where you run two versions of the same form but change one detail slightly. For example, you might have a green button instead of a red one. Often this can lead to dramatically better sign up rates.

You can even take this type of testing further by seeing which versions of your newsletters get the best open rates by changing the subject lines, links, and more. This is a great way to learn about what converts best for your blog.

3. Make sure your blog looks good to Google

The next thing you’ll want to do is make sure that your new blog looks good to Google.

What we are talking about here is the art of blogging SEO (search engine optimization) which essentially involves certain on and off-site activities that encourage Google to rank you higher in their search engines for your relevant keywords.

Over time, these practices can bring you an extraordinary amount of traffic as Google ranks you higher and as you produce more content for your blog. Remember, each page ranks individually so very little traffic will actually come through your homepage since most of it will come from individual posts.

So, how do you make sure your blog looks good to Google?

  • Make sure your content is original
    Google heavily penalizes blogs that either steal content or just re-hash the ideas and articles found on other blogs without adding anything new. Make sure you are writing (or paying someone to write) new stuff.
  • Make sure your content solves problems
    Google only sends their customers (people searching) to websites that solve problems. If you can create a new tool or provide perspective for an existing problem, you are more likely to rank on Google because it is perceived as something useful.
  • Make sure your blog loads quickly
    A fast loading blog is now a big ranking factor for Google. Use a site link Pingdom Tools to see how fast your blog is loading and if it is taking more than one or two seconds then do things like reduce image size, install a caching plugin, and ask your host if there are  any adjustments that can be made on their end.
  • Install the Yoast SEO plugin
    The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is a fantastic way to learn about on-site SEO. It uses a “traffic light system” that helps you choose the right keywords, and more by showing you a big green light when you’re doing something right. Yoast is an essential plugin for all WordPress users.
  • Use a variety of different formats
    Google likes to see a blog that uses a variety of different content styles to help users. Long form articles that are a mixture of text, photos, infographics, videos, and tools that  help solve a problem are useful to Google. This type of content is also more likely to attract links from other sites that may help your site rank higher.
  • Get set up on Webmaster Tools and Analytics
    You’ll also want to head over to Webmaster Tools and make sure this program and Google Analytics are installed on your blog. It’s important to do this from day one because Google will provide suggestions on how to improve your appearance in its  search engine based on how their robots crawl your site.

In the beginning, it can be really tempting to spend all of your time worrying about SEO instead of blogging. Try to keep SEO in the back of your mind, but, realize the best blogs are the ones that find new and inventive ways to help people.

4. Set your theme up for maximum readability and conversions

At this point you might want to spend a little bit of time ensuring that your blog’s design is perfectly crafted for readability and that it will perform well.

The main things you want to do here are:

  • Avoid clutter
    Many bloggers think that it’s important to fill up every part of the blog’s design with an  image, link, content, quote, or menus  Think of your blog more as a high-end  magazine with a few photos, good content, and a lot of clean space.
  • Use a large font
    A font of at least 16px is important because it increases readability of your text, especially in older readers.
  • Be consistent
    It’s important to craft each blog post consistently to create recognizable work. This means avoiding stock photos and cheap graphics, and using the same color scheme throughout.

Take a look at some successful, content-based blogs and websites to get inspiration. For example, the New Yorker has a heavy focus on long form content and also uses a subscription model.

Once you find something that you like, you can head over to Google Fonts and search for a font combination that is similar.

You can also use the WordPress theme search to find a theme that works for you. For example, you can search for a white theme with a single column and see if you can find a minimal design that removes clutter.

You’ll also want to head over to the Google mobile test and make sure they think it looks good enough for readers to use on mobile devices. This is extremely important for readability because over 50% of your potential traffic comes from mobile devices.

5. Network and promote

The last thing to mention is perhaps the most important and overlooked aspect of starting a new blog—how to get the word out.

A majority of new bloggers will write a lot of great content, but then get uninspired when they realize that no one is reading it. So, how can we change that?

  • Link to other blogs
    One very important technique is the idea of mentioning other bloggers in your niche. This actually helps to make your article seem thoroughly researched, and also puts you on the radar of those other bloggers when they see that you’ve linked to them.
  • Let them know you’ve linked to them
    The next step is to send them a tweet to let them know that you mentioned them. Don’t ask them to promote it at this stage; it’s enough that they start to get to know your blog while it is in its new stages.

  • Develop relationships by sharing content
    Another good thing to do is start sharing content of blogs in your niche by writing a short  summary and then reposting it to Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. Again, this is aimed at getting you on the radar of other bloggers.

  • Look for guest posting opportunities
    Once you have some excellent content on your blog, you can start looking for guest posting opportunities. These are harder to come by, but it’s still an extremely beneficial way of getting new traffic. If you already have an existing relationship, it’s much easier to pitch. You can also try sites like LifeHack that use lots of different writers.

  • Comment on other blogs
    Another way you can add value and promote your blog at the same time is by leaving valuable and insightful comments on other blogs. If you can get these near the top it’s likely that the author and other readers will appreciate the work and visit your site. This can lead to a lot of new activity, or even partnerships.

  • Spend money on advertising
    A blog is a lot like any other business and you need to advertise it if you want people to know about it. Even if you only spend $50 a month, you’ll get a trickle of extra traffic and pick up a lot of knowledge about how to design your ads.

What have I missed?

I’d really love to know if you think I’ve missed anything important. What do you think bloggers should absolutely do when they first set up their new blog?

Please leave a comment below and let me know!



Serial web entrepreneur and blog seller, Ramsay, founded BlogTyrant.com as a place to share experiments and strategies in blogging and Internet marketing to help you build a successful online business from your couch.

37 thoughts on “Just Started a Blog? The Next Steps Are Vital

  1. Thank you so much for having me here, guys! I really appreciate it. Hopefully it’s useful to some new bloggers out there.

    Ramsay

    1. Hi Pradeep. Unfortunately I can’t pick the typography when I do a guest post. Perhaps Bluehost will see your comment and consider making it a bit larger, however. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Hey Ramsay, I follow you on your blog and just got an email from you so I thought I’d check it out. I’ve been a Bluehost customer for over a year now and I never even bothered to click the link to their blog on the footer. LOL.

    I just want to add that new sites/blogs should add the Facebook pixel too even if they don’t plan on using FB ads anytime soon. This allows FB to collect data for their site visitors so when they are ready to advertise on FB they can laser target the people who’ve been on their website.

    Advertising on FB is relatively cheap and boosting your posts to such an audience (people who are familiar with your brand) will help you with your conversion goals whatever it may be.

  3. Great post Ramsay. I think we shouldn’t just comment on blogs just to leave a backlink to our sites, we should really want to help people with something insightful.

  4. Very clear and concise.
    Want add the importance of consistency!
    And I love the mention of larger Font.
    We actually saw more positive growth going to 18 pt

  5. Great article, as all your articles on Blog Tyrant.
    I’ve launched my blog (Band Sculptor) a couple of weeks ago, and what I noticed is how much time and effort you have to put in to maintain and promote the blog. My advice for beginners would be to write or at least outline articles as much as possible before starting. Because time goes fast and it takes a lot of time to write quality article, and plan everything for their release. Having a few articles ready to go anytime is great to not feel too much pressure.

    1. Really great tip. It’s insane how much time it takes in the beginning, but after a while it eases off when you can find other people to help with some of the slower tasks.

  6. Thanks Ramsay for another great post. I’m still in the planning and design stage and always find your blog posts and whole website a fantastic resource. One thing I would have done differently is to have found Blog Tyrant and read it all first, before spending money on some things I’m not sure if I will ever need.
    Something else I would find very helpful would be an index of all the articles. I find myself following links within one.post or article and then lose track of where I was. Also, a glossary of terms would be good for people like me who are new to blogging. I know that you do explain a lot of bloggy terms within posts and articles but to have them available in one list would be great as a reference tool.
    Keep up the good work – it is very much appreciated!

  7. I really do appreciate your guidance presented in such an easy-to-chew narrative. That is usually your style though, so am not surprised at all. I find a few things I need to apply to my new blog and getting the word out using free and paid advertising avenues is one of them. I thought one could win it crafting good content and letting the rest take its course, but now I see the need to spend some money, after all this is supposed to be a business.
    Getting one’s site properly recognized by the search engines never occurred to me as something that requires intentional effort. That’s another area I need to give serious attention to.
    I do run a Bluehost-hosted blog and I fear if leaving a link here to the site might be considered offensive: the intention basically is to let you, if possible, take a look at it and offer some advice.
    Thanks once again for sharing such valuable insight. Starters hang on and draw oxygen from stuff like this more than you think.

    1. Hi Jonathan.

      Thanks for the comment. I took a look at your site and would just say that you should emphasize your domain name/brand a lot more. It’s a cool name and people will remember it. Maybe head over to Fiverr and get some original graphics made?

  8. Your post comes at a perfect time, as I just launched my blog. I don’t have a “give away” on my landing page, but I’ll get on it. I really like your idea of making a comprehensive web of topics. I come from a news background, so this blogging world is new to me and I’m so grateful for your insight. 🙂

  9. Hey Ramsay,

    Again, a great article on your behalf! Your writing continues to be one of my primary go-to sources on all-things-blogging!

    Hey catch this … while reading this article, I followed your advice and got the Yoast plug-in activated ASAP!

    And yes, having only recently launched my work related website/blog a few months ago, I have yet to offer a free download for new subscribers. That’s next on my to-do-list!

    However, I did get that subscriber sign up plug-in going (again, following the advice on one of your blog’s posts!) and am slowly growing my subscriber list one person at a time.

    I am enjoying the learning curve experience … one day at a time!

    Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us all. So appreciated.

    BTW, I host my domain with Bluehost and am so thankful for their A+ service.

  10. A foolproof plan is the must thing to get success as a blogger, as your plan keeps you on the right track and leads you where you want to be. Keep sharing such useful stuff and i will visit the blog again in future. Thanks

  11. Great article as always Ramsay. I have just started re-blogging after a long hiatus. It was different 7 years ago, and I discovered new tips. Tq

  12. The success of your content website depends on how much traffic you can attract to your site. Your website search engine rank for your keywords will dictate your success or failure. If you are “above the fold” on the first search engine results page for your keywords, you will probably succeed. If you are not “above the fold” on the first page of the search engine results, you are invisible and will probably fail. I like your post. I will share your blog to my friend.

  13. Content is still king. The key is finding the right balance between selecting content that can go viral, using just the right amount of appropriate keywords, and making your post visible to the right people. We have found a lot of success using this 3-prong method.

  14. My brother suggested I might like this web site.
    He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  15. Great share indeed. Your article is very elaborate and very well explained. I would definitely try these tips for my website.
    Thanks for sharing.

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