When I started a blog I had no idea what I was doing. I had my parents camera, some makeup, and a free WordPress site. I posted when I had time, had no idea the importance of an email list, and was happy is my blog got 20 pageviews a day. It’s safe to say I have learned a lot since then about what goes into making a blog successful.
While there are an overwhelming amount of tools, services, and courses available, there are a select few that I believe any blogger just starting out should invest in. All of the items I’m about to discuss will make blogging easier, teach you how to make money from your blog (even in the first month) and bring in traffic from day one.
Choose A Reliable Host
I’m not talking about a dinner party, I’m talking about where your blog is actually hosted on the Internet. Sure you can start off with a free WordPress site like I did, but going self-hosted from the very beginning allows you to have more freedom with your blog. You can use any theme you want, have a .com web address, be taken more seriously by your audience and brands, and so much more!
When I first went self-hosted I decided to go with iPage. They offer a free email address, domain, tools to build your website and security measures. Plans start at $1.99 a month so iPage is a great option if you’re not too sure about the whole blogging thing.
In November I switched from iPage to SiteGround. The reason I switched was that I wanted an SSL certificate for my blog to make it more secure for people visiting my site. SiteGround offers a free SSL certificate and installation with any plan as well as 24/7 support, one website, a free site transfer, 30-day money back guarantee and so much more! I am so happy with the switch and recommend them to anyone looking to take their blog seriously. Plans start at $3.95/month and go up from there.
Curious to learn more about what hosting is and why you need it? Check out this article from Ana at The She Approach.
Make A Good First Impression
After you pick a host the next logical step is to pick a theme for your blog! Pixelgrade offers beautiful themes and the support to go along with them. For $9.95 a month you get the WordPress theme, 24/7 support, updates to the theme when available and more. You can also try out any theme for free for 14 days. Once you purchase the theme you can customize it to your liking.
Not a fan of monthly payments? Pay for 2 years upfront and receive 2 months free!
Keep Your Readers Updated
Once you’ve got a few posts going you want to promote them! I currently use Hootsuite to schedule my tweets and Facebook posts and have very few complaints. I have even less considering I use the free version. With the free plan, you can schedule up to 30 posts in advance across three different social platforms of your choosing.
For the most part, I stick to scheduling out my tweets using Hootsuite and then post to Facebook manually. I schedule 5 tweets a day, meaning every 6 days I have to hop on and schedule 30 more. This can get a bit time consuming but it’s still better than having to remember to Tweet 5 times a day. If you want to schedule an unlimited amount of posts you can pay $20 a month and do just that!
Related Reading: The Dos And Don’ts of Growing Your Instagram
Don’t Forget About Pinterest
I, and any other blogger you talk to, could write endless posts on the topic of Pinterest. For now, however, I’m just going to talk about the tools I use to manage my Pinterest profile.
Boardbooster is amazing for finding new pins, looping your old pins to the top of boards so your audience sees them, scheduling pins and more! Boardbooster also allows you to organize your pins across boards, find broken links, and keep up in group boards. I first started with the $5 plan but quickly moved to the $10/month plan because I wanted to pin more.
I use Tailwind for the sole purpose of joining tribes. Tribes are like groups you can join that allow you to share your pins with other members. There are different tribes for different blogging niches and each one has its own set of rules. Usually, there’s a 1:1 ratio: for every pin you post you have to share a pin. Many people attribute tribes boosting their blog traffic.
Want to learn how to master Pinterest to bring traffic to your blog? Take this free Pinterest Primer course and get started today!
Boost Traffic To Your Blog
In addition to Twitter and Pinterest, there are so many other ways to drive traffic to your blog. If you know me at all, you know I recommend The She Approach To Boosting Your Blog Traffic to every blogger I meet. I have personally worked with Ana to grow my blog so I can say from the bottom of my heart that she is one of the most hardworking and genuine women I’ve met.
Her eBook is 100+ pages of tips and strategies to build a genuine following and grow your blog. Learn who your ideal reader is, how to implement SEO, and how to automate social media platforms to bring interested readers to your blog. For only $25, this eBook is an absolute steal and I promise that by the time you finish reading it you will have a solid strategy to increase traffic to your blog.
Related Reading: How I’ve Started To Increase Traffic To My Blog
Track Your Blogs Growth
The key to a successful blog is tracking its growth, your expenses, income, and goals. For so long I didn’t track any of those things and felt genuinely lost. I had no clue how much I was spending, how many followers I had on each platform, or even what I wanted to achieve each month.
Then one day Krista from Reroute Lifestyle reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try a new product she was putting together. Once I read that it was a 5-sheet Excel doc to track your blog’s progress I immediately said yes!
For $11 you get the entire Blogging and Income Growth Bundle. Included is the 5 sheet Excel doc to track your sources of income, social media goals, blog expenses, social media growth, and overall business growth. You’ll also receive instructions on how to use the sheet, a guide on how to analyze the data, and ways to grow your blog traffic.
Want more tools and products to grow your blog?
This post is over 1000 words so I’m going to stop here, but you can check out my free resource center and gain insight into every service, course, eBook, and tool I use to make my blog what it is. The products I mentioned in this post are simply the bare essentials to start a successful blog from day one.
Did I miss something that you think is essential? Sound off in the comments below!