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Building a strong blog foundation is super important. After all, without a strong foundation, the whole thing may crumble.
Many people seem to start off blogging without realizing how much actually goes into a successful blog. Perhaps they get lured by the big income reports, or they just have a calling to share their message.
I remember when I started, I got totally overwhelmed with all the info out there. And I found that it was all intertwined and circular. All I wanted was a clear, linear path to help me.
After much trial and error, and lots of research, I finally figured it out!
This post is the first in mini-series about bettering your blog and creating a strong foundation. Over the next month, I’ll be going into more detail about the first 5 steps plus content creation.
In the meantime, make sure to download The Blog Foundation Roadmap & Checklist so you can get the most out the series. It’s designed to help you build a really strong foundation. And to know exactly what steps to take and in what order, so you never need to feel a lack of direction or overwhelmed again.
Just follow the following steps and you’ll be on your way to blogging and biz heaven.
1. Know what you want to teach
Before you start, you need to know what you want to talk or write about and exactly how you can help others with your knowledge or skills. Niching down is important because your readers want to know what to expect from you. The key is to become known in your space. But one of two things may happen – you may have too many ideas or not enough. If you’re stuck on this step check out these related posts: There are a few steps in this process. If you’re to click on over to
But sometimes it’s hard to choose. One of two things may happen – you may have too many ideas or not enough. If you’re stuck on this step click on over to (what can you teach post) to figure that out if you’re unsure.
2. Know why you want to embark on this journey
This is actually really important. You need a very strong vision to propel you forward. Because starting a blog and/or biz is a journey with lots of valleys and peaks that you are going to have to overcome. The vision of the end goal will help you get through.
For myself, I’m doing this so I can work from home, doing my own thing. It’s a huge dream of mine. Plus creating this space on the internet makes my heart sing, even on days when I don’t really feel like doing it. It has forced me to face my fears in countless ways and as a result, I’m morphing into the woman I want to be.
3. Develop a message, mantra or mission statement
Everyday, there are thousands of new blogs – and the truth is, they’re all teaching the same subjects. They all pretty much teach techniques on how to improve:
- health (physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual)
And you need to figure out a way to stand out a little from all the noise. And one of the best ways is to dig deep and determine exactly what your message is. Decide what you stand for. What’s your opinion? What kind of world do you want to see? What kind of transformations can you help others with?
A strong message, with strong branding and some visibilty strategies can help you stand out.
4. Figure out your reader journey
Where are your peeps starting from and where do they want to go? And how can you help them along the way?
Other people call this your ICA or your ideal customer avatar. I always found the ideal customer avatar exercises tricky because as a newbie, I didn’t have any customers. So how could I know my ideal one?
What I could figure out was the learning journey. What they needed to know in order to get to their desired destination. I could map out the journey and help solve problems and teach lessons they would encounter along the way.
5. Create a Brand Board
We live in a visual world and we’re all attracted to beautiful things. And that includes design, which is why design is super important. It’s just as important as your content because if it doesn’t look good, people aren’t going to be as interested and stick around.
That’s the hard truth.
An ugly site just isn’t going to get as much interest as a beautiful one.
This is where branding comes in. A brand is really more than your logo, fonts and colours. (eventhough it’s a really fun part!!) In fact, I argue that a logo really isn’t that important at the beginning. What is important is designing a site that causes a feeling within whoever visits it.
Branding is really about the energy that you want people to feel when they come to your site.
Here are 3 of my favourite brands:
- unapologetically herself
I resonate with these brands because I connect or aspire to be like them.
Here’s an example of what brand boards look like. These were designed by Laura from Bad Ass Business Mum. As you can see they really bring about a cohesive feeling.
Creating a brand board is a simple way to help you to clarify and synthesize your brand. It will help to make your branding seamless. Here’s a great post by Lauren Hooker from Elle & Co. on how to create a brand board.
7. Set up social media
Now that you have an idea of your brand, it’s time to start building an audience. Social media is a good place to start, but you ultimately want to grow your email list.
Truth is, social media is not my jam. I find if overwhelming. But I do know and understand the importance of it. After all, social media is where everyone is hanging out. It’s like a party.
First, you need to figure out where your peeps are hanging out – are they on IG, Facebook, Youtube? Where do they look for inspiration, fun or tips? Where are they looking to learn what you want to teach?
I suggest you choose 1 platforms to start (maximum 2) and get really good at it. Choose the one that you like the best. The one that comes most naturally to you. That way it won’t seem like such a chore because social media can be overwhelming. Start building a following there so when you launch your blog you’ll have some traffic right away.
8. Start and design a website.
Here comes the fun part – depending on how techie you are. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to create your own site anymore. Sure it takes some time but with the right theme, some searching on youtube, you can get it done.
You can totally set up a blog for free but I beleive in believe a strong blog foundation so I personally suggest investing some money.
I use WordPress with the Divi theme from Elegant themes. The Divi theme allows me to do 90% of what I want without needing to know how to code. It’s friggin awesome!!! However, there is a learning curve with WordPress and can be tricky for some. But once you know your way around, it’s not that bad.
There’s also the option of Squarespace which some people swear by. Truth be told, I’m not familiar with Squarespace but Louise from Solopreneur Sidekick has a step-by-step course that will teach you how to design a beautiful site using Squarespace. Plus she’s a wonderful designer who teaches you how to brand as well! Double bonus!
9. DEVELOP A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Content is the way that you’re going to get your message out into the world. It’s how you’re going to show your teaching style and have others start to KLT (know, like and trust) you. As with anything in business, it’s best to be strategic.
I’ll delve into more detail about this with some future posts that will be published in a few weeks. I also outline all the steps in The Blog Foundation Checklist. Just click the button below to download.
10. Get people’s email
If you ever want to monetize your blog then you need an email list. Why? Because you don’t own the social media networks. But you do own your list.
I remember when Facebook changed their algorithm. People spent tons of money growing their page and then Facebook changed and nobody saw any of their feed.
I felt bad for them.
They spent so much time and money building an audience, and then overnight their audience was gone.
Also when I think about it, I’ve never bought anything of off a post from Social Media. I’ve met people on social media, but I’ve never made a purchase. I’ve always bought an offer because of an email in my inbox.
You get people’s email by offering a free gift in return. Do NOT place an opt-in box saying – ‘subscribe to my newsletter’. People don’t need more newsletters. They want valuable gifts – gifts that teach and help them.
11. Get visible
Truth time – this is where I always get stuck.
This part requires you to get vulnerable and let your light shine. It requires you to step out and meet people. It requires you to say ‘hey look at me and what I have to offer’ BUT without being spammy.
It’s a fine balance.
There are several visibility strategies but the basic idea is to just start making new friends with others in your niche. People who have a similar audience, but you each help with different pain points. Help others online without expecting anything in return. Pitch to get interviewed on podcasts or other blogs.
12. Develop relationships
While the introvert in me wishes that I could be successful without talking to anyone, the reality is that is not the case. It’s a team effort. Find others and make friends. Be helpful, Be kind and grow together.
So what step are you currently on? How long have you been there? I’d love to hear about it and your journey. Enter in the comments below.
Written by: Alessandra Johnston
Alessandra Johnston is a mother, wife and avid learner who teaches others how to start and grow an online business by teaching online. She believes that a mother shouldn’t have to choose between her work and her kids. That you really can have it all – You can stay home and build a business. Kids and a Biz is a place to learn how to effectively teach online, create an online presence, manage work from home with littles and how to tame the inner gremlins that so often stop us from moving ahead.