What do I mean by this? Well, ranking in the SERP with a net new post takes significantly more time (I’m talking months) than an updated post. Meaning, you’ll see a positive impact sooner if you start repurposing existing posts rather than solely creating new content.
How to Create a Successful Blog Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide
Featured Resource: 6 Free Blog Post Templates
Over the last decade or so, businesses have increased revenue, improved brand awareness, and boosted conversions with valuable written content published for their target audience and customers. The key here is that their blog content is valuable — it isn’t enough to simply have a blog; there has to be a purpose or reason for its existence.
So, how can you create and maintain a successful blog that provides your target audience worthwhile, high-quality content — all while building your business’s reputation as an industry thought-leader and expert?
How to Start a Successful Blog
Blog Marketing Strategy
How to Maintain a Blog
How to Start a Blog
1. Choose your blog topic and purpose.
2. Register and host your blog
Subdomains are part of your root domain — they appear before the domain in your URL like this: blog.hubspot.com . "Blog" is the subdomain. Subdomains are helpful for organizing a lot of content, including multiple content types. If you have a large blog operation, this structure can help you over time. However, it does pass less authority from your root domain in the short-term.
Subdirectories are divisions of your domain that live on your website, but represent specific pages on your website. For example, a subdirectory that’d take visitors to a specific blog post on a website would look something like this: hubspot.com/blog/article-name . Subdirectories often pass more authority from your root domain and subdomain. However, they can make it hard to scale your content strategy over time since you need more subdirectories to organize your content properly and protect your user experience (UX).
3. Design your blog.
The Help Scout blog is a wonderful example of beautiful blog design. Its minimalist design limits the use of copy and embraces negative space by promoting the latest posts with gorgeous feature images. The blog is aligned with the Help Scout brand and promotes readability and easy navigation.
4. Decide who will write and manage your blog.
5. Determine how frequently you’ll share blog posts.
Consistency is the key to keeping your audience engaged and interested. This will also allow you to maintain your status as an active thought-leader and expert in your industry. Use a content calendar to consistently manage and schedule your blog posts.
The beauty of creating this type of blogging rhythm and sharing that information via an editorial calendar is that it creates a sense of accountability among your team of bloggers. It ensures all writers and contributors have optimized for keywords, added CTAs, and edited their pieces by a certain time and date. This way, you’ll have a consistent stream of content your readers can get in sync with.
6. Write compelling and valuable content.
It’s important to reiterate just how critical it is for your blog content to be both compelling and valuable to your readers. This plays a large part in how you’re viewed by your target audience, customers, competitors, and other industry leaders. It’s also how you’re going to keep readers engaged and loyal to your blog — and hopefully converting to customers, too.
Remember, it takes more time and energy to obtain new subscribers than to maintain current readers. Plus, your current readers have the potential of becoming your brand advocates faster than new subscribers do. So, focus on consistently producing content that captivates your audience all while providing them with useful and worthwhile information so they stick around for the long run.
Patagonia’s blog, The Cleanest Line, is a fascinating publication. It’s not a generic brand blog that discusses Patagonia products or customers; it tells compelling stories written by some of the best writers on the web — yet it still resonates with Patagonia’s target audience and those who share its core values. I’ve personally spent hours reading the articles on The Cleanest Line, and it’s endeared me to Patagonia in the process.
7. Include CTAs.
A CTA might share in-depth content and information with your audience on a specific topic. Or maybe it includes a discount code or special deal on your product or service. A CTA could also provide further training related to the subject of your blog article.
For example, the Omniscient Digital blog naturally weaves CTAs into its posts, making the linked items part of the broader story or takeaway. The goal of CTAs should be to encourage readers to take action without deviating too far from the purpose of the post.
Step 1 Choose your blog name and get your blog hosting
Blogging Quick Start – Step 1
Choose your domain name
Your domain name is an important part of your blog because it creates a first impression—it is the name of your blog. Also known as your URL, your domain is also your address on the web. For example, our domain name is www.theminimalists.com.
So, what do you want to call your blog? Maybe it’s YourName.com. Maybe it’s YourBusinessName.com. Or maybe it’s a creative brand name you thought up. If you’re having a hard time thinking of a good domain name, try Wordoid, a wonderful naming tool that will give you plenty of great options. Just make sure you don’t buy the domain from them since Bluehost will give you a free domain. (If you’ve already purchased a domain elsewhere, that’s okay, too, because Bluehost will make it easy to transfer your existing domain during the setup process.)
Set up blog hosting
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you’ll need to set up hosting for your blog. While WordPress itself is free (see Step 2 below), you need a reliable place to host your WordPress blog (your blog needs to be on a server somewhere on the Internet).
- We Use Bluehost. We personally use Bluehost to host The Minimalists. If you recommend a company, you better be willing to use their product yourself. We also use them to host several other websites of ours.
- Outstanding Customer Service. Bluehost’s customer service is 100% US-based. With hold times that average less than 30 seconds and 100% in-house, on-site staff in their Texas offices, you can rest assured that the person helping with your site knows how to help. In other words, if you have any questions, they will help you through the entire setup process.
- Great Pricing. TheMinimalists.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, which means that in addition to using their service, we also receive a commission for referring new customers. To be fair, though, we would still use Bluehost even if we weren’t an affiliate—we’ve used them for a long time. Ergo, we don’t recommend Bluehost just because we’re an affiliate (every hosting company offers a similar affiliate program); we recommend Bluehost because they are the best, most reliable option. Plus, because we’re a partner, Bluehost offers a 50% discount for The Minimalists readers: only 5000.75 a month for the first year.
- Free Domain. When you sign up for hosting, Bluehost will give you a free domain name, which allows you to avoid the upfront and recurring fees associated with purchasing a domain on your own. If you’ve already purchased your own domain name, don’t worry; you can still use your domain with Bluehost (it’s just one extra step).
- Money-Back Guarantee. Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk if you change your mind.
- Reliability. Bluehost’s facilities are world class. They have their own custom-built 20,000-square-foot datacenter with enough backup generators to power a city.
- Friends & Family. Many of our friends and family also use Bluehost to host their blogs.
How to Start a Blog Ebook
Step 3 Pick a simple theme to make your blog your own
A theme allows you to pick a design for your blog without the need for coding expertise or design knowledge. In other words, a good theme helps you to design your blog exactly how you want it to look. If you’re not a coder (I’m certainly not a coder), then a theme makes the design work a million times easier.
Blogging Quick Start – Step 3
Our blog design is from BYLT, a platform created by our good friends at SPYR. They have several beautiful, simple WordPress themes to choose from, and, in fact, you can purchase the same theme we use if you like.
Simply go to BYLT and find the minimalist WordPress theme that best fits your desired aesthetic. Their themes are feature-rich; plus, once you buy your theme, you will have the same team supporting your work that we trust to support ours.
Jeff Goins: Authenticity Is An Audience Magnet
Jeff’s blog is all about the art, craft, and lifestyle of being a writer. And, as you know as a writer yourself, good blogs about that are few and far between. Understanding how he’s built his blog doesn’t require a lot of stats and figures and fancy data breakdowns, either. Even though his stats are impressive—an average post gets 423 shares. What truly makes Jeff successful is how he approaches his content. Because all of it is aimed at empowering you—yes you, sitting there, right now—to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve.
#11. Authentic, Transparent, And Personal.
He grabs your attention with stories, both personal and of others, to maintain your attention and keep you on the page: His stories are insanely powerful because they give authenticity to everything he does. That also taps a deep psychological need of people . There’s a high level of transparency in what he does, too. He’s open and honest with his readers about everything, and even makes open commitments to his readers. And, he even goes out of his way to nurture relationships with people away from his blog, by communicating with followers, friends, and fans on their own Facebook feeds: So, where a lot of bloggers go for stardom and distance from their audience—like a performer on a stage or screen—Jeff aims to connect and become a friend with them and to get involved with them beyond his blog.
What It Means For You.
Break the fourth wall. Connect with your audience on a different, more personal level beyond the realm of your blog and its posts. But when you are writing your posts, aim to put yourself into your posts. Share stories and events and emotions that come from deep within you, or your brand, too.
Gretchen Rubin: Create Content That Stands Out From The Noise
If you don’t know Gretchen from her blog, you might know her from her book, The Happiness Project . A lot of blogs out there tackle to topics of happiness, habits, and personal development. But few of them do it as successfully and enthusiastically as Gretchen has over the last few years. She has frequency and consistency down to a T by posting every day of the week. But what really makes her content special is the content of her content. She treats herself as a case study all of the time…
#12. Breaking The Content Mould
What That Means For You.
Look at your competitors and what they’re doing. Then, make it better. Improve on it. Break the mould and give them more than they’re getting elsewhere. It’s the only way to stand out in a more and more cluttered blogosphere.