Create A Blog Domain
If you are in this for the long haul, don’t waste any of your time on a free blogging platform. There are so many more options when you own your blog, and on top of that, if you start with registering your own domain and getting your own hosting, you won’t have to deal with the headache of switching once you’ve realized how much better it is. It only costs about $10 a year for a domain and it can be as low as $5-$15/month for hosting depending on who you go with and what package you get. That’s not a huge investment if you’re seeing your blog as a business investment (which you should).
Related reading: How to Create the Best Domain Name for Your Blog
Create A Blog Design
Choose a template or theme. Tweak the theme to fit your desires.
Decide if you want your sidebar on the left or right, or if you want two sidebars, how wide you want your content (actual posts) and how wide you want your sidebar(s).
Decide on a color scheme that would be attractive to most people and the average person. Light background with darker font is usually easier to read. Decide on font family (no more than 2-3). Decide on font color (no more than 2-3). Decide on your heading sizes and paragraph size of your fonts.
Create a header, or hire a graphic designer to create one for you.
Create special elements and buttons for your blog design to make your blog look unique. You can hire someone to do this for you as well.
Set Up Your RSS Feed
I recommend setting up your RSS feed with Feedburner because it’s very user friendly and you can get analytics for your rss feed through them.
Create A Facebook Page
Read my four part Facebook Fan Page series.
Create Social Media Accounts
There are tons of social media sites, and there’s no reason not to belong to and utilize all of them. Get started by creating accounts and completing your profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit.
Set Up Blog Functions
Create your top navigation menu with relevant links to pages in your site. Include a home page, an about page, an advertise page, a contact page, a store page (if applicable), and any other important pages you’d like to include.
Set up what’s in your sidebar.
Create ways for people to connect with you (Twitter, Facebook, Email (or contact page), Pinterest, Google+, etc). Have a way to get notification by rss (make sure you have it through email, as this is the most reliable way for people to be notified of new posts).
Have a way for people to like your Facebook page.
Create Ad Accounts
Of course you’ve heard of Google AdSense, but there are other alternatives available as well, and you can use more than one. All of these ad networks work differently for different types of sites, so it may be in your best interest to research each one, or do a bit of trial and error/testing to see which ones work best with your blog Lijit, AdBrite, Bidvertiser, Chitika, Clicksor, eClickz, InfoLinks, Vibrant Media, Text Link Ads, Kontera, BuySellAds
Set up ads for your blog to create instant revenue. Some ad programs want you to have an updated blog for this, so you may need to have some posts up before your blog will be approved.
Sign Up To Write Sponsored Blog Posts/Reviews
There are multiple sites where you can sign up as a publisher to write sponsored blog posts or reviews for companies who will pay you for that service. Two such sites are payperpost.com and socialspark.com, but there are many more.
Become an Affiliate
You can become an affiliate (commission earner) for almost anything that is sold online, but there are many sites you can use that make it easy. Amazon, ClickBank, and Commission Junction are 3 great places to start. Sign up and find products that are relevant to your niche that you can promote in your sidebar, in a store page you create specifically for your blog, or in your blog posts.
Write Your First Post(s)
Depending on your blog, you may want to write at least 10 posts before you start promoting your blog. As I stated in a reply to a comment recently, if your blog is personal, or if it is a “follow me on my journey” type of blog, then promoting your blog after the first post would be a good thing. If your blog is more business oriented, or informational, and you want to be established as an authority in your niche, write at least 10 blog posts before launching your blog and promoting it.
Again, in order to be approved for ad programs or sponsored post programs, some sites only want updated blogs, so you might have to have a few posts up before you’re approved for those types of things.
Launch Your Blog
Tell the world. Use social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, etc. to get the word out. Use sites like Networked Blogs, HootSuite, TweetAdder, etc. to automate social media posting of new blog posts.
Write guest posts on other relevant blogs to get more exposure. Comment on other blogs in your niche and participate in relevant forums as well. Traffic will start to grow, and as long as you keep creating great content, it will continue to increase. You now have the foundation of what could very well become a successful blog.
Stay tuned because I will have follow up posts that describe some of these steps in detail. Subscribe by email to be notified when this blog is updated with a new post: