Starting a Blog: The First Four Steps (BEFORE you start your blog!)

When you are just starting out blogging, it is best to have some sort of a plan as to what you want your blog to look like and end up like in 1 to 5 years. 

You also want to think about what your imagery is going to look like, what your graphics are gonna look like, what you would like to maybe potentially sell at some point, or what you might want to speak on. These things aren't going to be written in stone and none of them are going to be things that you’re going to pursue right now but, you kind of want to have a little bit of forward thinking and plan. This will make sure you make decisions that are going to grow your blog from a hobby into a business.

 Some tips:
 #1: Think about your blog name and that it is available via domain name AND username on social media. Also, check to see if there is a trademark on it. I made the mistake of not checking my username before I started NellieBellie and regret that all the time (miznelliebellie isn't super obvious for a username)!

 #2: What kind of a style of a blog are you after? Think about colors, website layout, feel of imagery, and if it’s gonna be formal or informal. Think about these things as if you could hire the designer you wanted and do anything you wanted without worrying about cost or resources. You aren't there yet. But, you can start to make choices that will help get you there.

#3: What are some of the business decisions you might make in 3 to 5 years? What kind of products might you want to sell,l what kind of things make you want to speak on, or what might you want to make into a course? Don’t spend too much time here, but make sure you have some thoughts as to how you can grow and expand from your blog into a full-fledged business. You want to be sure that you can see a future expansion before you sink lots of time and energy into your blog.

#4: Determine your audience and if they really want what you offer or if you are going to have to force it. Who are you writing to? Get specific. Now, think about if they will want to read your blog and interact with your content. Buy your products? Be real, here. You might know that you can help them or offer them something great but, will they know and care? Be sure that your ideal reader is really going to be engaged with your content and work hard to develop knowledge of your audience and reader.