First of all – it is NOT to late! I’m writing this up at the end of the year 2018 (December) and we are quickly going into 2019 – and STILL blogs are where it’s “at”.
Man, I remember when I first started doing ecommerce in 2004 and people around me told me I was too late to e-commerce. I still did it, but man, if I doubled down then I would be in such a stronger position now. Anyway, don’t delay, build your blog means build your audience, and it is so valuable.
It is also a great place to learn about online business, marketing, and monetization.
Want to start your own blog and not sure the best way to do so? Want to make it something you can grow as you and your business grows?
Here are the steps I would give you for just getting started (this may be basic for those who have been doing blogging for a while – it is meant for those newbies!)
An audience is who you are serving. And a brand represents that feeling the audience gets.Mike Michelini
USING A BLOG TO BUILD A BRAND
Audience first is something I have heard a ton and want to share about this today. Many people rush to the market with a product and hope it sells. I have been there myself too. But what we really need to work on is making sure we have people who actually want to buy it, and buy it from us!
Step by step, you will learn what people like. It is not the fast and easy way unfortunately – but it is the long term value for you to stand the test of time. Your blog and brand may not be the same – you can launch a product brand inside of your brand and then cross-promote it. Build a story for it.
Plus starting a blog is close to free – the real investment is your time. And you will learn if your investment in a product brand is viable before investing. That is the biggest value
Your domain is essentially your brand. Getting that first impression is criticalMike Michelini
PICK A DOMAIN NAME
Now, you could save the 15 bucks a year and use a subdomain on wordpress.com (like blogname.wordpress.com) but that is very short term thinking. If you are at all serious about blogging, you will get your own domain name.
I have a domain registrar service if you’d like to buy a domain with my company at Shadstone Limited in certain cases. I also can help you get setup with 2 free email accounts as part of the fee.
Also – I buy and sell domain names.
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Don’t make the mistake of building a brand without trademark protection.Mike Michelini
BUILD LONG TERM VALUE
Since we are on the topic of picking a domain name – really what we are doing now is building a brand.
When it boils down to the core, brand is everything. Apple is a brand, Google is a brand. Their trademarks is really at the heart of the business.
Don’t make the mistake of building your brand and then later realizing you didn’t protect yourself with proper trademark, especially if you’re selling on Amazon.
Register Your Trademark
We have partnered up with a US trademark service for you to get on the fast track
Don’t be cheap on hosting this is where your site will be founded (but you can also upgrade later).Mike Michelini
YOU NEED A WEB SERVER
The second step is – you need a “server” (don’t get scared!) – its basically a hard drive on the internet so that people can open your website when your computer is off (that is how I like to think about it!). Way back when, my friends had servers at their house which was basically their computer being on all the time!
Nowadays servers / hosting are very cheap and if you’re on a budget – Bluehost is a great option. It has the ability for you to install WordPress (blog software) right in their admin system without having to do anything technical. Another option is WPengine which is more expensive but you can sleep at night knowing that it is automatically backed up each day.
Basically, almost everything these days can be built on WordPress.Mike Michelini
If you get a hosting service (that isn’t Bluehost or WPengine) then you’ll have to download wordpress.org code from their website and then install it on your web hosting (server). If you’re not at all familiar with this, you can pay someone a small fee on upwork.com or other freelancer websites, ask your friends, or ask a professional consultant (like our company) to get that going.
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Try to not use a gmail or yahoo email for your business email.Mike Michelini
GET EMAIL FOR YOUR BLOG
Can also get your own email if you’d like. If you use my domain registration service, you’ll get 2 free email accounts (win!) but if you use Godaddy or other registrars they always have an email package you can buy.
The ultimate one is Google Apps (Think its called G Suite now) – but again it is a bit pricey if you are just stating out – at 5 bucks am month per email (user account).
Having a different style and feel to your site keeps people around.Mike Michelini
CUSTOMIZE YOUR THEME
Now, you’ll need to start to build out your blog so it doesn’t look like the default wordpress installation theme. They have tons of free themes inside their directory and I recommend you just do that for the beginning.
Pick one you like – and get to the real work – making content!
An email list is a powerful asset to ensure you have an open line of communication with your fans.Mike Michelini
BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST
This is one marketers jump up and down screaming you need to do! But so many new bloggers don’t do it – and that is – start to collect emails from their readers / audience. This is still a top asset – even in a world of social media overload and chat apps – emails are still where people are going to get their news and information.
You can start for free as well – we have a guide that outlines the tools and tactics I use in building an email list here free.
Learn the Tools For Email Marketing
What are some tools used for ecommerce marketers in building a list?
Anyone can get a website installed and up, it is the content and engagement that matters.Mike Michelini
That is really it. I mean, sure, we can go into advanced SEO techniques for optimizing your wordpress blog – but the main point here is you get blog content going.
Start to share your journey – of you and/or your business. Try to focus the blog on 1 or 2 topics. This is what will drive real value and followers to your blog – as they know what to expect when they come. Don’t look at Mike’s blog for inspiration on that – we talk about everything here and there isn’t much focus at all, ha!
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Marketing is the elephant in the room. It cannot be ignored and you need to spend time on it regularly.Mike Michelini
GET PEOPLE TO FIND YOUR WEBSITE
This is another one that will take commitment. You need to “hustle” and get the word out that you even exist, aka marketing.
Pick your poison – you can learn SEO (search engine optimization), you can do social media marketing, paid ads, or door to door flyers.
But a blog is only as good as those who can find it. So if you have gotten this far, keep going. This is why I recommend people to blog about what they enjoy.
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Step by step, having a content schedule is the key to sticking with it.Mike Michelini
ITS AN ONGOING PROCESS
So that is it – realize that this is an ongoing process and always learn and adjust. No one got it perfect – look at other blogs and their first blog posts. The key to their success was that they just kept on going!
Earning money for your blog is OK and is how you can support your audience and grow.Mike Michelini
EARN INCOME TO SUPPORT YOURSELF
Notice we put monetize (aka make money) AFTER the “don’t quit” (persist) section. This is because you’re not going to be making a ton of money right away – you need to keep at it. But you should think about making money from the early days.
Read Affiliate marketing for beginners as it is one of the easiest ways to get started.