Thinking Of Starting A Lifestyle Blog? Here Are 5 Things You Should Do Today
So, you've got this amazing idea for a lifestyle blog. You're so freakin' excited about it, it's keeping you up at night. You want to launch it, like, yesterday, but you know there's a lot you need to do first before it's ready. But even if you've still got a few steps before you can get your little blog foetus out in the world, there are still things you can do right now to start building a loyal following.Whether you're weeks, months or even years away from launch day, here are the 5 things you should to today before starting a lifestyle blog.
1. Buy your domain name
There's nothing worse than coming up with this awesome name for a blog, getting all excited about it and then finding out that domain name is taken (and every variation you can think of) For the love of all that is holy, if you come up with a name, please use a free tool like GoDaddy's Name Search to check that it's actually available. Then, if it is, snap that baby up as fast as humanly pssible. You can even take it the next level and buy variations of the domain name (for example, if you're in Australia, the .com.au address) This will help make sure you're not competing with anyone with a similar name when it comes to SEO later down the track (and stop any sneaky buggers from trying to steal your awesome name)
2. Find your superniche
"But I already have my niche, I'm going to be a lifestyle blogger!" you may protest. And while yes, lifestyle blogging is a niche of sorts, I'm sorry to break it to you — it's also an incredibly saturated market! You see, the great thing about lifestyle blogging is that you can write about lots of different topics. But in order to stand out from the hordes of other lifestyle bloggers, you're going to need something to set you apart. You need a niche within the niche —a superniche, if you will!
For example, while A Girl In Progress covers lots of different sectors (career, fitness, money, mental health, travel), the over-arching theme that links it all together is self-development. I also got really clear on who our target audience is — millennial women who identify with being imperfect or a little bit of a mess sometimes, but are still striving to become the best version of themselves. Having a clear vision of both the superniche and audience really formed the basis of building a strong visual brand and website, which set us up for success in the get go.
3. Start building your social media channels
Even if you're still a while away from launching your blog, you can (and should) start building up a social media following now. Firstly, the social media world can be tough (especially Instagram) so the more of a head start you can get on building an engaged following, the better off you're going to be on the long run. As you've probably heard, Pinterest is an incredible tool to drive blog traffic, and you don't necessarily need to have content specific to your blog to start building your following on there — you can just post images and things that interest you!
Secondly, it gives you a place that you can start building a loyal community who love what you're about and create hype around your soon-to-be-launched blog. Lastly, your social platforms are a place that you can experiment with your branding (whether it's your colour palette or tone of voice) and see what works, before committing to it on your blog.Whether you plan to use Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or any other social platform to drive traffic, go ahead and set them up ASAP.
4. Start a mailing list
You may not have a link to your blog that you can put in your social media bios yet, but you know what you can put in there — a link to join your mailing list! Yep, if there's one thing you should start doing from day one, it's building an email database. Mailchimp and ConvertKit are easy-to-use email marketing platforms you can use to set this up today.
You don't own your social media followers (Zuckerberg could take them away from you at any moment!) or your blog readers, but you do own your mailing list. Take the time to build this up from the get-go and it will pay off in dividends. To incentivise people to join your mailing list, you can tease that something exciting is coming and that they'll get first access. Or, you could do a special offer or a giveaway. That way, you've got a whole list of people waiting for that exciting news to ping into their inbox— that you've finally launched your amazing kickass blog.
5. Join Blogging Facebook groups
When you're starting your own lifestyle blog, blogging Facebook groups are an invaluable resource for a number of reasons. Not only are they a place that you can promote your blog (subtly and tastefully, in accordance with the group's rules) once you launch, but they're an absolute goldmine for blogging tips, advice and collaboration opportunities.
Many of the people in these groups have already been where you are — so most of the problems and roadbumps you're about to face, they've already dealt with. The sooner you join these groups, the wiser you'll become and the smoother your launch will be. Plus, I started scouting these groups for guest contributors for A Girl In Progress before it even launched, and found of success with that.
Some of my fave blogging groups on Facebook are:
Blogging In Progress has a Facebook group of our own, where you can ask for advice, tips and guidance from yours truly, and network with other bloggers. You can join here.