How to Start a Successful Blog in 2023 in 20 Steps
Last revised on
October 25, 2022
Starting a blog in 2023 may seem like a daunting task that is impossible to do successfully. Does anyone even read blogs these days? You may be surprised by this, but people do read blogs even today – and blogging can be quite successful. Hence, here’s how to start a blog in 2023 in 20 easy steps.
Before You Begin Blogging
The first steps are things you want to think about before you begin your blogging journey.
1. Decide How You Will Monetize Your Blog
You can only be as successful as your planning, so let’s start with the money!
There are two main reasons why you would want to keep a blog: it’s your hobby or it’s your job. If the former is the case, then you don’t need to worry about making money with your blog. If the latter is the case, then it’s time to think about how you will do it. It will take some time before you can start earning enough without having to work elsewhere. Nevertheless, there are multiple ways in which you can earn money with your blog:
Ads: You can place ads on your website by enrolling in Google AdSense.
Affiliate Marketing: You can become an affiliate by enrolling in an affiliate program and creating content with affiliate links to earn commissions.
Influencer Marketing: You can create sponsored content as an influencer and get paid by brands.
Guest Posting: You can get paid for your guest posts as an expert in media outlets.
Further Reading; 14 Simple Yet Powerful Ways To Make Money From Blogging
2. Choose a Blog Name
Now that you have an understanding of your end goal of monetization, let’s move on to the next step, which is choosing your blog name. For some people, this might be the most difficult step because it will determine how you will build and grow your blog. However, you shouldn’t stress over it too much. Here are some options to consider:
Name a blog after yourself (e.g. Katherine Hall’s Blog)
Use your niche’s keywords for the name (e.g. Gluten-Free Recipes for Beginners)
Invent a new word as the name of your blog
Just make sure that the name of your blog can be easily remembered and that it isn’t too long or confusing. The best blog names are the ones that help you create a specific brand identity for yourself and that don’t go out of fashion over time.
Further Reading: 10 Tips to Come Up with a Brandable Domain Name for Your Blog
3. Get Hosting and Set Up Your Blog
The next thing you should decide is how you will set up your blog. Some people like to use existing platforms that already provide you with access to a wide audience (e.g. Medium) while others prefer to have their own website where they are their own master. If you prefer the latter, then you can use one of these to help you set up your blog:
Wix or Squarespace – Two popular website builders that allow you to set up your blog or website for free. However, to get a completely personalized domain name, you will need to pay. Both of these provide you with numerous customization features, so they can be more than enough for most beginner bloggers.
WordPress – WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) in the world and was created for branding. While you need to purchase hosting for it and thus isn’t free entirely, it’s still an affordable and very popular option among bloggers.
Further Reading: The 15 Best WordPress Blog Hosting Sites for 2023
4. Choose a Theme and Add Plugins
Once you have created your blog, you will need to choose a theme and add plugins to it. Your theme needs to be in line with your branding strategy. For example, if you want to talk about tech on your blog and you will be doing it in a lighthearted and casual way, then your theme should reflect that.
After choosing your theme, you can create all the essential pages (e.g. Home, About, Contact) and fill them out. Then, add plugins to help you set up additional features and track performance. There are many WordPress plugins available, many of them for free. You just need to do some research and find which ones will be most useful to you.
Further Reading: The 21 Best WordPress Plugins for Business Blogs in 2023
5. Make Social Sharing Easy
Viral content is all the rage nowadays, but while it’s worth trying to create viral content, you shouldn’t focus all your attention solely on that. Virality is often spontaneous, so it’s best to let your audience make it happen rather than trying to push it in every way possible.
One thing that is crucial for virality is social sharing. That’s why it needs to be easy for your readers to share your content. Set up social sharing buttons on your website to let your audience quickly share something they liked on your blog. This way, you will be able to benefit from word of mouth and get more exposure.
Develop Your Content Strategy
Now that you have the why and how of blogging set up, you need to focus on the what of blogging, or what you will specifically blog about.
6. Identify Your Target Audience
Obviously, this is something you already thought about to an extent while choosing your blog name. However, you need to approach this more seriously now and identify your target audience with all things considered.
You might want to go for a smaller niche than you originally planned or, on the other hand, you might decide to target a wider audience. Will you only post content in a single language? Which topics will you write about? Which brand voice will you be using? Does your target audience read blogs often? What are the interests, pain points, dislikes, etc. of your audience?
Ask yourself all these questions to have an accurate picture of your target audience. Then, you should also segment your audience and create personas for each segment. This will help you appeal to specific groups within your audience while also appealing to everyone. Moreover, segmentation will also be valuable for marketing your blog (more on this later).
7. Do Keyword Research
Next, you will need to create a keyword list. The keywords you are using may change over time, but there will still be some words and phrases that will stay the same. To make your keyword list diverse, use these tips:
Find both long-tail and short-tail keywords. Likewise, find query-like keywords to optimize content for voice search.
Start with generic keywords, then look for industry-specific keywords, and finally, think of your branded keywords.
While writing for trending topics, perform keyword research to identify relevant keywords that are specific to those topics.
Update your keyword list frequently and keep up with the trends to get maximum results from the keywords you are using.
8. Develop Your Content Strategy
Developing your content strategy may take some time, but it is likely one of the most important steps that you should never skip. If you need help, you can check a writing services reviews site and find a professional writer to help you with this. If you are developing your content strategy on your own, think of these things:
Which types of content do I want to create?
Which topics do I want to cover in my content?
Which brand voice will I be using in my content?
What are my standards for different types of content?
Which types of content marketing will I be using?
How big is my budget and which resources do I have?
What are my goals for the blog and the content on it?
9. Develop Your Brand Voice
Speaking of your content strategy, you should also develop your brand voice . This is pretty much the voice you will be using in your content. It can be the same voice you use when communicating in your daily life or you can come up with one that will be specific to your blog. Your brand voice is an important part of your image, so you should take the time to think about it and develop it.
Just like your blog’s theme, your brand voice should be in line with what you want to show to your audience. If you want to look like an expert with years of experience in your field who wants to find readers similar to you, then you might want to go for a serious and professional brand voice. If you want to appeal to mothers with little kids who want to teach their children how to cook, then you will probably prefer a casual and playful brand voice instead.
Further Reading: Brand Voice: 9 Tips on How to Create Your Own (with 7 Examples)
10. Make a Posting Schedule
An essential part of your content strategy is your posting schedule, but because it plays such a critical role, it’s worth talking about it in a separate step. Your posting schedule can determine how successful your blog becomes. Just think about it: you can’t post content whenever you want to and expect to get good results.
One thing to consider when making your posting schedule is how much content you can realistically create while maintaining a certain standard of quality. You should always put quality over quantity, so don’t set goals for yourself that you can’t achieve. Similarly, think about the activity time of your audience and the frequency of posts that you can keep up with. In the future, you can adjust these, but you need to start somewhere now.
Further Reading: The 15 Best Social Media Scheduling Tools (2023)
11. Choose Your Tools
Just like plugins on your blog will help you set up certain features and track performance, tools will help you create content more effectively and run your blog more efficiently. Some of the most popular tools used by bloggers these days include:
Grammarly to check your texts for linguistic mistakes, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word choice mistakes.
Canva to create pro-level visual content even if you don’t have experience with graphic design. Canva offers thousands of templates for almost anything you can think of.
Asana or Trello to help you manage all your blogging-related projects by creating tasks and organizing your day.
ConvertKit to create and manage email marketing campaigns (more on email marketing later).
Now That You’ve Started Blogging…
The next steps are all about optimizing your blogging for more effective results.
12. Optimize Your Blog Content for Search Engines
SEO is something every blogger should know as best as they can. Without SEO, you won’t find an audience. Here are some of the most essential things for your search engine optimization:
Keywords: The keywords you are using in your content.
Linking: Your internal and external links as well as backlinks.
Meta Data: Your meta titles and descriptions.
Content: The relevance, readability, uniqueness, etc. of your content.
On-Site Optimization: Your page load speed, navigation, etc.
Further Reading: 10 Top Tips to Increase Your Blog Post SEO
13. Interact with Your Audience
Interacting and engaging with your audience is the best way to establish a long-term relationship with your readers and keep them coming back for more. By gradually building your online following, you will grow and expand your blog over time.
Interacting with your audience can be done in different ways. For instance, you can allow commenting and answer comments. On the other hand, you can curate UGC and show that you appreciate content from your audience. Other ways to interact are by launching contests and giveaways, starting challenges, etc.
14. Don’t Focus on Negativity
Unfortunately, keeping a blog means you will be exposed to negativity. There will be many people reading your blog and saying how thankful they are for the content you create because it informs, educates, or entertains them. However, there will also be those who will dislike what you do and will actively voice their opinions about you.
The best thing you can do is to ignore such negativity. It is often out of your control, so there’s no point in focusing on it and worrying about it. Of course, if there is objective criticism and valid complaints from your audience, you need to address such things (e.g. something you said that was offensive). But in most cases, hate comes without any kind of reason.
15. Diversify Your Content
Though you already created your content strategy, you still need to continue thinking about how you can diversify your content. You don’t need to be doing absolutely everything at the same time but having some diversity in your content will definitely be beneficial to you. Here are some ways you can make your content more diverse:
Try different content formats and experiment with content types
Find new topics to talk about or new angles to cover old topics
Recycle and repurpose your old content to update it and post it again
Curate user-generated content and publish it on your blog
Perform your own research and publish your findings on your blog
Talk with industry experts and insiders to get exclusive interviews
16. Consider Outsourcing Your Content Creation
You already started your blog and you are valuing quality over quantity. Unfortunately, this means that you can’t post as frequently as you would like to. This is when outsourcing your content creation (or part of it) can be the perfect solution for you. Essentially, you are letting experienced writers handle some of the content creation for you.
You can look for affordable writing help and find specialists in your niche who will know how to create high-quality content while following all your guidelines. This way, you can maintain your quality standards while publishing content more frequently.
The final steps are the funnest part of blogging: Promoting your work!
17. Promote Your Blog with Email Marketing
One of the ways to promote your blog and keep your audience is by utilizing email marketing. You will need to grow your email list gradually, but the more people are on that list, the more readers you will have coming back to check your blog frequently. While SEO can help you attract organic traffic and find new readers, email marketing will help you keep those readers in the long run.
Further Reading: The 19 Best Email Marketing Software Tools to Consider Investing in Today
18. Post on Social Media for Exposure
In addition to email marketing, it’s also a good idea to utilize social media marketing. Both of these (just like blogging) are types of content marketing, so you can easily integrate them into your content strategy and posting schedule. Just make sure that you align your activities across all of these channels. This way, you can get the best result from your efforts.
19. Guest Post on Other Sites
While guest posting can help you earn some money, in many cases, you won’t be paid for guest posting. That being said, this is still a very effective technique that can help you:
Find new readers by getting more exposure and increasing brand awareness
Build your link profile by getting more backlinks to your blog
Improve your own reputation and authority by writing for high-profile outlets in your niche or industry