15 things all new bloggers need

15 things all new bloggers need

If you haven’t started your blog yet, or if you have but don’t know exactly what you need, this post is for you.

Quick disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you, should you choose to make a purchase through my link.

Before we get started I want to welcome you to the wonderful world of blogging! It can be exciting and scary all at the same time, but I promise it’s one of the best side projects / hobbies you could do!
There is so much you can do with a blog. It can simply be a place for you to write short stories, review products or provide info. You could make it your recipe box and you can monetize it to make some money on the side or make it your full time career. It’s up to you!
If you have an online business, adding a blog can be a great way to share tutorials for using your product, special news for your shop or stories based on your business.

Let’s get into what you’ll need to have a successful blog:

Figure out your niche

When you have a blog, it’s important to figure out your niche before you get started for a few reasons.
1. It’ll help you figure out who your audience is and will encourage them to come back to your blog.
2. It’ll help you establish credibility in your niche

Of course you could blog about whatever you want and to a certain extent you can within any niche, but try to find a niche you’re passionate about and stick to it. It’ll help you rank higher in Google searches and keeps your audience interested.

As an example with this blog I write about websites and business tools. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to start writing about pets or DIY crafts because my audience comes to this blog to get tips about their websites and blogs. If I started writing about 10 crafts for fall leaves, my audience would start to wonder how serious I am about websites.
I’m not saying an occasional random post will hurt your blog, in fact it might help, but you don’t want to make it a habit or change your blog content completely. Try to stay within your niche as much as you can and nothing says you can’t have more than one blog!
My other blog Willowbottom.com is a lifestyle blog based on how I live. It’s all about Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Living. I talk about everything from reducing plastic waste to real food recipes, anything that has to do with living with the Earth. So that would be a better place for a post about 10 crafts for fall leaves since it falls within that niche.

Above all, write about what you’re passionate about. The blogging world is a great place to spread your knowledge and interests. Make your blog an extension of your life and enjoy the journey.

A Computer or Laptop

This is extremely important for bloggers especially in the set up process. I do know of a few bloggers that use a tablet to blog and it can be done, but there’s nothing like typing on an actual keyboard.
I’ve had really good success with Dell and MSI computers and laptops. Apple computers are good as well. I personally am not an Apple person. I’ve used a MacBook and honestly prefer Windows for ease of use, and compatibility with programs and software.
If you’re in the market for a new computer or laptop make sure to get one with an i7 or higher processor, anything less will be very sluggish!

Domain

A domain is your website’s URL. It’s the name your visitor will type into a Google search to find your site.
There are many places to purchase a domain, but I always recommend NameCheap.
Their domain names are cheap and their interface is easy to navigate.
Find your domain here.

Hosting

Besides a computer and domain, hosting is the most important part of the blogging puzzle.
I highly suggest going self-hosted. You could use free web services like, WordPress.com, Weebly, Blogger, etc.., but as your blog grows, you’ll soon realize that the functionality is limited. I learned this early on.
I recommend using Siteground with WordPress.org.
Siteground is the best hosting service I’ve used and if you ever have any questions their staff is always helpful.
Use this link to sign up.

Get Social

You can’t rely on Google alone for your audience to find your blog. Having social media accounts helps your audience find you and it helps to build trust. The more helpful content you post, the better for building trust and excitement for your blog.
Using Instagram stories is a great way to communicate to your audience. Add polls and make games to get your audience to interact so you can start building a relationship with them.

Pinterest is another great way to promote your blog. I can’t tell you how many great blogs I’ve found by just browsing Pinterest.

Use Canva to create custom images and graphics to showcase your blog on social media.

Facebook and Twitter work great as well. Figure out where your audience is most likely to be and promote your blog on those networks.

Build a following

All bloggers work to build a solid following. Besides using social media, offering a newsletter is a great way to get your audience to come back to your blog.
Not sure a newsletter is for your website? Read my post about that here.
Try offering free gifts to subscribers. Here are a few suggestions:
A recipe book, eBook, access to your resource library, online course, a chart that works with your niche or maybe free stock images you’ve created. Anything to use as a thank you for signing up.

Use free tools

There are so many great tools available online for bloggers and business owners and you should be using them!
Some of my favorites are:
Anything from Google. Seriously, Google is amazing when it comes to free online tools.
I keep my notes and thoughts in Google Keep. Google Tasks is amazing for keeping a to do list, Google Drive is great for keeping docs, photos, or anything you need to store to have available no matter where you are.
Google Docs, Slides, Sheets and Forms are invaluable tools that I use everyday for my personal and business life.

Airtable is another great free online tool. Use Airtable to keep track of affiliate links, product data, accounts, content management, trackers, etc.. If you need to, you can add collaborators as well.

Trello is an organization board that I know a lot of bloggers use to keep track of blog post ideas and inspiration.

Hemingway Editor and Grammarly are free writing assistance tools that come in handy for bloggers and writers.

Free & Quick Proofreading from Grammarly!

Google Analytics

Another great free tool from Google! Use Google Analytics on your website to track visitors and visitor behavior, page views and online referrals.

GDPR Compliance

GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation was set in place to protect the data and privacy of all EU citizens.
This regulation affects everyone who has a website that collects data of any kind from it’s visitors through IP Addresses, newsletter sign ups, cookies, online shops, contact forms or other forms that require a visitor to submit their personal data.
Whether you’re in the EU or the US you must comply with the regulation.
Get informed on GDPR compliance. I am not a lawyer so I can’t give legal advice, but I can give tips to get you started.

Make sure your website is using an SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). You can either purchase an SSL certificate or apply one for free with your web hosting from Siteground. This enables a secure connection between a web server and a browser.

Use the GDPR Cookie Consent plug in for wordpress to give visitors the chance to opt out of cookies if they wish, or they can accept the cookies that are used on your site. You probably noticed the one that popped up on this site.

Make sure you have a clear and precise Privacy Policy that states how the user’s data will be used and how your website collects data. More on this below.

Privacy Policy & Disclaimers

It is extremely important to have a Privacy Policy and Disclaimers on your website and blog.
Even if no one takes the time to read it, you need to make your audience aware of your intentions, how you’re collecting data and how that data is being used.
Be as transparent as you can.
If you are writing a sponsored post or will be including affiliate links in your posts, you’ll need to add a disclaimer at the top of your post explaining what the post contains.
It doesn’t need to be wordy, but you do need to say something. You could keep it short and sweet and include a link to your disclaimer page if they would like more info.
This is the disclaimer I use:

Quick disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you, should you choose to make a purchase through my link.

Your sanity

Say what? – Yes your sanity is on the list, because setting up a new blog isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.
It’s not the most difficult thing either, but it does take a lot of time and work.
It can be mind numbing at times, especially if you’re working a full time job or have a family to care at the same time.
Figure out a routine that works for you and try to stick to it. Structure has really helped me be able to keep my sanity while juggling a full time job, blog and family.
Maybe you only have one day a week or maybe only one hour a week to set aside for yourself. Take it. A little time is better than no time.
Self care is extremely important, especially when you’re a creative.
Looking for ways to practice self care? Head over to my post about that here. (you will be redirected to my other blog – willowbottom.com)

Blogging Buddies

Connect with other bloggers in Facebook Groups. I have met so many amazing bloggers in these groups and there are a few I speak to regularly outside of the groups.
This kind of support system is great because you find some new friends who know the ups and downs of blogging and you can cheer each other on.

Consistency

It’s so important to be consistent for a few reasons.
1. Your audience will know what day your posts go live and will look forward to reading them. This keeps their interest which keeps them coming back.
2. A blog that is consistently updated will let Google know that it’s alive and well which will help it rank better in searches.
3. It’ll help keep your creative juices flowing.
It helps to set up a post schedule. Do you plan to post once a day, once a week or once every two weeks? – Knowing how often you want to post will help keep you consistent.
Consistency can be tough for all bloggers, no matter their stage in the blogging game. Sometimes stuff comes up and we don’t get those posts written, but as long as you don’t go months at a time without posting something, your blog and audience will grow and thrive.

SEO & Keywords

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is so important for all websites, without it, your blog will be lost in the sea of the web. I’ll cover this further in another post.
I recommend using a plugin for SEO optimization such as Yoast or All in One SEO Pack. These plugins will make it easy for you to type in keywords, meta data and more.

Images

Everyone loves looking at photos. Have you ever seen a blog or a website without them? No, we are visual creatures. Photos draw us in and they help us get to know the author.
Using your own photos is a great option as they are original, they mean something to you and they can add depth or help us explain something. I recommend using high quality photos taken from a camera rather than a cell phone. Cell phone photos are ok for small screens or social media, but your blog will be viewed on computer screens and cell phone photos are just too small a file to stand up to that kind of pressure. DSLRs, point and shoot or other quality cameras take better photos and are larger format which is better for bigger screens.

Maybe taking your own photos isn’t for you or maybe you want to mix in something else? Go with free stock photos.
My favorite sites for free stock photos are Unsplash and Pixabay. Photos on these sites are high quality and are free for commercial use with no attribution needed.

Originality

One thing I love about blogging is the freedom to be original. Sure there are a million posts out there similar to this one, about things that all new bloggers need, but none of them are the same. Even if they make the same suggestions, they all have their own perspectives and are useful in one way or another.
Never get discouraged if someone wrote a post about a subject you wanted to write about. This happens to everyone!
Go ahead and write it anyway. You might have a fresh perspective that draws in certain readers.
Just make sure to be original. Never re-post or copy someone’s post word for word.. You could get into major trouble for this, and for good reason.

Bonus: Don’t compare yourself to others

When you start blogging it’s natural to look at other blogger’s sites. We’re curious what the norm is for site layout, post length, content inspiration, etc.. Nothing is wrong with this, but so often, new bloggers get discouraged when they’re just starting out.
Most times, they’re looking at well established blogs. Ones that have a large library of posts, hundreds of comments and a strong social media following. “Don’t compare your day one to someone else’s day 100” – I’ve seen this quote floating around social media quite a bit lately and I feel it’s a very powerful quote to remember.
Comments, a strong following and a large library of posts don’t happen over night. It’s not easy, but with time and the will to keep going, your blog will get there.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you ever have any questions, or need help with anything, don’t hesitate to contact me, message me on social media or leave a comment below!

Whitney

I'm a 28 year old solopreneur, blogger and owner of this site. I help businesses and bloggers find their voice in the online world, through custom web design, branding and helpful tools.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. This was a great post with lots of helpful tips. I enjoyed reading it!

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Your sanity!!! So true. But my favorite one was other bloggers. I’ve joined some amazing communities on Facebook and the other bloggers have been key to my success so far. Great article!

    1. They are so invaluable!

  3. So many great tips! As bloggers, we definitely need self-care, consistency, support, and individuality!

  4. Fantastic tips. I especially like the part about having a (or more) blogging buddy, it’s so supportive and helpful!

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