The Complete Guide To Starting A Blog (The Simple And Smart Way)

The Complete Guide To Starting A Blog (The Simple And Smart Way) by Sara Eatherton-Goff of
NOTE: This content may be out of date. There are plenty of solid takeaways that stand the test of time, but some strategies and ideas may not be relevant any longer. This blog is no longer actively maintained nor supported. The author has moved onto different things present [ here ]. Thank you.

If you're here, you're serious.

And that's a great place to start.

In this 5-post mega guide to starting a simple and smart blog from the basics, up, you'll learn everything you need to know to start, success-minded.

Why am I writing this series?

Well, I started another blog. This blog is a writing showcase that exhibits my journey from zero to published author.

And while starting the site, I realized that a lot of people could benefit from these shortcuts and basic knowledge after starting nearly 37 websites for clients and some of my own.

(So, the ongoing example will be my musings website:—now hosted on Medium.)

Sound like something you can benefit from?

Let's do this.

This guide covers what I deem as the 11 essentials to the start of a successful blog and website.

Throughout this series, I'll have lots of references to my writing site, but also to content on Goff Creative and other reputable sources.

(If you have any questions or anything you think should be added to this series, don't hesitate to contact me directly via email.)

So, now that all that stuff is squared away, the 11 essentials are:

  1. Have a [minimum of a] general plan for your new venture or blog—covered in this post.
  2. Research your [desired] industry and "competitors"
  3. Create an outline of the basic content and pages you need to start with
  4. Choose your website platform (we'll be using Squarespace for this series), domain, template, etc.
  5. Complete website content (with my strategy for coming up with benefit-focused content for every page)
  6. Set up Google Analytics for your new site / blog
  7. Set up your Google Webmasters Console
  8. Create your first blog post to launch with your site (exclusive to email series)
  9. Find guest posting and other growth opportunities (exclusive to email series)
  10. Solidify your content and marketing plan for the next 6 months (exclusive to email series)
  11. Stop tinkering and focus on growth—sometimes the hardest part (exclusive to email series)

This is a lot to take in, I know. So I'm breaking it up over the next 10 business days.

The first 5 are [going to be] published on the blog, and the last are coming in drip emails only when you subscribe to the Start A Blog Series. 

So, if you're serious about starting a blog or making your existing blog stronger and more focused, this is exactly where you want to be.

For now, let's focus on number one:

Have a general plan for your [new] blog or venture

Download the follow along worksheets here.

And for the full post, check out: 8 Keys To Planning A Powerful Solopreneur Business

Otherwise, stick with these quick pointers before we move on in tomorrow's post.

One. What's the point?

  • Why do you want to start this venture or blog?
  • What's going to keep you motivated when things go sour?
  • What goal(s) do you want to achieve in a reasonable amount of time?

Two. Can you "do it" alone?

  • What level of authority are you entering in? Are you an expert? Are you learning and showing strategies as you go? Are you borrowing authority through interviews and studying others in your desired area?
  • How will you grow your business?
  • What will you do to earn enough of an income from the onset to continue sustaining your new venture? Affiliate links? Product sales?

Three. What obstacles and responsibilities can you expect to arise or enter with?

What's going to slow you down? Make a list.

But on the other side of that list, make sure you note how you can either overcome that obstacle, or ways you can incorporate your responsibilities and obstacles into your workflow.

Four. Will it fly?

Do some research on your venture or blog idea. (We'll go over this more in the next post.)

And don't forget to grab Pat Flynn's book, "Will It Fly?" *Affiliate link*

Five. Brainstorm all the necessities

Although I've covered a lot of the basics in that initial list of needs, what else will you need to grow and sustain your new blog or venture?

Think about things like:

  • Educational materials
  • Assistance (like a virtual assistant or teaming up with a "competitor")
  • Payment processing
  • Product delivery
  • Social media channels
  • Other marketing channels
  • etc.

Six. Research

I can't emphasize research enough...

Check out my Content Planning Workshop intro video.


Seven. Create a Lean Canvas

What I like to think of as the basics to any new business or blog, the lean canvas by Ash Maurya is a fantastic starting point that I do each new year.

Because, hey, things change. We all do.

Might as well stay in-tuned with your business, blog—whatever your desired focus might be.

[ Download a copy from the inside of your Business Worksheets ]

Eight. Put Your Systems Together

  • What are you going to use to maintain your plan or simply to plan with? Spreadsheets or a planner?
  • What software will you use?
  • What other tools and resources might you find yourself needing (from the start or as you go)?

This is only the beginning.

There's more to a new blog or business than just a pretty website. Get the complete guide to starting a blog the simple and smart way. Start here, or Save this for later!

Simply put, these 8 things are essential to a strong start for your new blog or venture.

Are you ready?

  1. What's the point in starting your blog or venture?
  2. Can you "do it" alone?
  3. What kind of obstacles and responsibilities can you expect to slow your flow?
  4. (Will if fly?)
  5. Brainstorm your necessities to start and grow with.
  6. Research... Everything.
  7. Create a lean canvas plan.
  8. Order up your systems.

P.S. Comments, emails, running a business and being a mom of 3 were just too much for me to handle. So, blog comments got the boot. But the lack of a comment box doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with me via @GoffCreative on Twitter or directly via email.

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