We love lifestyle, we love blogging – let’s bring the two together and let you know how it goes! Let’s create a a blog from scratch. And we would like you to see the new blogging experience and the problems we face, but also the successes we have. First hand by our reports here on The Social Ms.
The following may remind you of Neil Patel’s “The $100,000 Challenge,” in which he created a brand new blog and tries to bring it to 100k monthly revenue in under a year (without using his name or popularity). (If you didn’t know about that – read up on it, he’s nearly through.)
But it also differs in many ways. I will elaborate more on this further down. But first, here’s the introduction to what our new project is about:
We’ve created a new blog: The Amazing Life. We: that is my Girlfriend Marina (no prior blogging experience), Susanna, and myself. We’ve already published the first 4 posts; more are coming.
Before you read on - we have various resources that show you exactly how to use social networks to gain massive traffic and leads. For instance, check out the following:FREE Step-by-Step Twitter Marketing Guide
FREE Pinterest Marketing Ebook
But that’s not why I am announcing this here!
We will let you be part of this journey – we will regularly update you on our progress, on the traffic we build, on our successes and failures around creating a new blog in 2016 in a niche that we know not so much about.
Why Are We Starting This Blog?
Honestly: We are starting this blog because it is about things we like doing and we want to do more.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t at some point want to make money with it. But for now, our primary goal is to write about the things we love and improve our lifestyle. What creating a blog should be like. And get an audience, of course…
We also want to let you be part of the journey – what we want is to create a step-by-step guide through a new bloggers journey – complete with traffic generation, social marketing, and even the stuff we don’t like to do: SEO…
This may sound a little schizophrenic: As the creators of The Amazing Life, we just want to create a blog about the things we love – but as The Social Ms, we want to find out how fast we can do it, and how well we can do in a niche we don’t know yet. And we want to show that we can get it profitable.
How Are We Going To Document This Project?
We are going to update you about this at least monthly on our here on The Social Ms. Updates will focus on the steps we take, how we plan to proceed and what our goals are. Today, this is our first report!
How Does This Differ From Neil Patel’s 100k Project?
Neil Patel’s project is a great experience – and his reports are a great resource for new bloggers. If you haven’t started reading about it – do it now. Neil created a brand new blog and wants to grow it to 100k per month in less than a year. Without using his name or network. Here are a few links to some of his updates on the project:
Hey, before you read on - we have in various FREE in-depth guides on similar topics that you can download. For this post, check out:FREE workbook: CREATE AWESOME BLOG POSTS
FREE Beginner's Guide: START A BLOG
and his latest update
Make sure to read all the updates in between as well – just do a search on his blog 🙂
But, Neil’s project as a resource for new bloggers has several flaws. One is that if you want to follow his strategy, you put a lot of pressure on yourself. If you create a blog from scratch, 100k monthly revenue in a year is a high goal – and many if not most won’t have enough man power to work full-time on a blog for several month without earning money.
It’s ok to build your blog on your own schedule. So, this project won’t have a timelimit. And it won’t have the goal of becoming a 100k-a-month-blog in a year. Our goal is to build a profitable blog – meaning we have some revenue, and can live a better life because of it.
Neil also focused on a very specific niche – nutrition – and brought in someone as the face of the blog that at least knew something about that niche. This is not something everyone can do. We are focusing on a niche that we want to improve in.
We also don’t care about using our names for the blog, but that is because we don’t have names as famous as Neil Patel (who actually uses the tagline: “I’m kind of a big deal,” and doesn’t sound overly confident doing it.)
We are also not focused on specific monetizing strategies right from the start – because we don’t believe a blogger new to the craft should do that. We will start, then adapt to our niche, test and learn and then adapt. We will try to build our audience, examine the results and then try monetization strategies later.
We will also take other peoples advice – and are always open to suggestions. We will ask for your help from time to time, But even if we don’t, we will listen to your suggestions, and often try them out.
Oh, one more thing: Neil said he would use a minimal budget – but we plan to stay even more minimal than he did. We didn’t buy an existing domain. We didn’t buy a WordPress theme. We started on an absolute minimal investment: Domain and hosting.
There is one additional resource we are planning to use – but only because we cooperate with 99Designs on this: We will get a professional logo design. We will let you know how this works out for us in another post.
Enough announcement – let’s dive into the project: Here are the first 6 lessons we have after a week of starting a new blog.
Lesson 1 For New Bloggers: Think Long And Hard About Your Niche
So you want to blog, right? It’s easy; you just start writing.
Wrong, scratch that. This used to be somewhat true at the beginning of the blogosphere. It’s not true anymore today. And even back then – your blog needed a unique perspective, and you needed to provide enough content continuously (that appealed to an audience) to create success for yourself.
Today, that’s no different, only a little (or a lot) more extreme. There are hundreds to thousands of different blogs in any niche. So finding your unique perspective is even more necessary than in the beginning – if you still want to go ahead and create a blog.
But your unique perspective doesn’t just allow you to carve out your niche – it also lets you find a topic that you can write enough content on.
So here is how we approached this with The Amazing Life:
- We had several ideas of niches we would love to be active in: Fitness, outdoor activities, DIY, food, self-improvement, …
- Since all those niches had several (100s to 1000s) of other blogs in them already, we started thinking about how to build a blog in any of those niches with a unique perspective. Ideas that came up were, for instance, outdoor activities in a particular area of Germany, DIY pickles and similar food ideas, …
- We found that for all of these, either competition is too big or the market size too small.
- We went back to our initial ideas – and found that they have a unified topic: improvement of our lives through the things we want to do but don’t do enough.
That would be our topic – and yes, competition is still there. But we believe that our approach is good – and unique.
We will be using processes to grow our blog that you can use, too. Learn them with “The Social Traffic Code!”
We came up with the following structure for The Amazing Life:
Mission: The Amazing Life is about all the things we (and possibly you) would love to do – but can’t get our arses up to just do them.
Therefore, we structured it into three aspects:
The Active Life
About physical activities, we like trying out, how to do certain things, how to get in better physical shape, how we spend our time with out dogs. The focus is on improving your daily life by being active – not on extremes. We won’t tell you how to work out to become Arnold Schwarzenegger – but we might tell you ways to stay or become fit enough to live a better life. Or, as Marina put it – how to be able to do everything you love while looking good naked.
The Tasty Life
Don’t we all want to eat better, more delicious food? If only we ever learned how to cook – than we would not always eat fast food. Right? Wrong. We all want to eat better. And we can all eat better stuff – we just have to look up the recipes, and learn the techniques. Eating better food doesn’t require more money, just more time.
Let’s do it.
The Beautiful Life
There might be some beauty tips in here, but this category is not about teenage cosmetic fantasies. This is about enjoying life – and looking good (and confident) while living it. This may sometimes be about fashion and style – but also about practicability. We want to look good, live amazing and enjoy ourselves. That’s what makes our life more beautiful.
This was our final approach which made us go ahead with this project. We are confident that we will be able to create enough content around this and have fun doing it – and we believe that there is enough of a market available to be successful in.
That’s all you need.
Lesson 2: Get Hosting And A Domain – Then Install WordPress
This is the time to find a name and a domain for your blog. Don’t be too serious about it – find a name that fits and see if there is a domain available.
For us, it turned out to be more simple than we thought: When I typed in The Amazing Life into GoDaddy’s domain search, we loved one of the first suggestions for the blog domain – theamazing.life. It was also on offer, so we just bought it.
One word of warning – don’t go for the typical all-in-one hosting packages by companies like Bluehost. You want to do this for a long time – and while the initial stages of blogging can be done on these hosting packages, you will sooner or later find out that these don’t work as well as they should. “Unlimted Hosting” turns out to not be unlimited, and servers slow down extremely at some point.
Instead, buy a domain on GoDaddy or a similar service. (Just select the domain and proceed to checkout – during which you will also create an account. Domain pricing is usually per year.)
Then I would recommend getting cloud hosting at Cloudways. For the start. Cloudways allows you to decide to host on various cloud hosting services (choose the basic Digital Ocean package – $5 per month) and puts a simple and easy to understand interface on top. It will also install the server and, various caching layers and WordPress so they just magically work perfectly.
Now you just need to create an A-Record in GoDaddy to point your new domain to your server.
Your blog just went online…
Lesson 3: Don’t Waste Too Much Time On Design Decisions
Find a very simple and clean WordPress theme. Focus on readability, typography and versatility – not on fancy design or colorful appearance.
If you want to find elegant designs, do a Google search on “Elegant Free WordPress Themes” – and have a look. Focus on themes that are simple.
The point here is that many things are undecided and will stay undecided for a while. It is more important to be flexible enough to change things later than to be crazy unique with your design. Good free WordPress designs aren’t unique anyway – lot’s of others are using them already.
Lesson 4: Install A Few WordPress Plugins You Will Need
Here are the most needed WordPress plugins you need to install:
- Yoast SEO – this helps a lot with SEO by allowing you to optimize your posts for specific keywords
- W3 Total Cache – Simply the best WordPress Caching plugin, it makes your site a lot faster. Comes preinstalled when you use Cloudways.
Lesson 5: Start Publishing & Do Some Minimal SEO
Now it’s time to start publishing. Try to write at least 3 posts before you do anything else.
When you finished your first post, here is something you will need to do: A little keyword research. A good way to start doing this is using the Adwords Keyword Planner – you will need to sign up for AdWords to use this, but that doesn’t cost you money.
The second post on our blog was about shaving with Straight Razors and other forms of wet shaving – here is what I did:
I opened the keyword planner of Google Adwords and entered “Straight Razor”. Then I set the results to “Exact Match” and clicked on “Keyword Ideas”. This will give you ideas around keywords.
When I then entered the article into WordPress, I edited it again, making sure that some of these would be in the article and hopefully more than once.
The Yoast SEO plugin allows me to put in a phrase or keyword I want to focus on – I entered one of these and followed Yoast’s instructions for optimizing the article.
This is a rudimentary strategy (or not much of a strategy at all) – and it may not be enough SEO for your niche. But that is not the point – it will be some time before you see massive search traffic. This is a start in getting into the SEO habit. It allows you to regularly do keyword research and become acquainted with your niche. Complex keyword research comes later.
Lesson 6: Get Your Twitter Account
Seriously – you should start your blogs Twitter account right now. Twitter is the social network that allows you to build an audience easiest.
Just register a Twitter account with a decently fitting handle and start using some of the strategies described on our blog to start building an audience.
Use content curation to make your account interesting enough, in the beginning, use Tools like Buffer to regularly Tweet and use the Follow-Unfollow Algorithm to build followers.
All theses tactics are covered on our blog in various articles. Search for Twitter.
Don’t overdo anything of this – you don’t want your new account to get banned.
We started the Twitter account for The Amazing Life under a different name, before we decided on the final name for the blog. We will change the name. But you can already visit the account here: Move2MoveUS
Problems We Faced Doing This:
This is where we are at now – we started to build our blog.
Starting in a new niche was harder than we expected:
- Researching a niche you are not that knowledgable about is harder than doing research in your comfort zone. Solution: just get it over with – it get’s easier
- SEO in a niche you don’t know that much about is harder – keyword ideas don’t come that easy. Solution: Follow the above tactic for a while – to get yourself some practice and get new keyword ideas.
- Writing about something new is always a challenge. Read what others write and try to copy their style a bit – but only the stylistic approach, not the content.
Plans For The Next 30 Days
The next 30 days have a couple of important goals:
- Get some groundwork done – we should have at least 20 – 30 pieces of content on our new blog, so we have some basics in place to generate traffic to.
- Get the social accounts ready – right now we have only the Twitter account in place. We believe we will also need Facebook and Pinterest to generate Traffic to The Amazing Life
- Get more personality on the blog: Images, Bio’s etc…
- Optimize the new blog for more social sharing – share buttons, pinnable images and more!
What do you think? Will you participate – will you keep updated on this project?
We hope to hear your input – do you have ideas on how to improve? Want to help out? We want to hear it!
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