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If you’re thinking about starting a blog, the most important thing I have to say to you is: go for it! Start your blog! Just do it! Blogging is a great SEO strategy, it’s lots of fun, and a blog is a wonderful marketing tool! A new blog will allow you to make smart and strategic choices. Just take a little time to think about how to set up your blog before you begin, so you’ll have less work later on. Let’s go through the steps you should take when you start a new blog. Ideally, you take them in this order, but if you can’t, do make sure you give these aspects some thought before you get started.

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1. Choose your niche

You should always write about what you know. But you should not write about everything you know. Pick a niche. Decide upon the main topic and write posts related to that topic. It’s more likely that your audience will come back and read your other posts if you’re writing about similar topics. People will know what to expect. Starting a mom blog implies that you write about all things concerning your children and family life. Starting a travel blog implies you write about traveling. You can write about something slightly off topic once in a while of course, but try to stick to your niche. An audience of a travel blog doesn’t expect a blog post about gardening.

2. Do your keyword research

Once you’ve chosen your niche, read up on the basics of keyword research. Try to find out what people are searching for. What words are they using when they want to read about your niche and your topic? You should really get inside the heads of your potential audience. If you do your keyword research properly, you should end up with a long list of keywords you would like to be found for. Try to come up with competitive, head keywords as well as with less competitive long-tail keywords. And, don’t forget to give search intent some thought as well!

3. Think about site structure

You’ll start with a clean slate, so this is the best time to think about site structure. What categories are popular in your niche? What are the most important head keywords you’d like to rank for? You should write a long, kick-ass article about each of these keywords. Those will be your most essential articles, or in other words, your cornerstone content. You should give those articles a prominent place on your site.

After you’ve written those beautiful cornerstone articles, write lots of blog posts on subtopics of that main topic and always link to your cornerstones. That way, you’ll be telling Google exactly what the most important articles on your website are.

Read more: How to set up a cornerstone content strategy with Yoast SEO »

4. Write your first post

Take some time to do keyword research and to think about site structure. But don’t take too much time. Just write that first post! Put pen to paper and just do it. Your blog starts with the very first post. That post doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be published. Need some help to get started? Check out our 10 tips to write awesome, SEO friendly blog posts.

5. Add pictures or videos

Writing blog post is more than writing a nice story; a successful blog has pictures and videos as well. Every post should feature at least one image. Taking nice photos yourself is a great way of creating images. Making short videos is a really good blogging strategy as well. Especially if you’re blogging about (aspects) of your own life, photos of it are a necessity.

Keep reading: Image SEO »

6. Optimize for the search engines

Before publishing your post, optimize it using Yoast SEO (on WordPress of course, but it’s available for Magento and TYPO3 too!). Don’t forget to create an awesome SEO title and a decent snippet. Finetune your text. Make sure your text is readable, as well as SEO-friendly.

Read on: How to use Yoast SEO’s content analysis tool »

7. Promote your blog

Using social media is the best way to reach and grow the audience of your blog. That’s why your blog should have a Facebook page. Sharing your posts on Facebook is a good marketing strategy. Don’t forget Instagram and Twitter either!

In addition to the use of social media to promote your blog, we advise you send out a digital newsletter. Let people sign up for it and send out emails with your latest blog posts and other content they might enjoy.

Keep on reading: Marketing your blog »

8. Stick with it!

The most important thing when starting a blog – besides setting up your new blog – is writing that very first blog post. Once you’ve written that first post, your blog has started. From that moment on, you should continue writing blog posts to make it successful. So, try to determine a frequency to publish new posts. You don’t have to blog every day, once a week or maybe even once every two weeks could be a nice frequency to start with. Find a frequency you can stick with! Your audience will know what to expect if your blogging frequency is stable.

Read more: Blogging: the ultimate guide »