This post is in partnership with Deluxe Business Services. All opinions are my own.
One of the best shortcuts to having people pay attention to your blog is to look like a professional blogger right out of the gate. Yes, you'll still have a lot of on-the-blog learning to do, but you can skip about a year of work by following the 15 ways listed below.
Some of these are affiliate links, which means if you click them and buy something, I get a kickback. So if you click through and buy anything, I'll give you a ride on my private jet one day.
1. Design a logo (or get one designed).
I have gone down a design rabbit hole so many times that if I tried to count the hours, I'd make myself sick. Do as I say, not as I did, and get a design from Deluxe Business Services. They offer three different logo packages and options, each one includes: a dedicated, in-house logo designer, an initial concept in five days, at least ten custom logo design concepts, multiple revisions and unrestricted rights with eleven different file formats.
2. Get a domain and hosting.
I recommend NameCheap for your domain, though you can use anyone you want, as long as it's not the one with the big boobs and shady internet practices. I think BigScoots is the bee's knees, and would recommend them because they go above and beyond what a host is expected to do. They're like the on-call IT department that helps when you do something to mess up everything.
3. Buy a premium theme.
I can't recommend Genesis by Studiopress enough. It sure seems expensive to spend $100 on a theme, but it's $100 well spent. Why? Because you buy one of the Genesis themes, you fight with your layout for a couple hours, then you're set. You look professional, and you can trust the bones of your website.
4. Customize your 404 page.
I use Seed Prod 404 to make my 404 prettier. If you know more about the inner workings of the internet, you can find your 404 page and prettify it yourself, but that's beyond my skill set (and pay grade!).
5.Create epic content.
Consider using Dragon Dictate to help you write more.
6. Keep up with the conversation.
Get Hootsuite (the free version is fine), and track Twitter mentions, Facebook notes, conversations, and more.
7. Share other people's stuff.
But make it easy on yourself. Use Buffer to share your friends' posts when you have time, and it'll space everything out in a normal manner so you don't end up vomiting everyone's stuff out all at once.
8. Let Pinterest bring you page views.
9.Embrace failure. In fact, fail hard, fail often, learn something, pick yourself back up, then try again.
10. Video. Periscope. YouTube.
Recorded and uploaded Google Hangouts. Get comfortable doing something that scares you. Who cares if nobody sees?
11. Make things visually pleasing.
A picture is worth 1000 words. Okay, maybe it's not, but a post with an awesome picture will help bring all the visitors to the yard.
- Free: The Ultimate List of Free Stock Images for Your Blog Posts — No Attribution Required!
- Not expensive: GraphicStock
- Expensive and awesome: iStock
12. Snazz it up.
Learn how to use Adobe.
13. Set up an autoresponder!
Do it soon. We use Aweber, but most mailing platforms have autoresponder functionality. Aweber calls it follow-up campaigns, I think Mailchimp calls it drip campaigns. What you call it doesn't matter. Just start communicating with everyone who signs up for your mailing list! See: How to Set up an Email Autoresponder in Aweber.
14. Write an ebook.
Start outlining it, then see what happens when you fill in the outline. If you're like Anne and I, it just kind of comes together. See: On Your Mark, Get Set, Blog!
15. Create a course.
Fight through the course creation software out there, or read my post about how I fought and fought and fought and broke our site and we finally launched our course anyway.