An effective and engaging post title that includes post keywords and encourages people to click on it
Break up longer posts so that they are scannable
Make your site “sticky” by linking internally
Use good anchor text
Encourage comment interactions
Add SEO images and alt-tags.
Include a share-able quote or excerpt
Create a pinnable image
Double check the SEO with a plugin.
Create an easy URL
Call to Action
Don’t write what you skip
Promote your content
Ask the ultimate question
What’s one thing you never forget when writing a blog post?
There are a ton of reasons to start a business, but with every business, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself before you start. I’m going to go over some of the essentials business questions to ask yourself before you get started. These business questions can help you realize if you truly have a great idea, push you forward even more or help you realize maybe I need to go back to the drawing board.
Essential Business Questions to Ask Yourself
What problem are you solving?
Why do you want to go into business?
Who is my ideal customer?
What products or services am I providing?
How soon will it be before my products or services are ready to sell?
How soon will I be making a profit?
How will I get customers?
How will I advertise to my customers?
How much time am I willing to spend on this endeavor?
How much time do I need to spend on this endeavor?
Do I have any obligations right now that will keep me from giving this business 100% of my attention?
What sacrifices and/or risks am I willing to take to make this business successful?
What are my financial goals – personally and for the business?
Where will my business be located?
Can I work on this business part-time before leaving my current job?
How much money do I absolutely need to start this business?
What are my monthly/yearly operating costs for this business and personally?
Who is my competition?
How will I differentiate myself from the competition?
What taxes do I have to pay?
What kind of insurance do I need?
How will I setup my business legally?
Do I need a permit?
Will I become an LLC or sole proprietor or corporation?
Do I support have from family and friends to start this business?
If you’re thinking about starting a business, take some time, copy and paste those questions into a document and write out some answers. You don’t need answers to all of them the first time you sit down to do this exercise and you may need to do some research to get all the answers, but it’s definitely a starting off point.
Smart Brainstorming is when you check your analytics and ask yourself a few questions: What are my top ten most visited posts? What are my top ten most downloaded items? What are my top ten most commented on posts? What are the top ten questions I get asked the most on social media or my blog? Once you have some answers to those questions, that’s when you can brainstorm some posts based on those answers. What can you go into more detail on in a particular post? How can I expand on that topic? Answering those questions is smart brainstorming. You need both types of brainstorming when coming up with what to post about.
I always keep a running list of ideas in a note in Evernote. Whenever an idea strikes I write it down on my phone using the Evernote app. You don’t have to use Evernote, but whatever app you like to use or if you keep a notebook. I like to call it The List because it’s just a running list of ideas. Once I put it into my editorial calendar or create a separate note for it in Evernote to flesh out the post more. I remove it from the list.
Be sure to ask the question
Plug it into your editorial calendar.
So launch day has come and gone. It’s been a long time coming and I wanted to take a minute to explain my failure to launch. I also want you to know a little more about what you will find here on the Ashley Design Studio blog.
I have tried to start this business so many times this year, but it always seemed like something would come up to stall the launch. And I was thinking about this in mid-September. Why am I having so much trouble getting this business off the ground? And it finally occurred to me – I was scared. I was scared about what people would say about my designs and my experience. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get any clients, I was nervous about putting myself out there.
You know that saying, “a year from now you will have wished you had started today.” Well, almost a year ago, I said I wanted to start a web design business. Not everything is perfect or exactly how I want it, but I’m launching now. I’m not completely ready, but I’m finally starting and putting myself out there.
I’m really excited for you to see what I have planned for the blog over the next few weeks. I have upcoming posts about getting a blog started, beginner mistakes you can avoid and my business story. Every Tuesday and Friday there will be a new blog post here. If you sign up for my weekly newsletter, The List, every Monday you’ll get an email about blogging, business and I’ll share some of my favorite links from the week about blogging and business.
I am also a web designer, so if you need a website I can help you with that. All of the websites I design are for WordPress sites. WordPress is very versatile and over 25% of all the websites on the internet are WP sites.
Have you ever failed to launch something? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Navigation Bar Quick Tips
Keep links all on one line for your top navigation bar. Otherwise it looks too cluttered and you only needs what’s absolutely important on your top navigation bar.
Blog Post Branding
Blog Post Graphics
Online Presence Branding
Whatever colors, fonts and graphics you’re using on your blog, you’ll want to carry those over into your newsletter branding. Mailchimp is great when it comes to having spots for graphics and changing the color schemes. It is a very visual newsletter company. They are limited in their font options, though.
This was a very brief overview of all the details that can be included in a brand. This doesn’t even cover the physical collateral that comes with a brand like business cards, letterhead, etc.
Have you signed up for my weekly newsletter, The List? I share exclusive information about blogging and business. You can sign up for The List below.
When choosing a blogging platform there are a few things to consider: Free or paid? Simple or robust? Small learning curve or big learning curve? It really depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want a blogging platform that’s simple to learn, free to use and easy to share what you’ve got to share? Or do you want a blogging platform that you’ve paid for, a drag and drop interface with customer support? Do you want the ultimate in content management software with a big learning curve, but ultimately an awesome looking website? It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Free blogging platforms
Paid blogging platforms
With paid blogging platforms there is more versatility, flexibility and the options for design are endless. Some paid platforms come with varying degrees of support. You own publication of your blog and are able to make money without any penalties.
It can seem like a pretty daunting task to naming your blog or business. It took me months to come up with my blog and business name and it’s a rather simple, boring name if I’m totally honest. It’s not the most creative name, but people know I’m either an interior designer or a web designer, just based on the name. And once you click on my website you know that I’m a web designer that blogs as well.So what’s in a name? Naming your blog is a very important part of creating a name for yourself in the online atmosphere. Remember don’t overthink naming your blog so much that it stops you from taking the next step. If you change directions in two years or just really don’t like the name a few years down the road, it can always be changed. It’s just better if you don’t have to change your name. So please, take the time to really create a name that you love and a name that you think will endure. But don’t take so much time that it stops you from moving forward with your dreams. For example, I went with a pretty generic sounding name because I wanted it to be able to change later on. I can still have a design studio and not design websites, but I can consult on websites or social media profiles as well in the future or teach about blogging through courses or e-books.
First and foremost, you want to do the “official” name check.
Here’s a quick rundown of the name check:
The Name Check
- Is the name confusing?
- Is the name easy to spell?
- Is the name easy to say?
- Is this name appealing to your readers?
- Does it reflect your blog in tone and feel?
- Can you grow the blog with this name?
Is the name confusing?
Does the name you have chosen reflect your brand? Does this fit along with the subject matter of your blog? You don’t want it to be misrepresentative of what you’re all about. Also, say the name out loud, does it make sense? If you have to explain the name or give a disclaimer along with the name, it’s probably not one you want to be using.
Is it easy to spell? Is the name easy to say?
Is the name appealing to your readers?
Be sure when naming your blog that you don’t use terms that only your specific niche may know. If you want people beyond your niche to find you, they won’t be able to because they don’t know that specific niche term you have used as your name.
Does it reflect your blog/business in tone and feel?
When coming up with a name, make a list of all things you want people to feel about your blog. While brainstorming names, check if the names go along with the tone and feel you want your brand to express. Do you want it to be professional, funny, serene or something else?
Can you grow the blog with this name?
Don’t be too specific with the name. If you’re not sure you want to keep with the subject of your blog or you think your business might expand into a different area, having a generic/broad name can be helpful. Getting people used to a new name can be difficult. It is possible to make the transition, it’s just not always the easiest transition. For example, starting with smallfurnitureforminiaturedolls.com and later deciding to add in fake tiny food for miniature dolls and regular sized dolls. The current name does not reflect that change, but starting with dollaccessoriesandmore.com, allows for a broader subject matter in the future. Boxing yourself into one super small genre, in the beginning, is not a good idea.
Try your name
The Domain Check
The Social Media Check
Do you need to figure out your niche?
Why do you need a niche?
Passion vs. Interest
Four Different Ways to Finding Your Niche
Create a Tagline Niche Finder
The Blogger with No Direction Niche Finder
The Newbie Blogger Niche Finder
Take your Time Niche Finder
- Build community with like-minded people
- Offer support and advice on a subject
- Share the process of a goal or commitment
- Have a hobby or spread the word about a cause
- Have a platform for something in the future, like writing a book or getting a new job
- Grow or start a business
- Stay connected with family or friends
- Have an online portfolio
- Practice writing skills
- Expand one’s horizons
- Supplement one’s business
- Document one’s life
- Share a passion
- Get one’s creations out to more people
- Communicate with customers
- Find clients
The why is the goal
Who is your ideal reader?
Identify your persona
It’s OK to Make Mistakes
Remember if you’re a new blogger, you have one of the biggest advantages – you have time to make mistakes. So while the numbers are low, the experimentation can be high. Once you start building a following, it will get harder and harder to change your niche, tone of writing and look. This is why it’s always a good idea to have an answer to why do you want to blog because once you have that answer you will be more likely to stick to the chosen topic and you’ll become an expert on that topic.