Let’s get down to business darlings – blogger business! It’s been a while since I shared blogger tips so I want to make this a good one for you. In our previous Blogging Tips post we covered What it Takes to be a Blogger. Now I want to talk about HOW to get started. More specifically, today I’ll be sharing the specific tools Carol and I used to start our business. While these are some of the tools we used to start our blogging / influencer business, I want to emphasize that all of these tools can be useful when starting just about any type of business.
Starting a business can be daunting but one thing we’ve learned with TTL is that sometimes it’s about putting one foot in front of the other. We didn’t have all the answers right away, but we constantly devoted our efforts towards making some type of progress everyday. Trust me when I say that continuous effort pays off! These are some of the tools that helped us along the way.
Blogging Tips: Tools to Get Started
Forming your Business: When it was time to register TTL as a business we turned to IncFile to handle the process for us. While you can certainly handle the paperwork on your own, we preferred to use an all in one service that would handle all the paperwork to guide us through the process and ensure we didn’t miss any steps. If you’re not sure what type of business to file, Inc File has a Business Type Quiz to assist you in determining whether an LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp, or other business entity is right for you. I also strongly encourage you to discuss this with your accountant as well.
Accountant: Once you file your business it becomes critical to understand your tax obligations. Build a relationship with an accountant to keep you on track with tax filing deadlines for both state and federal taxes as well as to ensure you understand what you can do from a tax perspective to maximize your tax savings, determine eligible business expenses, etc. NOTE: Tax filing deadlines for businesses are not the same as personal taxes and missing a deadline will cost your business money. Trust me, you don’t want to miss a tax deadline. Also, keep in mind that from the IRS perspective there is a fine line between your influencer business being seen as a business and a hobby so make sure you have a strong business plan and a path to earning income.
Building a Website for Your Blog
The Best Websites for Bloggers: Most bloggers want a website that is easy to build and manage without requiring the services of a developer to make simple updates or post new content. These websites are referred to as Content Management Systems and the most popular CMS examples are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. We decided to build a WordPress website primarily because it’s easy to maintain the website and Carol was already familiar with working with WordPress websites.
Website Design: When designing your website layout and style, WordPress offers tons of free templates. But, if you really want to take your website to the next level I recommend taking a look at some of the paid WordPress templates. We found our website template on ThemeForest. ThemeForest has pretty much any design aesthetic you could possibly want.
Purchasing and Hosting Your Domain: Nowadays there are so many providers for purchasing and hosting your domain. We decided to purchase and host via GoDaddy primarily because it was a reputable company that Carol was already familiar with. GoDaddy offers lots of specials and discount rates to get you in the door but not so much once you’re an existing customer. To get the most bang for your buck try to purchase as many years as you can afford upfront because renewals are never discounted.
Installing and Customizing your Template + Logo: If you’re techie, you can certainly install your template on your own or even find tutorials online. Since we wanted to tweak and customize certain aspects of our template we opted to hire a WordPress developer to handle this process for us. We found and hired a developer via Upwork. Upwork allows you to find and hire professional developers and contractors for pretty much any type of job. There are a few ways to find developers. You can either post your job and your budget publicly and allow contractors to apply for your job. Alternatively, you can post your job privately and invite specific contractors you’re interested in to bid on your job. We went with the latter. We pre-screened contractors based on their portfolios and ratings. We also used Upwork to find a contractor to design our business logo.
Planning your Blog Content
Blog Editorial Calendar: To get started I recommend planning out your blog content for at least 3-6 months in advance. You don’t need anything fancy. We use Google Calendar to create our separate color coordinated editorial calendars for blogs, Teatime episodes, video content, sponsored posts, etc. This schedule helps us map out our content and keeps us accountable to a schedule.
Okay darlings, that’s a wrap on the tools we used to start our blogging business. If you’re struggling with where to begin, I hope these tools will help you get started. And remember to DREAM BIG!
Still have questions? Drop them in the comments below.