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Your FREE Comprehensive Guide to Starting a Blog and Being Successful in 2021

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Welcome to where we talk about how to craft a life you love and build a creative business you can be proud of.

Today we’re talking about blogging and how you can start a successful blog in 2020.

Now, fair warning, this is a long post, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Starting a blog from nothing is hard. It takes dedication, and more than that, it takes passion.

So be ready to fight through the writer’s block, and fight through the days where you’re not motivated because this business has the potential to give you everything you ever wanted if you give it your all, so go for it!

And if you need help along the way, reach out to me at and I’ll be happy to help you.

In the meantime, here’s a list of things that you can do to start building a successful blog on your own.

1. Think About What Kind of Blog You Want to Start

AKA. Pick a Niche - or Don't, That's Okay Too

For a lot of bloggers, they’ll jump right in and tell you to it’s time to start naming your blog, but I’m going to be real with you - you could have the most awesome blog name known to human creation, but if the content on your blog drives readers away, your totally awesome name will become synonymous with the back button, and nobody wants that.

Now, you may be thinking, “but Marissa, I already think I know what I want to blog about” and that’s great, but consider this… You think you know. You think you can write great content about building a home, or what it takes to make denim on denim look good. You think you can create those really simple graphics you see on social media.

Now, in case my font didn’t come across in the way that I hoped on your device, I’m going to say it one more time; you THINK, you do not KNOW. You will only know if you try and write that awesome blog about “The 8 neat things you HAVE to do when building your 1st home”.

So go on, give it a go. Pick a topic and start writing right now… I’ll be right here waiting when you’re ready.


Did you write your sample post? Yes? Awesome!! Now let’s talk about it a little bit.

  • Was it easy to come up with a topic or did you struggle?

  • What about the writing, did it come naturally to you or did you wind up stopping before you finished and you ended up back here anyway?

  • When you look at your writing are there sentences you’re particularly fond of that you would use to advertise the blog or would you have to draft additional text?

  • What about a header? Can you come up with a header that tells your target audience why they need to click into your content?

Now last, but not least, did you enjoy writing about this topic? If you did, you may have just found your niche, and you can move on to learning how to do all of the above things.

If you didn’t like your topic, don’t give up, just try again. I know you have something important to say, it’s just about finding the right opportunities for your voice to shine.

And if you need a little help, you can check out this post where I give you 10 different topic ideas for 6 different niches, totaling 60 FREE blog topic ideas, and see if you can’t rock out an article or two.

2. Do Your Research

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a planner. I plan, and I plan, and I plan, until that moment where my whole body protests to the idea of planning anymore and my brain says it’s either time to get on with it or it’s time to drop the idea all together. This planning almost always pays off, and it all comes down to the research.

Research gives you a foothold into the world you want to be a part of, and obviously you know this if you’re reading this post, so I’m not going to dive into a whole lot of specifics here, but if you want to know how to blog the right way, the best material out there is for you to read about how other bloggers manage their own business.

Read their most recent income reports and read their past income reports. Are you seeing an increase or a decrease in their revenue? What are they doing to get there? What can you do better?

Read about their business goals for this year, and then go back to their first year or first month. How do they compare? Are they goals you think you’d set for yourself? If they are, check out the content in the middle and figure out how you can apply these techniques in your own way to your blog. If what they’re doing isn’t your style, make a note and move on.

Do you find yourself pinning a particular looking set of Pins? Think about what makes you click on them.

Do you follow anyone? If you do, what makes you follow them?

Do you ever click through certain Pins to read the content? If you do, compare it to the ones you didn’t click through and make a note about what triggered your brain to click the graphic.

The last thing here that I want to talk about specifically, though we’ve touched on it briefly, is marketing. Marketing research is key because you could have that stellar blog name with really awesome content hiding out on your website, but if no one knows about it, your blog will fail.

So pay attention to what kind of readers are on the blogs you’re visiting and trying to emulate. Pay attention to what you have searched, or are currently searching for. Use this information to build your arsenal of marketing weaponry and make the systems work for you.

Now, I could go on and on about marketing, but for the purposes of this blog post, I’ll leave it at that.

3. Come Up with a Business Name

Now for the fun - and kind of scary - part! We’re going to talk about how to come up with the perfect name for your blog/business. To start, think about what kind of blog you’re building. Is it fashion related? Lifestyle related? Are you building an entire brand? Are you focusing on homes and interior design? What about food? Think about how you can make your readers realize what kind of blog you are just by reading your business name. For instance, are you a lifestyle blog writing about the milestones in life? Did you grow up in the south? What about Charm drives home those southern roots, and flourish relates to the growth you go through in life. P.S. was the name of my first failed blog back in 2014 so don’t feel like this will make or break your blog. You can always change a name, but maybe try and get it right the first time so you don’t have to worry about changes down the road. Or maybe you’re a kick-butt baker who specializes in all things decadent. How about, a blog showcasing all the beautiful and rich cakes that you teach others how to make? Either way, no matter your niche, you need to make sure that first and foremost your name is something you can be proud of and happy with because you’ll be saying it a lot. In your head, out loud, writing it down... If you’re serious, it will be everywhere. Make sure it represents YOU. And when you’ve picked your name, you may need to do a few things:

  • Register it with your state

  • Trademark it if you don’t want anyone else to be able to use it in the same capacity in your state

  • Purchase your domain name - I used Google Domains to do this

Now, if you want a few more tips and tricks to creating a great name that stands out and drives home your value to the consumer, you’re not going to want to miss this post where we take an in depth look at successful naming techniques so you can create a blog/business name you that you won’t regret later.

4. Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row

So lovelies, this is the part we all dread - the law - but stick with me because I promise you that this is the most important part about running a business. If you want to run a successful AND legitimate business, you need to get your legal ducks in a row so that you, your assets, and your business are protected. If you decide to run a business and you don’t get your legal ducks in a row just because you’re too intimidated to figure out what those are, I can almost guarantee you’ll wind up in some kind of legal trouble.

So let’s be smart, and let’s get started talking about what you need to do to protect your livelihood.

First, if you are running a blog and you plan on making money with that blog, you need to realize that you are a business and businesses must operate by following the standards set forth by the governing body of the location they are operating within.

If you live in the U.S. I highly recommend talking to your local representative from the Small Business Administration (SBA) before getting started. Their services are free, and they can generally guide you in the right direction about what type of business entity you should be and what the process will be once you file. Plus, some of your tax dollars go to supporting the SBA, so since you’re putting your money here anyway, you may as well reap the benefits.

Additionally, they can recommend certain tools and connections to help you grow your business, including a network of people who may be able to help you on your journey, such as attorneys, accountants, web designers, other fellows in your industry, etc.

I know that without speaking to the SBA, I probably never would have started my business because I was too afraid of failure, so I cannot say enough good things about the support they can offer you. You can check them out here.

Now, the next bit of advice I have is to get an accountant if you’re not comfortable with taxes because as a business, you are responsible for paying taxes. And it all depends on the type of business entity you are as to when and how much you pay.

And don’t think that because you’re just a small blog this doesn’t apply to you. The moment you make money blogging, you need to start accounting for it.

Now, in this last section, we’re going to talk about the things you need to legally have on your website.

First, the Privacy Policy -