Are you linking to other websites for SEO? If not, then you should be.
I don’t want to put you off, or stop you fulfilling your dream. But there are some things to know before starting a blog, that may help you in the future. Certainly things I wished I had thought about first.
Ask yourself these questions, before you launch your blog.
Things to Know Before Starting a Blog – Questions to Ask Yourself
There are many things you need to consider before launching a new blog. Here are some top questions you need to ask yourself before launching your own blog.Have you thoroughly researched your action plan? Setting goals and measuring them is essential when launching a new business. Put a plan into motion, but allow yourself flexibility to expand on that original plan. Ask yourself if your business plan is too narrow minded or if it will achieve the desired outcome you seek and go beyond even that.Once you are able to answer these important questions, you can be well on your way to having a successful business endeavor.
Start Your Blog For the Right Reasons
Are you launching this blog for the right reasons? Many people start a blog to make money. Of course, it is possible to make money. Many bloggers do. But there are far more who don’t make any money. If you are looking for easy ways to make money, blogging is not the answer. It is far more difficult and time consuming than you probably think.
Carefully consider why you do want to start a blog. The main reason you SHOULD want to start a blog, is to help people. And there should be a need for this help. The best bloggers are the ones who identified a problem, and helped people to find a solution.
Can You Provide Value?
Once you examine your motives behind starting up a new blog, go on to the next important question. If you are starting a blog around a specific topic, can you provide value?
You have started a blog to help people in a specific area. You know the topic and realise people need help on a problem or issue. Can you help them by providing some value?
Consider how many blogs and businesses have started to help people out of debt. Now consider how many, or how few, or these actually help people out of debt. How many more just write ‘blah’ content, or even require paying to help relieve debt.
Now consider if you yourself have escaped debt. How much more beneficial to an audience would it be if you detailed your journey? ‘How I Escaped Debt – My Step by Step Guide’ would provide a lot of value to others. Rather than just trotting out trite phrases, you could actually take people on the same journey that you have been on.
Every piece of content, every video, every podcast should provide value. Your visitors should be thinking ‘Wow! I can’t believe this stuff is free. It is great!’. That is value.
Is There an Audience Waiting for Your Blog?
One of the most important things to know before starting a blog is around your future readers.
Once you know what type of blog you want to begin, ask yourself who your target audience is. Knowing that you want to create a business and knowing what that business is will simply not be enough. You need to know who your target audience is and who your ideal customer is.
Make sure you research if there is enough demand for the product or service you are offering. Or will you be just another blogger offering the same old thing. Ask yourself if you can put a new innovative twist onto something tried and true. Or niche down.Honing in on a target audience is something that you can delve into even deeper by creating a specific niche and then going on to create a sub-niche. In this manner, you will be certain that you have focused on a specific need for an even more specific customer.
Sticking with our debt example, you might not be able to help everyone. Some people may be in a different situation to you. But if you were a student struggling to get out of debt, you could help other struggling students. Rather than working in the whole ‘debt relief’ niche, you are in the sub-niche of ‘debt relief for students’.
This enables you to be far more specific in your content and with your advice. Yes you will have a smaller audience in a small sub-niche. But they will be more interested in you and your advice. You will really appeal to them as you have been in their shoes.
Don’t Underestimate the Time Involved
Before you do a thing, you need to seriously consider if you have the time to start a blog. If it becomes a huge chore and you can’t fit it into your life, it will fail.
Blogging takes a lot of time and effort. However long you think it will take, times this by 4! Blogging does start taking up less time, when it becomes easier. Once you have set up your blog, and have about 20 posts you will find it takes far less time. This is because you know what you are doing, and have a routine. Unfortunately many bloggers give up before this point.
Don’t Try and Do It for Free
So many bloggers extol the virtues of being able to blog for free. This makes new bloggers eager to do it all for free. Often this is not the best idea, nor is it really possible. There are some things that have a cost like your domain name, hosting and autoresponder.
However, there are other things you could do for free but you may be better off paying for. Things like themes for your blog. You can chose a free theme and then spend days trying to figure things out. Or you could spend money on a good theme which would free up some time.
Free often just means it takes longer. You should also cost in your time. Which is better? To do something for free that takes 20 hours, or to pay for something that then takes 5 hours?
Don’t Blog in a Vacuum
Although it seems like blogging is a solitary occupation, this is not really the case. Bloggers can be more successful if they embrace social media channels. It is possible to build up quite a following on Pinterest or Twitter which will bring an audience to your blog.
Additionally, you need to promote all your posts on your social media sites and through email. Although you may not meet many people face to face, you will interact with others frequently.
Being consistent is one of the secrets to being a successful blogger. You need to post consistently and regularly. You will not maintain an audience if you post one day then don’t post again for another three weeks. Posting the same day each week, means your audience knows when to check for your new content.
In the early days it is easy to get stuck and think your post is not good enough to be published. Learn to overcome your perfection paralysis. You can always add to, and improve, your blog posts even when they have been published.
Build an Email List from Day 1
You may not get many takers, but start building your email list from day 1. If your content is good and your offer is good, people will want to subscribe to your list even if you only have 5 posts.
Don’t think you have to wait until you are super popular. You will be missing out on many opportunities if you keep waiting. One of the first things you should do is create your free offer and start your email list.
As we have already discovered, you need a small niche with an audience who have a problem. You know you need to provide value in your posts.
This means you should provide great content. Each and every post. Your posts should be helpful and fulfill a need. If you want your audience to find your through search engines like google, long content works better than short content. However, remember you need to provide value. So don’t waffle for 500 words.
Blog posts work well if they are written in a conversational tone. This is not a lecture, it is a conversation. You will know if you have produced a successful post due to the number of comments and emails you receive.
Call to Action
This is something that is easy to forget, but every post should have a clear call to action. What do you want your readers to do, once they have finished reading the post. These include sign up to your list, buy something, download something, share something.
For example with the post I am aiming to get people to add their comments. Can you see how I am trying to achieve this?
Set Yourself Clear Goals
Again, I really wish I had set myself clear goals when I started my first blog. If you decide to launch a blog, you need to have a plan. This must include clear goals.
There are several ways on how to go about setting clear goals. For many people, their goals are so broad that success is something that never happens. However, you can learn to rely on your set of goals to achieve success if you set them up correctly.
Set Specific Goals
When you set a goal, it is imperative that you be specific about that goal. Simply stating that you want to reach a certain target audience or to make money is not a specific goal.
A specific goal would be something like “I want to gain 100 more signups in the next three months.” Or, “I want to make an additional £1000 in the next three months.” Goals need to be specific in order to be successful.
Write Out Your Action Plan
Write everything down. No matter how trivial you may think it sounds. You really need to write everything down on your action plan. Without writing it down, you can not hold yourself accountable for it. Plus, you will probably forget it.
Break Goals Down
Break down your goals into sub-goals. It is as similar to you choosing a niche and then choosing a sub-niche.
For example, if your goal is to get 100 sign ups in 3 months you might split is at follows. 20 signups by month 1, 30 signups by month 2 then 50 signups by month 3.
Deadlines and Timelines
Put a timeline to your goal. Giving yourself a deadline to achieve a goal is probably the best thing you can ever do for yourself. You are accountable to yourself by attaching a timeline to your goals. By doing this, you put a little pressure on yourself to achieve that goal by or before the set time.
Accountability is Key
Being accountable to yourself and to others is an excellent way to make, keep, and achieve goals. Giving your word is a powerful tool in not only reaching, but also in exceeding clear and specific goals. This is why Facebook groups that keep people accountable can be so successful.When your goals are specific and clear, success is more likely.
Over to You
Here are my things to know before starting a blog. I am sure there are some more. Have you already started a blog? Are there any other considerations that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments box.