I’ve been blogging for over 7 years and keep getting this question: What are the first steps I should be taking before starting a blog? I’m surprised I get this question so often because I’ve answered it several times throughout my content and guest blogs. However, I can understand why people keep asking me, because, each year, the mechanics behind a successful blog keep changing. The important factors 5 years ago are irrelevant now and I personally believe even the factors last year need to be tweaked. Anyways, here’s what’s important…
First, you have the right mentality because it’s important to keep asking these types of questions. I want to thank you because it makes me reconsider what I’ve presented to my readers about blogging success. In 2015, I decided to revisit the factors and feel they have changed. Let’s take a quick look at the important elements to consider when starting a blog.
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A Simple Idea
I stress the word “simple” because the MOST successful businesses add an element of simplicity to people’s lives. Whenever I start a business, I always ask if what I’m doing will make people’s lives more simplistic and if the answer is “YES”, then I know I should push forward. However, the hardest challenge is coming up with a “simple” idea because it’s human nature to think complicated. We often want to do things different than people and focus on what others aren’t doing, but we forget what others are doing is the best route. Why? Simple, because we need there to be demand, but need to create a system that makes it easier on people. Think about these companies and what they all have in common: Apple, IBM, Samsung, and eBay. These companies all have made everyone’s lives easier.
- Apple – mobile and iTunes
- IBM – PC and servers
- Samsung – Mobile
- eBay – international trade and commerce
Before you start blogging, try and find a common problem within your niche and think of a way to solve it. This is a “simple” idea, then move to the next step.
A Business Plan
Now you have an idea and need to think about ways to put it in motion. For example, you need to ask yourself a series of questions, then apply them. Some common questions to ask are:
- Who are your audience?
- How will you get your message across?
- What is my budget?
- What are my skills?
- Is this my passion?
- Where will I market?
- Who is my competition?
Answering these questions will help you determine what you need to do to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Keep these answers close by then move to the next step.
By now, you have a simple idea and have answered some important questions that will help you plan your course of action. It’s time to reach out to the right businesses or services to put everything in action. For example,
If you need to start a blog, then you know you have to register a domain, hosting, and install WordPress. If you need to get an idea of your audience, research your competitors because they will be marketing to the same audience. Depending on your budget, you can purchase additional tools to help you get set up quickly or even start marketing your business. However, low budget means you’ll need to explore other options. If your business requires a sudden skill set that you don’t have, then take action by finding people you can hire or what you need to obtain those skills like courses, reading, webinars, etc. Blogging is all about getting the message across, which means generating content so pay close attention to writers, topics, and keyword research. This will give you a better idea about what people are searching for in your niche.
Depending on your resources, you’re going to strategically plan your marketing. For example, if you have a budget then invest in paid marketing but you have alternatives to help you get a jump start. Social media is the best platform to build traction quickly because it’s FREE and you can target relevant people by utilizing #hashtags. However, I’m not here to give you a lesson on marketing, but tell you to think about it. You have your idea, business plan, blog, and content, so marketing is next. Think about the following…
- Where does my audience hangout? i.e., forum, other blogs, social media, groups
- What paid marketing platform can I utilize to build traction quickly?
- Can I reach out to other bloggers to help me market?
- What FREE platforms do I have at my disposal?
Answer each question and put the plan in action. Then you have to move to the next step.
You have so many FREE tools that will provide you with more than enough statistics on how things are moving. The goal is to optimize your efforts so you get the highest ROI. The conversion rate will depend on your idea and what the optimal ROI is for your blog. For example, if you’re selling a product, then track sales, if you’re writing content, then track traffic, if you’re creating landing pages, then track email subscribers. The point is to always track what you’re doing so you know if your business is growing or stagnant. Many people make the mistake of NOT tracking and keep utilizing ineffective marketing techniques. Here are some tools you can use to give you the reports you need…
- Google Analytics
- com (social media)
- com (email marketing)
- Google Keywords (keyword research)
- com (rankings in SERP’s)
The main thing is to keep an eye on progress so you know what you need to do to increase growth and conversions.