In the previous post, I told you about my friend’s plan on building a blogging business. His half-baked plan gave an idea for this two-part — and more detailed — article series.
In the post I pointed out several mistakes he did and also added a missing element into the S.M.A.R.T criteria of goal setting. But that’s not all…
A goal is static. For most people, “write a book” or “start a blog” doesn’t mean a thing when you are in front of your computer ready for work. You want to eliminate doubts so you know exactly what to do and feel good about what you currently set aside.
Planning is a critical process of achieving. While “looking for a niche” and “find a product” may sound specific enough, it still has quite a huge gap to address before you can proceed.
There’s no Such Thing as a System
Did you watch any episode of The Apprentice? In each episode, Mr. Trump gave the same task to two teams. Both of them would get the same money and other facilities. But how could a team won, sometimes by a huge margin?
To take this to the extreme, let make an assumption. Even if those teams have access to a checklist — a system — that tells them what to do first, second and so on, results wouldn’t be the same.
Results will also be different if the task is selling ice cream in the same location to the same crowd of people.
While a system may help lead the way, thousands of other factors contribute to the success or failure of a project or a business.
It never fails to amazes me that most newbie bloggers try to skim over the basics. They want to jump right into monetization.
Obviously how I discover a niche is entirely different now from a few years ago when I just got started. Both methodologically and through what I call the “business sense.”
A good plan covers that issue. That’s why I call it actionable tactics instead of just “step-by-step” plan.
1. Grasp the Fundamentals
Long gone are the day when you just create and they will come. Before you actually put out a plan, it helps a lot if you understand the fundamentals thoroughly.
By understanding and mastering how to produce and promote content, for instance, you will be spending less time and get more traffic / sales from your blog. With more revenue, your business becomes sustainable.
During downtimes when every dollar counts, there is no better time to get on the right track and plug the holes in your business.
Action time: Set aside some time to read and participate in an educational program or two. E-courses and home study courses are perfect if you prefer to stay at home and learn at your own pace.
Through learning, you may pick tactics and strategies to grow your blog. Knowing that you are not limited to sell ads, for instance, allows you to create a better strategy for your business. That will in turn give you more power to survive and even thrive in your niche.
2. Know What’s Important
In an ideal world, you have time to do everything you like. But in this world, everyone has to pick. Billionaires also have exactly 24 hours a day, no more and no less. It’s about knowing what’s important to you and your business.
Bloggers who have done their homework know that producing contents and getting the words out about their blogs are necessary to not only keep the readers engaged but also grow traffic.
If you think that sounds too obvious, think again. I see many abandoned blogs with superb contents. The owners give up because there is no audience. In other words, there is a lack of balance between content production and promotion.
Action time: Reserve a block of your time everyday to produce content. Network with other bloggers. Write and post articles to article directories. Integrate social media into your routine. Shoot educational videos and share with your audience.
Most importantly, find what you could do best, perhaps not everything above at the same time.
3. Decide and Ignore
The best way to illustrate this is through an example.
Let’s say you decide to include traffic building strategies in your plan. The problem is, there are hundreds of ways to drive traffic to your blog.
Some bloggers prefer to list every tactic known to them in their plan for no reason. Maybe that makes them feel a bit smarter. But a list of tactic doesn’t say a lot about implementation.
Action time: If you feel more convenient in front of the camera, plan on starting a Web TV show. But don’t start adding social media, search engine optimization, article marketing, pay per click, and so on all at the same time. Learn how to make decisions and ignore the rest.
With less to do, you will get more done because your focus shifts to how to actually take actions.
4. Plan for Consistency
As a blogger, you should integrate content production and promotion as part of your daily activities. Don’t write only if you have the time. You will not find any.
You have to actually set aside some time every day or at least every other day to write. Whichever traffic strategy you decide to use, create an effort to make progress everyday.
Article marketers sit down and write a bunch of articles in one sitting around the same time everyday. They fit the most important tasks into their schedule and make sure they are done.
Action time: Pick the lowest hanging fruit. If you think article marketing is doable, it likely is. All you need is sit down and write a few articles before calling it a day. And again do the same thing tomorrow. Consistency pays off in the long run.
5. Solicit Feedback and Take it Seriously
There are always rooms for growing your business through positive feedback and constructive criticism. Bloggers should tune in and listen to conversations related to their niche. You will be learning so much about your target market in the process.
Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean you have to be someone else and in the way they want you to become. I always think that a blogger should have personality. Just because a few people says you should not write about a thing doesn’t mean all subscribers hate it. Don’t let others, let alone minority, dictate your personality.
But you can use the information as ideas for your next product, blog posts or articles. If nothing at all, at least you can participate and be closer and more accessible to your audience.
Action time: Visit discussion boards and participate. Network with other experts in the forums. Notice what people ask most and repeatedly. Use your web analytics data to decide which information the readers like most. Turn the collected data info actionable tactics to improve your business.
While I mentioned about downtimes above, these suggestions aren’t necessarily applicable only during those times. They are timeless. With so little time and so much to do, you can’t afford but to cherry pick your business activities, protect your time and use it for things that are most important and meaningful to you.
Hendry Lee helps bloggers overcome strategic and technological challenges in starting and growing their blogs.
He also writes about make money blogging on his blog Blog Tips for a Better Blog – Blog Building University. While you are there, download your free eBook and subscribe to his blogging e-course where he reveals his secret about blogging and content writing!