By Dmytro Spilka
So, you have a new idea for a blog. Great! And, with all that fresh excitement still sinking in, you might be raring to go online with your first blog post. But, before you rush into its execution, are you sure that you have done all your preparations right?
While being just another random blogger seems like a cakewalk, being a successful blogger requires you to bake the cake as well. It might seem okay to slack off if you are intending it as a mere time-pass. But, if you are a serious blogger trying to create a visible blog with some good viewership and regular traffic, the efforts from your side should be of a totally different level. You’ll need to take care of various aspects of running a blog, from choosing your hosting provider and theme to creating engaging content on a regular basis.
So, here are 10 questions you should ask yourself before starting a blog. And, when you can come up with some convincing answers for these, it would be time for the big launch of your new blog.
1. Why do you want to start a blog?
There is one thing common for superheroes and blogs! Both of them have got to have a convincing origin story. Before you start with your new blog, you have got to figure out the true motive behind it. If the intention is just to ape other successful bloggers or make money out of it, it is better that you don’t go ahead with it. You should definitely be looking for more passionate reasons as to why you are starting a particular blog.
2. What will you write about?
You should decide on the genre of your blog and the kind of topics you would be blogging on. While your blog can be general, it always helps with competition if you can be more specific with the scope of your blog. The best thing to do is to find a niche that is comfortable for you and then stick with it. Always choose a subject that you are an expert in or at least one that interests ad inspires you.
3. What makes your blog different?
No matter how specific your blog genre is, you would surely be facing some stiff competition from tons of blogs with very similar topics. If you want your blog to standout in this crowd, there should be something unique or different about it. It could be your writing style, the creative use of images, interactive maps and graphs or the way you express your ideas.
4. Who is your target audience?
Once you have decided on your blog niche, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out who your target audience is. And, with a little research from your part, you can easily find what your target audience might be expecting from your blog. Based on this, you can decide on what you will post and even the writing style you are going to adopt.
5. What should be the frequency of posting?
You might have noticed that the top blogs and websites, on average, make one post per day. But with limited resources and time, this might seem impossible for you to do. However, the simple truth is that you don’t have to either. While consistency is important, it is not just about posting frequently. Each post you write should provide some value to your readers and should be fresh and relevant. Two or three posts per week should be a good enough start for you.
6. Have you decided on the length of your posts?
For blogs from beginners, the longer is always the better! And by longer, I am talking about posts with more than 1,500 words. With longer content, people spend more time on your blog and there is better chance for it to get shared as well. And, it goes without saying that it helps with search rankings as well – Google tends to favor the longer posts. The key here is to write lengthy posts without compromising on the quality. It should not seem repetitive and look like an attempt to merely add word count.
7. How much time can you spend working on your blog?
You have got to come up with long posts of 1,500 words and every single post should have basic on-page SEO techniques integrated into it. This should be done twice or thrice a week and you still cannot compromise on the quality. So, there is nothing to hide there. Maintaining a blog is definitely a time consuming process. So, before you start crafting ideas for your new blog, you should be sure that you have enough time and resources to spare for this.
8. Do you have a strategy to promote your blog?
Unless you are able to attract a regular stream of readers, and more importantly, retain your visitors, your blog cannot be termed ‘successful’. You should have some clear cut ideas for promoting your blog and attracting new eyes. This could be anything right from the old-fashioned social media posting and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) to highly targeted Facebook Ads and content discovery campaigns. Make sure that you adopt marketing strategies that match up to your target audience.
If you’re looking to break controversial or ‘ever-trending’ topics, such as tips for losing weight, consider using content discovery platforms like Taboola and Outbrain. These enable you to get your content ‘snippet’ promoted on some of the most reputable publications and websites in the world, including CNN, BuzzFeed, Financial Times, Huffington Post and many others.
On the other hand, if your posts target a specific niche (e.g. WordPress developers & designers), you may want to incorporate targeted Facebook & Twitter Ads –reaching the audience that is well aware of the topic.
9. Have you decided on the name?
Your blog name is extremely important as it is the first impression you make on a potential reader. The blog name should be catchy but it should not limit your scope to delve into various topics in the future. It is better to stay clear of names that are too genre-specific. If you have something in mind, do check the availability of the domain name upfront.
10. Have you decided on the platform?
The question here is whether you want to put your blog on a free platform or if you want to self-host it. A self-hosted blog would turn out to be a much better option in the long run. With better designs and more convenience to monetize it, a self-hosted blog offers you more control than any other platform. Although most bloggers go with WordPress due to its powerful features, scalability, convenience and ease-of-use, ensure to carry out a thorough research before jumping head first.
That being said, if you don’t want to spend an extra penny on your blog and want to see how it kick off first, free platforms like Blogger & Tumblr are your best options.
Blogging is almost like any other journey you take. If you were able to tick all the above boxes, you have just packed your bags! Now, it is time for you to get going.