I decided to make this particular post because this blog isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve actually had a couple of blogs before throughout the years. Why I gave them up is another topic altogether. Not to mention that I also blogged for quite a few publications and company blogs over the years as well. The point is, I learned a great deal while blogging for myself and blogging for others. I realized that I was missing some key elements that could have really given my blogs the boost I needed at the time. I learned what works, what doesn’t, and why.
The main thing I learned, was how to do everything myself. Why is that significant? There have been many times that I’ve heard about people being ripped off for overpaying someone to help them with their blog. I’m all for outsourcing but I’m not for overpaying. It’s like going to a car repair shop. If you don’t know much about cars, it’s easy to get ripped off. My first recommendation to anyone who wants to start a blog, learn everything there is to know about blogging.
Have Realistic Expectations
Another key element, and possibly the most important, is patience. There are so many great blogs out there that talk about how to make money blogging. I fear that many people see the accomplishments, or what seems like the easy and quick success, of popular blogs and think they will create a blog and be an overnight sensation. Hey! Anything is possible but it won’t be likely. That’s why patience and endurance are key. In the beginning, it will likely be slow, meaning you won’t make a ton of money right away. Not to mention, if you are an absolute novice when it comes to blogging, not only will it be slow but you will also experience an extreme learning curve.
Plan, Plan, And Plan Some More
There is so much that goes into the actual creation of a blog, like the planning process before launching your blog. Making the assumption that you already know what you’d like to call your blog and what your blog will be about, you have to think about the execution of your blog. Many people (myself included), would love to quit their day job and blog full time. However, in order to get to that point, you have to have a plan of action. In my assessment, I’ve noticed that there is no exact science because what works for one person may not work for another. For example, you may feel that you can continue to work and blog on the side until your blog reaches a certain level of success. That is likely the method that most people would take. Still, others may feel so strongly that their blog would be successful that they are willing to take a leap of faith and just go for it full throttle. If you are like the latter, it might be a good idea to save a lot of money first, at least six months worth of living expenses because you never know how things will turn out.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Assuming that you are like most people who would work and blog at the same time, you need to make sure you have a good work/blog balance. It is very difficult to blog while working full time–difficult, but not impossible. Especially if you set aside specific time to create your content. First, you would want to create an editorial calendar so that you know well in advance what blog posts you will create. Based upon your personal schedule, the editorial calendar will also help you decide how many blog posts you will create and how often you will distribute them. Once you have your editorial calendar all worked out and have set a realistic schedule for yourself to create your content, you will find that a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Many people say that coming up with blog topics and having writer’s block is one of their biggest challenges.
Think About Marketing Efforts
Now at this point, you have your content all mapped out for the next six months to a year. Assuming that you already have a blog template in mind or someone you would hire to create a blog theme especially for you, you need to think about marketing. How would you market your content? You will want to carefully consider which social media platforms you will set up for your blog. Social media in itself is a whole different ballgame altogether. Considering that people “do” social media for a living, I’d say it’s a big deal. You can of course always hire someone to manage your social media pages for you, however, I wouldn’t recommend that in the beginning. For one thing, your blog probably hasn’t started to make money yet and for another, it’s kind of important to learn how to market yourself on social media. I would take some online courses to learn more about that. One great Facebook course on Lynda.com is called Facebook Advertising Fundamentals. It’s designed for complete novices. However, if you already know the basics, I would recommend Advanced Facebook Advertising, because it gives you more in-depth training.
Collaborate With Others
Once you have the social media platforms figured out, you would want to consider other marketing efforts like guest blogging on other people’s blogs. This is a great way to build your SEO because of back linking but it also helps you get in front of more people. It also helps their blog because you give them a bit of a break from creating their own content by offering your well-thought-out content to their readers. Besides guest blogging, you may want to simply be featured on other blogs or websites for publicity. If a highly recognized platform such as the Huffington Post, interviews you or mentions your blog (in a positive light of course), this will certainly boost your credibility as an expert in your blog’s niche. I always say good media relations is far better than a paid advertisement any day because you are not the one telling folks how great your blog is, someone else is doing that.
There are many other ways to promote your content besides paying for advertisements. Personally, I love cross-promoting other bloggers. You can post about another blogger’s content on your social media platforms and they will do the same for you in return. It’s a great way to get started especially if you don’t have the money to spend right away on promoting. Just remember, when starting a new blog, you want to be patient because it will take some time to get your blog to where you would like it to eventually be. If you are a novice, learn as much as you can about blogging and prepare well before launching your blog, that way you can avoid many of the pitfalls most beginners make. Figure out what social media platforms would be best for your blog and put diligent effort toward marketing. Above all, make sure you have fun and enjoy the journey.
Do you have some key elements you’d like to share on how a blog can be successful? Write in the comments below!