Are you thinking about starting a blog? Do you want to turn your blog into a business? Then you need to answer some questions about your blog, the topic, and niche and how you want to bring it to success – and you should answer these questions BEFORE you start a blog. Not every single one of these questions will have an answer that you give now and that will stay the same over the next months or years. The more you learn about blogging, the more blogging expertise will go into the answer and your answers will change.
But to be able to start your blog with a plan and a strategy and head straight for success, you need to have an idea of how you will go about it. And the following questions will help you get your blogging venture on the right track.
1. Is working on my own for a large part a lifestyle I want?
Blogging is great – I don’t want to scare you away from it. And it can be a very fulfilling and rewarding job. But it also means that you have no colleagues, it is mainly you and your computer.
You will meet people through blogging one way or other, whether it be in real life or online – but you need to be content to work on your own for a large part of your blogging life.
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If that is something that you hate, you should rethink your idea of becoming a blogger – or at least think about ways how to cope with it (think about working in a cafe or a co-working space, visit blogger conferences, research founder or blogger meetups in your area,…)
2. How will I cope with setbacks and frustration?
When you read all those blogging success stories they sound so awesome and rewarding, don’t they? Well, that is only one side of the story. If you head for a blogging career, you will have to face times when nothing works as planned, when traffic, signups, and revenues simply suck. When you have a hard time engaging your audience, when you try a new blog series and your audience hates it,… setbacks are for free.
3. Have I selected a profitable niche?
You have to question the niche you are thinking about. Is the niche large enough so that you can find a relevant audience – and a relevant number of potential clients and customers?
4. Do I have the capability to create helpful content for that niche?
If you want to be successful with your blog, you have to know enough about your niche to provide information on your blog that your target audience wants or needs to have. And you need to be able to pack the information up in posts that are nice to read.
Before you start your blog, make sure you know what kind of information you want to provide. And keep in mind that you don’t just need 2 or 3 great blog posts. For a successful blog, you need to be able to come up with hundreds of posts with awesome information for your target audience.
5. How often do I want to publish
You need to be aware that especially in the beginning when you are just starting your blog you need to publish often. You need to provide a constant stream of awesome blog posts. Publishing once every month may work for an established blog but it will make your blogger life very hard when you are starting out.
Building an audience needs content – a lot of content. And it will bring you much closer to success if you can create a fair number of blog posts in a relatively short time.
6. When am I going to publish
You need a schedule for your blog. Make publishing a habit. If you aim for 3 posts per week, choose three days on which you are going to publish. Your audience will learn your schedule and know when to come back for a new post. That will help you build an audience and traffic to your blog – and habits make your solopreneur blogger life easier.
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7. Do I have competitors? (If not, why not)
Do not be afraid of competitors. And don’t fool yourself if you have competitors you should not deny that they exist.
If you don’t have competitors you should also ask yourself why that is so. Is your niche especially complicated? Or is the target audience too small?
If you have competitors, to treat them as enemies: Rather use your competitor’s content to build your social audience. Learn from what your competitors do. And check if you can work with them together. Why not ask if you can submit a guest post? That will give you the chance to get in front of an already established audience, build links to your new blog and if you use the author bio can also help to grow your followers and signups for your email list.
8. How am I going to get traffic?
IF you want to make a blog successful, you need a marketing plan. You want an audience for your blog posts and you have to have an idea where that audience is going to come from. And waiting for Google to send you traffic is not the way to go when you are just starting out.
If you have too much money, you can go for paid traffic via advertising – for instance from Facebook.
Or you do what most successful bloggers did: You choose a social network and learn how to use that social network to get traffic to your blog. Each social network works in a different way and you need to understand how to „game“ that network so that your blog content is going to spread and bring you tons of traffic to your blog.
You need to keep in mind that social media success does not come overnight. And you need to consider that when you plan your blog and when you can expect to get enough traffic to actually make money from your blog.
9. How well defined is my target audience
Your blog needs an audience. And to build that audience you need to be absolutely clear who your audience is – and what kind of content they are looking for. That is the content you want to create.
But if your audience is not well defined, you will have a hard time to figure out who exactly is in your audience, what are they looking for and what kind of content can you create that will make them not only consume your content but at best come back for more of your great content.
The clearer your target audience is defined and the more you know about them the easier it will be for you to create exactly the content they are looking for – and where to find them.
10. How can I earn signups/leads from my blog
Never underestimate the power of an email list. You should start building your list from day one of your blogger life. And you need to have a plan for how you can build your email list – or you will be missing out.
The least you will need is a signup form on your blog. But a lead magnet will give you much better results. What can you create that is valuable enough to your audience that they will be happy to give you their email address in exchange?
11. What products can I create for my niche?
If you want to turn a blog into a business, you need to think about monetization early on. How can you make money with your blog – and don’t stop thinking after advertising, because ads on your blog will not fill your pockets unless you have huge amounts of traffic – and that is not going to happen tomorrow.
But there are other ways to make money blogging. Apart from affiliate marketing where you recommend other people’s products, you can also sell your own products.
And a well thought out product can make you money long before you have a huge email list, hundreds of thousands of social media followers – or huge amounts of web traffic.
So, before you jump blindly into blogging, collect some ideas for products you could sell: That can be recipes for a food blog, crotched patterns for a craft blog, tutorials for a educational website. Use your imagination, think about what you have bought in the past – and take a look at your competitors: What are they selling. If you have ideas enough to start ablog, you will have some ideas for products that you may be able to sell.
Blogging is easy: Simply start a WordPress blog and start writing your posts.
Successful blogging may just not be as easy as you thought. But you can make it a lot easier if you think it through – and start prepared. Think about the answers to the above questions. And even if you don’t know an answer yet, be aware that you will have to figure it out – or you will have a hard time to turn your blog into a successful business venture.