The real truth about how quick & easy it is to start a blog
As one of the planners of this World, there's a particular type of blog post that I come across time and time again that makes me want to pull my hair out.
You'll have seen them; they have titles like, "How to start a blog in 10 minutes" and "The quick and easy way to start a blog" and "5 simple steps to starting a blog".
Here's the truth - starting a blog is not quick and easy. Sure, actually setting one up might be but starting one that's going to create an awesome first impression, make readers come back for more and actually convert them to paying customers takes time. And planning. And more time. And... did I say planning?
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8 Steps to Blogging Success
1. Blog vision
Your ultimate aim for your blog. Where do you see your blog in a year's time? In 5 year's time?
Creating a long term goal for your blogging business will make sure that everything you do. And create. And write. And plan has a purpose. That it will actually help you achieve your goals and keep you from falling into the 'I need to do ABC and XYZ because everyone else is' trap.
Don't spend 2016 wandering round in a blog fog - give yourself something to aim for.
2. Monetisation plan
How is your blog going to make you money? Are you going to sell info-products? Offer coaching or a freelance service? Use affiliate schemes and ad networks? Write sponsored posts?
Decide on your main revenue source and several secondary ones so you don't miss any opportunities to make yourself some money. Know your revenue streams and take advantage of them.
If you're struggling for ideas, take a look at this blog post on how to come up with your ultimate business idea.
3. Target audience profile
Know who you're talking to. Know who needs / wants what you're blogging about and plan your blog content only for them. Give them more than what they expect / know they need and create loyal fans for life.
Know where they hang out online. Know their struggles. Know their hopes. And fulfill those hopes and solve those struggles.
Knowing your audience will give your blog content purpose and direction. And help you create products that your audience will want to buy.
4. Brand Style Guide
How do your want your audience to see your blog? How do you want your blog to make them feel? What 1st impression do you want your blog to make?
Your brand style guide is your record of your blog's brand identity. It's colours, image inspirations, font choices, notes on the language, tone and words you use. It is your summary of how you will consistently tell your brand's story in all areas of your blog and business.
5. Social Media Plan
Don't go anywhere near social media without a plan! You will quickly find your promotional efforts become sporadic and your results variable. Unplanned social media content runs the risk of becoming inconsistent 'fluff' posted purely for the sake of posting something - so basically a pointless waste of time for you and your followers.
Decide which social media you are going to become the expert at (don't even try to do them all!) and be that expert reliably, consistently. Plan your content - make it high quality and purposeful and you'll be riding the social media marketing waves.
Don't Miss The Really Complete Guide to Starting a Blog to Make Money....
6. Marketing plan
How are you going to tell your audience about your products and / or services? Are you going to set up an email list? How are going to encourage your readers to subscribe?
Have you planned how you're going to set up your sales paths to guide your readers through your blog to get to your sales pages? Where are your visitors coming from when they land on your blog posts? How will you take them from casual reader to buyer?
And how will encourage loyalty amongst your customers to make them repeat customers or long term clients? How can you get your current customers to refer new ones to you?
This blog post gives you 10 brilliant ideas to encourage repeat business and customer loyalty, as well as attracting email subscribers and new customers (and joining The Badass Businessmum's Club gets you a list of another 40!)
Your marketing plan will vary depending on where you are with your blog? If you are launching a product your marketing will be very focused with a timeline to work on, building up to launch date. Your marketing will be aimed at encouraging people to buy whereas at other time in your business cycle you might be concentrating on getting new page views or building your list.
You need a plan so you can create an action plan specifically tailored to your marketing goals and not get distracted!!
7. Content plan
Your content is what makes your blog! Your marketing attracts them, your design creates the first impression and your content keeps visitors on your blog, encourages them to return and converts them to customers!
So it's important! Your content plan should cover all the content on your blog, including:
- Blog categories
- Blog posts
- Videos / webinars
- Static pages
- Header and footer
- Content upgrades
- Social media
Your content needs to be planned so it serves a purpose. Content shouldn't be on your blog just to take up space.
When planning your content, think about how everything works together to reach your blogging goals. You may be planning content to encourage email subscribers, introduce your visitors to a product, show your expertise in your subject or to get them to relate to you on a personal level.
When planning your content, start with your end goal and branch out from that with your different types of content all leading your audience to your chosen end point. Remember your audience will be at different points in their journey to getting to know your blog. Create different content for the different stages your readers are at.
8. Back-end organisation
And lastly, is your back-of-house in order? For your blog to be a business you need to treat it like one.
Don't make the mistake of allowing your business to become nothing more than an expensive hobby! Read this blog post and find out how to make these 8 Big Biz Lessons work for your Small business.
You need to be tracking your sales and your expenses, you need to be monitoring what marketing activity works and what doesn't.
You need to have sales targets and a plan to reach those targets. You need to decide what services, technology and help you need to invest in to give you the time to do what it is you excel at.
If you are working for clients you need to be setting up a client workflow, writing contracts and keeping up with your invoicing.
You need to make sure your business is set up legally, your disclosures need to be in order, you need to be keeping your accounts in order to fill out your tax return.
And mostly, you need to show up and do the work even on the days you can't find the motivation to do anything. You need to remember your blog isn't (just) about 'following your passions, dreams and inspiration'. For it to be a business, it needs to make a profit!
Time to Take Action! Choose just one of the items on the list to work on (if you're not sure where to start, start with knowing your audience). Create an action plan to complete that one task, then move on to the next one.
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