Hey, so you are planning to start a blog as 2023 commences? Or got a dead one and you want to revive it?
Pretty awesome plan there! With everything being digitized, your business and personal brand need an online presence nowadays, more than ever.
The truth, however, is, building a successful blog or anything, takes time. So if you gonna start a blog, you may as well know what is it that you’re getting yourself into.
If you aren't convinced that blogging is for you, then there are lots of other alternatives to blogging that you can explore.
Why do you need a blog?
Everyone is a seller. We are all selling something to someone at any particular point in time. We are always bargaining our prices through. This explains further why you need to be where your buyers are, as a seller.
Internet receives billions of visits every hour and if you are crafty enough, you can use this platform to reach out to them. It could that free book you want downloads from, a blog post that you want people to read, or sometimes you simply need their time.
Other notable reasons to start a blog include:
- Blogging provides a place to learn, experiment, and implement. Starting a successful blog requires you to take on new lessons, acquire new skills, and network with professionals.
- You get first-hand information on what works and what doesn’t.
- Skills acquired will apply everywhere else. Think of the writing and marketing skills honed that will be useful in your career advancement as well.
- Your earning potential is limitless. As you get towards the top of the learning curve, you will be in a better position to devise new ways and means to increase your reach, and hence higher income
- You get paid to do what you love.
What to know before you start a blog
1) You Need to Have Short and Long-term goals.
To grow and scale quickly, you need to start with the end in mind.
The easiest way to do that is to break down your objectives into actionable blocks. These goals should be based on profitability and sustainability rather than vanity metrics.
- 1000 followers on Facebook
- 10.000 monthly page views
While these metrics may sound good on paper and for the eye, they do not really mean anything to your business. Instead, you want to think along the line:
- Make your first two sales within a month of launching
- Make 10 sales every month, after the first two months
- Have an engaged list of 500 subscribers
- Rank your most performing content on Google
2) Great Content isn’t Gonna be Negotiable.
Value is the Key.
That’s what people are willing to exchange for their precious time. Choose your niche and gain expertise in it. It could be fashion, design, relationships, finances, news and entertainment, poetry, etc.
Whatever it is, up your game. Excellence and mastery are nothing but hours and hours of working on one’s craft.
The good news is that the art of research and writing is something anyone can master, with a bit of practice. The existence of a learning curve is actually a good thing since you will be a better writer in the end.
Every blog post you publish should build on your credibility rather than take away from it.
3) You will need to invest.
And yes, that means going back to your kitty and spending some on promotions, web designing, branding, etc. You just need to have your priories right. There is so much noise on the internet and you must find a way to get your voice heard.
Having a monthly budget can help you scale quickly. You can outsource some tasks such as building, content editing, and video editing so that you will have more time to create assets that directly link to your income
- Creating free courses and downloadable freebies to grow your list
- Creating premium courses and eBooks for sale
- Creating posts, reviews, and other content types that promote your well-performing affiliate programs
- Answering students' questions and providing feedback
There are some constant blog costs that you will have to meet even if you are not doing any outsourcing. These are domain renewals, web hosting renewals, email marketing platforms subscriptions, etc.
It will only continue to make sense to incur these costs if your blog is generating income.
4) Your Design Might Scare Your Visitors Away!
Simplicity is the way to go. But in a world where simplicity is highly subjective, how do you approach your design?
My advice is to choose a lightweight and highly responsive theme that allows you great flexibility when it comes to building a site. You also need a theme that is being actively updated and is well documented and integrated.
For all of my sites, I use the Astra theme. It’s free but to make it highly customizable and use its dynamic features such as custom sidebars, you need to get Astra Pro, an addon going for $59 that does magic to your design processes.
I have an article focused on the minimalist approach to website design and layout, and we will dig deeper into this.
Try my Web Design Service, instead and get access to dozens of premium tools and plugins
5) Your Subscribers are Your Customers
Focus on growing a loyal audience. Email lists are considered owned assets, just like your blog. You’re in control, unlike other assets such as the social following. No algorithm is going to affect your list. Maybe deliverability issue, but that's something you can work around on.
Integrate opt-in forms on your blog and build landing pages from day one. The more subscribers you have, the larger the scope of your operation. You have to work towards nurturing your subscribers so that they become fond of you, your products, services, and programs.
Now, people don’t just opt in. They need a reason to. Consider creating exclusive content types such as eBooks, guides, email courses, free templates, etc, and give them away in exchange for their email addresses.
6) Rome was not Built in a Day
It will take some time before anyone can notice you without sending them a message along the line of, “hey, am live!”
It will cost you much; your time, resources, and energy but it will pay off. You’ve got what it takes to join the guru list, it’s just that it will take some more time, and that’s okay too.
It has to take time:
- New hires have to wait for 30 days before getting paid. For these 30 days, they show up to work and incur expenses that may not even be covered in their allowances
- New students have to go through 4 years of college before being awarded their degrees. I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Analytical Chemistry with Management in December last year, but I had to show up to those complex molecular chemistry classes every day
- If you invest in farming, you will have to wait for six to twelve months before you can reap off, yet before then, you have to do the work: weeding, spraying, etc.
The point is, that you can’t put off blogging just because it will take time to build an audience.
In fact, armed with that knowledge, the best time to get started is: Right away.
If you haven’t started yet, get back to me with “Am on it!”
If you’ve ever watched those investigative films, then you should know what “am on it” really means. For your sanity, it means, you are already on a web hosting website like Bluehost and you are about to checkout and get your domain and hosting.
Before that, you haven’t really taken a step yet. You can also use am on it when you are actually deciding on a blogging niche, searching for a domain name, and ready to checkout.
So, are you on it?
7) Never stop learning!
To build your own brand under a specific niche, you will need to acquire the necessary skills. Learn how things are done, and how should be done.
Walter Akolo, the brain behind a successful Kenyan Freelancing Blog, read a blog post I had written on this blog, and advised that I should consider shorter paragraphs… That was way back in 2017
That changed everything in my blog. Long paragraphs are hard to read and navigate through and that is likely to piss off your visitors into another well-organized and structured website. These visitors are way less likely to come back to your site.
So learn, see what you are not doing right and start doing it. Focus on the comments that people leave on your website and never take them personally.
Every morning, at around five, I wake up to purposely scroll through pages for any piece of information on how I can be more, and do more when it comes to writing. My favorite morning read has been Smartblogger, as Jon offers quite valuable information that I need along the way.
I have stated before that I always start my day with an online class on Skillshare as this equips me with what I would be doing during the day. I also listen to some of my favorite podcasts before transitioning into my 90 minutes focus block every day.
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