If you are somewhat familiar with the concept of blogging, then you know the general functional elements that go into a blog. It starts with a domain name, then a hosting company, then we need blogging software, and then we need content and traffic.
Pretty straight forward, right? However, there are less tangible elements that every successful blogger should consider, before setting up a blog:
- Vision. What’s your vision? What will you blog about and who will you blog to?
Having a clear and concise “picture” of what your blogging goals and purpose are is critical to your long-term success. Too often what happens is that a blogger will “think” they know what they are going to set out to do, and basically how they are going to do it. Then they find themselves on the “Super Information Highway” where information, ideas, irresistible offers and just plain “stuff” begins pouring in and they easily and quickly find themselves distracted and way off course.
Instead of spending the next 6 months, or more, fumbling around, aimlessly, trying this and trying that, and getting nowhere, create a roadmap of exactly where you want to go and how you plan to get there.
- Passion. What do you love to talk about? Not what do you necessarily “know” the most about, but what do you get truly excited about?
Many blogging “guru’s” will tell you to find a niche that is profitable. They don’t encourage you to consider the topic, or the content of that niche, or your personal interest in that industry. And while this may work for a small percentage of bloggers, it does not work for most.
Think about it. When you visit a blog, and read the content, can you, or can you not immediately tell the difference in the content between passion and information? If it’s facts and figures, statistics and details you need, then there are plenty of “informational” sites from which to get that stuff.
Then there are those sites, and particularly blogs, where you go for more than just “information.” There’s emotion and insight and opinions and contrast on a blog that is managed by someone with passion. Passion that shines right through in their content and their online “voice”.
When you blog from a place of passion, you will find that your blogging “tasks”, mainly filling your blog with content, will be a much more enjoyable and effective process and your readers will be more responsive and loyal as they begin to connect with you.
- Commitment. Are you prepared to make the commitments required to create and manage a successful blog?
It’s certainly one thing to put all the functional elements in place, but what happens next is where most bloggers are blind-sided by the realities of blogging.
There’s content. Lots and lots of content. Whether you write it yourself, hire outsourcers, or use Private Label Rights (PLR) material, it requires an on-going commitment to provide your readers with fresh, updated material that keeps them coming back for more.
Then there’s building and maintaining a relationship with your readers. Staying in touch and on top of the dynamic aspects and elements of your niche. Keeping their interest and building your credibility and their trust.
And of course, there is marketing. You can’t just simply create a blog and expect it to be flooded with visitors without putting some effort behind it.
So knowing and being prepared for the many different commitments necessary to successful blogging is critical to your long-term success.
- Content. Where will you get your content from? Will you write it all, or will it be a combination of sources?
As mentioned previously, content is a driving factor behind all successful blogs. Fresh, informative, passionate, updated content is what drives new readers and keeps existing readers coming back.
Having a clear and realistic understanding of where your content will come from, and how you will present it, and how often you will provide it to your readers are all very important elements to consider before you begin blogging.
- Systemizing and Scheduling. What days will you post? What days will you market? What days will you perform maintenance tasks?
One of the most ineffective ways to manage a blog is “on-the-fly”.
If you were to have an “inside look” at any successful bloggers daily blogging routines, you would quickly discover that there is a very organized system in place that revolves around a very specific schedule of when they do what.
Recognizing and respecting the time factors that go along with posting, marketing, and building prospect relationships, is maybe one of the most important factors to getting your blog from point A to point Z, in a timely and profitable manner.
There are many blogging tasks that are most effectively executed in a timely manner. There’s a certain order to tasks and a specific timeframe to their implementation. Knowing what these tasks are, and how to systemize and schedule them effectively, will make all the difference in your blogging results.
- Marketing. How will you market to your audience. Where will you market? Do you know the blog marketing landscape and understand how to use it to your benefit?
The main thing about blog marketing is to first and foremost have a clear understanding of who you are and what you have to offer.
A successful blogger strives to become an “authority” in their niche. They gear their marketing towards building credibility and trust with their target audience. Your blog should be perceived, through your marketing efforts, as the “go-to” place for your market, and they should quickly and easily be able to determine that you are their preferred source.
Understanding the marketing landscape of today, for blogging, is imperative, if you want your marketing efforts to be productive, and profitable. Today’s online marketing landscape is quite different from years gone by, and requires you to be creative, intuitive, and most of all….diversified.
The worst thing any blogger can do, that is serious about long-term success, is to put all of their marketing efforts, attention or money, into one single marketing campaign. Or to focus on one sole marketing channel to support their long-term growth.
Your marketing should be modular in nature in that it builds upon itself so that you create a solid and long-term foundation from which to draw upon, and build upon, far into the future.
- Blogging tools. What do you really need to blog? How can you maximize the tools you’re using?
Compared to other businesses, blogging is one that actually requires very little in terms of initial investments, especially when you consider one of the largest and most effective tools a blogger needs is available to them for free.
WordPress is the most effective blogging platform available today. It’s the most popular for many reasons. It is very functional and customizable. It has built-in optimization elements and features that dramatically reduce the need for you to be an optimization expert. It’s intuitive and user-friendly, and best of all, yes, it is available to everyone to download for free.
Beyond WordPress, there are a few other tools that every blogger will want to have in their “toolbox” including a good username/password/profile management program. A strong and reliable blog tracking program. And a spreadsheet program to manage your blogging system and schedule.
There are additional tools that many bloggers are drawn to, that are not highly effective, and will prove to waste your time and money. For example, mass submission programs or services. Do not let yourself fall into the traps of those offering to submit your blog to hundreds, or thousands of places, for what seems to be a reasonable amount of money. They simply don’t work and there are much more effective and productive ways in which to market your blog and spend your money.
- Collaborating. Who is your competition? How can they help you, and you help them?
In today’s online world it’s quickly becoming less of a dog-eat-dog and more of a banning together among bloggers of the same and similar industries.
There are more and more “syndicates” being formed where online merchants in the same niche are pulling their resources, ideas and audiences together, in very beneficial ways. By joining together they can leverage each others strengths, and help others strengthen their weaknesses, and still benefit.
The target markets benefit because now they have even more information, products, and services, provided to them in one central way, sometimes in one central location. This can be a very easy and quick way for a new blogger to build their blogging business in a relatively short amount of time, and leverage off of others in a mutually satisfying way.
- Costs. What will it cost to create and manage a blog?
Of course, common sense tells us that it will cost far less to create a blogging business than it would a brick and mortar one.
However, there are still costs involved and those include, domain registration, hosting, possibly some freelance help with writing, or a monthly fee to maintain a Private Label membership for copy, and then there may be some software costs and finally marketing.
One of the main advantages of a blogging business is that you can decide whether you have more time to invest, or more money. If you are short on cash, then you may want to consider performing those tasks that you can do yourself, for the time being. If you have less time and more cash available, then you can pay for more of what needs to be done.
Either way, you have the freedom to choose what works best for you, and a blog can be setup and managed on a very small budget, if necessary. Take the time to consider these 9 essential blogging elements, and you will discover an effective and profitable road to your blogging future and success.