You could potentially be reading this article at any time of the year, even January itself. You might be holding off on getting things done because you want to get the blog just right. Blogging is popular and is netting people profit, notoriety and attention.
“It is not easy” will be a phrase you read a few times in this article. If it was easy it wouldn’t be an enriching challenge. Anyone can blog but not everyone can blog well enough to get their name in lights.
Launching a new blog in January is going to be a breeze right?
The ‘Hypercompetition Sea’
My favourite developed idea for the kind of competition you are up against in the blogging world is the Hypercompetition Sea.
Competition is one thing but when there are no barriers to entry, you enter this overwhelming ocean of competition. I neatly refer to this crushing crowd of voices shouting around you as the Hypercompetition sea.
If you haven’t been living under a rock you know that in Star Wars they have a hyperdrive; it’s not just a drive, it’s so much more!
Step 1 Plan First
- Before you decide on anything, plan first.
I could leave this tip as one sentence because it is enough but you should plan if you are going to spend hard-earned cash on the infrastructure you are going to need to become successful.
I filled two A5 journals before I launched my blog. Without that creative thought it wouldn’t have started with the warmth that it did.
I asked myself a lot of questions. Tried to answer them as best as I could. When I felt confident I moved on.
Don’t go cold into anything. Yes you’ll learnt a lot but you’ll also have far more regrets which leads neatly to:
Step 2 Research
Research is critical. Businesses perform extensive research before launching brands to ensure that they are hitting the right future buyer for their product. These businesses may have to adjust their product to cater better to what is available in the market.
A/ Know Your Market
A market differs slightly to your target audience in that you could be offering a product or service which even an un-engaged reader would be interested in. You have to know who the big players in your chosen niche are, and by observation, determine what works and what doesn’t.
You are not looking to copy but more to find the gaps that those big players leave. There is always an angle you can fill if you look hard enough. There is always a chunk you can tear off for yourself. It just takes time.
B/ Know Your Audience
Your audience is your raving fans. You need to know how to keep them engaged and returning. Audience retention is the core activity of your blog and it is not easy. In order to get yourself ready for the challenge ahead, you must have a target audience member in mind.
My friend Ahmad Imran over at Reasontouse.com goes into detail about Audience Profiles. I think that you can learn a lot from this. Click this link to open this insightful post in a new window.
Step 3 Ask Yourself Can you Commit?
Whilst I’ve made every effort to streamline and make blogging easy for myself, it takes time.
You will be spending a lot of your time:
- Developing content
- Developing networks
- Developing the brand
- Developing your sell
Determining whether you are well placed to do that will depend on:
- Your personal level of motivation
- How resistant you are to feeling the crushing blow of defeat
- How open you are to advice, no matter how painful
- Your ability to battle it out when you just don’t feel in the mood
- Planning ahead during the good times to avoid the crash in the bad
Even if you are a woman, you’ve got to have some balls. You need to have grit. You need to dig in.
Think of blogging as a campaign. Even an email marketing platform uses the word “campaign” to refer to your endless stream of articles. The important thing to note is that each post is a battle. You will lose some, more so in the early days, but eventually you’ll start winning the war.
You might think, why this step here? You won’t know how committed you are to a subject until you’ve explored it’s potential first.
Step 4 Try Out Some Free Blogging in a Different Subject
It is tempting to diverge. Divergence is the one way to kill your blog in the long-term.
- Focus is important.
The word ‘niche’ is banded around. You will hear it more and more as you develop your blog. A niche is your unique position within a field of discussion. As you laser target your blog, your niche will tighten to a razor-sharp focus because you will start to understand the unique areas that you can capitalise on where other bloggers can’t.
The trouble is, there are those topics you want to write about that aren’t beneficial to your audience as a whole. They may be your own personal passions but cannot be used as a good way to relate your audience to your content aim.
Therefore I suggest you start out blogging on a free platform and get into the habit of what you have to do to make a bigger splash, draw more engagement, and layout your thoughts.
The free platforms start out with a pre-made audience. Audience on your fresh blog that you plan to start may not reach the numbers you hope.
These platforms come with a large amount of readers already so you can trial your style and tweak with basic elements of your writing without making investment. It is a way to make a name for yourself and to start enticing engagement.
Note: The free platform audience is not necessarily as amenable to your work as an audience you generate through your own efforts. You will find that on free platforms a lot of the audience are other bloggers. Rivals may not necessarily be the individuals that you will want to make that final sale to. This audience might be the kind that gives you access to visibility or looks to steal good ideas.
Here Comes the Decision
You are now committed.
The engine is about to be started.
Your driving gloves are on.
Your foot is poised on the accelerator pedal.
Step 5 Your Domain Name is Critical
You have to make sure that the name you are after is free to use and that you aren’t going to infringe on copyrights before you go ahead and start using it.
My friend Eli Seekins over at LaunchYourDream.Com has a great guide about picking domain names. Click this link to open a new window for a great article.
A/ Register Your Name as Soon as You Have Decided
These names can be swallowed up quickly so if you see the perfect name is available, purchase it as soon as you can.
B/ .com or Something Else?
I would always recommend .com because with .com you reach the world. I would only recommend a localised URL if you are targeting a localised demographic. Depending on how diverse your blog intends to be, having the possibility to touch your site out to the world gives you opportunities.
- A lot of people speak English that aren’t from America/UK/Canada/Australia/New Zealand/Africa/India
- A lot of Ex-pats live in foreign countries
Step 6 Have Several Blog Posts Ready to Go
Having a suite of posts ready saves you time out of the gate. If you can have at the minimum, 3 posts, this gives you the opportunity to make some key adjustments to your blog without being in a rush to produce content.
Being in a rush, especially if you are working in a full-time job, leads to bad quality and you want your first couple of posts to move people*. You need some good quality to lead you out of the gate.
*You want all your posts to move people but you have to take into account that occasionally you’ll produce sub-par content. Your first 3 posts need to have some substantial useful content. Think of it as the launching trajectory, you don’t want to fire into the ground.
Step 7 Start Making Friends
You can start making friends before you get going. If you are still working on the content you can start getting into the kinds of circles your content is likely to be reaching.
You can start to gauge what’s hot, what’s not and what’s meh.
It is possible to start your social media elements before your blog. I remember suggesting this before and one gentleman was so flabbergasted by this “outrageous” idea that they went into length about how wrong I was. The truth is you can put the cart before the horse for a little bit.
A conversation can often be just as valuable as a post.
Other Ideas to Consider
Determine Your Launch Month
January may not be your niche’s best time to start out of the gate. You can have just as good a start in June or July. I started BlogPrefect.com in mid June of 2013 and received a better start than Jackowrites.com which launched in December.
Doing your research should indicate when there are likely to be peaks in interest. Use this data to be strategic with your launch.
It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect in the Beginning
- You are going to make derps, fails and brain farts.
Blogging is an evolutionary journey so you may eventually wipe the slate on that crappy image or rubbish sentence.
Own your mistake.
Learn from it.
Take it All With Good Humour
You are the boss and you have enjoy what you are doing. Blogging is work, work can get dry sometimes. Try to inject fun in what you produce and put zest into your work.
At times you are going to have to be serious and lay ideas out as straight as you can. Where you are permitted to lighten the mood, go all in.
Try a Few Things That Experts Tell You Not to Do
Blogs are unique in that what works for one blog doesn’t necessarily work for another. As your audience builds, you’ll have a unique audience that likes your content a certain way. In order to determine what is working best you have to experiment.
- It is important not to harbour pre-conceptions about what is expected of your blog.
- You don’t know until you try.
The early days of blogging provide the best opportunity to make big experiments. As your blog starts to mature, you can upset your audience when you make big changes. Whilst you have a small audience you have few people to alienate.
Note: One proviso is that you don’t over experiment. As you can guess, it will become difficult for your audience to feel warm if the seas (your blog) are choppy. Limiting experiments to targeted areas is better.
Don’t Clone, Innovate!
It is very easy to make your blog/website like every other in the niche. You can have every decoration that your neighbour has on their tree. The problem is it won’t make you stand out as a different voice.
As a successful future blogger you need your own unique blend. Don’t keep up with the Jones’s. Push the fringes of your topic, you may then find the perfect sub-niche to dominate!
Buy Yourself a Decent Notepad or Journal
They say that handwriting is dead but I believe not. I swear by handwriting some notes every so often, whether it is progress, ideas, websites, words of encouragement or new experiments to try out. I even have award stickers to make the process fun. Yeah, I’m a big kid but this job is the one you can enjoy!
As you write, you realise where you were and where you’ve come to. Some ideas may not have had the best shape in the past but one little jog can provide you an idea for a post or something more.
A Kind Courtesy
Please share this post if you felt it was insightful and useful.
Feel very welcome to leave me a comment, especially if you feel there was more that I could have mentioned.
Note: All images have been modified. All are covered under CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay. I have only attributed to pay a courtesy to Pixabay and the creators of these images.
Featured image by Unsplash via Pixabay
Drafting image by Pexels via Pixabay
Book Door image by Ninocare via Pixabay
Wet Ring image by Josemdelaa via Pixabay
Bald Eagle image by FlashBuddy via Pixabay
Domain image by EStudioWebDoce via Pixabay
Letters image by Andrys via Pixabay
Doggy pals image by Herney via Pixabay
Notepad image by DariuszSankowski via Pixabay