I am Jeevan Jacob John and I will be your host for today. Well, I know that many of you guys are familiar with the basic concepts and steps before starting a blog as an online business. But, we still need to go over those (P.S to experienced bloggers: I will try to make it informative for you too). In this blog post, we will take a look at different questions you need to answer – as a newbie/experienced blogger. Let’s start, shall we?
Defining Your Blog
Before you start a blog, you need to define your blog. Defining equals your niche/topic, purpose, audience and way of action (plan).
- Why Am I choosing this niche/topic? (Experienced bloggers: Why did I choose the niche/topic I chose?)
Is it because I saw other bloggers succeeding in the niche? But, is that enough evidence that it will work for me? Should I start blogging in this niche just because I saw others doing it?
- What is special about my niche?
- Do I have any experience in the field?
If yes, how do you plan to apply that in your blog posts? (Experienced bloggers: Am I already applying those experiences in my blog posts?)
If not, how can I teach others about this niche? Shouldn’t I start looking for experiences before I start the blog?
(If you are new a niche, you should definitely start familiarizing with it and working with it before you start a blog. For instance: If you are planning to blog about rolex watches, you should probably buy some Rolex watches, study the price market, interview Rolex company employees and ask others about their Rolex experiences (Why did they buy Rolex watches? Is it just for luxury?).
Answering the three questions that are listed above will help you to define your niche (In case if you are an experienced blogger, answering these questions will help you to gain a new perspective and some new insights on your niche).
Defining My Purpose
Purpose is the basis. The action that lacks purpose is an action wasted (you will only lose the energy). Here are the questions you should be asking yourself:
- What is my blog purpose?
Purpose is more than making money, getting traffic or even providing value to your visitors. It is more about how the content can be useful and how your visitors can apply them.
A theory/principle is useless if it can’t be put to practical application.
Application is the key. If you can’t help your readers to achieve something (Whatever it is) through the tips/advice you provide through your blog, then I wouldn’t recommend you to start a blog – unless you are just blogging for personal needs – such as keeping a journal.
- How is the purpose going to help me?
Purpose should also define your benefit from your blog. What is your benefit? Is it satisfaction you get from helping people? Is it reader satisfaction through which you can convince them to buy your product, subscribe to your list and/or keep them coming back to your blog? Is it the money through ads?
Answering these two basic questions can help you to define (or redefine your purpose). And your purpose along with others, defines your blog.
Like everything else, this piece ties in with all other pieces. The questions about your audience are:
- Who is my audience?
It is more than the demographics of your audience. It is about their minds. It is about their loyalty to your blog. In the case of newbie bloggers, the question should be: Who should be my audience?
What is your expectation of your audience? What do you think should the audience expect from you (Do you think that you are blogging up to their expectations?).
Setting expectations (for both you and your audience) in your mind will motivate you to take action and live up to those expectations (The case might be different when you set your expectations real hard or real easy; You need your expectations about the right size: Something you can achieve if you try hard and long enough).
The two questions on your audience will help you to define your audience, which helps you to be a better blogger; by helping your readers.
Last but not least is way of action/plan.
My way of action?
- What is your plan? Do you have a plan?
A plan is essential, especially when you are starting a new blog. In your plan, you should include things like post ideas, post frequency, design elements (minimalistic or fancy, plugins, layout, style), marketing (Social media, guest posting, commenting) and networking (commenting, social media).
Writing – You need to define how you are going to write, where you are going to write (Environment and Platform) and when you are going to write (writing schedule).
Design Elements – Minimalistic or Fancy approach? I go for minimalistic because a blog is about providing value to your readers, rather than entertaining them with your design. Of course, if you want to get fancy, you can. But, remember: being too fancy can do more harm than good. You also need to decide on what basic plugins you are going to work with (more plugins = more load time).
Marketing – What is your marketing strategy? Do you plan to guest post and comment on blogs? How are you going to advertise yourself on social media sites.
My advice – Start with social media. Provide real value by tweeting tips, tricks and other tweets related to your niche (You also need to have a good tweet ratio of actual value to interactions; interactions are tweets in which you mention others). More interactions will most likely mean more networking and more loyalty of your mentioned buddies. More real value tweets mean more followers and more loyalty from followers who followed you because they liked your content.
After you get comfortable with social media, go for commenting. Comment on articles that provide value and on blogs where you plan to guest post on (commenting prior to guest posting allows you to establish a relationship with the author and the readers). Comment >> Guest Blog.
You also need to think about advertising and/or partnering up with other bloggers for mutual benefit.
Networking – When it comes to networking, it is more than follow friday or sharing their posts (To tell you the truth, I hate to see bloggers sharing content all over the place, even when they didn’t read the post – you know, through the automated means of tweeting). I follow most people because I like their content (And I am sure that is the case for most of your followers, unless you used other methods to gain followers). I like to see when bloggers actually tweet something useful (Tips, tricks, quotes) related to their niche, rather than tweets about their content or about others’ content.
Actual value tweets (tips, tricks, quotes etc) – establish your follower base and build loyalty within your followers.
Interactive/Mentioned tweets – Helps your networking strategy and builds more loyalty for your mentioned buddies. In the case of interactive tweets, usually they are only useful to the mentioned buddy (not to your actual followers who followed you because of your content).
Anyways, that’s just a brief look on planning and how we should relate back all these things. I could go on and on with this. But, I don’t plan to. (It is smart to provide all value in your blog post to get the maximum results, but it is wiser to wait some time and distribute the value to get results in the long term).
Anyways, that’s puts a good wrap to our talk for today. We discussed a lot of things today, didn’t we? Now, it is your turn to participate. Choose any 1 or 2 questions (you are more than welcome to choose more) and answer them below in the commenting area.
I hope you enjoyed the post.
Remember, it is all about defining (or redefining) your blog. It all comes down to your niche, purpose, audience and your way of action.
So, go ahead.
Define Your Blog.