A new year is almost upon us. Wouldn’t it be fun to start a new blog in 2015? I agree! The first step of any new project is the planning stage. Unfortunately, many people (myself included!) have a tendency to forego this step and jump right in. Sometimes this works, but most of the time it just leads to a mess. I’ve been blogging, in some form of another, for over ten years, so take it from me: you need to think ahead. Here are five things to consider before you go any further in the starting-a-blog-process!
Don’t rush it.
If you’re like me, you come up with an idea and become completely and totally obsessed with it. When the idea of, “Hey, you know, I think I could start my own web design business and actually be successful,” struck me, I wanted nothing more than to jump right in, head over heels. And that’s awesome. But you have to give yourself time. You need time to research, time to develop your product/brand/idea, and time to understand if this is something you actually want to do or if it’s just a passing phase. I spent a good 2-3 months researching product need/pricing and developing my products before I ever launched Dinosaur Stew. The bottom line here is don’t act on impulse, because blogging is not an impulsive thing. It’s a huge commitment and, in order to be successful, you need to commit.
Know why you’re blogging (and have realistic expectations).
Are you blogging for fun or because you think you’ll be able to make a quick buck off of it eventually? If you’re only blogging for fun, you don’t have to worry about much. However, if you’re looking to monetize your blog, you need to ensure you’re truly willing to put the work in to make your blog be the best it can be. Most importantly, have realistic expectations. You can start making money your first month of blogging, but–realistically-it likely isn’t going to be more than a couple dollars from Google AdSense advertising because you’ve convinced your best friend and your brother to visit your website every day and click your links. You can make income blogging, but it will take lots of dedication, hard work, and most of all–time!
Start writing posts. Now.
Before you start your blog, start writing blog posts. This will help you out in a number of ways. First, it’ll help you understand if you actually like blogging. Since writing blog posts, is, obviously, an integral part of blogging, if you hate the writing part, it’s best to find that out sooner than later. Secondly, it will help you understand if the scope of your blog is enough. For example, if you can only think of two posts to write, you might need to expand the topics that your blog will cover. Lastly, if you have a bunch of posts already written before your blog’s launch, you’ll be able to devote more time to promoting your blog, instead of having to spend all of your time coming up with more content.
Know your schedule.
For many, blogging can be (and is!) a full time job. Keeping up with a blog can be time consuming. Keeping up with a blog can feel like a chore. Can you keep up? Will you want to keep up? Will you still have time for you? Going back to the first tip, it’s easy to act on impulse, but you need to look ahead to the future. If, after eyeing up a calendar, you don’t think you’ll have time to commit to the upkeep of your blog at some point in the relatively close future, don’t waste the time or effort starting one! You can always start your blog at a later date but for now, don’t waste the energy when you could put it to use elsewhere!
Is blogging going to help you or hurt you? Is this blog going to help you grow in some way? Even though you might be passionate about something, blogging about it might not be the right thing for you. I’m super passionate about cookies. And cake. And pie. And I know how to blog! I could be the next Averie Cooks! But I know that if I started a dessert recipe blog, I would be rewarded with Type 2 diabetes and an advertising deal for bariatric surgery, and that’s not what I want for myself. Make sure there’s something in it for you, beyond the odd change you get each day in advertising, to make it worthwhile.