Where do you start with blogging? Beautiful website? Monetisation? Email lists? No. That is, to put it indelicately, arse-about-face….or, you could say, putting the cart before the horse. There are four, stages to establishing a successful blog.
Stage 1 - Your Message and Your Skills
A blog is built around a central idea; you need a coherent message, a purpose, a theme...whatever you want to call it. It can be flower arranging, gerbils, meditation, antique coins, weight-loss, the Italian landscape, or whatever you like but, choose something that matters to you...something you could go on-and-on about because that’s what you’re going to do.
Then you need some skill in communicating your message. Don’t panic, you don’t need to be Emily Bronte’ but, you do need to have a pleasant, engaging, informative, or entertaining way of expressing your message. This is a skill like any other so, you can develop it. It’s just like cooking...the more you do, the better you’ll get.
If you are considering a blog, start by writing 12 blog articles. See if you can get yourself to write 12...if that seems daunting, blogging isn’t for you...you’ll be writing hundreds of blog articles eventually so 12 is a good test to see if you have a real interest in the actual task - writing. Why am I setting this goal? Because 95% of blogs are abandoned! That’s an even higher failure rate than small business which is notorious. If you’re going to abandon blogging, which is fine, better do so after investing as little as possible.
Stage 2 - A Website
If you manage to write 12 blog articles you can graduate to the next stage - somewhere to put them. The mistake most people make is getting too ambitious with their first website. Yes, their first website. Your website is like a car - you don’t start-out buying a Lamborghini, you start with a good quality, small car that puts you in a position to buy your next car, and then your next. Don’t worry about the hassle of changing websites, it’s about the same amount of hassle as selling an old car and buying a new one and most successful bloggers start with a basic website and, after they established some degree of success, pay for a new, fancy vehicle for their blog. Remember, there is still a risk you’ll give-up on your blog and you don’t want to have paid thousands of dollars for something you abandon and never recover your money from.
Stage 3 - Promotion
Now you have a portfolio of articles and a place where they’re housed you can promote your blog to the audience. Again, keep this cheap and simple; make a Facebook Page, create a LinkedIn profile, perhaps an Instagram account or Pinterest. You’re publishing your work and seeing if an audience is interested. This is another stage in which you might get bored, or dislike the job, and stop. You are not only seeing if can find an audience for your message, you are testing what it feels like to get their reaction. This is the biggest emotional challenge of blogging; you probably already have a sense of how brutal the internet can be and now you’re entering that arena.
Stage 4 - Payment
Only now should you consider expecting any form of payment for your efforts, but this is where most people rush to. Monetizing your work is complicated...there are many options to choose from; will you sell a service, a product, referrals, courses, consulting? And, how will you manage to deliver to your customers? It all sounds very easy when someone is trying to sell you on the idea that you can profit from your blog (and you can), but, in practice, you’re starting a small business - most of which fail. Plus, there is a technical challenge to establish e-commerce capacity on your website. And don't forget, your audience is not stupid, they can tell if your motivation is greed and it can backfire to be too 'salesy'.
How to profit from your blogging is a whole world to explore, my point here is to encourage you to leave it till after you’ve established the previous stages and still remain committed to blogging.
The final point to make is that these are STAGES and NOT STEPS. You do not complete one step and then start the next, you start one stage and maintain it while you start the next. Successful blogging requires all these activities to be performed simultaneously, not sequentially.
It looks like this…
NOT like this…
You have to keep writing while you make your website, while you promote and a while you manage to sell something.
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
Blogging is not the next gold rush. And not the route to easy-peasy happiness. The reason to start with a message you care about and the skill to express it because you need enough motivation and focus to persist through a challenging process.