Planning a Blog?
There are things that you will need to consider before you decide on your Blog Planning options. Don’t listen to the 12-year old millionaires telling you how much you can achieve in a lunch break … or if you do, just remember they are making money out of you watching them. Take it slowly at first, think carefully and think your Blog Plan through. I can help, but it’s your show.
Let me say first that this blog post is one in a series that I am writing about developing a blog … but the world isn’t short of blogs about blogging, I hear you say.
When I began, I have to say that writing a blog about blogging wasn’t my primary objective. I started with a niche idea and then I moved on to do the basic research: how to build a blog.
Have you noticed that most of the blogs claiming to teach you how to build a blog are often little more than clones of other blogs claiming to teach you how to build a blog?
They were full of good intentions, but they weren’t helping.
I think my problem was that I was looking for practical, focussed advice for beginners based on appropriate experience but I was reading generic advice for beginners that was written by experts.
It was at this point that I realised that blogging about blogging was an easy niche for experienced bloggers to write for. The subject matter is very familiar to the writer and the
That’s not the case everywhere; there are exceptions … and I have found some of them, and I will show you.
Now, I’m a beginner to blogging but I’m not a beginner when it comes to building business and information systems from nothing. When I look at something new, I know what I am looking for and I know the questions that I should be asking.
I am applying the same principles here.
If you are going to plan something, whatever it might be, to do it justice, you will need some background.
Before planning a blog, ask yourself: what is blogging?
What sort of blogs are there?
During my research, I have managed to establish that there are essentially four categories of blog.
- The Traditional Blog Diary
- The “how-to” site
- The Marketing Funnel site
- The Serial Development blog
The Traditional Blog diary is a sequential log, presented to the reader in reverser chronological order.
The “how-to” site is a collection of stand-alone articles bound by a common subject.
The Marketing Funnel has a single purpose: to receive sales leads and convert them into sales.
The Serial Development blog is presented as a learning experience. It’s structured to have a start and a finish … and to answer specific readers’ questions along the way.
Before planning a blog, ask yourself again: what is blogging?
If you are creating a blog for consumption outside you and your immediate family and friends, you will need to make it friendly, useful and accessible. Accessibility is by far the most important consideration: people looking for the kind of information you’re providing will want to know it’s good and will want to know hao to find it. They will be relying on Google to help them.
How to plan a blog site in 7-easy steps.
Everywhere that you look, you will find that everyone has a 7-point plan for success, and they’re all pretty similar. I have no intention of being any different but I will tell you that the number is out by at least an order of magnitude. There are at least 70-points to consider and they are going to take you longer than a rushed lunchtime.
There is nothing that is going to be particularly difficult but if you are going to have a go, you should at least begin with a set of realistic expectations.
The 7-point Blogging Plan sets the scene, and now that you know that you are going to encounter at least another 63 points, your expectations are set.
The finer points, for that’s what they are, are not particularly onerous but you will have to resolve them for yourself. They are not mentioned in most step-by-step plans … so no solution to be had there.
More importantly, because they are not mentioned, you won’t even know that they are lying in wait!
Follow me, I’ll start with a 7-point blogging plan and I will work through it. I will explain what you need to know at each stage, and I will also explain why you need to know it. I will be doing this as a direct result of doing it for myself – don’t forget that I have a lot of experience in developing systems and in establishing the difference between what I need to know and … fluff!
Whilst I have respect for experts, they too often explain how to complete tasks and assignments using concepts and terminology that only come from being an expert. Remember that you are a beginner, you don’t yet have the vocabulary and you don’t necessarily grasp all the concepts.
Why you need to plan your Blog
You need a plan to help you to get your thinking lined up. When I began, I didn’t understand the differences. To be honest, I didn’t even know that there were differences … and then it dawned on me. I revisited the stuff I had already looked at and it became clear. Some bloggers were talking about using a blog to record their travels around Europe, chronologically. Some were interested in the potential for monetisation, others not so much. Some wanted to provide “how-to” content and others were explaining how to build a marketing funnel.
And then there were people like me, trying to combine all three to create a fourth.
Are you interested in the technicalities of blogging? I am because of my background, but you … probably not. Like most bloggers, I suspect that you are really just interested in the writing. It’s no bad thing, but if you’re going to concentrate on the writing, you need to make sure that you have the proper specialised blogging help.
Ask Yourself …
If you are going to make sure that you are heading in the right direction, which is going to save you time in the long run, you will need to have the structure of your intended blog clear in your mind … before you start writing.
What is your Blog for?
Is your blog for you and your family and friends, or do you intend to be targeting a wider audience? Are you intending to keep a chronological diary or present a blog covering helpful hints around a central subject? Is it for a hobby or is it going to be a business, or maybe a hobby that brings in an income? Think about how you might do advertising on your site and how you might approach affiliate marketing. Think about how you might use your posts to create an e-book, a training course and how you might sell them.
It’s early days and all this is far too much for one person to put into practice, even if that one person had the whole afternoon!
But you do have time to think about it all. Think about it and write it down. Play around with your ideas.
Concentrate on what you want to do and not on how you want to do it … that’s for later.
And remember … if you’re not writing for a hobby, you’re writing for your readers.
Your blog is for your readers.
Who are you targetting?
Understand your target audience. Are they predominantly experts or are they beginners … and does it matter? Will you need to adopt different approaches? Have yourself a plan and base it on your audience.
Set yourself up with a range of personas that you can refer to as the need arises.
How will they benefit?
They are going to benefit from your knowledge and experience, and that is without a doubt. There is stuff that you know, that they are searching for … and Google reckons that you have it.
Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness
Think about what you would like to see if you were looking for what you know. Search for what you would be searching for if you were searching for what you know. Google is your friend. Feel what’s out there.
Have a look at the competition and make some mental notes of how you would do it better … keeping the reader in mind.
If they are not going to benefit from your experience, there’s absolutely no point in continuing. So if that’s where you are, here’s a link to a YouTube video about meditation. ?
Where are they coming from?
Your visitors are probably going to land on your blog from all over the place, depending on how you execute your plan. If you have a Facebook presence, you may want to provide a link from Facebook to your site. If you have a Twitter account and a Twitter home page, you can use that to transfer interested parties to your specially prepared, and waiting, blog. And … the same is true of Pinterest and all the rest, especially if you are thinking of the marketing funnel approach.
I make no judgements or recommendations at this point in the process. I am just giving you some ideas based on my experience, it’s down to you to do the thinking.
It’s worth considering that if your visitors are touching down from different social media platforms, you might want to think about customised landing pages. The expectations of your visitors will be set by the tone of the social media feed pages, which you will have carefully fashioned for your purpose.
Welcome your visitors by maintaing consistency and coherence.
Think like your visitors … follow and feel their journey.
What is right for your Blog Type?
We have already touched on this, and there is more to come once you have considered your plan and have made the inital choices.
Sequential Diary Blog
Your primary goal is to store and share your memories and your progress, maybe with familiy and friends or maybe with a wider audience.
If you are thinking about monetisation, think about how adverts and afiliate links might be integrated. Again, think about how your blog will look and feel to the reader.
“How-to” Network Blog
You know that you know stuff that others can learn from. Your knowledge and experience will convince Google that you have the expertise, you have been around a long time and you can demonstrate that you are an authority in your subject, and of course … you’re trustworthy.
You are probably going to write a series of “how to …” blog posts, using the search terms that your research is telling you that people are searching for.
You need to be thinking about how your individual posts will relate to each other. Will they have a standard format? Will they be grouped by category? Will there be a menu structure? How might visitors navigate the site? It’s about structure just as much as it’s about content.
Then you think about the monetisation potential. You know that there are adverts and you know about affiliate links, but consider some of the other possibilities. I’ll leave you to go and have a look. We can pick up the potential later … there’s a checklist.
Marketing Funnel Blog
You have a product that you think you might like to sell, so whatever you do to your site, you are going to be doing it with that goal in mind.
The mindset that will deliver the marketing funnel, and therefore the end-to-end structure and content of the site, will depend largely on the product and the target audience.
The overall shape of the site is going to be seqential, with some audience-appropriate landing pages.
This is where I am.
I have seen that the Blogging for Beginners blogs, where I began my research, are not delivering what I, as a beginner, need. On the whole, they are all pretty reasonable resources, but you need to know what your problem is and what you are looking for – you have to know what you don’t know! Once you have stepped away from the 7-point plan, you’re pretty much on your own.
I have set out to write the blog about blogging that I would have liked to have seen if I was trying to learn about blogging. It’s going to be focussed on my journey so it’s naturally going to be sequential. The commentary and advice are going to be written in the “here and now” rather than as a recollection of something I did a while back.
I am going to to be managing the development as if it were a commercial proposition, which it is! To my advantage, I have many years experience in developing commercial propositions, so I am going to use this knowledge and experience to build a blog site to help beginners to blogging to build a better blog … and I have also joined the alliteration club!
So, there will be a sequential path from start to finish, and there will be “how to” posts … everywhere. Beginners want to know “how to”! The “how to” posts will provide answers but will also act as landing pages since beginners will be searching for answers – once they understand which questions to ask. The “how to” landing pages will direct new users to the starting point of the sequential path (or, if you like, the top of the funnel) where I can begin to sell my products and services (once I have created them).
There will be other landing pages, to welcome beginners landing from social media sites, so that’s something I need to be thinking about.
If your vision is to provide something along the lines of the Development Blog,then you will have smilar things to consider. Consider them carefully before leaping into the unknown.
Where do I start?
You’ve read this far and hopefully, it’s given you some food for thought. You should now be thinking about stuff, I suspect that you are but maybe your thoughts aren’t yet fully crystalised. You’ve just set off on your journey and you’re trying to formulate a plan, what some might call a Mission Statement … but I won’t. You know what you are trying to do is complex, you know that you have to start somewhere and you know that you need to learn to walk before you can run.
Don’t start by choosing a host; don’t start by picking a domain name; don’t start by thinking about your site design.
Don’t start with the 7-point plan … although maybe you can touch on some of the details around point one – your niche.
Download the template and fill in the blanks.
What have we Learned?
Take your time to consider your options, there is no immediate rush to get started, you can only start ONCE!
Not all blogs are the same. What you are trying to achieve will have an impact on how you achieve it.
Whatever you might be considering, consider it from the viewpoint of your readers.
Writing a Blog is better than listening to a YouTube videao about Meditation.
The 7-point easy blog recipes contain many more than 7 ingredients.
Learn to walk before you start to run, and think before you do.
Think about what you want to do … before you do it!
Your Blog is for your Readers!