Congratulations you have decided to enter the world of blogging. You have read a lot of success stories of people who started their own blogs. And is now making a living online. You are motivated to start your own. Thinking that you got what it takes to make it big.
You believe you’re going to make a killing blogging. And is very eager to jump right in. Good for you for taking the first step. But before you start a blog. There are a few things you need to have. Before you take the leap into blogging head on
Not because you can it means you should start a blog right away. There are so many people struggled with their blog. Let alone thrive. And it’s because in their haste to start a blog. They missed the very important pieces of the starting phase of blogging. Don’t be one of those guys
1. A very strong why
I know you’re itching to get started. I understand the feeling. You’re getting into something new and exciting. And the feeling is exhilarating. You can’t wait to start your own. There are so many ideas running through your mind.
But before you start a blog. Take a minute to slow down and think it’s not enough that you wanted to get started because of the monetary gain
Before you start a blog you have to be crystal clear on why you really want to start in the first place. I have my own why’s and they are special to me. Your’s will be the same. Let’s talk for a moment the usual reasons. Why people are taking the leap into blogging
Typical reasons why people get into blogging
They want to escape the rat race
Most people are sick with their jobs. While there are those who are fine what they do. It’s just that they work with horrible bosses. And also there are those that feel uninspired and unappreciated.
While some are just tired of the daily routine they do year in year out. Each reason is different. And each is valid in their own way. And blogging does provide an opportunity out of the 9-5 job.
Some wanted to augment their income
There are those people who are happy with their jobs. And do not mind doing what they do until they grow old. It’s just that they realize that they have a growing family. Of course, bigger family comes with increase with expenses as well.
And there is only so much they can make with their jobs. So they decide that they needed something to augment their income. While still keeping their day jobs.
There are those want to more time with family
Some people yearn to have more time with family. This means less overtime or no overtime what so ever if possible. But of course, this means less income when the paycheck comes. So what do they do? They start a blog
People want security
Let’s face it relying only upon a single source of income is a dangerous situation to be in. People want to feel safe. They want to be assured that come what may. They will be able to provide for their families.
People shudder at the mere thought of losing their income. They want to be relieved of this fear. And having other options to make a living is a very reassuring thing to have.
People want to be their own boss
There are those who yearn to be the man. You know to be able to steer their live’s according to what they decided for themselves. And not live mindlessly working doing stuff that doesn’t really make use of their skill and talent.
Be intrinsically motivated
Each person has a reason for doing what they do. This goes the same for you.Before you start a blog. Define why you want to start a blog. The most common reason is money. It’s natural if this is one of your reasons. We have basic needs to meet. And you don’t fill those need without having money. So don’t feel embarrassed.
But other than the money. You need to have stronger reasons why. Something that intrinsically motivates you. This may be you don’t want to feel depressed each time you go broke. Perhaps you wanted to start a blog to augment your income to feel secure.
Or there’s an emptiness you feel inside so you want something you can be proud of. Search inside of you. And ask yourself what do you really want and why. If you can answer that. That is not related to material things then you’re on a good start already
Why bother starting with why?
You’re probably wondering I’ve been bugging you all this time to start with why? Because blogging is a long term commitment full of hard work and obstacles.
The journey will be hard. And there will come a point in your journey that nothing seems to happen with all your effort. You will begin to doubt yourself if it even is a wise decision in your part to enter blogging.
You will even feel a bit of regret spending all those time and effort. Pouring both time and money in an endeavor that may seem not bear any fruit at all. But when that time comes. And for sure it will come.
You’re big why will be your anchor. It will be the main thing that will keep you moving forward. That’s why you should define your why. And latch on to it. You will need it when the time comes. Always remember yours why!
The other reason why start with why
Other than it will be your source of inspiration. Another reason why starting with why. Is because people will get to know you for what you stand for.
If you have a clear sense of why it will show unto your blog. And people with get to know you. And for those who share your value will join your cause.
If you stand for a purposeful cause people tend to support you. If you don’t have a clear why then people will not see you worth their time. Why should people care when you don’t even care to bother defining what you stand for?
This is where defining clearly who you are. And what you stand for comes into play. The most common place to write your purpose and goal is in the about me page.
The tagline also plays an important role since it sums up who you are and what your blog does.
Things you can do to identify who you are and why you do what you do.
- Having a mission and vision statement
- A brief about me page
- A tagline that is short but to the point
- Create an elevator pitch
2. Proper mindset
How do you perceive blogging? Is it something you do just for your own pleasure? Or you take it as a serious enterprise. And aim at making a blog that is thriving. Before you get into the gritty details of starting a personal blog. You need to have a clear vision of what blogging is.
First of let’s start with what blogging is not
It is not a get rich quick scheme
Most definitely will not yield any short term return. Think of blogging as a stock portfolio that grows over time.
It’s not something you start now then forget about it.
This is one main conception of people. That when you start a blog. You can just lay back and people will come flocking to your site. Nuh-uh It will never be that way
There is not only one field of study you need to learn
Actually, there are two things you will need to study when you start a blog. First is blogging itself and how it works. Second is the niche your getting into. That’s where people get overwhelmed because there so much to learn.
My advice is to take it slow. In the rush to make money online people hurry themselves to learn everything in the shortest time people. I have been blogging for more than a year now. And I still have a long way to go.
It’s not just a hobby
When we say hobby it’s something we do when it’s convenient for us. Meaning we do it ONLY when we feel like it. Well, blogging doesn’t work that way. Blogging requires that you will work on your blog whether you feel like it or not.
It’s not something you brag about, well not at the beginning
I’ll be straight having a blog does not make you a badass. Not because you have a website you can just brag it to your friend. You know why? because there are a lot of people are already doing it!
Besides, you don’t want people asking you what happened to your blog after months of bragging about it. Only to find out you quit on the 6th month because nobody’s reading your content.
Now let’s talk about what blogging is
It’s a long term commitment
Sorry to say but before you start a blog. Be ready to work on it for months even years before you see any real results
You need to set time for blogging
Don’t work on your blog only when you’re free. You have to find time for your blog. Think of it this way. You spend how many hours in front of the t.v?At least 1-2 hours a day at least right?
What if you can pour that time on your blog instead? It’s definitely a more productive way of using your time. Or the time you use surfing the net. Or the time you spend on the mall during weekends. It’s all about time management really
There is a lot of skills you need to learn
Starting a blog is a good thing.But there are others skill you need to have and to develop to keep a blog running.
You need to put other people’s needs first before yours
It’s like having a baby
Now you’re probably wondering why I started with defining what blogging is. And what it’s not.I did this so that you will have at least a rough idea of how to perceive blogging. And this is important.
For how you perceive blogging. Determines how you will behave. Your perception will determine how hard you will work. How you will face adversity. And have the determination to keep going even when you don’t feel like it.
3. Solid and realistic goals
Do you have any goals for your blog for the coming days? What about for the weeks to come? Or even for the years to follow. Setting up short-term and long term goals will provide you with a clear direction. On what you want your blog to become in the long run.
Although plans and goal do rarely go as plan. It would be of big help if you have at least a rough idea. To what you want to end up. After all, have no idea what the end goal be. And you will let time go by aimlessly pouring hard work and hard-earned money. To a blog without any clear sense of direction of what you want it to become.
Start at the end
Before you start a blog ask yourself
What niche you are planning to get into?
Be specific about the topic you’re going to write about. Otherwise, your blog will a big puddle of mess. This in turn will leave people confused. And most probably never going to come back to your blog.
What Are you going to blog about?
2. Health and fitness
3. Money making online
4. Financial management
There are a lot more niches out there. There are even sub-niches to niches. The more specific you are the better. As this will lay the foundation of each piece of material you are going to produce.
If you can’t specify exactly what your niche is. You can’t be called a serious blogger. You are merely treating blogging as a hobby. If you want an in-depth post about picking a niche to check my post about niche-picking made easy
Who you are going to deal with
It’s not enough that you just crunch thousand of words per post per week. You have to be specific of who you are catering to. Remember catering to everybody is no better than catering to nobody at all. You need to lay out the details of your target persona
Are you leaning more to men or to women? Or both?
Do you want to target young adults ages from 19-25
Or you prefer middle-aged professionals ranging from 40-50’s?
Or you want to deal with retirees or pre-retirees? Age from 55-60’s?
Do you want to cater to male bachelor’s? Or to a happily married women of 35 years of age? This is important. Since you will talk differently to a single guy who has no responsibilities. And to a guy who is married and has kids to support
What need are you filling?
Blogging is all about providing solutions. And before you start a blog zero in on helping people with their problems. You need to empathize the pain and needs of your target audience.
You need to define what their situation they are in right now. Focus on their current state before they come across your blog. And visualize what the end result will be after dealing with you
Steps you can do to achieve this
1. Ask yourself what your audience is going through right now.
Are they struggling financially?
Do they feel empty and lost?
Are they longing for a better relationship?
Do they want to learn a new skill?
Everybody either wants more of something or less of it. Find that “something” that people desire or want to get rid of. And you’re of to a good start.
2. Slip into their shoes and feel what they are feeling right now.
Do they feel helpless and insecure?
Do they need some guidance?
They want to know something but don’t know where to get the answers?
You need to set a goal on what would be the end result your target audience will achieve. When your audience read your content. There should be a deliberate net effect.
Before reading your blog
They desperately need an alternative source of income. That does not interfere with their work.
After reading your content
They will learn about blogging and how it can be a viable source of income while still keeping their day jobs.
3. Be able to read what they are thinking
Get inside your target audience’s head. And empathize what would they be thinking at this very moment.
I will always be broke no matter what i do.
No matter how much overtime i do it seems what i make is always not enough
Is there a way to make extra income while still having a day job?
After reading your content
Wow! There are so many options now for me!
I don’t have to put up with my job for the rest of my life after all
Thank Goodness I come across your blog I never thought there are other ways to make money
Learn from others mistake
I made a lot of mistakes along the way. My advice to you is to learn from my mistakes. I started blogging on the go. And to be honest it’s the least effective way to start a blog.
It’s costly and prone to errors. Better to have almost everything planned and written on paper beforehand. You save yourself a lot of time and effort wasted by planning everything.
Clarity is key
You need to be able to explain what you want to achieve with your blog. Define what is the purpose of your blog. Other than to make money online. Which is the most common reason why blog by the way?
You need to be clear what you’re planning to do. And be able to explain it in basic terms. So simple you can explain it in a few brief sentences
I want to educate and motivate male retirees ranging from 60 years old onward about blogging. I want them to realize that they can have creative pursuit even after their working days are gone
4. Have the motivation/confidence to learn
Before you start a blog. You have to realize that. Blogging is an ongoing self-learning process. You will do a lot of reading and studying. Before and after you start a blog. The thing is you’re both the teacher and the student. There is no one to impose rigidity on you.
In the self-learning process, there are three parts.
- The motivation,
- the self-discipline
- learning itself
Many people make the mistake. That is the learning process. The first step is learning. Then you get the confidence then later the self-discipline. No, you got it all wrong.
It’s the other way around. You got to work on your motivation first. Believe that you can learn things on your own. Then you develop the discipline in order for you to learn the subject. Only then you get to the actual learning itself
Think about it. If you don’t believe that you can learn something that is totally new to you. Then how on earth can you muster the will to keep moving forward on your blogging journey?
But if you have the self-belief that nothing is impossible. As long as you put in the right effort and discipline. To take on an endeavor to learn something that is beyond your comfort zone. Then the sky’s the limit for you!
How to develop the motivation/confidence
1. Cut limiting beliefs in your system
2. Practise…Practice and more practice
3. Develop mastery of your niche
5. Build the right habits
Another key factor is your ability to regulate yourself. Developing the self- discipline to execute a plan is crucial to your success. After all, a plan but have no conviction to see it through is like having no plan at all.
The best way to develop self-discipline is to form habits that will foster your growth as a blogger. Develop keystone habits. Habits that when developed will spur other habits to develop. And will cause a cascading change in your life.
For example one of the habits you need to develop. Are proper time management and note-taking. Although blogging Is done online. And you get to decide when and where you will work on your blog. You still need to set a specific time and place to work on it.
If for example, you’re a working mom of a 5-year-old boy. You work as a full-time job as a software developer. And your actual free time is when you get home after work. Also during the weekends. But that’s about it.
You need to set the habit of writing/researching/promoting your blog. At around 9-10 pm during the weekdays. And 10 am-11 pm during the weekends.
This means no more binge-watching reality show every night. No more aimless chatting with a friend on facebook. Sounds hard but believe me. As you do this over and over again you will find that you will have a lot more time that you normally don’t have in the day.
6. Make a plan on how to learn
Now that you have the motivation to start a blog.And the self-discipline to see things through. Now is the time to make a plan on how you will learn the field or niche you have chosen
Deconstruct your plan into smaller pieces. This way you make it easier for you to do your plan.
1. Identify where you will get your information
This could be in the form of
- hard copy
- eBook format
2 Audio recording
You have an option between
- Khan Academy
4. Search engine
- Blog post
- YouTube videos
2. Actually acquiring the knowledge
- Will you be buying a hard copy of books or eBook format?
- Or are you going to download them in kindle?
- Are you going to buy/sign up for online courses all at once?
- Or are you going to go through them one at a time
- ·How much time you will set for your research and study?. An hour a day every night?
- Are you going to study during the night time?
- Or only during the weekends when there is more free time for you?
4. Where will you work on your blog?
- Are you going to write in your room?
- Are you planning to use the vacant room in your house? And turn it into an office?
5. Make a survey of the field you are trying to learn
- Do an overview of the niche you are planning to get into
- The goal of making an overview is for you to have a feel of the field your trying to learn
- The idea is to understand how each the different parts of your niche work together
6. Make a list of questions about the topic you wanted to learn
- Identify the main key ideas about your niche
- Create a list of items that need further explaining
- Ask yourself how each part works as a whole in the field of knowledge you are learning
7.Summarize what you have learned into simpler concepts
- Break it down into simpler ideas
8.Paraphrase the concepts into your own understanding
- Take notes of what you learned
- Interpret what you have learned depending on your own understanding
- Make an analogy of what you learn to something you like and you’re familiar with
7. Be ready with a story…Your story
Prepare a compelling back story of who you are and what you do. Sprinkle it with your unique personality. And add your very own communication style. And weave this story to your content. This way your character will show.
You must be wondering why should I? Well, you see the way people’s mind work is. People relate much better with a story. It tends to stick longer than dull plain facts.
Your story is your way of showing people who you really are. This way you have a narrative that people can attach you with. With a story, you humanize your content. You get to be emotional with your material. This builds a connection with your audience
You will attract an audience who will get to know you. Although not all your reader will like you. But for those who do like you. You begin to establish a relationship built upon trust. And from there people will remember you. And most of the time. People tend to do business with someone who they know, like and most definitely trust. And this will determine your success.
Besides you need a great back story when you’re making you’re about me page. I am basically preparing you when you’re making your home page
8. List of prospect domain name
I could not stress enough how important it is that you get a good domain name. Your domain name could either make or break your blog. People have fickle attention. Have a nice and catchy domain name. And it will pique your audience’s attention. End up with a boring domain name. And people will ignore you.
Not because you’re content is no good. But because your domain name does not excite people. Do you know the saying don’t judge a book by its cover? Well in blogging it works the other way around.
People do judge you if you’re worth their time and attention. By how good your domain name is. It’s pretty much like a simple post that gets a lot of comments and gets read. Because it has a great Title. While a great post gets ignored because its title is too mundane.
Domain names serve a purpose
- Branding tool
- Attention bait
Things to consider picking a domain name.
There are a few key points that I would like to recommend.
- Extension name
Don’t set your hopes too high
Choose something that is highly related to your niche. Prepare 3-8 even 10 prospect domain names. The main thing why i want you to be ready with plenty of options is because a lot of great names have already been taken. And there is a probability that what you are thinking of for a domain name may have been taken already.
It would be wise not to stick with your first pick. Because you might end up frustrated when you find out that it’s already taken. That’s why i included the domain name in the list of things you need to be ready before you start a blog.
Trust me better be ready. Otherwise, you will feel stuck. And you will have this feeling that you can’t move forward. Because you’re at a loss of options. When you find out that what you chose is already taken.
If you want thorough guides on how to pick a domain name check out my post.
9. choose your voice
When I say voice it’s not the literal meaning what I am implying. But the character that you will project to your audience. And you must keep this consistent throughout your blog.
Each of us has a unique personality different from others. And this separates us from the rest. The same goes for blogging. We all have our own voice that “brands” us from the rest.
This could be done with the following
9.1.What words you use
The words you use reflect your character. It will also serve as the main influence on your writing voice
How do you want people to describe your writing?
Do you want to be
Analytical, artistic, authentic
Caring, candid, witty
Or clear calm charming
Maybe you want to be edgy, dynamic, and energetic
Or you want to be frank, straight to the point with a bit of sarcasm
It’s up to you how you want to be defined. You can come up with your own definition that is not included on the list. Pick at least three traits that you want to be defined with.
9.2. Clearly define what it’s not
Next, be clear what it’s not. For example, you picked outspoken but not pushy. Honest but not to the point it’s insulting. Motivating but not vague either. You have to set limits on what your voice can do and cannot do.
9.3. Put them all together and add a twist
Let use my voice as an example
I can be
Honest with my thoughts
I will admit past mistakes and what I learned from them
I will also have my fears and doubt but that’s what makes me human
But I am careful not to hurt someone’s feeling
Motivating with the way I talk
inject quotes from famous people
inspire people into action
question their will to change
but never avoid being vague and lingering.
I will back my words will solid and easy steps to follow
I can be direct to the point but i will avoid sarcasm
See what i did? It’s not that complicated. You just have to search deep inside of you of what you inclination is.
In summary, your voice is like the guiding compass of your writing. It’s your thought pattern when you’re talking to your audience. It’s how you want to be perceived by people. And how you will get to be known throughout the blogosphere.
10. Have an overview of what blogging really is
The reason why I recommend you to have an overview of blogging.Is for you to get an idea of what blogging is in your own terms. Why you ask? It’s simple, to make the learning process easier.
I want you to have at least the parts that make up blogging. And how each part relates to another. Then get the basic training about blogging.
You must be thinking isn’t this an overkill?
Well not really.The reason why I want you to do this. Is for you to at least get an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. I want you to be familiarized with at least the basic terms. Like domain names, plug-ins, word press, categories, and much other stuff.
Why should you?
Because I learned when I first started out. It is quite frustrating getting trained when you don’t even know what the training is talking about. You will feel confused every time you encounter words that you don’t know
Like for example when I was training, about the basics of setting up a blog. The training always talks about domain name. It always says domain name this, a domain name that but it failed to teach me what the heck a domain name is.
My training assumed I already know what a domain name is. When in fact. I have no idea what a domain name is back then. And it caused me never-ending confusion. It’s only because of my determination that kept me going on. If my training only defined what a domain name is in lay man’s term then my training would have been much smoother.
11.Have a budget
I will be honest, blogging is not free. Well, most of blogging is. If you’re really committed into starting your own blog. Be ready to spend money. Don’t believe those people who preach you can get by with free stuff.
Let’s face it. One way or another you will have to invest money into your blog. Whether it is on training, purchasing a domain name or domain hosting. And also when you’re doing your research. it’s likely that you will also have to spend on learning materials such as e-books and audiobooks. There are also apps that you will need
Beware of freebies
Never get the notion that you can get by with free information that you can get from the internet. Although free stuff is given away in large amounts online. It’s either incomplete or there is a catch.
Most of the times there is always a catch. And sometimes the catch is 10 times worth more than what you bargained for.
Don’t hesitate to invest in yourself
But think of it this way. We people buy stuff that doesn’t really add value to our lives and future. But still, we wholeheartedly give away our hard-earned money. But we hesitate to spend money on things that in the long run could have a major effect on our lives.
What could be more worthy of your money? Spend money on having fun now. Or invest that on things that can grow into something meaningful in the long run. It’s your choice really. But remember, our decisions that we make right now determines what would be our future. So choose wisely
Take my advice.
Save yourself a lot of wasted time and effort. Before you start a blog avoid vagueness. Preparation is the key. When setting up a blog you need everything to be ready. Or at least have an idea about what to do next.
Learn from my mistakes. I jumped head-on. Hoping to figure out everything on the go. I spent weeks aimlessly working on my brand new blog. That contributed nothing to its growth.
Think about it
Just imagine setting up a blog no clear niche in mind. You will create content that has no direction whatsoever. Or don’t have a spare domain name just in case the one you really want is already taken. You would end up frustrated when that happens.
Its hard work but worth the while
Blogging is hard work as it is. But at least it is something you can look forward to in the years to come. What would you choose? Spend 3-5 years working on something that can change your life. Or spend the next 30 years in a job you’re not passionate.
Whew, that was a lot to take in huh? This may be a lot of work. But the main point of this post. Is to prepare you with all the necessary ingredients. To make the process of setting up your blog. The smoothest as possible. Or would you rather learn everything on the go? And figure out everything as you move along
If you like my post. Or have any thoughts about your experience blogging. Feel free to leave a comment. If you want an update of my latest post sign up to my email list. You can follow me on Facebook @smartaffiliblogger facebook page
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