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Starting a blog is an exciting decision! However, there are a lot of things to know before starting a successful blog. Because there is a big difference between starting a successful blog and starting something like a hobby blog.
So before you jump onto writing blog posts and buying hosting, let’s go over 11 questions to ask yourself before starting a blog!
- 1. WHY DO YOU WANT TO START A BLOG?
- 2. ARE YOU OKAY WITH BEING ALONE A LOT?
- 3. ARE YOU SELF-DISCIPLINED ENOUGH?
- 4. CAN YOU HANDLE THE HARDSHIPS AND SETBACKS?
- 5. ARE YOU TECH-SAVY ENOUGH?
- 6. DID YOU CREATE A BRAND FOR YOURSELF?
- 7. WHAT WILL YOUR SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
- 8. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET TRAFFIC?
- 9. DO YOU HAVE THE MONEY?
- 10. WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?
- 11. HOW CAN YOU COLLECT SUBSCRIBERS AND BUILD AN EMAIL LIST?
- 12. HOW WILL YOU MAKE MONEY?
1. WHY DO YOU WANT TO START A BLOG?
This is the biggest thing before starting a blog. Why do you want to start in the first place? What will your motivation be?
This is what we call “finding your why”. Your why will be the thing that drives you. It explains your passion for starting your blog, and where you’d like to get to with it.
It’s a good idea to not only know you’re why in your head but to actually write it down so you can read it when times get tough. For when the page views don’t look how you want them to look, or you’re not making money as quickly as you’d like. Read you’re why at the start of your work session for an added boost of confidence.
2. ARE YOU OKAY WITH BEING ALONE A LOT?
This question may surprise you as it’s not something really talked about before starting a blog. But if you think about it, being alone is a big part of being a blogger.
At a normal 9-5, you are most likely surrounded by people. You also likely have a team of people working with you, and a boss. But as a blogger, you have none of that. It’s just you and your computer. No team or colleagues to talk to.
You also have to think about your work from home situation. Do you have a place at home you can work undistracted from family? You’ll likely need to work at times when they are at home.
Ways around this:
If you don’t want to, or can’t, work at home all of the time, think of other ways to get out of the house. Things like;
- Go to coffee shops
- Find co-working spaces
- Make friends in the blogging space (online or IRL) to work with/ talk to
Not only is it unhealthy to be at home alone all of the time, but it is also nice to connect with other bloggers as well. Not only to expand on blogging opportunities but having a friend that understands what you’re going through it great!
3. ARE YOU SELF-DISCIPLINED ENOUGH?
Time for some tough love here. Not having a boss sounds great. That’s what we’re all after here. Being able to live our life how we want to, on our own terms.
But, it’s time to think critically here and really self-assess. Do some soul searching. Can you actually hold yourself accountable for getting work done? Because at the end of the day, it’s all up to you whether you succeed or fail.
Now it’s easy to answer this question with “yes” and keep moving, but I urge you to really think about this before you waste a lot of money and a lot of time. A blog sounds nice, but it is a business in the end and will require long hours of work.
You’ll see lots of bloggers on Instagram on the beach, selling a life of luxury. I can guarantee you that it is not everyday life. It is hours of plugging away at your computer, searching for the perfect keywords for blog posts. Staring at the graphic until it looks just right, and spending hours of your day marketing your business.
All of that is not getting done on a beach every day, I hate to tell you. So really really think about what it will take to be a blogger, do some research on what we bloggers do all day. Try and get a good idea of what’s ahead, before you take the plunge.
4. CAN YOU HANDLE THE HARDSHIPS AND SETBACKS?
Another thing that you’ll never see from bloggers is the hardships and setbacks they went through to get where they are today. You might hear a summary of how hard they worked, but you’ll never hear the full thing.
I mentioned before the bloggers and influencers who on Instagram who make this life look luxurious, and it can be. I’m definitely not trying to discredit them in any way. They work hard to get where they are, and I look up to many of them as a model for my own business.
However, I don’t want you to think that is the norm. And many of them try to sell it as such. Before you get to the beach in Hawaii you’ll spend countless hours pouring over stats wondering why you had one less view today than you did yesterday. It happens, it’s normal.
As I said, there is no team of people to help you, for the most part. You’ll have your hosting chat if something goes wrong and you can always join blogger facebook groups like mine for help.
But when traffic is down, a strategy isn’t working, or your site crashes. Will you be able to look past the panic and find a solution?
5. ARE YOU TECH-SAVY ENOUGH?
Now I’m not saying you have to be a tech guru in order to run a blog. But you do have to have some knowledge of technology to get a blog up and running.
Most things will be a learn-as-you-go type thing with lots of resources to help you. But when a plugin breaks, would you be able to fix it? When you have to set up an email list would you be patient enough to research how to do it and tech-savvy enough to get it up and running?
Blogging will require a decent knowledge of tech and it’s okay if you don’t know how to do those things now, no one starting a blog will, but you have to have the confidence in yourself that you could figure it out when you get there!
6. DID YOU CREATE A BRAND FOR YOURSELF?
There is a lot that goes into creating a brand, and it is an important part of your business.
Your brand will be what people see when they come to your blog, how they will recognize you on social media, and more.
It all starts with picking your niche. You need to consider
- Picking the right niche
- Do you have enough knowledge to teach the topic
- Could you with a lot of posts about it?
Time to contradict myself a bit here. A brand is important… however. Don’t stress too much about it in the beginning because, while it is important, it can always be changed later if you don’t like it.
In fact, it is good to test out different colors and fonts on your graphics and search for a few themes before you choose the best one. Because your brand will evolve as you do. Once you develop an audience you can see what attracts them most.
Something you should spend a good amount of time on though is your blog name and URL. Those technically can be changed but it is a headache to do, so make sure you pick the right one!
You also want to make sure your name isn’t taken. You can’t have the same website link as someone else! Don’t worry though, it’s easy to test domain names you’ve thought of with Siteground! Siteround is the webhosting I use and highly recommend!
Have a domain name in mind now? Check to see if it’s available here!
7. WHAT WILL YOUR SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
This means a few different things;
- What will your posting schedule look like
- What will your weekly blogging tasks look like
- How much time do you realistically have to work on your blog each week?
You want to set not only how many times a week you plan on posting, but also set a schedule for yourself with your blogging tasks. What tasks do you need to do each week to grow your blog and when will you do them?
The first step to figuring all of that out will be to actually sit down and list the tasks you need to do, then map out how much time you have to work on your blog (outside of work, kids, ect…)
Getting to know a good estimate of time will make it easier to schedule out tasks and use your free time most efficiently. You probably have more free time than you think!
Read next: How to Start Time Blocking your Schedule
8. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET TRAFFIC?
Basically, what you’re trying to do here is get a good blogging plan for yourself. Essentially, it’s a business plan. And one important thing you need for your blog is traffic. So, a logical next step would be figuring out how you are going to get it.
-Promoting on social media
This is the first thing people look to when starting their blogs, and for good reason. Social media is an excellent source of traffic.
Start by creating a content marketing strategy (which is a fancy way of saying plan your social media posts). There is a lot more that goes into it, but that is the basic idea.
-Analyze each social media platform
If you decide to use social media for traffic, which you should, you want to analyze each to figure out what is best for your audience.
Where might your audience be hanging out? If you’re looking to target an arts and crafts audience, Pinterest would be best for you. If you’re a food blogger, maybe Instagram is better.
Whatever you find, it’s best to choose 1-2 platforms and master them before adding to your already-full plate as a blogger.
If you’re struggling with which on to pick, I highly suggest Pinterest! Pretty much every niche is on Pinterest, so it is the perfect place to start!
Need help with Pinterest? Check out my course called Pinterest Simplicity! I go over all the basics of the platform and really help beginners understand how to best use it to bring traffic to your blog!
9. DO YOU HAVE THE MONEY?
Yet another thing we forget to mention in the blogger’s community is how much blogging actually costs. If you didn’t know, blogging costs money.
You can technically start a blog on a free service, however, if you’re looking to start a blog to make money… you’re just wasting your time.
And since we are all here for the business of blogging, it’s important to do some research and find out if you can actually afford it.
Can you afford a hosting service, an email service, a domain? Classes if you choose to take any? (which you should!). If it takes a while to make money (which is likely) are you willing to commit to losing any money before gaining?
10. WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?
A big mistake beginner bloggers make is thinking they can write whatever they want and it will get views. It may sound harsh, but you aren’t writing your blog posts for you.
Your audience doesn’t come to your blog to learn about the problems you have, they have come there to fix their own problems.
So, you need to define your target audience. Who are you writing for? Deciding this will help you narrow down the type of content you create, along with the topics you talk about.
What problems is your audience having that you can help them out with? Those are the types of questions you need to be asking in order to get the traffic you’re looking for.
Read more: How to Create a Reader Profile
11. HOW CAN YOU COLLECT SUBSCRIBERS AND BUILD AN EMAIL LIST?
If you’ve done any research on blogging so far, you likely would have heard of email marketing.
Email marketing is important to start day one because another thing you may have heard of is “the money is in the list”. You don’t have to start with a fancy opt-in or anything crazy like that.
Of course, you can if you want to, but if you have nothing to offer yet a simple sign up asking people to subscribe will be good enough for now.
You may not get a lot of subscribers that way, but in the beginning, I got a good amount this way during my prelaunch!
12. HOW WILL YOU MAKE MONEY?
This is the most important question of them all.
- How you will actually make money in your blogging business
- What products will you sell?
- Will you run ads on your site?
One hot topic among bloggers is if you run ads on your site in the beginning or not. Some say you should wait because you won’t have much traffic and therefore won’t be worth it. Some say Google ads are terrible and wait till you have the traffic for Mediavine.
Me personally, I recommend getting ads on your site ASAP. Monetizing your traffic day one is as easy as setting up ads and forgetting about it! Of course, it will not be much from Google ads. But if you can get literally passive income just from ads day one then why wouldn’t you?
After that, however, it’s time to focus on where the money actually is. Once you set-it-and-forget-it with ads, then focus all of your energy on affiliate marketing.
I will be the first to admit it is not easy to get the hang of, but once you start getting an income it becomes so much easier! After the money starts coming you can turn it into passive income.