If you’re first starting out a blog, chances are you’ve either done tons of research about it, or you’re just going in blindfolded. Nothing wrong with either of them, except if you’ve researched you may have seen the scary statistic saying “most blogs fail within their first three months.” If you don’t keep up with your blog, it probably will. That’s just common sense. But in the case that you want your blog to succeed, let’s talk about how to achieve your blog writing goals and stay afloat for more than just three months.
First, let’s start out by figuring out why blogs fail. There isn’t a plague or anything like that floating around and killing off new bloggers. These bloggers just haven’t prepared themselves for the adventure they’re about to go on. Think of it like hikers going on a 7 day trip and only bringing 5 days worth of food. Where did their planning go wrong, and how realistic are their expectations of making it all 7 days?
Blogs fail because:
You have to keep writing without any promises of return and do this for awhile. Blogs are hard work, so be ready for that and you will do great!
Like any healthy relationship, you need commitment. Taking on a blog doesn’t mean just giving it a little love every now and again. You have to put in the time and effort for your blog (and its followers) to love you back!
So how do you do it? What does it take to keep up with a blog?
Don’t think that after you post a couple times your audience is going to grow overnight and your blog is going to go viral. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to stay consistent and work up to it. Find a blogging routine that works best for you based off of how frequently you want to post, your post writing process and how you format the post. If you’re just beginning, try a few different methods. You’ll find your blog writing groove eventually, and once you do, make it a habit.
Let’s say you’re going to run a marathon. You don’t just wake up one day and register and go for it. You train yourself with mini mile goals along the way. Maybe you’ll start out with 3 miles, then 7 miles, 13 miles, and so on. You get the point. Same goes for your blog.
You have to set goals to get somewhere. Otherwise you’re just blogging all willy nilly with no place to go. To set the best goals, read one of our previous posts on how to make your goals SMART.
Maybe your goal is to post 10 times a month. Let’s think about it like the marathon example. To get to 10 posts a month, consider building up to that goal. Maybe post once a week for your first month, twice a week for your second month, and so on. Remember, each blog post may take between 2-6 hours to get it right, so set a goal that matches the amount of time you have available. Through practice you’ll get more efficient at writing your blogs which should free up time for you to fit more into your schedule. You’ll be able to achieve your big goals once you make small ones and know what you’re capable of. Make a plan.
Why 10 posts and not 5? Well, it really comes down to building your brand’s identity online. Once you have a devoted following, they want to see your content often. Also, to rank higher in search results, search engines look for consistent activity on your blog. So pretty much, don’t let down your fans and don’t let down the master of the Internet.
On a side note, it’s also important to track your blog’s success. You can do this through Google Analytics to how many people are actually reading your posts. Using data can help you choose what topics to talk about in your blog posts. If you find there is a certain topic that does better than others, post about that topic more. That’s what people are interested, and that’s what will keep people coming back to your blog.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It’s hard to sit down and start writing without having a specific guideline of what you’re doing. This kind of goes back to finding your blog writing system. To do this, create tasks of what you need to get done. A rough outline could be:
That’s the process I take my blog posts through, but again, find what works best for you. Make your tasks specific enough so you know exactly what needs to get done. Then you can work from the task list like a template and fill in the blanks to build a quality post.
It’s hard to start something new when you don’t have a support system. Whether it’s someone within your company, a spouse, family member or even a friend, you need someone to support your blog along the way. This support can come in various ways, such as:
Plus, if you have supportive people willing to help you succeed with your blog, they’re most likely people who will help you succeed in a lot of other things! Double win.
Once your audience starts growing, it doesn’t mean it’s time for you to slow down. Some people think, “Oh, I have my followers, so I don’t have to work as hard.” Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s completely false; it’s quite opposite. Now that you have followers who enjoy your content, you have to work hard to keep those followers. This means figuring out what your audience likes best and what information they’re looking for when coming to your blog. You can find this out by doing surveys, or just reviewing your blog’s data to see which posts are performing better than others. But whatever you do, don’t stop posting. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
You’ve planned and planned to get your blog going, so don’t stop planning. Use a blog editorial calendar or a content management schedule to stay on track with what you’re going to post and when. We plan out our posts months ahead, so we know exactly what we need to get done and when. It’s hard to upkeep a blog while just flying by the seat of your pants. So, planning and more planning makes for a successful blog.
“By failing to prepare, your are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Now that you have a general idea of how to build up your blog, the rest should be a breeze. Just don’t forget to plan and make realistic goals. In the meantime, keep up to date with our posts about creating better blogs. Judging by our editorial calendar, like the one you’re going to start for your own blog, we have quite a few blog growing tips coming up. Stay tuned!