Before starting any blog, there are several steps that we all know are necessary. You must obviously know what you’re going to be writing about. You have to purchase a domain name. You’ll need an ecommerce blog template or custom design. You’ll need hosting. But those basic steps aren’t enough. Once you’re done with those general steps, there is still more to be done. There are more, strategic steps that are just as important.
It’s not enough just to know your blog name and hosting site. You must also plan out things like objectives, category structure, keywords to target, etc. You’ll do these steps after you’re done choosing what your blog is going to be about, who it’s for, etc. After that planning, it’s time to get some work done. It’s time to really build the foundation of your blog, and do some prep work before you’re ready to start blogging.
Here are 11 vital strategic steps to take before starting any blog: Don’t skip any of these. If you want a successful blog, they are just as important as knowing what you are going to blog about.
1. Set Project Objectives
You know the big picture, now it’s time to get more specific. Set specific goals for your blog. What exactly are you trying to get out of it? Then, set specific objectives that coincide with those goals. Break it down as much as you need to in order to have steps and objectives to help you reach your goals.
2. Set a Content Schedule
You know what you will be writing about, but how often will you be writing? When exactly will you be doing the writing? These are good questions to answer ahead of time. When planning for your blog, determine ahead of time how often, and when, you will be writing. Whether it is every day from 11-6, after your normal job each day, on the weekends, etc, plan this out ahead of time. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you will write when you find time for it. If it isn’t a scheduled priority it won’t happen. Set a schedule and stick to it. Accountability and consistency are key if you want to find success with your blog.
3. Identify Target Keywords
Identify 6-12 keywords/phrases that you want to target. These are the main words/phrases that you will be trying to rank high in Google for. At this point in the planning process, you should know your niche and target audience. Your keywords/phrases should reflect that. Especially if this is a new blog, I recommend at least starting out with more niche/long tail terms and going after those first. Your keywords can get more aggressive (competitive) as your blog grows.
4. Choose Your Category Structure
You probably won’t know up front what all of your categories are going to be, especially as your blog continues to grow. But identifying them as best as you can is important. Identify the main 5-10 topics you will be covering on your blog. If you need, you can take a look at the keywords you plan on targeting to help get you started with this step.
5. Select Calls to Action
Think about the Primary Objectives you set in step one. Now identify a few calls to action that will help guide your readers to do the things that will help you reach those goals. Guiding them to purchase, fill out, click, or comment can really help you meet your goals. Identify your calls to action and then incorporate them into your blog design and blog content.
6. Set KPI’s
Set Key Performance Indicators for your blog. What are the metrics you will use to evaluate your content’s success? Again, you’ll want to take a look at your blog’s Primary Objectives are. Depending on what your blog’s objectives are, you can determine how to measure if your blog is meeting to objectives. Some KPI’s for blogs could include things like visits, page views, bounce rate, percent of new visitors, click-throughs, conversions, revenue from conversions, etc. You don’t want to look at too many metrics at once, so I’d recommend starting with just a few. The idea here is to set some specifics metrics you can take a look at to see how your blog is doing in meeting its goals.
7. Create a Linking/Conversion Strategy
It is good to know ahead of time what your strategy is for links and conversions is going to be. How are links going to work on your blog? How many ads are you going to have on your blog? What type of ads are you going to use? Where are the ads going to go? How are you going to get conversions? Plan all of this out. Incorporate ad placement, calls to action, etc in this plan.
8. Set Findability Strategies
With all the effort you’ll be putting into to writing your blog, you will want to try to have it be found by the most people possible. That is also the way you will reach your business goals of your blog. So you will need to create strategies to help your blog get found. This could include Social Media efforts, infographics, posting videos on YouTube, etc.
9. Find Major Sources
Believe it or not, you don’t know everything. Not even in the area in which you are an “expert.” So, find some other sources within your niche that you can learn from. Odds are there are many sources out there that you could reference to learn, get ideas from, network with, etc. Find a few of these to start with, and continue to search for more as you go along. The more resources you have, the better.
10. Content Maintenance System
As your blog ages, some of your older posts might become outdated. Create a system up front in which you will audit your content. Create a content maintenance plan. Decide ahead of time how often you will audit your content. Decide what you will do with outdated content. This will make sure that every visitor will always find up-to-date and relevant content.
11. Identify Workflow
Most blogs start out with just you as the writer. But sometimes as they grow, the blogger will choose to bring someone else on to help write content. When there is more than one person working on the blog, who will do the research? Who will do the writing? Who will do the posting? Does content need to be approved first? Get all of these things figured out before you bring anyone else on to help. Decide what all of the researching, writing, publishing, and marketing processes will be, and who will be in charge of what.
If you are trying to create a successful blog, it is not sufficient to just know what you are going to be writing about. A successful blog is based upon a whole lot more than just that. You must also plan what your goals are with your blog, how often you will write, some sources you can reference, keywords you want to target, etc. So, before getting to the writing, take a few minutes and complete these steps. Planning and figuring these things ahead of time can make all the difference in creating a successful blog. If you put in the proper preparation ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of frustration in the future.
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About Guest Author:
This article was written by Chase Sagum. For more articles on Content Strategy you can check out his Organic Internet Marketing blog content on ChaseSagum.com.