Are you thinking about starting a new blog? Are you real new as far as the blogosphere goes? Maybe you’re asking yourself if there’s a point. After all, look at how many people are blogging already. Or maybe you’re asking yourself if you have what it takes to be a blogger.
You have what it takes to be a blogger, and yes, you should jump in. Those aren’t the questions I’m talking about. However, having been in the blogosphere for nearly a year now, there are lots of questions I wish I would have asked myself before taking the plunge. In order to help you avoid jumping into an empty pool, or jumping from one pool to another, I’ve worked up 20 questions that have at various times caused me woe and worry. Do you have answers to these questions?
1. What platform am I going to use? There are a lot of reasons to use each platform, but it’s a good idea to pick one and grow with it. I started on Blogspot, and while I liked it over there it’s not easy for readers to share posts. I moved to WordPress.com and now I’m self-hosted using WordPress.org. That’s a lot of moving around. Do your research and ask questions. People will be honest with you about what platforms they recommend.
2. What is the point of my blog? This takes a lot of noodling, but it’s really important to ask and answer this question before you start plowing away. The point is different from your objective. The point is what your readers will take away.
3. What is your objective? You do need to know what you are aiming for, however. If you begin to blog without a clear objective in mind, everything will sway you hither and yon. Are you after monetization? Subscribers? Comments? All of the above?
4. What is your voice? This will likely evolve over time, but it’s a conversation that should start right away. Ask yourself sub-divisions of this question, such as “Will I swear on my blog site?” “Will I discuss politics?”
5. What is your plan? A lot of people suggest you launch your blog with 50 posts back-dated to a reasonable point in time. I’m not 100% convinced this will make or break your process, but it certainly reveals if you have 50 topics in your pocket to begin with. Creating an editorial calendar is a really good idea!
6. How often will you blog? It’s a very good idea to start early with expectations for yourself and your readers regarding how often you will blog. Start perhaps a bit lower than you think you’ll end up. That’s an easier transition than dropping off, which can send a negative message.
7. How are you going to promote? When I first started blogging, I posted a blog, tweeted it out once, and that was the end of that post. This was not the best methodology. Find your comfort zone, but don’t make it so comfortable that no one hears you.
8. What is your comment policy? Comments can become a very touchy subject with your readers, especially if you say something like “I will respond to every comment” and then you don’t. Be very clear in your own head what your policy on comments will be. That’s the only way you can make it clear to your readers.
9. How is your blog name going to relate to other Social Media channels? There are a lot of opinions about this. I’ve always been a strong believer in using the same name across all Social Media channels so that I can continue conversations with people from one platform to another. There’s probably not a wrong or right answer, but you should have your answer.
10. Is the blog your personal blog, your business blog, or both? This can be a very tricky question because so many of experience life always tinted with work. How can we divide the two? If you are blogging for or on behalf of a business, consider that your clients, co-workers, and competitors will have access to whatever you say.
11. How will you handle unpleasant comments? One always hopes that this will remain a hypothetical, but sometimes it does not. It’s important to have a plan in your head as to how you will deal with these scenarios so that you’re prepared.
12. How will you handle a huge amount of traffic? On the other side of the coin, it’s good to prepare for good news, too. What if a big name retweets your post, sending tons of traffic to your site? Are you set up to handle lots of traffic?
13. Will you want to Vlog? Video is fast becoming a hot tool in the blogosphere. Do you foresee a time when you will want to vlog on occasion? Make sure you are equipped to do so, and with relative ease!
14. How will you build your readership? Even the blogs with the highest amount of traffic started at 0 subscribers and 0 readers. How did they get to where they are? How do you want to bring people to your site? Will you use LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? All of the above? This is different from simply promoting – this is attracting people to your site for the long haul.
15. How will you know you’re succeeding? This is different from achieving your objective. This is a series of benchmarks that will let you know if you’re on the right track or not. It could be a mark in Google Analytics, a certain number of comments per week, or something else.
16. What will you do when you achieve your objective? Let’s say the best thing in the world happens and you meet your key objective, whether that’s getting a new business off the ground or making a certain amount of money. Are you going to just stop? What comes next in your blog’s story?
17. Will you blog on other peoples’ sites? Guest blogging is a hot topic these days. There are a lot of great reasons to do it. There are a lot of reasons not to as well. What are you thinking at this point?
18. Will you let other people blog on your site? After asking yourself all of these questions and puzzling over the answers, it’s easy to feel protective of your blog baby. Will you overcome that and share your new platform with other people?
19. How will you show your readers appreciation? This is a bit different from the comments question. But you will soon discover who your most loyal readers are. How will you show them your gratitude for their support? Will you mention them in posts now and then? Will you help promote their blogs? Remember, in Social Media, give to get, and give when you get.
20. What other questions do you have? I mentioned I’m just about a year into my blogging journey. I am finding new questions almost every day. Do I want to add Disqus to my site? Should I update my design? Is my subscription stuff working properly? Should I try new things for my subscribers? Never think that the learning process is done. There’s always something new.
What other questions would you add to the mix? Did any of these questions help you realize that you have questions? Let me know in the comments section. I’ll be more than happy to help!
Image by diego medrano. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/coscurro