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Preplan Your Blog for Success

by DamienR (follow)
Photographer and writer.
Blog (1)      Planning (1)      Instructional (1)     
A blog can be many things - a personal diary, a way of showcasing a product or service, even a way to make new friends – but its success is always dependent on the blogs contributors and designers. Bloggers often want to jump right in and they figure readers will follow them as the blog matures. Sometimes this is true, but more often then not, the newness of a blog shows. Readers can see it, and that often translates into readers not returning. With a little bit of preplanning, your blog can launch with a professional look and feel that will make readers feel comfortable, and make them want to return to your blog to read post after post.

Success isn't a one way road, but a trudge through the hills

Running your own Blog

Many bloggers start off going it alone. They build their blog, contribute all posts and photos, run their entire social media campaign and much, much more. This can be super challenging, particularly if you don’t want to invest any money into your project right off the bat. It is not however, impossible. With the right research and the right plan, a single person blog can be very successful, but you will have to realize that there will be a steep learning curve. Be ready to challenge yourself and be committed. The main reason to create a blog on your own is to have complete control of your project. You won’t have to wait on other team members to complete tasks, if you want to make changes to the design, you don’ have to check other teams members. It can be a daunting task, but the rewards are all yours.

Blogging for Teams

Creating or working with a team can really help a blog take off, but it also comes with it’s own set of complications. Preplanning when working with a team is vital. Each team member must understand the goal of the blog, designers have to target their audience, contributors must know what tone to use when writing, and so on. The major bonus to having a team is the distribution of work. More posts can be submitted. Dedicated designers mean that adjustments can be made on the fly. With a team all working towards the same goal, a blog will grow faster than with a single person.

Is it better for you to take on a project by yourself, or work with a team?

What is the Purpose of your Blog

Every blog has a purpose and that purpose should be explored before a blog is launched. Having a good understanding of what the blog will become will stop needless additional work in future. Here are a few questions that will help flesh out the reason you want this blog to exist online:

What niche will this blog fill?
Do I have a specific message I want people to hear?
Am I creating this blog for personal reasons, business reasons or both?
Will this blog be monetized? If so, how?
What kind of audience am I trying to reach? For this question, think of both the age group and social group you are targeting.
What kind of content will my blog post? Written posts, photos essays, video, all of the above?

always have your audience in mind

Choosing a Blogging Platform

There are all kinds of platforms to choose from when it comes to blogs. If you find you’ve chosen the wrong platform, it can always be changed, but this will take additional time and effort. Every blog will look and feel a little different, but there are some telltale signs that certain platforms have been used. This is not altogether a bad thing, many people identify with certain platforms or networks like Wordpress or Blogger. Here are a few questions to ask yourself or your team before getting started:

What kind of look do you want your blog to have?
Do you want your own domain or should your blog become part of a network like Hubpages or Orble?
How much control do you want over the backend of the site?
Which social media networks will you use to expand your readership? Will those networks have buttons on your blog?
Will the blog have advertising? Should that advertising be click based or CPM based?
Will the site have product banners?
How will readers navigate the site?

Checklists are a great thing for bloggers

Tone When Blogging

You might be shocked at how important it is to decide on a tone for your blog. The tone will set the scene for your reader and readers enjoy a particular type of tone will return while those who don’t care for the tone you use won’t. You can’t please everyone, but if you please a reader once, you want to continue to please them by using the same tone. So what is tone? It is the style of writing you use in your blog posts. The tone can be conversational, personal – like a diary entry, informational like a textbook, or instructional. It’s all up to you. No matter which tone you choose, if your writing is smooth, than some readers will appreciate it and return. So here are a few questions regarding to tone:

What tone will resonate best with my target audience?
Is that tone one I enjoy employing in my writing? If no, what compromises can I make?
What kind of other media will work well with the tone of my writing? Ie. Photos, videos, animated gifs, etc.

Reach your audience
The right tone will help you reach your audience

Plan Your Blog for the Future

Understanding where you want your blog in a month time, or in six month, or a year from now can drastically help in making the right decisions while preplanning. Creating targets is important in helping your blog to succeed, but these targets should not be in regard to traffic. There are certainly ways to hedge your bets when it comes to traffic, like extensive social media campaigns or thorough keyword research for each post, but the truth is, there is no real way to gauge how much traffic you will bring in. Stick to goals you can control, like how much content you want on your blog each month and how many guest posts you want to have. Keep your goals small at first. Making goals attainable is a great way to stay motivated.

A detailed plan can be the first step to a successful blog.

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