If you’re not thinking about these seven things before you start your blog, then you potentially are setting yourself up for failure. Time and time again, I’ve seen people quit working on their blog because they weren’t able to answer each of these questions.
So in this article, we’re going to dig into what these seven questions are and how you can answer them for yourself.
Question 1: Is there existing demand?
The first question to answer for yourself is whether or not there is already existing demand for the topic that you’re interested in. This is going to be all about the keyword research and there are a ton of different ways that you can do so. You can use free tools such as just using Google autocomplete and looking at things like the people also ask section as well as the related searches. You can also use pay tools like SEMRush to quickly identify different longtail competitive opportunities for you to target content marketing pieces around.
If you’re looking for some extra help as to how to use SEMRush, you can check out my prior videos on my channel in which I go over a step-by-step tutorial as to how to use this tool effectively. The main thing that you want to identify though, is whether or not there is enough existing demand around the topic that you’re interested in creating a blog around to create another blog for this space.
In the situation which you are thinking about blending one or two different areas, look at the combined aggregate demand to see whether or not there is this opportunity.
Question 2: What does the competition look like?
The next question you want to be able to answer for yourself is what is your competition look like? As you start to do your keyword research, you’re going to start to identify two or three different competing websites that are already established in your space. So what you want to figure out from looking at these websites is what are they doing well and what could they be doing even better?
Say, for example, you’re looking at a review site and you notice they’re really good at giving overviews of items, but they don’t really go into in depth comparisons between different items in different categories.
From making this observation, you could potentially identify an opportunity in a particular niche to fill in a content gap that exists in the marketplace. In fact, this is how wirecutter.com got their earliest start. What they were really good at was identifying high end products that they could spend hours testing and then figure out how to summarize that information to different types of demographics.
For example, the top overall pick, the pick for people that wanted to buy the most expensive thing, and the pick for people that were a little bit more cost-conscious. In these earliest days, it wasn’t uncommon for Wirecutter to share the hundreds of hours that they would spend in each of these posts to make sure that you were choosing the right one for you.
And clearly this method to creating content worked because Wirecutter ended up selling to the New York Times for over $30 million. As you answer this question for yourself as to what the competition looks like, what you want to think about are two or three different ways that you could potentially stand out from the competition that exists today.
Question 3: How are you going to host your blog?
The third question you’re going to want to answer for yourself is how are you going to host your blog? This is all about answering the question of what toolset are you going to use to best position your blog for success in the years ahead. In most situations, you’re going to need a content management system or a CMS to help you manage the articles that you’re creating.
Overall, most people start with WordPress these days. That being said, there are more new age CMSs that are growing in popularity, such as Ghost that you might want to check out. You might also find it helpful to start on a site like Medium or Substack if you’re not yet ready to run your own hosting and learn how to set up a website.
The important thing here is to focus on what works for you. And don’t spend too much time worrying on this because you can always change this later on. That said my personal recommendation is for you to set up a WordPress site in which you use generate press for your theme coupled with Elementor as your website builder. These two things are super flexible and allow you to have a really fast site, which allows your site to then be indexed really quickly by Google as well as allows you to have a ton of customizability if you need to tweak certain things on your site.
For registering my domains, I personally use Namecheap. And then for actual hosting, I like to use Cloudways. The reason why Cloudways is so much better than other hosts like Bluehost or HostGator is because you actually get a dedicated server that you can scale really quickly with in the case where your blog starts to get a lot more traffic.
Question 4: What’s your writing workflow going to look like?
The next question to answer for yourself is what is your writing flow going to be? What is it going to take for you to be consistent with your blog? This is ultimately what spells the failure of most blogs that don’t gain any traction. The inability to consistently create new content every single week.
When you answer this question, you’re going to want to think about your drafting process. Perhaps, for example, you want to set up a Kanban board in Notion or Trello, just so that you can see the progress of different ideas as they go from in progress to ready for review to publish and so on. As you answer this question, you’re also going to want to think about whether you’re going to be writing every single post, or if you’re going to be hiring a team to help you out in scaling your content.
Aside from just writers, you’re going to want to consider whether or not you need an editor to proofread anything that you’re going to be publishing. My personal recommendation is that you just start in write the first five content ideas that you have in mind. By doing so, you’re going to have some form of a process, which then you can take a step back and reflect on.
And as you reflect on your process, you’ll be able to identify where you would potentially need to introduce tooling or bring in other people to help you scale your blog. I’ve always found it easiest to build systems only after you’ve gone through a process from start to finish. Because it’s only by going through that entire process that you’re able to start to think about different ways you could be more efficient.
Question 5: How are you going to sustain your blog?
The next question to answer for yourself is how are you going to sustain your blog? And this is a question that will really depend on what your end goal is for your blog. If you’re trying to, for example, build a side hustle income, or build yourself into becoming a part-time or full-time blogger, then your goals are going to be completely different than a person that might just be creating their blog because they want to share their thoughts with the world.
My main piece of advice here, though, is that if you want to monetize your blog in some sort of way in the future, do think about that before you start your blog. I find that too often people don’t even think about the different ways that they are going to monetize their blog before they get started. So they never actually are working towards some sort of goal in seeing how they could be successful in monetizing their blog.
There are a ton of different ways that you can make money blogging. For example, you can make money from just joining display ad networks. In my opinion, the best display ad networks at the time of this article are AdThrive, Mediavine, and Ezoic. These three networks typically pay significantly more than Google AdSense.
You can also monetize by making physical or digital products and courses, and you can monetize through affiliate marketing by linking back to stores like Amazon, Best Buy or Walmart. Some bloggers also monetize through sponsorships and then other bloggers offer service packages in which they solve a particular problem that they write about on their blog.
In the case for a monetization isn’t important to you, you’re going to want to figure out what you need to see in terms of success in order to sustain your motivation to keep creating new valuable pieces for your readers. The reason why I say this is because if, for example, you’ve written a hundred posts and you have no intentions to monetize your blog, but you don’t feel like you have the audience that you wanted in the very beginning of when you began your blog, then you’re going to start to lose your intrinsic motivation over time.
And it’s when that intrinsic motivation dwindles that you will feel less and less compelled to continue working on your blog, even though your next breakthrough could have been one month later, if you had just stuck to it.
For this question, the main thing I’d leave you off with is you don’t necessarily need to have everything figured out in terms of how you’re going to monetize your blog. However, if you are intending to do so, try to start thinking about different ways you could make money before you actually get started.
Question 6: How are you going to measure success?
This is arguably the most important question of these seven questions we’ll go over today.
And the reason why is because this is what’s going to keep you going when things get super dark in your blogging days. It’s also important to note that the answer to this question is different for everybody. Like I mentioned, some people just create blogs because they want to share their thoughts with the world whereas other people have goals of wanting to become either part-time bloggers or even full-time bloggers.
Whatever the case is for you it’s important that you craft micro goals that support that end goal that you ultimately want. For example, if you want to make a hundred dollars from your blog every single week, maybe you identify that releasing content a few times a week is the key to do so.
If that’s the case, then you’d want to set some sort of weekly content goal in which you create two or three articles every single week. So your annual goal would be to potentially create a hundred new articles of quality content. And that would be the goal that you would set for yourself at the beginning of the year and track yourself and hold yourself accountable to as you work through the rest of the year. Whatever you end up, setting your goal for, I recommend that you make it as smart as possible. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive.
Question 7: What will you do if you don’t achieve your initial goals?
The seventh question you should ask yourself before you start your blog is what will you do if you don’t hit your initial goal? The reason why I recommend you answer this question before you actually get star on your blog is just so you have some sort of a sanity check in the case where things don’t go according to plan. For my past experiences of building tons of blogs and websites, I have found that it typically takes two to three times longer than you hope that it will take in order to build up a meaningful following.
So the reason why I tell you to answer this question before you get started is just that you have a better understanding of how to stay realistic towards your goals, as well as when you will know whether or not it’s time to hang things up. There have been times in which I’ve been building a blog that doesn’t get a meaningful following after over 12 months of working on it and it’s time to simply move on.
Whereas in other situations, there have been cases in which simply working on that blog for another six months was enough to see some sort of bigger goal get achieved. So the main thing for you to figure out here is how are you going to manage your expectations as you start to work on your blog?
There are two things I want you to remember from this article:
- The first one is always form a basic plan before you start your blog. Too often, I find that people jump right into buying some tooling, some hosting and things like that. They don’t actually have the semblance of a plan as to what they’re going to be doing in their first 30 days of blogging. As a result, they end up losing motivation super quickly, and they have a ton of tools that they end up paying for that they don’t actually use.
- The second big takeaway is to remember, to share your unique perspective. Everybody has a special take on something and it’s that special take that differentiates one site from the rest of the pack. So try to avoid just making another blog that answers the same question in the same exact way as all the other competitors. There is a chance in which you can rank for that and you can continue to build your site that way, but you will reach an upper cap as to your limit just because your value proposition is no different than what was already available on the market.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you know that might benefit from learning how to write a blog post for beginners.