How To Know You’re Ready To Start A Blog
I’ve started a lot of failed blogs in my time.
You see, I frustrate very easily. I’ve also never really managed my need for instant gratification. Working without any promise of reward is kind of tough for me, especially when there are plenty of projects on my plate that do guarantee payment.
I’ve also chased niches that I wasn’t passionate about because I thought, “I can write about that and it looks like something that will make money.” Later, I discovered that I hated those niches, and I didn’t necessarily want to be known for those areas of expertise.
Trying to get to know the communities in those niches wasn’t much fun either. I didn’t like reading those blogs and I didn’t feel like I had anything to contribute to the conversation.
So I know a thing or two about not being ready to start a blog.
And since there are so many other failed blogs out there, I know I’m not alone. Fortunately, my mentor Travis Van Slooten gave me an opportunity I’d never had before. As a freelance writer I’d done lots of one-off projects, but Travis gave me the chance to work on some blogs full-time, week after week, in a way that would let me see results.
This experience gave me the opportunity to learn what it takes to start a really successful blog. It’s sort of a “are you really ready to do this” and “is this the right opportunity” checklist that anyone can use to decide whether or not they’ve hit on the right idea.
Are you willing to put in six months of focused effort before seeing any results?
It will take at least six months of posting twice a week to start seeing your traffic make it into the thousands instead of the “low hundreds.” When your traffic is in the thousands you begin to realize that this blogging thing might just have a chance of working out after al.
The exact numbers will depend on how much work you put into promoting your site, and how good you are at focusing on long-tail keywords. But in general, traffic jumps a little bit every time you add new content, so consistently adding new articles matters.
It also takes about six months to actually hit your stride. It takes about six months before you’ll really feel comfortable enough to reach out to the greater blog community and to interact with other voices in your niche.
It takes about six months to create posts that aren’t quite so stiff. It takes that much time to create posts that have a little bit of personality and pizzazz, because it takes about that long to get confident.
It takes about six months to build out your site enough for people to take it seriously, to know that this is not just another failed blog project that will be gone tomorrow.
After six months you may well be able to think about things like monetization. You’ll have accomplished something, and you can ask yourself whether you’ve had enough fun along the way to work your plan for another six months.
Do I like and know this topic well enough?
Remember, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with this topic. Enough to write at least 48 posts every six months.
If you’re really serious, you’ll also plan on writing at least 24 guest posts every six months (if not more). You’ll need to spend an hour or two reading the leading blogs in your niche. You’ll also need to comment on and share their content. Oh, and did I mention all the time you’ll be spending talking about it on social media sites?
If you don’t love the topic or know the topic it’s over before you’ve begun. Remember, you’re not guaranteed a reward in six months either. It might take 2 or 3 years to make your blog make some kind of a living.
You’d better wake up every morning wanting to talk about this stuff.
When will I work on this?
You now have some idea of the workload. When will you devote time to this? What will you sacrifice?
You’ll sacrifice something. For some people that will be a day off. For others it will be thirty minutes of time on television shows or video games. But this project will require a sacrifice.
What will you give it, and is the prospect exciting?
Can you add something to the conversation?Make sure there are other blogs that cover this topic – if nobody’s talking about something chances are good that it’s a bit too niche to work.
Now, what are those blogs saying? Can you add something to the conversation that’s unique and distinct? “Me too” isn’t going to cut it.