Planning your blog from the beginning will save you time and headaches.
One thing I’ve learned is that no one feels comfortable when they first start blogging. If your shopping cart doesn’t include a blog, you might want to get your feet wet slowly by creating a trial blog at one of the free, simple to use blogging sites such as blogger.com.
This is true of so many people who start blogging. They don’t know what to write about. They don’t know what to say or how to say it. They don’t have time to make regular posts. I’ll discuss what I’ve learned about how to prevent this meltdown in a later post. But before we get into all the bells and whistles or the technical aspects of building a blog that will draw traffic, let’s start with the basics.
Before starting your blog, you should consider what your goals are. If you want it to be a money making blog within itself, it will be set up differently than a blog that is meant to send traffic to your e-commerce sites.
Whether you already have a blog or are considering starting one, you’ll save yourself a lot of time if you consider some of the following:
Who is Your Target Audience
Think about who will be reading your blog. A tech-savvy reader is more likely to understand and use such things as RSS than a mom who is looking for favors for a kid’s party. If your readers are business owners or corporate execs in a hurry, they’ll skim through your post looking quickly for the meat of it. If your goal is to sell products, how do you reach the readers who are ready and willing to buy those products?
Your target market will determine the layout and graphics of your blog, your content and even your writing style.
If you already have a blog, look at it and see if it is attracting the kind of audience you want? Is your audience clicking through to the products that you are trying to sell with your posts, if that is your intent? What image are you portraying and are you happy with it?
Plan Your Blog From the Very Beginning
Most of us started our first blogs by just launching it and hoping for the best with no thought of my goals, search engines or target market. We just wrote about anything that we wanted to write about. But planning your blog from the very beginning will eliminate a lot of problems and mistakes that can hurt you as far as ranking in the search engines.
Some things to consider when planning your blog are:
What was it going to be called?
Who is your target audience?
How frequently are you going to try to post to your blog?
What will be your writing style for the blog?
What topics will you cover?
What advertising, if any, will you allow on the blog?
- Will you only recommend your own products or perhaps add affiliate products as well?
Will you write all the posts, pay someone to write them, or encourage guest posts?
Think carefully about the name of your blog. Once you’ve established an audience, you don’t want to change that name. I had a blog that was a combination of business, personal, and information about my community in Flagstaff, Arizona. That blog was named “Flagstaff Woman.” I soon discovered that the name was too limiting as my market and audience was much larger than Flagstaff. And trying to combine a variety of information into one blog created a haphazard blog. I decided that the domain name “Flagstaff Woman” just wasn’t right for that blog.
That is when I got serious about blogging. That original blog was set aside. But to begin anew, I selected a domain name (giftbusinessowners.com) that reflected my target audience, chose a template that included places for ads for my gift business websites and other products that I trusted enough to promote, and made a list of some of the topics I wanted to cover.
Even that wasn’t the final blog. As I realized that even giftbusinessowners was too broad a target market, I zeroed in on what I was most familiar with — gift basket business owners. I already owned and operated a directory for the gift basket industry at giftbasketnetwork.com so that seemed to be the ideal place for the blog. And this is the blog that you are reading now.
I have since eliminated the directory with the idea in the back of my mind that I may add it back on at a later date. But I recently made the decision that the primary focus of this website was to be information about starting and growing a gift basket business. But I wanted a uniquely-different name for the blog portion of this website and Gift Basket Business Insider was born. What you are reading today is a post from Gift Basket Business Insider.
But that is now. And, unless you are already a successful blogger, you are at the stage I was at when I started my earlier blogs.
If you’ve never blogged before, I suggest that you go to one of the free sites (blogger.com, wordpress.com, blogspot are several) and set up a blog for yourself. The process is easy. Don’t worry about choosing a fancy template. This is going to be your learning blog. I did this for two of my very early blogs and learned a lot about blogging and myself.
Make a list of things that you want to blog about and then separate them into categories. Blog categories are like chapters in a book. A reader can click on one of the categories and will see any posts that you’ve assigned to that category. Just as in your e-commerce website, categories make it easy for your readers to find what they’re looking for.
Then choose a category and start writing.
Nothing is set in stone. You can always change and even delete a post that you’ve written. If, at a later date, you want to add your blog to your ecommerce website, you can do that as well. Or if you already have an ecommerce website, it probably has a blog portion. Just start blogging there.