This guest post is by Nathalie Lussier of The Website Checkup Tool.
Here’s a harsh nugget of truth for you.
Once you get this, your blog will not only take off, it will become way more profitable. Are you ready for it?
Here it is: You don’t need more how-to’s or to-do’s… You need priorities.
As bloggers and business owners, we’re constantly introduced to cool new tricks, strategies, and techniques to grow. There’s just so much information, much of it competing, about what you need to do to make it big online.
Think webinars, SEO, social media, magic beans, WordPress plugins, guest posting, YouTube videos, list building, product launches, silver bullets, Facebook ads, Pinterest, contests, joint ventures… The list is endless.
You know you have a ton of options when it comes to growing your blog and making more money online. You just don’t have enough hours in the day to implement all of them. Not to mention that some of these tactics are likely to work better for some markets, some personalities, and some stages of development than others.
The answer you’ve been looking for is not another silver bullet, or another cool marketing strategy. It’s simple, it’s free, and it works.
How to establish the right priorities for your blog
Okay, priorities. That sounds good, but unless you’ve built a successful blog before you might not know how to set them properly.
It’s easy to model another business owner or famous blogger and just try to do what they do, because it seems to be working for them. But you need to remember that we’re all on different paths, with different experiences, and different blogs.
Unique blogs and businesses require unique priorities and strategies to be wildly profitable.
My aim here is to help you figure out what you need to do, in what order of importance, so that you’re not putting the cart before the horse.
The first step to figuring out your priorities is to take a quick assessment of where your blog and business are currently.
Let’s look at a few questions that you can quickly jot down an answer to:
- Do you have a blog or website that you’re proud to send people to?
- Are there enough people visiting your blog on a regular basis?
- Do people join your email list on a consistent basis?
- Are you blogging on a regular schedule that feels comfortable for you?
- Have you built a network of likeminded bloggers that you can support and be supported by?
- Does your blog employ SEO and/or are the right people finding your blog?
- Do you have a social media presence that engages your audience and spreads your influence?
Alright, so these questions might be pushing your buttons, but they’re not meant to make you feel bad if you don’t have all of these items in place.
On the contrary, it’s important to know what you are doing and what you still haven’t gotten to, because this will inform what your priorities and schedule looks like.
What should I do first? How to decide on your top priority
I’m often asked by my clients and readers what should come first when you’re starting up a blog or online business. Do you get the website up, look for clients and customers, guest post, set up social media profiles..? I mean, it’s all so overwhelming, so how can you get it all done?
It might feel like you need to have all of these things done simultaneously, preferrably last week. But it is possible to grow a blog by taking it one step at a time. In fact, it is the only way to grow a blog.
Everyone’s blogging journey is going to be different, but here is my recommendation for establishing your priorities.
The very first thing you need to focus on when you’re building a blog is setting up your web foundation or hub. That means your blog and website, and I recommend that you get your own domain name and hosting. Then get yourself a WordPress installation and theme.
Do not spend thousands on a design quite yet, because your blog’s direction may change as you evolve.
Next, it’s time to start honing your voice by writing or creating video for your blog. I don’t recommend overcommitting to creating a ton of content just yet. Especially since your blog might not have the audience to warrant spending a ton of time in creation mode. Once you do reach a certain audience size, then it makes sense to commit to a consistent blogging schedule.
Finally, outreach comes next. Once you have your blog as a hub, you’ve practiced writing and have a bit of content on your site, it’s time to bring people into your sphere.
The outreach part is definitely where things can get hairy, so I suggest picking one or two things that you will get really good at and focusing on those.
Take, for example, two strategies that you might want to focus on: guest posting and SEO. Another set of strategies might be social media and webinars. Yet another might be joint ventures and advertising.
Just pick two!
Doing more than two types of outreach will not only burn you out, but will have you spread so thin you won’t be getting the results you’re looking for.
Now that you have all three steps handled, it’s time to iterate. The more people who come into your world and read your blog, the more clarity you will have around your topic and direction, which will inform your site’s design. This in turn will shift your writing and voice, and help you decide where to spend more time in outreach—whether that’s specific sites or strategies.
Rinse and repeat, and keep those priorities tight.
Write ’em out, and stick to your priorities
Now that you know what steps to take to really grow your blog’s online presence, you need to write out your priorities. If you don’t have your plan and priorities down in digital ink then you might as well go back to throwing spaghetti at the wall.
Keep your priorities front and center as you go about your daily tasks. If something falls into a non-priority activity list, then it’s time to take it off your todo list. If a cool new system or marketing tool comes out, ask yourself if it fits in your priorities.
I guarantee you will go much further by mastering just two outreach strategies, focusing on your home base on the web, and getting your voice honed.
Do this prioritizing exercise right now! Don’t let another week, month, or year go by without having focused priorities in your blogging career.
Let me know in the comments below what your top priority is, and what stage you’re in (building your hub, honing your voice, or outreach).
Nathalie Lussier is a digital strategist who combines original ideals with forward-thinking marketing expertise, and delivers competitive results in the online space. She helps you get techy with your business, and she’s the creator of The Website Checkup Tool.