beyond nothing .com failed as a blog due to skipping this critical step; Create The Content Plan.
Not knowing what I was getting into, I just registered a domain, and started writing whatever came to mind. I had no niche, my content was random and redundant, and I ended up with low google rankings and subsequently low traffic. Hundreds and hundreds of hours for pennies. Lesson learnt: Think it through BEFORE you start publishing.
How to create a content plan for a blog?
A well-thought-out content plan will help your blog stay organized and create content that resonates with your target audience. There really is no rush. Take the time to plan it properly. In this short post we will go over some of the steps involved in this blog planning exercise.
Making the commitment
A good blog requires is a long term project. That means months of creating good content, web development, fighting with WordPress, monitoring your revenue and time, and dedication. You will run into all sorts of problems and easily spend hours finding ways to improve your site. Passive income through blogging feels like a myth by this point.
Therefore, you have to be 100% sure you are going to be dedicated to this task for as long as needed. Without that commitment, its going to get abandoned sooner than you think.
Knowing your niche
Your expertise in your niche should be the reason why you are starting this project anyways. You should however be sure that you have enough interest and knowledge to produce lots of content. You should also evaluate whether your niche is a good one or not in terms of audience, relevance, interest, and opportunities. Read more about what makes a good niche here. While your’e at it, read up on what makes a bad niche too.
Outlining your Content: Posts and Categories
You have already imagined what topics you can talk about and what kind of posts you can write about. This is the part where you actually write it down and organize your thoughts. Think of it like writing a table of contents for your blog.
Its better to list out the titles of the posts you are going to write and then organize them into categories when you begin to see some common themes. You could also go the extra mile and note down some tags to highlight some recurring themes. Read this post on using tags and categories in a blog. In this process you would be passively outlining your sitemap.
How many posts should you start with
Although you could come up with more new article ideas as your blog evolves, try coming up with a list of atleast 30 posts to start with. This helps set your initial target in terms of content writing and mentally prepares you for how much time you are going to spend writing. 30 is a good number as it is substantial enough to get you Adsense approved.
The outline will also help you foresee the linkages between your posts so you can plan your internal hyperlinks ahead of time. More importantly, it will help you stick to your niche.
Once you have your outline set, stick to it until you have covered your first 30 posts.
ProTip: Create your content BEFORE you register a domain and get into web development. This way, your website will have lots of content available on activation rather than staying minimal until you contribute to it. By having your content ready to go, you will better utilize those monthly hosting fees you will be paying.
Naming your blog
We went over in detail on how to pick a good domain name for your blog or website. With those ideas, you should come up with some options that:
- Reflect your niche or topic
- Sound good to you
- Are available
The importance of scheduling your posts is often underestimated by the casual blogger. Publishing all your content at once is not necessarily the best approach as search engines give preference to ‘active’ websites. If you publish everything at once and go quiet for a long time, google may no longer see your site as active.
A post schedule, whether its 1 or 7 per week, is better than having a random publishing timeline. It also helps you stay organized with your content writing activities by setting deadlines for yourself. Remember; since blogging is a long time commitment requiring lots of time, you might as well use that time systematically.
Monetization and sources of income
Your motivation to start a blog is most likely to generate income. At this stage you want to consider your monetization options as they will affect the nature of your content. For example, if you are reviewing products, you will be signing up for affiliate marketing programs. Perhaps later you will be seeking sponsorships. Or if you are providing information of a theoretical nature, then you are more likely to be showing advertisements served by google and Microsoft. Maybe you are planning on selling your own products or courses.
Your blog monetization strategy will tell you more about which markets and audiences you will cater to and influence the way your posts are written. So its good to have that strategy outlined at the very least when planning your blog.
Setting your cost and revenue targets
Although most domain registration and web hosting services offer affordable hosting plans, they are still costs to be accounted for. Other costs to recover are of your computer if bought for this purpose, premium plugins or features for your web development and optimization, and any payments you made to content writers. Once you have noted these costs, you can set your first realistic revenue target.
As your blog matures you can set greater revenue goals and think of how you can achieve those with an affliate program or other sources of revenue besides ads.
Managing your expectations
In the beginning of this post, we talked about the commitment to your blog and planning your content. Knowing the time and energy involved with this work and its nuances, it is important to understand that it may not bear any serious fruit for a long time. Daydreaming about thousands of dollars before you have even written your first post is a useless exercise. It is instead preferable to go in with the basic intentions of producing quality content, solving problems, and generating traffic. The money will come later, if you deserve it.
Now get to work.