When it comes to blogging success, there is no right or wrong way of doing things. In fact, no two successful blogs are the same. There are tons of different paths you can take and strategies you can use to create a successful blog, whatever your definition of success may be.
However, every successful blog has on thing in common.
A solid foundation.
The foundation is composed of the who, the what, the where, the why, and the how. It’s the purpose, the reason, and the goals behind your blog. Blindly blogging without a focus isn’t a recipe for success. If you want a successful blog, you need to sit down and take a few minutes to make a plan. Figure out exactly what you’re doing and how you’re going to go about accomplishing it. Only then can your blog have a foundation for success.
To help you build this foundation, I’ve compiled a list of 8 questions to ask yourself. Answer them and you’ll be on your way!
PS: There’s also a free printable worksheet of these questions at the bottom of this post.
1. Why do you blog?
The first, and most obvious question you need to ask yourself is why do you blog? Everyone who blogs starts for some reason or another.
Is it to…
- establish yourself as an expert?
- share your life with the world?
- have a creative outlet?
Whatever the reason may be, the fact is, you have a reason. You’re not just blogging without a purpose.
Think about why you blog. Then break it down as much as you possibly can. If you want to blog to establish yourself as an expert, why do you want to be an expert? To get more clients? To make a name for yourself? Narrow it down as far as you can.
If you need some more clarity on why you blog, check out this series on finding your why.
2. What is the mission of your blog?
Part of your blog’s mission will likely be why you blog. The other part comes from how you will achieve your why.
So for example, a solid mission statement could be:
To establish myself as a web design expert by sharing easy to understand web design tutorials.
In the above example, the why is “to establish myself as a web design expert” and the how is “by sharing easy to understand web design tutorials.” Together they form your blog’s mission statement.
Why is a mission statement important?
It acts as the backbone of your blog. Every post you publish, every piece of social media content you share, every product you create, they should all support your mission.
3. What do you want your blog to achieve?
You know why you want to blog and how you want to go about it, but what do you really want your blog to achieve? Although this may seem similar to your why, it’s different.
Going back to the above example, if you blog to set yourself up as an expert, what you want your blog to achieve isn’t necessarily expert status. Sure, your blog will help you get there, but it’s more important to focus on what you want your blog to achieve to help you achieve that goal.
Some examples of blog achievements are:
- being the go-to source for vegan recipes
- having 50k pageviews a month
- creating a engaged community of like-minded people
For someone looking to be an expert, maybe they want to be a go-to source in their niche. That achievement supports their why and helps establish them as an expert.
4. What do you hope to gain from blogging?
As I mentioned earlier, everyone has a reason behind starting a blog. With that reason in mind, what do you hope to gain? Don’t think about achievements or reaching certain goals. Think non-tangible takeaways.
Do you want to…
- actually stick with something for longer than a few months?
- make some blogging friends?
- make an impact in people’s lives?
Knowing what you want to takeaway from your blog will allow you to focus on it so you can make it happen. Which brings me to:
5. Where do you see your blog in 1 year? 3 years? 5 years?
There’s a great quote that sums up blogging, and anything in life, really well:
When it comes to your blog, you need to have a game plan. But it’s not enough to just plan out your posts for the month and figure out what/when you’re going to post to social media. No, we need to think ahead.
Where do you see your blog in a year? What about 3 years? 5 years? Envisioning the future allows you to start planning now so those dreams can become a reality.
So don’t be afraid to plan ahead. Your plans and goals will likely change (I mean who knows what the state of blogging will look like in 1 year, let alone 5), but it doesn’t hurt and will only help you build a stronger blogging foundation.
6. What makes your blog unique?
Blogs are a dime a dozen nowadays. What makes your blog unique? What is different about your blog that will make people want to read it instead of any of the others in the same niche?
Take fashion blogging for example. There are TONS out there so you have to be different to get noticed. Maybe you only showcase clothing made in America. Or you recreate outfits from TV shows. Or all your outfits consist of pieces in a certain color palette.
Being unique gives you to opportunity to offer your readers something that they can’t get elsewhere. If your blog is a carbon copy of someone else’s, why should they read yours? Uniqueness gives people a reason.
7. Who is your ideal reader?
If you’re writing for everyone, you’re writing to no one. It pays to have a specific reader in mind. You can’t write a blog with the hope that everyone will read it, it just doesn’t happen that way. You need to get specific!
Are you targeting 25 year olds or 50 year olds? Is your audience dog owners? Do they shop at high end stores or the clearance rack? While these things might not seem important, they are!
Let’s use a fashion blogger as an example again. If her ideal reader loves a good bargain, yet she writes a post on how she just splurged and spend $1000 on a new pair of shoes, she’s alienating her audience. Knowing exactly who your ideal reader is and tailoring your content to them ensures that you actually have an audience reading your content.
8. If your readers could take one thing away from your blog, what do you want that to be?
Just like how you want to takeaway certain things from your blog, you should have an idea of what your readers will gain from reading your blog.
Do you want them to walk away having learned something? Do you want to inspire them?
Also, think about how you want them to feel. Empowered? Happy? Knowledgeable?
When you know what you want your readers to takeaway from your blog, then you can successfully create content that allows you to make it happen.