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5 Questions to Answer BEFORE Starting a Blog

Your blog will fail. Sorry, it’s the truth.

No one has been tracking how many blogs there are and how many have been abandoned, but it’s safe to assume that there are hundreds of millions of blogs – the majority of which – have been left to die. Don’t become a dead-pool statistic.

As a self-confessed “ideas guy,” I am constantly getting the urge to start up new creative ventures. We all know how easy it is to start a blog. Almost too easy. But when I wake up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat, an idea dripping from my brain, I ask myself a few basic questions…

1) Can I write 100 posts? Actually, the more important question is, what are my topics for 100 posts? Without A LOT of post ideas, your blog won’t make it a month. Even if current events dictate your content, you need to prove to yourself that you have enough to write about. TIP: Break things down into categories and then fill those categories.

2) How much time do I have to commit? It’s not the sexiest thought, but determining how much time you can devote to the blog, is essential. Blogging IS time consuming. Don’t underestimate the minutes spent researching, proofreading, locating a picture, publishing, analyzing metric, and so on. It ALL adds up. Minutes lead to hours, and next thing you know, you’re fighting blogging addiction.

3) How will I promote the blog? Writing stellar content is a critical component, however, as much as it pains me to say, it’s simply not enough. And saying you’ll use social media to promote your posts is a start, but it’s not the full answer.

4) What is the goal? Do you want to supplement your income? Work for yourself? Get a star on the Web Walk of Fame? (The “Walk” doesn’t exist yet, but I’m thinking of building it.) Be honest with yourself on why you want to blog. If the answer you keep coming back to is purely ego driven, you might want to consider another project.

5) Sleep on it. When an idea hits, there’s often a panic moment of, “I gotta do this now before someone else does.” If your blog concept is good, it will still be worth pursuing tomorrow, next week, or even in a year. Haste makes waste.

If you are thinking of starting a blog you should scope out the competition, bounce the idea off friends/strangers, ask yourself how the blog fits into your ‘personal’ life, and be ready to make a commitment – a serious commitment. It might not be ‘I do,’ but it’s darn close.

Categories: Blogging Tips
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  1. Omer Greenwald ) says: 5/5/2010

    Very interesting read. I think you have covered all the crucial question every blogger should ask themselves before starting.


  2. ABaN ) says: 5/5/2010

    Items 3 and 5 interest me.

    I’ve found I can spend hours spinning my wheels trying to get people to notice my blogs via social media and very little (in terms of return on the time investment) ever comes of it. But a well written email sent to the appropriate person can do wonders.

    Guilty as charged when it comes to the “gotta do it now!” mentality. I’ve been known to jump out of bed at 2am just to cobble together the world’s most brilliant post, ever. Several hours later I look at it and wonder what the hell I was thinking. But of course I almost never remove it.


  3. Tyler ) says: 5/5/2010

    Well, that’s if your motives for blogging are money. My motives are I enjoy writing it’s actually very thereaputic for myself.


  4. Toby Murdock ) says: 5/6/2010

    You rightly point out here all of the challenges in blogging. It all comes down to time & resources: the time to write, the time to promote, and the resources of knowledge.

    Part of why this is so challenging is that blogging has traditionally been set up as something to do alone. But why? If you are trying to cover a topic, why limit yourself to just your knowledge?

    Much of it is because blogging systems were set up for one or at least a limited number of contributors.

    New tools are emerging however that allow someone to invite in a whole community of contributors. Now the challenges you list are cast in a much different light. You can rely on an entire community to produce content and to promote it.

    The job function becomes less just writer (though that is still very important) and more editor / community manager.

    Such is the future for success in blogging. Blogging alone has run its course. Phase two is managing a community of contributors.


  5. Toby Murdock ) says: 5/6/2010

    sorry, but i forgot to mention my major reference for all this (oops).

    check out Seth Godin’s post today entitled “Micro-Magazines and the Future of Media.” he says:

    While there are still people hoping to make a living writing a blog (not as a tool for something else, but as an end into itself), that’s awfully difficult to do. Micro-magazines, on the other hand, feel very different to me

    What’s the difference? He goes on to say:

    Having a very specific audience (call it a tribe). Enabling that tribe to connect by sharing the ideas in the magazine among them, as well as supporting it with a forum or blog

    Again: the key is a community of contributors to get beyond the challenges of solo blogging.


  6. Tushar ) says: 5/7/2010

    when you say that CAN I WRITE 100 POSTS, this very question does 90% of the work…if you are not even sure about 100 posts, how can you even think of writing for years


  7. smart blogging ) says: 5/10/2010

    To question number four goals I started blogging from a hobby, but along with the development blog so rapidly and so the world’s fastest growing online businesses also eventually require me to participate in additional income :)


  8. wpBlast ) says: 5/16/2010

    Far too often a person starts a blog and it quickly dwindles within a few months. Having answers to these questions will hopefully stop that from happening. Numbers 1 and 2 are two of the most important.

    Nice post


  9. Chet Payne ) says: 5/28/2010

    Excellent post. I agree totally!


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