Imagine you were hired to bake a cake for a party. You don’t know if it’s for a wedding, birthday, retirement party, or what kind of party is it exactly. Only there’s a few problems.
For one, imagine you have no experience baking cakes. Or a recipe to go by. And all you had in your kitchen were flour, some eggs, and leftover pizza.
But you absolutely LOVE cakes, so you hope that counts for something.
So you enthusiastically get all the ingredients you have available, put them on the kitchen counter, and start mixing them up in a big bowl, hoping that something edible comes out.
That’s the mistake many bloggers make when starting out:
Starting out without a clear vision of what they ultimately want to accomplish
and how to go about it.
They know they have a topic in mind that they’re passionate about.
They have a lot to say about it and have very good opinions on the subject.
Unfortunately, they’ve yet to develop a clear, concise idea of what is it that they want to achieve. Or how to get there.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
– “Alice in Wonderland”
Just as when baking a cake, one needs to start with an ideal outcome in mind. You don’t have to be perfect, or have all the answers, but you do need to know what you’re building towards.
Remember, there are no rules that say you can’t adjust your sights later.
Focusing on a Goal… or Two
(A) There are many reasons for starting a blog, such as:
- Raise awareness about a subject
- Share your expertise on a subject
- Connect with like-minded people
- Inspire your audience to action
- Teach what you’ve learned to others
- Entertain others with humorous content
… and the list goes on. Most will fall between one or more of the above categories.
(B) Another important reason may be to:
- Make money from your blog
An online platform can be built solely around group A reasons.
And if you’re honest with yourself about what you expect from your online platform, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate reason B into your plans.
What I would never advise is to start and build with reason B as your sole motivator.
Can You Count It? Measure It
What are the metrics that you will focus on, right from the beginning, that will allow you to accomplish your goal(s)?
Do you want social engagement? If so, what are your social engagement benchmarks? Will you measure success in likes, shares, and tweets? What is your plan to drive those numbers up?
Are you looking to develop a loyal audience? If so, what is your strategy for increasing subscriber count? What value do you plan on providing to keep those subscribers tuned in?
Is your goal to increase traffic? How are you approaching it, and what numbers would you like to aim for every week?
Once you are clear on what you want to achieve, you can set out to learn and experiment with techniques that will enable your platform’s growth and get you closer to your goal.
But you won’t know how well you’re doing unless you set some hard number goals for yourself.
It’s hard to know if you’re growing if you don’t have a measure to compare yourself against.
Have goals. Measure progress. Adjust accordingly.
What are you working towards?
Keep tuned in and check back Mondays for business building info, Wednesdays for lifestyle-design and expat life tips, and Fridays for tons of travel pictures as I do an on-the ground report spotlighting a travel destination.
Also, check out my Pinterest page about Antigua Guatemala, one of the prettiest colonial cities in the world and latest digital nomad destination I’m trying out.