Before You Start Blogging: A Checklist

Blogging is an effective marketing method for climbing to the top of search results. The best part is blogging can very well be a D.I.Y. marketing activity.  The only barrier to entry is your own time available to the task of maintaining your campaign. Much of the success of a blog lies in the planning and prep. Here, a list of 7 steps you’ll want to take before you get started blogging.

  1. Identify your audience, and what their information needs are. What do they want to know. Think back to the types of questions clients typically ask you. Put yourself in the heads of your readers. Make their information needs your editorial objective. i.e. this blog helps small business owners and solopreneurs to manage and market their businesses. Write yours down, so that you can measure all of your future ideas for blog posts against it.
  2. Search for similar blogs. Get familiar with the space in which your blog will exist. If you will be blogging about the benefits of massage therapy, check out other massage therapy blogs. Subscribe to blogs that you like, read them regularly, become part of their communities and comment when you can.
  3. Integrate WordPress into your site. While you can use, and have your content hosted on the WordPress server, using, and hosting the blog on your server is a better option for search engine optimization. You can do this yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. Next you’ll want to set up your blog by choosing a theme and plugins.
  4. Develop your keyword list. Keyword research is arguably the starting point for all online marketing, and it deserves time and attention up front. Think about the words your clients use when looking for your services online. Follow this guide to conduct your keyword research and develop your keyword list.
  5. Learn how to use the program. Content management systems (CMS) like WordPress have made it much easier for ordinary people to manage their own content. Still, as with any software, there is a learning curve until you become familiar with it. Start off by watching a WordPress tutorial or two.. As you continue blogging, Google any question you may have. There is an enormous amount of information on the internet relating to how to use WordPress.
  6. Install Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free program that allows you to monitor your blogs traffic. With it you can tell what keywords people typed into Google to find your site. To sign up, Google “Google Analytics” and open an account. You will get a piece of code which you will paste into the backend of your CMS. You can have someone do this for you. Or do it yourself following instructions you find online, like this video tutorial.
  7. Develop an editorial calendar. Every month, decide on the topics you will write about ahead of time, and organize those ideas using a calendar or spreadsheet. You shouldn’t be thinking of blog ideas as you sit down to write a blog entry. That will easily lead to writer’s block.

Taking these important steps in preparation will make the task of blogging regularly both more time efficient and effective. As Miguel de Cervantes said, “Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.”



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