You have an idea. You want a blog (or vlog) and you’re ready to get it off the ground – good for you! Look on Pinterest and you’ll see 10 million-billion articles (that’s probably understating it) telling you how to be successful. The simple fact that there are SO many people blogging about how to blog just goes to show how popular blogging has become. This article isn’t about how to stand out. It’s not about what you can do better than the other person. This is the 3 phase plan I’m using for Dave’s Draw that’s been the reason why I haven’t pulled out all my hair.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. To learn more about affiliate links any why I choose the companies I do visit my “Affiliate Marketing” page. Happy Reading!! ~ Dave
For those who would rather watch than read, check out the video below. If videos aren’t your thing, just skip ahead and you’ll see the totally awesome article!
I’ll never forget my first blog. It was called “Much to Talk About Something” and was more of an online diary than anything else. I used Blogger (as did all the cool kids of that era) and enjoyed the idea of chronicling my thoughts in the hopes others would benefit from what I wrote at the time. The capabilities of Blogger weren’t much but it was enough to get me hooked. I eventually made a WordPress driven site for my personal training clients and even dabbled in more of a personal blog about writing when I was writing my first book (which is under rework and redesign at the moment).
Things I learned in those blogs have translated to the overall successful implementation and streamlining here on Dave’s Draw. At the time of this writing I don’t have an abundant source of traffic (that’s not until Phase 3 anyway) so success may be defined differently for you. However, I’m very happy with where I am and even more enthused that I can easily fall asleep at night knowing that my plan of action is working.
PHASE ONE – Establish your site
Before you can get followers, or even write your first post, you need to have a place to do it. Understanding these basic checkpoints will help you roll things out much quicker than if you didn’t know about them ahead of time. While the list below is far from comprehensive, it does provide a good stepping off point. It’s important to note that during each one of these steps you are gradually ramping up your content frequency to your desired amount. I find that three posts a week tends to be optimal for balancing home, creativity, and traffic creation.
Host These are the guys that provide the servers (space on the internet) for your site. I go through Green Geeks because of their commitment to the environment. I’ve used BlueHost which is also good but the idea that my site is carbon NEGATIVE is one that’s very exciting to me.
Domain Name That ultra cool thing people type into the address bar. (sorry, davesdraw.com is already taken)
WordPress While you don’t need WordPress you will need some sort of Content Management System for building your site. WP and drag-and-drop website builders are commonly free depending on your host. While WP has a bigger learning curve than drag-and-drop it’s definitely worth the time investment if you’re serious about your blog.
Plugins (WordPress users) Plugins help customize your site and give you invaluable advantages over your competition. Things like SEO optimization (crucial to get right), backend technical stuff, and even eye candy are found plentifully with plugins (tons are free too!)
Marketing Think about this but don’t try to get it started yet. It’s tempting to put this one in right from the get-go because you want to make money. Don’t. Wait until you have something of value and have developed your voice until you tackle this (it starts in Phase 2)
Coffee (I should have put this first…forget everything else I said. Coffee is your first step…)
My Content Goal:
1 post per week
PHASE TWO – Integrate & Market
This is the point where you want to start implementing your social media strategy. What social media platforms are you comfortable with? Consider those but realize that not all platforms may be good for your content. Keep an open mind to ones you haven’t used before. Pinterest has proven absolutely beneficial so far and I’m just entering the tip of it.
Social Media Don’t be EVERYWHERE. Think of social media platforms as individual parties (this is something Lindsay Adler mentioned for one of her secrets to success).
Consider this: You have a friend named Instagram and another named Facebook (what can I say, they’re parents were cruel) having separate parties on the same night. Well, Snapchat is jealous everyone is going to Facebook’s party so they have one at the same time. Twitter won’t be out done so they vie for your attention too. Sure, you could go to all their parties but in order to get everywhere you can really only go in for a few minutes and make a few non-commital conversation points to some people. There’s no way you’ll be able to talk to everyone. Since you’re effectively only touching base with a few people at each party your following will become disinterested when they realize you aren’t accessible.
Now, what would happen if you said “Sorry Facebook, I’m hanging out with Instagram tonight but I’ll be happy to go to your party next time!” Sure, Facebook and his crowd will be disappointed but think of how much better your better of a party guest you can be when you’re fully invested.
Currently I have Pinterest (more of a search engine than social media), Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube (again, more search engine than social platform) under my belt. I’m still in the beginning of Phase 2 so I’m rolling these out slowly so I can get really good at one before spreading myself too thin. As a matter of fact, I’ve unpublished my FB Page so I can rework it in the background and learn the ins and outs of Pinterest which will be my main focus of marketing.
MONEY! Social media is my method of marketing but if you’re talking about a source of income there are 3 major players that are relatively easy to implement.
Affiliate Marketing: I’ve started using Amazon (something I’m comfortable using from previous blogs) for my general marketing. They’re easy to use for my readers and they stand by their products (offering easy returns if need be). They’re good to you and they’re good to me, hence why I use them. I’m also an affiliate for my host, Green Geeks, because I believe in them too. While I’ve used others, I find the message of Green Geeks to be more in line with my own so that’s why I’ve gone with them. As time goes on I’ll sign up with more affiliate programs but these two are more than good enough to get the ball rolling.
Advertising: When you’re an affiliate you’re essentially advertising. If you want more of a general, “I don’t have much control of what’s on my site” (though you can black or white-list certain advertisements) you can go with Google AdSense. They’re a good source of revenue without having to do much. Who bids on ads to put on your site is based on traffic so this is something best done once you have some traffic.
Personal Product: If you’re in touch with your creativity this may be an easy one for you to implement. Sell your photos, keychains, jewelry, or whatever is relevant for your blog. You can link an Etsy account or just sell it all through your website (there are plugins for that!) Just make sure it’s relevant to your audience. If you have a blog about biscuits and come out of nowhere with cat sweaters you knit your audience may feel a bit confused.
My Content Goal:
2 posts per week / 1 video every other week
PHASE THREE – Content, Content, Content
You have been working on your content regularly at this point. Now that you have fine tuned your audience and have the technical stuff out of the way this is your time to shine! This is what you’ve been working so hard for. Having a blog is about bringing your voice to the world in order to connect with like minded people and (hopefully) help each other.
If you haven’t had much of a chance to work on your personal products now’s your chance! At this stage of the game it’s all about what brought you into this. My plan for the end of Phase 3 is below. I love writing and books have always been a dream of mine. Self-publishing my first one brought me more joy than you can imagine.
My Content Goal:
3 post per week (one includes a video)
2 e-books a year (November & February releases)
Whether you try this 3 step process or not is up to you. Regardless, my one suggestion is not to do too much at once. If you jump into the water too quick you may get shocked out of it by overwhelming yourself (we all think we’re superhuman. Newsflash: we’re not).
The BEST thing about the early stages of this process is anonymity. Right now the pressure is low. If I miss a post, few people will notice. I still hold myself accountable but realizing that I can take the extra time I need to make it great rather than just spitting it out ‘on time’ is fantastic. Things like my computer going into the shop to get fixed hold little sway over my stress levels because my schedule is completely my own.
I’d love to hear if you have any tips that helped you along the way. Share it in the comments either here or the video.
Until next time!