In these four years we have created a project that has managed to capture +15,000 subscribers on our mailing list (which could be double having done things well before) and overcome 160,000 visits per month and create a family business from this blog that generates in a stable way two extra salaries more than decent each month.
The truth is that I am more than satisfied with what has been achieved; I think that at this point I can already say that this project has been a success.
On the other hand, one of the main objectives of this blog has always been to help you achieve similar things. That’s why I think this is a good time to reflect on the key factors that have allowed us to get here, a reflection that I hope you can make the most of in your own project.
It does not matter if you apply them to an existing project as a checklist or you take them as a guide for a new project, whatever your case, these reflections I think will be useful if you take them really seriously.
And eye this post is a post of “mindset”, that is, I focus on the vision and attitude with which to address the work on your blog.
I will not talk about the “technical” or “tactical” aspects, if you want, such as the fact that I recommend using WordPress with hosting as a platform for your blog or that you should create a mailing list and get subscribers with it from the first day.
7 Key steps to create a successful blog
So without further delay, let’s go there!
- Develop a clear vision of your project
Like everything in life, if you want to have a blog that works, that is successful, you have to start by building a solid foundation for your project. And this in blogging starts with developing a clear vision of your project, and not only in blogging but in any project that you want to bring to fruition.
Yes I know, this idea may seem like a truism, basic common sense, nothing surprising and I do not take away your reason.
But the fact of the matter is that I keep observing that the vast majority of bloggers simply do not apply it, or at least do not apply it seriously. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to insist on it. This is where the success or failure of your project will largely be decided and it is not enough to have four happy ideas, it is a work of many hours of reflection, iteration and refinement.
Without a clear vision, without specifying where you want to go and what are the intermediate objectives that you want / need to meet and what are the necessary actions to achieve them, you will end up like a boat drifting from one side to the other without a clear direction.
Every project needs an organization in conditions, it is obvious. But perhaps not so obvious that even more important than this is the fact that psychologically all need a marked path, targets and small successes that are to go to fulfill those goals to stay motivated during the journey towards the goal.
If you get it, it generates a sense of progress, of doing things with sense, of going somewhere. If you are unable to have that feeling, I assure you it is only a matter of time you get bored, question your project and you’re done leaving. That is why it is so important to develop a well-developed vision that allows you to follow a coherent path.
You will see some success story where the author confesses not having had a clear vision when his blog has been, nevertheless, a great success, it is more, this same blog started like this and it is something normal. But be very clear that at some point the author focused the project, has not been wandering all the time, otherwise he would never have come to take his project to fruition.
Therefore, if you want to do things right, it is very important that you feel calm in front of a simple paper , a tool of mental maps or whatever you want to capture your project and define specific milestones . This will allow you to work day by day on them and, when you are fulfilling them, celebrate those little successes that will help you maintain your motivation.
Eye, the first day you end up with the blank paper, it’s normal. Nothing happens, we must also be very clear that this is not done in two days, nor probably in two weeks.
This is a living process that can easily take months, the important thing is the vision where you want to go, your great global goal and to have at all times a vision of the smaller objectives in the short and medium term to walk towards that great objective final.
This way you will be for years and every X time you will revise your vision and your plan, and so on. Nothing happens, it is natural but you will be doing things with consistency and discipline from day one.
- Ask the key questions
A very good approach to developing the vision of your project is to find answers to the right questions. The questions will depend largely on how your project is, but there are also many questions common to all of them that will help you a lot and with regard to these I can give you clues.
Here I propose some of the most important, valid for virtually any project. I recommend that you try to answer them with absolute sincerity and contrasting them with other people if you have the opportunity:
What do you want to talk about in your project and what not?
Does it really motivate you? Do you see yourself writing years on these topics?
Is there really an audience for these issues or is it something that only interests you and two more cats? How big is that audience?
How busy is the niche in which you intend to put?
How is your type reader or ideal reader (s)? Try to describe it as concretely as possible.
What are your needs? What hurts them the most?
How can you relieve that pain? What is your contribution of value?
What differentiates you from others? Why could someone / should prefer to read your blog before others on the same topic?
What are your greatest strengths that you can take advantage of to differentiate yourself in your blog from others?
Do you have the potential to generate income someday? Are there products or services from you or from third parties that fit your theme, that are of quality, that really add value to your readers and that you could recommend from your blog in a natural way?
There are only a few questions, but they can have a great impact to define and concretize a lot more on what path your project should go and why not.
Now, I insist one more time: this does not mature in two days; it is something that has to “macerate” well and that takes time. So do not be overwhelmed if you do not have everything clears in two days.
- What you are going to do, do it with love
One of the things that I have learned in these years as a blogger is that with people who do things with passion, you cannot compete, unless you feel the same passion as them.
If you want to do something well, above knowledge, talent and intelligence (within reasonable margins, it is understood) the factor that will make you stand out from others is passion, the love with which you do things.
A person who does something with passion is happy doing it, has all 5 senses in it, the mind goes 24 hours a day without realizing it and does not care because for him that is not working, it is enjoying.
How will a person who is dedicated to the same thing compete with that, but with a “go-to-file” mentality?
It cannot, it is impossible to compete like that, even if you have more knowledge and are more intelligent. If you are not able to work on your blog with passion, leave it; look for another project that really fills you up.
That’s why you’ll get tired of reading bloggers who recommend that your blog be dedicated to something you’re passionate about, because there are a lot of people out there doing the same thing as you setting the bar very high. You cannot compete with them if you do not have passion and get involved in doing something clearly worse than they do not make sense, it’s absurd.
If you reach a point where you are not able to sit down to calmly and lovingly create your content, analyze well is simply a normal burnout or there is a fundamental problem with your project and it makes sense to follow.
- Internalize the attitude of taking action
Humans have, in general, a great tendency to procrastinate, that is, to postpone the same things over and over again.
For example, Council # 1 on this list, misunderstood, will be for many people the perfect excuse to procrastinate for months looking for that “perfect project” that does not exist.
Other people will find the excuse to procrastinate in not being considered sufficiently expert in the subject that they are passionate as to write in public something “decent” about it. And so a long list of cheap excuses not to get down to work.
You know why? Because in those months of procrastination your initial enthusiasm is probably going away little by little until disappearing completely because you do not have feedback of anything concrete, you do not see any product, no result of your activity.
This is tremendously de motivating and because of this you run the danger of becoming bored with yourself.
Examine yourself honestly, if you think you may be sinning of this type of behavior, I give you the best blogging advice and for the life of all those who can give you: kick yourself in the ass, learn to pass to action and delete from the map any excuse that tries to prevent it.
Specifically, applied to the aforementioned examples:
If you are not clear yet how your project should be, what prevents you, for example, creating an experimental blog in WordPress.com (which is free and is created in 5 minutes) in which you are testing content and all kinds of things while you outline your final project?
I’m telling you: nothing.
It’s also not worth the excuse that you have to design a logo first and similar nonsense, it is perfectly valid with a default template, without a logo, with the first name you can think of, even with a pseudonym to overcome that initial embarrassment so typical (although I would advise using your real name from the beginning with a gravatar with photo).
So you will see how you are writing, if you are able to publish with a fixed rhythm, the real work that involves creating content and everything else. You can already try to share some content and see how readers react (even if they are only friends, family or acquaintances initially), etc., etc. etc.
And, above all, you see concrete results of your activity, not smoke. Only that in it should already be positive to motivate you to continue.
Also, believe me that even if you do not read absolutely anyone, even if you only write content for yourself that alone will already give you a great feedback of sensations, ideas and reflections that will help you to shape little by little the vision of your final project.
On the other hand, with regard to the excuse of “not being an expert” , if you really love something, do you want to tell me that you do not already have enough knowledge to write something decent about it?
Do you know how an “expert” is defined in the US in a court? As a person who has a knowledge above the average of people in a certain subject.
That is, with knowing one thing more than the others, according to this definition you would already be an expert.
Do you want to tell me that in a subject that you are passionate about, you do not reach that minimum requirement? You will forgive me, but I do not believe it…
Another thing is that you feel something of stage fright that is as normal as unjustified, believe me: you will discover that people will value much better what you do than you imagine and that your fears had no reason to be.
So remember: being able to take action and pursue your goals to achieve them is one of the most important things that differentiate the losers from the winners. And forgive for the hardness of the expression, but like it or not is a truth like a temple.
- Are you willing to work for real?
Many people have a somewhat naive idea of a blog, a funny thing that is fashionable, cool and such and such.
These people are not at all aware of the work that entails a “serious” blog, that is, a blog that publishes with certain discipline periodically, at least, one or two new posts a week that strives in the quality of its contents, etc.
As a general rule, I would tell you that in order for a blog to work, you have to invest at least a minimum of 10 hours per week. I will not say that it is impossible, but very difficult if you stay below that. And this includes the creation of content, its layout, doing a dissemination work, answering comments, etc.
As you grow, that works increases tremendously. I can tell you that in my case, for example, just between answering comments on the blog and answering the email, I’m leaving between half an hour and an entire hour every day. Now, it is also true that we are talking about a blog that currently has an average of about 5,000 visits per day.
Are you passionate about the subject really enough to spend that time? Are you willing to give up, at least something, other things (TV hours, sports, drinks,)?
Think about it well because if the answer is no, it is probably an absolute waste of time that you get into the world of blogging unless you are satisfied with having a blog without major aspirations, which, of course, is very commendable too. But be clear that in that case, that will be your roof and do not get frustrated by it.
- Find one or more milestones that motivate you greatly and try to get them soon
Among all the dangers for your blog project, I would say that the biggest is losing motivation. If you search on Google, you’ll see many references to the famous phrase that “95% of bloggers leave their blog after the first year” and that’s why.
As in everything, at the beginning you start with a lot of motivation and enjoy the project without further ado. But there is a time when that is no longer enough, many hours of work are accumulated and the body is asking you to get something in return.
It is difficult to specify the exact point at which that moment arrives; it varies a lot depending on the person and the project. In some cases it will be a few months, in other years, but I assure you that sooner or later it will reach everyone.
On the other hand, at first you settle for little, see the first times how people share your content or the first comment will give you a rush. But normally there also comes a time when you get used to it, and that will not be enough to “pay” for the 10 or more weekly hours that you post to your blog, even if you do it with passion. And it is that no matter how much passion you have, you also need to be fed.
For this reason I strongly recommend that in this vision of your project you also include the task of finding “sustainable” motivational factors that generate a clear and permanent benefit.
The simplest example of this is money. If you manage to fit a model of sustainable monetization with your blog that gives you, for example, a small bonus of € 200 or € 300 a month doing something you like, I assure you that you will have motivation for the remains…
In my case there were two moments like this: a few months after starting the blog, even with very little traffic, I experimented with curiosity with AdSense advertising. I still remember that the first month I earned less than one euro.
But although the income was symbolic the fact itself that the blog was able to generate money with an activity that I like and, in addition, in a “pseudo-automatic” way (what is also known as “passive income”). That fascinated me, made me see that the blog could generate a small extra income, which always come in handy for the tight family economy, and that gave me a kick of motivation at the right time.
The second moment was much later, back in 2013 when I began to see it realistic that one day this project would allow me to live on it 100% and become the key to develop my activities and projects independently, at my sole discretion, without relying on bosses and companies. That was a second shot of motivation that in many moments has allowed me to draw strength from where there were none.
Now that moment has arrived. Today it would be perfectly possible to dedicate myself to the blog 100%, although for my current circumstances, which do not come to mind now, I prefer not to take the step yet.
In any case, soon I will return to this topic in a special post because the surprise I announced before the summer has a lot to do with it
But not everything is money, they can be another type of satisfaction, for example, that your blog connects you with people at a professional level or with whom you simply share an activity that you are passionate about.
I think, for example, a blog aimed at musicians that connect you with other musicians, that in the thread of this you end up setting up initiatives and projects with these people that give an additional boost to your personal brand within the world or just have fun, etc. This could be an example scenario in which there may not be a clear direct or indirect economic benefit, but where there is another type of reward that makes your motivation sustainable over time.
Therefore, look for sooner than later that factor of “sustainable motivation” that you know will work for you.
- Always work with order, logic and organization
Or we could say: do not stop using your head.
Understand me well, I’m not calling anyone foolish, it’s not that at all. I mean we all have little time and we have already seen that a blog is time consuming.
These two circumstances together wreak havoc: many bloggers, even some well-known bloggers, go like headless chicken all the time, the result of being carried away by the burden created by a lack of chronic time. And that’s how difficult it is to get your decisions right.
Therefore, my advice is simply: make sure that you do not enter into this dynamic and try to ensure that what you do always has order and coherence. And if you catch yourself going like headless chicken, immediately, sacrifice things, leave them aside for later, decide which are the important ones that you can cover and focus exclusively on them. Nothing happens.
I assure you that in the medium term you will be more much more productive as well although at the beginning you can have the sensation of going more slowly.