This is the first post in (what will become) a series that will outline the steps you need to take to become successful in the online world, and not just become another site that fades into internet oblivion. These tips apply to online businesses too (we’re just big fans of the whole “Become a Better Blogger” alliteration thing we’ve got going), and following these tips will help to ensure you get noticed in the online community.
Okay, so as far as boring goes, this first post is pretty much the absolute epitome of monotony, and believe us when we tell you, the most important stuff usually is. But don’t worry, we’ve tried to make our maiden post as compelling as we can, but be warned – making “blog planning” sound exciting is kind of like trying to assassinate a cockroach with a toothpick (It’s hard, in case you didn’t pick up on the analogy).
Remember your career counsellor back in high school? The one that always gave you the “you’re-wasting-my-highly-valuable-and-precious-time” look? The one that always told you that you’ll get nowhere without a career plan? Well, as much as we all hate to admit it, there’s not a lot of denying that they’re right. Planning is actually important if you want to succeed at something, and when it comes to starting a profitable website, if you don’t have a plan, you’re not going anywhere.
Without trying to sound like a motivational speaker, the advantage of a website plan means that you know where you want your website to go, and you know the goals you want your website to achieve. It doesn’t have to be elaborate (in other words, no need for a multilayered, color-coded mind map) – all you need is a list answering a few basic questions. The perfect plan should set out in your mind exactly what your site is, what the goals of your site are and how are you going to achieve those goals?
What is your site?
Probably the most important aspect to your plan – what is your site? Is it a blog, a business website, a membership site? What are you going to write about, or what are you advertising? Many online entrepreneurs mistakenly begin with a unclear view of what they want their projects to be, and most often, they’re the ones who fail. By setting out the basis of your site on a sheet of paper, it provides a clear foundation for you to build everything else upon, and acts as a framework you can return to in order to ensure your blog is fulfilling its initial purpose.
What are the goals of your site?
By starting a website or blog, what are you hoping to achieve? Are you spreading information and contributing to a specific online community? Do you want to monetize your online venture? Set goals, short term and long term, to keep you motivated, and to give your site a direction. For example:
-In the short term, I want to attract 500 visitors a month from online advertising
-In the long term, I want to be accepted into an advertising network (e.g. BuySellAds – review here), so I can monetize my website.
How will you achieve these goals?
How are you going to make your site a success? Will you drive traffic through social networking predominantly, or will you guest post on relevant websites in your area to attract visitors? What steps are you going to take to put you plan into action?
It’s easy to dismiss the idea of website planning as pointless and unnecessary, and we can’t blame you – planning is seriously dry. But the truth is that by creating a solid future plan for your website, you are already a step ahead of any other startup, because you know what needs to be done, and how it’s going to get done. Of course the website plan is by no means concrete – it will change as the goals of your website change, but in the short term a reliable plan provides you with actionable steps to help you grow your website – an absolute essential for anyone who wants to be successful online.