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Planning a New Blog – Get Started Already!

When planning for a new blog, you might take a few days to think over it, ask a few knowledgeable friends, research the industry, etc etc. The ‘planning’ phase for a new blog can take you time, right?

Bollocks.

I’m telling you right now that a blog launched based on 5 minutes of brainstorming will do just as well, if not better, than a blog that is started after a week’s worth of meticulous research.

How come? I say this because there is only one question you need to answer before you get to the LAUNCH phase, where you put your blog up and THEN start dealing with all the small issues that come up at the time. Sure, it’s nice to have all the answers before you start, but it’s not necessary. And if you’re already very busy with other work and have a limited period of time in which to start this new blog, you need to save time and with that, everything unnecessary (such as taking out time beforehand to answer a myriad of questions whose answers you won’t need till some time later) is a waste of time.

The ONLY question you need to answer at this point is:

Why do you want to blog?

In a previous blog post I talked about why people blog, and some might say I was cynical about it. However, that discussion brought out a variety of different views about why people blog. This is fascinating for me because for every blog that I’ve started or written at, my actions on it and surrounding it were guided by the answer to this question.

Why do you want to start this new blog? Is it:

  • To make money?
  • To share your knowledge?
  • To change people’s lives and opinions?
  • Just for fun?

Your answer – make sure it’s just one thing (if you’re split between sharing and fun, pick the one you want to do the most) – will be your guiding light for the lifetime of your blog (you’re free to change this midway, of course).

So how does knowing the answer help? Here’s a personal example:

There’s a blog that I want to start – a blog about social, economic, political and religious issues in Pakistan (it’s a given that when you’re ‘planning a new blog’, you already have a rough idea of what you want to talk about).

I’m starting this blog so that I can change the lives and views of people in Pakistan and build a platform through which I can build support for social projects in Pakistan. It’s a rough idea, but the key factors here are social mobilization, non-commercial and aiming to influence.

Right now these are very rough ideas in my head, but already this has given me direction in how / what I want my blog to be like.

For starters, while it’s a non-commercial project the blog has some big targets to achieve, and as such it’s a serious venture that will require a lot of personal time. Unless I have the money lying around, or I have an automated money-making solution already working for me (no to both of them), I have to either make a lot of money first so I can dedicate time to this project or (more likely) get help. For me, it’s a case of looking around in my circle of contacts and picking out those people who are passionate about this subject.

Also, we know by default who the audience is – the internet-savvy segment of the Pakistani population, especially those people who will be willing to participate in this venture. As well as taking out time to profile your audience, you should match your content to your audience’s needs and emotional triggers (if you want them to take action, you must tap their emotional wells and charge them up). In this case I can bank on personal experience but it always pays to do a good brainstorming session with one or two other friends and get your ideas clear.

But to be honest, you can ‘tune’ your content and your focus later on, once you’ve launched. As long as you have a basic idea of your audience, you are good to go.

The last point I want to raise is how important this blog is going to be to you personally and whether you can take time out for it. If you are starting a blog for fun or for sharing info, usually it’s understood that you’ll only spend your spare time on it and as a result it’s not a professional undertaking. On the other hand, if it’s a serious social project or a commercial venture, then you have to look at your time management and figure out if you have the time for it.

In most cases, the new blogs that we want to start take us away from the stuff we really should be doing – and while you might disagree, I tend to quash 90% or more of my ‘new blog’ ideas, simply because there’s not enough time for it and I’m not going to take on a new time commitment on a whimsical idea.

Sometimes though, you might have a project that you feel very passionately about, or you might be in a position where you are just starting out on pro-blogging for the first time and are going for a money-making blog. In these cases, accept that the site will only flourish if you work your ass off (Gerard explains this very well here). If you can’t do it, don’t have the time to do it or aren’t willing to commit, don’t bother starting.

What Next?

If you’re planning to start a new blog, I’d like you to take a couple of minutes out and share your answers to the following points in the comments section

  • What are you blogging about?
  • Why do you want to blog?
  • Who’s going to read it?
  • Who’s going to write it?
  • Do you have the time to work on it?

It doesn’t take a lot of time to figure this out – 5 minutes at best, because the truth is that usually you have already spent some time thinking about your blog and these ideas are already floating around in your head.

My approach at this point is – once I have the answers, I move to the launch phase. Get things out of the door fast and start applying your ideas, and as a result you’ll solve those pesky unforeseen problems early, and overall, get things done today as opposed to think about doing them tomorrow.

So what are you waiting for? If you have a blog that you want to start, and you have the time to work on it, get started.

Author: ahmedb

6 thoughts on “Planning a New Blog – Get Started Already!

  1. Very basic but essential points. However, It is difficult to answer all the five questions in five minutes. For instance, I have a peculiar dilemma. I am a freelance writer for last 3 years working for different sites, providing content and a bit into copywriting. As you can see from my link, I also blog a bit, expressing my views on different subjects. I am thinking of starting a site for last two years but blame it on procrastination or indecisiveness, but I haven’t been able to finalize one niche topic.

    I am interested in various segments and it has become truly hard for me to select one particular category. As far as I believe, it is always better to start a blog/site that caters to a niche segment but that is precisely the problem. Add to that, I love writing and if you can money with blogging and all, it wont hurt. How do you suggest one to proceed in such situations!

  2. Ahmed,
    I totally agree. I usually think of new blogs as the raw canvas for a new work of art. There’s no urgency to get it right from the very beginning. Play around a little. Experiment. Try different things. Keep what sticks.

  3. I’ve just started out on a new website (yes, the one linked to my name), and have plenty of ideas but am finding it hard to convert all of the ideas into useful, effective, memorable, and interesting words.

    To be honest, it’s primary objectives are the top three listed above. The other blog I have, http://www.thechinaexpat.com, has as its primary purpose money making, but it doesn’t make much =)

    Let’s see here:

    * What are you blogging about?
    Investing in low risk / high return situations & exploiting inefficiencies in the market.
    * Why do you want to blog?
    I’d like to come to be seen as a semi-authority on the subject of investing, hopefully help eliminate the need for at least a handful of near useless investment advisors, and make the pie for everyone bigger by reducing inefficiencies in the market.
    * Who’s going to read it?
    You – I hope. People who are interested in learning how to invest in any market situation, and who want to help make the world safer from huge blowups based on idiotic investment strategies based on faulty models (faulty because they hugely underestimate ‘fat tail’ risks)
    * Who’s going to write it?
    Me
    * Do you have the time to work on it?
    Yes – but at a definite cost to other things.

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