How To Prepare For A Blog

PPPPP (Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance)

I love the abbreviation PPPPP. It is easy to remember and it contains a lot of truth. Planning makes your day run smoother. Even if it is just a trip to buy grocery, everything will work out much better if you first spend a minute visualizing what you are about to do.

“I will pick up the car keys in the kitchen, put on my shoes in the hallway and put on the jacket that is on the hook. No, that’s right, I left the jacket in the garage last night. Good I thought of that in advance.”

See? Now you will save several minutes by not having to do that last-minute search for your jacket.

Yes, it is trivial, but I have made it a little game of mine to always prepare in advance. I love it when a plan comes together.

Going to the King in Stockholm

Some time ago I drove a mini-bus with some friends to see the Kings castle in Stockholm, Sweden. On the way there, I heard them discuss how we would find a parking space close to the castle in central Stockholm, maybe we will have to walk a very long way?

I said nothing, but when we arrived at the castle I drove the bus through a small hidden garage port and parked within a few meters of the castle. My passengers all looked at me and wondered if I knew the King? This place looked like his private parking!

I of course told them the King was a personal friend of mine…

The truth was my research the night before had discovered a little known parking house with 16 spots right next to the castle.

Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

We have all been equipped with the amazing ability to visualize things inside our head before we actually do it. Combine that with some information from the internet and it will look like you have done it before.

Stress may stop us from spending those few seconds planning, and as a consequence, we loose time instead.

Stress less, prepare more.

Here’s an experiment you can do right now!

How many windows were there in the house you grew up in?

I bet you can tell the exact number! You just used your imagination and did a walk through the house counting the windows. You used your imagination to find the answer.

That is such a powerful concept!

You can do the same when you plan your day. Execute your plans inside your head before you actually do it! You will avoid a lot of irritating mishaps.

Sometimes I recycle my vacations the same way. I just close my eyes and visualize the way we walked, what we saw, the weather, the atmosphere and so on.

If my wife wonders what I am doing I just tell her I am on vacation! 🙂

How to PPPPP your blog

The Perfect Planning part when it comes to how to prepare for a blog is about understanding what is the most important part.

A blog is a technical creature. It is powered by electricity and its content travels by the speed of light before it reaches its target on a screen somewhere on the planet.

You set up the source, but then countless copies of it will travel around the world, even when you sleep. The better job you have done, the more people will ask for it and your server will spit out copies right and left to all corners of the world.

But this high-tech content delivery system still depends on having some content to deliver. If there is no content, your blog is just a useless piece of technology resting idle on a hard drive somewhere.

The Information part of Information Technology

Imagine when the cave drawings where made thousands of years ago. Sure, the images would not travel like your words will, but they did communicate between people over time. Picasso, one of our greatest contemporary artists, did a lot of work based on ancient cave drawings.

So, when you think about how to prepare for a blog, think about comminicating between people more than how to set up a hosting account on a server.

Can you imagine how a Greek in the first century would go about writing something? He did not spend days figuring out how to use the pen. I imagine him sitting on a stone overlooking Acropolis, letting his mind massage his message to life.

This is what I want you to do. Sit down on your mental greek stone with a view over the Mediterranean Sea and start massaging your message.

Share what you know

Visualize your reader and try to share as much valuable content you can. Of course, you may still be sitting in an old sofa in a suburb of Chicago, but that is not the point. In your powerful imagination you can decide to be anywhere in the world at any period in time. Whatever it takes to make your text interesting.

Ok, back to some technicalities anyway. Our ancient Greek may not have had to consider the length of his article, but you do. You are aiming for an infinitely bigger audience than he could ever imagine. This is because you will deliver most of your content through a distribution servant who prefers long texts.

The servants name is Mr Google

Think of him a librarian that has read all the books. When somebody asks him about a subject, within a fraction of a second he responds with a list ranked by how interesting he thinks the content is for his client.

The client will spend a few seconds scanning the list and then make his decision by pointing at the one he likes best. Then he takes off in the direction of the link and Mr Google is ready, willing and able to respond to the next question. Probably on a completely different subject.

Mr Google does this about 40 000 times per second. 24/7.
In any language.

He is a very clever guy.

How to start your blog right

If you follow this course step by step, you have probably noticed  that I have not talked much about the tech stuff. There is a reason for that.

I want you to understand that your blogs uniqueness is all about its content. The domain you choose, the hosting account, the theme you choose, all of that can be done by somebody else.

But your content is yours and yours only. It is the only thing unique to you in a vast sea of information and it is your key value.

 

Where do I fit in, will anybody read?

Your subject should be narrow enough not to drown in the competition, but at the same time broad enough so you can write long and interesting articles. Only a few make it to the top 10 on Google for the big keywords, so stay away from those. Look for a ‘niche’, a subject that interests a reasonable number of people but not everybody.

If you make a blog about, let’s say ‘furniture pads’, you will soon find out it is very hard to come up with new content to maintain an interest in the subject. Furniture pads are brilliant for protecting the floor, but as a subject for a whole blog? Not a good idea.

Not much in demand now

Another point to consider is that your work should last as long as possible, maybe for decades to come. If this is your goal, avoid things that are locked in time, like a specific product for example.

Current, time sensitive or evergreen?

You could have a blog about TV-sets, but be prepared that any post about a specific model can and will be short lived. Next year there will be another model and the traffic to your article will almost disappear. People are less likely to search for info about a product they already own…

So if you do a blog about a product or product group, make sure to mix articles of less time-sensitive content with time-sensitive content. Don’t end up with a blog with only product specific content. It may spike high temporarily but fade very soon and you will have to continuously write new content.

If you do have a shorter perspective though, time-sensitive subject can be very rewarding. There are lots of product reviews online made by people who make a living doing that, especially on YouTube.

Product reviews needs to more current. If you make your articles more timeless, they will serve you for many years to come, whether you choose to update them or not.

Find your niche

So you need to find your “niche”. Not to broad and not to narrow. So what is too broad? Well, if you choose to write about “Movies”, you may be in for some very tough competition. It could be your main subject and then your individual posts are reviews of specific movies or actors. But personally, I would choose a little less broad subject, maybe “Horror Movies”?

Boo.

Another example, how about writing about ‘bikes’? Again, a bit broad. Choose a niche instead, like ‘Competition bikes’ for example. Less broad than just ‘Bikes’ but still plenty of things to write about. Bike manufacturers, famous riders, competitions, how to start, how to repair etc etc.

Search for questions to answer!

The purpose of a search is usually to find an answer to a specific question. Think about your own search habits and try to answer peoples questions with your article. Type in a question, check what comes up and see if you can provide a better answer!

Maybe the answer is old and can be updated? Can you make it more exhaustive? Maybe it is wrong? Let your searches be an inspiration for new and informative content.

How long should my articles be?

Do you normally consider the glass to be half-full or half-empty? If I tell you the article should be at least 2000 words, you may throw up your hands yelling “I can’t do that!”

Think one more time, the glass is half-full, and this is your opportunity! Mr Google is a read-aholic and it has been proven many times that most content in high positions contain around 2000 words. He just loves well-written text!

Mr Google is probably right

Actually, it makes perfect sense if you think about it. An article of more than 2000 words takes some effort to do. It is not just a tweet that takes a few seconds and then only lives for a day or two.

A well-written and interesting article takes some PPPPP to survive! You have to sit down on your mental greek rock and massage your message like a professional writer.

A 2000-word article separates you from the 100-word blog post or the simple Tweet anyone could write. Your competition has been significantly reduced! You are now in Mr Googles ring of favorite people, the one’s who can produce the content that he loves to present to his audience.

How do I choose what to write about?

Let the structure of your blog decide when you consider how to prepare for a blog. Think of your articles as the first post in one of 5 categories. Find 5 categories or “sub-subject” that will contain your future posts.

Let’s say your blog is about competition biking, as in the example before. Your categories could be:
– How to start
– Equipment
– Competitions
– Famous riders
– Repairs

You get the idea. You will post your articles under the right category, starting with one article under each category. When a user clicks a category, he will see the posts you have done in each subject.

If you have 5 categories with one article under each one, you avoid any empty categories. As an alternative, you could publish the categories as you need them, but it may make the page look a bit empty at first. I recommend having all 5 articles done offline before you publish anything.

From experience I know article 3-5 will take time and it is better to avoid the false feeling of ‘at least I have 2 articles done’ and then not do any more.

A one-year plan

Your blog will gain traffic slooowly. It is normal for a new blog to take 6-12 months before it gets any significant amount of traffic. It may go faster, (click here to learn how to speed up the process), but consider 6-12 months normal when you start on a new domain.

Your blog is not an overnight project, neither should it be. And do not delete your blog after 6 months! Too many good blogs have been canceled just before they started to work because the owner did not realize the importance of time and how to prepare for a blog.

We live in an impatient world, and maybe internet is the most impatient place of all. But this does not apply to your blog, let it take time!

The good thing is it will not disappear overnight either. Well written content will last for years to come. In that perspective, spending a week on one article is very little. Imagine in a year if your article makes you $10 per week. Over a period of 10 years that’s $5200 for one weeks work!

When will I see my page in Google?

Mr Google will soon come and copy your content, but it will most likely not show up in the search results the next day. Your content will be evaluated and ranked by many factors, one of them is time.

If your article has been available for more than half a year and sits in on a site with other well-written articles, Mr Google is more likely to give you his trust.

Conclusion, how to prepare for a blog

When it comes to real estate, brokers will tell you location, location, location. But blogs are accessible from anywhere so the servers location is not that important. The important word here is rather content, content, content.

Spend most your time on the content when you plan how to prepare for a blog, before you dive into any technical stuff. As I have mentioned, it is a great idea to write most or all of the content before the blog even exists!

When your articles are done, not before, move on with the technical stuff in step 2 of this course. That way, you can focus on the most important thing without being distracted. There are tons of technical stuff to go through, you will appreciate having the first content already done.

Start with the muscles, not the skeleton

It is not unusual to see blogs that have focused on the technology or structure so much they have had to put blocks of text reading “Lorem Ipsum” in place while waiting for the real content. Some blogs may be several months old and still have those placeholders in place. But if you write your first batch of content before even setting up the blog, this will not happen to you.

Worst case scenario is that you will not add more content, but that is less of an issue than if your blog is missing content.

How To Prepare For A BlogYour mission now, if you should choose to accept it, is to decide your niche, set up 5 categories and then write 5 interesting 2000-word articles.

This message will not self-destruct.

Actually, it will probably be here for a decade or more.

Moving on

You are now ready for step 3: How To Register A Domain Name

 

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