People start blogs for many reasons, and there’s nothing wrong with just keeping a personal website running so your family and friends can keep track of your activities. But if you’re wondering how to start a blog that can support a business or make money on its own, then a bit more careful planning is needed.

Here are five questions you should ask before you do anything else to make sure you’re setting your blog up for success:

  1. What Will My Blog Be About, Generally?

    Obviously, you’ll need to find a topic for your blog. One might spring to mind right away, especially if you’re trying to break into a niche market. But especially for businesses looking to use a blog as a content marketing strategy, this might be a more difficult question to answer. You don’t need to blog on only one very narrow topic. If your business offers electrical services, for example, your blog could cover everything from safe DIY home repair to energy conservation strategies.

  2. What Will My Perspective and Tone Be Like?

    The way blogs build loyal followers is by having a personality, or a “voice.” This personality might be the same as your own personality, but it might not be. Common personas people take on for blogs include the expert (giving advice), the reporter (catching your reader up on the latest news in your field), the storyteller (sharing personal experience) or the helper (sharing reviews and how-tos that solve people’s problems). It’s particularly important to pick a tone and stick to it, especially if you’ll have multiple people creating posts for the same blog, as often happens in a business environment.

  3. Who Are My Biggest Competitors?

    Once you identify the other blogs that are doing essentially what you want to do, you need to both figure out what you admire about those blogs and what you think you can do better. Look at every aspect of them, from the design and color scheme to the choice of topics and the writing style. Emulate what’s good, and then differentiate yourself from what isn’t.

  4. How Often Can I Post, Realistically?

    It’s best to update blogs on at least a semi-regular schedule so that your readers will know how often to check back for new content. If you’re writing the blogs on your own, give yourself at least an hour or two per post, starting off. If the blog is for business purposes, you may be better off hiring a content marketing company that can assign a writer to post as often as you like, so that you’re not pulled away from your core competencies.

  5. How Much Can I Dedicate to a Web Design Company?

    There are numerous ways to get started blogging for free, but they probably won’t set you up for financial success. Set aside some money to invest and create a budget. Include both the initial costs of developing a website, such as buying a domain and hiring a web design company, and ongoing marketing and search engine optimization. Blogging and SEO services go hand in hand, so it’s always best to find a web design company that can handle those ongoing tasks as well.

What else should go into the planning process for a new blog? Share your ideas in the comments.

By: Karleanne Matthews