As a blogger, it's in your best interests to think ahead, plan for the future, and dream big. Even if you're small or new, setting good goals and establishing good habits now will only help you in the long term. Some bloggers think those early days don't really matter. After all, part of being small, means that most people don't see what you're doing. But planning for the future, even a little bit, makes all the difference between bloggers that fade away and bloggers that are here to stay. No matter your size, start how you mean to go on. Here are 5 ways you can start thinking big right now:
- Focus on scalable actions. What does scalable mean? It's your ability to handle a growing amount of work. As your blog grows, so will the amount of work you have to do to maintain it. Think about ways to make your blog more efficient and less hands-on right now. Having systems in place not only helps you blog grow, it also frees up your brainpower to make your blog better. Can you implement an editorial calendar? Can you open up more space for advertisers? Could you partner with more affiliates or negotiate a higher commission rate? The flip side of this point is stop focusing on actions that aren't scalable. In my blog post last week about spamming, I called leaving your blog url in the comments section of other blogs a form of spamming. Many people disagreed, but no matter your thoughts on whether it's spam or not spam, url commenting as a way to drive traffic is definitely not scalable. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to reach enough blogs to launch your traffic into the stratosphere. Note: While scalability is important, keep in mind that everything isn't scalable. It's okay to choose to do things which aren't scalable (for example: personally replying to reader emails or responding to comments left on your blog), but whatever you can make more efficient should be made more efficient.
- Work on long term strategies, not short term gimmicks. Strategy goes hand in hand with scalability. Writing amazing content is a long term strategy. Finding your target audience is a long term strategy. Improving your SEO or diversifying your link profile is a long term strategy. Chasing trends is not. Think about it. If you're getting 50% of your visitors from one particular blogger's blogroll, what happens when they change their blogroll? If you're getting 90% of your visitors from Google, what happens when Google changes their search algorithm? You get the idea. Working smart means having a strategy.
- Have an idea of what you want your blog to be like in 5 years. If that's too far in the future (I know it was for me when I first started), then imagine what kind of blog you want to have in 3 years or 1 year. I'm not saying you've got to sit down and write a long business plan (though business plans are pretty awesome), but knowing how you want your blog to look, who you want reading your blog, and what kind of traffic you'd like to have is really important for setting goals. Without goals, it's easy to fall into the trap of doing things “just because.” As the saying goes, a failure to plan is a plan to fail.
- Move away from a monetization mindset. That may sound counter-intuitive, but what I'm really saying is to think of your blog like a business. It's a small business, and it may not even be a profitable business (yet), but it's a business all the same. Like I mentioned in this blog post on things I wish I knew when I first started, thinking about your blog in commercial terms is a process; for most bloggers, it doesn't happen overnight. Developing a business mindset early on is important because it fundamentally shifts the way you interact with brands and the value you place on your blog. If your blog is a business, not a hobby, you take it seriously, and that serious approach is reflected in the way you interact with brands. Suddenly, when brands approach you for coverage, you'll no longer view it as a brand doing you a favor. Instead, as a business owner, you'll understand that you both have a goal you're working towards and something mutually beneficial to trade. That mindset can make all the difference in your blogging success.
What are your tips for “thinking big” when it comes to blogging? Share them in the comments!
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