Bloggers, even long time, successful ones, had to start at the ground level, right? Whether you think about it or not, in the course of your daily blog and life activities, there are times when you should go back to basics and look at your ground level platform. Today we are going to take a step back from the blog activities you may have planned and go back to basics with Blogging 101: How to start a pet blog.
Stay with me! I am not suggesting you start from scratch. What I am suggesting is that you audit your blog to make certain you’re still on track with your original plans for your pet blog. If you’re not on the same trajectory, why not? Did the original plan grow and evolve? Did you not have an “original plan” and now you’re floundering? Take a deep breath and work your way through these five steps.
Review your blog strategy (aka mission) statement
- Do you remember what the purpose of your blog was?
- Did you have a strategy to guide you and the way you approach your topics?
- Do you have a focus?
Here’s an example of a Blog Strategy Statement that I located online. Fill in the blanks: “My total blog focus is……, my subtopics are …….. My voice is…. (straightforward just the facts, humorous, etc.). I write to…. (inspire, amuse, teach, entertain, incite debate, etc.) my ideal reader who is… (fill in the blank on who your ideal reader is).
- Do you write regularly?
- Do your readers know when you’re going to post?
- Can you get into a habit of posting one, or two, or three or more times per week?
The best way to build a loyal following is to post regularly. Every time you write you are reaching out to your ideal audience and building a relationship. You are using the focus from your Blog Strategy Statement above to give them what they want. Even if you only post once a week, post consistently on a specific day. If you’re going to post on Monday, stick with Monday. Let your readers know you will be posting on Monday. This lets them know that if they come back on a Friday and there is no new post, it’s not because you’re no longer blogging, it’s because you blog on a schedule and that schedule is that you post on Monday.
If you need help with your blogging ideas and topics, check out this Blogging 101 post on how to find ideas. Once you have your ideas, put them into an editorial calendar — it will make your blogging life so much simpler.
How can you lure readers in? With a great headline! Your headline serves so many purposes.
- It makes your blog post Google friendly and searchable
- It promises your reader a glimpse into the content they’ll be receiving
- Add keywords into your headline
Your headline is your first chance to grab a reader. Remember how you only get one chance to make a first impression? Your headline is that first impression. Some social media gurus suggest that it should take you as long to write your headline as it did to write the entire post.
Readers love numbers. Google searchers love numbers. Give ’em numbers! What do I mean? Consider these blog post headlines (I added in numbers, but the numbers you blog about are up to you entirely):
- Ten ways to …..
- The five most popular ways to…
- Seven foolproof ways to….
- Eleven strategies for….
- Six types of…. for….. (an example, Six types of grooming tools for pet parents of long-haired dogs)
Consider going “negative” with your headlines. What?!
- The wrong way to…
- What no one told you when you first started…
- Don’t make these mistakes….
Create a content calendar
Content calendars are a bloggers best friend. They can help you stay focused. A content aka editorial calendar, helps you plan content which is especially helpful if you write series blog posts. Note, readers love series!
On your content calendar you will want to make note of pet-themed holidays, anniversaries, human holidays that you can turn into a pet focus. Note your blog’s keywords and choose a week or a month to focus on particular keywords.
Your content calendar can be your accountability partner to keep you on track with your blog efforts.
Let your passion shine through
If you’ve lost your passion for your blog take a few steps back and try to determine why. Did you pick a niche that you no longer love? Is there anything stopping you from rebranding? Do you feel as though you’ve written yourself into a corner because your niche is too narrow? Expand your horizons. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re writing about your readers will pick up on that and they will be as blah about your content as you are.
Circle back to your Blog Strategy Statement and redefine it if you need to. Expand it. Grab another niche. Let your readers know you will have a different focus and why. If you’re excited, built that excitement in your readers!
Take some time today, or this weekend, to determine whether you’re still passionate, if you’re reaching the audience you want to and if your blogging efforts are helping you achieve your blogging goals.
Let me know in the comments below where you are in your blogging path.
Robbi Hess is the former BlogPaws blog manager and will be speaking on Time Management Tips For The Blogger at the BlogPaws 2016 Conference. She blogs at All Words Matter and is the Media Manager for Big Barker, maker of premium beds for big dogs.
Image: Creative Lab/Shutterstock.com