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June 22, 2011

Investing in a Start-Up Blog

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One of my favorite roles in this line of work is advising clients on how to advance a new blog. It’s rewarding to watch subscriber numbers rise, traffic increase, engagement develop and community support grow as a blog matures from infancy.

Generally, there are a bunch of reasons one may want to start a blog:

  • To build authority by demonstrating expertise in a specialty field.
  • To establish a communication platform for announcements, case studies and accomplishments.
  • To develop relevant content on your site that supports SEO goals.
  • To create an outlet for your passion and interests and share them with others.

Working with a blogger whose primary interest in blogging is rooted in that last reason is so much fun. These bloggers are often the most motivated, most eager to learn, and quickest to take your recommendations to heart. They’re hungry for information and willing to try almost anything ─ they’re basically a dream client.

In helping to build up a blog from early days, I noticed that one enthusiastic client was looking for what more could be done to promote the blog and gain a following. The challenge became weighing which investments of time and resources would have the greatest payoffs. That’s how we came up with some basic rules of thumb for investing in a start-up blog.

Do invest time. This one’s a no-brainer. You’re going to have to commit time to the endeavor. Probably a lot of thankless, unnoticed time that feels like it disappears into the abyss, until, slowly but surely, you notice that readership and subscriber numbers are growing.

Do invest your self ─ or at least a persona. Yes, you should use your real name in the bio. Yes, you should include a nice picture of yourself on the about page and in your social media profiles. Fear of losing your online anonymity is most likely a stage that will come to pass. Jump in head first. It’ll get you and your blog noticed and off the ground faster.

Don’t invest money in technology. For the most part, a blogging platform like WordPress and a great looking theme is available for free. There are too many free options to justify paying for blog building blocks in start-up mode. Wait til your blog pays you back or you’ve stuck to blogging on the regular for six months before you consider buying technology to support your blog.

Don’t invest ego. Don’t wrap up your self-worth or confidence in your blog. Set goals, certainly, and learn from mistakes and successes. But don’t start thinking that you are your blog. Rather, you’re a farmer tending to a garden, planting seeds, inviting exposure, feeding, pruning, and watching it grow. Be proud of your accomplishments, but don’t beat yourself up when it takes time to gain popularity.

Are you a self-starting blogger? What did you find worked or didn’t work as you invested in the maturation of your blog?





10 responses to “Investing in a Start-Up Blog”

  1. David writes:

    What are the next steps? Say you have a nice blog with plenty of unique content, how do you reach new people? Where do you submit it, how often do you Ping it? I think many people are getting used to the concepts behind blogs, but don’t know how to turn it from being an online diary to an online portal to communities.

  2. Virginia Nussey writes:

    David, you’re right, there’s a large set who are online and writing and looking for ways to connect to a community. It’s an important topic and one that warrants it’s own blog post, if not a series. You can do a search for “how to build a community blog” or “how to draw readers to a blog” and find some good articles and tactics, but I think I’ll use your prompt as an opportunity to address the topic myself. Look for a series on the next steps, how to attract readers and then engage them on your blog, in the near future. Thanks, David. :)

  3. David writes:

    :)

    Looking back my initial comment seemed a little ‘short’! Sorry about that…

    I look forward to reading your upcoming blog, it’s an area I have always been unsure of. Many thanks!

  4. Virginia Nussey writes:

    No worries, David. I really appreciated your comment – it gave me an idea for posts people might find useful. :)

  5. Kent writes:

    Hi Virgina, I believe I need your advice here. One biggest reason customers give me is “No Time” when I consult my customers to start blogging for positioning strategy and SEO purpose. No matter how hard I advice them, they still think of really “no time” to blog.

    So, I told them you can outsource. But they told me No Budget. If you were me, how would you solve the problem?

  6. Virginia Nussey writes:

    As you know, Kent, unfortunately you can’t make a client spend time or money on their blog, in which case they’re basically out of luck. I guess I’d try to convince them to find moments here are there over a period of a few months to write a collection of posts that they could then post over time. If they can see a benefit over the course of a few months, they may see the light. A client may not be able to find time and may have to make time instead. It’s a sad reality, but if they insist they don’t have the resources to build a blog, they’re missing out on one of the most effective things they can do to help their website, search visibility, content authority and community interaction.

  7. Kent writes:

    Agree with you Virginia. I believe your strategy works. Try to show them with actual result. The problem is sometimes client can’t see what we see. Still they are still stubborn, we have to move on.

    Anyway, thanks for your advice, God bless, Virginia! :)

  8. David writes:

    One thing I convinced our staff on, was making their current work generate the blog topics, so that you aren’t ‘doubling up’ work. If the content is there, but in a different format, simply adapt it for a blog rather than reaching for inspiration each and every day.

  9. Kent writes:

    Great idea David, I think this may help me in convincing my customers go for blogging since time for them are very important.

    I will try it for tomorrow meeting! :)

  10. Kent writes:

    I agree with “Do invest your self”. People now want to talk to people rather than a brand or a company. That’s the reason I build a website for only my name and position myself as an expert in the industry via blogging.



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