When I started blogging here at Georgia Lou Studios, it was based on the idea that if you have an online business, you must have a business blog.
And there are great reasons why you should have a blog associated with your online business or shop site. It can really help grow your business.
But I was so busy designing new Blogger and WordPress themes that the blog languished a bit. OK, a lot. Most of the posts were quick business updates.
Nothing wrong with those. But the longer, tutorial style posts that I published were big hits. And they consistently bring in a nice stream of traffic and unique visitors to our site.
Recently, when I decided to slow down the design and release of new themes, I realized it was time to put some real effort into the blog.
But what was the best direction to take the blog in? What topics would appeal to our current readers and attract new traffic? What kind of posts would complement our shop and services? I’ve blogged for years and I was still thrown for a loop until I started to start all over.
I knew it was time to go back to the drawing board with the blog and start the relaunch process by defining our blog’s purpose and goals.
Whether you’re starting a brand spanking new blog or giving your established blog a fresh face, it’s essential to clearly identify why the heck you’re blogging in the first place.
Let’s talk about you
A lot of blogging advice focuses first on your blog topic and ideal reader. Yes, those are super important. But if you don’t first understand why you’re blogging and what your goals for your blog are, you’re missing a really important step in the process. A step I believe should come before anything else.
So, let’s talk about you. Let’s talk about why you want to start a blog.
Or, if you have an established blog, why do you blog?
So, why blog?
When you first think about starting a blog, the answer to this question might be one of these:
- I like fashion and want to blog about my personal style.
- I love books and want to share my reviews with the world!
- Everybody has a blog. I should really start a blog, too.
- I have an online shop. Everyone says I need to have a blog to help my business.
- I’m a teacher. I want to share my teaching tips and resources with other teachers.
There are an unlimited number of answers to this question. And there’s no wrong or right answer, just your answer. And that’s the most important answer of all.
Why does it matter why I blog?
While there’s no correct answer to the question of why you blog, it’s so important that you know the answer to this question.
I see so many blogs start and then fail within a very short time. Bloggers start a blog with a passion, writing a post per day. Then it trickles to a post per week. Then maybe a post per month until they abandon their site or delete it out of frustration or apathy.
I believe one of the root causes of this trend is because those bloggers never really understood why they were blogging in the first place. Their blog had no purpose or goals and they struggled to find a reason to keep it going.
Understanding your own motivation for blogging then defining the main goal(s) of your blog will not only help keep you motivated, it will help shape everything about your blog, from the design of your site to the content you pen.
If you say you blog because you love to write and you don’t care about growing your blog or even if anyone even visits it, I can totally accept that…
…then again, you probably wouldn’t be reading this post if that’s your answer, so let’s assume there’s more to your answer than the love of banging out a great post.
So, let’s get our hands dirty and figure out why you really blog and what you want from your blog.
We’re always talking about our ideal reader and providing quality content to attract readers and keep them coming back. But what do you as a blogger get out of all the work you do building and cultivating your blog?
No mistake, running a blog is not easy. It’s work. And a lot of times it’s not cheap.
So, why? What do you gain from blogging? If you’re just starting out, what do you want to gain from blogging?
This is another question where there’s no right answer. But the answer can influence your blog in so many ways.
I’m going to use a real world example to illustrate why the answer to this question can be so influential.
Our Blog Relaunch
Back to why we’re here chatting in the first place.
This blog started as a “you must have”. You run an online business, therefore you must have a blog.
Buuuuuut, I never really defined what I wanted the blog to do for my business. I never established a clear purpose or intent for this blog, so it totally suffered.
I didn’t know what to write about. I threw up a bunch of sidebar gadgets because those are the standard widgets “everyone” has in their sidebar, right?
I put a lot of time into designing the shop portion of our site so it was easy to use, appealing and accessible to our shoppers. But the blog, well, it just looked like crap. It was blah, boring and pointless…
…until I wrote those few tutorial posts and watched one skyrocket to a Rank 1 place on Google for the main keywords. And consistent traffic started dropping by to visit those posts, not just to check out the shop.
That was my Ah Ha Moment. When I realized this blog had a lot of potential but that it needed a purpose and a niche (we’ll get to that soon in another post).
So, what is the purpose of this blog?
Well, there are a few actually.
And that is totally ok, too. Human beings are complex individuals. Blogs can be simple and straight forward but many are complex, sprawling masses of words that need more than a single sentence to define what they’re about.
The first purpose of this blog is to bring more traffic to our shop. Visitors stop by, read a post about blogging, see that we design blogs and hopefully decide to browse our shop.
Bringing in traffic is the primary purpose of all e-commerce blogs.
Second, this blog is also a way to connect with our customers. It’s fact that it’s a better investment to retain a customer, to build customer loyalty, than to attract a new customer.
Our customers are bloggers. Blogging about blogging and website tips and tricks provides useful information for our customers as well as attracts new customers (see purpose 1). Win, win.
The third purpose of this blog is a personal one. I am a teacher by nature if not career.
When I worked in the laboratory, we ran an internship program for the local university. I worked with many students to help mentor them in their careers. While at university I also tutored and peer taught.
While I do quite a bit of one-on-one eduction of customers as they submit questions and tickets, it always feels like it’s just a drop in the bucket.
As I visit our customer’s websites, I see things I would love to give them advice about. But it’s just not practical on a one-on-one basis. Just not enough hours in my day to do that and run the rest of my business.
Writing articles that can help many bloggers at once gives me the chance to share what I’ve learned in my years of blogging and running this design shop.
Now, a fourth purpose. (Yes, four…or five…or six!) When deciding to relaunch this blog, I also decided I wanted to use it to help diversify our shop’s income stream. Currently, our profit comes from sales of pre-made blog templates as well as services like blog setup and custom design.
But I’m a big believer in multiple income sources. This is why we’ll be launching premium products associated with the blog like courses and ebooks.
So, let’s break that down to the essentials:
1. Generate more website traffic
2. Create community and connections with our customers
3. Personal satisfaction at sharing my experience and knowledge
4. Adding an additional income source to our business
Again, it doesn’t have to be a single, simple answer. Chances are, your answer won’t be either. And that’s ok because understanding and marrying all your purposes will help you find direction for your blog.
Now let’s take a second to talk more about purpose #4…
Blogging for Profit
In some blogging circles and niches, it’s considered “selling out” or trashy to blog for profit. One I can think of off the top of my head is book blogs. Some book bloggers consider it totally selling out to make money off your book blog.
I totally, 100% disagree. Blogging is a ton of work. Running, maintaining and updating your site. Writing regular posts. Responding to your community. Social media marketing. It’s a job in itself. And most bloggers have a “day job” as well. Nothing wrong with wanting to make money for all this hard work.
You should never, ever scam your readers or trade positive reviews for money or free products. But you should be compensated for the effort you put into your blog.
So, the point of this is that you should never be ashamed to say “I blog for profit”. No one should sneer at you for this. They should be impressed that you’re clever enough to make money doing something you enjoy.
However…however, if this is the only purpose you come up with at first, dig deeper! Find something you personally can gain from blogging besides money.
Blogging is hard. It’s real work, especially if you want to earn decent money. So, find something else that blogging can give you like connecting with like minded individuals or the joy of teaching others. Have a personal purpose other than money will increase your chances of success so many times over.
From Purpose(s) to Goal(s)
Once you define your blog’s purpose(s), they should easily translate into the overall goal(s) for your blog. Even if your goal is to connect with your readers and just have a damn good time blogging.
Example time again
Our four blog purposes translate into four general goals for our blog:
1. Generate more traffic to our shop and thereby generate more sales of our blog themes
2. Create community with our customers in order to build brand loyalty
3. Have fun blogging about topics important to our customers that can help them grow their blogs
4. Create a new income stream using info products like e-courses and ebooks
These general goals can then be broken down into smaller, targeted goals that will help us achieve the purpose of our blog.
Goal #1 will help direct our efforts to increase SEO and marketing. Goal #2 and #3 will determine what kind of content we produce and #4 will direct the new products we introduce in the future.
You may think you know exactly why you blog but even if you’re a seasoned blogger with a healthy blog, I encourage you to follow through with the worksheet we’ve created as bonus content for this post.
Your blog purpose(s) can change over time. Blogs grow and change. You grow and change as a person. What suited you five years ago may not work for you or your niche now. Taking a few minutes to dig into why you blog is worth the investment of your time.
My approach to blogging, which we’re going to jump into over the next few months, really relies on understanding your purpose and goals to help you shape and grow your blog.
This list is all about you. Be 100% honest. No one else is going to see this. This is for you.
And be specific. If you want to blog for profit, when you reach the general goals question, explain what your overall goal for your blog is. Do you want a little side income or is your dream to quit your day job and live off your blog?
Being specific will set the tone for your later planning.
Time for the freebie!
If you’ve already subscribed to our Resource Library, pop on over and grab your copy of the Find Your Blog’s Purpose & Goals worksheet that accompanies this post. It will walk you through the process of defining your blog’s purpose(s) and overall goal(s).
If you haven’t signed up yet, just drop your first name and email into the box right down there and you’ll get access to the worksheet PLUS access to all our other free resources like a free Blogger template, WordPress theme, mood board templates, post image templates, brand board template and more!
This worksheet also makes a great addition to a Blog Planner.
Throughout the year, we’re going to share a number of easy, painless worksheets to help you start building a comprehensive Blog Plan. From your purpose to your niche and on down to individual post planning, our collection of worksheets will help you organize your blogging process in a simple but effective way.
So sign up now! You’ll get access to all the upcoming bonus content by signing up to our list and gaining access to the Resource Library.
If you’re willing to share, we’d love to hear why you blog and what your goals are!