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How to Establish the Right Priorities to Grow Your Blog and Profits

This guest post is by Nathalie Lussier of The Website Checkup Tool.

Here’s a harsh nugget of truth for you.

Once you get this, your blog will not only take off, it will become way more profitable. Are you ready for it?

Here it is: You don’t need more how-to’s or to-do’s… You need priorities.

As bloggers and business owners, we’re constantly introduced to cool new tricks, strategies, and techniques to grow. There’s just so much information, much of it competing, about what you need to do to make it big online.

Think webinars, SEO, social media, magic beans, WordPress plugins, guest posting, YouTube videos, list building, product launches, silver bullets, Facebook ads, Pinterest, contests, joint ventures… The list is endless.

You know you have a ton of options when it comes to growing your blog and making more money online. You just don’t have enough hours in the day to implement all of them. Not to mention that some of these tactics are likely to work better for some markets, some personalities, and some stages of development than others.

The answer you’ve been looking for is not another silver bullet, or another cool marketing strategy. It’s simple, it’s free, and it works.

It’s priorities.

How to establish the right priorities for your blog

Okay, priorities. That sounds good, but unless you’ve built a successful blog before you might not know how to set them properly.

It’s easy to model another business owner or famous blogger and just try to do what they do, because it seems to be working for them. But you need to remember that we’re all on different paths, with different experiences, and different blogs.

Unique blogs and businesses require unique priorities and strategies to be wildly profitable.

My aim here is to help you figure out what you need to do, in what order of importance, so that you’re not putting the cart before the horse.

The first step to figuring out your priorities is to take a quick assessment of where your blog and business are currently.

Let’s look at a few questions that you can quickly jot down an answer to:

  • Do you have a blog or website that you’re proud to send people to?
  • Are there enough people visiting your blog on a regular basis?
  • Do people join your email list on a consistent basis?
  • Are you blogging on a regular schedule that feels comfortable for you?
  • Have you built a network of likeminded bloggers that you can support and be supported by?
  • Does your blog employ SEO and/or are the right people finding your blog?
  • Do you have a social media presence that engages your audience and spreads your influence?

Alright, so these questions might be pushing your buttons, but they’re not meant to make you feel bad if you don’t have all of these items in place.

On the contrary, it’s important to know what you are doing and what you still haven’t gotten to, because this will inform what your priorities and schedule looks like.

What should I do first? How to decide on your top priority

I’m often asked by my clients and readers what should come first when you’re starting up a blog or online business. Do you get the website up, look for clients and customers, guest post, set up social media profiles..? I mean, it’s all so overwhelming, so how can you get it all done?

It might feel like you need to have all of these things done simultaneously, preferrably last week. But it is possible to grow a blog by taking it one step at a time. In fact, it is the only way to grow a blog.

Everyone’s blogging journey is going to be different, but here is my recommendation for establishing your priorities.

The very first thing you need to focus on when you’re building a blog is setting up your web foundation or hub. That means your blog and website, and I recommend that you get your own domain name and hosting. Then get yourself a WordPress installation and theme.

Do not spend thousands on a design quite yet, because your blog’s direction may change as you evolve.

Next, it’s time to start honing your voice by writing or creating video for your blog. I don’t recommend overcommitting to creating a ton of content just yet. Especially since your blog might not have the audience to warrant spending a ton of time in creation mode. Once you do reach a certain audience size, then it makes sense to commit to a consistent blogging schedule.

Finally, outreach comes next. Once you have your blog as a hub, you’ve practiced writing and have a bit of content on your site, it’s time to bring people into your sphere.

The outreach part is definitely where things can get hairy, so I suggest picking one or two things that you will get really good at and focusing on those.

Take, for example, two strategies that you might want to focus on: guest posting and SEO. Another set of strategies might be social media and webinars. Yet another might be joint ventures and advertising.

Just pick two!

Doing more than two types of outreach will not only burn you out, but will have you spread so thin you won’t be getting the results you’re looking for.

Now that you have all three steps handled, it’s time to iterate. The more people who come into your world and read your blog, the more clarity you will have around your topic and direction, which will inform your site’s design. This in turn will shift your writing and voice, and help you decide where to spend more time in outreach—whether that’s specific sites or strategies.

Rinse and repeat, and keep those priorities tight.

Write ’em out, and stick to your priorities

Now that you know what steps to take to really grow your blog’s online presence, you need to write out your priorities. If you don’t have your plan and priorities down in digital ink then you might as well go back to throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Keep your priorities front and center as you go about your daily tasks. If something falls into a non-priority activity list, then it’s time to take it off your todo list. If a cool new system or marketing tool comes out, ask yourself if it fits in your priorities.

I guarantee you will go much further by mastering just two outreach strategies, focusing on your home base on the web, and getting your voice honed.

Do this prioritizing exercise right now! Don’t let another week, month, or year go by without having focused priorities in your blogging career.

Let me know in the comments below what your top priority is, and what stage you’re in (building your hub, honing your voice, or outreach).

Nathalie Lussier is a digital strategist who combines original ideals with forward-thinking marketing expertise, and delivers competitive results in the online space. She helps you get techy with your business, and she’s the creator of The Website Checkup Tool.

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Comments

  1. Thats great! Three months back my priorities were guest posting on major sites. I was successful in it and achieved PR3 in a short span. Now my priority is to create good, unique content and grow my email list with out even considering the option of guest posting for atleast 3 months.

  2. Roman Soluk says:

    I totaly agree with it. Setting priorities is a key to success in many life aspects not only in blogging. Here important is to learn to do it properly. Thanks for this great post!

  3. Ali zia says:

    Hi
    Nathalie
    The very first priority of every blogger I think should be to write a good and unique content for their readers.
    After that we should focus on Popularity plan that is through social media,SEO,Email marketing,Guest posting for getting visitors
    Thanks for Great article

  4. Amy says:

    This is very timely advice. I am just starting out and was floundering in the what to do next area. Thank you for the good advice.

  5. Thanks so much for this post! I’m definitely in the outreach phase. I’m prioritizing guest posting for sure, and I haven’t decided on a second one yet. Will do that today!

    Yesterday, I was just reading a list of 10 things to do and decided that I could only do two. It really does feel overwhelming with all the advice. I have so many projects right now that I really need to prioritize and focus. This is exactly what I need at this time.

    All Best

    • Awesome Sarah, so glad you had already realized that you could only focus on 2 things. More than that and it becomes overwhelming and worse of all, ineffective. Happy to be able to confirm your intuitive hunch.

  6. Jijo Sunny says:

    Hello Nathalie,

    Thanks for sharing your insights about setting priorities. Undoubtedly a very useful article.
    I liked the way those questions you gave help us figure out priorities.

    Regards, Jijo Sunny.

  7. Hi Nathalie,
    Thank you so much for sharing all this knowledge, I was lost and confused, but now I am guided.

  8. Dave Rowley says:

    Hi Nathalie,

    This is a great point: “Do not spend thousands on a design quite yet, because your blog’s direction may change as you evolve.”

    I began blogging 3 years ago and paid a designer to build my site, but over the course of the next 18 months it became clear that my blog didn’t match what I wanted to be doing.

    A few months ago I scrapped my blog and started over again. This time I learned enough to put my own website together and used my name as the domain so if my focus changes again it’s easier to shift things around. I don’t regret anything about my first blog–writing there was what allowed me to see where I want to go–I just regret paying money to a designer when I wasn’t completely sure what I would be doing.

    I like your emphasis on priorities, and focusing on two things is a great way to avoid being overwhelmed. I’m at the outreach stage now, and focusing on getting some guest posts written and trying to be a bit more diligent about SEO.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks for sharing your story Dave, you’re totally not alone in that. I see a lot of us (myself included) spend a lot of time and money building our first sites and blogs… and then realizing that we want to change our focus shortly down the road.

      It’s great that you were able to pick up some skills along the way to build your next site, I feel like that’s the way to go for more control as we evolve!

  9. This is very timely advice for me. I feel like I have a pretty good direction and writing voice, but trying to get the word out more about my blog. I’m not very good at self promotion, but enjoy promoting other people. I guess I’m in the outreach phase. I have a facebook page and twitter account, but I don’t use twitter much. I’m now looking at networking more with other bloggers. It can get overwhelming as you said with the many options there are out there.

    • Hey Dawn! Happy to hear you’ve identified that you’re in the outreach phase, and what you’re going to focus on to get out there more. :)

  10. Very useful, I tried many things at once instead on focusing on some first and it almost drove me crazy!
    Now I’ll start setting priorities, It’s a more rational approach.

  11. Asher says:

    I am quite new to the concept of guest blogging. How do I do that? Where do I find blogs who would be interested in letting me blog for them?

  12. Delia says:

    Love the idea of focusing on just 2 priorities! Makes it so much more manageable. I’ve heard advice of doing 5 or 3, but 2 is great! Hopefully everybody is already doing one, so it does not sound overcommitting to add another one :)

    Thanks for this post, Nathalie, happy that I’ve got one great idea out of it!

    • Awesome Delia – yes 2 is doable, and once you master these two you can branch out without making yourself feel like you’re biting off too much. :)

  13. Santosh says:

    This was such a great article – thank you. As a new blogger, I sometimes feel like everyone is already at the next level so it was good to get some advice for How to Establish the Right Priorities to Grow Your Blog and Profits.

    • Awesome Santosh, glad this was helpful for you as a newer blogger. :)

      P.S. It feels that way for your now, but to tell the truth everyone feels like they’re behind most of the time.

  14. Mark Weyland says:

    Thank you for sharing such an informative post. It is indeed really necessary to prioritize our goals or it would be similar to moving like a ship without any direction. Only after this can we really take up a strategy that will actually help us to reach those goals in a step by step manner.

  15. Christiano says:

    Nathalie, thank you.
    I am building my hub and doing outreach.

  16. Pretraveller says:

    Thanks for a useful article. As per above I have mostly been focusing on writing consistently and improving my writing and SEO. In addition I have been focusing on building my Pinterest followers and that has been working well. I am slowly growing my Twitter followers, but I think I need to delete and start again my Facebook page as while people appear to be clicking through no-one seems to be pressing the Like button.

    Things to do yet: finish writing my first ebook (stalled, but I plan to get back to it while I am on holiday over Xmas), shifting my site from WordPress.com to hosted WordPress – I have already done some experimentation using a test blog site – and I have proved that it will not be quite as quick and easy as several articles have advised. I lost quite a few followers earlier this year when I transfered from Typepad to WordPress.com so I don’t want to rush it…

    Thanks for your help to prioritise these things!!

    • I totally hear you on moving your blog over and losing followers. I recommend that you build an email list so that if you do change hosting or blog platforms, you can continue to stay in touch with your subscribers via email. That way it’s not dependent on an RSS feed or another provider, you have full control over it.

  17. Joseph Sunny says:

    This Article is Such a Great Article. As a Blogger I can Understand it. :)

  18. piyush goyal says:

    Now my priority is to create good, unique content and grow my email list with out even considering the option of guest posting for atleast 3 months.

  19. Humphrey says:

    Thanks Nathalie, focusing on doing 2 effective things is much easier than being overwhelmed.

  20. Hollie Flynn says:

    Thanks Natalie! You are a rock star! Your content is always SO incredibly spot on, practical, and SMART! Every time I read a post or watch a video you’ve created, I feel like “aaahhhh” ….SO HELPFUL.

    Thank you! Much gratitude.
    Hollie

    • Hey Hollie! So happy to hear this is hitting the right spot for you, and glad my work gives you an “Ahhhh” moment, too. ;)

      I write for you, every time. :)

  21. Michael Hurd says:

    Thanks, definitely one of those aspiring bloggers who was getting burned out at the overwhelm of so many things that need doing for a successful blog. Thanks for telling us to take a deep breath and just focus on 2 priorities at a time and let things grow from there.

    • Absolutely Michael, there’s no need to rush toward something when you can take steps that are a lot more doable and get you more results. ;)

  22. Shelia says:

    Oh Nathalie, you don’t know how much I needed to read this today. You know it’s good stuff when you’re certain it was written specifically for you ( me). Thank you again for breaking it down and showing us how important it is to take it one step at a time.

  23. You’re so right Nathalie. Us bloggers could get lost in a myriad of seemingly important tasks and never ending tweaks if we don’t actually have a firm stance on our blogging strategy and vision. Great tips!

  24. Jessica says:

    I love this, Nathalie. Thank you. I’m in the building-my-web-foundation-stage. And I feel stuck! It’s not the lovely, functional space I want it to be. So, I’m hesitant to share it with others. I’m afraid of readers taking one look and running away.

    I especially love when you said: “I don’t recommend overcommitting to creating a ton of content just yet.” I’ve been writing for months, coming up with blog topics, and worrying myself about an editorial calendar. And not sticking to it anyway. Now I see that I can start with the content I have and more, better-suited content will come as I engage with readers. So, after hub tweaking, guest posting!

    Jessica

  25. I suck at Facebook. And trying to figure out Google+ just makes me Cuss Out Loud way too much.

    Wait. You mean I have permission to give up (sort of) on trying to be a social media superstar. OH THANK YOU! =)

    I like it. Promoting my blog and getting it off the ground seems so overwhelming…backlinking, blog commenting, facebook, google+, twitter, forums, advertising. I feel so lost sometimes. Thank you Natalie for convincing me to focus on just one or two.

    I think for me, networking with other like-minded bloggers is priority #1. Live webinars would be a freakishly embarassing mistake for me, but pre-recorded stuff might work. Then again, I cannot stand the sound of my own voice, so maybe I’ll just stick with networking with bloggers and try to get some guest posts.

    Thanks for the insight, and good luck to you!
    Chris

    • Yes you’ve got it Chris! Networking with other bloggers is awesome and will take you really far, and if social media makes you cuss out loud – you’re probably not having fun or getting the results you want. ;)

  26. Sara Mazenko says:

    Nathalie, this was so perfect for me to read – thank you!

    A couple of weeks ago I was in massive brainstorming mode and felt great and now I’ve moved into “Oh **** mode” trying to figure out what to do first. But I feel like now I just got permission to NOT multi-task anymore! Do you have a list anywhere or another article maybe about all potential outreach methods? Seeing all options laid out makes my choice easier and more obvious.

    Thank you a zillion times already!

    Sara

  27. Jade says:

    I kinda have my priorities messes up and I just started :/ thanks for this article