Not so long ago, we started a blog. The goal was simple: get the word out about our new business venture, and gain an audience before launching a product in the coming months. It all sounded so simple. Create good content. Work on SEO. Comment. Guest post. Build a community.
No one warned us of the vortex we would fall into — the anxiety over posting, the drenching sweat while watching Google Analytics, the endless brainstorms for the “perfect title.” Do I have enough traffic? Have I left enough comments? You can almost feel the tension on the back-end of WordPress as you surf the blogosphere. We too spent hours of otherwise-productive time scrutinizing the small things.
We call that vortex the “Blog Hole” — the place where you find yourself, detached from reality, focusing on all the wrong things that won’t get your business where it needs to be. If you’re starting to wonder, “What comes first? My business or my blog?” then keep reading.
Give Yourself a Reality Check
When you get dressed for the day you probably pay attention to what you’re wearing — you at least try to match. But once you leave the house, how often do you notice other people’s outfits? Your blog is no different. Sure, people are reading and watching, but not as closely as you think. The difference in “5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Blog” and “5 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Blog” is not going to make or break you (or your SEO, for that matter).
Realize that your blog should work for your business, not control it. If you’re tapping your fingers, waiting for the results from your last Feedburner campaign, then that’s a sure sign you’ve fallen into the Blog Hole. It’s a vast and addictive arena — there is a certain thrill from watching your subscriptions go up and checking to see who clicked open your email updates. But it’s also a danger zone — and in order to get out, you need to prioritize.
Prioritize by Income Stream
A lucky few make money blogging. The rest of us use blogs as a marketing tool for our main income source, which is our product or service. Ask yourself exactly why you’re blogging — define it. Then, focus on your reason for blogging, not blogging itself.
- A blog is a marketing tactic. The effectiveness of marketing has been debated for years, because the truth is, you’re never going to know exactly how much or how often your marketing scheme is affecting your sales. Nevertheless, marketing is a critical aspect of all businesses.
- Your product or service is king. You can market the hell out of your offer, but if your offer isn’t good, then you can bet your customers won’t come back. After all, the most valuable aspect of a growing business is the repeat customer. Loyalty is gained through experienced trust, so make certain your product is stellar before you make certain your blog is the cat’s pajamas.
Every “how to blog” article on the ‘net will tell you the same thing: post regularly. Keeping a regular schedule is good for all aspects of your blog. Post on set days, and check your stats on set days. Things aren’t going to change much from one day to the next, and if by chance they do, you can always go back to your Analytics.
There is a definite ego-boost attached with blogging and realizing that others care about what you have to say. It takes a bit of determination at first, but quell your need to see what people think of you immediately. You’ll save time, save your ego, and break free of that Blog Hole addiction.
Realize that Perfection is Overrated
If blogging is your main source of income, then of course it makes sense for you to get sucked into the vortex every once in a while. But for the rest of us, realize that your blog is just one platform for communicating with potential buyers. We think it’s safe to say they would much rather spend money on a “perfect product” rather than reading a free “perfect blog.”
This is all a prime example of not sweating the small stuff. If the border around the photo on your About Me page isn’t perfectly spaced, take a deep breath and move on. You’re better off making sure your product shipment was delivered on time.
At the end of the day, great products sell, and great blogs help sell those products. How do you find your balance, and avoid the Blog Hole?
Kristin Glenn and Shannon Whitehead are start-up entrepreneurs currently pursuing fair trade fashion in Central America.