You found some good hosting, came up with a catchy title for your blog, and set up a site using WordPress, Blogger, or one of the other major blogging softwares. Perhaps you even made the investment in a killed theme for your site, to make the biggest bang you can right out of the gate. You’ve got a twitter account, you’re sharing pictures on Flickr, maybe you’ve even set yourself up a Facebook page (like I just did) to help promote your stuff.
You’re covering all the bases, dotting all your J’s and crossing all your T’s. But you’re still missing something.
What’s that you say? You’ve found yourself a niche? Ooh, good work! The niche is an essential part of any blogger’s homework. How many people are in it? How is the niche being explored so far? Is anyone even remotely close to your angle?
Not many people, shallow exploration, and mediocre angles? Excellent! Now comes the really hard part.
You still haven’t decided what you’re working towards!
You’re building a platform. Great. But what is it for? Getting the word out about your widgets? That’s a weak reason to spend so much time on something. Getting the word out in order to bring traffic to your site to sell your awesome widgets? Now that’s something entirely different.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling thousand dollar eBooks, ten dollar beef jerky, or increasing awareness for your non-profit in hopes of landing a patron or two – having an aim behind your work is extremely important to being able to say what was successful and what was a flop.
And that’s just the macro end of things.
The more laser-focused you get on your goals, the smaller the work you do to improve your rate of success can feel.
Changing the roundness of your Subscribe button’s corners by 2 pixels? Moving from an autobiographical About page to a professional Curriculum Vitae? These are the beans that you can address at the end of the cycle, once you know your aims are worth working towards, and your entire platform is already aligned with those goals.
It feels like small stuff, but if that 2px radius increase (or decrease) adds five percent to your subscribe rate? It might be worth it. If your CV-style About page means two extra clients per month? You bet your perfect prose it’s worth it.
When you’ve got really strong goals in mind, you can stop worrying about diminishing returns.
That five percent extra subscribe rate means nothing unless you’re building a database for future use. Those two extra clients mean nothing unless you can execute for them and retain them past the first project. Whatever it is you’re using your platform to achieve, make sure it’s actually lined up with your business goals.
But hey, maybe it’s simple.
Maybe you just want to put thought to keyboard, and get into some interesting conversations. It’s not all business right?
Right. It may not be all business, but even with what appear to be casual aims, keeping your platform in line with your purpose is powerful. Conversation still has conversion – a pleasing comment form makes a difference the same way choosing a more open network like Twitter has benefits compared to a more closed network like LinkedIn or Ning.
No matter the aim, there are considerations you can take to make sure you’re reducing your emotional and administrative overhead before diving in too deep.
What are some of the ways you’ve narrowed in on a goal and adjusted your platform to match?
Image by David Sim.