Great Blog Content Starts Before You Hit Publish! 5 Elements That Most Bloggers Forget!

Don't hit "Publish" quite yet! Still much to do...

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series. Check out the other posts!]

Great content has to start somewhere, right? Well, it actually starts way before you even sit down to write and I want to explore these important elements before you get too far down the wrong path.

In fact, some of you will feel like you are but worry not for nothing is irrecoverable in the blogging world! re-branding, re-working, re-designing, re-architecting your blog is going to be a part of the lifecycle for as long as you’re a blogger so better get used to it!

You see, content is much more than just your writing – it’s the entire user experience and most people forget these things and instead just jump right into writing! I counsel people to start with these 5 elements and then work your way into writing.

Planning your content begins with these 5 elements and you must consider them seriously if you want to succeed long-term.

So let us begin!

1. Domain Name

Great blog content starts with a great blog name. There are a number of reasons for this and I go into great detail on this blog post on how to choose the best domain name for your blog. This is a must-read for you and you’ll want to revisit it again even if you’ve read it already.

Here’s the bottom line though: Your blog name will help you focus your content and will help establish your brand which will speak highly and directly about the content that you’re writing about.

The fact is that your domain name is the first thing that your readers and new visitors see and it is truly the first piece of content that they access and view. A great domain name communicates the type of content first and so you had better make it good!

This is why I highly suggest not using your own proper name as your blog domain because your name doesn’t say anything about the type of content that the blog will be covering (except if you’re an already established personality with a very strong brand). For example, what does “John Saddington” really mean to anyone? That’s right, nothing.

Let your persona shine!

2. Your Blogging Persona

Although this is less tangible than the previous suggestion it still proves to be exceptionally valuable: Figuring out what Blogging Persona you have, both naturally and the one you want to develop, is vitally important.

You’re definitely going to want to read this post that I’ve already created for you!

The point here is that this will help you clarify what types of content you’ll most likely write about as well as what generally works for the type of style and persona that you are. It often times helps me to see what’s “worked” for others generally speaking so I can either copy and/or improve on the model.

The more specific you can be the better and the more you generally stick with your persona the “deeper” it will be as a brand and impact overall.

Your challenge will always be to not dilute your coverage with your content and your persona can be an internal check-system to keep you on your game.

3. Blogging Platform

Your blogging platform is a piece of content as it determines to a large extent what you’re able to write about, how you write it, and how your readers read it, especially from a design perspective.

For example, a microblogging service will generally not let you customize the user-experience which directly impacts the content experience. Choosing the right blogging platform is crucial!

As you already know, I’ve chosen WordPress as I generally think it’s the best blogging platform out there today but if you need to look into some other choices here’s a insanely-large list of blogging platforms as well as how you should go about choosing the right one for your needs.

The point is that your blog content includes the right blogging platform and you’ll want to choose the one that’s going to create the most success (and freedom for success) as possible!

Your blog design is part of your content!

4. Blog Design (Theme), Features and Functionality (Plugins, 3rd Party Scripts)

Many of the blogging platforms out there allow you to customize the look and the feel to your heart’s content! And to be sure you’re going to want to do just that!

But the design includes not only the outward appearance but also the internal mechanisms and the quality of code – your content depends on it! Make sure that you have the best theme for your needs that you can possibly get your hands on as it’s part of the content experience that your users will engage with.

As you know, I’ve created a handful of WordPress Themes that you can take a look at if you use self-hosted WordPress as your blogging platform of choice. Choose wisely and it’ll pay you back in spades. Choose poorly and you’ll probably suffer and not even know about it (which is sad!).

In addition, great blog content can be made much better with the right user experience and many people choose to add on to the native experience from their blogging platform with 3rd party scripts and possibly plugins.

I’ve written about this previously but you’re going to want to always remember to keep your blog as “light” as possible so that it loads fast and efficiently for your readers. Review this post here about keeping a blog light and not heavy.

Your user experience, community, and content will thank you for it!

5. Hosting for Your Blog

Blog hosting!

To go along with your blog platform as well as keeping your blog fast you’re going to want to choose the right hosting provider for your blog as your host will determine a lot of how your blog loads and the content experience that your end user will have to deal with (hopefully very positively!).

I’ve listed out more than a few hosting providers that you can check out and to choose from. Remember, your content is depends on your readers ability to actually get the content in front of them at a very reasonable pace. Not only that but the faster your blog is the better you will rank in the search engines so this directly impacts your growth as a blogger!

Get the best stuff and it’ll pay dividends in the long-run.

And that is where we shall start!

So, let’s hear it in the comments: How many of you “forgot” that these parts of your blog are intimately tied with your overall “content”? What areas listed above do you need to work on?

Let me know and perhaps I can help!

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series. Check out the other posts!]