Most accomplished bloggers that I know of never mention the word project while they refer to building a successful blog, even though many aspects of Project Management are being used informally.
The goal of this post is to highlight the aspects of Project Management and Blogging and hence, enable readers to build a successful blog using the best practices in the industry.
Before we set afoot, here are some underlying qualities/activities that a prospective blogger must have/follow:
1. Domain Knowledge – Bloggers must have good knowledge in the field that they wish to write on. Without basic domain knowledge, it is practically impossible to impress readers and more importantly, satisfy oneself through writing. For example, if John was to start a blog on semi-conductors, he must have some in-depth knowledge to make a mark in the cyber world.
2. See the Need, Fill the Void – This applies to all business aspects. Bloggers should basically find a niche that is untapped and exploit it to the fullest. For example, Mary is advised by an online consultant that there are a ton of websites on tech gadgets. If she still decides to go ahead with a gadget blog, the chances of her standing a good chance is slim, unless she gets first hand information on the new products. Instead, if she jumps into a field such as reusing old gadgets in coming up with something new, she has a brighter chance.
3. Information Sourcing – It is important where you obtain the information from and when you obtain it. Subscribing to a number of RSS feeds to source your blogs will fetch you eggs, or even omlets if lucky. Try not to carry coal to New Castle. Find something new. Find a fresh source rather than something that is all over the web by the time you get to it.
Well, these are just a few of the many pre-requisites that stand as a foundation to building a successful blog.
At this juncture, let’s suppose we have most of the ducks in a row and we are ready to start our mini project on building a blog. Here are some things to prioritize and work upon:
1. Initialization – Do some basic ground work of your proposed blog such as what you would like to write and which geographies are your targets. Also list down the resources (or identify) you would need like web designers, web hosts, an SEO company in Scotland or wherever you are and so on. At the end of this stage, you will have a rough idea on where you stand and how things might look.
2. Planning – This is perhaps the most important stage for any project. An accurate planning will most times than not lead to successful projects and is quite true with blogs as well. Some things that ought to be planned include schedule, cost, stakeholders(project sponsor if any, readers, critics), quality, marketing (communication) amongst others. The amount of planning one must do depends mostly on the scope and breadth of your proposed blog. I would use a project management tool such as MS Project but the simple way out is a spreadsheet.
3. Execution – Planning in one world and executing what has been planned is completely another. Make sure that you stick to the plan wherever possible. Surveys indicate that only 23% of the total projects till date have completed on schedule and as planned. Sticking to the plan develops disciple and keeps a tight leash in ensuring that things don’t go out of hand.
4. Test if Everything is Fine – After every aspect of your blog is built, make sure you check everything is in place and in proper shape. It is best to do it now rather than when you operationalize it. Quality should be given its due place as at the end of the day, it is the quality of your framework, design and related segments that will stabilize your blog on a longer run. Example: If the design on your blog looks really great on Firefox and fails miserably on IE, you should know that the quality has taken a hit. Expect many users to be turned away if your blog does not show up well on their browsers, even though you might have quality content.
5. Close Out – If you are satisfied with all parts of your blog, it’s time to close the project and call it a success.
You start blogging only after your blog-building project is complete. Remember that blogging is not a project, but an operation. I will write on operational part of the blog in a later post.
The Project Management aspects provided above are very brief. Going forward, I will unearth each one of the areas to bring out a clear understanding and relation that exists between building blogs and project management.
If you have questions, feel free to ask.