In many respects, having a blog is much like planting a fruit tree. While they are completely different in nature, the things you do in both cases are remarkably similar. And in both cases, neglecting any stage could destroy the whole project.
Before you plant a tree, you will look at what is likely to grow in your area. You will look at weather patterns, soil types, and possible problems with specific pests. There is – for instance – no point in planting a tropical tree in a cold mountain region.
If you fail to do this, you may end up planting the wrong tree, and it either won’t grow, or it won’t be able to bear fruit.
Before you start your blog, you will have to do some thinking about what you want to do, and decide on a niche. You have to do keyword research and look at the competition to see if what you want to do is likely to be profitable or not.
In addition to that, you will be looking at the available products for that niche, and the available affiliate opportunities. At the end of the day, your blog has to generate revenue, so there has to be some money in the niche you are getting into.
If you fail to do this, you could end up creating something which either bores you after a while or a blog that simply doesn’t make you any money – no matter how much work you put into it.
In the case of planting a tree, the preparation is simple. Find a suitable spot (not too much – or not enough – sunlight, not too close to any buildings, and not too close to any drain pipes. After that, it is simply a matter of preparing the soil to contain the right combination of nourishment and properties for drainage/water retention.
If you fail to do this, you could end up with a tree that struggles to grow, or you can end up with severe structural- or plumbing problems – none of which you need.
When preparing to blog, there is the matter of reliable hosting, the WordPress installation, plugins and themes, settings and graphics. If you plan to build a mailing list, there is the setup of the autoresponder service, creating an opt-in freebie, and setting up your follow-up sequence.
There is also the matter of security, as well as setting up your blog for SEO. And lastly, you will add Google Analytics and submit your blog to Google Webmaster Tools.
If you fail to prepare your blog properly, you could end up with any of a host of problems, all of which is likely to demand time and effort to resolve. That time, by the way, should instead be dedicated to…
From the planting of the seed or seedling, up until the tree reaches a specific size, you will need to water it regularly, and remove weeds around it which may steal its nutrients, and – at a young age – even overcome it.
If you fail to nurture your tree, it will die. Period.
When you start writing on your blog, it will need regular content. It will require regular and consistent activity on the social networks you have chosen to reach your audience. You will be engaging with other bloggers, engaging with your audience, and leaving comments all over. In short, you will be spending time on your blog every single day, and you will be doing everything you can to make it grow as soon as possible, and as big as possible.
If you fail to nurture your blog through its early stages, you will severely hamper its potential to grow. In fact, you could even end up losing interest if it doesn’t appear to be growing – and you may let it die.
Maximizing the rewards
To maximize the rewards on your fruit tree, you will prune it to ensure the nutrients are going to the best branches. You will take steps to deter insects that could attack the fruit – whether those steps are natural or chemical in nature.
If you fail to do this, you are likely to lose much of your fruit or end up with a tree that simply doesn’t bear much fruit.
To maximize the rewards on your blog, you will have to monitor your audience, and see what they want to read about. You will optimize your layout for the best click-through rate, and optimize your landing pages for the best possible conversion rate. In short, you will tweak your blog to get the most out of every single visitor, even making an improvement to your email follow-up series in the process.
If you fail to do this, you may still make some money from your blog – but it won’t be nearly as much as it can be. You will literally be throwing money away.
In the case of your tree, you will have to take steps to keep it free of pests – lice, worms, etc. That will ensure that the tree remains healthy and that it continues to bear as much fruit as it possibly can.
If you don’t, you do not only risk reduced rewards, but you also risk the tree dying from succumbing to pests.
In the case of your blog, you will have to continuously update your WordPress core, themes, and plugins. If you find that any plugin is no longer updated, you will have to find a suitable replacement. In addition to that, you will have to continuously monitor your blog for broken links.
If you don’t, you not only run the risk of your blog being hacked but also of your blog dropping in the search engine ratings – due to broken links. Not to mention that the lack of updates will be seen as neglect by Google, who will then adjust your search rankings accordingly.