As the year draws to a close, people start thinking about their goals for 2017. If blogging makes it on your to-do list, then you’re in luck; getting a site up and running is easier than ever with modern tools such as content management systems (CMS) like WordPres. However, laying the foundations of a successful blog takes time and immense planning.

To ensure the long-term success of your new blog, below are five essential factors you need to consider:

1. Niche

Selecting your niche is one of the most important early decisions you need to make. If you pick wrong, then you may waste countless hours and dollars trying to make the impossible work. Choose right, and you’ll have an easier time finding people who’ll be interested in your content.

Before you start building your blog, make sure you have a list of all the possible niches you can enter. Work your way down as you determine the profitability of each. You can refer to this post on Nichehacks for concrete steps.

2. Target Audience

Since running a successful blog is essentially a business, you need to identify and get to know your target audience. Whether you’re trying to sell a product online or pursuing the path of a thought leader, you need to tailor everything on your site to their specific preferences.

For example, what writing voice would be more relatable and entertaining to them? What products or topics will generate the most attention?

To answer these questions, you need to develop buyer personas that set apart your target audience. Some might be interested in the information you provide; others could be looking for product recommendations.

3. Hosting

Hosting may not seem important the first time your site goes live. But once it starts gaining traction, you’ll regret not paying attention to your web hosting solution.

Performance-wise, a good hosting solution ensures your site can cater to a large number of visitors. It must also be capable enough to meet your specific bandwidth needs. WordPress websites, in particular, may rely on plenty of resource-hungry parts to function – including but not limited to security plugins, themes, and visual content. But with the best hosting for WordPress, these components will have minimum impact on your site’s loading speed.

Aside from speed, some other factors are uptime reliability and security. Both are interconnected and play a huge role in your website’s performance and SEO-friendliness. However, tracking these two elements takes time. So be sure you pay attention to the signs that indicate the need for a web hosting upgrade.

4. Content

Content is the lifeblood of online marketing and blogging. But before you start publishing blog posts, you need a solid content strategy in place to ensure each piece is relevant, compelling, and will win your audience’s trust. For this, you need to identify the different methods and content types you can use on your blog.

This part should be more than possible once you have developed personas for your target audience. Once you have those personas in place, you can refer to this comprehensive guide from Quicksprout for the specific steps of refining your content strategy.

5. Analytics

Even if your site is built by the most experienced and talented web developer in the world, you still need analytics to improve and grow your website over time. After all, online marketing is an evolving landscape. You need to keep up with the trends and keep improving if you want to remain in the competition.

With analytics, you can determine which of your strategies need to be adjusted or removed altogether. Fortunately, there’s never a shortage of analytics tools that can help you track your blog’s performance. You just have to identify the blog metrics you should watch to make the most significant improvements on your site.

Conclusion

Creating a blog can be exciting, but you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself and overlook the important factors for success. Make sure you plan for everything listed above before you move forward.