It’s all on you.
Everything you’ve got is getting funneled into your blog. Unfortunately what you’ve got right now isn’t much.
You need a graphic designer, a copywriter, an editor, a web designer, and you still need to be creating great content on a regular basis. Every time you turn around, you need “this” or “that” and, the universe having the kind of sense of humor it does, you always need “this” and “that” right now.
So let’s walk through a quick and dirty survival guide to bootstrapping your blog to success when you can’t afford to hire the professionals.
Aim to Triage
Triaging means to separate out the important from the unnecessary. And the question that needs to be always in the back of your mind is “Do I really need this?”
When you’re doing everything, you will be inclined to take on too much.
Now is the time to focus.
Pick what you really need, the bare bones, and hit it hard. Put all your effort into being great at the stuff that matters and triaging out what doesn’t.
Aim For The Bottom
You’re trying to build your blogging business on a shoestring, now is not the time to get picky.
When I first started blogging back in 2006, I spent months teaching myself HTML, CSS and PHP because I couldn’t afford to hire someone and I was too stubborn to stick with a free, generic WordPress theme. What I should have done was aimed lower with my design expectations, dedicated my time to great content and waited until I could hire a real designer.
As a new blogger, you’re looking around and thinking how great it would be to have a fully customized website for your business that shows off your brand and is optimized to capture customer contacts and convert them into sales right this second. Wouldn’t that be great?
Absolutely. It would also be great to have the money to pay for that, but that’s not where you are right now. For right now, aim for what you can do quickly and easily so you can go back to focusing on the strengths that will grow your business.
Ask yourself what will get you by until you can do better.
Now do that.
Aim For Function, Not Form
Despite what any good designer will tell you, ugly isn’t bad for business.
Pretty is better, sure, but ugly won’t kill you.
Let’s say you need to design an advertisement in Photoshop (a pretty specialized skill). Instead of trying to make something pretty and professional, aim for being clear, not clever.
You’ll waste a lot of time trying to learn to be pretty, when learning to be direct is a lot easier.
Bottom line: get done what needs to be done to fulfill your goals — leave the flourishes to the pros.
Aim For Weakness First
You’re not going to want to do the things you’re not good at and you WILL procrastinate.
You’ll do the writing or the link building – all the tasks you’re good at – leaving you with the designing or coding that will trip you up and hold you back.
Trust me, that’s a rookie mistake, slugger.
Get in there and knock out the crap you don’t want to do, first.
Whether it’s web design or SEO, if you wait until it’s the last thing on your to-do list, it will take forever and you’ll have no incentive to go any faster.
It will be the roadblock that makes you say, “well, I would grow my blog, but this part isn’t ready yet.”
Get it done, aim low, and get back to what you’re good at.
I realize I’m not exactly patting you on the back and telling you everything will be okay, but that’s not what you need right now anyway. Right now you need to get to the point in your business where you can properly expand and grow.
So don’t be put off by advice like “Aim for the Bottom.” Yes, it’s weird not being told to do your best, but if you’re not a professional web designer, why spend the time learning their skill? It took them years to learn and it will take you just as long. Those are years that will be wasted not growing your blog.
Professionals make what they do look easy. That’s why they’re professionals.
You’re a professional blogger now – it’s time to earn that title.