There’s no doubt that blogging can be a great way of making a living or boosting your marketing – but it is hard work. A lot of companies and individuals fall at the first hurdle, and, unfortunately, it isn’t just a case of starting up a blog and waiting for success. It takes time, energy and commitment to making it work, and if you lose steam, there’s an excellent chance your blog isn’t going to fulfill its potential. These tips can help you remain focused.

Have a plan

One of the biggest problems I find that businesses have all stem from the fact that they have a blog but don’t really know why. The result? It’s usually a blog with four or five random posts that hasn’t been updated for a couple of years. Without purpose, your business is better off without a blog, so before you start writing, have a goal in mind. Is it to boost sales? Maybe you are looking for sign ups? What factors are going to prove that your blog is successful?

Look at the right metrics

There are many different parameters that you can use to define your blog’s success – pageviews and bounce rate are two typical metrics that are often looked at. But are they right for your business? For example, a blog with a high bounce rate may immediately be written off as a failure, but if you are writing for a niche market that may not be the case. Perhaps that high bounce rate for a particular page indicates that you are successfully refining your audience instead. Take a look at this great post on the value of choosing the right metrics from Google’s Avinash Kaushik to learn a little more.

You might think you know how to start a blog, but the learning process doesn’t end there. As you follow your plan of action, you will learn something new every day, and everything that you learn will need to be tested and refined as you go on. You will gain knowledge of what is working for you, and you will begin to understand how your audience reacts. Unless you do this, your blog simply isn’t going to be a success.

Be inspired

Another major problem for businesses is that they find it hard to come up with topics to blog about. They either leave it as it is or start to write irrelevant and unfocused posts that no audience is ever going to care for. So stay on track, stick to topics your visitors care about and don’t be afraid to re-appropriate content. Be more creative. Use old posts to inspire new ones, use your business data to point out interesting trends, and curate industry highlights in a new and inspiring way.

Play the long game

Unless you are incredibly lucky, your blog will take a while to become successful. It isn’t easy – but it can deliver excellent results in the long-term. So, my final piece of advice is to keep going, stick to the plan and adapt when you need to. As long as you have the right KPIs in place, you will stand a better chance of making your blog a valuable marketing stream for your business.