By Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms.

Creating a successful blog is a lot of work and requires commitment. Even when you keep it up, it's hard to grow a community and drive comments and engagement. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself to plan a successful blog:

1. What is the niche?

When it comes to choosing a niche, bloggers often fall into the trap of picking one that has a potential for profit and ignoring their passion for the topic. Although market demand is an important aspect of a successful blog, it's hard to sustain a blog in which you have little interest. Aside from passion, here's what you need to consider when choosing a niche for your blog.

  • Popularity: Creating a successful blog is next to impossible if no one else shares your interest. You can go to Google Trends to see if the topic you're passionate about has been growing or shrinking.
  • Profitability: You should also have an idea of how you're going to monetize your blog while choosing a niche. For example, if you want to monetize your blog with ads, go ahead and figure out what ads Google is serving for your target keywords.
  • Sustainability: To create a successful blog, you'll need to keep new content flowing on a regular basis. Make sure you choose a niche in which you can quickly publish content regularly for the next few months.

2. Who is the competition?

Create a list of 10 blogs in your niche and commit to reading them every week. By following other blogs in your niche, you can find potential content ideas that others aren't writing about. It also helps to identify what's working and what isn't.

Keep in mind that in the blogosphere, your competitors aren't just rivals but your biggest allies. Connect with other influential bloggers and create a solid relationship by engaging with their community and sharing their content on social networks. Remember: If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.

3. How will I create content?

To keep an audience coming to your blog, you need to publish useful content on a regular basis. Should you self-publish or outsource? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want your content to have a strong personality behind it?
  • Do you have enough time to write articles by yourself? If not, do you have the budget to hire an expert in your niche?
  • How much can you afford to pay for content production and still make a profit?

4. How will I grow?

Your audience is the lifeblood of your blog. To create a successful blog, you need to ensure that you attract the right audience. Here are a few ways:

  • SEO: Optimize your website for search engines to ensure your content is easily accessible when your target audience is searching for it.
  • Social media: Grow a loyal follower base on social networks, engage with them and convince them to visit your website.
  • Other blogs: Build authority and traffic by writing guest articles on other popular blogs.

5. How will I monetize the blog?

Having a monetization strategy is essential to building a successful blog that generates revenue. You can monetize your blog in many ways.

  • Sell ad space: This is probably the easiest way to monetize. But if advertising is the only monetization strategy for your blog, you'll need to grow a massive following to build a reliable income.
  • Affiliate marketing: Find relevant products that you can promote on your blog and earn a commission when your visitors purchase it by clicking on your affiliate link. This tactic is much easier than selling products because you don't have to spend your time on product creation.
  • Sell products: Creating and selling products is one of the best ways to make a passive income from your blog. You can create a physical or digital product that solves your potential customers' issue and convinces them to make a purchase.

Putting all your eggs in one basket isn't safe. Make sure to diversify your sources of income. Creating a successful blog takes time: With a clear plan, you can build authority in your niche and grow a community around your blog.

Jared Atchison is the co-founder of WPForms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that's being used on over 400,000 websites.