Why do you want to start a blog?
(This post has homework!)
In our ever-growing world of alternative media, there are many people making a living by blogging. I love the idea of making money from writing about whatever I want on a blog, writing books and selling them to my blog readers, and creating podcasts that my audience will love! After I finish that fantasy thinking, I will need to truly think about why I want to blog. Why do you want to blog?
What are your true motives? There are no right or wrong reasons, but you need to know your reason. Do you want to:
- help people?
- create a passive income stream?
- become a writer?
- become well known in your subject area?
- blog for the sake of blogging?
Your reason for blogging will help you make the difficult choices about how to best set up and run your blog. Your motivation will help you write content, even when you don’t feel like writing. Your blogging purpose must be important enough to sustain your blog through the tough times.
Take a moment and jot down at least 3 reasons you want to blog. The more reasons you have, the more motivated you’ll be to start!
Who will read your blog?
This is a much bigger question than I thought it was when I decided to start my blog. Who wants to read the things you’ll write in your blog? For mine, I thought new moms, or frustrated moms, would benefit from my 22 years of experience in parenting and managing a home. These moms could use my blog as a “cheat sheet” to help them manage their homes and family responsibilities more efficiently. They could use it to help them get through difficult situations and life stages they might not know how to handle.
Analyzing my blog metrics, I’ve learned some of my posts are relevant for college students, single adults with no children, and men involved in fitness activities. It is positive that I’m reaching a broader audience, but they are leaving as quickly as they arrive, because my blog is obviously geared toward moms.
Think about who your readers will be. Jot down a description of your ideal reader. Think about describing them by age, gender, and interests.
What will you write about?
In my initial phase of blogging (2003-2005), I used my blog as a journal to record my feelings and the happenings in my life. It was a creative outlet where I could post images, thoughts, and even silly, sarcastic rants. My current blog has a specific purpose and a targeted range of topics, and my writings need to fit that purpose.
My initial list of topics was very broad–frugal living, meal planning, DIY projects, parenting, marriage, fitness, blogging, etc. My topics will continue to evolve as the blog grows, and I use analytics to see who is reading and how to better serve them.
Take a moment and jot down 4 or 5 possible topics for your blog.
When (and how often) will you post?
Blogs are a variable time commitment, depending on how often you decide you’ll want to create content. Do you think you need to post weekly? Monthly? Daily?
Think about how much time you want to spend writing, and see it that looks like a good fit with the answers of the other questions; if you want to post weekly, and you only want to spend a couple of hours on the weekends, you may want to rethink. Weekly posts require planning time, writing time, and proofreading time. Quality content takes time!
If you have a busy home or small children, you may want to give yourself some grace and start small. Writing a really good blog post every other week or so is a great idea, especially early on when there is a lot to learn about blogging.
Quick question: how often to you think you’ll want to post in your blog?
Where will your reader learn about your blog?
Marketing your blog will be necessary. The phrase “if you build it, they will come” is fiction from a movie, and it doesn’t apply to blogs. You may put a lot of hard work and effort into your content, but that doesn’t mean “they” will ever know about it; you’ll need to think of ways to reach out and find readers to let them know what you have for them in your blog.
Are you active on Facebook or Pinterest? Those are excellent marketing venues for blogs. Be sure your target readers are well-represented in your current social media groups. If not through social media, how do you plan to reach your intended readers?
I’m a very active Facebook and Pinterest user. I’ve never tried Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, Google +, or other social media platforms. I decided to start with Facebook, because my group of around 400 “friends” includes many who fit my ideal reader description. I love Pinterest, so I knew I wanted to use that platform, too. That’s where I decided to focus my efforts for the first year of my blog, and I can expand into other platforms later if I choose to.
Where will you find your readers? List a couple of ideas.
Now that you’ve thought about who, what, when, where, and why, START YOUR BLOG!
Start your blog! There are many things to consider, but don’t let these decisions halt the process entirely. If you start blogging on a free platform, and decide to move to your own domain later, that’s fine! If you begin as simply a helpful resource, but later decide to monetize your blog, that’s fine, too! Your blog may need to start small and evolve as you learn. So, just jump in and get started.
I have used information from some VERY successful bloggers to help me get started, and I’m an affiliate for Suzi. She has so many resources to make it easy to get started. I recommend “Blog by Number” as a great starting point. See Suzi’s ad with link in my sidebar on the right, or use this link to check out Suzi’s course and ebook.