Ask yourself these seven questions before starting a blog
Amidst the first decision of your blogging journey, the decision to start a blog in the first place, there are a million thoughts that flow through ones’ head like violent river rapids. You know absolutely nothing about blogging, which is an entire industry in itself. Web hosting, WordPress, design, social media, internet marketing, html, CSS, photography, writing, woah.
The most important tip I have for beginner bloggers is this: take it one step at a time.
To avoid the panic attack that may ensue if you allow these countless thoughts to push through the wall in your mind between stress and happiness, we’re giving you seven questions you need to ask yourself before you dive into the blogosphere.
Let’s get started.
1) Is this for myself, or do I want others to find value in this?
Many bloggers create their websites to serve as a journal of sorts. They take the leap because they enjoy writing, and want to create a log of memories that they can look back on, or even share with friends and family. However, in order to avoid a funky transition and wasted time, this is an important question to ask yourself during inception. If it is for yourself, great. But if it’s for others to find value in, then you’ve got yourself a potential business. With that thought in mind, every single piece of content you share needs to be done so with your reader in mind. You want them to come to your page and always leave with something.
2) What am I going to blog about?
You may be thinking that this is an obvious question, but we’ve added it here for a reason. A lot of bloggers, myself included, start off going in a million different directions. You’ll start with food, then talk about your workouts, then share what you did over the weekend, then talk about your trip to Nashville, then share tips for throwing the perfect baby shower. Not only is this unsustainable, but it’s not the formula for traffic growth nor engagement. In order to pull in an audience and keep them coming back and engaging, your content needs to be specific and consistent. Here’s a rule of thumb: pick two topics, and start from there. For example: food and fitness. These two topics go hand-in-hand for the obvious fact that your fitness goals cannot be reached without proper food intake. A consistent theme for your content is KEY.
3) Can I write about that subject for the next 3+ years?
Again: sustainability. Choose a topic or two that you can talk about for hours, a subject that you call yourself an expert in. This is to avoid changing blog themes every year. You want to build up your tribe, a community of readers who follow you, who bookmark your page, and who are loyal to your brand. They came to your blog and stuck around for a reason: they resonate with your mission and enjoy your topic(s). These people will not stick around if you go from blogging about food and sharing recipes to writing about home decor and interior design. Additionally, you may choose a subject based on your personal expertise, but you’ve got to prove to your readers that you know your stuff. Treat your blog like your portfolio, building your content every year. When I land on a food blog and notice that they’ve got recipes on top of recipes, I already believe that they are culinary buffs.
4) How much time am I willing to invest?
I cannot say this enough: blogging is not easy. If you see your [future] blog as something that will provide value to its’ readers, and become one day something more than a hobby, then time will be the number one investment needed to be made. The time and hard work you put into your blog, just like anything, will show, and it will lead to high return or no return. It’s all up to you.
5) Am I prepared to invest money?
Not only does blogging require lots of your time, but it is most certainly not free. While there are ways to get around spending your life savings (we’ll be chatting about this soon!), just be sure to prepare yourself and try your best not to hold back. What I mean is, for the longest time I withheld purchases because a) I’m really cheap b) I didn’t understand the value I would receive in return c) I thought everyone got by with wonderful blogs by putting no money into it. Boy, was I wrong. You must be willing to switch your perspective on your investments. The money you put into your blog, if you’re mission is to create a successful blog and business, will be an investment in your future, and will be worth it in the future. You’ll need to pay for a domain, for web-hosting, for social optimization services, for a good theme, the list [sort of] goes on. It all depends on your goals.
6) What am I going to call my blog?
This is a very, very important question. The name of your blog is your brand. It tells people what you’re all about, immediately. When it comes to blog names, the shorter, the sweeter, the better. Alliteration is always fun, but make sure it makes sense. Think about your blog in the future; will the name you’re choosing grow with you and your blog? Will it make sense during the transition that occurs as your blog grows? Does it speak to a central point and niche?
7) Why are you starting a blog?
Lastly, think about the ‘why’. Really, think about it. The ‘why’ will become what every blog post stems from. It will be your mission. It’s your vision. It’s what your blog is all about. Piece of advice: your ‘why’ should be more than simple boredom. For instance: I created The Blissful Balance because I had gone through a battle with my relationship with food, and I wanted to tell my story of how I achieve my ‘blissful balance’, and help others who were going through or had gone through the same thing. While you may very well be starting your journey to rid yourself of boredom, which is totally fine, think deeper about what you will be offering to people, and why you are offering them this.
What do you think?
- What questions did you ask before your started?
- Has your blog shifted over the years from more personal to audience directed?