Blogging is becoming a mainstream tool that is perfect for just about anyone. For independent spirits or for those who are looking for a part-time hobby, blogging is a great way to share your views with an engaged audience. You may even find that it can open doors for you professionally.
If this sounds like you, congratulations. But before you start blogging, there are some things that you need to consider first. These ten issues will help you choose the right direction for your blog.
Always start with an intention when blogging. Your intention will help guide you through the blog-making progress, ensuring you never lose sight of your goal. And it’s the only thing that will drive your blog to success.
So how do you find your intention? Sit down and write a list of five or ten reasons why you want to blog. Then look at the list — you will find that your true intention will show up at least twice on the page. Whether it’s to spread knowledge for free, to create your own online business, or to build your reputation up as a creator, that intention will show up.
Now think about what you want to write about — motherhood, cooking, cars? Your chosen subject matter will help you narrow down your niche audience. It will also make your blog more impactful to your audience.
2. Niche Audience
A niche audience is a narrow demographic of people that will be drawn to your subject matter. Creating a blog with a specific perspective will help you gather a niche audience. An example of this would be moms with autistic children — if you write a blog as a mom of an autistic child, you will attract this very demographic.
Once you’ve figured out your intention, it’s time to start thinking about branding. Remember, your brand should fit your intention — don’t brand yourself as a free-knowledge blog who refuses sponsors when your intention is to be able to sustain yourself on your blogging income.
Branding incorporates your blog name, your design, even your social media accounts. It’s best to keep your branding as true to you as possible so it remains consistent online when people search for your blog.
It’s all in the name. You’ll notice that this is fourth on the list. That’s because you can’t come up with a name until you’ve identified your intention and subject matter, your niche audience, and your general brand. A name doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t fit in with everything else.
There is no right way to choose a name and sometimes blogs rename themselves after a while as their content changes. But for the purposes of starting a blog, consider your own name — if the blog is about your creative work — or a short name that directly ties into your subject. An example is if you write about minimalist fashion and you name your blog “Monochrome Fashionista.”
Here’s where most new bloggers get it wrong — design matters, especially at launch. You want to ensure that your blog is attractive, has a set palette of colors, and all your social media accounts linked to the blog follow the same design.
Your blog design is made up of fonts, colors, any audio or visual content, and writing voice. Whatever your design choices are, keep them consistent. It’s the best way for people to recognize your blog out of the thousands that are online.
One note — as a beginner blogger, stay away from cluttering up your blog with too many widgets or sidebar content. You want to ensure your blog content takes center stage and is supported by the design, not the other way around.
6. Monetary Investment
Monetizing works two ways. The first is a blog that is hugely successful will be approached by big companies for sponsorship deals. This way requires hard work and a dedication to growing your readership. Most of the time, sponsorships don’t come until you have evidence of around 10,000 subscribers to your blog a month.
The other way is to register with Google Adsense or another advertising service. This will place relevant ads on your blog that give you a small pay-per-click fee. The money gained from Adsense is small in the beginning, but if you stay dedicated, you can make a lot of money.
That’s right — blogs need to market themselves. This doesn’t mean you have to buy ad space, but you will have to commit yourself to engaging people on social media, following and commenting on other blogs, and generally making noise on the Internet about your blog.
Consider marketing when deciding on creating a blog, because if you don’t market yourself or your blog, you will fade into Internet anonymity. It is tedious work, but over time it can help your blog reach your readers and may even get you some business.
Choosing a platform to write on is crucial because that is where your blog lives. Free sites like Tumblr and WordPress, are great for bloggers who are just getting used to blogging while other sites like Squarespace and Blogger are perfect for bloggers who want to monetize. Research them all before making a decision.
9. Blogging Schedule
Keeping a set blogging schedule is key for new bloggers. Putting up new blogs will keep you accountable to your blog while refreshing your blog to keep your readers engaged. Many sites provide a service that allows you to schedule your posts in advance, giving you the option to write dozens of posts, then set them to release at set times.
10. Email Newsletter
Depending on your intention, an email newsletter might be a great way to keep readers coming back to your blog. Most email newsletters come out on a weekly basis, recapping the week and perhaps providing extra tidbits for your newsletter readers. It’s also a great way to announce events and special contests for your readership.
When you choose to start blogging you are sharing a piece of yourself with the world, so it’s important to keep these ten things in mind to have a successful run of your blog. You will learn as you go, find some things that work for you and some that don’t, and generally find your audience through your work. Just remember why you started the blog, and that will see you through.