You want to write a blog. But where do you start? How do you find your voice, and how do you get noticed among all the other blogs out there? We’ve got five quick tips to get you started.
1. Pick a Purpose
Before you begin, decide why you are writing. At the end of the day, the purpose of any blog is one of two things: business or pleasure. Are you starting a blog to make money, or are you attempting to enhance you existing business by providing an additional resource? Are you writing for yourself or to share a passion or knowledge base? Certainly, everyone would like to make some money from a blog. You’ve undoubtedly heard of notable blogs started for pleasure that have turned into multimillion-dollar businesses. Those are, of course, the exception to the rule. Most, however, make little to no money. Given the amount of time and effort to develop and maintain a blog, be up front with yourself about your intent. This will keep you focused on how to get where you are going.
2. Pick a Topic
What do you want to write about? What is it that you want to share with the world? Are you starting a mommy blog or a food blog? Pick a passion or a topic about which you are an expert or a hobby with which you have extensive experience. The topic doesn’t have to be brand new or revolutionary, but you need to make your voice unique. Having an unusual point of view or way of presenting material with help you stand out in the crowd.
3. Pick an Audience
Your target audience might seem like a given, but that’s not always the case. If you’re writing about historical Viking textiles, then your topic will already be tailored to a particular audience. But if you’re picking a general category of blog, then narrow your focus. Targeting an audience will help you find your voice. Are you a parenting blog aimed at working moms? A food blog for vegans? A sailing blog for novices? Knowing your audience will help you market yourself to potential readers.
4. Pick a Platform
Choosing how and where to develop your site can be just as confusing as coming up with a topic to write about. Where you should build your blog depends on your intent. If you’re writing for pleasure, then sticking with one of the free sites may be the best choice for you.
If you’re writing for business or to generate money, then you should consider putting some initial investment into your website. Using a quick setup service, especially a free one, will have you up and running in no time. But those come with hidden costs to grow and monetize your blog. Instead, consider retaining full control by buying a custom domain and separate web hosting. You may also want to build a custom website—or have a web designer build one for you. And don’t forget to develop your brand if you don’t have already have one. But if you’re writing for pleasure, don’t worry about the branding. Let it develop as your blog matures.
Most importantly, remember that having a way for your readers to find you is key. Logos, site design, and branding can all be updated. But having a specific and unique URL where your readers can always find you is paramount.
5. Build a Following
Once you have your blog and some content, it’s time to start building a following of loyal readers. If you’re writing for pleasure, then it doesn’t matter if you have a following of four or four thousand. Write to your die-hard fans and enjoy doing so. If you’re writing for business, make sure to put some of your focus on growing your readership via marketing campaigns. Target social media groups that would be interested in your content, and consider offering freebies (like downloadable e-books that you’ve written).
Whatever you choose to do with your blog, find your voice, find your space, be unique, and remember to have fun while writing!