Before You Start Blogging, Answer These 5 Questions
Don’t make the mistake of jumping into blogging with blinders on. Before you start blogging, take the time to answer the questions below. That way when you do get started, things will flow much more smoothly.
1. What is the main topic of your blog?
This is your niche, your focus, what you will blog about the most. This will drive everything you write about and share on your blog.
There are two schools of thought on picking a niche. Some people say that you should just choose something you are passionate about because you will want to wake up every morning and write quality content. While that is a great thought, if your passion is underwater basket weaving, you are unlikely to make a great income blogging about it. One often overlooked component in blogging is that you need to be able to find related products to promote to your customer base in order to make money.
Others say you should only pick topics that are known moneymakers whether you are interested in them or not. While that might work for some people, others need to have at least a passing interest in their topic in order to be successful.
I say that it should be both. You want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. Even if you’re not interested in making money from your blog, I am assuming that you at least want other people to read it – yes? Then the same rules apply.
How to Pick a Niche Passion vs. Moneymakers
2. How do you want to present yourself to the world?
Before you start blogging, it’s important to understand how you want to be perceived by your readers. The way you write blog posts, how often you post, even how long your posts will be and which social media sites you promote to will all be impacted by your persona. Here are a few ideas to get you started…
The expert wants to be seen as the best in his field, the ultimate source of knowledge on the topic. The expert’s blog posts will be tightly focused one topic and very detailed. The expert prides himself in being the best at what does.
You love the latest news and gossip and want to share it with the world. Whether it’s fashion, technology, natural foods, if its’ news and it’s happening now, you know about it want to write about it.
Storytellers are typically writers, or personal bloggers. Your posts may cover many topics from what you ate for dinner to how buy a car. What ever tickles your fancy today, that’s what you write about.
Helpers are the product reviewers, DIY, and how to bloggers. They want to help you solve your problems in any way they can.
You want a blog for the single purpose of promoting your business, whether it’s collecting leads or selling a product, everything you do is to grow your business. You’re not in it for the passion. You’re in it for the money.
There are many, many more blogging personas. You may even fall into multiple categories which is perfectly fine, but take the time to understand who you are before you start blogging. It will save lots of confusion later down the road. Seriously, can you imagine going to a review site where the reviewer proceeds to tell you about the amazing party they went to last night?
3. Who are your top 5 bloggers in your niche?
Take a few minutes to Google your topic and then look at the top 5-10 sites that come up.
What do you love about them? Color, layout, topic, language, imagery, etc.
What do you hate about them? Color, layout, topic, language, imagery, etc.
What’s missing from their site? Is there something obvious to you that they should be covering but aren’t?
What are the main categories and topics they cover?
What social media sites are they on?
What products and services do they promote?
When you’re first getting started, it can be easier to model what you’re doing after those who are already successful. Don’t copy them, but do implement the good stuff into your blog in some way. There’s no need to start from scratch. Unless you’re truly doing something that’s never been done before, there’s someone out there that you can model your site after.
4. What are the top 3-5 categories that you will blog about?
This may not seem important, but these 3-5 main categories that you plan to blog about will often turn into your menus and navigation on your blog, they will be the keywords that you focus on, and can even tell you what sorts of products and services you might want to offer on your blog.
Take it to the next level and brainstorm a few article ideas under each topic, to see if you REALLY a strong desire to blog about these topics. If you do, the article ideas will come easy. If not, you’ll find yourself struggling to come up with ideas.
Don’t make the mistake of coming up with 20-30 topics – that’s too narrow… My guess in that 25 of those 35 topic ideas are more likely to be just really good article ideas.
5. How frequently are you committed to publishing new content?
This is a BIG one that so many people overlook. Before you start blogging, take a look at your schedule – work, family, exercise, all of it. How much time do you really have to dedicate to your blog? If it’s an hour a week, that’s great, but it’s unlikely that you’ll publish 3 posts per week in that hour. (I recommend giving yourself 1-2 hours per blog post, at least in the beginning.)
It’s important when you start blogging, to be consistent, so don’t make the mistake of putting too much pressure on yourself. Here’s my recommendation… Set the goal of writing one post per week and if you find that’s too easy, then try for 2 posts per week. Depending on your topic and your persona, that may be more than enough.
I hope these quick tips help you get your blog started on the right track!