Thinking about starting a blog? Before you even think about sitting down to set up your blog and write your first post there are several questions you need to ask yourself. These seven important questions can help you determine whether you’re on the right track, how you should proceed and whether you should even be starting a blog at all.
Why do you want to write a blog?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is why you want to write a blog in the first place. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Do you want a platform through which to share your opinions with the world? Do you want to learn more about a topic and think blogging will be a good way to share what you’re learning?
Reasons for wanting to start a blog are endless, but before you get started you need to be clear with yourself on your goals and objectives. If your reasoning is, “Eh, everyone else is doing it” or “I want to make tons of money and thought a blog might help”, maybe you’re better off saving yourself the time and holding off. But if you have a nice, concrete reason for why you want to do it, well, the world is your oyster!
What will your blog be about?
Of course, one of the most important things you need to ask yourself is what subject your blog will be about. You can blog about virtually anything, but when you have a specific topic in mind it makes it a lot easier to come up with content, not to mention attract an audience. Keep in mind that your subject can be general—an entertainment blog or a sports blog—but the more specific you get the easier you’ll have it.
It’s also important to note that just because you’re choosing a topic now doesn’t mean you need to feel obligated to stick to that topic forever. As you write and discover new content your blog will take on a life of its own, leading you down your own, unique path.
Do you care about the subject matter?
When it comes down to it, if you don’t care about what you’re writing about then your blog isn’t going to be a success. Pick something that you are passionate about. If you are passionate about something it will shine through in your writing and people will be more interested in reading what you’ve got to say. You don’t want to spend hours writing about the NHL if you hate sports, and you don’t want to write about movies just because you think other people will like it if you could take film or leave it.
Who is your audience?
It’s also important to do a little research on who the audience is for the topic that you are writing about. Luckily, there’s pretty much an audience for every niche—from people who like doorframes to goat cheese fanatics. But how old are these people, where are they from and what do they enjoy? Knowing these things will help you to cater your content towards these individuals so that you can ultimately grow your fan base.
What is the competition like?
Are there any similar blogs out there already? You may have a harder time growing your audience if there are already lots of popular blogs out there writing about the same thing. For instance, there are a ton of blogs about gadgets and even more about the entertainment industry. Do a little research on your competition and then decide how your blog is going to be different. What are you going to offer that these other blogs don’t? They’ve already got a lot of readers and if you want these readers to consider your blog as well then you’ll have to give them something that they aren’t already getting from your competition.
How much time can you put into it?
Before getting started you have to understand that writing a blog takes time. If you only post once or twice a month then you’ll have a hard time getting readers to come back consistently. Can you spare the time to post at least once or twice a week? Ultimately, the more you can post the better, so you should take that into consideration before getting started.
Also, remember that blogging is a long-term commitment. Lots of people start blogs and for the first few weeks or months they are really gung-ho about it, posting every day or every week. However, as time progresses it gets harder to stick with it. Do you think you’ll still have the time to post to your blog a few months from now?
How will you measure your success?
Finally, how are you going to measure the success of your blog? Do you want to accrue a certain number of subscribers or followers? Do you have a goal for the number of visitors you’d like each day? Jotting down a few goals is a great way to help you measure your progress, not to mention it feels great when you see that you’ve reached your goals!
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.