If you’re reading this then I have to assume that you want to jump on the blogging bandwagon like everyone else. Heck, even I’ve decided to do so with the blog you’re reading right now. Starting a blog can seem almost impossible when you first get the idea. That’s why I’ve decided to write a series of articles on how to start a blog.
What to Keep in Mind Before We Get Started
In theory, it’s not that difficult to start a blog. In reality, it’s a lot of work.
Not to mention the fact that can be very overwhelming with all the information out there. I know I had that problem myself. I hate to tell you how much time I spent reading and researching how to start a blog.
Sometimes it felt like I was just running in circles and getting nowhere. I don’t want that to happen to you, so I’m going to make this very simple. Over the next few articles,
Over the next few articles, I’m going to take each step of starting a blog and talk about them one-by-one.
That way you can follow along and take as much time as you need to complete each step without getting overwhelmed with all the shiny objects out there that want your attention.
With that in mind let’s get into step one of how to start a blog.
Step One of How to Start a Blog: Deciding What You Want to Blog About
You may already have a good idea of what you want to blog about, or you may be like me. I have too many interests, so it was tough to narrow them down to one or two.
You want to keep in mind that this blog you’re creating is something you’re going to be working on for years to come, so you want to blog about a topic that you’re interested in enough to do so.
The last thing you want is to pick a topic that starts to fill you with dread when you know you have to sit down and write another blog post. It can be hard enough to stay motivated during the early days without adding that to the mix!
So…what are you interested in?
Take some time and make a list of 3 to 5 topics that you are drawn to or you’d like to know more about.
Myth: You have to be an expert in the area you are blogging about.
The truth is, if you’re not an expert in your chosen subject today, you will be soon enough, folks. Trust me, after writing 20 or 50 or 200 blog posts about your topic, you’ll know more about it than anyone else out there.
(Skimming this post? Click here to pin it and so you can read more later!more later!)
But…for today, you just need to know a little.
Do you have that list of 3 to 5 topics yet? If not think about them now and then come back. Don’t worry. I’ll be here waiting for you.
Okay, now that you’re back. We’re going to take your topics and create sub-topics for them. It’s your sub-topics that you are actually going to be writing all those blog posts about.
For example, let’s say one of your topics is dogs. Well, dogs are great, and it’s a great topic, but it is also a huge topic, so we’re going to come up with a few sub-topics you can write about under your main topic.
Anyway…it would look something like this:
Your main topic – Dogs
- Dog food
- Dog toys
- Dog grooming
- Dog training
- Dog beds
and so on…
If your main topic was Women’s Fashions, your sub-topics might be something like:
- Office wear
There is no real right or wrong answer here. You just need to know what your blog is going to be about and what you’re going to write about.
By the way…and this is important…these sub-topics determine what your niche is going to be. A niche is the subject you’re going to focus on for your blog. You need to create this focus for a couple of reasons.
First, if your topic is too broad, such as pets, then there is not enough time in your lifetime to write enough content on a topic that big to ever cover it well.
Secondly, if your topic is too broad, then it makes it very difficult to target the people you need to target to come to your blog and read your articles.
I’m assuming you will want to make money with this blog. Even if you don’t, you will still want people to come and read what you have written.
If your blog doesn’t focus on a topic then no one is going to show up.
For example, this blog is about personal finance. That would be my main topic.
Then my sub-topics are as follows:
- Paying off debt
- Making extra money
- Saving money
- How to start a blog
Those sub-topics make sense for my main topic, personal finance. They are also my niches. Now here is the second reason you want to select a niche. It gives you an audience to target for your marketing.
So, for this blog, I know I need to write articles on paying off debt, making extra money, saving money, and starting a blog. When I do so, I promote those articles to people, like you, who are interested in learning more about those topics.
By focusing on those four areas, it gives me an idea of who my target market is and where to find them and what information to provide them.
Of course, it also sets up an expectation of what they can find when they come to my blog. If I market myself as a personal finance blog and then someone gets here and finds articles about how to housetrain a dog they aren’t going to be very happy.
They also won’t come back. They won’t sign up for my email newsletter, and they certainly won’t buy anything.
In the end, the niche you select is like a contract between you and your readers. It tells you what to write and it tells them what to expect.
Okay, so hopefully you understand why you need to pick a niche that isn’t too broad, but now we need to talk for a minute about the other side of the coin.
You also don’t want a niche that is so small that there are only ten people on the planet that are interested in the topic.
For example, I live in a small farming community in Illinois. I suppose I could write a blog about my town of 9,000 but there wouldn’t be too many people interested in it. There isn’t really anything to do or see here.
That means you need to find a happy medium. Your topic should be large enough that you have a good chance to have enough visitors to your site to meet your goals, but small enough that you have a chance of those people finding you.
Let’s sum up…
- Pick 3 to 5 main topics that you think you might be interested in.
- Come up with 4 or 5 sub-topics for each of the main topics.
- Determine your level of interest in each of those topics.
- Pick the one that feels right to you…(hey I never said this was an exact science!)
Bonus Tip: Keep this in mind when you are picking your topics. If you want to make money from your blog, be sure your sub-topics are ones that you can monetize. (That means to make money off of your blog.)
Going back to our dog example, take a closer look at those sub-topics:
- Dog food
- Dog toys
- Dog grooming
- Dog training
- Dog beds
Each one of them lends themselves very nicely to monetization. Just think about all of the products you can tie to the posts you would write for those sub-topics.
Another example would be having a blog site about coffee. You could have sub-topics that included coffee makers and coffee beans. Each of those could be monetized pretty easily.
Not all sub-topics are created equality when it comes to monetization, but it is something to keep in mind. We’ll cover this subject in detail in a later step.
For now, decide on what your blog’s main topic is and it’s sub-topics. Just remember you can always add sub-topics down the road as well. A blog is an ever evolving creature. You just don’t want too many sub-topics to begin with as it takes time to write content for each of them.
Start small with a plan to build out later.
Well, peeps, that’s it for step one of how to start a blog. In step two of the how to start a blog series, I’ll be talking about domain names and how to find a good one for your brand new blog!
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