There are so many blogs on how to become a blogger, but I think the majority of them miss some key points and delve straight into the technicalities, like how to choose your host and domain and create a theme and all that. Don’t get me wrong—all of those things are very important. I mean how else would you blog without, well, setting up a blog?! But there’s so much more to blogging than just tapping out a bunch of sentences on a laptop and making sure you have a beautiful website.
To prepare myself as a blogger, I did a lot of reading and scrounging until I was able to gather all the information I needed. But don’t let that put you off—the reason this page even exists is so you don’t have to do any of that! I’m going to share all my tips and tricks with you right here. But before I get you into all the nitty gritty details of setting everything up, there are some things you MUST think about before anything else. And your answers to these questions will help you PREPARE for everything else to come, but mostly, they will help you create cohesiveness for your blog. So, here we go!
What’s the topic?
There are tons of blogs out there covering almost any and every topic imaginable! Parenting blogs, writing blogs, design blogs, fashion blogs, health blogs, blogs on blogs—the choices are endless. Decide what you want to blog about. It’s okay to have a few different ideas in mind. And if you’ve got several, well, that might be okay too. But just remember, as a best practice it’ll work in your favor to have a single overarching theme. For example, with my blog, my overarching theme is words. Within that overarching theme, I have many subthemes: writing tips, editing and writing services, book critiques, book reviews, and authors’ corner—so basically everything that has to do with “the love of words.”
You might be wondering why you can’t just blog about anything you feel like. Why even have a theme?
I guess I should back up here and say, yeah if you aren’t looking to build an audience and your blog truly exists for your own personal use and enjoyment, then by all means, you can blog about whatever you want and none of your topics need to have any relevance to one another.
BUT, if you’re looking to create a brand and build your audience and generate credibility within a specific niche, you would need a specialized topic or theme for your blog to reel in your audience. (More about branding in a future post!)
Who are you talking to?
Here we’re talking demographics. If you were to close your eyes and picture your audience, what would you see? A crowd of moms? Dads? Surfers? Writers? Attorneys? And what age group? What ethnicity—or does ethnicity even matter?
There are tons of blogs out there to choose from, how will yours be different? That’s not to say that just because there are a thousand blogs on fashion or design, that you can’t choose those topics to blog about, too. Truly, there’s probably not a single topic that isn’t already covered on the blogosphere, so trying to hunt for one that’s undiscovered is near impossible. Instead be sure to add your own slant or twist to your blog so that you’re able to make it uniquely yours in some way.
Let’s say that you decide to blog about makeup, maybe you make your blog different by narrowing the type of makeup you work with, for example, affordable drugstore makeup, to target women with low budgets. Or you do a weekly competition to engage your visitors, featuring pictures of followers who do the best job replicating your tutorials. Remember, your visitors should be the center of your blog!
What’s it worth?
I once attended a conference on proposal writing that taught me an interesting lesson: value is that which is perceived by the client. For example, steak doesn’t hold the same value to a steak-lover as it does to a vegetarian. Think about what it is that your visitors will be looking for when they come to your site. What would they consider to be valuable? For example, if you run a parenting blog, would your readers want to hear about you ranting and raving about all your horrible experiences as a parent or would they be more interested in learning about how you turned those experiences into success stories? Make sure you understand what is valuable to your visitors and make that your focus. Blogs that don’t add value aren’t highly popular.
What’s in a name?
Ever heard the phrase “What’s in a name?”? Well in a blog, there’s a LOT in a name! Think about all the best blogs you know of—they all have names that stand out and are somehow relevant to the subject matter. Of course, if you’re a Pinterest fan, you’ll also come across tons of more generically named blogs that are simply named after the blogger. And that might be acceptable for some of you, but do consider that naming your blog after you doesn’t tell visitors anything about it. If you’re looking to instantly connect with potential visitors who might stumble across or hear about your website somewhere, it’s a great idea to think of a title that immediately conveys your blog topic. As an example: I was recently on a blogging call where the instructor, in passing, mentioned that one of her students ran a particular blog. As soon as she rattled off the name of the blog, I was instantly intrigued because it covered a topic I was interested in—parenting. I popped on over to the blog the very same evening and guess what?—I became a subscriber!
If you’re still feeling a little lost or need more guidance on naming your blog, don’t worry! Soon I’ll be writing a more detailed article and will link it here. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a candid opinion about what you want to name your blog, contact me and I’ll be happy to give you some feedback!
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