Well, I’ve convinced everyone of why they need a blog, but I realized I need to address the question of how.
I can’t tell you how many people come to me and say, “Where do I start?”
And the answer to that is, “OMG — where do I start?!”
It’s really just such a huge topic! I couldn’t figure out how to explain all the aspects of it, but I realized that we could consider your blog’s inner beauty and outer beauty.
Your blog’s inner beauty is all the stuff that no one sees but that really counts. Your blog’s outer beauty is what makes it work — technically speaking, that is. (Now please do not start asking me if your blog looks fat.)
And just like with human beings you have to work on the inside first or no one will be impressed by how good you look on the outside! So today, I’m going to talk about how to get started really developing your blog’s inner beauty. Next week we’ll get your blog’s hair did and get into the fun tech stuff like domain names and graphics and all the tech shizz!
But first: these are the things I tell people to do before they’ve even thought about things like SEO!
Think about your content. You really need to know what you want to write about — and why. Your topic can be super specific or it can be broad, but it needs some sort of theme or idea. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but choosing one or two major areas of focus really helps.
- My post on why I don’t like to see blogs struggle. You may think it’s OK for your blog to be lame. Sorry but…I don’t want your blog to be lame. That is what I mean when I say, “I blog hard.”
- My post on mindcasting vs. lifecasting, which really explains what sort of content I think you should be creating.
Think about how often you can post. If you can’t create a quality post at least once a week, then hold off on starting until you can. You can totally make your own schedule: three times a week, twice a week, twice a day…whatever works for you! But a once-a-month blog post (always introduced with “Sorry I’ve been MIA…”) is going to lack energy and if you’re writing to help your career, it’s not going to show your passion. Can’t handle that? Then plan that you’ll get super motivated, write four posts in one day, and wait to publish them week by week.
- How to Post More Often and Feel Less Guilty. This post I wrote explains how to set a schedule of posting and how to use categories to create better content. The idea of using categories will also seriously help with step one, coming up with your content.
- Making BTB Time. You might be surprised to find yourself doing more “behind the blog” than actually blogging. But if you aren’t willing to do it, then your blog will look kinda crummy.
Think about your audience. This is huge. (Honestly, these first few steps are all so tied together that you can’t really consider one without the other.) But you aren’t blogging just for you — you’re blogging so that other people read it. And you can’t get people to read it if you don’t think about who those people are.
- Who is Your Perfect Reader? Do this exercise ASAP kthxbai.
Think about your style and voice. We’ve already figured out what you want to say. Now…how do you want to say it? Short posts? Long posts? Videos? Podcasts? Photos? I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: if your blog comes up in my Reader and I can’t see the title, will I still be able to know you wrote it? If you have style and voice, I most certainly will!
Look at other blogs. First, look at blogs that cover all topics. What do you like? What don’t you like? Then hang out in your niche for a while. Think about what the awesome non-niche bloggers are doing and how you can apply that to your niche. And then look at what the other bloggers in your niche are doing. Find the “best” and most popular blogs. Find the crappiest blogs. And look long and hard.
Do not stop looking when you say, “I could do this too!” You can stop looking when you can confidently say, “I could do this better.” Do not even think about going forward until you’re certain that you can do it differently and better than other bloggers are already doing it.
If you can’t figure out how yet, then hang out in pre-blog purgatory until you can! There’s no rush. Think about what’s missing in the niche you’re trying to enter. Can you provide new and interesting content? Can you be the blogger who posts just once a week but goes super in depth on a topic? Go back to Step #3 — maybe writing to a different audience will help. I mean, hey, when I thought about writing about health and fitness, I knew the content wasn’t too novel. So instead I chose to write my blog to an audience that gets laid. Huge, huge, huge difference in the blog I could produce.
I know it’s hard to be patient but remember…inner beauty is more important in the long run! No one cares about the outer stuff if your heart and soul aren’t in the right place. I’m not even going to give you the steps on how to do the tech shizz yet because I want you to have time to think about this first.
Because there’s a pretty good chance that once you start blogging, you’ll get pretty into it and want to put a good amount of time and energy into it. Why put time energy into something that doesn’t have a solid foundation? Don’t rush through these first steps!
Yes, I blog hard. But I truly believe that if you’re going to blog, you should blog well. And I know you can. And I really hope you do!