6 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting A Blog
It seems like everyone has a blog these days. Some people are extremely passionate and write every day, while others have a great idea, blog once, and then never publish their second article.
Since a blog’s success relies on consistency and being of interest to a target audience, it’s important to answer the following questions before you find yourself in over your head.
1. How much time will you dedicate to it?
You may think you’ll blog “when you have time,” but you’ll always find a reason not to have time. It’s best to dedicate an hour a week or any amount of time you can comfortably block off to dedicate to your blog. This include company blogs run by more than one person. If no one has time for the blog or randomly posts when they feel like it, no one is going to follow the blog.
2. How often will you post content?
The ties into the first question. Ideally, you’ll post every day or two to three times a week. The reality is posting once a week may be pushing it if you’re going it alone. Creating a schedule will help you determine how realistic your blogging plans are and whether they need to be adjusted.
3. Who is the target audience?
It’s very easy to find yourself blogging for an audience of one. While you may be passionate about Marvel comics, classic cars, and former ninth planet known as Pluto, these aren’t topics you would want to combine in one blog. It would confuse people with the same interests as you and turn off those who are only interested in one of the chosen topics.
The aforementioned topics also wouldn’t be appropriate for a blog aimed at preteen girls. While they may love Marvel comics and outer space, you’d be hard pressed to find many 12-year-old girls interested in 1950s Cadillacs and 1970 Mustang convertibles.
Obviously, if you’re blogging for yourself and have no intention of cultivating an audience, you can publish whatever you want on your blog. Odds are that’s not why you want to start a blog. Most people start blogs because they want to reach people who share a common interest. Keep that in mind.
4. What are you looking to achieve?
A personal blog may be a tool to meet people or earn some cash on the side, whereas corporate blogs usually fall under inbound marketing as a way to make customers want to buy something from the company. The purpose of the blog will strongly influence the content and what audience to target.
5. What type of content are you posting?
So far, we’ve been focusing on blog articles, yet blogs can be so much more. Plenty of bloggers post videos, Buzzfeed-esque quizzes, slideshows, and more. The more involved the content, the more time you’ll have to dedicate to it and the more likely you’ll accidentally burn yourself out.
6. Where will you publish it?
For companies, this is an easy question, it belongs as a part of their website. If people are looking for a brand, they do not want to be forced to go elsewhere for information unless they are purposely seeking out 3rd party opinions on a company. This is also a bad idea because your customers may not come back.
For small companies and personal blogs, there are two choices: WordPress and Medium. With WordPress, you have more freedom. You can host it on WordPress or use GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, etc. Hosting it on WordPress is severely limiting in terms of layout, but allows you to quickly create a website and is usually cheaper than hosting it elsewhere. Using a 3rd party to host your WordPress site, allows you to unlock the power of 56,092 plugins and fully customize your site.
As for Medium, it also limits your ability to format a site. However, you do get Medium’s name recognition and reputation for sharing interesting stories. People are more likely to stumble across your article on Medium than they would be at myexampleblog.com.
In some unusual cases, it may be wise to maintain a Medium site and your own blog. If your company wants to showcase two different concepts related to your business, but would not mesh well under one website, consider hosting them in different locations. Reedsy uses their website hosted blog to provide writers with writing tips and uses a Medium hosted website to curate the winning short stories from Reedsy’s weekly contest.
Starting a blog can be an impulsive decision because it’s so easy to do. A successful blog is not one though. It takes a lot of planning and focus. The early decisions made regarding a blog can have long-lasting consequences, which is why it’s necessary to be absolutely sure you’re on the right track before selecting a name, writing your first article, or even selecting the layout.
Article and image(s) via Social Media Week