In the latter part of 2000 when I began blogging, I had a simple need to share my ideas and knowledge of business as I was learning it. There wasn’t much information from the Caribbean perspective on how to set up a business, the mindset you needed to have, managing your emotions and challenges in our small economies.
Since I’d only been an entrepreneur for about three years, my knowledge I felt, was limited. What could I possibly say that would be meaningful to anyone? I did not let that deter me and instead focused on using the daily posts as a journal of my process and any business ideas I came up with that I thought someone else might need.
You don’t need to be a subject-matter expert to start a blog. By that I mean, maybe you don’t have a certification as a professional gardener or landscaper but you do have a knack for making things grow. We want to read how you did it.
The Good/The Bad/The Ugly About Blogging. The good news is, that 20 years on, there is a wealth of information online about starting a blog, creating content and much more. The bad news is, there are more than 600 million blogs on the internet today. The Ugly Truth about blogging is that with consistency and quality comes great reward. You’ve got to put in the work to get results.
Why Do You Want to Start a Blog? Curiosity? You have something to say. You have a service to sell. There’s a cause that is important to you that needs a champion. Identify your why. This will make it easier to design the road map of where you want the blog to go.
Identify your area (s) of interest.
- If your blog is an extension of a formal business you already own, then we would expect that this is your way to educate people about the services you offer and your industry. This can be a way for you to position yourself as one of the leading experts/practitioners in your field and become the source for trends and new considerations based on local and global events.
- Your blog can focus on a hobby or skill that you want to share with the world. Travel, comics, cooking, gaming, fashion, family, relationships, finance, etc. It really isn’t possible to pick one thing and never deviate. There will be overlaps. Do set some boundaries about how your interests link to your vision.
Your Preferred Communication Style. I’m a writer and a reader at heart. You will notice my content is primarily text based. It is just my preference. However, there are many different ways to share content today but I believe the written word will always remain tops, even as social platforms are encouraging and prioritizing video content. Choose your preferred style of communication but be prepared to convert this content into other forms. For instance, this article can become a short video with the main points, a graphic with each tip, an episode of a podcast on how to start a blog. The beauty of the opportunity today is that there is no one way to communicate and reach others.
Where Will You Blog? Your chosen communication style will help you decide where to build your platform. If you plan to create video then YouTube is a natural fit and there are ways to monetize. If you prefer audio, then select a podcast platform such as Anchor or even Soundcloud for your content. I strongly encourage you to get your own website and not rely on a free platform such as Facebook or YouTube to be the only way for people to engage with your work. Your website can be the main hub for all the content you will be sharing in other spaces. I use WordPress,org for all my self-hosted sites and recommend it to clients as it is user-friendly and designed for blogging and growing your business. You can go to wordpress.com to start a free blog today. However, there are limited design and monetization options which will mean you will need to convert later on.
What Will You Call it? Where possible, purchase the rights to use your name for social accounts and website. Even if you want to blog on your business name, don’t ignore reserving your personal name for future use. Suppose I wanted to start a chocolate blog but chocolate.com and all the most popular options are taken. An idea could be to try NerissaTheChocolatier.com or NerissaLovesChocolate.com. Find a name that speaks to the main interest and focus of your blog. Go to www.namechk.com to see what domains and social media handles are available. Try to get the social media handles to be the same as your domain.
Brainstorm on Content Ideas. I created a step by step plan on How to Start a Wine Blog here. You can use this model for coming up with content for your area of interest and adding layers as you grow to leverage your connections.
How Often Will You Blog? Not all blogs and content are created equal. It may seem a breeze to create a cool graphic and post a blurb but to stand out in the crowded space you want to add real value to your niche.
Choose quality over quantity. It may mean committing to posting one long-form article of at least 1500 words once a week or every two weeks. Building up your audience will mean posting daily to other platforms but it can be by sharing content that supports your blog post, commenting on other people’s work or sharing an in-the moment inspiration or idea. You choose based on your time and ability. Designing a content plan and using it, will give you clear direction for what needs to be created and by when to meet your goals.
There is space for you and what you want to share. I encourage you not to overthink it and jump right in. We are all learning as we grow.
Got more How To questions? Drop me a message.
Need more hand holding to get your blog going? Try my Digital courses on Blogging Basics and Blogging for Business here….Najischool on Teachable.com