By David Joel Miller.
Don’t make the blog mistakes I did.
If you want your blog to be successful, there are some things you need to do before you publish your very first post. Spend some time planning. If you read a lot of blogs, you may know more than I did when I first started. Not knowing anything I leaped directly into the deep end and spent the first-year learning about the process. I’m not suggesting you fall into planning paralysis. There are some things you will only learn from doing. But as you think of your blog a little advanced planning can save you a lot of headaches later. What do you need to plan? Two things, content, and process.
Planning your blog’s content.
I think more beginning blogs fail due to faulty content plans than anything else. The mechanics you can learn as you go, though watching some tutorials and other blog posts, can save you a lot of time over trial and error experimentation. More about that later.
The first thing you need to think about is what is your blog going to be about?
A blog is not social media.
I’ve seen some blogger started out writing about themselves and what they do. So, there’s a post about the hamburger that had for lunch and how they took a walk around the block, and they’re going to the park, with their kids on Saturday. The only person who might read this would be your mother or a jealous ex-boyfriend. Most people won’t care what you’re doing unless you are already a phenomenal celebrity.
Can’t you write a blog about food?
Sure, you can. Don’t write that you ate a hamburger or show me a picture of the ice cream you had. Write a post about the Ethiopian restaurant you went to and how their food was different from what you’re used to eating. Write about the new Pakistani restaurant or the Indonesian one. Write about foods I’ve never experienced and restaurants I didn’t know existed, and I might be interested, particularly if I’m a foodie. Show me ways to eat healthily, save money on food, and that might interest me. In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about providing the reader content they would like to read.
Can’t you write about the places you go?
Writing about your walk around the block is probably going to be boring unless you live in a very unusual neighborhood. Writing about your travel experiences, your week exploring London and the week spent in Moscow, that might interest people. I’m not saying a blog about walking around the block is impossible. I’m saying the blog shouldn’t be about your routine of life. Writing about some of your observations, philosophizing about how your neighborhood reflects society today could be interesting. But it’s going to be a challenge.
It is your viewpoint that matters.
Almost everybody has children and parents or know someone who does. You need to ask yourself what makes your relationships different, what have you learned you can share with others. If your family is unusual, a blog about Raising Five Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane comes to mind, people may be interested. If you write about your struggles with raising a newborn, new parents might be interested.
If you or someone in your family is or has struggled with a challenge, you can write a blog about what you’re going through, the lessons you learned, and how you managed that issue. An excellent example of this approach is OCDtalk.
Could you write about your garden?
I think after one post, I would get tired of reading about, today I planted seeds, tomorrow I’m going to pull weeds. Tell me about ways to control insects organically, or a new variety of plant that you’re trying, and I might be interested if I was a gardener.
Planning your topic will help you avoid running out of things to write about.
The Internet is littered with dead blogs. They may have started out with massive content. I remember one blog that had huge posts filled with multiple illustrations. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what the blog was about. After a few posts, the author disappeared. If they had a clearer idea what they were writing about and written smaller posts over time, they might have developed a following.
The blog planning conclusion?
If you’re going to jump into the blogging ocean, spend some time thinking about where you’re going. Read a lot of blogs. Develop a list of posts you’d like to write. Practice your writing so that when you do lunch your blog, the whole process won’t be overwhelming. I hope what I’ve written here doesn’t deter you. I’m just telling you a little planning in the early stages will make the entire journey a lot more enjoyable and productive.
In addition to a topic for you to write about you’ll need to refine your personality and voice. Let’s look at that in next week’s post.
You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
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