There are two topics I typically get requests to write more about and those are West Point and Blogging. Other than that post I wrote a while back about Instagram and more recently, supporting bloggers, this is truly my first blogging centered post and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you all today. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much work it actually takes to be a blogger. I know that I sure didn’t when I started my first (failed) blog back in college. I just thought a blog was a place for you to write when really they are so much more than that!
Today, I wanted to give a little advice to all of those people out there who ask me about starting a blog or who stumble across this post looking to start one. Before starting a blog, it is my belief that there are 5 questions you should ask yourself before you do anything else. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve tried to blog a lot over the years and this is the first time I’ve truly seen some success with blogging.
WHY do you want to start a blog?
Before you do anything, and I mean anything, ask yourself this question. Finding your WHY should be the very first thing you ask yourself before starting a blog because of a few reasons. One, it will make your life easier when you’re trying to come up with a killer About Me page and explaining to your readers why you popped up on the internet with a domain name and website one random morning or afternoon. Two, it will determine whether or not you’re going to be successful at blogging. Now by being successful, I’m not talking about making tons of money and getting free stuff. To me, a successful blog is a blog that has readers that keep coming back, engaged with the content, and has a positive influence. If you don’t know the answer to this question the minute you start putting content out there then you’re going to have a hard time building a community around your blog.
I don’t just say this to come off as some high and mighty person who started a blog six months ago and has seen pretty rapid success. I’m speaking from first hand experience. If you’ve followed me for long, you’ll know this isn’t my first blog. I have always blogged just because I “wanted to write” and never found my true WHY until I decided to start this one. If you want to read more about my WHY, you can check out my About Me page.
WHY will people want to read your blog?
I know this sounds like a loaded question right out of the gate but it is something I honestly STILL struggle with. Knowing WHY people will actually want to read your blog is important to ask yourself when starting a blog because it can give you insight into what your possible niche could be and most importantly, who your target audience will be. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from years of Marketing school it’s that knowing your audience is EVERYTHING. I can’t stress this enough. The other reason asking yourself WHY people will want read your blog is to build confidence in yourself. Blogging is seriously scary. We take the time each and every week to put bits and pieces of our most personal selves out there for the world to see. If you don’t think your blog is worth reading, then most likely, no one will.
How will YOU benefit from starting a blog?
I could be wrong because I’ve obviously not read ever post there is about blogging on the internet, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone mention this question before, at least not in the posts I’ve read over the years. Obviously, your blog shouldn’t revolve around you but at the same time, blogging is somewhat self centered. Your blog should also help you, not just your readers. For me, it gives me a way to connect with people, work through issues such as anxiety and depression, and I love just knowing that I’ve helped even one person by sharing my experiences. If you’re doing this just because you think it’s the cool thing to do but you’re not actually getting anything from it, then you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all.
How much TIME are you willing to give?
Blogging takes a lot of time. Regardless of how serious you are, how much you’re posting, etc. it is essentially a full time job that you’re most likely not being paid for. Consistency is key with any type of blog or social media so if you’re trying to really grow your blog into something phenomenal then it is going to take large chunks of your time. Knowing upfront how much time you’re willing to dedicate to the ins and outs of blogging is critical to your success as a new blogger. From writing and editing posts, to taking pictures for both your blog and Instagram, to pinning images to Pinterest, I would say that I typically spend 40 hours a week working on stuff for the blog. That’s in addition to working full time at my real job. Oh, and did I mention I’m really not getting paid for this?
WHAT are you going to write about?
A blogger’s best kept secret is her content calendar. Before starting this blog, I literally would just wait until the night before a post was due or even the morning of and completely wing the crap out of whatever the post topic for that day was going to be. Most of the time, I don’t even think I had an idea for what I was going to write in my head until I started writing. When I launched this blog, I promoted it for a month and took that entire month to write strong, quality content that would give whoever showed up on launch day a taste of what I would be focusing on and writing about. Honestly, I believe having 6 posts already up made all the difference of a successful launch for my blog because it wasn’t something I had ever done in the past. But that’s an entire post for another day! Anyways, what I’m saying is, while you might not need to fill out an entire calendar worth of posts but having a killer list of blog post ideas to get your started will really go a long way.