Blogging is subjective and every potential blogger asks different questions. It is also personal and every blogger would probably give different answers to the questions asked. Thinking about what you want to blog about and why you want to do it is a good starting point. Here are some of the questions I wanted to ask when I was starting out and the answers I discovered along the way.
How much of my own life should I share on my blog?
Blogging has evolved since it first became a phenomenon. Writers took to the internet in droves to share their lives, sometimes exposing more details than readers wanted to know. Today bloggers are highly, respected professionals and many of them make a living from their blogs. Blogs have become more about the readers than the people who write them. There has to be a fine balance between sharing your life and giving your readers what they want. They have to feel as if they know you and trust you if they are going to be loyal to you. It’s more about what you can do for them than what they can do for you.
Do I have to blog every day?
Some people blog every day, others once or twice a week and some less frequently. It’s more important to produce quality than quantity. You will need to find your own rhythm and what works best for you. Trying to blog too frequently may just burn you out and won’t be sustainable. However, you do need to post on a consistent basis to expect any success. Personally, I find that I manage to post at least two blogs a week. Consistent publishing helps with Google indexing. Blogging for any length of time takes dedication, commitment and hard work. It has to be a labor of love or you will lose interest.
Is there a formula I can follow that will make me successful?
No, unfortunately there is no blueprint you can follow. What you can do is to learn from other bloggers and adapt their strategies to suit your blog. Many successful bloggers offer courses to help you start a blog and give you step-by-step guidelines. Many of them are also dedicated to mentoring other bloggers. However, it is still up to you to implement the strategies and to see what works for you.
Do I need money to start a blog?
One of the advantages of starting a blog is that you can do so without investing too much money upfront. As your blog grows you will find you do need to spend more. Starting a blog on your own domain is important – you wouldn’t build a property on someone else’s land. You will need to pay for your domain name and hosting costs but this is not that expensive. It’s nothing like what you would pay to start up a physical business. Many free tools and resources are available to help you when you start off and you can slowly upgrade to the paid versions later.
Can I design my own website?
Yes, you can. WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms and it is easy to build your own website. However, you need to understand that there is more to website design than meets the eye. You’ve got about ten seconds to make a first impression or the person will leave. You have to choose the right theme for your topic and there are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration. One of the best ways to learn what works is to analyze websites that are doing better than yours. You will also need to understand how people behave on your site and do everything possible to make sure they stick around.
Can I really offer content that no-one else has blogged about before?
It may seem that every possible topic has been covered in depth. Perhaps your topic may have already been covered but remember that your point of view will be different. Your experience will differ from that of anyone else and that is what will appeal to readers. You can present your experience in many different ways such as writing ebooks, offering tutorials or presenting courses.
What length should I make my blog posts?
This is a subject of much debate. Some bloggers believe that a 500 word blog is long enough. Others believe that longer posts help with Google rankings and that posts should be more than 1 000 words. At first my posts were about 500 words but I soon found I couldn’t cover a subject properly in under 1 000 words. I have had to go back and rewrite some of my earlier posts. However, I think that instead of being obsessed with length, focus on your topic and when you feel you have delivered your message clearly, you can stop – don’t just keep writing to reach a certain length. Most blogs contain posts of varying lengths, depending on the type of content.
How do I build an audience?
This is one of the biggest questions I had when I first started out. I had no idea how I would bring traffic to my blog. For quite some time I thought I was writing for myself alone. When you first start out, the hardest thing is working hard to write great content when you only have a handful of people reading it. However, you will be surprised how soon you get traffic by using social media, becoming active on forums, guest blogging, and connecting with other bloggers. You have to market your blog. You can’t just build it and expect people to find it. You need to pay attention to SEO too as it will help you to make it to the first page of Google. People will then find your blog by searching for keywords online. Getting more traffic to your site takes time. It involves creative thinking and trying new strategies all the time. Understanding your audience and asking them what they want to see you write about can help a great deal.
How long before I can make money on my blog?
This is the question asked by most potential bloggers and there is no single answer to this question. Some people manage to make money fairly quickly and others never succeed in making money at all. Focusing on making money right at the start can harm your reputation. If your only reason for blogging is to make money, you’ve chosen a difficult way to do it. When you focus primarily on providing value for your readers, your audience will begin to grow and it’s only then that you can start thinking about making money.
What qualities do I need to be a successful blogger?
You have to be passionate but you also need to be persistent and relentless. If you are passionate about sharing with your audience and helping them, accept that you aren’t going to be successful overnight and know that it takes tons of hard work to create excellent content – go ahead and create a blog.
What is the best advice I can give you?
Think of your blog as a tool. It is a very powerful tool that allows you to reach readers with valuable content on a consistent basis. You don’t have to worry too much about all the latest gimmicks and tricks or you can become quite overwhelmed. Just try to be true to yourself and put the interests of your audience first. Deliver content that resonates with them and you have every chance of being successful.