Blogs build community and conversation, and, even as technologies evolve, community and conversation are always relevant. Therefore, a blog in 2021 is still relevant.
When thinking about how you can start your own blog, there are a number of things to consider. But it all starts with you.
What Do You Love?
Unless you’re a Renaissance wo/man who knows a little bit about everything, chances are, you have a few highly specific passions. Pick one and write about it. By focusing on a niche topic, you’ll have more success than a general “here’s my daily routine” kind of blog.
Though daily-living content can be fun and exciting, a blog isn’t necessarily the best platform for it. TikTok, Snapchat, and other social media outlets typically serve that kind of function. That’s not to say that you cannot offer a “slice of life” kind of element to your blog because your audience does want to get to know you. That’s how you build community and trust — by being 100% you.
What is Your Why?
A popular question in business, “what is your why,” is also a great question to ask yourself when you consider starting a blog. Why are you blogging? Are you blogging to share your specialized knowledge or present reviews on products you adore? Do you just want readers for your words? Or are you hoping to use it as a springboard for monetization? Knowing this from the start will help you narrow your focus.
Pay Attention to the Nuts and Bolts
Once you have a niche and you’re why nailed down, it’s time to start building. Pick a platform and a web host. Whether you choose a free or subscription plan is up to you, but if you plan to monetize your blog, you’ll want to have more control over your content and storage.
After researching what is available, purchase a domain name that is readable and unique. You will also want to make sure you can “own” simple, readable social media handles that point back to your blog.
If your blog is titled “How the West Was One,” a quirky blog about being single on the west coast, having a social media handle like @SingleInCali35 might be confusing. @WestOne sounds like a bank.
Content Calendars are Key
Pick a schedule and stick to it. Your readers will expect a reliable publishing schedule or they’ll get bored and lose interest — or worse, forget you exist altogether.
Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your content calendar. At a minimum, you’ll need the following:
- blog title;
- publication date;
- word count;
- and image asset links.
Be Honest About Ads
If you’re running ads on your site or selling them, you need to be crystal clear about it or you could run afoul of federal guidelines. Having a Terms of Service/Use is also critical, even if it’s a link in your footer.
Google Adsense is a popular option for running ads on your blog, but there are others as well. Research the TOS and see what you’re comfortable offering. If you are writing for a conservative audience, you might want to have some say over what is advertised on your page.
Affiliate programs mean you partner with a retailer to promote their products and generate a commission when people click and/or buy. Most people are familiar with the Amazon affiliate program, but other retailers have them too. As always, check the T&C to see what is and isn’t allowed.
If you keep these in mind, you can be on your way to blogging today.
Courtney runs his online business for about 10 years. He decided to share his knowledge to aspiring youth but teaching Marketing at a local college. Aside from that, he also teaches some online lessons and workshops.