Every year millions of blogs are started. And every year millions of blogs are abandoned.
Clearly blogging does not live up to expectations for a lot of people.
Something went wrong. It’s a shame, really.
Yet, if used properly, blogging can be a valuable tool. Unfortunately, many new bloggers do not know how to blog properly.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, this post poses three questions you need to answer first.
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Question #1 What Is My Purpose?
This is the key question that determines not only whether your blog will succeed, but also where you go after you begin.
There are plenty of good reasons to start a blog. Unfortunately, there are also some not-so-good reasons to start a blog.
It’s important that you know why you are blogging. You can’t meet your blogging goals if you don’t know what they are.
Here are a few great reasons to start a blog:
- As a personal log to record and share your thoughts
- To promote your freelancing or other business
- To help brand yourself or your business
- As part of your hobby
- To promote a worthy cause
Of course, there are many more good reasons to start a blog. Feel free to share your own reason for blogging in the comments below.
I can think of one bad reason to start a blog. Don’t start a blog if your goal is to become rich without putting forth any effort or spending any money. If this is your reason for blogging, be aware that most of the time this reason fails.
Question #2 Who Am I Writing For?
Once you’ve determined why you’re writing a blog, you should decide who you want to read your blog.
Deciding who your audience is will determine many things, including:
If you’re confused about your audience, it sometimes helps to picture a typical reader in your head. Ask yourself why they are reading your blog and what they like and don’t like.
If your blog is further along, or if you have a big budget, you may even want to invest in a study of your blog’s demographic. These studies can be pricey, so they are often out of reach for the beginning or casual blogger.
Question #3 How Do I Plan to Grow?
This question takes many writers by surprise.
No, your blog won’t grow on its own. You have to work at growing it. And that is deal breaker for some would-be bloggers.
Go back and look at your answer to question #1. Are you writing your blog as a personal log to record and share your thoughts? If so, you may not care how many readers you have. You don’t need to worry about growing your blog. And that’s okay.
The rest of us probably do want to grow our blogs. You should already be focusing on providing quality content. Here are a few more things to help you grow:
- Get active in social media. Share your own posts and other posts that would appeal to your readers. Look for the social media platform that your readers use the most.
- Have your say. Read and comment on blogs that your readers may like, or on blogs they write. Make sure what you say is related to the post you’re commenting on and that it’s well thought out.
- Join a group. Find one that’s related to your blog. Both online and in-person groups work. LinkedIn provides lots of online group options. Meetup can help you join groups offline.
- Answer comments. This may seem obvious, but many bloggers ignore comments from their readers. I think they are missing a great opportunity to build a community around their blog.
Have you already grown your blog? Share your story in the comments.