Blogging can be a fun way to engage with the world and peel back the veneer of faceless anonymity that characterises much of the internet experience. But if you’re looking to develop a successful blog, it can take time. There are millions for bloggers out there, and for me it took months to make myself visible to users against that kind of competition. Following that experience, I came to realise some things that I wish I’d known from the beginning. So without further ado, here are my three essential questions to ask yourself as a new blogger.
Who is my blog for?
It can be all too easy to make blog into a vanity project. While it’s true that blogs offer a great, and unprecedented, way of instantly publishing your thoughts to the world, that isn’t an invitation to ramble as much as you want. You especially need to trim the fat if you’re considering your blog as a financial endeavour. Consider who your ideal reader is, think about what will gain and maintain their attention, and keep things as punchy and engaging as possible – that means using video media and interesting links where relevant. In my experience, all of the best blogs have business in mind somewhere along the line, and there’s certainly no shame in wanting to earn some cash for your efforts. Samuel Johnson put it most bluntly back in the 1700s when he said: ‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.’
What workflow can I handle?
If you’re serious about developing a blog you need to be able to keep creating regular content, and it goes without saying that it has to be of the best possible quality. This takes time, and managing that time is key to maintaining a readership. It’s easy to get really enthusiastic at the start of your project and make a lot of post, then find you’ve run out of good content to write on. Pace yourself. It’s always better to work up that to have to work down – that way you’ll always be giving your readership something more rather than taking something away from them.
Do I have the right tools?
A lot of bloggers think that the tools of their trade begin an end with where their blog is hosted, but that’s not entirely true. One essential tool that you should use as early as possible is email verification – things can get really messy if your subscriber list is cluttered with fake addresses, and you can get penalised for spamming these errors too. Getting verification set up is easy, and means you’ll be able to ensure that you’re really reaching out to your subscribers.