Everyday I got an email, text or Facebook message from someone asking me how to start a blog. Before I answer it I always reflect on what made me decide to blog and why I think I have the coolest job EVER. After a lot of these calls within the last 2 years, I’ve decided to start a series where I give advice to wanna be bloggers.
Before I go deep into the “trenches”, I’ll let you in on a secret of mine.
I started my blog by accident. Yep, one day I got tired of being “sick and tired”. You know that feeling of being stagnant and not knowing what in the heck I wanted to do. I had always been a writer (yes I do have a degree in English from a great University) but I had quit writing for pleasure when I became a mom at 19. After I graduated college I started to teach English at a local school system and local college but I still never wrote for pleasure. I would always try to start writing for fun but nothing moved me to actually pick up that metaphorical pen and start writing my next masterpiece.
Then in 2010 I had my last child and I was beyond frustrated. Instead of losing it and walking out on my life I decided to write which lead me to start to blog. At first the blog was for me but then I decided I wanted to showcase my talents to the world and thus BossyGirl was born.
Now that’s my story but that may not be yours. You may want to blog because you want to jumpstart your writing career. Or you may be going through a painful breakup and need a space to express yourself. Whatever your reason is I always recommend to JUST DO IT. That’s right go ahead, sign up for a blog and find your voice.
When I started my blog there were A LOT of people who told me stick to one thing and only write about that. So foolishly I listened. At first I only mainly wrote about my natural hair but I started to notice that EVERYONE was doing that. Then occasionally I’d write about my kids or my life as a married women. Finally I would discuss my dreams. I was conflicted every time I only wrote about one thing then after a couple of months I realized something very important about blogging.
I needed my writing to reflect me– a mother, wife, entrepreneur, naturalista, budding socialite. So guess what I did? I listened to my inner VOICE and I did what BossyGirl wanted to do. So after about 6 months into my blog I decided to “bust out of the box” and just write. I like to write 80% about my life and 20% other stuff. So what does that mean for you? Here are some lessons I learned that I will share with you if you’re interested in starting a blog.
1. Decide what you are passionate about and then write about it. If you’re passionate about running marathons and you’ve ran 80 races then you need to write about that. There’s a niche for people who want to become marathoners– fill that void.If you’re passionate about hair, working out and being a single woman–then write about it. When your readers see that you are passionate that makes them read your blog even more. I get the most comments when I discuss something that I’m going through. Last year when I thought I was going to lose my job,my readers could feel my hurt in my words and they commented, tweeted, and messaged me words of encouragement.
2. Before you write research what the market is like. I wish I had of done this before I started. When I first started my blog I wanted to be a natural hair blogger–that is until I started to notice that EVERYONE was a hair blogger. Everyone reviewed the same products, did the same styles, made the same YouTube videoes. I thought I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone! The natural hair bloggers that were BIG time, were the few who could distinguish themeselves from the others. Now if you are passionate about writing about a topic that 20,000 people are blogging about be prepared for feeling like a “needle in a haystack” to readers. Instead put a twist on your perspective(s). Maybe you’ll discuss natural hair on kids or you”ll write about your natural hair as an executive and how you deal with being different.
3. Write down goals for your blog. I honestly believe that whatever you speak will become your existence. So before you start your blog SPEAK what you want your blog to be. If you want to be the top Food Blogger–then say that and make a plan to do that. When I started, my main goal was to get people to read it. Two years later I have thousands of readers NOW my goal is to continue to make money (I’ll speak on that in Part III). Speak your success!
A good idea is to get a notebook that you dedicate to your blog and write down 5 goals for your blog. Then for each goal develop an action plan to make your goals a reality. If you’re unsure about what your goals are ask other bloggers, many of them will be happy to guide you in the right direction.
4. Just do it. That’s right. Just start writing, then read over your post, then write some more, then hit publish. Sometimes we can over think. Instead of dreaming for a year about blogging just start. Everyone makes mistakes
Now that you’ve gotten advice HOW to start your blog. Now you’ve got a major decision to make…WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or another platform. Tune in next week for Part II! Now leave a comment about what you want your blog to be about!