Ten Ideas for Starting a Blog
I've started a few blogs over the years, all of which have gone nowhere. Though I think I still have a few posts on my personal website that haven't been updated in many years. So while I think I've learned a few things, I've never had a truly successful blog so take my advice with a grain of salt.
1. Do your doodle.
When you're bored and you're sitting there doodling on a piece of paper, what is it your doodling? Do you always doodle the same thing? There may be a clue in there about a possible theme.
2. Forget about what your audience wants to read.
If you don't want to write about your interests and passions, it's going to 1) show in your writing, and 2) you'll eventually burn out. Writing about your interests will probably lead you to an audience faster than first worrying about what they want.
3. Forget about money.
When a blog makes money, if it does at all, it doesn't happen for a long time. Write because you love it and not because you expect it to pay your bills.
4. Forget about social media.
There's little point in using social media to promote your blog as no one in the world knows you other than your family and friends. Sure, announce the blog to them, and ask them to share it with their friends and family, if they're willing. Otherwise, you're investing time yelling into a void when it can be better spent working on your blog. I think social media is best used once you have a great "product" up and running. Maybe pick one social media platform you like, post your latest writing on it, and only pivot to more social media channels and engagement once you've built up a bit of an audience.
5. Bleed on the page.
If you want gritty content that captivates your readers, you're going to have to share things you are afraid to share. It's tough. Consider writing under a pseudonym if you're not comfortable with this approach. But the most successful writers just lay it out there for the world to see (look at James as the perfect example).
6. Make writing a part of your daily routine and don't break the chain.
Jerry Seinfeld is famous for saying, "Don't break the chain." Meaning, consistently write every. Seinfeld wrote jokes every single day for many years. So set up a writing routine and stick to it no matter what.
7. Set up a publication schedule and stick to it.
James Clear famously said at the beginning of his blog JamesClear.com that he was going to publish on Monday and Thursday, every week, no matter what, even if the writing was garbage. He did that for years and now he is one of the top bloggers in the world.
8. Start an email list from Day 1.
This will be critical for establishing positive long-term engagement with your readers.
9. Get good at SEO.
As much as I believe in keeping blog content focused on what you want to write, at the same time you'll never be found if you write in a way that makes it hard for Google to rank you. Learn the basics, at least, of keyword research, using the write headers, how to write titles that can be found in search, etc.
10. Drink lots of coffee.
It solves all creativity problems. :-)