Are you new to blogging or just thinking about starting a blog? It can be a little overwhelming. There is so much information out there! I hope with this series of new blogger tips I can make it a little easier to understand.
New Blogger Tips: Setting Goals for Your Blog
This first post will help you pinpoint what your goals for your blog are. Future posts will help beginners learn how to increase followers, own their own URL (website name), become self-hosted, and monetize their blog.
You’ve Started a Blog. What’s Next?
So you’ve gone and done it. Or perhaps you’re planning on doing it. In any case, you’ve started a blog. You put a lot of thought into your blog name, rolled your favorite topics around in your head for a while, maybe even written your first few posts. Perhaps some people have even read it. So now what?
I’m not going to cover the actual step by step process of creating a blog in this post. Here is a how-to guide to setting up a blog in WordPress or in Blogger. In this post, I want to help you decide what to do next, and perhaps guide you through the process of growing your blog.
When I started my blog over eight years ago, I had no clue what I wanted to do with it. Or what I was going to write about. Or anything, really. I just had a friend who had a blog and it looked like fun, so…
Finding your voice
My blog has evolved over the years, and probably will continue to do so. It began as a personal blog, where I wrote about the things that are important to me: fitness, health, plant based diet, animals. While those things have remained the same over the years, my blog has changed focus to reflect my priorities at any given time.
At first, Live from La Quinta was a chronicle of my life, with a few random recipes thrown in for fun. Gradually I added more workouts and recipes. As I put my real life focus back on running, my blog reflected that, even to the point of my brand change to Coach Debbie Runs. Instead of just my own personal running journey, I began to add more running tips, programs, and workouts.
My latest change has been the addition of blogging “how to” posts, sharing the knowledge I’ve acquired over the last eight years in an effort to help other bloggers achieve their goals.
That was a long way of stating that whatever you choose to write about right now may or may not be your focus two years from now. And that’s okay.
That being said, as we start to take a look at goals for your blog, take a moment and think about what you want to write about. While random life stuff is fine, it will be easier to find a loyal audience by focusing on one or two main topics.
Here are some questions to help you figure it out:
- What do you love to do? This could be cooking, running, fashion, makeup, spending time with your family, and so on.
- What are you an expert at? Are you a good cook? A coach or personal trainer? Do you keep up with designers and the latest fashions? Are you a mom? Or a dad?
- Is your life changing in some way? This could be a pregnancy or trying to get pregnant, weight loss, divorce, job change, training for your first marathon.
- If someone asked your best friend what you always talk about, what would they say?
If you ask yourself these questions, you can find one or two main topics for your blog. That doesn’t mean that you can’t write about “other stuff.” It just means that you now have a focus.
How much time can you spend on your blog?
Whether you want to blog for a hobby, to track your life, to have a writing outlet, or to make a little (or a lot) of money, blogging takes time. If you choose to keep your blog small, maybe for your family or a few friends, a couple hours a week will be adequate. However, if you want your blog to grow, find an audience, increase your views, then you will need to spend more time, not just writing, but marketing your blog.
How much time? Depending on your posting frequency, the time you spend daily on your blog can be from one hour to over four hours a day or more. This would include not only writing posts, but using social media to market your blog, time spent reading and commenting on other blogs (a very important aspect of marketing), upkeep on your site, researching and preparing a post, responding to comments and emails, and other miscellaneous chores.
How often should you post?
Knowing how much time you have to dedicate to your blog will help you decide how frequently to post. There are many opinions about how often you should update your blog. Some bloggers post once a day or even more often. Others post once a week. You should post what feels right for you. Quality will win out over quantity, so if you put more effort and research into one or two blog posts a week, you will be more successful in the long run than if you hammer out five off the cuff posts.
Sit down with a pad of paper and ask yourself some of these questions. Be honest with yourself. If you currently work full time, run a household and barely have time to grab a quick meal, chances are trying to blog five days a week is just going to stress you out. By next week, you should have an idea of where you want your blog to go.
Write one post with your new goals in mind. Based on your goals and your topic list, your post can reflect who you are, what you’re planning to do, or you can jump directly into writing about the topic that you have chosen to focus on.
Next week we will discuss how to increase your readership. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments. I’d also love to see your homework, so feel free to share a link.
Blogging pros! What advice do you have about setting goals for new bloggers?
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie and Dixya
Tuesdays on the Run with Marcia, Erika, and Patty
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Jen, and Nicole
The Plant-Based Potluck Party with Deborah
The Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel, Suz, Lora Marie, and Me!
Friday 5 2.0 with Rachel and Lacey and Meranda