Here are five simple steps that make starting your blog easier. You don't have to do them all at once, and you may find some take a little more time than others, depending on where you're starting from.
The important thing is to start! Once you get some momentum going, you'll want to keep going to see results.
Step # 1: Decide What You Want to Blog About
It's amazing how many people start a blog with no idea what they want to write about. Six months later, when they have a rambling mess and no readers, they're shocked!
Instead write your blog with intent. Are you a rider with a story that might attract sponsors? Write about that. Maybe you're a trainer with expertise to share, or perhaps you want to tell potential customers how healthy the equine patients are at your vet clinic.
Think about what you do best. What do people ask you about all the time? What do feel a burning desire to talk about? If you had to get up on a stage right now and lecture for an hour without any notes, what would you say?
If you're still not sure, imagine a triangle. At the top is your area of expertise. On one bottom corner is your market (the potential audience for your blog), and on the other is your perspective, your unique viewpoint on the topic. Somewhere in the middle is your blog.
Hint: while it may seem more practical to try to blog on a broad topic, it's actually counterproductive. The more you can narrow down your
Step #2: Figure Out Who Your Audience Is
I just mentioned audience above as part of the formula for creating your blog. Figuring out who your readers will be goes hand in hand with deciding on a topic.
Think about who could use your help, who is always asking for advice or who follows you on social media. Go ahead and get specific; this is only going to make your blog better because it will reach the exact audience you want to connect with.
My specific audience, for example, is equine businesses whose owners or staff have difficulty writing copy for their websites or printed materials. I have found that these people generally have one of these problems:
- no time to write
- no interest in writing
- no writing ability
- English as a second language
- no idea where or how to start
My job as a writer specializing in equine written content is to solve these problems either by helping them write on their own through this blog or by actually writing copy for them.
Step #3: Find Your Voice
Your blog voice is the tone and attitude you take with your writing. This is usually similar to your actual spoken voice, but some folks like to let their alternative personalities come out in their blog posts.
You can be humorous, academic, or dramatic, depending on your message and your audience. You can address your readers, like I do here by using "you" (second person), or you can be more formal and adopt a third person voice without speaking directly to anyone in particular.
It's a good idea to read some blogs you like and visit your favorite YouTube channels, as well as peruse some magazine or newspaper articles to see which style appeals to you, which one seems appropriate for your topic, and which is within your grasp in terms of writing ability.
Most blog writers take a while to find their true voice, so it's okay to experiment and change.
Step #4: Make a List of Topics
Now that you have a sense of your subject matter, your audience, and your voice, you can start planning your posts. It's better to approach your blog with a strategy than to just write willy-nilly.
After your first introductory post (more on that in an upcoming post here), you want to start with evergreen content (AKA cornerstone content) that will be the heart of your blog. You want these posts to be as timeless as possible, so readers will find them relevant no matter when they start reading your blog.
Your evergreen content will be comprised mainly of answers to your most typical questions or the the most important information you want to share to form the foundation of later posts.
My suggestion is to write each potential blog topic on a sticky note, so you can then easily arrange them in the order you wish to write them. Post them on a bulletin board or sheet of poster board, and write the scheduled post date at the bottom of each sticky. Place the board somewhere where you'll see it often; you can, of course, write your schedule on an electronic device, but out of sight tends to remain out of mind.
Try to arrange your content in such a way that each consecutive post grows organically from the one before it. This way your readers can go from post to post chronologically as if reading a book. In fact, once you have accumulated a certain number of posts, you may want to collect your writing in a book that you can sell online or give away as a reward to customers.
Think about how your blog relates to your brand and the overall mission of your business. Do your blog post ideas reflect the message you want to send?
Step #5: Start with a Clean Slate
Before you actually start writing your blog posts, you want to set up your blog tab as nicely as possible. First, make sure your blog is easily visible on your website. Don't bury your "Blog" tab under "News" or other headings.
Second, decide what to do with any previous blog content. Many of my clients have made a stab at blogging in the past but didn't keep up with it. They're left with a bunch of outdated content on their websites that detracts from newer posts. My suggestion is to archive this material or put it under a separate tab labeled something like "Fun Times in the Past" or "The History of Our Stables."
I'll be writing more about the visuals of blogging later, but for now, make sure the margins of your blog aren't too wide and that the font is large enough to be legible. No eight-point fonts, please!
Have you finished the five steps listed above? Hopefully, they weren't as horrible as you may have first imagined!
Next, I'll be posting about how to write your intro post, as well as how to compose a blog sidebar and the little extras that come with starting your blog.
If you did find these steps didn't go as planned, leave a note in the comments section or contact me here. I offer help with blogging strategy and basic blog setup. I can also create a simple website like my own for you, with a blog included, on a free web hosting platform and teach you how to maintain your blog in the future.