There’s only 2 questions that you need to ask yourself before starting a blog – it’s that simple. My hope is that by thinking about these questions and formulating your answers you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and time.
A bit about my blogging journey
I’ve been blogging since 2002 and since joining Instagram and getting to know people on there I’ve had a lot of people ask me for advice about blogging. Now, I’m no expert but I do love learning (and I try to learn something new about blogging every day).
I love learning about the things that interest me and blogging is a big interest of mine. Over the years I’ve attended workshops, courses, events and read a book or two about blogging. I’ve written over 1,400 posts my site GnomeAngel.com alone, not to mention the countless posts I wrote on Livejournal before buying my own domain.
noun: blog; plural noun: blogs
– a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.
Over the years I’ve blogged about everything from interior design, stationery trends, our IVF journey and lately it’s been all about my passion for creating through quilting.I love blogging. Love it! (Although there’s been periods where I’ve really struggled to keep the passion alive.) The thing that I love most about it is the community that grows around your blog. I love sharing and connecting with people and for me the blog helps me to do that.
I’m still learning and growing and formulating my goals for my personal blog. It’s half the fun of it!
I know I’m not alone, that there’s people out there that want to know about starting a blog, how to improve their blogs, how to grow their communities and what the heck is ‘search engine optimisation’!
My goal for Craft Your Blog is to share what I’ve learned so far, the places I go to for advice and some handy hints, tips and tricks to help you grow and reach your blogging goals. The beauty of it – I’m still trying to reach my goals so we’ll be on the journey together.
Be warned though, it’s a never ending cycle there’s always that next bigger goal to reach!
Stop, wait, have a think…
Before you rush off and start your blog there’s 2 questions you really should be asking yourself. The answers to these questions will help influence the important decisions you make later on and could save you some money, time and heartache. Blogging, like most things in life, works out better if you give yourself some space to think. You don’t have to start right now – in fact, you’ll make a better start if you do some planning first.
1. Why do I want to start a blog?
This is a big question. Most people just fall in to blogging. I started on Livejournal as a way of keeping an online diary (I type faster and neater than I write). It was literally a place where I want to write in the “dear diary” style.
It was fabulous. I met lots of amazing people (people I still interact with online now 11 years later) and it was a fabulous way to keep my love of writing alive.
A few years into using Livejournal a series of events lead me to leaving Livejournal and looking for my own place on the internet. Now, I can’t tell you why when I left Livejournal I went straight to registering my own domain name and self hosted but it was one of the best decisions I ever made (and I’ll tell you why a little later on).
I didn’t start with a clear plan and it’s only really been since June 2014 that I’ve had a “clear plan” about what I want to do with my blog and where I want it to take me. I’ve transitioned from writing a blog to keep myself amused to turning my blog into a business.
Blogging has become a big business – it’s actually acceptable to list “blogger” as a career choice. But if you’re starting blogging with the sole purpose of becoming famous it’s going to be a long hard slog.
I’m going to be sharing information about how I’m turning my blog, GnomeAngel.com, from a hobby to a business through out the course of this journey together.
So ask yourself, “Why do I want to start a blog?”.
The answer to this question will influence a lot of the decisions you make further on and help keep you focused when you’re struggling (and trust me there will come a time when you struggle).
P.S. It’s ok to list being famous as one of the reasons behind why you want to start a blog but being a successful blogger is hard work and you need to find the thing about blogging that will motivate you and keep you enthusiastic about your blog when the going gets tough.
2. What am I going to blog about?
Are you going to be the next Martha Stewart? Are you going to cut your soul open and bare all? What are you going to share with the world?
Again, for most people this is an evolution. When I first started I had dreams of being the next Decor8. I wrote post after post about design trends, highlighted my favourite designer items and dreamed of being the next big thing in the design world.
Here’s the problem, it wasn’t my passion. Sure I could lose hours scrolling through Pinterest worthy interiors and I have a collection of interior design magazines that I cherish – but it’s not what gets me out of bed each day so it wasn’t sustainable.
For a number of years I wrote about our journey with IVF. It was a great outlet and I’ve made some of the strongest connections and friendships with people who came to read those posts. Writing about that journey really saved my sanity while we were going through it. I cherish those posts and I hope to one day share them with our son.
However, when he was born something changed with me. I no longer wanted all of those personal posts to be out there floating around in cyberspace. I didn’t want to share images of our child with the internet. I made a personal decision, based on our family’s circumstances and what was best for us, and I stopped writing and sharing images about our son. Sure, I’ll mention him in my writing and sharing but the internet will no longer have the level of access they once did.
It was at this time that I found it really hard to sustain the blog and I took 6 months off. I tried a number of different things to fill the gap that blogging had left but nothing really stuck. I missed it.
It was then that I decided to write about my journey with quilting. It was a fabulous decision and has taken my love of blogging to a whole new level.
The point is you need to think about what you’ll write about. What do you love? What will you share and what will you keep private?
The great thing is, whatever you decide now you can always come back and change it, modify, adapt – but you need a place to start so; “What are you going to write about?”
- 10 Reasons to Make a Blog – a great article on some of the various reasons you might want to start a blog.
- Why Blog? – this fabulous post from Ellora (of Creatively Southern) makes some really great points about blogging (one of my favourites: it’s hard work to be successful).
- How to Start a Blog with a Bang – this post makes some really great points about allowing yourself to experiment and how to develop your own style at your own pace.