First Hand: How to begin a blog

When starting a section on your site that you intend to update on a frequent basis, its a good idea to ask yourself a few questions first. As this is my first real post, I’ll go ahead and use myself as a real life example to the process.

Step 1: Pick your audience

Often you’ll hear that the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to write about, but I think the first thing you should do is decide who your readers are, and who you’d like to have visiting your site. In my case, I’d really like to have local people who are interested in buying my services visiting my site. Since I don’t have a specific niche picked out, I’ll say its small to medium sized business owners. Very vague, yes, and I worry about how much surfing of the web these types of people do. But this is my main target, so I’ll keep them included.

I’d also like to increase traffic overall so as to help my search engine rankings. Its very popular in many fields to write articles that would attract your peers. It will help to establish some credibility in my field, and the articles will be easier to write as its something I’m already interested in.

So, my target audience is:

  • Local business owners
  • Web/Graphic Designers

Step 2: Decide what you want to write about

Now that you have your audience picked out, what the heck are you going to say to them. There’s lots of advice out there about how you should pick one theme, and stick to it. Research, research, research and become an expert. I couldn’t agree more. I will more than likely be breaking that rule however. Since I have two distinct audiences, I’ll think I’ll be splitting up what I write about between business related articles, and design related ones. I imagine I’ll be sometimes writing about the business of design too, just to have some overlap.

So, my theme(s) are:

  • How the web relates to business
  • Web Design

Step 3: Pick your voice

I haven’t come across any advice on how to write. Writing is a creative talent that needs honing and practice. Write naturally is my advice, and thats what I’ll be doing here.

So, my voice:

  • Casual and natural, light humor

Step 4: Set up your blog

There are lots of ways to set up a blog, but the best way is to hire a quality designer. Custom beats templates always. Why? Because I’m a custom web designer and that’s my biased opinion. There are free set ups out there, however, and I encourage you to check them out. Then come on back and I’ll set you up right.

So, Set up:

  • Do it custom, do it right.

Step 5: Write regularly

Even if no one is reading your great prose, keep writing. By the time you catch on with your audience you’ll be a better writer. This is the advice I’m going to follow.

So, write regularily:

  • Yes, do.

Step 6: Have fun

If you’re not enjoying it, you wont write, and your blog will languish, and for sure no one will ever read it except your family and only because you make them. So have fun.

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