Starting a Blog? Go For it, Early Focus is Overrated
By Rachel Puryear
Many would-be bloggers out there carry around great ideas with them in their heads, but haven’t yet put them into writing to share with the rest of the world.
It’s not that they don’t want to take the plunge and start, but maybe they don’t know where to begin, so it seems overwhelming. They wonder: What will they say? Who will read their posts? What exactly will their blog be about?
The good news is, you don’t need to know exactly where you’re going to get started, and in fact, it might actually be better in the long term if you don’t. Following a strict path from the beginning that you don’t deviate from might lead you to miss important insights and possibilities along the way.
So, here are a few insights on getting started on a blog, particularly when you’re not sure what you want to do:
It’s a Long Haul
A blog takes time to develop – to get good, to build a following, to develop your niche(s); and yes, to make money at it (directly or indirectly).
Building a blog is like building a brick house – it’s brick by brick, post by post, follower by follower, over a period of time. It doesn’t happen overnight – but if you put in the effort over time and speak from within, it’s possible to build something awesome and solid with time.
Don’t Specialize Too Soon
In the beginning, write about a lot of different things you’re interested in, and don’t stick to one narrow niche right away. There will come a time to choose a niche or a few niches later on, and you’ll know when that happens.
To start, focus on range over specialty. That will help you realize and develop better niches later on, as well as putting you in a stronger position to better connect your own ideas with other subject matters (the latter is important for giving you limitless sources of writing material in the long run). You don’t want to pursue one narrow subject to the exclusion of others early on.
For instance, let’s say you’re thinking about some kind of food and recipe blog. Don’t pick a niche from the start – instead, write about all kinds of dishes you enjoy preparing from different cuisines, and different types (desserts, entrees, soups, and so forth). You will likely see themes begin to eventually emerge – for instance, you might find that you particularly like to write about vegan Chinese dishes, or Central American street food, or French desserts. That will be the time to start choosing your niches. Let your niches blossom on their own.
In fact, you may go even broader in the beginning, and benefit from it later on. Your early posts about camping could give way to later posts about vegan cooking while camping; early posts about relationships could inspire later posts about romantic dinners; early posts about wellness could lead to later posts about modifying your niche for low-carb diets.
Note: If you’ve followed this blog, Free Range Life, throughout the roughly three or four years it’s been around; you have undoubtedly noticed lots of different shifts in subjects and themes (and tinkering with the name) in the blog. Some subjects were tried and then disappeared because they didn’t really stick, others were stumbled on accidentally but ended up becoming foundational (as we’ll explore shortly). I do appreciate the patience of longtime followers who have stuck with me through the evolution of this blog! 🙂
As you continue writing, you will create posts that will turn out to be foundational – that is, posts that open up a new theme and subject; and one which you will discover is something that you and your audience are interested in writing/reading more about, and which will lay the foundation for more ongoing posts related to that subject matter.
Foundational posts are not something you plan in advance – they are often good accidents which happen when they happen. Then, you realize they’ve got potential for a whole lot more – and you know that this is something that should become one of your blog’s regular themes/niches/specialties.
A Little Every Day is Better Than A Lot Infrequently
Writing is like exercising. It’s better to do a little bit at a time, and do it consistently; than to just do it occasionally, even if you make a marathon out of it when you do.
Deciding you’ll write ten minutes a day, every day, for instance; is a reasonable goal that won’t feel overwhelming, and will keep you in the habit of writing regularly.
When You’re Stuck, Just Write Anything
It’s better to write anything than to write nothing. You might be surprised where writing random stuff can lead sometimes. The effort of putting anything down in writing can help unstick your mind gears.
Keep Writing New and Different Things, Always
Every now and then, even long after you’ve established a successful niche periodically write about something new and different that you don’t usually write about. It doesn’t even matter whether you publish it or not – the point is to keep your writing skills fresh and sharp, which this practice will help you do. Keep doing this throughout your writing days, always.
Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to gifts finally shared with the world.
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