26 October 2010

How To Start A Blog - important issues you must consider


A lot has been written about the various ways to start up a blog. In this article, I am not reiterating what has been written on over and over on different blogs and platforms. This is a blogging tutorial which simply calls our minds (for those of us who want to start a new blog) to the important issues which must be considered.

First and foremost, you have to think up a subject to blog about....

An ideal choice will be to blog about something you are passionate about. Something about which you cannot stop talking like politics, spirituality, chemistry, houses and homes, gardening, managing your family, single parenting, etc. The list is endless, but the bottom-line is that it must be something you know a lot about.
"Be still when you have nothing to say;
when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say,
and say it hot" - D. H. Lawrence (1885 - 1930)
So you can write about your hobby, or about your career; but to attract readers you should choose a best selling topic like sex, scandals, gossip, films, latest news. The topic should be something about which you can deliver content to your readers at daily/weekly/monthly intervals. Longer than that and your readers will lose interest and move away to other blogs.

Having said that, let me quickly add that it may be best to write about something you are involved in or do daily. Then you will always have something to write about at least once in three to four days.

If you are thinking about earning money from your blog then you have to consider the competition...

Money can't buy happiness, but neither can poverty - Leo Rosten (1908 - )
Take a look at your competitors by going to www.google.com and typing your subject in the text box and hitting 'Search'. Google will search out all the websites with the same subject. See the number of sites which turn up in the results and consider whether you want to be a small fish in a big lake or by narrowing the search results you can turn into a big fish in a small pond.

For example if you want to blog about your 'Stamp-Collecting hobby a quick search on Google shows more than four million websites on this subject. Looking for 'Olympic Stamp Collecting' turns up less than 250,000 websites and 'Greek Olympic Stamp Collecting' turns up some 90,000 sites. You will be much better off competing with 90,000 than with four million sites. This is the Age of Superspecialization and the more and more you know (about less and less), the more you will be appreciated by more and more people.

You also have to think about the demand for your subject if you want to monetize your site/blog. To research this, head over to keyword research sites like http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ or www.wordtracker.com. The former is free while the latter offers a free trial. Type your subject in the text box provided and press "Enter" to give you the number of searches conducted for that subject in the previous month. You can type in various subjects and compare the numbers.
The market is not an invention of capitalism. It has existed for centuries.
It is an invention of civilization - Mikhail Gorbachev, June 8, 1990
A search for 'stamp-collecting' shows that some 9,500 people have searched for it during the previous month while 'hiking' returns 45,000 searches. Hence it would be more lucrative to blog about hiking than stamp-collecting. If you want to monetize your blog it always helps to know the market. If you want to cater to a niche, make sure that it is well populated otherwise you may die a quiet death due to lack of attention to your blog.

After choosing your subject you have to choose your blog host...

If you are a novice, it is best to start on a free host where you can try out your site and once you start attracting plenty visitors you may move over to paid hosting. Blogger.com is free and comes with plenty add ons which makes it one of the ideal experimentation grounds for newbies. You can choose to stay on after turning pro as there are no time limits here. They are always introducing new features with improved functions like the new 'Blogger Template Designer'. So it is ideal for a novice.

To summarize...
Review the SUPPLY (sites turned up by Google Search) and the DEMAND (Number of searches for the topic in the last month)
As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand - Josh Billings (1818 - 1885)
and your PASSION for the subject and decide whether to blog or blog not! In this Age of Globalization, it should not proove too difficult to find your niche.

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