These days, everybody is doing it. No, this is not about sex (for once), it’s about blogging. With hundreds of free, easy-to-use blogging platforms found in every corner of the internet it has never been easier for any person to start a blog. The hard part is: how do you make your blog stand out from the thousands of other plebeians trying to make a living sitting at their desk?
You can start by asking yourself:
1. What is my intention?
What do you want people to get out of reading your blog? Will you offer commentary, or provide your readers with raw information? Are you willing to do new research and legwork, or will you rely on outside sources? Will your writing be aimed at the casual reader or a more academic audience?
This is not to suggest that the answers to these questions cannot change once you begin writing your blog. But examining your intentions thoroughly before you start writing will give your blog a more cohesive, polished feel from the beginning. If writing is an organic process, then these answers are the seeds of your blog.
2. How will I draw readers in?
Even if your writing is a work of genius, chances are high that no one will read it unless it is a “beautiful thing.” Consider the difference between reading a textbook and an article on Buzzfeed . BuzzFeed breaks up its text into lists or short paragraphs and intersperses articles with graphics, images, or videos. While a textbook is theoretically constructed for utmost efficiency, it is much less enticing to browse a wall of text.
Blog themes go through trendy phases (think: minimalist), but legibility, visual interest, and breaking up text is always key. As Carroll suggests, taking time to learn blogging software and use it effectively is perhaps the most worthwhile investment you can make.
3. How will I keep them coming back?
What is your topic? Will you write on fitness? Food? Travel? Carroll suggests that in blogging, “the narrower the topic, the better.” Even in seemingly narrow categories, there are hundreds of other “unique” blogs on the same topic. What does your blog offer that your readers cannot find elsewhere?
The answer is found in your personal voice. Although there may be thousands of people embarking on a “clean-eating journey,” you are the only one bringing your particular experiences and skills along with you. Take advantage of the unique level of engagement the blogging platform offers to build a sense of transparency and intimacy on your site. A successful blog post makes the reader feel as though the author is speaking directly to them, while simultaneously opening doors to a curated community.
Now, get started!
After all this planning, you will hopefully have a clear idea in your head of the blog you want to create. The next step is to start writing, and keep writing! With consistency, planning, and a little bit of fun, you are on your way to a better-than-average blog.