New year, new goals, and one of them may be to start a blog! Blogging is great and it’s been a part of my life for over a decade now; this current blog has been around since 2010 and I had an earlier version on Blogger also dedicated to travel. So as you can probably tell from the fact that I’ve stuck around for so long, I actually enjoy blogging!
Over the course of those 10 years, my blog has gone from a hobby to a job, and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. So today I thought I’d share some questions everyone should ask themselves before starting a blog, because let me tell you, blogging has turned out to be a lot more demanding than I thought it would be when I first started out; it demands time, money, and some tech-know-how, but we’ll get to that later.
Writing a blog is very different from reading one – there’s a whole lot to be done behind the scenes! – and while it may be a good fit for some it may not be for others, so why not try to figure that out before diving in?
Image by @jeshoots via Unsplash
Questions to ask yourself before starting a blog
Why do YOU want to blog?
Yes, why do you want to start a blog of your own? It’s such a simple and almost trivial-sounding question, but it’s an important one because how you answer this is going to determine how you go about your blog. There has to be some kind of motivation or driving force if you’re going to succeed in starting your blog and updating it regularly.
When I think back to why I started this travel blog in my early 20s, it’s because I was obsessed with travel! Travel was all I could think about and all I wanted to do. It’s what I saved my money for and what I most looked forward to – as a university student, I made it my mission to travel as much as I could during my winter breaks, reading weeks, and summer holidays. Then, after a few years of uploading photo albums of my trips on Facebook, I realized I wanted a place of my own to share my photos and the stories that went along with them, so my blog was born.
That’s why I started my blog.
Do you enjoy writing?
This one’s a biggie because writing is kind of essential to blogging!
You may be passionate about a topic, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy the act of writing.
In my case, I was an avid journaler as a kid and I really enjoyed creative writing in school, so blogging seemed like a natural progression of my hobbies and interests.
Will this be a hobby or do you want to make money blogging?
It feels funny typing out this question. When I first starting blogging, I didn’t even know that you could make money with a blog, and once I started hearing about this, it seemed to be more of a side hustle than a full-time income earner. Oh how times have changed!
Nowadays, many people start blogs with the sole intention of making money, so naturally, you have to ask yourself whether you too want to make a profit and if so, how you’re going to go about it.
Writing a blog to make money will require a much larger commitment than writing a blog for fun.
Are you willing to spend money on your blog?
You’ve gotta spend money to make money!
Well, depending on how you answered the previous question, you may or may not have to.
If blogging is going to be a hobby and you don’t want to spend any money on it, there are free blogging platforms, free blog templates, and free blogging resources to get you started.
However, if you are looking to go the money-making route, you are going to have to spend some money. There are lots of things to consider like blog design, blog hosting, domain costs, premium plugins, email marketing, software tools, and the list goes on!
Is there enough to write about in your niche?
Once you’ve figured out why you want to blog and what you want to write about, it’s good to take a step back and ask yourself whether there is enough to say on the topic.
You don’t want your topic to be too broad, but you also don’t want it to be so overly specific that you run out of things to say by the time you’ve published 20 blog posts.
For example, just ‘travel’ is quite general, but you could choose to focus on culinary travel, weekend breaks, cruising, group tours, gap year travel, RVing, or wherever your area of interest lies.
Can you commit the time blogging requires?
Let me break it to you, blogging is going to eat a big chunk of your time!
It’s not just about writing that blog post and hitting publish – there’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes!
There’s proofreading, fact-checking, formatting, uploading photos, doing SEO, sharing your article on social media, responding to comments and more.
Is your desired blog name available?
So you’ve been dreaming of your blog name, the font and the colour palette, but have you checked if the name is available? Because someone on the opposite side of the globe could have beaten you to the punch!
You can check your domain’s availability with your hosting provider. For example, if you choose Bluehost, you’d click on the Domain tab, type in your desired domain name, and it’ll tell you if it’s owned by another hosting account in seconds.
If the .com is taken, you may decide to choose a new name, or if you’re really stuck on the one, you may consider choosing another domain extension like .net, .co, or .biz.
In regards to name availability, the same goes for social media. Don’t forget to check if your handle is available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or any other platforms you may be planning to use with your blog?
Are you tech-savvy enough to set up your blog?
Setting up a blog is going to require choosing a platform and there are lots out there, some easier to navigate than others. Will you pick WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Blogger, Tumblr?
I still remember the first time I opened WordPress, became very overwhelmed, and proceeded to put my blog setup on hold for a few months, ha!
Depending on your level of tech-savviness, setting up a blog may be a breeze or it may require some help. On that note, this article delves deeper into choosing a blogging platform that’s right for you.
How do you want readers to find you?
Readers won’t magically land on your blog homepage, you have to bring them to the honey!
Getting readers to find your blog will require some strategy. This could include: making sure your content is visible in search engines, sharing your articles on your social media platforms, guest posting, commenting on other blogs, and creating shareable content with viral potential.
Again, all things that are going to require quite a bit of time.
Do you still want to start a blog after these questions?
Hopefully, I haven’t lost you along the way!
My goal with this blog post is to highlight some parts of blogging that you may have overlooked.
If you’re still feeling pumped about starting a blog after answering these questions, then good on you. Get to it!