Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 7, 2008
A blog is an online journal of either personal or business ideas that people want to share with other people online. Some people write to get things off their chest. Some people write to journal their day. Some people write to give their opinion on things such as politics or religion. Some people write to show off their expertise in a particular field. And some people blog to make money; nothing wrong with that.
Before even starting a blog, you should take some time to decide what you want to write about. Many people come up with a quick idea, think it’s cool, and decide that’s where they want to go. But if you’re going to blog a long time, or if you have a purpose other than just ranting, you shouldn’t skip this step.
At the same time you’re thinking about what you want to write about, you also have to decide if you’re going to try to make any money off it by adding things such as Google’s Adsense, Clickbank, or any other affiliate or PPC (pay per click) types of ads. It’s an important decision because it helps you to determine whether you’re looking to write a fun blog, a business blog of some type, or a personal blog. If you’re going to use a blog more as a diary and you’re hoping to make money off it, the ads that come up probably won’t help you much.
So, say you want to write a business blog, and you’re a financial counselor; I’m going to use this one because I’ve seen this topic fail a lot. Think about how much you could write on a consistent basis on just that topic if it’s your business. Think about who you might be aiming your posts at. If you’re only looking to talk to people who might use your services and you’re trying to highlight your expertise, you might find yourself starting to struggle for something new to say pretty quickly.
However, let’s say that you want to do that, and talk about financial matters in general. If you’re ready to give your opinion on the status of the stock market, the price of oil, the trading of commodities, CEO compensation, or whatever the latest bit of news is that’s out there, now you’ve given yourself a chance to succeed for a long time because every day there’s something going on that’s fodder for your commentary. Broadening the area of the topic you want to focus on is a key to longevity.
I met a guy a few weeks ago who said he wanted to write a blog, but didn’t want to give opinions because he didn’t want to lead people one way or another. Blogs are either for opinions or dissemination of news; everything else ends up as articles, white papers or tech manuals. If you want people to consistently come to your blog, you have to not only give them information, but there has to be a level of entertainment. You have to be interesting; think about which teachers were your favorite in school. In history class, did you want a teacher who just gave you what came straight out of the book, or the teacher who would intersperse stories that helped bring situations and people to life (having fun memories of one particular history teacher right now)?
So, in review, decide what you want to write about, pick a topic that’s broad enough to give you enough to talk about for a long time, and be interesting. Oh yeah, one more thing; have fun with it, and think of it as fun, because if you think of it as work or as a necessity, you’ll crash and burn quickly. Even with business blogs, you’re allowed to be irreverent every once in awhile; I know I certainly am.