Why is it hard to choose what to blog about? Is it because it feels like a marriage, a big commitment? It should’t feel this way. You’re not starting a magazine, a TV show, or moving to a new country. It only costs $7 to start a blog, and 11 minutes. If you change your mind, you can reset everything pretty quickly. A lot of big name bloggers started their blogs much differently than what people see today. Some people will start over and create a new blog, others pivot – change the direction of their blog, while others simply add topics to their blog. There doesn’t need to be so much pressure on finding the perfect blog theme. More pressure should be put on getting started – only then will you discover what you love to blog about.
Things To Keep in Mind
Think Long Term. A blog grows when you work on it consistently. A lot of bloggers write blog posts everyday. That is one way to do it. Another way is to blog once a week, or once every two weeks. These would be epic posts, one of a kind timeless resources.
You need to keep building your blog, the writing side and the promotion side. You need to have a vision of the future. A blog doesn’t get big overnight, it gradually grows. If you are thinking 3-4 months, it is a waste of time. 1 year and further, that makes more sense.
Think People. You will need to talk to people who are also blogging about what you are blogging about. This helps spread your blog. It is fun. It takes time but it is not difficult. Just comment, and email other bloggers. This is a benefit of blogging. You get to meet and exchange ideas with other people who have the same interests as you.
Starting a Blog – Where to Get Ideas From
Your Passions and Interests: Take a look at the magazines and blogs you read. Are you obsessed with home decor, fashion, cooking, photography, or computer programming? Check out your Pinboards, and what blog posts/articles you share on Twitter or Facebook.
Check your bookmarks, what do you save to your computer? Is there anything you really, really want to learn more about – could you start a blog showing your journey? What are the things that make you go “holy! I must have that / I have to know how that is done / I have to tell _____ about this”.
Format: Think about the format you might have the most fun creating a blog around. Some formats of blogs include:
- written stories
- mood boards
- step by step how to guides
- a video blog
- or a podcast
Take a travel or fashion blog for example, you could create a blog with any of the formats I just listed.
Ideas Through Features: A feature post is one that is quite special. It is a post that takes more time to do than your other posts, so you would do one once a week or once a month. Like an awesome video interview. You then get known for these weekly or monthly feature posts.
- If you have a home decor site and you blog mostly about small home DIY projects like how to layout photo frames on the wall, dip dying lamp shades and pillows to decorate your home, or how to create your own wall art. Then a feature post would be something like, once a month you create your own piece of furniture.
- If you have a fashion blog, once a month you give someone a fashion makeover.
People: It is important to think about who you want reading your blog. Do you want experts or everyday people, or doers and DIYers? Who would you want reading your blog? What sort of posts would they want to read?
Types of Blogs
The Curator: One way that really helped me find a theme to blog about was through curation. Curation is when you blog about what other people are doing. You share links, and posts you find online. There are a lot of blogs out there like this. It takes a lot of time to build any traffic and get a following. So I would’t recommend doing this as a blog, but it is a good way to get started and find out what you love to blog about.
Say I am interested in great design. I find a blog post about a great graphic designer who has designed an amazing wine bottle, I write about it and share it. Then I find these great pair of headphones designed by a world famous product designer, I write about it and share it. That is curation, writing about what other people are doing.
After a while of doing this I start to realize that I am more interested in printed graphic design – things like business card designs, wine bottle labels, packaging. I start writing more about these kind of things that I find online. Then after a while I realize I notice I love finding out how people print and make what they design. So my blog gets even more focused. That’s how you learn what you love to blog about through a curated blog.
Being a curator is great. But know that you need to create your own voice, your own style, and most importantly your own original stories. That is the problem with a curated site, nothing is your own, nothing is really original. In order to really stand out and build a following, it is a good idea to create your own original stories – instead of sharing what you find online.
Going back to the printed graphic design example, I am at a point where I know I want to blog about how people print and make what they design. So how do I create my own original content? Well I could start doing interviews. I could do video tours of peoples workshops. I could learn how people do it, and create my own DIY tutorials.
The Niche Blog: A niche blog is one that has a specific focus. For example you have a craft blog and you focus on paper crafts.
No matter what you decide to blog about, focusing down to a specific theme is a good idea. Having a focused blog will help you stand out and be known for something specific.
You do need to make sure that it is a specific subject that you can keep on talking about – and won’t run out of ideas for content.
You can go and create your own niche. Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 Hour Work Week, could have said he was all about productivity or entrepreneurship, but instead he coined the term “Lifestyle Design”.
You need something unique to stand out, and when you stand out you build traffic.
It is okay to have niche blog and add in other subjects you love, sporadically. Say you have a maternity photography blog, you can always write a blog post now and again about the business side of things, your goals, daily life, work habits, etc. But your blog is known for maternity photography.
A Lifestyle Blog: A lifestyle blog is one that is based around your own lifestyle. Here you pick 2 or 3 themes (Fashion, DIY, Recipes for example) and write about them. For this kind of blog you will need a unique voice, strong sense of self, and be quite open about your life. A lot of people have a blog like this, so it will take a lot more time and dedication to build a following. Remember, the more specific your blog is – the more memorable your blog will be, and the faster it will grow.
WARNING: Don’t Get Too Personal. For some, it will be easy to fall into the trap of over sharing: blogging about what you are feeling at the time, what you are thinking, or going on a rant. Basically using your blog as a personal journal.
When you start blogging like this, you attract a strange kind of audience. People will start demanding things from you, wanting more updates, or more personal details. People will think you owe them your life story. You will get a lot of rude comments – they will even go out of their way to dig up info to shame you. It’s like you’ve created your own tabloid about yourself, but people can contact you directly. You have to draw a line – keeping some things offline.
Changing Directions – The Art of The Pivot
Remember that it is okay to change your mind. All the big name bloggers have done it. You can always start a new blog, which will be better than your first since you’ve found your passion. Or you can change the direction of your blog. Or add topics and themes to your blog as it grows.
If you are unsure what you want to blog about then you will want a more general name for your blog. This way you can change directions or add themes without it looking weird. So instead of having a name like My Vintage Decor, you have a name like The House on the Hill or Home History. I go more into choosing a name in this guide: Choosing a Name You Love.
Tips and The Big Picture
Get Focused: When you start out blogging, look to focus on one topic. Understand what you love most about it and focus even further. If you love photography, start blogging about it. Then try and understand what is it about about photography that you love – is it the technical side, coming up with ideas, fashion photography, or printing and displaying photographs. Then focus down onto the part you love the most. Having a “Photography” blog will not make you stand out. Having a blog on Family Photography Ideas or DIY Printing Ideas will. You can always add in other posts on photography but have the majority of the posts focused to one specific theme.
Off Topic: A way to focus is to write down what you don’t want to blog about. A photography blog that avoids the technical parts of photography and focus on the creative side. A home decor blog that avoids how to guides, and focus on ideas.
Your Standards: Set high standards for you and your blog. This goes back to focus. Don’t cut corners and write a post because it is easy, or just because it is something everyone else is talking about. Stay true to the kind of blog you want to create. Sometimes it is better not to write at all than write something that is not up to your high standards.
Creating Your Vision: One thing that has helped me to create a direction for my blogs is to write a tagline and missions statement. Take this site for example. The tag line is DIY Website Set Up. I want to help you set up your blog. But I also want to give you ways of branding and growing your blog, DIY style. That is why you will see articles like How To Create Your Own Blog Header (no design skills or software needed). And soon there will be articles on DIY Photography for Beginners, or How To Create Pinterest Style Badges for Your Blog Posts. I want to give people the DIY skills to start blogging.
Find what you love and be proud blogging about it. It shows, and people will notice.
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