So, you’ve heard about this blog thing, and you’ve decided to try it and start a blog for yourself.
Well, before you start typing away at the keyboard or searching for a web hosting service, there are three questions you need to answer first. You need to really have a clear, firm answer for each one of these questions before you get started.
You can’t just have an idea of the answers, you need to know them. They really need to resonate with you otherwise, there’s just no point.
Question 1: Why are you starting a blog?
It’s the most profound question you will ever ask yourself, but also the most important.
Why are you doing this? What do you hope to accomplish? Do you want to make money? Do you want to help people? Do you want to make people laugh? Do you want to vent about something (society, politics, your love life)? There are no wrong answers here, but you do need to have one.
You need to know why you are doing it, but more than anything you need to be passionate about doing it, whatever it is. If you love Spam and you want to sing the praises of Spam on your blog, then you will be successful.
But if you’re a Vegan and you hate spam and someone offers you a ton of cash to blog about Spam, it’s just not going to work. It’s a job at that point, and you’ll hate doing it, and more importantly, you’ll hate yourself for doing it.
Question 2: What’s your niche?
Everyone needs an angle. Whether you’re a writer blogging about being a stripper, or a stripper blogging being a writer, you need a hook, pure and simple. You can’t be all things to all people and you shouldn’t try. You will fail.
You can only succeed if you can identify a portion of the market that is being undeserved (ideally, they won’t be getting served at all) and then speaking and marketing to them. This isn’t as hard a question to answer as it might seem.
Once you answer the first question, the second question will largely answer itself.
Question 3: How will you set yourself (and your new blog) apart?
Here’s the really tricky question. You know why you’re blogging, you know what your niche is, now what? How do you stand out in a sea of endless bloggers? What’s your angle on your angle? Maybe you’re giving relationship and dating advice from the Born Again Christian perspective, for example. Or maybe you’re a divorced dad offer dating and parenting tips.
The point is, whatever your niche, there is probably someone already there serving it as there are very few new ideas under the sun. What makes you worth listening to? Tricky question, to be sure, but an important one.
Once you have the answers to these three questions, you’re good to go. Just be aware that the answers, may change over time, and probably should. Your answers to these three questions represent a snapshot of where you are at the time you answer them.
If you have a vision and a goal of say, getting ten people a day to visit your blog, and then that happens, then what? What happens is your answer to these three questions will probably change. You’ll need to re-answer them, and that will affect why you are doing this and how you go about doing it.
Don’t worry about this. Don’t wait to have the perfect answers. You won’t. You’ll not only never get it “right,” but you never even get started either. It’s all about progress, not perfection. You must repeat “Progress over perfection” in your head one million times. Okay, actually only three. But you get the point, hopefully.
Perfection is one of the deadliest diseases on the planet. It robs people. Of their hopes, of their dreams and of the chance of actually making those hopes and dreams a reality.
If you don’t get in the game you’ll never get a chance to win it, but there are some that endlessly practice and attempt to perfect whatever it is they working on before they show it to the world. But it’s never perfect. Ever. I don’t even know if anyone knows what that means.
It’s vitally important that you have a plan, vision and something to shoot for. But don’t let the prep work consume you to the point where things are unhealthy.
That’s as much a life lesson as it is a lesson about blogging, but it certainly applies here.