This is PART 2 of a 4 part series I am doing on blogging basics. If you missed PART 1: HOW TO START A BLOG, be sure to check it out!
Finding Your Niche
Now that you have a blog, you need to decide what you’ll be blogging about and for who. Maybe it sounds like I’m mixing this up. You probably already had an idea of what you were going to blog about… BEFORE starting your blog, right? Let me clarify then:
- Organize your thoughts around the main topic. What is your blog about? How do you create consistency and flow around your posts so they all make sense? Just as you want flow in your home (every room should follow a basic decorating style so they all make sense and form one complete home), you want flow on your blog. There are some topics that are just not going to make sense on your blog. You’re going to need to draw some lines and set some standards. You want your readers to be drawn to you for certain reasons and topics… what are they?
- Communicate your main topic to the world. What is your blog about? Is it evident to first time readers, who you are and what you’re about? Is it easy to navigate through the various topics on your blog? Good ways to communicate and organize your content/brand to first-time readers include:
- An Organized Nav Bar: Does your navigation bar include a clean, organized collection of posts that represent you well? Are there too many choices or too few? When you click on a link, are you directed to an organized collection of posts? I’ve found that readers respond much better to a gallery of posts rather than a blog roll. You can see what I mean here: Blog Roll vs. Gallery
- A Good “About Me” Page: Do you have an about page that’s easy to find? People enjoy getting to know the author and face behind a blog. Even more importantly than that, as a blogger, YOU are your brand. Are you branding yourself well? You should have professional pictures of yourself and fun information that is relate-able and helps people connect with who you are. This is what will help people remember who you are and keep them coming back. Find mine here: About Sarah
- A “New Here?” Section: As a first-time reader, I want to know what you think are your best posts. I want you to sell me on your blog or chances are, I wont be back. Create a page that explains what your blog is about and point people in the direction of your favorite posts or your most popular posts. This is different from your “About Me” section because it is more specific in selling readers on the best features of your blog. Find mine here: New Here?
- Featured Posts: Are you highlighting your best work in a prominent spot? Even if you’re just starting out and don’t have a ton of content, make sure your BEST is super visible. I keep featured posts in my side bar and have a special spot for popular posts. See my popular posts here: Popular Posts
- Logo and Tagline: Is your logo attractive and descriptive? Does the name of your blog and/or tagline sum up your blog well? Does it give a good hint as to what you’re all about?
Creating Quality Content
Now, you have a blog and you know what you’re going to write about…
how do you do it well?
Let’s start with these basic things:
- Your Topic: Does it fit the flow of your blog? Are you a reliable and informed source on this topic to present it well and in a way that your readers will respect? Is it interesting? Is it helpful, informative and does it include enough detail?
- Your English Skills: Proof-read, please! English was one of my strongest subjects, yet I know there are plenty of times I let things slip. If I’m writing a very lengthy post or one I hope does really well, I have someone else check it for mistakes. As a mom blogger, half the time I am writing something, it’s done between naps and making dinner or late into the night on a fuzzy brain. I am a horrible speller, so spell check is my friend and sometimes auto-correct is NOT! Blogging can be different, however. Depending on your niche, your writing style may be a bit more informal than a traditional article. You may notice, on this blog, my writing resembles the way I talk. It is meant to be more like a chat with a friend, than a college research paper. However, this still doesn’t let you off the hook for misspelling or poor grammar.
- Use the words “their” “they’re” and “there” in the proper way!
- Organize your thoughts well. Use plenty of breaks and headings.
- Spell check.
- Proof read.
- Your Pictures: First off, DO NOT STEAL PICTURES. Unless you are legally using stock photos from a free stock photo site, do not steal stock images or photos from google images or any other search engine. I have to admit, I was guilty of this when I first started blogging. I never really thought about the fact that every image you come across online, be it through google images or pinterest, belongs to someone! Trust me, you can be sued for stealing someone else’s image. Be cautious. Now, having said that, here are some guidelines for photos:
- Light and bright: Pictures that are well lit or nice and bright look best. Dreary pictures with poor lighting or a yellowish/brown tinge will really put a damper on your site. They are also less likely to be pinned.
- No Filter: Filters very rarely help you out. Keep pictures clean and crisp, skip the filter and skip the vignette.
- Image Size: Use a plugin to help keep files small, but keep the size full frame as often as possible. Tiny images and images that are all different sizes annoy me so bad! It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. Keep images large and sized the same.
- Text on Images: I try to include one, vertical image with text for Pinterest. Aside from that, keep images clean and text free.
I hope you’ve found some of these pointers helpful! Another thing I recommend doing is creating a purpose statement for your blog. Even if it’s not posted anywhere on your blog, write it down and keep it close.
Why are you blogging?
Is it simply a hobby or something fun to do?
Are you hoping to leave something tangible behind for your friends and family?
Do you a have an important message you want to share with the world?
Are you on a crusade for a certain cause?
Are you raising support or awareness?
Do you have a story to tell?
Do you enjoy journaling your daily life?
It could be one or all of these reasons, but it is your reason.
Decide what it is and do it well!!
Don’t Miss a Post!
- Blogging with Purpose (Part 1): How to Start a Blog
- Blogging with Purpose (Part 2): Creating Quality Content
- Blogging with Purpose (Part 3): Grow Your Blog
- Blogging with Purpose (Part 4): Monetize Your Blog