The first question to ask is, “Why do you want to start a blog?” Students have a variety of answers to this question:
- Some love to research and write and see blogging as a career beyond college
- Some have a passion for a certain topic or two and want to educate, entertain, and inspire others around it
- Some are quite creative and know they can craft articles that will gain a large following on campus and beyond. They may have related career goals that go beyond just blogging and want to leave school with a reputation as an influencer in one or more niches.
Wanting to start a blog and actually getting that done will require a plan. Here are a number of things you need to consider.
1. Choose Your Niche Carefully
If you don’t have a passion for the content areas of your blog, you will never be successful. Think about it. How motivated are you to fashion a research paper for a course you don’t like and on a topic you hate? Chances are you are looking for the best paper writing service you can find to get that done for you.
But when you have passion for a topic, the ideas and words just tend to flow.
Even if you have a niche, trending topics within that niche are important. You don’t want to choose topics that are tired and worn out. Do some research based upon keywords and online tools and see what topics are the most popular. That’s a start.
2. Identify Who You are Writing Your Content For
Every blog has an audience. A blog on landscaping and gardening, for example, is obviously for homeowners; a blog on personal finance, on the other hand, may cross all generations and lifestyles.
You will have to research your audience carefully. They have values; they have unique senses of humor; they have agendas; they appreciate a certain tone and style. You would not write for a Gen X’er in the same way you would write for a senior citizen, and visuals/media will be very different too.
3. Get a Good Platform
There are plenty of content management systems to choose from — WordPress, Squarespace, or Blogspot, for example. All of these are good. Some college bloggers choose to host their own, especially if they will be addressing highly controversial topics and face “punishment” either for their own words or those of followers who have strong feelings about a topic.
4. Content is King
This is a phrase that has been bantered around for years. But it still holds true. There is so much content out there, and most of it languishes in “cyberspace” without much interest because it doesn’t resonate with intended audiences. Search engines have very sophisticated algorithms that crawl through content, looking for top quality, unique information/data, and lots of responses from readers. This is how a blog post gets ranked by search engines and ends up in a good place during generic searches.
Choosing great topics is certainly a big part of quality content. But there are other things to consider too:
- Your title/headline is critical to grab reader attention. If you struggle with creative, engaging titles, use one of the many headline generator tools.
- Watch the sophistication level of your vocabulary. Unless your blog is highly technical or scientific in nature, you are writing for an audience that prefers simplicity — in vocabulary and sentence structure.
- Break up small amounts of text with visuals and media. Today’s content consumer demands this. If you can say it with visuals, dump the words.
You’re going to make mistakes. You will write posts that fall flat. But, over time, you’ll learn what your audience finds valuable, and you can focus on those types of topics, style, and tone. Blogging is a long-term deal. Let it unfold as you do.
Author Bio: Mark Blackwood is a prolific researcher and blogger on what he says are “all things current and relevant to groups and the greater society.” He also writes and edits for several online writing companies. When not pursuing his major work, he plays guitar for a local band and volunteers for animal rescue groups.