Shh. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of nothing. The sound of thousands of fledgling blogs sitting at their URLs. Hoping to be fed with content that will make them grow. Hoping to attract attention from the very people they were designed to appeal to.
But there they sit. Unvisited, unloved, undeniably abandoned.
Hey, I’ve been there. I’ve come up with ideas for blogs that never went anywhere. I’ve had the brainwave for a blog in the early hours, only for it to disappear by dawn. No one said blogging was easy.
No one said it was impossible either.
And no one said you had to spend weeks if not months fleshing out your idea before you could get your blog up and running. Buying a URL and some hosting is the easy bit. You need to know your topic, your target audience, and the type of content you’re going to provide before you even consider launching your blog to the world.
So, let’s see how you can get your new blog up and running fast. I’m focusing on the content side of things here. I’m not an expert in blog design. I’m not an expert in images or graphics either. Lots of articles designed to help you start blogging skim over the content element, yet that’s the most important part for me. I’ve read some great blogs packed with engaging content that have the simplest designs. Check out https://www.stevepavlina.com to see what I mean. Be warned, you can get lost on that site for hours (it’s worth it, but still).
Ready to discover more? Let’s begin.
What do I mean by desirable content?
Let me answer that with another question. Who is your blog aimed at? Let’s say you’re creating a blog aimed at people who want to grow vegetables at home. They’re newbies, so they have little prior knowledge of the topic. They’ll want to read blog posts like these:
- What equipment do they need?
- Which crops are easiest to grow?
- How to plant seeds
- Indoor/outdoor planting tips
- Seasonal vegetables – when to plant, when to harvest
You get the idea. You must know your target audience, their preferences, and their desires before you can write a word. Whenever you sit down to write anything, ask yourself whether your topic is relevant to your audience. I know a lot of the people who find my website want to get some help with blogging. That’s why I chose this topic for this post.
Knowing the type of information your audience desires will steer you in the best direction.
Choosing your categories
Settling on your target audience means you’ll understand what they want to read. This in turn should help you choose some categories for your new blog. You’ll see from the gardening example above that several categories pop out:
- Gardening equipment
- Seasonal planting
It’s good to start with a few categories; you can add more later if need be. Your categories provide you with several key advantages:
- They ensure your readers have useful sections of info to dip into
- They provide structure to your blog
- They will inspire ideas for blog posts
Once you’ve reached this stage with your own blog, it’s time to create some content your readers will love.
Finding content ideas
This is where many people get stuck. When people discover I’m a writer, they always ask me where I get my ideas from. They say it with a look of curiosity and fascination on their faces, as if they’re imagining a mythical factory somewhere deep in the woods. Somewhere with an entrance only writers can find. I wish that were true. I’d like to visit.
But if you’ve been following along and you now have your category list in front of you, you’re already off to a great start. Those categories will help inspire individual topics for your blog. Get that notebook handy – you may be surprised how many ideas you come up with without even trying. And if you’re still stuck, you can always contact me for help 🙂
Your categories break down your blog topic into manageable chunks. From there, you can figure out which ideas sit well in each category. Let’s pick the gardening equipment category from our above list, so we can see how to develop blog post ideas from it.
Here are a few I came up with:
- Is cheap gardening equipment okay?
- Ergonomic gardening tools (I have some, and I recommend them)
- Buying online vs buying in store
- Basic gardening tools you can’t live without
- Top 10 dibbers (love that title – in case you’re wondering, a dibber is used to make a hole in the ground for planting seeds, bulbs, or seedlings)
- The 3 most expensive and essential gardening tools
That’s half a dozen ideas for just one category. By breaking down the main topic into categories, then breaking that down into separate ideas, you’ll soon have more fuel for your website than you thought possible.
You’re also appealing to your audience. Really, when you break down the content development task like this, you can’t help but come up with good ideas. If you start by focusing on the group of people you’re writing for, you can’t go far wrong.
Add a few strong posts to your site before you launch it
There’s no magic number here, but I do feel it’s vital to have more than just a couple of blog posts or articles available to read when your site goes live. Why? Well, if you’ve done your job well, your articles will attract visits from Google et al.
Now, let’s say someone interested in starting their own vegetable garden happens upon your new blog. They spot your article providing tips on how to get started with seed packets. They read it. They love it. So, they look around to see what else they can read.
If you’ve just published that one article, they’ve got nowhere else to go. Two or three articles are better, but still not ideal. They’ll soon exhaust those and be gone, perhaps never to return.
But if you’ve got maybe 10 or 12 posts ready for them to read, you’ve got an opportunity to hang onto them for longer. They might sign up for your newsletter, they might buy something from an affiliate link, they might bookmark your site, or share it on social media.
You just never know.
But they’re unlikely to do any of those things if they land on your website and they’ve only got one or two posts to read.
So, prepare a batch of posts ready for launch, then add one or two per week from then on (or more, if you like). Regular posting is only half the battle – you need to get a new blog off to the best start as well.
Learn as you go: 3 great tips for generating more ideas for blog posts and articles
Once you’ve got some momentum going, you may find you start to run dry on ideas. Don’t worry. Your site is there to help. Here are some tips on how to use info that’s already on your website to fuel more posts:
- Read post comments – people often have questions about a topic. You can answer them in a new article or post
- Check your site analytics – what are people searching for when they arrive on your website? If you haven’t already written about it, do so now
- Find your most popular topics – … and break them down into more detailed posts, each one tackling a different part of the topic
If you can give your target audience what they’re looking for, you won’t go far wrong. If you’re planning a new website or blog, bookmark this page and refer to it when you’re ready. And if the thought of writing 10 or 12 (or more) posts before launching it is too daunting, contact me now. I can help, leaving you to focus on other things. Like planning your next successful site, maybe?