5 things to ask yourself when starting a personal blog

Starting a personal blog is difficult for one main reason, you have to commit to it. Whether it’s a blog about Netflix television shows or a blog about collars for pets, it’s all fun and games during the honeymoon phase, but when you’re over the ‘excitement hump’, do you have what it takes to see it through and build something worthwhile?

Here are the 5 things you need to ask yourself before starting a personal blog.

1. Is this my passion?

Personal blogging is difficult. You can’t just write a blog post. This is a learned skills. You must work at it.

Ask yourself, then, are you willing to commit to talking and learning and sharing about what you want to blog about? Are you that passionate about food that you want to share your thoughts on the internet?

If the answer is no, it might be time to reconsider. My advice? Stay true to yourself and excavate an honest passion you have. Whether it’s collecting dirty movies or talking about puppies, you’ll likely follow through talking about something you’re actually interested in.

2. Do I know about marketing?

There’s a lot of noise on the web. A lot. In the first quarter of 2017, 89 percentof the UK’s population had used the internet. Given that your audience isn’t geographically limited, you need to deploy some good marketing tactics to help get your word out there.

I suggest reading these blogs if you want to learn anything about SEO, social media management, blogging and website development:

And get yourself some automation tools too like BufferHootsuite or Yoast (if you run a WordPress blog). Manually trying to conduct digital marketing will drain you. Keep asking the ‘what can I automate or outsource’ question, and get back your time to focus on the actual blogging.

3. Do I know about photography?

Granted, you might not want to take photos for your blog, but good blogs cover the entire spectrum, from writing posts to taking photos for headers and everything in between.

Recently I thought I wanted to start a coffee blog.

I don’t own a digital camera.

I setup my iPhone 6 on a tripod, got some coffee gear and some props, arranged a photo and took it. The process of finding stuff, finding the right light etc took me a good twenty minutes. And that was pre-production. After that I had to edit it and ensure it was in keeping with what I was going for.

Here’s the finished photo:

Coffee photo.jpeg

Poor quality right? The frame might be passable, but considering this was just one photo, it was a whole lot of work. And it’s time I could have used elsewhere.

As you willing to deal with stock images on your blog? I am (see here) but you might not. Good camera gear and an Adobe Creative Cloud account, then, are a necessity.

4. Will I work alone or try to collaborate?

I suck at working with other people. At my job, I work from home, and when I do work outside of work (like write on Medium), I do so alone.

I wish I was better at it. In fact, without trying to plug myself, if you want to collaborate on an idea you might have, get in touch with me here.

Community counts for everything. Whether you think you’re a lonesome blogger or not, you need a community to be a part of. How are you supposed to review expensive restaurants every night for your food blog if you haven’t developed a relationship with the owner (who can squeeze you in for free).

For my (still unconfirmed) coffee blog, I’d expect to engrain myself into the coffee community. If it’s super successful, maybe I’d guest blog for magazines like Caffeine or give talks on coffee at respectable coffee shops. Although I’m just thinking out loud, the point stands: If you remain an outside in the community you’re talking about, you might lose heart and give up. You might not see the growth you want.

Relationships count for everything.

5. Should I blog under my own name or under and alias?

The toughest question is whether to attach your name to your personal blog. Perhaps you want to blog about sensitive topics like race or equality, if you blog under your own name, it’s your personal reputation on the line (just look at the dreaded Katie Hopkins).

And then you need to commit on a name you’re happy with. What does it mean? What does it represent (if anything)? This is perhaps the most difficult part, but if you can overcome the name of your blog and find something you truly resonate with, you’ll likely follow through with your blog.

Where do I go from here?

I’m not an expert on blogging, if I was I’d have a large following. I don’t. What I do know, though, is diving into multiple projects because you think that it’ll be ‘the next big thing’.

I’ve started and stopped more ideas than you can count on two hands. The hardest part of anything you do is sticking with it, even when you hate it.

My only piece of advice to give you, then, is that when you think of an idea, write it down and forget about it. If it stays with you for a good few weeks (or months), you know it’s an idea worth pursuing.