So You Want to Be a Blogger

want to be a bloggerThe following is part of Frugal Dad’s weekly series, “So You Want to Be a Blogger? which chronicles the development and optimization of a blog’s lifecycle.

To celebrate a couple upcoming statistical milestones (100 subscribers and 10,000 unique visitors) here at Frugal Dad I thought I would kick off the inaugural post for my “So You Want to Be a Blogger” series. I plan to post a weekly article over the next several weeks detailing my experience as a newbie in the [tag]blogging[/tag] community. Hopefully, some of my tips will help you along the way, but I imagine you’ll learn more from my mistakes (and there are plenty of them to learn from!).

I maintained a few blogs on Blogger.com over the last couple years, writing about my attempts to lose weight, about my family, etc. For some reason they always fizzled without attracting much interest, even from their author. Looking back I realized what was lacking – passion. I simply wasn’t passionate about the subject. I was passionate about trying to lose weight, but not enough to sit down in front of the computer every night and write a few hundred words about the experience. So before deciding to start Frugal Dad I reflected on what my real interests were, and which of those I felt I could sustain over the long term. In the end I settled on the broad topic of personal finance, and the frugality niche. Here’s how I came to that conclusion.

Frugal living is a popular concept, but not one that many people are actually practicing these days. When trying to narrow down a topic for your blog, consider what you have to offer to readers in that niche. Do you have some specific experience with the subject? Do you have a contrary belief that goes against the status quo? If you were a reader why would you choose your blog over someone else in the same niche? In my case I am the guy that still rolls coins, drives an old truck, buy clothes once or twice a year (from eBay when possible), clips coupons, and recently cut out expanded cable. Weird, huh? People out there buying the daily $4 lattes and the $2,200 plasma screen televisions sure think so! There are also a lot of people who think like I do and enjoy hearing someone else validate their ideas.

Forget keywords, meta tags and article marketing. Just be yourself – for the first 50 posts or so. Later on you can start to look at enhancing your articles to be more search engine friendly. Too many people make the mistake of focusing on traffic results up front, before they find their voice. Readers need to identify with you through your own natural words. Readers are not calculating your keyword density, they are reviewing your thoughts and deciding whether or not you are worth following.

Before you write your first article create a list of at least ten topics in your niche that you will cover over the next two weeks. If you can’t complete this exercise you should consider broadening your blog’s main idea, or switching gears altogether. Ten ideas should be a no-brainer. Ten things that tick you off, or make you happy, or make you laugh should be easy to draft if you are really passionate about your subject. I did this exercise two or three times before settling on the topic of frugal living.

Be prepared to write about peripheral interests related to your blog’s main idea. This post is a good example of writing on peripheral topics. If you look at my category listing you will see that I write primarily on the subject of frugal living. However, I also write about careers, personal productivity, debt reduction, etc. These are all topics that are indirectly related to frugality, and are directly related to the blog’s larger theme, personal finance. Admittedly, no matter how passionate you are about a specific topic, it can get boring writing about the same thing day in and day out. Your readers would probably agree.

Be prepared to throw in an article every three or four posts off the topic of your main subject. Don’t overdo it, else you may appear to be one of those “variety” bloggers who writes about what they had for dinner and how many times their kids used the potty that day. Few people are able to pull off a successful blog without some level of focus. Speaking of, I better get back to frugal living.

Comments

  1. Nice post FD, I agree with all these points, as I learned them the hard way.

    I really think the frugality niche is where you want to be as a blogger over the next 5 years , as people in this country finally come to their senses about debt and living beyond their means for so long.

    You will be primed to give them a lot of good advice.

    Congrats on your 100 subscriber milestone.

  2. This is such a great idea. I can not wait to see what I learn because I definitely want to learn how to become successful at blogging.

  3. Excellent post! My first blog was about starting and running a scissor and clipper blade sharpening business. I teach people to do this for a living, so I had a ready made audience right from the start. But I also do a lot of networking and marketing. I tried starting two blogs about this, one on each subject. Talk about dumb.

    I gave this a little more though and combined both blogs into one with a much broader scope. The new theme lets me stretch out more, so I don’t feel so confined with one subject. I wish you had written this post sooner. :) Thanks for confirming I’m headed in the right direction.

  4. Congratulations! I agree with you 100 percent. Write about your real interests, those that you think about every day.

    I have considered starting a food blog so that my dinners out could be considered tax deductions though!!!

  5. I commend you on how easily you start and complete series posts like this, I’ve tried but I always get bored or lose my steam. I second the passion statement, make sure you are fiery about whatever topic you choose. I had two-three blogs too before The Writer’s Coin and they were sporadic, disorganized messes. Once I focused on personal finance and writing it all got a lot better.

  6. I really struggled with finding my niche too and still don’t think we fit perfectly into any category, but more than we did before. I would agree with the advice on waiting for the technical stuff to come together. I think people get really focused on that in the beginning and the content ends up suffering from it. Great tips!

  7. As everyone has echoed, passion is the key. I also agree that you need to give yourself time to find your unique voice. As you write, you develop this. It takes consistent writing over a period of time. I think that once you find your voice and connect with other bloggers, then the traffic will come.

  8. great post as I get ready to start a website again about my 10 try or so, I like the fact that a newbie that has some success is going to write about it. I can tell you a lot of things about what not to do too.

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