How to start a blog?
I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve Googled that sentence. It’s well into the hundreds. Despite searching, I never started one.
I knew how to start a blog. There are endless resources that took me through each step of starting a blog. Where to get one? How to pick a template? How to publish a post? It’s not hard.
I wasn’t searching for how to actually start a blog. I was looking for how to write a blog that could be successful? I was looking for what to write and how to present it. I was looking to see if I could write what I wanted and have people care about it. I was looking for permission to write what I wanted to write.
Also I was delaying starting a blog. In the War of Art, Steven Pressfield says that research is a form of Resistance. He’s right. Research is a way to stop myself from producing. It’s a way to trick myself into thinking I’m working when, really, I’m not doing anything. I’m delaying the actual work.
So how do you start a blog?
First, you have to write. It sounds simple, but besides being the most important thing, it’s also the hardest. The act of sitting and writing anything, a blog post, a novel, an email, can be excruciating. You have to get past this and write. But what do you write about? Anything you want. It’s your blog. That’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but that is the answer.
Whatever you do don’t start Googling what to write about. It leads to what has become my most hated word on the internet. Niche. Everything leads to niches. Whether it’s a blog or a YouTube channel or streaming or even starting a career in freelance writing, niche keeps coming up. It’s understandable. Having a niche, lets you focus what you create for your audience. The problem is that when you are starting out, you don’t know what your niche is. You don’t even know who your audience is. Trying to think of your niche is just another way of delaying getting started. If you have a niche, thats great. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter.
Don’t get hung up on how to present your blog, either. In the beginning, no one is going to read it. Well, maybe, someone will read it. There is time to play around. Work with different ideas. Change the layout of your site. Let it evolve. When you start something like a blog or a YouTube channel or just a social media account, you look at successful, polished examples and think that’s where you need to start. They didn’t start like that, though. It took a while before they looked like that.
You think that when you post something millions of people are going to see it, so it had to be perfect. While there is the potential of that being true, again, in the beginning, no one will see it. This gives you the freedom to not be perfect, and, more importantly, realize that you will never be perfect. You can screw up. You can embarrass your future self with the stuff you put out. Pressfield says you need to start before you’re ready and to stay primitive. The reason for this is that you are actually producing something instead of thinking about. It also lets you surprise yourself. Overthinking posts and worrying about what people will think of them will stop you from making anything at all.
Finally, how do you get an audience? Just be yourself. There’s a lot of people on the internet and it is easy to spot the ones who aren’t genuine. The ones who are posting things just for views or likes. The disheartening thing is that people are paying attention to them. It makes you think that you need to be like that to be successful. You don’t. You need to be yourself. That’s how you find a real audience. Talk about what interests you and what you care about, and the audience will come. Success isn’t having millions of followers. It’s building a community. I read a marketing article that said to be successful you just need to engage 3,000 people. 3,000 people that care about what you are doing and support it. Something I like to do is look at people’s Twitter followers compared to their likes. It is not hard to find someone with 20,000 followers who averages less than 100 likes on their tweets. It’s also not hard to find someone with the same number of followers who get thousands of likes. The difference is that one has engaged their followers and the other one doesn’t. Just be yourself and don’t worry about what successful people are doing. If you are genuine, the right people will find you.
So, how do you start a blog?
You just start it and see where it goes. Write for yourself and to yourself. Don’t worry about presentation, you can work with that as you go. Don’t worry about themes and niches, they will present themselves in time. Don’t worry about who’s reading it, they will present themselves in time as well. Just be genuine do it for yourself.