One of the things that has held me back from having a blog in the past is not exactly knowing what it means to be a blogger. I had already been packing my Scrivener with loads of different ideas that I had as well as loads of different thoughts about certain topics. The problem that I had before was not knowing how to utilize the blog for things other than posting up random pieces of writing.
This is something that I have come across all over the internet. Occasionally you will stumble upon a failed blog on the internet with only a couple posts. Maybe they had more than one post but never found anyone to read the type of content they were putting out. I would often think to myself, what are the differences between the blogs that don’t make it and blogs that actually take off and people take an interest in. What does it take to not be one of those people that inevitably sends their blog out into the abyss that is the internet, never to see any recognition for the work that they put into the project?
I think the main reason why this type of thing happens is because people don’t exactly know what it means to have a blog. A blog should serve as a hub, or base, for anything that you do online.
Before I started this journey, I thought the only reason people had blogs was because they talked about celebrity gossip or something similar like Perez Hilton. I thought that since I had no interest in pop culture related things that I could not make a blog that people would be interested in. This is because I had no idea what a blog was or how it could be used.
I went from thinking that only a certain kind of person was right for a blog to thinking that everyone should have a blog. I would go as far to say that if you have any sort of social media account and don’t have a blog, you should. The content that you pump out onto your social media profile could be enjoyed by much more than just the people that are on your friends list. One thing that might help people when thinking about what they want to do with the blog is to not think of it as a blog. This is not to say that you can’t look at as a blog, but I found thinking in “blog mode” really limited my ideas when I was first starting out.
To understand how to properly harness a blog, let’s think about how YouTube vloggers use their channel. A vloggers basic job is this. Video their life. Cut together a video, put it out as an “information product” (it will be important to look at your content in this way). The vlogger broadcasts their life to the world, only they use YouTube as the hub for all of the content that they do.
A blog should have the exact function that YouTube serves for the vlogger, only it’s better because YOU own it.
So you figured out that you want to blog, you want to have a website, but what do you write about? Well, stop and think about what you already are doing online. Think about all the social networks and websites that you visit. Think about the content that you contribute to the site. For me, I use these sites daily.
So if I sat and thought about all of the stuff that I do online, I would go over it in my head like this.
Well, I go to YouTube and look at a lot of interesting videos, is there anything that I could make a video about? What about Reddit? I browse all of these different subreddits, comment on all of these different posts starting up different conversations with people. Is there anything that I talk about on Reddit that I could also talk about on my blog? What about Facebook or Twitter? Do I post anything that could be the topic or idea for a longer blog post? What about Quora or Google? Well, I can think of what I have been searching lately. If I’ve been searching for an answer to something chances are someone else might be looking for the answer too. Is there anything that I could do to contribute to the answer?
The main thing that you want to do when starting out in any business in general is move from the mindset of being the consumer and think about becoming the creator. The creator and curator of awesome content that you can provide on your website.
Move from using social media as a place to “talk to friends”, to using it as a tool to promote yourself. Think about the amount of time that some people have spent writing walls of text that no one reads on Facebook. I could go to to Facebook right now and find at least one person that has a *click to see more* on their post that no one has read.
So what if you post something to your website and no one looks at it? Well, that happens. Especially when you are starting out. But there are two main differences when you post something on your website instead of posting it on a social media page.
The first thing that is better is the fact the content is posted on something that you run. If any money is made on the content, that money comes to you, not Facebook or other companies that profit from trading big data.
The second thing that is better about posting it on your own website is the fact that you are learning by doing. The process of going from “Hey, I wonder if I could have a website” to going through and actually creating that website is a rewarding experience by itself.
I have gone from thinking about a blog as this weird abstract thing to thinking about it like an “online room” or virtual space where I put up the posters on the wall. Something that is uniquely your own little corner of the internet. Some people think that blogging is dead because of platforms like YouTube and other video blogging sites have made the old fashioned blogging obsolete. I couldn’t disagree with this more.
There is an information goldmine out there for anyone that has the time to sift through loads of boring information and repackage it into a modern message that can be relayed to the people in the world today. Content marking is alive and well, and I think that the people that will harness this the most effectively have yet to use it to their advantage.
I’m not sure if it will continue to go this way but I could see blogs actually making a comeback. The generation that uses computers is just now coming to age for the first time that they would be able to take advantages of owning their own website. I could see people waking up to the fact that social media uses them more than they use it. We are moving towards a world where the majority of people online will have their own individual website like they now have their own individual social media profile.
Douglas Rushkoff has a book called Program or be Programmed and I think the message of that book applies well here. With websites like WordPress, it’s really not as difficult to make a website as I think some people think it is. If people were aware of the opportunities that there are online I think more people would be interested in building a website and giving it a shot.
The one main thing I think that everyone should take away from this is the fact that things get easier the more that you do them. If you are worried about what people will say about your stuff, DON’T BE!! You are just one bird that is squawking and there are much more. The cream rises to the top. I’m sure that if you look into whatever niche you want to get into there is guaranteed to be someone that is doing it worse than you and still has a following.
The only reason that person is where they are, and you are where you are, just looking at their site wondering how you could do what they are doing is because they have taken the steps to do it! If you fail, you learn. If you succeed, you learn. Just take the first steps. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.