Hi there and welcome. I would like for you to think about a couple of things before you start a blog. Blogging can be boatloads of fun and extremely frustrating! Don’t believe anyone that tells you it is easy work…it’s not. It is hard work, but also very fulfilling work.
While this post is not an attempt to teach you how to blog, it is important that you understand and decide a few things before you set up your blog. So let’s talk about a few things first. I’ve made you a simple checklist that you can print out and write on if you want. Simply subscribe below to get it for free!
Step 1: Why do you want to start a blog?
It’s funny. A lot of people don’t really know WHY they want to start a blog. Oh, I hear, “I want to make $1 million a year. Sure, don’t we all. Are you willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked before to make that million? Your blog can’t be JUST about money. If it is only about money, you’ll learn to hate it…quickly…as much as you do your day job. So ask yourself this question:
- Am I willing to work hard for my blog in the edges of my life?
If the answer to this question is “No”, you may want to reconsider. Blogging is hard work. To start a blog takes time, money, and energy. I don’t want to lead you to think it’s easy and you’ll make $1,000 before the end of the week, and we’ll set up your website totally in about 15 minutes. I’m sure you’ve seen ads for that dynamic. Trust me, it’s very difficult to do all those things without working very hard and putting in the time. Now, if you are willing to work hard, willing to work through the frustration, and take a few IT lessons with you, you’ll be fine.
Step 2: What are you writing about?
So let’s talk about how you start a blog. For example. I really thought I knew what my blog was going to be about. I went through lots of training and all of the steps. Even wrote quite a few blog posts. Then something happened. It started getting harder to think of topics for my blog. My main subject area would take literal DAYS just to write one post. It wasn’t as much fun as I had thought, but I just KNEW I wanted to write a blog.
I talked to a friend, who happens to also be a personality assessment guru (Karen can be found here. To find out more about Karen, go to https://movingtowardbetter.com/. I highly recommend her.). Anyway, we were discussing my personality and I was complaining about the fact I wasn’t writing as much as I should. She asked me why I was writing on the topic I had picked. I had been going on and on about the IT side of things and how I could talk about that aspect all day. She asked me why I wasn’t writing about Blog IT then? Hmmmm.
Then I talked to my mentor, Kim Anderson. Kim recommended I not make any decisions on a new name or what to write about until I read the book Building a StoryBrand, by Donald Miller. I devoured the book, did all the exercises, and brainstormed about 50 posts in one evening. Kim and I think this must be my jam!
See, my first blog was a crafting blog. I called it Fairy Dust Inspired. A little whimsical,fun and sparkly. This was what I used to start a blog. I still have the blog, but it is a hobby blog now. When I decided to go the other way with my blogging. Whimsical just didn’t feel totally right. So we ended up here at Annie Richardson Consulting. Of course, I couldn’t TOTALLY get away from whimsy…thus the tagline of Your Blog IT Fairy Godmother. It makes me smile, and I hope it does the same for you.
So basically, give it some thought. Make sure the name of your blog matches your intent and content. Sure, if you use your own name it will change with you, but that may not work for all people. Remember, we’re about to start a blog, not name a child.
So sit down, right now, and make a list of about 15 things that you would write about on your blog. Was it easy to come up with 15 things? Try another 15. Is your focus shifting to another area or remaining the same? Keep trying until you feel comfortable with your topic.
Step 3: Who are you writing to?
Most people in the blog biz call this your avatar. No, not the blue one you saw in a movie. I’m talking about the type of person you are writing to. Your audience. You can even give them a name. You see, for my craft blog, my avatar was an older woman around 50, with blue eyes and blondish hair. She was married or widowed, with no kids at home. She was nearing retirement and wanting to learn how to make crafts with those cute Cricut cutting machines. Her name was Ann Marie. She had challenges with her “craft room” and organization and was always looking for a good planning tool. That’s who I pictured when I would write a blog post.
Of course, my avatar for this blog is…well….you!
So create your own avatar. Give as much detail or as little as you choose. I promise this exercise is very important in going to the next step where we will be choosing a name. You may find that your avatar and subject area don’t match. If that’s the case, change one of them! Keep at it until your happy.
Keep in mind, domains are fairly inexpensive to buy, so you can change your mind later. It is just much easier for you if you have this nailed down before you purchase your domain. When you are satisfied, go to the next step.
Step 4: What’s In a Blog Name?
So what does it matter what I call my blog? Keep in mind, you’re blog name will be many things to you. It will be your email address, your domain name, how people contact you on the web, and generally, your brand. So make it a good one.
Looking back at Steps 1 – 3, see if there is a commonality. Brainstorm a few names to see what you come up with. When you have 5-6 names, go to http://namechk.com. First, enter the first name in the search bar. Let’s use the name myblog.com:
As you can see, if it is not available, the square is blacked out. So in this case, the .com, .org, and .net are definitely out. Further down the page, you will also see if that name is available for social media. Look at the following:
Only a few are green but are probably not the social media platforms you would use in any case.
So refresh the page, and try another. This time try blogformenow.
As you can see, that name is available almost everywhere. So that would be a good name. Let’s check the social media piece first:
And yes, it appears almost everything is available. If a social media platform isn’t available for your chosen name, you can add a number, letters, or break it up differently with dashes and still get similar to your website. It really isn’t that important that the names match 100%.
So that’s how you use namechk.com to see if the name you have chosen is available. Have you chosen the name yet? Make a list, in priority order, of the top 5 names you have chosen.
Use the 3rd page of the checklist to list the name you want and the results you get with namechk. If it is unavailable, try the next name on your list. When you have finished and have found your name, it’s time to move on to actually purchasing the name and setting up your blog. This will take about an hour, so if you don’t have the time now, come back when you are ready.
Are you ready to get started? Don’t forget! Sign up below to get the blog starter checklist for free!
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Until next time, happy blogging!
–Annie, Your Fairy Blogmother
P.S. Want to see the next step? Read 10 Reasons to use WordPress and Which Version to Use