Blogger Tutorial 3 of 10: Finding a focus - what are you going to write about? Why?

This third part of the Blogger tutorial will be shorter than the rest. There is no mystical formula here, it's time spent thinking and planning. Your blog's focus is also something that will change over time. You may start out intending one thing, but it can develop into something entirely different. For instance, I planned on writing a mommy blog, but realized it's easier and much more of an escape for me if I write about Blogging, the Internet, and Web 2.0 sites.

Blogs and websites in general need time to age on the Internet. Think of your blog like a fine wine that becomes better over time. The true flavors become more pronounced and the overall quality improves. For this reason, I recommend giving yourself 2 to 3 months of posting at least twice a week before promoting your blog. Why? This does several things:
  1. Gives you time to develop your voice - what you're writing about and your writing style. Are you funny, sarcastic, down-to-earth, or formal? Learn to write in the style that feels comfortable and not forced.
  2. Lets searchers and the search engines find your blog "organically". What does that mean? It means that for certain search terms people type into google, your blog comes up in the search results and hopefully they click on your URL.
  3. Builds a broader base of content. Why do you need more than one post before you start driving traffic to your blog? Well, people like to poke around, look under the hood, learn a little more about who you are, what your blog is like, and if you're lucky, they'll come back, tell their friends, and add you to their RSS reader. You wouldn't want to open a bottle of wine the day after it was put in the barrel and offer it to friends, don't jump the gun with your blog!
One of the great features of Blogger is the ability to "Save As Draft" or "Publish" a post. Many times as I'm out browsing the Internet and trying new sites, I'll pop into my Blogger account, create a new post with a descriptive title, and paste a link to the site I've found interesting in the body. Then I click "Save as Draft" and that's it.

When I have time to write during the week, I can come back to my saved drafts and I have a list of possible topics. It helps take some of the pressure to write several times a week off for two reasons: 1. I'm not forcing myself to write about something useless the moment I come across it, 2. I have time to think if that site I visited yesterday really is as great as I thought it was and to distill what that most important thing about the site really is.

So whatever your site's topic and no matter if it changes over time, spend 15 to 20 minutes a week just thinking about topics, then developing them from there. Don't force your posts. Don't write about Hamburger recipes if you're a vegan. If you do, it will come across in your writing that it's not something you're passionate about. And blogging is much easier when you like what you're writing.


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