I haven’t set up my own blog yet; I’m stuck on a decision I have to make before I can really begin. How do I figure out what topic I should blog about? There seem to be blogs on pretty much every topic imaginable, so I know I could write about any topic, but how do I figure out what kinds of topics people would be interested in reading about? – Christopher
This is such a great question, Christopher, and one that many people have. Here’s my encouragement to you and anyone else who is considering starting a blog and wondering what topic would be good for them to choose as their focus:
Take out a sheet of paper or open up a blank page on your computer screen and answer these questions. There are no right or wrong answers. Just write exactly what comes to mind in answer to these — anything and everything you think of:
- What do you love?
- What are your interests?
- What are your hobbies?
- What words come to mind to describe you?
- What unique life perspective do you have?
- What could you talk about for hours and not get tired of?
After you’ve done this exercise, then wait a few days and take out another sheet of people or start a new page on your computer and ask a few close friends and/or family members to go through the questions with you giving their answers and input.
At the end of all of this, you should see some themes emerging and this should give you some direction for where to go with your blog.
One important note: I believe that the most successful bloggers are people who solve a problem, provide hope, and/or meet a need. When you are considering what you should focus on when you blog, make sure that you are seeking to do at least one of these things through your writing. If not, I encourage you to go back to the drawing board.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. You don’t have to pick just one topic.
While there is definitely a place for a very niche blog, I think it’s much easier to choose a focus for your blog that encompasses at least a few different topics.
This not only makes your blog more appealing to a wider audience, but it also provides you with more blogging options and it makes it less likely for you to run out of post ideas within a few months!
2. The best way to learn is to just start writing.
I’m a big fan of just jumping in and learning as you go. Yes, it’s good to have an idea in mind of where you’re headed for the first few months. And no, I don’t recommend publicly announcing your blog when you haven’t even written one post. However, don’t sit around and spend hours agonizing over a topic — just jump in and start writing posts.
Here’s the thing: It’s hard to really know what works best until you just get out there and try it. I would have never guessed that I would love writing on some of the topics I’m passionate about today. And I certainly would have never guessed that so many people would have been so wildly interested in certain topics.
Had I sat and planned and brainstormed and mapped out and goal-set and analyzed and never just DONE SOMETHING, I wouldn’t have figured out what I loved to write about or what the market wanted.
So truly, just go for it. Start writing posts. Try different kinds of styles of posts.
Experiment with different topic angles. Keep learning, keep tweaking, keep observing what’s hitting a nerve and what’s not. And then keep doing what works and let go of the things that don’t work.
3. It’s perfectly acceptable to change your focus down the road.
When I started my first blog, I would have never dreamed that I would someday be writing about saving money and helping people make money blogging. At the time, we were just trying to make ends meet financially. I had just had my first child, and I was trying to figure out how I could make enough money from home to keep our family afloat financially while allowing me to still be a stay-at-home mom.
In the beginning, I was not in a position to be blogging about making money from blogging because I wasn’t really making any money from blogging then! So when I started, I just tried out a lot of different topics. In fact, my blog was so eclectic that I really couldn’t tell you what the focus of it was.
I had a lot of learning to do and a lot of life to live. But honing and sharpening my writing and thinking skills by blogging about whatever I was passionate about that day was one of the best exercises for a budding blogger. Not only did I quickly discover how little I knew, I also discovered there were a lot of topics I shouldn’t be blogging on — because I had no life experience to bring to the table!
As I continued to experiment, I slowly learned things that worked, learned areas I was qualified to write on, and developed a better understanding of what kind of blogging focus was a good fit for me. It took me a few years, though, and lots of writing and trial and error to find that happy medium.
Choose some topics you think will be a good fit for you, jump out there and start writing about them, and keep learning and tweaking as you go. I’m cheering for your success!
What advice do the rest of you have for Christopher? If you’re a blogger, how did you choose the focus of your blog? I’d love to hear!