There was once a time that people found out about any type of news by walking down the street and getting the local newspaper, let’s call it the low information diet. One paper a day and that’s it, outside of that any other information was spread through word of mouth, yes people actually spoke to each other…in person! Ok bad joke but leap ahead to today and it’s like an information overload with instead of one newspaper, about a billion and a half (complete guess) newspapers called blogs. Everyone has one it seems which makes it harder to create unique content readers are actually interested in, but certainly not impossible.
I think the biggest mistake people make is just creating a blog right away with no goals to consistent path, sure you can figure it out as you go but it helps to serve a specific audience for your writing. Whether you are creating a blog, product or service for people to read or use, you need to find a niche get to know them better. There are a ton of forums and social media sites for specific topics from healthcare, programming, food and many many more. For DamnGoodBrew I searched the web for coffee forums and then got more specific with cold brew to find out many people didn’t know the difference between cold brew and iced coffee or how to make it. There was a gap in knowledge and demand and that is what I plan on writing about for my blog.
Ok let’s assume you have those questions above answered and you know what to start writing about. If not there’s no rush to create a blog right away, you can always add one later.
Blogs are super helpful for promoting your content indirectly. What do I mean by indirectly? Well have you ever started reading an article and a few sentences in its clearly just a promotional piece to sell you a product at the end? Yeh no one likes those, that’s why it’s important to first find topics people are interested in and then write about that.
Instead of creating a sales pitch the idea is to write an article at the section of customer curiosity and what your selling to create value. Let’s use DamnGoodBrew again as an example, say I write an article about how to make cold brew without mentioning my product at all, I even use a method different than what I’m selling like using a French press. If people find that helpful enough, you will pique their interest and potentially start browsing the rest of your website to find out you actually provide a better solutions with DamnGoodBrew cold brew bags! Boom indirect sales. Now I keep using my own website as an example since I think that’s the easiest way to get a point across but the same theory could be applied to whatever your selling as well.
Now to the technical part of things, actually building a blog. There are a ton, and I seriously mean a ton of different options out there to start your own blog and the biggest one being Wordpress. There is also Wix, Blogger, Tumblr, Medium, Squarespace, Ghost to name just a few of the hosted versions. Now what do I mean by hosted? Well every website you visit is hosted to basically lives on a server somewhere in the mysterious cloud. Hosted versions are hosted by the companies and usually come with a monthly fee between $5 - $25 depending on the features. Self-hosted versions are exactly what it sounds like, hosting yourself which can cost money depending on which service you use but luckily since our pages are static we are leveraging github’s free pages service.
It’s hard to talk about blogs without mentioning Wordpress at all but I am going to save that as a whole article by itself to cover everything.
Having a blog is crucial to creating valuable content for your readers but is also important to have a plan before getting started! Check out the video below for a more in-depth overview for the Zero to Startup in 30 Days Challenge.
Written by Tim Moreton who lives and works
in Philadelphia building useful things.