Serenyty at Happy Disco recently wrote a series about becoming an idol blogger and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do. There is plenty of useful information for those who are thinking of diving into the deep end of the pool that is the ever growing community of bloggers.

One of the people who commented on her second part asked for something similar to a definitive guide to how one would start their own blog along with advice on structuring content and such. While I can’t exactly provide that, I will do my best to accommodate the request and maybe provide some insight on how this whole deal actually works and perhaps dispel some myths as well.

Seeing that there is so much to cover, there will most likely be multiple posts about this subject. Today I’ll start with the one question that everyone asks:

How do I get started?

That’s difficult to answer. I’m assuming that you read a lot of blogs/e-zines and you probably think to yourself, “I can do better than that.”  I’m guessing that even now you have a lot of ideas swirling around in your head but there’s one thing that’s stopping you. You don’t have a clue where to begin.

The simplest thing to do when you’re stuck for answers is to break things down to some basic questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Why do I want to start a blog?
  2. What do I want to write about?
  3. Who is my potential audience?

These are important issues to address before you even think about a blogging platform and typing a single word. You need a game plan and if you don’t have one you’re already set up for failure. You don’t want to be a failure do you?

It may seem like a stupid question but why you want to blog will help determine the direction of your site. Do you want to cash in on the latest fad? Is there something important about a certain subject matter you want to talk about or express to the world? Do you want to be a bigger part of a community or group?

While this may seem like internal self exploration it’s integral to what you will be as an online presence. Bear in mind that if you are going to be writing about anything entertainment related (i.e. movies or music) you and your site will not become instant press. Nor will you become the “go to” place.

That kind of cred takes years to develop (If you’re lucky.) and unless you work for a giant conglomerate you’re not going to get a large amount of hits or backstage passes.  If you’re in this to be a fame whore you should quit now while you’re behind. Also, there is very little money to be made from this type of gig. To be honest you’ll probably end up spending more on your site than what you actually get back in monetary value. If you like money and a steady income, you’re looking at the wrong thing to get into.

As for what you want to write about, that will take a bit of research on your part to figure out the answer. Take a look at sites you would like to model yours after. What are they offering? Is it possible to improve upon what they have done? Have you found a gap in the current blogosphere that you think you can fill? Can you bring a fresh perspective to what everyone else is already talking about?

Take a look at the reader comments as well. Do you think you can attract those people? Are they the kind of readers that you want visiting your site? Would you even be comfortable interacting with the masses and building a following? Or are you a lone wolf dictator who will not allow anyone to contradict your golden words?

All this analysis will help you broaden or narrow your scope to exactly what you want to present to the world and how you will go about doing it. It might take a long time but the initial investment will be worth saving yourself a lot of growing pains once you really start going.

In the next installment of the series: Choosing your blogging platform