If you are planning to start a fresh blog, defining the direction you want it to take can be quite a difficult process. It already happened to all of us to see other people writing about popular topics such as making money online, travels, video games or sports and get an adrenaline rush pushing us to write on the same topic and reach the same kind of success.
To be honest, there is nothing preventing you from doing it, except maybe yourself. The barrier of entry to start blogging is so low that everybody can do it. All you need is a $10 domain name, an hosting such as HostGator and a fresh install of WordPress. You could be up and running literally in minutes.
The complicated part is not starting your blog, it is finding your own spot and creative approach that will make you stand out of the crowd. Even if you have high motivation and a lot of time to work on your blog, if you can’t distinguish yourself from your competition, you might not find your audience.
A standard blog follows a pre-determined pattern: 2 or 3 columns layout, a large text area, a decent theme, and 99% posts which are entirely text. Some bloggers try to be creative in their blog layout, but it doesn’t prevent blog readers to get bored with content served always in the same way.
Your Blog Doesn’t Have To Be Based On Text
Once you become an avid blog reader (like I am), you start noticing that some blogs could be much more interesting for their visitors by using various kinds of media to display their content. Some would do better with graphs, some others with video-blogging, some others with podcasting… The bad thing is that most of them follow the masses and simply blog in plain text because this is how things are made by most others.
Before launching your blog, take some time to think about the type of site and the kind of audience you are trying to build, then design your blog to fit that. Even if you want to work on a “classic” blog setup based mostly on text posts, you might want to consider doing some video posts from time to time. It will spice things up.
This is not because the masses are not doing something that it won’t work. Don’t be afraid to try unorthodox blogging formats: try to be creative.
Find Your Own Blogging Angle
The barrier of entry in the blogging world is so low that making yourself a name is really hard due to high competition in every niche you could think of. In order to have your voice heard, you need to find your own angle to approach your niche. You want to put your thinking cap on and try to come up with original ideas… What about combining two niches? Or maybe going into an ultra-targeted niche?
Your goal here is to convince your audience that they should keep coming back to your site or they might be missing something of value. Try to get inspiration from all the other sites in your niche. Analyze what you think they are doing right, then combine that and add your own personal twist: you’re almost guaranteed to reach success.
Don’t Underestimate Eye Candy (Site Design)
We all know that having good content is the key to have your one-time visitors turn into recurring fans. However, you want to put some special attention into getting a website design that will blow your visitors mind. I’m not talking about adding blinking colors and blinding animated effects. I’m talking about getting a neat, professional-looking design: give your recurring visitors something exciting to look at while they are on your site. You should also put some special focus on navigation: make it clear and easy to navigate from a page to another one.
New Technologies: Be An Early Adopter
So your goal as a blogger is to get people to listen to what you have to say. In order to do so, you have to be among the leaders. You not only want to be up-to-date with the latest trends, but you want to BE the trends. Did you notice yet how all the big bloggers seem to always be one step ahead of everyone else? That’s the way you want to be if you want people to follow you.
Give Your Own Opinion, Not Facts
This is certainly one of the biggest mistakes made by new bloggers: writing only facts. What you have to understand is that there are thousands of niche news sites out there which are probably way more advanced than you are on a lot of subjects, moreover their articles are written by professionals.
If you want to stand out of the crowd and get your voice heard, you have to actually use your voice to provide your own personal opinions. Your readers do not want to read the same thing on your blog as they did on another one. If they come to your blog, it is because thy want to hear what YOU think about a given subject. Be personal and be subjective!