Why Are You Creating a Blog? Useful Content is Key
by Linda Goin

A blog requires content, especially if you expect readers and if you want to make money from that readership. In this article, Linda discusses writing issues such as how to find content, how to make a writing plan, and how to maintain a consistent schedule for your writing.

Expect Burnout

I may as well address this subject up front, before anything else. Expect to become burned out over writing entries in your blog on a consistent basis. This is why some people create "wordless Wednesday" blog entries and post a photo...that one day per week allows the consistent blogger to escape from writing on that one day per week.

But, do you need to post every day? How much should you write in your blog entries? Do you have a game plan? What, exactly, does "consistent" mean?

I wanted to tackle these issues before I introduced you to the SEO-friendly WordPress (WP) environment, because all these issues are more important than SEO. You can know SEO (Search Engine Optimization) backward and forward, but if you do not fill your blog with interesting and focused content, none of the SEO in the world can help you build readership.

This is what you need to tackle first, then – your plan for writing and your writing life. By making a plan and following some basic guidelines, you can enter the blogging world (or change your current blogging life up) with ease.

The Plan

I'm about to turn your blogging world upside down, as many bloggers enter blogging with the sole desire of making money. First, it takes time to make money when blogging. You might think about building your blog with the following steps:

1.Plan content

2.Find and write content

3.Make your content useful

4.Find your audience and direct them to your blog

5.Build a conversation with your readers (connect)

6.Start back at number #1

Plan Content

If you already know what you want to write about, do you have a schedule made up of the things you want to write about? Or, did you think that ideas will rain on your head like manna from heaven once you begin writing? My suggestion...don't believe in miracles. Good things come to those who plan.

Think about how often you want to write. Once per week? Twice? Monday, Wednesday and Friday? Decide now how much time you can devote to your writing, and stick to that plan. My suggestion is to start out slow and build momentum if you dare to reach further.

Remember that some day you may burn out, or you may want to take a vacation. While you can write blogs ahead of schedule, would you rather write three blogs before your vacation or five? Take it easy on yourself, and you may end up creating consistent and useful blog entries.

When I want to create a new blog, I find books that might help me with content. Visit the library or attend used book sales and find books that are related to your topic. Use the table of contents in a book to help you define what you might want to write about over the next month or year. In fact, you can use that book's content to help brainstorm (even just a small brainstorm between yourself and that book) about how you want to develop your site.

Use those books and a mind map to help hash out what you plan to write about over the next few months. I downloaded FreeMind (free for Windows, Linux and Macintosh OS X) to show an example of how to work this method of brainstorming. And, as an example, I'm considering creating a Web site on gardening...and I'm basing my basic brainstorming on a gardening book I purchased some time ago.

The layout above helps me to understand the various options I have to write about gardening. These topics are so generalized that there is no need to worry about plagiarizing...just about any general lawn and gardening book that you might pick up talks about these topics. But, I do want to narrow my topics down to a specific area, as not all plants grow everywhere. For instance, you might have a difficult time (at least currently) getting a palm tree to grow in the Arctic without sufficient shelter and environmental controls.

So, I change up the main topic to talk about lawns and gardens in the UK, specifically in northern Wales.

Notice, also, that I created a subdivision under "Harvest Gardening" to include both fruits and vegetables. I could also divide "Flowers" to include annuals and perennials. But, no need to go all obsessive on you at this point...I think you get the picture.

From this point, I have at least nine topics to write about. If I write three blog articles per week, this simple outline has provided me with three weeks' worth of article topics. And, these topics can be subdivided even further to provide more ideas about writing. For instance, some flowers grow better in full sun, while other grow better in full shade. More topics.

This simple idea of borrowing outlines to brainstorm topics is one way to avoid running dry on article ideas. And, you can apply this method to any subject, from politics to weddings and from medical topics to hobbies.

Linda Goin

Linda GoinLinda Goin carries an A.A. in graphic design, a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in social media experiments.

Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.

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