So you hopefully have a subject and maybe even a niche as we talked about your niche in a previous post. Next, we need to think of the different categories you can incorporate your posts into. This may seem like you are doing stuff in a backward order but what you are doing here is starting to sort out a layout of your potential blog. It’s good to have an idea of how it’s going to be laid out. PLUS its also a good way to help you to start thinking of potential blog posts. You can go into as much detail or not here but grab a large piece of paper and thrash out ideas. Another way is to get a stack of post-it notes and write your main niche on one and stick it to the wall.
Now write each category on a post-it note. If you have ten categories you now have ten post it notes and one post-it notes on the wall. Put the category post-it notes on the wall too. Step back and see if the flow is logical. As ten might be too many see how you can narrow it down. Are some of those categories similar and could be put together? Four or five is the most you should aim for especially at the start of blogging. As your blog gets bigger you can always add more categories. When you do put categories together you can help your readers and your navigation by having tags that segment the categories down further.
When you do put categories together you can help your readers and your navigation by having tags that segment the categories down further. So write some of these on your post-it notes and add them to your wall. The reason I say add them to a wall is so that you can step back and see your navigation a lot easier and you can also move things around instead of crossing things out and rewriting them.
Get the idea? This is giving you the navigation for your blog but it’s also getting you thinking about what’s going to be in your blog. Honestly, when I started I had one category and two tags as I didn’t think I would write about anything else. I wasn’t planning for the future, I didn’t look past the next post.
Write list of blog posts
A useful task at this point is to quickly jot down all the blog posts you can think of in your newly defined niche. This will give you an idea how easy you find it to think of new posts and also how much content you can write in advance to get one step up and ahead of yourself ( more of that later).
Now you might be giving me the look of a stunned rabbit caught in the headlights of a car or you’re already on page two of your list. Whichever one you are, don’t panic, it is ok. The hardest bit is the first few minutes.
You can either just write a list of posts as you think of them or use something like a mind map to help you generate more ideas. Put your main subject in the middle of a page then create branches off for your main categories. Then work your way through each category writing down ideas as they form.
Another good tip to get into is having a way of capturing post ideas. As you start to see the world through your new found blogging eyes you will start to see blog posts everywhere. As you walk the kids to school, in the middle of a shower, in the middle of a meeting at work. If it’s really inconvenient you will think of hundreds, similar if you sit down to write a blog post (and you don’t have a blog post idea list) your brain will turn to mush as you stare at the blank blogging page for the next two hours.
Use whatever tools you will actually use. Don’t do as I do and buy a beautiful notebook that is a just pure joy to look at then won’t write in it in case you don’t use your best handwriting and then the notebook it ruined for life. Evernote is a good idea as it will sync to your computer as well. Or keep it simple and just email yourself ideas as they pop into your head.
Post brainstorming isn’t a one-off event, though. You will have to brainstorm regularly to keep up with your blog.
So now you have you have a niche and hopefully some post ideas worked out set them aside safely for the moment and start thinking about blog names and domain names. Try and keep it short, simple and gives some ideas of what your blog is about.
It may be rather cute and obvious to you that you have managed to get all your pets names and their favorite toys into a name of sorts, however, is it easy to tell someone or easy and obvious to spell or even make any sense on this planet? Does it give a clue what your blog is about?
Do some research (google it) and check out available domain names but before you press buy now check if there are any other blogs or sites with the same or similar name. You don’t want to have a blog name the same as another blog especially if it’s the same niche.
Also, check if the matching social media names are available. It’s good to have them all matching or close to matching to give readers consistency because at some point you will be on social media telling the world about your blog.
Don’t panic there is more on getting your domain later.
If you haven’t set up your blog:
- Think about what you are wanting to achieve with your blogging. What does a successful blog mean to you?
- Think about your niche.
- Think about your categories, tags, and navigation for your blog.
- Brainstorm a list of blog posts.
- Check if your domain name is available.
- Check if your social media handles are available.
If you already have your blog:
- Reevaluate what you want to achieve from your blog. Are you still on the right track? Have you defined your meaning of successful?
- Is your niche clear to your reader? Is all of your content all niche oriented?
- Are your categories and tags all relevant to your niche? Does your navigation make sense and easy to navigate?
- Brainstorm a list of blog posts.
- Are your domain name and all your social media handles consistent?
Here are all the posts in this series so you pick and choose where to go next
What is a Successful blog
Deciding your niche
Domain and hosting
Sorting your categories and tags
Picking a platform
Choosing a theme
Must haves for your blog
What will readers want to read
Writing for your reader
Photos and graphics