You are here: Home » Small Business » How to Start a Blog for Fun or Profit – What to Write About

How to Start a Blog for Fun or Profit – What to Write About

by Ryan Guina

So you after reading the introduction on starting a blog for fun or profit you have decided you want to go for it and start your own blog. Great! But what should you write about?

This is one of the most important questions you will face when deciding to start a blog. You want to write about a topic in which you are knowledgeable, and more importantly, that you are passionate about. But before we go further, you need to ask another important question to help you define your blog.

What is your blog’s purpose?

Before putting pen to paper, you need to ask yourself what the purpose of your blog will be. We asked similar questions in the first part of the series, and you may have already answered this question. Once you know your blog’s purpose, you need to narrow your focus until you can answer this question with a one sentence answer. There is no right or wrong answer – your blog is what you want it to be.

You will need more than just a purpose, you will also need knowledge and passion.

Two key elements of blogging: Knowledge and Passion

Without knowledge and passion, your blog is doomed to fail. These two elements feed off each other and it will give you the energy you need to continue writing, even when you hit a down period and don’t feel as though you have anything to contribute.

The knowledge test. Let’s try a quick test – grab a sheet of paper and and start writing down article ideas; a title or rough sentence is all you need. If you can’t come up with 30 article ideas in about 5 minutes, it might be best to think about a different topic.

The passion test. Ask yourself a few questions about your topic idea – Do you think about this topic every day? multiple times per day? Can you talk about it for hours? Do you actively search out new information on your topic or actively bring it up in conversations? All of these answers should be yes.

How many topics should you write about?

Give your blog one main theme. People will usually expect to read related topics on the same site, so it is usually best to focus on one topic or a set of related topics. On Cash Money Life I focus on “personal finance and career” topics. These aren’t the same topic, but they are related closely enough that it makes sense to combine the topics. It wouldn’t make sense for me to write about personal finance today, then fishing tomorrow, then ballroom dancing on Friday, then… catch my point?

It will be infinitely easier to grow you blog in terms of subscribers and traffic if readers know what to expect.

But I pass the knowledge and passion test on multiple topics!

So you are a Renaissance man, eh? Schooled in math, science, engineering, economics, politics, art, music, and travel? Why not write about all of these topics and place them all on the same site?

Because readers won’t know what to expect on any given day – which will turn off many people. If you want to write about all these topics you have two choices to consider – creating separate sites for each topic, or use a subdomain for each additional topic.

An example of a subdomain: I enjoy finding deals, ways to save money, and ways to make free money, but I couldn’t fit them all in on Cash Money Life without adding a lot of extra posts. That would eventually dilute the personal finance articles I write so I added a subdomain to take care of this.

Using multiple subdomains: You aren’t limited to just one subdomain. You can make as many as you want. Check out Curious Cat and how he uses subdomains to cover 3 diverse topics.

If you notice, each of these “sites” has a different feel to let the reader know the topic has changed. By doing using subdomains, he is able to maintain his site’s brand while branching out into the topics that interest him. And he does this without confusing his readers.

So which topic should you write about?

Only you can answer that question. My advice is to brainstorm, take the passion and knowledge tests, then start off with the topic that interest you the most. It may be tempting to try and start 5 blogs at once because you have the passion for those topics, but you will be more successful if you focus on one blog to begin with. The learning curve and time commitment are much larger than most people realize.

What about money? Ah, you noticed I didn’t bring up money yet! That’s because money shouldn’t factor into why you want to start a blog. If you have the knowledge and the passion, it will show and you will eventually get readers and traffic. And with those two elements, you can start thinking about making money with your blog. And we will cover that topic in a later article.

Use online tools to help you build upon growth

Using online tools such as Google Analytics is just one way to track your traffic statistics. Once you get your site up and running, you will notice that certain articles are bringing in more traffic than others. A good way to increase your traffic more quickly is to leverage your growth by increasing your content by writing on similar topics. One way to track and manage these efforts is with RavenTools, which is an online tool that can help you manage your online marketing campaigns – from a blog to a full-blown online store. You can also use this service to manage SEO campaigns, online marketing campaigns, social media accounts, research keywords, and more. Click here for a Manage your website SEO and Social Media – Free 30 Day Trial.

Next up is where and how to set up a blog.


Published or updated April 21, 2012.
Print or e-mail this article:
Print Friendly
1 frugalcpa

Good stuff, Ryan. I feel like I’ve got the passion and knowledge down. I’ve been really happy with how easily post ideas have been coming to me, and I really enjoy writing them.

Hopefully people don’t mind a little CPA exam prep and career mixed with frugality/personal finance posts.

2 Ryan

frugalcpa: I wouldn’t worry about straying off-topic a little bit – I do it from time to time. It’s how you do it and how often you do it that matters. The bulk of your content should be easily determined by your readers. :)

3 Kristy @ Master Your Card

This is such great advice, Ryan. Prior to working with Jonathan, I didn’t know a thing about blogs, but it’s amazing the amount of time and prep work that goes into this and I’m only writing posts and interacting with the readers. Jonathan does the site maintenance, posts his posts, interacts with readers, and the many other things he does…I don’t know how he keeps it all straight sometimes.

Knowledge and passion are certainly keys to running a blog. I know there’s no way I could write for blog where I had to talk about fishing every single day. I’d be bored to tears and my posts would show it. With finance, there’s such a broad spectrum of things to talk about, I can pick and choose the topics that interest me the most. More importantly, Jonathan gives me the freedom to do that, so it makes it even better.

Love the post! Keep ‘em coming!

4 Ryan

Thanks, Kristy. But believe it or not – there is just as much info on fishing as there is personal finance, you just aren’t as passionate or knowledgeable about the subject (nor am I)!

I am passionate about personal finance, and this blog is one of the ways I learn and hold myself accountable. And in that regard it has been infinitely valuable to me. :)

5 Ken

Great thoughts…I definitely have a passion for personal finance as a topic. This post just confirmed that for me. I also think I have the knowledge to make it work. I look forward to reading more about building a better blog. Who is your hosting service?

6 Ryan

Ken, Thanks for the kind words. Glad to hear you chose the right niche for your blog! I use LunarPages for my hosting service, and I don’t hesitate recommending them to anyone – the service, support, and uptime I have received have all be phenomenal. I will be writing more about them in more detail in a later post. :)

7 DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad

Nice post Ryan. This series has the makings of a nice ebook!

8 Ryan

DDFD, Maybe… I haven’t thought about doing that yet, but that might just be a good idea. :)

9 Curious Cat Investing Blog

Thanks for mentioning my blog. I enjoy reading your blog in and seeing that comment is special. I really had the management and science ones separate from the beginning. And in the management blog I occasionally had some economics and investing related posts. And as I found I wanted to write more on that topic, I decided it made sense to split it off into its own blog.

It is a challenge to see what is the best target for your audience. I think it is good to have a personal flavor and occasionally straying from the main theme is fine. But if you find a strong theme that really is not tied to the main theme splitting it into a separate blog makes sense, in my opinion.

I also find myself sometimes slightly editing a post on one blog for one of my other blogs, since the topics can overlap to some extent.

10 Ryan

Curious Cat: Your site was the perfect example of using subdomains. ;)

I agree, straying away from the main topic is fine on occasion, but consistently blogging about 2 or more completely diverse and non-related topics will turn off many people.

11 Crawford

Ryan, this is just the beginning of investigation for me…your information was straightforwad and very helpful. I especially liked the questions to help focus the intent and desire. I am looking forward to reading more and learning more.

12 Mikaela

Ryan,

Do people ever do creative writing/fiction blogs? That is definitely the thing I am most passionate about. Is that a bad idea?

13 Ryan

Mikaela, That is a wonderful idea! The key to improving your writing is to practice, practice, practice! Setting up a blog not only gives you the outlet to practice creative writing, but a venue to showcase it as well. If you are interested in writing, meeting new people, and possibly learning some new skills, then I highly recommend starting a blog. There are few entry barriers and unlimited opportunity.

14 Frenchie Mccall

Dear Ryan, The insight that you offer on starting a blog has been very helpful. I have no knowledge whatsoever of how to start a blog. I do know that I have a great deal of passion and knowledge about a subject that I would like to share with the public at large and my family that I strongly believe would be very useful and very informative. I have always wanted to do this, but never knew where to began. I will read your recommend blogs for further help. Thank you for helping me get started.

15 Ryan

You’re welcome, Frenchie. Best of luck with your blog! :-)

16 elizabeth

can i blog and use a pen name

17 Ryan

yes.

Previous post:

Next post:

.