3 Questions to Consider Before You Blog

This is the first installment of a series I’m going to call Blogging 101. I’ll be posting on alternating Wednesdays here and addressing a few different topics:

  • 3 questions you should consider
  • The simple steps to getting a blog
  • A closer look at stats and how to improve
  • Four strategies to stay sane

Today’s topic is 3 questions to consider before you blog.

1. Do you need or want a blog?

What’s your motivation? Can you maintain it? Are you meeting a need of your own (or your audience’s) or just fulfilling a desire?

There’s not a right or wrong reason, but I believe it’s good to go into this with your eyes open. Blogging is a lot of work, especially if you don’t like it.

2. What tools will you use?

There are two main tools you need to consider: the platform and hosting. They’re both “back-end” considerations, but it’s worth doing a bit of research to get a feel for what will work best for you.

Platform refers to the software/interface you use to write your blog posts. The three most popular are Blogger, TypePad, and WordPress, though there are others. I’ve only used Blogger and WordPress.

Hosting refers to how your blog will “live” on the internet. Do you want to have your own website, which costs money, or use a free service?

All three of the platforms above offer a free hosting option, and you can also use any of them with a custom url (i.e. MyCustomURL.com as opposed to MyCustomURL.wordpress.com).

3. How often will you post?

Blogs are, by their nature, updated on a regular basis. Since it’s your blog, you can determine what your posting frequency will be. And you can change it.

What can you handle? Will blogging be a writing exercise for you? Could it be a fun diversion?

And, in case this whets your appetite for more about blogging, here are some from the archives:

Feel free to chime away with questions and comments in the combox…

About Sarah Reinhard

When Sarah Reinhard's not writing online at SnoringScholar.com, she can be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook, or Google +. She's the author of a number of books, including her latest title, Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless.
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14 Responses to 3 Questions to Consider Before You Blog

  1. I’ve been thinking about this post all day and I wanted to add something to point #1, if it’s ok. There’s so much talk to today (in general, not from your post specifically) about building a platform, audience and brand that I think it can scare real writers away from buying a domain name and setting up shop. It’s ok to start a blog, one that is very small, to develop the writing craft, experiment with who you are as a writer, and figure out your voice. I think blogging helped me with this very thing and it’s been a great gift. Your point is a good one–knowing why we are blogging–but if someon out there wants to blog just because, I think it’s great.

    I read Marian Roach Smith’s The Memoir Project over the weekend and she suggests one of the best reasons to write down our stories is so our families can have them. If that’s not a reason to continue to blog (even if we aren’t “big”) I don’t know what is.

    Have a blessed Triduum!

    • Ahhh, Colleen, YES! YES! YES! I think I will, in fact, break from this Blogging 101 in my next post to highlight your very point!!!

      Thanks so much for sharing it. Because, honestly, that’s blogging done well–verrrrrry well–for writers! GO YOU!

  2. I love you, Sarah. We’d be friends in real life. I know it. :)

    • Wait, what? We’re NOT friends? :)

      • Well now I feel like a real jerk. :) Let me restate what I meant–I wish we were *neighbors*. Then you could come over with the kids and we could let everyone run wild while we ate pizza and drank cokes (or your beverage of choice) and talked.

        Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

        • Oh, don’t feel like a jerk! I was being tongue-in-cheek with that reply. :)

          And hmm, with comments like that, you’re likely to have me and my chaos just “showing up” at your house…mwaaahaaaahaaaaaa!

  3. Love you too, Colleen. Keep chiming in and keep doing what you do so well!

  4. Sarah, this will be a great series. If you get to ‘promoting your blog’ please mention the Guild’s Blog Round Up on the first Wednesday of each month. Members should send me (charoster@yahoo.com) the link to their favorite post from their own blog during the last month (in this case, send a March post by April 1). Also, the Guild newsletter posts your ‘new blog’ info…send to newsletter@catholicwritersguild.com and Maria will receive it.
    THANKS for this series, and for the workshop on blogging at the LIVE Conference!

  5. Colleen,
    Writing family stories is what my blog is ABOUT. Blogging doesnt have to be something profound, or large, or leading. It can simply be about something you like to do. Or, better yet, something you would like to help others do. It’s amazing the community of people you can build, and the new things you’ll learn. To me, the hardest part (past the techno stuff which I soldiered thru with a copy of “Blogging for Dummies”)is understanding that no one is staring at you. In fact, until you get pretty decent at the genre of blogging, it’s a rather lonely calling. But, once you get the hang of it, the possibilities for platform work and service to your parish are almost limitless.
    Can’t wait to see what you blog! I’ll be your first follower :)
    Kassie aka “Mom”

  6. Ah, and I just visited your blog Colleen and found that I was subscriber number 863’ish. Love what you do…grocery store story is priceless :)

    • Ha! You are funny, Kassie. I’m small fries in the blog world but I plug away anyway because like you, I enjoy it.

      I’m a new member to the Catholic Writers Guild (though not a new Catholic writer) and I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by the warm community here. I’m so excited to be a part of the Guild, I wished I hadn’t waited so long to join! (I’m stubborn like that, you know.)

      Anyway, I love your point, Kassie, about how blogging can help people. I agree and in the end, after I record my stories, I guess I would love if something I wrote on my blog or elsewhere helped someone struggling. To me, that’s a meaningful blogging/writing experience, even if I don’t have a huge platform and audience.

      I look forward to poking around your website, Kassie! :)

  7. Martina says:

    I think multicontributor blogs are a great way to blog, too, especially if you are like me and really do *not* like to or think you write well. Sometimes the message, if properly discerned, is bigger than our own shortcomings. Certainly the Holy Spirit will put the right amount of momentum to the project if the message is necessary.

    I like the idea of friends coming together for a greater good – the whole two {or more} heads are better than one approach…usually because my head is filled with a bunch of empty most of the time, lol.

    Looking forward to future installments on this topic. :)