Starting your own blog, online publication, or online magazine may be easier and cheaper than ever, but that doesn't mean the venture is a simple or smooth road. There is plenty to think about when getting started, with everything from the name and the design to what you're going to write about every day, every week, or even three or four times per day. To help you get started and to build a successful and awesome blog or magazine, here are four things to think about long and hard
This is one of the easiest, yet hardest, things to think about. Sure, you might know that you want to do a tech blog or a magazine covering the local nightlife scene, but you might have to narrow yourself more than that. There are TONS of tech blogs out there, and there might already be one or two magazines covering the local nightlife scene. How are you going to compete if you plan to write about the same topic?
When thinking about your topic, you want to think about your competitors and what they are covering. You can't just cover what they cover, as your competitors (some of whom may have been online for a long time) will have an edge over you. You have to know that you are doing something different, whether that's covering a more specific niche, or offering different perspective, or writing longer, more thought-provoking articles.
Anyone and everyone doesn't count as an audience, at least not today, when there are too many things competing for everyone's attention. To have a little more edge when competing for that attention, you need to think about who your target audience is. If you're doing that local nightlife magazine, for example, then your audience would probably be middle-class twenty-somethings in your area who are probably also interested in drinking, fashion, events, and other aspects of nightlife. Knowing your audience makes it easier to come up with article ideas that would interest your target audience (obviously, this is much easier to do when your audience is narrower than everyone and anyone).
Of course, this is something that you're going to think about constantly, but before launching and writing that first article, you'll want to come up with several blog and article ideas to get you started. This way, you don't have to deal with writer's block right away and you'll have something to keep you going right after you launch. Or, what you could do is come up with the ideas, and then write all those articles before the launch so you can focus on promotion and generating buzz. After all, you're not launching much if you write one article, and then take two weeks to come up with a few more ideas and to get the next article out.
Of course, if you don't have any goals for your new blog or online publication, then there's really no reason to be doing it in the first place. Hopefully, you have a few things that you want to accomplish with your content, whether that's filling a niche that hasn't been filled, or to do better than your competitors, or to share great content about great things, or all of the above. Data-based goals are also good, such as shooting for certain number of subscribers, visitors, and social media followers. When you have your goals in mind, or when you're taking the time to come up with a few goals, make sure to write them down and put them where you'll see them everyday. This tactic increases your chances of reaching those goals while reminding you of what you want to accomplish.
Those aren't the only four things to think about when starting a blog or online publication, but they certainly are four big things to think. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so plan at least these four things when starting out.