How-to, Review, and Tip Blogs
by Chris Angelopoulos
Blogging is often a two part exercise. The first part has to do with figuring out the technical aspects of setting up and maintaining a blog, and the second part is focused on creating quality content that gathers readers and keeps them coming back for more. Some blogging solutions, such as the Speare Bites platform you are currently reading this on, make it easy to jump in and just start writing. Others, like a self-hosted WordPress blog, take quite a bit of setup and technical savvy before the platform is ready as a conduit of content to your followers. While this article is mainly focused on how to manage how-to, review, and tip blogs, some of the advice contained herein may also apply to other genres.
The Technical Side
There are blogging platforms roaming the wild landscapes of the internet; so many, in fact, that you could be forgiven for wanting to give up searching the seemingly endless possibilities. For self-hosted blogging platforms that you can download and install on a server of your choice there is WordPress, Ghost, Joomla, Drupal, and more. Setup ranges from the medium to very hard depending on which software package and server you choose. This gives you a lot of control, but it’s also a lot of work. An easier path is to choose a blogging service that already has an internet home. Just a few of the many options are Speare, Medium, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Tumblr, and Blogger. Some sites offer more customization options than others, so it pays know how much style control you will need to be happy with the look and how much time you are willing to invest to understand how that particular customization system works.
Sorting Through the Options
So, how do you choose given the plethora of options? One of the best ways to choose is to ask yourself what the purpose of your blog will be. If you are looking for ease of setup, the ability to edit on the go, and a platform that is focused on giving you the tools to help you unleash your creativity, Speare is the perfect option that satisfies all of these requirements.
Being Content with Content
After deciding on a platform, the next part of building a blog is writing content. The vast majority of the time, writing content is not a one time commitment, but rather a continual process. The keys to success are different in every case, but often revolve around choosing a unique area of interest, how involved you are with the subjects you are covering, how focused you are on particular topics, and how regular and timely your new articles are.
Your ability to get views is often a function of the number of potential people in a given audience divided by the number of outlets providing content for that audience. If you are reviewing tech, you could choose a subject that isn’t oversaturated, provide a unique perspective, or, ideally, both. A caveat would be that, while a category may seem overwhelmed by content, it may be missing your unique voice. Don’t dismiss a subject you are passionate about just because it is popular.
Stick With It
Your interest often determines how likely it is you will continue writing about a particular topic in the long run. We could assume once more that you are running a tech review blog. This may have a bigger audience than musical instrument tutorials, but if you are interested in the latter, it may be more practical to invest in building a smaller audience that shares your passion since such a subject will likely hold your interest for longer.
The Locus of Focus
Another challenge is determining how wide or narrow your focus will be. Sometimes a wide focus works well. A how-to blog covering both iOS and Android might work well, but a blog that covers those two mobile operating systems and adds Windows, macOS, and Linux might be too broad to attract a core group of loyal readers.
Keep Me Updated
A blog is much like a plant. If you water it with content at regular intervals, it has a better chance to grow. Doing this doesn’t guarantee success, but regular readers are hard to obtain without regular updates. Staying with the tech blog theme, it is also useful to have timely updates when there is a lot of interest around a new product launch. If you blog about the latest iPhone just as it comes out, you are likely to delight current readers and attract new ones hungry for more information about the new device.
Creating a how-to, review, or tip blog requires a thoughtful approach and a commitment of time, but with the right tools it might actually be a lot of fun.