Starting a Blog in 2020

Are blogs relevant in 2020? I think this is a real question we should ask. I don’t know if blogs in the traditional sense of having a platform where you strictly share your thoughts about everyday life are still relevant, theres better ways to do that now ie. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, but I do think there’s something to be said about having your own domain and shaping it into what you want it to be.

I am obviously by no means an expert on this topic, but I just wanted to share what I personally do. I have been having a great time working on this blog and am grateful for the amount of people that have already been reading it. I’ve been seeing decent growth from where I started and if anything I am doing can help someone else grow as well, then I feel like I need to share!

What should I write about?

Personally I think it’s better to carve out a niche for yourself, I decided to write about video games and books together. I saw there were an abundance of blogs and websites that talked about one or the other individually but I couldn’t find even one that merged the topics together. I found that odd since there is usually so much overlap in fans of the two mediums. Find a niche that you can carve out a name for yourself in that will bring something new to the table.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t make something that’s already being done if you think you can do it better or bring something new to the topic. There are plenty of book blogs out there, but I have seen some that go above and beyond the rest.

How do I get my name out there?

One of the biggest hurdles you will run into is finding recognition in the sea of content that is the internet. Of course, if you have already garnered a large following on social media then you will have an easier time funneling people to your new website, but something I have found most valuable has been the WordPress community itself. Interacting with fellow bloggers and liking their posts and commenting on their work has yielded the best results for me by far, and with this you know you are getting readers who really care about your content and understand what you are doing.

I would also recommend putting more effort into social media, I mainly use Twitter and have started trying to be more active there. Connecting on social media with others that have the same interests as you gives you the chance to build each other up. Having more followers seems like a shallow goal, but the more people you can put you content in front of, the better chance you’ll have of creating something special.

How do you come up with topics?

I read somewhere that you should pick your topic and immediately write out 50 topic ideas. If you can do that then you’ll never run out of things to talk about on your blog. I didn’t do that. It seems like overkill and honestly with the topics I wanted to write about I had a never ending supply of content based solely off the back of reviews. I also decided to split my content into 3 categories: Books, Video Games, and an Uncategorized section. I figured this would be an easy way to split topics up for someone that only wanted video games vs books and I could write pieces like this that I could tuck away under the uncategorized section.

This is the hardest part for most people as time goes on. Starting the blog, making a logo, picking a theme and layout, and making the first few posts are the easiest and perhaps most fun parts of creating something like this. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love writing, so for the simple act of waking up every morning, having a coffee, and writing for this blog or the book I’m working on is the best part of the day. For a lot of people however, once the blog is put together and functioning properly they realize they have to keep producing content at a high quality. If this isn’t something they are passionate about then they will fall off and start missing weeks and eventually stop posting all together.

How often should I post?

I see a lot of people posting shorter blog posts on a more frequent basis, and while that works for them I find it more valuable to make longer form posts and commit to posting twice a week (I almost always end up posting more than that). I think it’s funny that I want to have each post be over one thousand words, but I still have to force myself not to post on certain days. I want to create a rigid schedule so that people know when to expect posts, but I am usually overflowing with ideas I want to write so it never seems to end up that way.

There is no correct answer to this question. I think it depends a lot on your personal schedule and whether or not you can commit to making more frequent posts that you will be proud of. For me the most important thing is to be able to say I am proud of the work I produce and can stand by it.

How to remain consistent?

I’ve found the creative part of my brain to come alive most in the morning, so I try to set aside time shortly after I wake up to write (usually while I have my morning coffee for instance). I hold myself accountable to write 500 words per day, for my blog and the book I’m working on each, and that level of output always assures I have something ready to post at least twice a week. Remember that not everything you write has to be post worthy or even good by anyone’s standards, I leave a lot of my writing in the drafts folder, but the act of writing everyday will help you to be better at it and build confidence in your own work.

This part is all up to you, remaining consistent after the initial surge of creativity all comes down to discipline. If you have a partner that can help hold you accountable and keep you on track, then great. If not, then it is on you to hold yourself accountable and push yourself to make something. Having a blog or starting a YouTube channel or making any content on the internet is a commitment, you more than likely won’t blow up and become an overnight success. Staying consistent and producing high quality content, sometimes for years before anything happens, is what it takes to really make an impact.

Before you go

I wanted to reach out and connect with other bloggers, so if anyone has thoughts they’d like to share about this topic or tips for how you think I could become a better blogger and writer please reach out in the comments or through social media. I want to connect with as many of you as possible in an meaningful way.

As always thanks for reading! I post (at least) every Wednesday and Saturday, so be sure to check back for new posts. You can also sign-up via email to receive notifications for new posts and make sure you never miss one!

Author: Jacob @ Books and Pixels

Jacob is a blogger with a passion for books and video games. He is a college student studying marketing and hopes to one day turn his passion for writing and marketing into a career. You can find his work here on Books and Pixels as well as the up and coming sports blog The Spark.

10 thoughts

  1. I like the clarity and friendliness of your blog. I still play video games and have always read a lot, but so often gamer blogs are filled with snark, while book blogs are…well, sometimes it’s better just to see a five-sentence comment on Goodreads than read someone’s impassioned thousand-word rant about why he hated a book. (My feeling is, why write so much about something you didn’t enjoy? If there’s a greater point, for instance, the book was written with a certain political bias, fine, disagree with the author, but make it concise and get on with it.)

    My blog started as a family newsletter after my daughters went off to college in other states, and one of them suggested I try blogging rather than writing them long letters or emails. (A very nice way of saying, “Mom, stop bugging me, I don’t have time to read your stuff.”) It still is intensely personal, and I don’t expect a lot of readers; I’d actually prefer not to have a lot of strangers read about my 2 a.m. existential crises or a complicated family dispute: but there is a lot of comfort in just writing about things that are troublesome, sad, or topical. I’ve noticed a lot of people are writing about how they’re dealing with the current pandemic and are self-quarantining—or not. It’s interesting, and I hope the National Archives or some other historical institution collect these posts for future historians and researchers.

    Anyway, I appreciate your blog and enjoy reading it. Keep writing—which is the hardest part about blogging. Most bloggers stop updating after a few years, while others slow down to one update a month or less.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thanks so much for leaving this comment. It means a lot that you enjoy reading what I’m putting out here! I completely agree with your point that most gaming blogs are snarky, I wanted to make sure that everything I wrote came with my own voice and made people feel welcome. I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff as well, and it’s cool to see what prompted you to start!

      Like

  2. Hi Jacob. I do take issue with your assertion that there are “better ways to do that now ie. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter” – I’d say “different” ways! My blog, which is a book blog (thank you very much for visiting) allows me to write about books at length, something the other social media channels don’t facilitate – they’re all geared up for soundbites etc. I personally couldn’t possibly countenance vlogging for many reasons, but do use FB and Twitter for publicising my blog posts of course. It’s good to keep one’s attention span going. So good luck with your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s fair, “different” is probably the better choice of word. For reviews I personally find written articles more valuable, but I find vlogs and short blurbs (social media posts) lend themselves better to topics regarding everyday life and updates about yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is something I ask myself as well. I started my own blog almost seven years ago, but even then blogging was becoming a bit “outdated” or “irrelevant” according to some people because of platforms like Youtube and social media sites. I don’t really believe that myself — some people are always going to be running searches on Google and finding your content.

    Never heard that 50 topic idea rule either. I never have more than a few posts planned out at any one time, but then I don’t usually post that often, only a few times a month. I don’t make a living off my writing, though, so if people don’t care to read my stupidly long game analysis it’s not a huge deal for me. It sounds like you have a sensible balance worked out as far as scheduling and content goes. You certainly have to be proud of your work, otherwise what’s the point of writing?

    Liked by 1 person

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