How to Create a Successful Blog About Your Home Town
The Most Important Aspect of Creating a Blog
Whenever you are looking to create a blog, the first thing you have to determine is the subject nature of your blog. And this is the most important consideration you are ever likely to have to make during the entire lifetime of your blog. The subject should ideally be one about which you know a great deal and are passionate, meaning that you are likely to be able to write about it authoritively and well in the long term. This is where creating a blog about your home town can be an excellent choice of blog topic in so many different ways and potentially be successful beyond your wildest dreams...
In Brief - The Top Home Town Blog Tips You Will Find on this Page
- Why it's a good idea to create a blog about your home town
- Researching your home town blog
- Naming your home town blog
- Populating the side panel of your home town blog
- Obtaining ongoing blog post ideas
- Making money from your home town blog
- Controversial issues and your home town blog - a warning!
Why is it a Good Idea to Create a Blog about my Home Town?
One of the principal considerations when determining a subject for a blog is limiting the online competition so far as possible, while still selecting a topic about which sufficient numbers of people are likely to wish to read. Writing a blog about your home town will almost certainly make the competition extremely limited but - dependant upon the size of your town - also mean that the potential target audience for the blog is fairly substantial. It will very possibly not only be the present residents of the town who are likely to follow the blog provided it is good enough but perhaps former residents, or those with family associations, who now live some distance away.
One point to bear in mind at this stage is that if you happen to live in a very large city, rather than a town, it will almost certainly be better to restrict the blog to the immediate area of the city in which you live. This is simply because cities such as London, New York or Los Angeles are likely to have overwhelming levels of competition. This aspect will vary and will have to be considered at the research and investigation stage for the blog, discussed below.
Research and Investigation Stage of Creating your Home Town Blog
Before jumping in and actually taking the first steps in creating your home town blog, it is imperative that you research your subject in full. While it is unlikely in most instances, it is entirely possible that other people have already had precisely the same idea as we are going to develop on this page and that you will require to find an alternative angle.
The first stage in research and investigation is to perform a Google search upon the name of your town and the word blog. Take the time to actually look at any entries on the first two or three pages which show any signs of being similar to what you hope to create. Spending what may be a couple of hours in this activity could save many times more hours and great frustration in the long term.
Naming and Creating your Home Town Blog
Just as when choosing the subject nature of a blog, naming and creating the URL for a blog is a consideration which is of vital importance and will only be undertaken once. This means that it absolutely has to be right first time.
There are undoubtedly some people who will wish to come up with a quirky title for their home town blog. This is the artistic element of the writer coming to the fore but this could be the biggest mistake made in the blog's creation and could prove ultimately fatal in terms of its potential for success.
There can be few who would dispute that, "John's Wry Reflections on the Paradoxes of Life in Anytown," sounds a more intriguing title than, "The Anytown Blog." Which title, however, would be most likely to be incorporated in search engine criteria by someone seeking information on Anytown? Making a title original is good - but if it is so obscure that no one is ever likely to search for it, the chances of it being found on Google are limited, if they even exist at all!
Creating your home town blog is then about choosing an appropriate hosting platform. There are a number of factors which will go towards making this determination, not the least of which is your Internet technical abilities. Google's own hosting platform, Blogger, is not only extremely user friendly, it facilities the incorporation of Google Adsense and of affiliate products for sale. Blogger has in fact recently tied up with Amazon.com, to make the inclusion of affiliate products on its blog even easier for those who are Amazon affiliates.
Deciding what Posts to Make to your Home Town Blog
When your blog has been created, it is vital that you start posting to it, frequently and well. Posts to your blog can and should take many forms, incorporating anything that is likely to be useful and/or of interest to anyone who shares your home town, or who may simply be seeking information regarding the town.
Blog post ideas include local historic attractions, interesting or entertaining places to visit, details of local events or festivals, features on home town residents who have achieved something remarkable, either recently or in the distant past: there are no real limits in this respect. The only criteria with respect to subject matter is that the posts should be likely to be of general public interest.
Pay particular attention also to the photographs incorporated on this page. They were all taken personally by the author of this page but quite evidently in a number of different locales over a period of time. They are incorporated both to provide further ideas for blog posts and to show the importance of including photographs to accompany the posts. A picture is worth a thousand words and makes for much better and more attractive presentation...
What Should I Put in the Side Panel of my Home Town Blog?
It will depend upon the blog template and hosting platform you choose for your blog about your home town but it is very likely that there will be a side panel to your blog. This panel will appear at all times on the front page of your blog, even when posts are found and viewed individually. It is vital, therefore, that the blog side panel be utilised to best effect.
When the blog is fully operational, it is a good idea to incorporate Google Adsense in the side panel and perhaps some very relevant affiliate products for sale. It is also a good idea on a blog about a town, however, to include some public service information in this section. This will help to bring visitors back to your blog again and again for updated or further information.
The side bar may include such as local bus and train information, the opening times of local shopping centres or libraries, the contact numbers for local government offices; anything, really, which people are likely to require at short notice and not always know where to look, or have access to telephone directories. This can be a very big plus for the reputation of your blog if tackled correctly, bringing recommendations and inbound links, as well as return visitors.
Where Can I Find Blog Post Ideas on an Ongoing Basis?
The beauty of creating a blog about your home town is that there should rarely be any excuse for running out of ideas about what to write and post. Surely, there must always be something going on? Get out and about (don't forget your camera!) and look around the town. Speak to people, check public noticeboards and ask friends, families and acquaintances to let you know if they hear of anything interesting which is due to happen in the town.
Creating a blog about your home town is in the long term a form of citizen journalism and the more successful your blog becomes, the more local people will depend on you for accurate, interesting and timely information. Your ongoing success depends upon not letting them down...
How Can I Make Money From My Blog?
Google Adsense and affiliate marketing on behalf of Web retail giants such as Amazon have already been mentioned briefly on this page as ways of making money from your home town blog. Google Adsense of course applies to locally focused concerns as much as pages of worldwide significance but some may wonder how it is possible to make money from affiliate marketing and stay relevant to the subject matter of a blog.
One of the key points in affiliate marketing success is indeed in only offering for sale products which are extremely relevant to the website or blog. While a home town blog will certainly therefore be more restricted in this respect, there are still likely to be a great many items which are relevant, particularly on a site the size of Amazon. There may be books about your home town, or there may be books about a famous resident or former resident. If the town is famous for a particular industry, sports team, or event of national or international importance, there are sure to be books or other items closely related to the subject. It is even possible to utilise seasons or celebrations to sell related products, such as Easter eggs, Christmas decorations, or Hallowe'en costumes. A bit of lateral, creative thinking in this respect can pay huge dividends.
When your home town blog is established, with a large number of followers and good levels of traffic, it may be entirely possible to also secure private advertising. Local businesses such as small shops or stores, electriciains, plumbers and lots more are likely to be paying small fortunes to advertise in the local newspaper. Why not find out what they are paying and offer them twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week advertising for a fraction of the cost? If you pitch it right and do not be greedy with your pricing, this can be an excellent way of securing very steady levels of income from your home town blog. If, in the longer term still, your blog knows phenomenal levels of success and really creates a buzz in your home town, it is more than worth approaching the Head Office of chain stores which have an outlet in your town for advertising. These retailers advertise as well and provided you can demonstrate significant levels of local readers, this could be an extremely lucrative earner.
How to Create a Home Town Blog - A Summary
The sections above have looked at the process of creating a home town blog that stands a reasonable, longer term chance of becoming successful. Below are the significant points in chronological order:
- Decide on a snappy, extremely relevant title and URL for your blog.
- Choose a hosting platform that suits your technical ability and your specific requirements.
- Create the blog and get some posts in place that local people are likely to find of interest.
- Add some local service information to the side bar of your blog.
- Apply for Google Adsense and Amazon accounts and feature adverts and relevant products for sale on your blog.
- Keep posting relevant and informative content.
- Establish a network of sources for your blog, including friends, family and colleagues. Encourage them to inform you of events and occurrences of local interest.
- Keep those posts coming!
- Review your blog frequently. Consider what you have achieved, what you next wish to achieve and how you are going to do so.
- Add more relevant posts!
- Enjoy what will hopefully prove to be the success levels generated by your home town blog...
Controversial Issues - A Word of Warning
It is very often an important part of blogging that bloggers take note of topical issues and cover them appropriately on their blog. This is especially true of a blog about your home town. It is vitally important, however, to take great care when these topics may in any way be deemed to be controversial.
Politics and religion are probably the two most controversial subjects of all. This means that if we are to express a firm opinion on political or religious issues, or be seen to taking one side against another in any way, we are likely to alienate a percentage of our home town blog readers. Factual reportage on particularly political issues is of course fine on your blog, in the sense in which the issue affects your home town, but great care has to be exercised. Yes, it may win you a lot of short term friends - but it is equally likely to earn you a lot of long term enemies.
Whenever you have to incorporate details of anything which may in any way be interpreted as controversial on your home town blog, remember: think long and hard about how you do so and particularly the long term implications for both you and your blog.