There are many things that wannabe bloggers often miss and that internet marketers don’t tell them (marketing 101: sex sells, hard work doesn’t), which lead people to a really painful learning curve.
One of those often overlooked things is the concept of your website. Read this article and cut that learning curve: do things right from the beginning.
What is a concept of your website?
It’s really simple:
A website’s concept is an idea that ties all the content of your site together.
Why it’s important to have a well-defined concept?
The concept of your website is something that the reader notices immediately when he or she comes to your site. It immediately tells them what your site is about and what value they can expect to get from it.
When the concept of your website is catchy and grasps the attention of the visitor, he or she is much more likely to stay on your blog longer. However, when the concept is vague and fails to catch the attention, readers will often leave your site immediately.
As a blogger, you should really take time to develop a great concept for your website.
The headache: what should you write about?
Obviously, in order to be able to start working on the concept of your blog, you first have to have a general idea of what you’re going to write about.
This one is a real struggle for many people, but in most cases, the wisest choice is simple: build your blog around something you’re passionate about.
What is the easiest way to identify what you’re passionate about? Take a good look at things you talk about with your friends, at the blogs, magazines and books you read, at the movies you watch and you will notice the general trend, something that you can be talking for hours and hours. Write on that.
Most people say you have to find a profitable niche, but the truth is that almost any niche could be profitable if you manage to create something that is valuable to other people interested in the same topic. It’s a big mistake to start a blog on something you’re indifferent to: if you don’t care about credit cards, then don’t write about freaking credit cards!
Really, do you know at least one successful blogger who blogs about something he or she doesn’t care about at all? Really, Steve Pavlina is crazy about personal development, Ramit Sethi is obsessed with personal finance and psychology, Tim Ferris comes up with all kinds of crazy lifestyle design stuff all the time..
Maybe it would be a good idea to do the same thing: blog about something you love?
Now, let’s move on to the actual website concepts..
Narrow concepts vs. Broad concepts
There are two types of concepts: narrow concepts and broad concepts. Narrow concepts are targeted to a very specific audience (let’s say Asian-American female martial artists who live in Los Angeles), meanwhile broad concepts are, well, broad.
What are their main differences?
Generally, creating a blog based around a very narrow concept is easier in the short run (it’s easier to attract a very specific audience than a broad one), but more difficult in the long run (the narrower the concept is, the sooner you will run out of ideas on what to write), meanwhile broad concepts are the opposite: when it comes to blogs with broads concepts, it’s more difficult to get them going, but you won’t run out of ideas because you can write about nearly anything.
The question is which one is better?
Most people say that the narrower the concept is, the better.. I say although it’s true for static websites, it’s wrong for blogs.
There’s a reason for that, which I’ve already mentioned before: with broad concepts, you will never run out of ideas, so your blog can stay interesting for years. You can only write so much for girl scouts from Eastern European immigrant families who live in Alaska and like soccer.
What are the two key ingredients that makes the concept of a website great?
There are two key ingredients of a great concept and it’s very important to understand that you need to get them BOTH right in order to create a compelling blog:
1.The concept of your website must express who YOU really are.
You probably already know that creating an original content is crucial for succeeding as a blogger, since content is what makes or breaks your blog. But what is the key to creating unique content? It’s courage to authentically express yourself.
To put the long story short, in order to develop a catchy concept, you have to really ask yourself who you are, what are you passionate about and what do you want to share with other people?
Once you’ve figured that out, ask yourself what makes you stand out in your field, what unique perspective do you have to offer for your readers?
Answering these questions is definitely tougher than reading internet marketing tips, but you have to get serious about your business sometime, don’t you?
2. The concept of your website must explain readers what’s in it for THEM.
When you’re blogging for fun, it’s okay to write anything that comes to your mind and never think about your readers (they’re your friends and family at best anyway).
However, when you want to turn your blog into a business, you have to really consider what your readers will get from your content and make sure they know what’s in it for them. That’s why the concept of your website should also summarize the value that you will provide for your readers.
Adam Baker definitely got both parts of a great concept right: Sell your crap. Pay off your debt. Do what you love. not only immediately catches attention of his target reader, but also tells a lot about his life philosophy
Summary: A great concept in five not-so-easy-to-be-honest-with-you steps
Okay, now that you have an understanding of what website concepts are all about, here are five steps you can follow to develop one for your own blog:
- Decide the general topic for your blog. I suggest to choose a broad topic, like personal development, personal finance, lifestyle design, website design, online marketing, whatever. This way you won’t run out of ideas on what to write for years to come.
- Think who you really are and what message do you want to express. Nobody wants to read soulless blogposts written by robot. What kind of personal spin you’re planning to put on well-known topics?
- Think about what will your readers will get from reading your blog. Improve their time management? Get travel tips? Learn something new about web design?
- Brainstorm concepts, possibly one or two sentences long, that would express both what’s your take on the general topic of your blog and what your readers will get from your website.
- Pick the best one. In case you can’t choose, keep three concepts you like the most and make a survey on internet forums or within your circle of friends.
Voila, now you have a great concept for your website, which means you’re already ahead of the majority of bloggers ;)
Most new bloggers are so eager to get started that they miss the extremely important step of developing a great concept for their websites, but this is a big mistake: without a clearly defined concept, your writing won’t be focused and your readers will have no idea what your site is about, therefore they’ll immediately leave it.
Don’t rush and take time to think everything through and to develop a decent concept for your website. It’s better to have a slower start, yet succeed in the long term than to jump into things only to crash few months later.