When I told my family that I was going to start a blog, I was met with blank stares.
It’s not that they weren’t supportive. They just didn’t immediately understand why a woman in her 60s would want to start blogging. After all, most of the blogs that they read on a regular basis were dedicated to covering the latest Apple gadgets and video games. How was I going to start a successful blog, targeting women over 60? Were baby boomers even online?
Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but, they really were skeptical about whether my idea for Sixty and Me would be successful. 3 years later, Sixty and Me reaches 10,000’s of women every single day – through social media and on the blog. It is also one of the fastest growing websites for older adults. But, I’m not here to talk about Sixty and Me. I’m here to talk about how YOU can start a blog in your 60s or 70s.
Here’s how to start a blog at any age.
The simple truth is that most baby boomer blogs fail because they never get started. Some older adults believe that they won’t be able to master the technology involved with blogging. Others worry about whether anyone would even want to read about their passions. Both concerns are overblown.
As I will explain in the few minutes, from a technology perspective, it’s never been easier to start a blog. In terms of audience, older adults are still the fastest growing demographic online and in social media. If anything, now is the perfect time to be an older blogger.
What are your fears when it comes to starting a blog? Now take a few minutes to write down 2 reasons that your fears are not as bad as you imagine. Trust me, they aren’t!
Some people worry that their passions are too small to gain a following. In reality, the opposite is true. If you want a recipe for blogging failure, it’s this – try to be everything to everyone and write about a broad range of topics, even if you don’t care about them.
Niche bloggers have several advantages over their non-focused cousins. First, when you write about something that you care about, you are more likely to stick with it. Even if you post new blogs every day, it will probably take 6 months or more before you build a significant audience. You have to care enough about your topic to make it through the “only my pet Chihuahua reads my blog posts” phase of blogging.
As a new blogger, your goal should be to build a small, passionate following. It’s better to have 50 people visiting your site who are engaged, then 10,000 who skim your articles and leave. Your super-fans can help you to develop your voice, refine your topics and find new members.
What are you passionate about? Try to get as specific as possible. If you said, “cooking,” could you narrow your focus to a specific type of cuisine? If you said, “painting,” is there a specific style that you are passionate about?
From a technical perspective, starting a blog has never been easier. When it comes to blogging, you basically have two choices. You can use one of the automated services, like WordPress.com, to create a website for free. Or, you can create your own website from scratch.
Setting up a new blog at WordPress.com is the simplest option. It’s also completely free. The downside is that you won’t have as much control over the way your website looks. In addition, WordPress will display ads on your blog, which may or not be your cup of tea.
Creating your own website sounds completed, but, it really isn’t. As I described in this article, hosting companies like Bluehost make it easy to set up your own blog, using the WordPress content management system (not to be confused with WordPress.com) in minutes. For about $5 a month, you can have your own website, over which you have complete control. Personally, for the cost of a latte, I’m a fan of taking control. But, the free option is also available if you want it.
Regardless of the option that you choose, it’s important to get started with your blog as soon as possible. Don’t worry about “getting it right first time.” Your content focus will probably change several times over the years. The important thing is to get used to sharing your thoughts with the world. The sooner you do, the sooner you will realize that all of your fears are exaggerated.
When it comes to blogging, there is no limit to the number of things that you could spend your money on. SEO experts will offer to “get you on the first page of Google” for just $1,000. Web developers will say that a custom website design is what you need to attract more readers. Content marketing experts will give you “100 ways to generate blog topics.” None of these things matter when you are a new blogger – and none of them will make you successful.
The truth is that blogging is not easy. It is also not a fast path to fame and fortune. For the first 6 months, you will be writing for your kids and (maybe) a few friends. The important thing is to keep doing it. The most successful bloggers I know are the ones that get up every day and write, even if they don’t feel like it. They don’t always post what they write – but, they write all the same.
This is one of the reasons that it is so important to focus on your passions. You simply won’t stick with it if you try to write about things that you don’t care about.
If you are curious about blogging, my advice is to jump in and give it a try. You have absolutely nothing to lose. If you have a few dollars to spare, visit Bluehost and set up a professional looking WordPress site today. If not, give WordPress.com a shot. If you get stuck along the way, you can read this article for instructions on how to set up your blog.
What are you interested in blogging about? What, if anything, is preventing you from getting started? Let’s get a conversation started!