Have you heard of Doug the Pug or Grumpy Cat? How about Stan, the cute Border Collie mix on the Disney channel? Lots of pets today have their own Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms. And even more have blogs.
Seriously, who doesn’t love all those cute kitten and puppy videos online? A single photo of a dedicated pet parent showed him cradling his arthritic dog in his arms as he floated in water to relieve pressure on his joints. That picture went viral, and the man ended up starting a foundation in his dog’s name and raising thousands of dollars to help other dogs in need.
Maybe you love all animals—or just cats. Or maybe you want to share your passion for rescuing abandoned pets with like-minded people. Rather than jump in and create a blog, it’s better to have a plan if you want someone to read your blog.
Here’s how to start your own pet blog.
1. Decide on your blog’s topic
A blog about pets in general is broad, too broad in fact. You need to get more specific about your blog’s topic. Are you writing about a specific animal, like a dog? It’s still too broad. Maybe you’re passionate about Jack Russell Terriers. Now you’re finding a niche topic that will appeal to a specific audience.
Your blog’s topic helps you define your target audience. For example, are you writing to other Jack Russell Terrier lovers, trainers, or breeders? Maybe you want to take a more expert role and write to veterinarians.
Getting specific about your blog’s topic and audience will help you create engaging content that appeals to and engages your readers.
2. Stay close to what you know but don’t be afraid to research your interests
You don’t want to write about apartment living with a python if you’ve never had a python as a pet and don’t even live in an apartment. Readers can easily spot a fraud, and your blog won’t have a chance.
Instead, start with what you know. Say you have a Jack Russell Terrier; he or she should give you plenty of ideas for blog posts. But more important, you can also write about what you’ve always wanted to know by researching and sharing your findings with your audience. For example, you could research ways to help Jack Russell Terrier owners deal with their many neuroses.
3. Discover your voice
Each writer has a voice. It’s their way of putting words together in a unique and authentic way. Some writers use humor to capture readers’ interest; others use language like a master craftsman.
You can use short, snappy sentences to move your readers through your posts quickly. Or you can use plenty of descriptive words to help paint a picture in your readers’ minds.
Are you going to write with a casual, conversational voice, like you’re speaking to a friend over tea? Or are you going to stick to business and offer plenty of information with easy-to-read bullet points?
Finally, are you going to share personal stories with readers or are you sticking strictly to business?
Your voice will help readers identify with your blog. Even if they read your writing somewhere other than your website, they’ll recognize you and remember your blog.
4. Capture their attention with the first paragraph
You have seconds to capture a reader’s attention before they click away and find something more interesting. The pressure of writing for the internet is that readers have access to too much information, so they’re selective of what they’ll read. Which means you need to hook them with your first paragraph or even first sentence.
One way to engage from the start is by asking a question:
- "What does a bored Jack Russell Terrier do all day while you’re at work?"
Your target audience hopefully will keep reading to find the answer.
Or start with an interesting fact:
- "The Jack Russell Terrier began life some 200 years ago thanks to Reverend John Russell."
Statistics are also a great way to grab someone’s attention at the outset. Just make sure whatever hook you use, you stick with it through the rest of your content. If you start with a hook and the body of your post is about something completely unrelated, you’ll have unhappy readers.
5. It’s all about the title
The title of your post will encourage your audience to read the first paragraph or not. Writing amazing headlines that capture your readers’ interest is a post in itself.
The master, Neil Patel, recommends you use numbers in your title, like:
- "30 Ways to Keep Your Jack Russell Terrier Happy"
He also offers these specific words that grab attention:
- Tips, reasons, lessons, tricks, ideas, ways, principles, facts, secrets, or strategies
Neil has plenty of other suggestions and techniques you can read in his article on writing powerful headlines.
Other ways to create catchy titles include asking questions or using "How to…":
What Should You Feed a Jack Russell Terrier?
How to Stop Your Jack Russell Terrier Digging Up Your Garden
Your next step is to write posts. Consider writing ten or twenty posts to load on your website when you go live. It might discourage readers if they visit your blog and see a single post. Having an archive of ten to twenty posts gives your readers plenty of information to start with while you’re writing more posts.
What are your best tips for starting a blog? Let us know in the comments below.