This post about starting a blog after 40 was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Starting a Blog After 40?
Milestone birthdays can be a time of big changes, whether in relationships or careers. After you turn 40 (or 50 or 60…) many women decide to move toward greater authenticity. Writing about your life can be cathartic, but where do you start? It’s never too late, even if you are starting a blog after 40.
I’ve been blogging for six years, and here’s some of my best advice.
You don’t need to know a lot about tech to start a website for your writing. Anything you need to know, you can find out. Here are some of my favorite resources.
- Problogger.net Darren Rowse is the Godfather of blogging. Pretty much everything you need to know is on his site. His focus is on being a professional, money-earning blogger, but the information is solid even if you have no interest in monetizing.
- TheSITSGirls.com This group is one of the places I got blog info when I started, and it’s still an excellent resource. The focus is on women just starting out, but it goes beyond the 101 with info you’ll need later.
- BeyondYourBlog.com Ready to write for other publications? Either way, Susan Maccarelli’s site will help your writing, whether it’s for your own blog or for publication elsewhere. This article has great info that applies to your own blog, as well as for submitting your creations elsewhere.
- Blogging for Dummies The newest edition is just out, so you’ll get up-to-date information from author and professional blogger, Amy Lupold Bair.
- Everything But the Posts You can work through this book by Becca Ludlum like a workbook. It’s chock-full of great advice for getting started.
- Content Rules Most books on blogging now all focus on creating a profitable business. Whether or not you are ready for that, you do need to focus on the content you create. Ann Handley and CC Chapman teach you how to focus on your voice and building a loyal following of readers.
Discover Your Focus
- Set Your “Blogging Rules” The day I started blogging, I sat down and figured out my rules. I wanted to write gentle domestic humor. I wrote WWEBD? for “What Would Erma Bombeck Do?” This helped me maintain consistency in my writing voice. What are your rules? Write them down and let them guide your writing.
- Brainstorm What are you going to write about? Get out a pen and paper and write out what you are passionate about. Family? Educating? Social good? You don’t necessarily need to limit it to one thing. Focus on a topic that will fire up your writing over the long term. If you don’t love it, writing will be a burden.
- Drill Down After your initial brainstorming session, look at each high-level topic. Jot down more specific ideas for posts. Again, focus on an idea that really gets you fired up. At this stage, there are no bad ideas or topics too small. I’ve seen some amazing writing about things as mundane as waiting in the school pickup line, or using two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence. What makes you happy? What drives you crazy? Topics you really care about will bring out your authentic voice.
- Set Goals Think big here. Where do you want your blog to take you? Do you just want to write once a week for fun? Write your novel? Give advice with an eye to becoming an expert source on your topic? Write this down to keep yourself on track once you get in the everyday distractions that will happen.
- Don’t Limit Yourself My person blog is currently NotASupermom. When I started it, I’d just turned forty and still had four kids at home. Now I’m closer to fifty, on the edge of an empty nest, and I write about my kids less and less. I still get tons of emails to write about products for little kids because having the word “mom” in my blog name makes readers and marketers assume I’m a “mommy blogger”. Avoid choosing a blog name that limits your writing or your potential audience.
- Avoid Clichés This is so tricky when you are just starting out. When you are new, how could you know something is overused or unoriginal? Reading blogs in your potential niche can help. I did Google my potential blog name before I bought the url. Still, there are multitudes of variations on my theme, and it’s easy to confuse my site with others.
- Keep It Simple A long or complicated blog name is going to be difficult for readers to remember. There are some exceptions, like People I Want to Punch in the Throat. That’s a lot of words for a blog name, but it works because it’s snappy and unexpected. I love the blog Rubber Shoes in Hell. It’s unique and memorable.
- You Are Your Best Branding “Ugh, Anne, I just want to write. I don’t want to be a brand.” I know, I know, but look at the goals you set earlier. Will the name you set for your site help you get there? I like this article from Domain.ME on choosing the perfect domain name.
If you’ve been inspired to start writing online by a major milestone, it’s also okay to choose branding that works for you for now. Take all this advice as guidelines and do what’s right for you so writing online is a pleasure and not a burden.
Domain.ME provides domain names with the .ME extension, giving you a personal and memorable website. Learn more on Domain.ME.