Starting a blog: The Three W’s (with worksheet!)

When I first entertained the idea of starting a blog, I didn’t really know where to start. I just googled “how to start a blog” and went from there. For the most part, every site had the same list of steps: platform, host, name, etc. Which is all sound advice and eventually I will be sharing my variation of that list. However, I noticed something that was missing from every list. Something that I find to be one of the most important steps you can take when starting a blog. 

I dub these steps The Three W’s:
The Why, The What, The Who

If you don’t know your why, what or who, you won’t have a great foundation to build from – and everyone knows, to build anything, you need a good, strong foundation. The Three W’s are like your blogs support, it may be only three beams, but if they are concrete, you’ll be able to build anything you want. (I know, my metaphor was awesome).

Seriously, though, it’s the bread and butter of this whole operation!

This applies to those of you who already have a blog as well! Yes, you’ve already got a blog up and running, but it never hurts to reevaluate what you’re doing. So, even if you’ve had a blog for four months or four years – ask yourself these questions and see if it changes your outlook at all.

The 3 steps before starting a blog (6)

Do you want to jump right into answering these questions?
Enter your email at the end of this post to receive The Three W’s worksheet!

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it:

Why do you want to start a blog?

You may think this is an easy question, but it’s not. Why? Because sometimes people set unrealistic goals or start for all the wrong reasons. This just means you are more likely to fail.

Do you want to receive ARCs? Do you want to become popular? Do you want to be rich? Yes to all three? Awesome! HOWEVER, those are just perks, but are all the wrong reasons to start a blog!

Do you want to connect with like-minded people? Do you want to be able to talk about your interests in an uncensored fashion? Do you think you have something of value to share about a certain topic? Those are all the right reasons to start a blog!

Don’t enter into a project for greed or popularity, enter into a project because it’s your passion and you want to connect with people who share that passion. Sure, you may become the biggest blogging name in your niche, but with time. It’s a lot of hard work and is a huge time commitment! Why would you want to enter into it if your heart wasn’t in it?

“Don’t enter into a project for greed or popularity, enter into a project because it’s your passion and you want to connect with people who share that passion.” – Tweet this!

What do you want to blog about?

Once you’ve figured out why you want to start a blog, you need to figure out what you want to blog about. This is usually easier since there’s most likely a topic that inspired you to get this idea in the first place.

For me? It was books. My idea started as a book blog, then I decided I wanted to talk about various forms of entertainment (movies, tv, video games) and now I’ve ventured into blogging help. My goal was to have one place for my readers to go to get any type of entertainment news or reviews they wanted, a sort of umbrella blog (yes, I made that up). This style works for me, but having that many topics may not work for you.

You need to find your niche. Is it politics? Books? DIY? Cooking? It could be a mixture of things as well (but try to keep it in the same category). Is it makeup and fashion? Books and coffee? DIY and decorating? Most likely your blog will be known for a specific topic or category (entertainment, lifestyle, beauty, etc).

My advice: If you don’t want to be a pro-blogger, just talk about what you want to talk about! People will find you and love what you have to say regardless of how many topics you decide to cover. However, like I said before, try to keep it in the same umbrella category. Posting about politics and baking? That may not be the best idea. But hey, never say never!

Who is your audience?

So you have why you want to blog and what you want to blog about, but who are you trying to reach? This will most likely be whoever is interested in your niche. However, there may be times you’re trying to target a specific audience.

Let’s say you want to review middle-grade books. Who are you reviewing them for? The 10-14-year-olds that will read them or the mothers who are trying to find out what books are okay for their child to read? Those would be two very different reviews.

Or are you going to share your favorite recipes? Not just any recipes, though, but healthy recipes made on a student budget. So your target audience would be college students trying to not eat Micky D’s every day! (That dollar menu, though, yum)

So, who are you trying to reach? This will give you an idea of the content you should post and the voice you should use to appeal to your audience.


Now that you understand what The Three W’s are, do you think you’re ready to answer them? I created a free printable worksheet that you can use to answer these questions and keep with all of your blog prep material! 

  • Library Huntress

    Great post! I agree that these three ‘W’s are really key questions, especially the ‘Why’. Blogging is a hobby that takes an insane amount of time and it’s important to know why you’re really doing it, so you can stay focused and not get burned out 🙂

    • Thank you! And exactly, I’ve seen a lot of people start for all the wrong reasons. They eventually get disappointed or give up. That’s why I thought this post would be helpful – it gives people a chance to sit and think about WHY they are getting into something that, like you said, takes an INSANE amount of time to do! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my first post for this 🙂

  • Alisha

    Yaaaaay! Congrats on your first blog help post! This is awesome! The first time I set up a blog was before I even got into bookstagram and my mindset was “if I review enough books, I’ll get arcs! Yay!” But that definitely did NOT happen. I just kinda went in blindly. This time around, knowing the three w’s will hopefully be more successful, as I don’t so much care about the arcs anymore as I do just discussing books! Awesome post Molly!! 🙂

    • Thank you! 😀 & yeah, it definitely doesn’t happen. Personally, I don’t go out looking for ARCs at all. I have enough books to read as it is. I accept when an author/publisher asks, but I never look for them lol.

      • Alisha

        Yeah, that makes total sense! especially with our growing and seemingly never endless TBR piles.

  • I think I re-evalute things quite often, we all change, and the way we blog may change as well. I love the three Ws, they can be applied to many things in our lives 🙂 Thanks for sharing Molly.

    • I do to! That’s why things are always changing on my blog. I came into this just saying “I want to talk about books” and now it just keeps growing because I keep asking myself “How can I HELP people?” So yeah, we all change and it’s important to actually ask yourself these questions every now and then. Otherwise, you can get stuck in a rut.

      Thanks for stopping by and giving feedback! I appreciate it 🙂