Before talking about how to start a local blog, let’s talk a little bit about what a local blog is, OK?
In short, a local blog is like a niche blog, meaning you’re blogging about a very specific, detailed theme. However, unlike niche blog that you can blog about basically everything as long as the topic is niche, a local blog is more location-dependent.
If it sounds weird now, let’s have some examples: I’m running a niche travel blog about travelling in Europe with seniors. Quite a niche, right?
I mean, not many people will even bother writing about it. Most of the (European) travel blogs out there are either about solo female travelling, travelling with kids, travelling as a couple/single mom or dad, friendly LGBTQ destinations, etc. I just dig in with an almost untouched topic and, voilà, it’s gold!
However, it’s not considered a local blog. Not even close. And just so you know, I have invested on a bunch of other local blogs focusing on only one city per blog. Think a travel blog just about Copenhagen. Another one just for Oslo. And another one just for Stockholm, and so on.
Now you get the idea.
But still, you don’t have to be a travel blogger to start a local blog. Yes it’s local (read destination), but it can be anything related to a specific place, ideally your current place.
It can be a blog to sum up all the activities happening in your neighbourhood, like Sundays flea markets, shows, or any kind of activity.
Are you a broker, you can start a local blog about real estate in your area, for example.
I once stumbled upon this article on The Every Girl and immediately got hooked up by the idea of a local wedding blog.
You see, you can blog about everything!
How to Start a Local Blog
This blog will mainly base on what was covered by The Every Girl, so in case you’ve read the other blog, don’t be surprise if you see some similarities here.
However, I’ve added a lot of my personal knowledge, experience, and review in it to make sure the content is not just a cheap copy-cat 🙂
Step 1: Find your niche
I strongly believe the rule of thumb to start any kind of blog is to find your niche first and foremost!
Without a niche, your blog will soon or later become a hot mess where readers have no idea what they’re going to read, and even you will loose your focus on what to write and how to monetise it best.
With a local blog, however, you’re half way to it, meaning the location. Well, you cannot stay in on place and blog about another place, right?
So let’s say there is another blogger who’s gonna blog about exactly the same topic with you (i.e. restaurant reviews). At l least you guys are talking about two different places with two different target groups, habits, consuming behaviours, etc.
While your audience will come mainly from the exact city/town or area and love to embrace hot soup during winter time, the other restaurant review blog’s target audience will even haven’t experienced winter in their life.
Step 2: Make local connections
This one is quite clear. Since you’ve become local, you have to go local and be the insider.
You have to know the best places in town to hang out with your girls. The best places to take your kiddos with, without having to constantly say sorry because one kid just keeps crying and the other one throws food to people next to you. You need to know all events that are gonna happen in your place so that you can cover them on time (and by “on time”, I mean before, during, and after!). Maybe the best, must-go farmer markets during autumn.
I gotta know the whole nine yards! And one way to do it is to make friends with the locals, restaurant and shop owners, charity people, or even better if you can connect with some influencers in your area.
Step 3: Know your audience
Although I own several local blogs, I don’t have any local blog featuring my current place. But here are some input for you.
I’m currently living in the outskirt of Oslo (Norway). Next to my garden is actually a farm, and there are many farms around here. People living in this area are in their 30s and older, mostly families/couples with two steady incomes, and at least one kid. That’s a simple picture.
It takes 31 minutes to reach Oslo central station by high-speed train (we’re lucky enough to live next to the airport and thus can take advantage of the high-speed train!), or almost one hour if you drive. And btw, finding a parking place in Oslo is effing expensive. Because it’s Oslo!
So, with all that in mind, if I, by any mean, decide to start a local blog, I will never cover topics like top night clubs in X. (with X. the name of my place), or top rooftop bars to hook up, or anything close.
Instead, something like best kids event nearby, opening times for strawberry farms (self-pick, yesss!), when is the best time to start planting potatoes in a pot out in the balcony, etc. will nail it.
Well, actually me and my husband have been craving for such a blog for a while, especially since have kids and would love to knows stuffs we can do with them/do together as a family of four in the country side.
So maybe after this post, I’ll start my own local blog! Who knows? 😉
Step 4: Befriend Google
You know you cannot survive only without knowing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation, fyi), right?
Since Google is one of the most powerful tools for an online activity (read: local blogger), you have to befriend it. Here I’ll take the original writing from The Every Girl since it’s already captured the whole idea:
For example, if you have a mommy blog in Cincinnati, you want to come up on the first page of Google for searches like, “things to do in Cincinnati with kids” or “play groups Cincinnati”. SEO is a bit of a science and never stays the same for long, but is well worth mastering for quick growth.The Everygirl
Step 5: Be flexible
Just because you start a local blog, it doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever. Always be prepared to be flexible. Maybe you’ll move to another place, and then that will be a pretty if you have to abandon your blog, just because it doesn’t make sense anymore.
PRO TIP: Unless you know for sure you’ll stay in your place until the last day of your life and will solely blog about it, DON’T make it too niche. Always have room for expanding and changes. And of course, opportunities.
Interested in this topic? Here are some other good reads for you:
- Why local blogging works
- Make Your Blog A Local Destination & Win At Local Search
- 5 Mistakes That Make Local Blogs Fail (well, since we all learn from mistakes, hah!)