Whether you are adding a blog to an existing website or starting a blog as the primary web presence for your small business, you are probably planning to take the least expensive route and do all the writing yourself. But you may wonder if your writing is good enough to pull it off. How can you evaluate your own blogging potential?
One way is to just jump in with both feet, start writing, and wait to see what kind of a response you get. However, if you don't already have an online following, it may be weeks or months before you get feedback because it can take that long for your audience to find your blog. A small initial readership may not be an indication of your lack of writing skill, but rather an indication of your lack of marketing skill.
Conversely, if you already have an online following or are particularly good at online marketing, you may enjoy an initial burst of traffic to your blog either in response to an advertising campaign or out of loyalty or curiosity. Again, that might not be an indication of how well liked your writing is.
A web statistic that is more useful for evaluating your writing skill is the average length of time a visitor spends on a post. Most stats programs provide that information. If readers are clicking away after a few seconds that is an indication of disinterest. But if the average time spent on the post is the few minutes, it's likely that people are interested enough to stay long enough to read it.
Comments on your posts are another clue that your writing is good enough to engage readers. Just be careful to evaluate whether they are real comments by those interested in the topic, and not just auto comments left to get backlinks. Also keep in mind that lack of comments doesn't necessarily mean no one finds your posts worthwhile. Many readers never leave comments on blogs they enjoy.
If you prefer to get some feedback about your writing before you start your blog, ask a few people to read and critique one or two samples of your writing. Family and friends are usually more than willing, but because they are so supportive and inclined to praise whatever you do, they may not be the best judges of your ability. Perhaps you can approach a neighbor or someone at your spouse's office who can be more objective.
You can also seek out online writers' forums that offer peer critiques or online services that will evaluate an article. Or see what kind of response you get to a short piece or two on your social media pages and busy online forums.
Another option is to submit a couple guest posts to other blogs. Look for quality blogs that specify criteria for acceptance and that have an active readership. A blog that accepts any and all submissions won't provide the feedback you need.
With each critique be sure to seek out more than a just review of spelling, grammar, and structure. Ask whether your own voice and style come through, if you make your point clearly and concisely, whether you evoke an emotional response or encourage action, and whether the reader is interested enough to want to read more of your work.
If you initial responses aren't as favorable as you would like, don't be too discouraged. You can develop your writing skill either through practice or training. And in the meantime you can start your blog using other writing sources including hiring a writer or editor, using guest bloggers, or using private label rights articles.