Thousands of new blogs are created every day, and all but a handful ever find a mass audience. I suspect that part of problem is that many new bloggers fail to conduct due diligence on themselves and the topics they want to write about. Most people can talk a blue streak about a topic they’re interested in, but translating that passion into words that people want to read – that’s the tricky part. If you want to create a blog that people take pleasure in reading, then you’ll have to make some important assessments. You’ll need to be completely honest with yourself about your writing skills, your subject matter and the investment of time required to maintain your blog over the long haul. Based on my own experiences, here are 10 things to consider before deciding to launch your own blog, in no particular order. 1. Is there a topic that you know well enough to write about? For instance, don’t start a blog about baseball unless you care deeply about that subject. Same goes with astronomy, basket-weaving or any subject under the sun. 2. Do you possess adequate writing skills? Most successful bloggers possess at least a modicum of writing talent. There are exceptions, but they’re rare. 3. Have you researched other blogs related to your topic of interest? Whether you want to write about the New York Yankees, the Canadian Constitution or the Second World War, make sure there aren’t lots of bloggers already covering those topics. 4. Will your blog be personal, political or business in nature? Some people write blogs for self-expression or personal glory. Some want to generate an income. Others write to give themselves (and their companies) credibility in the marketplace. Be clear about the type of blog you want to create. 5. Be specific in what you write about – don’t be a generalist. Opinions are a dime a dozen, but articles that are thoughtful, specific and well-written are more likely to find an audience. 6. Are you prepared to write three to five original blog postings per week? If you’re not committed to posting regular articles, then you’re not going to generate much interest. Most of the world’s top-ranked blogs are updated daily (even hourly). 7. Do you have a strong desire to communicate with others? If you just want to rant or vent, write a letter to the editor or keep a journal instead. Don’t waste your time launching a blog and then letting it flounder. 8. Have you solicited advice from people who write blogs? Even if you don’t know anyone who writes a blog, the Internet is teeming with sage advice from successful bloggers who have written about how to maintain a blog. 9. Have you thought about the legal, ethical and moral considerations of writing about your chosen subject? You should have a fair understanding of what you can and can’t say online. 10. Everything you write in a blog has a long shelf-life. In the recent Canadian federal election, several candidates had to withdraw from the race because of embarrassing blog entries they’d posted years earlier. Whatever you write on a blog will be online for a long, long time.