Blogging Guide for Newbies — Write What You Want and Profit
Nowadays everyone and his/her brothers and sisters want to start a blog. Heck, never before that starting one is such an easy process. You can decide you want to express your opinion about something right now, register for a blog account and start blogging the next few minutes.
With such a powerful tool comes responsibility though. Just because you can say anything easily doesn’t mean you should. Employees got fired and citizens put into jail because of words they made available on their blogs. Well, some cases were purely because the company and authority didn’t have a clue at all, but I digress…
This blog post series certainly is not about that, but more about how to get newbie bloggers get started blogging in a fun and rewarding way.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to get back to basics and unpack the foundational aspects of blogging.
Over these years working in the industry, the more I met and talked to new bloggers, the more I realized the role of getting the basics right. Making better decisions results in strategies that will benefit bloggers in the long run.
And that’s critical, especially if you are serious about the “profit” part of blogging.
Resources for Make Money Blogging and Business Blogging
Bloggers who are interested in making money with a blog should refer to another resource section of this blog.
This article series is the foundational part while the make money blogging article series focus entirely on the commercial aspect including mindset, tips and strategies for monetizing blogs, content promotion, business concepts, and more.
I’ve also created the whole section for business blogging. It covers another facet of blogging, i.e. using it for marketing an existing business instead of mainly as a publishing venture.
What is a Blog?
A blog has so many uses that likely there is no one who offers the same definition. It depends on the perspective, experience and application used by that individual.
Read here for my first take on answering the “What is a blog?” question.
In short, a blog is a personal diary. At least it was designed to be one. A blog is also a web publishing platform. A soapbox. A web site. A note-taking application.
With the power blog software has to bring to the table, people are now using it for many different purposes. And sky is the limit.
Examples of Successful Blogs
Bloggers make anywhere between a few dollars to seven figures.
Perhaps the most talked about blog earnings to date is Weblogs Inc. AOL purchased the network of blogs in October 2005 for a reported $25 million. A huge buyout happened several years later. Bankaholics, just one blog, was acquired by BankRate at about $15 million.
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.com once reported pulling in $150,000 a month just from advertising revenue, which is $1.8 million annually.
Amit Agarwal who started blogging using blogger.com at one time reported earning $200,000 to $400,000 per year
Steve Pavlina claimed that StevePavlina.com, which is also my favorite personal development blog, was earning about $40K/month. That number is very likely to grow right now.
As it matures, blogging is now a solid business model for many people who are looking to start an online venture.
Why You Want to make Money Blogging?
People do it for many different reasons but in summary, here is a list of what appeals most bloggers:
- Minimal start-up fee. It took a lot of money to start a media business, but blogging allows you to do so and reach the global market with $20 or less to cover hosting fee.
- Small and manageable. You can start with no one but yourself as the boss and staff and hire bloggers only when your blog has grown and earned money, if you choose this path.
- Work from home. Or from anywhere you like, as long as you are equipped with a computer and well-established Internet connection.
- Save on commuting. That is real saving in both money and time. Enough said.
- Set your own schedule. You may work anytime you feel you are most productive. You are your own boss.
- Global presence. You don’t need a traditional distribution channel because the Internet allows you to establish a global presence automatically.
- Huge potential. As more people go online for information and to shop for anything, the potential is larger than ever.
If you can relate to one or all of the above benefits, you are in the right place.
Should You Start a Blog?
That may sound awkward especially if it came out of the mouth of a blog evangelist. But really, if your goal is to build an online business and make money online, blogging is not the be-all and end-all solution.
Well, that’s what “gurus” want you to believe but the truth remains. There are a bunch of ways to make money online.
Blogging is just one of them, and it’s not necessary the easiest way. Although, of course, it certainly offers many benefits if you compare it to other models. You’ll learn more about this later.
But now, back to the answer of the question. You should have a blog if only if you have the time and effort to write, contribute and maintain it. With millions of blogs, the last thing people want is another blog.
You may as well waste your time and effort doing it if you don’t have the right strategy to make it a success. That’s hard to swallow, but it’s a fact. Many people expect overnight success with a blog and that’s just not going to happen. In fact, there’s nothing as making a fortune in two weeks.
No one is willing to hand over his/her hard earned money so unless you provide value, you are not likely to see money flowing in.
That said, as this title implies, you can have a lot of fun blogging and make a small fortune if you are committed.
Blogging is not something that you start today and drop tomorrow. If you are ready for it, it can be very rewarding. It changed many people’s life and it can change yours too.
Your Blogging Quick Start Guide
There is no way that I can possibly explain every step in detail in one post. It would take volumes of books to do it, but if you can’t wait to get started now, here is a quick start guide to blogging.
- Pick a topic. Random posts about your life and everything that happens during your waking hours may work for some people but most bloggers should focus on one topic. If one day you blog about roses and the next day about your dog, your audience will be scattered and that makes it hard when it comes to monetization.
- Develop content strategy. Blogging is about delivering content that your readers want to consume, in a format that conveys your identity best. Although they may claim to write whatever they want, successful bloggers always follow their audience. You need a solid content strategy, not random posts, if you want to grow your traffic and followers.
- Get the words out. Network with other bloggers. You must do it because you can’t just reach to the top without others supporting you. It is just a fact that bloggers are more likely to link to others who they already know. The good news is, if you are an introvert, you don’t have to interact with people directly if you don’t want to. Article marketing, guest blogging, paid avertising are just some blog promotion ideas you can start with.
- Monetizing. It is necessary that you research if the topic you are blogging about is profitable, but that doesn’t mean you should focus entirely on money. In fact, if you are not careful this can be very distracting at first. I’m talking about the possibility of giving up after the first two months just because you only earn a few dollars from ads. That and other things happen regularly because of the wrong focus. While this is important, it should not be the sole focus of a blog.
That’s it. Seems simple, but as always, the money is in the details. (Yet another reason why you should subscribe to my e-newsletter and RSS feed.)
Follow Your Passion
As the saying goes, “Find something you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life.”
So true. Many bloggers start just another “make money blogging” blog because others in that industry report their remunerative income on their blogs. No wonder many newbie bloggers think the money is in starting a similar blog.
As I’m also expanding my business in this particular industry, I can attest that nothing is more common than abandoned “make money blogging” blog.
Don’t get me wrong. There are still a lot of untapped opportunities within this niche, but unless you are offering something really unique and useful to the target market, chances are you will be wasting your time.
Getting to the top in this niche is also much harder than in other niches.
If you are into this business for the next 5-10 years or more, consider following your passion. People can success just by following the money, but when they are at the top, they fret about the hours they’ve spent doing what they don’t enjoy.
You have the privilege to do things right from the beginning, so take it.
What Should You Blog About?
As a blogger, you are a publisher. Ideally you should be blogging around the topic that you know about very well. But if you don’t have something in mind, pick a topic that is of interest to you.
Nowadays, the web has everything you need to research and become knowledgeable about a topic. If you insist, start buying 5-10 books and read them all. With some practical experiences, soon you will become an expert for that niche.
The thing about blogging is that, if you write with passion, people will know it. It becomes even more important if you plan to publish in audio and video format because people just know it if you are passionate or not from your voice and expression.
Personality is also an important part of blogging. If you’d like to use a blog as it is typically, you will not build followers by being just another blogger. The right mix between personal stories and professional content is just one way to convey that you are real human that they can converse with.
This is important because nowadays, in Web 2.0, people expect to be able to interact with the site owner. The Web is no longer a broadcasting channel.
A Lifelong Learning Experience
Every day, I learn new things. I stumble upon new web sites. I find interesting discussions in forums. I meet fellow bloggers.
Blogging is a lifelong learning experience. If one of your core values it to make a difference or contribution, blogging allows you to fulfill it by reaching out to others through your experience or via the contents themselves.
One of the biggest challenges people face when starting a blog is the lack of technical know how to actually do it. Again if you have that commitment, there are a lot of free articles and paid training programs that will get you up and running quickly. Sometimes learning how to do it yourself is the best way to go. For others, hiring a professional makes a better use of their time.
It is all a process that you need to decide and move forward. And those who do it will reap the benefits.
Many people find it hard to believe that blogging is not about money.
Zig Ziglar said it best. “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Focus on delivering value with your content. When the time is right, money will follow.
To your fun and profit in blogging!
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