Hello, my Lovelies!
Are you still thinking about starting your own Blog? Then join me on the Blog side of the ‘net! We have cookies!!!
I’ve been reading, researching and writing for quite some time now. Not a day goes by that I’m not THRILLED that I decided to start blogging. But, I wouldn’t be telling the complete truth if I didn’t mention the dark side of the blog life…
Living the Blog Life isn’t all candy and flowers. Sometimes, It’s interviews with people that don’t always get back to you in a timely manner. Frequently, It’s deadlines. And often, you have to put something together quickly to keep your publishing schedule on track, because that series you are working on is not quite ready for its debut.
I had read about and researched blogging for a long time before I jumped in. I read those articles about the ‘things I wish I’d known before blogging’ and still felt that I could swing it with ease. Then I got started… I had all this momentum at first. But, life started catching up with me. Pretty soon, I was scrambling to stay on track.
You see, sometimes, it’s really easy to stay on track. As a blogger, you get to choose your niche (or niches) and you also get to choose what you write about. Often, your articles are fun to research and the writing process is super fast. But, there are times that it becomes difficult to get into an article, and that makes the writing process pretty draining.
You’ll hear others talk about how you should “write what you know” or “be passionate about your topics”, and It’s true, you should do it if you can…
But- blogging sometimes means writing about things that aren’t at the top of your passion list. Blogging is a fairly broad arena. Even if you pick a niche and specialize, there are MANY reasons to write about things that are off your niche topic… like, when your readers ask you to.
I like making my readers happy, so if they ask for information, I write about it! Even if it isn’t my favorite thing to write/talk about. And, I do it even when I don’t know much about the topic. Lucky for me, research is one of my favorite things. So, even though you are the boss and it’s your blog- you write for your audience. It’s not really a bad thing. It’s just not always an easy thing.
My lovely cousin reads my blogs frequently (yes, I said blogs… if you haven’t already, check out vaperskickash.com) and is finally talking about starting her own. We have been getting pretty in-depth about the blog life and what it really takes to get it all done and start making money. First things first… Do ya wanna get blogged? If yes, read on!
I’m ready to blog! Let’s do this!
So, if you’re ready to JOIN ME, ON THE BLOG SIDE... Here’s a handy breakdown of what it takes and why.
Where do you start? You start at the beginning. The first decision you need to make is where to begin your blog. You can blog for free on sites like blogger and WordPress, but you won’t have much control of your monetization. That is why you see bloggers saying you should get your own domain name and hosting and do it all yourself. They also refer you to a domain registrar and hosting service, which is just one of the ways that bloggers get paid. As you get further into your blogging hobby or career (to each their own:) you will learn that affiliate marketing is a great source of income.
I want to clarify that, when you use WordPress as the platform for your website, you can have either a website or a blog. That’s something that I did not know when I first got started.
There are a lot of choices for domain and hosting. I personally use two different routes because I like exploring and comparing. I’m an affiliate with both now too, so if you decide to use my link, I will get a small commission. (You have to disclose that you are using affiliate links and you have to disclose it before the links or you aren’t blogging legally… and that’s no bueno.) I use Namecheap for domain and hosting, they are super inexpensive for your first year and are very responsive. You are completely hands-on with the ‘back office’ aspect of blogging when you choose this route. But, if you can search for information and follow instructions, it’s really not that hard to learn or do.
For more information about hosting packages, I explain all of the different options in this article. If you are considering this route at all, I highly recommend that you read it. You will walk away a much more informed consumer when it comes to hosting.
I use Wealthy Affiliate for hosting of a few of my blogs. I chose this route for a few reasons. WA has a virtual university of internet marketing, affiliate marketing, blogging, website building (and so much more I can’t list them all) tools and training. It would take years to get through all of the information that’s available to you. Well, at the rate I’m going, anyway.
I’ve learned how to do everything through them and I still have a lot to learn. When you decide to check out WA, just sign up for the free plan. You get 2 free websites and training and access to the forums. The free membership only includes 7 days of live support, so dive in quickly! If you decide to upgrade like I did, great! You will be thrilled with the amount of bang for your buck. If you stay with the free plan, that’s good too!!! You can start your blog at Wealthy Affiliate for FREE HERE.
Why do I stay with WA now that I am more familiar with the back office type stuff? For one price, I can have as many websites as I want. As a premium member, Everything I will ever need to run my business is just a click away. If I have questions or problems, answers are a click away. It’s like having your own personal tech support team and your own personal group of gurus that are there for you when you need them. You don’t have to do the security stuff… it’s all taken care of. And, if you really research all of the things that bloggers recommend, WA is an excellent ‘one cost’ all-in-one-place way to go.
To learn more about Wealthy Affiliate, read my article that goes more in depth HERE. I have another to check out after that one HERE. I have spent some time writing about WA because I wouldn’t be this far along without them. If you are fairly new to blogging, check them out.
With WA, they have the ‘plug and play’ website/blog down to a science. Someone with very little computer experience can have their website up and running in 30 minutes! And, it’s WordPress based, so it’s not just easy, it’s professional too. You don’t need any coding background to get your blog going. I have some awesome cheat sheets for when you are ready to amp things up a little, but you can easily blog without the extras of coding!
You’ve chosen the blogging method…
Now, what should we call you?
Now that you’ve decided which blogging route to take, you need a name. If you go with one of the free methods of blogging, your website address will be yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourblogname.siterubix.com etc. See how long that is? But, if you buy your domain and go with hosting through Namecheap, Wealthy Affiliate, or any of the many others out there, you would shorten that considerably to yourblogname.com.
(If you start with a free siterubix.com from WA and you love it and want to buy your domain so you can be you.com, it’s super easy to migrate your site when you are ready! We have all sorts of tutorials and videos that help you do it. And, if that’s not enough, many other members have done it and can help you if you get stuck.)
I have to share a bit about naming your blog. I can’t tell you how many different domains I bought that I never used. So, to help you avoid my silly mistakes, you should really narrow down what your blog will be about first. Your main blog topic is often referred to as your niche. Once you have your main topic, you can pick a few other sub-topics that go along with, or complement your niche. This way, you can pick a name that suits your main topic of conversation.
With Licensetoblog.com, I can talk about ALL things relating to blogging. I have a strong focus on teaching others to write better, but I also explain hosting, affiliate marketing, other means of making money with a blog, and a lot of stuff about blogging in general and the future of the blogging industry. I have so many things to write about that all I really need is the time for research and writing!
It is super helpful if you really love WHAT you’re writing about. So, try to pick something that you spend a lot of time doing, exploring, or researching. That way, you don’t have a lot of research to do before you write. You can just write from the heart.
That brings me to another point… You should write like you were talking to your friend- minus all the expletives:)
Blogging should feel warm and friendly. Not like an essay you wrote in college.
OK, now we’ve covered how you’re going to blog and what you will call your blog. You should really take some time to think about both of those because they are the foundation to your blog. Once you’ve decided on them, it’s time to take action! Once you get started, I have some great articles to read about writing your content and helping you write better immediately.
Check out the following articles-
Ok, so now you’ve chosen your method of blogging and you’ve come up with an awesome name for your blog life. There are a few more things that you need to get started on.
How often do you plan to post?
You need to post REGULARLY. You will have others tell you that you need to post daily, three times a week, etc… You should post REGULARLY. Whatever that means for you. If you can post a quality article every day, then more power to you, but the quality matters. So, if your posting schedule is once a week and you put out high-quality work that others find beneficial, then once a week is enough. I try to post twice a week, but once a week is my schedule. If I have time for a second post, it’s a bonus to my readers.
You must share it or they won’t come.
You are gonna have to get active on social media. This is something I need to work on! But I AM working on it. You will need Pinterest, facebook, twitter and Instagram. I don’t actively grow my google+ but I do share to it. You need to share your work all over the place. If you are really lucky, you know someone very active on social media and you can sweet-talk them into sharing your stuff often. Read my article about a new and valuable network, HERE.
Fly, my little social butterfly…
You HAVE TO engage your readers. Learn to come out of your cocoon and talk to your following. The better you are at comments and returning emails, the faster you will grow. Find other blogs that you enjoy and actively comment! One of my favorite bloggers doesn’t even know that I exist. I’ve commented on one of his articles once, see how I need to take my own advice? According to other bloggers, if you like a blog and want to be friends, you should stalk them so hard… I’m not really the stalker type, so making blogging friends has been slow going.
A picture is worth 1000 words.
That saying has never been more true than when applied to the blog life. I barely added pics in the beginning, but now I can make my own cover art. (Thanks to picmonkey) I take more of my own photos now and use less stock photos. When you first get started, make sure you search ‘free stock photos’ and use those sites that offer free use. Start taking your own pics as soon as you can… it helps. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to the ‘how to’ part of taking blog photos… The more you know, the better!
Show me the money!
Even though you are just getting started, it’s best to find affiliates to work with from the beginning. I have some that I started with and I’m growing with them, while others, I couldn’t get approved for until I was well established. If you really like one that you get turned down for, try again later once you’ve populated your site with high-quality articles. I use ShareASale for affiliate links. It’s easy to sign up with them and they have many affiliate programs to choose from. You can even request their catalog of companies once you join. They rock!
Wanna be friends?
Find other bloggers that you really like so you can help each other grow by commenting and guest posting. I’m on facebook with License to blog and Vapers kick ash, I’m on Twitter @licensetoblog. Let me know you are a fellow blogger and give me your social handles so I can follow you back!
Speak the blogging language of love… SEO.
You have to learn it. Don’t fight it, just embrace it. Nobody has ever suffered from exercising their grey matter. JUST DO IT:) If you go the WA route, they have entire classes dedicated to SEO and how to master it.
Now, get to it already! I want to read your blog, so be sure to come back and leave a comment including your new blog so I can check you out! Need help, or have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck, and keep coming back! I write new articles to help you grow every week!