Blogging is such an addictive activity, especially if you have a loyal audience. Everyone who maintains a blog has also wondered about making some extra money through this activity. The number of celebrity bloggers who are capable of earning a solid income is quite limited. Still, blogging is a wonderful option for self-expression and generating a little bit of passive income. Are you asking yourself the question “how do I start a blog?” The following basics steps will help you create solid online presence, build a loyal audience and start earning.
The Biggest Question
Before moving on to anything else, ask yourself the most important question – what do I want to blog about?
The topic is important in a number of ways. It determines your ability to produce fresh, unique and well-written content on a regular basis. Just imagine trying to come up with topic ideas about something you are not passionate about. It is going to be quite painful and the audience will notice the mediocrity of the outcome.
Choosing a specific topic will also enable you to do competition research before getting started. Having to compete with a number of popular bloggers for the attention of the audience will make it much more difficult for you to establish solid positions and build your reputation.
Start thinking about sub-topics if the particular idea is already “taken.” Try to narrow it down and make your blog theme highly specific. Niche blogs will be much easier to promote and you will also enjoy the search engine optimization benefits.
Step 2: Come Up with a Content Plan
Now that you know what you will be blogging about, it is time to answer the big question – how do I start a blog? The creation of a solid and long-term content plan is the first step you need to undertake.
Come up with evergreen topic ideas. Newsworthy content will be fun during the particular moment but it will fail generating long-term benefits. This is why you need to focus on ideas that are timeless and that the audience would love reading about.
Competition research will once again be tremendously beneficial. See what others are writing about and get inspired. This doesn’t mean you should copy their ideas or simply rewrite the pieces that somebody else has already published. Get inspired to look at the story from a different angle and to provide your unique perspective. These are the content pieces that the audience loves.
Step 3: Develop Your Website
This is the step that scares many prospective bloggers and makes them give up.
Building a blog is easy, even if you have no technical knowledge and website development experience. You can choose between numerous tools developed especially for the purpose.
The easiest option involves using a blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress. These two require a basic registration after which you will be taken to your administrative page. This is the heart and soul of your blog. The page allows you to choose a design theme, to upload new content, to create photo galleries and static pages. Play around with the administrative panel to get a better understanding of it and to familiarize yourself with all of the options.
If you are really serious about making money online through a blog, you should buy a hosting package and choose a suitable domain name. You can still import the WordPress engine and administrative panel but instead of having myblog.wordpress.com, you will have www.myblog.com.
The final option involves paying someone to build the website for you. Many freelance developers will have really good pricing policies. This option is suitable for the ones that plan to turn blogging in their full-time occupation and business.
Begin uploading the content immediately. The structure of the text and the formatting will boost readability and make your posts more enjoyable. Here are some of the must-have features for every successful blog post:
- A catchy headline that the audience likes
- A strong opening paragraph
- Sub-headings that make the content easier to scan
- Bulleted numbers and lists
- Pull-out quotes that highlight the most interesting parts of the text
- Short paragraphs – one to three sentences at most
- Bold or italic text that is once again used for highlighting purposes
Make it easier for your audience to scan through the content and to choose the part of the text that is most relevant and interesting. Giving your readers such options will make them spend more time on exploring your content.
How do I Start a Blog: Marketing and Reputation Establishment
To make money online with your blog, you will have to work on the reputation establishment elements. Marketing, search engine optimization and interactions with the audience are even more important than creating stellar content.
Use social networks and social bookmarking websites to promote your postings. Some of these websites will give you do-follow links, which means they will also affect your SEO efforts. Add social networking buttons on your website, as well, enabling the audience itself to do the promotion instead of you.
Get to know other bloggers and writers in the same niche. Introducing yourself to other professionals will give you opportunities to benefit from partnerships and interesting cooperation opportunities. Getting invited to write for somebody else’s blog will maximize your exposure and enable you to introduce yourself to a new audience.
Learn the basics of SEO. There are several simple elements and techniques you can do on your own. Such basic knowledge is a must for anyone who is at least partially serious about monetizing a blog. Well-written content, good design and a solid social media marketing strategy are all parts of efficient SEO.
Only after executing these basics successfully will you get to start thinking about monetizing your blog. In order to make money through affiliate marketing, writing paid content or selling products online, you need to have a solid and loyal audience. Still asking yourself how do I start a blog that makes money? Complete these first steps and I will share some of the blog monetization possibilities with you in the upcoming posting.
Photo courtesy of: Taro Yamamoto