Running a blog Fundamentals – What You Ought to Know Earlier than Dipping In
You are ready to join the world of blogging! You have something to say to the world and you are sure that you are at least as skilled as most of the bloggers out there. But you have no idea where to start.
The vast majority of bloggers are right where you are. They want to exchange ideas and information, they want to write, but the technical aspects of using the internet as a venue are an obstacle and they cannot see the way.
Today I'm going to show you this path – the path from lacking a presence on the internet to creating your first blog post in WordPress. From zero to 60 (or at least 30) in just one week. See what it's really about. Then just follow the steps below and you are well on your way!
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Content of this chapter:
What is a blog? Blog definition
You've probably heard the word hundreds if not thousands of times and got curious about what a blog is.
Dictionary.com defines a blog as …
a website that contains a writer's or group of writer's own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often contains images and links to other websites.
In short, a blog is a place where someone can openly and freely exchange their opinions and thoughts on a topic. The people who share these thoughts are called “bloggers”.
There's a lot to unzip here, and I could make a lengthy explanation of how a blog works, but I'm a visual guy. So press "Play" in the video below. This is one of my favorite explainer videos that quickly explains what blogs are and how they work.
In today's world, blogging is enormous. You probably know a person or two who own and run their own blog. You probably even know someone who quit their full-time job to blog full-time.
That's today, but would you be surprised if I told you that blogs don't always exist?
We all know the rise of the internet in the early 90's. With the dotcom boom, the technology and widespread adoption of the Internet also took shape. As time went on, the internet grew in popularity, technology advanced, computer prices fell, and it soon seemed like almost everyone was on the internet.
During this time, blogging became more mainstream and with the advent of platforms like Blogger and Tumblr, starting a blog was easier than ever. These platforms made it easy for people to express their thoughts and views and then share them with their readers.
In 2003, Google acquired Blogger, the easiest to use blogging platform. That acquisition made blogging mainstream, and more people than ever have created their own. Years later, WordPress also went mainstream, and that platform is now what powers many websites around the world.
Suggested literature: Blogging evolution broken down year by year
Aside from being easy to use, personal blogs also step in to fill the void that traditional media companies are moving away from.
Did you hear that the global publishing empire News Corporation is planning to bill for online subscriptions to its newspapers? You probably already know they are owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch with newspapers like the New York Post, The Times in the UK and the Australian.
Tremendous changes are taking place in the publishing and business world, and Murdoch says:
We intend to charge a fee for all of our news websites. When we are successful, we are followed by all media.
Why is this good for bloggers? When mainstream websites charge for their information, I believe individual bloggers become more influential because:
- There will be more blog readers: for example, many people do not want to pay to read the news, and the search engines do not evaluate information hidden on subscription pages.
- Blogs can offer similar or better information for free.
- Blogs provide a sense of community, interaction, and exchange of ideas that both readers and writers enjoy.
As you can see, Time has treated bloggers well, and it seems like there is no better time to jump into the game than now. That brings us to my next point on why you might want to jump in.
Why people blog
Many big news outlets and companies who don't understand or are afraid of the Internet are losing power. Individuals now have the opportunity to create a niche for themselves through blogging and to compete with the big guys on an equal footing.
If you blog well, you can supplement your existing income, grow your business, and even become a full-time blogger.
Take Perez Hilton. The website he started in 2004 is now one of the world's leading celebrity news websites. For a pink-haired gossip columnist it is quite an accomplishment to have his website named one of the "50 Most Powerful Blogs" by the conservative British Observer newspaper.
Now Hilton is putting up TV shows, books, and even a record label just because of a small website he started five years ago. Love him or hate him, the man with a passion for celebrity trivia is a serious source of inspiration for bloggers.
In fact, he was named one of the 15 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States, according to the biography on the Hilton website.
Benefits of blogging for business owners
Some bloggers, like Perez Hilton, now make a living from blogging. You probably shouldn't expect such success at first, but there is no reason why you can't try. Most professional bloggers say when they first started they never expected their blog to be this successful. If they succeed, so will others.
Take me for example. Back in 2014, I started a blog about my experiences with carpooling like Uber and Lyft. I started the blog as a hobby because I thought it would be helpful and fun to share the lessons I learned on my own drives with other drivers. The site quickly caught on, however, and as it grew I realized that I could turn a small part-time hobby into a full-time job.
After blogging for the next two years in my spare time, I finally made the decision to quit my full-time job and work full time on the website. Since then, I've embarked on a career of launching, buying, growing, and selling websites in many different niches and industries, including this website.
Blogging offers several advantages for SMEs. Many business owners will benefit from using a blog to sell more of their products or services, regardless of whether your ultimate goal is to blog all day or not.
A good blog can grow your business and increase your income. Smart blogging can result in influencing the people you want to influence most – your customers.
4 reasons to blog
- Build rapport and relationships with your existing and potential customers.
- To improve your search engine ranking and reach more potential customers, if your website is well designed, it will lead to more business.
- To make sure you are the first company people think of when they need your product or service.
- To demonstrate your expertise, professionalism and helpfulness.
Still not convinced of blogging?
Blogging has negative connotations. The main comments I get from people who aren't blogging anyway are that blogging is a waste of time. I do not agree with you. I think setting up an effective blog can make a huge difference for businesses of all sizes.
When blogging is done correctly, it can produce tremendous results for the person who runs the website.
Let's take the real estate industry as an example. In my area, real estate companies may be spending more money on glossy print publications due to the slow real estate market, claiming that people prefer to look for printed houses, not online.
In my experience, more and more people are going online looking for everything from music to houses and from motivational tips to financial success. Since most of the big real estate agencies I live with don't use the internet to their advantage, there is an opportunity for a blogger to clean up.
The same may be true of your company. If so, it is you who clean up. If you have good industry knowledge, average marketing skills, and an interest in internet marketing, you will likely get good results.
Do you want to blog successfully? Are you ready to invest yourself?
If you answered yes to both of these questions, please read on.
Starting a blog can seem overwhelming at first. There is so much to learn, there is an encyclopedia of knowledge on this website alone.
After all, you need to learn the basics first, then figure out how to actually create it, and after that you need to grow your audience, and after doing that you STILL need to learn how to make money from it.
But don't be afraid of what you don't know. I am here to help.
This website is for the sole purpose of helping you get started with blogging and after the immersion you will achieve success.
I was in your shoes once, believe it or not. I spent years and many long nights reading all I could about blogging. These years of learning have led to this website where I teach you the basics of blogging and how to start, grow, and monetize your blog at each step.
You can learn how to blog well and the information you need is available to you in this blog, books and workshops. Start your blog small and have fun learning how to improve it over time.
Four steps to start blogging
- Prove your investment: Be prepared to invest 10 to 40 hours of your time in setting up your blog with your branding and getting used to your blogging software. Or, pay an expert to set up a blog for $ 1000-2000 so you can focus on content creation.
- You write: Just start brainstorming for ideas and write useful and positive articles. Once you start writing on a topic, sometimes you slip off a tangent and discover another topic worth sharing.
- Spread the word: Email your existing customers, leads, friends, and relatives and tell them about your new blog. Add your website and blog address to all of your new print materials and your email signature.
- Ask for feedback: Let people tell you what they like and dislike about your blog. Whenever you have a new website or blog, keep tweaking it and making every effort to improve it. This is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Expect it to take a while to be perfect and congratulations on starting your blog.
Final inspiration to blog or stick with
Ten years ago, the idea that someone like Perez Hilton could become a competitor for big news sites like CNN would have been ridiculous. The blogging game has only just begun and if you don't play you won't win.
There is room for many more successful blogs. I like to think that there is a particular need for more female bloggers, but regardless of your gender, the publishing and business worlds are getting mixed up. Now is the ideal time to get your foot in the door.
So, ladies and gentlemen, choose your niche, start writing, and let your voice be heard. There's never been a better time to blog. At least with a good blog you will grow your business, and who knows, you might even become a professional blogger.
Content of this chapter:
How do bloggers make money?
Now that you know why people blog, you are probably curious to see if it is possible to actually make money from your blog. Let me tell you from personal experience that there is.
As I mentioned above, I quit my full time job a few years ago to make money blogging online. Becoming a full-time blogger isn't easy, and it takes hard work. However, if you gain a loyal following and build something that people read and want to revisit consistently, you can monetize that traffic and it will be well worth it if done correctly.
There are many different ways bloggers can make money. They can sell ad space on the site, sell physical or digital products to readers, or advertise consulting services that they may want to be hired for.
Or, my favorite, companies pay bloggers to recommend their products and services to a blogger audience, who then receive a payout from that transaction for the referral. This is known as affiliate marketing and is one of the most powerful ways to leverage a blogger's audience.
There are many other creative ways for bloggers to make money, but these are the most common. I personally use each of these and made a living from them.
It's powerful, effective, and the way the future of marketing is moving.
How Much Do Bloggers Make?
The world's top earning blogs generate millions of dollars every month. However, blogging is not just about million dollar blogs. In fact, the majority of blogs on the internet make no more than $ 2,000 a year.
The most important thing for bloggers of all niches and sizes to understand is how these blogs make money, what the end goal for their sites is, and how they turn their content into a business.
Breakdown of the Different Types of Bloggers in the Blogosphere
There are well over 100 million blogs in the world today, and thousands of new content and articles are brought live every hour. This means that when you start a blog, you are faced with a world of competition. Hence, it is extremely important that you quickly find out what type of blogger you will be and where you want to be in six months to a year.
Which of these blogger types would you fall into?
- The part-time professional
- The hobbyist
- The full-time professional
- The enterprise
- The entrepreneur
For you visual folks out there, I've put together an image that explains the basics of blogging for each of these categories.
The five types of bloggers
Still not sure where to fit in the blogging mix? Make sure to check out our Meet The Bloggers Interview Series, where we interview over a hundred of the world's most successful blogging experts.
How much do bloggers make from their blogs?
As mentioned earlier, most blogs just don't make enough money to be considered a full-time job or a legitimate source of income. Statistics show that only 14% of bloggers actually make money from their blog.
This can be for a number of reasons, For example, blogs are non-profit, are a hobby, or the blogger just has no idea how to start, or not getting enough traffic to their sites.
Let's take a look at this breakdown of how much bloggers are actually making from their blogs:
- Average annual earnings are $ 24,086
- Average annual earnings of $ 33,557 for corporate bloggers
- The average blogger makes $ 1,000 a year when they're paid to post content on their website.
The most common ways to generate income:
- Show advertisements
- Affiliate Marketing Links
- Search ads
However, there are many different methods to choose from for blogs that generate income from content and traffic.
How Much Bloggers Earn
The most popular blog monetization methods are Google Adsense, direct banner advertising, and affiliate marketing.
The good news is that these monetization methods can be scaled across all niches and platforms. This means that anyone with a blog and a loyal audience can generate income from their blog as long as they invest the time and effort.
A perfect example of a blog that went from nothing to over a million dollars a year is PerezHilton.com.
If you look at the website, you will notice that there is a lot of banner advertising on the website. Perez could monetize his traffic through a variety of methods, such as trying to sell his own products or merchandise. Instead, the focus is on paid banner advertising.
When you visit the website, scroll down and see how many different ad placements there are on the website. Banner ad revenue for PerezHilton can easily exceed $ 45,000 per month for a single ad campaign.
As I mentioned earlier, bloggers are developing new and creative ways to constantly monetize their content and traffic. The key is to get creative and think outside the box, and then money will follow.
Top Earning Blogs on the Internet
When you think of blogging, you probably don't think of names like Huffington Post, Mashable, and TechCrunch … but they are blogs all run by the WordPress platform.
With that said, not only are these blogs legitimate, but they make millions of dollars a year by using their content and growing audiences.
The 10 Highest Earning Blogs
Of course, this is just a small selection of the many blogs that make money. I could probably add ten more to the list that I know are easily generating over $ 100,000 a month. However, this is an entirely different topic for our blog monetization page.
Blogging is all about content value … not content creation
By now, it should be pretty obvious that power and influence come with blogging. But … if you're not creating the right content for your audience, what is it about?
This is one of the biggest battles for bloggers and brands around the world today. Most only publish content to go live with new content – which doesn't add to the ultimate goal of a blog … which is to provide value and guidance to an audience.
With more than a billion active websites on the Internet today, there is no need for more content – we just need better content. The more time you spend planning and promoting your content, the more likely you are to succeed in the world of blogging.
Because of this, in my opinion, the most important step in starting a blog (besides learning the basics of blogging) is to take a laser-focused approach to figuring out what you're going to write about and then be crystal clear about who is your audience and what their worth will you bid him?
The best way to write and blog content is to first understand who your target audience is, what they want, and how you can make it available to them. Your ultimate goal is to create content that not only adds value for the audience, but also helps grow the brand and business in the process.
Consider each of the sample niches below to get your creativity flowing. Of course, you can come up with your own ideas, but here are a few to get you started.
Example group 1
The first group I want to draw your attention to is the Lifestyle category. This category consists of things that people are most often passionately interested in and that are highly skilled.
This category is great for strong social media promotion as the content often engages large audiences, especially in the form of tutorials and unique topics bloggers can offer.
We all know this friend who is an amazing cook. What if she shared her guacamole recipe with the world? People would probably make it and then share this recipe with their friends. Are you starting to see how this works?
These are easy niches to start in because things like food, beauty, or fitness are things that people spend a lot of time doing so there is a lot to share!
Example group 2
The next niche is wider than the one above. In niches like personal, travel, or business blogging, the scope of writing is much less focused and much more general.
For example, creating a personal blog can be a great way to share life lessons, share stories from your dating life, offer advice on how efficient you are at work, read books you've read, or really provide other information that you find interesting and that your audience would like to have.
I have some good friends who have turned a personal blog or travel blog into a passive income machine that virtually passively prints money – just by writing about what they found interesting.
Example group 3
Another type of niche that is popular with bloggers is one that is very specific to either very small or large audiences. These are sometimes referred to as "micronic".
The idea behind microniche is to be incredibly specific to the theme of the website, and focus on a very small niche that people are heavily invested in. Think of this as a subreddit that is its own blog that doesn't live on Reddit.
Audiences in this type of niche are very engaging, incredibly passionate about the subject, and will likely either be contributing to the blog themselves or at least be very busy commenting and sharing content.
Pets is probably the best example. If you've ever seen a blog about corgis you will know what I mean. If you don't, we recommend you do a quick Google search for "corgi blog" and then read the comments below the posts. If you do, the idea will come up pretty quickly.
We've covered most of the major blogging basics, but there's one more thing we haven't talked about yet – the blog platforms that allow you to actually blog and start a blog.
Different types of blogging platforms
Introduction to blogging platforms
When starting your first blog, you need to consider the best blog hosting platform for you.
The hosting platform or content management system (CMS) manages and stores all of the content you write. Your ideas and content will not materialize unless you have a blog hosting platform that you can use to bring them to life.
However, the blog hosting platform of your choice will depend on your needs and what you want to achieve as a blogger. Each platform offers something different. How well you are familiar with your chosen blog platform also plays an important role in your decision.
For newbies to bloggers, choosing a blog hosting platform now determines the future of your blog. You can change the platform later. However, it is better to choose the right one today to save time migrating your blog to another platform.
Let's take a look at how to choose the best blog hosting platform to use for your blog by considering the various factors and choices to make an informed decision.
What is the best blog hosting platform?
To lay the foundation of the article, we need to define what we mean by blog hosting platform.
There is a difference between a blog hosting platform and a blog platform.
A blog platform refers to websites that you can create an account on in order to set up your blog there.
Examples of blogging platforms are WordPress.com, Medium, Tumblr, and others. There are also website builders like Weebly and Wix that use the drag-and-drop builder to create beautiful websites with no coding or design experience. You can sign up for these blog platforms for free, but you can also upgrade your subscription to take advantage of premium features.
With blog platforms, all you have to worry about is creating your content. After signing up for an account, you can customize the look and feel of your blog and post content instantly. You don't have to worry about the technical details of your blog, making blogging platforms perfect for beginners.
The disadvantage of blog platforms are their limitations. You can only customize your blog as much as the system allows. While this wouldn't be an issue to begin with, there is a chance that you could grow beyond blogging platforms and look for more versatile platforms that can help you optimize your blog from the ground up.
- Often free of charge
- Very little technical knowledge is required to get started
- Ideal for hobby bloggers who don't want to make money
- Limited customization and functionality
- The blogging platform controls the domain and URL
Blog hosting platforms are different too
A blog hosting platform refers to web hosting services that allow you to set up and install the blog platform you choose.
The blogging platforms mentioned above don't require you to set them up with a web host. The ones that work best with web hosting providers are self-hosted blogging platforms like WordPress.org, Drupal, Joomla, and others.
There are several types of web hosting to choose from for your website. For those new to blogging, shared hosting is the best choice right now as it is the most affordable. This type of hosting allows you to set up your blog with other websites on the same server.
The limitation with shared hosting is that you are sharing server resources. If a blog is attracting the most traffic on shared hosting, most of the resources on the server are working for that blog, leaving your blog with little to work with.
Unless your blog is attracting thousands of visitors every day, this shouldn't be a problem right now. You can also upgrade your hosting plan to suit your blog's needs.
However, for web hosting you need to sign up for a monthly or annual subscription. The price for each web host depends on the features available. Now that you've chosen your web hosting provider, you still need to install and set up your blog yourself.
- High degree of customization and functionality
- Ready-made themes and plugins make it easy to design and add new features
- Infinitely expandable. Some of the largest websites in the world run on these platforms
- Running these platforms costs money
- Technical knowledge is required to start and run this type of blog
Are blogging platforms better than self-hosted ones?
As you can see, there are many factors involved in choosing a blog hosting platform. You manage the technical side of your blog, not just the writing and promoting of the posts. Beginners may find the process too intimidating and will take the easier route of signing up to sites like Medium and setting up their blog there.
However, the biggest advantage of web hosting platforms is customization.
There is so much to do with a self hosted blog. You can use plugins and add-ons to boost your blog and increase social shares, email subscribers, and traffic. These are things that are not available from website builders and other blog platforms.
In hindsight, blog platforms are easier to use, but they prevent your blog from doing more. Self-hosted blogs are much harder to manage, but the limit on how much you can do with them is endless!
My opinion on the best blog hosting platform
Personally, as a newbie blogger, I highly recommend that you set one up self hosted blog.
This isn't as convenient compared to website builders as you have to teach yourself how to install and set up your blog from your hosting's control panel.
Most web hosting platforms, however, offer tons of assistance in installing your blog from their servers. We have a step-by-step guide on how to start a blog that will walk you through that process as well. You can even pay a little more for managed WordPress hosting where someone else has managed the hosting for you.
Hence, getting your self-hosted blog up and running shouldn't be a problem.
Review: Types of Blogging Platforms
1. WordPress.com Blog
2. WordPress.org Blog
3. Wix Blog
4. Squarespace Blog
5. Joomla Blog
6. Other types of blogs
There are many options for your self-hosted blog. Personally, I suggest you use WordPress. BloggingTips.com is powered by WordPress. If you like the look and feel, you will definitely enjoy this platform.
There are good reasons why over 76 million websites are running on WordPress. The ease of use, the resources available to create a beautiful website, and the tools to power up your blog should convince you to use WordPress over others. Also, WordPress is a very SEO-friendly platform and makes it easier for users to find your website in search engines.
When choosing your blog hosting, you need to do your research. There are many hosting providers out there and it will be impossible for you to choose one right away.
However, first choose a provider that has deals Shared or WordPress hosting. They're cheap and affordable enough to help you set up a blog at a minimal cost. Namecheap and SiteGround are web hosting providers that are offering these types of hosting to great effect.