How to Start a Blog for Profit
If you want to learn how to start a blog for profit, you may have come up against several barriers. Many people try to go it alone. This can be a large reason why many people fail.
How to Start Your Blog the Right Way
Learning how to do things right from the start is going to not only get you to profitability faster, but is going to cost much less in the long run. This is because you won't have to spend your money on a whole bunch of programs that will do little towards your success.
The following are challenges that several people face when starting a blog:
- Unfamiliarity with the necessary technologies
- Lack of a cohesive plan that defines the purpose of the blog
- Unclear about the constituent components needed to include in a blog
- No strategy to keep the blog legal and compliant
- Not sure what to write about (that infamous writer's block!)
- Unable to Effectively Get Traffic (Visitors) to the Blog
- Earnings Expectations
I could come up with more, but you get the general idea. These are the major challenges that bloggers are often confronted with.
Technologies Required for Blogging
The first challenge is which technologies to implement when setting up your blog. Prior to the blogging craze, people had to construct a website from scratch. They tried and then discovered that was much more difficult than imagined and ended up having to pay designers to revamp the website. It was not uncommon for budgets to be in the high four figures for this.
Content Management Systems
When the Content Management Systems (CMS) were introduced, this leveled the playing field for everyone. These CMS solutions made it much simpler for non technology people to set up blogs and maintain them.
Although there are several CMS solutions that exist on the market, the biggest by far is WordPress. It's usually best to stick with the industry leader as you will have many more choices available to you with respect to customizing your installation with themes, plugins, etc. Those that aren't at the top are either going to eventually go away (due to lack of popularity) or they are simply going to be ignored.
If you are unfamiliar with CMS or WordPress, no worries! I will include in the resources how to set up a blog in less than 30 seconds. Yes, this is not only possible, people do it all the time!
I am going to go out on a limb and state that you will spend 95% of your technology efforts within WordPress. It is a self contained system that has a majority of the necessary items to get your work complete.
But there will be times when you'll need to perform other tasks, like sending files up to your blog. For example, suppose you created a PDF document that you want people to be able to download. The technology needed to accomplish this is File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
If you are new to blogging, then it isn't necessary to worry about this component right now. It only serves to confuse and frustrate people. Therefore, it's best to ignore this technology for now.
Planning Your Site and Choosing a Focus
How many times have you read a blog and the content of the blog had nothing much to do with the title of the blog? Blogs that have any chance of profitability must stick to narrowly focused topic. Readers get lost when a blogger that runs a fishing blog starts talking about his kids going to college or how his dog learned a neat new trick.
Now, there are instances when you can go off topic. For instance, with a fishing blog, it could make sense to start discussing fishing boats or licenses for boating and even regulations that need to be followed could have a place. But even here, it's important to try and keep the focus as close to the topic of fishing as possible.
People are busy. When they are looking for something online, they want what they find to be relevant. And so does search engines like Google. Within Google's search algorithm exists the ability to determine which blogs serve relevant content and tends to reward those blogs. They do it via how well engaged the readers are to blog.
What Components Need to Be Included in Your Blog?
Knowing which components to include in your blog is a critical piece in the blogging equation. CMS solutions have features that allow you to extend the capabilities of your website. In WordPress this is done using themes, plugins, and widgets, etc. But new bloggers are not aware of which are the right components to include. They load up on a bunch of these extensions and their blog either slows down to a crawl or worse, disables the blog.
Also in the resources section below, I will include training modules that tell you exactly which components to include in your blog. This will help you keep your blog running smoothly.
Many countries are requiring blog and website owners to comply with newly formed laws and guidelines. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission outlines procedures that must be followed in order to stay within the legal constraints required by bloggers.
Google and other search engines also require certain disclosures. While you are not required to adhere to search engines requirements, failure to do so will probably lead to penalties and possible black listings.
What To Write About
It's important to create high quality content for your blog. This is another crucial component of the blogging equation. This content not only has to be high quality but there needs to be a lot of it on a consistent basis.
But many people struggle with developing this content. Often, they start out strong and then hit a barrier commonly known as writer's block. They either give up and stop writing, or they start drifting from the topic of the website and writing content that is not relevant. Readers will move on when this happens.
There are techniques that you can learn that will help you continually write content that is highly relevant, as well as high quality. Once you learn these techniques, you will find that creating your content is no longer an issue. You will be well on your way to formulate your blog and earn income from it.
For a great article on how to generate blog topic ideas, take a look at Mike Fishbein's post on the subject.
Getting Traffic to Your Blog
This is arguably one of the biggest hurdles that bloggers face. With an increase in competition among bloggers along with rules that search engines are imposing, it is becoming a growing concern to get traffic to your blog.
Website visitors are becoming more discerning too. They have the upper hand because there are many blogs and websites. If they come to your website and don't see what they are looking for, it's adios from that visitor.
Traffic is a complicated subject and I've included a resource (below) for you that can help improve how you approach your traffic generation.
We hear about people who earn a full time living from their blogs and we get excited. We are led to believe that we can repeat. It is possible. That is the purpose of this article. But what is often not said is how long it took these bloggers to become self sufficient via their blogs. Although there are cases of people that have made money within a few months or even a few weeks, the truth is you should set your expectations that it is going to be much longer than that. For several people it can even take years.
What this means is you will need to have a buffer with respect to income. Whether that means continue working while you build your business, or start something on the side in a freelance capacity, is something you may want to consider.
The great aspect of blogging is that you can do it part time and you can even outsource much of the work if you find you don't have time. If you have a full time job, utilizing outsourcing can make a lot of sense.
Many bloggers when they start making money, pour that money back in to their business and outsource much of the work. Other bloggers choose to do everything themselves. While others yet will do a mix. It's completely up to you how you want to go about it.
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