So, you want to get in on the blogging phenomenon, but you don’t know what to do. Maybe you have tried managing a blog in the past and it was a failure. Well, I am not an expert in this field, but I have been doing it long enough to know what works and what will work. I have not made any real money from blogging, but I do know what other people have done to be successful at making money from blogging.
First, start your own personal blog and post to it regularly. The best thing about doing this is that you can learn from your mistakes and learn about the blogging culture by maintaining a personal blog before you start your entrepreneurial ventures. You can start a free, personal blog on blogger.com or blogspot.com. There are others, but those sites have interfaces the closest to more sophisticated blogging software. Make sure that you still talk about interesting subjects on your personal blog. Do reviews of movies, music, and books. Talk about current events or whatevever hobbies interest you. Refrain from talking about what you ate for dinner or how your co-workers started dating. You can experiment as much as you want on your personal blog, because you are not doing it to make money. You’re doing it to gain experience with the whole blogging idea.
Second, find a niche to blog about that stems from your personal blog. After you have been blogging for a few months, figure out what subject you talk the most about on your personal blog. What subject do you feel most comfortable writing about? Are you passionate about that subject? The key to a successful entrepreneurial blog is having passion for what you are writing about. If you aren’t passionate about the subject, then the readers will see right through you, and you won’t develop a strong readership base.
Third, get a domain name, a web host, and some free blogging software. You can start a niche blog on a free site, but you’ll eventually need to move it to a paid domain name site hosted by your own web service. Having your own domain name is more professional and people will remember it better than “yadayadayada.blogspot.com”. You can buy a cheap domain name at Go Daddy for about $8. The most expensive part about running your own domain name site is having someone host it for you on the web. My recommendation is Dream Host. They have been my host for over 2 years now, and you can get 200 gigs of space and 2.5 terabytes of bandwidth for about $120!! They are great. My site never runs slow, and their servers never crash. As far as free blogging software goes, I use WordPress. It is by far the number one free, open-source blogging software on the internet. It is so easy to install and manipulate. All it takes a little research and reading on your part, and you will be posting on a great looking blog site in no time.
Fourth, start driving loads of traffic to your site. Steve Pavlina has a great article about building a quality blog and how to monetize it. The key to a successful blog is tons of traffic. There are books, blogs, podcasts, and many other sources dedicated to giving people the inside scoop on how to drive more traffic to their sites, but there is only one thing that matters when it comes to a content driven site – quality content. This ties in with being passionate about the subject that you write about. If you create quality content that adds value to people’s lives, the traffice will come. It might not come right away, but believe me, you will see a steady increase as long as you are faithful to writing posts, and writing posts that people want to read. There are other ways of bringing traffic to your site like getting to other bloggers and getting them to put your link on their site. Also, you can submit your blog to blog directories and other aggregate sites that compile a list of blogs with a common subject and post their most recent articles. However, always remember that quality content is the most important aspect of driving new traffic and getting that traffic to come back the next day.
Fifth, constantly research how to improve your blog’s appearance, features, and exposure. The blogging community is still fairly new, so new things are coming out every day to improve blogs. In order to be successful with blogging for side income or full-time, you need to be somewhat computer savvy. You don’t have to be a programmer, but you need to know how to manipulate wordpress, deal with rss feeds, add advertising applets to your blog, and other tasks that are necessary to manage and run a blog.
There is a plethora of information out there about how to start a blog, improve a blog, and monetize a blog, but these are five basic steps and principles that hold true for anyone interested in blogging for fun or for profit.