Blogging: The Super Simple Guide On How To Make Money Blogging in 2016 - Stop Working and Start Blogging (2016)
Chapter 2. PLANNING AND CREATING YOUR BLOG
A blog can be about anything, but to be successful, a blog must provide a valuable and tangible service or benefit to its readers. The content you create needs to be informative, entertaining, unique, creative, and/or engaging—something people want to read or watch.
It also needs to be consistent. Blogs that aren’t well focused find it very difficult to find and then retain an audience.
You should be certain that your blog, and your chosen topic, provide valuable and informative content. After all, if you’re able to provide valuable and reliable content of any kind, you’ll develop an audience, and that audience can keep growing.
Blogging is a fast-growing phenomenon. As blogging becomes even more mainstream and widespread, so does your potential audience. Blogs can be accessed from a desktop or notebook computer, any wireless internet device, an interactive TV set, a tablet (such as the iPad), or even a smartphone.
So as more individuals, companies, and organizations use blogs to communicate, more people will devote their time to reading blogs.
Without a doubt, blogging will continue to become more popular and evolve in the next years. It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon and become a successful blogger.
Even if you can’t come up with something truly unique to blog about, you can still develop a new twist to present your content and take a new approach when it comes to presenting it to your targeted audience.
With your enthusiasm to explore the world of professional blogging, and the tools and information provided in this informative book, you’ll potentially be able to earn money running a blog.
The amount of money you earn will be up to you. Keep in mind, many companies currently use a blog as a sales, marketing, promotional, or advertising tool, and/or to enhance their customer service or technical support. The blog can be used to generate revenue.
It All Starts with a Great Idea
As you already know, one of the first steps for launching a successful blog is the planning phase. Just as you wouldn’t launch a company without a detailed business plan, you don’t want to simply create a blog without a plan, especially if you’re hoping to generate revenue from it or use the blog in conjunction with your existing business.
This section covers the things you’ll need to anticipate and the preparations you’ll want to make before ever touching your keyboard to create your first blog entry.
A successful blog must have four main features:
1. A steady stream of original, interesting, informative, engaging, and/or entertaining content. The content should be targeted to its audience and displayed or presented in a way that’s easy to read and visually appealing.
2. A large and ever-growing audience
3. One or more reliable revenue sources (if the goal of the blog is, in fact, to generate revenue)
4. It should be synergistic with all of your other online activities, including what you do via your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and/or YouTube channel, etc.
Choosing a Profitable Topic
One of the most crucial and essential parts in creating and planning your blog is choosing a topic that will generate you good cash. When it comes to selecting an outstanding topic that will generate more profits and make you have a large number of audiences, you will need to have many factors to consider.
Things such as topic know how, the interest of the audiences and you competitors tactics should be considered before coming up with a topic. As a blogger, you should always come up with unique ideas to help you outdo your competitors in the market.
Here are some of the factors you should consider.
1) The audience targeted- The content that you are going to write should aim at a particular audience
2) Are you targeting a large audience? – You should consider how you are going to reach and inform your intended audience about the blog.
3) Is the topic you are choosing have more to write in the future?
4) Does the topic have many competitors in the market?
5) Which measures are you going to take to make your topic unique and different from other competitors?
If your goal is to attract millions of visitors every month to a blog, the topic you select should have mass appeal or be somewhat mainstream, yet have a unique twist to it. As you try to determine the size of your audience, be realistic and develop appropriate expectations.
For example, a blog that addresses the political happenings in your town of 30,000 people may very well become the hottest thing in that town, but the audience growth potential has a ceiling. People in other towns, much less in other states or countries, will have little or no interest in your blog.
Even if you create the most incredible blog and the potential audience is the people in your town, realistically, it’s likely that only one out of every 10 people in your town will have the time or interest to read blogs in the course of their day, and of those few people, even fewer are most likely interested in local politics.
So while the topic of local politics may excite you personally, the reality is that this topic is very limited in terms of its potential audience and ability to grow.
Bloggers just like you have achieved success blogging about a wide range of topics. The following are just a few general areas that you might consider as you choose what you’ll blog about.
If you’re operating a blog for a company, the blog itself can focus on your company, its philosophies, and/or the people who run the company, for example. The blog can (and should) be targeted to your potential and/or existing customers or clients.
Consider using a company blog to explain how to best use your product or service (i.e., provide step-by-step how-to information), share customer testimonials, offer product comparisons, and/or interact with your customers in an informal way in order to share new information about products/services on the horizon.
If you’re at a loss for words but have photos that can tell a story, consider creating a photo blog or using a service like Facebook, Google+, Instagram, or Pinterest to share your digital images. Just as with traditional blogs, there are no rules for creating photo blogs and/or online galleries, so you can opt to include a detailed photo caption for each image, or allow each photo to speak for itself.
Photos displayed in a pre-determined sequence, for example, can be used to tell a powerful story. It’s also possible to publish exactly where and when each photo was taken, and link keywords or tags to each photo, which make it easier for people to find.
One way to virtually ensure you’ll have plenty to blog about, now and in the future, is to focus on a specific industry and blog about that industry as a whole. For example, there’s the “entertainment industry,” or more specifically, “TV,” “music,” “movies,” or “celebrities.”
There’s also the computer industry, consumer electronics, sports, fashion, mining, transportation, and literally thousands of other potential industries to choose from, provided you have some knowledge about the industry and something to say in your blog.
Within a single industry, there are probably thousands or even tens of thousands or millions of people who work within it. These would be potential audience members for your blog, as would be consumers who benefit from the products or services created by your choice of industries to blog about.
Once you have a general industry or topic, try to narrow it down a bit so the blog will have focus and appeal to a specific group of people.
Blogs about commodity items, such as digital cameras and consumer electronics, for example, provide good advertising options for bloggers and can potentially offer a stable source of advertising revenue.
If you choose to cover the technology industry, you’ll quickly find you have some significant competition. Do some researches before you launch your blog. Find out what’s out there, and discover a way to do it better, or focus on a different niche to cover.
There are plenty of niches within the tech industry, or any industry for that matter, that you can choose from and potentially offer a blog with a unique perspective.
As you consider all of the thousands of different industries out there, you’ll certainly be able to find at least one that appeal to you and that you’d have an interest in blogging about.
If you choose to blog about an industry, much of your time preparing content (blog entries) will be spent searching for industry news, following industry trends, reporting about industry breakthroughs, and discussing industry gossip.
Blogs Focusing on an Organization
Once your blog is published, you’ll need to promote it to all your social networks. The fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to quickly build an audience is to generate positive word-of-mouth about your blog.
Encourage your blog’s followers to tell their friends about it. Publish a “Share” button or “Share” icons with each blog entry—it’s free, easy, and powerful.
Posting personal artwork, such as drawings, paintings, or photography, has helped some bloggers not only earn money from art sales and related merchandising, but also gain fans and a dedicated following for their work.
Thousands of followers or fans gives you, the artist, added credibility and improves your real-world marketability. A popular art blog, for example, can lead to larger licensing, merchandising, or sponsorship deals.
Continuous Stream of Content
When choosing what to blog about, remember to choose an overall topic that won’t dry up. Public interest is fickle and rarely stays on one topic for very long. So be sure to choose a topic that has held public interest (or the interest of your target audience) for a long time and will continue to do so in the future.
No one can control public interest. People can only influence public interest and trends, both of which can be somewhat predictable. Examine trends in the past, stick to reliable topics, and don’t select a subject so esoteric that you limit your audience as you choose the focus on your blog.
As you develop your content, keep in mind that the attention span of your audience is very short. For text-based blogs, keep your postings short. Likewise, a video published within a blog or on YouTube, for example, should be kept to between three and five minutes in length.
Your Credibility as a Blogger
Choosing a topic that you are familiar is an ideal idea. You shouldn’t choose a topic that you know little or nothing about. Chances are, if you know nothing about the topic you select now, you don’t have too much interest in the subject.
Ideally, you want to be absolutely passionate about whatever it is you blog about since that passion will come across to your audience. Plus, in the weeks and months to come, if you have a passion for your blogging topic, you’ll enjoy the whole blogging process that much more.
If you can’t honestly call yourself an expert in the topic you choose, get up to speed quickly by reading books, magazines, newspapers, and other blogs. To establish credibility, you’ll want to choose a topic that isn’t so large that your expertise doesn’t seem plausible.
Choose a topic of manageable size and that can be used to enhance your credibility.
Before you take on all of your competition in cyberspace, find out who that competition is and how much of it actually exists.
You’ll do yourself a disservice by entering a topic area that’s already chock-full of bloggers, unless you’ve developed a unique approach.
Similarly, taking on established industry experts can be prohibitively difficult, unless your qualifications are top-notch, and again, you have a different approach to creating your content.
You shouldn’t completely disregard your chosen topic if you find that it’s crowded or well-covered. While that may be what you end up doing, you should consider adjusting your tactics first.
If your preferred topic is crowded, readership for that type of content may already be spread too thin across too many blogs (and other media outlets), thereby leaving all the blogs with little traffic or profit potential.
As you study your competition, take detailed notes in regard to how and where other people are succeeding and where they’re falling behind. Learn specifically what works (in terms of your blog topic and its target audience) and improve upon or fix what doesn’t. In other words, learn from your competitors’ mistakes and don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
Your Interest and Passion
Before committing yourself to one particular topic, realize that whatever topic you choose will become the focal point of your everyday blogging life.
Consider this carefully and objectively. You don’t want to be stuck with a blog you can’t stand, and ultimately, a job that you hate or resent. Remember, you’re potentially starting a moneymaking blogging “business,” which means taking the project beyond where a mere hobbyist would go.
When people read your blog content, it should become immediately obvious that not only are you an expert on the subject matter but you’re also passionate about it. At the same time, it’s essential that the blog’s readers/viewers feel as if you’re committed to them and to meeting all of their needs, wants, and interests as they’re related to the topic.
Choose the Best Way to Present Your Content
When you’re creating a traditional blog, the primary way you’ll present your content is through the written word. However, don’t forget you can also easily incorporate photos, graphs, charts, illustrations, animated graphics, digital slides, tables, music, audio, video, and other multimedia content in order to get your point across and convey your information.
Choose the method that best caters to your target audience, keeping in mind its attention span is very short. Then, once you choose the best method for communicating what you have to say, focus on the best way to say it. For example, research shows that people love to read top-10 lists as well as bulleted points that break up information into small chunks, making it easier to understand and digest.
That old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is certainly true. Instead of wasting several paragraphs describing something, can you convey the same information using a single digital image, chart, or graph?
Deciding how to best communicate information within your blog is where knowing and understanding your audience, as well as creativity, come into play. While it’s always good to incorporate one or more photos into a blog post to break up the text, only use images that are directly relevant to your content.
Avoid unnecessary distractions that will clutter the screen, and of course, make sure you have permission to use whatever photos or artwork you want to feature within your blog so you don’t violate anyone else’s copyrights or trademarks.
Create a Posting Schedule and Stick to It
Once you commit to becoming a blogger, figure out how often you’ll publish new posts, and promote your schedule to your audience. Then, make sure you stick to that schedule. Failing to adhere to a regular posting schedule will make it very difficult to build and then retain an audience.
Before committing to a schedule, make sure you have enough content to meet that schedule over the long term. If you publish new postings daily, you don’t want to run out of fresh ideas after a few weeks or months.
Even if you publish a new post once every two weeks or once a month, that’s fine as long as that’s what your audience expects, although frequency and consistency will allow you to grow your audience much faster.
Selecting a Blog Name
Selecting a suitable name for your blog is one of the more creative steps as you get started. Your blog’s name should be creative, memorable, intriguing, and quickly summarize what your blog is all about and who it’s of interest to. It will be how people find and recognize you.
When naming your blog, there are a few guidelines you should follow. First, create a descriptive name that’s appropriate for your blog topic.
Domain Name Concerns
Keep your site’s domain name in mind when naming your blog. Ideally, your blog’s name should be your blog’s domain name to keep things simple for your readers. Therefore, you should choose a brief and memorable name that works well with “.com” tagged onto the end of it.
Strategies for Producing Quality Videos (Vlogs)
When it comes to producing video-based content these days, you’ll definitely want to utilize a camera capable of shooting high-definition (HD) quality video and take advantage of a camera that allows you to connect an external micro- phone so you can capture professional-quality audio.
This is particularly important if you’re creating video content on behalf of a business that needs to maintain a professional reputation.
Choosing a Platform for Growth
Now that a few of the intangibles are out of the way, it’s time to start planning the logistical aspects of getting your blog up and running. There are countless options when it comes to blog creation and hosting services, and to cover them all in one book isn’t plausible, especially since new blogging services and technologies are constantly being introduced.
Hosted Blogging Services vs. Installed Server Applications
There are two main types of blogging platforms: hosted services and server applications. Both perform basically the same task of publishing a blog. Chances are, as you get started, any option you choose will meet your needs for creating a basic, straightforward, traditional, text-based blog.
However, if you want to add specialized functionality, interactivity, or unique features to your blog, you’ll want to pay careful attention to what’s offered by each type of service or software product.
There are significant technological differences between hosted blogging services and installed server applications. The method you choose will have a significant impact on how you run your blog in the future, as well as on your operational costs.
Hosted Blogging Services
A hosted blogging service is an entirely web-based option for publishing a blog. All aspects of your blog’s creation, publishing, and management are done online, using online-based tools. All you need is access to the web from any standard internet browser (or a specialized app on your tablet or smartphone).
All your interactions with the blogging service, including setting up and the posting of new entries to your own blog, is done through the blogging service’s website.
There’s nothing to download or install, no programming is required, and you can begin blogging immediately. This is also a very low-cost option. In fact, many of the hosted blogging services are free of charge.
To first establish your blog, you’ll need to choose a blog hosting service, and then register with that service. This process takes no more than a few minutes.
To register initially, you’ll need to supply basic information about yourself, including your name and email address.
Once registered, you’re given a web address URL for your blog. Your blog’s address, at least initially, will be some extension of the blogging service’s address. Some services allow you to choose this extension, and some assign it to you. Your new blog’s address could take any of several different formats.
To make things easy for your followers, ultimately what you’ll want to do is register an easy-to-remember domain name, and then forward it to your assigned blog address.
Suitability for Your Content
When researching the various blogging platforms, be sure to consider your intended content. In terms of storage, functionality, and bandwidth, for example, your needs will be vastly different if you’ll be operating a traditional text- based blog versus publishing podcasts or videos.
All the traffic analysis and ad network integration in the world won’t help you if the service doesn’t allow you to post photos on your photo blog. The first thing to look for in a blogging service or application is the ability to handle the content you wish to include within your blog.
In some cases, a blog is comprised simply of text, hyperlinks, and photos. To meet the needs of this type of blog, any blog service you choose will be able to handle all the content you need.
But as the blogging phenomenon has expanded, so have the requirements of the bloggers. To keep up with the competition, you may need your blog to play audio clips, videos, Flash animations, or have some level of interactivity. Be sure to check out the feature lists of each blog platform.
Depending on the goals of your blog, you may choose to generate revenue from it by displaying ads from other companies. Most of the blogging services have built-in advertising capabilities, plus the ability to quickly integrate Google AdSense ads or other forms of display or search advertising ads.
This functionality makes generating revenue by displaying ads relatively easy, assuming your blog receives significant traffic and the displayed ads interest your blog’s audience. Popular ad networks, such as Google’s AdSense, sometimes affiliate themselves with a particular blogging service to enable users of that service to install their ads in a few steps.
Once your blog begins drawing serious traffic, you may outgrow Google Ad- Sense advertising, and depending on the blog service you ultimately use, incorporating other outside ad networks may not be allowed or technically possible.
There may come a time in your blogging life when you’ll want to solicit individual advertisers and/or belong to multiple ad networks. Therefore, you Should find a blogging service that not only makes advertising easy in the beginning but also allows for expansion. Ask the blog service providers if they lock you into a single ad network and if they allow access to your blog’s template code for more ad integration later.