Recently I received a comment on one of my post where a reader asked me regarding how he might be able to start his blog. While I did provide him with some basic guidelines, I felt the need to make a comprehensive post for helping out people who may be looking to start their own blog. In this post I will provide you with a crash course for starting and earning revenue from your own professional blog and the things that you should consider before you begin.
Things To Consider Before Making A Blog
Blogging is easier than most forms of technical writing as it is an informal mode of expression. Nonetheless, you cannot simply start a blog on any topic that comes to mind and should consider the following factors before setting up your blog.
You should target a market niche which may not be saturated and for which you might find yourself comfortable to write about. For example, I was a system engineer who later switched to blogging and technical writing (mainly related to IT based subject matter).
I started my writing career from a Technology blog and eventually started my own. During the course of this I learned about using and installing WordPress to create a professional blog.
Make Use of your Strengths
You should try to target readers which may be associated to a particular market niche that you can write for. If your strength is writing about smartphones, then it might be wise to start off with a blog which targets the kind of smartphones that you can work with (e.g. Android devices).
Start on a Small Scale
You should try to start on a small scale instead of trying to cover too many topics. It’s OK to write on fewer topics in the short run rather than creating too many random categories and later being unable to add useful content for them.
You can create a professional blog for as low as $100 per year or less, depending on your hosting package.
It is not advised to spend an extravagant amount of money when starting your blog since you might have to face a loss for more than a year. Since this is at least the amount of time that you should expect until your content becomes popular enough and your traffic stabilizes to 5-10 thousand page views a day. However, you can end up having a better or worse experience depending on your content, market saturation, SEO techniques, etc.
Getting The Basics Right
When selecting a hosting package make sure that you have a package that offers adequate monthly bandwidth and hosting space. Some packages offer unlimited hosting space on a shared server which is good enough for a new blog. Such packages can often be updated later (if required) and can be adjusted in view of the daily traffic and profitability of your blog.
The domain name should suit your target market and preferably should have a keyword in it. It is not advised to keep a domain name that is absolutely according to your primary keyword. For example, if your keyword is technology guides, then a domain of this name can get you penalized by Google’s Exact Match Domain algorithm.
Setting Up Your Blog Using WordPress
To setup your blog, follow the following guidelines:
Buy Hosting Space and a Domain
Buy a hosting package and domain (ideally from the hosting provider). This can help you to automatically redirect your domain to your hosting space.
After you sign up and pay for your domain name and blog you will be given a C Panel where you can login and deploy WordPress using a single click installer. Such installers are usually provided by the hosting service with elaborate video and written guides. WordPress is an SEO friendly platform for blogs and is quite easy to use. You can test out this method by signing up for a free domain via services like FreeHostia (Chocolate Package which is free for 1 year). If you are satisfied you can later pay for the hosting space and turn your free service to a paid one or simply use the free space for learning purposes and later create a blog on a more reliable hosting service provider than the free service.
Apply a theme
After WordPress has been installed go to www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and login. Once done, you can begin applying your theme using the WordPress Dashboard. All you have to do is to login to your Dashboard, go to Appearance -> install themes (tab) and upload a theme file. You can search for free and paid themes for WordPress and download the theme file from respective websites. This file can then be uploaded and applied easily.
You can add Plugins to enhance your blog. For example, you can add plug-ins for Google Analytics tracking, showing thumbnails for related posts to direct visitors to related posts, cache plug-in to speed up your blog, sharing plugin to add sharing options for social media websites (e.g. Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, etc).
Earning Money From Your Blog
While setting up and maintaining your blog is exhaustive enough, earning money can be even tougher. As mentioned earlier. Here are a few ad options that you can use to monetize your website.
Google Ad Sense
Google Adsense is the most widely used advertisement option for most blogs. You can even use Adsense if you have a free blog on BlogSpot. However, its real earning potential can only be seen on blogs with high traffic. Blogs that have a traffic above a hundred thousand visitors are able to earn hundreds of dollars a day. However, blogs with slow traffic can end up waiting for their payment for months. Users are paid after their earnings reach $100. For more details, check out the Google Ad Sense website.
Buy Sell Ads
This is another good option to sell your webspace for banner ads, however you will require atleast 50,000 or more monthly impressions to qualify for it.
In text advertisement can be quite annoying for readers, however it is a good way to get some earnings in the short-run at least. However you are unlikely to earn too much from it and might only be able to acquire $50-$100 a month after you are able to build good traffic. Some in-text advertisement options include Kontera and Infolinks.
Avangate And Other Affiliate Programs
Some services like Avangate pay according to sales via your ads. For example, if you have placed an ad on your website which is clicked by a user who ends up purchasing a product, then you can earn a share from the sale. It is worth mentioning here that such modes of advertisement are difficult to yield results from and some affiliate programs may not be compatible with Google Ad Sense.
If you are able to establish your blog quite well, then you can directly sell space to advertisers who may contact you via a section from your blog (e.g. a section labeled as Contact Us or Contact For Advertisement).
Optimizing And Promoting Your Blog
To optimize and promote your blog, see the following helpful guides.
Search Engine optimization
- What is SEO And How Can You Optimize Your Website?
- How To Avoid Getting Penalized By Google Penguin And Panda Updates
Social Media Marketing
- How To Promote Your Business Using A Facebook Page
- How To Promote Your Website Or Blog With The Help Of Social Media
- What Are Website Broken Links And How To Fix Them
- Make Your Web Pages Faster With YSlow [Extension]
- Scan A Plugin Or Your Website For Viruses