I started making money from my blog after about a year and by the end of the second year I’d made over $100,000 in online income through my blog. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if I was to repeat the process again I would definitely do a few things differently. I thought it’d be helpful if I started a “How to start a blog” series to help you who are thinking about blogging get the ball rolling.
Why Would You Want to Start a Blog?
My initial reasoning for starting a blog was to share my story, photos and journey with friends and family overseas. It evolved into my online portfolio when I started to freelance write online and then eventually became my main source of income through advertising. There are so many reasons why someone might want to start a blog; for a hobby, to network, to share information, to fill a niche, to boost their business, to earn money online or just to document certain aspects of their life. The reasons vary from person to person, but I believe almost everyone should have a blog, especially if they love writing.
I started this blog to document my finance journey online, to inspire others but also to keep myself accountable. I can’t made a tonne of poor money decisions while I’m trying to blog about finance… that would just be really awkward.
How Do you Start a Blog?
There are two main routes you can go for setting up a blog.
A) Use free hosting on a website such as blogspot.com, blogger.com or wordpress.com
B) Invest in your own hosting through companies such as BlueHost.com and set up your own “.com” website
There are pros and cons to both options. Obviously A) involves no financial investment and this can be a great way to test the waters before really committing. Before I launched my travel blog, I had a blog that was just about my thoughts and feelings, through WordPress. The cons of A) is that you’ll probably never make money from it because it’s not a stand-alone website and you might find yourself limited by the site providing the blogging service. After a few months of blogging I ended up setting up my own hosting through Bluehost.com and my site is still with them to this day.
I initially used a free WordPress theme to set up my site and there are tons of instructional videos on how to do this which makes it easy for novices. After some time I upgraded to a premium theme that has a lot more flexibility and options. For the purpose of my sites there’s very little point paying for a customised site, but if you’re a business operating online you might find this important for your business.
You Need Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all the different types of social media have become parts of our daily lives. It is how we interact with many people each day, especially those who do not live close to us. You can use social media to your advantage to attract new readers and to engage with readers you already have. It’s very important that you include social sharing buttons on your website because it will allow your page to be easily shared to gain more traffic.
Some Notes About Facebook
In the past year I’ve seen the way Facebook Pages operates change dramatically. A year or so ago any post I made on Facebook would be seen by a large number of Facebook Fans… these days the visibility is so low that unless your posts get a lot engagement it’s almost a waste of time posting things on there. It’s a shame, because in the past Facebook has been a great way to get exposure to new blog posts. I’m actually shifting my energy away from Facebook and towards Twitter and Pinterest as I believe it is a more valuable time investment.
How to Get Search Engine Traffic
Building up search engine traffic can be a bit of a fine art. You should do a little reading on Search Engine Optimisation as it will help you learn a little more about how it all works. Basically, Google (and other search engines) search the web organising pages based on what words they contain and how visitors interact with them. It’s important how you name images, place key words and even how long visitors stay on your site. For more information, you should check out the Beginner’s Guide to SEO (it’s free).
For more information check out How to Start a Blog Part 2
Do you have a blog? Are you thinking of starting one? Let me know in the comments below and if you have a blog put it in the comments so I can check it out.