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How to Start a Blog

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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. 

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11 Comments

  • Mark Ross says:

    Great guide Christine! Starting a blog, if successful, can really bring one lots of money.

    • Christine says:

      Totally, blogging has transformed my life, in terms of the people I’ve met, places I’ve been and of course the extra money I’ve made. Thanks so much for dropping by!

  • DivHut says:

    I do agree that social media can be a great tool for getting more traffic and exposure for your blog, however, I feel it largely is a waste of time. There are endless social platforms out there, FB, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, etc. etc. (and who knows what crops up tomorrow) that you end up wasting so much of your time trying to promo your content that you end up neglecting your own site. In the old web 1.0 days the secret to a great site was creating a great site. 100% of your time and energy went into working on your site instead of FB time and Twitter time etc. Back to basics.

    • Christine says:

      Hey DivHut, I’m starting to agree with you. When I first started blogging (over 2 years ago) whenever I posted something to Facebook on my Page I’d get a lot of interaction, sharing and so on. Nowadays I barely get a like or two… I think it’s in part because I haven’t been super engaged consistently with my audience, but also because Facebook has made it harder to do well without spending money. It’s a bit of a shame.

      I also agree the real secret is simply creating a great site with great content! I’m focusing on my content and engaging with my audience.

  • Frank Moreau says:

    I do find that Blogger provides more challenges…no doubt about that but I like Blogger due to the security and ease of use. However, it is more challenging from an advertising standpoint.

    • Christine says:

      There are lots of popular bloggers that started on Blogger and some that still use it – it’s all about what works for you 🙂

  • Hey Christine! I’m impressed, $100,000! I’d love to be able to make that sort of income online. When did you realize that things were picking up speed? I started my site a few months ago and things are slow for now. Cheers!

    • Christine says:

      Hey Thomas, it actually took a bit of a while for things to get momentum – in that time I was freelance writing online to make income. I spent a lot of time commenting on other blogs, networking with other bloggers, commenting on other bloggers, doing guest posts on other blogs and so on. The two main things my advertisers look for is Domain Authority (to be above 30) and Page Rank to be above 2, 3 or higher is better. Unfortunately, Google Page Rank is not really updating often so it’s putting a big damper on new bloggers to start making money from sponsored posts, if that’s something you’re interested in. Advertisers seem to be lagging behind and not appreciating it hasn’t updated in over 6 months!

      Once I had some advertisers contact me, I traded them pretty aggressively with other bloggers and built up a substantial list of my own. I hope that helps!

  • Hi Christine, it’s great to hear you. How I wish I could have started blogging 7 years ago when I have the direct access to the internet. But at that time I never knew what is a blog. But I never lost hope now that I know this system, I already have 14 posts and starting earning with cents.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Alberto,

      Lovely to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to place a comment on my blog. I wish I had started earlier too – hindsight is a nice luxury. It is great to hear you are already making money with only 14 posts. Imagine how your blog will be when you have 50 or 100! Thanks again for dropping by 🙂

  • Whitney says:

    Interesting article…. I’ve been blogging for a while now. Where do you see it going in the future? I’ve heard pagerank will no longer update anymore – do you think this will really hinder new bloggers?

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