Blogging started sometime around 1994. Back then bogs were more like a personal diary that people shared online.
The internet wasn’t as widely available as it is today and not many people had online access. Despite the changes that have taken place over the years the basic nature of blogging is still very personal in nature.
People still blog about what they love or have a particular interest in. Blogging is now more diverse and no longer just a way of keeping a personal diary.
What is a blog?
Technically, a blog is an online journal or informational website displaying information in reverse chronological order, with the latest posts appearing first, at the top.
You might be wondering what the difference is between a blog and a website. They pretty much mean the same thing in layman’s terms but the main difference is, a website consists of content presented on static pages and is rarely updated while a blog will most likely contain posts that are regularly updated.
The more active a blog is, the more successful it is bound to become.
Blogging has transformed to become an opportunity to communicate information in a new way online. According to Hosting Tribunal, there are currently more than 500 million blogs on the internet today, out of 1.7 billion websites.
Why should you have a blog?
There are many reasons why you may want to have a blog. Most people will start a blog for personal use. Say for example a chef might want to write a post of the creative process that they go through to produce their signature dishes.
The local cafeteria might want to write a blog about their new menu which they can share with their customers.
Blogging can be done for business, projects, or anything else that might bring you money. It is a great way to attract consumers to keep buying your products and services.
The whole purpose of a blog is to connect you to the relevant audience and acts as a lead generation tool. At the end of your blog you want your visitors to do something. That is referred to as a call to action (CTA).
Visitors don’t have to necessarily buy from you, though. Your CTA could be anything ranging from leaving a comment, writing a review, sharing on social media, signing up for a newsletter, etc. Interaction with you or your brand helps you to create a network of loyal followers.
How to set up your blog
Starting a blog is one of those things that are both easy and hard. Easy in the sense that putting up a website (Read blog) together just takes a couple of steps. The hard part comes when you don’t know what the heck to blog about.
In all honesty, you need to think hard and deep about what you would like to write about before jumping. It is a common mistake that would be bloggers end up making. It has to be something you are passionate about. If you are passionate about a particular topic, chances are you can share information related to it.
In marketing lingo, we call it a niche.
I am a graphic designer by profession. There is a lot I can tell you about Photoshop. Identifying your passion is a great place to start. In fact, it’s probably the single most important starting point.
Once you have identified your passion, you will need to learn a couple of skills.
It all starts with a website. A website must have a name. Get yourself a catchy name that people will remember. Apple is a fruit but they sell digital devices. Amazon is a jungle but they pretty much sell anything. Try not to get too hung up on the name. Just make sure it reflects your brand and who you are as a person.
Use free resources at the beginning
The one thing you don’t want to do is spend money on hosting, WordPress, Themes, etc. There are very many free resources online that can help you get started.
You want to get the gist of writing before you can start spending. Inevitably, you will need to invest in your blog for you to scale up and improve efficiency. Most online resources are free but have paid versions for those ready to take things up a notch.
Use the widget below to start creating your FREE blog.
Writing your content
Again, this is one of those easy/hard things to do.
If I told you to write a 1000 word article on something you are familiar with, I can bet you it would not be easy. My first blog took me a whole day to write.
And yet, it’s not as hard as you would imagine. When you are writing blog content, try to imagine that you are actually not writing but rather, having a conversation with someone.
The golden rule is to write the way you speak. Don’t be afraid to use popular phrases or slang. I sometimes use the word biz instead of business. I could also say let’s get rolling, meaning let’s move forward. They are just words people use and identify with. Remember you are writing for people. Throw away everything they taught you in grammar school and just have fun.
Grasping that concept early in the game will go a long way into your writing. Your blog should be written in an informal or conversational style. It is never easy at the beginning but over time you will begin to get the hang of it. Practise makes perfect, they say.
Also notice that I have used short paragraphs in this post. Breaking your content into short tiny paragraphs makes it easier for the reader to go through.
The importance of Keywords
Writing content requires you to know what topics other people are covering and how many people are writing about it. You don’t want to write about a subject that has been extensively covered. It will just make it harder for people to find you. Remember you are in competition with others as well.
You also want to ensure that you are writing about topics that people are searching for.
These are called keywords. They are simply what people put in the search bar when they are looking for information.
Below is a good example.
To learn more about keywords check out this article. It will teach you how to do keyword research and how to find the best keywords for your blog.
As an example, the keyword for this article is ”best way to start a blog”. Notice that it appears on the heading of the article. It’s through that keyword that the user is able to find this article.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Behind every post, there is a lot that goes on behind the scene to ensure that your blog post is visible in search results. Your SEO metrics are normally tied to keywords.
To learn more about SEO check out this post.
How long should your blog post be?
There is never a definite answer to that question. Content writers are writing longer blog posts these days. 10 years ago you could have been okay within a 500-word post. Not anymore.
Try to aim for over 1200 words on your post. The longer the better. Just be careful not to bore your audience by rambling just to fill up words. Your content needs to be clear, concise, and straight to the point.
If you can only come up with 700 words to get your point across, so be it. Just make sure that most articles are over 1200 words long. Search engines favour longer articles compared to shorter ones.
Can you make money as a blogger?
That is the big question.
The reality is, most bloggers don’t go in it for the money. Those who go into blogging with the sole aim of making money will fail in most cases.
Add value to your audience and they will be willing to trust you on whatever product or service you recommend to them.
Remember the following additional tips.
People are looking for information that will give them value and so you should avoid appearing like all you want to do is sell your product or service.
I am sure you have seen phrases like Click Here to Learn How I make $999 a Day!! or Check out This Secret Tool that Generates Me Cash While I Sleep!!
Chances are, they don’t make that kind of money. Nor are there secret online tools that generate money. Be passive in what you want your audience to do. A phrase like Check out my recommendation is easy and not in your face to the reader. Be gentle to the reader.
As a blogger, it’s important to keep your writing regularly updated. Produce regular quality content as often as possible. Some of the most successful bloggers produce content on an almost daily basis. The more ideas you put out there in the world the more easily people will find you.
Rome was not built in a day. Don’t be in a hurry to make money. It takes time for your site to grow. You might easily become frustrated after going for months producing content with no visible results.
The good news is that nothing you do online goes out in vain. Content equals traffic and has an accumulative effect. Traffic starts out as a trickle. As you keep writing there is normally a tipping point down the track where you begin to receive a massive influx of visitors coming to your site.
That is when the money starts rolling in. Just remember it’s game of patience.
From my own experience, it takes around 2 years to get to that stage where you are generating consistent income on your blog. The first year is normally a learning curve for most people. If you already understand the basic process of setting up your website and SEO, it could take you a much shorter time.
Blogging can be lots of fun once you get the hang of it. What is important to note is that it takes a lot of hard work to succeed. If you are hoping to make money as a blogger, be ready to invest some sweat equity.
Approach you blog the same way you would to any other business.
You will come across failures along the way. Fail fast, pick up the pieces and keep going.
The great thing about blogging is that unlike running traditional brick and mortar businesses, your real estate is cheap. It cost around $15 a year to host a website. Your costs might go up as you scale up but chances are you will likely never pay more than $50 a month to run your blog.
The biggest takeaway with blogging is that the world is your audience. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. You can be running your business while relaxing on a beautiful beach. How about that!
Blogging sure beats working on a dead end job for years. Why not build something that will give your boss the boot and sustain you for years to come.
Remember what I said about a call to action at the end of a blog?
Well this is it.
I want you to check out my number one recommended training platform. It will give you all the tools and resources you need to start your own blog.
Thanks for stopping by and hanging out with me.
Hi folks. Thanks for dropping by. I am a graphic designer and also build websites for local businesses. I am also a member of Wealthy Affiliate. WA is a community-based training platform that truly delivers. It offers a variety of tools, training, and support, and best of all, it’s FREE to get started with. Check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you.