Photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz on Unsplash
Starting a Blog
We’ve been talking for a while about the idea of writing a blog and monetizing it, but the idea of starting a blog may be new to some, or some may not have a clear path forward.
There’s plenty of opportunities to turn your passion into sustainable income via blogging, but you need to start, and then you need to continue. Those may be the two hardest parts about blogging.
Your Interest – Your Blog
It’s best to start a blog by writing about something that interests you the most. That way it will be easier to keep publishing content on your blog. For example, if you used to go the gym every day, you could document how you are continuing your workout at home, now that the gyms are closed. Write about your progress and offer tips to your readers on ways they can stay start and stay consistent with their own home-bound exercise program. You could also focus your blog on promoting a healthy diet and how diet and exercise go hand in hand. I think you get the idea. Start writing about something you are already doing and you’ll find that you can always come up with new and fresh ideas for your blog.
Start Your Website
If you know that you can write well-researched and appealing content, then all you need is to make your stories visible online. Starting a website is definitely the best thing you can do if you want to monetize your writing.
Here is a list of several steps needed to get your website (and blog) going.
Choose a website name
Choosing a name for your website can be a challenge because many names have already been taken. If you have a distinctive name yourself, you could have a website using just your name. For example, “John.Kingsford.com”. That may be taken so you could try “John.Kingsford1234.com”. Or try to link your name and your niche with something like “John.Kingsford.workouts.com”.
Another tact is to use a longer website name. If it’s easy to remember, people will be able to type it in and save it to a favorites list. So, no doubt “exercise.com” is already taken but how about “DailyExerciseForHealth.com”. I checked and that one isn’t taken. Note I used Caps for each word to help make it easier to read.
The names above all have “.com” for the domain, but other domains are available. “.net” is probably the second most popular. When you use NameCheap, they will suggest all the other domains, but I think “.com” is still the best one. If you have to modify your name to get a “.com” it’s probably worth it. Afterall, if “YourFavoriteName.com” isn’t available, using “YourFavoriteName.net” will be confusing for your readers, especially if they put “.com” out of habit and end up on some strange website.
Register the name
A site like NameCheap.com has a tool that lets you check availability of domain names. Once you’ve discovered one that works for you, you can register the name. The cost starts at a few dollars for a year. NameCheap will send you a reminder near the end of the term so you can renew. You could do the same domain name search at BlueHost.com, another web hosting service. Your domain name might look something like this…… mywebsite.com
Hosting for your website
You have a domain name, it’s registered, and now you need to put it out on the web. Again, a site like NameCheap.com, or GoDaddy.com, or BlueHost.com, can provide the hosting service for you. Essentially a hosting service creates a space on a server where you will keep your website content. An IP address will be assigned and when someone types https://mywebsite.com into a browser, they get directed to the server and your website content is displayed.
Pick a web platform
I recommend WordPress, but there are others that you could use. You might take a look at this post……Why Choose WordPress. If you go with WordPress, be sure to use WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. The .com version is the paid version, while the .org version is free and more widely used. Also, WordPress.org allows more flexibility in design and choices of plugins.
You can use Namecheap.com, GoDaddy.com, or BlueHost.com along with a free download of the WordPress software to host and build your website content.
If you are looking for super simple, then try something like Wix.com. You won’t have the flexibility, and you won’t “own” your content, and it’s free only for the basics, but it can be simple to start.
Advertising and Your Website
Your success in earning income from your blogging will depend on a couple of things. Your audience is one important factor. If you have a small audience then you should expect to have a small income. Having a website will definitely help to grow your following but you need to pay attention to SEO so that your blog grows organically. If you’re using WordPress to build your website content, I recommend installing the free plugin called, “Yoast”. This plugin will help guide you to optimizing your SEO.
Whatever your niche is, as soon as you become popular and get a decent audience, you will be able to take advantage of advertising. You can use Google ads on your website and get paid when someone clicks on an ad. As you continue to grow your following, you will earn more and more from advertising.
If you are an affiliate marketer, you should have access to marketing resources such as banners and even videos. These can be added to your blog posts either on sidebars, headers or footers. HTML code defining the banner or the video can be easily added especially if you’re using WordPress.
A resource for bloggers who are stuck is paperswritinghelp.com Here is you pay for assistance writing. You may have some good ideas but are struggling to get them on paper. Try the link above, or try fiver.com.
You may want to testdrive scrivener.com. It’s a tool that helps writers organize their work. You can try it for 30 days (of use) free.
Curating existing articles is another source of content for your blog. In a future post I’ll look at sources for curation as well as techniques for curation.