THE STEPS TO BUILDING A BLOG THAT WORKS FOR YOU
This welcome post will go through what you need to do to get a successful blog stood up and working for your online marketing program…
Here are the areas we will cover:
(1) Basic Steps To Building A Blog That Will Succeed
(2) If You Have A Blog, Is It Losing Money?
(3) What is Adsense?
(4) Some Advertising Tips To Help You Succeed
(5) Are You Writing About What You Have Passion For?
(6) Can You Make Money?
(7) Wrap Up/Conclusion
So now that you know what we will cover, let’s get started!
BASIC STEPS TO BUILDING A BLOG THAT WILL SUCCEED
I have been asked by more than a few people to help them begin a blog. Based on the experiences I have had with my own work on blogs they know I can steer them in the right direction.
This is why what I have created this website. I feel that I can help many others, not just acquaintances close to me. I have been writing for the last 40 years, so feel quite comfortable in this world.
The internet has tons of materials you can look at, most of it has bits and pieces that are helpful, but in no case that I know of is everything there that you might need.
This website will help you get all the basic elements that you need in one place and will refer you to other sites that add to what is here and can help.
I do not guarantee that you will get huge numbers of traffic immediately. I will not lie to you to say that you are going to be a millionaire overnight because you are not. I do not say that you are going to be a star with a secret formula.
No, what I am is a regular person, a serious blogger. I do spend a lot of time reading, researching, and writing. I follow many blogs and recognized experts in several niches because I need material for myself plus I want to learn what works.
So how can I best offer advice to my friends and you the reader that will get you started properly and on your way towards success? That is what this site is ALL about!
First of all, realize that blogging is your way to communicate your thoughts and ideas to the world. Before starting to add your content, it would be wise to figure out the intent of the blog. What is the end goal, how are you going to get there, and what kind of tools and resources will you need?
If you do not go through a process to determine what these answers are to such questions, what likely will happen is that you will find later that you will have to backtrack and redo one or more things with your effort.
There are a number of sites that will give you advice on how to found your blog and build it, as this website does…
Fewer will tell you that this process is an integral part of achieving success. Everything that you do to establish a log will be determined by what the goal is for the effort. Your design, program, post lengths, style of writing—all depend on that ending goal you have.
So decisions that do not seem like a big deal now may become crucial later.
There will be many websites that tell you that free hosting and websites are available and to save money you can start there, moving later when you start making money.
This is true, but…It is crucial if your goal is to construct a personal brand or a business around your website that you have a domain, good hosting, and a unique theme to build your brand.
Remember that this whole blog thing is about you presenting yourself to the targeted audience.
Your design should fit the blog’s message and personality. Having a super fancy theme can look really good, but it may take the focus from the content to the design, the bells and whistles look too good!
Always think in terms of this: Is what I am doing moving me towards my end goal(s) or moving me sideways or backward?
In this instance, an overly simple design for your website might appear plain and somewhat undesirable at first glance, but in reality, it can set the tone for your message and will emphasize your content.
This is just one instance but there are more examples . Remember that everything matters. Every choice you make will either move you towards your goal or away from it.
In my own case, I am not as concerned with numbers as some are (i.e. traffic). My objective is to reach those that are truly interested and want to know how to proceed…
I do follow trends, people, and events because these can add value for my readers as I create content…
This website is more focused and I interested in appealing to readers who are ready to take action and can raise the quality of the discussions we have via comments/guest posts, etc. I say this because I want you to also think about the goal and plan everything around that…In my case, the technique is deliberate and fits my total goal.
Of the people and websites that I follow, a couple of things seem to permeate – The two most important elements to work on are consistency and legitimacy.
There are many ideas out there to get fast traffic or eager buyers or rapid lead lists, etc. Many of these antics and tricks provide short-term spikes at the expense of long-term trust and loyalty.
You may fool me into visiting, but I won’t be back if you treat me like a fool.
Because of the proliferation of spam these days many websites will encourage you to throw up many barriers to getting comments or other input from your readers.
Although I do appreciate the need for protection, make them reasonable to not alienate your readers is what I would advise. You do need to make connections after all.
In that light, try to make the form used for comments friendly and inviting. Remember to cater to communication preferences of people. They may want to confirm with their Google ID, Twitter, or Facebook accounts so set it up so that is possible.
Personally, I’m more likely to choose those forums that cater to my communication preferences. For example, some blogs force me to use my Facebook account which I do not like to do.
Since I don’t I’ll never see any follow-up comments and in this case why even bother composing a thoughtful comment?
There are ways around this in some cases, but why would I have to do this extra work just to contribute to YOUR blog? This may be the reason why many folks just don’t like to leave public comments, even though they would love to have more personal contact.
If you don’t want to provide an email address, consider creating a simple contact form that they can communicate directly with you without providing an email. That can come later when you have started to build trust.
Remember – Fewer barriers, more connections and more readers…
These are all things I tell my friends that are interested in starting a blog…Is there something I have left out?
IF YOU HAVE A BLOG, IS IT LOSING MONEY?
I have some friends that have blogs. A lot actually. Many are either not making money or they are losing money after they factor in the cost of hosting and any tools they may be using. Why is that? There are many reasons, but most are not monetizing the blog correctly…
What is the culture mass communication medium that has the biggest advertising spending throughout the world? It is still television. The reason is that they are so effective for advertisers and also they are very lucrative for TV stations…Viewers pay attention to the advertisements.
Although the internet does not offer such opportunities for income, the blog and content model still offers some great chances to make good money for the host. Let’s take Google AdSense or the use of banner ads, the two most common monetization methods for blogs…
Only site visitors will have the chance to see these ads, and the most may not see due to ad fatigue, wherein they just do not pay attention. Others readers may use ad- blockers, so in this case, they will not see your AdSense units at all regardless of where you place them.
How can we emulate the television ad on a blog? I would consider using an advertorial (a post that is an advertisement for a product or service or a sales video (video advertisement). Both of these will get attention.
One way I use to garner sales and affiliate commission is to do a product review, in which I critique a particular product or service. This is a great way to go, because you can use your own writing style and provide an objective analysis.
Something to think about is doing a sponsored review. If you ask most sellers of products whether they would like to pay for a banner ad or for a sponsored review, they most likely will say the sponsored review. This is assuming you have a blog site that is popular and related to what is being offered.
Why? Because he will acquire a much better return on investment, as the sponsored review will give his product a better and greater kind of exposure with the readers of that blog.
Once you get established and have some credibility, this is a real possibility. I have been offered 300 – 500 to do a sponsored review. Unfortunately, the product was not one that I would choose to endorse (remember it is YOUR name on the line).
There are 3 main requirements if you decide this is something you would like to pursue:
1. Add in a very clear disclosure on each review that you are getting paid to present the review.
2. Be honest with the review, point out the good and the bad about the product or service.
3. Make sure that the choice of products you review is relevant to the target audience of your blog and solves a problem you know they are having.
If you do start down this route, make sure that you use the ‘no follow’ attribute (you will learn more about this in other posts). Label them as sponsored links as well. Also, make sure that the audience is not going to be put off by sponsored reviews and whether or not you feel this a good avenue for your blog.
WHAT IS ADSENSE?
Adsense from Google is one of the primary profit generators for blogs and sites. There are many ways to improve your click-through rate (which is what you get paid for) and the total income by placing these provided advertisements in ways that take advantage of your site layout and using targeting or by optimizing the ad units.
If all this sounds like gobbledegook, do not worry, if you read some of the other posts I have here you will understand!
Just for the record, here are 8 simple steps to optimize your ads:
1. There are three top performing ad units…They are 336×280 (large rectangle), 300×250 (inline rectangle) and 160×600 (wide skyscraper). Try to use those units if possible, but only if they are appropriate for your site design.
2. The best link color to use is blue. This is because people have been programmed over the time the internet has been around to react to that color with the buttons and links used everywhere.
3. If you decide to use another color, pick one that matches the pattern of your site (i.e. if you are using red links make your Adsense links also red).
4. As a general rule of thumb, try to make the ads organic to your site…Examples might be no border, same background if your site has a light color scheme and more contrast using a border if you’re using a dark color scheme.
5. If the advertisements you use are within the content avoid using borders while for advertisement units that are outside of your content can use borders to call attention to them.
6. If your blog site has mostly repeat visitors (like forums or membership sites) I would rotate the background color of the ad units to cut down on advertisement blindness
7. I would remove the “Advertise on this site” message from your ad units. That is possible using the control panel under the “My Account” section, simply by disabling the “Onsite Advertiser Sign-Up” feature.
8. The last tip is very important. Test, test, and test. Try different colors and formats and track the results to fine tune your Adsense. Maximize your returns!
For a first-time ad campaign and to start generating income, Google AdSense is a great way to get started. It’s easy to implement using WordPress with a plugin and it runs itself…Depending on your niche you can start earning a good income.
Because it is so simple I recommend starting with the Google’s AdSense program. Test it for a while and do some testing and if you find it still isn’t working you can move to other affiliate ads or advertising. Be aware that some niches work better for AdSense, do your research as a part of your planning process for your blog.
SOME ADVERTISING TIPS TO HELP YOU SUCCEED
Now I want to discuss some other tips that are more general in nature than the ones I mentioned above for AdSense. If you would like to maximize your chances of income from advertising these eight tips below will help you…
1. Generate Traffic.
This is the MOST crucial factor for success. You need steady traffic and hits. The content you create for the niche will do that for you, so be sue to make it relevant, engaging, and entertaining. Find out what your readership wants before you start adding in a lot of advertising or you will drive the traffic away.
2. Build your trust with readers.
Everyone that uses the internet has a trust rating, and most people that will approve you for their ads will check you out before giving you permission to use their ads/promote their products. The higher your trust rating, the better chance you will get approved for their advertising on your blog. Therefore take all the actions that will improve your trust and let people know who you are. Use only valuable content – this is essential for building trust and readership.
3. Do not over hype yourself.
If you want to promote products, have a site that shows it means business. There is no need for “Huge earnings potential!”, “A lifetime opportunity!”, “My loss is your gain!” etc etc.
Don’t exaggerate the earnings potential of what the blog COULD be earning. Know your numbers and provide accurate stats when offering advertising space.
4. Make the time to answer to every comment
Promote getting comments (ask for them!) and answer every single comment, as this will encourage other commenter’s and readers to want to advertise on your blog, it improves your rankings on the search engines, and the readers will appreciate your engagement.
5. Understand why you are advertising.
Advertisers will want to know why you are advertising? What makes you think you can sell their product or service. If you have no reason other than to make money, you likely will not get approved.
The niche you select will determine what appropriate advertising or monetization techniques you can use. Some techniques will only work for some niches but not for others.
The more you grow your blog to accommodate readers the more people will trust your judgment and buy recommendations from you in the future.
Get to know your blog, your readers, and the many ways to get traffic, THEN monetize.
If you start by providing nothing but free info with no ads, people will soak up your content and become loyal readers. They will subscribe to your website and then you can start to build!
When you do that, the time will come to monetise your blog, and then you will know what people want and what ads you can make the most profit from. Further, you can then target your readers and further maximize profits.
ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR?
This is one that I hear all the time…Among bloggers, online experts and internet entrepreneurs this will be a topic again and again. “If you want to make money online, you’ve got to pick a topic that you’re passionate about. You need to enjoy it, or else it won’t work.”
This is true to a degree, as creating a site on a topic that you love is certainly a great technique, and it can work well for many folks, but I’m not sure if it’s the ONLY way to go.
There is a flaw that I see with that rule – It is the fact that if the niche or topic you love isn’t capable of being monetized it will be pretty hard to make a lot of money online with it no matter what you do.
If you love something that does not have any potential, and your goal is to make money with your blog, you are going to be unhappy in a year or so when all your work has not brought any income.
You could certainly create a popular website around something you love with no potential and enjoy it but if the goal is to make some money for your work and decided to go with a more profitable niche instead, putting the same effort and time in will end up in your making much more income.
Also, makes sense?
One argument that people use to back up the “you have got to write about what you love” theory
is the fact that if you choose a topic merely because it is profitable, soon you will lose the motivation.
If you decide to write about something you love, on the other hand, you will have content for years to come. This is partially true, but not completely so, because some people are motivated by the desire to make money or becoming successful.
If they initiate a blog and see they can make money with it, that alone will be the motivation, no matter the niche, passion or not. They are even willing to do the necessary research and learn what they need to make that money.
So what is my position on this? Personally, I think that both strategies can work.
With either strategy for selecting a niche, there will be some research involved. Here are some of the more important factors to look at:
• What subject energizes and excites you? Remember that if you blog about your passion, you are likely to never going to struggle to create relevant and engaging content.
• If your passion is a hobby or job role where you are an expert you have a distinct advantage over everyone who is interested in your niche. You are already an authority and can speak and be recognized as such.
• You do not have to be an expert, but you have the skill set to research and create a lot of good content. This helps you create loads of good content for the search engines.
As you learn more about a niche, publish content about your journey, and inform others, you can take the audience on the journey with you and make them experts as you become one. This is a very good way to create community.
Should you blog about hot topics and trends (i.e. from Google Trends)? Although this can give you a bump in traffic for a short period, long term it may not work…Throw one in once in a while is my suggestion as these current niches are hot.
Most importantly in my eyes are two things: Take on a niche that you can monetize and one where you are not going to run out if content for.
CAN YOU MAKE MONEY?
Water cooler talk…If I mention blogging, folks standing around start rolling their eyes or smile in an “I do not understand but whatever to make you feel good” manner. Once I add in the making money at it though, the attention level seems to rise, and quickly.
Think about it…I write about issues, problems, advances, training and etc. in my selected niches, people who are interested and looking for this find the posts and read them, and I make commissions from the advertising, whichever form I use.
To those of us who’ve been doing this for a while, it’s really a simple formula. There are many steps involved to have success and the novice blogger just starting does not recognize what they’re getting into.
That is where this website comes in…
So, if you are new to blogging and interested in doing it for earnings, here are a couple things to bear in mind before dedicating yourself.
(1) Blogging is simple. Blogging for profit is harder.
I will not go as far as to say it is hard to draw a secondary income from blogging, but it is definitely harder than most individuals think. It is not just about creating material and slapping up some advertisements from respective companies or affiliates. Good writing, proper tinplating, advertisement placement, developing an audience… there are a lot of skills required to make a blog fruitful, all of which you will need to learn.
(2) You need to blog for the long run or not at all.
A vast majority of blogs bomb in the first few months, falling under neglect and disuse. A Couple blogs see earnings during the first few months. Unless you are able to stick with it for at least a year, you will probably never see any return for your effort, although there are some exceptions. Pick a niche that you enjoy and stick with it. General purpose or multi-topic blogs have difficulty developing a readership. Brainstorm the topics that you care about most, then pick one and blog about it exclusively.
(3) Start with one blog.
If you have a lot of items on your list of possible topics, don’t give in to the temptation to start a different blog for each one. By dividing your effort between several blogs, you increase the likelihood that all of them will fail. Put all of your effort into one blog to start. Once you get the hang of things, then you might consider branching out with additional blogs.
(4) If you’re unsure, test drive it.
The fact is that many people do not have the drive or stamina to blog for income successfully. If you are not sure, try a starter blog on a free service such as Blogger or WordPress.com. Feel it out for a few weeks. If, by the end of this time, you have stuck with it and find you like blogging is right for you, go ahead and commit to the effort. This advice applies equally well to test driving new topics if you’re unsure what to write about.
(5) Place advertisements wisely.
Some individuals recommend not placing advertisements on a blog until its matured somewhat. Others advocate putting them up right away. There are rewards and risks to both approaches. Just make certain to place your advertisements tactfully so as not to overwhelm your readers. Put the user experience in the first place and don’t flood them with buy this, buy that!
(6) Enjoy yourself.
This is the real key to successful blogging. If you pick a topic that you enjoy and blog about it with passion for months and years on end, your blog will build a readership, generate income, and generally be a success. If, however, your blog becomes a chore to maintain, it will inevitably fail. Thus, if you keep up with your blog and you love it, it will succeed and generate profit. If you do not do your research, write about things that are not of interest, and generally don’t keep up with it, your blog will inevitably fail.
(7) Build Relationships.
When clients buy your product or service for the first time they really make a trial purchase. If they’re gratified they’ll keep coming back to you. Making a beneficial product isn’t the end of the story.
(8) Offer Great Customer Service.
A lot of business owners make the same error. As soon as a product is purchased they forget the buyer. If you want to hold a customer for repeat purchases you should improve your customer service.
Provide great service to a buyer who’s bought a product or service. They’ll certainly come back to you as everyone prefers safe, familiar and quality products.
(9) Offer Great Quality.
Providing good quality product or service is just the start of the story. Don’t try to fool the buyer. When a buyer gets a good product from you at a fair price they develop certain expectations. Now it’s your responsibility to live up to that expectation by keeping up the quality.
(10) Build Your Brand.
If buyers don’t get good products in the 2nd or 3rd purchase they’ll switch to another brand. Remember that your competitors are there to draw in their attention. Brand loyalty not only earns you prompt profits but maximizes your revenue in the long haul.
Remember, advertising doesn’t have to be a long hard cognitive process. Even on a minor scale, personal blogs can definitely generate revenue. The internet and social networking sites now make this easier than ever before. Advertising on your blog can be fun, and more significantly, very rewarding.
The amounts of revenue will differ from niche to niche and also the demand for ads and products will differ as well. However, this is still not to say that you can’t your blog to the top in any respective niche online. If you command page 1 of Google for your niche, you can create products, advertise and ultimately create customers and revenue.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your future blogging ventures. Please stop in again as we build out this site for your use. The idea is that you will have a one-stop shop to get ideas, tips, advice, and be able to discuss with others how to get a viable blog up and running. One that you can monetize and enjoy while helping interested target audiences…
Dave : )