After laying the foundations of your blog, you’re ready to start rocking and rolling (and making a little money!) Here’s Part II of our two-part series on how to start a blog. (Find Part I here.)
Step 5: Posting on a schedule
Many writers are so eager to start a blog that they write ten different blog posts to post over the course of ten days. They attract readers and start to see engagement. They get so excited! And then one day, their dishwasher breaks and floods the kitchen and they need to call the insurance company to get the floor replaced. So they don’t write or post that day. And then two days later they’re tired when they get home from their day job, and don’t have a subject readily available to post about. And so they miss another day. And then their son’s graduation is on Friday, so they won’t post on Friday or the day after because that’s when the graduation party is!
See where I’m going with this? Life happens. Don’t commit yourself to posting once a day, or even once every other day, until you have a few weeks or even months of posting under your belt. It’s easy to ramp up the post volume when you first unleash your ideas from the cage, but down the line it’s harder to win back your audience when they expect a new post every day and now you’re down to one per week. Start off your blog and let your audience know what their expectations should be – you’re going to post once or twice per week, and if you’re REALLY on fire than maybe you’ll ramp it up to a third post. So when those rare extra post days come, your audience has something to really be excited about!
Speaking of audience, this is about the time you’ll want to ask your audience if they want to subscribe to all the amazing content you’re churning out. Set up a simple email collection form where they can subscribe to a monthly mailing list (or whatever works for you!), and then email them your top stories from the last 30 days once a month. Need an example? Check out that nifty email submission form in the top right-hand corner of this page! It’s super simple, but it’s something a lot of bloggers overlook. You don’t just want your audience visiting for a day (well, you probably don’t anyway). You want to create a loyal audience that’s interested in what you have to say – you may just have to remind them to visit once in a while (since life happens to them, too!).
Step 6: Promote, promote, promote!
You have the design and the content ready – now all you need is an audience!
One important point that a lot of bloggers miss is what will separate the “I blog on my down time because I like to write” crowd from the “I blog and get paid to do it!” crowd isadvertising. Yeah, sometimes advertising can be a four-letter word when it becomes annoying and irrelevant. So that’s why you’re going to advertise your site, but you’re going to seek out only the people who are interested in your business, or whatever else what you’re blogging about.
Why advertise in the first place – won’t your blog get picked up by search engines like Google and Bing, just for being out there? Yes and no – it’ll get picked up, sure, but you’re going to have a tough time actually showing up in search results pages without having a healthy amount of traffic and (if you’re lucky) good links to back it up first. Quite the chicken-and-egg game. Which is why you’re going to need to advertise.
Advertising your blog is easier said than done, but there are tons of free and paid tools to help you spread your message. Social media is a great place to start, since it can be totally FREE to put up a link and ask your friends to share it. However, you’re casting a pretty shallow net here – after all, the people who click to your site may only read what you’ve written because they like you, not the content. And they’ll never return unless they’re asked to. (Unless it’s your mom – she’ll read everything.)
So you’ll want to reach out to other connections, like bloggers and forum members who share the same interest. Post about your blog and invite others to read and comment. Even join a blogroll (just make sure you’re not just doing it for the backlinks). Don’t post willy-nilly on every blog you see, or make comments that only contain the link to your website. Contribute to a discussion and let the fact that you have an opinion on the matter – and where that opinion can be found – happen naturally!
If free options aren’t making your traffic needle move yet, you also have some paid options – Google and Bing both offer pay-per-click ad options based on keywords you want to appear in searches for. You can also pay for ad space on other websites. Facebook and Twitter offer promoted posts as well. And of course, you can always create a $1 cidewalk promotion to drive traffic to your website. Bottom line: There are tons of paid opportunities out there. You’ll have to do the research to see if any of them work for you. Paying for advertising will definitely get you more reach and faster than non-paid advertising, but at the obvious expense of having to pay for it.
Oh, and while you’re at it? Use at least one analytics tool, like Google Analytics, to track and analyze your traffic over time.
Step 7: Get paid to do what you love!
Ah, the last step. It’s not a requirement by any means, but it’s an easy way to pat yourself on the back and say, “See, what I’ve done is totally worth it. And I’m not the only one who thinks so!” It’s also a great way to justify your writing hobby to your spouse/parent/child/guy at the coffee shop. Because it’s not just a blog any more. It’s a source of income!
How, you ask? Monetizing your blog is super easy once you have a quality framework in place. Just apply for an ad network, and take the small snippet of code and add it to your site’s HTML. Et voila – every visitor to your site is now a potential money maker!
No, really. That’s all it takes.
There are a few things you’ll want to consider once you put ads on your site, like where is the best place to put them? And should I use text or display ads? Answers to these questions will vary depending on the type of traffic you bring in and the material you choose to write about. It’s all up from here!
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