Step 1: Choose Your Passion
What does passion have to do with it? I just want to make money!
Well making money might be a good reason for starting a blog and money CAN be made, but in the end creating and maintaining a blog that is going to last is more about your passion or your driving force. Ask yourself this question;
“What would I do everyday, for the rest of my life, without ever being paid to do it?”
Whatever answer you come up with is your passion. That is what your blog should be about; YOUR PASSION. That is what you should be blogging about. Write for yourself before you right for someone else. Money and fame are just icing on the cake.
See, when you first start writing your blog, there most likely WILL NOT be any money returned from your time investment. Making money is usually a result of long hours invested in gaining subscribers and avid readers and becoming known as an “expert”. You might decide to monetize your blog, but without people reading your blog, how are you going to make money?
THERE ARE NO GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEMES RELATED TO BUILDING AN A+ BLOG!!!
Sorry to dash your dreams but if you are looking for the “key” to riches beyond your wildest dreams, then please go somewhere else; you won’t find it here.
Step 2: Write Down Your Goals
Most likely if you write down your goals those goals will happen. This is because making yourself actually think about what you want to accomplish is half of the battle already won.
“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.” ~ English Proverb
What do you want to accomplish? How are you going to deliver your message? When you are finished, what is it going to look like?
Step 3: Visit Some Other Blogs
Do some research and check out what other people are doing with their blogs. Learn what blogging is in general. Don’t just search for blogs in your niche, but also in general. There is alot to be learned from others that have already put up there own blogs. Posts some comments so that you can start to get a feel of what the whole blogging process is. While you are researching be sure to bookmark those blogs that you have visited and write down interesting ideas that pop into your head. You might not remember where you have been only a day or two earlier.
Step 4: Choose a Blogging Software
There a bunch of options when looking for your blogging software. I would start by doing a search on Google for Blogging Software. Don’t be intimidated by the 62,000,000 + results returned back to you. 🙂
For the scope of the article, I am going to talk about WordPress (http://www.wordpress.com). I chose WordPress for my blog not only because it is the most popular, but also because it is backed by a huge community, has some really useful plugins, gives you loads of control and is easy to use. You can either signup for at www.wordpress.com or find your own hosting provider to host the blog for you. If you are new to blogging then signing-up at www.wordpress.com might be your best bet. There are many of bulit-in extras like stats that track your visitors that are beneficial. Best of all it is FREE!!
Step 5: Buy a Domain Name
Buying a domain from a domain registry such as GoDaddy will make your blog appear more professional. Choose a domain name that not only fits your blog’s purpose but also has keywords in it. For instance, if your blog is about gardening, then choose a domain such as “MyGardeningBlog.com” or “My-Gardening-Blog.com”. The .com, .net, .org, etc extension is not important although .com extensions are generally recognized as the default.
Step 6: Customize Your Blog
Customizing your blog is very easy with WordPress. If you choose to host your blog with www.wordpress.com then you can choose from dozens of pre-installed templates. You can also Search Google for additional templates that are either FREE or low cost for around $45 a template. If you find a template that is not provided by the hosted service then you can simply upload the new template to your account. The control panel that comes with the hosted service is very easy to use.
If you are daring enough to modify the template by hand you can do so. WordPress is built in a web site scripting language called PHP. If you are not familiar with PHP then this route is not for you. You can, however, find additional resources online either at the WordPress website or by doing a Google search.
Step 7: Install Helpful Plugins
WordPress is easily expandable by the use of “Plugins”. Plugins are little pieces of software that are created by a 3rd-Party developer that accomplish simple tasks such as helping you manage your Google Adsense(http://www.google.com/adsense) ads or backing up your WordPress installation. There are many plugins to choose from and you can search for them at www.wordpress.org.
Step 8: Write Your “About” Page
When you are ready, you can describe the blog and its purpose in an “About” page. Be as descriptive as you can about the target audience and what you will be providing in the blog.
Step 9: Start Posting to Your Blog
This is actually the hardest part. If you have done your homework on what your passion was and you did some research, then you most likely did some blog posts in your head. Don’t sweat coming up with great and astounding ideas or intricate essays. Remember the KISS method and Keep It Simple Stupid! (OK I had to break this rule for this article but you know what I mean…)
You have to remember who your audience is in general. Most people read blogs rather than other forms of information because they are short and to-the-point snippets of information that can be easily digested. I think this is just normal human behavior in a conventional society. There is far too much information on the internet and too little time to try to consume it all. Blogs satisfy our normal curiosity like small little squares of chocolate would satisfy our sweet-tooth.
Step 10: Marketing (and maybe Monetizing) Your Blog
Since you have been blogging your little heart away, wouldn’t it be nice if people actually read it? Here are a few ways, among many, to go about marketing your blog.
Google Website Submittal(http://www.google.com/addurl/) – This allows you to easily add your new blog (or website) to Google. I also suggest you submit to Yahoo and AltaVista and any other search engine or directory you can find.
Google Adsense and Adwords – Adwords allows you to advertise on Google and Adsense allows you display ads on your blog that match your content. If any visitors to your blog click on the advertisements you get paid for it. What a concept!! Be sure to check the other suggested affiliates and ad networks under the “Money Makers” section of this blog.
Google Sitemap – This is a FREE plugin for WordPress that you can install that will create a Google Sitemap of your blog that can be used to allow your blog to be better indexed by Google.
FeedBurner – Another plugin and service that is FREE that allows you to do some really neat things with your blog’s feed. The feed of your blog is what allows someone to subscribe to your blog. It is a file that contains all of your posts in a specific file format called RSS that an “aggregator” (or “feed reader”) such as Google Reader can read and keep track of. You would want to use an aggregator because it keeps track of the different blog feeds that you have subscribed to and allows you to read those blog feeds all in one place. Although you do not need FeedBurner to allow your blog to be subscribed to, it has some really great features that you need to check out.
Comments – Visit alot of blogs and subscribe to them. Try to be the first to leave a comment with a link back to your blog.
Forums – Forums are the same way. Just be careful that you are truly leaving a comment about the thread and not just trying to advertise your blog.
Signatures – When you leave a comment or send an email make sure you use a signature that has your blog address.
Write Articles – Turn you blog posts into an expanded article that you can put on a tutorial or eZine (Electronic or Online Magazine) website such as ArticlesBase.com(http://www.articlesbase.com). Make sure to add a link back to your blog.
Word of Mouth – Don’t forget to tell the people you know about your new blog and keep them updated on what is going on. Ask them to become subscribers to your blog.
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction into the world of blogging and I hope that you find your passion. Please be sure to comment on this blog post and leave me some feedback. Also be sure to ask me any questions that you might have. I will be glad to help you in any way that I can.
Jason Cochran is an internet guru with over 10 years experience with website design and development, marketing and advertising. His blogging website is at http://blogging.jasonleecochran.com.