My Top Tips For Starting Your Own Blog: Before you even begin your blog, you need to envision the complete blueprint. Most beginners to blogging set up their site without any real plan for how they’re going to promote it or monetize it. Setting up a new blog without clear path and direction is like trying to build your house without a blueprint.
It’s possible, yes. But the end result is probably going to be shoddy, and will most likely not attract the massive numbers of visitors you want and need. For success – you need to have a plan.
You should create a solid plan of action before you even purchase your domain name. You need to develop a strong blueprint before you ever get started. Waiting until after you’ve already set it up and are getting traffic could mean a lot of extra work going in to correct mistakes.
Changing themes and adding plugins after you’re already getting traffic to your blog may interrupt your traffic. Sometimes new plugins and themes can temporarily break your blog, which could mean a loss of traffic (and money) until you’re able to fix everything.
The first part of your plan should be choosing a niche, of course. Part of choosing a niche is finding products you can promote. If a niche has no products available, you could create your own.
But if there are no affiliate products available, it could be because there isn’t enough demand there for a product. In this case, you’d have to do some careful market research in order to determine whether or not a niche is truly viable.
Questions For You To Ask Yourself:
- What is your purpose for blogging?
- What sort of visitors do you want to attract?
- Do you have your own product you want to promote?
- Do you want to promote affiliate products?
- Do you want to just put Adense or CPA offers on your site?
You need to ask yourself questions like these so that you’ll know how you intend to monetize the site. If you plan to promote affiliate products, you should test the products yourself before you promote them. If you don’t, your visitors could end up being very upset if you promoted a product of really poor quality – and they bought it because they trusted you. Even worse, what if you end up promoting something that turns out to be a scam?
You don’t necessarily have to purchase every product you wish to promote. If you can prove you have a decent amount of traffic (and sometimes if you just ask), you may be able to get free review copies of some of the products you’d like to promote.
It doesn’t hurt to ask. Even if you don’t have any existing traffic yet, you can write to the owner of a particular affiliate program, tell them what you’re planning to do, and ask if you could get a review copy. Some people won’t give you a review copy. Plenty of marketers get requests for review copies from those who just want to get a copy of their product for free. So if you run into a skeptic, or someone who’s been burned before, you may get turned down.
In this case, it’s probably best to just go ahead and buy the product if you really want to promote it. If it’s a scam or a really crappy product, just ask for a refund.
Add a “Donate” Button
You can also consider using a donation button on your blog. If you can’t find any good products to promote, and you don’t have the time, money, or ability to create your own product, you can still put up a donation button. If your blog is very good, you may get donations. One I have seen that I though was very nice said: “Did I help you in some way? If so, please consider a donation to help support my costs”. Then there was a Paypal donate button. This was not at all offensive and I did actually donate to the blog!
Sell Advertising Spots On Your Blog
Or, you can always sell ad space on your blog. If you start getting a substantial amount of traffic or you get a very high PageRank in Google, you could charge a lot of money for a link on your blog. You can also get paid for making posts on your blog that review other sites.
Choose The Range of Your Blog Content:
You should ask yourself if you want a blog with a very wide subject base, or a small niche. There are two schools of thought regarding blog topics. Some people believe your topic should be very tightly focused, because you can bring in a flurry of laser-targeted visitors. Plus, you have less competition in smaller market segments.
Another group of people believe that anything worth doing is worth doing big. They believe that the only way blogging can truly be worth it is if you’re bringing in massive traffic, and the only way you can achieve that level of traffic is by being very broad – casting a wide net, so to speak.
For example, you might have a sports blog that has broad appeal. You could talk about baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis, and golf. This would give you a much more broad appeal, and the potential for larger traffic. However, since there would be so much competition, it might take a lot longer to get more traffic coming in. Plus, the way I see it is, if I’m interested in golf, I really won’t care about the other parts of the blog, so the value of it plummets in my eyes.
But let’s say you choose golf as your broad topic. Even this is broad, although you just segregated it from the other sports in existence. There are many things you could write about golf – vacations, apparel, clubs, courses, techniques, etc.
You could choose an even more targeted niche like women’s golf or senior golf. This is a smaller segment of a small niche. This means you could get traffic faster, because there would be less competition.
Less competition means you have the potential to rise faster in the search engine rankings. Of course, women’s golf would get far less traffic from the number one spot of Google than the combined traffic of all of the other sports niches, but the chances of that traffic converting into a sale will soar.
So basically, it boils down to how you feel about your abilities. If you believe you have the ability to get one large blog to the top of the search engines rather quickly, then you might be able to handle a broad topic blog.
If you don’t believe your abilities are up-to-snuff, then you might want to stick with a smaller niche at first. Remember, you can always start other blogs later. You could either build a network of small niche blogs, or you could start out with one broad blog and then start multiple sub-niche blogs later. You could then link to all of your smaller blogs from your large blog.
You could also start with the smaller blogs, get them to gain some popularity, and then start a large, broad blog later. Once you start the larger blog, you’ll have several smaller blogs already getting traffic and already having PR that can link to the larger blog to get it started.
If you already have a lot of SEO experience and you are confident in your ability to pull off some great search engine rankings quickly, then starting with a more broad blog might be a better option. You can still get some of the benefits of having a smaller blog by having categories for each of the smaller niches on your broad topic blog. One last thing to keep in mind is that your traffic will be less targeted if you run a broad blog.
If you have a site about skin care, you may get a lot of traffic that’s just looking for information about the best lotions or skin creams. But if you start a blog about something specific, like acne, you’re more likely to get people who are ready and willing to buy something.
Decide Where To Host Your Blog:
A lot of people start out by hosting their blog for free at one of the common blog hosting companies. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s a much better idea to host your blog on your own domain if possible.
Hosting Your Blog at WordPress:
Let’s take a look at WordPress. WordPress is a very popular blogging platform. You can host your blog on their servers, or you can download the software and host your blog on your own domain.
There are a few reasons why you should host your own blog, rather than hosting your blog directly on WordPress.com. For one thing, WordPress doesn’t allow you to promote affiliate links on their domain. So if you want to make any money with your blog, you can’t host it on their server, you’ll have to host it yourself. Another reason why you shouldn’t host your blog on WordPress is the fact that you can’t use the variety of plugins and themes that you could use on your own domain.
WordPress is very limited as far as the functionality, so don’t expect to have anything really cool on your blog if you host it there. You can find free WordPress tutorials to help you get started with your blog.
Hosting Your Blog at Blogger:
Now let’s look at Blogger. They do allow commercial blogs, so you can post affiliate links there if you want. But they’re also against what they deem as “spam blogs” or “splogs.” If they decide your blog is spam, or they decide it’s “too” commercial, or they just don’t like it, they can delete it for any reason.
There goes all that hard work you put into it! You have to agree to those terms and conditions when you sign up. That means that even if you don’t actually break any rules, they could still delete your blog if they chose. That’s a pretty powerful motivator.
It certainly wouldn’t be a very pleasant thing to build a blog up to several thousand hits per day, only to have it deleted (and trust me, I’ve heard these horror stories). You’d lose all of that traffic, all of those backlinks, all of your reputation and your search engine rankings.
Imagine it all being wiped out overnight. That’s not a good thing. It’s like having a fire rip through your brick and mortar store and you don’t have any insurance to rebuild.
Another very important reason to host your blog on your own domain is that it gives you credibility. If you host your blog on your own domain, you’ll appear more professional, and more like an authority figure in your niche.
Choose a Relevant Domain Name:
People will automatically assume you’re more serious if you’re hosting your blog on your own domain, rather than putting it up somewhere for free. If you do decide to host your own domain, the first thing you’ll need to do is choose a domain that contains a few keywords related to your niche.
If your blog is about house cleaning tips, then try to get housecleaningtips.com. If that’s not available, go down your keyword list and find the next best thing. Then register the domain.
Next you need to find a host for your blog. You might want to choose a host that has Fantastico, which is a program that sits on the server and allows you to very easily install WordPress (and other scripts) without having to create and manage MySQL databases yourself.
Once you have hosting, you just need to go to your domain registrar and set up the name servers to point to your new host. Your hosting company’s support should be able to help you with this.
I hope you found some value in these tips for starting your own blog and get yourself up and running soon. And if you want to have your blog set up for you (no worries about all the techie stuff) have a look at my free service here: Free Blog Setup Service