Where you can learn how to become a good blogger
Have you ever wondered how all these men/women claim to be making money with a professional blog? Maybe you have your own personal blog but haven’t quite figured out how to be a pro blogger, or maybe you desperately want to have a blogging business but don’t know where to start. I’ve been in your shoes before.
Whether you are wanting to blog in order to work from home or just want to start monetizing the blog you have, you are not alone. But you must know how to think like a professional blogger!
Are you thinking, “Sure, Johnnywriter, that sounds great, but what does ‘think like a professional blogger’ really mean?” Don’t worry, I’m going to break it all down for you. And the best way to do that is to show you the difference between a hobby blogger and someone blogging for business.
The things that I am going to share are things I have noticed in my own personal experience blogging, experiences with my students who are starting their blogging business, and even stories from my own blogging peers.
Ok, let’s get started with what hobby bloggers look like…
1. Hobby bloggers tend to focus on themselves
Remember when you were in school and kept a diary? It was a place for you to record your memories, reflect, and clear your head. You were writing from your own perspective, for only your eyes, and thinking about how the information impacted you.
Hobby bloggers tend to be like that. They write posts that are more like a diary. The purpose of the blog is not about how the information can change or shape the lives of others. It’s more of a one-sided reflection. It’s personal, shares their stories and is about them. When i was in Madonna university, Final year to be precised, I went through all my diaries from secondary school till my final year. It was so interesting and I realized that our lives is a long journey yet seems so short.
2. Hobby bloggers also lack a business plan
When someone is blogging as a hobby that is literally all they are doing. They’re simply writing their thoughts and opinions into a blog post. They share the information with the world and leave it at that.
Hobby bloggers have no game plan for what they will share, who they will share it with, or how they will get the word out there. There is no formal, or even informal, plan in place.
How does that compare to a professional blogger?
Now that you know what a hobby blogger looks like let’s look at what a professional blogger does.
1. Pro bloggers focus on helping others
Professional bloggers also might have posts that share parts of their story. They might be inspirational. But, the focus of the content is on how the information can change the lives of other people.If there are personal stories shared it also includes what their readers can learn from it.
Every single piece of content has value and a purpose. Their blog has a consistent stream of helpful content that is all based around the same topic.
2. Pro bloggers monetize their blogs
Professional bloggers are not ashamed to monetize their blog. They are focused on building a brand, which includes their voice, logo, colors, and whatever that “thing” is about them that separates them from the crowd. Then they find ways to monetize it with affiliate links, eBooks, products, courses, services, advertising, and so on. When I started blogging I started with subdomain (www.johnnywriterblog.wordpress.com) it was free and easy to use but wasn’t benefiting from it until i monetize my blog to what it is today (www.johnnywriter.com)
3. Pro bloggers have a target audience
Hobby bloggers are writing for themselves, right? Professional bloggers have a target audience in mind they want to reach.
There’s a saying in the blogging world (kudos to whoever came up with it) that goes, “if you write for everyone, you are writing for no one”.
You must have a specific audience if you want to make an income and finetune your brand. Think about the gender, age, occupation, and demographics of the person you are writing to. What are their hobbies, likes, dislikes, and fears? The more you know about your audience the more effective you can be in reaching them.
4. Pro bloggers have a business plan
If running a blogging business is your goal, you need to have a business plan. If business isn’t your strong suit it can be really intimidating to sit down and write out a formal business plan. But you can still do it if you have help from people (like me – hint, hint) that have experience.
Your plan doesn’t have to follow a specific format, but it should include things like what products you will sell, what your content is, your marketing strategy, who your target audience is, how you’ll handle taxes, and the things like that.
You know what they say… “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” and if you want to go from blog to business you need to do the work.
5 Things You Need To Know Before Starting a Blog
There are a few important concepts you must understand before you write your first blog post. This article will share five concepts that will help you create a successful blog that you can be proud of!
1. Having a plan is essential for making your blog a success
Starting a new blog is just like starting any new enterprise — if you want it to be successful, you must plan every step. If you don’t have a vision for your blog, it won’t do well in search engines, won’t attract readers, and won’t achieve the goals you have set for it. Thankfully, creating a plan for your blog is fairly simple.
Determine the goals of your blog
Think about why you are blogging. Are you promoting a business? Are you attempting to make money via blog monetization? Or is your blog just a place where you express your personal thoughts? It helps to define specific goals for your blog, which may include how much content is posted, how many visitors it will attract each month, and how much revenue will it generate.
Decide what the blog will be about
Most successful blogs focus on a specific niche. Decide what your niche will be, based upon your overall goals, what you enjoy writing about, and what you think readers will be interested in. If you are interested in making money from your blog and ranking well within search engines, you may have to perform an extensive keyword research and niche research before settling on a blog topic.
Research your competitors
If you are blogging for a business or to make money, take a close look at the blogs that are run by your competitors. Do they have any great ideas which you can use? What keywords do they rank for in search engines? How often do they write blog posts? Assess how difficult it will be to create a blog that is better than theirs. Tools like BuzzSumo and SEMRush can help you with the keywords, content & competitor research.
Choose a blogging platform & hosting
There are dozens of different online blogging platforms that you can use, including WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, and Squarespace. You might prefer to have your own server, which gives you more control over the features that your blog can offer. Weigh up the convenience, cost, accessibility, and features of each platform. If you are passionate that your blog will be receiving tons of traffic, you would need to think about website speed and performance. Hence, carry out research on what different hosting companies have to offer.
Choose an appropriate blog theme
A blog’s “theme” is its design. Pick a theme that matches the goals of your blog, your intended audience, and the blog’s topic. If you are planning to write about accounting & finance, make sure you’re not using some fancy & over-animated theme.
As mobile search growth rapidly, it’s important to choose a responsive theme that will adjust to any screen size, with the ability to adopt for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
Decide how often you will be posting
To be successful, a blog must have a regular stream of original, useful content. Determine how much time you have for writing blogs each week and how much content you will require beating your competitors.
Decide how you will promote your blog
Make a plan for how you will promote your blog. Will you use social media? Will you implement Google Adwords or any other sort of Pay Per Click advertising? Will you consider doing manual outreach and guest contributions?
Decide how you will track the success of your blog
Choose an analytics platform to integrate with your blog, so you have a clear understanding of how well it is doing.
2. Your blog is more likely to succeed if it is social
The popularity of social media has exploded in recent years. Social media users share millions of pieces of content with each other every day on a variety of platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Google Plus. If you want to increase the number of visitors to your blog, you should harness the power of social media as much as possible. Create social media profiles that are linked to your blog and give users the ability to share your posts via social media. If you are creating great content, you will see a massive influx of visitors from social media!
3. Content is king!
Good blogs ALWAYS have great content. Don’t be stingy when writing the content for your blog. It must be original, engaging and valuable for your readers. If you write high-quality content, search engines will pick it up, and it will explode in popularity on social media. Never skimp on content!
4. You may have to learn basic Search Engine Optimization
If you are focussed on having a successful blog that attracts many readers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be important. Basic SEO techniques will help you create a blog that search engines will love, resulting in higher ranking pages and more visitors.
5. Relationships matter
Blogging is a social activity that allows a blogger to engage with readers and other bloggers. If you want to ensure the success of your blog, focus on engaging readers and creating relationships via your blog. Reply to people who make comments, talk to other bloggers & influencers, and write guest posts for other blogs. Think of your blog as being a part of a conversation with other people. That will help you build a loyal audience who love your blog and regularly share it with others!
We hope you enjoyed reading the 5 things you need to know before starting a blog. These techniques will help you succeed as a blogger!
8 Things to Know Before Starting a Blog
So you like to write, and you have things you want to say. You’ve decided to start a blog. Good for you!! But if you are anything like I used to be just a few months ago, and know next to nothing about starting a blog, then hold on for a minute. A lot of new bloggers get discouraged and give up, because they have not done any groundwork before starting a blog and don’t really know what to expect. Because I don’t want that happening to you, here’s a checklist of the things that you should know before starting a blog.
1. Blogging takes a lot of effort.
Do not be fooled into thinking for one moment that it’s as easy as it looks. You need to put in time and energy into writing, rewriting, editing, researching, sourcing images, etc. Once published, you also have to spend time promoting your blog on various networks. Be prepared to work hard. Also, be prepared to not have much of an audience in the beginning. It will take months to get some sort of a base established, especially if you have chosen a very crowded niche. Speaking of which…
2. It’s not the easiest way to make money.
We all read about bloggers that have made tons of money online just through their blogs. Well, know that reaching that point will take years of work and patience. If you want to start earning quickly, there may be faster ways to do it than starting a blog. Blog for the right reasons, and if earning follows, great.
3. Choose a niche.
There are millions of blogs out there, and the only way to stand out in the noise is to have a niche and stick to it. With your niche defined, you will be better able to identify who your ideal readers are, and how you should target them. You should write about something you are knowledgeable as well as passionate about, because that’s the only way you will be able to produce good and engaging content. It’s also easier to sustain motivation when you’re blogging about something you love. Because trust me, even if you love blogging, there will be days when you will struggle with motivation and self-doubt.
4. There is no harm in starting small.
If you are starting a blog for the first time, it is possible that you are not entirely sure how things will go. You might love it, or you might decide after a few weeks or months that blogging isn’t really your thing. Hence my suggestion to start small with a free site, and no fancy bells and whistles. Both WordPress and Blogger are great platforms where you can start blogging with a free account. Explore a little; figure out if this is something you would like to continue with. Only then go in for commitments like self-hosting and paid plans and stuff like that.
5. Nothing beats great content.
Your audience will come to you for what you write, not because you have a killer blog theme or a funny blog name. The best way to build an audience is to put up well written and engaging content, and to do so consistently. Interesting content gets shared, and gradually expands your reach.
6. Blogging means going social.
As a blogger, you need to interact and connect with other bloggers – both within and outside your niche. This is a sure-fire way of expanding your network and reaching a larger audience. Bloggers form a well-knit community and regularly help each other out through linkouts, guest posts, social shares etc. I would recommend following other blogs, sharing their content on your social networks, and joining blogging communities online.
7. You will need to learn new things.
Unless you are already in a technical field, chances are that you will have to pick up a lot of new skills as you get serious about blogging. Every blogger needs to understand basic SEO and analytics, and keep abreast of the changes that keep happening courtesy Google. The good news is that there are a ton of resources out there offering tips and guidance. I recommend Moz to start with. More on this in a later post.
8. Always be yourself.
The most important thing to remember as you are starting your blog is to be real, and to let your readers see who you are. Develop your own style and voice, and don’t be afraid to say what you feel. Write about what you love, and enjoy yourself. I know I said that blogging is hard work, but it’s the kind of hard work that can be a lot of fun as well.
I hope you find these thoughts useful as you set about starting your own blog. In my subsequent posts I will cover next steps on this path. Do join in!
How to Start a Blog for Free
Follow these 6 steps to learn how to create your own blog:
- Pick a blog name.
Emphasize what your blog posts will be about with a creative name.
- Choose your blog template.
Customize the design of your blog to match your style.
- Start writing posts.
Use your unique tone and voice to share your expertise.
- Connect your domain.
Get online with a domain name that makes it easy for people to find you.
- Publish posts and go live.
Launch your blog with posts you’re passionate about.
- Share your posts.
Engage with followers by sharing blog posts and replying to comments
WordPress.com VS WordPress.Org
The key difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s actually hosting your website.
With WordPress.org, you host your own site (we recommend this).
With WordPress.com, on the other hand, it’s WordPress.com that takes care of all of this for you (easier to start, less freedom). And that’s the major difference.
The cost of using WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
WordPress.com does allow you to set up a website entirely for free, but there are some downsides to this:
- You can only place your site under a subdomain
- You cannot remove WordPress.com’s own ads and branding from your site
- You get limited disk space of 3GB
- You can’t monetize your blog or website
- You can’t install plugins or any themes that aren’t available on the platform by default
If you do want to use your site for a commercial purpose, you will have to pay at least $8 / month on your WordPress.com plan + the cost of a custom domain name usually in the range of $15 / year. In total, this means at least $111 annually to run a site on WordPress.com.
With WordPress.org, on the other hand, you can launch a completely functional website at $35 for the first year and then $50 every year after that.
To make that happen, you first need to pick a web host. We have some suggestions for you here, but if you’re in a hurry, just go with Bluehost. They’re a respected company with tons of options for WordPress. Here’s what’s good about Bluehost’s offering:
- You can get started at $2.95 / month
- You get a free domain name for the first year
- WordPress will be installed for you automatically
From a user’s point of view, Bluehost works similarly to WordPress.com – as in, you sign up, pick a hosting plan, tell them to install WordPress for you, finalize the purchase and you’re good to do.
Plus, what you also get is complete freedom over what you want to do with your site – something that WordPress.com doesn’t give you. Go here to get started with Bluehost and WordPress.org.
If you need some more info before making up your mind, here’s a more in-depth look at the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Pros and cons
Each version has its own pros and cons. (Although, I personally think the .com version has more cons than pros. But you can decide for yourself!)
When to use WordPress.com
With WordPress.com, you don’t have to worry about purchasing hosting or maintaining your site. It also can be free, though there are paid plans as well.
The free plan limits you to 3GB of data and a subdomain (like mywebsite.wordpress.com). It also includes WordPress.com ads.
Furthermore, you won’t be able to install your own “plugins” or “themes” unless you pay for the expensive business plan. Plugins and themes are one of the most helpful things about the WordPress software because they make it easy to customize your site, so that’s a pretty big loss.
If the thought of changing a domain name server (DNS) or backing up your website data sounds incredibly daunting, WordPress.com may be the way to go to create a basic blog/website. But if you want any kind of flexibility, plan to monetize your site, or want your site to grow in the long run, WordPress.com can be very limiting.
When to use WordPress.org
WordPress.org has to be set up with your hosting provider. In most cases, this is a simple one-click install, and is really easy.
In fact, if you purchase your domain name from your hosting provider, you don’t even have to worry about changing DNSs. It will be done for you!
You can also monetize your website however you want, which is great if you’re planning to make it a business.
If you want full control over your site and the best possible options, go with WordPress.org.
Even though there’s a bit more of a learning curve, in the long run you’ll thank yourself for making this decision.
Ready to get started? As mentioned, we recommend Bluehost as the place to launch your WordPress website. The setup is easy and they help you along the way, too.
What is Web-Hosting
How Web Hosting Works
When you want to start a business in the real world, you need a physical location to set up, store, and sell your products. The same rules apply in the digital world when setting up a website.
When you set up an online business, you have a series of files, images, and HTML code that make up your website. These files take up space and need a place to live. Without an online home, your files would just sit on your computer and no one would ever see them. A hosting provider will provide a place on a web server to store all of your files and are responsible for delivering the files of your website as soon as a browser makes a request by typing in your domain name.
When you pay for hosting services, you are simply renting storage space on the internet — just like you would rent a physical store for your business.
What is a Domain Name
Before we go into more depth, let’s talk about domain names. When you first thought about starting an online business, you purchased a domain name. A domain name is your company’s address on the internet.
Think of it this way: if you are renting space at a physical location for your business, you give customers your street address so they can find you. If you are renting space on the internet, you give customers your domain name.
Whenever someone types in your domain name, it is converted into an IP address. The hosting company then locates all the files connected to your IP address and returns all of the pictures, videos, and words that make up your website.
Just like every street address is unique, so is every domain name. Whenever you start a new website, you get the opportunity to choose a name that perfectly reflects your brand.
Choosing a Hosting Provider
When selecting a provider it is important to consider the different types of hosting services that are offered. Here are a few things to consider when determining where you would like to host your site.
- What type of website are you building? eCommerce, blog, portfolio, etc.
- Based on the type website, what is the bandwidth needed to run your site
- Can you create email addresses for your domain?
- What type of hosting options are available?
- Do they provide SSL Certificates?
After choosing a hosting provider, completing your domain registration is easy! Often times your web host can also be your domain registrar.
Types of Web Hosting
If you are looking to host a website for your small business, Bluehost is a web hosting provider that offers a variety of hosting services to suit your needs. Once you have chosen your provider, you will need to create a hosting account and determine what type of hosting will work best for your site.
Shared hosting is the most common type of web hosting and is suitable for most online business owners. With shared hosting, several customers share storage space on one powerful server. There are several advantages to shared hosting including:
- Affordability — It’s much cheaper to share the space on a server than to rent the entire machine.
- Ease of use — Your server is preconfigured, well-organized, easy to use, and your hosting company does all the maintenance and security updates for you.
Rather than sharing space, you get a server all to yourself if you choose a dedicated hosting package. Advantages to dedicated hosting include:
- Customization — You can customize the software and hardware to meet your individual needs
- Unlimited Resources — Since you don’t share the server with anyone, all the storage space is yours.
- Full control — You can configure the setup however you’d like.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting includes all the features of a dedicated server, but at the price point of a shared server. Here are some of the top reasons VPS hosting might be a great fit:
- Functionality — VPS hosting is built on a cPanel and supports easy navigation with several intuitive tools.
- One-click features — You have access to one-click installs of WordPress, Magento, and Drupal.
- Easy site navigation — The clean interface makes site management a cinch.
Cloud hosting is often considered the most reliable of all of the services. Rather than relying on disk space of a single server, it pulls its power from several resources, making sure you never have any downtime. Other benefits include:
- Scalability — You can add to your cloud space at any time.
- Unmetered bandwidth — You don’t have to worry about your site going down due to a server failure.