How to start a successful Blog
Before you start blogging, pay attention to these essentials tips to be successful.
If you consider these tips you will save yourself a lot of time and valuable energy, and most importantly some cash.
Blogging can be fun but it comes with a whole lot of demands and challenges. But if you are able to overcome them, you will live the remaining days enjoying the fruits of your efforts and investment.
If you have friends who followed their passion and began blogging, and at some point felt some wrong decisions had been made or they have spent more than they should; this article should be a wake-up call for you.
Over the past weeks, I have personally heard, witnessed and faced some challenges that I do not want the wannabe blogger to go through.
NOTE: This post on how to start a successful blog contains some affiliate links. If you purchase a service through one of my links I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for the support! It means a lot.
In this tumultuous era of blogging, you have to be very strategic to standout.
Before we embark on this exciting adventure to elucidate the mystery behind the secrets to building a successful blog. Let me take time to explain the concept of blogging to you.
What is blogging?
Blogging is simply an act of creative writing around one’s passion or interest based on their opinion, and the knowledge of skills like Writing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, maintaining and designing the look of CMS based websites like WordPress (most popular and preferred for blogging), Joomla, and the rest.
It is essential to have the above skills in order to be successful as a blogger.
You don’t need to be a professional writer, journalist, or author to be able to blog. However, you need to have the ability to write a complete sentence in English. *smiling*
Who is a blogger? A blogger is the person involved in the act of blogging.
I know you will be asking why you need to have the above skills to be able to blog. You can honestly blog without having them. You only lessen your prospects of becoming successful.
To be a successful blogger you need to be a good writer to write unique and relevant content. Unless you are planning to plagiarise content from other websites; this approach will not bring you any good result in the long-term.
You will need to have basic SEO skills to be able to optimise the content you publish to enhance your chances of your articles appearing in search engines results which can lead to organic traffic to your website. This is fulfilling because this traffic is free, consider it as a reward from the search engines for posting a relevant content on the web.
In order to stay relevant and attract people to your website on social media. It is essential to have good social media marketing skills to help you develop the strategies you need to either engage people or run online ads to draw visitors to your website.
You can actually hire the services of SEO or Social Media Marketing professional but this will cost you. It is better to try to acquire the basics and start something on your own. Feel free to contact me if you need assistance with SEO and Social Media Marketing.
Now that you know what blogging is about it is essential to know that although blogging is fun and rewarding, it can also very demanding and frustration sometimes. I hope you don’t lose your personal life (just saying)
To be able to survive as a blogger, aside having the passion, you need to have money.
You need to see this as a business and all the seriousness will have to be accorded to make this successful. You need to consider blogging as a long-term investment.
With these points established let us dive straight into the most important things you need to pay attention to if you want this blogging thing to work for you.
Let the journey begin:
Deciding on your niche
The best way to manage the demands and frustrations associated with blogging is to identify yourself with the right niche.
A niche is simply a topic area that you will be writing on.
To be able to dominate in whatever niche you pick, you need to make sure that it is either something you know ( work related) or are passionate about (a hobby). This makes it easy for your to write and maintain your blog even when other things are competing for your time.
When you blog about what you’re passionate about, several things happen:
- You’re more likely to put the time and effort into your blog to make it shine.
- You’re less likely to abandon your blog in the future.
- You’re less likely to run out of ideas.
- It shows through in your writing, and your readers can feel that. This, in turn, will lead to a larger following.
If you go the other route and choose a niche solely because you think it’s profitable, you’re bound to run into burnout and dissatisfaction
Niche blogs are popular for one reason: they solve one problem. Either the blog is talking on Fashion, Entertainment, etc strictly and nothing else.
For instance, if you want to stay up-to-date on Entertainment trends, you’ll follow Entertainment blogs such as www.xbitgh.com because you trust that they’ll continuously solve your problem.
This is why the blogs that talk about anything and everything are mostly not successful.
Most internet users are out there looking for solutions to a problem. When readers are looking to solve a problem and your blog is nothing but ramblings on random topics, how is your blog going to solve their problem? Take a cue from this.
I will expand more on this area in another post.
Deciding on your domain
The domain to your blog is your brand identity. It can actually be your name if it’s a personal blog like mine: www.jbklutse.com or it can be a brand name that has nothing to do with the owner such as www.xbitgh.com.
This is the name people are going to enter into their browser or search engines to find you.
Make it simple.
You can either go for a keyword niche based domain or not. An example of a keyword niche based is www.goodmusic360.com. The keyword here is either music or good music. This clearly tells you the kind of content you are expected to see when you visit this blog. You are sure of seeing a lot of music related content. Search engines can reward such a blog with free traffic if people’s search query is about music or good music: website need to be well optimise though. *smiles*
Deciding on the platform and theme
WordPress is still the most popular and preferred blogging content management system (CMS), and this is what you should consider.
Before you select and buy your theme, you need should have an idea of how you want your content to be displayed.
This should give you an idea which theme to go for taken into consideration its capabilities or features. No matter the theme you pick make sure it is a responsive theme, and well optimised for Adsense if you ever want to monetize your blog.
Every blog needs an identity. Once you have your domain name the next thing is to get a logo.
Logaster is an online service for creating logos, favicon and corporate identity elements. I guess it can be useful especially for those who are involved in the creation of their own website or a blog, same as for those who are just planning to open a blog or make a website, because a logo is one of the important elements of any website or a blog.
Deciding on your hosting
Every self-hosted WordPress site needs a hosting account to shelve it. This is one of the crucial things you need to pay attention to.
The health and progress of your website depend on this. If you don’t want to lose traffic then you need to make sure you settle for a stable and resourceful hosting account.
This can turn into a nightmare if you don’t get it right.
Before you create a blog; make sure you have a good hosting account.
There two types of accounts you can look out for and they are: Shared hosting account or a VPS or Dedicated Server.
For new a blogger, I will recommend going for a shared hosting account for starters. This is affordable and can get your blog started without paying so much. I have a dedicated server of my own that I manage. I can sell a space for you at a starting price of GHS 20 per month.
Dedicated servers are good for one to have, but they are expensive and not a good solution for a new blog. You may consider this when you have been able to grow your traffic to let’s say, 100,000 daily visitors. Depending on the type of shared hosting you are using, this may be too much for it to handle, at this point it wise for you to want to move to a dedicated Server else your website will be given feedback like:
- Database connection error
- Webpage unavailable due Insufficient server resources
- Service Unavailable,
Some of the top brands that you can get a shared hosting from include: ipage, Hostgator, bluehost, Godaddy, and many others. The latest addition to my list of recommend hosting provider is Cyber Host Pro: one of the best hosting & reseller services in the United Kingdom
They cost between $2 to at most $12 per month. There are lots of discounts to enjoy, so do your investigation well for the right offer that meets your budget or you can consider my offer of GHS 20 per month for a cloud-base account.
Tip: Whenever you get a good offer from a hosting company, never make the mistake to buy 12 months/ 1 year package. I will recommend you for 3 years if you can afford it. Why? Because, for a company like ipage, their actually monthly charge is $11.95. So, if you get an offer for let’s say $1.99 or less for a month, and you think you are wise and only pay 12 months with the intention of saving, you will be making a grave mistake. You will live to regret it because, after the 12 months, ipage will have you pay the actual price of $11.95 instead of the initial offer they gave you.
Your best bet is to buy a 3 years package with the mind that after that period you would have been successful with your blog and can afford that or if there is a need to go for a dedicated server you can do so.
Please note that a shared hosting account labelled: unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, unlimited databases, unlimited emails, etc does not mean you have an unlimited resource, no!
This is happening is, a dedicated server let’s say with 100GB space and other resources can be shared among 1000 customers; all these customers will have unlimited access to this 100GB of space and resources of the server. The duty of the web hosting company is to manage the usage of the server by monitoring how each customer is using it. That is why, they are quick to send warnings or suspend your account when either a malware or a plugin on your website is causing abuse on the server resources. Such suspensions are revoke when they are sure you have resolved all such issues.
I have been a victim before.
The simple logic is, if 5 balls of mangoes are given to 10 people to share, no one is expected to have whole mango to himself or herself else others will end up not enjoying their share of the mango. This is why the hosting companies are quick to punish you when you are trying to enjoy more than the other customers on the shared hosting account.
Remember, you did not pay more than any of the other customers.
This revelation should not make you go strangling someone for over-billing you. This is purely business and they are free to price whatever they deem fit.
I have had friends who pay $100 and more in cedi equivalence and they were not even given a shared unlimited hosting account. You visit their website and it is always down due to insufficient server resources.
I have a friend whose website cannot accommodate even up to 20 people at given time, yet this young man paid close to $100 for that web hosting account.
Try not to be a victim!
It is your responsibility to research before you commit.
Think through about this and make the right decision. If you need further help, call me on 0272839333 or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to monetize your blog
Whether you are blogging for passion or for money, it is worth knowing how to make some cash from it. Some of the great way in which you can monetize your blog are:
- Direct Ads
- Contextual Ads
- Affiliate ads
- And many other creative means.
Let me share with you what Hamid Roshaan wrote on how to make money with your blog. His points are simple and it gives you a good start into how to strategize. Find below his main points:
Contextual advertising is a way of advertising which is used to target ads to specific keywords. Going deeper, actually, these ads are picked up by an automated system after identifying the keywords on the web page. Google AdSense and many others use this method of Advertising.
You can also Sell your Blog’s space to Advertisers Directly, for doing this you should display a banner having “Advertise Here” text in it so that Advertiser should contact you and pay you to display his ad on your blog.
The Price of Advertising depends upon the Advertisement size, traffic and niche of your blog or website. Some people really earn too much using direct advertising like Problogger.
Text Links Advertising:
There are many other networks who allow showing their advertisements in Text Links, You just have to signup to those networks and Paste the snippet code to your blog’s HTML area.
These Link Ads work in the way that they are controlled by a system which recognises the keywords in the text and places a link in that keyword, whenever the user hovers his cursor on that keyword that advertisement pops out and whenever the user clicks it Publisher or Blogger gets Money.
There are many Text Link Advertising Companies, I have tested Text Link Ads and Infolinks. But this way of advertising is not so much good.
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Focus, Passion and Money are what you need to get things started well. Carefully pay attentions to the points I have raised, reflect on them and make the right decisions. If you do it right, as I am doing, you will live the rest of your blogging life in bliss. If you ever have any questions about how to start a successful blog? Just drop a comment and I will try to help you out.
Stay blessed and Jesus loves you!