I have written a comprehensive article for my ‘Feathering the Empty Nest’ blog about the pros and cons of blogging, as well as valuable tips and advice for those seriously considering starting a blog.
I was surprised to see how much information I had to pass along and liked it so much that I knew I had to include it on this blog, which handles blogging subjects much more specifically.
For those just beginning to toy with the idea of blogging, this article is for you.
You might never have put much thought into whether or not blogging may be for you. However, you might be pleasantly surprised at just how good a side career it can be.
Once you get going, you might find that you can draw in a pretty decent amount of money every month. But it’s not just about the money; blogging has so many benefits for you personally and for your life that it is a great move for many people all over the world.
As long as you think that you have something worth saying, you probably already know the answer to the question, “Is blogging a good side career for you?” Let’s take a look at some of the basics of getting started in the world of blogging.
Find your niche.
Once you start examining your interests and motivations, it should be quite easy to find your niche – or niches. As in my case, I have several interests I have turned into blogs including:
If you want your blog to be read, enjoyed and visited by many people, you must find your own niche.
What this is is entirely up to you, but it should be subject matter you know plenty about and feel comfortable discussing and debating. It should be something that means something to you personally.
Expertise and comfort with the subject matter will ensure that you can actually write about it regularly enough to warrant hosting a blog.
Do you tend to see the humour in everything and enjoy story telling and writing?
Then blogging might be for you. Those who blog using a natural voice and frequent injections of humor seem to become more popular, more quickly.
You also need to ensure that there will be enough people who are also interested, and that is where the tricky balance has to be found.
If your niche is too narrow, you won’t see your blog becoming the kind of site you want it to be. If it is too broad, you will be lost amongst all the other bloggers dealing with the same subject matter and it will be difficult to create a distinct identity for your blog.
If you approach blogging in the way you would creating a business plan, you will be starting on a solid foundation.
Use trusted hosting.
From the first, think about protecting your blog.
It is your business, after all, and you need to be sure that you are doing everything you can to keep it from suffering any kind of bad fate.
One of the most common problems that new bloggers face is on the technical side; namely, that their blog fails or tanks when it suddenly becomes popular. It is highly important that you go out of your way to try and find website hosting that you feel you can trust.
Be sure to discuss the possibility of spikes in traffic and what the host will provide to handle it and not cause your site to go down. Down times due to traffic can be frustrating for both bloggers and readers – and can seriously affect your site’s following.
It is also always worth remembering to back up your posts on your computer or the cloud, just in case the worst happens.
I’ve handled these issues by finding an affordable host provider who assures minimal downtime and provides the option of purchasing a regular backup service.
You can’t be a blogger without blogging, and it is important to get writing as soon as you can if you want to be successful and get off to a good start.
If you know exactly what you are going to write about, then that is great, you are in a strong position indeed.
But if you don’t, you should first consider making a number of plans regarding what your posts will be about.
If you can plan maybe four or five posts ahead, then that will set you off on the right path.
Tricks of the trade.
Ideas come and go and we’re not always in a position to sit at our computer when the mood strikes.
I find that keeping a notebook handy (Yup! Plain old pen and paper) allows you to jot down ideas as they come to you. Believe me, if you don’t, an hour later when you finally get to your computer, the idea will have vanished into the ether.
Take part in the conversation.
Read and respond to comments on your blog promptly. As soon as you’ve written and published a post, promote it through social media.
One of the most important ways to build your blog’s presence is to foster lively conversation and the best way is to take part in it yourself.
Encourage contributions of others.
It’s fairly easy to build up a group of contributors who are willing to regularly submit free guest posts in return for links and mentions.
However, if your goal is to start fostering paid clientel, it’s important to stipulate from the beginning that paid posts will take priority in the publication schedule – and there are no guarantees for free guest post submissions.
Maintain identity and quality standards.
No matter how much you need or could use the contribution, never accept guest content that is of a lower standard than you would produce.
Posts should be conversational, honest, informative and provide real value for the reader. If there’s nothing in it for the reader, they won’t return.
Avoid your posts coming across as advertisements. This is the kiss of death for blogs.
Create media and blog policies pages.
These are where you should stipulate your requirements and standards for any contributions, advertisements, etc. – whether free or paid. If you’re encouraging paid or sponsored contributions, rates should be listed.
These pages should have your privacy and advertising policies spelled out for the public. These are actually legally required to just operate the blog, much less qualify for advertisers and some paid clients.
Blogging is an investment.
You invest your time, effort and a little money from the very beginning to build up readership, attract advertisers, and hopefully get an ever increasing income.
I started my blogs in 2011 when I was forced to retire from my government job for medical reasons. Only two of them – the genealogy, and home and family blogs – are maintained regularly, and even then, only the home and family blog makes any sort of money.
At present, this is a small amount that covers my overhead and a little bit extra, but if it keeps progressing, I can foresee getting a fairly decent income from it when my husband and I retire in ten years.
Can you just imagine us, traveling in our motor home, and living on my husband’s pension and the money I make blogging. By then, they should be about equal.
Making money at blogging is more difficult than ever. Don’t go into it thinking you’ll get rich. If all you’re looking for is a part-time income and some fun, blogging may be your thing.