We are all familiar with the term BLOGGING. If done well, a blog can you fetch millions of dollars monthly. The big question at this point would be how to set up a blog professionally and make good income for yourself.
In this article i’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to help you build a successful blogging career.
- Is Blogging Best for You?
What you’re holding now is the exact blueprint I’ve used to achieve the level of success I’m having now. You can instantly follow my footprints, copy my strategies and develop a new income stream for yourself. If you follow every step diligently, you can even outshine me and earn many times the income I’m earning now.
Now, before you start to reap what you have put in, I always like to ask my readers “Is this what you really want?”
- What do you want really?
- Herd mentality
Many a times, we’ve heard about a “breakthrough” online money-making opportunity and would jump into it without much consideration.
Some might just be following the crowd, and unsure of what they’re getting themselves into.
Now, I’m pretty sure this is not the first Internet Marketing related book you’re reading. There may be tons of others you have come across and even bought, but end up leaving them on the shelves. To tell you the truth, I’m guilty of doing this too some time back.
Don’t get me wrong, I mean it’s good to read up more and expand your online marketing knowledge. But if you’re buying the books just because the whole crowd are buying them, I suggest you put this book back onto the bookshelf and only come back when you’re equipped with the right mindset.
I’ve come across many of my students who just kept on buying Internet Marketing books, only to realize later that he has only read less than 10% of them before moving on to other stuffs.
The distraction in the internet marketing world is indeed unavoidable. So are you buying something just because all the others are doing it?
- The Right Mindset
If you have this mindset “I’m going to succeed online, no matter what it takes or what other people says!” Congrats! You’ve actually placed yourself among the top 10% of the world’s population determined to succeed. In other words, you have what it takes to succeed online! You have made up your mind to succeed online no matter what the obstacles are.
Give yourself a pat on the back and you’re all set to move on.
- Niche Research
Now, you must be thinking of how what you should be blogging about. Should you blog about a particular “hot” topic just because it’s the ‘in’ thing right now and all the others are doing the same thing? Or should you blog about your own expertise or hobby? Or should you blog about your own personal life?
There are in fact a million and one topics you can blog about. So what I’m trying to say is that any niche (even those very competitive ones) can make you money, as long as you are determined to succeed.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the wedding niche, scrap booking niche, hamster niche or Internet marketing niche. You can make money if you have the right mindset and attitude and you are willing to learn the strategy.
I’m always a strong believer of life-long learning. So even if you don’t know how to do it now, you can always learn later and apply them at the right time.
What I’m going do now is to bring you through doing research online so that you can roughly know how your money-making online path looks like.
So are you ready?
I am sure you are!
To be fair to you, I’ll touch on a niche that I’m not an expert in. I’m trying to place myself in a new blogger’s shoes and start afresh like everyone else.
I want to prove to you anything is possible and you can start off a pretty decent blog just by spending some effort and time researching online.
Now let’s get started. We all know that iPhone is a pretty popular tech toy and there are a lot of income opportunities in it. Let’s first do some keyword research using Google, Technorati.com and Alexa.com
A search in Google produces about 162 million results. Another reliable research place is Google Blogsearch. A search with the keyword “iPhone” brings about 27 million blog posts related to iPhone.
It’s not necessary to look at each and every of the results, as it will be a waste of time.
All you need to do is to find the top 3 popular blogs which you want to model after and develop a blog which is just a step ahead of them.
That’s basically it!
A simple guideline to have a neat blog is:
- 2 or at most 3 columns for your theme template
- Clean white background
- Always abide by the rule “Less is More” (Avoid cluttering)
- Readable text of at least font size 12 and black font color for easy reading
- At most 10 blog posts per page for easy and fast loading
Another great place to do blogging research is Technorati.
Technorati is one of the best Internet search engine for searching blogs. As of June 2008, Technorati indexes 112.8 million blogs. So you can really find some really neat blog related to your niche.
Below is an example of a search in Technorati using the keyword “iPhone”.
Alexa ranks sites based on the number of visits from users of its Alexa Toolbar for Internet Explorer and from integrated sidebars in Mozilla and Netscape.
I did a search using the keyword “iPhone blog” and the picture below shows the results.
What I love about Alexa is that it shows the thumbnails of the sites or blogs in the search results and I can just browse through them as I scroll down. This helps save me lots of time and effort in looking for a well-designed blog.
You notice that for every site mentioned, there is also the Rank statistics (the smaller the number, the better it is ranked) So while doing your research, you can ask yourself which site is more popular and why.
Could it be due to its simplicity, the immense amount of free info for the readers or the design of the blog? Do a little analyzing, pick up the features you like and come up with a blog which suits you the most.
- Blogging Platform
A blogging platform offers a control panel for you to manage your blog and publish your posts.
The admin dashboard allows you to write your blog posts, publish them, add pictures, organise the layouts and so on.
Personally, I prefer these 2 platforms as they are easy to use for beginners as well as intermediate level users.
Blogger.com is a blog publishing platform bought by Google in 2003. I personally started blogging with this because it is easy for beginner. To get started, you just need to have a Google account to use this.
In my ebook Bloggers Paycheck, we do explain every step in details on how to create your first blog.
WordPress.org is another blog publishing software you should seriously consider. It has more features and more versatile to use than blogger.
Below is a comparison of the pros and cons of both platforms:
- Set-up and Usability
In terms of set-up and usability, it’s much easier to set-up a blogging account with Blogspot.com. Once you’re set-up you can start posting immediately.
Installing WordPress is a tad more troublesome, but if you know which hosting account to get, you can choose one with Cpanel included. With Cpanel, you can do a one-click installation of your WordPress platform.
The good thing about using WordPress is that there’re tons of great looking templates (much more than for Blogger in my own opinion) for you to choose from at http://wordpress.org/extend/themes. And you can have your own domain name, e.g. http://yourblog.com for your WordPress blog (instead of using http://yourblog.blogspot.com as in the case of blogger.com)
- Customization & Advanced Usage
Blogger doesn’t allow you to group your blog posts into categories, but WordPress does. WordPress not only lets you add categories, you can also display each category differently on your main page.
Publishing with Blogger can be a painfully slow process because you are under the mercy of Google’s servers. Sometimes, during peak hours, the servers slow down so dramatically that you might not even be able to log into your blogger account. With WordPress however, publishing is much faster as you are using your own web host server’s speed.
Another thing I like about WordPress is that it’s much more customizable than Blogger. You can easily download and install additional themes, “plugins” and other advanced tools.
- Copyrights and Ownership of Content
I started with Blogger and I won’t say that it’s bad. But there’s one thing you need to be clear on. Google owns your content.
What does that mean?
It means that Google has the authority to shut down your account without warning if they don’t like what you’re blogging about. You don’t have absolute control over your own blog. It’s different with WordPress, you own the domain name and the blog is hosted on your own account, so you have full control over your content.
With the self-hosted version of WordPress (not WordPress.com), you’re free to write about anything you want, and use the software in any way you want. Yes, Blogger allows you to publish to your own domain, but they still own the database that holds your content! Don’t forget that!
- Search Engine Optimization and Traffic
There’s this propaganda that since Google owns Blogger, they tend to favor Blogger accounts. I won’t say that this is illogical, but from my experience, there’s no such favoritism.
I’ve heard as many stories of getting indexed fast and ranking high in search engines from both WordPress and Blogger users. As long as the content is good, the spiders will come.
When you post in Blogger, you can only “ping” a limited amount of sites, whereas with WordPress on your own domain you can ping as many blog directories as you want, and start getting traffic to your blog.
- Money-Making Potential
There’s no doubt that it’s easier to get started with Google AdSense if you have a Blogger account. In fact you can now apply for Adsense from within a Blogger account. Not entirely surprising considering the fact that both are owned by the same company.
With WordPress, it can get tricky. The default installation is not enough. You’ll need a couple of plugins and even a better theme to really maximize the Adsense potential. However, this seems to be getting easier and there’s even “Adsense revenue sharing” plugins around that allow you to share ad revenue with other contributors and writers for your blog.
When you start using WordPress to build your AdSense websites, you’ll soon discover what I mean. It’s something you need to experience for yourself. I can tell you one thing though – when you go WordPress, you don’t go back.
- Themes Design
- Getting a Free Blogging Template
If you’re using Blogger platform, you can get free blog skins from blogskins.com
If you’re using WordPress, you can visit Themes.Wordpress.Net to download free WordPress themes.
Do feel free to spend some time to find the best WordPress template for your niche and personality.
- How To Write A Blog Post
There are many ways that you can create a blog post and there’s no one fixed structure you must follow. Below are some guidelines for you:
- Common ranting
Ranting can be a very good way to start blogging. We just type whatever we want to say or whatever that has happened in our lives. Treat it like a casual conversation, without using any conscious effort to phrase it in a formal tone.
Ranting can be a good start to get you into the momentum of typing. It’s just like sharing something about yourself when meeting up with you good friend (the blog) and saying whatever that comes into your mind.
A tip for you: Just set your mind free and share whatever you like within your comfort level.
- Intro-Body-Conclusion (IBC)
If we want to create a blog that will capture loyal readers, we need to focus on what’s in it for them. After all, the readers are reading your blog because of its enticing content. They are reading it because they want to find answers to their problems.
So we must create a proper structure for our blog post that is easy and pleasant for our readers to read so that they will return.
A common structure to start with is having a short introduction paragraph to catch hold of the readers’ eyes and make it attractive enough for the readers to click on the <Click here to read more> tag.
It can be a summary of what the post is about and what the readers can learn by reading the rest of the blog post. Then, create a BODY which contains the gist of the story. You can share with your readers what happened, how did it happened, why did it happened and who were involved. Write about 200 words for the body and be straight to the point.
End off with an insightful CONCLUSION with about 30 to 50 words to share from your point of view, what the readers can learn and how they can apply back to their own lives.
Here’s a tip for you: To make it really easy for anyone to read, you can always use the numbered list format.
Here are the 3 tips you should know before buying an iPhone.
- Know your budget
- Buy from a reliable retailer
- Take good care of your iPhone
And go on to elaborate each point in greater details.
- Intro-Experience-Point-Conclusion (IEPC)
For this blog post structure, it’s similar to the structure of a diary entry. You first share a short paragraph of roughly what happened. Then, after the MORE tag, you can share about your experience by following the 5 “W”s
- Who, where, why, what and when.
End off with a conclusion you want to leave an impression on your readers. Remember to keep it short and straight-to-the-point.
- Blog Readers Love to Read About Tips and Secrets
This is a common structure which I am used to writing and it works for me every time. It’s a method I like to use to develop relatively long posts with lots of good value information for my readers.
This is also good for “link-baiting”. What’s that? You might ask.
Well, let’s put it this way. Assume some lady reads my blog post and finds it interesting. She’s so impressed by the content that she wants to share these 37 tips with her friends. As the post is too long for them to copy, they will take the easy way to either email her friends the whole link or do a linkback from her blog. Either way, For a start, it’s not necessary to come up with such a big post. You can start off with articles with 3 to 9 tips.
- Get Your Blog On Google (Basic Search Engine Optimization)
So what is SEO? It’s actually an abbreviation for “Search Engine Optimization” and it means making your blog highly ranked by the search engine such as Google by placing some highly searched keywords in your blog posts.
Let’s say there are 3000 searches on the keyword “iPhone blog”. The search engine bots or spiders will do a search in the World Wide Web finding blogs and sites with this keywords – iPhone blog.
Now, the tricky part is to help your blog rank as high as possible in the search engine results for this keyword.
You can find related keywords in Google Keyword tool and it is free. Just key in a general keyword related to your niche and you’ll be provided a list of other keywords which matches that niche. You then choose a less competitive keyword with a lot of searches and do your best to dominate it in the search engine rankings.
You can optimize your website title for the search engines by filling it with keyword rich terms that users might key in the search engines to find your blog. Keep it related to your blog content.
- Post Title
Again, insert a good keyword in your post title for search engines. But do not go overboard by placing too many keywords just for the sake of doing it. This would make your title too confusing and turns off your reader.
- Post Body
As a general guide, I would recommend inserting the keyword you’re targetting in the first and last paragraph. Again, do not overdo it by placing the same keywords all over the post, Google is clever enough to detect that you’re trying to stuff keywords and would penalize you by offering a lower ranking in search engine results.
- 5 Most Common WordPress Plugins
A plugin for WordPress is an add-on software to the WordPress blogging platform. Different plugins have different specific function, adding on to the functionality of WordPress.
In Bloggers Paycheck, we did touch on the specific steps on how to install the plugins in your WordPress admin panel.
- Adsense Plugin
- Subscribe to Comments
Subscribe to Comments 2.1 is a plugin that allows anyone who commented on your blog to check a box before commenting and get e-mail notification of further comments.
This is a plugin which intelligently blocks spam comments. There are many spammers out there who just spam blog comments to either advertise their sites or get a link back. Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they are spam or not.
If they are spams, they will not be approved and get filtered off.
By default, it is residing in your wordpress dashboard when you first set it up. If it’s not, you can download it here: http://akismet.com/
This is a plugin for on-demand backup of your WordPress database. Start the habit of backing up your blog once every week.
- 5 Blog Traffic Quick Tips
BlogRush enables you to install a script code in your blog. There is a network of blogs and randomly, the blog titles of other relevant blogs posts will appear in the widget. Your readers who are interested in that particular blog post will click on the link and visit that blog post. Likewise, readers of other blogs using BlogRush may visit your blog.
- Social networking sites
A social network site or portal focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.
You can find a list of social networking sites in wikipedia.com
- Email signatures
You do send emails to your friends every once in a while, don’t you? Do you know you can end off with a signature of your blog address? It can be very effective in telling all your friends and relatives about your blog, and can bring in a decent amount of free traffic to your blog.
You can refer to the example next page on how to structure your signature.
An example can be:
Learn How to Make Money Online at www.bloggom.com
MyBlogLog is an online meeting place for bloggers. Here’s how you can gather some traffic using this neat trick…
If you have an account in MyBlogLog, whenever you visit someone else’s blog installed with MyBlogLog widget, your avatar picture will appear in the blog. So if their readers are interested in knowing you, they will click on your profile picture and visit your blog. This way, you get free traffic to your site.
One of the fastest ways to get relevant traffic is to leave a relevant comment in other people’s blogs.
Let’s say this person by the name of “laVender” left a comment in one of the post for newlywedbride.com. It is in fact linked back to her blog. So anyone interested in finding out more about laVender will click on the link which is back to her site.
The golden rule of leaving comment is to leave those related to the blog post. Do not just leave gibberish comments for the sake of getting linkbacks to your blog. It will be considered as spam and would get deleted really fast by spam filters or the blog owner.
- Making Money Instant Methods
I know you’re eager to know how to make money from your blog. So I shall not withhold the info from you any further,
Here are 5 money making methods you must know:
- Text-link-ads.com – paid link marketplace where you get 50% commission for every text-link sold.
- Sponsored Reviews – paid sponsored post in your blog.
- Google Adsense – Pay-per-click advertising campaign offered by Google
- ClickBank– start selling other people’s products and earn a commission for every product sold
- Own Your Product – I highly recommend this even though it may take slightly longer for you to develop your own product. You can start off with a $7 report of about 30 pages and sell it off at “Warrior Forum Special Offer” Just remember to read the forums rules first.10. ConclusionBlogging is a life long journey and the payoff can be huge with some effort put in. I’ve personally experienced it for myself and I want to sincerely help you succeed too. For the fact you invested in my blogger’s blueprint, it means you are determined to make a difference to your own life. I will see you at the top!