Starting a blog is a great way to develop a business. Even though the Internet is flooded with blogs and forums there is still plenty of potential for newcomers. Blogging is not all that difficult to start and is not very expensive. It does take a commitment to be successful though.
Before you start your Blogging career there are some things you should do. First is to develop the idea for your blog. What's your niche going to be? For example if you are going to create a blog that is focused on healthy eating you need to concentrate on developing posts that are centered around that topic. Determine if this is a niche that you can write on and continue to develop new content and ideas for.
Next, do some research on your competition. Unless you have a very unique niche you will have competition. What makes your competitors blog stand out? Look at a variety of different blogs (not necessarily specific to your niche) and write down different ideas that you come across that could be of use on your site. This could be post frequency, advertising, mailing list usage, how comments are managed and social media integration.
After researching, start developing your concept. Determine a good name for your site and register for a complementary domain name. Domain names are relatively inexpensive so even if you register a domain while you develop the rest of your blog concept it won't break the bank. Think about color schemes or look for blogging templates that will match the look and feel you want to achieve. Design a logo or outsource that piece if graphic design isn't your strong point. There are many companies that will assist you in developing a unique logo to capture the spirit of your business for less than a couple hundred dollars. If that's way out of your price range look to family or friends that may have the skills to create a logo. You can also look to job boards like Fiverr or even contact your local colleges. There are always students that are looking to build up their resumes and colleges will often post job opportunities internally for students to access.
Develop the content. In my opinion this is the most critical and potentially time consuming portion of starting a blog. Think about how frequently you will be posting new content for your blog. Will you be posting new blogs daily, a few times a week or a few times a month? Put that into perspective and be realistic. If you intend to post daily that's 365 posts per year. If you are creating all of those posts yourself that will take time to write. There are also sources in which you can purchase content for your site too. It's important to begin developing the blog content ahead of time. If you're planning on posting a new blog 3 times a week that's 12 blog posts per month. If you have 48 blog posts prior to launching your blog then you are 4 months ahead. Set aside time to continue at a steady pace to create new content and always stay ahead of it. If something is trending in your niche you can easily write new content and integrate that into your blog and still have a nice reserve of posts to publish.
After you have the concept, theme and content, find a web hosting provider that either provides blogging software or one that will allow you to install a blogging platform of your choosing. With that being said WordPress is one of the more popular blogging platforms out there and offers many features that can easily be integrated into the blogging platform with minimal web site coding. If you're new to blogging software expect a learning curve when using the platform. There are often numerous menus that will allow you to customize your blog and set it apart from other blogging sites out there. While not necessarily required, learning some basic HTML will help you can understand what is going on behind the scenes as well as have the knowledge to add some creative ideas of your own.
Once you have your blog set up, create a schedule to follow and start making regular blog posts. Again it's much easier to develop a blog posting routine if you have already created content ahead of time. Regular posts that offer value to your audience will benefit you in several ways. It's good for search engine placement. Search engines like sites that offer value and are updated consistently. You will increase return users to your site. Having regular blog posts published to your site gives your audience something new to read. A blog that only gets a single new post every month is not going to encourage people to constantly check back for your latest and greatest blog post.
Now that you have your blog up and running be sure to sign up with Google and Bing webmaster tools. This will help provide a lot of insights for your blog website. It will show stats including pages indexed by the search engine and general link or page errors. This information will help you fine tune aspects of your site and quickly bring attention to any potential problems encountered by the search engine. Also adding a tool like Google Analytics will show you trends on visitor interactions within your site as well as the amount of traffic your site is receiving.
There are numerous ways to advertise your blog website. You can always buy website traffic through a website traffic provider. An example would be Google Ads. Essentially you will create advertisements that Google will display on its network or other network sites. These types of ads are a pay-per-click (PPC) in which you bid on specific keywords to have your ad displayed. When a user clicks the ad you pay a fee for that click and the user is redirected to your website. There are several other methods for advertising with paid traffic beyond PPC. Look to social media and create accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google + if they fit your model. These are great tools to advertise, connect and contribute which in turn builds your reputation. Do more than just advertise your site. Engage in conversations and provide recommendations or suggestions when you can. Many of these social media outlets have paid advertising options too.
Surely you're now wondering with all that work, how do I make money? Here again, there are many different options to monetize your blog. One way is to put ads on your blog website using Google Adsense or Bing Ads. If you're driving a good amount of traffic to your blog consider other advertising firms like Taboola or Outbrain. Find an affiliate marketing solution that works into your blog topic and promote their products. An excellent example of this is Amazon. You can create an affiliate account and link to specific items in which if a visitor clicks and makes a purchase then you receive a commission for that sale. Again this is a simple example of an affiliate option and there are many more dedicated affiliate programs out there to participate in. Sell advertising on your blog website. Create a competitive pricing plan based on your advertising method such as pay-per-click or pay-per-view. You will need to have the process of displaying ads and calculating clicks if you go this route. If you have your own product(s) to sell consider adding an e-commerce checkout on your website and sell your product(s) online. Create a mailing list where your visitors can sign up on your blog. This is an excellent way to keep your visitors engaged and a perfect method of additional marketing options.
There are bloggers out there that make a substantial amount of money by using the techniques above. With commitment and dedication, anyone can create a successful and profitable blog. It's not going to make money overnight and there is a learning curve. Be prepared to invest time into the blog project and don't be discouraged when it doesn't make money at first. Use the tools you have at your disposal and consistently monitor the site. Make adjustments when needed and continue to make your regular blog posts.