This is a guest post by Manish, if you would like to write for ShoutMeLoud, check our guest posting guidelines.
Blogging is becoming one of the newest online phenomenons like Email and Social Networking. To become a successful blogger, one needs to know what makes blogging special and basics of blogging. Most people who become successful in blogging because they’ve great passion towards it. Being success in blogging means people know them because of the blog they own and at the same time, it’s making money for them. They’re attracted by the idea that blogging enables them to have a channel for expressing their ideas.
Basically, that’s what blogging is. Blogging is a medium to express your opinion online via blogs. In other words it’s an online diary for you where you write about stuff which you like. People use it as an online diary, bookmarking or share the knowledge they have. In this post, I will be sharing basics of Blogging and how to get start with one. Though before we move ahead with it, here’s my first lesson. Say it to yourself at least 10 times everyday -
“Don’t Blog For Money. Blog for the sake of blogging. Money will come your way”
This is a mantra. If you find it difficult to embrace it, then forget blogging for money right now. Don’t read any further.
If you’re reading this, then you should be comfortable with above mantra. If yes, let’s continue the journey of learning blogging. In this section, I’ll tell you about the blogging scene. Blogging emerged as a platform for anyone without technical skills to publish stuff online. But, nowadays, even technically proficient people use blogging since it’s fast, easy and more people are comfortable with it. Even companies have blogs to put forward views and directions. More over blogs have better web presence than static websites.
Now let’s enter technical stuff. Blogs are websites. Understand that. Its nothing different. It’s just organized differently. Here’s some basic stuff about websites.• Websites are HTML documents stored in a server.
- Server is a computer connected to the internet.
- Every server has an IP to recognize itself in the internet.
- Domain is the “http://<something>.com/” you see everyday.
- When you type a domain into the browser, it goes to the Domain Name Server (DNS) and gets translated to the IP of the server on which the website is sitting. So, instead of remembering 188.8.131.52 or something like that, you just remember “http://yahoo.com/”. Convenient huh?
So, for starting a website, these are the stuff people do:
- Get a server to put their HTML and data on. Now obviously, you know the limitations of having a server at home. So, you can buy server space elsewhere. This is called Web-Hosting.
- You basically pay the Web-Host money in return for some space in their server’s hard-disk to store you’re website’s data.
- Once you buy the space, upload your stuff there.
- Buy a domain name and link it to that server account (Believe me this is easier than it sounds).
- Web-Hosting costs can be as low as $4/month.
“http://<something>.blogger.com” while you can add a domain like
“http://<something>.com/”. Of course you’ve to pay for your domain. But it’s just $10/year.
So far, I assume you have your hosting and domain with you. Domain is one of the crucial part of blogging as in long-term this is how people are going to know you. Make sure you read some domain buying tips before you select your domain name.
You can refer to WordPress Guide to start with your first Self Hosted WordPress blog.
Find your Passion…(Blogging niche)
Here we are talking about finding the niche of your blog. Topics on which you are going to write about. If you planning to blog for money, make sure you stick to one topic instead of using multiple topics on your blog. Would you like to read about “fishing” on a “how to make robots” blog? Think about topics which you would love writing about and make sure you’ve good knowledge in that field. But be careful not to choose a topic which doesn’t have too much enthusiasts. Topics which more people share are the ones which would survive. Be unique but be realistic.
Every blogger has his own Blogging style. Someone add humor into his writing, someone is sarcastic and someone is professional. There is no thumbrule for this, but you need to find what’s your Blogging style. Though make sure, your article should look like a professional one and in clear language with proper English.
Many people like me, who belong to country where English is not the first language, you can always work on Grammar and writing and enhance it with time.
- Use capitalization only wherever necessary.
- Use standard fonts like Verdana, Times New Roman, San Serif etc and avoid fonts like Comic Sans etc.
- Use paragraphs to divide passages.
- Use bullets to effectively conveying certain ideas.
- Add relevant images to posts.
I’d like to put special mention on adding images since it is tremendously effective in getting new readers and maintaining the existing. Search for “Stock Images” and add good quality images. Don’t add overly zoomed or not-to-scale images. Maintain quality. Add them creatively by aligning to right or centering them. And scale them to be just the size for the post. Not too big and nor too small
Have a friendly theme (color combination) in your website. It shouldn’t amateurish and over-done. Pick a theme which loads fast and friendly on the eye. Don’t choose dark colors and very light colors which irritate the eye. Use a good font size to facilitate easy reading. Another mantra:
“Do not Copy-Paste other’s work”
People go incredibly wrong here. They start a blog. Look for good blogs and copy-paste the content. This is very seriously frowned upon in the Blogosphere. Be original. Work for your post. Even if you’re copying some other person’s post, copy the idea. Not the post. Write your own post and give credit to that person in the end. That’s good etiquette. And, don’t go for “Free Articles Directories” which gives you free articles to spam on your blog.
Focus on quality. It tells the prospective reader that you mean business. It’ll help you in becoming trusted in your opinions. Go to CopyBlogger to learn more about blogging elegance
So far, you understand what is hosting, domain, blogging niche and yes importance of originality. SO now it’s time to start writing. Remember everyone is not a born writer, so start with 4-5 posts before you start wirth blog promotion. But, show your blog to your friends and family and take their feedback. Specially the one who understand your niche and who can give you suggestions to improve. Don’t just start with commenting and start telling people about your blog from the day first. You need to make sure, your blog is ready to be seen by people on the web.
If you just have 3 poorly written posts in your blog, and you somehow attract me to see it, I’ll see it and say- “This is crap. Waste of time”. Even if you get better in the future, I won’t come again since 1st impression counts. So make sure, take your first baby steps carefully and work with a plan from day 1.
Make your blog squeaky clean from the start itself. Now what is Blogging Frequency? It’s simply how many posts you publish in a certain period (say a day). There is no limit, but you need to maintain a frequency which you are going to keep. Start with writing one post a day and publish or schedule it. Make sure you start with some pillar posts, because that is something which will make your first time visitors to subscribe to your blog and become a regular reader. Now a Pillar post is something which will signify your blog. For example, if you are starting a blog on Make money online, write a post on some best MMO tips which you have personally tried and worked for you. If you are planning to write same thing which all other blogs have and your post doesn’t have anything new, you missing out the most important aspect of blogging and that is “Personal touch”.
Instead of quantity, focus more on quality.
I’m sorry but I’ve a bit outdated collection of data regarding this since its been ages since I stopped blogging. And, believe me, the blogosphere is very dynamic. Keep track of it. Well, here’s some ways to promote your blog. You need to get the word out.
- Tell your friends about it. A no-brainer right ?
- Join Digg.com, Reddit.com (Social bookmarking sites) and submit your blog posts there for big exposure.
- Join StumbleUpon.com and promote your blog there. This is very effective.
- Join forums related to your blog’s topic and be active there.
- Put your blog’s link in the signature of Email.
- Put your site’s link in as many website directories as possible. (Important ones are http://dmoz.org, Yahoo Directory etc)
- If possible, do paid advertising using Google Adwords and all.
- Create Facebook Fan page, Twitter profile.
- Comment on other blogs
- Guest post on other blogs in the same niche
Try to form a community around your blog.
Search engine optimization:
I’m sure where ever you read about blogging, you will be reading SEO is very important, SEO is cruicial and so on and believe me it’s true. To make your blog visible on search engine, you should be doing search engine optimization of your blog. When you start with a blog, SEO seems to be some scary stuff, but with 2-3 hours of your quality reading time, you will learn about basics of SEO. Here I’m outlining few stuff which you should do or search and understand about SEO.
- Sitemap Submissions (Google, Yahoo, Bing)
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
- Meta Title
- Noindex, Doindex
- Link building
Though initially you can simply start with Sitemap submissions and comment on other blogs. With time, you can learn about other aspect. If you are on WordPress, start using a plugin (All in one SEO) and learn how to use this plugin and this will take care of most important part and that is, Meta description, Keywords and Title.
RSS and Subscription option
RSS is actually “Really Simple Syndication” and not the RSS you would be thinking of right now. Its a technology to “Subscribe” to some content. Almost all the blogging platform supports RSS. It’s a way, your readers can subscribe to your blog and get notified when ever a new post will be published. They will be using any RSS reader to read your new posts. You should offer options to subscribe via feed reader or Email subscription option. One easy and free way to get started with this is Feedburner.
Making Money with blog
So now lets get back to real stuff and that is making money from your blog. One of the easiest way to make money from Blogging is via advertisement. Check any blog and you will see advertisement on sidebar or around the post. If the advertisement is related to the topic you are looking for, you are more likely to click on that ads. This is call contextual advertising. Start with Google adsense which is one of the easiest and simplest method to start your money journey via blogging. You can read this guide (How to create a Google adsense account) and grab an adsense account.
Once your blog starts getting decent traffic, you can try many other advertising network and different types of advertising like CPM advertisement, Intext advertisement or direct advertisement. Create an advertise page and show your stats and rates for ad blocks. You can check out ShoutMeLoud advertisement page for better idea.
Before you add any advertisement network, you should do research on review of it and then add it. Specially look out for payout terms and conditions.
Of course, this is not everything about blogging. There’s a lot of stuff which is better learned through practice. The bottom-line of all this is to HARDWORK. Publish posts like crazy while not compromising on the quality at the same time, Work on promotion, take care of SEO and money will automatically follow. Always remember in blogging world money flows where the traffic is. So more traffic= More money.
Look inside the “Archives” in these sites to find cool content. And understand that Google is your best friend.
Do let us know if you find this guide useful for any newbie or not. If you have more tips to add you can submit them via comments.
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