Recently I launched my blog site wisdomtimes. Harsh has been an integral part of the process. Here is how it all came together and how ShoutMeLoud is helping me with some invaluable blogging tips.
My Blog Journey
It has always been my dream to escape the corporate grind and also become financially independent. It took quite a bit of introspection and planning to decide that blogging was the way out to kill these 2 birds with one stone. I started searching for professionals that could help me stand up my blog site wisdomtimes. I came across Harsh on a google search and immediately felt comfortable working with him.
After considerable amount of amount of planning and execution, my site is now up and running. Along the way, Harsh and his site ShoutMeLoud provided me with valuable suggestions on monetizing, building traffic, hosting and other useful tips. I am still new to blogging and have a long way to go. But here is a small effort to consolidate all those invaluable tips into 1 blog to provide a good reference for other would-be bloggers. I have also made an effort to highlight some gaps in ShoutMeLoud that it needs to address better.
Standing up a blog site takes a lot of effort – starting with building the site, drawing traffic and ultimately monetizing the blog. I have categorized this blog in that same order.
Blog Site Setup – Building Blocks and Basics
Here I have outlined just a few of the considerations I had for my blog site. I am sure there are tons more which are not addressed here.
1. Find a Domain Name
I spent a considerable amount of time finalizing on the domain name. Some of the techniques I used to nail it down are incidentally logged in shoutmeloud’s How to Select a Great Domain Name for Your Business? I used instantdomainsearch to search for domain names and bought it on godaddy.com. However there are multiple options to buy it from as noted in the earlier referenced blog.
2. Choose WordPress and Themes
Once I had the domain locked, the next steps were to choose the WordPress theme I liked and get started. Either you can install it yourself or take a professional’s help – which I did in reaching out to Harsh. Some ShoutMeLoud references that may help are below
- How to Install WordPress on Hostgator
- Why I love Thesis WordPress Premium Theme
3. Choose Blog Topics
My initial plan was to blog on finance topics, but realized that it would be a constrained space. Hence expanded wisdomtimes to include – wise tips on personal growth, personal finance, personal health, career, relationship and other topics!! ShoutMeLoud gave me lot of generic tips on topic selection and trend topics as highlighted below. But ShoutMeLoudlacks a blog that compiles and categorizes blog topics
I found a couple of useful articles that can help
- Click on this blog link to visualize almost all blog categories under the sun. This will help bloggers decide on categories that they are comfortable working with.
- Click on this video link to see a really educational video on blog topic selection and see if you get that “aha” moment.
The next step is to obviously figure out if these topics can make money. More on that in a separate blog.
4. Configure Feeds and Subscriptions
For my blog my intention was to just generate a teaser/summary feed and not a full blog feed. In my opinion, if a full feed is generated, then readers might not be encouraged to visit your site. Again it’s just my opinion. ShoutMeLoud had some tips on burning a feed, but it lacks a blog which puts it all together. Probably the reason could be that the blog is slightly old. I would be interested to seeing something that shares tips on feed burning, exposing only teaser feeds, monetizing feeds and integrating the feed into your blog site – all in one package. Probably something like this
5. Social Media Integration
Nowadays, it’s a no-brainer to have a Facebook fan page and a twitter account on blog sites. On ShoutMeLoud, I read a lot of tips and restrictions of Facebook fan pages (Example: Personalized URL for a Facebook page has a 25 user minimum restriction) . ShoutMeLoud also provided tips on publishing blogs into Facebook automatically from my blog site. However my requirement was to auto publish to Facebook and twitter at the same time – and probably using a tool like Hootsuite to do so. This is one area which ShoutMeLoud could address in the future.
- How to Automatically Publish your latest Post On Facebook Fan Page
- How To Get A Personalized URL For Your Facebook Page (or Profile)
6. Content Search
- a. Site Search
For wisdomtimes, I wanted a google custom search similar to that of shoutmeloud with adsense support. So it was pretty simple and straightforward
- b. Archives
For wisdomtimes, I wanted an Archives feature similar to that of ShoutMeLoud. My requirement was to search by category/sub-category, search by month and view latest posts. So again it was pretty simple and straightforward for Harsh.
7. Images for Blogs
I don’t like blogs which are just monotonous blabbering without content categorization and good visuals. I believe one of secrets to a successful blog is aesthetics and hence images and video (if any) is important in my opinion. Shoutmeloud has an excellent blog listing multiple sources for images. See referred blog below. My blog site also started off with some free images from sources here. I have since moved on to a paid service now since I don’t find time to search multiple sources.
8. Hosting the Blog Site
I have opted for shared hosting since traffic is not that high. Hope to move to dedicated hosting one day!! Explore your options with these blogs below
- Why shared Web hosting is the best option for beginners?
- 4 Helpful Tips to Choose a Great Web Hosting Plan
- Dreamhost vs Hostgator Vs Bluehost: Comparison
9. Monitoring the Blog Site
- a. Performance monitoring
I use Host Tracker for check performance and response time of Came across this tool on this ShoutMeLoud blog titled Check Your Web Hosting Performance with Host Tracker
- b. Analytics
Again google analytics is a standard requirement nowadays. Shoultmeloud has analytics help for Thesis theme at How to Install Google Analytics in Thesis WordPress Theme and a generic WordPress help at How to put Google Analytic code on your WordPress Blog. I am yet to use Sitemeter and have read up on Sitemeter :Track your website visitors and statistics in real time
How to Increase Traffic to your Site
Now that my site is up, my continued effort is on generating traffic. I am still a novice in this and have been experimenting with a few ideas.
1. Search Engine Submissions
Search engine will eventually find your blogs, but you can hasten the process with search engine submissions on google, yahoo, Bing. See google link here . You will not get traffic by just submission of your site to search engines – quality content and other SEO techniques do matter.
2. Sitemap Submissions:
You can create an xml sitemap and submit to search engines. Sitemap Submission is an important part and you should consider doing it for all major search engines.
Read about google, Bing and Yahoo submissions below
3. Blog submission to Directories:
You can submit your blog to selected blog network and directories. A few more popular ones are Myboglog, Blogcatalog. Curious about the submission procedure?
4. Guest Posting:
Here are some tips for guest posting
5. Backlinks and Commenting:
Backlinks and commenting on other blogs generates a lot of traffic. Read more on these below
There are hundreds of other SEO techniques like optimized blog titles, etc. I will stop here and let readers search on ShoutMeLoud for such traffic generating techniques.
How to Monetize your Blogs
What use is blogs if they are not generating value to readers and ofcourse revenue to publisher? On wisdomtimes, I have started off with google adsense and Infolinks as the immediate revenue generating options. Will explore other avenues in future.
Read more about Why Google Adsense is best advertisement Program for Blog
Apart from google AdSense, there are a few more options as in, sponsorships, etc. Read more on these in the blogs below
I have tried to briefly cover most aspects to get a blog site up and running. I have omitted a few items on purpose and may have not covered a few due to oversight. Each day I learn something new. As I gain more insight into the blogging world, will try to add a few more tips. I would also recommend you to check out his dedicated WordPress Guide page which is a complete reference for any newbie WordPress blogger.
Do let us know your view about how ShoutMeLoud helped you in Blogging and what kind of articles you would like to see here at ShoutMeLoud?