Advice to Those Who Want to Start a Blog
Do you want to start a blog? I recently read a post by Angie Tolpin, You Don’t Have to Be a Blogger to Be My Friend. That got me thinking about my own blogging experiences, and what advice I might give someone today who likes to write and may want to start a blog. Angie’s readers seem to be mostly mothers with children still at home. I am past that. There was no internet for me back in those days, or I might have jumped on the blogging bandwagon then, too.
I had always wanted to write, and I satisfied that urge with a journal and by writing to penpals in various parts of the world. That continued through my college days.
After I got married and began to be active in churches as an adult, we led the college group and what I had to say was usually specific to certain friends who had shared their problems with me. So I wrote letters of encouragement, especially to those who were away at college. I also wrote letters to some of my high school students who had graduated and joined the service. There was no shortage of ways to communicate in writing. In the days before social networks, people did actually use snail mail.
What Made Me Finally Start a Blog?
After my 14-year-old son died in 1991, I started a book business for which I did a lot of traveling. It kept me too busy to take on anything else. But after we stopped traveling and I took the business online, I heard that people in business should start a blog. So I did. I wasn’t really passionate about it, and coming up with ideas was hard. It probably wasn’t a good idea to start a blog then, now that I look back. I don’t post to it much anymore because it’s not self-hosted and I can’t monetize it. I don’t have the book business anymore, either.
I had one other blog I started in 2006 that still continues to this day — my gardening blog. It is a more satisfactory way to keep a photo history of my garden to refer back to than the written journals I had kept earlier. I was passionate about gardening, and only one thing kept me from my blog in those days — too much else to do in the garden itself, and the squirrels. After the attacks in which the squirrels destroyed my garden I had little to write on that blog anymore, so I changed the focus.
Something else kept me from the gardening blog for over a year. That something was a new and very profitable writing site, called Bubblews, which was great while it lasted. I started posting my gardening journals there instead of to my blog because I earned more from them there and had more readers.
But one dark day last year Bubblews finally went down, as many of us were sure it would. I have gone back to my blog to publish my garden journal — when I have time. I couldn’t work in the garden for almost a year because I’d had two surgeries, but I’m now posting again on Barb’s Garden Observations. The lesson I learned was that if a blog is really important to you, host it yourself and keep it on your own site. My newer blogs are all self-hosted.
Social Blogging on Medium: A Path to Starting Your Own Blog
Social blogging didn’t exist when I started my first blogs. As far as I know, Bubblews was the first social blogging network. I now use Medium for social blogging. Here’s my Medium profile so you can get a feel for it. I just joined because I heard it was a great promotion tool. I’m not sure it is, but it will help you start writing online if you are new to it. You will make new writing friends. Medium will expose you to new ideas. It is also easy to interact with others there.
I would advise anyone thinking about starting a blog who does not yet have a focus, to join Medium and start social blogging. Why? Because it is a good way to get your feet wet and develop a focus. It’s like test blogging to see if it suits you. You can make contacts for when you start your own blog. You will also communicate with people who don’t necessarily share your values and beliefs.
Learn How to Earn Money on Your Blog
Most bloggers, myself included, begin blogging without a clear plan on how to make it earn for them. If you haven’t started your blog yet, I would recommend you learn how to do it correctly from the beginning. Learn from experienced bloggers who have mastered making their blogs pay off and have the payment proofs to support their claims.
Recently many of my old friends from Squidoo started talking about how much they were learning in the Pajama Affiliates blogging courses and how their incomes had increased because of it. Since most of those people had made a lot more affiliate income on Squidoo than I ever had, I was impressed. I already knew of the teachers of the course because they had also written on Squidoo with me.
I had known part of what they did to make their money and be successful at affiliate selling, but I never knew how to do it myself. To tell the truth, part of me resisted having to do affiliate sales to support my content writing. But now that those content writing sites where I made my income are gone or paying peanuts. I need to make the income to cover my blogging expenses and buy some of the extras I want. The blogging course my friends were taking went on sale and I had enough in PayPal to cover it so I signed up.
Instruction is given by video and written summaries. There is a private Facebook group for all those taking the course to ask questions and get help. The group members also visit and help promote each other’s blogs. That in itself is worth what I paid. I’m already learning steps I can take right now to increase the effectiveness of my blogs.
Best of all, Leslie, who teaches the class, is showing me that I don’t have to write spammy blogs to make money. Her blogs offer a lot of information, cleverly presented, and almost sneak the product links in. The course is often on sale. The best deal is the new all-in-one blogging bundle that has everything you need to know about blogging. I just signed up for another one myself.
Leslie is making thousands of dollars from her blog a month, and I’m lucky to make a hundred a year the way I’ve been doing it. I just signed up for two more courses, Social Media Marketing and Buyer Keywords and I’m glad I did. These are included in the new course. Find the details and current price for the Affiliate Marketing and Business Bundle here. You will often find courses on sale.
Blogging on Medium
Medium is probably the easiest place to try out blogging. Follow the link, sign up for free, and start reading what others have written. Search by tag to find posts that may interest you. Follow the people who write posts you like. Highlight parts of those posts that speak to you. Comment on the posts. Any comment you make becomes a new post for you and goes on your profile page, along with your longer posts and passages from posts you have highlighted. Recommend posts you enjoyed to others by clicking the green heart at the end of the post.
You will find people responding to your comments and even starting conversations. This helps you get to know people and some genuine friendships can develop. You will also have people looking forward to your posts and following you so they don’t miss any. These are all people who may later want to read your blog because they feel they know you.
So what do you post? Anything that interests you and has general appeal. Personal opinions and experiences do well. Share information on subjects you know well from your unique perspective. Use some of your photos to write photo essays. Are you afraid one of your content sites may close? Import posts into Medium, photos and all, with a single click. Save as a draft and publish when you delete from the old host. Just check your work for errors before posting. Many of your readers will be professional writers and bloggers.
Gradually, you will find your writing voice — that style your followers will come to expect from you. You will also begin to see what you seem to be writing about most. That means you are beginning to focus on your passions. It also means the idea for your own blog is in the process of hatching.
Monday Blogs, Link Parties, and Triberr
If you plan to blog, you should start by reading other blogs — a lot of them. You will get ideas on what is possible, themes you might want to use, how others monetize effectively. You will see what about a blog grabs your attention and what makes you click away. I suggest you follow @MondayBlogs on Twitter or search the hashtag #MondayBlogs . It will introduce you to a wide variety of blogs and you can start following those you most enjoy reading and commenting on them. It never hurts to become a familiar face to your favorite bloggers.
You may also want to join link parties after you start blogging. My blogging friends Janice Wald and Kathleen Aherne are two of the hosts of the Blogger’s Pit Stop link party that starts on Fridays. It’s another great place to read a variety of blogs and post a link to one of your own posts.
Triberr is another site where bloggers read and help promote each other’s blogs. I’ve covered Triberr at How to Promote Your Blog on Triberr.
Are You Ready to Start Your Own Blog Now?
By now you should have some idea as to whether you should start a blog. If you seriously want to make money blogging, you will need to monetize your blog. To do that right you will need to host the blog yourself.
I would suggest using SiteGround (affiliate link) as your host if you plan to use a self-hosted WordPress site. Prices are reasonable. I just opened a new domain there and I’m getting my domain name free for life. I opened the account because I was unhappy with a current host for my main site. It was important to find a new host. SiteGround managed the transfer for free. So far their customer support has answered all my questions quickly and easily. Getting my new site installed was a snap.
If you have decided to start your blog, do it now and sign up with the Pajama Affiliates. I took the Beginner Blogging and Affiliate Marketing Course. It includes a smaller course that helps you get your WordPress Site up and running in a day. I followed the simple directions in the videos to get mine up with a new host.
Do buy the course if you intend to apply what you learn right away. Then do the hard work of making your blog pay off. You won’t be sorry. No course is magic, but the Pajama Affiliate Marketing classes will help you. Do yourself a favor and get the new Affiliate Marketing and Business Bundle now.