Blogs are one of the most profitable and marketable tools on the internet. The simple, or not so simple, definition of a blog or weblog is a personal, online publishing system.
Usually after I give people who have asked “what is a blog” that definition, I get the confused smiley. Defining such a small 4 letter word by saying it is a personal publishing system doesn’t even begin to describe blogs and the integral role they play in the internet. I think the best definition is this roadmap – and, for some reason, getting started is simpler than the definition…. really!
This guideline was originally in one post, but I am breaking it into 2 parts to give you time to take in all the information before moving on to bigger and better ideas.
1) How Do I Start a Blog?
Go to www.Google.com and type in Blogger – Blogger is a free blogging platform. Starting with a free blog hosting service allows you to begin blogging instantly without having any advance knowledge of scripts, hosting, or programming. One of the best things about a free blog is that you do not have to learn the internal maintenance of the blog. Internal structure is a time consuming and overwhelming task, I advise you not to mess with learning it all right now. Getting your blog set up is super easy with Blogger – you do need to create a gmail account. And you need to name it, choose a domain name, and set up your profile. Content is next! Content is the word used to describe your posts or articles or books – they are all content.
I make this #2 with caution. The definition of a niche is a targeted product, service, or topic. Whether or not you target a niche is entirely up to you. Here is what it boils down to: do you want to make money on this blog or not. You are not limited to just one blog, you can set up this first one as a test and then proceed to another and then another. Play around with your blog and then you can decide if you want to target an area for profit. Most important though – choose an area which you can enthusiastically write about on a daily basis. What do you like? hobbies, activities, viewpoints? A blog can be about your cat, your dog, your kids, your opinions. The internet is yours!
3) You gotta update it!
This step is a must and not a suggestion. Updating your blog weekly, if not daily, not only keeps your blog more interesting to readers, but it also gives your blog fresh content on a day to day basis. Not updating your blog on an occasional holiday or one day here and there is understandable to most, but missing days at a time or weeks is unacceptable and will most likely result in your blog being unsuccessful. Unsuccessful meaning you may lose your readers. What I have found to be the best way to do this is to update your blog (write something new) on certain days of the week. Until you have a steady audience you should try to update your blog everyday with an entry. Set aside 1-2 hours a day for tending to your blog and adding new entries. Give yourself work hours and treat your blog as a job, what happens if you don’t come to work for days or weeks…you lose money or worse you get fired! Same applies here…if you don’t update your blog for days or weeks you’ll lose visitors.
It’s no secret. You must have traffic to profit from blogs. There are so many ways to build traffic, I cannot list them all here. Paid advertising, free advertising, viral marketing, search engine marketing, RSS/XML feeds, and word-of-mouth are just a few. Since this guide is for beginners, I am going to limit myself from going too far into the subject of traffic. Get your blog up and running with good, interesting content and then we will go more into traffic later on.
5) Track Your Blog
How do you know if your blog has traffic? Just because no one is leaving comments doesn’t mean your blog isn’t growing. Many visitors do not leave comments but they are returning visitors. I know it sounds crazy but with blogs people are more interested in what “you” have to say! Many visitors do not comment their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time. Some do not comment at all, but are active daily visitors.
Tracking your blog does not have to be overly sophisticated. I use Google Analytics for all of my sites and really like the data it gives me. Installing it is not complicated – sign up for an account then follow the instructions to get the code to install into your site. Google Analytics gives you advanced traffic analysis, such as keyword tracking information, referral information, and search engine information, plus visitor information.
Continue on to Absolute Beginners Guide to Blogging Part 2