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Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
All you have to do is keep going. Rinse. Repeat. Again and again. Keep churning out great content and people will eventually take notice. Get social on social media and share your content everywhere that you possibly can. It's going to feel frustrating at first. I still remember the early days and just how painful it was to see a small trickle of traffic. But that changes over time.
There are dozens of such affiliate marketing companies out there – they work by acting as an intermediary to even bigger companies (Walmart, Target, Lowes, you name it…) and drive sales to those advertisers. Some of the bigger affiliate marketing companies out there are, FlexOffers, Commision Junction, and ShareASale. We are on all of them, but have had the most success so far with FlexOffers.
Notoriety. Don’t plan on getting “Internet famous” right away. Not every site grows as fast as ours did, but that’s okay. The truth is that we kind of got lucky. We found a great domain name, we cobbled together a logo and site design that people liked, we write fairly well, and our content connects with people in a unique way. We didn’t start this site to become “famous” though. That’d be ridiculous. Our popularity came as a surprise to us, and it was a result of a little luck and a lot of hard, passionate work.
Having something to sell will give you something to plan your content marketing and email marketing strategies around. Let’s say you want to sell a full recipe book for the keto diet. So, you publish a post on your “Top 5 Hacks for the Keto Diet” and offer a seven-day keto breakfast plan as a lead magnet to attract subscribers to your email list. You send the breakfast recipes to your leads over a period of seven days and advertise your book at the end of it.
It’s dependent on traffic. Traffic goes up and down and you never know when it is going to do a major dip. Most advertisers pay based on the number of views their ad will get. This turns you into a traffic monster. You start to look for creative ways to get any kind of traffic, no matter if it’s good traffic or not. This can easily lead to your site becoming another junk site that you try to avoid.
Blogs are wonderful tools to help people establish themselves as experts in a field or niche. We all have some kind of interest and expertise to share with others. If you’re able to produce great content and/or have a unique point of view on the topic, then be assured that your future audience will recognize it and reward you for it. With a bit of effort, you too can become an authority in your area of interest and teach others how to start blogging.
Keep in mind that making money from your blog takes time. After all, there is a reason that learning how to make money from a blog is the last step in my guide. You need to make sure you have followed all the previous steps perfectly in order to give yourself the best chance of earning a substantial income from blogging. This will not happen overnight, but most bloggers find that the work itself is rewarding enough to continue on the journey.
You'll want to track these influencers down and start sharing their content and becoming active in their communities to start gaining their attention. You may have luck by simply messaging them out of the blue, but it's not likely. Once you think you have their attention, you can try to reach out to them by asking them to promote something on social media, publish your post on their blog or link to a post of yours on their site.
6) Consider the Commitment – Starting a blog will take more time than you probably imagine. If you plan on doing everything yourself, realize that it takes time to learn each little skill. You can spend forever trying to design the site and find the right plugins. Researching an article idea and typing it all up also takes time. Expect things to move a little quicker with experience, but it all takes time!
While there are other blogging platforms out there like Blogger.com and Tumblr.com, nearly every serious blogger uses a self-hosted WordPress site because of its creative freedom and flexibility. The Minimalists uses WordPress because it gives us greater control over the look and feel of our blog—more creative control than any other platform. Oh, and WordPress itself is free!
I have actually put all my plans and projects on hold for about a week to focus on reading your blog and that of a few others such as Serena Star-Leonards’ ‘Retire Young’ and Darrens’ ProBlogger. Figured the old adage holds true, if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you’ve always got (other than when the effective means of delivery changes anyway =P ) But as blogs and passive income are where I have constantly struggled I figured it was high time I learnt some new stuff as the old stuff clearly wasn’t working out.
Okay, so if that doesn't dissuade you one bit, or you've already made the decision to start a blog, here's what you need to do in a step-by-step format. First, I need to premise this by saying that this post is largely based off of the WordPress blogging platform. It is not a step-by-step configuration guide to WordPress, but it does reference the system often.
What does it mean to deliver value? Either your posts have to be extremely informative, in that they teach people how to do something useful, or they need to be entertaining or provide value in another format. Your posts also need to be engaging. Don’t expect people to spend a lot of time or even share any of your content if your posts don’t deliver value and they’re not engaging.
Pick a topic that you are passionate about. Even if you don't have a passion, writing about your daily life can make for a good read, depending how you word it. If you are going to blog about what you did today, make it interesting. People are looking for a funny story or your opinion on a debatable subject. They may not be as willing to read how you changed a lightbulb today. Using photos can help enhance the reading experience and engage readers more.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.
Mass appeal to a large audience is the goal of any blogger that starts a blog. While saturation into the marketplace is difficult any way that you slice it, starting with a smaller audience won't help you. If you want to write about resume writing skills, for example, you might want to take a broader approach of larger business or employment skills and information.
17. Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
Money. You should not start a blog to make money. We need to get that out of the way first. If your primary objective is to replace your full-time income from blogging, forget about it. It doesn’t work that way. Do you think that Jimi Hendrix picked up his first guitar so he could “supplement his income”? No, he didn’t. Rather, he did it for the love of it, for the joy and fulfillment he received, and the income came thereafter—much later actually.
This is it! You just made a blog all by yourself. In fact, we dare say if you thoroughly read this entire guide you now know more than the average person does about starting a blog. But remember, starting a blog is easy – it only takes about thirty minutes of guided steps. It’s what comes next that will determine how successful you are when all is said and done.
If you’ve spent a lot of time writing that week and just need a break from working on a post, it may be a productive way to spend an hour or two but I personally think your time could be better spent elsewhere. (This isn’t to say that you can’t find success utilizing this method, I just don’t see many/any people doing it and reporting back that it’s really helped them).
If you start constructing your blog through wordpress.COM, you will likely spend a lot of time picking a theme and starting to write and organize your posts, only to discover that wordpress.COM does NOT support any ways to monetize your site. You can NOT place any adds on a wordpress.COM hosted site. Of course, that defeats the whole purpose of having a "blog for profit".