Writing a blog is ridiculously easy, trust me, I know how much effort goes into this one!
Writing a blog that people enjoy is rather more tricky, trust me, I know how many people enjoy this one.
The only thing saturating the internet more than bloggers are bloggers writing blogs on how to become a blogger. My (admittedly limited) research into these posts has basically shown me that they are all almost exactly the same, they talk about the same things, in the same order and in the same words. If you’re going to ‘borrow’ work and pass it off as your own at least get a little bit creative with the language. With that in mind, I decided to put my (again, admittedly limited) blogging ability in gear and have a go myself.
If you’ve decided that you want to become a blogger, congratulations. Pat yourself on the back, have a celebratory drink and start thinking of all the brilliant ways your words will change the lives of everyone that reads them. Bask in and cling on to the warm glow of that beautiful daydream, it might not become a reality any time soon. You’re going to need to do a lot of dull, time-consuming work first.
The first step to becoming a blogger is a bit ‘chicken or egg’, just replace chicken with idea and egg with platform. I don’t really think it matters too much which comes first so I’ll go for platform. Getting a platform can be the first step (a). Basically, you’re going to need a platform to run your blog from. There are, mildly put, a few to choose from. The most popular, which might be because they have affiliates associated with them (I’m cynical) is WordPress. I should point out that this is a WordPress powered website but that link won’t make me any money if you click it. You can click it and see without worrying about potentially lining my pockets. In all fairness WordPress is pretty good, the design is easy to use and beginners like me can master it fairly quickly with a little bit of effort. A small downside with WordPress is that you’ll have to pay for your own hosting and buy a domain name, this is a relatively trifling cost though. Other platforms you might want to look at include Blogger, squarespace and WIX. The price plans range from ‘free’ to ‘paid-for’. The platforms all come with various packages and products etc. Click on the link below to see a handy comparison chart designed to help.
If you decide to go for a platform that requires you to sort out your own hosting there are many to choose from. This website uses HostWithLove (that is a shameless affiliate link, sorry). I am very happy with it. Other hosts you might want to look at include bluehost, siteground and GoDaddy. Again, the link below will take you to a handy comparison designed to help.
After that roller coaster ride of platform picking fun, we get to first step (b). Your idea. A fairly key concept of blogging is the thing you blog about. In fairness, it can be anything but it needs to be something people will want to read. I once had a website dedicated to my own inane ramblings, I had one visitor, it was my Mother**. The point is you’ll need to engage people and keep their interest, the blogging world is pretty full, it’s difficult to stand out in the crowd. It helps if you can blog about something you’re passionate about and enjoy. If you don’t enjoy what you are writing it will show in your work, trust me, I’ll link to some of the rubbish I used to churn out one day. If you’re fantastic at something, write about it, if you’re learning an interesting new thing, write about it. Do what you want really but do it well! When I say do what you want, obviously I don’t mean anything horrible or mean, don’t be one of those ‘opinions for money’ (that’s a vague Stewart Lee joke reference) people. It’s not ‘out-there’ or ‘punk’, it’s just being an idiot.
**I never intended for people to go on it and I had it for maybe 3 weeks, Don’t feel too bad for me. I’m not entirely devoid of friends, honest.
Now that first parts (a) & (b) are combined and out-of-the-way, great. You have your platform, you have your idea, you need your content. Not everyone is gifted at getting words out***, thankfully you can easily practice and make yourself better. Study (not steal) other bloggers work if you like, visit some of the most popular blogs and see what writing styles sell. It’s incredibly easy to find online courses to help you brush up on your writing and grammar skills and well worth doing. I never have and my sentence structures and grammar are atrocious as I’m sure you’ve noticed, learn from my mistakes. Research blogs relating to your own, what’s been done? What’s been popular? If you can find a niche or a gap in the bloated blogging market you stand a much better chance of getting noticed and making it.
***I’m certainly not, I’m just too lazy to change
Once you have a got your blog in place, sorted a host if necessary, researched other blogs, brushed up on your skills and hammered out a good amount of content you’re still nowhere near finished. If you want to earn some money from blogging you’ll need to learn about SEO, which, for me, is incredibly dull. I’ve tried and stared at SEO guides for what seems like days on end and I’ve still not managed to absorb what they are telling me. I’m not going to get into it here but 2 guides I have seen that haven’t made me want to cry can found at the following links, good luck and be aware that link 2 is a pdf file.
Ps. You can pay someone to do SEO for you but I’ve tried that and it was rubbish.
Pps. I’m lumping all social media promotion in with this bit about SEO as well. You know what Facebook and Twitter are.
Right, fantastic, thanks to those 2 links you are now an SEO genius ready to take on the blogging world, you know all about keyword research, link building and the rest. You are a champion. You have a shiny new blog in place and you have visitors coming, it’s time to make some money. Traditional ways of monetizing blogs include the use of Adsense and other pay-per-click adverts, posting sponsored articles, setting up affiliate links and product placement links. Obviously, this will depend on your own blog but alternative ways to make money include selling your own products (e-books etc), arranging local events or meet-ups and selling a service, maybe you can teach something? You could offer premium content areas of your blog, it would have to be pretty amazing to do that mind.
Basically, the list of ways to make money through a blog is pretty huge and good luck to you, but please, always remember your readers. Don’t try to push products or services you know or think are rubbish, have some ethics. If you start selling useless tosh to people you’re likely to see your readership drop pretty quickly. Oh, and as always, if you find a post promising to teach you how to make $100,000 a month blogging for a small fee ignore it. It (probably) won’t.
‘One more thing’, I love Columbo, you need to keep updating your blog and social media accounts. Aim for three times a week, keep the posts witty and entertaining, stay on topic, don’t go off on tangents about amazing TV detectives and keep on trend with keywords. Basically, don’t do everything that I do.
What do I need skills wise?
Writing skills. A large vocabulary might help keep people interested in your work I guess. You’ll need basic technical skills to set up the blog although most of the platforms will have basic templates to follow. You’ll probably need to be good at social media networking to self-promote your blog.
What do I need hardware wise?
Just a way to put your brilliant thoughts on your blog for people to read. A form of computer is a must then. A laptop is probably easiest as you’ll be able to do the various other tasks associated with blogging (photo editing, researching keywords etc) easier on a bigger machine.
Maybe always carry a pencil and a piece of paper in case you think of a genius line when you’re not near a digital device.
Where to find work?
Adverts, product selling, see above.
How much can I earn?
That depends on how popular your blog is and how good you are at creating and maintaining the money flow. I wouldn’t expect to become rich anytime soon but it can be done. It’s more of a slow journey to the top. I suppose that if you are starting from scratch you might need to run another money-making sideline to supplement your income but that should be easy enough to work around your blogging. Obviously, the more ways to make money you have on the site the more money you can potentially make but remember the ethics people. Only sell or recommend things you’d buy or do yourself.
How well does it suit the digital nomad lifestyle?
You’d have to say fantastically, just look at how many digital nomads there are that blog, no seriously, go and look.
You don’t need any formal qualifications to get you started, the overheads are small and the equipment list is sparse. Add that to the fact you make your own hours and it’s all looking pretty golden.