First of all, let me tell you that I am not a natural blogger. The idea of blogging is really an extension of using a diary and writing down what you have seen, done and/or thought.
For me though, this was never a necessity. I have travelled quite extensively and although I carried a diary, (pre-internet internet of course), within a few days, entries into it ceased.
On the other hand I do know how to write. With technical stuff it’s mostly research and presenting information logically and in a user-friendly manner. With other writings it’s pretty good to be very conversational. Just like you are actually talking to your reader. Makes them feel comfortable, and right at home, while they are reading your post.
I have used a computer extensively over my career and gradually came into contact with ‘blogs’. Now what were those little devils?
Why Become a Blogger?
Blogs are today’s diaries. Generally, modern fancy devices are much easier to carry than book diaries. They do have one major disadvantage. No internet connection, no blogging.
The word blog is derived from website log (that is website log — web log — blog) as I am sure most of you internet writers already know.
So here is little old me, exploring my first confrontation with blogs. Boy was there a variation within them. Generally random, jumbled thoughts. Poor everything I learned in English classes. Some were almost unreadable. Within them though, were some pretty interesting exposés. Fortunately this number is increasing dramatically.
As time has advanced, the uses of blogging have increased. Now, not only can you have a nice diary but you can also make money blogging.
What is Blogging About?
What did my foray teach me? To be a good blogger one has to produce quality content. Not be sloppy with spelling and grammar. Not to write incorrectly worded sentences. To be clear and succinct and not opinionated. Note, being opinionated and having an opinion are two completely different things.
Just remember to be yourself when composing blog articles.
And by the way, don’t use any online short cuts. If you ever do apply for off-line employment, the omg, u (not you) etc will often be included in the review of your job application information. And, I have seen many cases where these short cuts result in the applicant not proceeding beyond the written application point.
Good quality professional content allows you to branch out into money making ventures. Lots of merchants love advertising through quality blogs. In fact some merchants will even approach you about advertising on your website. How nice is that!
Merchants can place their ads on your website. Blogging is predominately aimed at social media. Social Media is extremely popular, therefore ads have the potential to go worldwide and you make money by charging for placing these ads.
Affiliate Marketing Blogging
Then, there is affiliate marketing. This is what I do. I figured out niches that represented things I love. Then I approached Merchants, both by contacting them directly or through an Affiliate Marketing Network, such as Rakuten Affiliate Network or Commission Junction (CJ) Affiliate.
Affiliate marketing means you are part of a production and marketing team. The Merchant has the product (or service), you promote it and the customer buys it via a link from your website to the Merchants. This depends on how helpfully you can present information for them to make a choice on what product they really want and can use. Generally customers know what kind of item they want. You narrow it down with details on the best choices around. And that is all you have to do: be helpfully persuasive.
The Merchants, or the Affiliate Networks they belong to, do all the rest, including sending you commissions. Another perk here is that some companies will ask you to become their affiliate.
Blogging, as you are probably aware of, is everywhere on the web and you can buy your own website domain or find plenty of free sites to anchor your blog to.
Free Blog Hosting
With free websites there is, to my way of thinking, only one pro and there are a number of negatives here.
Hosting your blog via hosting identities who offer free blog sites, is where you use their domain by creating a subdomain. For example, WordPress offers free websites.
- You will not own your blog and therefore very little control of it.
- Security is iffy and your blog can be accessed by unscrupulous persons.
- Your blog appearance is not sacrosanct. Colours, font style and size, advertisement positioning, and placement of content and images can be changed from what you want.
- Any links you do on free blogging sites will not rank as highly as those you do on your own sites.
- Your blog name becomes part of the hosting identity name. So you have no control, to the extent that the host can actually pull your domain. Now that could lose you a lot of information.
Your Own Domain – Your Own Website
Or you can purchase a domain, so you own it and have total control of content, formatting and stability. There are a number of websites that not only train you to build your own website, but also host domains that you can purchase at a very reasonable price. One of these is the excellent group I belong to, Wealthy Affiliate. Why this one. Well basically, they don’t present shiny objects. The two selling points for me were:
- You will not make money immediately (unless you are one lucky ducky), and
- It takes mighty hard work to set up your website to gain good traffic via your quality content.
The hard work producing quality content will keep visitors coming back. No bull shit required!
The best thing is, you can get your site to the point where passive income occurs. That is what we all aim for.
- The above Cons are eliminated.
- To build your website, there is a huge pool of help available.
- There is heaps of training.
- There is no add on costs after you join. Only decisions on how you join. You can trial for free and then remain a free member. If you want a more in-depth training there are set fees. Once you join, fees are set (grandfathered so no increases over the years).
- Any links you do on your own site will rank higher as those you do on free sites.
- The group I belong to uses WordPress (WP). However, these are NOT the free sites so your articles are safe and in your control. Some pros with WP are:
– Plugins are customised
– Plugins are SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) rated therefore more traffic (visitors) can be expected. SEO, along with quality content are very vital to Successful Blogging.
- You have to be prepared to work hard to establish your blog. It’s easy to slip here if you aren’t dedicated. Personally, I don’t find this a con as I love playing on my computer and researching information.
- It takes time and you will get discouraged at times. But don’t give up. You can do this if you put your mind to it!
Writing Your Blogs (and Reviews for that Matter)
When you write you must make sure your visitors can read, follow and understand your content. Make sure you write well formatted, good quality content. Here is my blogging list.
Use as many formatting methods as possible so variations in writing will help keep people interested and not lull them to sleep. A few examples are:
1. You have a number of points – use bullets (either symbols or numbers)
2. Use the Bold and Italics sensibly. Don’t overuse them or their emphasis is lost
3. Don’t write in an unorganised manner. Keep relevant information together and write it flowingly. Create an avatar that you can talk to as you write.
4. Each discrete section needs a Heading. If these section have sections, give them a subheading too.
5. Use embedded videos! There are loads of videos already online that can be embedded into your post. Find and use, or make your own, videos that are relevant to your post. Your website ranking will benefit by using videos.
6. Use Internal and External Links
- a. Use some internal links. If you are a regular blogger you will most likely have other blogs that work with the one you are writing. Search engines love internal links.
- b. Use some external links but don’t overdo them per blog. Note if you are doing affiliate marketing through your blog, the identity you are affiliated with is not considered an external link. Authority sites such as Wikipedia are good external links.
7. Use relevant, good quality images. Pictures say quite a number of words. Especially when your words and images complement each other.
8. Select one of your images and make it the Featured Image. This will be a thumbnail that shows up on your blog roll. The blog roll is usually set in one of two ways; either on your home page or as a separate blog page. Your choice.
9. Make sure your use of images doesn’t breach copyright. It’s a great idea to attribute any image if at all possible. There are some very useful free image websites. The one I mostly use is Pixabay. Just don’t use the top row. If you look closely you will find these are watermarked.
10. Never be afraid to get someone to proofread your article. Make sure your grammar and spelling are spot on. I know I go over my articles several times and still catch problems. If you can get feedback (that is constructive criticism) from other bloggers do so – and don’t be insulted! Even negative feedback can be useful.
11. Always do a final section that includes a summary and Call to Action (CTA). CTAs can be something as simple as ‘Please leave a comment or ask any question you might have on this article’.
Are you happy with what you have written? You can now publish your blog and give your visitors another fantastic read!
Now for the Last (bit of this) Post
I certainly hope you don’t now feel overwhelmed! Blogging is not hard. You probably have conversations quite often. So your blog will be just like one of these.
Keyboard under your hands then talk (read type) away. Most people love verbal communication so make your blog talk to your audience. Simple. Use all the tools noted above. You could then be on your way to a successful and rewarding website (hopefully your own). Blogging is fun, so treat it as such.
Enough of this and now for your comments and questions. I do hope you have some, especially questions as I like to research and learn too. I will get back to you, the timing will depend on the type of comment or question you ask but you will get a response.
I look forward to hearing from you.