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.
Nice article! For awhile, I taught High School English. One of my passions was to introduce the students to writing for the Internet. I taught the students how to start a blog. Regular writing on it fulfilled some of their writing requirements for the semester. (In other words, it got them out of writing essays they hated.) It’s good for people to read that their blogs can lead to success, both in earning money and in becoming an influencer with their writing.
Great, outside the box, idea at really incorporating writing online in your English class. Basically I believe, there is no advantage in not embracing the inevitable internet. All the kids I know here in Tasmania have computers for school and use them in much of their work.
You sound like a fun teacher. So many students these days, struggle because they don’t like their teachers.
My English and English literature teacher was a very strict character. But her classes were exciting. She trained as an archeologist. Her husband was a mining engineer who was transferred to the town I lived in. So, although not training in English teaching, she was offered the job of teaching it.
Well, in English Lit she had worked on digs at many of the places noted in literature. So we all acted them out according to her experiences. One day, she was doing a running sword fight and ended up falling down some stairs! Talk about being an enthusiastic teacher!
Thanks very much for your lovely comment.
Interesting. It’s sometimes hard for me to get down constructively what I want to on my blog. I find it easy writing down stuff on paper but when it comes to blogging, I get scared, maybe what I’m going to share is not of use to anyone or maybe they won’t like it. All this gives me many reasons to stop blogging. But you just encouraged me. Thanks
Dave, the best way to overcome this fear is to meet it head on and blog away. There are millions of people on the web, so I bet there are thousands (at least) out there who will be interested.
If you are truly interested in what you write, it will show in your blogs. Your enthusiasm will come through. Also get your friends (a broad section of them) to read some for you and give you feedback. Listen to what they say and use that to give yourself courage.
I know you have it in yourself to blog very well.
Thanks for your comment.
Thanks for this informative post. Blogging to me is a way of life. I also wouldn’t support the idea of hosting a blog on a free site as it won’t give you authority over your blog. The best is to have a paid domain. I think consistency and creating useful contents are also required in building a blog.
You said it Clement. It sounds like you have been blogging for a while.
Having a free blog site really sounds like a bad deal to me. It tends to illustrate that many people blogging this way haven’t done their research and are unaware that all their hard work could be lost.
No thanks, I don’t want to lose my work and I like being the exclusive owner of my website.
Thanks for commenting.
Thanks for sharing this information. I love writing since high school and try to look for possible income source by writing something. Becoming freelancer writer is.. not really my thing. In my country, several blogger became very famous and branching to be on celebgram and youtube.
I personally don’t have the courage to branching out into social media, so I may stick to blogging for a long time. Is it really possible to make blogging as my primary income source? I think I agree with your statement that it will take time and sometimes be discouraging, but I believe working hard and smart can lead to success. Thank you
You’re welcome and thanks for your thank you.
Firstly I must stress that blogging is mainly done on social media so don’t be frightened of going there. Even if you have your own website, one of the main ways of getting out the greater public is posting links to it via social media. So don’t curtail yourself. Millions use social media and there is absolutely no reason not to use it yourself. Be brave and take the first few steps. One thing about social media is it rarely judges you.
As you already love writing you are well on your way to successful blogging. Just make sure you are organised in your writings and the steps I give here should really help you.
I agree about freelance writing. Often this requires writing from someone else’s viewpoint. When you have your own website you are always writing from your own view point.
Yes you can make blogging your main income but be prepared to work long and hard to do so. What you can look forward to is once you have done enough work to get your site rolling along almost by itself. Yes you still have to work at it but it is much easier as your visitor numbers grow.
Set up correctly you can end up with a site producing ‘passive income’. And that’s my next post.
Hello – I really enjoyed reading your post about the secrets to creating a really successful blog. It was very informative and helpful. I am new to affiliate marketing blogging, so reading this post was very relevant to me. And I did not now that the term blog originated from website log. So thank you for that.
Michele, well you certainly reinforced my idea of assumed. Here I am assuming most people, unlike me, knew what Blog came from. I must contain my assumptions until I can back them up!
I am glad you find this personally relevant. I read about people’s experiences with Affiliate Marketing and find the most successful ones are those that keep their articles simple and straight forward. It’s sort of like how an athlete trains so much that any of their activities look so easy to do.
If you have any questions just come back here and ask them.
Thanks for commenting.
That’s very comprehensive information and I’ve learnt a lot from your article. First of all, I didn’t know how “blog” came about until reading your post. You said one can monetize blogs through affiliate marketing which makes me curious about how long it takes for one to make consistent income?
I’m interested in your response to know if I can do this as a lifetime work. Thanks for the info
Derr, you know the old saying ‘how long is a piece of string’. Well asking how long it takes to make money consistently is very similar to that. I can not answer that definitively.
It really depends on how much effort you put into your website and how well you research and write. The guidelines I give here will certainly help you but the rest is up to you.
You have my best encouragement on putting in the right amount of effort and progressing to the income you desire.
Thanks for your comment.
Thank you for this article, I really needed it. Lately I have been finding myself writing overly wordy and complicated posts, and I think I just need to go back to the blogging roots. Writing conversationally and being myself was exactly what I needed to hear. Maybe I missed this part of the post, but how long do you think my average writings should be? I’m thinking about 1000 words sounds sufficient but maybe you have a better idea?
Once again Thank you
Michael, sometimes I need to rein in too. I try not to be wordy and complicated and usually I succeed. But I have written a couple of 2,000+ posts. I re-edited these a couple of times to make them tighter and more interesting. That worked.
I did one 3,500 post and took a great big gulp. Way too long for my liking. I repeatedly edited it and finally got it down just below 3,000 words. I then got feedback with some great suggestions on reformatting it again. All I have to do now is bite the bullet and get down to doing that!
As long as the majority of your articles are 1,000+ words, and they tell the story, that is great. Longer ones are fine as long as you don’t wander around.
Thanks for your well thought our comment.
This is a great article. I have been hearing about blogging for so many years. I also hear about these super bloggers that do so well that they make their living through blogging.The cool part is you are talking about an opportunity in Wealthy Affiliate that could make you that blogger as well. It could do that for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort.Thank you for writing such a great article. It gives hope to those that are looking for a step by step platform to teach them how to blog.Dale
Dale, thanks for commenting. I don’t expect I will ever be a super blogger. I think there would be a lot of self pressure to do so.
I am on a pension (old – or mature age!’) and like to supplement it. Unfortunately, this is a juggling act over here in Tasmania, as the more you make the less our pensions become. Not an issue if one makes significant amounts online, but then our health cover is affected. Catch 22 as is said.
Also thanks for mentioning the step by step method. I have always been the go to person, for help, in my professional career. Often the help led me to researching answers. I regularly wrote the steps down as I progressed. My colleagues noticed this and many of my methods became the norm in the branch of State (Australia) for processes. I love doing this and try to continue along this line in my articles.
Great tips for a successful blog! I got started with an affiliate marketing website over a year ago and wanted to start making money online. I was ready to put in the time and effort, but was really surprised at how much I love writing blogs. I have 2 affiliate marketing sites, but also 2 blog sites about things that I just love writing about.
If anybody is interested in blogging, I totally recommend it! And if you host your sites with Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll love the wonderful community forum and all the great features.
Janelle, a lovely pat on the back for Wealthy Affiliate. I was very fortunate to find their website right at the beginning of my search into creating my website.
I too love writing. My main problem is I have too much to say (well some people do say I talk too much). Because of this organisation of my articles is my main issue. And I am also a bit of a perfectionist. Something else I need to overcome.
At least, by the time I publish my articles I am pretty happy with them.
I would love to read some of your blogs. Look me up at WA, search Helen, so I can follow you and find your websites.
Thanks for your comment.
Hello and thanks so much for writing this article and being willing to give tips on how to increase the success of a blog. I have been using Wealthy Affiliate for over two months now and can honestly say it is a program I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone looking to start an online business. The training is top notch and unlike some other sites, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get started with them. I do have one question, though. In your opinion, how much does embedding videos into your content help with rankings?
Videos are a great feature for your website. Those that are able to be embedded, make sure you have no copyright issues. So forge ahead and embed!
Videos are one of the keys to include if you find relevant videos to support your blog. As you progress through Wealthy Affiliate you will see the website educators emphasise the importance of using embedded videos on your site.
Thanks for your comment.
Your article certainly flows very nicely and the information was very helpful.
There are so many people providing guidelines for blogging these days. And they just don’t know what they are talking about. But you have obviously done your research.
I have a few questions:
Are there any guidelines as to the number of words I should have in a section? … or article?
Where can I find good quality images for my blog? Is Pixabay the only website available?
Is it a good idea to use proofing tools like Grammarly or Hemingway?
I am looking forward to reading more on your blog about setting up my own blog.
All the best,
Scott, nice comment!
The general rule for words in an article is 1,000+. However if you can tell your story in less do so. In fact, I have done articles in less and also much more. It really depends on how many words it takes to get your ‘story’ across. Just remember that long posts can lose people’s attention very quickly unless you structure it to keep them interested. So for goodness sake don’t waffle.
I tend to use my own photos and Pixabay and, then titivate them using Microsoft Paint! I have always got images I like so haven’t really looked further afield. I did find a link in my colleagues post to a site called Sellfy. I hope this helps you.
It’s a great idea to use proofing tools. Just remember none are perfect. I write in Word with the grammar/spell check on. So I pick up a lot while I compose. The major fallacy Word has for me is, that it doesn’t pick up where I use the wrong word. I expect this is the same for all of them. My ongoing fight is with you and your. I type so fast the ‘r’ in your often isn’t picked up so I have to reread, just searching for this mistake. Then I transfer my article to Wealthy Affiliate’s content tool where I use that spell check to rescan it.
Like me, if you do your research and really feel for your subject, your blogging will go very well.
Thanks for the comment.
Hi Helen, I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for explaining what blog means or how it came about. I am old school as well writing pieces here and there and end up losing everything. One of my challenges is making my posts visual and also proofreading it before publishing. It is not in my nature to go over otherwise I may end up deleting without publishing at all because it will never sound or look good to me but if I publish and go back to edit, that gives me the chance of having something out there. I agree with you. Being a blogger is like being a sales person, if the skill and ability is lacking, sales will likely be down. Thanks you for sharing your expertise with us.
Gina, thanks for your comment. I used to do exactly what you describe. So much so that I ended up making a journal that I carried everywhere. I jotted down headlines so I could remember what I had done. If I couldn’t find what I wanted I still jotted that down. Funnily enough, and often much later, I would be researching something and find the answer to a previous note I had made. A bit disjointed but I did progress.
Once I publish an article, I reread it the next day and if I find lots of areas that need work I put it back into draft. That way people won’t see it until I finish for the day and republish it. That works for me.
Being a blogger, especially if you do promote through your blog, is exactly like the old time door to door salesperson. Except less walking exercise!
Again thanks and lovely to hear from you.
Seems like wealthy affiliate is the better option when it comes to blogging. I really don’t like the idea of someone else having control over my blog. Sort of goes against what I believe a blog is. I like your blog by the way, you been doing it long? you seem like you know what you doing
Sam, I have been blogging for a few years but still consider myself somewhat of a novice. Too many things to do and so little time to spend on any one thing!
I certainly agree about the owning your own blog. Even if you are just blogging informally, there is still a lot of work to do including researching. I can’t imagine how I would feel, if I woke up one morning and my blog site was disconnected.
And the thing is most of the potential website domains I have looked at are very reasonably priced. So owning your own website is NOT expensive at all. My domain costs $15.00 a year. No big deal.
Good luck and happy working to you if you are currently blogging.
Do you have to be some sort of an English major in order to be a good blogger? You mentioned that you need to have good grammar and spelling when it comes to blogging.
I ask because I did not exactly study this as a major in college nor did I major in writing but I do wish to start blogging.
Jessie, no you don’t need to be an English major. You need to be a sponge and absorb English by talking to people who are pretty good at it. Generally if you aren’t quite sure about what you have written ask someone else to read your articles and come back and comment on them.
If they give you feedback (and this shouldn’t be in your comment section – they need to contact you directly) ‘listen’ to what they say. Somewhere along this process you will find someone with language skills.
Finally, you might be surprised to find you write really well. You might very well already be suitably versed in English. So dive in and start blogging. Have fun and good luck with it.
Hello there. Cool website theme and design. Just looking at your site proves that you know what you are talking about. I’ve had the same habit with my past diaries. I would get one, excited to use it, then a few weeks later, entries become scarce.
So much information that I can actually understand and use. Great images also!
I Thank you for emphasizing the grammar points, because I’m always re-reading my content to make sure the grammar is up to par. It’s good to know I’m not wasting my time on that part. Being new at blogging myself, dealing with any critical feedback did cross my mind. I definitely like/agree with your take on it.
Your article has inspired to get going on my own writing. I actually started reading it late last night and couldn’t finish reading. My last thought was, “I really want to finish reading this article! I know I stumbled across it for a REASON.” SO that is what I did this morning and I am so glad that I did.
Thank you so much!
Olympia, I am noted at being anal about my ‘proper’ writing. Things have become so slack these days that if it continues we won’t be able to understand our neighbour’s writings soon! An our educations systems have a lot to answer for.
Another issue I had with diaries was addresses. I have hitched around a few countries and met so many lovely people. I did write down their names and phone numbers. Just in case I got to their countries. Later when I did arrive I found I had written phone numbers and first names so had no idea who each actually was. I ended up phoning and asking where I might have met them. Embarrassing – YES!
Don’t worry about feedback, except as a building exercise. I have received feedback that makes my blood boil (very rarely fortunately).I went aware and went back later with a more rational view. And, I managed to read the feedback positively and did get some ideas from it. This is why it is so important to word any feedback, you give, positively.
I do tend to almost fall asleep at the computer or when reading books, so I get your point of being unable to finish something and stay awake.
I really appreciate your positive (that word again) comments.