Back in 2006, I thought I'd start a blog, because I wanted to learn about why people blog. I also wanted to learn the technical aspects of running your own site. Facebook was still for colleges (for the most part) back then and YouTube had barely been dreamed up.
Somewhere along the way, I learned the value of creating a journal for yourself. I learned to connect and share ideas with like-minded people who I wouldn't have run into otherwise.
Blogging for money?
I often get asked about making money from a blog. My response is pretty much the same, "Don't waste your time." It is very competitive (there's very little barrier to entry as we'll find out today) and to create a blog in the top billionth of a percent that makes money (I may be exaggerating) you have to have a lot of knowledge. You can read about blogging all day, but a lot of that knowledge comes from the experience of running a blog.
Many people I've run into say that you can't just be a blogger any more. You have to be YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. You have to create podcasts. You have to write eBooks and give them away to build your mailing list. That's just creating content and doing a little networking. I don't want to get into the advertising side of things. I'll just state that I have a dozen form letters for different advertisers approaching me about how their great program is going to make us both rich.
One of the things you learn by experience, is that advertisers need publishers, so they offer the world. After you join, you get days when you earn 12 cents.
Blog for the love of the game!
When I started blogging, I didn't know that people could make money. I thought online advertising was only for ESPNs or the CNETs of the world. It isn't like Reebok is going to call me up and try to negotiate a deal with me.
That's the way, I think everyone should look at blogging. Just start something of an online journal. Create information that you think would be beneficial for others, but include some personal stories as well.
If you aren't a writer, you are going to suck. I sucked too. Everyone has sucked at writing at some point. I was always a math and computer science in high school. I still think I suck, but some people have said I'm good. As always, you the reader, is the ultimate judge.
I do know that I can write this article as a constant stream of thought and intertwine useful information with my personal experience. I certainly couldn't write anything like this back in 2006. Probably the closest I came was much, much worse and took 3 times as long.
Let's get started
I'm hoping that by this point, you see some value to creating your blog. I understand that it isn't for everyone, but if you were on the fence, hopefully I've convinced you of the benefits.
Prior to this year, I hadn't started a blog from scratch in a long, long time. However, with the incoming new year, I launched Be Better Now. The website is a lot like Lazy Man and Money, but focused more on personal development than just money. It is more visually appealing because I include pictures with my articles. It also had no advertising (and probably won't for at least the first year). I invented some awesome organizational tricks to give you just the information you are looking for. For example, save-money.BeBetterNow.org will give you just tips on saving money. You never have to read articles about health or even investing if that's not your thing.
In creating Be Better Now, I had to learn things about blogging that I hadn't come across in a long time. There's buying a domain name, finding hosting, connecting it all up. Then there's getting email set-up, creating a blog design, getting all those social media accounts.
It's a lot. I'm not going to cover it all today, but I'd like to focus on two aspects to get started quickly:
1. Get a host with an easy to install WordPress blog such as 1&1. Maybe it's because I'm a weird tech nerd, but I find signing up and getting a blog running easier than using Facebook.
2. Get a logo designed. It sets the tone that you are committed to creating something valuable. It's a lot easier and less expensive than you think. I've even worked with a company to get you a discount. Designhill is going to give you $60 off with coupon code: DHLMM. You simply launch a contest for $199 (well $139 with the coupon) and write up what you are looking for. Designers compete for your business and you'll get quite a few designs to choose from. I imagine it being the dating scene if you were a rich and famous actor... except that you don't need to be rich or famous.
The next hurdle is picking a theme for your WordPress blog. I would love to give some intelligent advice in this area, but I don't feel it would be genuine. There are probably hundreds of thousands of themes to choose from. It's too much choice and it is hard to find the perfect theme, though you feel it must be out there. I can only suggest that you go with what's "good enough" and not waste your time looking for that perfect theme. At the end of the day, it is going to be your writing that matters.
You can have the blog up in minutes and logo design done shortly thereafter. That's really there is to getting started.
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