Welcome to The Business of Blogging series. This is part one of the series . If you missed the introduction I encourage you to go back and read it so you know what we will be talking about in this series. Starting a blog comes with a lot of pressure (at least for me it did). Trying to make sure everything is right from the start and at the same time not even knowing the half of what it take to run a successful blog. In this post we are going to discuss everything I wish I knew before starting my blog.
I want to say I made a lot of mistakes along the way but I don’t think of them as mistake so instead I say that I had a lot of learning opportunities along my blogging journey. No one is perfect so don’t be shocked if you quickly realize you should have done something differently. One day you will look back on it and it will all be part of the journey.
Before starting your blog there is going to be a lot of planning. So I recommend finding a place to take notes and write out questions, and the answers to those questions. Personally I wrote everything out in a note book and I still have that note book today. Once you have found that place start your research. While researching these are a few key point to decide about you blog.
Hobby or Business?
I never even considered this when starting my blog so this questions is where I was presented with a lot of learning opportunities. One of the first decisions about your blog you need to make is; will this blog be a hobby or one day will it make some type of money? Before making any decisions keep reading.
A hobby blog is great. It can be an online diary, a place to share with family and friends, something you start because you just need something for you. A hobby blog has no dead lines, content restrictions, and over all you don’t care if you have any readers. It is also a great place to test the waters and see if blogging is for you before you take the plunge into unfamiliar territory.
Then there is blogging as a business. Your starting a blog and know going in that you will one day you’ll be relying on this to make some type of income. Or you may own a business already and want another area to connect with your followers. This is where you treat your blog like its your job even though you won’t be making any money at first. Business blogging involves thinking about finances, content type and schedules, marketing, and analytics.
All of that is what The Business of Blogging series is all about. If you are now thinking that blogging will just be a hobby for you I encourage you to keep reading because there will still be helpful information to you. Now that you have an idea of weather your blog is going to be your business or your hobby you need to think about where you blog is going to be. On the internet duh!
Free Platform or Paid Website?
Like I said earlier learning opportunities. I started my blog on WordPress where I created a free blog. I was able to create a blog for free and share it with others. It was a great place that told me when people were following my blog and was easy to get readers. I was also able to connect with other bloggers pages and read what they were sharing.
Then I started looking into making money and realized that would never happen because while I named my blog and was able to share with others at the end of the day WordPress controlled my blog and could take it down at any second. That was about a year after I started that blog and realized I loved it and I was willing to put money into it.
I then relocated to HostGator. Which is a web hosting service that allows you to pick the plan you would like and pay to have a web site like Createlynn.com. This is my website that I chose the menu titles, the background color, the url (if it is available), I also control when the website is shut down and won’t be restricted.
I personally use HostGator to have my website and the back end of my website that I see I use wordpress. I don’t know all the technical terms, I don’t have experience with coding, and I do not have any type of education on websites other than what I thought myself. So here is where I tell you to do research and watch videos, read blogs, take free classes. That is how I learned and I am still learning.
Niche (no its not a curse word)
Niche- denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population (as stated by google dictionary)
Your niche or your specialized section of the population is what your going to make your blog all about. This is specifically true for a business blogger To get readers to your site and to keep them coming back you are going to want to talk about something that you and they are interested in. So today you are reading this post because you are interested in starting a blog. You will continue to come back and read my blog if you find my posts interested or informative and wish to read more.
Your niche is what your blog is going to be all about. For example sports, arts and crafts, beauty, fashion, ect. So you want to pick a topic you are passionate about. When first starting out though you want to get specific. Keeping your niche specific is going to help you generate more content and let you audience know right away if they want to keep coming back.
My niche is DIY or Arts and Crafts. Personally I do not focus on a specific area of DIY because I enjoy many types of crafting. If your thinking about starting a crafting blog consider starting on a specific type of crafting (painting, drawing, scrapbooking, card making, crochet, knitting, etc) then once you build an audience start to branch out. If you are interested in starting a DIY blog come back next week for my post all about starting an arts and crafts blog.
Time and Money
Before starting a blog know how much time you plan to spend on it. Think weekly, monthly, and yearly. How long do you see yourself working on this blog. What do you see your blog looking like in a year or five years. Don’t choose a niche you can’t picture yourself posting about in a year. Don’t pick a niche you will run out of content to write about.
Finances need to be in your plan as well. How much are you willing to pay for your website. Will you need any equipment to start your blog. Do you have a computer to work from? A camera to take pictures with? What other expenses will you have along the way?
As a craft blogger I have to ask myself several questions before every post. What am I going to make? Do I have the materials I need? How long with this project take?
There are different variables that are going to affect both time and money. Don’t plan on making 5 posts a week while working a full time job, taking care of three kids, two animals, and your husband. Set realistic goals and change them as needed. I have a full time job so I know that I can realistically get two posts out a week. Something else to keep in mind when planning time and money is that having a successful blog is that your going to need more than a blog.
Being a blogger off the blog
Being a blogger is more than having a blog. This is something that took me time to realize. Successful bloggers have such large audiences because their readers feel connected to them. I notice my posts that get the most views are the ones that I am personal in. Like my post about my engagement . This doesn’t mean I would have a successful blog if all I did was talk about my life. Readers want to see that you are a person just like them and they want to find ways to connect with you.
Later on in the series we will talk more about building an audience. Know going into your blog you are going to want to start some social media account for your audience to follow. These will be great places for you to get more personal with your audience and show your readers who you are.