Yes, yes they can. Does it require a lot of work? You better believe it. But if you truly have a passion for sharing your thoughts with others and you are willing to do what it takes to make it, you can be successful, too. I’ve seen a lot of people start blogs and fail…but I’ve also seen a lot of people who were truly motivated to be successful to do just that. It is not for the weak of heart.Writing about everything we’ve done to get to the point we are at would take for longer than one blog post. However, I thought we would share some of the basic framework to launching a successful blog:
1) Pick a Niche
Parenting? Foodie? Tech? There are so many different blogging niches out there, and one for just about everyone. Pick something you are a passionate about, not what you think will be most popular. If you feel like you would run out of topics quickly, then don’t go with that one! We write about everything here on Clarks Condensed. Some people suggest that you don’t do that, but for us, it’s worked pretty well.
I’d also avoid picking a topic that is too narrow, as it can make it hard to get a good readership. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid something that isn’t so popular. If there is a topic you are super passionate about, chances are, there is a community of people equally passionate.
2) Get a Domain Name
You can buy a domain for about $10 a year. Personally, I went with GoDaddy, because you can get them for fairly inexpensive (I would avoid them for hosting though.) However, you can often get a free domain name with your hosting (such as with BlueHost.) Brands will take your blog more seriously if you have your own domain, plus, it just looks more professional.
Be sure to put some thought into your domain name. You don’t want to have to go back and rebrand everything someday. Using something that is SEO friendly, catchy, and interesting will draw people in. When choosing a domain name, I highly recommend checking out Namechk.com. This allows you to see if just about any social network out there has your name still available. It would really be unfortunate to go and get all excited about your domain name, only to realize that it isn’t available on your social networks!
3) Purchase Hosting
Before you really can do anything, you have to pick a place for your blog to “live.” There are several different options, but I would say that the majority of people go with one of the three options – Blogger, WordPress.com, or WordPress.org.
If you absolutely cannot pay for hosting right now, start with Blogger. I cannot stand WordPress.com – it’s so hard to customize anything.
However, if you are serious about blogging, I highly recommend going with WordPress.org. This is a platform that you download – not a website you sign up at. In order to use it, you must buy hosting. You can buy hosting for anywhere from 99 cents a month to thousands.
When I first started blogging, I signed up with BlueHost. While I eventually outgrew them, they were a good starting point – 24/7 tech support, lots of guides on how to set things up, and very inexpensive. All you have to do sign up is click here…
Select your hosting account (for the $3.95 a month plan, you have to sign up for two years. Don’t worry, if you decide to leave, you get a pro-rated refund!)
At this point you can decide if you want to get a free domain name with them or use an existing domain:
And when you login, you can install WordPress. They have an install guide if you get stuck!
I currently am with Big Scoots, and I’ve been very pleased with them. They are a bit expensive though, so if you aren’t sure if blogging is your thing, definitely start with BlueHost and go from there!
5) Install Analytics
6) Sign up for social networks
7) Install Ads and Sign up for Amazon Affiliates
I’m not going to discuss the details of monetizing a blog in this post, but from the start, you NEED to put ads on your site and sign up for Amazon affiliate (unless your state doesn’t allow it.) You never know when you will have a post go wild.
I recommend just putting up three ads from Google Adsense, and then start putting affiliate links in every post you do! Affiliate programs can be one of the best ways to make money, and Amazon is a great place to start.
8) Connect With Others
One of the best ways to get your content out there is by having it shared by others in your industry. As soon as you know what you are going to write about, find a group of bloggers in that niche. If you are a parenting blogger, the Kid Blogger Network is an excellent resource. A foodie? Check out Food Blogger Pro. Whatever your niche is, get to know others in it. Make an effort to attend a conference – this is where I’ve met a lot of blogging friends and colleagues.
Don’t be annoying and spam other’s Facebook pages asking for them to like your page, or leave meaningless comments like “Looks great, check out my site!” Build genuine relationships with people. Share their content and tag them in it. If you feature another blogger in a post, let them know – chances are, they might just share it.
Blogging is not an individual sport. Yes, you have to do your own hard work to make it, but by getting to know others, getting your content out there will be so much easier.As an added bonus, you might meet some of your closest friends. I’ve met some incredible people through blogging.
9) Read All You Can
When I started blogging, I read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on. I learned how to run a WordPress site, do tech support for myself, and tons of about monetizing, social media, and how to be successful. I think that reading all the information you can about blogging is one of the smartest moves you can make. Here are two GREAT books to start with: