Why not? It’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s fun…well, if you like writing. It’s not for everyone, but if it’s for you, then you need a blog.
Getting a Blog
This is a lot easier than it sounds. Let’s get serious for a minute, though. If you’re thinking that you can create a free blog just to test the waters, stop. Yes, you can do that, but you will have a daunting task when you decide to take it to the next level. It will be highly worth it to just jump in with a domain, hosting, and WordPress. <<= If this is Greek to you, you’re in the right place because I’m going to give you the tools you need to get started. Sign up to the right so you don’t miss it! =>>
I don’t suggest going the free route unless you’re just flat broke. If you have nothing, you can still get started. You will just have little more work to do later on. If you decide to start out with a free blog, choose between Blogger.com and WordPress.com. These two options will allow you to easily import your content to a self-hosted blog later on. You can also use a custom domain with both once you’re able to afford one.(Dot com’s are less than $15.) Baby steps are okay! Both of these options are as easy as creating an account. If you already have a Google account, you can create a blog in a few clicks by just visiting Blogger.com.
Avoid sites like Weebly and Wix. They look snazzy, but Google hates them. If you’re going to build an empire, you must appease the Google gods.
If you’re going with the self-hosted option, WordPress is the only way to go. Seriously, all the serious bloggers use it. I challenge you to find one who isn’t. Let’s take a look at what you’re going to need:
- Domain name – This is your dot com, dot net, or whatever. I recommend using dot com as it’s still the most professional plus there’s that little .com button on your phone keyboard. There’s no .net or .info button. 😛 Take your time and brainstorm. You can check the availability of your choices at any domain host, but I like Namecheap.com.
- Hosting – Hosting is like a hard drive (It’s called a server.) where the files that make up your website are stored and served up to your visitors. Here’s a comparison for your convenience:
Top 5 Hosting Companies Compared
- WordPress – If you choose any of the hosts in the table above, they all provide WordPress as a one-click install. Look for the WordPress logo or script installers such as Fantastico or Softaculous. If you get stuck, a Google search should clear it up for you.
That’s it. That’s all you need to start. You should be able to get it done for less than $20. Stay tuned. In the coming days, I’ll write about what plugins are essential and how to customize your blog further with a theme.
Making a Plan
What are you hoping to accomplish with your blog? What’s your niche or topic that you’ll be blogging about? Check out this 5-step blogging plan:
- Choose a market. – This is synonymous with the word “niche”, but rather than drilling it down to a tight niche where you’ll run out of aspects to write about, choose a market. For example, the market for StackingBenjis.com is “make money online” or “internet marketing”.Having a successful blog is a crazy amount of work and persistence. You’ll never make it if you’re not truly into your topic. Once you choose your market, it’s time to find the problems people have within that market and start solving them!
- Set up your blog. – We’re ahead of the game here, right? All you have to do here is make that decision: free or paid.
- Monetize your blog. – This is where it gets interesting. Once you’ve churned out some content, customized your site, and you’re getting a little traffic, it’s time to monetize! Up to this point, you’ve probably spent countless hours and feel like your site is worth hundreds. Just a fair warning, you’re not going to make hundreds immediately. A blog is very much a work in progress ALL the time.How do you want to monetize your blog? There are a number of ways you can do it. You can do it by selling others’ products, selling your own products, and/or by advertising with a network like Google’s Adsense. The absolute #1 thing you want to do though is set up your blog so that it collects leads. One of the very first things you will want to do is set up a form to capture emails for your list! The list is where the money is! I ignored this for YEARS, and it was the biggest mistake I’ve made with Internet Marketing.
- Create content. – This is the nitty gritty. It doesn’t matter what else you do or if your theme is the best, most expensive, or if your site is the epitome of modern websites…if your content sucks, the whole thing sucks. Remember up there where we said to find problems in your market and begin solving them? Here’s where you want to do that. You can do it by writing tutorials and guides or by reporting the latest new in your market. You can create great lists of content like Listverse.com or write reviews. I think a combination of all of the above is the best bet.Content creation is something that you’re going to have to start off with a bang on or you’ll never get off the ground. Here at StackingBenjis.com, I’m planning on writing a post daily at least for the first few months. Grant it, this blog is already 2 years old and has been sitting with about 40 articles on it for the majority of those 2 years. However, I’m treating it like a new site. If anything, the age is a bit of an advantage. Not to mention, it already generates a tiny bit of traffic organically. It’s nothing to write home about though.I suggest brainstorming a list of posts you plan to write. Just from writing this post so far, I’ve already generated ideas for 3 more. Write that stuff down! It’s gold.
When you get ready to begin creating content for your blog and you are new to WordPress, you’ll need some training. I created a lot of how-to articles about WordPress on my other website. Access it here.
- Syndicate your blog content. – How the heck do you do that? First, create a brand from your blog. I’ve created my brand based on the idea of making money and spun it off a popular TV show at the same time. Check below for the video and reference info.Once you’ve decided what your brand will be, the best way to fully establish it and begin building it up is to create social profiles: Facebook Page, Google+ Page, Twitter account, Instagram, and Pinterest. These are ALL free and simple to set up. Oh, there’s another upcoming post idea!Concentrate on posting as much content to your blog as possible and send it (or syndicate it, rather) to your social sites using a plugin or some other tool.
Boom. That’s it. You’ll end up repeating the last 3 steps over and over. If you’re consistent and persistent, it will pay dividends.
Wow, you’ve accomplished a lot. You got your blog and a plan! That’s more than half the battle. Here’s what’s coming soon at StackingBenjis.com:
- We’ll talk plugins. How to get your WordPress site to do just about anything. I know it sounds complicated, but don’t let it scare you. We’ll keep it simple!
- Themes. You need a look. A theme is how you accomplish that. I’ll go over how to get one, how to buy one, how to make one, and how to customize what you’ve got!
- Building your email list. How to set up your form and start capturing leads from day one!
- Setting up your social media. This just flat-out sounds like work, I know, but I’ll show you how to get it done in a couple hours complete with graphics!
Am I Forgetting Anything?
Are you just starting out with your blog and need to know something specific? Let me know, and I’ll add it to my post list unless it’s something I can answer more quickly another way. I know this is just basic stuff, but a journey consists of steps and I don’t want to skip any of them. I’m going for one-stop shop here. Hey, happy blogging y’all!!!
About that Breaking Bad reference. Here’s a little fun for you:
The term “stacking benjis” was pulled from a scene with Jesse and Skinny Pete from Season 2:
‘Hey, man, I’m slingin’ mad volume and fat stackin’ benjis, you know what I’m sayin’? I can’t be all about, like, spelling and shit.’
There you have it. Let’s stack some benjis!