Quote for Today: “A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.” Lee Odden
December is traditionally a time when we reflect on our achievements and highlights from the previous year. Along with reflections from the past comes fresh ideas about the possibilities in the new year. It is an exciting time to ponder new business possibilities and begin setting goals for the new year.
There has been much hype about blogging as a business in the past year. So much, that you would think everyone needs a space in the blogosphere. From brick and mortar store (brand) blogs to the sharing of journals and diaries, it seems everyone should have a web presence.
The Popularity of Blogs
According to Wikipedia, “On 20 February 2014, there were around 172 million Tumblr and 75.8 million WordPress blogs in existence worldwide. According to critics and other bloggers, Blogger is the most popular blogging service used today, however Blogger does not offer public statistics. Technorati has 1.3 million blogs as of February 22, 2014.” The number of new blogs has continued climbing throughout the year. For an idea of the number of posts made daily, check Worldometers for some calculations in real time.
Today, it is common for business web-sites to include a blog to inform the public about their offerings, special events, brand and etc. These are the exception to the business of a blog website. If the idea of starting your own blog is crossing your mind – this post is for you.
First, ask the question, Why do you want to write a blog? When the idea surfaces its common to think that it will be easy writing about something you enjoy doing and you will make lots of money sharing your knowledge plus there’s always affiliate or other marketing options – right? Although there are web-sites that do generate substantial revenue, the masses fall at the other end of the spectrum. However, if you are satisfied with your reasons for creating a blog, it’s time to move forward.
Treat your blog the same as if it was any other new business you are opening. I know it’s easy to think, well I’ll be doing it all and from anywhere I choose. Indeed, bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs, but also build social relations with their readers and other bloggers. For this, you need a well researched business plan that will help you find your niche, know your competition, costs for delivery, maintenance, domain and social media marketing as well as expansion.
You will need to consider which platform you will use to establish your web domain. Hosted vs standalone blog platforms? Hosted blog platforms like Blogger, WordPress, GoDaddy and many more or whether you should go for a stand alone platform that you host on your own domain and server like WordPress.org or others. I have tried it both ways, hosted and standalone and the greatest difference for two of the web-sites was a standalone using BlueHost with WordPress for creating posts. However, with the right SEO and content any of the above will accomplish the same results. You can always start with the basics like this web-site and work your way up. It’s all about how much time and money you want to put into it. And, for me and hopefully for you – time is money.
There are platforms that provide free hosting to help get you started. However, if you want your posts to be seen by the masses you are going to need some SEO help whether you do it yourself or hire someone else. In addition, to help your posts fly and enjoy higher visibility you need social media sites where potential readers hang-out. Check the demographics and the interests of major social sites before creating a profile. Make sure it will be a good fit with folks of common interests in your topics. Then take it slowly, building your following on 2-3 major social sites at the time. The key here is building relationships and engaging with your followers. For business planning, consider your time and budget for promoting your social media site.
Pictures are worth a thousand words
Whether or not you snap your own pictures for your blog and social media posts you will need to have an idea about the costs for apps to help you customize your designs unless you are an accomplished graphic artists. Although I do enjoy using some apps like Canva for they provide an assortment of photos to select from, I have also purchased photos from stock companies and then customized them using another source. Key thought – know what you should budget for marketing your new business.
This is not at all an inclusive listing for planning your blog start-up, but rather some notes to direct you in making decisions. The year 2015 could be your breakthrough year, I hope you will use your time, energy and money wisely. Wishing you the success you deserve. Carolyn