How to Start a Blog? 10 Most Commonly Asked Questions & Answers

1. How much does it cost to start a blog?

http://how-much-does-it-cost-to-start-a-blog.jpgStarting a blog doesn’t have to cost you a penny.  There are plenty of services available that will allow you to start and maintain a blog for free, such as blogger and tumblr.  The only investment you will have to make is your time.  With little to no overhead cost, it is easy to understand why blogging has become such a phenomenon.

While free sites are certainly appealing, there are other low cost options that will provide you with customer service, templates, design tools, which will ultimately help you create a professional looking site without having to hire an expert.  Typically, this involves purchasing a domain, which can be done for a monthly fee of around $5-10.  The cost is still minimal and you have an infinitely more options than with a free site.

2. Can I make money as a blogger?

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Display advertisements  – Google Adsense is a popular program that pays per click, which means that every time someone visits your blog and clicks on one of the advertisements, you make money.  Before you get too carried away with visions of early retirement, it is important to note that you will typically make a few cents per click.  Increasing traffic to your site through high quality, and engaging content is the best way to encourage more clicks and increase your revenue.

Affiliate Marketing – Again, this involves placing advertisements on your site, but these types of programs work by paying you a commission for every customer who clicks on an advertisement on your site, and makes a purchase. You can better your chances of converting ads into commission sales by publishing with companies who sell goods and services related to your blog topic.  For example:  if you want to put up a fitness blog, you could work with companies to advertise their health supplements.  Choose products that your target audience will be interested in purchasing.

Sponsorships – As you build your online presence, you may find yourself being contacted by companies looking for help promoting their products. Some are even willing to pay to have you write a review of their products or to have a write up on their company prominently displayed on your site.

3. How can I increase visitors to my blog?

 

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So you have a blog, you are writing great content, but you don’t have any visitors.  What can you do to get people to your site?  Network.  Reach out to other bloggers who are writing about similar topics.  Make connections with people in the same industry.  Typically, this means following them on social media, liking and sharing their posts, and hoping that they return the favor.  Be sure to set up account with all the big social media platforms, learn how to take advantage of hashtags, and share with all your friends and followers every time you add a post to your blog.

 4. What is affiliate marketing?

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Affiliate marketing involves placing advertisements on your site, but these types of programs work by paying you a commission for every customer who clicks on an advertisement on your site, and makes a purchase. You can better your chances of converting ads into commission sales by publishing with companies who sell goods and services related to your blog topic.  For example:  if you want to put up a fitness blog, you could work with companies to advertise their health supplements.  Choose products that your target audience will be interested in purchasing.

5. What is SEO?

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SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.  Over the years, the connotations associated with this term have changed – for the better.  In the early days of blog writing, marketers who were looking to improve the search rankings of their sites would spam the internet with massive amounts of content that was packed with keywords and completely lacked any substance.

Search engine algorithms weren’t as sophisticated as they are now, so for a while this worked, but it didn’t take long before we decided that we didn’t want the internet and search results junked up with all this spam.  Search engines started cracking down on all the garbage and content became king!

Nowadays, blogs have to high quality and informative content in order to show up in searches and be competitive.  However, that doesn’t mean that SEO isn’t still a tool.  The trick is to insert keywords sparingly and in a way that does not draw away from the substance of your site.

6. How often should I post to my blog?

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If you have been looking for a concise answer to this question, you may have found that answers vary pretty significantly.  Some people argue for a post a day, but it doesn’t take more than a few days for that to start to feel overwhelming.  Of course, if your goal is to work on your writing, then by all means, post as often as you want.  If your main concern is drawing in readers and trying to earn revenue, I would suggest that you post once per week.  That will ensure that you are staying relevant and commenting on events as they unfold.  A week will also mean that every post will have enough time to gain traction and be shared on social media.

7. How much money can I expect to make with my blog?

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Realistically, not much, especially at first.  It takes time to build up a following, make connections, and build up an archive of articles that will make your blog more searchable.  If you are persistent, you will be able to bring in some extra money every week, but I would not quit your day job right off the bat.  As with any field, there is some stiff competition out there and a lot of it.  It will take hard work and great content to set yourself apart and become a recognizable voice.

8. What is the difference between a blog and a website?

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In a lot of ways, the two terms are synonymous, but there are some subtle differences.  A website is usually designed to be more informative.  For instance, a construction company may have a website so that customers can look up contact information, view a portfolio of previous projects, and read customer testimonies.  That construction company may also include a blog section on their website that contains more detailed accounts of projects and company news.

Blogs and websites typically have different audiences and purposes, but there is a significant amount of overlap.  Blogs are also designed to encourage comments and interaction between authors and readers.  They are more focused on sharing ideas than showing a company in the best light.

9. How long should my blog entries be?

 

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Typically, an entry should be between 300 and 500 words.  Let’s face it; the internet has turned us into a bunch of skimmers.  A few hundred words is a reader friendly length that will keep their attention.

The exception to the rule is if you are publishing more research based work.  In this case, it takes more time to work your way through a valid argument that is back by sources.

10. What is the difference between a plugin and a widget?

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Once again there is some overlap with these two terms. Essentially, a plugin is a software that you can upload to your site in order to add some specific functionality. Common plugins include spam blockers and SEO programs.

A widget is a type of plugin that can be inserted into the sidebar of your website. Bloggers use widgets to add RSS feeds, contact forms, and newsletter subscription forms. If you take a moment to look at other popular blogs, you will notice that the sidebar is usually packed with a variety of different information. Widgets help keep things organized and push a lot of information to the side of your page so that it doesn’t look too cluttered.

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