1. There’s more to blogging than writing.
I’ve been a blogger since 2003. My prior blogs were for used to creatively express myself with text and images. I learned a great deal from those experiences, but mostly about writing. Now, I’m trying to learn how to build a following and create a passive income stream with a blog–this is a whole new ballgame.
2. A free blog platform isn’t ideal for a “real” business.
I started with Blogger when blogging was a personal outlet for me. With a monetized blog, it is better to own your domain name and build your blog as a “business” right from the start. It is possible to start and build your following on a free blogging platform. However, when the time comes to monetize, you want to own everything you’ve created–lock, stock, and barrel. You can only do that with your own domain.
Yes, it’s a little intimidating. Theoretically, you could crap out and end up wasting the fees you’ve paid for the domain. I’ve spent about $800 in almost one year to start and build this blog. That’s about $100 in domain registration and hosting, $100 in site security, $100 on a really great paid theme, and the rest on a laptop, marketing materials, and eCourses (like the Ultimate Genius Blogger’s Toolkit). That $97 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit has so many resources, I’m still not even halfway through the eCourses! I started one yesterday (that I had actually forgotten about), and it was EXACTLY what I needed for improving my ability to find my ideal customers on Facebook. That investment just keeps on paying dividends.
3. I have a LOT to learn about running a website!
I know how to use technology to post text and images to a blog, but I have SO much to learn about the technology of running a website. I can create beautiful photography and write fabulous text. With the blog, I’ve had to learn how to use WordPress, work with a domain hosting service, and use social media to drive traffic. There is even the need to do some minor coding, and I’m completely unprepared for those tasks. I feel like I’ve been learning so much it’s like drinking from a fire-hose!
4. Marketing a blog is more complicated than marketing a product.
I have a degree in Marketing, and years of experience in sales, but marketing my blog has been quite a challenge. I hardly know enough about how to find my ideal customers, but I’m learning; I’m using social media as my primary means of advertising FamilyFramework.net. I have printed business cards and really nice car magnets, and I know those have been (and will continue to be) a good branding tool.
Although I have a Twitter account and Google +, I’m going to continue to focus on Facebook and Pinterest. These are the two platforms I use most in my online life, so I figure that’s what my ideal customers use, too.
5. A blog isn’t successful overnight–it takes time.
It may take 6 months to a year to get a blog off to a good start with a following of over a hundred readers. I read from lots of successful bloggers about how they took their business from zero to $X thousand dollars per month in revenue in less than a year. Dig a little deeper, and you may find they’ve been blogging much longer than they’ve been running the successful “quickstart” blog; they finally figured out their niche, started a new blog with a new domain name, brought their followers over, and voila! Most blogs take longer to build.
6. Purposeful “branding” makes post and graphic generation easier.
Branding makes your content and graphics easy to recognize. Choose a color palette, a logo, two fonts, and an image creation software to make posting and graphic creation efficient. Having a structured look and feel allows your posts/graphics to become familiar quickly. My graphics have evolved in these six short months (thank goodness for that), and I’m really happy with my last 25 “pin” images. Learning how to make clean and memorable looking graphics will also set you apart from amateurs.
7. Finding your niche is key to success.
Who is your ideal customer/reader? Once you answer that question, you then have to learn how to reach that audience–this may not be simple or quick, but it is critical to building a successful “product.” I’m using Google Analytics and data from my JetPack plugin to help me see who I’m actually reaching with my blog posts, Facebook posts, and Pinterest pins. As I learn who is attracted to my writing, I can gear more of my content specifically to them. In the first six months of the blog, I did a great deal of posting (and hoping), but now, I’m trying to work smarter and reach my market effectively.
8. Blogging takes a great deal of time.
It is possible–but difficult–to start a monetized blog while working full-time. When I leave work at the end of the business day, I rush home to be with my family, have dinner, and work on the blog. In time, I’ll have created a passive income stream (perhaps several, through affiliate sites). I’ll be able to comfortably retire to ANY location (with Internet access), and continue to build this business.
In these first few months, I’ve spent between 10 and 25 hours every week writing content, studying marketing techniques, attending webinars, reading eBooks, and experimenting with different aspects of the blog. My goal is to work on the blog for an hour or so each day (while still working full time), but I’m not there yet.
9. I want to help other people start their own blogs!
I want to bring others into the blogging community, and help them realize their potentials as writers and business-people! Many of my friends have great ideas for how to help others, and I know this is one fantastic way to do it. There’s room for all of you to create your own blog business! We can encourage each other and move everyone forward.
Do you want to start of blog of your own? Reach out and let me know!