One: 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 used Blogger then, and I learned a great deal from those experiences . . . about WRITING. Now, I’m trying to learn how to build a following and create a passive income stream with a blog, and this is a whole new ballgame.
Two: A free blog platform isn’t ideal for a “real” business.
It is better to own your domain name and build your blog as a “business” right from the start. It is possible to begin 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. Yes, you could crap out and end up wasting the domain registration and hosting fees you’ve paid. 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 included, I’m still not HALFWAY through taking 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.
Three: 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 blogging and 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 – like drinking from a firehose!
Four: Marketing a blog is more complicated than marketing a product.
I have a degree in Marketing and years of experience, but marketing my blog has been quite a challenge. I haven’t known 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 +, but I’m going to continue to focus on Facebook and Pinterest. These are the two platforms I use in my online life, so I figure that’s what my ideal customers use, too.
Five: 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 THIS successful “quickstart” blog. They finally figured out their niche, started a new blog with a new domain name, brought their followers over, and VOILA! Very quick success. Most blogs take longer to build.
Six: Purposeful “branding” makes posts and graphics 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 efficient. Having a structured look and feel allows your posts and graphics to be more recognizable to your readers. My graphics have evolved in these six short months (thank GOODNESS), and I’m really happy with my last 25 “pin” images.
I’ve decided to differentiate my blog-related posts and set them apart from the rest of my blog. This is an experiment.
Seven: Finding your niche is a key to success.
Who is your ideal customer/reader? Learning how to reach your target market may not be simple or quick. 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 information specifically to them in my posts. 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 very effectively.
Eight: Blogging takes a great deal of time.
It is possible – but difficult – to start a 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), and I’ll be able to comfortably retire to ANY location (with Internet access) and continue to build this business.
These first few months, I’ve spent between 10 and 25 hours every week, writing content, studying, 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.
Nine: I want to help other people start their own blogs!
I want to bring others into the blogging community and help them realize their dreams! 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!