I love holidays. They give me a sense that the world is always willing to give and share. So in that spirit, I am going to share some great information with you.
Many of the articles I have written over the years talk about how content is key, and how you can make money with a simple blog about the things that you know and love.
Any business, from work-at-home moms to landscapers, can create a successful blog that makes money, increases current website traffic, or promotes products. It doesn’t really matter what your subject matter is, as long as you create content that others want. Getting started is easy and doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
We start this process with one of the greatest tools intended for bloggers. Wordpress. At the risk of being lengthy I am going to cover some of the basics of Wordpress. What is Wordpress? And how do we use it?
Wordpress is a CMS (Content Management System), built on an opensource (anyone can use it) platform. Wordpress was one of the first CMS systems on the scene, and because of its great power and ease of use, it is still standing today. CMS systems were created to solve a need for website platforms that did not need a web developer to continually make changes, putting control of websites back into the hands of the website owners. Wordpress took a path that made them more useable for bloggers. Websites have grown and changed and become more interactive and profitable, and Wordpress has improved on some of these, but not others, making it a better platform for bloggers than traditional websites.
What makes it different? Wordpress offers the ability not only to create traditional pages (stories, articles, etc.) but as a standard layout, your readers can respond with comments, and become subscribers with ease. One of the best things you can do with your blog is to create some really fun interaction with your readers. Not only does it give them a place to communicate their own ideas alongside yours, but it gives you a sense of who your readers are, and what kinds of things they would love to see you write about.
Because of its popularity, Wordpress templates are readily available. You can find “themes” all over the internet for free or a minimal fee. With so many options available, and each one of these customizable with your own colors and images, the chance of seeing a duplicate of your blog is very small. Once you get your Wordpress website set up, one of the things that gives Wordpress its power is the additional widgets that you can add. Just a small sample of ideas would be adding a shopping cart, an easily installed Google Ad (just one potential source of your blog's income), recent posts, social media icons, etc. This list could be endless, depending on your blog’s purpose. Now all you have to do is add your daily content and bam! You are in business as a professional blogger.
Now that we have talked about some of the best features of Wordpress, let’s talk about some of the limitations and reasons I would shy away.
1. Wordpress Hosting – You may choose to use Wordpress as your web host. They advertise it for FREE. But this FREE version gives you almost nothing, and in order to create a blog worth having, they will nickle and dime you to death. Stay away from Wordpress hosting. A better option – find a separate host that offers Wordpress hosting. I prefer the 1 click Wordpress websites at Hostgator. Get your blog up and running so you can start blogging quickly. Just make sure that when you choose your hosting package you order enough space and bandwidth. When running a blog, both space and bandwidth can run out quickly.
2. Traditional Web Sites – Although you can create traditional websites with Wordpress, I find them to be less functional. It can be confusing to get the layout that you need to support your users needs. Many times in order to upgrade to things you need it will cost you more and more as you go. You will find that in comparison, Joomla does not “nickel and dime” you to death.
3. Learning Curve – Although Wordpress claims to be user friendly and easy to learn, as a professional web developer I found them even more confusing than coding the whole website myself. Maybe I was just overthinking it. I would suggest you try a demo before you get started.
Even with these limitations, I would use Wordpress for every single blog site that I build and manage. Just be careful to check out what you are getting before you get too excited about FREE.
Part two of this article is going to explain why Content Management is so successful as a business adventure.
The best thing about being a professional blogger, is that anyone can do it. It doesn’t really matter what you choose to blog about, as long as there are others out there that want or need to hear what you have to say.
Like every business, you want to make money at it. So as a professional blogger, how do I make money? Because every business has different content, and different customers or readers, this needs to cover a generic business model.
Your first stop to selling your content is Google Adsense. They are easy to use, and will automate the ad content to fit your customer’s needs. Beyond just being a great source of income, the partner to Google Adsense is Google Adwords. By setting up your Adwords and Adsense accounts you have access to the most successful keyword tool available. At this point we won’t go into why this tool is necessary, but when you start getting into SEO and getting your blog on Google, you will see how you can’t survive without it.
Another great source to your blog is selling ad space. Even if you don’t sell your own products on your blog, there will be companies that would love to network with you. "You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.” This type of advertising also comes in many formats that you will need to consider:
· Monthly static fees for blocks of ad space. These can be on side columns, top banners, inside articles, etc. The possibilities are limited only by what you as the blog owner choose to release.
· PPC ads, these are little more complicated, but due to the analytics built right into Wordpress, you can charge “pay per click” advertising in any of your banners. Wordpress even lets you do rotating ads. This way you can sell the same ad spot to multiple advertisers.
· Sell your products. So many small bloggers became successful businesses by selling products of their own.
Once you have your blog set up, and you have figured out how to make a profit, it is time to get on Google. I wish I could give you a simple paragraph on how to do this, but SEO has become so complicated and has so many new rules to be successful. My only suggestion here is to make sure you know your successful key words (you get this from your Adwords), and make sure your content contains these words. Use your Google Analytics, and blog often. You will do just fine.
If you set up a blog because you read this article, contact me and let me know. I would love to follow your progress and give you tips and tricks as you move forward.
Happy Blogging with Wordpress.
Written By: Christy Smith
Christy is a marketing expert with Dark Twin Marketing
She is also the marketing coach and mentor at Fortune Cookie Coaching
She can be reached at 435.544.8352