Blogging 101

Disclosure:  Any affiliate link below is a product that I trust and recommend.  There is nothing on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.

 

By no means have I figured out blogging in its entirety.  With that said, I figured I share everything that I currently know when it comes to blogging to date.

 

  • How easy is it to set up a blog?  

Well, it’s easy enough that my wife was able to get the ball rolling one day while I was out.  She went onto HostGator and chose the package and any add-ons.  We use WordPress as our preferred theme as it is really easy to use.

 

  • Hosting Services

It matters which hosting service that you use because down the road Google page ranks your website based on speed.  If you website is slow, it’s probably because you have a slow host.  Currently I use HostGator, which has treated me well.  In my research, Siteground is one of the fastest and cost-effective.  I am going to evaluate Siteground vs. HostGator when my year contract is up.

 

  • Plugins

You don’t need to know code in order to create a website.  There are plugins, which make it really easy to do everything that you need to do.  

  • Yoast SEO.  The most important plugin that I’ve come across is Yoast SEO.  This will work to ensure that your posts are Search Engine Optimized.  Getting the double green post is what I always shoot for.  
  • Other important plugins.  These include WP Smush to compress images, Sumo to collect email addresses and Google Analytics to track your metrics.  Check around and see what makes the most sense for your website.  
  • Use Youtube.  Make sure that you utilize this when installing plugins.  It will make life that much easier.  
  • Two Quick caveats:  
    1. Make sure that the plugin has been tested against WordPress.  I installed a bad plugin, and my site was hacked within the first few hours.  Being on the phone with customer service stinks.  It’s not how I wanted to start my blog, and honestly, I thought about quitting before I even started.  Now I won’t install a plugin if it isn’t being supported.  
    2. Remove plugins that you don’t use anymore.  It will slow down your website speed if you don’t remove them.

 

  • Quality Content and Time

Make sure that you create strong content that makes the reader want to come back.  People preach this all the time, and it’s true.  As much as I wanted to go viral on my first post, that was highly unlikely to happen.  However, I have been consistent with a schedule of putting out new content every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Before I started, I made sure that I had ten articles ready to go and had determined how long it would take to write content for future posts.  There are some people that are natural writers that can drop a 1500-word post in an hour.  That is not me.  A post takes me almost all day to write, which is why I have to carve out time on the weekends to stay on top of things.

 

  • Going Viral

If you are looking to go viral, give Rockstar Finance a try, as you’ll be able to submit any articles that you think are viral-worthy.  

 

  • Aesthetics

You want to attract the readers.  I have found that if you have images on your website, that it makes for a more pleasant reading experience.  Do not pull images straight from Google.  There is a chance that you could get sued by the image holder.  Instead use a free website, like Pixabay or Unsplash, which allows you to download free images.  Or of course, you could take your own photos; I’m just not that talented.

 

  • Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.  

So after you’ve done all the aforementioned work, you might expect to be number one on Google.  That won’t happen.  I googled “Mustard Seed Money” everyday for two months, and I didn’t break into the first page until the end of month two.  Keep writing quality content, and you’ll eventually move up.

 

  • Join Alexa Traffic Rank.

Alexa will tell you where your site ranks.  If you make it into the top 200,000 websites, that means that you are in the top 1% of all websites.  While it’s not the end be all, it is a nice way to measure how you’re doing.

 

  • Join the Blogging Community.  

I didn’t do this at first, and that was by far my biggest mistake.  It wasn’t until about two months into blogging, when I was depressed with my lack of traffic.  I then made it my mission to write on as many blogs in my niche as possible.  On top of that, if someone ever wrote a comment on my page, I made sure that I thanked them for the comment and likewise headed over to their page to read and comment on one of their articles.  In addition, the Rockstar Forum is another great place to get great advice for your blog.

 

  • Social Media

Make sure that you set up Twitter and Pinterest.  These are two of my biggest sources of traffic.  

  • Twitter

    • I use Buffer to send out tweets and typically tweet six times throughout the day.  I also make sure that if anyone retweets one of my tweets that I retweet one of their posts.  
    • In order to get more followers on Twitter, everyday I use “Tweepi” and follow 250 people.  After three days, if they haven’t followed me back, I go on “Managefilter” and unfollow the people that don’t follow me back.  While it isn’t the fastest way, I’ve gained thousands of followers in a short time doing this.  
  • Pinterest

    • It’s important to know that you need to setup about ten boards.  On top of that, you need to join other people’s boards to get more exposure.  You can use “Pingroupie” to decide which boards make sense to join.  Make sure you follow the host of the board and you also follow the board.  This will make it easy to join.  Also, send an email to the board that you want to join and ask if you can join.  Some boards will be closed, and rarely have I seen that they allow you to join.  But no problem… there are new boards popping up everyday.  Additionally, make sure that you follow all the rules, so you don’t get kicked out of a board.  
    • Gaining More Followers.   Every hour, Pinterest allows you to follow up to 150 people.  Follow the followers of people that you like.  After two days, see how many of them follow you.  You can check this out by using a free app called “Followers For Pinterest”, which is currently available for iOS.  So then you unfollow the people that don’t follow you back.  In the couple of months, I’ve been using the program, and I have had thousands of followers.  As a result, my traffic has more than doubled.
    • Use Canva.  To create an image, use Pixabay or Unsplash and then upload the photo into Canva.  Canva has a Pinterest-centric template, so you don’t even have to mess around with the right format.  On top of that, they have templates prepared for you so that all you need to do is drag and drop the image into the template and away you go.  It’s very easy, but make sure that you create eye-popping designs so that when it’s loaded in Pinterest that it attracts some clicks.  
    • Use Tailwind.  I use Tailwind to automate my pins.  I pin 100 times a day.  While it seems like a lot, due to the algorithm in Pinterest, you’re followers really won’t get bombarded.  So don’t worry about that.

 

  • Don’t compare yourself to others.  

Some bloggers out there are simply terrific writers and have huge viewership.  Control what you can, which is building your community and working hard.  The internet is a crowded space, and it’s going to take work to shine.  

 

  • Making Money through Ad Revenue

 

Most people know that Google AdSense is one way to make money.  I have yet to hear of a guaranteed way to get approved by them.  While some people have luck after post ten, I have heard of people with 300 posts that can’t approve.

 

A competitor that I have used is Media.net, while I was waiting to be approved by Google Ad Sense.  It is run by Yahoo and Bing, and I was approved within 48 hours.  

 

If you have at least 10k page views a month… for a fee of $99, you can sign up for Monumetric, although I don’t have any experience using them, so I can’t tell you if it’s worth it.  

 

If you have at least 25k page views a month… you can sign up for MediaVine.  They use to accept websites that had 30k page views but recently changed their policy.  

 

Finally, if you have at least 100k page views a month… Adthrive is recommended.  Since I don’t qualify for MediaVine or Adthrive yet, I’ll have to take people’s word that those are good to use.

 

  • Affiliate Marketing

If you really like a product, google their name along with “affiliate marketing”.  This will let you know if they have a program.  Then you can insert products and links into your articles.  Amazon is one of the biggest affiliate marketers, so you can always start with them.  If you are looking for a detailed view of affiliate marketing, I recently took a course by Michelle at Making Sense of Cents.  That was a great guide on how to understand Affiliate Marketing and will do a much better job than I can ever explain.  On top of that, you also get to join her private Facebook group, which has been invaluable to me and the growth of this blog.

 

So there you have it my guide to creating and growing a blog.  Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any specific questions.