How to Start Cheap and Yet Blog Like a Pro
Chris Ducker of Virtual Staff Finder once featured in a podcast for on Entrepreneur on Fire. He recounted his dad putting up a piece of advice written on the back of a business card. It went:
“A way to be nothing is to do nothing”
The point he makes is this: the most important thing when it comes to succeeding in entrepreneurship, business, or virtually any endeavor for that matter, is to take action. Just get started. We miss that crucial advice. Instead, we focus on goals, operations, and getting it right. We dwell on nitty-gritty, on paper work, and on details that don’t matter as much as “starting up” does.
Further, nothing’s more exhilarating than starting off with nothing and making it big from there. It’s even better when it comes to blogging because the blogging eco-system actually allows for such a journey. It can help you get started without anything and yet blog like a pro. Here’s how you do it:
Blogging is serious business
Blogging is a way for you to self-publish. Blogging lets the world know that you have something to say. For many, blogging is fun. Almost every blog, however, means business. A blog is a business by itself, especially when you don’t use it as a marketing aid for an actual business. If it’s a business, there has to be a structure. You have to think about the following for your blog:
- Who exactly is your reader?
- What – in the name of the goodness of blogging – are you going to focus on?
- How do you intend to make money? If there’s intent such as to make money, what exactly compels your readers to pay up? What are they paying for?
- Who – along with you – will run this blog?
Once you get the answers to these questions, move to the next point.
Start with monetizing plugged in
As Kevin O’ Leary, a venture capitalist and a ‘shark’ on TV show Shark Tank, quips: we are all here to make money. Even if you were on your way to start something philanthropic or just to change the world and nothing else, you’d still need to make money along the way.
As you go about starting your blog, be sure to include blog monetization as one of those things you ought to do along the way. Draw up a financial and income plan – complete with expected sources of earnings, funding projections, and cash flow statements – for your blog.
The process of awesomeness
So you started a blog and thought of a specific business plan for your blog. You then started writing and put up content by dripping it and feeding it to the world. You are already making a difference, one blog post at a time.
It’s time to push the pedal to the ground. Create content that resonates with your readers. Write out posts that actually solve problems for them. Don’t worry about pay walls, advertisements, and sponsored posts just yet.
For monetization to work, you’ll need traffic. For relevant, engaged, and high-value traffic, you’ll need content that sticks and still goes viral. Once the traffic is in, conversions become more relevant. All this goes around in giant, unwieldy circles. You need the gears to lock on and move in tandem.
It’s not about content, it’s about people
You’ll be forgiven to think that “content is king” and that you need awesome content to standout from many others who are blogging just like you do. There’s no mistaking the need for content, and you do need all that wow-I-can’t-get-enough-of-this kind of content you can lay your hands on.
But that’s not enough. You still need to build and nurture relationships. You need a way of making an impact and staying in touch with those who read your blog, follow you on social media, and much more.
Blogging is also a people business. There’s only so much you’ll automate. Everything else goes back to the proverbial handshake. Don’t just keep blogging and expecting people to read, love, and buy what you sell later. From the start to the end, focus on building relationships.
Guess what really makes money for you today? Those seemingly useless tweets, shares, blog comments, random chats you can’t seem to stay away from, and that podcast you were featured in the other day.
Don’t run after vanity metrics. Run after people.
Blogging pros use tools
Now, starting cheap would mean that you’ll spend less money and put in more effort. Your effort won’t be complete (and nearly impossible) without a judicious mix of tools, apps, and software. Your blog is likely to run on WordPress or Typepad. Or maybe you opted for Tumblr or Ghost.
That’s the core of your blog. You’d then need tools to help you create or customize graphics. You’ll want to pick up other tools to manage your projects, help you keep track of social conversations, email list management, live chat with readers, manage your comments, and track your digital footprint.
Cheap is still money so use it carefully on the apps and services you really need. Most come with free trials or free-till-you-need-pro-features and that’s great news. You have access to the same tools that pro bloggers have.
Start and don’t stop
Everyone can blog. There’s no denying that. However, there’s something that pro bloggers do that normal bloggers don’t? It’s called “Blogging for eternity.”
Don’t start and stop. Putting up some posts, hustling for a while, and then letting it go is the most common reason why blogs vanish and turn into digital nothingness. The reason prolific bloggers are so efficacious is not that they have prettier blogs; it’s because they blog regularly and forever.
Can you do that too? Can you blog even when you are too sick to lift a finger? Could you possibly sit on rubbles or stone slabs and blog after an earthquake?
Starting a blog isn’t rocket science; making it work for you is something close. It takes grit, determination, passion, and commitment.
Do you have it in you?
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