How to Start a Blog: A primary Side Business

beuty businessOne of the most common requests I get from readers is for detailed information on how to start a side business of some kind, especially how to start a blog. With minimal equipment and ample time, how can a person construct a side business in order to earn a little extra money?

This is the first in a series of articles describing exactly how to do this. In each article, I’m going to discuss exactly how to build an income stream on the side, what effort goes into it, and (approximately) what kind of income you can expect from it.

These articles will naturally be spaced out so that I have time to actually construct each side business and keep it going until it earns a respectable income. However, with blogging, I’ve already done this and due to a lot of luck and hard work, it became successful beyond my wildest dreams. You’re reading that blog, in fact – it’s The Simple Dollar.

So, I’ll start with blogging. Here’s how you can start a blog and earn a small income from it in your spare time.


How to Start a Blog and Make it a regular business

Step One: Figure Out Your Unique area

There are literally millions of blogs out there. Virtually every topic you can think of has hundreds or even thousands of blogs devoted to it.

The number one single thing you need to think about when you create a blog is why would someone read your blog instead of all of those others?

Your readers are going to mostly be made up of people you don’t know who don’t have a reason to read your blog other than the content. What is going to make yours different? Why will they visit? Why will they stick around?


Choose your Topic?

The first part of that question is figuring out your topic. What exactly are you going to write about?

If you write about a broad topic, you’ll have a lot more material to write about and the potential to reach a larger audience, but you’ll also have far more competition. If you have a narrow topic, there will be fewer things to write about and you’ll have less competition, but your audience will only be so big. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

On The Simple Dollar, I focus on money issues from a personal angle, tying together financial advice with the realities of living through those things. This isn’t an entirely unique angle, of course, but very few things are truly unique online.

The Mix Makes You Unique

It’s that mix of the topic and what you bring to the table that makes a blog unique and makes people want to read it. If you’re not adding any of yourself to a topic people are interested in, your blog will be bland and generic and not different from anything else out there. If you’re just writing about yourself without addressing things other people care about, no one will care. It is the mix of the two that will make the site unique and interesting.


Step Two: Create Initial Content

Once you’ve figured out your site’s topic and the “voice” you’ll be bringing to the table, your next step is to start producing content. However, you don’t want to start off by posting your first creations to the internet! You’re going to want to work through it on your own a little bit first, figuring out how to write good stuff before you start sharing.


Conetent is everything in the success of a blog

A good blog post is useful in some fashion. Ideally, it should both entertain and inform the reader in some way. The exact mix is up to you, but you should never forget that you should be creating something that someone who doesn’t know you will want to read.

A good post is also readable. Your ideas should be separated out into relatively short paragraphs for easy reading. You should also use bold to highlight key points and use headlines to separate sections. Quite often, people will be skimming your posts and if you make this easier, you’ll cause the reader to retain more information and thus view your site as more valuable.

Every article you produce should strive to be both useful and readable. You’re better off producing one article that’s both useful and readable than ten that fail in one regard or another.


Step Three: Launch Your Blog!

Once you’ve figured out what you’re writing about and actually created some content that you’d be proud to post, you should launch the site.

Many people become obsessed with finding the “perfect” design at this point. Personally, I don’t think that this matters too much. You’re far better off launching quickly with some good content then upgrading the design later on.

So, how do you actually launch a blog? The technical aspect of it tends to frighten people away, but there are many services out there that make hosting a blog incredibly easy. They take care of everything for you.

Step Four: Establish a Frequent Posting Schedule

If a reader likes your site, they’re eventually going to return to it to check out what’s new and you’re going to want new things for them to read. Readers who stick around will eventually start checking your site on a regular basis and you’re going to want new things for those readers each time they visit.

The best way to do this is by adopting a posting schedule of some kind. You might only post once a week or you might post something each day, but once you start establishing a pattern, your readers will come to expect it. If you post daily, readers are going to return daily – and if there isn’t something new for a few days, they’ll stop visiting.

How do you do this?

Post at a Lower Frequency Than You Can Handle

If you spent some time writing a few articles before you launched the site, you probably have an assessment of how much you can easily write in a week. Your posting schedule should be half of that.

Let’s say you were able to write six articles in a week’s time. You should adopt an article posting schedule of three

times a week, perhaps on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The software that runs most blogs lets you set the date and time at which an article becomes public, so you can upload the article earlier in the week and set it to appear at the date and time that you want. So, you might write three articles early in the week, but set them to appear later on.

This is a good thing. You are far better off spreading them out than uploading a bunch of articles at once.

Step Five: Promote Your Blog!

People aren’t just going to find your site magically. You have to do some promotional work to get your site noticed, not just by people but also by Google.

Most of the people who discover your site will find it by typing in related search terms into Google. For example, if you write about Disney pins, a significant number of your readers will find your site by searching for “Disney pins” along with other terms, like perhaps “Disney pins Pete the Cat.”

So, you’ll probably want to start by submitting your blog to Google, but that’s just the first step.

Social Media

Another great place to share your site is on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook provides a good opportunity when you launch as you can share the site with your friends immediately. You can also create a “fan page” for your site so that people can “like” your site, which helps in numerous ways – friends of friends will notice it, plus you have an easy way to share site news or exceptional articles with those people.

Twitter is a great way to find fans of your topic. Just use Twitter search to find people who are talking about your topic of interest and start following them and talking with them. You can occasionally share your articles on Twitter, but I’ve found that if more than 5% or so of your tweets are links to your own articles, people will basically see you as a spammer. Participate in the conversations and just post links to truly great articles or to articles that directly answer someone’s question.

Step Six: Turn Your Blog Into a Business!

After all of this work, the real question people will ask is how you can make money with a blog.

Most blogs make money in one of three ways: displaying advertisements, linking to other affiliated sites, or selling a product. The first two are the relevant ones here, so we’ll focus on those.


Advertisements and Adsense

Display advertisements are those banner ads and box ads that you see on many sites, including The Simple Dollar. Generally, these ads pay you a fraction of a penny each time they’re displayed. You generally earn a CPM rate from these ads – this refers to how much you make for every thousand views of an ad. In other words, you’ll earn that much each time 1,000 pages are viewed on your blog.

Digital Enterprenure

Sandeep Singh Gaharwar

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