The Internet is filled with blogs of every stripe and flavor, of every size, created and maintained by everyone from at-home amateurs to corporate marketing strategists. Industry experts estimate that up to 40 percent of people who operate a blog do it for money, meaning that as many as four in 10 bloggers are — by definition —professionals.
Why not you?
If you’re a good writer, if you’re organized and dedicated to posting every day, and if you’re passionate about a subject, there’s no reason why you can’t join the multitudes who earn a living — or at least supplement their income — with a blog. Below are five steps that can help you get started.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
The Web is filled with authoritative guides to blogging. Get to know them. There are things you’re going to want to get right the first time that you may not be able to undo — like choosing a domain name.
Blogging is an art form that — while not requiring extensive skills or education — has been around for long enough that there are proven formulas that work well and other methods that don’t.
Write What You Know
Find your own niche. Don’t analyze which subjects are profitable or try to devise a strategy based on which blogs are the most widely read. Write what you know. Write what you love.
When you write about your passions and pleasures, your work is much more likely to come off as genuine, sincere, and authoritative, and you’re much more likely to develop a loyal fan base that shares your passions and pleasures.
Put Yourself Out There
The ultimate goal is to draw traffic to your blog. One popular way to gain exposure and credibility is to collaborate with others. Guest posting on other blogs can not only help you network and create valuable contacts, but can bring you backlinks, which is a symbiotic and mutually beneficial strategy for both the blogger and guest poster.
Perhaps the easiest — and hardest — thing you can do to benefit your blog is post something new every day, every week, or at some frequent and regular interval.
If you read something on a new blog that you liked and then checked back 10 days later only to find the same stale material, would you go back again anytime soon or toss that blog onto the junk heap of your online past? Fresh content — perhaps more than any other ingredient — is what turns occasional readers into loyal fans.
There are countless carnies who will offer to make your blog “instantly profitable” by selling you everything from professional design to thousands of instant Twitter followers. You don’t need to spend money frivolously up front. The most popular blogging sites — including the king of the hill, WordPress — offer free starter packages.
There may come a time when you’ll want to consider spending money on design or advertising, but for now, your most valuable weapons are passion, dedication, and an easy-to-use platform, which should cost nothing.
Blogging is, in a word, awesome. It gives the average person a platform for their ideas and the average reader unfiltered, grassroots information from someone who shares their passions. For many, it’s a way to make money. You almost certainly won’t get rich quick and maybe not at all, but if your talent matches your spirit, you can make money doing something that you would do anyway for free.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes on a variety of subjects, including Intelius removal.