Start your own blog in 5 minutes

Getting over your fear of blogging
By Linda Lee

Who would benefit from having a Blog?
Anyone can start a blog. All you need is the desire to get your message out. It can be a hobby, a field of expertise, you can create a business blogsite, a consulting blog, an opinion blog talking about any subject like politics, celebrities, books, sports or whatever your interest is. The sky is the limit.

How often do I need to write or post something?
Once a week is good, but if that seems like too much even once a month is a great start. The important thing is to develop the habit of writing and posting online.

How much does it cost to set up a blog?
The cost to set up a blogsite can be from zero to around 550.00-2K. It depends on what you want. If you want a free blog you can use WordPress.com or Blogger and they host your blog for you for free.

If you are going to have web designer set up and customize a blog theme for you it will cost more but there are many benefits to doing it that way.

Where are the free blogs?
You can get a free blog at wordpress.com, or www.blogger.com or www.vox.com or websites that already specialize in certain subjects like www.redroom.comwhich a website for writers, will allow you join and blog for them under your own name.

Do you need to have a web site already in order to set up a blog?
You can set up a blog independent of a website or if you already have a website you can add a blog on your hosting account and link them together.

How can we tell a good blog from a bad blog?
A good blog offers solid content that is helpful to the readers. It has real information and real links and is not packed full of spammy ads.

A bad blog is full of ads, spam links and offers you no information for what may of landed you on that site in the first place.

How long does it need to be?
The average reader stays on a blog post 96 seconds. People are used to reading snippets online now and it has been shown that the reading habits of American online have changed to more of a scanning style.

So 200-350 words a post is a good size for a blog post. You certainly can write longer and more, but breaking up a long post into parts one way to do it, and you will find different readers will find you through different titles and stories you have written.

How will I learn how to blog? I am not technical at all!
You can Google wordpress training videos, or blogger training videos, and you will find hundreds of wonderful videos that will show you each step. I have several videos for beginners on my website for wordpress users to help them learn how to get started posting.

How will people find me?
Tell all your friends, start an email list, join some of the other blogs and online forums you may of found in your research and become part of their community, you can add a link to your website in your signature file in your e-mail, and on all your social media websites and business cards. Update your Facebook when you publish a post, then go and tweet it!

Can you put video and stills on a blog?
You can add videos, music clips, mp3's, and tons of images and create your own slideshows using a WordPress blog website.

Can you advertise and sell products on a blog?
If you have a self hosted blog you can do whatever you want. You complete freedom to set up a shop, sell products, sell ads, and display paid ads. With a free blog website you cannot add paid ads and may be limited on what you can offer and sell.

How do you decide the look of your blog?
Choosing the look for your blog website can be lots of fun! With your free blog, you have the choice of over 70 themes to select to customize the look of your blogsite. With a self hosted blogsite the sky's the limit on design, layout, logo and more.

There are thousands of free themes you can select and then there are paid themes developed by professionals which can be customized to create fabulous looks. One of the fun things with a blog website is you can change the look of your site quite easily by going into the section callled "appearance" and then select "themes" and you can preview all the theme choices and with one click change the theme on your blog site.

All the posts and pages you may of already written will still be there, just with a new look.

How do you target your audience?
Depending on the subject matter for your blog, that will vary.

The basics on helping your audience find you are:

  1. Write good content.
  2. Use keywords in your posts and pages that are related to your topics.
  3. Try to publish something at least once a week.
  4. Promote your blog using things like facebook and twitter and linkedin.
  5. Read other blogs on your subjects and participate by leaving comments.
  6. Continue to educate yourself on blogging.
How can you tell if anyone is looking at your blog?
All blogs offer statistic programs that track the details of your "traffic" or visitors. You can learn what search engine they came from, what page they came in on and all kinds of details about your visitors. This helps you see what people are reading and what they are interested in so you can write a better blog.

How can we earn passive income from a blog website?

If you have a free blog website you will be limited in this area. With a self hosted blog site, you can do many things. They include:
  • Sell information products, such as ebooks or eguides, or tip sheets.

  • Become an affiliate with places like Amazon and they give you code you can place on your site and if anyone clicks your links and buys something you get paid a percentage.

  • Sell other peoples products by joining their affiliate programs.

  • Join clickbank, which offers thousands of ebooks and downloadable products you can sell and make between 10.00-50.00 per sale and all you do is display a link for the products.

  • Create a cafepress or zazzle store and sell products through your online store. This is free, and they handle all the products and pay you a small sales commission. You can sell t-shirts, coffee mugs, aprons and much more with designs you create.
For more information, visit:
>> Audrey Mansfield's blog (as created on View from the Bay)
>> Ask Me PC Web Design
>> Smart Women Stupid Computers

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