#1 Blogs writing: Joining the blogosphere
Being created in 1999, “blogosphere” has been used in many public opinion discussions by the CNN, BBC, and National Public Radio. Resembling the Greek old world, “logosphere” (logos means word, and sphere is world), this term means “the world of words”, or “the universe of discourse”.
According to Techopedia, by using weblog publishing platforms, netizens have created a social universe, which is called the blogosphere. To put it in a simpler way, the blogosphere is known as a slang term for all the blogs on the internet.
Everyone can be a part of this diverse and powerful social network. For many different purposes, via the blogosphere, people can connect to each other, achieve their commercial goal, do self-branding, earn money; or simply just for non-profit motives like sharing with friends and family.
For whatever reason it is held, step to step is needed to create a blog that presents your personality or your goal the most. There are many bloggers out there learn while they are doing.
But here, we provide you with a professional and detailed guide on hand to walk you through the very first steps of the involvement in blogging, from theories, tools to creating and maintaining a blog.
What is a blog?
Originally, blogs are created as highly social tools to form relationships and network, since writers can connect with their worldwide audiences by just staying at home.
As time passed by, today, blogs have come in with a diversity of forms. The most popular type is written blogs, which contain written entries. Besides, there are also photo blogs with photo entries; vlogs, in which their content is made up of videos; and blogs with only audio content, podcasts.
However, a blog is not necessary to have a single type of content, they can be the combination of 2, 3 or all of the type above.
Nevertheless, how much blogs evolve, there are always 4 fundamental elements that make up a blog.
Apparently, a blog cannot be created without posts (also called entries). They are indispensable parts of the site. In a blog, posts are ordered chronologically, and the latest post will appear at the top of the page.
A commenting feature
In every social platform, the interaction between a host or an admin and his or her visitors is highly preferring as this practice can generate discussions and opportunities to build relationships. Thus, it is essential for a blog to allow its audiences to post their own comments under the posts they read.
While the previous factor enables bloggers to communicate with their readers, links act as an interactive tool building relationship between bloggers and bloggers, bloggers and website owners. This happens when bloggers send traffic to the others’ sites so that their readers can find further information either within the blogs or on other blogs, and websites.
From the beginning of the blog, all of its published posts should have an archive as to find those older posts easier.
Though every blog would have a similar layout, its uniqueness totally depends on the voices of the writer. Not only that, the way blogging application’s functionality and tools are used also defines its distinctiveness, making the blog to stand out from the crowd.
The purpose of writing blogs.
There are no barriers in writing blogs, anyone can do it. How the blog is shaped is based on the writer, its subjects, written languages, and even posts’ density. Bloggers have the freedom to choose whichever topics that they are passionate about.
The case changes when it comes to launching blogs with commercial purposes. In this situation, it requires those bloggers to pocket several tips and tricks of the trade to be successful in making money, building website, increasing web traffic, and so on.
But first and foremost, it’s important to understand the open nature of the blogosphere.
Blogging for fun
Most of the blogs are written with purposes other than simply just have fun. They might just regard the blogosphere as a place for them to jot down their own personal thought and opinions, or to share parts of their daily life with family and friends, and maybe they find peace among the scrambling city crowd by writing things. Surprisingly, many “just for fun” blogs became extremely popular, turning their blogger into web stars.
For example, Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com, Mario Lavandeira of PerezHilton, and Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV, at first, they started these blogs merely to satisfy their love for writing and to document parts of their life and points of view. Currently, they are all well-known influencers.
Blogging for networking
These blogs were started to purely serve the purpose of the meeting and interacting with people with the same interest. It can be about anything, from personal to professional aims, from sharing the love for Harry Potter to be a community for experts to share their research.
WomenOnBusiness.com is an example of a blog written for networking purposes. The community of businesswomen who frequent the Women on Business blog does so for common reasons: to meet, communicate, and build relationships with their peers around the world.
Blogging for exposure
This type of blog is mainly created by celebrities, authors, influencers, etc., those you want to increase their general public recognition. In another way, these people build their brand by using blogs, in which the content is primarily about the blogger’s career and business, with some sprinkles of self-promotion amid expertise and personal view posts.
A unique example of a blogger who writes for exposure is celebrity blogger Wil Wheaton. His blog, WWdN, is a mix of great writing and information about his career.
Blogging for business
By sharing their opinion about business or insight of a certain industry, a blog can help a company to somehow indirectly get its message to potential counterparts and clients.
Taking EnvZone as an example, here, we use a blog as a means to deliver our vision for the business that we are doing.
#2 Blogging Rules and Ethics
Unlike other traditional media outlets, there are no formal rules or particular standards that specifically link to blog writing. However, extended law and accepted practices concentrating mainly on the content of the blog are available. Mind your every step to not unintentionally violate blogging rules and ethics.
What needs to be avoided.
Throughout the book ‘Blogging for Dummies’, the writer’s manners are always being emphasized, as they account a majority in avoiding blogging don’ts. The book has stressed that the ethical and legal codes, which relate directly to plagiarism, libel, etc., need to be followed strictly throughout a blog.
It is agreed that freedom of speech gives people the right to publish and voice whatever they want and believe in.
However, the law will get involved when it comes to the misuse of this power to create content that insulting and has a negative effect on another person or entity.
Hence, it’s vital for bloggers to be aware of the thin line between obeying laws, ethical limitations and publishing their own opinions.
There are the 5 biggest don’ts when you blog:
- Libel against someone or something
- Spam through comments
- Publish spammy post
- Steal bandwidth
- Providing Attribution
Whenever you cite from other sources or take it as your blog’s reference, the attribution of original blogs is required to avoid being accused of plagiarism. The same rule applies to images, videos, infographics, etc.
The act of providing attribution is totally beneficial. As it does not only keep you away from plagiarism but also help to gain your blog traffic or backlink. When you provide a link to the original source, that blog owner, by his or her site statistics, can track the traffic that comes from your blog.
This means that your blog has caught the attention of the other bloggers, which may be useful in gaining additional traffic.
There are two ways of providing attribution. First, you can simply link phrases from your blog to the original sources. Or, second, in a more formal way, you can take credit of the sources at the end of your blog.
#3 Creating a Blog without Spending a Dime
You are neither an expert, an influencer nor a businessperson. You are just a normal individual, who have the pure willingness of sharing his or her own story, plus several personal opinions, or so, and have no intention of making a profit out of the blog. So, creating a blog without spending a dime is the highest priority.
Fortunately, there are various websites that offer you a free pass to the path of blog writing. In this section, we have collected the five highest rated sites with detailed information and analysis, which would be more than enough to steer you toward your most suitable choice of platform.
WordPress has been long known for its reputation. Some of the blogs have praised it as a king of free blogging sites. But to have a complete website, you need to do by yourself most of the work.
Taking Bluehost as an example, this is one of the most favorable WordPress hosting sites. Their ‘Basic’ packet only costs you $2.95 per month for solid features which cover a free domain name, 50GB of disk space, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL, and 100MB of email storage per account. Currently, it is recorded that Bluehost is the cheapest sensible WordPress hosting.
Besides WordPress.org, there is also WordPress.com. Though this site limits your authority of customizing your blog, it is mostly used amongst personal blogs, as for the convenience in setting up and being free of charge.
In addition, it would be useless if you try to monetize the blog, as WordPress.com will provide its users to do so.
It is suitable for those who have determined to keep on this writing activity for a good amount of time, and people who want to take full control of their blogs.
Wix is a free website builder that gives users full access to customization. It is an easy-to-use tool as users can create their own website by only drag and drop patterns. More than that, this website also offers intuitive and modern designs, which can be used by amateurs and advanced.
A plus point for Wix is that they also provide free hosting. With a diversified collection of themes and templates, for a different purpose, ranging from free to premium, bloggers can creatively arrange the layout, and pick a template.
There are two open options when you have decided to launch a Wix blog. First, using the Wix AI to create a site for you based on a questionnaire. Second, you can build the blog by yourself., which includes selecting a template and arranging the layout via the WYSIWYG editor in a live preview mode.
As you can freely decide what to do with your blog, you can add multiple elements to it, such as menus, typography, forms, video boxes, etc. When the site is published, you can easily return and edit the content block.
It is for people who are not specialized in technology to have a nice and neat website.
Weebly allows you to do more than just build blogs, including selling products and displaying your portfolio. Similar to Wix, it uses WYSIWYG editors and drag-and-drop elements.
Weebly provides users with sidebars, media boxes, forms, ad spaces, social media icons, newsletter subscription, and so on.
If you use the free plan, you will get five custom pages, a Weebly subdomain, 500MB storage, and ad spaces. In can you want to use your own customized domain, you will need to pay, and this comes along with built-in analytics.
This website shares the same audience with Wix.
Medium is a multipurpose platform tackling diverse topics, where any account can write. By 2019, it is calculated that Medium has been visited by 60 million readers every month, which made the website to stand out and take those accounts’ articles to the exposure of a wider size of the audience.
Using Medium means that you have no ‘own space’, as all your published content is on the site.
This will be the best fit for bloggers who don’t have a need to build their own site, and just want to write with access to a built-in audience.
This platform is similar to WordPress, and you also need to pay for hosting for fuel.
DigitalOcean is suggested to be an ideal service that supports Gosh, since it comes with reasonable price, together with a load of nice features to support the users.
To create a post in Ghost is easy once you set up your website. The editor is simple and minimalist, it also has a live preview on the right side of the screen. Moreover, a sidebar with settings is available for you to choose your preferences.
This site is for those who need something simple, combining with a modern vibe.
#4 Making money from your blog
Steps to make money from blogging
Now, you have already had your own blog, and you want to make a little money out of your words. It is not something impossible. In fact, there are thousands of people all around the world earn their living with only blog writing.
There are four foundation steps toward making a profit from your blog. Though at first, this process seems to be simple, there’s a lot to each step.
Create useful content
Maybe your blog’s layout is what attracts people, but what makes them stay is the qualified content.
The key to creating content is to make it as useful as possible. It is recommended to focus on making content that affects others daily basic to any extent. This type of content concerns people the most, it makes a real influence on them, which drives them to like and trust you.
Besides having nice content, your blog also needs to be promoted to reach out to a wider range of audience.
First, you need to determine who is your targeted reader. This helps you to figure out the best way to approach them.
Second, you need to ask yourself the 5 following questions and make sure to give out at least 3 answers for each:
- Are they reading certain blogs?
- Are they participating in certain forums?
- Are they listening to podcasts?
- Are they engaging on certain social networks?
- Which accounts are they following on each of these social networks?
With a list of blogs, focus, podcasts, social media accounts, now, you can create a plan to mark your presence by any means, leaving good comments, offering to create guest posts, or simply just by being helpful and answering questions.
All in all, what is needed to be done at this stage is to build a presence, to add value, to foster relationships, and not to engage in spammy practices.
Interact with readers
After success in creating valuable content and attracting readers, your blog will start to be noticed, which means more and more click to your blog and engage with your content.
In this case, your focus needs to gradually shift to interacting with those readers and forming a community. Respond to comments, reach out to those readers personally and do everything that you can to keep them coming back again and again.
Ways to make money blogging
Once you have created your own community of loyal audience and somewhat extent of reputation, it is not hard to make money out of your blog. Below are some common income streams that you might want to focus upon.
This is a starter step for many bloggers. When you have made a name for your blogs, there are many companies and brands are willing to pay to get exposure to your audience.
While you need decent traffic to do a direct deal with an advertiser there are ad networks that act as a middleman and enable smaller publishers to run ads on their blogs.
Based on the recent survey conducted by ProBlogger, readers found that affiliate promotions were the most common type of income that our readers have.
Generally, when you link to a product that is for sale on another site and if there is someone follows your link and ends up buying that product you earn a commission on that sale, that earn is called affiliate income.
This type of income is also caked continuity programs or membership programs. It is currently used more and more by bloggers.
This is where readers pay a regular recurring amount (usually on a monthly or annual basis) for access to either premium content, a community area, some kind of service, tools coaching (or some combination of these things).
Promoting a business
Many brick and mortar businesses indirectly make money from their blogs by using their blogs to grow their profile and direct readers to their business.
Selling products like eBooks and courses is a good idea. These ‘virtual products’ take work to create but have been regarded as lucrative for bloggers.
Besides virtual products, physical ones are also very popular such as T-shirts or other merchandise to sell.
There are of course other forms of income that bloggers experiment with. Some include asking for donations, syndicating content to other sites and lastly selling their blogs.
Let’s begin your blogging journey
It’s a matter of fact that, officially launching your blog is the hardest stage.
Easy as the process may seem in this article, having your own profitable blog does not happen overnight, it would take months or even years to build up momentum. This forming stage takes a lot of patience. Sometimes you may feel lost and tired to invest too much time and effort into it. But that’s ok, soon you will find yourself not to have to worry about money again.
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