Men's Life Today: Expert Q+A
I'd like to launch a blog. How do I get started, and how do I get people to read it? Is it something I can do in my spare time, or do I need to quit my job?
Here are five steps for creating a successful blog, whether the goal is to make money or to simply wax philosophical:
1. Decide what you want to write about and why.
What’s the subject? Are you familiar with it? You don’t have to be an expert, but you do need to know your subject matter. Are there existing blogs out there that deal with the same topic? How will your blog be different?
2. Come up with 30 blog post ideas.
If you can’t come up with 30, it’s probably not a good idea to pursue the blog. If you can easily come up with 30 or more, it’s a good indicator you’ll have plenty of material.
I like to write headlines to get started on this. For example, for TheNateGreenExperience.com (my fitness/lifestyle blog), some headlines I’ve used are:
“The Hero Blueprint: 11 Tenets of an Awesomely Rich Life”
“The Easiest 20-minute Date Meal Ever”
“The Playground Workout”
3. Brainstorm good names for your website.
Unique, short and easy-to-spell URLs work best, such as FourHourBlog.com or MarksDailyApple.com. My website can also be accessed at NateGreenBlog.com -- short and sweet, and it has the added bonus of including my name.
4. Don’t worry about making money at first.
The best marketing is putting out high-quality content. That means you need to spend time providing a lot of value to your readers and being consistent with your updates. Shoot for once-per-week blog posts.
5. Make money (if that’s your goal).
You should only start thinking about making money with your blog once you’ve been at it long enough to know that you enjoy it and to have built up a strong following. That means your fans show they’re passionate about your work and are willing to support other projects of yours.
The first step is to give away a ton of value for free. This can be as simple as offering insightful blog posts or it can be more. For example, I give away “The Hero Handbook” on my site. It’s been downloaded more than 15,000 times this year!
Second, create a product that can help your readers, offer coaching services or find another way to solve your readers’ problems -- and charge for it. My blog’s main focus isn’t making money; it’s to showcase me and my writing (which, in turn, helps me get jobs contributing to magazines and other websites). However, I do make money from selling The Hero Workout, my 16-week workout and nutrition plan.
It takes a long time to get good at blogging. It takes time to gain respect, and it takes even more time to make money. Blogging’s not a quick fix. But it is highly rewarding and can change your life if you do it right. -- As told to Caroline Kinneberg