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How to Blog – The First Steps

Blogging February 13, 2012

how to blogLearning how to blog can be an intimidating process.  This is the first part in a series on how to make money blogging and focuses on how to find a topic that has the potential to generate income.

What to Write About?

Choosing a topic you are interested in to write about is one of the most important factors in determining whether you will be successful in attracting readers to your blog, which after all are reasons why you are blogging right?  If you are not passionate about what you are writing it will come across to your readers and will make it difficult to grow your blog.

Can you see yourself writing 2-3 posts per week about a subject for the long-term, 2-3 years or more?  Find a topic that you are interested in and google it.  Read as many blogs as you can find on the subject and take notes about what blogs you enjoyed reading, you will use these notes later.

Are People Interested in the Topic?

I have found that Google Adwords Keyword Tool is the best (free) way to find out how many people are searching for information about specific topics, we’ll call them keywords.  If you are interested in attracting readers and making money with your blog you need to take keyword research seriously.  You can be a pulitzer prize winning author but if no one is searching for what you are blogging about you might as well be using a typewriter!

The basic process of using Google Adwords Keyword Tool is simple.  You enter keyword phrases into the keyword search box and matching search results are displayed.  These results are what people are typing into the Google search box.  This will give you an overall idea of how many monthly searches are being made on your topic.

If you are serious about creating a blog that will rank high in Google’s search results and you want to generate income as well I highly recommend you use Market Samurai to do your keyword research.  Market Samurai is worth the investment because it saves you time and gives you information about what keywords people are searching for, who is the competition, and how profitable the keyword is.

Who is the Competition?

If your goal is to attract lots of readers you need to know who your competition is.  One of the items in the Google Adwords Keyword Tool search results is the strength of the competition and it is listed as High, Medium, or Low.  Your goal is to find topics that have large monthly search volumes with Low competition.  If you are going to blog about a topic that has high competition you will have a difficult time attracting readers so I would advise to stay away from topics with high competition.

Choosing a Niche Topic

Lets say you are passionate about antique automobiles,  Model T Fords in particular.  You did a keyword search and find lots of people searching for that topic on Google however, you also discover that the keywords ‘antique automobiles’ have a high competition.  By narrowing your topic to Model T Ford, you may discover that there are plenty of people searching for information on that topic and there is less competition.  By refining your keyword research you may find a topic that you can blog about and be able to attract readers by ranking high on Google’s search results.

Can I Make Money?

Can you make money blogging about your topic?  It all depends if you can rank on the first page in Google’s search results.  According to a study conducted by Slingshot, the Top Google Ranking Captures 18.2% of Clicks , the top 10 search results get 54% of total clicks. Only 1.04% of clicks went to the website in the 10th place on Google’s search results.  What does this mean to you?  If you are not ranking on the first page of Google’s search results you will have a difficult time attracting enough traffic to make money.

Once you get traffic to your blog you want those visitors take some action that results in an income generating transaction.  Monetizing your blog can only occur once you have enough traffic so focus on writing quality content in the beginning.  There are several ways to monetize your blog: affiliate advertising, direct advertising, and e-commerce.  Affiliate advertising involves placing ad links on your blog that results in the visitor being taken to the advertisers website for the purpose of generating a sale.  You receive a commission for each sale.  Direct advertising can be a banner or link advertisement that is placed on your blog in exchange for a fee.  E-commerce is where you either sell a product or service directly from your website or use a storefront service like Amazon or eBay.  Going back to the topic of Model T Fords, you might be able to add a shopping cart or storefront to your blog and sell products related to Model T Fords.

Once you choose a topic to blog about the next step is not to setup your blog, it is to write quality content.  You will want to have at least five high quality posts ready to publish before setting up your blog.

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