Blogging is an art and artists who sell their painting get paid.
Welcome to the first lesson in Blogging University - The Art of Blogging for Beginners.
In this first lesson, I will be using my personal domain, www.ReginaldChan.net as the reference point. I started this blog in May 2013 and the below are the stats:
- 99,900 page views
- Around 1,000 followers on email
- Close to 10,000 followers on social media
- Approximately $8,000 earnings on affiliate sales
- Awarded top 100 bloggers in Tribber for 2014
- Honorable mention on huge sites such as Harvard University blog and Yahoo Small Business
Accept my apologies for being bold. At times, I often wondered what it really took me to get this far.
Of course, mistakes I did were:
- Over 8 years of blogging and making peanuts
- Started over 30 various websites and having extremely low success
- Wasted thousand of dollars in 'guru tips'
- And probably a dozen more to make me look bad 🙂
With Blogging University, I certainly hope to share all my blogging tips I have collected over the years and helping bloggers to avoid those mistakes I had done in the past.
Download this blogging lesson in PDF now!
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What blogging lessons will you learn today?
- Importance of planning your blogging
- Choosing the various blogging platforms
- The type of hosting services you would subscribe
Without further delay, let's kick start the lesson today.
Note: Since this is the first training, the information shared here are relatively very general. This would be a great baseline for any newbie bloggers. Much more extensive blogging tips will follow in the coming lessons.
The importance of planning and strategy in blogging
I know only a handful of bloggers who plan their blogging path and this ... got to change!
If you want to be make a living out of blogging or become a professional blogger, you need to utilize the power of planning and strategy building.
Planning in blogging is simple. Some simple questions you can start asking yourself are:
- What are you writing about?
- Who will be your readers?
- Why would they want to read your blog?
Now, take a moment to answer the questions above and compare them with the answer sheet below:
- Very general blog topics (or over 10 different topics of choice)
- My readers will be anyone who I can find (no specific target)
- Because it is interesting!
If the above are similar with your answer, then your blogging career will be seriously challenging.
You don't need a godly plan but at least, a simple strategy that will be your guidance in blogging.
For example, a good blogging plan could easily be:
- Very specialized topics (select 3 to 5 related topics)
- Targeting readers from the United States aged 18 to 40 who dream of making a living online
- Focusing on writing detailed case-studies and tutorials
Having a clearer blogging strategy could easily help you to have a better reach. More on that in the next lesson.
Actionable blogging tips:
Start building your blogging strategy using the simple questions starting with the who, what, where and how. The more detailed your answer are, the better it would be for you down the road.
Choosing a blogging platform
There are countless blogging platforms nowadays which includes WordPress (self hosted), WordPress.com and Blogspot.
You won't go wrong with any of those but if you are planning of starting your career in blogging (seriously), it would best start with having a self-hosted website.
The most common question many blogging newbies is the 'WordPress vs Blogspot'.
Personally, I would always recommend bloggers to use WordPress platform on their self-hosted domains compared to Blogspot due to the control and features.
The below are some breakdowns for easier decision making.
Advantages of self-hosted WordPress sites:
- Highly configurable and customizable
- Absolute freedom
- The most popular blogging platform (availability of support is huge)
Disadvantages of self-hosted WordPress sites:
- Slight learning curve required
- Too much features could be daunting for newbies
- Very prone to hacking and security issues
Advantages of Blogspot:
- Setting up would take less than 10 minutes
- No plugin required
- Hosted on servers owned by Google (zero cost)
Disadvantages of Blogspot:
- Limited ability for customization (especially when you want to grow your blog)
- Abide the Blogspot rules, terms and conditions
- Risk of losing everything as Google is known of shutting down a site without notice
For beginner bloggers, it is important to choose one platform and stick to it as migrating in the future is very troublesome.
There is no such thing as best of both worlds and thus, go with the blogging platform that best fits your requirements. Again, my personal opinion is that if you are serious in blogging, it is highly recommended to get a self-hosted site for more control.
Deciding on the best hosting for your money
It is not wrong for you to think big when you are a beginner. However, thinking big could easily burn a hole in your wallet.
For those who are using self-hosted domain, you would require a hosting plan. Yes, this is an important start even before starting a blog.
If a domain is your home, a hosting plan is the electricity.
The quality of the hosting plan will determine the level of uptime you are getting. For starters, a website which have tons of downtime is bad for both the blog visitors and search engines.
There are several types of hosting a blogger can choose; shared, reseller, premium hosting and dedicated servers.
Basically, you are sharing electricity with around 500 to 1,000 websites. While this is probably the most popular hosting plan for many blogging beginners, located in a high traffic server could easily slow down the website loading speed.
On average, you could get a hosting plan that cost $5 per month for a single domain.
This is one hosting option which is widely known among advanced and professional bloggers. Instead of getting a hosting package from a hosting company, you subscribe to hosting services from a 3rd party.
What makes this type of hosting an excellent choice for startup bloggers is that you get higher quality hosting in both quality of uptime and customer support.
For example, clients in my reseller hosting packages get free plugin installation, daily backup and ability to host unlimited domains under $5 per month.
Comparing to shared hosting, my reseller hosting package would be much affordable since they are getting a high end support from me personally. Plus, I only allow 10 clients in one server in order for them to have ultimate server speed.
On average, a reseller hosting plan would cost as low as $5 per month to $50 per month.
If you are worried of those hacking and security flaws, having a premium hosting would be a good option. Basically, you are getting top notch support in terms of backup, security and website performance.
Instead of having 1,000 domains in one server, most premium hosting servers cater only (up to) 10 domains per server. This will ensure that the site performance will not be affected if you ever get a spiked in traffic.
Premium hosting isn't cheap and it cost around $29 per month. I would suggest getting this only if you have enough traffic and generating enough income for this service.
Once you have above 100,000 traffic a month, then you need more firepower. Dedicated servers means that you have the whole server for yourself.
Dedicated servers usually cost around $70 (at least) per month.
Blogging lesson recap
For those who are starting a blog, these are the three very basic rules to get started on the right track. While these may seems very petty, don't be fooled with the advantages these would bring you in the long run.
The best blogging tips? Follow closely to these 3 blogging tips above!
Now, I am going to wrap this blogging lesson up and if you have any questions, fire them up using the comment form below and I'll get back to you with the answers.
Upcoming blogging lesson: How to plan the perfect blogging strategy?