Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blogging 101 (Deals)

John Marine | 2/19/2013 11:49:00 PM | |
"Deals" on Live Well Network did a segment on blogging in one of its latest episodes. Katishia "Kat" Cosley chatted with a blogger named Tiffany Ivanowski of "My Litter." The segment regarded starting your own blog. Most of the advice is so true that I wanted to feature it here while also adding my own commentary. So to my international audience who want a little insight on getting started blogging, I will use this video while also expressing extra points based on my blogging experience.

If this is your first time here, welcome to my blogging universe and its many spaces! You are reading my main blog- "John's Blog Space." This blog is a general blog discussing two things- anything and everything! Click on "About Me" to learn [a lot] more about me. Now please enjoy your time here.

--- "Blogging 101," by Deals ---

I am unable to embed this video. So if you want to look at the video I'm making reference to, you will need to view the link below in another window or another tab based on your browser. What is best is that most of this material features the Blogger/Blogspot interface. So that makes it easier if you want to blog on this fine interface. Click on the link to learn more about starting your own blog and profiting from your work:

"Blogging 101" (Deals)

Whether you've seen the video or not, allow me to go through the talking points. The next section is more of commentary rather than some sort of review.

--- Talking Points of the Video ---

Each heading in this section you will see indicates some of the individual talking points and my own commentary. All of the provided material and links are all provided for educational purposes.

Find an Interface.

Obviously, I use Blogger/Blogspot. You could also use any other platform such as WordPress, TypePad, or Xanga among others. If you prefer more picture-based blogging, try Tumblr. But we all know Blogger/Blogspot is king! :D

Getting Started.

I didn't know what to name my blog when I got started. If you're in a pinch to find a name for your blog, just do what I did- use your name or a nickname. You are setting the URL for your blog in this step. You can always change the actual name of your blog any time you like. I ultimately decided to call this blog "John's Blog Space." You could also use a good phrase or quote to name your blog. The more unique a name is, the more likely you will have a unique blog name or URL that hasn't been taken by some other blogger. If a name is taken, try to make your own unique title or simply choose another name. You can also point to your own domain if you have your own website outside of the blog.

In the case of names that have been taken, I tried to make my own twist on a certain blog title. One example is my fashion blog- "StyleSpace, by John B. Marine." I chose "StyleSpace" to name my fashion blog, but another blog online used the name "StyleSpace." So I had to edit it to something a bit more unique. I eventually called it as "stylespacebyjbm." IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED: If you love fashion and my blogging about fashion, I invite you to my fashion blog: StyleSpace, by John B. Marine.

Whatever floats your boat. Just name the URL to your blog, then decide later what you want to name it. The one thing I'd stress is that you can change the URL of your blog, but you need to direct people to change up the RSS feed to it so you don't lose your audience.

Blog Description.

Not every blog is created equal and about the same topic. What will YOUR blog be about? Let the world know by typing in a description of your blog and what it is about. Finding a niche is key because it helps define your blog. You want to go with something you can contribute to regularly. I don't believe in niches. Let's just say I have a tough time trying to stay with certain topics and in continually providing material based on certain topics. Even in recent times, I've moved over some of my different topics to other blogs, especially Gran Turismo and fashion. My main blog (which you are reading right now) still remains a portal to a lot of content I regularly contribute to.

Pick a Template.

In the older days of Blogger/Blogspot, Minima was just enough for you to start a fairly decent blog. You can choose from several different templates for your blog. It is best to find a format and a style that best suits your blog and your needs for what you post. These days, one needs to have (or even create) a blog template to separate your blog from others. My current format is a highly-modified version of Stretch Denim (this is NOT one of the fancy newer Blogger/Blogspot templates!).

The video made mention to a few blog template sites. Here are many more. Most templates are free. However, some sites charge for certain premium templates. The ones you see below all are mostly for Blogger/Blogspot templates:

All Blog Tools « includes tips and tricks
Free Blogger Templates
Our Blogger Templates
Premium Blogger Templates « not all templates here are free

These are among MANY other blog template sites.

Google has a host of widgets to help push your blog template and blog layout all the further. So if you're using a Blogger/Blogspot blog, feel free to take advantage of these to dress up your blog. If you want to use your own custom images as part of your blog, you can try a number of different image hosting sites. I mostly use Google's Picasa.

• I actually recommend you learn a little HTML and learn a little bit about using certain templates. Part of the many fancy bits of my main blog actually comes from taking elements from other blogging templates and using them to make my own template. PLEASE save a copy of your blog's template before even attempting to modify it. That way, you can revert back to what the main blog was like before the modifications in case you screw something up. A site I recommend to offer a few quick bits on HTML coding is a site called Quackit. A more advanced site for learning HTML is W3Schools.

• Also, I recommend you enable mobile web browsing for your blog. The reason why is so you can allow mobile users to view your blog in a more mobile-friendly environment rather than have the full desktop version. Mobile users can still view the desktop version if they choose; but for a more mobile friendly experience, enable mobile settings if mobile settings are offered for blogs.

Create Several Posts.

A blog is just another website without posts. You need to post material just to get started and to get some attention pointed towards your blog. One thing you can do is simply introduce yourself to everyone with your first post. You may even introduce your blog and what you hope to accomplish with it. After making an introductory post, you may then concentrate on making many different individual posts to begin to make the blog come alive.

How often you blog can be a factor as well. You want to blog regularly. Sometimes you have what I call "blogger's block"- the blogging equivalent of "writer's block." Post blog entries on a schedule you can work with. Some post entries every day, every other day, each week, each month... whatever works for you. Just post regularly. And don't feel like you are a "bad" blogger just because you don't post often. Just post any time you like. Don't pressure yourself so much to always post at a level you are not comfortable with.

Here is one more important thing I want to stress. Don't just make a bunch of random posts with no value. People visit blogs to read and share media. Anyone who wants to be successful in this field will share items that are useful or entertaining. Have passion and pride for what you post online. People (as well as various other entities) prefer a site that has useful material, and especially unique material. Those who post unique and useful material are more likely to get more attention and fans than someone who makes a living copying other peoples' work and posting nonsense. So make material that can actually be useful to others. Otherwise, nobody will even care to visit or interact with your work. You spent the energy to make a blog... now utilize it to the fullest.

Utilize Social Media.

Today's realm highly hinges on social media. The best way to get your material across is through social media. I use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to share my work with the world. Alternatively, services such as Bloglovin, dlvr.it, NetworkedBlogs, and other services help in pushing your material across to the Internet. Google FeedBurner is also helpful in pushing your content across the Internet.

Visit my Facebook fan page or my Twitter feed for examples of me pushing across my latest blog posts. I use certain hashtags on Twitter that help define which of my blogs has the latest posts. This helps my audience to know what my latest posts are on. For example, I've created the hashtag "#JohnsBlogSpace for posts here on JBS.

Know Your Audience.

This one has been trial-and-error for me. Most of what I feature is primarily to reach as diverse an audience as possible. I do admit that I sometimes make useful and/or entertaining posts about anything just to see if people really care to visit my blog. Some posts I've created have content matter that may not be suitable for most audiences. Using curse words and other bad language is mostly limited by me. There have also been times where I have tried to engage audiences in certain locations. For example, I tried to market my blog to South Pacific nations once. The project worked as I picked up first-time hits from places like Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa, Niue, Tonga, and places like that. This section mostly depends on you and what kind of audience you are trying to attract. You can't please everybody, but you can certainly please as many people as possible. The key here is to find a consistent and loyal audience that respects your work regardless of what you actually post about. Once you build that audience, continually provide material on a regular basis to cater to your audience.

• Have an understanding of what you want to actually focus on. Sometimes, you may find your audience may like certain things based on your posts. You will need to better cater to such people by posting about certain things, but also in making clear and well-written/well-typed posts. Don't just throw in certain terms just to get more views. Instead, try to make material people will ultimately enjoy.

• If you are more adept and more dedicated, you may make individual blogs better focused on certain topics. That's what I did when I started "John's Gran Turismo Space" for my Gran Turismo fans, and for "StyleSpace by JBM" for my fashion-lovers. Additional blogs require more work and more input on a consistent basis, but at least you are servicing your audience, which is of the utmost importance.

The next two talking points involve money. Before I move on, I want to say that not everyone blogs for money or wants to make money blogging. I even admitted before Blogspot that I wanted to blog for money while still providing quality material for others to enjoy. Disregard the rest of this section if you don't blog for money or want to make money blogging.

Making Money!

Want to make that paper (slang for money)? This installment of Deals, though, refers to product reviews and giveaways. It also makes mention to ad placement.

Google AdSense is the easiest and simplest way to make money. You have to be creative in placing your ads. In the online realm, we have a term called "above the fold." These are ads viewed right away without a user having to scroll down. Ad placement is key when setting up your site or blog. How much you can actually make depends on ad placement as well as what sites are willing to serve certain high-paying ads to your site. I can't get into too many more details (for fear of being dropped by certain affiliates I'm signed up for), but you can look around online for reputable websites offering sound advice on AdSense.

• There are only two people I trust online for advice on making money blogging- Darren Rowse and Lisa Irby. Visit their respective websites by clicking on their names. They offer great advice. Darren Rowse offers most of his wonderful advice at www.problogger.net, and Lisa Irby offers her advice through www.2createawebsite.com.

• You have to be approved by AdSense in order to make money with Adsense. Afterwards, you must follow a good amount of guidelines to avoid being suspended or dropped by the program. There are other services allowing for monetization of blogging content besides AdSense. Two other popular services are Chitika and VigLink. As far as Amazon is concerned, don't sign up for Amazon Associates unless you are actually wanting to offer items to your readers/visitors. Don't even think about using Amazon Associates if you aren't the least bit serious about helping people buy relevant items you post online.

• Some affiliate programs will pay you through PayPal (or some other service). If you don't have a PayPal account, visit www.paypal.com to set up an account.

Hire a CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

I don't have a CPA. I do make money from my work, but I don't have anybody hired or anything. I am basically an independent. Blogging is a passion, but it is also basically a business. That's the one thing I take away most from this part of the segment. Since I don't have any experience here, I can't comment.

And there you have it. Most of what was expressed in the video was very true. I found the article and the video to be both beneficial and useful enough for me to showcase in my blog.

--- If ________ ________ is Reading This... ---

I get many readers worldwide. But here are some special messages in case anyone may be reading this post:

If Kat Cosley is Reading This...

I felt the need to share this article and this video with my readers worldwide. Just about all of this is true and complete in regards to getting started blogging. I was convinced in such a way that I had to share this in my own blog. You and "Deals" really fueled the fire for me to post this blog post here on "John's Blog Space." And for this, I thank you. Keep up the amazing work with "Deals" and all other projects and endeavors of yours.

If Tiffany Ivanowski is Reading This...

The advice you've provided in regards to blogging is all very true. You've done all of us bloggers proud by sharing these tips on "Deals." Immense respect to you on a job well done.

That's about it really. Carry on to the next section. :)

--- Cross-Promotion/Other Reading ---

Don't comment just yet (if you are)! Let me show you some other blog posts you may be interested in that are related to this post...

"Deals" (John's Blog Space)
^ "Deals" on Live Well Network is hosted by Katishia Cosley (or Kat Cosley). This blog post is my own personal review of this show.

"Favorite On-Air Personalities in Houston News" (John's Blog Space)
^ Who are some of my favorite on-air TV personalities in Houston news? Find out in this blog post!

"So You Want to Blog?" (John's Blog Space)
^ So you want to blog? This post offers up some advice from me.

"Blog Templates" (John's Blog Space)
^ This post links you to various blog templates online, namely for Blogger/Blogspot blogs.

Thank you for visiting John's Blog Space!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and found my content useful. Thank you for reading!

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John Marine said...

I really love how you broke down this post! All the headlines are interesting and informative, I will be going back to read this time over time! Thanks!

XO http://shesaidhesaid-fashion.blogspot.com/

John Marine said...

These are all great tips for beginner bloggers. Thanks for sharing! :)

xo, Yi-chia

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