200+ comments. Darn good for answers.
Today, that’s up to you to decide.
Hey, I’m Greg. Welcome to Dear Blogger. In the next few minutes, I’d like to show you how to get traffic, earn money and even how to setup a complete blog.
Don’t be surprised if you’re blown away I was too back when I learned all this.
And don’t worry – I’m not selling anything. I’m a believer in free, no-fluff blogging answers and a community you can always fall back on.
If you have any questions, your comments are welcome! We’ve actually over flooded the normal comments on this page though, so I added a temporary Facebook box down below.
And here are a few buttons to help you find your way…
Now, if this guide really were ultimate, I’d create a definition…
Blogging, to me and to our community of up-and-coming bloggers here, means three simple things:
If you start blogging trying to copy someone else’s mojo, you’re sunk from the start. Readers can get information from thousands of sources today, many bigger than you and I, so we work from day one to create a personal bond.
When I started this blog, I pulled my hair out for months trying to find out where my greatest interests met the world’s true needs. I was getting lots of blogging questions each day, so I opened an “answers community” because it was the best way I knew how to give. If you can deliver something unique, through lessons, stories and real-time experiments, people will come, and all the rest will follow.
Be a risk-taker:
We all want the next million dollar idea. The key is to put yourself out there. The downside of blogging is that it’s slow at first, but the upside is that 99% of what’s out there is fluff by people who don’t even care. I bet there’s 10 good openings for you and your content, and we can help you find them.
I’d help you start a career
Disclaimer time: Blogging doesn’t have to be for a living.
A lot of the advice here like the huge lists of traffic strategies and steps to build a following on Google+ are for the career blogging type. They might be more than you want or even seem silly.
But if you do want to blog for a living and earn supplemental wealth in an online setting, I’m here for you. After reviewing products, recruiting guest authors and writing guest posts until my fingers nearly broke, I can now safely pay the bills with blogging. I know how tough it seems, but the rewards are freedom of time and thought (worth gold) and I’d love to help you get going in that direction, too.
For starters, here are 5 articles that I deem crucial reads for any blogging career:
THE Best Places to Blog (updated 2014 edition) – Survey ALL your options, it’s important. This ongoing list of 21 places to blog currently ranks #1 in Google for several competitive phrases and is well-worth your read. Plus if you comment, you may get some nice exposure
How to Blog for Money – In one of the first guides I published here, we cover several legitimate ways to monetize a blog depending on where you’re at right now.
How Playboy Can Help Your Blog – For my first appearance at ProBlogger, I stole my roommate’s magazine to figure out how we can make our blogs irresistible too. It got pretty heated.
The Only SEO Your Blog Posts Needs – SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is hard for all of us at first. So in this post, we break down a few simple takeaways you can use to SEO your blog past others in your niche relatively quickly.
How I Got a Google PageRank 3 in 3 Months with Only 28 Backlinks – Building Google was tough; building PageRank is easy. This one is among the most read at the blog.
My readers constantly send me with little notes saying these articles broke down complex blogging concepts in an understandable manner. I’m positive you’ll find them useful.
I’d show you how to “self-host” and use WordPress.org
Aside from taking action one day and starting a blog, the best decision I’ve made in my three years in the blogging industry was joining self-hosted WordPress.org. But it wasn’t easy.
Sure, using the free blog-hosting sites like Blogger and Tumblr was fun back in the day, but:
- You don’t get your own domain name, which is a constant reminder you don’t own your blog and that it can be taken down by someone else. I’m all about owning up to my work and this just wasn’t enough.
- You’re limited to how it’s all designed and monetized. Free blogs just look like free blogs, but WordPress.org can be made to look like the NYTimes or any number of popular websites with simple design changes.
When I realized getting a domain and hosting (all you need to “self-host”) was just as easy as making a purchase on Amazon – but a whole lot more fun – it was on.
Now, I recommend WordPress.org to everyone.
I’ve embedded a 10 minute video below where we setup a WordPress.org blog. I hope you’ll watch, because I really try to make self-hosting as simple as possible and from the responses thus far, I’d say I have!
This 10-minute tutorial features:
- A blogpost: Hello, world!
- A basic image/photo: Uploaded to WordPress and fitted nicely in the blogpost
- A URL link: To help you click back to Dear Blogger or over to HostGator, where setup begins
- A new theme: The whole design has been changed to a theme called Patchwork 1.2.1 (just one of thousands of free themes out there)
- A plugin: To add Facebook, Twitter, and +1 buttons to the blogpost for convenient sharing
- 10 Urgent Tasks After Your New Blog Goes Live
- How to Create an Everlasting About Me Page
- What is a Brand?
- What is Google Plus?
- High Standards: When is a Post Good Enough to Publish?
✓ How to setup web hosting
✓ How to install your copy of WordPress.org
✓ Logging in for the first time ever
✓ Installing a theme (your design)
✓ Adding a plugin (a simple feature; we add Like/Tweet/G+ buttons in the video)
✓ Lastly, publishing a blogpost with an image and a link.
CLICK TO PLAY in a NEW WINDOW
Personal aside: Know that I wouldn’t have taken hours filming and editing a video if I didn’t truly believe it could inspire you to start blogging, so I hope you can watch. Click here for the manual setup instructions.
I’d make a live WordPress DEMO Site
In the video imbedded above, we setup a complete WordPress.org blog called “The First Try Blog” (because even if you’re scared like I was, this really is something you can do on your first try).
Click here or on the screenshot itself to visit the demo blog:
The “First Try Blog” is a demo WordPress blog that features:
I’d recommend a smart blog host…
If you’re going with WordPress.org like I do, you need some place to get you a domain name and host all your files and keep them secure. As with most things in life, you have a million options.
For example, you could host everything from your own computer like Evan Williams of Blogger or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook once did.
Or, you could get the most expensive host with lots of security features and warranties baked in. This might make you feel safer (but why are these back ups needed in the first place?)
You could even hire a web developing company to host your site from their own server space and build it out for you. You’ll have to call someone to make any changes, but it’s still a good option.
Really, if you’re like me when I began on WordPress.org, you probably want something basic and cheap that works long-term (FLUFF NOT INCLUDED, TYVM), which is why I recommend going with a basic shared hosting plan from HostGator.
HostGator is what I’ve used since the day I got serious about blogging, and I trust their servers with 10-20 of my blogs and websites at any one time. Their customer service is world class and they’re the kind of place that’s ideal for beginners and advanced bloggers alike.
That’s said, do your homework.
If you do get setup with HostGator, you can use my coupon “dearblogger” for 30% off your domain and hosting. At 10% more than the standard discounts, this is the best HostGator coupon you’ll find and I’m proud to allow my readers to use it. It’s valid all Winter of 2013-2014.
Check out what just a few people had to say:
And I’d love to hear from you too!
Disclaimer: If you do decide to sign up at HostGator and use my links to get there, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. The cost is actually less because I’m able to offer you several discount coupons. Either way, this commission helps keep this blog free for a growing audience. So if you do click my affiliate link before signing up, thanks for your support. Drinks on me!
I’d write down beginner tutorials perfect for post-launch stages…
Whether you go WordPress, Xanga, Tumblr, LiveJournal, Drupal or whatever, here are some articles to kick everything off for you. These words form the pillars of the blog’s content and I deem all five essential for any new blogger hoping to dominate online:
Then I’d send you a free eBook, and a newsletter
If you’ve made it this far, I want to introduce you to my newsletter and more importantly to bounce rate.
Way back in summer 2012, right before we launched, I did an extensive case study on one of my other blogs to reduce bounce rate. The eBook explains it all, but here’s what happened:
For the past year or so, I’ve been giving away my eBook Bye-Bye Bounce Rate for free to new subscribers. My plan was to start charging for the book after 1000 downloads, but now that we’re nearly there, I’ve said screw it. The book will always be free.
Save your money for the important stuff.
Pop in your name and email to get everything (it’s free):
You also get Blogging and Life – an ongoing digest of my struggles and successes in blogging. Please note this is a new project so there may be some kinks still yet but I can say the stuff I’ve already written is powerful as heck. If a strategy helps me, you’ll hear about it.
And 5 extra outlets to ask your blogging questions…
I guess this is the point where I say “Like my page” or something cheesy, but unlike other bloggers who bombard readers with these messages, I’ll never do that. Instead, I’d like to point you to my social media outlets in case I’m not here when you have a question:
I believe in same-day responses. None of this waiting forever crap, because I’ve been on the asking side, desperately needing a fix for my own work, and it stinks.
Lastly, I’d stick around to help
Because the worst thing that can happen when you buy a product, even something you love, is that feeling of “oh crap” I’m stuck, with something I don’t know how to use.
I want you to know:
I drop by every morning, and often times in the afternoon, from mobile, from my buddy’s, even at the dinner table to help out with blogging questions. I love helping out but that doesn’t mean I know everything either. I ask you guys for help all the time. So, where you can, join in! No gurus here, just a guy like you who was lucky to find his niche early on and a tribe of followers. So I’m curious, what will you find?
I hope you’ll join in, and look forward to chatting!
To Great Blogging,
Greg Narayan – The Blogger
p.s. If you found this page helpful (and have a Google account) please click on the “PLUS ONE” button below. I’m running a case study now to see how much “+1s” impact Search results, and even with just the support so far, the results are fantastic. Stay tuned because I’ll be posting on this soon…Thanks for joining in!