So you want to build a blog?
For what purpose?
Do you want to establish a brand to earn money or to create an avenue to make a global impact and change people’s lives?
These were the first few questions I asked when I thought about starting a blog. I wanted to help people through my writing and my blog. Before I dig in, I would like to thank my friends at On Demand Instruction for this wonderful opportunity to share with you my awesome experience on building a blog and on helping people and changing lives.
Going back, when talking about building a blog alone, it is simple. Find an unused domain name that describes your dream blog, web hosting package, search for a WordPress theme that supports your blogging goal and your style, and start writing stuff that you love. That’s it.
But the point is, blogging can be mundane in the long-run, especially if you do not know what your purpose is when you write something.
Is it because you want to earn huge amount of money from a passive income? Or is it because you want to make a big mark on people’s hearts through your writing?
These alone made it so difficult for every blogger to think about. It took me years before I found my purpose. Other bloggers out there have the same experience as mine. In fact, many of us wasted a lot of money for this venture.
In this post, I will share with you the first five steps to build a blog, which you do not hear most of the time from Google search, so you can start earning income, and make a global impact.
Find your most-loved interests
Your interests, are you niches. When you start blogging, you may want to have a specific niche, based on the common suggestion from bloggers. Yet, you fail in this part and you feel sorry about it.
No. Don’t be! You just need to examine your most-loved interests and try to find the relationship between these niches. In this way, you can blog, without really caring if this is within that niche or not, since you have three interrelated niches in your blog.
Know the basic SEO
Before you delve in serious blogging, make sure you know at least the basics of SEO. If you don’t know SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization, which Google uses to track your site content and brings you traffic. If you are curious how that works, you can check our free course here.
Identify your blogging purpose
When you start blogging and you have identified your interests, you also need to know your purpose or your mission why you want to start a blog.
As I pointed out earlier, there are many reasons of starting a blog and most of the time, these two different goals have always come into question.
Are you blogging because you just want to earn passive income or you want to become an epitome of a global change maker? Or both? If you cannot answer this simple question, you will have a problem once you start running your blog.
Be clear on this, so you will not get lost along the way. Remember, blogging is not just a hobby, but a lifestyle and a career. You need to be consistently performing well to assure your success.
Determine your blogging schedule
This includes your blog drafting, publishing, content marketing, and even email marketing. Blogging and marketing are absolutely related. When you draft a post in an MS Word document, Evernote, Google docs, you have to identify what time and day you prefer writing as well as what day/s you like to publish your post/s.
If you publish Monday and Thursday, publish your posts in these days of the week. Same principle applies to your emails.
At the same time, you have to know your marketing strategies that comprise the social media marketing and email marketing. These sounds a lot of work. Yes! Plus, you need to be consistent with your schedule, because your fans, loyal subscribers, prospect clients will mark these dates in their own schedule to give time to read your posts and your emails.
Establish your brand in social media
Aside from buying blogging domains or purchasing web hosting packages from Bluehost, NameCheap, and others, blogging entails a brand, a strong brand.
To do that, you need to set up your social media links like your Facebook page and/or group, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube (if necessary), and others. I have been repeating the word “consistency” in the earlier points and this is also applicable when you establish your blog as a brand.
You do not just blog because you have something to say. You are also blogging because you want to be well-recognized and well-acknowledged by people in your niche. With that, you need to identify yourself to them as a brand.
How do you want them to know you, your blog, your business?
The five things I shared with you are not commonly suggested when somebody asked “How to start a blog?” Usually, our fellow bloggers will say, “It’s simple. You buy domains, search for themes, and start blogging. Period.”
I did the same process years ago. The result was I failed many times, I wasted a lot of money, time, and effort, I ended up nothing. I don’t want you to have that painful experience like I did.
You have to realize how big this work is, even before you start doing it. Blogging is beyond writing stuff you love, learning SEO tricks, and building relationships with fellow bloggers and companies.
Blogging is a career and your life is in it. If you don’t know your blogging purpose beforehand, you will get lost and you will quit.
Thank you to Mecyll Jamilla for contributing a guest blog post for this week
How to Build a Blog, Earn an Income, and Make a Global Impact
Mecyll Jamila is a freelance writer, blogger, and course creator at Bitchy Chicken: A Creative Hub & Shop. She is offering free 9-module SEO course here.
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Related Course: Take The Course Now and Organize Your Writing
Writing Styles for Bloggers
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What will participants learn from this course?
If at the beginning of this course, participants may be uncertain of how to use different writing styles in blogging. But as you watch the videos and read the lessons, writing with variety will come clearer. By the end of this course, participants should have no problem using all the writing styles in their blogs.
Start the course right away and follow each lesson in order. By the end, participants will be capable of writing all five blog styles on their own.
Stop Searching for Yourself and Create Yourself
Decades ago, people went on pilgrimages to find themselves; in that quickly-changing world, individuals no longer suffered through the predefined status of their parents but had options as to what to do with their lives. Some traveled the world. Some sought wisdom in philosophy or poetry. Some searched the cosmos for the answer to life. For many, these quests were a search for self, for finding themselves. Young people searched as though their true inner selves were out there waiting to be chosen out of a pile of selves, well-clothed and ready to put on.
The Irony of Searching for Oneself
Although travel, learning, and spirituality are excellent paths to defining who we are, we never truly find ourselves but rather we create ourselves. As we walk around searching for what we already have in our hearts, a funny twist of irony occurs. We look to others, look to fashion and literature, art, music, and popular culture to figure out who we are, and yet we carry that person whole and intact within our hearts everywhere. And yet, we have all done it, at the very least to a small extent.
The Search or Journey for Self
Earlier in life, I spent a few years obsessed with vintage clothing. I would scour garage sales and vintage shops in search of my next fabulous find, which would bring me loads of compliments from everyone at school and work. After a year or two, the vintage glitter wore off and I switched to grunge. With loose Doc Martins and flannel shirts, I trudged around trying to fit into a self-image that didn’t suit me at all. After I gave up grunge, I moved into an urban Vogue girl-on-the-town which felt better overall. I kept that vision of self for years until my joints succumbed to the trials of wearing heels.
Throughout this journey, I was really searching for myself, searching for a self that I could put on like a new dress, fluff up, and wear like a badge of honor—a statement that I confidently knew who I was. Just like my parent’s generation who searched the world in hopes of finding themselves, I tried on a variety of selves to find me. And as luck would have it, none of those personas were me. I had to create myself rather than finding it ready made.
Think that no one creates a universe that matches their sense of self? Oh really . . . Well, take a look at the golfer grandma who wears her plaid golf skort and pink polo into public with her white visor. She exudes health in the later years, time spent in the sunshine, and an afternoon of Arnold Palmer iced teas. The world she creates around the golfer grandma persona is one of health, conservative fashion, and manners suitable for those activities.
Her clothes say, “I am taking care of myself and staying active. I like to get outside with friends for fun activities.” Her demeanor is polite and friendly. The whole picture matches for her because she has created for herself a personality that matches her needs, goals, class, and age.
Now imagine if one is not settled in a comfortable persona. The road to having 15 different styles in the closet, 10 different genres of books, and a half dozen different genres on the bookshelf all lead to an expensive and bewildering path of confusion. No wonder some people feel uncomfortable in their own skin. To be so scattered would lead a person to a state of overwhelm in no time at all. Best to get settled into a comfortable persona than to wander aimlessly.
Crafting Oneself through Creativity, Journaling, and Blogging
So, how does one set about to create a suitable persona for oneself that will fit well, work long term, and ease the anxiety of not feeling settled in one’s own skin?
The creative path of writing and reflecting can offer a useful avenue for assisting one to make the suitable connection and decide on a self to wear with confidence.
Reflect, journal, blog through your personal journey.
If you share blogs with readers, the journaling and reflecting steps may lead towards a valuable topic for blogging that can heighten reader engagement and deepen the connection readers have with your work.
Is this a blogging topic? Absolutely.
The search for self is a terrific topic for many bloggers, especially lifestyle, fashion, literature, and fandom bloggers, because it is an authentic story that many people can relate to. At some point in our lives, most of us have felt out of place or out of sync. To share one’s own journey through the search for personal definition can be wonderfully enlightening and empowering for oneself and others. For example, if I see that a person I look up to (a blogger I follow) has gone through a process of personal redefinition, my own experience of searching for self feels more validated, and I can learn from the steps she took on her path to defining who and what she is.
Journaling and Blogging through the Creative Process
If you journal now, start a new page or section in your journal and reflect on these questions:
Continue working in your journal.
Think back to which movies, books, fields of study, products, political issues, cultural aspects, and technologies stand out to you. You are well on your way to defining self in a way that could leave you more confident and give you an authentic tale for reaching out to others.
Paint & Ink—Journaling is Self-Care
As we walk our own paths, we have to take care of ourselves, and journaling is one way to achieve a sense of mindfulness and calm in an ever-changing world.
Journaling also provides a creative means for brainstorming, which is useful not only for self-care but for blogging and creative writing preparation.
As we seek to be the best selves that we can be and achieve our personal and professional goals, journaling provides a method for collecting the bricks we can use in our polished writing.
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We caught up with young adult fantasy novelist Angela J. Ford. Ms. Ford is a well-rounded creative with a strong love of reading, creative writing, travel, and playing music. Her stories inspire young adults to work together when overcoming challenges and to believe in reaching their dreams. She began The Four Worlds Series at age 12, a series that takes high magic and epic fantasy to the pinnacle of excitement and fun. Most importantly, Ms. Ford lives the creative life by spending time on her craft, dedicating herself to developing her skills in music and writing, and being an inspiration to writers everywhere.
Many writers and artists knew early on that they had a connection to writing and creativity. When did you know that you were born to write?
While I don’t remember there being an epic moment when I knew I was born to write, it turned into a natural habit. I have 4 sisters, and we all kept journals growing up. Capturing daily memories assisted in turning writing into a normal habit, and using words to tell stories became the logical next step. I supposed at some point when I was twelve I realized storytelling and writing was what I actually wanted to do in the future. I could see myself writing bestsellers, having those turned into movies or TV shows and video games. I believe envisioning that future was what allowed me to call myself a writer.
Did you have an influential person in your life who encouraged you to express yourself with writing or some other form of creativity?
My family has been the biggest influencer in allowing me to express myself creatively. My parents are huge readers and encouraged my sisters and I to read books and use our imaginations to amuse ourselves. When I was 9 I learned how to play guitar, and when I was 15 I started taking drum lessons. Between the music and writing, finding creative ways to express myself became the norm.
You mentioned that you wrote novels as a teenager. That is quite a feat for a young person. What influenced you to attempt novel writing so young? What support system did you have that allowed you to pursue such an impressive goal?
Reading book series like “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Lord of the Rings” made me want to become an author. I found myself inspired by authors like George MacDonald and Brian Jacques and I wanted to join the rank of greats. Of course, if you want something, you have to get started, and writing was the next step. Since I was homeschooled, it allowed me to be productive and maximize my time. If I got all my school work done in 5 hours, that left me plenty of time to write and be creative.
Many writers suggest that writing serves different functions in their lives. Some write poetry for stress relief, articles for professional advancement, and novels to pursue a lifelong goal. How does writing fit into your life and what purposes does it serve?
Writing novels has been to pursue a lifelong goal and it’s more than that. I get to dive into new worlds and discover different characters, their strengths, weaknesses and hidden motives. More importantly, I get to create something new and birth it into the world. It’s exciting to hear the reactions from readers, the shock and amazement. While it’s fun for me, it has helped with relieve stress and preventing loneliness.
Different writers use a variety of processes to accomplish their writing tasks. Stephen King writes every day, including Christmas and his birthday. Ann Rice says she writes when the mood strikes or when she is working on a large project. What does your writing schedule look like? Is there anything you do to get yourself ready to write?
While I don’t write every day, I believe mindset is key to completing a novel. Having the right music and scheduling time to actually write on a weekly basis helps.
Some writers have changed the writing process to fit their own needs and personalities. For many, following the traditional writing process—brainstorm, plan, draft, edit, perfect—has served them well. Others have transformed the process to fit their own needs. What does your writing process look like and what part of that appeals the most to you?
Oh I’m certainly unconventional and quirky. My process includes writing the ending first, then working my way backwards, sideways, or wherever the characters choose to go. Writing is like being taken on a ride, you never know what could happen next, and I tend to write the exciting parts first, and the logical parts last. Writing should be an exciting, magical journey, and if I’m not enjoying it, I scrape those parts and start over.
Writers are creatives at heart. They tend to be attracted to all kinds of creative activities—playing music, sewing, gardening, painting, photography, etc. What other creative activities do you pursue to augment your creative writing?
Music has the creative pull that aligns with writing. I have to have the perfect writing music before I can begin. Even though I don’t play guitar or drums anymore, I also use gaming as a source of stress relief and inspiration. As odd as that sounds, gaming makes me think strategically, and that sort of thinking bridges well into creating an epic fantasy tale.
Your series The Four Worlds sounds incredible. No one can resist a well-written fantasy action, adventure book. What was the motivation to start this book series? You say that you started this at age 12? How did the story, characters, and ideas develop as you matured?
When I was 12 I had a dream about this man standing at the edge of a battlefield. I woke and named him Marklus, he was the first warrior. From there I decided he needed friends with special powers, and thus the rest of the warriors were born. Their story was inspired by tales of action and adventure like Narnia and Lord of the Rings.
However, even when I was young, I didn’t want to include the traditional fantasy characters, like elves, wizards, dragons and orcs. I ended up creating my own breed of mortals and immortals, placing them in a galaxy far, far away. As I grew older I realized the characters needed motives, depth and reasoning behind what they do. I was able to write that in and create a world I’m quite proud of that, although it may have resemblances to some tales, is quite unique on its own.
Writing certainly has its ups and downs. There will be days when you’re stuck and the words won’t flow. There will be moment when you feel as if the marketing and promotion is overwhelming, and no one wants to hear from you anyway. But there’s magic in writing and how amazing it is. Whether you write simply for yourself, or for others, never give up on the art of breathing life into something new. Writers are creators, no matter the genre, and that’s something to hold on to.
A special thanks to Ms. Angela J. Ford for letting us interview her for this blog.
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