From time to time I have readers ask me how to start a blog or how I started mine.
I recently responded to a reader. Here’s that email (almost unedited, so it may be a little rough around the edges):
I have been blogging for about three years. I am not “expert,” but here are some thoughts. (You may already know all or some of what I will share.)
You’ll need to get a blog hosting service. I use Host Gator (but there are several good ones).
I used an ebook from Amazon to guide me through the steps of setting up my blog: it’s called 30 Minutes to a WordPress Website. http://www.amazon.com/Minutes-Wordpress-Website-Step—Step-ebook/dp/B007KSK0KU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436192256&sr=8-1&keywords=30+minutes+to+a+wordpress+website&pebp=1436192268240&perid=10305WX53RN06ZTYKSZ1
The book is just a $1 I think. Step by step instructions.
You might also check out Michael Hyatt’s post: http://michaelhyatt.com/ez-wordpress-setup.html (He is the king of blogging/podcasting in my opinion and a really nice guy.)
Listen to Michael Hyatt’s Podcast: This is Your Life
I get plenty of good (free) ideas from listening to Michael’s podcast.
Pick a Nice Looking WordPress Theme
There are plenty of nice looking free WordPress themes (I believe you get those when you download WordPress).
I use GetNoticed (as my WordPress theme); it is about $200. http://getnoticedtheme.com/
Pick Your Interval for Posting
Your audience wants consistency, so if you can post at least once a week, that will be good. I try (but am not always successful).
Blogging Takes Longer Than I Anticipated
I had no idea how much time blogging would take, but it is substantial—usually at least five hours per week for me (and I do most of this at night). Even 500-word posts can take several hours. You may be able to do this much quicker than I.
I purchase my pictures from dollarphotoclub.com; they are $1 each. They have a good selection. You will need to give attribution for each picture; I usually just put “Picture is courtesy of dollarphotoclub.com.” https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/?reqp=1&reqr=
Readers love eye-candy. Video is even better (but that takes a great deal of time). You can embed videos into your posts. You will see an example on my sidebar at cpa-scribo.com. I shoot these with my camera at home. The cost for the camera, lights, microphone, etc. is about $1,500.
Traction Takes Time
It took, for me, about two years of posting to see any real traction. I now have about 300 to 400 visitors a day.
Readers want practical information that they can implement. CPAs love information that is useful (and free).
Build an Email List
Each person who subscribes to my blog provides me with their email address.
You can build an email list by using GetResponse, AWebber, Mailchimp (and there are many more). I use GetResponse (which has a nominal cost but has more advanced features than MailChimp, which is free).
I offer free magnets (e.g., an ebook about fraud prevention) in exchange for the subscribers email address. Then I use my RSS feed to trigger weekly emails to my subscribers (providing them with all the new information I have posted). I can email those subscribers at any time (but I generally don’t do so unless I’ve got something really important to communicate—I try to keep my communications to a minimum—once a week).
The Main Benefit
Readers come to know you as a person. I have built relationships through my blogging. People see that I am here for them.
I started my blog as an effort to share what I’ve learned through the years and just to have the opportunity to become a better writer. I love blogging and am now considering a podcast.
If you are interested in blogging, I hope you will start one. If you have any questions, please post them here, and I will try to assist.