The word blog was first used in 1999. When you stop and think about it, it’s still a fairly new concept. Sure, there are millions and millions of blogs in existence and it might seem like everyone you know has a blog. But believe it or not, not everyone does or even knows what one is.
Since I wrote a little about my blogging story and how I’ve turned it into a full time living, I’ve had countless people ask me through emails, social networks and in person how they can do what I do. Either they haven’t dove into the world of blogging yet and would like to, or they have one already and want to take it to the next level.
When you’ve never done something like starting a blog before, it can be extremely overwhelming. That’s why I’m getting back to the basics of blogging. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be covering everything you’ve ever wanted to know about blogging. From choosing a domain name and keyword research to coming up with post ideas and the biggest topic everyone wants to know about – monetization.
Today’s topic is for those of you starting from ground zero.
How to Get Started Blogging for Yourself
I’m going to steal Nike’s slogan for a second here and tell you to “Just Do It”. I’ve helped quite a few people with setting up their blogs. We’ve brainstormed domain name ideas together and then I took over the technical part of purchasing the domain name, installing WordPress, setting them up with a template design they like and making sure all the necessary plug-ins are installed.
After they’re good to go, I always get this question: “Now what?” and I give the same answer every time: “Start writing.”
Before you get overwhelmed with all the technical terms such as “domain name” and “installing WordPress”, let me give you some sources where you can skip that whole process and focus on the writing aspect.
Setting up a Blog Yourself
- WordPress , Blogger or Tumblr – If you’ve never blogged before and you want to check it out, get some experience and just see what it’s like, I recommend setting up a free account on one of these blogging platforms. It’s an easy step by step process and it can get you some blogging experience under your belt.
- Ask a Friend for Help – If you have a friend who is familiar with setting up blogs, ask for their help. They can either guide you through one of the free blogging platforms or set up your own domain name and personalized template.
Hiring Someone to Set up Your Blog
- Pay for It – If you’re willing to invest a little bit of money, you can find someone on Fiverr.com who will set up a blog for you. My husband and I have used this service several times for jobs and have had a good experience. It’s only $5 to hire someone, plus around $10 for the purchase of a domain name.
Now that you have your blog set up, as I mentioned before, the best way to learn is by doing. No one knows about your blog right now. No one’s going to be reading it, so get in there and play around. Learn how to use all of the functions within your blogging platform, find your blogging voice and before you know it, you’ll be a blogging fool. (That’s what my friends call me.)
If you’re using a free blogging platform, you will eventually want to move your posts over to your own domain name. This shows companies (who you may work with in the future) and your readers that you are a professional and that blogging isn’t something you do just for fun, in your spare time. It shows this is a business and that’s important when it comes to making money blogging.
How to Get Started Blogging for Someone Else
Another question I get quite often is “How can I get hired to blog for someone?” I started blogging for a blog network in 2006. I had some experience with both blogging and website development, which helped me get hired. Blog networks aren’t what they used to be (stay tuned for a Where Are They Now? series covering this very topic) and it’s not easy to get hired to blog for a company. Here’s why.
You need experience. This is why it’s so important to “Just Do It” as I said above. If a company is going to hire you to blog for them, they want to see your past experience in the field. They’ll ask for writing samples, published articles and you need to have some to show them to even be considered for the job. I’ve been told before, when a blogging job has been posted, some people have received hundreds of submissions. You also have to realize you are going up against people who have years of blogging experience, degrees in journalism and a nice looking resume.
I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but I’m also not going to paint a picture of a rainbow and a pot of blogging gold at the bottom of it. The business of blogging is not something you can start making a living from right away, so please don’t quit your day job.
Now, after harping on the fact that you need blogging experience to get a blogging job, I do need to cushion the statement with the fact experience isn’t always 100% needed. For example, let’s say someone needs a writer for a very specific topic such as knitting. If you’ve never written a blog post in your life, but know how to knit and can teach others to knit, you have a leg up on the competition (obviously). If you can provide a well written writing sample and show your knowledge in the topic, you have a good chance of being hired.
Here are a few places to look for paid blogging and writing positions:
- Problogger Job Board – I have personally used this site to get hired for freelance work in the past. As you can see, jobs are posted every week. People are searching for someone who will write about every subject you can imagine, from cats and gardening to marketing and using Photoshop.
- Demand Studios – This company offers writing assignments for experienced, professional writers. They pay per article, around $15 to $25, depending on the length and topic.
- About.com – In order to write for About.com, you have to go through quite the process. First, you have to apply and get accepted and then go through a two-part online orientation and evaluation program. During the program, you are going up against several others applying for the same topic. Just realize you will have to put in quite a bit of work and in the end, you can be told no.
- Freelance Writing Jobs – Our very own Deb Ng started this site and sold it to Splashpress Media. When you visit, you’ll see a variety of available blogging and writing gigs, as well as writing tips and business help.
What’s Better: Blogging for Yourself or Someone Else?
This is another question I’ve received and it all depends on one thing: you. Some people are wired to work for themselves and some people are wired to work for someone else. There’s some of us who do both! I write for BlogWorld, SocialMoms and I own several of my own blogs. One thing is for certain, I never get bored.
I hope I’ve answered some of your questions about blogging for yourself or someone else. Do you have tips for the blogging newbie? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.