Starting with a FREE Blogging Service
The first place I started blogging was on Google’s free blog site at www.Blogger.com.
Google Blogger is can be used by anyone who wants blog. All you need to do to set up a Blogger site is visit www.Blogger.com and set up your account.
You can set up multiple blogs for writing about different subjects under your one account. However, if the amount of time you have to blog is limited, it’s probably a good idea to stick to a single topic and cover the subject better/update it frequently.
Rated G, Please
Blogging is a great activity for for several reasons. But one thing to keep in mind is that blogging is public–meaning lots of people have the potential to read what you write. Keep this in mind when selecting your topic, as you’ll need to keep your public writings family friendly. (For example, only write things you wouldn’t mind your own children reading on the Internet.) This doesn’t mean you must tailor your writing for kids if they’re not your intended audience–just keep the discussion reasonable.
(If you need to write in a way that is strictly for adults, a Google blogger account is not the platform to use. You’ll need to obtain a self-hosted domain and password protect it, if this is the case–I’ll discuss how in a later post.)
To make money using a Google Blogger account, one of the most important things you can do is to select a topic you will stick to: something you really enjoy writing about, regardless of whether you already know most of the information or whether you have to perform research as you go along.
Quality Content is Vital
Making money with any kind of blogging is about providing quality content to your readers. You also need to provide a high enough volume of content to let readers know, once they find your blog, that they can keep coming back to read additional posts. If you only have a few posts or articles, readers will assume you don’t update very often and will be unlikely to return.
Scheduled Writing = Lots of Content
The best way to provide a good volume of content for your Google Blogger site is to decide on a writing schedule for yourself that you can stick to. Many people are hesitant to commit to a schedule because they are worried they won’t be able to stick to it because of other demands in their lives.
While this is understandable, my perspective is this: developing and sticking to a schedule is the easiest way to make sure that you DO have time to blog. If you feel you have little or no time to write, start small by setting a goal of writing 5 minutes a day or one post a week–then work up from there. Once you get into blogging and it no longer seems so new, the writing process will get easier and you won’t feel the hesitancy that tends to go along with starting something new.
You’d Better Like Writing!
Make sure that if you decide to make money blogging, writing is something that you enjoy. This applies to anything you plan to do on a regular basis: select tasks you enjoy so that they won’t feel like a chore.
Time to Monetize
Once you are producing a good volume of consistent, quality content, there are several programs you can sign up for to generate money with your blog. Two of the major ones are Google Adsense and Amazon Associates. There are several third-party applications that I’ve been hearing about, which I’ll be checking into during the coming weeks. (I don’t just want to throw a lot of names at you without checking the programs out first.)
To sign up for Google Adsense or Amazon Associates, log in to your Google Blogger account and go to the dashboard. From here, you’ll see several text link words (words you can click on) in bright blue under your blog name: click on Monetize. From here, Google Blogger will display links to the Amazon Associates and Google Adsense programs. They make it pretty easy to use either one.
With Google Adsense, you’ll be able to place advertisement blocks on your blog. You’ll make money from whenever a reader clicks on one of these ads, regardless of whether the reader ends up buying anything. With the Amazon Associates program, you’ll be able to pick specific products from Amazon.com’s online catalog and place links for them on your site: when someone clicks on one of these links and BUYS THE PRODUCT at the other end, you’ll receive commission from Amazon based on the amount the customer spent. These are both excellent programs, and are used by many, many professional bloggers.
So what’s the catch?
If it’s so easy to make money on Google Blogger, why doesn’t everyone do it?
Well, first of all, it’s not necessarily easy. It can take a substantial amount of time blogging on a very regular basis–a post a day, for example–before you’ll have enough content on your blog to draw the search engines (and thus, the readers) to your blog well enough to start making money. Most commonly, I’ve heard it takes more than a year to start seeing results. Many people interested in generating income are either unable or unwilling to be that patient.
Truthfully, it IS difficult to write, day after day, putting in hour after hour of work with the goal of making money without seeing any return. Most people in the working world are simply not used to this. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t work for an employer week after week without ever receiving a paycheck! What you’ve got to remember is that blogging for money is a business. And like any start-up business, you’ve got to give it time to grow before you can expect returns. This is probably the biggest reason people quit blogging before they see returns–they just get frustrated, thinking they should be seeing income. Or they get nervous that they’re doing something wrong and that the money will never come.
The best advice I can give you on this is this: accept that blogging for money is going to be a challenge. Accept that you may get frustrated or impatient. And understand that all this is completely understandable, and don’t get down on yourself about it. Accept your feelings, and then get back to work writing again. (In other words, don’t wait until the feelings go away before you get back to writing, or do anything else that allows you to use those negative emotions as a reason to stop your hard work.)
To help avoid the “frustration factor,” make sure that your blog means something to you beyond the money it might generate. This will go a long way to helping you to keep working before there’s any monetary payback it sight. Make your blog reflect something you care about–something you love to think about. Or create an information resource that you believe will really improve the world in some way.
Remember, too, that some businesses fail. Be prepared to change gears, change directions, or change whatever you need to, as you go along, to make your blog work–meaning, accomplish the goals you set for it, and for yourself. To this end, you should continue learning more about the blogging process, even as you continue to add content to your blog. Learning something new every day, if possible. If you do this, and don’t let yourself give up, you’ll vastly improve your chances of success.
A word to creative writers:
Blogging is a form of publishing. I do not recommend that you publish complete works on your blog if you are interested in having those works accepted and produced by a traditional print publisher at some point. Publsihers often seek to buy first publishing rights–which you won’t be able to offer if you’ve already self-published on the web. You may have the same problem with online publishers: you won’t be able to offer them first online rights if you’ve already published your work online, yourself. (Publishing a short excerpt of your work as a sample is different, of course, providing the work is not so short that a one-page post gives too much of it away.)