Guide for Blogging to make Money or for a Hobby
I read recently that over 10,000 bloggers reside in the state of Utah, and that is the most per capita than any other state. I'm not sure who or how these statistics are figured, but one thing I do know for certain; Utah has a huge number of highly successful bloggers that are visited by over a million people monthly. I for one, think it's fantastic that these bloggers have realized their dream and are making a living at what sparks them.
If you've ever thought you might like to start a blog, then this series is for you. After nearly 8 years of running Coupons4Utah and the newly started website Crazy4Smiths, I've pretty much been around the blog block. I consider myself from the school of blogging of hard knocks, most of what I know has been learned by trial and whole lot of error.
Join me on my Journey!
My hubby just recently retired, and yes, that is REALLY early for our age. I credit a frugal lifestyle, good planning and a fair amount of dumb luck, that is allowing us to move in this new direction in life so early. It's time for us to do what most empty-nesters dream of, and that is travel. We also know a little about cooking for 2 on a budget, planning for retirement, and living a frugal lifestyle and the immeasurable value of going without so, that's what this new blog will be about.
No, Coupons4Utah and myself aren't going anywhere. I'll still be here running the website just like always and in fact, there are some new changes coming that I CAN NOT WAIT to share with you. Hey a girl's gotta keep busy right? With that said, I have decided to start a new blog that will be a little more my personal style and hopefully entertaining and informative to read. For those that have been wanting to start a blog for money or hobby, I'm inviting you to join me from the very beginning.
So here we go, my step by step guide to starting a blog, how to make some money along the way, and the beginning of 50Roads.com. I invite you along as I create this new WordPress Blog.
Step One: How to Choose a website Domain Name
Choose a name and choose wisely. Your blog name is very hard to change, especially if it's gained some momentum. I know very few bloggers that are 100% content with the name they selected for their blog. Too cutesy, too hard to spell, too long, too close to another blog name are some reasons I've heard for poor choices.
Deciding on a blog name is probably one of the most important steps to creating a new blog and business. You want it to be catchy, easy to remember and spell, and relate to your subject without being too restrictive. I would also be careful about limiting your audience. Coupons4Utah, for example, has been a double edged sword. It has very little national following, but because it's focus is Utah and geared to our unique population, we have amazing local loyalty.
The right domain can create reader confidence, the wrong one can turn readers away. Remember, your domain and business name are one of the most important parts of your overall brand, so consider carefully.
1- What will your blog be about?
2- If you change your mind about content can your blog name change with you?
3- Is it easy to spell?
4- Is it easy to remember?
You may want to invent your own branded word. Many of these kinds of names do very well, such as Zappos, Shopify, and a little company called Google. Or combine two words together to make a new one, like Groupon or Pinterest.
Once you have some names in mind, you'll need to see if they are available. I use GoDaddy as my name registrar (use this link to get your domain for .99¢). Just type in the name you think you'd like. Be for-warned, many names will be taken or what I like to call, being held hostage, by investors. You can pay the premium price, but I wouldn't recommend it. I also DO NOT recommend you choose their hosting package. Hosting your website with the same company that holds your name can create a lot problems for you later.
If you find the name you had in mind is taken you still might be able to secure it. Check the website and see if it's still active. I stumble on blogs all the time that haven't made a post for several years. It's possible the owner would sell it to you if you reached out and let them know kindly, that you enjoy their content, and would like to enhance it and continue the blog on it's journey. You never know if you don't ask.
Last, make sure to Google the name you choose. See if it's being used by someone else. Even if the domain is available, you may find that another brand is associated with it.
Should I buy the .net and .org of my domain name?
Hell Yes, and here is Why!
When you have finally selected a name, I highly recommend you purchase as many variations of the name as possible. For example, if your domain name has a number in it make sure to buy both the numeric and spelled out domain. I would also suggest you purchase the .nets and .orgs. Why?…
When Coupons4Utah started taking off there was another Utah Blogger that thought purchasing CouponsForUtah.net would be a clever idea. This blogger then created a website purposely to deter and confuse readers and redirected our hard earned traffic to her own blog of a different website, savvysistershops.com. Yes, it was malicious and yes, it did work.
This was a hard time for me; angering, a huge frustration, not to mention awkward, as when I found out about it, I was actually cross promoting with this blog, which helped it's cause. What happened? I guess what goes around comes around, I own CouponsForUtah.net now and the blog in question has tanked. It's for sale, any takers?
So in summary, I'm going to say, if the variations are available, buy them, it's only a few more dollars. You can always drop them the next year if you want to.
That's it for today. Next week I'll share what I've learned about choosing a layout (a theme) and how to get your blog online. In the meantime, go ahead and feel free to link to your own blog in the comment section or share what domain you have purchased.
If you'd like to log in to 50roads.com and follow along as it is created, consider this your special invitation to do so. The log in is fiftyroads, the password is bucketlist. Right now all you'll see is an empty shell with a bunch of nonsensical content that came along with my theme. I look forward to having you join me as I create it. You can also follow 50 Roads on Facebook here.
Posted by Joani