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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict GuardianAngel's Avatar
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    Important Things to know before starting a Blog

    Blogging is one of the most interesting career and entertainment these days, and everyone seems to love it. Anyone who knows how to read and write can immediately start a blog by using free or paid hosting. However, it is hard to maintain one and making it long lasting can be a nightmare. Before you know it, you get paranoid and quit. Just like any activity, it requires planning and patience. To make your blog worth the effort, below are some practical but very valuable tips.

    Know your interest

    If you really want blogging to be a part of your life, then choose a topic that interests you. It may not be popular, but if you are happy with it you can provide fresh ideas. After all, topics are endless and it is up to you make it interesting to read. If you decide to join the crowd, be sure that you can beat the odds and be visible to many. Competition is very tough, and the lack of interest will stop you sooner than you expect. If you are blogging for money alone, forget it.

    Know the system

    Although you can still blog even if you are not a technical person, there are times to should learn them. You should learn the basic first because things will get complicated as you go along, and it will be hard for you to catch up later on. Read other blogs and sites where you can get a lot of useful tips and advises on how to do things and how to improve them. More importantly, know the rules to avoid future problems. You should grow everyday just like a grade school student.

    Know your limits


    Blogging requires patience, time and good health. If you do not have all of them, you will not stay long in this field. Patience is a must because it is not easy to win readers, as much as it takes a while before you can earn trust. Time management is very important because you will be very busy for the coming days. Promoting your blog and thinking about your next post are among the toughest part, and you will have to sacrifice other things such as enough sleep.

    Know a blogger


    While you can learn by yourself through research and tutorials, it is still better if you know someone who blogs. It will be easier for you to learn if you will watch him blogging rather than just chatting with him. In addition, he must be a friend who is willing to share his time, effort and knowledge wholeheartedly. You can also meet fellow friendly bloggers on-line who can help you. However, you have to be very careful especially about money and other personal information.

    Blogging is a passion, not a play. It is also a career, but not a job.

  2. #2
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Nice post.

    I disagree with a few things, e.g. that you require good health to maintain a blog, and I would've liked that you would go into more depth instead of stating the obvious.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict GuardianAngel's Avatar
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    I included health because sleeping can be a problem if we blog too much. I intentionally stated some of the quite obvious, and I even mentioned that these are practical tips. They may look simple for long time bloggers but just as I said, they are for those who want to start a blog.

    Thanks for finding it nice anyway.

  4. #4
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuardianAngel View Post
    I included health because sleeping can be a problem if we blog too much.
    That's true, but if you run your own business (and blogging could be considered as that), you always find that you work far more hours than in a regular job - this is true most of the time at least when you start. Thus, it's not just limited to blogging.

    On the other hand, blogging is more feasible for someone not in good health, someone with a physical disability for example, or someone who goes through cancer or HIV treatment.

    I intentionally stated some of the quite obvious, and I even mentioned that these are practical tips. They may look simple for long time bloggers but just as I said, they are for those who want to start a blog.

    Thanks for finding it nice anyway.
    It really is a good first post on the topic and it leaves me wanting for more, though I'm just not yet inclined to click on any of the links in your signature. But since I've replied to your post I've also subscribed to it and hope that maybe at some later point you'll expend it.

  5. #5
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    Good points.

    I guess the more obvious to me is "know your interest". I saw a lot of blogs around that blog about things they think can make easy money (health blog, SEO, tutorials etc.) but you can tell they like their Ads more than writing the content. And it doesn't do any good to the blog...

    Patience, yes, definitely. Readers sometimes ask me how I did my design, how I did this or that. Truth is, I set up a blog on Blogspot two years ago, learned about HTML, then moved to WordPress and learned little by little in the process.
    Correr Es Mi Destino -- 100% Canadian, 100% funny and 100% artsy

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict pavelmaha's Avatar
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    Know your interest

    If you really want blogging to be a part of your life, then choose a topic that interests you. It may not be popular, but if you are happy with it you can provide fresh ideas. After all, topics are endless and it is up to you make it interesting to read. If you decide to join the crowd, be sure that you can beat the odds and be visible to many. Competition is very tough, and the lack of interest will stop you sooner than you expect. If you are blogging for money alone, forget it.
    Hi GuardianAngel, I thought I would add some of my opinion about it. I think, there should be two major deciding factor when starting blogging as a profession. First if you are interested enough about it (as you mentioned) to keep on writing for a long time on the subject and the second deciding factor is to find out how popular the subject of your blog is. Popularity is important. Because if people don't have any interest on the subject on your blog, you will not get traffic. So contrary to what you stated, decent amount of popularity is important.

    For instance, if I start a blog about how much I like LSD. For me to get enough traffic; I have to find out how many people has interest on the subject . I could churn out 10 articles a day, but it wouldn't make any difference if there is no one to read it.

    And of course, it is important that you blog about things that you have knowledge about. I can not tell you how much it bothers me, when I see people starting blog and website claiming to be "SEO guru", while their website has 1 PR, looks extremely unprofessional, hosted by blogger.com and posted nothing since december last year.

    Please, for the love of god; don't start another blog about "how to make money" and "Seo howto", when you have no background about it. And probably cannot write more than 5 articles.

    According to some estimate there are 40 blogs created every second. Obviously, not all of them makes money. It is important to note that only the best, most hardworking and diligent blogger will stand out from the rest, and will eventually be successful. You can be noone and be a professional successful blogger within a year, if you try hard enough.
    Last edited by pavelmaha; Jul 21, 2008 at 23:05.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict pavelmaha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhuli View Post
    Good points.

    I guess the more obvious to me is "know your interest". I saw a lot of blogs around that blog about things they think can make easy money (health blog, SEO, tutorials etc.) but you can tell they like their Ads more than writing the content. And it doesn't do any good to the blog...

    Patience, yes, definitely. Readers sometimes ask me how I did my design, how I did this or that. Truth is, I set up a blog on Blogspot two years ago, learned about HTML, then moved to WordPress and learned little by little in the process.
    Zhuli I like the design in your blog. Nice!
    The appearance of a website is a big thing for me. If I see a crappy looking website/blog; I won't care about the content that much (mostly).
    Last edited by pavelmaha; Jul 21, 2008 at 23:06.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot Jim Beam's Avatar
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    Nice thoughts guys!

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Blogging is a passion, not a play. It is also a career, but not a job.
    Yes thats true. Always have passion on your work to gain and attract traffic, attention, friends, etc

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict GuardianAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavelmaha View Post
    Hi GuardianAngel, I thought I would add some of my opinion about it. I think, there should be two major deciding factor when starting blogging as a profession. First if you are interested enough about it (as you mentioned) to keep on writing for a long time on the subject and the second deciding factor is to find out how popular the subject of your blog is. Popularity is important. Because if people don't have any interest on the subject on your blog, you will not get traffic. So contrary to what you stated, decent amount of popularity is important.
    Pavelmaha - While I thank you for following this thread, I think I have to clear myself. I did not say that a newbie in blogging should not blog about popular topics. In fact, here is my reminder - "If you decide to join the crowd, be sure that you can beat the odds and be visible to many"

    c2uk - I agree with your reply. blogging is for the unhealthy too. But I think it's nice to remind others to keep healthy. By the way, I will try my best to add more sauce in my future posts.

    Zhuli - I am also a blogspot user but decided to use WP for the latest blog. Although WP looks more complicated to use, it's nice to explore instead of being stagnant.

  11. #11
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    I have begun planning a blog that I hope to launch within the next few weeks. The points discussed here have reinforced what I have learned while working on my site. Original content, lots of time planning, site design, etc. have all played a part in the development process. It is a lot of work but I have enjoyed it all! Thank you for starting the thread GuardianAngel!

  12. #12
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuardianAngel View Post
    c2uk - I agree with your reply. blogging is for the unhealthy too. But I think it's nice to remind others to keep healthy. By the way, I will try my best to add more sauce in my future posts.
    Keep up the good work.

    I just checked out the first two of your blogs, I like what I saw so far, though the nanny post on Father blogger irritated me slightly.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Addict pavelmaha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuardianAngel View Post
    Pavelmaha - While I thank you for following this thread, I think I have to clear myself. I did not say that a newbie in blogging should not blog about popular topics. In fact, here is my reminder - "If you decide to join the crowd, be sure that you can beat the odds and be visible to many"
    you said:

    Know your interest

    If you really want blogging to be a part of your life, then choose a topic that interests you. It may not be popular, but if you are happy with it you can provide fresh ideas. After all, topics are endless and it is up to you make it interesting to read. If you decide to join the crowd, be sure that you can beat the odds and be visible to many. Competition is very tough, and the lack of interest will stop you sooner than you expect. If you are blogging for money alone, forget it.

  14. #14
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Popularity isn't really all that important (maybe somebody can define popularity here?). You can blog about a small niche and still make good money.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict pavelmaha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c2uk View Post
    Popularity isn't really all that important (maybe somebody can define popularity here?). You can blog about a small niche and still make good money.
    Well I would like to argue. But a good example would be nice.

  16. #16
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    Just wondering....Is it true what c2uk posted??? Would appreciate some opinions. Thanks

  17. #17
    SitePoint Addict pavelmaha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goralka26 View Post
    Just wondering....Is it true what c2uk posted??? Would appreciate some opinions. Thanks
    The only way you can make good money from small niche is if you have 80 blogs on different small niches, and try to hit a jackpot in all 80 of them.

    To simply put, you can't make "good money" in small niche blogs, unless you consider $10 per month good money.

    Yeah 8-10 years ago, maybe you could get away with some smart marketing tactics and when people were still new to the whole "online advertising thing", and likely to click ads and buy random "e-book". But now in the days of "adblock plus", web surfers are "smarter", you will need extra effort, to separate yourself from the rest and standout for everyone to take notice.

    That's why i asked him to give a good example of a blog who makes good money from small niche. Because I know it's not possible.

    I mentioned Leo of Zenhabits earlier, on a separate thread/topic. Well today he wrote an article about how he started out from nowhere and become the top 50 blogs out there (according to technorati), with averaging 1.5-2 millions Page views per month.

    It's worth a read IMO.

  18. #18
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    I like what you post very inspiring I also do blog but mine is not yet published I only have drafts and cannot finished it. and because I read your post I have a second thought that I need to continue and finished what I start.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Addict pavelmaha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trixieanne View Post
    I like what you post very inspiring I also do blog but mine is not yet published I only have drafts and cannot finished it. and because I read your post I have a second thought that I need to continue and finished what I start.
    Life is too short to procrastinate.

  20. #20
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuardianAngel View Post
    But I think it's nice to remind others to keep healthy. By the way, I will try my best to add more sauce in my future posts.
    Don't limit it to sleeping - I know you only brought this up as an example in your original post. Expand on this point and give some tips on what to do to keep healthy.

    So, that's just a suggestion on how you could improve your original post or maybe an idea for another one.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Enthusiast serg08's Avatar
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    My points:

    1. don't start a blog if you don't have time for writing

    2. don't start a blog if you have time but simply don't like writing

    3. don't start a blog if English is not your first language and you are targeting English speaking audience

    4. don't start a blog for #2 reason and if you have limited budget and can't hire a professional writer

    5. don't start a blog to make quick money. It takes time, it takes your passion, inspiration, skills and knowledge etc to make your blog really unique and popular.

  22. #22
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavelmaha View Post
    The only way you can make good money from small niche is if you have 80 blogs on different small niches, and try to hit a jackpot in all 80 of them.

    To simply put, you can't make "good money" in small niche blogs, unless you consider $10 per month good money.
    So, in your opinion you can only make money with the really popular topics, right? As I said, I'd like to see a definition of popular from you and compared your definition to niche.

    Obviously, not all niche topics work and make money for you. As always, some research before you set out needs to be done.

    Yeah 8-10 years ago, maybe you could get away with some smart marketing tactics and when people were still new to the whole "online advertising thing", and likely to click ads and buy random "e-book". But now in the days of "adblock plus", web surfers are "smarter", you will need extra effort, to separate yourself from the rest and standout for everyone to take notice.
    There are other ways to monetise on your blog, depending on your chosen topic.

    That's why i asked him to give a good example of a blog who makes good money from small niche. Because I know it's not possible.
    Also, it's not likely that I can give you a blog that makes money in a niche, because I don't blog right now and I'm personally not interested in a specific niche at the moment (except for Drupal which imho is a niche topic, and there's good money involved blogging about Drupal but more as a way to promote your own services), I've given up on blogging because I suck writing and expressing my thoughts.

    I mentioned Leo of Zenhabits earlier, on a separate thread/topic. Well today he wrote an article about how he started out from nowhere and become the top 50 blogs out there (according to technorati), with averaging 1.5-2 millions Page views per month.

    It's worth a read IMO.
    Anyway, whatever topic you do, you shouldn't limit yourself to just one blog. Because for every Zenhabit, there are at least 1,000 who don't succeed. And if you follow Leo's practice:

    Q: Why do you post so infrequently?

    A: At one point, I was posting 2-3 times a day. But that was overwhelming for a lot of readers, and for me, so I switched to 6 days a week, once a day. Even then, a lot of readers said I was posting too much for them to read, as many of my posts are long. So I’ve gradually found a balance, and I think 4-5 times a week has been working well for me and for readers. I try to post quality posts just about every time I post, so that while my posts are less frequent than some blogs (but more frequent than others), they are key posts every time.
    you've got more than enough time to maintain more than just one blog if you do it full-time. If you still have a full-time job, you are more limited but than you've got all the time to build up your blogging skills and do not have the pressure to make money.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Enthusiast serg08's Avatar
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    I liked this part the most and would like to add one more Don't

    6. don't write something that is not true


    A: It was custom designed by a friend who is a very good professional designer. It isn’t available for others, although I wish I could release it as a free theme. My designer friend is not accepting new work.

    Can you believe it? Because I don't believe that a designer is not accepting new work

  24. #24
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serg08 View Post
    I liked this part the most and would like to add one more Don't

    6. don't write something that is not true


    A: It was custom designed by a friend who is a very good professional designer. It isn’t available for others, although I wish I could release it as a free theme. My designer friend is not accepting new work.

    Can you believe it? Because I don't believe that a designer is not accepting new work
    I found that statement a little bit "strange" as well. But it could very well be true that his friend isn't accepting new work I mean. More strange is that this is the excuse for not releasing the theme - I doubt that this is the reason behind not releasing it as a free theme, particularly as he seems to value open-source a lot.

  25. #25
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serg08 View Post
    3. don't start a blog if English is not your first language and you are targeting English speaking audience
    I slightly disagree with this point.

    Your point becomes more valid if English speaking audience = native English speakers. But you need to consider that there are many people who's native language isn't English, yet their command of English is excellent, as well as you find native English who's command of written English (grammar and spelling) is very poor.


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