As you may know, I nuked my old blog, which had thousands of posts, and started completely fresh. I’ve had queries from readers who are unhappy with their own blogs, asking whether they should start over too.
The short answer is: no — not unless you have very clear reasons. Any blog which has been online for a while has built up a lot of links (the currency of the web) and authority. Think carefully before you go scorched-earth. 🙂
Blogging: how do you start a blog which makes money?
Other readers asked how to start a blog which makes money.
The answer depends on what you’re doing, and what your goals are for that.
- Do you want your blog to market your business, so that you make more sales?
- Alternatively, do you want to create a blog which will become a business in itself? (What will you sell?)
Of course there are 1001 reasons to create a blog, but whatever your reasons, it’s essential that you know why before you start. Unless you know what you want your blog to do, and set some clear goals, you may not make any money at all.
Ask the “why” question and set goals
Before you worry about the blog itself — where you’ll host it, what kind of content you’ll create — set some goals.
Ask yourself what you want to achieve, and write that down.
“What do I want to achieve?”
As with all goal-setting, be specific, and set a deadline for achievement.
Open a new computer file and write my goal is…
- To create a side hustle which makes an extra $1,000 a month by (a date two months from today); or
- To develop a viable self-publishing business, making $10,000 a month, by (a date five months from today); or
- To build a blog which can become a business, making $2,000 a month by (a date six months from today.)
You can make a blog do just about anything you like, but unless you know what you want to achieve, you risk creating a blog which isn’t fit for your purpose.
Once you know what your goals are, think about your audience: the people you want to reach.
“Who’s my audience? Can I reach them via my proposed blog?”
(For audience, read clients, or customers.)
Once you know your primary goal, it’s time to think about your audience, and whether you can reach them via your blog.
When I’m mentoring bloggers, someone always asks (plaintively): “couldn’t I just create a Facebook page?”
Yes, certainly you could. Chances are you can target an audience easily via Facebook ads.
But do remember that:
- Once you’re in Facebook’s space, you’re controlled. Facebook can change its rules at any time;
- Advertising on Facebook is expensive, and unless you advertise, no one will find your page;
- Facebook is a walled garden: a closed ecosystem — a monopoly. Its aim is to retain all traffic on Facebook.
The “retain traffic” realization is vital. You can spend a lot of money advertising on the tech giants: Facebook, Google, and Amazon. But their intentions are always to keep their traffic, even if you pay for advertising.
For an example of Facebook’s intention of keeping all its traffic on Facebook, consider its recent attempts to create its own payments system. (More on Facebook’s Libra project here. Libra has been stymied for now.)
Write down your goals and your audience. Will a blog help you to achieve your goals? Can you reach your audience via a blog?
If the answer is yes, now it’s time to do a little research.
See if there are bloggers already in the area you’ll be targeting.
If you’re self-publishing, and want to sell more books, find authors in your genre who have blogs. Check out major publishers and their blogs.
Thinking of starting a WordPress blog? You can check a WordPress website’s theme and plugins using ThemeDetector.
Happy planning. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.