Looking back on my journey of blogging, since early 2008, I have put together some tips to assist with your journey. Technology has made blogging much easier and now videos are so popular, so it’s quick to share information. Remember to start our small, there are so many pieces, it can be overwhelming!
These are in the order that I recommend tackling. And it takes years, give yourself time to learn and grow. Baby steps! You will look back over time and be amazed, I promise.
If you are just getting started sharing your story online, here’s my top 10 suggestions to go from hobby to a successful business …
Decide on content
What are you passionate about? What do you love to work on, play with, tell people about? Make a list of many items, but then whittle it down to one main area that you can focus on. I keep track of content ideas in Evernote.
Start recording short messages on your phone. Work you way up to getting a nice camera stand, don’t buy expensive equipment until you’ve experimented. Keep it simple and before you know it, you will have a YouTube channel full of content.
By simply creating an Instagram account, and sharing nice artwork about your content, you will be amazed the followers that will pop out of the woodwork.
If you have an interest in making money at this new content sharing hobby, then create an Etsy account to post items that you make. While it will cost a little to post items and sell items, it’s still much cheaper than setting up a website that handles financial transactions. It’s another great way for people to find your information; and you look like a pro.
URL + WordPress with share feature
Ok, you’ve got some content and you’re started to grow your following. Then next plunge is to create a website. There are many pieces to this, more than folks realize, but again, keep it simple.
You need a URL (the name of your site) and a hosting company. I highly recommend that you use two different companies for this! I don’t use GoDaddy, they are terrible at over charging you. I’m currently using WhoIs.com but shop around for today’s deals.
You need a hosting company, I suggest searching for a fast loading but inexpensive company, that installs the publishing software you want to use. It should cost from $10-20/month. It’s not cheap, but if you want to take your hobby to a business, a website will make you look more professional that someone who has just a YouTube channel and Facebook page. I’m currently using SiteGround.com but shop around for deals.
I recommend WordPress.org as the publishing tool for content. Oh, don’t forget to add the very important “share” plug-in so that people can help spend your information. There are many tools, including WordPress, Blogger, Joomla, Tumblr, Weebly, Wix, etc.
There is a steep learning curve on editing videos. When starting out, learn more about what you can edit inside YouTube. When you get fancier, you’ll learn editing software on your computer. You can add an intro banner, music, voiceovers, etc. But YouTube really allows a lot of simple editing. You’ll also work your way up from using your phone, to a fancy camera. Again, start slow.
I think next up to tackle is becoming an Amazon affiliate. If you post content about how to use items, good product reviews, and information about merchandise that you don’t make, but you are recommending, then I suggest that you include links to those products. You are helping your followers find the products easily, and why not make a few bucks in the process. From your posts, you can include a link to Amazon’s site that includes your account information. When people buy, and it does not add to their cost, you receive a referral fee.
Tumblr blog sharing
Just like Instagram helped attract followers, so does Tumblr. It’s for blog sharing, and it’s amazing how people will find your website by you sharing your website posts to Tumblr. Again, not needed at first, but once you have a good bit of content on your website, start sharing on Tumblr.
Ok, so now you have content, it’s organized on a website, you have some followers; you’re ready to move full steam ahead. I think one of the best ways to get more known, is to start participating in blog hops. This way, as you get introduced from other popular blogs, you gain more followers.
Ok, now you want to get really fancy. There are tools available, not free, you need to pay for this fancy level, that allow you to schedule content to post to your social media outlets. Even though there’s a cost, it will save you time. I would not start this until you are making money at your hobby!