Since I started blogging I received emails from my readers and the most common questions I received are; how to start a blog and how can I monetize it? I am no by means a popular content creator that can give you the tips on how to crack the success in blogging. I become a professional content creator because I figured it out everything as I go. In this article, I do not attempt to share a formula on how to be financially successful in blogging. Instead, I present my experience, things I learned in the process of blogging and the challenges I have faced. I find these lessons useful so I’ve thought to finally share it with you.
FIND YOUR NICHE
First of all, before you buy any gadgets for your working materials you must start with your niche. Ask yourself a few things; what kind of topic I can blog about, can I really maintain a blog and who are my target audience?
If you desire to start a blog for personal use then it is okay to have different topics it could be from beauty, gadgets and lifestyle to travel. However, if one day you will be interested to monetize your blog it is important to focus on your niche because not many people would be interested to read many topics in one blog.
For example, on www.kathleengodfroy.com I stay focused on beauty and lifestyle as my niche. I only share about cosmetics, skincare, sometimes a bit of family in between and encouraging men and women in the beauty industry. As results, my audience grew since I revised my blog few years ago because of one reason – I learned my niche.
My tech blog on the other hand, I write about technology, start-up, gadgets and some travel stories. The audience on my tech blog and beauty blog are two different markets.
- Beauty Blog: men and women who are interested to read a blog about beauty, cosmetics, skincare and lifestyle. They are not interested or won’t even care to know about my knowledge in information tech or start-up. They are only interested to read my updates about beauty and if they are convince in my marketing they will purchase my products.
- Tech blog: mostly men who are interested to read a blog about technology, business, start-up tips and pursuing MBA. They are not interested to know about the lipsticks colour shade I wear and definitely will not appreciate my selfies on Instagram.
What is the bottom line? It is important to have separate accounts (if you have more than one industry) to keep the interest of your target audience. If you have random topics, your audience will not subscribe to your blog and your readers will be confused.
LEARN YOUR BRANDING
So you have the niche in mind, you finally want to become a lifestyle blogger, now it is time to learn your branding. Ask yourself a few questions should I name my blog after my full name or should I use a generic name?
Branding is one of the most important things in blogging because it will attract your audience. Thus, if you have a bad branding people will not even read or subscribe to your blog.
In my case, I named my beauty blog as KathleenGodfroy.com because I personalize it with my experience and journey in cosmetics. Besides I like the name Mrs. Kathleen Godfroy it sounds sweet to me. Ha ha! However, if I wasn’t interested to personalize it I would probably name it like, www.FairyGlamMother.com or something else that is fun to use and easy to remember.
Tips: when it comes to branding make sure you will purchase a domain that is .COM and not .NET, .ORG or a secondary name of someone else’s blog name. For example, if you find a popular blogger who has a name of “BucketList.com” and you envy to copy that blogger so you purchase a domain name Bucketlist.net not only people will find that you are just a copy cat but it will be difficult for you to monetize it because brands, audience and readers will find your brand confusing and they may assume it is associated to something else.
USE THE RIGHT PLATFORM
There are many blog platforms to choose from and it can be confusing and intimidating to use for a beginner. Here are few tips:
- Blogspot is so easy to use and it’s free! All you need to do is to create or use your Gmail account and start a blog name on Blogspot. If you decide later to customize your domain name you can always buy on Godaddy or any domain company then connect the domain with your blogspot account. Additionally, it is easy to design the blogspot and it has SEO built-in.
- WordPress.Com is also easy to use and there are many templates that are beautiful and it’s for free. You can create an account for free and if you would like to upgrade it to have more storage, the price can be from USD 20 – 100. However, the WordPress.com has limitation for coding and thus, your future web designer may not like it.
- WordPress.Org is the best choice for blogging because it has the flexibility to design your blog. However, you must purchase a separate hosting account in order to connect and built your blog with WordPress.Org. You can use BlueHost or Site Ground for reasonable hosting.
What I am using:
I am using WordPress.org and I purchased the hosting on Site Ground. I like Site Ground the best because they offer reasonable price for hosting and their customer service representatives are available 24/7. Unlike in Godaddy that you will be required to make a phone call. Who has a time for that? Ha ha
CHOOSE YOUR WORKING MATERIALS
When I started blogging I used my old PC and I had no idea how to use a Lightroom in Adobe Photoshop. Now before you judge me why I use Adobe, well Lightroom is a software that can enhance the colour and style of your photos. You can also install presets from VSCO that can make your photos stunning. It doesn’t dramatically change your physical look.
There are few pros and cons in working materials for your blog:
- To use a PC is a good tool to check your photos on a big screen. However, it will not give you flexibility to write if you are travelling overseas.
- To use a laptop is flexible, however, not all laptop has big hard drive and thus, you will always have to use external hard drive to store your photos or documents.
I am using both PC and laptop because if I want to edit photos and if I’m on a “critic mode”, I use the PC at home and I play on Lightroom Adobe to create stunning photos that I can upload on Flickr or blog. If I am not at home, I use my laptop with external hard drive to store the new photos.
My working materials are not necessarily expensive. In fact, I always try to find the best deals online. Besides you don’t need expensive working materials to start a blog! You just need to find your niche, create a good branding, be consistent and manage it.
Okay now that you have a beautiful blog and you are ready to share everything to the world! Great! It is still important to stay positive in your blog no matter how much your bad mood is affecting you. You wouldn’t want to write a very personalized family drama on your blog and share it to the world then delete it after 24-hours because you either regret it or you are afraid people will know too much about your personal life. This is a common mistake of bloggers who write about their hate towards their family, ex lover or even the government!
To stay safe, make sure you are writing topics within your limitation. And just because you are entitled to your own opinion it doesn’t mean it cannot hurt other people. It is also important to understand the lawful rights and limitation in blogging because if you hurt someone or if you make such big claims against a political party they may sue you.
In Singapore for example, it is unlawful to write any negative articles about the government. The local government is taking their reputation seriously and if one is found guilty he can be imprisoned for 12 months to 3 years with fine. Singapore is a modern first world country but they do not tolerate cyber criticisms, especially from bloggers. Unlike, in the United States people can even make jokes about their president and nobody can go to the jail because of that!
APPROACH BRANDS TO MONETIZE IT
So you have the perfect brand, beautiful content and positive aura now what? Are you ready to monetize your blog or you just want to be proactive online? If you have a beautiful blog with the right target audience you can definitely monetize it by simply doing these simple tips:
- Ads space on your blog: you can offer ads space on your blog to brands. The ads price is always depend on how much your worth. Don’t get me wrong your worth is not on the basis of your value but on the basis on the number of your readers. If you have 500 – 5,000 readers per blog article and you have estimated 10,000 visitors on your blog per week or month it is a good portfolio to offer your blog for advertising.
- Approach brands: just because you have professional content or you’re a beautiful blogger doesn’t mean brands will come to you automatically. You need to get out of your comfort zone and start asking brands to pay you in exchange for products reviews. Fees can be from $ 50 to $ 3,000 depending on your media kit: portfolio, target audience and analytics.
- Sell products or services: if you have a number of good readers on your blog use it as a platform to sell your products or services. For example, on kathleengodfroy.com I blog about beauty so I sell products that are relevant to my industry – cosmetics and skincare. Of course, not many people are interested to buy because some still prefer to buy luxury brands but if you will stick to your niche, believe in yourself and be consistent people will appreciate and respect your efforts. Imagine if you can sell a product worth $ 16 each but if you will have 1,000 orders from your readers that is about $ 16,000 before tax. Thus, you can never underestimate the power of blogging. 😉
WORK ON YOUR MEDIA KIT
Now here’s the creativity comes in. Media kit is not all about analytics it is also about your content. To start a media kit you must have social media accounts that are available to the public.
For example on www.kathleengodfroy.com my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have the same branding of Kathleen Godfroy. It is not Kathleen Godfroy beauty or Kathleen Godfroy blog, etc. I make it to the point that my brand is easy to remember and find online.
My audience is not big if compared to other bloggers because I wasn’t consistent when I started blogging few years ago. I on and off my social media accounts. With many years of blogging I learned that it is important to be consistent and to manage the content.
How to manage your social media content?
Good question. If your niche is beauty then focus on creating content on your social media about beauty, fashion or lifestyle relevant to your niche. Your audience will not be interested to check your cooking skills and your pets’ food. Once you work on your content you will be surprised how your audience can grow. Do not worry about having less photo likes in the beginning of creating content for social media. Remember we all start from small and the most important for readers is to see that you are growing. People will definitely appreciate your journey. They will respect your efforts and consistency.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO HAVE A CHARACTER!
Do not be afraid to show your flaws, vulnerability, imperfections and even corny jokes to your audience. After all they read or follow your blog not because they are only interested to see the beautiful things in you. To have a character is an interesting marketing strategy that can be relatable to your specific audience.
For example, I’m married to a Caucasian man and I know not many people will find it #CoupleGoals. In fact, many people may even assume I married him because “I’m taking advantage of him” since I am originally from Manila. To add fun in my marriage life, I share my Asian wife attitude online, which comes, along with my native cooking, selfies situation and my sassiness. Some people find it funny that I overly done make-up when I am visiting the husband in the laboratory at work. They also email me that they can relate to my family life. Of course, not many people appreciate my sassiness and some may find it even annoying especially if we have different culture but I am not blogging to please everyone. I am sharing my journey to be myself regardless if there are only 100 people from 10,000 readers that can appreciate me. The 100 people can be a good start to build my own community.
Thus, do not be afraid to go extra! In fact, when blogging you have to get out of your comfort zone and show case your unique personality. In the blogging world, the more you are trying to play safe the less you will have an audience. If you intend to play safe it is better to be a ghost writer instead. However, if you desire to blog successfully and monetize it then you better plan your marketing, style, and what kind of character you are comfortable to share in public. 😉
And if you are afraid of people will misuse your photos or even attack you online, please get a help from a legal counsel.
At my mum in-law’s boat. Wearing a casual dress from Walmart.
A night before I applied a makeup I used serum from Nourish, a Malaysian skincare brand.
In my next article, I will offer the high quality corset I am using when I wear a dress or even jeans. There are many corsets that you can find in department stores or online stores but not all fabrics are high quality that can truly shape your body. I am using a corset to re-shape my body whenever I wear a dress or jeans. It is easy to wear, comfortable and it is not ridiculously expensive. At less than 15 bucks I can achieve an hourly glass body shape. So when I take photos or videos editing isn’t necessary because the body shape looks neat and it will make you look thinner. Stay tuned for my next article!
Meanwhile if you want to see the products that I am using for my daily shoot, please visit our website at www.kgodfroycosmetics.com. We also offer delivery to the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia as we have partnered with local logistics for your convenience. Our products are quality, smudge free, easy to use and are reasonable price.
Thank you for reading and please share with me your blog once you start it. It will be a nice feeling to know that my articles are helpful.
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