These days, anyone can launch a blog in a matter of hours or less, but building a successful blog is quite another matter, and one that requires a great deal more time and perseverance. Many are lured by the prospect of earning a living from blogging while working at home, but only a tiny fraction of people could ever claim to be successful in their endeavours.
Getting Started Is Not Difficult
Thanks to modern content management systems, starting a blog doesn’t require any knowledge of coding. Long gone are the days when all websites were static in nature, programmed from the ground up in HTML. Early websites were largely designed using complicated desktop editors or even by coding from hand. Today, however, the only times a casual blogger is likely to encounter HTML is when they need to copy and paste some code into their websites, such as that provided by Google Adsense or Amazon Associates.
The overwhelming majority of today’s blogs are powered by the open-source WordPress platform, which supports a relatively small learning curve that’s comparable to learning how to use Microsoft Word. Most of the major Web-hosting companies offer packages that come with WordPress preinstalled. Those who go for this option will have a website up and running as soon as they’ve registered their domain name and signed up for the hosting package, a process that usually only takes a matter of minutes. Once installed, there are countless free themes and plugins available to further customize the look and feel of the blog and add additional functionality.
Showcasing Your Professionalism
Creating a professionally presented blog, which is crucial if you’re blogging for a business or intending to make a living from it further down the line, is a bit more complicated. While a basic WordPress site is less likely to feature a particularly unique and branded appearance, it does provide the essential framework you need to get started. However; when you want to fully customize your website, you’ll either be limited by the options provided by your chosen theme, or you’ll need to procure a basic knowledge of the CSS and HTML markup languages.
Fortunately, CSS and HTML are not nearly as daunting as many novices assume them to be. There are also countless short and concise tutorials available, such as those provided by the WordPress community. You can also use plugins to add further functionality to your blog in most cases, although it’s generally preferable to make more minor modifications to the website by editing a few lines of code as necessary. For example, if you want to add social following buttons to your homepage, a plugin can do the job for you. On the other hand, you could simply create a text widget and copy and paste the necessary code into it so that the buttons automatically appear in the widget area (typically a sidebar).
It’s Content that Matters
While launching a blog isn’t really any harder than creating a Word document, you’re not going to get very far unless you have a decent amount of quality content. Content creation is what you’ll inevitably be spending much of your time on, since any successful blog requires a consistent posting schedule to have any chance of becoming successful in the longer term. Although the optimal schedule will vary depending on your niche and target audience, most successful blogs feature at least four posts per week. Longer pieces of content, which are upwards of 1,000 words, are also important for providing value and increasing your visibility in the search engines further down the line. Most blogs already have hundreds of posts before they start receiving monthly traffic in the tens of thousands.
How difficult it is to create content depends almost entirely on your degree of knowledge and interest in the subject and the amount of time you have available to you. It’s at this point when blogging can become extremely challenging. After all, you should expect to spend hundreds of hours over the course of a few months writing content and promoting your website to have a decent chance of success. Of course, another option is to outsource that work to others, but for those who are just starting out, this tends to be prohibitively expensive. As such, outsourcing blog writing is usually only something that businesses with reasonably generous marketing budgets will pay for.
Promotion Is Even Harder
The first step of launching a blog is ridiculously straightforward when you compare it to writing the content, it needs to get off the ground. Matters get exponentially more time-consuming and complicated, when you want to drive a decent amount of traffic to your website, which you’ll typically need if you want to earn a living from it. Blog promotion requires a great deal of time and patience as well as a social approach towards your target audience. You’re not likely to get far without making extensive use of social media to make yourself known and taking search engine optimization (SEO) into consideration from the very outset.
The time spent working on your blog should be equally divided into content creation and promotion. Promotion is particularly important during the early stages, typically the first six months, until the website starts building up a following and your posts start appearing in the search results. If you have genuinely great content tailored to meet the needs and desires of a specific audience, you’ll inevitably see a steady increase in traffic, provided you stick to your posting and promotion schedule.
In conclusion, starting a blog might be easy, but running a blog is rarely so. However, the real answer depends almost entirely on the individual. If you’re hoping to make quick and easy money from blogging, then it’s definitely not easy. In fact, it’s invariably impossible. Blogging is not a way to get rich quick or become famous overnight but, with the right approach and a passion to share an extensive knowledge in a subject that’s dear to you, the answer is completely different. If you approach blogging with a view to making a long-term income and sticking to what you know, the reward will likely be an easy and reliable income.