The Truth About Starting a Blog

The keywords “How to Start a Blog” or “How to Make Money Online” are two of the most competitive keywords to rank for on the internet. These two terms alone get millions of searches a month because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be independently wealthy and live life on their terms?

These topics are highly sought after because so many people are eager to learn how to make money online. Why, because many people think it’s a fast way to make money with little risk. That is partly true. Yes, there is little risk and cost when starting an online business or blog, but it will take a lot of time before you start to see any results. And most people will quit way before they see any success.

Many popular bloggers have found scrupulous ways to sell books and programs to people searching for these terms. Some are legit, but many of them only make money by selling you their products. Yes, they don’t actually make money online using their advice. They sell you stuff using inflated sales figures, bogus claims, and pictures of yachts and Lamborghini’s. You know who you are.

This article will be very different from any other “How to Start a Blog” article you will find on the internet. It will not include affiliate links to hosting companies, WordPress themes, website builders, or any other company for that matter. Instead, this article will lay out the truth about starting a blog, so help me god.

We are going to shed some light on this topic in a very candid, honest way. Grab your favorite beverage and enjoy the read!

Quick Answer for People with No Time to Read

Move on… nothing to see here. If you don’t have time to read this article, then you don’t have time to maintain a blog or learn how to make money online. It’s that simple.

It will take a lot of time and hard work to make money online from blogging or selling products. You probably already have a day job, family, other obligations, distractions from friends, etc. With everything going on in life, you will always have an excuse for not pursuing your online venture.

If you have a little time to read, then start your website or blog on Squarespace, Wix, or a similar platform. I used Squarespace for a long time, and it integrates the domain registrar, hosting, email marketing, and theme all into one platform. It is the best website platform for most people.

If you’re serious about blogging and have a long-term plan, start on WordPress. If you start on WordPress, you will most likely never have to move anywhere else.

Looking to sell physical products online? Then Shopify will be your best solution. The Shopify backend experience has been perfected over the years. I would say Squarespace would be second, and WordPress third for simplicity when it comes to e-commerce.

Ok, you made it this far, let’s keep reading.

We Are Not Going to Discuss Technical Know How

There are thousands of articles online that will show you how to set up a web host or install WordPress. This article is not going to cover that. Instead, we are going to discuss the truth about what it takes to persevere online. We will emphasize how hard it is to grind every day, every week, every month while all other distractions in life are pulling you in the other direction.

If you are starting on Squarespace or Shopify, they both have some of the best documentation for getting started on their platforms. You will be able to find everything you need to get set up and grow your website as long as you’re willing to learn. They also include outstanding chat and email support.

If you are starting out on WordPress, good luck. It’s like the Wild, Wild West. My best advice for anyone starting on WordPress is to keep it as simple as possible in the beginning. As you start to generate traffic, you can add plugins and features to your website as needed. WordPress can and, most likely, will always be able to do anything you want on your website.

The major advantage to WordPress is once you get set up and learn the software, you will never have to switch to another website platform, which can be a huge pain. That is, unless you get that “shiny object syndrome” sparkle in your eye.

What is The Purpose of This Article?

Just like everything else in life, there is so much disinformation online about how to start a blog, how to start a website, or how to make money online, etc. The same can be said about politics, business and marketing advice, and especially health advice.

The online world can be confusing and deceiving, with pushy salesman and shady characters lurking in the shadows. Getting started the right way with the proper expectations can go a long way in helping you be successful with your venture.

Everyone is trying to sell a course or a book. Most of these people have had no real-world success at anything. The only thing they are good at is convincing you to purchase their “How to Get Rich” ebook, video, or course. They are great at convincing you to open your wallet or click a link, so they get a commission.

Every website you land on is littered with affiliate links. This is perfectly fine as long as the author is being honest.

  • Have they actually used the product they are recommending?
  • Were they contacted by the manufacturer or influenced to write the article?
  • Are they recommending a certain product only because it pays out the highest affiliate commissions?
  • Do they have the readers’ best interest in mind?

Ultimately, the reader is left to decide whether what they are reading is accurate. You have to decide. Use your gut instinct. Humans can smell BS a mile away.

This article was not written to rank for competitive “make money online” keywords. Hell, that’s almost impossible. Those topics have been beaten to death with a sledgehammer.

I am trying to save one person hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. I am trying to save one person lots of time. This article will set real-world expectations about what it takes to make money online. I will not sugar coat the subject. By the time you get through this article, you can decide whether this endeavor is for you.

Blogging is Cheaper than a Therapist

If you like to write, blogging may be perfect for you. Writing is very therapeutic. It feels good to get thoughts and ideas out of your head and onto a screen or paper. If your writing can help someone in their life, even better. But, the experience doesn’t stop at writing. You need to hit the publish button, which is the most exciting part.

Publishing your first article is a start, but it shouldn’t stop there. Writing is cheaper than hanging at a bar all night, shopping, or sitting in drive-thru lanes and then staring at traffic while you drink your milkshake. The monthly fees you will pay for a website or software to blog will be much cheaper than seeing a therapist.

Writing Is a Mental Exhalation

Mental exhalation is exhaust. A release of what’s in your head. You don’t have to be a writer to write. Anyone can write their thoughts down on paper or type them on a screen. How you do it doesn’t matter. All that matters is you do it.

Writing is a release. A mental exhalation of sorts. It feels good to get thoughts out of your head. This probably explains why so many people in past times were great writers. It was a hobby for many.

Writing will get easier with time. Like anything in life, the more you write, the better your writing will be. Don’t worry about making mistakes or how to spell a word. Who cares? You must fail to succeed.

The whole point of writing is to release what’s in your head. It’s a way to exercise the brain and release the build up in your head. The process frees the mind to move on to the next thing. Every time you write, a stepping stone is laid in time.

A great place to start is a journal. You can write about your health in a journal, so you can look back on what foods make you feel good and other foods that cause inflammation. You can write about your family. Not only that, but you can write about what you are thankful for and reflect on it. You can write anything you want.

Writing is sharing your story. Sharing your story can never be wrong. It’s your story. There are no rules for releasing what’s in your head. Your writing might help a person who reads it. If you can help one person going through a hard time, that’s a good thing.

Next time you need to mentally exhale, write something. It doesn’t matter what it is. Grab a piece of paper, write a sentence, and reflect on it. It might change your life. Get it all out. Get all your ideas out of your head before you go to bed, so you sleep better. It feels good.

You Will Not Make Six Figures the First Year

I don’t care how many websites you read that say you can make six figures in the first year of blogging, you won’t. That’s not how it works. The first year of your new website will be about building trust with search engines.

It will be more important than ever to write great, authentic, relevant content that is not copied from another website. The words you write and the images you use need to be yours and yours only.

Here are some examples of blog article titles claiming you can make tons of money in the first year.

  • How to Make Money Blogging in 2022 ($203k in Year One)
  • How to make 6 figures online in 12 months or LESS (3 key tactics every entrepreneur should know)
  • How I Built a Six-Figure Blog in 12 Months (Lockdown Project)
  • How I Built a Six-Figure Business in 4 Months (While Working full-time)
  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR FIRST $100,000 QUICKLY

If you see article titles like these, don’t click on them. They are clickbait headlines that lead to a six-figure business con. These articles are written by companies that have a product or service to sell, or individuals trying to get you to scan their article, hoping you will click on their affiliate link, so they make a commission.

If you find these articles online, you will notice a very common theme. They all link out to web hosting companies or other blogging products with affiliate links. They make a commission every time you click and sign up through their links.

It’s a simple business model. Make bogus claims online, giving people false hopes that they will be able to quit their job in one year and make six figures moving forward.

I Am So Excited to Start My Blog!

I bet you are. But hold your horses, Nelly. Not so quick.

Everyone that first starts out online has high aspirations to be successful online. They get REALLY excited and motivated in the beginning, but unfortunately this comes to a halt quickly. Why? Because they don’t see results right away.

Just like your day job, your online job will take lots of time. The question is, do you have the time? The answer is yes. If you get off social media and Netflix, you would have loads of time to do all kinds of stuff. It is about priority. Some people don’t have the time, and that’s fine.

Be honest with yourself. Dreams are great, but dreaming is only the start. You have to execute your plan and be prepared for the daily, weekly, and monthly grind. When I say grind, I mean GRIND. You will be hit with every distraction in life. You will have good days and bad days, but you must stay focused. Find what works for you and stick to it. Don’t waiver.

A year will go by, and your results may not be that great, so you get discouraged. You start to think to yourself, this is a complete waste of time, and I am not going to renew my domain or website subscription.

This is when you need to think back about WHY you are blogging. It’s because you like to write, and it’s therapeutic for you. Get back in that zone, lower your expectations, and write. I can’t stress enough about writing. If you are not writing, you will never get anywhere.

Go write!

Don’t Buy Courses and Books

Buying new courses and books will only make you the owner of new courses and books. They will not make you a writer or blogger. Most people have spent thousands on courses, and their bookshelves are littered with productivity books. Fast-forward five years and they have accomplished nothing. Stop buying and start writing.

The only thing that will make you a writer is actually writing. The simple act of writing. That’s it. As you can see, there is a reoccurring theme in this article. Write!

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing on a $2,500 laptop or a cocktail napkin. Writing is writing, and the physical act of being creative and getting ideas out of your head is one of the oldest art forms we have.

And, it can be done by anyone. No matter where you are in the world. No one knows where the next fantastic idea or story will come from. It could be you.

Stop Worrying About Making Money

If your sole focus in the beginning is to only make money, you will never get anywhere. Yes, you might make a few dollars here and there with some Amazon links, but the likelihood of you actually going full-time is slim to none.

You need to write for real human beings. Try to solve problems or discuss real issues in your life with products and services you are using. What you have to say may or may not resonate, but you will never know until you try.

Don’t create another Amazon Affiliate website where the sole purpose of every article is to link to Amazon.com. The internet is already overrun with these garbage websites.

How do I know? I was one of them. In my early days of writing online, I had twelve niche websites with thin, garbage content, all with articles written around products I could link too on Amazon’s website.

Managing affiliate links on a website is a full-time job. You have to decide how you want to monetize your website when it’s time. But, in the beginning, just write!

Anyone Can Apply For a Job

If you apply for a job somewhere, you will earn a full-time income in two weeks. What that income is will vary depending on the job you applied for. But, you will be guaranteed a full-time paycheck in two weeks as long as you do what’s asked of you.

At the place you got hired on at, someone else already built the company and took the time to grow it. All the hard work is done. The perseverance, the sweat, the risk, the tears. All the time it took to get the company off the ground and profitable was completed by someone else. You show up, apply for a job, and expect money in two weeks.

With blogging, it’s the opposite. You will show up every week and your full-time income will not be there. Week after week you grind and still no full-time paycheck. A year goes by, and you’re still not making enough money to quit your job and go full-time with your website. So, what are you to do?

That is the question you need to ask yourself because it’s real. Most people give up before they ever see success because the payout does not come quick enough.

Do you think you have what it takes to handle that type of grind?

90% Of All Websites Fail

That is a high number and I feel it is a little conservative. I think a higher percentage of websites fail online, but who really knows. The real question is:

Why Do Websites Fail?

Because they stop writing.

Why do they stop writing?

  • Life gets in the way… busy
  • Expectations were not set properly
  • They expected quicker results
  • They made things way too complicated
  • They thought it would be easier
  • No money is coming in
  • It takes years to make a full-time income

Don’t Build Another Junk Website

If all your articles start with the word “best”, you’re most likely not writing quality content for your visitors.

You’re excited about purchasing “Appliance XYZ” so you go to Google and do a search. Of course, you type in the word “best” because why would you want the worst?

You click the first real search result and land on a website that looks exciting and trendy. You start to read the article and notice the content is “meh” and kind of repetitive. As you scroll through the article, you see table after table with words like “recommended” and buy buttons under each one.

What you have landed on is another junk affiliate website with an article that was written in five minutes before someone went to their day job. Or, the owner paid $4 to have someone write the content. Either way, it is most likely spun junk written by someone who has no knowledge of the subject.

Don’t Become a Corporate Shill

A corporate shill is a person who shows interest and enthusiasm in products, so others make a purchase. It is a false endorsement, a swindle. It is the fine line that many bloggers and YouTube creators walk when writing and talking about products. Are you writing all your articles and reviews only about products you can link to?

For instance, if you’re an Amazon Affiliate, do you only purchase and write review articles about products found on Amazon.com? If so, this makes you like every other garbage website on the internet. There is no spontaneity or entrepreneurial spirit to your website. You most likely have no reviews about obscure, interesting products you have found.

Don’t Be a Fraud

Don’t outsource all your articles. Write your content or, if you have the budget, hire real writers who specialize in the topic you write about. There is plenty of junk online and the world doesn’t need more. Create something useful. Create something truthful. Solve real problems.

If you always tell your audience the truth, they will continue to read your content. Your audience is smart, and they can tell when someone is full of fluff. Tell the story through your eyes in a way only you can tell it. That is what makes your content unique.

By staying on point with your message, you will always be looking forward and never back. Your message needs to be real, honest, and truthful so your content stands the test of time. The beauty of a great article published online is it can be around for 10–20 years, providing help to thousands, if not millions of people. That is the true power of the internet and its reach throughout the world.

Real, honest, truthful content has become a diamond in the rough online. The internet has become littered with junk websites, making it hard to determine what is real. Every article is written to steer you toward a third-party e-commerce website, so the author can make a commission after you make a purchase by clicking their buy buttons.

When you first start out, be content in providing real information online based on your experiences in whatever subject you are talking about. Monetization can come at a later date.

Tools for Blogging

Not much is needed to get started with your blog. You can use what is right in front of you, like a pen and paper, an old laptop, your iPad, or your phone. Most computers and tablets today come with basic writing software and give you the ability to get online. Getting started and sticking with it is more important than anything.

Squarespace

I liked Squarespace. I believe it to be the best managed platform there is. They handle everything from your domain to hosting, security, SEO, newsletters, you name it. If you are new and building a website that needs simple blogging features, Squarespace is the place to be.

All the articles I wrote on Squarespace ranked well, and I never had to worry about SEO or page speed. SEO in Squarespace and is handled for you, which is a plus for anyone who just wants to write.

With SEO on WordPress, there is always that thought that you’re not doing something right, or you need to spend money to rank your website better. This is probably because inside the WordPress community, someone is constantly trying to sell you something. Instead, your time should be spent creating content.

WordPress

After saying all those nice things about Squarespace, WordPress is the place to be if your website grows large. The reason for this is the possibilities are endless with this platform. You can go in many directions with WordPress.

  • Blogging
  • Affiliate Marketing with lots of control over links
  • Business Website
  • Portfolio Website
  • eCommerce Website
  • Options are endless

Where WordPress shines is the way it manages content. It is a CMS, which is a content management system. While it does give you the most flexibility and future proofing, it can be overwhelming since there are so many options in hosting, themes, plugins, etc.

With WordPress, you are not going to have the same type of support like you have in Squarespace. Everything you do from choosing your hosting company, WordPress theme, and plugins will most likely be from separate companies and often there will be conflicts you won’t be able to fix.

If you do intend to use WordPress, stay away from page builders and keep your website as simple as possible in the beginning. This way, as your website grows, it will be easy to make changes when all your content is plain text and in native format.

This website is hosted by SiteGround and is using the Kadence theme at the time this article was written. I have been happy with both.

Ulysses Writing App

One of the reasons why I left Squarespace is because all my writing is done in the Ulysses app. Ulysses allows me to publish content directly to my WordPress blog with a push of a button. This can’t be done with Squarespace, so I made the switch.

This article alone is over 6,000 words, and they were all written in Ulysses. When I’m ready to publish, I press a button versus having to copy and past everything over. The amount of time this saves not having to paste text, reformat paragraphs, and upload images is worth much more than I pay for the software.

Email Newsletter Software

Don’t worry about email marketing and newsletters in the beginning. Focusing on this when you have no traffic is a bad way to spend your time. If you eventually build a website with good traffic, you can address that aspect of your business at a later date.

Most articles online that tell you why you need an email marketing platform, ARE WRITTEN BY EMAIL MARKETING PLATFORMS! The articles are written by companies that want you to sign up for their service. Or, they are written by affiliate marketers that want you to sign up using their big beautiful affiliate button. If you sign up through their link, they receive a commission.

Email newsletters are hard and can be expensive. The very term “Newsletter” is confusing. You see this word thrown around on every website you visit. The word newsletter normally refers to a monthly or quarterly letter sent out to a group that opted in that updates them on matters related to a particular business or industry.

Email updates when new content is published is what you see more often than a standard newsletter. If you sign up for an email list on a website, you will most likely receive an email once a week or whenever new content is published. This is a great way to keep you updated on new content being published on a website that interests you.

Writing Your Content

If you don’t have anything to say or any experience with the product you’re referring to, then don’t publish it online. The internet is overrun with junk websites that are set up for the sole purpose of linking to an affiliate, or they are hoping to get some clicks on their ads.

What Do I Talk About?

Anything you want. Solve real-world problems one at a time. Make sure you are writing for real human beings. Don’t write for Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any other entity. You will not outsmart them. The algorithms are so complex, and they are only getting better with time.

If your long-term goal is to make money online, then you need to pick a topic that is somewhat popular. It doesn’t have to be the most popular topic in the world, but it does need to be something that is searched online.

Don’t worry about what other websites are doing. So many people get started and then spend their whole day reading someone else’s blog when they could be working on their website. There will always be competition in the world. You need to discuss your topic in “Your Voice” which will most likely resonate with certain people. Tell your story. Share your experiences.

What Makes a Good Niche Topic

  • Something you’re interested in
  • Something you have a lot of knowledge about
  • Solving real-world problems
  • A hobby you’re interested in

Your Best Writing Comes from the Truth

Your best writing will be from your successes and failures in life. It’s simple. Write the article you would want to read. Not a sales pitch or persuasion piece trying to convince someone to click a link. Be true, honest, and consistent. Tell your story.

If you have experience with a particular product or in a niche subject, write about it. Write great content once and never look back. Write the article in your voice and one day it will resonate with someone that lands on your website. If the content is good, it will be shared.

Write Content That Ages Well

The same way stupid remarks don’t age well online, neither does bad, spammy content. You can change your website host, WordPress theme, plug-ins you use, affiliates, or ad management company, but your content lives on forever. Good content and advice will be good until the end of time.

Set Small Writing Goals

Setting writing goals can help you focus on the task of writing. For instance, try writing 500 words a day. Or, put your phone away and set a timer for you to write undistracted for one hour. Another great goal is to not look at your traffic or income statistics for 30 days while you focus on writing every day. Completing small goals builds momentum toward larger goals.

Your First Title is Most Likely the Best Title

When you come up with a title for your article, the first one out of your head will most likely be the best one. As you start to get close to finishing your article, you will go through a phase at the end where you may feel your title is wrong. You will start to change it and create different variations, but ultimately, you will most likely end up where you started.

Walk Away From the Article

If you are writing a long article, walk away from it for twenty-four hours and come back to it. You will see things you didn’t see before. This will give you much needed perspective, especially when editing for errors.

Publish Good Now Over Perfect Later

What this simply means is publish your good article now over your perfect article later. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post, short story, or small business update.

If you wait for the article, video, or whatever you’re publishing to be perfect, you will end up with nothing but drafts and edits.

You MUST hit the “publish” button.

Drafts Are Not Work

Yes, drafts are a step in the process, but the process needs to come to an end, so you can start your next process. You must publish to do work. What does this mean?

If all you do is write drafts and never publish, you are not working. You are playing. Drafts are a step in the right direction, but you need to focus and turn that draft into a published article.

Always be shipping. That means always be posting content. Even if you don’t think it’s ready. Your content will never be perfect. It’s better to have one hundred non-perfect articles published than one hundred almost perfect drafts. You can always go back and edit published content if need be.

You must publish or ship. The perfect example is this article you are reading right now. I had this article in “draft” status for 3–4 years and finally took my advice and hit the publish button. Shipped it right out the door!

You Need to Ship

When I say you need to ship, it doesn’t mean you need to sell physical products online. What it means is you need to hit the publish button. Writing sounds easy, but it’s not. Gathering your thoughts and ideas and organizing them in a way someone can follow takes time and clarity.

Most people’s lives are full of distractions, so their goal of publishing content online or starting their new venture is discussed constantly, but the product is never shipped out the door. It’s time to stop talking and start shipping. There will be plenty of time to talk once you have created something.

You Can Update Later

Remember, you can always update or fix an article at a later day. That is the beauty of publishing online. It is a digital format that can be modified with a few clicks of a button. Hitting that publish button will propel you forward with momentum. Yes, there will be mistakes because you don’t have an in-house team editing all your articles.

Who cares about mistakes. There are numerous websites with grammar and spelling mistakes, but it doesn’t stop them from being successful online and publishing content.

You Don’t Need to Be the First to Publish

You don’t need to be the first to publish an article on a topic, you need to be the best. Your article needs to be written by a human being with a real story to tell. Real never goes out of style, it just gets better with time.

Focus on Your Website

Stop with trying to manage multiple niche websites. Especially if you are using WordPress. Managing multiple websites takes far too much time when you could be creating great content instead. Not to mention, it gets expensive keeping up with multiple domains, software licenses, and updates.

In the beginning, find one thing you are good at and start writing about it. The bottom line is, you have to write every day. Leave the multiple websites to the internet marketing types that love setting up and optimizing websites.

Focus and Stop Worrying About Competitors

In order for a professional golfer to win a tournament, they have to focus on their game. What their competitor is doing has no bearing on what they are doing. Spending your time worrying about competitive websites gives your competitors the advantage because they are writing content while you watch their site.

Focus and Stop Looking at Stats

At first, your stats are not going to change much. And it will be disappointing. You are guaranteed not to produce content if you base your mood and attitude on whether your stats are good for the day. Start writing content and look at your stats every 30 days or so. This will keep your spirits up and help you stay focused on writing.

Focus and Stop Reading Tech Blogs

I know you will never stop reading tech blogs or watching YouTube videos, but I had to say it. Continually watching tech bloggers whose job is to always be testing and trying out new software can lead to shiny object syndrome. The latest and greatest productivity software or blogging platform is released, causing you to spend two weeks moving all your stuff over.

You have to keep in mind that many technology blogs and YouTube channels make their living talking about the “next best” app, hosting company, website platform, or hardware device. It doesn’t mean you have to switch or buy the latest iteration.

Focus and Commit to at Least Three Years

You need to commit a minimum of three years to your blog before quitting. The first year will be the hardest. Most people will not be able to continually write for the first year. They will be excited at first, but that eventually dies off when the money doesn’t come flowing in.

SEO and Page Speed

In the beginning, don’t get caught up with SEO or page speed. They are traps. If you become fixated on this, you will end up spending hundreds of dollars trying to optimize a website that doesn’t have any traffic. Sure, you will make a little money in the beginning. The long term is where you will fail. Instead, focus on writing great content.

I liken SEO to doing your taxes. The federal government could make the tax code much easier, but that will never happen because there is an entire industry that relies on the process being burdensome. Because it can be so hard to understand, especially if you run a business, many companies pay a company to process and file their taxes.

Don’t obsess and fiddle with the backend or the design of your website when you first start. It won’t make one difference because no one is coming to your site yet. Instead, focus on your niche and try to be the best expert you can with your topic. You need to write original, authentic content. This will give you the most return in the long term.

Blog Post Images

Many bloggers simply won’t post anything because they can’t find the perfect image, or they don’t feel like processing the images they took. It takes time to deal with images. Lots of time.

You have to shoot the image. Next, you have to cull and edit them on your computer or iPad. If you don’t have an image optimization plugin on WordPress, you will need to export the image in a smaller size, so your website doesn’t slow down.

I process all my images in the Apple Photos app on a Mac computer and export them as “large JPEG”. This exports them at 1280×960, and the size is usually under 500kb. It’s important to keep your images around 500kb or less so your website loads quickly.

Use Your Photos

If you search for “How to Get Blog Images”, you will find all kinds of results. Some websites will say it’s perfectly fine to use photos found on the internet as long as you credit the photo to the original owner.

Other websites will warn against using photos found online. I agree with them. We once used a generic cartoon we found online on our small business website. I opened my email one day to find a company out of the Seattle, WA area was asking us to remove the photo and pay a fine.

My first thought was it was a scam. I did some in-depth research into the company and even called another company in Europe that was supposedly the owner of the photo. It was legit. We had to pay around $150. We got off easy. I have read online where some people have had to spend thousands of dollars. Not good.

Moral of the story. Take your photos yourself and you will never have to worry.

Watermarking Images

When I started blogging online over ten years ago, I watermarked all my images. Fast-forward several years, and the watermark on all my images was no longer relevant. My website had changed, and I had to crop out the watermark, which took a lot of time.

I would recommend not watermarking all your images for standard blog posts unless you are selling them as a photographer. The more time you spend on images, the less likely you are to continually publish blog posts. Your image process needs to be simple and effective.

Turning Blog Comments Off

Some of the most popular bloggers on the internet have written articles about how a website needs comments. For years, they have advocated for keeping comments turned on, saying a blog without comments is not a blog. But, many have since turned their comments off.

Why? Because comments have become expensive to maintain and bloggers are not winning the fight against spam. Having comments turned on requires additional plugins which can slow your website down, not to mention monthly fees if you need premium features.

You need to decide if you want to write great content every day, or sit around trying to decide whether a comment if from a bot or a real human being. Your time is the most valuable thing you have. Spend it creating more content.

Engage on Social Media

If you choose to engage with your audience, do it on social media. Those platforms are better equipped to handle that type of communication.

Your Readers Lose Focus

If a reader follows a particular website or writer, they could get lost in the comments section after the article, which could ruin the experience of the article. Instead, that reader would be better served clicking on a “related post” at the end of the article, so they can stay on subject.

Search Engines are Digital “Word of Mouth”

Search engine algorithms look at many variables when determining which websites have the most “relevant” content. Relevancy is the most important factor when a search engine returns results for your search. The reason for this is they want you to continue using their service because that’s how they make money. No one is ever rewarded for being bad at their job.

Great content will always be shared and linked to naturally because it is “great content”. It happens naturally and organically. You couldn’t stop people from sharing it if you wanted to. When good content has links pointing to it from reputable websites, this is virtual “word of mouth”.

This is the same as you asking your neighbor which lawn service or plumber they use. If you find your neighbor credible, then you will most likely take their recommendation. If your experience with the lawn service is good, your neighbors “credibility” has now gone up with you. It’s the same thing online with search engines.

Search engines have technical factors they look at like “bounce rate” to determine if the page someone is landing on is providing the answer they were looking for. They use many inputs in their algorithms to determine which website will return the most relevant, credible information.

Conclusion

The first part of this article started off, setting expectations for people wanting to start a blog. I have been at this off and one for over ten years, and I can tell you there is nothing harder to stick with, especially if you work full-time and have family obligations.

The best advice I can give anyone is the following:

  • keep it simple
  • focus on one website
  • be authentic
  • write original content
  • make changes slowly
  • rinse and repeat

This article may be repetitive in a few areas. It took on a life of its own and ended up being written over several years. Either way, I will most likely update it over the coming years as I continue to learn and move forward writing new content.

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