Everything about blogging
Now is the time to start your blog and with 90 percent of the population predicted to being online by the year 2030, you cannot say that you have “missed the boat.”
Blogging is one of the easiest ways of getting online and gives you a chance at the very least, to tell your own story to the world.
At best, you can make a full-time living from blogging or a nice part-time income, but that requires a lot of dedication and hard work and it’s not for the faint-hearted and certainly not as easy as some people would like you to believe.
Blogs can be about everything and anything — that’s why I have decided to produce this blogging guide and from my own perspective of a 55-year young entrepreneur and businessman, who has extensive experience of starting online and traditional “bricks and mortar” companies.
It is important to know that I am talking about my own expertise here and where I don’t have it and for example with regard to the deep technical aspects of blogging and Internet technology, I will link you to people I know and trust.
If you haven’t yet started a blog but you want to create one, then start with this Udemy guide that will show you how to start a blog on WordPress.
If you want to know why I started a blog, then you can read more about that here.
Aside from the fact Blogging is an extremely simple way to get online, there are many other factors, but for me and also for my friend Fernando Raymond, who I recommend for all of the technical aspect including online marketing, I believe the main reason is to start a blog is to build your personal brand.
And the earlier you start this process the better — all of my three children whose ages range from 9 – fifteen have their own personal domain names registered and will be starting both a blog and a YouTube channel and I recommend the same for everyone and don’t let age get in your way.
Here is a video produced by my youngest Son Louis, from his own channel:
At the other end of the spectrum, I know people who are in their sixties and seventies who have blogs and think about the cognitive aspects here — they are keeping the “grey matter” well and truly alive and also staying connected to the outside world, even in a virtual capacity.
If you are a retired teacher, accountant, engineer, lawyer or whatever, then think about the value your knowledge could bring to people, as well as the fact you could earn a nice income from it.
Other reasons to start a blog could be to write about a passion that you have, to start an online business or promote your existing business…but…just think for a moment about how competitive the world is today.
Competition is good — great in fact and because it creates a market and actually gives you the motivation for you to perform better than your competitors.
People fear competition and they should definitely not!
Too many people try to re-invent the wheel and are first to market, including myself in my earlier years and in one business I started with two other co-founders, we actually were and guess what?
Nobody would believe what we had because there was effectively no market for our services and it was extremely hard to get people interested.
When I entered the ultra-competitive world of staffing/recruiting, it was easy for me to differentiate because I could put my own spin on the industry and I decided to “reverse engineer” the existing staffing model by actively marketing talent to companies and also by focussing on the top 20% of my industry.
It is good to have competition and never let that put you off — make sure you spend time on the other aspects of getting started that I cover later to dramatically increase your chances of success.
Now I deliberately haven’t talked about monetizing your blog or earning money online as that will be a byproduct of a good blog and also why it takes a huge amount of dedication, determination, and effort to get to that stage, but doesn’t everything that is worthwhile doing and making money require the same?
I write more about making money online in 2019 in the UK market in this article.
Find your passion for blogging
People will tell you that your passion is the key to success and they are absolutely right.
When I started my first business that focused on providing key staff to the telecommunications sector, I had literally “retired.”
I was no longer working because I was so passionate about what I was doing.
Now, unfortunately, today, some marketers have taken this a little too far and go on to tell everyone that their passion is a key to success.
They are dead wrong.
Passion only leads to success if there is a market for that success.
You absolutely have to love what you do so that it never can be looked at as “work.”
This is the real key and if you are lucky enough to be able to find something as I did, then you will have hit the jackpot!
Blogging is a business
Even if your sole aim in creating a blog is to showcase your life story to the world, or use it as an online C.V/Resume, you must take the view that it is a business.
In this example, it is the business of you — or what I like to term the “Enterprise of You.”
If you are launching a blog to sell services or products, then, of course, you will get this straight away.
So as with any business, it is essential to have a plan and that is where we are going to start with the ultimate guide to blogging.
I like to keep plans readable (yes some are written in so much “corporate-speak” that they become unreadable), simple, and most importantly have a section devoted to risk management.
Let’s not forget that we are very uncertain and volatile economic times and that is one reason why so many people want to start any business — to take back control of their lives and financial destiny, but not to look at risk would be tantamount to business suicide!
Let’s go through some of the steps that I use to help you plan your journey and here we will cover the major aspects of planning for your personal brand as well as any business you care to start and you just switch the focus of the following to make sure you are covering everything:
- Mission and values – who are you, what do you want to be and what are your core values
- Market – who is your target audience in your industry or what industry are you going to target and why – what problems and challenges is your audience facing
- Message – what message are you going to deliver to that audience and how are you going to solve their problems
- Model – What model of operation are you going to follow – are you going to start a new career as a freelancer, stay employed or even start a company
- Metrics – how are you going to measure progress, measure and manage risk and stay on track
Let’s go deeper into each component and these are also talked about in my article that talks about becoming invaluable in your workplace named “How to become a linchpin and the best employee”:
1.Mission and values
The starting point is to find out “who you are,” and identify your core values, so give some detailed thought to the following and this will also shape each section of your Enterprise:
- Education — go right back to the beginning and list what you have learned even if it was 2 grades of a musical instrument and of course, where you are today, plus what you would like to learn if you could
- Work history — every job you have had if you have worked
- Dream job/career — what would you absolutely love to do
- Passions, hobbies, and interests — self-explanatory but list all of them, even the ones you abandoned and any you would like to start
- Awards, achievements and any evidence of leadership — it doesn’t matter if you were the captain of your school’s netball team, every piece of achievement in your life provided a “reference point” that can be built upon
- Beliefs and what you stand for — this is a critically important part of the audit and be honest – you are not going to market these points to anyone at this time, only yourself, but it is a huge part of “who you are”
- Recognize what you don’t like and explain why — it is also important to deal with anything that you are not comfortable with and that you don’t like — even people
- Tangible evidence of “soft qualities” – everyone overuses the qualities of “honesty,” “integrity,” “hard-working,” “determined,” “reliable,” etc. Provide evidence, no matter how small that evidence is
You have now created what I term your “Master C.V./Resume” and that is the foundation of your story.
If you have done the process correctly and in great detail, you will have a clear idea as to:
- Who you are and what you stand for
- What you want to do/be and why
Now it is time to start to look at your industry in great detail, not just from the perspective of your own job, but the entire industry and firstly from an investment point of view and here is an article on how to do it.
How much is your industry worth who are the major investors in it, what are the most successful companies and why, what are the visions for the future and so on?
You want big-picture thinking so that you can have not only a deep understanding of everything but also to help you to form opinions, which is a vital step to being heard by your colleagues, bosses, potential employers or to help you through your first interview.
Take it down a level now to your own company or the companies you would like to work with – what are their visions, what separates them from the competition?
Check the statements of the Chairman and the CEO by looking at the annual reports of the companies and here is a source where you can find them.
Now start to identify not only the problems and challenges that are faced today but what is also likely to occur in the future.
You should now have a clear picture of your own company and where it stands within the industry, a company you would love to work for or a company you want to target for your first job.
You will also not only understand the problems and challenges that are facing your industry and companies today but also for the future and this will also identify the components of risk.
Understanding and managing risk is an essential component of research.
Now we have gone through the self-discovery and research phases, it is time to put this into action and start to “move the message.”
Look at the SEO and Social Media marketing courses that Fernando Raymond offers and you will be able to start driving traffic to your site very quickly if you are prepared to put in the work.
So the first thing to do when “moving your message” is to get the message out of your head and on your blog.
For me, it developed a daily writing habit (I don’t post daily, but it keeps me disciplined) where I can just put down my thoughts and then come back to them later.
It is also a great place for you to see how far you have progressed and with my blogging, I can look back and see where I have come from and use that to shape the future.
I simply want to share my expertise and knowledge gained in business and life to help and inspire others and this is why I started my blog.
And you can do exactly the same.
This is simply to determine how you structure what you have now designed — will you start a company, become a blogger talking about your passions or both?
The key here is to build a sustainable model and one that you are passionate about and in both continuing and developing.
So many people build companies with the wrong operating model and this is relative to your research and risk management.
It is important to measure and track everything — from each internal presentation, you do to every job application and every interaction.
Make sure you crunch the numbers and react accordingly.
So many people and companies don’t track their actions or their results.
Don’t fall into this trap and the Internet economy has brought with it a host of tools and services that allow you to measure and track everything you do.
On a personal note, I love to cook and there is nothing better than simply using your instincts when you are creating a spice blend for example, but I do also know that when it comes to baking, measurements are absolutely essential.
Think like a baker and make sure that everything is measured out correctly.
The above points simply serve as a guide to help you plan the process and they are not exhaustive — add any other components that you feel may be relevant and contact me if you have any questions.
How to start a blog?
Starting your own blog takes some work and I will let the experts show you how to start a blog step by step.
The easiest way to start a blog is to build your blog on WordPress.
Getting your blog out of your head and launching
I am going to leave this section to the experts and I will now introduce you to the man who inspired me to get my blog started and at the tender age of 55.
Fernando Raymond is the man to show you everything about not only setting up your blog but how to make money from it and Nicole Venglovivova has been through the journey.
And you can check their course on Udemy to learn how to create a blog and start blogging effectively.
There are a few steps to be taken here and you just have to work through the process, but it is something you absolutely must do in order for you to retain control of your destiny.
Take Social Media for example — almost everyone is on it and has no problems in sharing a large part of their lives through the medium.
The only problem with any Social Media site is that you have no control of the “rules.”
Anything and everything can change in a heartbeat and if you are going to build some real and physical real estate, you would want to make sure that you have control over the property you have invested in and built.
It is no different than having your own online and “virtual real estate.”
Now let’s be real here — the world governments can shut down the Internet tomorrow and we are all potentially finished, but it is about how much you can actually manage your risk.
Talk to Fernando and ask him how you can minimize your own risk and get as much control as you can.
Connect with Nicole and ask her about her own personal journey.
But more importantly, if you have got to this stage then you need to congratulate yourself on taking the first step on what can be a very rewarding and profitable journey.
Creating the perfect blogging message
Completing the planning stage will now have given you a perfect place to start with the one thing you need to power your blog and make sure people are interested in what you have to say and do.
You will have built your “home” page for the blog, which is going to have the key message of your site so that everyone can see instantly what you do and what value you bring your audience.
This is a critical page and one that will prove the most difficult (in my experience) of all — it will anchor your entire site and with an average time spent on a page of 8 seconds, you need to grab the attention of your reader very quickly.
The key aspect of this and for any page that you write in the future is the headline.
It’s funny that in today’s extremely high-tech society, we still need to go back in time to get the best answers to certain questions and if we are talking about questions in the advertising world, we can go back and study the thinking of one of the advertising greats and also a man known as the “Father of Advertising,” David Ogilvy.
It would be a very productive idea for you to research Mr. Ogilvy in detail as you have absolutely everything to gain.
But much as I am a fan of learning from everyone and anyone, I am much more of a believer in growing myself and you should be too.
I will explain using my two Sons who are desperate to become professional soccer players and my job is to help make that dream a reality, no matter what their chances of success.
Part of their learning involves picking players who they like in terms of technique, speed, and overall conduct so they can use them as role models.
I will give you one of their role models here — the great Ronaldinho.
Now they will watch his videos over and over and then try to copy his skills relentlessly, which is exactly what I would expect, but the key here is also to use those skills as a framework for developing their own ideas.
I don’t want either of them to be the next Ronaldinho, but to be the first Sam and Louis Franklin!
It is essential to use the ideas out there and pick the best…but you must develop your own ideas and that can only come from getting out there and “doing it”, whatever “it” is and then refine your techniques. After all, Ronaldinho got his ideas from someone or something.
So be creative with your headline and message on your first page, but also, don’t overthink it — you need a simple, clear and concise message that will compel your readers to stay on the page and the site.
If you are the footballer Ronaldinho, then you may want to start writing a list of the words that your headline might contain and let me help you:
- Dances around his opponents
- One blink and you have missed the goal
So it is up to you how you use those words, but the goal is to grab the attention and hook the reader, from there it is about the next phase which is to “tell a story.”
This is where you have to get creative and the headline leads to the story on the homepage which grabs, captures and entices the reader into the entire site.
If you need more specific help with this or any page then contact me and I will work with you, as this is one of my core specialties.
On the subject of a contact, then you need to obviously have a “Contact Us/Me” or simply the word “Contact” as I have and that leads us to the next two, extremely important pages that will appear to be the same, if you name them in the traditional way but have a very subtle difference:
This page has to be about your audience — existing or targeted and so many people use this page to ramble on about who they are and how successful they are, etc.
You have to really know your audience here and it comes down to the research part that I have previously written about, so you should already be familiar with them!
Start with the following:
- Why did you start your blog — what motivated and inspired you and what problems did you want to solve
- What are you going to do for your audience
- And how are you going to deliver it and back it up with experience and expertise
Only you know the answers to the above and the burning passion that sits inside you.
You should really try to visualize sitting in a relaxed environment and chatting to a member of your target audience — maybe it is a group audience who is interested in hearing your story — maybe you are in a bar and suddenly find yourself in the position of having a group of people listening intently to what you have to say.
Now write as if you are speaking to that audience!
It literally is that simple and you need to lose the fear to get there.
Fear is your friend and it is about how you use it — “the hero and the coward have the same feeling,” as Cus D’amato said, but it is about how you react to it that makes the difference.
Now is the time to go crazy and talk totally about yourself, what you have achieved and why you are such a great person in this world.
I’m serious here — if the person who is on your site clicks on this tab, then they are going to be interested in who you are and it is the one place where you can really showcase yourself.
So don’t be shy!
Here is the “About me” section of my dog’s (in progress) blog:
“Hi my name is ‘Sharps’ and I was born somewhere in Texas, but I am now living in the United Kingdom.
I love the UK, the climate is a lot more bearable than Texas and I have five owners who I regularly tease and trick to get whatever I want…make no mistake, I really do.
They have no idea as to what really goes on in the mind of a super-intelligent dog, who can do anything it wants all for a little show of affection when of course it suits me.
That’s me on the right by the way and I am totally duping my “parents” and getting some dog treats!
I want to start a dog training school for only the very best, intelligent and determined dogs who want to control their human owners and if this is of interest to you, then please use your paws to dial 1-800 dogs really do control humans and I will be in touch.”
In all seriousness, this part of your site should be all about you and make sure that you use everything that is at your disposal.
“People buy people” as the saying goes and the real buying decisions are based upon trust and the value that the person who is buying, perceives.
You have dedicated an “About” page on your blog to talk about your audience and that is specifically designed to inform them of what you can do for them — it is about your experience and expertise.
The “About Me” page is designed to let your audience know who they are dealing with and to then start the process of building trust.
And if you follow the message from my dog, then you know it makes sense!
The last page you need to have on your site if it is applicable is…
Here as the name implies, you will talk about the specifics of what you offer and you could be a consultant specializing in international taxation issues or a landscape gardener who can re-design and re-purpose your garden.
It really follows the same procedure as any other page and let’s look at someone who is starting a cleaning business for example and I talk about starting a cleaning business in this article.
It is clear that you need to talk about the services that the cleaning company offers, but it is also imperative that you start to educate the customers as to what a cleaning business is, in terms of your definition.
I will explain this in “selling” terms.
The best way to sell is to use education and fact to back up your proposition and a blog is a fantastic way to educate your audience, whether they are a targeted or existing audience.
So you can create a services page that talks about what you do and your blog will explain how you di it with real-life examples and again this is just an example of a strategy.
You don’t have to sell at every opportunity and in some cases, it is totally detrimental.
These are the basic tabs you will need on the navigation bar of your website and you can add more if you please.
Begin the blogging journey and stay on track
Now it is purely up to what you want to achieve from your blog and how much hard work and effort you want to put in, but it is important that you plan your journey and stay on it!
Let me help you here by telling you about my vision for my own blog and the anticipated journey.
I wanted to use my life story as both an entrepreneur and businessman (they are very different and it is the subject of a future article) with the aim that it will help and inspire others who are on the same path.
Nothing too clever here and the only point of value would be down to whether my story is of value to anyone.
My initial task was to focus on popular issues that people were searching for in my field and if you look at the work and services offered by Fernando Raymond, he will show you how to discover this.
From here it is about writing passionately (which I hope I am doing) and using real-life experiences where possible to help the readers solve the problems that they are searching for the answers to.
How to write a perfect blog post?
I have over 35 years of experience in business and entrepreneurship, so there are a huge amount of topics that I can cover, but that in itself, is another challenge.
Most marketers will tell you to focus on one aspect or one “niche” to get you started and that is extremely difficult for me because I first believe that every aspect of entrepreneurship and business is connected and therefore focussing on one may be to the detriment of another.
But that is my belief and choice.
If I was advising you from a textbook, then I would say to you that you need to find a niche, but I am disruptive by nature and will not follow the norm because it is not within my nature.
But that doesn’t mean it should apply to you and there is no “right” or “wrong.”
So I have focussed on providing content that I believe is of value to readers and will genuinely help them in their business and entrepreneurial journey.
Now to part two and that is about going deeper with regard to solving the problems of my audience.
I want to make the world of business and personal coaching affordable to everyone, as when I started, I had little help and could not easily find people who would readily help me.
Today and having 3 children, I believe that everyone should have a chance of going out in the world with the aim of making a difference from both a business and human perspective and that is my goal — to help people do just that.
So think carefully about what your purpose and journey are really about because you have a great chance to make a real difference.
It is very simple:
You are the most powerful enterprise of all and you need to spend time building that enterprise and value.
We are in a digital world that only serves to get “more digital” if that makes any sense and your own blog is the first step in building your own virtual “real estate.”
Blogging is for everyone and at the very least you will build your own online C.V./Resume — this is a starting point for new ventures and anything you choose.
Blogging is, however, a business in its own right and should be treated as such — you would not invest in a company with your hard-earned dollars without doing some form of due-diligence and neither should you start a blog without research and formulating a plan.
That plan must also cover the area of risk management as you need to understand the potential pitfalls of what you are entering into.
Consider your audience and what problems, challenges and pain they are experiencing and show how you can help them.
Make your message extremely clear and concise.
And finally, do it with passion!
I would really love to hear about your blogging journey, so please get in touch with me and share it!