For the longest time, downtown Vancouver had a big hole in the ground at Georgia and Alberni Street. The hole was the site of the Living Shangri-La building. The Living Shangri-La will be Vancouver tallest building when it’s completed later this month. Construction on the building started in 2004 and for the first three years, the site was nothing but a hole in the ground because the workers were laying in the foundation. Once the foundation was completed, the 61-story tower went up in just over a year.
Today, people walking by the Shanhai-La see a beautiful building in front of them. They don’t see the years of work it took to lay in the foundation that made the building possible. The same thing applies to blogs. People see this blog and its huge monthly income but they don’t see the work it took to get it to this level. Without a solid foundation, a building will not stand. Unless you build your blog on a solid foundation, its chances of joining the A-list rank are very slim. Here are four keys to building a solid foundation.
Get Your Own Domain Name
This step should be a no brainer. Yet, I am continually amazed at the number of bloggers who email me for help and they don’t have their own domain name. A blog with a solid foundation is a brand and you can’t build a brand when you have Blogspot.com in your URL.
There is no reason not to have your own domain name. The cost of registering a domain is less than $10 per year at most domain registrars like GoDaddy. If you can’t afford that, then you have other things to worry about than making money online.
I’m often asked is it better to use your own name as the domain or a name that reflects the topic of the blog. If I had to do it all over again, I would have choosen a descriptive name rather than my own name for the blog domain. Read this post for the reasons why.
Choose Your Blogging Platform Wisely
I recommend all bloggers use WordPress because it’s the best blogging software on the Net. WordPress has the largest base of users, is extremely easy to use, scales very well and it’s free.
This is not to say that you can’t build a big blog using another blogging platform. However, the options and add on plugins available for WordPress makes it the blogging platform of choice for nearly all the big money bloggers.
Along with the WordPress, you should look at giving your blog a unique look. You don’t have to do this from the get go but from a branding and customization standpoint, it’s something you definitely want to do. I use Unique Blog Designs for all my blog design work.
Choose A Topic You Like
The foundation of most blogs is their content. If the content sucks, the blog will go nowhere. This is why it’s so important to choose a topic that you enjoy writing about. When choosing the topic to blog about, choose base on your passion first and income potential second. If you’re not passionate about your topic, it’s going to feel like work and that’s going to prevent you from giving your best.
Once you selected a topic you love, then you can look at its income potential. How many other blogs are in the same niche? Who are the big ones? Do they make money? What is the search volume? Etc. If you find that your topic can’t make any money, then move on to the next passionate topic on your list.
If you hire writers for your blog, then make sure they’re passionate about the topic. How can you tell if they’re passionate about it? Offer them little to no pay. When Web Logs Inc. started, they offered their bloggers only $2.50 per post. The bloggers who were passionate about the topic continued to write for them because they love the topic. The ones who were in it for the money quit. Web Logs Inc. was bought out by AOL last year and many of those $2.50 per post bloggers are now making A LOT more than $2.50 per post.
Have a Marketing Plan In Place
Most bloggers think making money online is like the movie Field of Dreams, where the main character was told, “If you build it, they will come.” The truth of the matter is you can build it but if nobody knows about it, they’re not coming.
Marketing is what separates the big blogs from the small ones. It takes a lot more than good content to build a big blog. There are tons of smaller blogs that have better content than me. The reason they don’t get bigger is because they do little or no marketing. If your blog is not where you want it to be, ask yourself what you’ve been doing to market it.
Content is only half the formula. You have to get your blog out there. That means you need to have a marketing plan in place before you start your blog. How do you plan to market your blog? If you don’t have the answer to that, then you need to sit down and work out a plan.
Summing It Up
We live in an instant society. We want everything right now and are not willing to wait for it. While it’ll be great to build a blog and have it to go to $40,000 in income in its first month, it won’t happen (well it can, but that’s for another post). You need to invest the time to build the foundation to support it.