Thinking about starting a blog today?
It’s a fairly safe bet that you won’t be alone. Whether or not your blog will be a success largely depends on what you deem success to entail. If you’re just thinking of a blog as somewhere to keep a record of your thoughts, musings, and rants with little concern as to how many people actually read your outpourings then you’re pretty much onto a winner as soon as you’ve got past the “Hello World” stage.
If on the other hand, you’re harboring dreams of your blog making you millions, or at the very least bringing in any sort of income, then you’re going to have to put a little more thought into what you’re putting out there.
Unless you’re particularly hilarious, sarcastic, or even freakishly good looking, and hope that people will come for that reason alone, the first thing to do is to choose your blog topic. It should probably go without saying that you should aim to choose something you’re actually interested in. If you don’t, the chances are you’ll be bored to tears within a month and start finding the day job unusually attractive.
Start brainstorming ideas with a simple list or mind map.
At this stage, it really doesn’t matter how ludicrous your ideas may seem. Just jot down whatever comes to mind.
Whether it’s small business, window cleaning, or stripey socks, it really doesn’t matter as there’s a strong possibility that other people will be interested too. When you’ve got at least five contenders, break them down further. Let’s take small business as an example. You might break this down into topics like how to start a small business, small business marketing, social media for small businesses, small business finance, that kind of stuff. When you’ve done that, congratulations. Your first baby step to becoming a successful blogger is complete.
Now it’s time for the interesting bit and that’s to see if any of your ideas have any hope of pulling in the advertising dollars. For this part, you’ll be heading over to Google Adwords. Go ahead and set yourself up with a free account and get ready to put your ideas to the test. You’re going to get started by choosing one of your drilled down ideas to put into the search box.
Next you will set the relevant filters.
This means setting search volume to Exact as opposed to Broad and setting your country location to that which you plan to target. You’re also going to want to take a look at competition (how many others are targeting those keywords) and approximate CPC (how much an average advertising click is worth). Go ahead and hit the search and let Adwords work its magic.
In an ideal world, you’ll want to see plenty of long tail keyword ideas pop up, sufficient search volume (a keyword group total with searches numbering over 500 would be great), and adequate commercial activity (you want to see advertiser competition coming in at over 50% and CPCs of more than $2). If you’re hitting those kind of results, it’s likely that the keyword group is a good one.
This is a rinse and repeat kind of thing, so you’re going to want to keep going with this until you’ve got at least 15 groups with at least 10 keywords in each. Keep in mind that this is not an exact science, but as you move forward in your blogging adventure, this bit will become second nature and you’ll start to get an eye for it. Last but not least, organize all your results in a spreadsheet. Adwords lets you export a CSV file direct to Excel.
That information you copied to a spreadsheet?
Third up is to organize it into some sort of logical order. Again, this is by no means an exact science, but you’re going to want to shift those keyword phrases around until there’s a semblance of order to what you’ve got in front of you. Organize keywords according to similar variations that mean essentially the same thing, looking in particular for phrases that contain the same keyword.
Although all the variations on your sheet should eventually be covered in one or a maximum of two posts, this allows you to identify keyword targeted post titles for your upcoming blog and also provides you with sufficient long tail variations of the same to insert directly into the post when you get round to writing the actual content.
So there you have the first three stages to identifying keyword variations that will/might eventually make you some money. If you follow these stages, you’re going to be looking at some highly targeted blog post ideas that will get you started in the world of blogging for income.
What follows is more of the same.
It’s beyond the scope of this post, but you’ve also got the seemingly endless guest posting to look forward to (you should be aiming for around 15-20 guest posts per single post on your site, so be prepared to write your socks off). It’s all good fun though. You’ll have a blast as long as you don’t seriously expect to make any money in the first year. It probably won’t happen.
Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A contributor to Degreejungle.com, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay