So blogging looks like one of the money making ideas that was invented with just you in mind and you are ready to join the party. Great! Welcome aboard! If you play your cards right, you could win big. Just as any party though, before you jump in, you should know what the basic ground rules are. You should be aware of what generally is considered a no-no and what will make you an instant hit. Here is a list of some of the “informal” blog ground rules –
#1 No Plagiarism
Nobody likes a cheater. When you want to create blog content, the first and most important cardinal rule of blog content creation is to be original. That means that you absolutely cannot copy and paste already published content to your blog. Plagiarism is wrong on so many levels. For one, you violate the digital copyright of the person you copied from, and so it is technically illegal. Second, the Google gods frowns on plagiarism big time. If you are caught, your blog could get black listed and you’ll have a tough time trying to get your blog higher in the search ranks ever again.
Finally, when a reader sees that you’re just copying content from somewhere else, they aren’t going to come back. Period. It’s okay to quote another online source, but be sure to always give credit to the original source. And if what you write is an extension of somebody else’s idea, make sure that you present the ideas in your own words. Instead of just regurgitating what the other person said, offer your thoughts on it and add your own unique perspective. Add to the conversation and extend it. Make a conscious attempt to provide value to the reader. This cannot be highlighted enough. With hundreds of new blogs popping up everyday, the only way to get noticed is to have a unique voice.
#2 Make it Meaty
There are millions of blogs online, so you need to make sure that your blog offers something to readers that will have them coming back. If you choose to blog about a specific niche, make sure that your approach to the topic is fresh, interesting, provides information, entertainment, and doesn’t fall flat in the end. Make sure that the reader gets something for the time spent on your blog.
A problem with many bloggers is that they are in it only for the money. Just as you cannot walk up to a person on the street and ask him to fork out ten dollars, you will not be able to make a sale on your blog unless you establish some rapport with your readers first. The same goes for advertising – you can’t walk to a stranger in the mall and say you absolutely must try out bagels in Joe’s Bagel Shack. It’s just not going to work. Make your blog worth the reader’s time, make it meaty and addicting, and they’ll keep coming back for more. And when you have a relationship of sorts, you can recommend something to them and they will be a lot more open-minded about it – which is what advertising and affiliate marketing is all about.
#3 Be Passionate
If you have to drag yourself to the computer to grind out another blog entry, you are probably wrong about this being the perfect money making idea for you. Your blog needs to be written on topics that you’re passionate about. If you could care less about fine bone china, then you shouldn’t choose a niche that involves fine dining ware. If you write about something that you truly find fascinating, people will notice and will become as infected by enthusiasm as you are.
#4 Keep it Updated
Established blogs can get away with posting only once in a blue moon. But for newbie bloggers, getting articles out there is the primary means to generate visitors to the blog. Nobody is going to stop by your blog to look at the ads and see what you have to sell! They are there for the content. If you are a newbie and you blog only once in a blue moon, you will get about as many visitors as a fur coat seller on a nude beach. The more you blog and provide interesting meaty content, the more people will be exposed to your opinions and ideas. The more traffic you get, the better will be your chances of making some money. With that said…
#5 Don’t Over Blog
Blogging more than once a day is probably overkill. No one wants their inbox and feed readers to be littered with constant clutter. The rules of supply and demand apply to blogging. Supply too little and the readers will find some one else to fill the gap. Supply too much, and they may get overwhelmed. Try to find a pace that works best with your readers. While starting out, 5 articles a week is a generally accepted schedule. As you build up your audience you can scale it back or up, depending on the vibe you get from your readers.
#6 No Clutter
And since we mentioned clutter above, let’s go ahead and get one more thing out of the way – try and keep clutter out of your blog design as far as possible. When you create a blog you should try to keep it as simple as possible. Simple doesn’t mean that you cannot have a custom theme, some videos, pictures or ads. It does mean that you shouldn’t try to fill every pixel of white space available. When you start out with a fresh blog, it is very easy to be carried away by all the flashy plugins and widgets that are out there. Try to use them in moderation. Also try to curb the urge to fill every available spot with an ad. Keep clutter out, and the few elements that you have on your blog (including the blog post itself) will stand out.
#7 Don’t Over Monetize
Blogging as a money making idea doesn’t mean that your entire blog has to be one big advertisement. When it comes to blog advertising, less is definitely more. One of the first things many newbie bloggers do is to add a lot of Adsense blocks to their blog. But in the early days, when the traffic is very less, adsense will make you very little money, if any. Most people will be lucky if they make even a few cents per day. So, question yourself this – is it really worth it? Too much ads and too little content will definitely hinder your ability to build up an audience. So maybe its better to be ad-free or have very limited ads while you build up your audience and then slowly try and figure out what works best with your audience. Learn to be subtle, but also a savvy salesperson.
#8 Have Fun
Finally, one of the most important things about blogging is to have fun. Don’t be so focused on monetization or posting schedules or promotion that you forget to have some fun. Yes, it is important to do keyword research first and try to incorporate the keywords in your articles. Yes, you should try some of the link building and blog promotion strategies. Yes, you should try to cultivate relationships with other bloggers and your readers. But don’t get so hung up any of these that you stop having fun. Blogging is a wonderful medium to express yourself and share your thoughts and opinions with others. The fact that you can make money while you are at it is a fantastic bonus. Don’t focus so much on the money and promotion part that the core reason for blogging gets lost!
Now that you know these 8 simple blogging ground rules, you can get online and start that blog.