Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Blogging Basics #1 – How To Start Your Own Blog?

“Abhishek, i know what blogging is, but I'm confused how and where to get started!” This is the question i often get deluged with, whenever my friends get a chance to discuss with me the ‘abc’ of blogging. So, today I'll be sharing a comprehensive, step by step approach to help you get started with your own blog. Trust me, it’s very easy :)

Step 1: Introspect – What should I blog about?

Introspecting and identifying your area of interest and passion is the foundation of building a successful blog. For instance, It would be pointless for a person with an ineptitude for photography to set up a photo blog just because he’s motivated by his friend’s profitable photography blog. That’s certainly going to fail.

You need to look deep inside you to elicit out your true passion and interest. I’ll make the process easy for you through this simple 5 to 10 minutes exercise:

Make a list of 10 things that you absolutely love doing (no matter how crazy they could be)

10 things you love

Now, narrow down your love list by prioritising those things first for which you think you have enough to share and write about. The final 3 to 4 items are then eligible to become your preferred blogging niche!

Step 2: Free OR Paid blog?

Blogging comes in 2 flavours – free and paid. After identifying your areas of interest, you have to decide whether to go for the free or paid option? To understand the concept and decide better, look at this table…

  Free option Paid option
what’s exactly that? you are given a free sub-domain(yourblog.blogplatform.com) through any blogging platform of your choice like Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, etc.. you’re given your own domain address (yourblog.com) through a domain registrar like godaddy, bluehost, etc..that can be used with any blogging platform of your choice like Blogger or Wordpress
what’s the cost? FREE forever you have to incur domain renewing charges per year (can vary from $10 to $15 depending upon your registrar) + hosting expenses per month (only in case you’re with Wordpress)
is it for me? if you want to ‘try’ blogging with zero investment then go with the FREE option (you can upgrade to paid option anytime!) if you want your blog to look professional + if you’re serious about building a brand image, go for the paid option

 

Step 3: Selecting a suitable blogging platform

After deciding whether to go for free or paid blogging option, you have to select an appropriate blogging platform. But what’s a blogging platform anyway?

A blogging platform is an online tool that lets you…

  • write articles
  • save/edit drafts
  • publish articles to your blog’s address
  • manage your blog – play with the overall look and feel (themify) & add useful widgets/plugins for the visitors

Blogger and Wordpress are the two most popular blogging platforms. Both are equally good when it comes to ‘free blogging’, however there is a significant difference between them when it comes to ‘paid blogging’. Here’s that difference:

Go for Blogger:

  • if you don’t want to pay for monthly hosting expenses because here Google (owner of blogger) hosts your custom domain for free!
  • if you can live with limited and not-so-good widgets and themes. Plus, if you’re comfortable getting dirty tweaking html codes (needed for making customizations to your blog’s template – look and feel)

Go for WordPress:

  • if you can pay for monthly hosting expenses. Unlike Google, WordPress doesn’t host your blog for free. You need to get your blog hosted through compatible 3rd party hosting companies like bluehost, hostgator and the like…
  • if you want to enjoy tons of premium themes and widgets/plugins (WordPress is well known and reputed for its active developer community!)

Final verdict: It’s a matter of personal choice actually. Clearly, WordPress is far superior to Blogger but at the cost of monthly hosting expenses. So opt for WordPress if money is not a concern. Otherwise, prefer sticking with blogger.

Step 4: Time to create your blog

Chosen your preferred blogging platform? Great! Now it’s time to go ahead and create your first blog.

For those who have chosen Blogger:

  • Click here to learn how to set up your free blog
  • In case you’ve chosen to go for paid blogging, click here to learn how to use your custom domain address on blogger

For those who have chosen WordPress:

That’s it. You are a blogger now. Start posting great stuff on your blog :)

Feedback/Questions?

I hope that you must have enjoyed reading the post. Feel free to share it with your friends who are willing to get started with blogging.

And in case, if you still have any confusion or if something in the post is still not clear, don’t hesitate to drop your questions in the comments below ;)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why I Prefer Blogging To A Typical 9 to 5 Job?

Be honest, do you really like getting up early in the morning to the irritating sound of your alarm clock? Like getting stuck in the traffic jam everyday? Like someone to guide you, order you, yell at you? Do you feel it exciting to run through the same old routine job from 9 to 5, almost 5 days a week? If most of your answers were 'No' then it's most likely that you've a dominant creative nature and that routine job is hurting your artistic temperament very badly. It's time to reconsider your options for livelihood.

blogging from home

I'm also a creative individual like you and I find 'blogging' the only way to express it, clearly. I just love blogging. I believe there's no better way to earn a living than blogging - cashing dollars right from the comfort of your home, meeting new, like minded people behind the screens and most importantly, sticking to your own convenient time schedules. Amazing, isn't it?

Here are some solid reasons why I prefer blogging as a full time career to a typical 9-5 job:

 

1. Time, Money and Location Freedom

With full-time blogging as a career, one enjoys time, money and location flexibility. Here’s how:

Time freedom - Get up whenever you feel like and work for your blog as per your convenient schedules.

Money freedom - If one works strategically, passionately and patiently, sky is the limit. No jokes, check out the top 30 earning blogs in the world.

Location freedom - Work from anywhere. You just need a laptop with Internet connectivity :)

people commuting to work

A typical 9 to 5 job, though might offer you money, but at the cost of time and location rigidity. You are bound to reach your workplace on time and hit the assigned targets within a specified deadline. Tell me how cool is that?

 

2. Passive Income

I recently got paid by Google even without putting much efforts on my blog. My posting frequency has dropped drastically ever since i joined my post-graduation program in management. With hardly any time to look at the blog design and content creation, getting paid and that too (coincidently) in the first week of January was nothing short of an excitement. Wouldn't you call that "passive income"? Doing almost nothing and still earning :D

On the other side, you earn "active income" while working for a corporate. You earn money as long as you work for them. The moment one stops working, even a six figured CEO becomes zero from the next very day.

 

3. It Supports My Creative Nature

Blogging is not only about writing, it's about putting all your creative energies constructively to create the content and design of your dreams. It’s about presenting your ideas and thoughts in the best possible way. By the way, did you get a chance to read my post -  Can introverts be successful bloggers? Do read that. You'll get to know how creativity can be a big asset for success in blogging.

 

4. My Business, My Dream!

Does it make any sense to spend almost half of your life working for a corporate, making someone else's dreams come true? And then, when you hit 60s, you're thrown out just like the way a sugar-cane's stick is thrown away after extracting its juice. Give it a deep thought – It’s just that way.

I have a firm belief that all of us have some kind of a passion/dream somewhere inside our hearts. Like, someone might be having a strong passion to write, to paint, to sing or it can be even to make people laugh at jokes. It can be anything, but I'm damn sure that no one's passionate to work for a 9 to 5 job. Tell me, are you? It becomes a liability to work because we are not courageous enough to take our interests and passions seriously...the people who take it seriously, create history!

Finally, i will like to end my post with a wonderful quote by Confucius - "Choose a job you LOVE, and you'll never have to work a day in your life"

 

What Are You Passionate About?

I don't expect everyone to have an ebullience for blogging. We all are different. But still, most of the points I've made above are valid for all kinds of personal passions. Doing what excites you the most? What work can you do even for free? And how do you compare it with a typical 9 to 5 job? Let's introspect and share our thoughts in the comments below :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be?

I'm pretty sure that after reading the post title you all might be thinking - "That's crazy...a 'self-help' kind of a post on a technology blog?" Hahaha...Friends, I'm completely in my senses. Neither is this a sponsored post nor is this a self-help tutorial. In fact, this is the name of a book that I'm currently reading and I'm so influenced by this book that I'm obliged to share it with all my readers :)

jack canfield's success book

The book authored by Jack Canfield is a must read for every blogger. Yep, you read it right - for every blogger! While this book is not specifically targeted for bloggers, the 25 principles of success listed by Jack are so practical and solid that if you implement them, they'll lead you to your path of dream success OR to what success means to you in blogging. The book will help you figure out your purpose in life and what exactly should you be doing to make a living. It's a real eye opener! I suggest all my fellow blogger friends (especially part time bloggers) to read this book. The book is available on Amazon as well as on Flipkart (the leading Indian online-store). Go for it without a second thought ;)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

7 Ways To Promote Your Content For FREE

Unless you have a huge and dedicated social media following, it is most likely that you'll find it difficult to get the adequate number of eyeballs your content deserves. For beginners the problem is even more severe. I know how discouraging and demotivating it can be when your hard work gets unnoticed. Therefore In this post I've compiled a list of services that i frequently use to promote my content and i hope that this will be useful for you as well.

 

1. Viral Content Buzz (my preferred choice)

Viral Content Buzz by Ann and Gerald is a free online service that makes social sharing an effortless job. The project is based upon a very simple concept - "you share my content and I'll share yours OR you help me and I'll help you". To know more about the service and to understand how it actually works, head on to my review on viral content buzz.

 

2. Just-Retweet

A viable alternative to viral content buzz and based upon the same concept, Just-Retweet is another online service that helps you to gain more number of social shares for your content. Although its name suggests that it only helps you to gain retweets, it also covers facebook likes and +1s. May be they initially covered only retweets (justifying the name - Just-Retweet) and later on expanded their service to cover facebook and Google+ as well. Although both the services work reasonably well for content promotion, I'm a little biased towards viral content buzz and that I'll explain why in an another post shortly!

 

3. Google+ communities

google plus communities

Google+ communities are a very rich source of dedicated traffic (the traffic that actually cares to read your content!). But the sad part is, they are also an easy target of spammers :/ Assuming that you've already joined Google+, follow these simple steps to harness the power of G+ communities for promoting your content:

  • Search for a suitable (relevant) community with a considerable number of members
  • Take a brief look at the about section and ensure whether the community permits to share external links and posts
  • Go ahead & SHARE! Make sure that you craft an eye catchy headline for a more powerful impact

google+  community traffic

On January 6th 2014, i published a review on android KitKat here at Budding Geek. To promote the post, i thought of sharing it with the most relevant and appropriate community on Google plus – “Android Community”. The results are in the screenshot above – around 256 unique visits from G+ on the same day with more than 40 +1s!

4. Forums

Just like Google+ communities, forums are also a very rich source of dedicated traffic. Unfortunately, this traffic is a difficult one to tap primarily because of stringent rules regarding posting of links. Don't get scared. If you believe that your content is of high quality, relevant and useful to the forum members then do share it with them. It will be get appreciated. However, make sure that you are observing all the rules and etiquette of the forum before promoting your content there.

 

5. YouTube

Promotion through YouTube works best for those who are more into review or tutorial kind of business. Provide a good teaser video recording of the review and then direct the visitors to your blog post for a full comprehensive review. My photography blog still gets good number of visits through some photo editing tutorials I've uploaded there. This works :)

 

6. Alltop directory

Alltop is basically a 'niche news aggregator’. From photography, blogging, SEO, technology to family, fashion and lifestyle, Alltop covers almost every possible niche in the blogosphere. And yeah, getting your website listed there is nothing short of an achievement! :D

Once your blog is approved by their quality team, your work ends there! After that it acts like a lifelong fruit tree (provided that you're regularly updating your blog with good content). Once approved, Alltop automatically fetches your latest 5 posts and displays them under the niche selected by you (like my blog is listed under blogging.alltop.com). This is how your blog listing looks like once you get their stamp of approval…

alltop blogging listings

…And this brings in targeted traffic to your blog - the highest quality traffic that converts into subscribers and sales. Submit your blog to Alltop today!

 

7. Email Signatures

Do you know that you can promote your latest posts through email signatures as well? Wise-stamp is a browser extension that automatically adds your desired signature (a professional looking one!) whenever you compose or reply to an email message. The exciting part is, it also allows you to add your website's feed URL in its setup, promoting your latest post automatically :)

 

How many of these ways are you utilizing to drive traffic to your site? Is there any other way worth mentioning here? Express your thoughts in the comments below :)