I've always been a writer.
Ever since I was a kid I was either creating and drawing comic books or writing creative short stories in my first grade class. In college, the fellas I shared my dorm floor with and I would workshop skits that we'd perform — of course I'd take more the role of "writer" than "actor."
Until recently have I started to explore the world of blogging formulating an income through it.
I remember over a year ago I bought my first domain name- wheresthefidelity.com (I just typed in the address in my search bar… #cringe)
I had thoughts in my head and believed I needed to write about them and share them with the world.
I didn't have any strategy or plan. I just chose to write.
I told myself I was going to write everyday no matter what. I wrote about so many different things.
- I wrote about the sex escapades I was having with a former coworker.
- I wrote about how I thought a "good" conversation was similar to the exchange of information similar to what a computer goes through processing 1’s and 0’s.
- I even wrote a review about a Normandy Cidre that I bought and drank.
Again, it was pretty much an adjunct, shotgun approach to putting my voice into the airwaves.
Originally, I thought the way I was going to make money doing this was to put out all the thoughts that was in my head into the World Wide Web and produce such unique and creative stories that advertisers would be lining up to take my bidding of putting their product on my site.
While you could generate an income off advertising on your site, you are probably going to be making pennies on the dollar for a long time (if anything at all) unless you are building or have a titan of a site already that generates millions of views on a monthly basis.
But then why would you be reading this article?
You probably aren't there yet.
You are most likely a writer or a blogger that knows their way around their own site. Perhaps you promote your material on various social media platforms. Perhaps you publish your work on information exchange/publishing sites such as Medium and Quora. And perhaps you have generated millions of views to your name.
Good on you.
But you still haven't seen a single dollar from all the painstaking slapping of the keyboard. Hell, you're going to need to make money to pay for the carpal-tunnel care you're going to need in the near future if all this typing persists.
Over the past year I have spent countless hours and hundreds of dollars on building my platform in order to spread my word, full of its insightful value, and ultimately turn an income from all the hard work.
I have finally started to do just that.
Below I have a step by step guide of how I did this. I fully believe that if you adopt the practices I have laid out, you too can find a viable financial reward for yourself.
Step 1: Purchase your domain and hosting service.
This is crucial.
I know there are a lot of "blogging gurus" out there today that say hosting your own site is a thing of the past. They are probably saying all you need is a service to provide you with a landing page and from there, the sky's the limit.
I disagree for a few reasons…
- The landing page provider/CRM/Email marketing service is generally more expensive than purchasing a domain and hosting service on an annual basis. Take for instance Clickfunnels- probably the top dog of landing page providers in terms of their own sales revenue and also the promises they claim to convert more leads and sales. Their entry level subscription is priced out at $97/month. You're looking at almost $1200 annually for this service and you are just starting out. Not sustainable in my opinion. I use Squarespace and have my domain and hosting at just under $250 for the year. This, for me, is a more cost effective and sustainable option for bloggers starting out.
- With the sites that provide a landing/squeeze page, you aren't in ownership of the address- the provider is. I own my domain. I pay for it and carved it out of the the internet. If I were to go with another provider, again let's use Clickfunnels, they are in full ownership of the domain they provide you. Perhaps in the short term if you are looking to grow a list over the course of 6 months and have the proper backing to use their software in order to do so, vaya con dios. However, if you're like me and you are bootstrapping and looking to build something great over the long haul, this isn't sustainable.
When you purchase your domain (sometimes can just be your full name) you are carving out your first piece at your stake of the treasure chest of the blogging market that's ripe for the taking.
Step 2: Blog everyday — write compelling articles and master headlines.
The truth of the matter is, no one knows about you if you don't give them an opportunity to know about you.
You have to get your voice out into the ocean of online content writing.
The Overnight Success is just a myth. Perhaps there are a few people that can achieve insane virality in just a few articles, however they are on the fringe of the bell curve here.
What your main focus should be in blogging is to flood the airwaves with your content.
Don't be obnoxious, that can have adverse effects, but make sure you're writing consistently.
Rome wasn't built in a day
It's cliche, I know, but it's true. It's especially true with your blogging.
So you're writing consistently and still no one is noticing your work- even on Medium or Quora…
What do your headlines look like? Seriously, you need to consider this. I know you're a writer or an artist. You want to be creative and cunning with your headlines so the other creatives will recognize your brilliance.
Okay, do that. Be a poor writer for the rest of your life.
The real writer is also and entrepreneur and marketer.
What content does your audience want?
Furthermore, how are you going to convince them that your article is worthwhile?
The answer is by writing compelling headlines. People do judge a book by its cover, or judge an article by its headline in this case.
Jon Morrow, world class blogger, has great resources on his website of where to start with crafting optimal headlines:
Step 3: Build your Call to Action and Squeeze Page
You've been gaining a bunch of traffic and getting views.
You've been consistently writing and publishing valuable content for your audience.
Your popularity and influence has been growing.
What do you do now to leverage all of that influence.
The Holy Grail of blogging is your email list. You email list is the Traffic You Own (according to Russell Brunson of Clickfunnels — see, I'm done picking on Clickfunnels). When you have an email list, you are able to direct this audience towards your content (and later your products or services) when and how you want.
In order to build your email list effectively you are going to need a provider. Again, in light of bootstrapping the best provider I have found starting out is Mailchimp. They are the best because of their free plan starting out. You have the ability to grow your list for free for your first 2000 email subscribers.
This is important for you aren't going to grow your list to 10k overnight (Morrow's golden number for a proper list).
Mailchimp allows you to grow your list and also provide landing page templates (if you aren't going the route of purchasing your own domain).
You can also use plugins to add to any page of your Squarespace site. Linking your Mailchimp to Squarespace is incredibly simple.
When you have built an email list, you are done just hoping that your audience will organically see your content. You now have the power to guide them straight to it.
Let me define the two terms above for you briefly:
- Call To Action: What message you are conveying in order to get your audience to take a certain action. This is a pull to get your audience to do something. Here, it is to get or receive your FREE giveaway (ebook, guide, quiz, survey, report etc).
- Squeeze Page: Once you get your audience to take a specific action (click the link to the promised free product) they are sent to a landing page. Here there is only two choices for the person to take: they either exchange their email for the free product or they exit the page. It's binary. No other choice.
(You can find an example from my squeeze page here)
Once you are able to convince a reader to exchange their email with your valuable content, you have the ability to enroll them into your sphere and take on the responsibility of crafting your future communication with them.
Step 3.5: Regular communication
Regular communication is key.
Just because you have the email doesn't mean that you have "won" the relationship with your audience.
Far from it.
You have to nurture this prize you have been given with the email. The reader you gained was interested in your story.
So take them on your ride.
- What are you working on?
- What are you thinking of?
- Where are you going?
- What are you building?
What I have found is a once a week newsletter that is promoting valuable information that I have found, the sharing of new articles that I have written. I also like to start conversations with my audience — what are they interested in right now? What content would be valuable for them in the future?
Here, you are continually building trust and value for your newly obtained fan.
This brings us to the next step.
Step 4: Selling your product or service
This is where it all comes together and all the hard work you put in prior to this step is rewarded.
You are selling your product or service that is consistent to what you've been blogging about and helps your audience solve a problem they have been dealing with.
For me, my first product is my 8 Step Guide of how I went viral with over 2 million views in just a matter of a few months.
There are many problems I solve for my audience in my product:
- How to reach millions of viewers organically without spending a single dollar
- How to leverage your new found visibility into a secure credibility as a writer/blogger/influencer
- How to craft an intriguing headline every reader will want to click.
- How to structure and format ‘The Perfect Post’
- How to use language to your advantage in your writing to trigger an emotional response from the reader (which encourages them to share it with someone else).
- The 1 habit every single content writer needs to master in order to become successful.
- How to transform your mindset into creating quality work that primed for viral sharing.
- How to identify and utilize my unfair advantage in find the right “pools” and areas to post your content thus giving you maximum exposure most people don’t know about.
- How to use utilize online publications and ditch your blog in order to create a massive audience & become a thought leader.
Now again, I do all of my sales through my Squarespace site. You probably can open up an ecommerce store through Clickfunnels or another provider as such.
Squarespace has great plugins that allow for commerce (I use the Stripe plugin — you can also use Paypal for business).
This is a chance for you to consider what you are going to sell.
There are so many different industries within the blogging sphere that are ripe with an audience looking to solve a problem.
I am working now with my boxing trainer on creating his blog and thus his future income stream.
To give you an idea, we are work shopping giving away a free guide that is filled with intense ab workouts that can give you six pack abs without needing to commit to much time at all during workouts. He's a training wizard. For the first time in my life, I have a six pack. I know this is possible. This is going to be on our CTA and Squeeze page with his articles.
We are then going to build a comprehensive 30 day video series — one work out a day, 4 days a week with 3 rest days that will help his audience get into the best shape of their life.
This is going to be his product.
Again, there are so many opportunities here. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of people in the exercise blogging arena.
One might think there isn't any more room for us.
That's the wrong mindset to have.
There is abundance on the internet and people are looking for answers.
You are that answer.
It will take time.
It will take sacrifice.
There will be moments you feel you aren't making any progress. There will be moments where you feel like you want to give up. You are your own bottleneck.
Just as there are hundreds if not thousands of people that purchase a domain and start blogging, there are just as many who bow out of the game.
Don't be one of those people and you propel your chances of winning and creating the life you always knew you could have.
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