Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Starting and promoting a blog

Blogging is taking over the world in terms of activity and influence. Starting up a blog is easy and anyone can get it running in about half an hour. Nobody knows exactly how many active blogs are on the internet. My guess is that today, in July 2012, there must be around 23 million that post new material daily.

Writing original material everyday is a different game. Many are able to begin a blog and publish text during the initial weeks, but taking the venture further is not for the faint of heart. Focused writing requires tremendous discipline and generating fresh ideas everyday is tough.

Six months later, the 23 million blogs that were started get reduced, I estimate, to about 4 million. Of course, in the meantime, another 19 million blogs have made their appearance on the web. This new influx of players re-establishes the market to its former size until the next round of pruning takes place.

Promoting a blog is not much different from other forms of internet marketing. What is difficult is choosing the way of promotion that matches best your objectives. Are you writing about a popular subject or is it highly specialized? Will you be addressing controversial issues? Here are some ideas:

* GOOGLE ADS: You can purchase ads from Google by bidding for a certain word or group of words. People who search for those words, will click on them, and be directed to your blog. Your cost per click will vary according to the word you choose and how many people are bidding for it at a given time. If you sell high-margin items, this is an alternative that you should definitely explore.

* PURSUING THIRD-PARTY LINKS: If you are a writer, you will most likely be using your blog to promote your current and future books. In that case, you might wish to devote part of your time to pursue third-party links. If you are featured by a major website in your field, the number of visitors to your blog is sure to increase. Introduce yourself and inquire if that website publishes articles by guest writers. Usually, the answer will be negative. Don't be discouraged, move to the next site, and keep trying.

* USING RSS FEEDERS: This approach needs lots of patience, but in the long-term, is by far the most solid. RSS feeders are automatic distribution systems that disseminate the content of your blog to those who wish to receive it. Install one in your blog, so that your audience can subscribe to your posts. Some readers will try it only for a while and that is perfectly fine. Those who really like what you write will stay and allow you to grow.

Your expectations for your blog should be in line with your long-term goals. By posting shocking material, you might attract hundreds of one-time readers, but those are not worth much. What you want is to attract people who move in the same direction as you do.

Typing your name on Google and Yahoo remains the best way to measure how fast your influence is spreading. If you begin your blog from scratch, from absolutely zero, what sort of expectations should you have? How do you know if you are progressing at a good speed?

If you do not have an advertising budget and are not building on previous celebrity status, you would be doing well if you manage to accumulate a few hundred readers or third-party links after six months. If that is the case, congratulations, you are doing great. Your blog belongs to those who stay.


[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Bob Jagendorf under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]