Blogging on a Budget: Getting Started

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When Mario Lavandeira, Jr. first started his blog PageSixSixSix.com in 2004, he never knew that he would transform as much as his blog. Now taking the name Perez Hilton, his blog, PerezHilton.com, sees more than 300 million visitors each month and has made him an Internet and television mainstay. Depending on purpose and savvy, your blog can be a creative outlet, money maker or step to stardom.

Start With an Idea

This may seem pretty obvious, but with nearly 250 million blogs on Tumblr alone, the right subject matter means the difference between getting read and being lost in the crowd. Some blogs and vlogs (video blogs) are simply the ramblings of a person with a funny, jaded or quirky personality. Others are how-to in nature, introducing recipes, crafts or skills. For those with a stronger knowledge base, a blog can set you up as an expert in the industry. Whatever direction you take, you need to be passionate and focused to get readership and search engine indexing. But be careful blogging can be addictive and take over your priorities if you let it.

Pick a Platform

How you set up your blog will depend on your idea, goals and technical know-how. Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress are the big players as blog platforms. All three are free and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Tumblr is quick to use. You just create an account and start writing. With Tumblr, you will not own your own domain, instead having a Tumblr URL in the format MyBlog.tumblr.com. Also, Tumblr does not allow you to place ads.

In contrast, Blogger is owned by Google and is fully integrated with the Google Adsense advertising network. Also click and go, Blogger has its own domains.

WordPress has two versions: one in a network like Tumblr and Blogger and the other for self-hosting. WordPress.com is pretty similar to the other two but with more templates to create your web design. WordPress.org offers a PHP platform that you can host with a third-party host, usually costing about $10 per month. The upside of WordPress.org is that it is fully scalable for your needs, has millions of templates and plug-ins, and allows ads from any network. You can also have your own domain name.

Make It Pretty

Graphics, word density and white space are all important aspects of any website. A blog article can range from 300 to 1,000 words, with 550 words being the most common. The writing should be broken up with high-quality graphics that help convey your central message. These graphics should be tagged with keywords that correspond with the image, as well as the content.

Monetize It

You may be creating your blog as an intellectual or creative outlet, but having it generate income will not hurt. Ad payments correspond to the number of views your blog receives. Perez Hilton’s blog generates tens of thousands of dollars in ad revenue each month because it has so many unique visitors and page views. A top ad network is Google AdSense, which pays you for each time someone clicks on the ad. Others pay fixed monthly amounts or a share of sales. For newer blogs, you may not get paid in cash, instead opting to receive a free item in exchange for writing a review.

Why did you start your blog?

Disclosure

Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.

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