5 Easy Steps to Start a Blog

5 Easy Steps to Start a Blog

I have been writing a blog since 2008 and I have worked as a blog editor/manager and ghost blogger since 2009. Every week or so, I have someone ask me about how to start a blog.

This is by no means an exhaustive explanation, but I offer you my best overall tips for how to start a blog:

1. First, decide where you see the blog going—will it be for hobby or for profit? Would you EVER want to make money on the blog? Even if you don’t think you’ll want to make money on the blog, I believe you should set up as if you did. Here’s why.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Words Are Fun Friday: “Crazy”

Words Are Fun Friday: CrazyI saw this idea on another blog and thought it would be a good idea for my blog.

Every Friday, we’ll take a word and list as many phrases as possible containing that word. (It’s OK if these are portions of song lyrics, proper nouns, or brand names.)

This week’s word is “crazy.”

Here we go!

  1. Crazy bread
  2. Crazy for you
  3. Miss you like crazy
  4. I’m going crazy
  5. Crazy train
  6. Let’s go crazy
  7. One wild and crazy guy

What did I miss? What would you add to the list?

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

So I know this blog’s name is The Writer’s Block.

But I didn’t choose that because I actually suffer from it. (No. I just thought it a cute play on words.)

From time to time, however, I get writer’s paralysis, I guess I’d call it. I have snippets of ideas and phrases and story starts all swimming around inside, but I find it terribly difficult to put them together and coax them out.

I always am writing and rewriting in my mind, as my husband is always playing music in his.

When this happens, I have a few tricks to unleash my subconscious and trigger the writing.

  1. I really like doing mundane tasks, such as vacuuming, folding laundry, and washing and drying dishes. I’ll rephrase: I don’t always like doing them, but I like what results and goodness knows, I need to be doing them anyway! I always, always, always have something come to mind when I do these things. I get kernels of article starters or even whole paragraphs for a project I’m agonizing over at work.
  2. Listen to good conversation. I hate inflammatory and irate talk radio. But I love thoughtful commentary on current events from all different perspectives. I enjoy call-in radio shows and Christian talk/preaching. I’m an NPR junkie and believe Terry Gross is one of the best interviewers in the world. The ladies of The View even get my wheels turning from time to time. You get the point. Bring words and thoughts and news and ideas into your head through your ears and eyes from all different points of view and see what happens.
  3. Try PLR articles for idea prompts. I have just discovered PLR (private label rights) articles within the last year. These articles are extremely affordable (typically about $1 per page) and in purchasing them, you buy all rights. This means you can slice and dice them any way you want. Edit them, use them as is, put one paragraph in today’s blog post and another in your newsletter—whatever. You want to find quality written PLR, of course; and as with most everything, junk does exist. But I have isolated a few reputable sources, take advantage of their free offerings, and purchase from them occasionally as well. If you are stuck and you need content, PLR is the way to go. It’s great to have in your arsenal! I recommend Tiffany Dow’s PLR MiniMart and Nicole Dean’s Easy PLR and my very own AllContentPLR.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

It’s Been a Year

Hi.

It’s been a year since I’ve written over here.

It’s been a few months since I’ve blogged, period.

Anyway, I was getting a little bit homesick, I guess you’d say. And I have an idea.

I think I’m going to do something with this blog that I probably should have done almost four years ago.

Talk (almost) exclusively about writing. That kind of goes with the name and is certainly a passion of mine. I’ll still blog from time to time about faith and family at Look In Your House.

So, if you’re curious, you may want to stick around for more writing-focused posts.

 

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

New Year, New Blog

I have a new blog.

It’s called Look In Your House. I invite you to check it out, subscribe, and tell your friends. Every new subscriber from now until January 31 will be entered to win a great Winter Survival Kit, full of my favorite Melaleuca products.

I’ve been wanting a more niche-focused blog for almost a year now. It’s just taken this long for me to figure out exactly what it would be. It’s not 100% perfect just yet, but I’m giving up perfection! I want it to be in full swing by January 1, so I’m just going with it. (Aren’t you proud of me?)

I’ll still be here writing from time to time, but the bulk of my efforts in the new year will be at Look In Your House.

See you over there! (Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.)

Photo credit: cohdra from morguefile.com

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

On Becoming a Better Writer

I majored in broadcast journalism in college. I spent oodles of time working on my voice and fretting the fact that everyone thought I looked 12 on camera. But I had the good sense enough to chase after the thing that really mattered: becoming a better writer.

I didn’t land on the nightly news (which is a topic for another post entirely), but I do write every day. In fact, I’ve made some money writing over the years. I still have the very first “book” I wrote from the first grade. I have always been a writer and will always be a writer.

When I interned at WSMV Channel 4, I’d tag along with reporters on their news stories. More than anything, I wanted to mimic their good habits so that I, too, could become a better writer. On the way to a story, riding in the news car, I’d wait for a break in the conversation and ask, “What advice do you give for being a better writer?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. This past weekend, I attended a blow-your-socks-off conference on apologetics (I’ll post more about the conference later). Among the things that astounded me was the level of scholarship these speakers exuded. The men I heard were smart. Very smart. Extremely well-read and studied. Quite articulate, excellent story-tellers, compelling wordsmiths.

I was confronted with my steady diet of Spongebob, CNN news headlines, and Seinfeld re-runs. Really. Just soaking up the knowledge in these men’s brains and being asked to track with them was invigorating and convicting.

So what makes a good writer? I offer my suggestions (from a mix of that aspiring television journalist in the early 90s and a worn-out mother of three in the 21st century):

  • Live. Writing must be authentic, born from life experiences. You gotta have something to say before you can say it.
  • Learn. Read. Research. Open books. Immerse oneself in classic literature and in the great minds past and present.
  • Listen. Train one’s ear to listen for beautiful language, great storytelling, weighty words with meaning, and foreign words needing more explanation.
  • Expose oneself to other art forms to find inspiration. Great music, theatre, or film often jump start a creative notion inside. Hang out with creative people and tap into their muse, too.
  • Don’t settle for life at the surface level. That’s easy. Life is offered to us on a paper plate every day. Go deeper. Ask for the good china and the steak and lobster. Spend some time mulling over the weightier matters of philosophy or theology. Everybody’s good at the surface-y stuff. Don’t be like everybody else.
  • Write.

What makes you a better writer?

Creative Commons License photo credit: tech no logic

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

5 Steps To Starting a Money-Making Blog

I’ve been blogging for about 2.5 years and have learned a lot about the craft. I have people ask me all the time how to begin blogging and about the prospect of making money doing so. I’ll share with you my 5 steps to starting a money-making blog.

1. Create.

Find a topic about which you are passionate. I believe that niche blogging can be the most lucrative. Since the web is world-wide, your audience literally spans the globe. Find your passion, focus your mission (why will you write this blog?), then go find your audience. Approach it as a “they need what I’m offering, I just have to find them” problem.

2. Establish.

Technically, the best course for setting up your blog is to buy a domain from a manager such as GoDaddy.com and self-host your site, using WordPress.org and hosts such as MomWebs or DreamHost. From there, you can find templates for design or hire a designer. This will cost you a little bit of money, but it shouldn’t be much. I’ve enjoyed my time on here on free Blogger, but were I beginning a brand-new blog, I’d probably go the self-hosted route.

3. Post.

Write posts that convey your passion. Write often—at least three times a week. Write from the heart.

4. Monetize.

Place ads on your blog using Google Adsense and Lijit (I have these). Sell your own ads. Become an affiliate for other products and companies, such as Amazon. The goal here is to diversify. You must also be prepared to make little to no money in the beginning. The title says, “money-making” not “lotsa money-making”!

5. Promote.

Remember: you are trying to find your audience. Go where they are and draw them in. Use Facebook (my second biggest source for referrals) to create a “Like” page. Use the Twitter search function to find like-minded persons to follow. Be active on communities such as BlogFrog. Send an email to your family, your Sunday school class, your co-workers asking them to check out your blog. Have business cards printed with your blog address. Creatively seek out your audience within all the circles of your life.

The magic formula for a money-making blog is this:

CONTENT ——–> TRAFFIC ——–>  PAGE VIEWS ——–>  AD $$$ ——–>  MONEY for you

Keep unique and high quality content first and the rest will follow.

Do you have a money-making blog? If so, would you tell us how much you make—roughly—each month? What other tips would you offer bloggers?

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photo: blary54 at stock.xchng

The Savvy Blogging Summit 2010 Saved My Blog

I went to the Savvy Blogging Summit this past weekend, prepared to come home and shut down my blog.

Yep. You read that right.

I was half-way expecting to leave the Summit, feeling soberly deflated from my crazy notions that this blogging thing could ever be a business for me.

But that didn’t happen.

In fact, just the opposite is true.

Let me back up a minute, though, and tell you how I approached this trip.

For the first half of 2010, I’ve felt my life has been topsy-turvy: the unprecedented Nashville flood, losing a friend in the Haiti earthquake, watching my church shut its doors, leaving Blissdom with little more than a handful of business cards and some groovy swag as my “take-away.” Because I’ve always been a “big vision,” idealistic person, these losses have chipped away at my grandiose ideas.

When loved ones die, when cherished items are destroyed, when the unthinkable happens, when expectations are never realized, dreams are obliterated.

Such disappointments cause me to reconsider everything in life and become a bit stingier with my dreaming.

Sure, I had always salivated at the thoughts of my blog making money. But I had also ballooned those thoughts to the point of worship, blurring the lines between authentic calling and my own assertions in the pursuit of success.

Going to this conference, I did my best to dismiss me and my ideas, opening myself to God’s ideas instead.

I had all but decided that—although I would continue to write—I would most likely abandon the idea of trying to make money with my blog.

Nevertheless, I went into it prayerfully that God would use it to show me “yea” or “nay.” Keep it or close it? Pursue it or leave it? I wanted to know. I wanted God to show me. I was so tired of striving for my own idols in my own strength. I just prayed God would show me how to do well that which he had created me to do.

The fact that I even got to go was a wonderful sign to me of God’s validation (thanks to the three women behind My Grandmother is … Praying for Me). The fact I found three other Christian bloggers for roommates was another. The fact that there was no traffic to the airport on Thursday morning? Well, what better sign could I ask for?

Seriously, God gave his favor on every aspect of this trip. I am reminded that God says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. I think of so many of my previous pursuits and how HARD they’ve been. Obstacle after obstacle.  Dead end after dead end.

But God confirmed that this blogging/writing endeavor is an “easy” and “light” place for me to be. What freedom to simply walk the path God has laid!

My “Take-Away”

I came home with a notebook full of scribbles of nuggets of wisdom. I made lots of new friends and have a small stack of business cards to file away. I have a to-do list and a to-read list that spans a couple of pages.

I “took-away” much in terms of practical, legitimate, immediately usable information to make my blog more readable, more easily discovered, and—ultimately—more profitable.

But, by far, for me, the biggest take-away from this conference was that I am meant to do this for God’s glory. He will equip me to do that which he calls me to do. Will it all come overnight? No. Will I become an instant millionaire? Probably not.

I am simply called to follow step-by-step in faith and watch God’s plan unfold.

And I have a bunch of like-minded Savvy Blogger friends watching with me, cheering me on every step of the way.

~~~


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Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and make a small commission based on purchases that I recommend. I am also working on the publicity team for My Grandmother Is … Praying for Me

My Purpose in Life? It’s in Front of Me

A few weeks ago, I heard a speaker with a really profound message. He said that if one is searching for his or her “purpose” in life, one needs to look no further than the next task.

In other words, your purpose in life is your family, your job, your relationships. In the living of the basics, God ultimately reveals the bigger picture.

I loved this perspective. Mainly because I’m a “big picture” thinker and have often begged God for dramatic revelations and exciting happenings.

Somehow, in my mind, vacuuming, coupon-clipping, and folding laundry could never fit in with that romantic, idealized version of my “grand purpose” in life. But according this speaker, those things are my purpose. Why? Because that’s what God has me doing right NOW.

And, then, today, I was reading in a new book, Turn It Around, by Frank Santora. (Disclosure: I am working on the publicity team for Frank and his book and am being compensated for hours I work on his social media campaign. I also received a copy of the book for review and work-related purposes. Additionally, I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small commission on purchases based on my referrals.) I love the way Frank writes about this very idea.

Frank outlines David’s calling to King. David was the most unlikely candidate for King: the youngest, the shepherd. Yet his greater purpose from God was to lead God’s people. But how would he get from point A to point B?

Through the ordinariness of everyday life.

David’s father sent him to take lunch to his brothers who were preparing for battle with the Philistines. David complied, but when he got there, he discovered the Philistines had proposed a man-to-man challenge: their Goliath against Israel’s “strongest man.” David learned that the winner of the battle would be given great spoils by the King and one of his daughters in marriage. Perhaps David saw that defeating this giant would be a great way to get closer to the throne.

Interestingly, David put on Saul’s armor but took it off, saying he wasn’t comfortable. Instead, David picked up his tools of his trade: smooth stones and a slingshot. Frank explains the practice it would have taken (hours and hours) to become a perfect shot with a slingshot. Frank writes David, most likely, passed time watching the sheep with slingshot practice until he acheived deadly accuracy and caused even the wild animals to fear him.

Frank writes:

Yet even then, I’m sure David was a lot like you and me—questioning himself and thinking, Look at me! The only thing I’m good at is using this sling. What good will that ever do me? A sling was the weapon of peasants, not royalty. Kings and princes fought with spears, swords, and bows and arrows. Nobodies threw rocks. How could being an expert slinger possibly lead to becoming a king? 

How many times have I thought, The only things I’m good at are packing the dishwasher to capacity and getting tomato sauce stains out of shirts. How’s that going to help me? Or, I can write stuff. But who cares about writing? Who’s reading? What difference does it make? Or, what about, I’m just a mom (and not a great one at that). Really, how does it all matter? 

Well, we know how David’s story ends. He does slay the giant with those daily honed skills—insignificant, perhaps, in isolation but monumental in God’s economy! He does take the throne. He does become key in the lineage of Christ and is called a man after God’s own heart.

How will your story end? How will my story end?

Not quite sure yet. But I know what my story says NOW.

Now, I’m doing the tasks before me, honing and practicing the seemingly mundane, offering them to God for his glory and his greater purpose.

Have you ever looked at David’s story in this way? How does it affect you? 
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NOW: NaBloPoMo’s Blog Topic for June

If you are a frequent reader here (and if not, why not? Subscribe now!), you may recall that I blogged everyday in the month of November. It was a lot of fun, kind of hectic, sometimes anxiety-producing, but also an effective exercise at growing me as a writer and a blogger.

I’ve decided to do it again (that’s a post every day in June, people) this month with the folks at NaBloPoMo (that stands for National Blog Posting Month). This time’s there no prize except my own super-sense of satisfaction.

A big influence in my deciding to participate was the topic for this month. It is “Now.” I absolutely love this topic. It really dovetails nicely with all my latest efforts at intentional living. It also ties in with my yet-to-be-posted part 2 of my observations on the Lost series finale.

Now. I soooo need to be living in the now. Here’s to June 2010. This moment in time.

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