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The Bloggerly Life… What’s This Blogging Thing All About?

A Straightforward Definition of a Blog

The-Bloggerly-Life-start-a-blog-LiWBFBy now you’ve probably heard that everybody’s doing this online publishing thing, even though you probably don’t know much about it. Many people are attempting to jump into this happy game. And no, I’m not referring to the happy Hunger Games, either. I’m talking about blogging, the fastest growing entrepreneurial sensation around the web.

Okay, let me just tell you something, right now. There are many different types of blogging personalities. Recently, I stumbled across a hilarious article on Pinterest that describes five types of blogger personalities: the party girl, the grump, the enigma, the fake and the supporter. I only recently learned the official names of these bloggers through this post by the ladies of PoisedinPrint.com. Filled with humor, this article details each one of the five personalities I just mentioned. I’ve blogged since 2011 and must admit I’ve stumbled upon the bloggerly home of each one of these ladies/guys/kids.

2015-04-06-21-58-07So, how do you get started with blogging?

This is a question I’ve been asked many times. If you read other blogs, then you’ve probably also seen discussion posts kind of like this one. Each expert discusses several unique ways you can go about starting your own blog. However, the one common piece of advice present in all the blogs usually revolves around the idea of finding your passion. I’m going to take this suggestion a step further and say you need to know your obsession. That’s right. These days, new blogs pop up around the Internet as though there’s nothing much to it other than, well… doing it. To some extent, that’s true. Yet, I’ve seen many new blogs fall by the wayside after about 4 months or even less in some cases. The new bloggers start out on a mission to rule their tiny part of the Internet. The posts are highly entertaining. I can tell this person knows their stuff. And then, it happens. The burnout. You can always tell because fewer posts go up as the weeks progress.

It might be that the new blogger expected to make tons of money in a short amount of time only to discover they’ve burned out only a few weeks into the game. Sometimes a lack of readership discourages folks. That happened to me at one point in 2014. Others just seem to get overwhelmed by the huge amount of time and work that goes into keeping up with an editorial calendar. Either way, you should set realistic goals. The simpler the better. Especially when you’re first starting out. I don’t know of any overnight successes in the blogging world. Have a plan and be persistent.

Seven or eight years ago, starting a blog was a relatively new and uncharted territory. Curiosity kept many readers intrigued with these new online experts. People flocked to these blogs and readership was built one loyal reader at a time. Many of those pioneer bloggers have stood the test of time and are now pulling in millions of views per month. Notice I highlighted a part of that last sentence. Please re-read those words to understand how this business still works even today.

Times have a changed. To find success in a sea of new blogs, you must stay true to you. Find your unique voice. Know what makes you different. Stand out. Discover your obsession and roll with the juice you build from there. Understand that a successful blog doesn’t happen overnight. Heck these days it can take years. I’m going to probably repeat that highlighted phrase (see above paragraph) a few times. I’ll tell you why in the next paragraph.

I started Live Well Be Fabulous in late 2013, and I’ve just now begun hitting 50,000 views & visitors per month. And let me tell you, I almost gave up at one point. Yet, I kept winning inspirational awards from my readers and folks kept telling me how much they loved my motivational posts. I couldn’t just let it go. And I’m so glad I didn’t. In January, 2015 (yep, a meager three months ago) I dropped the WordPress.com portion of my blog’s title and became LiveWellBeFabulous.com. My world has changed in a big way since then. I jumped from 200 views/month in December, 2014, to 30,000 in March, 2015, and am on track to hit 50K this month. More on my bloggerly journey to 50K views later in this series.

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For now, I’m going to cover the 5 most frequently asked bloggerly life questions from folks I’ve met along the way.

What is a blog?
Yes, people still ask me this question. And with the invention of the blogazine (websites like this one) the answer to that question varies today. Let’s get an official answer first. Dictionary.com describes a blog as a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites. A community of like-minded people who come together on the Internet to discuss a common theme.

Okay, so we’ve heard the official definition. Now let’s get the realistic one. A blog can be many things depending on the owner. Sometimes it’s a personal spot for showcasing a hobby. Blogs make great inspirational communities. A blog makes a great author’s platform (see mine here). Sometimes there’s a large, devoted community of readers on a blog such as A Beautiful Mess and A Cup of Jo, while others such as copyblogger.com serve more as an informational tool.
There are blogs where the owner becomes famous for their strength of their personality such as TheBlogess.com and TheOpinionatedman.com. These are all great places to go so you can get a feel for all the different styles of and ways blogs affect our lives. And then there’s this new form of online magazine where the a group of contributors document a particular lifestyle in articles paired with fantastic images. It’s called the blogazine. That’s where Live Well Be Fabulous comes in. I love the hybrid nature of the blogazine world and from what I’ve seen in the comments and our viewership numbers, readers love this format as well.

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How do I get started?

Obviously, you’ll need to create a blog. There are several platforms: WordPress, Blogger.com, TypePad and Tumblr to name a few of the major players in the blogging world. The second most important thing to do after you find your obsession is to decide whether your blog is going to become the be-all-end-all place for all of your ventures or simply a place to use the starting point for many other pursuits. For me, Live Well Be Fabulous is moving toward the first description. I have other websites that showcase my books and reviews, but LiWBF is the place where I’ve become most active over the past few months. Questions to ask yourself now: Do I want to showcase my hobby or expertise on a particular subject? Or do I want to earn income from my blog?

How do I make money?
There are too many methods of income to discuss in this post. The Bloggerly Life will cover this aspect of blogging in more detail later during the course. For now, I’ll list a few of the most common forms of income: sponsorships, ad campaigns, affiliate income, freelance writing and selling your products (or someone else’s) on your blog.

How much does it cost to run a blog?
This is yet another variable in the blogging world. If you’re entering this venture as a labor of love or a place to showcase your hobbies, then you’ll only be facing the cost of the materials you’ll need to complete your projects.
If you consider your blog a business, which I’m assuming you do since you’re still reading this post, then it WILL require funding. Conferences, ads, images, photography equipment… the list goes on for the blogger who wishes to turn her blog into a business.

Do I need any special training?
That depends on what topic you choose to focus on. If your chosen subject revolves around teaching people how to manage their finances and portfolios then you might want to consider becoming an expert in your field. However, life experience sometimes makes the best teacher in the world of frugal living. Think Dave Ramsey. Educational credentials aren’t necessary for every type of blog. There are many successful food, fashion and lifestyle bloggers who made it by sharing their personal experiences with readers. We’ll talk more about the various types of blog in a future installment of the Bloggerly Life.

Join us for the next installment of the Bloggerly Life where we cover the basics of starting a blog.

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