If your interested in learning how to start a blog, then you may be interested in the story of my website. In this little section of my site I am going to tell you what I did. I will let you see the steps I took but I will also be candid about the missteps I took, and there were several.
In the fall of 2011 I was laid up recovering from hip-replacement surgery. Reading is a very passive activity and I started looking for something to do that would be more active mentally while allowing me to rest physically.
Writing seemed to fit the bill, but responding to the endless stream of comments on the internet seemed pointless. While I enjoy a good argument, what seemed to pass for discourse was more like shouting, so I looked around for other venues.
Starting a blog provided an opportunity to say something, and to dust off my writing skills, which had atrophied in my professional life. Unfortunately my experience was that blogs were likely to be a great place for writing and a lousy place for gaining readers. It was like giving a great speech in an empty room.
This began my research into the business of blogging. If I was going to write I wanted to be read, and that would require traffic, and traffic would require that I do something besides slapping my old blog up there for the world to find.
It was in this research phase that I discovered Sitesell. I remember clearly reading this extremely convincing article on how to start a blog that almost sold me right there. Then I clicked on his link where he had Sitesell explain their program to me. At this point I was almost convinced. Then came the kicker at the bottom of that web page. I was getting a 90-day trial, money-back guaruntee. Okay, I knew I wasn't going to be fabulously successful in 90-days, but I did figure I would know whether Sitesell was worth the money by the end of 90 days.
Let me just say that long before I hit 90 days I had decided that I was on Sitesell to stay.
The Sitesell program is the brainchild of Ken Evoy. It is a web-hosting service that provides the tools you need to succeed as a web publisher. Or it is a training company that teaches you how to succeed on the web. Or it is a web-service company that keeps its customers by reducing their workload and helping them grow. Take your pick.
What sold me on using Sitesell was their customers. The people who publish with Sitesell seemed dedicated to growing their site and treating it as a business. There are many on Blogger and Wordpress that fit that bill, but there are also many who are not so focused. If I didn’t care if I was read Blogger and Wordpress seemed to be excellent places to start my blog.
The proof of what I have just said lies before you. My website exists in its present form because of the tutorials that Ken Evoy put together. It is not a wandering blog, without focus. In fact, it is not a blog at all, although it does have a blog element.
Sitesell doesn’t make you discipline yourself to their 10-day methodology, but if you do your site will be better for that discipline.
The first discipline imposed was the discipline of topic. Sitesell teaches you to research the topic of your website, to identify those topics that have a strong demand, and to shun areas that are crowded with competition.
My website is about house design. It was not what I planned on writing about when I started this process. I planned on writing about politics. I figured that the world needed another emphatic voice espousing a take-no-prisoners ideology. Sitesell’s data suggested otherwise.
The Sitesell program provided the tools to research demand and supply. There are other tools out there that I could have used, but I didn’t know about them and no one seemed eager to teach me. Sitesell taught me how to use their tools and why I should.
All of this came with the monthly hosting fee. Or perhaps the hosting came free with the monthly training fee. However you want to look at it there are a lot of tools in the Sitesell toolkit and you get them all for a monthly fee of $30 (as of February 2013).
When I began my research into blogging I had a secondary motive. I wanted to make money. I wasn’t quite sure what was possible, and I would likely have started a blog without this motivation, but I figured that if I could build up the blog to where I provided several hundred dollars a month it would serve as a nice supplement to my future retirement income. Lots of peoples have hobbies. Having a hobby that pays the rent is a much better deal.
The Sitesell program doesn’t get you there, but it teaches you how to get there and gives you the tools and a road map for getting there. I will admit that I am not there yet. I have been at this for just over a year and am just past the point of break even. I told myself that I wouldn’t try to promote Sitesell until I started seeing money coming in and was assured of my future success. Today I have crossed over that line. I am ready to announce that this website will bring in a respectable income stream and that Sitesell has had and will have a lot to do with that.
I am starting a small extension of my website. Be forewarned, it is in part an advertisement for Sitesell, but you should also know that I will reveal the warts as well. In this extension I will discuss the business and technical aspects of publishing on the web. This first page is called "how to start a blog" because that is what I started researching when I began this journey.
I will tell you my story. I will tell you what I learned. I will even reveal my ignorance, because there is much that I don’t know. I will not shy from telling you about my mistakes. I will open my books, revealing my sales and readership information.
I will present much of this sequentially, walking through what I did, but I will also try to write so that that each page can stand alone. Since this is an ongoing website I expect that I will have much to explain for many months to come.
Enjoy what I have written. Learn what you can. Discard what isn’t useful. Then write back to let me know how you have fared. Did I mention that I write so that I can be read? Your feedback helps drive me on, so please comment when you can.
Thank you for your time.
In my next article, How To Create a Blog I walk you through the first few steps in the Sitesell Program as I recount how I came to deveop my site concept.