This is not my first blog. In fact, when I started on a free blog platform, it never crossed my mind that a blog could make money. I remember getting my hands into blogging by registering a free blog on Blogspot. Of course, I chose a dumb name. I called the blog “The Art Of Business”. So it was something like TheArtOfBusiness.blogspot.com.
By the way, this blog post is sort of a mini-biography of my whole blogging journey that includes lessons, mistakes and what have you. Therefore, if you pick up anything useful, just appreciate by commenting below and share if you can.
Back to the free blog. Nothing significant ever happened because I had only put in two posts. Both with less than 200 words each.
THE VALUE OF EXACT KEYWORD DOMAIN NAME
The moment of truth came when I bumped into a former classmate of mine in 2009. While we were busy with our studies in university, my friend spent his time at the university of hard knocks. He learns the fine art of entrepreneurship from the street. The domain name is the first step if you want to blog for money. Not on Blogspot for God’s sake.
My friend, Andy introduced me to the game of domain name investment. Boy, I remember being so caught up with the craze that I started searching for the elusive keyword domain names from Godaddy every evening after work.
Well, why were keyword domain names valuable? I am contemplating whether to use the present tense or past tense because good exact keyword web addresses are still valuable assets. You can gauge the value of domains via a blog by the baddest domainer at the moment. Rick Schwartz owns some of the most valuable domain names in the world like Men.com, Candy.com, and Property.com. These are worth Millions.
Andy taught me the importance of using exact keyword domains names for blogs to rank highly in SERP. In theory, it was better to use Search.com than a dumb name like Google.com, Bing.com or an even dumber name like DuckDuckGo.com. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.
He sold me the idea of using one of his domain for my new blog. With HowToBlog.org, my blogging career got a big lift. In less a year, I was able to blog my way into the no. 1 position for the keyword of “how to blog” with the help of:
a great domain name,
some minor keyword stuffing and
Blogging twice a week with about 600 to 700 words per blog post
a lucky inbound link from a powerful PageRank 7 psychology blog.
A BLOG IS MORE THAN JUST ABOUT MONEY
Andy laid out a simple business plan for me with HowToBlog.org. It would be a 50:50 joint venture business. He would provide the guidance while I would contribute the manpower. Of course, with his years of experience in the online business, he would teach me all that I needed to know about SEO.
Before we started HowToBlog.org, Andy showed me a hundred of other domain names that he owned. I would say, 60 % of them consisted of the technological niches that fell under audio-visual and sustainable energy. The rest consisted of wellness, disease and other genres.
When I look at those niches, common sense told me that there was money to be made if I was familiar with them. I remember one Soundbar.com which was my friend’s darling. The PPC from Google Adsense will make us a fortune we were able to bring the site up to no. 1 spot for the keyword, “sound bar”. That is just me being hypothetical.
The truth is, I don’t give a hoot about soundbars. I could not even comprehend the difference between an HDMI port and VGA socket. Anyway, I wanted to get my hands into blogging and therefore, HowToBlog.org seemed the best option at that moment.
The niche about blogging, SEO, SEM, social media marketing became my new love. I searched for blogs like ProBlogger, Seth Godin, John Chow, Search Engine Land, and many others to understand more about these subjects. I was ever willing to spend a fortune on books just so that I could blog non-stop on these subjects.
But I made a grave mistake with that beautiful blog. I sold it too soon after being disappointed with my Google Adsense earnings. Don’t get me wrong. The natural click-through rate was great but somehow, the payout by Google was not very impressive. From a few dollars per click, it deteriorated to only a few cents. I tolerated for almost a year and as God would have it, somebody made an offer for the blog.
Andy too advised that I should sell it off as soon as possible with the lousy Adsense payout. Before the buyer surfaced, I had already bought HowToBlog.org from Andy because of my attachment to the site.
YOUR BLOG MAY NOT MAKE YOU MONEY
Do you know how long it takes for your blog to make you some dough? This is a million dollar question for every blogger that is still struggling in the blogosphere.
There are tonnes of bloggers out there who claim of making thousands from various income channels like Google Adsense, affiliate marketing and even direct sales. Amidst these successes, can you sack your boss and make blogging your full-time career?
After my minor breakthrough with HowToBlog.org, my head started to swell. I dreamt of owning a series of blogs on a variety of niches to boost my earnings. If I could do it once, I could do it twice.
With the capital from the sales of my site, I embarked on an aggressive modus operandi. I bought multiple domain names with keywords in Lasik, macular degeneration, hair removal, dust mites and fennec fox (exotic pet). Ooooo…my dream of sacking my boss was drawing nearer. I even hired a writer for nearly $500 per month to work on my grand blogging plan.
GOOGLE IS YOUR BOSS
In spite of spending close to ten grand in developing those blogs for a year, not even one made it to the top five pages of Google SERP. Bing and Yahoo fared even worse. These two dumb search engines are the worst thing to happen to bloggers. To me, they are jokers.
Truth be told, it was my own fault for the dismal performance on Google SERP. Loads of keywords stuffing had probably taken a toll on my blogs’ credibility. Not only did my blogs fail to move up further on the search ranking, but they also fell into oblivion after Google updated their algorithm. I am sure you have heard of Google Penguin and Google Panda.
You want to be on the good side of Google. Period! But the reality is, as time progresses, this can be harder and harder. Yes. Search engines are getting more distrusting as they evolve. Google is forever updating how they want to rank the websites out there. Recently, there is the latest update by Google that focuses on websites that provide medical advice.
In other words, if you are blogging about dementia and things related, you have better be a real psychiatrist. If you are blogging about macular degeneration, you have to prove yourself to be an authority on the subject by displaying your credentials as an ophthalmologist. Failing which, Google might just strike your blog deep into the abyss for being a fake.
On one hand, you need to remember those darn keywords because of the search crawlers’ stupidity. These robots don’t read like humans. They identify keywords and yet, you aren’t supposed to overcrowd your articles with too many keywords. Google wants you to write great contents that appeal to the flesh and blood readers.
START YOUR BLOG RIGHT WITH AN AWESOME WEB HOST
I spent almost a third of the capital from selling HowToBlog.org before I realized that my “blogging empire” was doomed. All the blogs were infected with malware after a year.
Hey, if you are thinking of using this host called iPage, you have better think twice. You might as well spend your money somewhere else, like treating your family to a feast of Alaskan King Crab. Their customer service sucked BIG time when I asked for solutions to the malware issues. Everything came to an instant halt when Google blocked all my sites with a warning that they were INFECTED WITH MALWARE. A third of my capital spiraled down into nothingness just like that!
Wise up when choosing your web host. You still need to watch your spending though. If you aren’t looking into building a website that runs an offshore financial service for the rich and famous, you can use Hostinger. To date, I have already used this web host for two sites; this blog and my company’s website.
For a mere $0.80 to $1.60 per month for the hosting plan, you can get two freebies. Firstly, an SSL for your blog (look closely at my blog’s url and observe the https instead of the normal http). Secondly, a free domain name once you sign up for the web host. Once you signed up, ask for the powerful Cloudflare service from their customer service.
Cloudflare is a powerful online service that both protects and accelerates your blog. If I had these services in my early blog venture, I think I would still be able to salvage the business. At the moment, Cloudflare has enabled my site to load at a mere 2 to 3 seconds as compared to the normal 20 seconds for tonnes of other sites.
To date, I have already lost count of the number of attacks by both hackers and malware thwarted by Cloudflare. You might get this service for a mere stipend if you signed up with Hostinger.
I DON’T KNOW WHERE THIS BLOG WILL TAKE ME
If you ask me about my expectation of this blog in 2010, my answer would be about to make a good side income. Today, I don’t really know.
The same scenario occurred when my boss who was the company’s COO asked me about my job aspiration. When I was fresh out of university, I would tell him about my plan to be the CEO of a company. I could even map out the action plan for my job strategy. Surprisingly, the supposedly wiser me did not have the answer when asked the same question 12 years later.
This blog may not amount to much today. I don’t even know whether it will bring in anything a year later. For all I know, it may score a few affiliate earnings here and there due to your support. For your information, if you decide to use the web host I recommended via the link in this blog post, I might make some money. Maybe just enough to cover a few months of hosting fee but definitely not enough to support my living expenses. But I have another business to support my family.
Do not only think about Google Adsense or affiliate sales. Give your blog time. It is much deeper than that. This blog provides a platform for me to develop many skills. In addition, I also find that the time I spend on my blog is rather therapeutic. It reminds me to be grateful to those who have helped me and to forgive those who seemed to have stepped on me.