Snack Girl has been asked many times about how to create a successful blog. Today, she will lift the curtain.
Some of you may not care, but a few of my readers want to know how to do this thing that I do that pays me money. I am sure that there are many different routes to success in this business but mine has been slow and steady - not unlike the turtle in that fable. Or was it a tortoise? Whatever! The point is that I am slow.
1. How do you start a blog?
My website has been designed and built by my business partner and husband. But, many have started with Wordpress and a book like “Wordpress for Dummies” (see below). You will need to buy a domain name and make one of the biggest decisions of your blogging career - what should you call yourself? I went from Snack Snoop to Snack Girl - so don’t be afraid to change it if it doesn’t work out.
The domain name should have the most important words of your site in it. “Snack” is my important word.
2. How do you get an audience?
One of the nice things about blogging is that you are publishing without anyone telling you what you can or cannot say. A website is a media business and you own it from the beginning. But, you have to say something compelling and it has to be quality.
The best websites are ones that come from someone’s heart - they truly love the topic and their enthusiasm is infectious. You start with your friends and family, get their feedback, and then you approach other bloggers to help you get the word out by sharing your site. This is how I started.
Also, I read Copy Blogger to get ideas on how to promote my site and Seth Godin for marketing advice. There is all this “blah blah blah" about social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) but if your site isn’t quality then you are just wasting your time with these tools. Yes, they are helpful, but people (word of mouth) is the BEST for growing any business.
3. How do I make money?
Ahhh, yes. The dough question. It is not easy to make money doing this. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. I started Snack Girl in 2009 and only in 2012 was I beginning to make a living at it and I do it FULL TIME. So I put in 3 years without getting paid, which I could afford to do because my partner supported me.
Most small business is like this. It takes a while to start a business and you cannot hope to have a return until you have put in many, many hours.
The good news is that there is a potential audience of 315 million people here in the United States and the sky is the limit. I am here, every day, trying to grow this thing (please share it if you haven’t) and it is very rewarding to be providing a free service to many who love it.
I get paid from basically two sources. Google pays me for the advertising you see. I make $2-$3 per 1,000 pageviews on this site. So, if today 100 people visit and they click around 3 times - that means there are 300 pageviews and I made about $1.
In addition, I have an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com and if you buy the book below, I make a small percentage of the purchase price (I am not able to disclose the amount). Google and Amazon provide the bulk of my revenue, but sometimes I will do a sponsored post. It is labelled clearly as sponsored and is even a different color to indicate it has been paid for (you might have seen a couple). I haven’t done very many because I can’t find products I like.
4. Should you do this?
If you really love to communicate and you have something you are burning to say, by all means, start a blog. Good things can happen from it (even if it isn’t making money). Don’t wait for a magazine or a publisher to tell you that you can write or shoot photographs - just start and see what happens. I believe in throwing stuff on the wall and seeing what sticks rather than analyzing the blank out of everything.
I will try to answer the questions in the comment section below, but I cannot answer all the questions that I get on this topic in my inbox. I wish I had the time but I have to keep growing this blog to pay the bills!