Over the past few months, I’ve received a lot of email from readers asking me for pointers on how to start their own blogs. It seems like everyone has the “blogging itch” these days, and that’s a good thing if you truly have something worthwhile to share with the world, then setting up your own website is a great way to do just that.
I started this site in 2008 and It has since grown into the top prepper blog online today, this is a huge community that is made up of thousands of subscribers, with the blog site receiving an average of 25,000 pageviews per day, every day, and is really a hybrid blog and forum all rolled into one.
How can you do the same? Well read on and I’ll do my best to teach you what I’ve learned about starting and running a WordPress blog along with links to the tools that you’ll need to get started…
It Won’t Happen Overnight
Just about anyone can set up a blog site in under ten minutes – that’s the easy part. You can register a domain and set up hosting with only a few clicks, and you have a blog. But it takes time, lots and lots of time to write content and build a readership. You’ll spend hours writing, and posting articles that no one will be reading or commenting on. You’ll feel like you’re writing to yourself and really at this point you are.
I was stuck at that point for two years, but I just kept on punching at the keyboard and posting my thoughts and what I knew about prepping. I thought about giving up several times, but I wanted to help people get prepared. My goal was and still is to share knowledge that can save lives. I don’t take this lightly, and consider myself blessed that I’ve been able to help so many people over the years.
You have to really care about the topic you’re writing about and have a dedication to doing everything that you can to help others, because if you don’t then you’ll give up before you ever reach a large audience. If your main goal is to make money, then you are going to be disappointed, especially for the first few years, and even then you probably won’t make a lot.
My blog earning is about the same as if I were working at a regular full-time job, but during the first few years, I made nothing. Even after a year of consistent blogging, I signed up for the Amazon.com affiliate program and for more than two years my earning from that were under $20 per month, now my earning from Amazon.com amount to several hundred dollars each month.
So to recap… you must really want to help people, if it’s only about making money then you’ll probably fail. And it takes time… Lots of time to build an audience, it also takes a lot of work.
Sure you could be like a group of internet marketers that I recently became aware of, that are now in the “prepper niche” with their only motivation to make a quick buck… They spend big money on advertising with Facebook ads and Google AdWords to drive traffic to their blog, where they then get those people to sign-up for their “newsletter” and then they pound their email list with email after email (usually one or two per day) trying to sell their subscribers “survival gear” that is really nothing more than useless junk.
These marketers aren’t even preppers and are just trying to make a quick buck off of people who are looking for help and answers. Without spending massive amounts on advertising to send them traffic they will simply fade away because they have no real readership (they get no comments or very few which is proof of no real readership base).
For long-term success, you have to be dedicated to your topic and have a real desire to help others and to share your knowledge with them.
Choosing a Topic
Let’s face if blogging about prepping is an overcrowded niche, by simply doing a google search it would seem that there are as many blogs about prepping as there are preppers. My advice is that if you must start yet another preppers type blog, that you narrow your topic down to a specific segment of prepping.
For example, a site solely dedicated to cooking and using long-term storage foods, or what about a site about survival rifles and related gear, survival handguns, and related gear, or maybe survival gardening, hardening and defending your home/retreat, survival book reviews etc…
Narrow your topic and make it specific and you’ll be able to get more readers who are looking for information on a narrow topic that’s related to a larger niche. To be honest you would probably be better off if you avoided the prepper/survival niche altogether, not just because it’s an over-crowded area but mainly because the potential audience is small when compared to other subjects.
One topic I’ve noticed that is doing very well that has a huge potential audience is what’s been dubbed the “mommy blog” where every woman with a child is a potential reader. The best subject is the one that you know the most about, or are very interested in and can learn about and then share what you’ve learned.
My Most Recommended Resources for Running a Blog
If you’re going to start a blog then you need a good operating platform, this blog uses WordPress as does just about every other successful blog and website, and there is a reason for that, and that is that it works, and has lots of plugins and support. And to make matters even easier most hosting providers have a “one-click” WordPress install when you sign-up for hosting – just one click and you’re ready to start blogging.
Aside from using WordPress for your blog the hosting that you choose is one of the most important considerations when starting a blog. From my personal experience, DreamHost offers the best prices and customer service. I’ve never had to wait on support for longer than three minutes and they have always answered any questions and fixed any problems that I’ve had quickly.
DreamHost plans start as low as $3.99 per month for shared hosting or $12.49 per month for their Optimized WordPress Hosting. And as your blog grows and you need “more power” it’s simple to upgrade to VPS or Dedicated Hosting like we use here at TheSurvivalistBlog.net.
Also if you’re already running a blog or website on another host, DreamHost offers FREE migrations, meaning that they will move your site from your current hosting to DreamHost for FREE!
Bluehost is another popular WordPress hosting option that many bloggers and website owners recommend but I don’t have any experience with them so I can’t say either way. Click on the following link to see the hosting plans available at BlueHost.
You can find thousands of free WordPress themes via your WordPress dashboard once you have your blog set up – just hover your mouse over the “appearance” tab, then click on themes and choose the one that best fits your needs.
Having site backups is a good idea and insurance policy, that will allow you to restore your WordPress site to an earlier version if the unthinkable happens like you mess up your WordPress code or are hacked. Whatever you do – always backup your site. VaultPress and Backup Buddy are two options.
Most new site owners don’t think too much about security, that is until they are hacked or infected with spyware or a virus that can then also infect anyone visiting their sites. Years ago when I first started this site it was hacked and the site was closed down for several days before I could regain control of it.
After that I signed up with Sucuri Security, and could not be happier with their service, they offer a plugin, scanner, and firewall to keep the bad guys out and let the good guys in (your readers), and if something ever does get past the firewall, their alerts will let you know, and…. wait for it… they will go to your site and clean it up for you at no extra charge!
This is one step that you do not want to skip – go to Sucuri Security and sign-up for expert WordPress protection as soon as you start your own WordPress Blog.
It may come as a shock to some, but most people who visit a website for the first time will never return no matter how good the content is!
To keep them as readers who come back to your site week after week, you have to get them to join your mailing list. Without a mailing list, your site will not be nearly as successful, you must start a mailing list from day one. Don’t put it off, or think you’ll wait until you get more traffic, you want to do it now.
There are a number of options available for this but the one I use and trust for this site is FeedBlitz – it’s easy to set up, works great with WordPress and the customer support is top-notch. Once you have your hosting and your blog set up then go sign-up with Feedblitz and start building your reader base via your mailing list.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
There are several free WordPress Plugins that you can use to set SEO for your site that will help you to drive search traffic – I suggest either Yoast SEO or the All In One SEO Pack, both are very good with the edge going to Yoast SEO.
Well, there you have it the basics of what you need to know to start your own successful blog or website. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comment below…