This seems to be a popular topic with many these days, because newbies want to know how to get on the blogging and niche fast track. People are in an extreme hurry to make money online so that they can quit their jobs and work from home. There is nothing wrong with this, because it is the perfect mentality for coming up with a winning game plan.
I have been blogging full time since February 2010, and it is now November. There is a full 8-months in between now and then. I have wasted a lot of time with things that I wish I didn’t, when I could have done the things that I know now. Luckily, you now have a blueprint to follow. Bookmark and share this with others.
My first steps
If I had to start blogging all over again, I would setup the perfect WordPress install. This would include the following plugins.
- Akismet – This is a must for any blog that wishes to become popular. If you follow my marketing directions, becoming popular will not be an issue. Prevent spam from the beginning with this plugin so that you may focus on productive tasks to build up your blog’s reputation.
- All in One SEO Pack – A must for any blog wishing to be fully optimized for search engines. This plugin will do all of the work automatically, and you have the option to add custom meta tags for each article if you want to.
- Author Box – This plugin puts a box under or over your articles and shows your bio, or the bio of your guest posters that are contributing to your blog.
- BM Keywordlink – The best free plugin to automatically link keywords to any URL that you wish. I use this to interlink articles, automatically link to other websites, or affiliate offers.
- Bubblecast Video for WordPress – The Bubblecast Video plugin will allow your commentators to publish a video comment on your articles.
- CommentLuv – Show your commentators some love by allowing them to get a link from your blog to their latest article on their blog. It entices readers to comment.
- Comment Referrers – This plugin reports where the people who comment on your blog come from. It then adds a line to the end of your comment notification or moderation emails with that information. Good tracking info provided here. The more information you have, the more power you have over your blog.
- Comment Reply Notification – Any blog that does not use this plugin is asking to be left behind. This plugin allows commentators to subscribe to comment replies. It can keep the discussion going on an article and ensures you get more traffic and interaction within your blog.
- Conditional CAPTCHA for WordPress – I used to get a ton of spam. Even with Akismet, I had to go in and browse the spam folder. This plugin works with Akismet to block spam by making anyone who was caught my Akismet as possible spam, enter a captcha to prove they are human. Most bots will not get through this, so if the captcha is incorrect, then the spam won’t even go to the spam folder. I RARELY get a single spam comment to moderate now, even with my heavy traffic.
- Contact Form 7 – By far, the best contact form for WordPress. I was using another one, but it was horrible and had to be updated manually every time. Contact Form 7 has excellent functionality and allows for multiple forms anywhere you want to put them on your blog. It powers the contact forms I have right here on different pages of this blog.
- Facebook Comments for WordPress – You notice the Facebook comment area below? This allows you to have people comment through Facebook, and they can publish it on their wall as well, which gets linked to your article. It also provides a “like” button to help get you additional traffic.
- FeedBurner FeedSmith – You know what feedburner is right? I use this for my rss feeds to keep track of all of my rss feed subscribers.
- Follow Me – This is that purdy’ “follow me” button hovering on the right side of my blog at this time. I placed a lot of different ways on here where you can connect with me.
- Follow My Links – This removes the nofollow from links created by the comment author.
- Google Analytics for WordPress – I keep track of my stats with Google Analytics. This plugin adds the code for me.
- Google Sitemaps – Google is my site map provider, and this plugin automatically indexes all content within my blog, and pings Google. This way, I get deep linking.
- KB Countdown Widget – A good countdown widget for events that you may have coming up, and want to share with others.
- KeywordLuv – This makes commenting on my blog more attractive because if the commentator were to put without quotes “Yourname@Your Keywords” then they can get a good anchor text to their blog/site. It also makes people want to actually use their first name when commenting. I don’t allow just keywords as a name in my comments.
- Lijit Search – It’s a search for content. Lijit seems to bring me some decent traffic without me even interacting with it in any way.
- LiveJournal Crossposter Remix – Every time I update my blog, this crossposts to LiveJournal which results in more traffic and subscriptions. Don’t leave home without it!
- Modal Dialog – Have you noticed that pop-up on my blog? I have it configured to be non-obtrusive for my readers. It is FREE!
- Most Commented Widget – This shows the posts in my sidebar that have the most comments. It gets more traffic to old posts for me.
- Newsletter Pro (satollo.net) – The best newsletter subscription management plugin. I don’t have to subscribe to a 3rd party to manage my subscribers. I prefer to control my list rather than rent one, but thanks! So, I got the free version of this plugin, then I paid for the low-cost upgrade to get pro functionality which was worth it.
- OIOpublisher Direct – Again, I like to control my blog entirely! That is why I use OIOPublisher to sell my ad space on this blog. Want to buy some ad space? Do so before the prices go up!
- Page Links To – This cool plugin allows me to add static links in my navigation. That’s how I link to the marketing forum in a sub-directory on this domain. Cool right?
- Please Link 2 Me – That nifty html code underneath every article which asks readers to link to the article if they enjoyed it. That’s created by this plugin. It’s an ease-of-access thing for other webmasters.
- Pretty Link – A wonderful plugin that shortens and masks affiliate links, or whatever I want to link to. It includes it’s own tracking.
- SEO Friendly Images – Automatically makes any images I upload search engine friendly with alt text.
- SexyBookmarks – This plugin allows my content to be shared across the web on many social networks and social bookmarking sites. You see it below all of my articles.
- Smart Youtube – This embeds Youtube videos when I simply link to it in my article or page, and use httpv instead of http. Very easy to use.
- Static Toolbar – This adds a toolbar on the bottom of the screen when you are on my blog. It shares social links, and provides a stream of the latest content on my blog. It’s all about convenience for my wonderful readers
- Top Commentators Widget – This is a must for anyone who wishes to being consistent commentary on their blog. If someone wants a free link to their site, they need to be a top commentator on this blog. I have it set to reset to zero every month to be fair to everyone. At one point, Scott Barron was a regular commentator here and racked up a huge number of comments, so he was always number 1. Sorry Scott!
- TweetMeme Follow Button – The button shows a live count of the number of Twitter followers a particular user has.
- TweetMeme Retweet Button – This is the cool Retweet button you see on my articles. It allows for easy tweeting to share with your own followers. Care to click it for me on this article? Thanks!
- Twitterlink Comments – Shows a link to follow the comment author on twitter if they have entered in their username at least once in the comment form.
- WordPress Automatic Upgrade – A handy tool to automatically backup and upgrade your WordPress installation.
- WP-Ban – It’s sad when you have to use this, but handy to block abusers who spam you constantly or like to start trouble in your community.
- WP-Cumulus – A flash based Tag Cloud for WordPress.
- WP-PageNavi – Adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress blog.
- WP-Sticky – I use this sometimes to make a post stay on my homepage longer, even if there is a newer article published. I can set it as an announcement to keep it on the homepage, or set it as a sticky to keep it on the top for a specific date.
- WP-UserOnline – This handy tool shows me in real time, the people or bots who are visiting my blog. It also tells me how they were referred to the page that they are on.
These are the main plugins that I use on every install. I do use other plugins depending on the blog/site, but to keep it simple, I will leave those out. I listed these because I have been asked what plugins I like to use.
Once I have my plugins all installed and configured, I would then make sure that my permalinks and other standard wordpress settings are all in order.
The next thing to follow would be my creative writing. I would assemble 15 articles, each with 1,500 words or more, and then post the first one and schedule the rest for 2-days apart. This will ensure regular updated for an entire month.
After the first article is published, I would immediately start blog hopping and commenting on as many as possible. This will get the initial traffic and commentary on my new blog. It will also build up some backlinks to my blog, and to articles for deep-linking from blogs using the CommentLuv plugin.
After I have the traffic, I would immediately get to work on my first ebook, and have an announcement for it so I can build up some suspense. I would have the ebook complete in less than 4 days, fully proofread and put together with an ebook cover. I would use this ebook as an enticement to build my mailing list.
Social Status is Everything!
Facebook and Twitter have been the best social networks to bring me traffic on this blog. I am very active on both networks, and it is a must to build up a huge network on these. Start building your followers on Twitter, and add lots of friends in Facebook. This pays off big in the future.
With Facebook, I wished I started sooner. At first, I used it for personal friends. Then I realized I didn’t have many, so I started adding people who are interested in things that I am.
Twitter is great for a quick boost in traffic, and getting to know people in 140 characters or less
There are a bunch of other social networks and social bookmarking sites that I use as well, and are vital to your success as a blogger, or niche site promoter. Don’t neglect your social networks or you will regret it. Start early on in your venture.
Associated Content and EzineArticles have been great at allowing me to establish myself as an expert in my niche. I write articles for both outlets, and it is well worth the time and creative content to do so. Associated Content also paid me in advance, and pays in residuals for CPM when you write for them.
I wrote recently about becoming an expert on a guest post. I suggest you check out that article so that you can see why it is important to establish yourself as an expert, and how you can go about doing so.
Setting yourself up for a monthly niche income will ensure that you can take care of your bills without worry. If I had to start all over, I would buy up prepackaged niche sites and insert my affiliate codes. I would then use blog hopping, guest posting, and article publishing to build backlinks and traffic to these sites.
I would have setup at least 50 of them initially, and then expanded that number over time to 150. Each site would only need to bring in a small amount daily in order to add up to something that will make a serious dent in your financial needs.
When starting from the beginning, I would have invested a small amount of money into excellent resources like Affiliate Kung Fu. You may think it’s a good idea to just learn this stuff through trial and error, but in this case you’d be wrong. Saving serious time by learning everything ahead of time is well worth it when you are trying to build up an affiliate income.
If I had to start over, I would establish my blog with articles that were all 1,000 words or more. This would have brought me a higher amount of natural search engine traffic much sooner. Today, Google is my single largest traffic source. But it would be much better had I added lots more content for spider food.
I would have spent more time with my blog hopping and guest posting. While I have done a large amount of guest posts, if I put out a good 500 of them in a few months, I would have build up my Alexa Traffic Rank much faster, and much better, as well as my PageRank and generated a serious amount of targeted traffic. This would have resulted in more newsletter and rss feed subscribers.
My mailing list would be something I would have started from the beginning. If I did that, I would not have had to play catch-up later on down the road. I would also have created free ebooks as incentive to join my newsletter because everyone wants something for free.
I know this isn’t the most detailed list of things I would have done, but it is a list of the most important. If I had to do it all again, my blog would have been making serious money for me within the first two months. Most bloggers can take a year and a half to two years before they can make that kind of income. The biggest reason for this is because they waste a lot of time with things that are unproductive, when they could have been building their following and traffic sources.
Marketing is your largest asset, and if you know how, things get much easier. Remember to bookmark this article and share it with your friends and colleagues. Comment below if you like what you read, or care to share anything that would have made things easier and faster for you.
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