Questions from a New Blogger

Yesterday I got an email from a reader who has recently started a new blog. Her questions are questions frequently asked by new bloggers, so I thought I’d take a post here and answer them, not only for her, but for all the other new bloggers out there. :)

Here’s her email:

Hi

Thanks for all the helpful info for bloggers!

I just began a free wordpress site and am finding out I can’t do a lot of customizing.  Can I stay with wordpress and do the following? Google adsense, custom buttons, link within?  Do I need to upgrade somehow?  I am finding conflicting info out there.

I made a button in Publisher web page design that has my photo some wording and then buttons to facebook, twitter, email etc.  How do I get that on my wordpress site?  Can I upload it as a whole image to my media?  Then how do I make the buttons active?? Or do I do something else?

I really appreciate any help.  Thanks

S

Ps

It appears these other mom sites are making money with advertising . . . $35 per mo for button, how do I do this?  I have a lot of content and activity from link parties but no ads or way to create $ yet, how do I begin?

You can see my blog here

www.fivelittleladies.wordpress.com

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you

Let’s start at the top.

1. Congrats on starting your new blog! With regards to wordpress.com… this is just my personal opinion (but that’s what you asked for lol), of all the free options available for bloggers wordpress.com is my least favorite. If you’re looking to make money from your site I think they are the least “commercial” friendly blogging site available.

If you must go with free I would suggest going with blogger.com instead. They are on board with Google so they’ve created ways to make setting up adsense, and affiliate accounts with Amazon very easy. They are not apposed to making money from your blog.

Now, you mentioned having to “upgrade” I think what you’re hearing about is in reference to hosting your own blog. This means you purchase a hosting account. Which can now be as low as 3.95 a month with Hostgator. Once you have your hosting account you buy a domain name. When you’ve got your domain name you install wordpress software ~ which you find at wordpress.org. It’s the same software wordpress.com uses (so it will look the same) but you own it, your content, the site, the whole shebang.

The difference is kind of like this:

wordpress.com or blogger for that matter is kind of like living in an apartment. You sign a lease. You agree to follow the rules. They provide you with building maintenance.

Downside is if it is perceived you broke some rules the landlord can kick you out. Same with free blog platforms.

On the other hand. Hosting your own blog is like owning a house. The only way you’re getting kicked out of your house is if you don’t pay the mortgage (hosting bill). You can do whatever you want (as long as it’s legal) at your house. You can decorate it, design it, run a business out of it… and as long as you pay your bills on time you get to keep the house.

Is it worth owning the house. Yes. Absolutely. Especially if you’re considering making this a long time business endeavor. Plenty of people do great on blogger… I know that. AND I’m a control freak, and I don’t like the delete button to be in the hands of anyone else.

1 1/2. Check the TOS about adding adsense to wp.com. The buttons will be explained in #2, and linking within… you just have to highlight the words you want to use in the link and then click the “chain” icon in your text editor. It will allow you to enter a url. When you hit save it will create a link.

Unless you’re talking about having “related posts” at the bottom of your pages. I’m not sure if you can do that with wordpress.com or not. That is a plugin (one of the many awesome things about hosting your own) that works with the hosted version of wordpress.

2. Adding your buttons. You should be able to upload them through your media section. Once you’ve done that you should be able to follow the Adding Social Networking buttons tutorial to finish it up.

3. Monetizing your site. When it comes to selling advertising you have to have enough traffic to make it worth an advertiser’s money. I’d suggest at this point you find some products/services that are related to your niche and use them as your “ads” in the sidebar. To do this all you have to do is join the affiliate program for the product and they will provide you with the banners and a url that is specific to you. That way when anyone clicks through and buys through your link you will get a commission.

This is a great way to get started in the beginning. If you set it up to hold 4 125X125 buttons (like on this site) you could leave one blank and let it say “your ad here”. Then create a page that gives out the details of how much your charge, and how people can sign up to advertise on your site. With that little message there people will know you are open to the possibility of advertising, but you will still have the ability to make some money while you’re waiting on your first ad sale.

Also, another great way to start monetizing is to sign up to be an Amazon affiliate. When you’re writing posts, if you’re talking about something specific  ~ you recently did a post about sewing… you could mention the type of sewing machine you use, and then link to that machine for sale on Amazon. (while it  isn’t an amazon product,  you’ll see I did this exact thing above in this post. I talked about using hostgator ~ then I provided a link to get there. I, of course, used my affiliate link, so if anyone goes and gets hosting with Hostgator after clicking the link I will get a small commission. That’s exactly how it works ~ you just work in links to relevant products in your posts)

As your audience grows you’ll get more clicks ~ and the bonus, with Amazon, is it doesn’t matter if someone buys the sewing machine or not. If they buy something after clicking your link (within 24 hours) you get paid for it!

(last month someone purchased an entire exhaust system for their car after clicking my link. I know I’m not promoting car parts ~ but it was a nice commission. ;) )

So that’s the easiest way to get started monetizing your site.

I hope that answers your questions… if you (or anyone else) have any more, please feel free to ask in the comment section. I’ll do my best to answer. :)

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the reply, Jackie.

    Regarding Articlesbase, yes, the person copied my article word-for-word, stripped out my name as the author and put their links where mine used to be. My response from Articlesbase was that there was “nothing they could do because they were not affiliated with the web site.” Huh?

    I will take your advice and chalk it up to being part of the business. I choose to spend my time on building my backlinks, keeping my blog listed on page 1 of Google and Yahoo, and being successful (eventually : )

    I believe it is much more fun and productive focusing my energy in that direction anyway.

    Thanks again for the great advice, tips and more help than you know!!

    Patricia

  2. Hi Jackie -

    I’m a new blogger, too, and loved the tips in this post! I am also using your “Blogging in 2 Hours a Day” guide and it has really helped me, so thank you for that, too.

    I’ve been following you for quite some time now and do not believe I have read anything about an issue I am dealing with lately. I don’t know the best way to handle this…but here’s my issue. When I am checking around for related blogs to follow, I can’t tell you how much of my original content is being stolen!

    I had an article stolen from Articlesbase & it was word-for-word on page 1 of their web site! I contacted Articlesbase & they said there wasn’t much they could do.

    Then I found 2 blogs that had stolen blog posts of mine.

    I commented on their sites & blogs letting them know I was the original author & that I was aware they were stealing my original content and to please take it down. Shockingly enough, the content was not taken down : )

    I’m sure this has happened to you many, many times and how do you handle it? In all cases, they stripped out my name as the author, put in their own and of course, stripped out my links/resource box & put their own contact info there instead.

    I am not happy about it, to say the least. Do I just suck it up and consider it the “nature of the beast” or ??

    Any suggestions would be great!

    Thanks for all your great advice and help!
    Patricia

    • Jackie Lee says:

      regarding articlebase, were the links from your article included on the blog? Part of using articlebase is allowing other people to publish your articles as well. They are required to keep your links in place. This is a good thing for a couple reasons… it gets your name out there as an expert in your field, and it also gives you links back to your site which will help your site rank better in the search engines.

      now blog posts are another story, and that is very frustrating. There’s not much you can do. I send an email and then don’t think too much about it .The sites that are scraping content like that are not the sites that are going to have much traffic…they (and you) are probably the only people who have seen your article on their site. (if they’ve even seen it since it’s probably a piece of software they have running that’s doing it.

      It’s a personal choice how much time you’re willing to invest to get it taken down. The more time you spend on that the less time you’re spending on building your business… but again… it’s a personal decision. I see it as just part of the business.

      • Hey Patricia! It is really easy if the the blog is hosted on free platforms like blogger, weebly, wordpress.com, you just have to contact the main site. There will always be a report a site section for these kind of services.

        However, if it is not hosted on free services, the most you can do is to inform the hosting company. They agreed to abide by DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and will most likely take action.

        Last thing you can do is to file a DMCA takedown. But that is very costly, around 97 bucks a month and not worth it IMHO especially if you are a mommy blogger and not a big time company.

        If you have done steps on taking them down to no avail, just let them be and just focus on ramping up the authority of your blog (as Jackie suggests) Google takes into account who published first and who is more authoritative so if you have more authority and of course, you published first, you win. Blogs that copy posts are very short lived anyway — either they realize their attempt is counter productive or they run into someone who can take them down in one fell swoop.

  3. This is a really great job you are doing by taking the time to help people who are new at blogging. At first every thing always seems confusing but with time you tend to master everything, so for all new bloggers out there, be patient and keep up the hard work :)

  4. I think it is great that you took the time to help her like this. :) Good luck ‘S’ with your blog. :)

  5. Definitely check the TOS thoroughly as Jackie explained. O know they don’t accept affiliate links, I’m not sure they accept any money making at all.

  6. Thanks so much Jackie! This was a great help :-)

  7. I was thoroughly impressed with the attractiveness of http://fivelittleladies.wordpress.com/ .

    Whatever the new blogger chooses to do, I think she’ll do well.

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