Thursday, June 8, 2017

Blogging Changed My Life – Could It Change Yours?

In August of 2011, I found out about blogging and decided to learn how to create a blog of my own, so I created Making Sense of Cents. I didn't know a thing about blogging and I never planned to make a penny from it.
Learning how to create a blog changed my life. I now earn over $100,000 a month, travel full-time, help many people, love my work, and more!But after learning how to create a blog, my life completely changed. I never realized it back then, but I'm so glad that I gave blogging a chance. Figuring out how to start a blog has definitely treated me right! Due to that, today I am going to talk about how blogging changed my life as well as the many reasons for why you may want to learn how to create a blog.
After all, blogging has been one of the best things ever for me.
Blogging changed my life and it allows me to earn thousands of dollars a month, all by doing something that I love. As you can tell from my business income reports, I now earn over $100,000 a month from my blogging-related services.
I definitely never thought that I would leave my day job as a financial analyst to become a full-time blogger either.
I found out about blogging one day when I was reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. That website was super interesting as I knew that I didn’t want money to rule over my life anymore – I wanted to be in control of my financial situation and pay off my student loans.
This is interesting and hilarious because before that summer, I had no idea what blogs were, that they could even make money, or anything along those lines.
I did not create my blog with the intention of making money, rather I wanted to have a “journal” so that I could go back and track everything that I’ve done – I thought this would be a great way to stay motivated about my finances because I would be tracking them very closely.
It was all just a hobby and an outlet, but I soon realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me!
In October of 2013, after a couple of years of blogging, I left my day job and became a full-time blogger, and I haven't looked back once. Learning how to create a blog has completely changed my life for the better, and it's something that I recommend everyone try if they are thinking about it.
Blogging changed my life in ways such as:
  • I now love what I do and look forward to working each day.
  • I am able to help others improve their financial situation.
  • It will allow us to retire early.
  • Both me and my husband were able to leave our day jobs.
  • It paid off my student loans.
  • We now travel full-time.
  • I have a flexible schedule.
  • I'm my own boss.
  • Blogging gives me freedom.
  • There are many reasons to start a blog, and I have found it to be well worth it.
    Here are 11 reasons to learn how to create a blog. Blogging is a lot of fun.
    Before I started blogging, I never gave it a single thought. Like I said, I didn't even know that they existed, let alone that it would be fun work.
    Now that I’ve been blogging for over 5 years, I can’t imagine not blogging.
    I enjoy helping others improve their financial situation, reading blog posts from others, finding new people to talk to, working on my blog, and writing especially.
    I love waking up each morning to work, and I no longer dread work like I did when I had my day job. Blogging is both challenging and rewarding, as there is always something new to learn and you can reach many people through your blog.
    You can help others if you learn how to create a blog.
    Even though I didn't realize it would happen when I first started my blog, as it has grown over the years I have helped many people – including myself!
    Your blog can definitely help others that you probably would have never reached without it. You may help them by showing them a new idea, help them improve their finances, create recipes, manage their life better, and more.
    For example: My blog posts help and motivate others to improve their financial situation as well as their lives overall.
    I have received many emails over the years from readers who I have helped, and it makes it all worthwhile. Helping readers is the best!
    It's affordable to create your own blog.
    Blogging is a very affordable hobby, side hustle, or business to start.
    If you are interested in taking the steps to learn how to create a blog, I have a tutorial that will help you create a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.95 per month for blog hosting (this low price is only through my link). In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link if you purchase at least 12 months of blog hosting.
    This means that you may be able to start your blog for less than $50 a year. I started my blog for super cheap – cheap blog hosting, I designed my blog myself (even though I had no experience ever doing something like that), and more. I did pretty much everything myself so that I could save money, while it was a learning experience, it was well worth it.
    The blogging community is amazing.
    I’ve made a lot of good friends through my blog – both other bloggers and readers. These have grown into great friendships that I probably would have never made otherwise.
    Being able to connect and learn from others is a big positive of blogging.
    You can be your own boss.
    With blogging, you can be your own boss, and that’s a huge positive of blogging. You can decide what type of business you'll run, your schedule, your goals, and more.
    Blogging can help you grow.
    Blogging has helped me grow over the years.
    I've learned to master my financial situation, my love for writing has grown (back in highschool, I never thought that I would be writing for a living!), I've met many different people over the years, and more.
    You don't need previous experience to be successful.
    In order to become a blogger and create your own blog, you really don't need any previous experience.
    I'm proof of that because I didn't even know that blogs existed when I started Making Sense of Cents, and I definitely didn't know that bloggers could make money. I learned how to create a blog from the bottom up and have worked my way to where I am today. It's not always easy, but it's been rewarding!
    With blogging, you'll have a lot to learn, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. It's challenging, but in a good way!
    Blogging can allow you to travel and/or work from home.
    Another great benefit of creating a blog is that you can work from wherever you want.
    Because of blogging, I was able to sell my house in 2015 and have been traveling full-time ever since. It's great knowing that I can work wherever I want.
    Plus, having no commute is really amazing!
    You can make a living blogging.
    If all of the positive above aren't great enough, you can actually earn a living by blogging.
    No, not every single person will become a successful blogger (it's NOT a get rich quick scheme), but I know many successful bloggers who started in a similar way as I did – blogging as a hobby and it just grew from there.
    I earn around $100,000 a month through my blog, and there is still plenty of room for new bloggers to make money.
    You can earn money while you sleep.
    One of the things that I love about blogging is that the things you do now can help you to earn somewhat passive income, such as through affiliate marketing.
    With affiliate marketing, I can promote products that I already use and love, while earning a living from it even when sleeping.
    I recommend checking out my online course for bloggers, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I earn around $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing, and I share my exact strategy and tips in this very informative online course. If you’re a blogger, then you NEED this course.
    Blogging is a great platform for freelancers.
    Not everyone wants to create a blog to become a full-time blogger.
    Blogging can also help you land freelance gigs, such as speaking, virtual assisting, staff writing positions, book deals, and more.
    By having a blog, people can find you easily, they can see a sample of your work, learn about you, and more. Without a blog, people may never find out about the services you offer.
    How To Create A Blog FREE Course
    If you’ve been wanting to learn how to create a blog, I have created an email course for those who are interested, but haven’t made the leap yet.
    Best of all, this course is free!
    With this free email course, I will show you exactly how to create a blog, from the technical side (it’s easy – trust me!) all the way to earning your first income and attracting followers. Each day for seven days, you will receive an email in your inbox that will help you from the beginning as you create a successful and profitable blog.
    Here’s a quick outline of what you will learn in this free 7-day email course:
  • Day 1: Reasons to start a blog.
  • Day 2: How to determine what to blog about.
  • Day 3: How to create your own blog. This lesson focuses on creating a blog with WordPress. My tutorial makes it very easy to start your blog.
  • Day 4: How to make money blogging.
  • Day 5: My tips for making passive income from blogging.
  • Day 6: How to grow your traffic and followers.
  • Day 7: Miscellaneous blogging tips that will help you reach success.
  • Please sign up for my How To Start a Blog Free Course by clicking here or signing up below.
    Are you interested in learning how to create a blog? What other reasons to create a blog can you think of?
    How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course
    In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side (it's easy - trust me!) all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

    Blogging 101: How to create a blog post on WordPress

    Welcome to ITWorld Canada’s blogging community and thanks for taking the time to learn how to post your articles using WordPress. Creating a good post with thoughtful layout, meta data, and a snappy headline is just as important to appealing to readers as actually writing your blog.
    Here is a step-by-step description of how to create a new post using WordPress.
    1. Login to http://www.itworldcanada.com/wp-admin with the username and password you’ve been provided.
    2. Click on “New” at the top navigation bar and select “Blog.” You won’t be able to input the other types.
    Screenshot1
    3. Write your post or paste in text from your word processing file to the big content window. If you are pasting in text, it’s best to do that using the “Text” mode for the editor, as opposed to the “Visual” mode, which can be found on the upper right-hand corner of the content window. The Visual mode can be used instead to organize your layout and text formatting. Try using bullet points to highlight lists, and sub-headings to segment out your sections.
    Screenshot2(a)
    4. Add links to your text by highlighting the text you’d like to hyper-link and clicking the chain icon. Paste in your link (or type it in) and click the “open in new tab or window” box.
    5. Add your featured image. These must be cropped to exactly 620 pixels wide by 250 pixels tall. You should see the “Feature Image” box in the right-hand vertical column of your WordPress dashboard. Click “Set featured image” and then upload your image. Enter the source of the image in the caption area. You can also search our existing images if you don’t have your own featured image.
    Screenshot2
    6. Tag the categories that apply to your story. Choose just one or two under the “Categories” box. Don’t use the “Post” tag, it’s just the default.
    7. Type in some key words to describe your article. Think about what people would search for in Google to find your post. If you type slowly, some suggestions will come up to help you. You can also click “Choose from the most used tags” for some ideas.
    8. Submit your post for review by clicking the big blue button. An editor will come soon to review your post and schedule it for publication!
    9. Click “Preview” to see what your post will look like when it’s live. You can still click on “Edit” along the top navigation bar to make changes, then click the blue “Update” button to save those changes. You can even edit your post after it’s published.
    Next, learn how to edit your post after you’ve already saved a draft or set it for publication. Also, learn how to add rich media types to your post to really make it engaging.

    How to Create a Blog Persona to Make Your Content Consistently Relevant

    Ever pick up a magazine, start flipping through to find something of interest, only to find yourself on the last page without having read anything?
    That usually happens to me in waiting room at my doctor's office, where I strive to find anything of interest in piles of old issue of Psychology Today, Better Homes and Gardens, and Allergic Living. It once struck me that those are magazines that the doctor and his staff read, but not magazines that his patients are interested in reading.
    If you don't want your company blog to be the equivalent of a waiting-room magazine, you need to understand your buyers and what they care about.
    So who is your blog for? Customers? Partners? Investors? Ask that question at your company, and I'll bet you get a range of answers.
    In my experience, companies that cannot nail the answer are missing out. Even if you decide the blog is aimed at customers and prospects, if you don't know who they are—title, responsibilities, concerns—your content will miss the mark.
    The first step in understanding your buyers is creating what's called a buyer persona. Once you have the persona complete, you can apply it to your blog and create what I call a 'blog persona'—a detailed profile of your buyers and the topics they care about.
    A buyer persona is a composite profile, or archetype, of a prospective buyer. The buyer persona clarifies who your buyers really are, what motivates them, how they think and talk, and what issues they face in their jobs (especially B2B buyers) and everyday lives (especially B2C buyers).
    Good buyer personas come from conversations with recent buyers, not anecdotes or research using secondary sources. You need to interview buyers, or your insights will be superficial at best.
    Adele Revella, doyenne of buyer persona research, puts it succinctly:
    If content marketing is going to benefit from buyer persona development, you will need to uncover specific insights that are unknown to your competitors or anyone inside your company. This information will be so valuable that you would never post it on your website. However, it will tell you, with scary accuracy, exactly what you need to do to deliver content that persuades buyers to choose you.
    I've done buyer-persona research a few times, and it's actually fun. You are not trying to sell your customers anything, just asking questions. The hardest thing, in my experience, is scheduling (and rescheduling) the phone interviews.
    Once you have your buyers on the phone, you want to find out about their job, the challenges they face, where they go to research new products and learn new skills. You may need to dig a little deeper to get a really valuable insight. To make your life easier, there are interview checklists that will tell you what questions to ask.
    To make your company blog content consistently relevant, you need to take what you learn from persona research and apply it to the posts you write.
    Here are my five steps, from start to finish, for creating and using your blog persona:
    1. Identity target buyers
    If your company has already done buyer persona work, then you are ahead of the game. If not, sit down with your team and figure out who your current buyers are. Talk to salespeople, mine your CRM system, talk to your exec team.
    You should be specific: Don't just say "people in information technology at Fortune 500 companies." That's too broad. Network operations staff, for example, or paralegals, is a more specific and better answer.
    And make sure not to overlook any new types of buyers you would like to attract—people you would like to sell to who are not currently buying from you. You may need to create content just for them.
    2. Conduct persona interviews
    Use the checklist linked-to above to conduct interviews with current and desired buyers. For the purposes of creating a blog persona, focus more on their job and career challenges than on why they bought your product. Why? You want to write content that catches them early in the buying cycle, and product-specific content comes later on.
    A good example of a career-advancement insight came while I was at Symantec. Our persona research revealed that heads of Information Security struggled to hold conversations in the boardroom about risk, so we produced content that focused on how to discuss security risks with executive— rather than the security-trend research we had been producing.
    3. Survey for content ideas
    Based on your research, create a list of topics you might write about. Send a follow-up email or use Survey Monkey to ask the customers and prospects you identified what would be of interest to them. Make sure to leave some open, free-form fields to gather ideas you might not have considered. I also like to ask what periodicals and blogs they read; knowing whether your buyers read the Wall Street Journal or BuzzFeed will help you with topic areas, style, and tone.
    4. Map to content target
    The content target is a concept I developed to depict the types of content that appeals to buyers and connects to a sales cycle. The most important rings on the target are content about job skills and career advancement.
    Write about those things, and you will have your buyer's attention. Connect them to what your product can do, and you will have leads.
    5. Create a buyer-focused blog calendar
    The following table probably looks like your current blog calendar, with the simple addition of buyer and content type. It's a simple way of keeping your team on target. Every post needs to have a target reader, keeping their interests and needs in mind. For extra credit, you can even add an "outcome" column that lists the desired action you want your buyer/reader to take, such as subscribe to blog or download survey.
    You may find that you lack the expertise or authority in an area of interest to your reader/buyer. Guest bloggers or bloggers for hire can fill the gap for free, or for a modest fee.
    To gauge success, track both subscriptions and engagement with comments, and desired outcomes if you have taken that step. Creating custom links using UTM codes can be handy in understanding how people are getting to your blog and downloading assets you have set as outcomes.
    * * *
    Being consistently relevant takes effort. You can be the magazine in the doctor's office... or the one that gets devoured when it arrives in the mail. Knowing who your buyers are and what they want is the first step; you then have to stick to an editorial calendar that is built around your buyers, not just what you feel like writing about.
    Have you ever created a blog persona? How did it work?

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