Thinking about starting a blog in college? You’ve come to the right place! Starting a blog in college can be one of the greatest experiences for a first-time entrepreneur. Launching a blog in college can help generate extra revenue, build relationships, and help pay for college. (If you want a more in-depth article on why you should start a blog in college check out CollegeInfogeek’s article 14 Hard-Hitting Reasons Why You Must Start A Blog In College)
Yesterday I stumbled upon an article about an entrepreneur named Thomas Frank. Thomas Frank launched a blog while he was still in college. Before he graduated, he was able to pay off $15,000 dollars worth of debt. It’s really an incredible story and I suggest you check it out over at The Penny Hoarder.
One of the reasons his blog was so successful was his commitment and dedication. It took a couple of years to start earning an income, so it was not an overnight success. Now Thomas earns roughly 5,000 a month from his blog. Wanna know how he did it? Keep reading
This step-by-step guide will help you launch your first blog and give you some tips and tricks about growing your blog.
Finding the right Niche
The first step to starting a blog is picking something to blog about. Finding the right niche is one of the hardest parts of starting a blog. “Blogging experts”, say pick something you are passionate about and write about that. Well, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not that easy. Yes, you should pick a subject you are interested in but it’s more to the formula than that.
The formula used to launch College Entrepreneur 101 derived from The Content Inc. model created by Joe Pulizzi.
The model consists of the “Sweet Spot” & “Content Tilt”.
The Sweet Spot: “The intersection between knowledge or skill set (something the entrepreneur or business has competency in ) and a passion area (something the entrepreneur or business feel is of great value to him or her personally or to society at large)”
The Content Tilt: “Separates you from everyone else in your market area. It’s your unique perspective on your content niche, which creates an opportunity for you to attack, lead and, ultimately, own the category”
Two million blogs are published daily and most of them consist of many of the same subjects and opinions. That is the reason why most of those blogs won’t be around this time next year. In order for your blog to be successful, it has to be able to attract an audience over time. What does that mean? Someone other than you has to be interested in the subject.
Below I listed the key first steps to start your first blog ( Should take 15 minutes)
Pick a domain name
Picking the right domain name is crucial to the success of your business. Your domain name should tell the potential viewer what your blog is about. If the market you are entering is fierce, which I strongly recommend against, then you will have to be creative when thinking of a name.
I suggest you head over to Hostgator and search for a domain name.
When searching for a domain name you have two options.
- If the domain name you want is not taken already you can pay for it instantly.
- If the domain name is already taken and you really want that name, then you can reach out to the owner and see if he/she wants to sell. (All of this can be done directly through Hostgator)
Selecting a domain name and web hosting package
What is a hosting service you ask?
Hosting services are like landlords, they allow you to rent out their web servers to store web files and you (the tenant) pay a monthly fee. So in order to have a website published and live you need a host.
There are literally thousands of web hosting companies ready to take your money. Selecting the right web hosting package is very important. Choosing the wrong hosting package could end up costing your blog visitors, revenue, and a good reputation.
RELATED: 7 Tips For College Content Creators
Earlier, I suggested that you go to Hostgator because they have great packages (Domain names & Web Hosting) for reasonable prices. Hostgator also offers 24-hour customer service with every package. Believe me, something will go wrong so having customer service is essential.
Installing & Logging Into WordPress
If you choose Hostgator as your hosting service, then installing WordPress will be a piece of cake. Hostgator has the famous “1-click installation” feature that allows users to download WordPress.org easily.
I have listed the six steps below:
- Go to your Hostgator billing portal
- Click the tab “Hosting”
- Scroll down to “Special Offers“ “WordPress one-click installation”
- Choose the domain name you purchased earlier (Leave directory blank)
- Complete each tab with your information
- Click Install
After Installing WordPress.org you are now ready to start building your first website.
To get to your WordPress.Org dashboard (The place where you customize your website) go to http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin and log in.
Once you have the login you will now start the process of customizing your website. (Post coming soon)
Basic Need To Know Info
Track Expenses and Pay Web Hosting on Time
As a college student, you likely don’t have any major monthly bills to pay. When you launch your first blog all that changes. Paying your monthly web hosting fee and other expenses is very important. Keeping track of your monthly expenses is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Launching a blog with the expectation to make a profit makes you a business owner/entrepreneur and I’ve never heard of a successful business owner who didn’t keep track of their monthly bills.
Buying a premium theme is a must-have. Having a premium theme also gives you the power to fully customize your blog. With a free theme, you will be limited to the types of changes you can make. A premium theme also gives you more updates and support which is critical to the long-term success of your website. When you pay for a theme you are also paying for customer assistance. If you have a problem with your theme you can contact the company and they will help you resolve the problem.
Managing a blog has many different components so staying organized is crucial. Keeping track of blog post, expenses, and passwords are essential for any blogger trying to monetize their website.
Below I have listed 10 things that will make starting your first blog in college a lot easier
- Editorial Calendar ( Recommend: Nelio Content) (Word Press Plug-In)
- Keep a planner
- Set deadlines
- Use Dropbox for Storage
- Utilize Notepads & Stick Notes
- Word Press (App)
- G Suite (Professional Emails)
- Intuit Mint ( App)
- Bills Manager (App)
SEO is very important
Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important aspects of blogging. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Unless you want to pay for all of the traffic your blog receives, investing time in learning about search engine optimization is critical.
SEO is basically helping people find your content when they do a search. Your job is to help search engines learn about your site by using keywords and meta tags.
Websites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are some of the top search engines in the world and this is where most of your organic search visitors will come from. The goal of your SEO strategy is to have your website ranked first (page) when someone does a search for your selected keywords. There are many factors that determine where your website ranks.
Below I have listed 5 of those factors.
- Domain Age
- Mobile Optimization
- Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
- Relevance and Popularity
I recommend buying the Book SEO 2018 by Adam Clarke to learn the intricate details on to get your website ranked first.
Just because you create it doesn’t mean they will come. Some people think that they can just start a blog and a year later make a huge amount of money. I am here to tell you that you will fail if you have that mindset. Generating revenue from a blog is hard work. Many blogs don’t make a profit for two years. Blogging is not the best way to make money in a short amount of time.
Checking your Analytics
Orbitmedia conducted a study and found only 32% of people constantly check their analytics. Checking your analytics is critical because they give you a perspective on what’s not working and what is working. Consistently checking your analytics will give you a leg up on your competition because you can always improve. Whether you are checking your google analytics, WordPress stats, or your email opt-in rate analytics will help you reach your goals faster.
Launching a blog in college can be a fun and challenging experience. Becoming a first-time business owner is one of the best feelings in life.
If you want to learn about starting a blog download our highly anticipated free extended blogging guide that will cover: (Click the bottom of the page)
- Writing High-Quality Content
- Making Money From Blogging
- How Much Does It Cost To Run A Blog?