Blog Success Forecaster Review

I discovered an interesting little program the other day and decided I would document using it as I went along so that I could share my impressions with you here. The name of the product is Blog Success Forecaster and as the name implies, its purpose is to help you determine if your blog will be a success.

No there’s no crystal ball or gypsy fortune teller that comes forward. Instead it’s more about helping you understand the necessary components of a successful blog.

The Blog Success Forecaster was created by Mary Jaksch. I wasn’t familiar with Mary but her bio credits her as an author, the owner of websites “Write to Done” and “Good Life Zen”, co-owner of A-List Blogger Club, holding a black belt in karate, and residing in New Zealand.

As Mary states in her Welcome letter, Blog Success Forecaster isn’t simply a product where you watch videos and read articles, you actually have to do something. Now I like that because the chances are good that this won’t simply be yet another item to fill space on your hard drive. [Read more…]

7 Ways to Support Yourself Financially With Blogging

make-money-bloggingWhen you become a serious blogger and start blogging for profit, you must be consistent with your efforts. You should blog regularly – daily if possible, if not at least several times a week. Your regular followers and dying to read your next post, so don’t keep them waiting.

Let’s now take a look at the money part of this series – the part where your blogging can really become a business and you’ve found a truly satisfying career.

#1 – You’ve heard it before and it is so very true – you must build a list.
It’s no different than with retail store marketing. You shop; they get your contact information, and then they send you information regarding their various special offers and events via email and snail mail.

You build a list from your blog so that whenever you have a new blog post or a product of interest, you can notify them about it. Also have an RSS system set up for people who use RSS feed readers to get notified of your new content.

Whenever you have a list, it gives you a certain amount of power – the power to instantly communicate with your target audience when you are selling or promoting products.

Because of this, you have to make sure that you don’t abuse that power by spamming their email with useless or irrelevant offers. If you do, you’ll build a reputation as a spammer and they’ll say bye-bye and unsubscribe. If this happens too often, you’re back to blogging for fun and not as a business.

Have you joined my list?

#2 – Sell ad space for a certain amount of profits.
You can arrange a specific area of your blog for ad space that people rent on a monthly basis, paying the ad revenue to you directly. This can work very well in narrow niches when the advertiser is a good fit.

If you go this route, make sure you have specifics in place to control what kinds of ads can get placed on your blog – all the way down to the colors and animation of it if you want.

#3 – Sign up for AdSense.
This can help you get clicks and revenue. You can put different sized ad banners on your blog, from buttons to skyscraper ads. You can include images or go with just text. Yes there is a cost involved but sometimes it takes money to make money. I know, I haven’t heeded my own advice on this blog yet – something I guess I need to do.

One thing you have to remember whenever you place any ads on your blog is that yes, it gives you some money but when people leave your site to go somewhere else – they’re leaving, which may mean someone else may be capturing their name and email address and selling something to them, not you. That’s why your list again is all important.onlineincome2

#4 – Promote tangible products as an affiliate.
You can sign up as an Amazon Associate and promote anything sold at Amazon.com and earn commissions.  Using our earlier menopause example from series post #4, if you promoted a chilled pillow, you could earn a commission of each sale when the buyer linked to Amazon through your blog post.

Keep in mind that the commission structure offered by Amazon is quite low, starting at just 4%, so don’t put too much labor into promote low ticket items unless they’re hot sellers.

You can also become affiliates directly through other retailers such as Spirit Halloween or web hosting companies such as iPage, or through affiliate referral programs such as ShareASale, LinkShare, and Commission Junction.

#5 – Promote digital products as an affiliate.
Digital products can be found at sites like ClickBank.com. You sign up with a free account and then get what’s called a hoplink (affiliate link) to add to your blog. You earn a percentage of each sale, commonly around 50% and many also provide banners, email text, keywords, and even auto-responder messages.

#6 – Create your own products.
You really must do this!  Create your own products and selling them from your blog is a great way to boost your income without sharing any of the sale revenue. You can do this as you promote other people’s stuff. Create an info product (eBook, video or audio course) and teach something you blog about in more depth – or in a more comprehensive manner?

#7 – If it’s a good fit for you, offer services from your blog.
Freelance services like writing, creating graphics, or other services can be offered right from your blog. Possibly coaching is something you can offer. Many people pay top dollar for one-on-one coaching sessions via Skype, Google Hang-outs, or even email!

Blogging can be a very fun and very profitable venture if you approach it correctly. Don’t make the mistake of flying by the seat of your pants. If you do this, your blog will be scattered with topics, have no set monetization plan and you’ll end up unhappy with the effort you’ve put in. Trust me, again, been there done that. We all did when we started out.

With proper planning and enthusiasm, you’ll never need to look for “blogging jobs” again – in fact, you might be the one submitting the ads for a professional blogger to come onboard and help you with your content needs because you’re building a professional blogging business!

What have you done to make money with your blog?
comment now –

 

If you missed the other posts in this series you can access them below –

Part 1: Yes, You Can Make Blogging a Career

Part 2: Could You Be a Professional Blogger?

Part 3: Choosing a Rewarding Do-It-Yourself Blogging Career

Part 4: Great Bloggers have Great Relationships with Their Readers

Part 5: How to Develop a Great Connection with Your Reader

 

Kindly.
Marilyn T

How to Develop a Great Connection with Your Reader

blog money treeAs mentioned in the last article “Great Bloggers have Great Relationships with their Readers” you must get to know your audience and in a sense you must attempt to do this before they even become your followers.

When you’ve done your research well, you’ve participated in comparable topic forums to find those trending topics, problems, and burning questions. You’ve read the comments posted to similar blogs and even followed a few. This prep will help put you on the right path for understanding and connecting with your readers.

When you do, engage with your readers, get them involved, simply invite them to submit questions to you. You can do this through your email auto-responder, opt in form, below each post, or have a special contact form on your blog where people can interact with you.

Whenever someone emails you with a question, you can assume there are more people out there who are wondering the same thing. Use those questions as material for your blog topics.

When you start blogging about all of these things, it makes the audience feel like you’ve really got your finger on the pulse of the marketplace – like you have great instincts. Truth be told you’re simply a smart business blogger.

How’s your writing style?You-your-audience-your-content

Always pay attention to your writing style. Unless you’ve chosen to blog about something very technical, write in a highly conversational tone and end each blog with an invitation to connect. People need to feel like you’re speaking just to them – even if you’re not.

To paraphrase a comment I read in a blog post yesterday – write as if the reader is sitting across from you – make sure it’s conversational and informal not stuffy like you’d write for a professional publication. If you make a video blog, look right in the camera and be casual and relaxed, not stuffy and nervous. Sure that comes with practice too.

When you end a blog post, ask a question or invite people to share their own $0.02 about the topic in the comments. Make sure that whatever comment system or theme you’re using, that it’s easy to find – because some are almost hidden.

For example, I needed to add the comment notation below my posts as my theme lists it only at the top and I prefer one at the bottom, near where I ask the reader to comment.

Participate in the conversation that goes on in your blog comments. If people are kind enough to take you up on your invitation, then make an effort to have a dialogue with them.

Thank them for their comment, call them by name, and open up a discussion about what they had to say. You can use a plugin to help the comments become “threaded,” which means they continue to flow and it helps all of your readers see who’s responding to whom.

Did I connect with you on this post?

comment now –


If you missed the other posts in this series you can access them below –

Part 1: Yes, You Can Make Blogging a Career

Part 2: Could You Be a Professional Blogger?

Part 3: Choosing a Rewarding Do-It-Yourself Blogging Career

Part 4: Great Bloggers have Great Relationships with Their Readers

Part 6: 7 Ways to Support Yourself Financially With Blogging

 

Kindly,
Marilyn T

Great Bloggers have Great Relationships with their Readers

Customer_loveA blogging business is no different than a brick and mortar business when it comes to the customer. The key element is that you need to connect.

A store front business needs to provide value and superb in-person customer service. A blogging business is no different other than you’re not in person.

Having a relationship with your readers means that they value your blog – they subscribe, and they share the link to it with other people. You want that type of connection because as a professional, the traffic and branding that you gain will be priceless.

When blogs have a loyal readership, they enjoy a fantastic word of mouth (i.e. social media) traffic flow. Sure many bloggers are out there buying links back to their site and paying people to help them get traffic – I don’t recommend this as it’s temporary and it may ultimately do your site more harm than good. And face it, these aren’t loyal followers.

Sure you’ll read how many so called bloggers earned money through their blog this way because someone clicked a link or an advertisement paid out, but this is not a blogging business and maybe I’m old fashioned but I don’t consider this – good business.

It really is true – you can build your reading audience for free or at least for very little out of pocket expense. Hot-Topic

How? First, pick topics people want to know about. If you love the topic but there‘s no interest or desire by others to know about it then you’ll never have a blogging business. – A blog yes, but not a business.

Part of your job in relationship building is to listen to your audience and meet their needs. You want to pull out their questions so you can answer them. You want to find their problems so that you can solve them. When you do, then they will come back and you have a following.

There are many ways you can do this.

I always suggest starting with preliminary keyword research to find out what people in your niche want to know. Always start with Google Adwords which is now the Google Planner Tool and then do further research through Market Samurai and UberSuggest. Let’s look at an example –

Sticking with women’s health let’s use menopause as an example, if you’re not a woman or in that age group just work with me here. Go to UberSuggest.org and type in the phrase “what are menopause”.

This is known as a sentence starter – and it gives you some insight as to what people are searching for and hence what type of blog post you might want to write.

Results may be:

  • What are menopause hot flashes like?
  • What are menopause symptoms caused by?
  • What are the best menopause vitamins?

A good keyword tool gives you help on what to blog about. But there’s more that you can do to find topics. You can look in forum threads and see what people are asking and talking about. You can connect with Google news for trending current news topics in your niche. There are many avenues for finding out what your readers are searching for.

Hmm, maybe I’ll create a post about this process in a future series, time will tell.

Have you used UberSuggest.org in your keyword research?

comment now –

 

If you missed the other posts in this series you can access them below –

Part 1: Yes, You Can Make Blogging a Career

Part 2: Could You Be a Professional Blogger?

Part 3: Choosing a Rewarding Do-It-Yourself Blogging Career

Part 5: How to Develop a Great Connection with Your Reader

Part 6: 7 Ways to Support Yourself Financially With Blogging

Kindly,
Marilyn T

Choosing a Rewarding Do-It-Yourself Blogging Career

blogging careerThe do-it-yourself route is far more rewarding when it comes to blogging. It’s something you can do anytime – anywhere – in the morning before work, on your lunch hour, after work, and on the weekends. From emails and comments I receive I see many who are doing just that and I applaud them.

When blogging becomes profitable, you can use it to replace your current income and begin blogging fulltime. When you choose this path, you have much more personal satisfaction in your do-it-yourself blogging career.

You’ll find that blogging is a professional business that can be very rewarding both personally and financially. But keep in mind, in order to become successful you must keep your eye on the fact that you’re starting a business and therefore you must treat it like a business from the very start. If you start blogging haphazardly your readers will recognize that it’s an amateur site. Trust me, been there – done that.

Yes, some will become fans anyway – but others want to know they’re following a leader in whatever niche you’ve chosen to blog about.

Have you thought about what you will blog about?

Even if you currently have a blog, you may wish to rework it or simply start new again. So let’s take a look at how you should pick a niche for your blog. I’m not talking about keywords and such, I’m talking about topics.

Some blogs have a multitude of topics – from entertainment to fashion to business to health. You can do that, but unless you have a team to support your efforts, it’s hard to maintain the momentum needed for a broad based blog like that. You need to come across knowledgeable on all these topics and that’s a tall order.

A better option is to narrow down your focus into something that you really love and know really well. It can still be broad – like a women’s health blog for example, but don’t try to include “everything” about women’s health.

Instead, drill it down more and go with one form of women’s health, like menopause or pregnancy. You don’t even need to be an expert in it because it’s all about sharing information – and as you learn, you share!whats your niche

One thing that’s important is that you want to be sure that you love whatever topic you’re blogging about. You should want to wake up every day, eager to get to your computer. You should have ideas just waiting to hit the keyboard. Personally, I keep a pad and pen next to the bed for ideas that pop out at 2:00 in the morning.

If you dread the niche topic because it bores you or it’s depressing, then you won’t help your readers and the blog won’t become profitable for you. And most importantly, it won’t be fun!

Then think about your overall slant – you know your personal touch – because you get to choose what each individual post on your blog will be about.  If you were blogging for a company they might tell you what to blog about each day and these topics could be quite mundane.

Find something where your personal touch can come through.

For example, let’s look at the diet niche. You could be a fad and trend following diet blogger who emphasizes fast weight loss through the current string of diet products or plans on the market.

Or you could be a blogger who harps on the fact that weight loss should be carried out by adopting a program of better nutrition and exercise so that the pounds come off slowly. Find whichever direction fits the real you.

You then pick the tone for the blog posts because they should not all be the same. Mix it up a bit from serious to fun based on the topic but always write like you’re actually talking to your audience.

When investigating these topics also consider their marketability. Will this be a large enough niche that you will attract followers and are there products to sell or promote. After all, if you’re building a do-it-yourself blogging business it will need to replace your current income.

Bottom-line: Make it something that resonates with you and it will resonate with your readers.

What is your focused niche topic?

comment now –

 

If you missed the other posts in this series you can access them below –

Part 1: Yes, You Can Make Blogging a Career

Part 2: Could You Be a Professional Blogger?

Part 4: Great Bloggers have Great Relationships with Their Readers

Part 5: How to Develop a Great Connection with Your Reader

Part 6: 7 Ways to Support Yourself Financially With Blogging

 

Kindly,
Marilyn T

Could You Be A Professional Blogger?

professional bloggerI consider myself a professional blogger because it’s part of the work at home business I’m building. To my way of thinking there’s the personal blogger who talks about their hobbies or what their kids do each day. Sure it’s entertaining but it’s more just a social connection.

The professional blogger delivers information of substance to their readers, providing solutions or answers. But before I get carried away on that topic, let’s look at what it means to be a professional blogger.

Some people start looking for “blog jobs” online, yes there are real blog jobs out there and many people are finding great success with them. But be realistic. Just because you love to post on Facebook and maybe you hate your current 9-5 job and the commute, it doesn’t mean you’re ready to be hired as an official company blogger.

It’s true that more and more companies are realizing the value of having a social media presence online through Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and others. They also realize that having a blogging audience is part of this social connection.

But you need to understand that when a company sets out to attract a blogger to represent their business online, they don’t want an amateur blogger. They want someone who understands the business side of blogging. They want a seasoned blogger, because when you’re a blogger, you’re building a brand – or destroying it, in some unfortunate cases.

If you believe this is a direction you may wish to go then by all means take a look at the professional blogger-for-hire jobs as it will help you see that you’ll need a pretty in-depth understanding of online marketing. Employers want you to deliver a certain number of blog posts per week, usually five, and sometimes they want you to go out and find guest blogging opportunities where you can blog elsewhere and link back to their main blog.

Trust me that’s a lot of work.

It’s not a good career for someone who is new to blogging and thinks it “might be fun.” It is enjoyable but usually the company will want to investigate the blogger to see what kind of current reach you have with your own content in the social media world. So like any job, you have to be prepared.

Now don’t feel dejected, there’s still a silver lining. If you’re already at a company that doesn’t have an online presence, then maybe you can suggest that they allow you to get the ball rolling. You can become a professional blogger in this way and introduce your company within the internet and social communities. It would be a great way to add value to your company as your posts bring customers in.

Plus this would give you a little experience so that you could then go out and brag about launching and generating a good bit of traffic for your current company.

Do you work for a company that could use your blogging talents?
comment now –

If you missed the other posts in this series you can access them below –

Part 1: Yes, You Can Make Blogging a Career

Part 3: Choosing a Rewarding Do-It-Yourself Blogging Career

Part 4: Great Bloggers have Great Relationships with Their Readers

Part 5: How to Develop a Great Connection with Your Reader

Part 6: 7 Ways to Support Yourself Financially With Blogging

Kindly,
Marilyn T

Yes, You Can Make Blogging a Career

How-to-Start-a-Blogging-CareerYou’ve probably heard of blogging, especially since you’re reading this post. Blogging has become increasingly popular in recent years and many have become quite successful doing so.

Remember Julie and Julia? It’s a movie that originated from a true life tale of Julie Powell, who set out to blog about her experiences cooking each of Julia Child’s 524 recipes from her book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in just 365 days.

Her blog became so popular that she was offered a book and movie deal for her efforts, and she also published her second book. Now I’m not saying that you’re going to be offered movie and book deals when you blog because her success isn’t common, but you can have fun and very possibly make a career blogging.

I’ve put together a six-part series to help you understand what it takes to be a successful blogger, tips on how to connect with your audience – the reader, and ways that you can monetize your blog, the “making it a business” part.

If you are reading this in the middle of the series or if you missed one of the posts you can access them here. Just click the title below. I love to hear from you so if you wish to answer the question at the end of each post, please do – or ask a question of your own and I’ll certainly answer.

Do you want to make blogging a career?
comment now –

If you missed the other posts in this series you can access them below –

Part 2: Could You Be a Professional Blogger?

Part 3: Choosing a Rewarding Do-It-Yourself Blogging Career

Part 4: Great Bloggers have Great Relationships with Their Readers

Part 5: How to Develop a Great Connection with Your Reader

Part 6: 7 Ways to Support Yourself Financially With Blogging

Kindly,
Marilyn T