Almost everyone has a blog now, and following this post, you’ll have one very soon too. But before we begin, I’ll ask you to lower your expectations of what will happen once you have a blog. You won’t magically get readers, people won’t be visiting each post you write and you won’t immediately have a lot of comments or feedback on your work. What you will have is just a blog.
A blog is basically a website that is categorized as a ‘blog’ because of it’s informal writing style and consists of posts or articles that are often written and published by an individual or a small team.
It is different from a business website, a portfolio or an e-commerce portal, all of which may have a blog section, but are not blogs themselves.
To clarify further, Google is a search engine, Gmail is an email provider, Yahoo is a content hub and Blog for Bank is a blog.
As for why you should have a blog of your own – there are several reasons to get one.
Firstly, having a blog is a start towards discovering your communication potential, writing skills and your passion. It is like writing a diary or a journal, except the material you write down may benefit others and is published on the world wide web.
And secondly, a blog is also a stepping stone towards bigger things. It is one of the most basic ways of communication and expression on the internet, and once you understand everything better, you can move towards more advanced platforms and use the internet to your advantage.
Yeah, everyone wants to make money from blogs. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as you may think. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you may think either.
Making money from a blog, or any website, mainly becomes possible when you have traffic or readers. It’s like any other medium of communication – if people listen to you, if they come to you, if you have their attention, you will be able to make money.
If your blog has an audience, small or big, you can make money via several methods, the most common of which is AdSense, which is a program that allows Google to use space on your website to display advertisements to your readers and you get paid when your readers either view those ads or click on them.
Advertising takes many forms, like selling actual ad slots to ad buying companies, giving space to ad networks or running direct ads in collaboration with a company.
Apart from advertising, you can also monetize your blog with affiliate marketing – where you try and sell a product from someone else on your website for a commission. While this may sound difficult, it works very well if the products you are selling fit into your blog’s niche naturally and are in demand by your audience.
For instance, in some posts on B4B, I will recommend certain services, and they will no doubt be useful for the readers, but I would also try and make a commission on the side.
Finally you can monetize your blog by directly selling your own services or products, which is also quite profitable as long as your audience requires those services and trusts you to deliver them.
In all these instances, your monetization potential depends on your blog’s traffic. However, this doesn’t always mean that a blog with high traffic makes more money than a blog with lower traffic. The amount of money you make also depends on your niche (category – like health, beauty, technology, finance etc).
Check out our detailed guide on making money from blogging for more information.
Making a blog is very easy. You can head over to Blogger.com or WordPress.com and simply sign up for a free blog – you will be able to start publishing posts right away.
However, a free blog has disadvantages, especially when it comes to monetizing them. That is why more serious bloggers go with self-hosted blogs (as opposed to free blogs, which are hosted with the service provider).
Self-hosted blogs are those which have an independent domain name – like myblog.com – while free blogs are hosted on myblog.blogger.com or myblog.wordpress.com.
Needless to say, free blogs give you less control over your own content, and if you happen to strike gold, you’ll be in a tough position trying to make the most of your success.
If you want to go ahead with a free blog, as I mentioned before, just head over to Blogger or WordPress and follow the sign up process – it is fairly simple and self explanatory.
Now we’re going to talk about self-hosted blogs.
Here’s a checklist of the pre-requisites of a self-hosted blog:
That’s it. Once you have a domain name and a hosting, you can install WordPress, pick a theme to go with, install required plug-ins and you’re good to go.
It all seems rather technical in the start, but it’s fairly easy. In the coming posts, I will be recommending services for buying domains, hosting accounts and WordPress themes.
For now, use this guide as an introduction so you can research further.
Once your blog is set up, you also need to create social profiles for it on major networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and others.
This is important to gain initial traction, views and exposure for your blog. Initially, most people simply send out invites to their friends and family members, who then share the blog with their contacts, leading to a chain reaction that, if your contacts are high enough, gets you fair initial traffic.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about Pakistan specifically. Most people worry about paying for services and then being able to make money from their blogs.
Firstly, now most banks have online payment facilities, especially UBL and Standard Chartered. Debit cards from both these banks are able to pay successfully over the internet for services like domains, hosting accounts and advertising.
While debit cards from Standard Chartered are almost always useable – cards from UBL need to be activated before you can use them.
As for getting paid in Pakistan – AdSense payments can easily be received via Western Union or directly in your bank account via wire transfer.
Affiliate payments from Amazon can also be received easily via Payoneer, which is a great service for freelancers in Pakistan.
I’ve personally tested all these modes and methods of making and receiving online payments in Pakistan, so I can assure you they work.
In the coming guides, I will be writing more specifically about a lot of the points and topics discussed in this post.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below and i’ll do my best to answer them.
Entrepreneur, Digital Marketer, Mentor, Chief Editor, WordPresser, Creative Writer, Lawyer, Gamer, Graphic Designer, Left-Handed, Meat Eater, Almost Human. You can contact Hunain on Twitter, FB or via Email.