Once you have decided to create a blog and publish it on the World Wide web you still have to do a few more things before you can expect to earn any profit from your blog. This is especially true for those blogs that are not affiliated with any existing sites and blog owners who have never run a website before. You are going to have to work to build some traffic and readership to your new blog. It is going to be hard to earn any income, let alone make a profit, on your blog site if no one is reading it.
Before starting any aggressive advertising campaigns it is important to make sure your blog is search engine optimized. There are plenty of companies that will charge you a pretty penny to make these changes for you, but it is easier (and naturally cheaper) to do things yourself. Meta tags must be included in your blog in order to catch any random search engine traffic that might stumble your way, and to make sure your site is indexed to appear in a search engine in the first place.
Two free tools that will generate quality meta tags for your site are the Submit Express Meta Tag Generator (http://www.submitexpress.com/metatag.html) and
the Submit Corner Meta Tag Generator (http://www.submitcorner.com/Tools/Meta). I have used both of these tools to generate meta tags for all of my existing blogs. This helps ensure that my blogs get indexed and that I can receive traffic from search engine results that display my blog. Both of these tools are completely free and only require the user to answer a few questions and fill in a few blanks (site description, keywords, etc.). When you are done both tools can be used to analyze your newly created meta tags and give suggestions on how to optimize them (make them shorter or longer).
Depending on your blogging platform your newly created meta tags might have to go in different parts of your blog. Using Wordpress I usually place my meta tags in the header and main index page of my blog layout. If you are not sure where to place the meta tags consult your blog platforms Frequently Asked Questions or search for a help forum dedicated to your specific blogging platform.
Once your meta tags are created and in place you can now start submitting your blog to major search engines. There are plenty of companies that offer to submit your domain to search engines, for a fee, and I recommend against using them. If you have some time at the beginning of each month to submit your domains manually it will be just as effective and save you money. I usually use Submit Express (http://www.submitexpress.com) to submit my blog to the search engines. Also, because of the constant updating, blogs get indexed faster (and stay indexed longer) than traditional websites. This fact alone makes me a blog supporter and promoter.
When you have gotten comfortable with blogging, and your chosen platform, it is time to beautify your blog. You want to make sure that your blog stands out in the crowd, and the only way to do that is to have a unique blog theme/template. The worst thing that can happen to you in the world of blogging is for readers and clients to confuse your blog with that of your competitors.
There are many websites that sell pre-made blog templates for reasonable prices. One that I have personally worked with is Template Monster (http://www.templatemonster.com). They sell Wordpress, Joomla, and Mambo templates for anywhere between $30.00 and $70.00. For an additional fee they offer another service, Template Tuning, which will customize your heading and other parts of the blog design for you. However, if you know anything about Adobe Photoshop then you should be able to make any necessary changes to the template yourself. Template Monster includes the editable PSD files with each order.
It is also possible to hire a designer to create a completely unique theme/template for your blog for a fee. These services can cost anywhere from $30.00 to $300.00 depending on the designer and the complexity of the design. In most cases you will need to provide images for the designer to work with. These images can be purchased from stock photography sites such as Dreamstime (http://www.dreamstime.com). Dreamstime will also, occasionally, have free images available for use as long as the photographer is credited somewhere in the design.
Some of the best places to find designers who will work for reasonable fees are on Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org) and deviantART (http://www.deviantart.com). If you are looking on Craigslist for a designer go to the Creative and Computer services section, and perform a search for blog design, blogging, or your platform by name. Be sure you search all major cities to try and find the most affordable designer. When looking on deviantART you can browse the Job Offers forum for designers who are currently accepting projects or register and post your own job opening.
After you’ve found a designer, or before you purchase a pre-made template/theme, be sure you take readability into account. Your reader shouldn’t have to strain to view small text or get headaches because of overly bright colors. I have extremely poor vision and nothing will make me leave a site or blog faster than small font and bad colors.
Take readability into account when you are writing individual posts as well. Make sure that you always use a decent sized font and that you use punctuation when needed. Also include line breaks between paragraphs or statements. Even with decent sized font reading text with no breaks or punctuation can be frustrating, and will cause your blog to lose readers.
Once your blog is beautiful, readable, and you are ready to start posting content, make it easy for people to subscribe to your content. If you are providing content that your readers want to read on a steady basis they shouldn’t have to tear your site apart looking for an RSS feed. Also, offer an alternative to RSS feeds just in case your readership does not like dealing with feeds. Services like Feedblitz (http://www.feedblitz.com) will let readers sign up to receive your latest content right in their email inboxes.
Now that your blog is optimized you have to start maximizing your traffic.