I have been running this website for a number of years now and through it all I have undoubtedly learnt quite a bit about things like media, marketing, social media and found many bits and pieces of useful information along the way which I am sure many other people could benefit from.
I don’t think I’m quite ‘advanced’ or made a success of it at all yet, or that I am any sort of expert, as there is always so much more to learn. But I do believe I can give some honest and beneficial advice, thus this post.
First things first, you need to be familiar with these 3 main points before you even do anything or start anything.
1. It takes time.
Too often people think that they can just start a website or an instagram page or youtube account or whatever it may be, post a few times and the views and the followers will just flock in and soon they will be making residual money sitting on a beach and working from wherever they like. If only that was the case.
It takes months, even years to progress to anything near that, and in that time it is going to take a lot, I mean a lot of your time to get it going (you will probably hear this repeated a lot throughout this article). Writing quality articles, editing articles and images, collaborating with other people, all take a lot of time. So make sure you’re aware of this, especially if you plan to focus on useful in depth topics.
2. You have to enjoy doing it, or at least enjoy the content.
You may not enjoy the actual act of editing or writing articles or videos but you should at least enjoy the content you are writing and posting and at least understand why you are providing this said content. Otherwise you will never last in the long term.
Too many people start a channel or something and it lasts only a few months. They start off with such vigor and motivation and then after a few weeks they abandon it due to their views/followers not increasing. Probably because they started it with their sole focus on getting views and making money off it. Too many people just want to be famous nowadays.
If you plan to do it solely for the views and with the main goal of making money that way, good luck to you. That’s a difficult road to follow, especially when doing a more principled, personal blog kind of media style. If you plan to do a more niche website where you focus on something really specific or on a specific product then it could be a lot quicker once you get the ‘formula’ right for that. But that also takes a lot of expertise in aspects such as keyword research, seo and so on, to get the traffic to your site.
For instance I started trying to edit and make more videos wherever I can. Not because I want to cash in on youtube (though that couldn’t hurt) (though nowadays it’s even harder to get going on youtube) but because I enjoy making videos and want to improve my editing/filming skills, so whenever I can I try to make some sort of video for the channel, but I do try to add some decent content that would be beneficial to people as opposed to just putting up stuff for the sake of it.
If I was doing any of this in the hopes of just making money or fame or whatever like that and not actually enjoying the process or the content, I would have given it up ages ago, probably just because of the amount of time and effort that it took.
3. It’s not as easy as it seems.
This basically follows on from the above points, in that it takes a lot of time. It may not be the hardest or most complex thing to do, but it really takes up a lot of your time.
Just try making a vlog for youtube, and I don’t mean just filming one day of stuff and throwing it all together and straight up onto youtube. Film a few different aspects, get good angles, showcase different things from the norm, then edit the video and put it together tastefully with some decent music that all fits together. That is a long and grueling process, trust me. So if you don’t enjoy some part of the process you may find yourself struggling to keep your motivation up to continue going.
I could probably go on and expand the above points another page but I think you get the gist, right? So with that out of the way and hopefully you have now established that you are really passionate about something that you will be pursuing and writing about, or that you see the real value that your topic could provide to people, here’s a few general and basic tips to get you going.
Website brand tips:
The main things that you will need if you want a dedicated website and domain is:
Your domain name
(e.g. fitnish.com, or yourname.co.za) If you want your own domain name, you will need to pay a small fee for the name per year, thankfully it’s not much. If you don’t want to spend anything you can always find some existing services/websites that host your stuff for you, but then you have to include their name in your site address, like yourname.wordpress.com.
(To host your website, to allow people to connect and view it). Again, this will cost you a bit of money per month/year depending what you can find and depending on your traffic and site size etc. But you can always get a free option on say wordpress and thus will use their domain name like yourname.wordpress.com.
The downside to using the free option is that you don’t really have full control over your site and your google rankings, advertising strategies etc. It is good to start with, but I would recommend getting a dedicated domain name from the start if you plan to do something in the long term, since your google rankings will also be better when having a website around for longer. So if you start with the free site and then after a year move to your own domain and host, that year could have helped a lot in your rankings on google, having started with a dedicated name and server.
It can be overwhelming and a bit intimidating thinking of creating and designing your own website (especially if you don’t have a lot of tech experience), but nowadays the easiest thing to do is to use a pre built theme. There are many free ones, and themes that you can buy. You can always start off with a free one and when you find your ideal theme you can then buy it later on.
So choose a cms (content management system) such as wordpress, download a theme, install the theme in wordpress (wordpress makes it all so much easier) and there you go. You can find many useful step by step tutorials or videos on how to set up wordpress online. You may have to do a bit of reading on the cms that you choose, but you won’t have to touch much code :)
Once you have your site up and running:
- Make sure to post regularly and consistently to get some good content out there.
- Post meaningful and useful content.
- Collaborate with and promote other people.
- Constantly refine. Get feedback from friends and hear what they liked/disliked about your website. Don’t take it personally but use it for your benefit.
- Include a contact page with a valid email address so people can get in contact with you! (You will be surprised as too how many times people leave this out).
- Sign up for google adsense. You can make a decent amount of money with them, and none of the other advertisers really compares to them. And try not to get kicked off of adsense as getting back in is very difficult.
- Look into affiliate marketing, depending on your websites audience’s location. This can take some work but give it time.
- Don’t think that just because you have a site you can now ask for free stuff to try and review or to promote. You need to establish a decent reputation first. So give it some time, post reviews of products that you have actually bought and currently use. Promote and share brands and products that you like and use yourself and think that other people will benefit from.
Social media tips:
- If you plan to start a facebook page, be prepared to invest some money into promoting your posts. Nowadays facebook posts are hardly seen by your page’s followers unless you promote posts.
- If you plan to use various social media channels (which you probably have to), keep them all going, but choose one to really put your effort and focus on and try to push that ONE, as well as you can, especially if it is just you doing everything yourself.
- Be creative, and try different things with your posts. Some will work some won’t, but you won’t know until you try.
- Promote other people and cool businesses that you have tried and like yourself.
- For youtube, be prepared to post videos for a few months before you see much traction (or unless you get some video to go viral).
- Be yourself and try not to be fake on social media, and don’t buy followers or likes. It is pointless.
- Nowadays quotes are thrown all over the place on social media. People post half nude photos of themselves and then add some ‘meaningful’ quote as the caption for some reason. Please don’t do that. Try to match the caption to the photo. If you want to post a half nude photo and do not know what to say, just say something real like “well I loved this angle” or “I didn’t know what to say but I just wanted to show this photo” :p
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- Make sure to take breaks from all social media every now and again as it can become a mini addiction and waste a lot of your time.