Now that you have an idea of what type of domain name you’d like to have for your blog, you need to find a web hosting provider. A web host is a service that allows you to post your blog and other content on the Internet for other people to see. Every website that you see on the Internet is hosted somewhere, whether it’s a small blog in rural Kentucky or a massive website like Facebook. The hosting costs for these two sites, understandably, is vastly different.
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There are literally thousands, if not millions of web hosting providers for you to choose from. This can be an incredibly daunting task for people who are new to blogging and it can be very intimidating choosing between all these providers, let alone the various hosting plans that they offer. Just like car manufacturers and boutique hotels, not all hosting providers are made alike. This article will help you decide on the best web host for you.
When you go out to buy a car, you might be thinking about fuel economy. You might consider cargo space, ride comfort, and included accessories and features. You might think about reliability and horsepower. Just like buying a car, there are many things you have to consider when choosing a web hosting provider too.
First, you’ll want a web host that is reliable. That means that your site will experience minimal downtime. You’ll also want a web host that is reasonably fast. This will allow your web site to load more quickly, making for a better reader experience. Other considerations include bandwidth allowances, storage allowances, customer service, technical support, and supported features and standards.
Without getting too technical, you’ll need to keep the minimum requirements for WordPress in mind when choosing a web host. Generally, most web hosts today support the latest standards for PHP and mySQL.
Who We Use to Host Our Sites
Currently, I’m using HostGator to host a large selection of my blogs and web sites. Within my network of sites, I have many low traffic sites and many high traffic sites. HostGator suits my particular needs and the prices are reasonable. Your needs may differ. Just as there is no perfect car for everyone, there is no perfect web host for everyone. Depending on the host that you choose, you may be limited on the support, bandwidth or options that you can have with your hosting.
That said, if you are new to the world of blogging, I highly recommend that you use HostGator to host your websites. In short, their prices are among the lowest in the web hosting market. There may be some cheaper alternatives, but they can also be cheaper in terms of quality, reliability, and service.
For as low as $4.95 a month, you can be set up and live with your blog hosted on HostGator. Better still, your blog can be “live” on the Internet in a matter of minutes. That’s because HostGator offers a number of “one-click install” solutions, which includes WordPress. For other kinds of sites and other content management systems, HostGator has solutions too.
If you want to take a baby step up from the least expensive plan, I also highly recommend going with the HostGator “Baby Plan.” This package costs $7.95 a month and it allows you to add an unlimited number of domains, websites, and blogs to your hosting account. This adds a great deal of versatility in case you choose to launch other blogs. No need to buy more hosting, because you’re already covered.
VPS Hosting and Dedicated Servers
When you first start out with blogging, you likely will not need to take this bigger step just yet. However, these two other kinds of hosting plans are something that you may want to consider in the future as your blog(s) continue to grow and mature.
VPS stands for virtual private server. This acts as a “bridge” product between the standard “shared” hosting plans described above and a true dedicated server. With VPS, you get full root access and access to a “virtual” dedicated server. Plans in this range start in the $19.95 range.
If you have even greater traffic, you may step up to a dedicated server. This means that HostGator will manage a specific server that is used only by you. Its resources are not shared with other customers and this is ideal for larger websites. Dedicated servers are much more costly, however, starting at $174 per month.
In the beginning, you’ll likely want to stick with shared hosting. It’s the least expensive and it will likely suit most of your requirements.
This blog post is part of the BloggingTips.com Complete Guide to Blogging. Be sure to visit our Blogging Guide for the full break down of all chapters and posts in this series.
5 Easy Money Hustles for Bloggers
Money – I’m sure many bloggers won’t say “no” to the chance to earn a little bit more of it.
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Whether you’re trying to pay off debt or planning a tropical vacation, earning some extra cash outside your regular job can help you gain strides towards financial freedom.
One of the perks of being a blogger is that there are countless money-making opportunities out there.
In the current marketing landscape, you are only limited by your creativity.
You just need to find the best side hustle that will not only help you grow your portfolio but also your bank account.
What is a side hustle anyway?
A side hustle refers to any income-generating activity that you can do outside your regular job.
For many bloggers, especially those who are still building their brand, having a side hustle helps them pay the bills.
But if you know how to play your cards right, it can also help you live out your dreams.
Easy money hustles bloggers should try out
If blogging isn’t bringing home the bacon for you, then you need to consider getting into different side hustles.
Since your main skill is blogging, there’s a huge market for your skills. Getting a side gig shouldn’t be a big problem for you.
What matters, however, is how much you want to work these easy money hustles.
Here are some of the best side hustle ideas that can help you make more money, right in the comfort of your own home.
Since blogging involves writing compelling content for your own blog, one way you can make extra cash is to offer writing as a service. After all, the best way to earn money is from doing something that you love.
And assuming that you’re really good at it, you can easily make an extra $500 just by writing a few fresh articles for a couple of clients. Even if the industry is already pretty competitive, resist the urge to undercharge your services. Make sure to charge based on the value you will bring to your client.
One side hustle that currently has a high demand for it is virtual assisting.
Since most site owners are looking to monetize their blog, landing a client who has a need for your specific skill set should be easy.
There are plenty of things you can do as a virtual assistant, depending on what your client needs.
Some might need help with admin tasks like file organizing and bookkeeping, while others might need someone to take over their social media accounts.
Most VA job vacancies require good writing skills. As a blogger, you should have this skill down pat to gain an advantage over the competition.
But whatever you’re good at, you’re sure to find a client online looking for someone with your expertise.
Are you constantly getting queries regarding blogging?
Then another way to monetize your expertise is to turn into a service. Market yourself as a thought leader and offer premium advice at a price.
But before you can charge anyone for a call, you need to prove that you’re worth it of course.
You need to have a landing page at least, that presents your credentials with a specific niche.
Once you get your first clients, don’t forget to ask them for testimonials as you’ll need all the social proof you can get to build your consultancy business.
Join the gig economy
Another option to augment your monthly income is to join the gig economy.
Getting a gig is just how you picture it. You have the freedom to choose which projects to work on at a specific time.
You can be writing copies for a brand this week and putting together a content strategy for a completely different client next week.
Joining the gig economy lets you make the most out of your free time. Instead of being idle, you can work on different projects for extra cash. This set-up is perfect for you if you thrive in variety and like to switch things up or if you get bored with the same task list easily.
The most popular site where you can get side gigs is Fiverr.
Set up a page for your services and wait for clients to roll in and hire you for a job.
You need to market and promote it across different online channels. This way, more people can see and contact your page regarding your offer.
Again, you can control the pace of projects coming in and out from your page. You have the choice to accept or deny gigs that come your way.
However, getting a job these days isn’t easy. You’ll probably end up accepting the gigs anyway even if you’re not fully qualified for it.
Nonetheless, when all the chips fall to your favor, having side gig gives cushion to your finances and leaves you something to do during your downtime from blogging.
If you’re constantly on YouTube, here’s some terrific news for you!
You can now earn money by watching videos on the most popular video streaming website out there. It usually involves joining a program that rewards viewers with gift cards or hard cash by simply watching a video.
Most of the time, you’ll be asked to watch video content sponsored by big brands.
If you want to earn more, there are some programs that will pay you to take surveys or use a mobile app that’s related to the video you just watched.
While it might not earn you thousands of dollars, watching videos for a bit of cash is much better watching videos for nothing.
It’s easy to rest on your laurels as a blogger and call it a day.
However, if you wish to up the ante by earning more, then you should take up the challenge of getting a side hustle job!
As mentioned, the side gigs featured above are low hanging fruits. You already have experience in doing them, so why not try your hand at earning from them?
Who knows? Taking the risk with a side hustle might just lead you to start a new business or pursue a passion. Dare to live life on your own terms!
A Quick Guide to Keyword Optimization for Bloggers
The blogosphere is becoming more saturated.
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According to statistics, the number of bloggers in the U.S. rose from 27 million in 2014 to 31 million in 2019. That’s a four million increase in just four years!
That means more choices for readers. Too much, in fact, that we’ve already reached a breaking point that Mark Schaefer refers to as content shock.
Still, there’s no other way for bloggers to success as they need to improve and outcompete each other. The blogging industry is already very competitive that you need to do something to not be left behind.
One good way is through keyword optimization.
What is keyword optimization?
It is the act of searching, analyzing, and choosing the best keywords to increase your site’s traffic. Keyword optimization is necessary for starting your search engine marketing.
Start it right and your site will be full of potential. However, start on the wrong foot and your subsequent efforts are doomed.
However, optimizing keywords doesn’t only happen at the beginning of your campaign. You need to have ongoing keyword optimization to expand your market and discover new opportunities.
Regularly performing keyword analysis and keyword database expansion increases your traffic, leads, and eventually, sales.
Benefits of keyword optimization
Drives traffic to your site
Optimizing your site’s keywords makes your site rank higher. This makes it more searchable and gets higher traffic.
Measures traffic potential
Analyzing keywords to be used helps gauge your potential market. This help you plan campaigns and pitch topics that attract to a specific market(s).
Using optimized keywords on your blog post makes it more relatable to readers. It also addresses their needs because readers see something they’re searching for. It’s also a great way to avoid keyword stuffing.
Understand market behavior
Analyzing top-ranking keywords lets you know what your readers want to read about. This helps you pitch topics that’ll interest them.
Keyword optimization makes your site more searchable and gets higher traffic. This also means more money!
Things to consider in keyword optimization
Popular keywords mean that many people search for it. So, the more popular a keyword is, the more searches it gets. Use popular long tail keywords to drive more traffic to your sites.
However, this doesn’t apply all the time because some popular keywords are very competitive. The higher the competition, the more difficult it is to rank. Thus, you also need to target less competitive keywords.
Choose keywords that are relevant to your blog. Irrelevant keywords make it harder to get visitors because people won’t know what your site is about. You want to let people know that your blog talks about a certain topic or niche. Using relevant keywords helps you get “visitors that convert” and not just “visitors that visit.”
Know the intentions of your target audience. Are they shopping or just browsing? Or maybe they’re just looking for information? Answer these questions to come up with the right keywords.
Blogpatcher – Your top keyword optimization tool
Similar to blogging in general, the SEO tool space is saturated with tools that drain thousands of dollars annually from consumers.
There are reasons why premium SEO tools cost a lot and deservedly so – no doubt about it.
However, people who simply want to increase their site’s search rankings by finding the best keywords for their content but can’t afford the burgeoning costs of these tools are left with nothing.
This main reason is why Blogpatcher was created.
The main purpose of the tool is to help bloggers and site owners analyze their site pages’ SEO performance and identify areas of improvement at an affordable price.
On top of keyword frequency and use of LSI keywords, the page analysis report includes the following:
- Rich media
- Structured content
- Social media
After creating an account, enter the URL of the page you want to analyze. You can also assign the target keyword of the page for the tool to produce a more precise SEO score.
Click on the factor that you want to look deeper into to show you issues that you must resolve soon.
On each section are subfactors that you need to work on to improve your SEO score. Each subfactor shows you how to fix each. This way, you don’t have to blindly resolve the problems of the pages.
In relation to keyword optimization, Blogpatcher shows the keyword frequency and the LSI keywords.
The former shows you the different page elements where you should enter your keyword and whether you’re “stuffing” the page with too many keywords.
The latter provides LSI keyword suggestions that you need to include in the page to increase its search ranking for your target keyword.
The results draw from the top 10 pages from organic search for your keyword. BlogPatcher then analyzes the most common keywords used in all 10 pages and suggests that you use them as well.
After applying the changes to all factors, you need to run another page analysis to see if your SEO score improves.
The higher the score, the better your chances of ranking high on Google search for your keyword!
Ultimately, Blogpatcher removes the guesswork from on-page SEO by simply clicking on the “How to fix” link on each subfactor.
The tool gives smart solutions on how to solve SEO errors and practical advice to new topics, keywords, and content.
Most importantly, Blogpatcher is not heavy on the budget. You can sign up for a free account and limited features and credits to test the tool out for size.
You can move onto the paid option of $39.95/month or $33.95/month for 12-month payment. This option provides more features and credits to help you ramp up your keyword optimization campaign for all your pages.
Keyword optimization is necessary for bloggers because it makes your site rank higher, gets more visitors, and better conversions. You’ll also outcompete your competitors more easily because you’re using keywords that attract readers who need and want your content.
You can bring your blog to greater heights by knowing what keyword optimization is, and following SEO’s best practices.
At best, you can simply sign up for a Blogpatcher account and simply take heed of the advice for each SEO factor.
Either way, you need to work on this now to gain an advantage over your competitors and rake in the most traffic from search engines!
5 Blogging Laws You Need to Know to Avoid Legal Troubles
Creating a blog is one thing. Managing it is another. It’s easier to develop a blog from scratch than maintaining one. You need to consider many things to ensure your blog’s survival. One of which is its legal side.
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Unfortunately, many neglect its importance because it’s hard to understand. Trust us — reading long texts of laws and regulations is no fun.
This guide, however, solves just that. We’ll help you comply with the law so you’ll stay out of legal trouble.
Getting copyright protection is necessary to keep your content from being plagiarized. The copyright law does just that. It protects an author’s original creation, such as articles, photos, videos, and music.
This is very important especially that these works are usually seen in blogs. You can also profit from the law as you gain control on how you want it to be reused by other people. You can even sue anyone who misuses your copyrighted material. You can then ask for compensation for the losses.
Never copy or re-use anyone’s work without giving proper credit or seeking permission from the author.
Terms and Conditions
Nobody wants to get lawsuits. But if you do get one for your blog, then your best protection would come from your terms and conditions. They are your website rules which discuss which are allowed and aren’t allowed on your blog.
You need to have one to protect yourself and your online business. Terms and conditions explain refund processes and policies of your content.
It also explains the process of resolving legal disputes, as well as prevents anyone from using your blog without permission. Having thorough terms and conditions prevents copyright infringement.
The last thing you want is for your enemies to find loopholes on your blog. Avoid this from happening by having terms and conditions. It’s a great way to prepare for worst-case scenarios.
You can also translate these legal documents on your blog to the language of your readers. This way, they’ll understand how your blog works.
Disclaimers protect you from legal liability as it clears things out. They make it clear to readers that your content is personal opinions, not facts. You need disclaimers for protection against defamation lawsuits.
This is important for blogs as you usually express your own ideas based on your reaction to facts. Blogs don’t necessarily convey factual data as it functions as an outlet for writers’ opinions.
However, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get sued if you have one. Instead, there’s a good chance you can defend your blog because you have a disclaimer. You also don’t want to be responsible for content websites publish based on your blog.
This is especially important if you’re sharing affiliate links. In an interconnected world, it’s vital to have protection for your individual rights.
Taxes for self-employment
Blogs aren’t just a hobby. For many, it’s also a source of income. If this is the case, then it’s a legitimate business and you need to comply with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You might be your own boss, but even that comes with added responsibility.
Pay healthcare and social security taxes from the profits you earn from your blog. These are called self-employment or SE taxes. Blogs earning $400 or more annually are required to pay these taxes.
Thus, it’s important to have general knowledge in keeping track of your finances. Learn basic accounting and financial management to not have any legal problem. It might be boring and tedious at first, but it’s very useful in the long run.
Also, pay taxes on time so you won’t get penalized, or worse, have your blog shut down!
Dealing with legal troubles is a big hassle. Not only does this waste your time and energy, but this can also lower your blog conversions. However, you can avoid this from happening by knowing the laws regarding blogging.
Ignorance of the law excuses no one, including bloggers. Thus, it’s best to spend time understanding all these rules even if they seem boring. Doing so will safeguard your blog’s interest, and could make your blog more credible.
While using them is ideal because they generate the documents in seconds, there’s no replacement to actual legal advice and counsel in creating these pages on your blog.
Therefore, if you want to be safe and keep your blog from getting into legal troubles, you need to consult professional advice and counsel regarding these blogging laws.
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