Category Archives: Blogging for a Living

How to blog for a living.

Blogging Workflow

Please Note: This is going to be Mac specific.

If you are a professional blogger, or aspire to become one, you must get good at Blogging Workflow. A workflow is a set routine to go from asset creation to publish. You need a set routine for publishing fast – this is my way of doing so.

I think the Mac was built for the Digital Nomad, and this from a guy who used to be all about PCs! But the way you can go from filming and shooting pics on iPhone, upload via AirDrop, insert the pics and/or video to your blog, and then share to Youtube – it’s the best blogging platform imaginable!

In this article I will show you how I:

  1. Take photos and videos of an experience.
  2. Write a blog about it, and upload the images.
  3. Make a YouTube Video with Narration.
  4. Embed the Youtube video in my blog.

iPhone

Forget the GoPro, the iPhone is easier to use, takes fantastic pictures and videos, has slomo, panorama, and time-lapse built in. I take all of my blog photos and GripandClip YouTube videos with my iPhone 6s. The reason I also like it is it’s tightly integrated with my Macbook Pro.

MacBook Pro

I have the 13 inch 2016 version of the Macbook, the one that still uses USB 3.0, and has an earphone/mic plug. The reason the Mac is so great for blogging is the way you can upload photos and videos with AirDrop.

AirDrop

Upload icon in lower left

Open the photo in the Photo App on your iPhone, then Click the rectangle with the up pointing arrow in the lower left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click yerself, don’t Wrick yerself!

 

If you have Bluetooth turned on, and have a wifi signal,  you will see an icon that appears below the photos that represents your MacBook. Click on the icon to AirDrop the photo from your iPhone to your MacBook.

 

The photo will AirDrop into your Downloads folder on your Macbook.

 

 

The Photo is AirDropped to your Downloads folder.

Insert Media

ThGo back to your WordPress Admin, and Upload the photo from your Downloads folder to your blog post.

Go back you your WordPress post and Upload the picture to your Media Library, then select and Insert into the blog.
Usually, this is step one in my Blogging Workflow. Once I am done with the text and inserting a few images I will hit publish. But my work is not done yet…

YouTube

Mac has a built-in video editor called iMovie, where I import video I just shot, and then edit together with narration and music. YouTube provides copyright free music that is pretty decent, but perhaps a tad overused. It’s just some background music. You can buy music as well, but typically I just go the free route.

Video editing, while not hard, is a subject unto itself, so I will save that for another post. But here’s a look at the interface:

 

 

 

 

The upper left is your Media Library, or the assets like Video clips, still images, music and narration that you use to build your video. The upper right is a preview window where you can review the video clips, and below is the editing timeline, where you drop video clips in the order you want them displayed, and where you do the cutting and pasting of the different assets in your Media Library.

With iMovie, when done you can even upload directly to YouTube.  But I don’t do this because sometimes I encounter a hickup on upload. What I do is “Save to a File” on my computer. Once saved, I then go directly to YouTube to Upload.

Back to your original post

Once my YouTube video is up and running, I also embed the video into my original post:

 

I post the blog post with just the Text and images first, because that’s the fastest way to get something up and seen. Since Video editing can take longer, I’ll often just do this first, and embed the video at a later date.

 

 

And that, in a nutshell, is my typical workflow. From filming to final blog post with Youtube embedded can be as quick as an hour or two. If you want to be successful at this, you want to become not just good, but fast, and some sort of blogging workflow can help increase your cadence so that you can get to the point of posting every other day, or even every day.

Quality does matter, but you’ll also need quantity in order to make an impact. And an efficient workflow will make blogging nearly effortless.

Here are the basic steps:

  • Shoot,
  • Blog
  • Upload photos
  • Edit Video
  • Upload to YouTube
  • Embed the video in Blog post
  • DONE!

…well, you still have to promote. That I will save for a future posts as well. Let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns in the comment section below!

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WordPress Setup: 4 Steps

There’s a couple different things I like to do when I setup my WordPress blog for the first time. After I pick a domain name, and start my WordPress blog with a SiteGround account I do the following steps to initially setup my website.

Step 1: Install Plugins

The plugins I install are:

  • Akismet
  • Yoast SEO
  • Add Categories to Pages
  • Page Links To
  • Ad Injection
  • Pretty Link Lite

Akismet I install to take care of any spam comments. You’ll need to register for an account which is pretty easy. Essentially, you receive an API code, which you put in the “Settings” area of the plugin, and then save. It will take care of comment spam from then on.

Yoast SEO is a plugin for improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It covers the basics, just follow its guidelines for optimizing a focus keyword phrase by doing such things as adding the targeted phrase to your subheads, titles, image names, etc.

Add Categories to Pages – I like to have my Pages display my articles based on the Categories that they belong under. So, for instance, I have an article about Climbing in Shelf Road under the Categories of “Colorado Climbing” as well as my Climbing Blog. Using this plugin I can associate the Articles with those Categories.

Page Links to – I use this plugin so that all I have to do is click the categories that an article should go under, and then the Page Link To plugin adds a Custom URL checkbox at the bottom of each Page. This is where I change the Page URL to the relevant Category. For instance, /colorado-climbing page is changed to the /category/colorado-climbing. That way the posts I tag under the each relevant category gets automagically displayed in each section that I check off for its category.

Ad Injection – This is a great plugin for automatically adding ads to my page. It inserts the ads at certain intervals in your posts based on where you decide to place the ads. I use mainly Google Adsense for this, as it changes the ad based on the user’s browsing habits. Adsense I’ve found to be the best paying CPM and CPC ad network out there. I use their “Responsive” setting for all the ads since the ads resize based on the size of the space available.

Pretty Link Lite – This is to make a prettier affiliate link that is associated with your website, rather than, say, a complicated Amazon affiliate link URL.

Step 2: Select a theme

I usually stick to one of the canned template themes, such as “Twenty Twelve”. It is a standard template that can be modified fairly easily to make your blog unique. Since it’s a Theme included with your installation it is fairly generic, with none of the fancy DHTML tricks that often look great, but are incompatible with certain browsers.

Step 3: Create my Main Pages

I like to start with the structure of my blog under topics that I plan to write on. For instance, I just helped my brother start a blog called happychelu.com. I asked him what topics he wanted to write about, so we added Pages such as “Travel”, “Lifestyle”, and “Food”. Of course, it’s also a standard practice to have an “About” page, as well as a “Contact Us” page.

Step 4: Start Writing!

A blog is only as good as its content, so it’s best to start creating content. I mean, this is the reason you got into this stuff, right? To express yourself on a property you own, rather than on someone else’s site such as Facebook, where they benefit from your content rather than you.

When I talk to people about starting their own blog they often go, “Well, I’m not really a writer.” And I go: “How many times do you update Facebook?” For most people, that’s at least once a day. What if, instead, you update Facebook with one of your blog posts. All of a sudden you are using Facebook to market your blog. Rather than just being a place to update your friends and family, it becomes a place to drive traffic to your blog, eventually resulting in online revenue.

I like to start with writing at least one piece of content for each Page. This is in order to have a complete website, with no missing pages. Whatever you do, do not launch until you have at least one piece of content per page. And don’t, under any means, have a “Coming Soon!” message on a page that you intend to someday add content to. “Someday” may never come. It’s better to just not publish a page until you have at least one piece of content for it.

There you go, a simple 4 step plan for starting your blog!

 

 

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How to make money blogging

Adventure blogging: How to

There are many people making a living by blogging and video blogging (vlogging). Whereas large corporations need to make a ton of money in order to make everyone’s salaries, healthcare, HR, etc; For you, you just need to make enough to cover your needs. Blogging is a totally doable venture – as long as you have the passion and an audience for what your particular blogging interest is.

Why do I start with “passion”? Now, this is advice from a former industry professional. I did Search Engine Optimization for over 10 years prior to going out on my own. I’ve helped many people start their websites, and have transformed large organizations from traditional means of making money to then largely making their cashflow from online/digital products and advertising – all through SEO.

The 2nd largest gains I’ve made (other than for myself) is a 2,800% traffic increase for a regional bank in the Northeastern US.

What was the largest gain?

The largest gain, percentage-wise, was infinite.

The reason I say infinite is that when you start from ground zero and go from nothing to something, then your return is infinite. And everything thereafter is infinity plus one.

And I tell you: the penny I made from my own efforts is 100x sweeter than the 6 figures I made as a an enterprise SEO consultant.

I’ve worked in SEO for clients such as Bank of America, Nationwide Insurance, and other Fortune 500 companies, and many smaller ones as well.

But the hardest websites I’ve found to increase traffic are small websites. Mom and pop websites. The reason? People lack patience. They start with a passion, but when they don’t see immediate success instead of pivoting and adapting to something else – they quit.

I’ve worked with folks to start a martial arts blog, a qi gong blog, a recipe website, and many others, and I told them in the midst of their excitement for finally getting off their asses and starting a blog, I say, “Most people give up after 2 months.” And after they all had a good laugh at that particular statistic, you know what happens?

They ALL quit after 2 months.

Or sooner. Now, I don’t want to discourage you if you’ve wanted to leave the corporate world and make your stake in becoming the next blogging superstar – far be it for me to trample on your dreams, but you need to understand the reality of this. That’s why I say:

  • You must have a massive passion for doing this.
  • You must be so passionate about this subject that you would do it anyway, without any guarantee of being compensated.
  • You must need an audience that is as passionate as you are on the subject.
  • You need to do something to advance your goal every single day.

The last is important. Notice I didn’t say write a blog post every day, I said do something to advance your goal every day. That could be brainstorming, it could be testing a piece of gear you want to review – and it could include writing.

I think it’s a good goal to write or video tape yourself doing something interesting every day. Or educational, basically,
the Four E’s:

  • Educational
  • Enlightening
  • Entertaining
  • Emotional

Educational is anything where a person after watching it says: “Oh, I didn’t know about that!”

Enlightening is anything where a person afterwards says: “Wow, I am changed because of that”

Entertaining is, well, entertaining: makes a person laugh typically.

Emotional is anything that provokes an emotional response. It can be something sad: abandoned pets, for example. It can be something shocking (Brangelina breaking up? Say what?!).Anything that supercharges their emotions in some way.

Let me put it this way: you can’t bore someone into liking your blog. If you hit on one of the four E’s then you can be successful, but whatever you do don’t bore everyone.

Some tools:

  • Web hosting – I highly recommend SiteGround – get a year hosting. What, you want to go month-to-month? Where’s your commitment? Getting a year makes it only $3.95/month or just $47.40 for the year. How much do you spend on coffee per month?
  • Domain hosting – you can get a free domain withSiteGround when you host with them.
  • WordPress Hosting – Again, included with the $2.95 per month hosting at SiteGround .
  • iPhone (or similar): High quality photos and vids.

Some helpful optional gear that I use:

  • Joby Grip Tight Micro Stand. Set on table or shelf, and away you go!
  • Selfie stick – For YouTube videos this is a must.
  • Apple Watch – Okay, I am Apple-centric, but with the watch I use it to remotely control my iPhone shutter. That way I can set up my iPhone on the Joby Grip Tight Micro Stand, and then click the shutter remotely. It makes it look like someone else is doing the filming – less “Selfie-like.”
  • YouTube is the standard for video blogging, YouTube has the highest density of users, and you want to go where your audience is.

You can do it with less, with just text, but it had better be some damn good writing. Media, such as photos or videos, brings the text to life. This increases the all-important “Engagement”.

And always, always have cashflow in mind.

Sure, it’s fine to not include an affiliate link on a page, but Google Adsense ads is kind of the default position for blogs. Adding a pre-roll ad before your YouTube is a default. Then you can experiment with other ways of generating revenue, such as an e-book, email training, or forum website.

And measure, measure, measure. Understand Google Analytics, Adsense metrics, or YouTube metrics, or what have you. Whatever gives you statistics to compare results month-to-month, what can help you figure out what your top piece of content that is generating the most sessions and ad clicks. Why? Why is that particular post generating the most?

At first, your job is simply to look at the statistics and charts. Just get comfortable with the analytics – I use Google Analytics. Later, you can draw some conclusions, or compare month to the previous month, or even weekly and daily.

Never leave data in a spreadsheet. Transform it in some way: A bar graph, pie chart, Ven diagram. Some visual way for our human brain to make sense of the raw numbers. Once you compare month to month and see the numbers go from the bottom left of the chart to the upper right – then you can find yourself hooked on Analytics.

What is the reward for doing all this writing, vlogging, blogging, statistics and analytics watching?

The top bloggers make millions of dollars a year, the John Chow’s, the Shoemoney’s, et al make that. Then there are others, like makingsenseofcents.com who made $70k in August 2016.

Personally, I’m just starting out on this, but I am doing this with a vengeance. They say the best SEO pros don’t actually work for other people – they do it for themselves. That’s really how the best separate themselves from the also-rans. The ones doing journeyman SEO work.

It’s actually easy doing SEO for a large corporation like Bank of America – their industry dominance makes everything they touch go to number one. You prove your worth when you’re the sole person responsible for writing, for videotaping, for optimizing, for branding, for creating content worth viewing.

It’s when someone just starts out and gets 5 views where it gets tough. Creating enough density of high quality articles is a hard thing to do. Can what you write to inspire thousands of enthusiast to come over to your blog and read every word, finding something Educational, Enlightening, Emotional or Entertaining?

 

Can you eat bitter?

I forget where this is from. A martial arts phrase: “Can you eat bitter?” Meaning, can you do the hard thing? Can you sit your ass in a chair and write, or take time out of your day to video tape a segment for YouTube? Can you not give up when you see you’ve made .05 cents in adsense revenue that day? When the remote control is an arms length away?

Because life is distracting, and if blogging, or looking at your statistics and analysis isn’t as distracting, then it’s easy to hit the 2 month mark and say, “I’m good, I’ll just go back to doing fill-in-the-blank.

And that’s perfectly fine.

But, if you want to have massive freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it, if you want a lifestyle that can be just 2-3 hours of work a day (or less) where every action increases your bottom line – then this is it.

But you need the basic ingredients:

  • Passion for subject you’d create content around (text, photos, videos…) even if you weren’t compensated.
  • You need an audience that is interested in your content
  • Make money from it.

Simple, but not easy. Easy comes later 😉

 

 

 

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