This article was written for members of Bloggers Lab Group. I was one of the volunteers previleged to write on the topic, Research and Discoveries. I felt it will be useful for you especially if you are a newbie wanting to go into blogging. You can Research and discovery-bloggerslab and read it any time.
Below is the article, so enjoy it.
I was so delighted when Peter Creativewritingmachine asked me to write on research and discovery, and I also want to thank Jide Ogundanya, other volunteers and all members of this group.
Although, it is a little bit lengthy, but it is highly educative and informative and I have taken time to dive a little bit into my own story, how I failed to research which resulted in failure and low earnings.
HERE WE GO!
Have you being wondering why some bloggers are doing great and you or someone else is not?
You may be tempted to say or believe that they have so much ideas, skills, well-trained, lucky or they are technically sound. No! Not at all!!
These people are not lucky or they became successful by chance, they merit it because they have worked tirelessly on their niche/business and therefore, deserved to be successful.
Although it seems a daunting task, research and discovery should be a task that you should devote time and resources because it will determine if you are going to be successful or not and it is not as difficult as you think.
SO WHAT IS RESEARCH?
Research is all about planning or laying foundation for your blog/business and whoever fails to plan, is planning to fail. Everything in life requires planning, so is your blog. When you want to get to somewhere, you will say to yourself that, how do I get there, how much money to go with that will cover my journey, what mode of transportation….?
Because you have asked yourself those simply questions: how to get there… and you discovered that going by a bike is faster, going with N5,000 will cover all my cost, you will also discover that that journey or assignment will be very easy to accomplish.
This simple explanation applies to blogging also. In fact, if you will ever make it as a blogger, researches and discoveries will determine.
Therefore, research and discovery is an effective way of creating a powerful blog that you will never lack ideas of what to do, what content to add, how to generate traffic among other things?
At this point, let me dive into my own story. When I first started my first blog (http://www.NaijaJobsLink.com) in 2008, I did not spend much time or no time at all to research. I focused so much on money I will be making, posted rubbish just because I understood the importance of contents. That was why it took me more than a year to make $108 after spending more than $500 going to cyber cafes and other things.
At a point, I was frustrated and abandoned blogging and faced my misery labourer work. My turning point came when I read Steve Pavlina article about blogging. He said you should forget about money first, take time to research on your ideas, see how you can make your writings a last bus stop for whoever is reading them, add values to your readers, build reputation…… and money will keep flowing.
The questions that most newbies ask are: how to research? What to research? Where to research and so on and on?
SO WHAT TO RESEARCH?
Good you asked that question!
There are so many things to research on when starting a blog. You have to research on the:
1) Domain name
7) Search Engine Optimization SEO
8) Social media
9) Blogging platform – free blog (e.g Blogger.com) or self-hosted blog (e.g wordpress.org)
10) List building and a whole lot of them.
I know almost all of what I mentioned above has been thoroughly explained by various volunteers, so I won’t spend much time explaining them except the most important ones like contents, traffic, SEO…
RESEARCHING ON YOUR DOMAIN NAME AND HOSTING
Choosing the right domain name for your blog and hosting is very important for your success. Sometimes, you might want to build a blog and you are short of name to give to your blog, the best way to choose a domain name is to research on your niche and keywords, discover whether it has a high traffic (that is people are looking for it) and understand if it high paying keywords. Write down your keywords and choose your domain from the keywords. Choosing from your keywords is very important for your search engine ranking.
Your domain should not be more than three keywords and it should be easy to memorize.
Choosing the right hosting for your blog is also very important because you will not like a server that goes off intermittently. This will affect your site, your search ranking as crawlers won’t be able to access your blog. So an effective research will lead to awesome discoveries.
RESEARCHING ON YOUR KEYWORD AND NICHE:
If you are going to setup a blog to make money from Google Adsense or other contextual ads, keywords and niche play pivotal roles. Not all niches you should blog on. Some niches are high paying, but very competitive.
My failure to research on my keyword led me to earn so small and I was always unhappy. I got so many clicks, but the earning was just too small. I will have at least 50 clicks, earning per click EPS of 0.09 = 50×0.09 = €4.5. €4.5 for 50clicks is rubbish considering the time and resources I spent.
Before you can see that 50clicks, you should be getting 1000 visits. Have it in mind that less than 10% of your visitors a day will click on your ads. This varies, sometimes; you can get above 10% which is normal. But what is not normal is, if more than 10% of your visitors a day clicks on your ads on continuously for sometime, you should know that your adsense account is in danger and you should investigate your traffic immediately.
My earnings improved when I saw that so many people were looking for Post-UTME info, admission info and I decided to add a sub-domain to my blog and posted on education stuffs. I was taken aback when I saw clicks from channel added to that education sub-domain earning €1 – €13 per click.
The following year when Post-UTME and admission stuffs started again, my earning skyrocketed from between €250 – €300 per month to €850. I got so many visits then because my site was always on top, but now, panda has changed the way we blog which has affected my traffic by over 50% – this is because I failed to research when I heard about Panda.
I decided to research using Google Keyword Tool and I discovered that job vacancy and career keywords worth between $0.20 to $1.9 per click, while education keywords was between $3 to $22 click. I also discovered that technology, server, web design/development, insurance, mortgage, grant, loan where paying very high up to $100/click.
I blamed myself for not researching and discover the right keywords to blog on. It is always very important to research on your keywords.
RESEARCHING ON YOUR CONTENTS:
Some people say content is king when it comes to blogging, while others say traffic is the king.
I will ask you this question, which one do you think is the KING – contents or traffic?
No doubt, contents and traffics are chiefs when it comes to blogging. If you are going to be successful, unique and quality contents are surely the key as well as quality traffic from reliable sources. It is even better to focus more attention on creating quality content, before embarking on setting up your blog so as not to be short of contents or ideas.
Now that you have understood that quality contents are the key to your success, how do you now ensure continued flow of contents? That is where you have to devote time and research. Getting idea for your contents is very easy and I will explain more when I get to the HOW TO AND WHERE TO RESEARCH SECTION.
Your contents should be the last bus stop for your readers. Make sure when they get to your blog, your articles should solve their problem so that they will not have to go elsewhere. Unique and quality contents will make your readers to come back, bookmark and also subscribe to your blog.
Use your writings to build a good relationship because people only deal with people they believe can deliver.
RESEARCHING ON YOUR TRAFFIC:
Did you know that traffic is like blood running through your vain? And once blood is not flowing through your vain, you are a dead person.
Therefore, traffic is blood that keeps your blog alive! Without traffics, you are just wasting your time, and it won’t take long before you call it quit.
It is of utmost important to research on how to get quality traffic because not all traffics are suitable for your blog. Some traffics can put you in trouble! You need to study where they are coming from, landing pages among others.
RESEARCHING ON SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION:
If you want to rank well in search engine, you really have to research and map out the best way to research and optimize your pages for high ranking. Since most of the traffics will be from search engine, it is crucial to learn how to optimize your pages to rank top and beat your competitors.
SEO is a big industry and keep growing and expanding because companies now understand the importance of search engine traffics as it is much targeted and convert more.
There are a lot of ways to optimize which should be one of your research tasks.
HOW TO RESEARCH AND WHERE TO RESEARCH?
DOMAIN NAME AND HOSTING:
Choosing the right domain name can be a daunting task. I understand how difficult to choose the right domain because as a web design and a blogger, most of my clients end up choosing wrong domain or domain that has been taken. When this happens, am now saddle with the responsibility of choosing the right domain for them.
So how do you research and choose the right domain for your site?
I use this website http://www.stuckdomains.com/ to choose from expired domain because it helps with ranking.
I Research on their keywords analyze and choose from there.
As for webhosting, you can use review site or forum to research to know if such hosting company worth putting your site on their server. You should also make Google your friend and use it often and often.
KEYWORD AND NICHE:
Before I blog on any niche now, I will first of all check using the available tools to determine if the niche and keywords worth dying for. Since your niche determine if you are going to make it big, there are needs to research if people are looking for such information, volume of traffic and many more, it of utmost important to research on it first before diving into it.
The following tools will help you to do a good research.
Google Keyword Tool: https://adwords.google.com/
Google Insight: www.google.com/insights/
Google trends: www.google.com/trends/
Google search engine: google.com
Other tools are: http://www.alexa.com, http://www.wordstream.com/, http://www.seobook.com/ amongst others.
It will help you determine if the niche and keywords are profitable or not.
For example, research conducted on JOB VACANCY and web design and choosing Nigeria and USA as the country using Google Keyword Tool shows the following results:
Keyword: job vacancy, Competition: High, Global Monthly Searches: 1,830,000, Local Monthly Searches: 40,500, Approximate CPC: $0.21
Conducting the same search and choosing USA or Canada:
Keyword: job vacancy, Competition: High, Global Monthly Searches: 1,830,000, Local Monthly Searches: 49,500, Approximate CPC: $1.09
Let’s choose another keyword and do the same research for both Nigeria and USA
Keyword: web design, Competition: High, Global Monthly Searches: 7,480,000, Local Monthly Searches: 14,800, Approximate CPC: $0.66
Keyword: web design, Competition: High, Global Monthly Searches: 7,480,000, Local Monthly Searches: 2,240,000, Approximate CPC: $7.00
Comparing the results above for USA and Nigeria, you will agreed with me that targeting US traffic is far better than Nigeria, and also blogging on web design is far better than job vacancy. That is the essence of research which lead to a lot discoveries.
The best way to research for your content and discover quality ideas is to ask questions using http://answers.yahoo.com/. With Yahoo Answers, you will get lots of contents and ideas for your articles. You ask question and people answer you.
Google and other search engine: Google is pivotal to your blogging success. You can get a lot of fresh idea by search for your keywords, take top articles that show up and read and understand, then write your own.
WebAmswers.com: I use web Answers a lot. If I want to write post on maybe Antivirus, I will just ask question there and answers will keep dripping in. You also earn money directly into your adsense account by answering questions.
Article Directories and Others: Using article directories especial ww.ezinearticle.com will help you a lot.
TRAFFIC AND SEO
Did you know that the traffic is at the top?
According to some researches and studies, almost 90% of web searchers never make it to the second page of the results.
Do you know what that means for your site? Quite Simple! If you’re not ranked high on the search engines, you’re missing out on the majority of the traffic.
So researching on your traffic sources that work is vital.
So beating your competitors to the game of SEO should be your optimum priority. That is why you have to do a lot of research on that.
There are lots of blogging platform, but the most popular ones are Blogger.com or WordPress.org?
I will not dive much into this because it has been covered already.
Your being effective will largely be determined by the blogging platform you chose. As for me, WordPress.org is the best. Using self-hosted blog makes you look professional, you can customize your site to suit your needs among others, and you will never going to be banned like free blog. It is always better to research to know the right platform for you and also taking cost into consideration.
I could have to continue writing, but when it is too much, it becomes boring.
I will be putting this on my personal blog for you guy to read and also be able to download it as a pdf.
Thanks a lot for your time.