Do you like trying new products or reading new books? Want to make money or earn free samples for it? Here’s how to start a review blog.
Choose a Platform For Your Review Blog
The first step in starting a review blog for books or other products is choosing the platform you will use. There are many to choose from, such as Weebly, Blogger, and WordPress. I personally recommend Weebly because of the versatility and the fact that beginners can jump right in. If you’re also a pro, not to worry. You can edit the CSS if you want to, but the default drag and drop options make it simple and fun for everyone. In addition to hosting, if you want a dot com domain, you will also need a domain manager. I recommend rcomexpress.com. However, there are lots to choose from.
Build Your Blog
Once you’ve chosen your platform, it’s time to build your blog. This is relatively quick and simple if you’ve chosen one of the more easy platforms. You can choose your template/theme, colors, and so on. You should also be able to choose which pages you’d like and customize each page with the text, images, and anything else you need to. If you’re going to be reviewing products, you’ll want sections for ads on each page. This will help you earn revenue.
Make Sure You Have These Important Pages
At the very least, in my experience, every review blog should have a homepage, a blog page, an about/contact page, and a review policy page. By law, you will need to have a review policy and disclose when you receive products or cash in exchange for reviews. All of the pages and policies mentioned will help your audience have a positive experience with your blog.
Monetize Your Blog For Revenue
Join affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates, Rakuten LinkShare, CJ.com, and Google AdSense in order to generate revenue. This will allow you to earn revenue with ads that are aligned with the products you review. Sometimes you can align an exact product this way for the best results. Be careful to read the terms of each company and make sure you are following their guidelines if you join. Some may require your blog to be a certain age or have a certain number of posts first.
Start Writing Posts
Once you have made all of your pages, done what you can to monetize, and have something to review, start making posts. The more active your blog is, the better chance you have of people seeing it. At first, it might seem you are talking to yourself. Don’t worry. People will come if you keep writing. Be sure to learn some whitehat SEO techniques to help that along.
Market Your Blog To Companies
Once you have some posts up, you can market your review blog to companies via proper SEO, social media, and by sending pitches out to those who share your interests. It may take some time to build a steady following and you may need to at first review products and books you already own. But in no time, you will start getting more requests than you can handle if you do it right.
Happy blogging! If you have any questions, please comment below or Contact Us and we will do our best to assist.
by Richard Rowell, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Why do you want to blog? Are you doing it just to have an outlet, or are you trying to make money from it? Is it possible to blog for pleasure and blog for business at the same time? It's completely possible. You just have to ask yourself: What does blogging do for me?
You just have to make it worth your time. As someone who's done both blogging for business and for pleasure, I know it's possible.
Blog When it Feels Right
The trap that so many bloggers, myself included, fall into is having to blog just for the sake of blogging. One great suggestion that some people give is to give shout outs to others by curating content that is worth reading. This is fine and all. But really, if you want to really succeed in blogging, just blog when it feels right.
Blog when you feel like you really need to say something. Curating is fine and writing about a trending topic can be OK, too, but you really need to be feeling it? When you’re feeling it, then it will show in your writing.
Blog Because It Feels Good
Sometimes you just have to get something off of your chest. The thing to do with that is to be constructive about it. Sure, go to town absolutely cussing your brains out in your first draft. But then, see if there’s anything good that others might connect with. I don’t really advocate cursing in blog posts, but done correctly, especially on personal blogs, I’ve seen it work. Then again, advertisers don’t really care for that and Not-Safe-for-Work (NSFW) content isn’t for everyone.
But really, you should blog because it feels good. Don’t turn into something that you have to do just for the sake of making some pennies. Yeah, sometimes that might be all you get. Believe me, I’ve done the homework and I know that most successful bloggers live off of a handful of blog posts. Whatever the rest happens to earn is just gravy.
The idea is to show passion in your blogging, because otherwise, it looks like you’re just making a money grab. Believe me, I’ve fallen short in this category way too many times. That’s why I’m writing this bit in the first place! You have to keep up the passion or it just won’t work anymore.
Blog Because You Can Make a Difference
You should ask yourself when you sit down to blog: how can what I write make a difference? You may be surprised just how much one article or blog post can do in someone’s life. A lot of people Google things just to see if someone else out there is thinking about something that they are. Chances are with the billions of people online today, you’re not alone in what you’re thinking. This is a good thing. People talk about how unoriginal most bloggers have become. It’s true. So you have to stand out. Blog because you can make a difference in some way just by putting your thoughts out there. Keeping them inside your head doesn’t really do you a lot of good if something useful and constructive can come out of them. If you happen to make a little money along the way, that’s good, but it should never be the end goal - despite what a lot of people say.
In the end, don’t blog for business, even if you’re blogging for a business. Blog for pleasure, but also blog when it feels right, because it feels good, and because you can make a difference.
So my fellow blogger friends, do you prefer to blog for pleasure, blog for business, or a little of both? Why do you blog? How you do think you could blog better?
by Richard Rowell, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
The Benefits of Becoming an Authority in Your FIeld, Niche, or Area of Expertise as a Blogger
One of the hardest things about blogging is getting people to come back for more. You can build up a huge initial audience. But over time, even if you keep up with continuous content creation, that doesn’t mean that people will come back and interact in ways that you might expect. You can provide the greatest information in the world. It could even be exclusive. But with this strategy, most of the time, you’ll get an overwhelming majority of “hit-and-run” visitors. Yes, they may click on an ad. They may check out a product or two that you are promoting or selling. But very rarely do you convert this traffic into actual revenue. Curiosity is great, but it doesn’t make you a living. In fact, big page view numbers can lead to little more than frustration.
There is hope, however. You just have to ask yourself a deceptively simple question.
What’s In It For the Readers?
Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketing once published an article about how he and his team built up a blog from zero to $6 million in sales in only a year. The website is called SurvivalLife.com, and it’s about survival and preparedness. Yes, it does promote products but in a passive way. They have become a huge resource in the survival and preparedness market. It’s not just because they have a network of blog contributors and a team of blogger experts. Each article offers something beyond just the article. Having ad networks and even affiliate programs like Amazon Associates is nice, but they don’t work for everyone. But having a mix of affiliate and in-house offers is better if they’re well-targeted, unlike a lot of those pay-per-click ads.
Ryan says that becoming an authority is so much better than being an “ordinary” blogger for a number of reasons. One of the reasons, he says, is this:
“You don’t need a product, sales copy or even an idea… you just need to have a passion in a market where great content and fascinating experts already exist.” – Ryan Deiss (http://www.digitalmarketer.com/6-million/)
It’s all about the passion. There’s more to it than that, obviously. You have to really dedicate the time and energy to become the sort of “insider” that he talks about. In fact, he says you don’t even have to be a writer to become an authority. Earlier on in that same article, he mentions Oprah, who has built an empire by simply associating with experts in multiple fields. She makes big time revenues off of those affiliations because those are real sales that she’s generating by the interest in those experts because of the trust that she has built over the years.
So What Can You Offer Your Readers?
Sharing other content is great, especially when it’s by other experts that I trust. However, I don’t necessarily subscribe to Ryan’s idea of “The World Doesn’t Need More Information.” I do agree that if the information already exists, and is already well-written and presented, then you should share it with the world. You don’t even have to rewrite it “in your own words” as they say. “Spinning” isn’t really necessary if the information is already worth promoting.
This doesn’t mean you can’t still be part of it. You can still share personal experience. What it does mean is that you have to always bring it back to making it about what your audience is looking for when they come to you. Offer up other authoritative content that you love, no matter where it comes from. This sounds counter-intuitive, but people will remember where they heard something from if it’s valuable enough.
Why do people go back to major media outlets or remain loyal to brands? It’s because people create emotional attachments to things that provide them with what they’re looking for if it delivers on a consistent basis. It doesn’t all have to come from your mouth. You just have to keep the good content coming, no matter what the source.
Sometimes, it turns out that the best approach really is to become an expert by showing how you learned to become an expert in that field. By doing so and showing the process, you teach others how to become an expert in their own field, niche, or area of expertise. The idea is to lead by example, even if you’re not the greatest writer in the world. It’s about sharing and caring, as silly as that sounds.
As it has so often been said, it doesn’t matter so much what you give someone, but rather how you made them feel in doing so. Once you have the emotional connection and you continue to deliver on that connection, you’ve made a fan for life. It doesn’t matter how many of those you get as long as they’re genuine. They will be the ones that not only will grow your business, but also be friends for life.
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is their top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they conquer the world, living the RV life and making Crafts For A Purpose with their awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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