While blogging or podcasting may not be the most effective form of raising capital, if you have a passion or expertise?any kind of knowledge to share with others?it can be a rewarding entrepreneurial side-activity. Plus, blogging can be a leverage for any existing business you may be affiliated with, or any marketing activities within your present company of employ.
With that said, there are two primary venues for blogging: (1) text-based blogging through Web media such as WordPress and (2) podcasting for eventual submission onto iTunes and other audio forums. Another key form of blogging, video blogging on platforms such as Youtube, won’t be discussed in detail in the context of this article.
Recently, I watched a video course offered on Udemy.com that teaches the steps to podcasting. It is a podcast training session by tech podcaster, Steve Cherubino, and the course itself is called “It’s Time To Podcast — 10 Hours of Podcast Training”. The course was marvellous, and is sufficient on its own to get you up-and-running with your podcast almost immediately after viewing the course. The course costs $47, but if you are interested in getting started with an iTunes podcast, then the investment is more than worth the cost.
Immediately after viewing the course, I set up a WordPress site, which took all of thirty minutes using Bluehost, which I’ll discuss momentarily. Once set up, there was a free plug-in to download to make the site iTunes RSS feed ready.
However, my site has remained dormant, as I discovered through the copyright law with podcasting that I would need permission from copyright holders to refer to various authors? ideas. Although my site sits dormant, I’ve discovered that the best way to make ongoing original content is to use primary research methods for gathering materials, such as interviews, focus groups, and observations. This way, you ensure original content on a weekly basis. Yet, setting up an audio podcast, which is my intention, would require some additional checks as interviews recorded over the phone result in poor sound quality.
In spite of this pitfall in audio quality over the phone, Steve Cherubino, in his podcast, does a marvellous job of helping his viewers set up their systems for guest speakers and the like. Yet, this process doesn’t come as readily for a non-tech such as myself, as Steve recommends courses of action such as setting up different sound cards for different speakers, which left me slightly befuddled. Nonetheless, his course is highly recommendable for getting started with podcasting, and sound editing software, such as the free Audacity, is one means of overcoming difficulties with audio quality when interviews are recorded over the phone or through skype.
Different Kinds of Text-Based Blogs You Can Start
Brett Snyder’s book How to Start a Home-Based Blogging Business outlines a number of different blog platforms that you can readily access. These include the free blogger.com, which is a great beginner platform; movabletype.org; typepad.com, another beginner platform; tumblr.com, a microblogging platform; wordpress.com, the ultimate in beginner blogs with lots of tutorial support available; and wordpress.org, which you self-host through sites such as Buehost.com.
Both Text-Based Blogging?and Podcasting?Can Be Done through WordPress
With WordPress, you will find a ton of support for helping you get started. The free AUSU membership site, called lynda.com, offers all kinds of WordPress tutorials that even extend into online shopping carts and digital downloads, for those with a more product-sales bias. But, for everyday text blogging, WordPress is ideal. You can even add in plug-ins, such as Blubrry PowerPress, which you can get at the following url: https://wordpress.org/plugins/powerpress/. This plugin is fully iTunes compatible and will get your RSS feed audio compliant for delivery on multiple podcasting platforms. Steve Cherubino’s Udemy course, as mentioned above, is the idea learning tool for implementing the Blubrry plug-in, and the process is quite simple once you have basic know-how with WordPress.
Bluehost.com Gives You a Simple Way to Start a WordPress Site for Around $10/Month
One quick and efficient means of setting up your WordPress site, which will take all of a half hour or so of your time, is to use bluehost.com’s dedicated WordPress feature. One option is to set up a WordPress hosting purchase that will allow you five WordPress sites with up to 100 million visits per month allotted. Plus, it includes one free domain and one free IP address. The price is $12.49 US for the first month and, thereafter, $24.99 US per month. If that is too much for the budget, although not featured on the WordPress hosting page, the Bluehost staff presented to me over the phone the alternative of getting one WordPress site for less than $10 US per month.
Once set up, you can then purchase themes and plug-ins for your site. The themes can include beautiful appearances for your blogging/podcasting site, but make sure that the theme has compatibility with any podcasting plug-in you might want to include. If you want to take your site to the next level and have an ecommerce component, make sure the theme enables that kind of delivery as well.
Ways to Monetize Your Blog
Brett Snyder, in his book How to Start A Home-Based Blogging Business outlines a number of ways to monetize your blog. For starters, he suggests charging members for access. While this may seem like a relatively fundamental way to monetize your blog, there are heavy costs in setting up a website that takes log-ins and payments. A lot of the companies that build websites in Calgary charge at least $1500 for such a site, so plan on making a heavy investment at the outset for log-in membership sites and payment gateways.
Another way Snyder recommends you monetize your blog is through freemium sites, which offer a base level of content for free and then charge for any of the “extras”. Yet another way to charge visitors is through donations, although Snyder doesn’t believe the donation model to be sustainable over time. Advertising, such as posting pay-per-click ads from other companies on your site is yet another way to make money off your content. You can also place an advertisement for another company on your site with a simple insertion of a graphic image into your html. You can also sell your content to third-parties through licensing. You can sell products on your content site, such as through Amazon, Zazzle or CafePress. Lastly, and as recommended by both Steve Cherubino and Snyder, you can sell sponsorships. This is especially true if you are doing an iTunes podcast. You might just find companies approaching you for sponsorship spots, placed either verbally on your podcast or textually on your podcast Website.
Microphone and Software Set-Up for Podcasting
I purchased a Blue Yeti USB microphone for professional recording from Chapters bookstore’s Apple store, available in select Chapters locations, although you can also buy the Yeti from Amazon.ca for around $150 when on sale. This microphone has a simple user interface and you can have it set up on your computer, ready for recording, in a matter of minutes.
As for software, you can choose from the free Audacity program, which has support files on the Internet, or you can get Adobe Audition bundled with your student Adobe cloud subscription for roughly $15.99 US a month.
Lastly, to submit your WordPress podcast to iTunes, just go to iTunes podcasts and click on “Submit a Podcast” in the right-hand side menu. From there, you just simply enter the RSS feed that your WordPress site provides. Cherubino mentioned in his podcast that you would need another service to make the Blubrry plugin compatible for the iTunes RSS feed, but he later retracted in a comment, indicating that the Blubrry plugin in your WordPress site was all that was needed.