How to Be an Urban Blogger and Make $$$: Starting A Blog and Branding

By Sunday, April 13, 2008 5 No tags Permalink 0

Blogging has been all the rage for the past years and it’s no small matter that blogs have made a major impact on the way we consume media. Blogs are simple to maintain, easy to install, and are extremely friendly with search. Your blog can be as simple or as complex as you want it. In part 1 of our on going series we will discuss creating and branding your blog and the importance of owning your data and picking the right platform to blog on.

The urban blog scene has exploded in a big way. Find out how you can be the next Bossip, ConcreteLoop, or Cake and Ice Cream.


Branding:

Before you even go to start your blog you should think about the online urban space itself. The space is over saturated with Gossip blogs, music blogs, and a few urban culture blogs. So the first thing you need to ask yourself is:

What are my goals for starting this blog?

Are you doing it for fun? Do you want to make money? Do you want to be the Black Perez Hilton? You need to answer all of these questions cause you need to be able to stand out in the crowd. One of the main problems I see in the space that that all of the sites cover the exact same stuff. You can go from Bossip, to Cake and Ice Cream, to C&D and see the exact same post.

So in starting and branding your site you need to know what’s really going to make it different and unique. How are you going to make your mark in the space and have your voice heard when there are almost 1,000 other blogs that might be just like you.

Naming your brand is also extremely important. So picking something that is easy for someone to remember and that they can quickly type in their web browser. If possible put keywords in the url. So for example a url like Hiphopnewsdaily.com is pretty good cause it has the keywords of hip-hop and news. So right off the back someone knows that the site is going to be about Hip-Hop and they will get news information.

My url Greasyguide.com came about cause I was writing a book that was originally call “The Playa’s Guide to Big Pimpin'” but I killed that title cause it was just way to long and confusing. Then after a few brain storming sessions I landed on GreasyGuide.com It was simple, unique, and easy to remember.

Also remember that you have to live with your brand for the life of the site. So pick something that’s not going to sound corny 10 years from now.


Starting Your Blog:

Now there are many services out there where you can get a free blog, but I recommend skipping all of those. Launching your Hip-hop or gossip blog on top of Blogger or WordPress is cool if you don’t want to spend any money but the return to you and your time is going to be very low. In other words this comes down to BRANDING! If you want to start Hip-Hop Knowledge.com then go to GoDaddy and buy the url. Do not build it on top of Blogger.com or WordPress.com. It’s a waste of your time and they own part of your data. Your data and your content is all that you really have and it’s 100% important to own all of it on your own url. I use and swear by GoDaddy. They are very reliable, have EXCELLENT customer service, and you can getup and running in now time. And they have a ton of different configurations to fit your blogging needs.

Why build the blogger.com or wordpress.com brands when it’s all about building your own brand?

Go to GoDaddy.com and type in the url you want. Your going to find that most of the times the url is already taken. But keep trying until you land on a url that works well for the type of site that you are trying to build.

REMEMBER: You need to buy the URL and you need to buy HOSTING services. But you can get up and running on GoDaddy.com for about $70 and if you want to buy more urls after that you can without paying any setup fees.

The Platform:

So you’ve figured out your brand and got the url from GoDaddy.com what do you do next? Well GoDaddy is nice enough of have GoDaddy Connection. This area is for members with hosting accounts and you can install the free blogging software in this area. GoDaddy.com offers Geeklog, Lifetype, reblog, Serendipity, and WordPress. I use and SWEAR by wordpress. Now as I said earlier don’t build your brand on WordPress.com. But wordpress has free software that you can install on your hosting server to blog. And WordPress is fantastic! So just go to your blog account and install the latest edition of WordPress and you will be ready to blog.

Design:

Now that you have the WordPress installed on your site you don’t want to use default template that they have. You now need to go and find a WordPress template that gives you the look and feel you want. Just type in WordPress Templates into Google.com and you will find many many sites that offer free wordpress templates. GreasyGuide.com uses a paid for template. But if you really want to go deep you can hire a designer to custom code your site.

Hiring a designer can run you between $500-$3000 depending on the features and design that you are looking for in your blog. It’s always best to go to blogs that you and look at the bottom of the site and see who created the blog. There will often times be a link to that designers site and you can get a price quote from there.

You can also out source the design to India by using sites like elance.com. You can often find a coder in India fro about $12 an hour and most of them are pretty good at what they do.

So that’s part 1 of our series. In part 2 we will discuss the art of content creation and where to find good hip-hop content.

Do you have a topic you want us to cover in this series? Hit the comments section and let us know!

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