Melinda Lewis was an elementary school teacher when she decided to trade in the chalk for a keyboard two years ago to pursue her dream of blogging.
Getting started was an eye-opening experience and, today, Lewis is one of a few African American home décor bloggers. On the popular site 'Get Togetha,'
she offers one-stop shopping for pillows, throws, candles, books, vases, and funky and elegant light fixtures.
Lewis attracts enough traffic to garner advertising, which allowed her to earn just slightly less than her teacher's salary. (The average salary for a public school teacher is $51,009, according to the latest teacher salary survey by the American Federation of Teachers
.) Not bad!
Now, Lewis, who lives in Harlem with her husband, wants to help others pursue their dream of becoming bloggers. She's written an e-book, 'Blog. Your. Passion. Twelve Lessons Learned from a Blogger Who Didn't Know Squat.'
Lewis breaks it down in 12 lessons:
1. Myth busting:
The raw truth is that all blogging begins as free, unpaid work.
: Write a list of your passions and then investigate what's out there in the blogosphere. Do not copy someone else's idea.
3. Know thy end
: Purchase your own domain name. If you're going to put the work into possibly creating, growing and maintaining a name for yourself, you should own it.
4. Don't be an echo
: An authentic writing style is the best way to build a following. Develop your own voice.
5. Blog design
: Create an identity. Hire someone if you need to!
: Are you creating original content or simply regurgitating information from other sites? Be original.
7. Your audience
: Blog readers can spot a phony in a click. Be confident in your delivery of information.
8. Link love:
The blog game is not a solo game. It's a collaborative process of strategic linking. Form formidable relationships with bloggers you admire and respect. Don't cut yourself off from the link world.
9. The paper chase
: Building traffic without passion is extremely hard work. So if you're blogging solely for money, keep your day job.
10. Toot your horn
: Be audacious! That way you will catch the eye of the mainstream media. There is no shame in self-promotion.
11. Blogger blahs
: Keep at it. If you believe in your content, "the hits'' and advertising will come!
12. Life beyond the screen
: Be sure to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. Blogging is very sedentary and can lead to serious weight gain, which can lead to other health issues.