Do friends and family often ask you for advice? Do you find yourself often telling others how to solve their problems? If so, you could become the next great advice columnist! In another Hub of mine, I told you how to start an advice column. In this Hub, I'm going to show you how to start your own advice column on the Internet.
Step 1: Decide on the topic of your column. Your first step should be deciding on the topic or niche of your column. What are you interested in most? What types of magazines or articles do you enjoy reading? What kind of questions are most often asked of you?
Settling on the right type of column to write is an important step in this process, and one that you should give plenty of consideration to before you actually launch your column. You want to be sure that you are able to write extensive advice on the topic at hand for a long period of time. If you choose a poor topic, or one that you don’t know very much about, you’ll probably have a much harder time trying to write consistent advice columns.
Step 2: Set up a blog on your new website. After you decide what your column will be about, the easiest and fastest way to get your column off the ground is to set up a blog. You can do this in one of several ways. You could set up a free blog, using Blogspot, Wordpress, Typepad, or any other similar websites. The biggest downside to using one of these hosted free blogs is that you will not have a unique URL to point your readers to. However, if you are just getting started and don’t care much about that technicality, then a free blog would serve you fine.
The best route to go for an online advice column would be to purchase your own unique domain name (I recommend Namecheap.com). After you purchase your domain name and hosting (I recommend HostGator.com), you should install the latest version of WordPress on your new website. (If you purchase hosting through a company that offers cPanel, you will be able to install WordPress with just a couple clicks of your mouse. If not, you can easily download the latest version here and follow the installation instructions, or hire someone to install it for you.)
Write an advice column
Step 3: Customize your blog to match the tone of your column. The next step you’ll want to take is to customize the look of your website to match your column. If your column will be a fun, upbeat column on parenting, you wouldn’t want a template that shows an orchard patch as the header or logo. Creating a customized theme to match your column is important because it will immediately give your website visitors an idea of what they will be reading there.
Be careful not to waste too much time on this step. You can find lots of free WordPress themes here. Alternatively, there are lots of WordPress designers who can create a customized theme for your website for a reasonable price.
Step 4: Add a link to your RSS feed. This is a crucial step that you cannot overlook or step around. If you intend for your column to be read worldwide and spread fast, you should have a RSS feed set up on your blog. This will make it super easy for those interested in your column to capture and use your RSS feed appropriately.
Step 5: Plan your editorial calendar in advance. Columnists do not necessarily have the leisure of sitting around and waiting until the last minute to write their column. If you want your column to be a success, the best way to ensure its success is to create an editorial calendar for yourself. If you are your own boss, this is especially essential. An editorial calendar will help you stay on track with your columns, as well as avert unnecessary writer’s block for lack of ideas.
An editorial calendar is also an intricate part of your column because it will help you create a sort of “flow” to your column that you might not otherwise have. It will serve as a brainstorm of future column ideas and potential column ideas. It is also flexible, in that you don’t always have to stick to it if a new or better idea comes along.
Step 6: Write regularly. An important part of any column is consistency. If you say you’re going to write your column every week, then don’t fail to meet that promise. If it is to be a monthly column, then make sure you have a well-written column every month as scheduled. The important thing to remember here is to think realistically about how much and how often you will be able to produce a quality column.
Step 7: Grow your audience. This final step is one of the most important ones of all. If you write a column but don’t do anything to attract an attentive audience, you’ll be writing a lot of columns that nobody will ever read. What’s the point? You can use social media networks, other blogs, forums, etc. to help get the word out and grow your readership. The important thing is that you always devote some amount of time each week to advertising your website and column.
The BEST gel pen for writing by hand!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Hope Wilbanks
Reve from Dhaka on March 20, 2012:
Wonderful and encouraging hub indeed :)
kat on July 12, 2011:
always wanted to start a advise column but never knew how. My friends have always asked me about personal problems like relationshipd and friends and family. i just ied starting one on facebook but im not so sure if it is going to work. do you think it is a good start?
R on January 11, 2011:
Thanks for the information. I have been doing this for a while. Feel free to visit my site!
Jordasche Kingston on January 08, 2011:
I'm finally getting around to starting an advice column, thank you for your tips!
Whitney on November 25, 2010:
I created a blog/advice column. i love helping people with their problems. i just don't know how to make people notice my blog.
Patricia on September 23, 2010:
Wow this was a very helpful article. I am an avid writer and have become the go to person for advice amongst all of my friends so I would LOVE to start a popular advice column. Thanks!!!
Cassidella on June 16, 2010:
Thanks for the very informative hub Hope. Rated it up and book marked it for future reference.
lisa on March 27, 2010:
thanks these r gr8 advices dat helped a lot thnxxxx
tj on March 26, 2010:
thanks so much for this article. It was very informative, and most importantly, THOROUGH. I'm one of those people who has discovered where I DON'T fit it in life, but am having difficulty finding where I DO. This helped a lot. xoxo
ramkkasturi from India on March 22, 2010:
Quite interesting and useful. I plan to start my advice column on a web site. This can be useful Thanks.
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on March 08, 2010:
Hugs Hope, Your name is very fitting. You give hope to others. Awesome. I love how you kept the steps in a simple, easy to follow format. You also made the point quality is necessary. I agree, I can so relate. If anything is built on a solid foundation, the likely hood it will stand is good.
I know that one. I thought $$ very soon when I started online. it did not happen. It took time. To persevere is key. Believe to receive. Make it happen. I'm bookmarking your hub. Maybe I will get my hands into soomething else. Thank you for Blessing me. Hugs
Please come and visit my hubs.
bonetta hartig from outback queensland on March 08, 2010:
great hub - great advice - will definitely work on it - will bookmark this so as I do it right = thanks
samboiam from Texas on March 01, 2010:
Thabks for the advice. Have bookmarked this hub for future reference.
frogyfish from Central United States of America on February 21, 2010:
Interesting hub. But guess I'll just give my advice for free and/or keep it to myself. (Which is sometimes the best! :-) )
Do you have one set up?
martycraigs on February 17, 2010:
Great set of instructions. I'm glad you include creating an RSS in this article. It's great to start an online advice column, but making sure people can easily subscribe and read your content is equally important!
15genius on January 01, 2010:
Im only 15 and im ALWAYS asked for advice on boys, drugs, school, and sex. I feel i am great at giving them advice but it would be soooo much easier to just do it over the internet (since i don't want to hear the sadness in their voice and forget the real reason). This was very helpful to me and im SERIOUSLY going to try to do this! Thanks for the step of something fabolous!!!!!!!!!
ryan on October 12, 2009:
Hello thank you so much for your advice. I followed these easy steps and now have an advice column all of my own thank you so much. Plz visit my Website @ http://ryanscorner.webs.com
george on September 22, 2009:
Hi. This is George from Portugal.
Could you give a course on line for on line coaches?
Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
Dawn Bostick on September 12, 2009:
Excellent information. This is my dream job ... this will really help me as I go forward. Thank you.
Hope Wilbanks (author) from Virginia on September 12, 2009:
Thanks for the kind comments. You're ALL very welcome. :)
Shawndy on September 12, 2009:
Thank you for the information! Excellent post!
RevLady from Lantana, Florida on September 09, 2009:
Great article. Thanks for giving me the information I needed. Also, I appreciate you sharing the "procedure". Again, thanks.
Kathi S. on September 02, 2009:
Hope, a friend of mine sent me your URL as I have been helping friends with their personal problems since I was in my twenties (now in my forties). Everything from divorce, this when I was totally single, to cheating husbands (again single) to parenting, family and so much more. So the idea really interests me but I don't know the language. I get picking a name, what is the hosting part? Cpanel? I appreciate your advice and help. I am ready to go on this.
Rebecca E. from Canada on September 02, 2009:
thanks for the helpful tips.
wendy on August 18, 2009:
i have always been the one that people come to,and i am going to give this a shot.how do i pick a topic though?i give advice on so many things?
AskFay on August 07, 2009:
Hey! This is right on! I've been giving advice in my school news papers for six years now and this is a great way to get started on the web. I actually have a site on Blogspot I just put up! Come ask me questions everyone, or just come check it out!
RobertHassey from United Kingdom on April 17, 2009:
Great idea for a hub. As you build your audience you also get more and regular traffic. As someone into online marketing, I think this is great, as your audience will spread the word on your site for you. You don't even have to compete for keywords and optimise your site for them. You might also want to include that, since advice columns draw in targeted traffic, meaning people already sold in or open to some of your advice, that you can put in affiliate links on your site, and thereby earn in the process. Good hub.
Hope Wilbanks (author) from Virginia on March 23, 2009:
Go for it, KimmiJ! :)
KimmiJ from Earth on March 23, 2009:
I would love to do something like that. Thanks for the inspiration.
Hope Wilbanks (author) from Virginia on February 12, 2009:
Great Chelsea! Can't wait to learn more about it. :)
chelsea on February 12, 2009:
nice i'm going to create an advice column
Kylie on July 14, 2008:
Thanks so much (:
Hope Wilbanks (author) from Virginia on July 11, 2008:
Thank you! :)
dabblingmum on July 11, 2008:
Nicely done! Very insightful and what a fun way to "impart our wisdom" on others without being annoying to the ones we love.
Hope Wilbanks (author) from Virginia on May 11, 2008:
I'm glad you found it useful. I think the key to building credibility is consistency.
WMF1125 on May 11, 2008:
Wow, thank you for writing this most interesting hub. I am going to take your advice. I've been giving people advice online for awhile now, and I really want to expand my horizon. The problem is getting more people to come look at my website, think [believe] that I'm credible enough, then asking their questions. I don't do this for money, though, just the spiritual satisfaction of knowing that I helped someone seeking advice and/or guidance.
Again, great information!
Hope Wilbanks (author) from Virginia on May 02, 2008:
silvalinings from Richardson, TX 75080 on May 02, 2008:
Thanks, Hope. Good information and looking forward to more!
Hope Wilbanks (author) from Virginia on April 26, 2008:
Karen Ellis from Central Oregon on April 26, 2008:
Great article, very well done - thanks.
Rarejewel on April 23, 2008:
Thanks so much for becoming a fan. Also thank you so much for this lovely article. For many years people have always came to me for advice on life issues and I am on my way to totally changing my career from the health field to becoming a life coach. I do write poems, topics on different life issues, or whatever else God places in my heart. To me they are nothing fancy, no rhyme or reason, I just allow my thoughts to flow on paper. The response I get from people is overwhelming every time. The one thing I hear most often is I can feel the sincerity in your writings. Someone told me about hubpages so I could get more exposure, but after reading this I am seriously thinking about starting an advice column. I just began posting topics every Monday on myspace but I really think it's time to take it to the next level and walk into the unknown. Thank you so much for the inspiring article.
Hope Wilbanks (author) from Virginia on April 13, 2008:
LOL! Thanks Dorsi! :)
Dorsi Diaz from The San Francisco Bay Area on April 13, 2008:
Wonderful hub- I'm going to be following your suggestions here- I'm one of those that seems to always be asked for advice! I try to only give advice when asked though....lol...except when it comes to my sons it's hard to keep my mouth shut!