This post is a guide for all the newcomers who are just as confused as I was two weeks ago. It is by no means complete and there are other posts on Steemit going into much more depth than I do here. It might contain some mistakes. I would appreciate if you would point that out to me in the comments to edit it later.
You know nothing, Jon Snow
Welcome to Steemit. Whether you have just arrived or you are part of the recent upstream of new accounts in the past weeks - you are a freshling on this platform (so am I, so we are in the same boat).
You have not seen what happened behind the scenes over the past year. You don't know about the struggles of the Beta software, that went through 19 hard forks to improve itself (see below for explanation). The Steemit you see here is not the same as it was. Before there was less money and lower payments. There was a small and tight community.
Steemit has gotten some steam, the gold rush seems to have started and new members come streaming (Steeming?) onto the platform. And we all need to learn a lot.
I consider myself a power user and I have researched a lot in the past two weeks to understand how Steemit works. This post is meant to give you a good head start about everything concerning the platform.
Let us begin with the internal language of Steemit. There are three terms you will quickly learn: Minnow, Dolphin and Whale. This basically means accounts with little, medium or high amount of Steem Power. I explain Steem Power below. The difference is fundamentally important for everyone on Steemit because on Whale can probably pay your entire months rent with one click (not if you live in London or San Francisco). In fact you will read the word Whale everywhere because they have the power to make you rise and fall on Steemit. And therefore there are thousands of articles featuring this topic every day.
Channels are the categories in which you can post your articles. You have five channels per post. Make good use of them. And don't post more than one or two times in the introduceyourself channel. People like to post unrelated posts there because payouts are particularly high there to welcome newcomers who put effort into their first post. It will not help your unrelated post to be there, I promise.
There is more but I explain the remaining terminology in their own sections of this post.
How do I earn money?
Let's admit it, at least 90% of all people coming here want some quick money. And depending on what your expectations are, you will earn some quick money. On my first ten days I collected 12 Steem and 19 Steem Backed Dollars (SBD). That is about 52 US Dollars according to the current exchange rate. Not much but I am celebrating it like a child on Christmas day. And the numbers go up fast.
Keep in mind that each post or comment will be payed out after seven days. Not earlier, not later. Everything older than that is kind of dead. This is one of the very few things I believe should be changed. Content should be timeless and generate income forever. But that is for another post to discuss.
Please keep in mind that all prices you see under each post are not US Dollar but usually 50% Steem Power and 50% SBD. So the value is actually much higer than the numbers you see there.
The best thing you can do as a newbie is to post and comment. You can literally post about anything: writing funny or intellectual articles (short or long), post your travel experiences or photos from your garden flowers. Very popular are topics about cryptocurrencies in general and Steem/Steemit specifially. You can even post about porn. There is a powerful niche for that.
When you finished your post and published it to the platform, it will find just a few people at first. They will see your post among all the others in the few groups that are offered at the moment on the top left of this website:
- home: Here you will find your own home wall with posts from all your followers, the latest on the top.
- new: ALL new posts from ALL categories.
- hot: All relatively new posts that got many upvotes.
- trending: All posts of the last seven days that have been upvoted many times. You can see very high earnings.
- promoted: You can promote your posts by paying SBD. They will appear here.
All your comments can and will generate money, even if it is very little to begin with. My advice: Never write stupid comments like "nice post". That doesn't bring value to the platform and you will not get much for that. Maybe 0.001 Steem Power or something like that. Instead take a minute and write a few sentences reflecting on the article. Maybe ask a question?
If your comment was valuable, interesting or funny it will get upvoted most likely. That can be just a cent if the vote comes from a newcomer with no Steem Power. Or it can be easily $100+ when someone with a big Steem Power account likes it. I have earned $15 for a funny GIF because it was on point for the conversation. That was more than all my previous posts combined until then and it took me one minute to find and post it.
Also: If you comment early you have a much higher chance to catch the attention of others, in particular Dolphins and Whales.
The third way to earn money is by upvoting posts and comments. You will get a part of the money of the post when you do that. There is about 25% going to the curators, which includes yourself when you upvote your own post. Read more about that here. That basically means that when you get $100 for a post after one hour of publishing it, this money WILL GO DOWN during the following days, because of all the upvoters. Except of course you get more high paid upvotes among the many that bring little to none.
There is a whole philosophy behind curating and there are strategies to maximize your earnings. I haven't really figured it out myself yet. I heard of the 20 minute rule, which says you should wait for 20-30 minutes after the post was published. That way your curator reward will be higher compared to all other curators. I am not sure if tht is correct, please research that yourself.
And finally you can upvote yourself. Yes, you can generate money directly for yourself by upvoting your posts and comments. In fact, this function is activated by default under all your posts, to upvote the post automatically when you publish the post. There are some that argue you should deactivate that and upvote yourself after 20-30 minutes to increase the curating amount, according to what I wrote in the paragraph above. You will get a percentage out of the 25% of your post reserved to curators and commenters. That is good for you and bad for the others. At the moment pretty much everyone does that and so should you in the beginning. When you grow stronger on Steemit you should probably consider to not do that and leave the 25% rewards to your followers.
Inside Tip 1: SteemGigs and SteemShop
You can earn money outside of the normal Steem system itself by offering your services or goods. This is in my opinion a secret killer feature of Steemit and still in its infancy. The organizers behind both projects (actually I only know about SteemGigs, I haven't talked to the SteemShop guys yet) work hard to spread the word and improve this sub-section of Steemit. All you have to do is write a post and put it in the category SteemGigs (for services) or SteemShop (for goods). You can also follow @Steemgigs and @Steemshop for staying up to date on new offers.
This is basically replacing Fiverr and other websites like that. You are already starting to make money with the post itself instead of paying for a service or advertising. How cool is that?
Inside Tip 2: Crowd Funding
Ok this is really crazy: You can crowdfund your projects on Steemit. There are several examples where people have collected thousands of Dollars by creating a good post which describes their project. Make sure to inform yourself how this works in detail and where you have to post it. Make sure to get all the information and connectiosn first before you do it. I learned there is a three step process of connecting with the right people before you launch. You can do it right away, but it will probably not get much attention.
What are the three currencies in my wallet?
Check out your wallet to follow me with the next passage. It is a matter that creates a lot of confusion. You see the three following major parts of Steemit there:
Steem is the cryptocurrency on which the whole platform was build. It uses blockchain technology, similar to BitCoin. But that your probably already know. You can always exchange your Steem into SBD or Steem Power. And you can of course trade it to another currency.
This is basically the same as Steem but it is vested which means you cannot access it immediately and exchange to BitCoin and co. When you activate the power down function, you will receive 1/13th of the money each week. After 13 weeks you received the total sum you powered down. This is a good function which will stabilize market fluctuations and prevents the whales to hurt the platform all at once by powering down their big accounts.
The benefit of Steem Power is huge:
First of all you get 10% interest on your money each year. I think no bank is giving you that. You probably have to pay for your bank account instead.
Second of all you get more influence on Steemit. Your votes will generate more money, which is awesome and the core of how Steemit works. If you have 100k US Dollars in Steempower, your upvotes can generate a 3 digit sum (that depends on the price of Steem). A hundred Dollars for a comment, anyone?
Third of all you help the platform to grow, because the more Steem Power sits on the total of all accounts, the healthier is Steemit.
The Steem Backed Dollar is the third currency used on Steemit. It is a bit confusing but the idea of it is that it is pegged to the US Dollar. If Steem plummets, you would stil get a guaranteed value of one US Dollar for it.
As of the moment I am writing this post, the SBD is worth more actually because the currency is strong. So you get about 1.6 US Dollars for one SBD and that is awesome. You can always convert SBD to Steem, buy or sell it on the internal market or - and that is in my opinion the best choice - trade it on the market into Steem Power. This way you help the platform, you get a higher influence and you get actually more for each SBD than by convertzing it directly. Please keep that in mind or your are wasting a lot of your hard earned money (or easy if you are into flower pictures, I tried it, it is not for me).
What is Voting Power?
One of the most confusing things on Steemit for me was the voting power. It took me a lot of research to figure it out. I already mentioned that Steem Power gives you more influence. Besides the value of your Steem Power you have voting power. The voting power starts at 100%. YOu have ten free upvotes each day. After that you are starting to deplete your voting power. This is a security measure to protect the platform from bots and power users to upvote everything.
Here comes to cake: Your voting power regenerates by 20% every day. After five days you are all mighty again and your upvotes will generate more money. That means you don't pay others out of your own reserve of Steem Power. I am no financial expert but in my opinion: Your are PRINTING MONEY. Just like a central bank you generate money because you give value to a post and you basically tell the world that this article was helpful, interesting, funny, sexy or whatever. This is backed by the Steem blockchain because that is scarce and therefor valuable. It comes form the daily mining activites from the blockchain miners around the world. (If you have more info about this, I am glad about a link or two).
Use that power. Upvote at least ten posts each day and you help to grow the Steemit community. Make sure not to upvote to many posts or you deplete the value of your votes for some time. I voted on everything I found in the first days and went down to zero in no time. Don't be like me.
One more thing: As soon as you have 500 Steempower on your account you will get a slider whenever you click on upvote. That slider allows you to use less than 100% voting power on that post. This way you can vot more often each day and also manage whether you want to give a funny comment a Dollar or one hundred Dollars. I have never seen this slider myself yet but I am getting there quickly.
Image Source: @twinner
There is a feature that is pretty awesome and that is the delegating program. Let us assume you buy Steem Power with your Fiat money to invest into your account and the platform. Now you have tons of Steem Power but you cannot curate because you have little time to read other posts. Or you do have the time but would like to spread the power onto a larger area of users like @twinner does with his slide switch program in the German sub-community on Steemit. He delegated about 500 Steem Power to over 100 active German Steemit users, including myself. He hopes that this will spread the money generated to more posts and I am sure it will.
The cool thing about that is, that @twinner doesn't even know me. But he doesn't have to be afraid that I will run away with his money because he still owns that Steem Power but just loaned its power to me. If you are rich (and to me a rich person starts at several thousands of Dollars, I know people with millions who still say they aren't) then you might want to consider this. It will help the platform a lot by satisfying more people at once with smaller amounts of earnings, instead of few with high amounts.
This is a very important topic. Steemit is the most friendliest community I have ever seen online. The reason for this is the fact that everything is transparent (except who the actual person is behind the user account). That means we can track EVERYTHING you do. This includes how much money you have in your account, how much you invested into Steem Power, whether you are currently powering down, when and where you commented what, where and how much you upvoted and so on. Because everything is stored in the blockchain third party apps can be devolped to analyze stuff you don't even see on Steemit itself. In fact, Steemit itself might one day be replaced by far better programmed websites, using the same system, thanks to the open source code.
That means you should behave or you turn the community against you. Here are a few things that newbies like to do but are actually not really well received by others (I did most of them myself, we are all learning):
- Be nice: This rule applies literally everwhere and is a normal thing to do (except on YouTube, I think even in the terms it says you have to be rude ;) ). The biggest reason for this on Steemit is that you never know who you are dealing with. Maybe it is a whale in disguise and testing you. Or maybe the person has powerful whale friends. Don't mess it up for yourself.
- Spamming comments: I mentioned it above. A comment should be good. A meaningless comment is a waste of time for everyone, including yourself.
- Asking for followers, upvotes and resteems (like sharing on Facebook): This is really bad. I asked everyone in my first days to follow me.
- Use huge attention gainers: I used my animated coin puppet to gain attention. It is cute and funny but huge and kind of annoying. I am sorry for that. You can use images in your comments, just make sure they are not meaningless or gigantic.
- Writing a tiny post: Don't just write two sentences or just post a YouTube video and then hope you get some cash. You probaly will but it will not help you to get a good fellowship on Steemit.
- Don't create text jungles: Nobody wants to read through something unstructured and unformatted. You don't have to be a designer to make a decently formatted posts. We have three different editors on Steemit, one even supports html for more complex designs. Use them. I will post links to great tutorials in my collection below.
- Don't follow for follow: Another thing you might be attracted to do in the beginning is following somebody just because they follow you. You will just clutter your home wall with stuff you are not interested in. I did that and I am sorry now. I had to clean up my following and start anew.
- Make friends and socialize: The best thing about Steemit is that you are meeting people you would probably have never met otherwise. You can use the comments for that or even better the different chat rooms on Discord, Slack and SteemChat. (Check out the links below)
- Don't steal posts: I was wondering if I write an entire section about this but I will keep it brief. Don't steal posts from other Steemit users. Don't steal posts from outside of Steemit and post them here. If you don any of these two things you will get cought by the @Cheetah bot. This bot is programmed to find identical content online and will then automatically create a comment under your post, warning you and everyone else. Sometimes that might be just because you quoted something and that is ok. But don't copy entire texts from someone else.
- Don't steal images: This is a big issue on Steemit. People just Google a picture and then link to that. That is actually double bad. You steal the intellectual property (IP) of another person and you use their bandwith by linking to their image on their server. Bad, bad, bad. Don't get me wrong: I believe IP is a terrible thing and does reduce the creativity of the hive mind. But it is the law and you should not risk getting sued by someone for stealing their images. Instead use public domain images which nowadays offer gorgoes photos about anything. See my links below for good sources.
Recognize Bots and use them appropriately
There are many bots on Steemit. These are user accounts handled by a program to fulfill a certain role. The bad bots just upvote stuff and try to increase the earnings of the owner. These are bad for the value of the platform.
The good bots are created to help newcomers and guide them with information, warnings or even valauble upvotes like @Cheetah. I know very few so far, remember I am just as much Jon Snow as you are. ;)
And then there are these bots that you can argue whether they are beneficial or not. They are in the grey zone. My favourite is @randowhale which basically allows you to gamble for 2 SBD to get an upvote from that powerful bot between 1% and 5% voting power.
Community Projects to Support Minnows
You might not believe it but behind the curtain there is muuuuuuch happening that you don't see. The Steemit Whales and Dolphins know that the platform can only survive and thrive when we newcomers are happy and continue to provide content. So they do a lot of cool things to help us. I already mentioned the delegate programs.
Some others are #whalepower, which is a category to curate good and valuable content (I amacutally not sure if it is a bot because they always say in the comments the content was curated manually) and #minnowsupport which is a community with its own bot to upvote one of your posts every 12 hours and to socialize. It is not much but can help a minnow like us to get at least a tiny bit instead of a tiny tiny bit. It is also a thriving community with a great Discord chat (see below)
Sideinfo: using the hashtag puts this post automatically in that category. I could also just put it under tags instead). When I use it my post will appear in that category and volunteers will come and curate it. You will get a little nice upvote of a few Dollars and you get more reach because people check out that category to support YOU. Don't use it for every post though, just for your best ones.
On the 20th of June 2017 was hard fork 19. That was a reprogramming of the previous Steem blockchain code and changed some features. In this case it made each upvote use 2% voting power instead of 0.5% by default. After that all votes became much more worth. So when you are disappointed that your vote on your fresh account only generates 2 cents, imagine how it was before: 0 cents (well it wasn't zero but it looked like it). Much cooler like this.
Steemit is still a huge Beta phase. Every now and then new things will be implemented. You are coming at a glorious time on Steemit. There are many new users and a price ten times higher than early this year (which directly reflects how much you can earn on Steemit).
There are other posts focusing on this topic. But to give you some ideas:
- Use paragraphs
- Use headlines
- Use bold to highlight words
- Use Italic to seperate a sentence from your other content, like I did on top of this post
- Use blockquotes for highlighting sentences
- USE IMAGES, at least one because that will automatically become your post thumbnail (the perfect width is 840px but larger images will be resized automatically; but don't make them too large or they will load very slow).
- Animated GIFs are also very popular but beware, they are much larger in size and will make your post slow if you have too many of them
- Use devider lines like <hr> in the html editor or use an image devider (see links below) to seperate your content
- Use a footer and tell your readers more about yourself or link to other content of yours (see my own footer below for inspiration). Save your footer in a textfile to quickly access it for all your posts.
- Leave your content room to breath is a classic rule in design. That basically means to use plenty of spaces, for example above and below images, videos or devider lines.
Use the right Post Topics
I have already talked about the channels aka categories aka topics aka tags aka hastags. You can use five different tags per post. Make sure to pick the right ones. You can research them under https://steemit.com/tags and see how many posts, comments and how much payout each topic generates. That doesn't mean you have to post in the top categories. It can be much more lucrative to post is a small topic and reach your peer group instead of disappearing in the clutter of frequently used tags. Maybe a mix of both is good. I haven't figured it out for myself, yet. But make sure not to abuse any tag because that will not make you friends.
You can see the topics I used for this post on the bottom of this post next to the upvote button, which you will hopefully use for this post. (I know I said under etiquette above not do ask for upvotes but this is my post and not someone elses and - as you can see - I am providing a ton of value with this post which did cost me a ton of my time).
Use third party apps
There are soooo many good tools out there that help you to get more out of Steemit. Here is my entire collection so far:
- SteemDB: Shows you your current voting power, history, activity, social interactions and much more
- ChainBB: This is a forum on top of Steemit, which helps to get a better overview of current posts (beta link, if dead just Google it)
- SteemitBoard: Awards for your activity on Steemit. You can use them in your Post footer for example.
- SteeMVP: Shows you your most valuable followers and how much money they made you (thanks @fulltimegeek)
- Dead Followers: Shows you followers with more or less inactive accounts
- SteemTagSearch: You can search for all posts of one user in a specific tag
- SteemNow: All about how much money you made with different activities
- SteemConnect: Secures your private Steemit keys when you log into third party apps
- SteemStats: Shows you the distribution of all the posts and comment rewards you where involved
- Steemd: It shows stats that you don't find somewhere else. Here I found out who secretly delegated Steem Power to me (thanks again @twinner)
- SteemWhales: Rankings and Trends for Steemit. Here you can find out where you stand among the entire Steemit community and research all the Whales and Dolphins (by the way, don't stalk the whales like so many others)
The best way to socialize is using chatrooms, because on Steemit it is a bit iffy when reduced to comments under posts. Check out my collection and if you have more I didn't include here, drop the name or link in the comments below.
- SteemitChat: Kind of the official Steemit Chat
- Discord Chat - SteemSpeak: A very big voice and text chat on Discord
- Discord Chat - PAL: Another great Discord Chat, including the @minnowsupport bot
- Discord Chat - Whaleshares: Yet another great chat for the Whaleshares project
- Discord Chat - SteemGigs: The list goes on: Here you find the @SteemGigs community
Steemit is full of amazing tutorials. Here is my list of very useful ones for beginners
- How to Display Your Steemit Feed on a Wordpress Site
- How to Automatically Post Steemit Links on Facebook with Zapier
- Best Search Engine Optimization for Steemit (SEO works really well on Steemit)
- Design Guide 1: Some ideas how to visually improve your posts
- Design Guide 2: Formatting and Editing
- Design Guide 3: Text Devider Collection
- Design Guide 4: Variety Hacks
More Useful Links
- Pixabay - Free Public Domain Images
- Free Image Hosting with Resizing (never upload huge originals)
- Adobe Sparks - Free Image Editing for Amazing Covers (no skills required)