Last year I focused for brief time on traffic again. Had a few weeks where I had tens of thousands of visitors streaming in. The result – lots of work for me and virtually no money. So I’m back to my original model. I agree with you that this is one of the biggest fallacies on the internet and one people seem to have a hard time letting go of – that the best focus is on building traffic instead of focusing on serving the people who are willing to give back.
We have good news because you are not the first person who tried to start a blog! (Shocker, we know!) In fact, we’ve gone through this process a few times ourselves, with a wide variety of failures and successes. That’s why we’re here to give you a roadmap detailing all the things you’ll need to know in order to start a blog with all the right ingredients to be successful. This is everything we wish we knew back when we first got started.
Start a blog. If you don't own a blog yet, you need to find the right platform for you. There are so many blogging platforms out in the market to choose from such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Medium, Weebly etc. Try one out; if you are not satisfied with its offered features, then you can move to another, there are countless options some are free and some paid.
Are you wondering how to start a blog? I’m glad you’re here! In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to create your own blog, no technical experience required. (It’s easier and faster than you think.) Plus, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions and share some of my protips along the way. This is the site I wish I had when I started blogging 15 years ago!
The most successful bloggers are not afraid to think outside of the box. They know how to effectively market their blogs. They are artistic or otherwise graphically inclined for website design. They know how to use social media to promote their blogs. Simply put, as a blogger, if you do not have writing and editing skills, you can always hire an editor. But if you are not clever, creative, motivated, innovative, strategic, and forward-thinking, your blog will not thrive.
Start your search for a theme as soon as your WordPress platform is installed. The look and feel of your blog rely on the theme you choose. Your readers will first notice the overall appearance, before even taking a look at the content. Choose a theme that looks great, but also works for your unique content needs. The default theme that comes with your WordPress blog installed is Twenty Seventeen—while it’s a good starter theme, you’ll want to choose a theme that is unique and compatible with your niche.
I still remember the beginning days of building this blog. I worked tirelessly for 60 to 80 hours every single week without fail. In the beginning, I saw a trickle of traffic that amounted to maybe 20 to 30 visitors per day. That number multiplied by about a 100 after approximately a year and a half or so of grueling hard work. And since then, it has climbed significantly for one reason and one reason only: consistency.
Schaefer and Smith state that a blogger does not need to be a good writer in the classic sense of a Pulitzer Prize winner or literary great. Bloggers, they say, must be natural conversationalists – writers and speakers able to get their points across not with jargon or in boardroom speak; but in dialogue that builds rapport, much like what takes place when we sit down to have a drink with a friend. In other words, blogging is not just about text. It is less objective and structured than article or presentation writing. It is more personal, more intimate, because the blog writer is looking to start a relationship founded on their opinions and perspectives.
Post your article links on social media and blog directories. Get traffic to your site with frequent updates on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Find blogging communities that match your readership and post links to relevant articles on their comments or forums. This helps in getting traffic to your site as well as raising your search engine rankings.
Help document travel, education and other life events – Sometimes, people start blogs to help document some kind of journey. That journey might be traveling to some far-off destination. That journey could also involve learning a musical instrument or a new language. It could also involve a life event such as getting married, divorced or fighting through a health scare.
As you build up your blog, expect to receive multiple sponsored post requests each day. These native ads can be a highly effective way for businesses to reach your audience in a non-threatening way - and they can be a highly effective way for you to make a lot of money. Just make sure the posts are actually interesting and relevant to your audience, and that you fully disclose the sponsored nature of the post.
That being said, while you shouldn’t expect to go full-time right away, blogging has in fact led to multi-million dollar companies. There is no guarantee in blogging, just like any other business endeavor. We share these stories with you so you can see what is possible. While you may never make millions, with the right research, time, effort, and timing, you can certainly earn a good income from blogging. To play it safe, we recommend blogging as a side business until you start seeing those returns.
It might be the case that an audience understands the basics, but isn’t there still a place for this ‘basic’ information on any blog within a niche? Sure, they can get it elsewhere, but if the content doesn’t take too long to create then why not? There will always be new people entering a niche and if other blog information isn’t maintained then why not provide the latest?
Direct Income – when I started making money from my blogs it was through ‘direct’ income streams. I put AdSense ads on my blog and promoted some products on Amazon as an affiliate and the more readers I had the more income began to trickle in (it really was a trickle at first). In time as my traffic grew this income grew and I was also able to experiment with other direct forms of income such as selling advertising directly to advertisers.
Because we receive so many questions about how we specifically set up our blog, we decided to provide our readers with a soup-to-nuts, comprehensive guide for how to set up a blog. This blog post is intended to function as a how-to manual—a guide that will light the path toward launching your new blog—with easy-to-follow screenshots, step-by-step instructions, as well as additional rationale and insights to improve your blog.
Take some time and create a list of topics you’d like to write about. Then for each topic create subtopics. Example: Cooking – Gourmet Cooking, Gourmet Cooking on a Budget, Gourmet Recipes, Easy Gourmet Recipes, Gourmet Desserts, Gourmet Chocolate Desserts, etc. Next brainstorm specific article ideas for each subtopic. Make sure to write these down on paper — it helps to visually see the process.
There are dozens of such affiliate marketing companies out there – they work by acting as an intermediary to even bigger companies (Walmart, Target, Lowes, you name it…) and drive sales to those advertisers. Some of the bigger affiliate marketing companies out there are, FlexOffers, Commision Junction, and ShareASale. We are on all of them, but have had the most success so far with FlexOffers.
Define Your Ideal Readers. Once you’ve found your niche, you need to know who will be reading your blog. For example, we blog about living a meaningful life with less. Thus, our ideal readers are people who are interested in exploring minimalism so they can clear the path toward more meaningful lives. If you want to write about your newborn baby growing up, that’s wonderful: your ideal readers are probably your friends and family. If you want to write about restoring classic cars, that’s cool, too. Tailor your writing to your readers (whether it’s your family or local community or whoever else will read your blog).
This is the strategy that most bloggers start with when looking to monetize their blog. However, keep in mind you're not limited to selling banner ad spots (which is generally an ineffective strategy these days). Consider other areas you could rent out: space on your pop-up box, social media headers, the "P.S." on your email newsletters...think outside the box (quite literally).
Once you have your niche picked out, then start researching what else is out there. Do a Google search, Instagram search, and Pinterest search — this will give you a wealth of information. Once you find your competitors, figure out how you can put your unique spin on the topic. I like to include personal stories in my content because I know that no-one else will have exact experiences.
If you are working with a 2-part system like Genesis, you’ll need to upload both the Genesis Theme Framework and the child theme of your choice. Again, read my post about choosing a theme for an explanation of this preferred type of system. If you try to upload your child theme and you do not have the Genesis Framework installed, it will not work. I recommend you upload the Genesis Theme Framework first, then repeat the process with your child theme.
Affiliate marketing is one of the fundamentals ways many people monetize their blog. You can talk about products or services you use and love – and if someone else clicks YOUR link and makes a purchase, you can make money on that sale! Of course there is more to it than that, and lesson 11 walks you through the basics of what affiliate marketing is.
Have in-depth knowledge in your niche? Package it up into an ebook and sell it on your blog. I'd generally advise against selling it (at least exclusively) on Amazon or Kobo, as you'll probably be able to charge much less. If you've already built up a solid audience, you can probably change anywhere from $5 for a very short one, all the way up to $39+.
And, if you’re interested in starting a blog, you probably have a ton of ideas for posts you want to write. However, I can say from experience that those ideas aren’t always there. Sometimes running a blog is harder than it seems. And it can be incredibly hard when you run out of ideas, especially when you’re writing about topics you’re passionate about.
The easiest PPC method to get started with is Google AdSense. However, in order to make any kind of decent money with display ads, you’ll need quite a bit of traffic. And by the time you get that much traffic, you’ll make more money going with an ad management company like Mediavine (minimum of 25,000 monthly impressions) or AdThrive (minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews).
I would like an response anyone, preferably from the author. I used to write a Blog and would like to start again. My previous Blog was hosted by WordPress. I was paying about 29.00 dollars a year for many years, but all of a sudden it jumped to about 150.00 a year. I tried contacting WordPress about this unexplained huge increase, but they chose not to respond. Since you recommend using WordPress, how can you assure me they will honour their promises, and when they don’t, what can I do?
The goal? Create a schedule and stick to it. In the beginning, write as much content as you can and share it everywhere. However, don't sacrifice quantity over quality. Ensure that all the posts are great, high quality posts that are both relevant to your audience and niche while also being keyword-centric. Don't veer off topic or go on one tangent after another.
Really excellent article. One suggestion or caution with Godaddy though…Godaddy has a product called WordPress Hosting. I signed up for it, and all was fine until I installed a plugin which had a special requirement that needed to be set up by the webhost. (something in the server side settings). I called Godaddy and they advised they can’t make those changes. Only on their individual hosting plans would that have been possible. This is a rare event, but worth keeping in mind. When you go for your own hosting you have more flexibility.
However, building a platform isn’t just about that. Building a platform involves ensuring that you’re always doing the most amount of work for the least initial return. Sound crazy? Okay, it might be a little bit crazy. But it’s true. You have to go out of your way for your readers. Because, believe me, they pay attention and remember what you do for them.
Double check yourself, before you double wreck yourself. Make sure everything you send to a company, whether a résumé, an email or a portfolio, is good to go. Double check your grammar and wording, and for God’s sake use spell check! This is especially important when it comes to the company’s name. Don’t spell their name wrong and be sure to type it how they type it (e.g. Problogger, not Pro Blogger).
Email subscriptions is one of your most important priorities as a blogger, if not the most important. Highly engaged email lists are at the core of every successful blog. Unfortunately, managing and sending emails on a list involves a lot of spam regulatory laws, which means you’ll need a reputable email marketing service. There are quite a few great services which can handle your email broadcasts, autoresponders, and more.
Blocking of *.blogspot.com domains by keyword-based Internet filtering systems is also encountered due to the domain containing the substring "gspot"; however, this can be alleviated by excluding the "blogspot.com" section of the URL from the keyword-based Internet filtering whilst the *. section of the URL is exposed to keyword-based Internet filtering.
If you can keep your readers engaged and actively reading your content and digesting it thoroughly, Google will take notice. Engagement, calculated through things like the average time spent reading your content, average session time, exit rate, bounce rate, and so on, is one of the primary components when ranking on Google's competitive Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
“I came across an article from Chris Guillebeau said it’s really easy to write a traditionally published book, a self-published book, or a couple self-published guides, you know…100 blog posts, 50 guest posts, and then it goes on, a few long form pieces for some magazines, blah, blah, blah, in a single year. It said it’s pretty easy if you just write a thousand words a day.
Protip: Your post or page title (i.e. what your readers see) does not have to be the same as your permalink (i.e. what appears in the search bar). Your post title should be easy to read by humans, whereas your permalink can be easier to read by computer bots. For example, I titled my page Tools I Use & Recommend but I edited my permalink to simply “tools” which you can see in the address bar at the top of your screen). The shorter permalink can be easier to link to and advantageous for SEO.
My main concerns why I’m asking this is that I think 12 published blog posts might not be enough content for the person that lands on my page to stay on my page for too long, therefore it might be more beneficial to guest post a few months from now. Also, I’m thinking maybe it is better to invest that time in things like learning affiliate marketing rather than trying to get somebody to collaborate.
Jaime, this is an excellent article. I’ve been blogging for fun for over four years, In the last year I’ve branched out and started a self-hosted blog about blogging for fun. I’m at the point think I have enough to offer on that subject and a few others. There are so many steps to get started, I think it overwhelms people, including those of us who are comfortable blogging. There are lots of courses available, but most of them that I’ve tried are pretty general. Do you recommend getting a coach?
Español: ganar dinero con un blog, Deutsch: Mit Blogging Geld verdienen, Português: Ganhar Dinheiro Blogando, Italiano: Guadagnare con un Blog, Русский: заработать на блоге, Français: gagner de l'argent comme bloggeur, Nederlands: Geld verdienen met bloggen, Bahasa Indonesia: Mencari Uang dengan Blog, Čeština: Jak vydělávat peníze pomocí blogu, हिन्दी: ब्लॉगिंग से कमाएँ, العربية: كسب المال من خلال التدوين, Tiếng Việt: Kiếm tiền Trên Blog
Selling physical products online can be hard to setup as you will need to deal with storage, shipping and even deal with things such as local taxes and distance selling laws. Of course a lot of this headache can be resolved by finding a company who will offer a white-label or drop shipping service leaving you to worry about getting traffic and updating the website.
My understanding is that you have to subscribe/pay for the business version of Word Press in order to use any of the monetizing functions. I think you should clearly state this in this article at the beginning. I think there is a degree of bait and switch here if people are just signing up for the free subscription and then finding out they have to pay for a subscription to make money. I am ok with that, it just needs to be stated up front everywhere.
And if you want to maximize your blog’s potential for earning an income (maybe the reason you're learning how to start a blog in the first place?), then it’s always worth it to own your platform and go with a self-hosted WordPress blog, powered by a hosting provider like Bluehost that'll have your back on any of the technical questions & issues you run into.