Are you curious about how to make money online?
Think that starting a blog is the way to go?
Great! Starting a blog can be a solid way to make long-term income – just for doing some writing on stuff you actually like and care about.
But there’s a little more to it than that… AND, it may not be for everyone.
Blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick or plug-and-play business. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is not the place for you.
Yes, you can make a lot of money blogging online.
But, like other traditional businesses, it’s not guaranteed. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t being completely truthful.
Our goal is to help people who are really serious about building a real online business – because you can make a little, or a LOT of money.
It really all depends on you…
Here are ten things you need to know to about blogging.
#1 What’s The Difference Between Blogging and Working A Day Job?
Here’s the big difference between making money online and going to a job every day.
If you do it right, the work you do today, this week, and this year on your blog – will continue making you money for years to come.
It’s an investment rather than trading your time for money.
How Does Blogging Work?
Search engines find and cache the articles that you write, and over time each post is “worth more” to the search engines. That means you’ll get more website traffic with every passing month as your site gains credibility.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes persistence and even some hard work – but you can do it if you’re serious and committed…
We did it, and so can you. The good news is that you get to take advantage of what we’ve learned over the last 10+ years, and avoid the sand traps and pitfalls that we had to dig our way out of.
So let’s get started – RIGHT NOW!
Here are 10 EASY steps we’ll take together to help you start a blog and make money online.
Decide To Start Today
Commit to starting TODAY.
No, not tomorrow, not next week, and not next month.
Tomorrow always feels “safe” because you’re not having to make a decision. The power of today is that you make that commitment to yourself.
And that is the first step to success.
This step is the most critical one, and it’s where most people get stuck. Don’t dream about doing something. Just get up and do it.
“To begin living like you’ve never lived before, begin living like you’ve never lived before.” –Mike Dooley.
#2 – Choose The Right Niche – What Your Blog Is About…
Choosing the right niche for your blog is perhaps the most important choice you can make BEFORE you actually start writing.
Choose the wrong niche, and it’s very unlikely that you’ll ever succeed.
Some Questions To Help You Choose The Right Niche
The most important question you have to ask yourself is this:
“What are you passionate about?”
It’ll be difficult to write regularly and authoritatively, and to be a go-to industry expert on a topic, if you don’t really care about that topic.
Passion tends to make the difference between amazing success and quiet failure.
Do you intend to make money with this blog?
Would you like it to be your primary income source?
This makes a big difference. If so, you’ll have to choose a niche that isn’t overly crowded. Regardless of the crowding, you’ll need to research your niche thoroughly and develop your own value proposition.
Research Your Niche And Learn The Landscape
Find the popular websites in your niche, study them closely, and visit them regularly.
Get to know the authors and regular contributors. Comment on their posts regularly so they can get to know you too.
Find The Right Keywords To Target With Your Blog
Once you choose your niche, it’s crucial to find the right keywords to target.
This is a delicate balance between finding keywords that get enough search traffic, and keywords that don’t have too much competition.
Don’t wait until your site starts getting popular to figure out which keywords to target, or you’ll waste a lot of time and effort and end up starting from scratch.
While you can do a lot of research the manual, old-fashioned, and time-consuming way, we recommend you use a keyword research tool like KWFinder, to find your keywords quickly and accurately.
#3 – Where Will You Host Your Blog
Your host should be reliable, responsive if you have questions, and inexpensive.
$7-$12 per month is reasonable for a reliable host; less than that, and you can sometimes run into ‘cheap hosting’ issues.
Many people try to save those few dollars and start a blog with a free platform like Blogger.com.
But we strongly advise against it.
It’s virtually impossible to get free search engine traffic to those free blogs, and support is completely nonexistent.
Oh, and if your blog disappears overnight (we’ve seen it happen), there’s nobody to call and ask for help.
Your work is all lost.
You’ll also have a hard time moving away when your blog takes off. And you’ll lose all the search engine value that you’ve built up.
Take this seriously, and go with a proper web host that actually has competent support people available to help you. Spending $7/month for a proper web host will also help you realize that you’re serious about your goal.
We highly recommend A2 Hosting when you’re just getting started.
In fact, their starter plans are usually a lot less than $7 a month… but they still get the job done.
A2 Hosting is great because it JUST WORKS. They offer a lot of great features, and you can either sign up for an inexpensive monthly plan, and pay month by month, or pay 1-3 years up front (we recommend doing this, to get the cheaper rate).
A2 is one of the few ‘mom and pop’ web hosts still around. They’re a smaller company who take customer service seriously. The fact that you can get replies to your issues in literally minutes is awesome.
But as awesome as A2 is, they’re also not the only player in the game.
Check out our 3 favorite web hosting companies in this post, and then go set up your own hosting today.
If you’re just starting out – or if you’re looking to keep your costs as low as possible while working with a solid, reliable web host, start with the cheapest option from any of the hosts on that list, and you’ll be good to go.
#4 – What CMS Will You Use
After you choose a reliable web host, you’ll be ready to install your blogging software.
The most flexible choice available today is WordPress.
It’s also free, and easy to set up and maintain.
Yes, this is a little more involved than setting up a ‘plug and play’ account somewhere, but it’ll be well worth the effort in the long run, because it will give you full foundational control over your content.
Using services like Blogger or Wix, you don’t have complete control over your blog’s online destiny. And that should make you very nervous.
WordPress is the best, easiest, most user-friendly way to take complete control over your blog, and create your own success.
#5 – What Will be Your Blog Design
First impressions always matter.
On the web, that’s even more important. A web visitor’s first impression about your site determines if they’re going to click away in the first 5 seconds, if they’re going to stay on to read what you have to say, and/or if they ever come back again.
So it’s very important to put your best foot forward.
Make your site interesting, distinctive, and engaging to your readers by using a great “theme”.
WordPress themes are basically website designs that you can just download and enable for your WordPress account.
Start with a free theme like Astra.
Then, when you’re ready to upgrade to a premium theme, check out Thrive.
#6 – What Do You Need to do to Get Traffic
What good is a blog if nobody is visiting?
One of the great advantages offered by WordPress is the vast array of options to make your blog attractive to search engines.
This is called SEO, and it’s basically all about understanding what Google wants, and giving it to them in the way they want it.
Check out this post to learn how to write a blog post that Google and your human readers will love.
The most powerful SEO trick of all: “Work with Google to give them what they want instead of trying to trick them.”
For a list of plugins that will help you supercharge your blogging efforts, check out this post.
#7 – How Will You Welcome and Engage Readers
To make your visitors stick around and come back for more – day after day – use the power of WordPress and make your blog fun, engaging, and interactive.
Use polls to get readers involved and ask their opinions.
Feature the latest posts and comments.
Show off your most popular articles.
Use a lead magnet to gather email addresses, and start a mailing list.
Get readers truly involved by replying to comments and interacting with your audience, utilizing the ‘social’ elements of social media.
#8 – When Will You Write
OK, at this point, you have:
- Chosen THE best niche for you
- Become very familiar with that niche and its most popular sites
- Become what could be considered an “authority” on your topic
So Now Is The Time For That ‘All Important First Post’
Off the top of your head, make a quick list of all the issues in your niche that people care about.
What problems do they have? What questions do they have? What keeps them up at night?
Now pick ANY one of these and write a quick article on it.
This “article” can be just a simple Top 10 list, with a few supporting sentences for each bullet. That’s it!
Get this first article out there and see what people think.
Email it to your family and friends, and ask them to help you make it better.
All the planning in the world is no substitute for action. It’s time to go forth and do!
Connect Your Site To Google Analytics And Google Search Console
Connecting your website to Google Search Console helps you to keep track of how much organic web traffic your blog is getting for which specific posts and keyword inquiries… which is super-useful data.
Keeping track of this data gives you real-time information that you can use to grow your blog and make it even more successful.
Google Analytics tracks how much traffic is coming into your blog, how that traffic is spending their time, which posts get more visitors and readers, etc.
You really need to connect both of these basic services to your blog, so that you can keep track of your traffic, keep tabs on how your site is ranking, and make adjustments as needed.
#9 – How Will You Promote Your Blog
If you don’t tell people about your new site, they’ll never know about it!
Stop hoping someone will accidentally stumble upon your site.
Take matters into your own hands and get the word out there!
It’s never been this easy to promote a brand new site, and to explosively grow your traffic and readership.
Use Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, And More
Did you just publish a great article on your site?
Let people know!
Social media is a great way to share your stories with others who WANT to know about it.
Share your new posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Publish short videos or quotes on Instagram, and create Pinterest Pins that your audience will love, then link those pins back to your post.
But tread with caution.
Don’t “spam” these sites with everything you write.
To be truly successful, it’s VERY important to follow the rules and participate tactfully in these communities.
Always make sure to offer value. Remember, you’re trying to help solve a problem in the world. So get out there and help solve it! As a side effect, your blog will also grow.
Article Marketing – Establish Yourself As An Expert By Guest-posting For Other Blogs
Time to get more visibility for your hard work.
Guest posting is an awesome way to build your visibility and get your name in front of other audiences.
This is also a great way to build backlinks.
A guest post is a free post you write for another website. And in return, they let you put a link in the post (or in the author description) that leads back to your site.
Once your blog is established, start pitching guest posts to other relevant blogs in your niche.
Write awesome content that knocks it out of the park!
#10 – How Often Will You Publish Articles
Once you publish your first post, you’ll be off to a great start.
But it doesn’t end there.
Publishing 1, 5, 10, or even 25 posts will only get you so far.
The real success usually develops around the 100th blog post and beyond.
Because by the time you’ve published your 100th blog post:
- You’ll have honed your craft
- Your blog posts will be getting better and better
- Your site will start to gain traction with Google
- You’ll start bringing in enough relevant web traffic that your numbers will start to increase
This is the point where most blogs can consider monetizing, gathering email addresses for a list, posting affiliate links, etc.
But in order to get to that point, you need to consistently publish high-quality content that will actually help your users.
User relevance, value, and helpfulness is the key.
Is your content helping your audience to solve their big problem?
If so, then you’re right on track.
Combine this with SEO by doing some basic keyword research, and you’ll be well on your way to quitting your j.o.b. and firing your boss to become a full-time blogger.
Next Steps: What to do RIGHT NOW – Today…
(It’s Easy, Stay With Us Here)
OK, so we’ve been through the basics. Now, it’s time for action.
If you’re going to do something, there is only “now.”
‘Later’ and ‘someday’ never come. So let’s do it together! Yes, today.
1. Choose Your Niche
What do you want to write about?
Remember… choose something that you’re either passionate about, that you enjoy, or that you at least have an affinity for.
You’ll need to love this topic enough that you’ll be willing to invest time every day into working on it.
2. Get Web Hosting
Go to A2 Hosting and get some cheap, starter web hosting to get started.
You can even get A2 to install WordPress on it for you, to save even more time.
Then, there’ll truly be no reason not to get started.
3. Write And Publish Your First Post
Alright. You’ve come this far.
You’ve learned the basics.
But now, it’s time to take action.
Write your first blog post, proofread it, then publish it on your blog.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t overanalyze it. Just do it.
At this point, you’ve made it further than most people ever do.
Pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself. You’ve just taken your first steps into a larger world.
There you have it.
10 easy, but powerful steps to starting your own blog, firing your boss, quitting your j.o.b., and living life on your own terms.
For the next step in the process, check out this post on how to create a blog content strategy that makes money.
Go forward and conquer!