How To Start A Blog And Make Money Online
In this fairly detailed post, I’m going to outline How To Start A Blog And Make Money. Pay attention, implement what you learn, and who knows, YOU could be the next Affiliate Marketing Millionaire!
It’s difficult to say just how many blogs there are online. Some put the number at around a whopping 300 million in 2016. In the past couple years, that number could have doubled or even tripled! If you’re looking to get into the blogging game but don’t know how, then you’ve come to the right place.
Creating and maintaining a blog can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re new to it. In this guide, you’ll learn how to start your own blog from scratch. Not only that, but we’ll let you in on some secrets on how to earn money off all of your hard work.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Step-By-Step Guide To Your Own Blog
- 2 Making Money Off Your Blog
- 3 Your Blog Can Be A Business
The Step-By-Step Guide To Your Own Blog
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when faced with the challenge of setting up a blog. This is especially true if you don’t have any background in web design or coding. The good news is that you don’t need any experience to create a great blog!
Well, I’ve broken down the process into 7 easy steps that anyone can follow, no matter what your technical background is:
Sounds much simpler, right? Let’s break it down even further.
Decide What You’re Going To Blog About
You might already know what you want to talk about. You might already have a fully-fleshed out plan for your upcoming blog. But if you’re still unsure about what kind of blog you want, or if you just need a little push in the right direction, this will be your first step.
Editors Note: See Jeff’s Post – Keyword Research 101: Use this trick for Endless Blog Post Ideas
There is no limit to what you can write about. Your blog can be about video games, cars, technology, or even a just a journal recollection of your day-to-day life.
The most important thing at this stage is to find your niche.
Zero-in on a topic you’re passionate about, or are at least very familiar with. If it doesn’t excite you, it’s likely not going to interest your readers! Plus, choosing a topic that you actually like will make it much, much easier in the long run.
Another thing to consider is your target audience. Blogging is a platform for YOUR ideas and opinions, but you still want to build a community and readership if you want to earn an income from it. Choose a topic that will resonate with the people you want to reach.
Resist the temptation to write about everything under the sun just to reach the widest audience. It’s actually a much better idea to focus on a specific subsection of a much larger, more popular topic. It can be difficult for a new blog to carve out a space for themselves amongst millions of blogs in the same niche.
Be more specific and you’ll increase your blog’s chances of success.
For example, there are TONS of food blogs online.
If you want to stand out, you might want to focus on just desserts or vegan food instead. That being said, don’t go so specific that you’ll run out of content.
A great blog topic is one that you can regularly write about for months or even years down the line!
Even if your niche is supersaturated with bloggers, don’t be scared!
In blogging, being the first or the best isn’t the only way to make an impact and earn money. You have a unique voice, an angle that is truly yours and yours alone. You have something valuable and new to say; use that to your advantage.
If you’re still stumped about what topic to go for, just ask yourself these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What topics do I read and learn about during my free time?
- What kind of values/beliefs do I want to promote?
- What interests or excites me?
- What topics are useful to other people?
While sticking to one specific topic will make it easier for you to plan your content, grow your readership, and earn money, there’s nothing wrong with shifting focus in the future. As with anything, you’ll get better with blogging the more you practice it!
Choose A Blogging Platform
Now we go onto the more technical side of blogging. To start, you’re going to need to choose a blogging platform or content management system (CMS). A CMS is basically where you will design your blog and write your content.
You’ll have to do a little research here since there are so many options to choose from. When comparing platforms, you’ll have to consider a variety of factors like how much it costs, how easy it is to use, what kind of functionalities do they support, and how many designs you can choose from.
The most popular CMS is WordPress—more than half of all of the blogs on the internet run on WordPress, including some pretty big names like Forbes and Thought Catalog.
Bloggers and companies alike love WordPress because it’s affordable, has virtually limitless customizability options, and allows you the most control. On the downside, it has a much steeper learning curve than other blogging platforms.
Other major blogging platforms you might have hear about are Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. While they’re not as flexible or as cheap as WordPress, they’re also much easier to use for people who don’t have the resources to learn the in’s and out’s of WordPress.
Even though it takes a bit more time and effort, WordPress is the most sustainable in the long run. You can easily scale up and add functionalities as you grow your blog. However, all of the blogging platforms have their own pros, cons, and costs. Choose the CMS that is the best fit for your level of skill, budget, and blogging requirements.
Pick A Blog Name
Your blog name is your first impression, so make it count. When readers read your blog name, they should immediately get a sense of what your blog is about and what your personality is like.
First of all, your blog name should be unique. If someone else has the same or similar blog name, it would be very, very difficult for people to find your blog!
We’ll tell you how you can check if your blog name is available in the next step.
It should also be related to your niche or your brand. Stick to something short, memorable, and maybe even a little bit cheeky (if that’s the tone you’re going for). Look to other blogs in your niche for inspiration. Get ideas, but don’t be scared to break the mold.
Again, you want to stand out, and your blog name is a great way to do that!
Brainstorm some words, phrases, or concepts that are related to your topic. You could also think of how you would describe your blog to someone and let that guide your thought process.
5 Quick Steps to Finding a Solid Domain Name
Step 1: Visit NameMesh.com and write down keywords that relate to what you would like to purchase.
*TIP – If this is your first domain and want to use for all around purposes such as your blog, landing pages, products and anything else you wish, pick something general. You only need one domain when starting off, or in many cases for life. It could be your name.
For now, come up with a list of 5-10 good ones that you like, but don’t get too attached to one just in case it’s already taken.
Step 2: – Check that you are not including any branded or copyrighted names in your domain choice.
Step 3: – Search Google for your domain with and without spaces.
* TIP – We’ve learned this hard way in the past a few times. Between adult sites showing up when we use LIVE in the domain and charity events, books for top authors and previous products we cannot outrank. Put the 2 minute in and do this search before moving forward.
Step 4: – Search Facebook using your chosen domain name without spaces looking for information that might put you off from purchasing that domain.
Step 5: – Use https://www.namecheckr.com/ to see if that name is available on various social media sites.
* TIP – Above are the most important sites when it comes to branding your business and exposure. It can be difficult to get all as there are so many Fan Pages, Twiter a/c’s etc so at times you’ll need to adjust the name. Think wisely or even use your name again.
Buy Your Domain And Web Host
Now that you’ve decided on what to call your blog, it’s time to lock that name down.
Your domain is basically your web address, and lets people find your site easily. The most common domain ends in .com (like yourblog.com), but you can also choose from other domain extensions like .org, .net, and more.
Technically, you don’t have to buy a domain to start a blog. You can keep the free, default web address that you get by signing up to your CMS of choice. However, this means that you’ll be stuck with a website address like yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.wix.com.
While this isn’t bad in itself, having your own domain makes your blog look much more credible and professional.
You can buy your domain at a number of websites.
You get charged a yearly fee which can range from just $1 to upwards of hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars for a very in-demand domain.
Don’t worry about that figure so much though, most domains are actually quite affordable. The most popular domain sites include Bluehost, GoDaddy, Namecheap, and of course WPX Hosting.
Remember that list of blog names?
This is the time to check if those domains are available.
You can check any domain site to see if your chosen blog name has been taken and how much you can expect to pay for it per year. Go for a domain that is both available and within your budget. (Personally, I just pay $9.99 for most of mine, no need to get crazy just yet!)
You can even get a domain for FREE with a paid plan under your CMS or web host, cutting down costs even more.
A web host service stores your website online and allows other people to access it. Like domain sites, there are tons of web hosting providers and even more web hosting plans to fit every budget and need.
Some factors you need to consider when choosing a web host are cost, speed (how fast your website will load), security (how protected you are against malicious attacks and hacking), features (for ecommerce or other site functionalities), support (in case anything goes wrong), and of course reputation.
For a beginner blog, you can start out at a basic plan and upgrade as your readership and needs grow.
My personal recommendation for newbies is WPX Hosting. They’re one the internet’s top web hosting providers. Their plans come at incredibly competitive prices, with 1-click WordPress install, and 24/7 support.
Design Your Website
This is the actual nitty-gritty of setting up your blog. While content is king (more on that later), how you present your website is definitely a top priority. People are visual creatures and will make judgments on your blog in the first few seconds of visiting your site.
A well-designed blog won’t help if you have bad content, but a badly-designed site will turn off your readers from reading your well-written content. You can convince your readers that your blog is trustworthy if you pay attention to your blog’s layout, flow, and functionality.
You don’t need to hire a professional web designer to create a custom design for your blog.
All you need is some time, patience, and a good eye to get things going. You don’t need flashy animation or hundreds of content pages, you just need something that is simple, clear, and easy to navigate.
No matter which CMS you chose, you will have access to dozens, if not thousands, of different themes. This is a great option for newbies who don’t have a background in coding or design. WordPress wins out over other blogging platforms in this respect since you’ll have access to both free and paid themes that you can customize to your heart’s content.
Before you purchase the first stunning layout you find, keep in mind that the form should also be functional.
Choose a theme that is appropriate for the kind of content you want to create. If you’re putting up a photography portfolio, you shouldn’t buy a theme that was developed mainly for news articles. Look at other blogs in your niche and get some inspiration from the kinds of designs they use.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when selecting a blog theme:
- Your website should be responsive. This means that it still functions great no matter what device your reader is using. Since many readers will use their phones or tablets to access your site, this is an absolute MUST. Plus, Google ranks mobile-friendly websites much higher on their search engine results page.
- Make sure your theme supports plug-ins or offers some of their own. Plug-ins are things you can install onto your website to add functionalities, like a contact form or navigation menus.
- Don’t underestimate the value of good customer service. If you’re new to blogging, you’ll need some help from the theme developers if you run into any issues. Most premium/paid themes come with support.
- My 100% FAVORITE WordPress theme of all time is Genesis, it’s a paid theme, looks amazing and out-performs just about any paid or free theme out there. (It’s also what I’m using on this website)
- Spend $5 or $10 on a logo from Fiverr.com for your website, it not only improves the look of it, but is proven to build trust and increase readers time spent on your website.
Create Your Pages
No matter what your niche is, there are some things that are common to most, if not all, websites. There are standard web pages your blog should have to tell your readers who you are, how they can contact you, and what other things you might offer.
Depending on what kind of blog you’re putting up, you’d probably need a landing page, “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “FAQ”, “Events”, or “Shop” in addition to your blog posts page.
Write And Publish Your First Post
Now that your website is pretty much fully set up, it’s time to do the thing you set out to do in the first place—blog! But don’t be mistaken, your job isn’t over yet. It’s just beginning.
Making Money Off Your Blog
Starting a blog is one thing. Turning it into a money-making machine is another. To start earning income on your blog, you’ll need to develop a content strategy, publish on a schedule, promote your posts, and find ways to monetize.
Side Note: Check out my EPIC Blog Post: How to Make Money Online Without Investment – though I suggest doing what I’m teaching you here instead!
Develop A Content Strategy
Marketing jargon aside, a content strategy isn’t all that complex. You just need to set a plan for what you’re going to write about, how often you’re going to release new content, and how to reach your blog’s goals.
A good content strategy not only keeps you organized, but it also gives you a little inspiration boost when you’re not sure what to write about.
First, you have to understand what your readers would be interested in learning about. The more you understand your audience, the more you can make content that is relevant to them, the more money you can potentially bring in.
Create a profile for your ideal reader:
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
- Where are they from?
- What do they do for a living?
- What’s their income level?
- What are their values, interests, and beliefs?
Once you know WHO you’re writing for, that’s when you can start thinking about WHAT you’re going to write. Come up with some guiding topics or categories that you can always refer back to when you’re having writer’s block. This will keep you focused and give your blog a specific, unique voice.
For example, if you’re putting up a food blog, your content categories could look like this:
- Reviews (ingredients, kitchenware, etc.)
- Recipes and how-to guides
- Tips and tricks for better cooking
- Your top picks for restaurants
- Cooking on a budget
From these alone, you can make enough content to keep your blog going for a while!
Brainstorm topics under your categories and come up with an editorial calendar. This will be your schedule of sorts for posting. You might want to put together a few articles before you launch your blog so that your readers have a lot of content to sift through.
Decide on the topic of and hook for your content ensuring this is something your audience or target audience is interested in. The headline should be keyword friendly for SEO reasons, informative and relevant. If could anything from current affairs, a case study, a lesson using a particular method or software.
You can also create posts like:
- X number of ways to do XYZ [increase blog traffic/build a list/do social media]
- X steps to creating XYZ [a Shopify store/successful Youtube channel/ engagement]
- How we got X results with X method.
Structure your content into an open hook, the actual content and lastly the call to action for your piece of content.
- Do you want people to comment, like or share?
- Do you want people to subscribe or click a link and purchase a product?
- Are you offering them a free gift?
Every piece of content you create should be monetized for something. This is important, even if it’s comments on your FB Post or blog.
Don’t worry so much about creating the PERFECT content off the bat. You’re going to learn a lot as you go about your readers, what topics interest them the most, and how to write better posts. Your content strategy could also change as your blog grows.
Publish On A Schedule
It’s not so much about pushing tons and tons of content, it’s more about publishing enough that your readers keep coming back for more. To stay relevant in a booming blogging industry, you need to consistently create value for your audience. That means deciding on a posting schedule and sticking to it.
Be realistic about how much you can write. Ideally, you should post 3-5 times a week. However, if you’re juggling a day job, your personal life, AND a blog, that’s not always feasible. Commit to a schedule that ACTUALLY works for you. Whether that’s 1-2x a week or every other Thursday, how often you do it isn’t as important as actually doing it regularly.
Promote Your Posts
On the one hand, you could just publish your posts, leave it at that, and hope someone will find your blog. On the other hand, that’s not going to get you much traffic (or money). You have to purposefully drive traffic to your blog until you get a loyal, steady readership.
Share your content everywhere:
- Facebook Profile
- Facebook Groups where relevant
- Facebook Fan Page
- Email Your Subscribers
- Tag Relevant People You Mention In The Content
You can also promote your blogs—and increase your search engine rankings—by guest blogging on other sites. Network with other bloggers in your niche, write for their blogs, and tap into their community to grow yours. Spread the word about your blog on forums, message boards, and sites like Quora.
Incentivize signing up with special discounts, freebies, or even just a sneak-peek into upcoming content.
Regularly interacting with (and rewarding) your audience builds your relationships and is a great way to keep them engaged.
Monetize Your Content
It takes a lot of work to build a blog that will bring in the money. You have to publish well-written and relevant posts regularly, create meaningful connections with other bloggers in the industry, and constantly seek out new opportunities to monetize your blog. Some of the most common ways bloggers earn money are:
- Ads. Install ad networks to promote products and other sites on your blog. It’s not incredibly profitable (maybe a few dollars to a couple hundred at most), but it’s easy, passive income at least.
- Sponsored content. This is when someone pays you to talk about their blog, brand, or company for a small fee. Brands love influencer advertising because they get to tap into your loyal readership in an authentic way.
- More on this here: How to Make Money with Adsense on your website
- Affiliate programs. If you talk a lot about products or services on your blog, then entering into an affiliate program could boost your blog’s profits. Major brands like Amazon have affiliate programs, but you can potentially strike up a similar deal with any business. You get a special link to a particular product or brand page, and when your readers click on that link and buy the product/subscribe to the company/hire their services, you get a small commission.
- Online courses and resources. If your readers could benefit from more advanced/in-depth learning on your field of expertise, put together a class or book that they can pay to access. The great thing about this is that you don’t need a huge following to start earning money this way.
Your Blog Can Be A Business
Earning money talking about what you love is a dream, but it’s a dream that’s within your reach. Blogging can be super lucrative if you put enough time and effort into it. It’s not easy, but then again, nothing that is worth it is. Just follow our guide and you’ll soon be blogging your way into a bigger bank account.
If you are serious about making money online, and looking for a truly step-by-step system, that takes you from A to Z, I suggest learning the Super Affiliate System…
– Only requires 3-5 hours per week
– Only requires you to have a domain ($3.95 through Bluehost link)
– Doesnt require any prior experience
There is limited enrollment in this program, so things don’t get saturated, but they are currently accepting students, so I advise you watch the free training session below if you are interested in getting in.
====> Free Training Session
Now, a bit more about what I’ve been able to accomplish online.
I generally make between $50-$100k per MONTH online from home, but I had guidance and training to get me to this point.
(My biggest month was $250k, November of 2017, I hope to repeat that soon!)
In my 1 Bedroom Apartment, in 2010 VS 2018, in my 4 Bedroom House in Beautiful Orange County California.
You may have noticed my better taste in hats, BUT Behind me you’ll also see my 2 34″ HD Ultra Wide Monitors, and those of you that know watches may have noticed the Breitling Navitimer i’m rocking on my wrist.
I bought my first house, my dream watch, my Luxury SUV, and I get to travel WITH my family whenever I like!
This is ALL possible only because of what I do online, with Affiliate Marketing.
Just the past YEAR and a half, I’ve taken my family to Hawaii…Twice, and taken them on a Caribbean Cruise.
(We took my wifes parents all three times too)
This coming September (2019), We’re going BACK to Hawaii again, and we’re taking MY mom along this time!
I also took a ‘Business Trip’, First Class, to Dublin Ireland to attend (and speak at) An affiliate marketing Event.
I’ll save the rest of those photos for another time though.
Now here’s the thing, I didn’t get this success overnight. I failed more times than I can count. When I first started in 2007, I was jumping around trying little bits of everything, but NOT sticking to one thing until I made it work.
It’s funny, because I actually got my start doing Youtube Product reviews. I would expose the scammy products, and help people save money on those. I also later started to recommend LEGIT training products (not jobs) that help people build their dream lifestyle with a real online business.
Now here I am helping people in the same way, BUT at a much larger scale.
Anyway, feel free to google me, Jeff Lenney, you’ll find tons of good things about me and the success people have had following my advice & recommendations!
it’s 100% legit and you can make MUCH more than these silly surveys or ad click websites pay you.
The link for the training is below:
Don’t mind the flashiness of the video, it may seem too good to be true, this stuff is the real deal and I would not recommend it otherwise.
WARNING: This is NOT for people that want to make a ton of money without putting in some work, if you’re looking for a way to get rich overnight, you’re not going to find that here (or anywhere else, for that matter).
I’ve known John Crestani for a couple of years now, I’ve taken the training myself. I’ve seen people BRAND NEW to the internet make money with it, even $1,000 their first WEEK (though that’s rare, it does happen – for most it may take a few months to see that type of income).
Are you next?