Those who say “it’s quick and easy to set up a blog” or “start a blog in only 5 minutes” are either insane or doing it for clickbait. You need to know before you start..
BLOGGING IS NOT EASY!
Like any business you are wanting to make a profit from, it requires hard work and a lot of knowledge upfront to be successful.
Luckily I am here to help you get there! Read on..
There are millions of bloggers out there and only a handful of them make decent money from blogging.
Do not let that discourage you, in fact it should propel you to want to make it work (at least it does for me).
Depending on your effort and investment into knowledge it could take you anywhere from 2 months to 2 years to establish a full time income from Blogging.
Once you accept that blogging works just like any other ‘business’ out there making money, you’ve already taken the first step.
If you want to start TODAY, read my 8 simple steps to start your very own money-making blog.
Step 1: Start with the right mindset
If you’re reading this post, chances are you want to start a blog to earn a full time income or at least start another income stream.
Whatever the case, when you start, you MUST start with the right mindset.
The likelihood of you making real money blogging without putting in the time is very unlikely.
Set goals from the very start of what you want to achieve. Ask yourself, what would you like to achieve and give yourself a timeframe?
My goals when I first starting blogging consisted of making $400 a month Posting 3 blog posts a week.
I knew that I loved talking about finances, so it was natural for me to start a money/lifestyle blog.
GOALS are so Important.
My goal was always to write about something I was interested in and something I knew I could monetise.
Think up goals that will push you hard to keep going and publishing to a community who need a problem solved.
In return for doing this, you will increase your income. Solving a problem is generally always a way to make money.
Have the aim to provide content good enough that people want to come back for more.
So the question to ask yourself will be; What do I want to get out of this blog?
Be very specific with your goals and make sure they are visible to you every day.
Step 2: Planning – Choosing your niche & name
There’s a lot that goes into this step, and rightly so because it’s the most important step you will take.
What reason do I want people to come to my blog? What hobbies/interests do I have that I can turn into a blog that makes money?
When deciding on a Niche, you must know that there are a few of them that (through my own experience) work better than others.
Typically these are:
Finances, Money, Budgeting
Relationships, Self-Care, Wellness
Home Decor, Household
Fitness, Health, Diet
It is essential you choose your niche based on these factors:
- Audience potential – make sure you are going to be selling products aimed at solving a pain point for your customer, but also determine how much your customer is willing to pay for this.
- Demand in the market – are there enough people actively searching for the topic? Google trends will quickly show you how popular a subject is, while a tool like Soovle will show you the estimated monthly search volume for that keyword.
Brainstorming should become your friend during this process.
Each niche should have several sub-topics and within each of those you should explore the possible products you’d be able to recommend or review.
Standout from the very start by doing some simple research into what people read about.
Keyword research is vital!
Start to think about the things you might want to write about and you know other people may want to read.
Now you may be wondering how to figure out what people want to read about?
Well, not a lot of people know how many online tools there are out there to help you gain insight into what people are looking for.
Just some of the tools include:
Google trends is great because when you type in a topic it will analyze the popularity of this search enquiry in Google over time.
Simply install this useful tool on Chrome and when you type a keyword into Google, Keywords Everywhere will automatically display how many times this keyword has been searched on Google.
This tool gives you great insight into what people are interested in.
This site allows you to run an in-depth search to get ideas about what it is people want to read. They have information on the number of shares on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. Very Powerful!
Extremely useful for looking at the most shared pins on Pinterest!
Now that you have your niche, what is your blogging strategy or plan?
If you struggle to think of 3 or 4 blog post topics, perhaps that niche isn’t quite what you’re looking for.
Once you’ve picked your niche, the name should flow.
Choosing a domain name is NOT easy but the process is made a lot easier by using several tools.
I used Lean Domain search for free and found a great name for my site by entering the keywords I researched above.
*Don’t make the mistake of choosing a domain name and then finding out you that no one is really interested in the topic.
Do the research and then pick a domain name.
Top tips for choosing a name:
Keep it short
Needs to directly correlate to what you’ll be talking about
Needs to be catchy, think outside the box
Make it unique to you and your future brand
Step 3: Set up your Webhosting
Step 2 complete! Now you can go ahead and set up your blog.
Siteground is my number 1 recommended hosting provider. They have become increasingly popular in the blogging community and with good reason!
I was previously signed up to Bluehost, but since moving to Siteground, my website loads a lot quicker and I have my downtime has drastically reduced!
You can set up your very own blog in today for as little as $3.95 a month with Siteground with the Start Up Plan, which is all you need if you’re just starting out.
If you, however, plan on having multiple sites, the Grow Big package might be for you.
A small investment for something that could be making thousands in a few months!
YES, it costs $3.95 a month Plus $15.95 for domain and YES there are free blogging services available but if you are serious about making money blogging, then you need to OWN your blog and not use a free service.
It’s better to monetise in the long run and visitors to your site are more likely to trust your brand with a professional looking site, trust me!
This is the process that will literally change your life!
Siteground is the website hosting service I have used since I started and I’m very happy with it.
Since making the switch to Siteground, so far I’ve had no issues and it was extremely easy to set up.
For me personally once I signed up with them there was no going back, I meant business!
The Siteground Start Up plan is more than enough when you’re just starting out and can be upgraded at any time.
If you already have a domain, you’ll be able to enter it during the sign up process.
Alternatively purchase one with Siteground for $15.95 a year, so for just under $70 a year you’ll be able to start a money making six figure a year blog. Not bad, ey?
Let’s move on!
Step 4: Build your site with WordPress
When you sign up for Siteground, they also offer a FREE & EASY TO USE integrated system where you also get access to WordPress which is an online blogging platform/website builder.
A blogging platform is a service that allow you to publish your content on the internet in the form of a blog.
Starting a blog with WordPress has been one of the best decisions for me because you just have so much flexibility!
That and the ability to install plugins and themes to help make your blog very professional.
They offer a wide variety of themes and designs to suit anyone’s aesthetic.
Not going to lie, there’s a lot to learn, but like me you can learn as you go with the right resources.
And with the right theme, you’re blog will end up looking highly professional and simply beautiful!
This whole process of selecting a hosting service like Siteground and blogging platform takes less than 15 minutes to complete. Super simple and straightforward!
Selecting a theme
Oh! This is the creative part of setting up your blog.
Think of it like choosing selecting the perfect paint for your newly installed front door.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER!
The overall look and feel of your blog will play a huge role in whether a visitor stays or not.
You want to pick a theme that offers ease of use and something that is also targeted aesthetically to your readers.
Take your time to browse through the extensive list of themes and pick one that suits your vision best. Some of the best FREE blogging themes, in my opinion, are:
This will of course be different for each person depending on the niche, but definitely check them out while you’re browsing!
*Pro tip: You don’t want to pick a theme every other starter blogger is using, this is why a paid theme might be better for you.
Paid themes range from $20 to $200 but don’t let that scare you. On Creative Market, you can find a great theme that suits your niche, aesthetic and budget.
Paid themes are a great way to stand out from the crowd and remember there is no free theme that will have all of the features you need.
It’s a great way of building a solid foundation for the future of your blog.
I use DIVI theme from Elegant Themes, which is great for beginners as it offers a drag and drop builder and has inclusive features such as optin forms and social sharing plugins.
Check them out here.
Top Tips for choosing a theme:
Keep it relevant, it needs to aesthetically match your niche. You don’t want an all black site with bold font if your talking about kittens and puppies.
It needs to be unique and customisable, to add your own stamp
Choosing the right theme from the start is essential, so pick something that will fit your brand in the future too.
If you choose a theme separate from WordPress, make sure they have fantastic reviews and good customer service just in case you run into any issues
Drag and drop builders like Divi by Elegant Themes are the best for beginners, you’ll be able to see vision of the site as your designing it.
Once you’ve installed the theme, you are all set!
It’s all a process and it will take time to get it right.
When I was getting started with blogging, I watched as many amazing Youtube videos and read loads of blogs. Take in as much as you can, you’re starting out.
You can always keep learning as you go along, I definitely still do!
It is recommended that you install some plugins once you’ve picked your theme.
Plugins help to optimize your site and allow you to add easy to use features on your site without manually changing the code!
Read more about essential plugins to get going…
The keywords you researched above and how you use them in your posts, play a huge part in SEO (Search engine optimisation) – where you rank on Google, Pinterest, etc.
Step 5: Creating content
All of the brainstorming in step 2 should help with this step because you have already written down ideas of what you’d like to talk about.
You should always aim to create high value content from the very start.
Throwing up a blog post just so you can put ads for people to buy is not going to make you any money.
Your main aim should be to provide something of value to the reader and want them to come back for more or better yet, share the post!
The only way you will be profitable is to get traffic and the only way to get traffic is to provide quality content.
Trust me, once you get going with the first post, the others come a lot easier!
Don’t publish your blog until you have between 8-10 posts.
This will make your site look a lot more professional and let the reader know you mean business!
You may want to do things differently, but I would:
Start with the aim of producing 2-3 blog posts a week
Go live when you have 10 posts published
Save about 5-6 posts as drafts so you can release them once a week when your blog goes live
Continue brainstorming on blog topics and once you have traffic release 2 posts a month.
As I mentioned earlier, you should always write about topics you know about or have researched and ones you know you will be able to monetise; either in the form of Affiliate marketing or recommending your own products in the future.
Don’t overthink the process.
If you want more information on a topic do research.
Don’t expect to have it all figured out at the start!
Get started now and then learn the rest as you go along.. Start with something and figure out the rest as you go along.
Make sure you create a killer ABOUT ME page, which sums up what this blog is all about.
Your reader should gain insight into your background, why you created the blog and what they can benefit from it.
*Pro Tip: Use high quality stock images on your blog.
But if you want images that nobody else is using then try stock images.
Adobe Stock gives you a 30 day free trial and 10 free images to use, so try them out!
Step 6: Work on your email list
A visitor to your site is unsure of who you are and what you have to offer.
Therefore what you need to do is show them what you’re all about, offer amazing value and then turn them into a loyal reader.
A great way to do this is to turn them into an email subscriber.
Don’t just stick a form up and hope the visitor will sign up. Offer them something in return.
This could be a free course, list, recipes, graphic, tool; anything you think your prospective reader will benefit from.
An email subscriber is just as good as money.
I use Mailerlite to this date, as I am able to great beautiful campaigns and they integrate perfectly with WordPress.
Once you have them on your list, the trick here is not to bombard them will salesy emails, but to (once again) provide value and great content to them.
This, I promise you, will make recommending products, you use and like, so much easier!
You also gain more insight from subscribers in terms of what they want to hear more about.
So start your email list from the very beginning!!
Step 7: Monetizing your Blog
When you have just started your blog, you need to make sure you have set up ways to monetize your content.
This can be very daunting, but I promise once applied will set you up for life!
How can your blog make you money?
There are really endless possibilities to making money with a blog.
In this post we will focus on the main 3 ways to monetize your blog as a newbie blogger.
You are able to use ad networks to monetize your blog by “renting” space throughout your blog content and charging a fee.
You make money using ad networks because they’ll use site to advertise other companies’ products to the readers who visit your site.
Based on the consumer’s preferences, different ads will show.
Google Adsense is a cost per click ad program so you will be paid per the amount of clicks the ad gets.
It is the most common ad network and is great for beginners with at least 15 published articles.
They want to see you have content and are not just throwing up their ads on random landing pages.
So make sure you site is up and running and optimized fully.
Amazon Affiliate programs
The Amazon affiliates program gives business owners the opportunity to promote Amazon’s wide database of products on your site and when a consumer purchases the recommended product you earn a commission.
It is the perfect way to start monetizing your blog as a beginner because they have a diverse range of products in practically every niche.
You could do a review on ways to keep fit, for example, and then provide links to recommended products that you have either used or know and trust.
In return for promoting this product you will get an affiliate commission.
Once you have got the hang of ad networks and the Amazon affiliate program, you can venture out into using affiliate programs to earn money from your blog.
The great thing about Affiliate links is that you are able to get started with virtually no money!
I have a dedicated post where I talk about the Best Affiliate Networks, but a great one to sign up to (after publishing 15-20 articles and generating regular traffic) is Shareasale.
Shareasale have been around for decades and have well over 3,900 affiliate programs in 40 different categories, so whatever niche your blog is about there should be something for you.
Make sure you genuinely believe in the product you are recommending to your readers.
Read about how to profit from affiliate links in my Affiliate Marketing post.
Step 8: Promoting your Blog
The amount of time you’ve just spent creating content needs to be x5 when it comes to promoting your blog.
What’s the point of creating amazing value, if nobody gets a chance to read it?
My advice when you’re just starting out would be to start with Pinterest and then slowing move on to paid traffic methods.
If you don’t know what you’re doing you could spend a lot of money promoting your posts on Google and it just won’t get you anywhere!
Set up a Pinterest Business Account from the very start.
A Pinterest business account is free and gives you the ability to see how your pins are performing (how many link clicks they have etc) and also gives you the opportunity to promote your pins.
Pinterest is a fantastic way to promote blog posts and it’s really not as hard as it seems.
Creating ‘Pins’ for Pinterest
You will need to create Pins that catch the viewer’s eye.
Like the one below; it uses eye catching colours and fonts, plus powerful words to entrigue to viewer into clicking on the link.
So simple to create using Canva (FREE) and highly effective.
If you go onto Pinterest now and put in a keyword or phrase, you will get a multitude of visual results.
Let’s face it the ones that catch you eye the most are the ones you will click on for more info.
Create approximately 3-4 pins for each post you have.
This will allow you to circulate your pins regularly and see which ones perform better than others.
Once you have your pins downloaded from Canva, upload them to your boards.
Make sure you upload them using the popular keywords you researched earlier.
There you have it!
Those are my 8 steps to starting a blog – the right way!
I hope this has given you to motivation to start a niche blog and make 2020 the year to live your best life.
Don’t get discouraged along the way thinking you’re not good enough.
If you follow the correct steps, you are sure to make your blog a success from the very start.
I want to help you create a successful profitable blog and the very best time to start is now! So get going..