One of the top questions that I’m asked on a daily basis is “How can I start a blog that can make me money?” Not a blog about the everyday activities of your pet gerbil or a blog about how to start a potato chip collection that’s in the shape of past presidents but instead a blog that’s fun for you to write about AND makes you money at the same time. There’s a very important difference in these two types of blogs as you’ll need to plan ahead and be able to eventually sell informational products or physical products down the road to your blog readers. What follows is a run-through on the basics of how to start a blog ranging from choosing a topic to post about and finishing with the various methods you can use to monetize your blog after you get going.
Note :- Affiliate Marketing is Good to Earn Money With Blogging. See 7 Important Rules of Making Money with Affiliates.
Why Blogging Is My Favorite Form of Internet Marketing
I’ve been involved in many various forms of internet marketing throughout my career – from creating websites for big companies to generating social media marketing for businesses through online outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. While I was achieving quite a bit of success servicing companies through my internet marketing business, I realized one important flaw in my business model. I was growing all these other companies for the long term and creating a big customer following for the companies I worked with instead of my own. I would have big hits of cash into my 1-man business a few times a month but after those checks came in my revenue stream would dry up unless I hustled for new clients.
before starting blogging i would like to confirm you one thing that newbies make lots of mistakes while blogging. but you need not to be worried about. we have a complete guide covering 20 most common mistakes of blogging. you must read this guide before starting your blogging career.
If you have a 9-5 job then you’re essentially doing the same thing. Day after day you’re growing the business you’re working for while you get the same amount of money month after month for your efforts – all while the guy on top gets rich. I realized I needed to change my business model in order to create a reoccurring stream of revenue for my family and give myself the freedom to enjoy that new found wealth with them.
Note: – eBooks are the best ways to earn money with your blog. we have also a complete post available on Gauravheera.com covering how to write an ebook. read once this post to know more. and you may also like plan to launch an eBook.
After spending some time talking to a few friends that were also in the internet marketing field I eventually met with a friend over a beer that had a successful blog in the finance industry. The funny thing was that this particular friend would be the last person I’d imagine having a personal finance blog. As it turned out his daily “hobby” was watching the stock market (usually at his desk in his cubicle when he should have been working for “the man”) and he had started a blog on the topic one year earlier from the day we had met at the bar. He went on to tell me how he had plans of quitting his day job the following month to go full time into his blogging career. It was over that beer that the light bulb went off in my head and I knew that I needed to get my own blogging career jump started.
Note: – social media promotion is also very important for your blog if you really want to get success in your blogging career. social media can sent you lots of visitors to your blog. read our guide on how to increase twitter followers.
Why You Might Fail at Blogging
Many people fail at blogging for the same reasons they usually fail at other endeavors they take on in their lives. Procrastination, fear of failure, chasing after the next big thing… they’re all detrimental to your success as a professional blogger. Here are a few facts to ponder over before you get started writing your own blog.
- You’re your own worst enemy – Many bloggers are on the verge of breaking through to big profits when they quit. If they had just written a few more posts and hung in there a few more weeks then they could have had a successful and worry free career in blogging.
- The Shiny Object Syndrome – I’ve met many people trying to break into blogging who simply can’t get things off the ground because they’re always chasing after the next big thing instead of focusing on their goals.
- The Voice of Failure – You know the one. The little voice in your head that says you’re not smart enough and that those who are successful bloggers must know some sort of secret to be successful.
I can tell you from firsthand experience that if you follow the instructions found on this site and if you keep at it that you will 100% find success with your blog. The internet is currently in a state that is similar to the California gold rush of 1849 and there’s never been a better time to stake your claim for streaming profits long into the future. Don’t quit your job yet. Instead, start thinking about your 9-5 job as your life vest while you jump off the boat into your new blogging career. It’s great to be able to take a half hour before you head off to your job and spend that time working on your own financial future. In the beginning you’ll be setting goals to meet which will allow you to supplement your income until it exceeds that of your boring desk job. So… Are you ready? Let’s get started and find something for you to blog about.
Choosing a Topic to Blog About
This is one of the most important parts of your journey. Choose a topic that you’re going to find yourself hating and your blog is destined for failure before it even starts. Choose a topic that doesn’t have products related to it for people to buy and you’ll never make a dime from your blog.
My advice is simple. Choose 5 topics that you really enjoy and list them in descending order of how profitable the products are within those topics. For instance, maybe on the weekends you really enjoy gardening. You’ve learned a lot over the years about gardening through trial and error and you really think that people out there could benefit from your advice and knowledge. Now think about the products you could promote and make a commission on that would be related to the topic.
- Instructional Books
- E-books (think Kindle)
- Home Garden Kits
- Garden Furniture
- Canning Equipment
The list goes on and on. Congratulations, you just found a very monitizable hobby that you can have a successful career blogging about. There are tens of thousands of gardeners out there and it’s a renewable hobby meaning people always need to buy more seeds and more gardening equipment. The real kicker is that there is an entire other category of people out there that could be tapped into and that is the home survivalist category. These people are also known as “preppers” which is a really hot category right now with the financial crisis we’re currently in and political unrest overseas.
Did you see how I worked through that? Now if one of the hobbies on your list is “rock painting” then we’re going to go out on a limb and say you’re probably not going to be able to monetize that category. People can get rocks for free out of a local stream, they can get some paint down at walmart and they probably wouldn’t go online searching for information about how to paint rocks. The other thing to keep in mind is that there are probably only a handful of people in the world that are into your hobby so that would definitely be one to take off the list.
My personal litmus test for finding a good topic is to write out 5 main categories with 4 headlines under each, or article titles, in each category. If I can do this in 10 minutes or less and the topic passed all the other criteria listed above, then I know I have a winner and I know it’s a subject that will come easy to me as I keep writing and growing my blog.
Deciding On a Free Blog or a Hosted Blog
Many people that are just starting out blogging choose to go with an external hosted website such as blogger.com or wordpress.com. While these are both great platforms to get started on, they will definitely pose problems down the road especially when it comes to adding features that will allow you to make your blog profitable. Here are a few reasons why you’re better off with a self hosted blog right out of the gate:
- With your own blog you don’t need to abide by a TOS (terms of service) that tells you what you can and can’t do with your blog or what you can and can’t write about.
- Many times on an external hosted blog you don’t even technically own your content. The parent site it is hosted on actually claims ownership to the content, images and videos you post.
- Many plug-ins that you’ll need down the road aren’t supported by these sites. These plug-ins are essential to the growth of your blog and your readership base.
The above reasons are why it’s highly recommended you get your own hosting set up (hosting starts as low as $4/month) and get a copy of the free WordPress blogging software at wordpress.org. You’ll have the freedom to do whatever you like with your blog and the peace-of-mind in knowing that the content is indeed yours at the end of the day.
Choosing a Domain Name
Choosing a bad domain name is like marrying a spouse you think is ugly. Each and every day you’re going to have to get up in the morning and look your domain name in the eyes so make sure it’s a name you really like. Also make sure it’s a “.com”. I know many people argue about this but I know from experience that I can rank a dot-com much faster than a dot-net or dot-info or any other of the variations out there.
EMD Domain Names
What is an EMD? It’s an internet marketer’s acronym for “Exact Match Domain”. If I wanted to make a site about gardening that teaches people how to garden then naturally I would want a domain name that explained in plain terms what my site was about. I would try to get “LearnToGarden.com” or some similar variation. In my experience if you’re able to get an exact match domain it gives you that extra rankings boost to give you an edge on your competition. Here’s my theory as to why it works so well:
Theory Warning! Google has a part of their algorithm set up where it recognizes brand names and treats them extra special. For instance if you type in “Nike” into Google, you’ll get a site map listing for Nike because Google recognizes that Nike is a brand name. Now, the Google algorithm doesn’t watch TV and see Nike commercials and recognize that Nike is a brand name like we would. It figures out brands by the way people search and the amount of traffic your site gets based on those search terms people are typing in to find you. If you’re able to get enough traffic to “LearntoGarden.com” then Google is going to assume that your site is brand or a book or some other significant resource and start treating your site as brand as well.
Here are a few other domain considerations:
Choosing your name as the domain name – If you’re teaching people how to do something, such as managing their money or offering self-help advice then hosting your blog at a domain that matches your full name is an important consideration. In the future you may want to write a book or get booked at speaking engagements so you may want to use your domain name to make yourself a bit of a celebrity.
Choosing a name you can grow with – Many bloggers eventually find themselves moving up in the world and creating a course that people can download or maybe a kindle book that they can promote to their subscribers. If this is a route you eventually want to take then be sure to pick a domain name that you can see as a book name. Think about “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and the raging success the series has become.
Most importantly, don’t over think it and spend only a half hour or so searching out a domain name. Many people stall out at this point and put things off when you could easily end this day with a domain name in hand, your hosting set-up and your first article posted. What are you waiting for? Take a half hour break from this article, go over to GoDaddy.com and start researching your domain name now!
Setting up Blog Hosting
Every website on the internet needs a host. It’s like the engine that drives your car, without it, you’ll get nowhere fast. Web hosting consists of a server in a data warehouse somewhere in the world where your website resides and stays connected to the internet.
It’s important that you choose a host that:
- Is reliable with 99.9% uptime
- Can handle the traffic when things really get going
- Has great customer service
- Can handle PHP and MYSQL (requirements for hosting the free blogging software)
- Uses Cpanel which is a full featured control panel to set up e-mail and monitor site traffic.
- Is easily upgradeable so your site is set up to be future proof.
The host we’ve used for years that has never let us down is HostGator.com. Their customer support is awesome and I can vacation in peace knowing that my blog will be up and making me income while I sit on the beach and sip on a tasty margarita. For a limited time HostGator is offering my readers a special discount on hosting so click here to take advantage of big savings.
Choosing a Design Theme for Your Blog
So you have your domain picked out, hosting is set up and you have WordPress installed on your server. Now it’s time to pick out a theme you can grow old with. WordPress comes installed with a theme called “Twenty Twelve” which works alright but it’s not a theme that you can modify or monetize very easily, if at all.
Our go-to theme is called “Thesis”. Not only is it beautiful but it’s super easy to customize to your liking and is already built to accept advertising blocks and build subscriber lists which is necessary in growing your site into a real business.
Why Thesis Theme Rocks:
- Awesome Built-in SEO: How well your code and content are organized and optimized for both search engines and people.
- Great Accessibility: How well your site reaches different audiences—those with special needs, people using alternative Web browsers, mobile users, etc.
- Simple Usability: How well your users are able to navigate and interact with your site, and how well your site accomplishes your ultimate goals as a publisher.
- Killer Support: How well the architect of your site answers your questions, along with a friendly community of others who do the same.
The best part is the last point that it’s well supported so it’s easy to get help if you get stuck and they offer free updates to ensure your blog is as secure as it can be. We know too many people with default installations of a WordPress theme that had their sites hacked and had to go through a lot of trouble and lose a lot of money to get things back in order. Save yourself some trouble and download Thesis for your blog today.
Time to get into the meat and potatoes of your website, your content. When you hear people say “content is king” it’s the god’s honest truth. If you’re writing content to simply try and get ranked or spinning crappy articles, you’re never going to go viral, you’re never going to get any real likes on your articles on Facebook and you’ll never get any real people following your blog. You HAVE to create compelling content in order to create a viable, strong online business that will keep producing revenue for you long into retirement.
There are 3 types of blogs out there that you can make an income with
- A review style blog where you review products for people to buy and display buying sources such as Amazon where you get a commission on each sale.
- An informational blog where you talk about your hobby, show projects associated with your hobby and have advertisers such as Google port in pay-per-click ads based on your content where you get paid a certain amount every time a visitor clicks on a related ad.
- A hybrid of the two (my personal favorite) where you talk about a passion or hobby and occasionally review related products for the visitor to buy.
I highly recommend starting an informational blog first then moving into reviewing products down the road. The search engines don’t like to see you pushing products down customers throats. They want you to provide their searchers with quality, relevant content that will provide them with a positive browsing experience and get their questions answered that were typed into the search box. Besides, if they continuously provide scummy websites to visitors then those visitors will go elsewhere to search which will cause their user base to drop and trickle down to stockholder losses. It’s simple business 101.
Types of articles to write
If you want to know what the best types of articles are to post about then simply read a few headlines as you check out the next time you’re at the grocery store.
- 5 ways to make your spouse love you more
- A simple DIY project to make your garden produce twice as much
- The relationship secret we promise you’ve never heard of
- …and the list goes on…
These article titles have a lot of psychology going on under the hood. “5 ways” indicates a short list that’s easy to digest and everyone has the time to read. “Simple DIY” and “produce twice as much” indicates that the instructions are easy to follow and have great reward. “Secret we promise” indicates it’s something which will be new and exciting to them even if they’ve already tried everything (desperation). Headline titles are one of the most under-appreciated and underutilized tools in blogging. There’s an entire science behind creating a killer headline and creating a killer headline will get you many more clicks to your article from the search engines and trickle down to more products sold off your blog and of course more income produced at the end of the day. For more information on writing killer headlines check out the classic book “Tested Advertising Methods” by legendary copywriter John Caples.
Here’s a quick content checklist for each article you write:
- Your article should be 1000+ words or more
- You should have at least 4-5 sub headers to make your article more digestible to the reader (plus search engines love them).
- You should have a few bulleted or numbered lists (like this one)
- You should have several supporting photos, the more the better
- Even better, include a “video recap” or “how-to” video hosted on YouTube with a link directing back to your article
- You should have link and comment bait at the end of the article which encourages people to “like” or “share” your article if they learned something new or leave a comment and interact with other readers.
Setting a Posting Schedule
Setting a posting schedule is important but even more important is to create a realistic posting schedule. Be honest with yourself and think about how often and how much time you’ll have to make good, quality posts to your blog. If you can do one great post a day, then good on you, you’re a better man/woman than me. My goal is to do 2-3 new, high quality posts each week to my blogs. These articles pass all checks on the list above and I leave time to run through and proof each article for spelling and grammatical mistakes. I don’t always make a supporting video for each article as they’re a bit more labor and time intensive but I always try to make a supporting video for at least 1 of the articles I’ll be posting during that week. I’ve got the process of creating supporting videos down to a science using very affordable online software such as Animoto.com and can usually crank out a good video in about 1/2 hour.
The Various Ways to Monetize Your Blog
OK, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. You’ve got your blog set up, you’ve got a bunch of great articles written with killer headlines and you’re working on some supporting videos to start generating some YouTube traffic. Now it’s time to make some income off of all your hard work. There are so many ways you can monetize your blog that the possibilities are nearly limitless. There’s direct banner advertising, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, CPS (commission-per-sale)advertising, informational products… and the list goes on. I’ll cover the big ones and a few of my favorites below.
- Amazon.com – Amazon is hands down the largest retailer of online goods and has the largest product inventory of any business in the world. They’ve also got their affiliate program down to a science making it easy for bloggers to get started. What this means for you is that you have a huge pool of products to promote from kindle books to paper books, camping gear, home goods and much, much more. It makes managing the affiliate products on your sites simple since all your profits are coming from one source AND they have great tools in place to scan your content and display products relevant to your topic. The down side is that our
crooksleaders in state governments are fighting Amazon and making some companies that have affiliates in certain states pay sales tax on products sold in the state the affiliate resides in. Amazon responded to this unconstitutional law by eliminating those states from their affiliate program so make sure your state isn’t a “Nexus Law” state.
- ClickBank.com – Clickbank.com is the king of informational products for affiliates to sell on their blogs. From diets to gardening guides these informational products have huge margins and some even have membership programs where you can make recurring income for life.
- Avantlink.com – Avantlink.com is a leading affiliate marketing company which is focused on the growth and success of their bloggers and has a great support team. They have a HUGE base of products and companies you can sell for from myweddingfavors.com to REI.com.
- Google Adsense – While you won’t make as much on a PPC model as you would by getting commissions on actual product sales, there are certainly many bloggers doing very well using Google’s Adsense program. Essentially Adsense scans each article on your blog and places text or photo banners alongside your article that are relevant to the topic you’re blogging about. Whenever a reader clicks on those advertisements you make anywhere from $.02 cents to $80 depending on the demand for the keyword. Normally clicks range in the $1-$4 range.
- Media Buying – This model involves you seeking out advertisers to buy banner space on your website. If you have a health and fitness blog that is getting over 1000 hits per day then why not seek out a supplement manufacturer to rent out an ad on the top of your site for $100/week? You need to make sure you have the traffic first before approaching these companies but the bigger your numbers, the more you can demand.
Wrapping it All Up
What are you waiting for? Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you that blogging can be a great way to create extra income for yourself or your family and become a fun hobby at the same time. If you have a passion that you know much about and would like to share with others then there’s nothing left to do other than get a domain name, set up hosting and get to writing. We’ll cover more advanced topics as we go along but for now you should have all the tools you need if you came here wondering how to start a blog. If you found the information in this guide helpful, be sure to share it with your friends on your favorite social network below.