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If you want to learn how to start a blog like a real business owner and not a hobbyist, you’ve come to the right place.
I created this blog AdamEnfroy.com just last year (2019) as a case study to prove that you can start blogging right now and make significant money in months, not years.
You just need the right tactics.
So why should you follow my blogging advice?
- I launched this blog in January 2019, and in my September Blog Income Report, you can see that I make $35,174/month.
- This blog hit 250k visitors/month within one year of launch in the competitive marketing niche.
- I’m an Affiliate Manager turned Affiliate Marketer and currently make over $25k/month from 100% passive affiliate revenue.
- The tips and growth hacks I teach aren’t from individual bloggers, but instead from startups like HubSpot, BigCommerce, G2 Crowd, Foundr, and others.
- I’ve failed a lot of times in the past and genuinely want you to succeed. So much blogging advice out there is outdated, and 95% of bloggers are still failing – I want to change that.
This ultimate guide for beginners will cover how to choose the right niche, generate traffic, and monetize your site in the fastest timeframe possible – all while working full-time.
Today, I will help you learn how to start a blog using the same tactics I used to grow from zero in 2019, start making over $35k/month, and quit my full-time job in 6 months.
Let’s get started.
- Choose Your Blog’s Niche.
- Write Down Your Blog’s Goals.
- Pick a Domain Name.
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan and Register Your Domain.
- Install WordPress – Your Blogging Platform
- Pick the Right Theme.
- Install WordPress Plugins.
- Set Up Your Site’s SEO and Permalink Structure.
- Create Content for Your Blog.
- Create a Long Term Content Strategy.
- Perform Ongoing Guest Post Outreach And Link Building.
We all know that your blog needs a niche – whether it’s marketing, cooking, Crossfit exercises, vegan dogsitting, underwater parkour solo dancing – whatever you fancy, there are an endless amount of things to blog about.
Most bloggers will tell you to start with something that you’re passionate about because it will help you “maintain a consistent writing schedule and push through the hard times when things get difficult.”
They’ll also tell you to choose a niche at the intersection of passion, skills, and experience:
However, this model is flawed because it’s missing one major component: monetization.
I firmly believe that with a blog, money drives passion more than passion drives money.
Let’s say you take this common advice and choose your blog’s niche based on passion, skills, and experience.
In this example, your passion is fitness, your skills are helping people lose weight, and your experience is that you’re a personal trainer focused on high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
So you decide to create a fitness blog specifically designed to help people lose weight with HIIT.
- You write 20 blog posts
- Incorporate exercise videos
- Create Instagram and YouTube channels
- Build an About Me page and FAQ to tell your story
- Add Amazon affiliate links to fitness products
- And build your email list with your lead magnet – The Top 25 HIIT Workouts to Lose 5 Pounds in 7 Days
When a user signs up for the email list, they receive a final email offer on day 7 for a free online personal training consultation, with the end goal of having them become a recurring monthly customer.
This all sounds very exciting. However, I can almost certainly guarantee that this blog will fail.
Monetization wasn’t priority #1 when choosing this niche – it was passions, skills, and experience.
This niche is going to take years to monetize. And when things take years to monetize, the likelihood of quitting is exponentially higher.
Because that’s the myth: it takes years to make money from a blog.
There’s another problem with this strategy, and it comes from human nature: our desire for significance.
Imagine writing about something you’re passionate about earnestly for months, and realizing you still have no following, no traffic, and not a single dime from all your efforts.
Think about it. Whether an artist, sculptor, graphic designer, director, producer, wannabe Instagram celebrity, or writer, we all want recognition for our work. As social creatures, we need to share the things that we create with other human beings.
Think of a child showing a drawing to one of their parents. Or watching a movie you’ve already seen with a friend because you want to share it with them. Or seeing your name in movie credits. Or finally getting a book published.
We strive for significance and meaning in our lives.
I could blog about my passions, skills, and experience for a while, but if I wasn’t gaining any readership or making any money, I’d quit 100% of the time.
And that’s why 95% of bloggers fail – they start with a passion in mind, but don’t know how to treat it like a business from day one.
They write for years, get burned out when they don’t see results, and quit.
So we’re going to flip the script and start your blog like a business from the very beginning.
To do this, we’ll choose your ideal niche based on the real primary factors: audience revenue potential, professional leverage, and keyword research.
1. Audience Revenue Potential.
When you’re starting a new blog, the question shouldn’t be, What is my niche? But, Who is my audience and what pain point am I trying to solve?
In order to offer a valuable product on your blog and make money, you need to solve a pain point that an audience is willing to spend money on.
As a blogger, you need to understand your audience’s challenges deeply so that you can offer them exactly what they want.
And the best place to start is by looking at yourself.
Ask yourself, What audiences am I a part of?
You’re far more likely to understand a specific group’s struggles if you’ve encountered them yourself.
Take my blog, for example.
When I started this blog, I was a 31-year old American male working in the tech industry. I was putting in long hours, sacrificing time with my family and friends, and getting stressed and burned out by the rat race. So I created this blog as a means to an end – a way to make passive income, escape my 9-5 and take back control of my time – and my life.
So my target audience was people similar to me:
- 25-45 years old
- Working 9-5 but want to escape the rat race
- Ready to hustle and put in the work
- Smart and technically savvy
- Want to make passive income through a blog
Understanding your audience is the first step.
The second (and equally important) step is to understand how much your audience is willing to spend to solve their pain points.
This is your audience revenue potential.
This bears repeating: you need to understand your audience AND how much they’re willing to spend to solve their pain points.
For example, let’s say you’re planning to start a blog in the home design niche.
Your blog topics may pull in different readers, including professional interior designers, college design students, and even stay-at-home moms who want the latest home decor inspiration.
To monetize a blog in this niche, let’s say you create a sales funnel:
- You write new content to attract an audience online
- Next, you build a home design lead magnet to get email opt-ins
- Third, you place affiliate links to promote home decor brands
- Finally, you offer a $300 online course titled 10 Expert Interior Designers Share Tips for the Perfect Home
Nothing is wrong with this approach.
In fact, this tends to be a common approach most bloggers take. If you were to put in a few years of content creation and built up your email list enough, I estimate you could start making a passive income in 2-3 years.
However, by changing just one word in your potential niche, you increase your blog’s income potential by 100x.
All you do is change home design to commercial design.
Let me explain.
By adding a B2B component to your blog, you shift part of your audience from individuals to businesses.
Businesses have larger bank accounts and are more likely to pay you without hesitation. Whereas a founder might be more frugal with the business’s account, a middle manager with a budget to spend will not.
The beautiful thing about this approach is that your blog launch and marketing funnel are almost exactly the same for both the “home design” and “commercial design” niches. However, with the B2B niche, you don’t just stop at a $300 course. You get to add the final component of 5-figure online consulting.
Just understanding your audience’s pain points isn’t enough.
To 100x your revenue potential, a portion of your audience needs to be in a lucrative B2B niche and pay a monthly recurring basis.
To recap, when choosing your niche, rather than worrying about getting thousands of passive, low-value site visitors, focus on closing 2-3 high-value clients.
With this approach, I hope you’re beginning to understand why I truly believe you can make $10,000/month in 90 days with a new blog. These new funds will be used to accelerate your path to passive income, but we’ll leave it at that for now.
2. Your Professional Leverage.
After uncovering a lucrative audience to provide value to, the next step is to uncover the strategic advantages you may have over others.
- What is my current level of professional experience?
- What connections do I have in my industry?
- Can I leverage this experience into a profitable blog?
- If I could pitch any website in the world to contribute a guest post, who would choose me from the start?
To build a truly successful blog, you first need to build influence. And to build influence, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and leverage your connections, professional experience, and everything at your disposal like never before.
With a blog, you’ll also be performing a lot of outreach to make new connections. This includes building relationships so you can guest post on authoritative sites in your niche to get relevant, high Domain Authority (DA) backlinks.
And when you’re just starting out, you may not have many connections or published content out there. You might say: “Why would anyone feature me?”
This is where leveraging your professional background helps tremendously.
For example, if you’re a photographer, you might have a base of clients, contacts from local meet-up groups, and even know photography influencers that you met in the past. If you can leverage these contacts in the future, you can accelerate the growth of your blog.
Use every advantage you have at your disposal.
To me, keyword research is the most important step when choosing your blog’s niche.
It’s very simple. Are people searching for the things you want to write about?
It’s a fact: You need to become an expert in keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) so that your blog can rank on Google.
Why? People search Google 63,000 times every second. That’s 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day. Plus, organic traffic can be more valuable than social media traffic because people make high-intent searches online. There are plenty of opportunities out there – you just have to know how to find them.
- Monthly search volume: how many times a keyword is searched for in a given month
- Keyword difficulty: on a scale from 0 to 100, how difficult is it to rank for that keyword based on the competition
- The average cost per click (CPC): this is how much the keyword is worth if you were to create a PPC ad for it and pay for the click. It’s a good indicator of the keyword’s value
So what do you look for?
You want to find keywords with high volume and low competition.
Here’s how I rate these competitive metrics.
Monthly Search Volume:
- 0-1,000: Low
- 1,000-5,000: Low/Medium
- 5,000-20,000: Medium
- 20,000-100,000: High
- 100,000+: Very High
- 0-20: Low
- 21-50: Medium
- 51-75: High
- 76+: Very High
On my site, there are two main types of keywords I target when it comes to SEO: super high-volume/high competition and medium volume, low competition.
1. Revenue Drivers: Medium Volume, Low Competition, High CPC Keywords
The first keywords new bloggers should search for are medium volume, low competition keywords.
For example, let’s take a look at my post on Webinar Software.
- Target keyword: webinar software
- Monthly search volume: 4,300
- Keyword difficulty: 22
- Average CPC: $25.00
4,300 is not a very high monthly search volume, but since position 1 gets over 33% of traffic, I could expect to get 1,419 visitors/month to my blog for position one on this term.
Plus, with a low keyword difficulty of 22, this term should be relatively easy to rank for (in fact, I got to page 1 just a few days after publishing the blog post).
Finally, with an average CPC of $25, it is a valuable, high-intent search term.
One quick side note on keyword search volume: While the keyword webinar software gets 4,300 searches per month, there are thousands of potential variations of this keyword – for example, best webinar software, webinar tools, webinar platforms, etc. This post can rank for all of these variations, too, so I typically double or even triple my volume estimates based on the main target keyword.
Pro Tip: Using Ahrefs Also Rank for Report, you can view keywords that the top-ranking pages for your target keyword also rank for in the top 100 search results. This allows you to find less obvious keywords that you can also include in your post’s copy and subheadings.
The key to finding relevant keywords from this report to use for your blog is to search with more specific queries. For example, instead of “cooking,” use “vegan recipes.” Or “email marketing services” instead of “marketing.”
How to find this type of keyword for your blog: Use a tool like Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 1,000 and the Keyword Difficulty filter to a maximum of 10.
What these keywords are good for: These keywords should make up the bulk of your posts and be the main revenue-drivers for your blog. The key is to find a good amount of long-tail keywords with medium volume and low competition in your niche. If these keywords are preceded by terms like “how to” and “best,” you’re well on your way to finding a profitable niche and solving a pain point.
2. Blog Builders: Super High-Volume/High Competition Keywords
The second type of keywords that I target are super high-volume terms that aren’t as easy to monetize but can bring in a lot of traffic.
For example, take my post How to Make Money Online.
- Target keyword: how to make money online
- Monthly search volume: 103,000
- Keyword difficulty: 55
- Average CPC: $2.00
First, this keyword has a 25x higher volume than webinar software. With high volume and all of the potential keyword variations, ranking in the top 5 positions for this term could bring in 30-65,000 visitors/month.
However, this keyword also has a lower search intent than webinar software. With webinar software, we know exactly what the searcher is looking for. With how to make money online, this user could be interested in anything from starting an online business to podcasting or coupon clipping – we just don’t know.
So that’s why it’s average CPC is only $2.00 – it’s vaguer and harder to monetize.
How to find this type of keyword for your blog: Use a tool like Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 20,000 and the Keyword Difficulty filter to a maximum of 75.
What these keywords are good for: These keywords should make up 5-10 pillar blog posts that you put a lot of time and effort into. While these high volume keywords won’t generate immediate revenue, they bring in a ton of traffic to your blog and can increase the size of your email list.
3. Summing Up Keyword Research
A blog needs a mix of both super high-volume/high competition and medium volume, low competition keywords.
Here are some of the tools you can use for your keyword research:
Wrapping Up Picking Your Niche.
After doing your keyword research, discovering a lucrative audience, and planning how to leverage your professional connections, it’s time to get to work.
Let’s start planning your new blog.
Everyone knows the famous quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
This is definitely true when starting a new blog. After choosing your niche, you need a way to keep track of everything — not just your to-dos and content ideas, but also your goals, ideas, and motivations.
The key during this stage is not to overcomplicate things.
When I was starting this blog, I kept track of everything in one simple Google Docs file.
Here are the sections I used:
Your Blog’s Goals.
It’s time to think big and write down what you want to accomplish with your blog in the short and long term. These should be SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Here are a few examples from my document when I started planning my blog:
- Write and publish my first five blog posts of 2,000+ words by January 20
- Complete my About Me page by January 25
- Publish five guest posts by February 1
- Get 1,000 blog site visitors/month by February 15
- Get 250 people in my email list by February 15
- Obtain 100 backlinks by March 1
As you can see, these are all short term attainable goals with clear due dates.
Your Blog’s Profile.
You need a place to keep track of your random ideas and unique selling points to hone in on your messaging over time.
Sections here may include:
- Your unique value proposition
- Your blog’s headline and sub-headline
- What is the problem you solve?
- Your blog’s “elevator pitch” – in 1-2 sentences, how would you easily explain your blog to a stranger?
- Your ideal customer personas
- What are the main categories for your blog?
- Future content ideas with target keywords and search volume
That’s it. The key is to make this a living document and update however you see fit.
To plan a blog, set some simple goals, and write things down to better hone in on your blog’s message, and understand who your audience is.
In the past, I took way too much time on this step. I scoured GoDaddy for weeks trying to find the perfect catchy, niche-specific, short, memorable dot com domain.
While this step is important, it’s probably not as important as you think.
In the past, it was possible to get exact-match keyword domain names like cuttingboards.com to help you rank on Google. Today, it’s much more difficult.
While common advice is to “niche down” and choose an ultra-specific name, I recommend you choose a website name that’s broad enough to allow you to pivot if necessary.
If your focus is too narrow and suddenly you lose passion for your niche or run out of topic ideas, you’re stuck with your new domain. However, if you broaden your focus a little bit, you can expand your content and have enough fluidity to maintain consistency, avoid quitting, and better promote your website for the long haul.
In the past, I tried starting online businesses and chose ultra-specific domain names. When I didn’t see immediate success, I got discouraged and thought, “Well, maybe this niche isn’t for me. I should quit and try something else.”
Here’s what you could do instead: choose a broader name and worry about being specific in your posts and pages.
Here are some other things you need to consider before picking a name for your website.
You have to buy your blog’s domain name from a domain registrar company. It should cost you roughly $10/year. If you get started with Bluehost web hosting, you get a free domain name for the first year.
To get started with Bluehost and get 63% off your hosting plan, use my link below:
Many people prefer to use their own names for their blogs (like yours truly here). Personal domains are more flexible than the ones based on any particular niche. Many times, bloggers need to change the name of their blog according to the changing scenario of their blogging niche.
However, if your name is your domain, then there is no need to change it when you want to add more verticals to your niche.
Domains come with different extensions – .com, .us, .guru, .sport, .com, etc.
.us stands for the United States, .guru is used for coaching blogs, and .sport is used for sports blogs.
However, .com is the top-level domain that’s more inclusive and mostly favored by Google and other search engines.
Here’s how internet users perceive some of the top-level domains in terms of trustworthiness, on a scale of 1 – 5:
- Your name should not be too difficult and complex to type. It should be easy to remember and type. That’s why a dot com extension is an excellent option.
- Do not confuse people with difficult spellings and therefore keep the name that is easy to spell and pronounce.
- Avoid using numbers and hyphens in your domain as it confuses people.
- Try to incorporate a keyword that best represents your blog if possible. It’s not as important to have a keyword in your blog name, but it might help people identify your blog’s niche right away. Plus, it also helps search engine spiders determine what your blog is all about.
Check out the tools mentioned in this article to generate your own domain – 27 Best Name Generators.
If your preferred domain name is not available, most of the tools mentioned in the article will provide you with alternate suggestions.
Every website needs a web host to store it on a server so that people can access it on the internet. Naturally, without a hosting account, your blog won’t be visible on the internet.
The performance of your blog will rely heavily on your web hosting provider. An excellent hosting platform will make your blog available on the internet 24/7 without causing any interruption.
You should choose a host that is reliable, popular and comes at an affordable price. During the starting stage of your blog, you do not need to buy any additional offers.
At this stage, your best option is the beginner hosting plan. However, even when you plan to scale your blog, Bluehost is an ideal option.
- 99% Server Uptime
- The company takes excellent security measures
- High-speed servers
- Have a big name in the industry
- Easy to use dashboard, that comes in handy for beginners
- Numerous hosting options to choose from
- 24/7 customer support
- Free SSL certificate
- Easy cPanel dashboard
- 1-click WordPress Installation
- Recommended by WordPress itself
- Low introductory pricing
- Money back guarantee
You can also head to my detailed Bluehost review here: Bluehost Reviews 2019: 11 Reasons To Believe The Hype
Next, register your domain name with Bluehost and choose a web hosting plan that aligns best with your expectations.
Follow this step-by-step guide to register your domain name along with your web hosting plan with Bluehost:
Step#1 Visit bluehost.com.
Click on the “Get Started” CTA button on the homepage.
On the next page, you will see four shared hosting plans.
These plans include Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro.
While all these shared hosting plans are perfect for a new blog, I would personally recommend going for the Basic Plan.
For a step up, the Choice Plus Plan offers the Domain Privacy, which will help you protect your information and guard all your confidential details, including full name, email address, residential address, and phone number.
So, you have already selected your domain name (as specified in the second step).
Now, after you choose your hosting plan, you will be directed to a new page where you will be asked to enter your domain name.
If you have already selected your domain name, then you can register your domain name here. The best part is that with Bluehost, you get your domain name for free for the first year.
If you are still confused and need more time to come up with a more catchy name, you can always choose your domain later.
Next, you will be prompted to create your account – the final step of the process.
Here are the “Account Information” details that you would have to enter to create your account.
Make sure to enter the correct details, including your first and last name, business name if applicable, country, address, and more.
Upon scrolling down, you will see the “Package Information” section.
It includes selecting how long do you want to opt for the plan and how much advance you are willing to pay.
It allows you to pay 12, 24, 36, or 60 months upfront and offers attractive pricing deals for longer upfront payment. If you are sure that you will be running your blog for a long time, then I’d say go with the “Prime 36 Month Price” to get the lowest possible price.
In the screenshot above, you have another section called “Package Extras.”
You can uncheck Codeguard Basic and SiteLock Security.
Finally, pick a payment option. You can choose to make the payment via credit card or PayPal.
Get started with Bluehost and get 63% off your hosting plan with my link below:
Congratulations – you’ve set up your hosting for the first time.
You’re now signed up with Bluehost, which means you’ve completed a vital first step.
Now, you need to enter your domain name and create a password for your Bluehost account. The password for your WordPress blog will come later via email.
Use the password you just set to log in to your account. You can also sign in with Google.
After getting through the first phase of planning your blog and choosing web hosting, the next step is to choose a perfect blogging platform.
Your blogging platform, also known as a Content Management System (CMS), is where you will be writing, customizing, and publishing your blog posts. Naturally, you are going to need something user-friendly, powerful, and affordable.
There are numerous free as well as paid blogging platforms available on the internet.
Have a look at some of the top blogging platforms:
Most people run their blogs on WordPress, which is apparent from the above statistic. Not only is it user-friendly, but it is extremely powerful.
WordPress also offers multiple free plugins, themes, and various ways to modify your blog.
The best part is that you don’t even need to have a technical bone in your body. You can pretty much install it in a couple of steps.
If you are using Bluehost, it gets even better as it provides 1-Click WordPress Installation.
WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org – Which one should you choose?
Here are some of the common differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
If your eventual goal is to make money through your blog, then think no further before selecting the self-hosted WordPress.org.
A blog is an extension of your personal branding and needs to be something that you own outright. You shouldn’t rely on a subdomain or blog site like Tumblr to host your personal blog.
WordPress.com has minimal options and doesn’t allow you to tweak settings or pick a custom domain name. (Eg: yoursite.wordpress.com). If you do want to use a custom domain name, you would have to pay an extra amount.
It also comes with limited monetization and analytics options. On top of that, with WordPress.com, you can’t upload plugins and themes from outside WordPress.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, gives you complete freedom to download plugins and themes from different platforms, customize your blog’s design, monetize your blogging efforts, and more.
Naturally, it is suggested to use WordPress.org when it comes to starting a blog set up for long term success.
With Bluehost, you can install WordPress and run your own blog in a matter of a few minutes.
Bluehost automatically installs WordPress without any effort on your part.
After you are done setting up your account password for Bluehost, you will be prompted to pick some themes.
You will get plenty of attractive free WordPress themes to choose from, including free blog themes.
However, if you want to pick your theme later, you can skip this step for now by clicking on the “Skip This Step” option at the end of the page.
From here, you will be directed to a new page, where you need to click on the “Start Building” option.
Next, select what type of site are you planning to create, and WordPress can help you in the process.
Finally, enter your “Site Title” and your “Site Description.”
From here, you will be directed to a page where you will decide the layout of your blog.
This doesn’t even begin to cover the customization capabilities of WordPress. However, this prepares the base of your blog.
From here, spend some time making yourself familiar with all the functionalities of your new WordPress blog. Make sure to test out all the features and play around with different themes to pick the one that suits your needs the best.
This brings us to our next step.
Now that you have a fully functional blog up and running, you need to choose your WordPress theme.
For now, your blog will look something like this:
This is the default WordPress theme, and on the side is the menu that will help you customize the theme.
While it is not the fanciest theme out there, it is still workable. Admittedly, we can do a lot better.
Giving your blog an attractive look without indulging in any coding exercise is important for every new blogger.
Moreover, it is essential to create a look that is practical as well as eye-catching.
Naturally, blogs that are designed in a way that makes it easier for visitors to find information easily tend to get maximum traction.
Blogs and websites designed with clunky and poorly organized layout create difficulty in finding information for readers.
WordPress comes inbuilt with numerous free as well as paid themes you can choose from. You would be surprised to know that WordPress offers more than 3,000 themes for free to its users.
So, as a new blogger, you don’t necessarily have to spend more money to install a paid theme.
Here’s how you can install a new theme for your WordPress blog:
First, log in to your WordPress account (admin page).
Access the page by going to yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.
Here, add your WordPress login credentials.
Your WordPress dashboard will look something like this.
It might seem pretty daunting at first, but you will get used to it eventually. Remember, you are going to spend a lot of time here.
Here, you have to click on the “Appearance” option from the sidebar menu.
Next, select the “Themes” option from the ‘Appearance’ section.
To search for the options WordPress offers, click the “Add New” button at the top of the page.
As you can see below, you now have access to thousands of fancy themes that are entirely free of cost.
You can scroll down and preview as many themes as you want before picking one for your blog.
You can also filter out the themes based on three categories: “Subject,” “Features,” and “Layout.”
Here’s what the filter option is going to look like:
After you apply the filters, you will be able to narrow down the options according to your preference.
Click on the thumbnails to get an instant preview of what your final blog is going to look like.
If you like a particular theme, you can click on the “Install” button.
Additionally, if you purchased a paid theme from another site, this will be provided to you as a zip file. All that you have to do to install this theme is to click “Add New,” upload the zip file and click install.
Congratulations, you now have a WordPress site with a new theme installed.
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- Read the descriptions of the various WordPress themes to get an idea about their functionality and features. This will help you get an idea of whether the theme will be compatible with your niche or not.
- Choose a responsive theme that works well on both desktop and mobile devices. This will make your blog managing the task easier and help you gain massive traffic.
- WordPress also allows users to give ratings to their themes; hence, make sure to check out the reviews & ratings to discern the quality of the theme.
- Before installing a theme, make sure to check its demo or preview to know how it looks in real-time.
The best thing about the theme is that you can change it anytime you want, without disrupting your content.
You can also install a large number of WordPress themes from other popular sites, such as:
- Thrive Themes.
- Elegant Themes.
- CSS Igniter.
There are many free blog themes available on WordPress and other websites as well. However, sometimes, they aren’t enough to satisfy the needs of the users and come with limited options.
That said, as a new blogger, you can start your blog with a free theme and then move on to a more personalized option. As long as it loads fast and allows you to start publishing content, there’s no reason not just to get started now and worry about your perfect design later.
Premium themes mostly come in the price range of $30 to $500. Custom themes are designed according to the specific design needs of the website or blog owners. Therefore, these themes come with a hefty price and can range from $500 to $2000, according to the needs of the users.
The best thing about WordPress is that its open-source nature allows it to be customized in an endless amount of ways. And it starts with WordPress plugins.
Plugins are a small set of software tools that are used to enhance the functionality of your WordPress site.
You can install many plugins to add additional features to your site without any coding skills.
WordPress literally offers thousands of plugins with different functionalities, including those for email marketing and enhancing the SEO of your site.
However, it is not recommended to install hundreds of plugins on your site as they are bound to slow down your website and create conflict with each other. Moreover, it is quite complex for site owners to manage hundreds of plugin efficiently. If any problem occurs, then it will be difficult for you to find which plugin is creating a problem.
That’s why I curated a list of the 15 best WordPress plugins to help you enhance your new blog (and the ones I use):
This plugin allows you to remove certain elements of code that aren’t necessary to load on every page. For example, my ecommerce CSS files were loading on every blog post even though I only needed them on two pages. With this tool, you can easily select which pieces of code to keep and which to remove based on pages, posts, and other types of content.
This is the ecommerce tool that I use to sell my digital products. I tested WooCommerce first, but it installed four plugins, slowed down my site, and had an ugly checkout experience. BigCommerce for WordPress launched in December 2018 and runs via an API – so you handle all of your content in WordPress and your backend ecommerce in BigCommerce.
I’m not a huge fan of the new Gutenberg editor and find the Classic Editor much easier to use and more error-free.
This plugin allows you to easily add a Table of Contents into any page or post. The plugin will appear underneath your pages/posts, and you can select if every H2, H3, or any other header should be automatically added to the Table of Contents.
Tables of Contents are important for a few reasons: they keep users engaged with the page (by clicking around) and help with user experience. I often have a Table of Contents at the top of my new posts going to each section, then a “Back to Top” link at the bottom of each section so that users can easily go back to the Table of Contents.
Elementor Pro is the best WordPress landing page builder, and it’s the tool I used to create my home page and a few other pages. They have a free version of Elementor, but the Pro version takes it to the next level with much better templates.
You can get started with the free version of Elementor Pro for just $49/year.
Widgets are areas on your WordPress site that aren’t directly pages or posts. For example, sidebars, footers, and homepage sections can be considered widgets. Extended Widget Options allows you to expand the functionality of your widgets to make them more useful.
For example, I use this tool to make some of my sidebar banners sticky so that they scroll down the page with the reader.
I use this plugin to convert Google Docs into WordPress posts automatically. Since I get a lot of my initial first drafts written for me, I download them as a .docx file and insert them into my posts/pages with this plugin. The Mammoth .docx Converter will appear underneath your posts/pages, and it’s as simple as uploading your file and clicking “Insert into Editor.”
One small detail is that you’ll want to make sure your document’s images have both names and alt text before uploading into WordPress.
OptinMonster is hands down the best email opt-in plugin on the market (and 100% how you joined this list). With the ability to create exit intent, modal popups, in-content opt-ins, and more, they are the reason that my email list is growing by about 60-75 users/day.
While I use their highest tier Growth Plan, you can get started with OptinMonster for just $9/month.
This plugin allows you to create simple blocks of content by adding shortcodes to your site. I primarily use this to insert buttons quickly on my affiliate pages so that readers have very clear calls-to-action. Shortcodes Ultimate will appear in your WordPress page editor as a small button at the top (much like Bold, Paragraph Spacing, etc.), and when you click into it, you select your content block. With buttons, you can preview them in the editor and choose the size, color, style, and more.
ShortPixel compresses all of your images so that they are smaller files and your pages load faster. I’ve tested lots of different image compression plugins, and ShortPixel has been the best.
This is one of my favorite affiliate marketing plugins. ThirstyAffiliates takes your random affiliate links (full of random numbers, letter strings, etc.) and cleans them up so that they look nice. For example, which one looks nicer:
The second one is more clickable, leads to higher conversion rates, and can’t be stolen by others.
One factor in search engine rankings is recency of content – especially if you’re in niches with new information coming out. This plugin allows you to easily show the date on every page/post so that search engines understand when it was last modified. For example, with WordPress, it’s easy to show a date, but it will typically show the Publish Date, not the last time you edited it.
By giving search engines an easy way to pull the Modified Date, you will see this date appear in your search results, and may see a rankings boost.
14. WP Rocket.
You can get started with WP Rocket for $49/year.
15. Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO doesn’t really need an introduction. If you’re not using it, then you’re missing out on a lot of great free features. I use Yoast to manage my sitemap, robots.txt, page titles/meta descriptions, and other add-ons.
Have a look at the link below:
This is what a permalink looks like.
Permalinks are static hyperlinks that will lead your audience to a specific web page.
By default, your permalink is set to “yourdomainname.com/postID.”
This not only looks unattractive but is abysmal from the SEO point of view as well.
So, before you get down to writing content for your blog, make sure to set a specific permalink structure.
From your WordPress dashboard, go to “Setting” —> “Permalinks.”
You can choose from a couple of options. Most high-ranking blogs follow the “Post name” structure.
Make sure to save the settings before exiting the page.
In addition, make sure you set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These two tools are 100% necessary and can be easily integrated with the Yoast plugin.
Now you are done with all the bells and whistles. You have purchased a host, set up your domain, installed the WordPress theme of your choice, and optimized your website’s permalinks.
Now, let’s start with the content for your blog.
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After completing the framework of your blog, it’s time to create content.
The world is your oyster. However, you still have to write content on your selected niche, keeping your target audience in mind.
If you write great content that your audience wants to read, they are likely to keep coming back to your blog.
You need to carefully figure out the topics of your new blog posts and the right way or format and write it.
Remember, blog posts that have audio, video, photos, and other types of visual content, along with textual content, perform the best.
According to statistics, global internet traffic from videos will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021.
All these additions in a blog make it look more readable and help the readers to pay more attention to your content.
Moreover, it is essential to write engaging content that helps you draw visitors and compel them to take suitable action on your blog.
Even if you create a well-structured and neatly designed blog post, it won’t gain traction if your content is not engaging and valuable for your target audience.
Before creating content for your blog, make sure to put yourself in your readers’ shoes and ask yourself these pertinent questions:
- What would excite and intrigue my potential readers?
- What are the common challenges that my reader face, and how can I address them through my blog?
- What are the underlying character traits of my target audience?
- What would my readers love the most about my niche?
- What would my readers hate the most about my niche?
Right down all the answers to the questions mentioned above. It will help you come up with amazing blog post ideas that will attract your audience and make them convert into your permanent readers.
- Write content for your niche blog by understanding the choice of the potential audience. Your blog posts should always provide value to your readers. Make a clear idea about the content (based on the questions mentioned above) and write down the points that you want to cover. Finally, structure your whole blog post according to predefined points.
- Present your blog content attractively and make it easily accessible to the readers. Make sure both textual and visual content in the blog are of top-notch quality.
- Never make your content commercially focused as it irritates readers. Blogs loaded with too many advertising and promotional links look unattractive to most people. Your audience will only engage with your blog if you provide them with valuable content.
- Make your blog post conversational to make it engaging connect with your audience
- Make sure your content flows naturally
- Leave out substantial white space to make it easy on the eyes
- Add bullet points to help readers skim down the blog without missing anything critical
- Use proper H2, H3, H4 headings
- Double-check for typos and grammatical errors
Here’s how to proceed writing your first blog post on WordPress:
Click on “Posts” in the left sidebar from your WordPress dashboard.
Now, select the “Add New” button:
Next, you will head to the editor, where you can start writing your first blog.
While crafting your blog post, make sure to keep the above tips in mind.
After you are done with your article, make sure to make some optimizations to make it rank higher in search engines.
This can be done easily using the Yoast SEO plugin (what I mentioned before as well).
Pre-launch content includes the content for static pages of the blog, such as About us, Contact, Home Page, and more.
The About Page of the blog consists of the information about what your blog is all about.
On this page, you can tell your readers about the niche of your blog in detail and also share why you are running this blog.
This section will help you connect with your readers on a personal basis, so make sure to talk about your life in detail.
Make sure to cover the following in your “About” page:
- Who you are
- What made you start your blog
- Why did you select this particular niche
- What’s your aim with this blog
- Why should people listen to you
- Your success story
It might be called an About page (or in my case, a “My Story” page), but it doesn’t mean that you will only talk about yourself.
When someone likes your content, they are likely to head to your About page to know more about you. Now, you can either bore them to death or turn them into your loyal fan.
To do this, I have crafted my About page like a story.
I start with how I battled with self-doubt to scaling my blog and turning it into a profitable business.
People don’t want to read about all of your recent accomplishments, but want to truly understand who you are. So don’t try to make yourself look good – just write about your life and who you are.
You can check out my story here.
To get more ideas for your About page, you can go through this article: 15 of the Best ‘About Us’ & ‘About Me’ Pages and How to Make Your Own
This page is all about sharing contact details with your blog visitors. You can share an email address, phone number, social media links, or a contact form on this page. This will help your readers get in touch with you.
It is a column that appears on the right or the left side of the blog. The sidebar is used to show blog categories, recent posts, ads, etc. A sidebar gives your readers quick access to the essential information.
Apart from the pages mentioned above, you also have to write the title and description of every blog page for SEO.
You need to take care of the four critical settings:
- SEO Title
- Meta Description
- Focus Keyword
Yoast will help you access real-time feedback on how your blog will perform in terms of organic traffic for a particular keyword.
Try to achieve as many green signals as possible. Once you hit 80% green light, it means you are good to go, and your blog is likely to perform great when it comes to SEO.
You can even “Preview” your blog before publishing it.
If you are happy with the way your blog post has turned out, then go ahead and publish it.
Once you’ve published your first post, here is the strategy I use to get it to rank over time and generate revenue:
- Perform keyword research for high-volume keywords I wanted to rank for
- Create an outline of the post for my content writer
- Obtain the article’s first draft from my writer, edit it, then publish this long-form content. I would do competitive research to see which articles were already ranking well for my target keyword, then make sure my content length was longer and my quality was higher
- Send links to my top ~10 posts via my guest posts and link building outreach
- Once the article began to rank on the first 4-5 pages of Google, I updated the content by increasing its length and improving its quality by adding semantic keywords with tools like LSIGraph and Clearscope
- Once the article ranked in the top 2-3 pages, I joined any applicable affiliate programs and added the affiliate links
- To maintain my organic rankings, I updated the content regularly and kept generating inbound links
- Once the article was on the first page of search engines and generating affiliate revenue for brands, I reached out to their Affiliate Managers to see if I could increase my commission rates
With this strategy, you’ll start to see your blog posts rank higher on search engines, generate more traffic, and ultimately, more revenue.
Taking the leap into blogging isn’t for everyone. And with millions of blogs all over the internet, you have to work hard to get your blog posts noticed and ensure that the limelight is on you.
The key, as in any other marketing endeavor, is a carefully chalked out strategy.
All you need is a long-term, well-planned strategy in place. Once you strategize everything, you’re bound to reap the dividends.
So, how should you make the strategy?
The emphasis must be on creating the proper content strategy. It is imperative to have a value-based and cohesive content strategy to increase as well as maintain your subscriber base.
In fact, statistics suggest that content marketing with a proper strategy can get 3 times the number of leads as paid advertising.
However, to stand out amid extensive completion, you would require the right content strategy.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, here are some of the steps you should consider while creating your content strategy:
Here are some of the areas you should think about while formulating your long-term content strategy:
Identifying the core audience is the first step.
However, for that, you need to divide the market into segments based on behavior, demographics, psychographics, and geography.
If you’re planning to sell something through your blog, it segmenting your audience will also help you differentiate between readers who are buyers, and who are not.
Here’s one way to segment your audience:
You must have a clear idea about the type of audience that is likely to be attracted to your blogs.
However, you can’t afford to work with a target audience as vague as a ‘homemaker in her early 30s.’
You need a more in-depth analysis to arrive at a particular segment. Once you identify the segment, you can do a market analysis to see what they want and need, and how you can add value or solve their problem. It brings us to our next point!
Your blogs must try to stem a gap in the life of the audience. In other words, you must aim to solve a problem plaguing the audience. Your blogs, therefore, must act as problem solvers.
It’s simple, actually. First, you have to understand your audience and then create content to solve their problems.
For example, if your audience primarily consists of marketing professionals, then you should write blogs on topics that solve their marketing-related queries.
Suppose you’re in the healthcare industry. What keywords are people most likely to use online when searching for healthcare? That’s something you’ve got to figure out.
Part of your strategy must be to enhance your SEO by incorporating essential keywords.
However, for that, you need to identify the type of content internet users are searching online. After this, you need to incorporate the same in your content so that your blog posts start to get a vast number of hits.
It’s also a great idea to add long-tail keywords.
Think about it.
Suppose you’re really interested in starting a podcast. You’ll probably search for something like “detailed guide on how to start a podcast.”
Moreover, these long-tail keywords don’t pose as much competition as their shorter counterparts.
To find appropriate long-tail keywords, you can use the Google Keyword Planner.
You can proceed with your keyword research using a basic seed word.
Let’s assume you want to write a blog on content marketing. Now to find long-tail keywords related to your topic, go to Google Keyword Planner.
Type in “content marketing,” and then you’ll get your keyword ideas.
Make sure to look for the keywords that are not only most in-demand but also relevant to your topic.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to use Google Keyword Planner to help you get maximum traffic from search engines.
If you post useful content on your blog, then naturally, your audience would look forward to all your upcoming posts.
They’d want to read a new blog post as soon as it’s released. And in the process, your audience is likely to form a habit.
Therefore, if you’re looking at a long term content strategy, ensuring consistency of schedule is essential. You need to maintain your blog-posting frequency. It can be anything — weekly, twice a week, thrice a week, and more. It doesn’t matter – what matters is deciding on a schedule and sticking to it.
For instance, if you are supposed to post every Monday at 9 am, then make sure to stick with this deadline.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. People get caught up in many things, and it’s hard to keep track of time. That’s why tools like Google Calendar can help you do just that.
Google Calendar helps you make a to-do list so that you never skip your blogging schedule. Moreover, it allows you to add personal goals so that you can keep track of your progress and see what more you are supposed to do.
The best bloggers create a roadmap for the entire week, month or year – as per their frequency. Working backward from there can help you decide precisely what article you need to publish and when. It also helps you avoid missing your deadlines.
Now, the next step is to market yourself and maximize engagement. The only path to long-term sustainability is continuous growth and development.
For that, you need to use different channels and communication methods to make that happen. Moreover, go back and measure the impact you’ve made and strive to do better.
The idea is to get more and more people to come on board and become your regular readers.
Well, now that we know what we need to do, we need to focus on how to execute it at the ground level.
Here’s how to do it:
‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’
To achieve what you want, you’ve got to set an achievable goal and do everything you can to meet it.
Before you set your goals, ask yourself some questions, including:
- Do you want to make money, or do you want to create awareness?
- Do you want to become famous?
- Do you want to improve your SEO and make your page popular?
There can be many other goals. Naturally, the path to every goal is different.
For example, if your goal is to make money, then your focus won’t confine to just making it popular, but to monetize it as well.
Suppose you want to sell a pen to X. But X needs a pencil since he doesn’t use pens. He also doesn’t know anyone who uses a pen. So will X buy a pen? Probably not.
Here comes the importance of knowing your customer (KYC). Delving deep into the mind of the subscriber, understanding what they lack and need, and providing them value is the essence of running a successful blog.
You have, therefore, got to know your subscribers inside and out.
With the help of tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, it is now possible to unravel and segregate subscribers based on factors like their choices, buying patterns, browsing history, and more. Upon segregation, you can effectively target them to sign up as potential subscribers.
You have to make every strategy keeping in mind the competitor landscape. Rest assured, any field you choose to write on is going to be brimming with competitors. But you can turn that to your advantage.
For example, let’s suppose you run a travel blog. Naturally, the audience of some other travel blog in your vertical is your potential audience as well.
So, you can analyze the type of content your competitors are sharing and the ways they are using to increase their outreach. After analyzing their entire strategy, you can also adopt some of the things you find useful.
The good news is that numerous websites online lets you see the type of posts your competitors are sharing.
A great example is SimilarWeb.
SimilarWeb comprehensively lets bloggers search for and understand the type of content the audience wants the most and their competitors publish.
But it doesn’t mean that you emulate your competitors blindly.
Instead, spend time answering the following questions:
- What are the gaps that your competitors failed to address?
- What are the upcoming trends?
- If the subscribers like content A, would they also value content B?
- How can you make it more enjoyable?
A little bit of tweaking around these lines and smart work can be a great way to supplement your long-term strategy.
We’ve seen how to identify the topics that interest the audience the most. But what about the gaps? What about the issues that the audience wants to read about, but there’s no content?
Plugging those gaps can provide a practical point of entry to an otherwise saturated market for blogging, whether it be B2B or B2C.
You can also take your survey online on social media, and go for a one-to-one conversation about the wants and needs of the subscribers. Various questions posted here by the target audience can also serve as essential topics for your blogs.
It’s a given that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. You need numbers and statistics to tell you whether you’re on the right track or not, and what minor changes could benefit you.
Therefore, take advantage of the multiple analysis tools available on the internet to analyze your blog
Focus on all the right questions, such as:
- Which types of blogs are getting the maximum shares?
- Which topics of blogs are the most widely read?
- What questions are people asking on various platforms like Reddit, Quora, social media?
In any case, you won’t get your strategy right the first time around. It takes 6 – 12 months of constant tweaking of your ideas to put the right plan in place for the long-term. Be flexible and keep changing whenever you need it.
Creating the right content strategy isn’t an easy job. Sometimes, the results will take too long in coming. There are a lot of things that need to come together.
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Guest posting is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to promote your blog.
You create and post content for your blog anyway. Why not do the same for some other blog as a guest? That’s precisely what guest post outreach is.
And not just blogs, you can post relevant content on someone else’s site or a company page.
When you post as a guest, traditionally, you also upload the link to your own website. As of late, with competition in the blogging space heating up, this practice has been curtailed to a certain extent. But you can still gain mileage from posting.
Whatever be the case, the effectiveness of guest blog posting still enhances your SEO.
Here are some of the necessary steps to perform ongoing guest post outreach and link building:
Your guest blogging efforts will only pay back if you target the right publications with the relevant audience and broader outreach than you.
You need to leverage your researching chops for that.
You can take advantage of the technology of today and find out the websites that are friendly for guest post outreach.
I’d suggest using SEMrush to see who your competition is. Suppose, your competition comes sites like Moz, NeilPatel.com, and more, then you can start guest blogging on these channels.
You can also leverage the following networks to connect with the right bloggers in your niche and find appropriate resources for guest post outreach and link-building:
Make sure to use a tool like Moz Link Explorer to check the backlink profile and Domain Authority of the websites first. The higher the DA, the better.
Moz Link Explorer can also segregate the useful, result-oriented websites right away from the ones that aren’t worth the effort.
After you’ve found the platform, you could look at what new content you could provide.
- Can you find a topic that is yet to be addressed?
- Is there a topic that can captivate the public imagination?
- Can you address some unique subjects?
Take advantage of any of these and put your best foot forward.
You’ve probably come up with a long list of websites. Although it’s better to target all the sites that you can, sometimes it isn’t possible.
So it’s better to segregate the websites by identifying the best websites to spend time on.
You can get a fair idea by the following steps:
- Perform a Domain Authority score. A website with a DA score of more than 100 is your best bet to spend time on. Usually, those with a score of less than 40 prove to be useless.
- Make sure that the website provides valuable content and attracts your target audience. Consider their traffic as well. Unless your guest posting websites do not get significant traffic, your guest posts will not be read or shared.
- Make sure to research beforehand if the owner of the website would even allow you to share links to your own website. If they don’t allow it, you probably won’t be getting the returns you deserve on your efforts.
Therefore, it’s essential to choose wisely. Don’t waste your time guest posting on websites with low traffic, average quality posts, and posting restrictions. Focus on the sites that offer value instead.
What should be the topic of your guest posts? Naturally, it should be relevant to your niche and something similar to what you post on your own blog.
If the content of the host website matches that of yours, it’s well and good. However, if it doesn’t, then also you can mold your writing to align it with the topic of the host. People visit the host website to read about a particular topic, and it won’t help you to write about something else altogether.
Make sure to check out the guidelines of the guest posting site.
Consider essential things like:
- What level of target audience do they have (beginner or advanced)?
- The type of target audience. For example, is the audience B2B or B2C?
- What’s the type of content they’re looking for? Do they usually post listicles, tutorials, or how-to guides?
Just like with your own blog posts, here also, make sure to offer value and try to pique the interest of the readers.
Apart from this, you also need to figure out the optimum length of your blog posts. Even if you write superb, value-added content, people tend to skim the details and overlook it if the article is too lengthy.
To begin guest posting, you need to take permission from the owner of the website first. It’s an excellent idea to reach out to the people who run the website.
Remember, the process can be time-consuming, depending on the popularity of the website. In most cases, you can contact the website owners through the ‘Contact Us’ option available in most web pages.
Some websites even have a separate guest posting outreach page containing the guidelines as well as the email address to reach them.
Here’s an example:
So how do you approach them? They probably get offers like these every day.
Here’s how to stand out:
- Make sure that your mail doesn’t end up getting deleted right away. It’s best to personalize your subject as well as the email body.
- Introduce yourself and your blog website in depth
- Explain why you think the partnership will be very fruitful for both of you. Why should they let you guest post? What are the pros?
- Sell the idea of value. You can share a few of your articles for reading and reference
- It adds a nice touch if you offer them an advertisement from your end for free
Most websites will revert back, so wait a few days before you start pursuing them again.
Once you’ve received the green signal to publish, you can start with the blog post.
You’ve got to be careful of a few things, such as:
- Clearly understand the things you can and can’t do. You don’t want to get into legal hassles halfway through your job
- Use friendly keywords for maximum SEO
- Avoid grammatical mistakes at all costs. It can be a big turn off for many. Make sure you read and re-read your text and weed out any error
- If you’re permitted, adding a link to your own website is a great idea.
As with any professional field, guest blogging takes time to create an impact. It can take you anywhere between 3 – 12 months to see a tangible effect on your blog traffic.
To start with guest-blogging, you can check out my detailed guide on guest-blogging where I talk about everything I learned after publishing 8 articles in just 15 days.
To ensure your guest posts show quick benefits, you have to start with link building strategies. It’s a concept related to generating backlinks for off-page SEO.
Whenever someone does a Google Search, websites with powerful backlinks usually appear in the first pages. A link is a signal to the search engines that the website is trustworthy and provides valued content. It’s a sort of cross-check mechanism that helps you leapfrog other blogging sites. So how do you do that?
Here’s how you can build powerful links for your blog:
- Guest Posting – Guest posting works hand-in-glove with link building. The more guest posting you do, the stronger your link building gets. Just keep adding the link of your website to your guest blogs and promote those blogs.
- Allow Guest Posting On Your Site – It can help you in more ways than one. When you allow guest posting, you’re building new relationships, which comes in handy while promoting your own blogs.
- Avoid Error 404 – Error 404 can be unnerving. It’s an example of a broken link. There are a lot of tools like SEMrush that lets you track such links. You could update the website owner about the website status, and in return, suggest a guest posting idea.
- Handouts and Awards – Provide incentives if you want to see quick link-building results. For example, if you run a travel blog, do market research on your competitors. Create a contest for selecting the best blogger amongst your peers. You can choose by comparing the number of views, the number of shares, and other statistics. Handing out gifts and awards is a sure way of getting publicity online. The winners may decide to have a press release with your name. They may also post on social media and other platforms, providing you just the thing you need – backlinks and attention!
There are numerous other ways to build links and move your blog up the pecking order for search engine displays. You can also do paid promotions or pay influencers to mention your blog in their YouTube video or blogs.
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Even 50 years ago, people had the habit of keeping diaries. They would keep chronicles of the occurrences of each day without fail, throughout their lives. It made for sumptuous reading and was a treasure trove of information. But with the advent of digitalization, things started to go online.
People started writing about their experiences on the web instead of their diaries. They soon realized the power and outreach that the internet provided, and thus began the trend of ‘weblogs,’ popularly known as ‘blogs.’
Before long, blogs became a way for people to reach out to the world, talk about various things, lay down their perspectives, and try & connect with like-minded people.
And blogs continue to grow in popularity.
If statistics are anything to go by, in the United States alone, 42.23% of people from the ages of 18 to 49 read blogs.
The best part about blogs is that you can share them on social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to attract your target audience.
You can find a blog for any topic you want. For bloggers, it’s a great avenue to increase their subscriber base, move their point across, connect to new people, and make money online.
There are so many reasons to start a blog.
One of the most prominent reasons is to influence and inspire online readers. If you have in-depth knowledge in your field of work and have decent writing chops, then you might want to start a blog. If you monetize it, you can even make decent passive income out of your blog posts.
However, don’t look at blogging as merely a money-making avenue. There are plenty of vocations out there that pays well. Blogging is for people who want to keep learning every day and pass on the knowledge.
Blogging can provide you the perfect platform to:
- Develop yourself personally
- Improve self
- Build new relationships and network
- Share your knowledge with your audience
Apart from all of this, if you manage to make your blogging website successful, you’ll find that it’s quite a lucrative profession too.
Even if you don’t need the money and are in an entirely different profession, you still can do it to share your knowledge.
It depends on the type of blog you’re looking at. When you start a blog, you have the option of using a free platform or a paid one. Both have their pros and cons.
If you’re a novice and want to try your hand at blogging without paying upfront, WordPress.com and Blogger are excellent free platforms that let you do just that. However, you may have certain restrictions. For example, you won’t have access to better themes, restriction on advertisements, and more.
On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned campaigner or a novice confident enough about blogging, you could opt for paid platforms.
Website builders like Squarespace and Wix provide excellent paid plans that help you customize your site the way you want without restrictions. Moreover, such platforms allow you to optimize your site for search engines, add advanced features like an online store, drag-and-drop editors, and more.
Here’re some of the essential expenses:
- Domain name: It may cost you around $10 per month
- Hosting: Shared hosting cost typically costs $3 – $10 per month. Then there are more advanced options like VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, etc.
Optional expenses include a premium WordPress theme (costing between $30 – $60), marketing tools, additional plugins & widgets, and more.
In the end, the choice is yours really – whether you want to pay or not, based on the features you’re looking at.
- If you are considering blogging as a hobby, then it would be free of cost.
- If you opt for essential features, then it may cost you about $50-$60 per year.
- Now, if you’re planning to invest in additional features to scale up your blog, then it may cost over $400 per year.
The only thing that can get readers to rally behind your blog and follow it is ‘value.’ Creating value for subscribers is the only way to increase your audience base.
Once you’ve got that, here are some steps that’ll help you along the way:
- Create catchy headlines – your headline is the first thing someone reads. Help them figure out the benefits by enumerating them clearly. The ideal clickable headline is: Odd number + superlative + target keyword + year
- Publish blogs at the stipulated frequency every time as it makes the subscribers take you more seriously
- Use the CTA (Call to Action) button to give specific instructions to readers to take action on.
- Focus on word-of-mouth marketing
- Offer incentives to current readers to enroll their family and friends
- Do paid advertising and ensure social media presence
- Focus on engaging current subscribers and aim to satisfy them
Implementing all the steps mentioned above can help you get massive traction on your blog.
There are millions of blogging sites in the US alone – more than 600 million, to be exact. By 2020, the number of bloggers in the US will cross 32 million.
Clearly, not all of them are successful.
There are many factors that set apart a successful blogger from a non-successful one.
Some of the critical factors in starting and running a successful blog are:
- Offering value-based content
- Providing the content as promised, without excessive variation. Otherwise, it confuses the consumers
- It’s essential to create a blog-posting schedule and make sure to adhere to it. You can publish twice a week, weekly, etc. – basically, at any frequency you like, but you must stick to it
- Engaging subscribers proactively, hosting events, giving out prizes, and conducting events
- Making sure your blog isn’t either too short or too long. Research says it’s best to keep a blog between 1140 – 1285 words
Yes, they do.
Bloggers can get paid exceptionally well. As is the case with all other professions, bloggers get paid to create and communicate value.
Breaking it down, bloggers mostly get paid through 5 easy ways:
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored posts
However, if your blog posts don’t offer any value, they would be unlikely to create any income.
If you’re looking at blogging as a full-time job, it probably won’t make you a millionaire overnight.
But according to statistics by Glassdoor, bloggers in the US, on an average, can earn around $32,000 every year, which can still be pretty great for some.
Many full-time bloggers can make a lot more, though. For example, in September alone, I made $35, 174. You can check out my detailed income report and see how I did it.
Bloggers can get paid via advertisements. The most common metric on how much you get paid is CPC (cost per click). It pays you proportional to the number of clicks you generate in an advertisement that you host.
Another metric is CPM (cost per 1000 impressions). For every 1000 clicks on the ad, you get paid a fixed amount.
Then there’s affiliate marketing, where you advertise a partner product and get a commission every time someone buys it from your blog page.
If you want to make money this way, then check out my blog post, where I talk about the newest ways to promote affiliate links and monetize your blog.
Apart from this, you can also sell products based on your expertise. For example, if you run a travel blog, you could sell brochures on the best tourist destinations. Or if you run a food blog, you could sell e-recipes of your best dishes.
Offer something that is really valued by a segment of your audience and bring paid subscriptions to enlist them. The amount could be as low as $5 per month per person. But if you can create the value to attract large volumes, you can start to make a decent income.
Starting a blog isn’t necessarily very costly. You can start a blog with minimal investment and sometimes even free of cost.
When you start a blog, you need to decide whether you want to self-host it or use a fully-hosted platform. Usually, using a fully-hosted platform is costly. But getting a free platform is easy. In fact, most beginners opt for free, self-hosted platforms, such as WordPress and Blogger.
Here’s a list of some of the best blogging platforms (both paid and unpaid).
When you use a free platform, you’ll have to abide by the platform rules. Moreover, sometimes, some actions might be restricted, like doing affiliate marketing or advertising products of a partner. The platform might want you to endorse their website or products only.
However, if you don’t plan to monetize your blog, then a free blogging platform can work out just fine for you.
Food is one of the most popular things internet users search for.
Since everything is readily available these days, food connoisseurs are willing to try out and experiment with different cuisines and flavors.
Basically, now’s as good a time as any to start your food blog.
Here are some steps to do just that:
- Choose the right platform in the first step. You can opt for a self-hosted platform or a fully hosted one
- Select a perfect name for your blog that is relevant to your niche
- Choose the perfect theme for your food blog. The right theme can attract viewers instantly and help you increase your subscriber base
- Start posting. However, it’s essential for you to learn to write recipes in an SEO-friendly manner.
- Promote & grow your blog posts
To sustain your blog, you might also want to find out ways to monetize it. Third-party advertisements, affiliate marketing, and selling exclusive recipes are some ways to do that.
Here’s a perfect guide on how to start a food blog (and make extra income on the side).
A famous Chinese proverb says, ‘Don’t listen to what they say, go see’. Traveling is something that most people are passionate about. A blog about traveling, therefore, can seldom go wrong.
Here’s how to start the perfect travel blog:
- The first step is to determine the sub-niche of your blog. There are plenty of options, including solo traveling, luxury traveling, budget traveling, family travel, and more
- The second step is to decide on a name that’ll be an instant hit with your target audience
- Set up the hosting as per your preference – either fully hosted or self-hosted
- Get the perfect theme for your travel blog. It must be alluring and enticing, and that can do half the work for you
- Again, for the maximum visibility, try formatting your blog as per schema.org, which helps in providing SEO to significant effect
You’ve again got to find out ways to monetize your blog. Some of the ways to do that are advertising hotels and tourism services on your web page, giving out discounts, advertisements, and a lot more.
If you are serious about this, then check out this guide on how to start a travel blog.
The internet is the go-to place for all things related to fashion. With the vast knowledge available online, you can get to know anything you want about fashion. Starting a fashion blog and tapping into that interest is a great idea.
However, it is a saturated space, which is why you have to make extra efforts to start and grow your fashion blog.
Here’s how you can start your fashion blog:
- Think about what type of fashion you want to talk about in your blog. Fashion can be a broad term, so it’s essential to select a style or niche. For example, do you want to blog about high-fashion or street fashion? Vintage or Gothic?
- Get the perfect domain name that will hit off instantly with the audience
- How do you host your blog? Do you want to host it yourself, or are you looking at a fully hosted one?
- Select the theme that best suits your style and the fashion you want to talk about
- Create content consistently. Never miss out on blogging
- Promote it heavily, especially on social media platforms like Instagram
Since it’s fashion, you want to give it the maximum exposure you can. Monetize it through social media, podcasts, and advertisements. You need all the attention you can get!
Every person is different; every skin type varies, and therefore, starting a beauty blog needs careful attention and focus. You need to provide something to everyone in the audience.
Here’s how you can start a fashion blog:
- Think about what you want to talk about in your beauty blog. Oily vs. dry skin? Fair vs. dark complexion? The list is endless, and it’s up to you to decide your focus area
- Picking the right name for your blog can solve many problems for you. When it comes to beauty, the right name can attract the right type of audience
- Again, choose a hosting plan and install a beauty blog theme that aligns the best with your requirements
- Plan your posts and make sure that you post them frequently
- Advertise on social media and via email newsletters
- You can also provide video tutorials and share beauty tips to increase your subscriber base
You can define WordPress as ‘a factory that makes web pages.’
It is one of the best hosting platforms available on the internet right now. And not just the best, it is also one of the most popular blogging platforms, and powers about 32.3 percent of all websites on the internet.
WordPress helps you create, publish, and share webpages – it assists you in your blogging journey from the beginning until the last step.
Moreover, it is one of the most user-friendly hosting platforms to host blogging sites. And you only have to pay for the domain name and web hosting.
Basically, it is a feature-rich CMS (content management system) that allows bloggers to create, edit, and publish content. It is also a robust website builder.
It may come as a surprise to some, but WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different platforms.
WordPress.com offers an end-to-end solution to start a website free of cost. You need to sign up, and you are all set to build your website.
However, WordPress.org is an open-source website platform that can be leveraged only through a paid hosting account.
Here are some key differences between the two platforms to help you make a more informed decision:
- WordPress.org: It is entirely free, but to make the website visible to netizens, you need to buy website hosting and a domain name.
- WordPress.com: You can start a free blog with a WordPress domain name. To have a custom domain name, you will have to shell out at least $4 per month.
- WordPress.org: Setting up a blog or website on WordPress.org requires some level of technical expertise that includes buying hosting and domain name followed by their integration with the website.
- WeordPress.com: WordPress.com guides the user in a step-by-step process to make the setup hassle-free.
- WordPress.org: It offers excellent customization options through more than 7500 free themes. Users also get to choose thousands of premium themes.
- WordPress.com: It comes with limited customization options. Free and personal plans offer over 150 themes, and other premium plans offer over 200 paid themes.
- WordPress.org: You get access to more than 50,000 plugins along with thousands of other third-party plugins.
- WordPress.com: It allows the installation of plugins in only business or eCommerce plans. These plans cost $25 and $45 per month and offer more than 50,000 plugins.
Now, it’s up to you to decide which platform aligns the best with your requirements.
As you can see, learning how to start a blog is pretty easy, but you need to consider your options carefully.
Turning your blog into a profitable money-making business requires a smarter approach, SEO mastery, consistency, and hard work.
To monetize your blog, make sure to go through my guide on How to Make Money Blogging, where I talk about in-depth on how you can scale up your content creation process and earn money with affiliate marketing, courses, a podcast, Google AdSense, selling your own products, and more.
I have covered pretty much everything you need to know to start your blog. I will continue to update this post over time with the latest blogging techniques.
Now, it’s your turn. Why not start a profitable WordPress blog today?
Start a blog today with Bluehost and get 63% off your hosting plan ($2.95/month).