How To Start a Blog To Make Money in 2021
Last Updated on January 7, 2021 by Smarty Whiz
10 Easy Steps to Start a Blog To Make Money in 2020
Almost every creative or business-minded person has a blog these days. They are the best platforms to reach out to a vast number of people while making money through different avenues. However, starting a blog doesn’t come easy to a lot of people. The process seems a bit complicated, as is with any unfamiliar terrain. This is quite understandable seeing as how to start a blog requires certain techniques. These aren’t taught in our traditional schools.
In this article, I will break down the process in the most basic way. More importantly, I will use my blogging journey since this is what I have gone through.
If I could start my own blog, write my articles, and design my website myself, then you can do yours too. I am no pro when it comes to website designing or writing articles, but I can share with you key pointers, so you can learn from my experience.
Of course, the first tools of the trade you need will be an internet-enabled device preferably a laptop and a good enough internet speed. Then the most important service you need after this is a good web host.
Are you wondering what a web host is? I did too. To help you understand better, it is a common fact that for you to build a house, you need a piece of land. Similarly, a web host is a platform on which you build your blog. It is the foundation of your blog and determines its success to a large extent.
There are several web hosting platforms. However, my best would be Bluehost. This is because Bluehost offers the absolute best user interface. It is simple to use and delivers great hosting at an affordable price. As a matter of fact, it is endorsed by WordPress (the most used content management system in the world).
The simplicity of this platform and the fact that you can own your personal blog today for as low as $3.95 per month makes it desirable. As a beginner blogger, I would recommend you start with the basic plan. It will adequately cover your needs for now.
Another key aspect of starting a blog, for the purpose of generating an income, is to consider it a business/job. Commit to its success with the same level of commitment you give your 9 to 5 job. Like every business startup, you need to draw up a business plan for your blog. This should cater to every aspect of your blog startup. It should serve as your compass to achieving success. As the saying goes, “A failure to plan, is a plan to fail”.
Now that we have dealt with web hosting and its importance, as well as saying that you should have the mindset of a business owner as a blogger looking to make money. Let’s take a detailed look at other blogging startup necessities.
1. Do your homework and identify a niche
Firstly, as a new startup blog, you don’t want to be a jack of all trades. You need to do proper research and identify a niche. Liken a niche to an area of specialization. As with all specialties, you will become a master at blogging in that niche.
Secondly, you won’t be overwhelmed by having to blog about different subject areas. Choose a niche based on your research. As an example, you could google to find out average monthly income for bloggers in a particular niche. This serves as a guide for potential revenues as well as how in demand the service of that niche is. You could find out about keywords, and matters that are of interest to your target audience. Keywords that have over a hundred thousand searches per month using google keyword planner will be a good niche. Some of the most profitable blog niche today are; Tech, Finance, Travel, Business, etc.
While most common blogging advice is to write about your passion, it is not the driving force for a successful blogging business. Having a well laid out blogging business plan as well as researching what topics matters the most to your target are key considerations.
A recent trend is to include a B2B component to your blog. This ensures you are providing services to 2 major economy classes. Direct consumers as well as business owners.
Lastly, determine the money earning potential of your niche. I mean is it an area with enough affiliate marketing options for you to create content that will generate income for you? It would be a problem if you choose a niche that doesn’t have enough advertisers. This would mean there are no products or services to promote.
2. Due Diligence On Competitor Websites
Carry out extensive research on competitor websites. This is a detailed analysis of sites that are in the same niche as you. You would want to look at their blogging style, article length, website navigation appearance, etc.
In business, you need to understand your competitor to beat them at their game. This also applies to blogging. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) tools come to play. There are many SEO tools and platforms that can help with this. As a beginner, there is a free version that you can install as a plugin. This is the Yoast SEO.
3. Give your Baby Startup a Domain Name
Just like when you are starting a new business, you need a name for people to identify it by. A common mistake is to choose a long character name. This happened with the very first blog I started. As a rule of thumb, names that are shorter than 24 characters and preferably made up of two words are better for search engine optimization, SEO.
The name chosen for your blog is your domain name. You need to register the domain name before it can become active. Registration is easy and offered by web hosting providers. Enter the name in the domain search availability tool to check if it is available.
You also need to consider the domain extension. There are various types, .com, .us, .org, .net, .ca etc. Sometimes you may choose an extension ending with your country’s letters if your posts are targeted nationally rather than globally. However, the .com extension is the most common.
4. Choose a Content Management System
This is the software you will use to design, modify, and create your blog. The most common software is WordPress. About 30% of all websites use this content manager. This is probably due to its ease of use and friendly user interface. Other content management systems are Joomla, Sitecore, and a couple more options.
5. Configure Your Sites Appearance
Now you need to design your website. Doing this is easy with WordPress. There are thousands of themes to choose from within WordPress. Some are free and some are paid. Alternatively, you could also use a website builder if you want to start from scratch.
As a new blogger who isn’t tech-savvy, I would advise you to choose a theme. This saves you hours that will be spent building a website from scratch. It is also easier to customize.
Widgets and Plugins can be considered your favorite tools within your content management system. This is because you are able to install a variety of website essentials with these tools. As an example, there are contact form plugins that allow the installation of a contact form on your website. The ‘Plugins’ tab on the dashboard will take you to this section to let you activate them.
I have a couple of plugins that are an absolute must to have. These include;
- Yoast SEO – It helps with search engine optimization. Lets you know if your article is readable as well as how it appears on search engines
- WP Forms – For installing contact forms and other forms
- Ads Inserter – Allows the placement of Ads in strategic locations, I also use this to insert my affiliate disclosure box in posts
- Insert headers and footers – This allows the insertion of meta tags. I found it useful when I was doing my Google verification.
- Site Kit – This makes linking your website to Google search console and analytics easier.
You can search for this plugins and have them installed for free.
Widgets are menus that are displayed on the left or right of the theme. Sometimes, they can be added as a header or at the foot of the page too. You can also use widgets to display adverts by embedding HTML links.
Permalinks- It is crucial for you to set up the style of your permalinks prior to publishing your content. Permalinks determine how your links will appear. The style that displays your sample post is usually the best option for SEO optimization. To change your Permalinks settings from the default style, go to settings > permalinks and then choose post name. The post name option does not include dates and other characters. The permalink carries the post title as the extension which is better for SEO ranking. See below an infographic that explains better
6. Add all the necessary information
If you will be using affiliate links and adverts, you need to follow FTC guidelines. Ensure you communicate to your audience that you may receive compensation for actions carried out by users who click on these links.
7. Create Content
Well, you need to have content i.e blog posts that people can read. This is the entire purpose of a book log (Blog). On starting out, you might not be able to write all articles by yourself. Don’t forget you need to focus on the business part of blogging as well.
You can hire ghostwriters to write for you. However, you must do proper editing as you want to ensure the delivery of quality content to your audience. Hiring writers save you time. There are several online freelance marketplaces to hire writers. Examples of such markets are Fiverr and Writerswork.
You don’t have to be an English linguist to write articles for your blog. The most important thing is for you to communicate appropriately. I improve my writing skill with Grammarly. It is a grammar checker and checks for typo errors, punctuation errors, composition errors, etc. There is also a plagiarism upgrade that checks to ensure my blog posts are original.
8. Link your website to search engines
It is a critical step that must be followed after creating your blog and publishing content. Linking your site to Google means Google as a search engine becomes aware of the existence of your website.
Send your sitemap by creating an account on Google search console. Do this for all major search engines. It helps to gain traffic and feature in organic search results in the long run.
9. Publicize the blog
It is important to publicize the blog to make people visit it and read your posts. Use SEO techniques to refer your blog to search engines and get massive traffic. Also, publicize about your newly started blog on social media platforms and engage with people to let them know about it. Start improving your contacts by making yourself known in the bloggers’ community. Look for opportunities to guest write on other blog sites that have higher domain authority. You can also use Google Adwords to advertise your website on the first pages of google search.
10. Monetize the blog
Lastly, when you gain enough traffic, it is time to monetize the blog and earn something out of all the investment done till now. The best way to go about this is affiliate marketing. This means you earn a percentage of money when a viewer purchases a product advertised through your site.
There are 2 ways of getting affiliate links. First, you can apply directly to individual companies that have the affiliate program.
Secondly, you can sign up with affiliate networks such as ShareASale. I love ShareASale because of the ease of use of its interface. Additionally, there are currently over 3900 merchants on this network. Affiliate networks have a database of merchants in different product categories. You could also use a combination of both methods.
You can sign up for paid advertising networks such as Google AdSense that will place a few ads on your blog and pay you every time a user clicks on it. Monetization can also be done using sponsored articles from people or companies who would like to use your blog space to put out their advert links.
Things to keep in mind before starting your blog
Before guiding you on how to start your blog, here are a few things that you must note before creating it.
- Identify the interests of Your Audience
It is essential to understand the interests of the people if you are looking for easy popularity. To make your blog popular soon, you have to cater to the interests of your target group. The blog should be fascinating and unique.
- Regular Content Creation
The blog must have regular posts to keep the audience engaged. It will also help in gaining more traffic. The more frequently you publish articles, the better. Try to publish at least four times a week as a new blogger.
- Make the content well-researched and engaging
The content you publish should have all the information the readers would like to know. Give them concise information without beating around the bush. Also, remember to research thoroughly before writing so that the information is authentic. Take care of the writing style, which should be engaging, conversational, and comprehensible too.
- Use keywords
Along with writing grammatically correct articles, it is important to remember to include keywords. It helps to rank better with search engines thereby increasing traffic to your blog.
Now, you are aware of the critical skills needed to start blogging to make money. To help you kick off the process, start by signing up with Bluehost for your hosting platform. Use this article as a guide to understanding the next steps to take in your site creation!