So, you want start blogging successfully and make a lot of money? Hold your horses. Before you blog starts being profitable, you need to lay down the right foundation. This step-by-step guide on starting a blog will help you get it done the right way from the start, so you don’t waste time going back to fix mistakes.
Select Your Niche
Your niche is the main subject for your blog. It can be about anything, but too broad and you may not draw in the right audience. Too narrow, and you may not have that large of an audience to draw in.
Whatever your niche is, make sure it’s something you enjoy and are knowledgeable about. If not, you’ll likely burn out and give up, because the research that goes into crafting the content will not be fun for you.
Plan Your Content
Your content is a key piece of the puzzle. If you’re not writing informative content to help your readers accomplish something – you’re going to have a hard time getting readers to stick around. There are lots of ways to go about planning your content, but no matter how you generate the ideas, start with an editorial calendar, so you can get an idea of what you want to publish, and when. This keeps you accountable, and makes it easier for you to bring in multiple authors should you decide you need help.
Begin with keyword searches, using tools like Keyword Tool or Google AdWords Keyword Tool. These help you find the phrases people who are looking for information your blog might contain, and can serve as the basis for blog post ideas.
Then, take a look at the results that show up for those keywords, to determine what your competition is like. Take steps to make your content better, more useful, and stronger than what’s already there.
If you run into an inspirational slump, there are several places you can look to breath new life into your editorial calendar and content strategy.
Setup Your Domain and Web Hosting
With your niche in mind, select a domain, and purchase web hosting so you can build your blog and get it live online. For most small blogs, a shared hosting plan is sufficient and affordable. As your website grows and you expand to include additional features, products, and services, it may be wise to upgrade to a virtual private server (VPS), or a dedicated server.
Install WordPress and Choose a Theme
Once you’ve got your website setup, it’s time to install WordPress. Most web hosts have one-click install solutions, so even those without web design experience can be up and running in no time. If you prefer, you can hire a professional handle the installation for you.
Your WordPress theme sets the design for your website. There are thousands of free themes to choose from, but they don’t always include the features and customization options you’re looking for. If you’re serious about earning money from your blog, investing in a premium them from a marketplace like Theme Forest is a good idea. You can always change themes later if you decide you want to rebrand.
Think About Monetization
Now that you’re setup online and you have a plan for the content you’re going to write, think about how you’re going to monetize the blog. You can do this in a number of ways including:
- AdSense ads
- In-text ads
- In-image ads
- Affiliate programs
- Sponsored content
- Offering your own products and services
You’re never obligated to stick to a single monetization method. Many blogs use a combination of several monetization techniques to keep money coming in.
Write your content. With WordPress, you can schedule your content in advance, so you can sit and write posts when you have time, and schedule them to post when you want them to go live to your audience.
Beyond the words in the blog post, it’s a good idea to link out to relevant content, including linking to internal pages on your website. Include images, videos, and other resources to keep the content varied.
Pay attention to on-page SEO techniques, such as using keywords in the content, title, headings, writing a good meta description, and including image alt tags.
One the content is live, it’s time to promote it. Share it on your social media networks. Ask friends and family to share it on theirs. Include social media share buttons on your posts so your readers can easily share it with their audiences. Participate in Facebook groups geared toward sharing each other’s blog content. If you have a budget, run ads on Google and Facebook to drive traffic to your homepage, or particular blog posts.
Starting a blog is easy work. Running it and building it into your own profitable piece of the World Wide Web on the other hand, takes work. That’s why the right planning and thought ahead of time can make all the difference.