How to start a blog and make money in 2018 Step-by-step with WordPress. The ultimate guide. If you need a reliable host to start your blog on? Check out Bluehost here.
Have you heard of people making money online with their blogs? Well I have heard of so many great success stories. Don’t you already know how to start a blog and make money from it? In this article I will run you through the entire process from deciding on what blog you want to create. To some considerations you need to take into account before starting a blog. I will show you how to setup your blog by signing up for a hosting provider. We will then move on to how to index your blog on search engines as well as ways to grow your blog traffic. Finally I will end off on ways you can monetize your blog. Just looking for the best hosting platform for starting a blog then here you go: click here for bluehost.
First things to consider when starting your blog
I have always been a big believer that when starting any form of business there needs to be a passion behind it. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme and even though it can be really rewarding if you work on it. It will not be an easy journey. So it is really advisable to choose a blog topic which you enjoy and which you think you will enjoy for the foreseeable future.
Building great content which your readers will love and enjoy can be a lot of work. You may spend hours and hours of time writing great articles. The number one thing to remember in blogging is to create quality. Especially later on when you get to the monetizing step. In order for your users to become interested in your product, affiliate or any other call to action you might throw their way you need their loyalty. The only way to gain their trust and build that loyalty will be to give them free high quality information which they will be able to appreciate.
With all this said, you need to ask yourself is blogging really for you. Here is some statistics which might make or break your decision to go ahead with blogging.
Some of the stats you want to know about before starting your blog
1. The average time for a blog to become generally successful can be six months to three years or even never if you do not commit, this obviously all depends on a few factors such as the topic you blog about. The amount of commitment you have towards your blog and so on.
2. An average successful blog generating traffic of 2000 – 5000 users per day with commercial intent can generate up to $20 000 per month in passive income.
3. A successful blog can earn income world wide in any timezone while you sleep. Great benefit I would say.
4. To become successful you will need to publish between 3 – 7 blog posts per week ranging about 1000 – 5000 words in length. Even though many people argue that shorter articles can also do well, this essentially is the safest bet when creating content. Is to create long and compelling content for your users.
With all these things in mind, the reward can be great however it’s not as easy as everyone makes it look. You need raw commitment and nerves of steel to make it happen.
Other skills you might need to learn is seo or search engine optimization to help you write your articles effectively for search engine indexing and ranking.
How do bloggers make money from blogging
Bloggers earn money through creating quality content. Then they monetize the traffic their website get by using different types of money making strategies. You can earn money as a blogger by using affiliate marketing, selling courses or e books, selling products or services or even their consulting services. The big thing though is to get as much relevant traffic you can as a blogger which you can turn into income generating sales.
What to focus on when you don’t know how to start a blog and make money yet?
However here are a few simple steps to help you, to just make things easier. Always remember that the better quality content you have the better chance you have of a following. Here are the steps to follow to achieve this.
Here are some quick guidelines when you have just started your blog
1. Keep your focus on creating content, at least for the first 6 months. Make sure this is your main focus. Forget about commercial intent and conversions. Just write really awesome content for your blog.
2. If you have started getting some traffic now. Get some branding just to keep your blog consistent and have something for your users to relate to. Your primary focus should not be the look and feel of your blog in the beginning as there really is no one to show it to in the beginning, worry about this when the traffic comes.
2. Build a subcriber list and a following for your blog. You can do this in many ways. You can offer free short courses in exchange for an opt in email. Free videos or even infographics or printable items for your subscriber base. If you have the resources offer up free software or apps to your subscribers. Give something away in exchange for them opting in.
3. Send follow up emails with constructive content. It has been shown that it takes up to 5 impressions of your brand before trust can be created in your target audience.
4. Start to build a following on social media platforms. Try to focus on about 3 – 4 platforms. Having a presence everywhere just creates more trust in your blog and your brand.
5. Upgrade your content. People are all different and consume content in many different ways. Try to bring video into your posts. This might help those which do not enjoy reading to engage as well. Not to mention if they are watching a video on your page this will help you to keep them on your pages longer which will be good for you google rank.
This probably is the most important factor in whether you will make a success or not. Some people do however get lucky and make a big success without even doing this, just simply by blogging about whatever they think people will like. However if you wish to truly treat your blog as a business you need to be calculated. Do your research and you can save yourself a world of time.
Just to get you started here are the top 10 blogs you can start which probably will do well if you worked hard at it.
Top 10 blogs you can start and almost make an immediate success
1. Finance and investing blogs, I mean really everyone wants to make more money right. People are always interested in ways and means they can improve their finances.
You could write about property investing, forex trading and stocks. Even just simple tips for saving money can be a good topic.
2. Fitness and exercise blogs, these are very popular there are so many people out there looking for that next fitness challenge, diet or work out plan. This niche is endless.
You could incorporate things such as protein shake recipes, diet juces, your own personal diet plans. You could even just simply use this as a blog which you log your work outs. Some bloggers have made a success out of logging their work outs, people love to follow other people’s progress.
3. Life style and life skills, for you life hackers out there. This might be a great niche to be in. There are a lot of people out there interested in optimizing their life. The great thing about this niche is there are so many products which you can sell. Everything from a more comfortable chair to a new way of washing dishes. Any convenience item will fall under this scope.
You could also blog about simple life skills. Such has how to create the perfect resume or a cover letter. Whatever will give people that little extra boost in life.
Shew this is getting long here are a few more
4. Female or male hobbies blog, doing both also doesn’t hurt, but if you have a specific interest in one you probably need to stick to that. This also is a niche with excellent buying intent. Hobbies usually come with very specific items to that hobby and can have great financial intent if you had to monetize. Also this niche is very highly followed. Things such golf, arts, crafts, scrap booking and other topics do very well.
5. Tech blog, tech blogs do well because their users are usually tech enthusiasts. Shopping for the next new awesome tech. You can blog about the latest nvidia card or compare graphics cards. Margins on these items are also good so a really good niche to be in.
6. Self help and motivation blogs, there are a ton of sad, unhappy, depressed and lonely people out. There though this type of blog does not have huge commercial intent. It does offer a lot for you if you want to help people and get your own experiences and message acrosss.
7. Career blogs, this probably ties in a lot with finance blogs, but everyone is looking to improve their career. You could write content on ways to boost your career or how to get that next promotion. This topic is really popular as everyone wants to climb that corporate ladder.
Hold tight just a few more to go
8. Food blogs, everyone eats right? Why not make it more pleasant by sharing your favorite recipes. Sharing cooking tips and grandmas cook book. Also great commercial intent if you selling convenience items for preparing food.
9. Gardening blog, got those green fingers? Why not blog about different types of plant life people can incorporate into their living space. Everyone is looking for that special Zen in their life.
10. Automotive blog, boys and girls alike love drooling over the latest new hot tesla arrival. If you are into cars, why not offer tips on doing your own service or where to get a good service. Even if you can review some cars.
So what next?
Once you have chosen the blog you would like to start we need to do some research. Just to see how much potential your particular niche may have. It sometimes can be hard to measure, but we will look at some metrics and see if there is at least a leg to stand on.
Something else you must remember is that sheer traffic alone may not make your blog successful for monetization. The reason for this is, if your blog attracts users which have no interest in buying anything you are offering you will make a big flat zero even with millions of users. For this reason part of the metric will be to try and understand buying intent as well.
In this I will create a case study on how we can go about measuring the potential success of a blog niche. Here in my example I am going to use my truly favourite niche the fitness niche. First we need to answer a few questions.
Questions for analysing your blog niche
1. If I were a user of this blog, what sorts of problems could I potentially have?
2. What keywords would I be searching on search engines to solve my problems?
3. What would I expect to see when I find a page that could solve my problem?
Now the thing is, your aim should always be to satisfy some need, question, desire or problem in your blog posts. So give it some thought on the questions above. Here is some of the answers I have for these questions on our case study. Using just one potential problem some one might have. Here is how I think they would word it.
1. I want to build a bigger biceps, but I don’t have money for a gym.
2. I potentially might search: how to get bigger biceps at home
3. What I would expect to see landing on a page I find under this keyword. I would like to see some tips on how I can actually grow my biceps from the comfort of my own home. I am quite desperate because I am hitting the beach in a couple of months and need that body.
So our case study user potentially has buying intent for any product which could help the process a long and can be used at home.
Blog keyword research
So lets take this a step further. Lets head over to my favourite keyword research tool semrush. Let’s type in our keyword and see what sort of traffic volumes we are looking at. Here is the easy way:
Or use the long way below if you so desire.
Follow the following steps below to achieve this:
1. Head over to semrush.com
2. Type or paste our keyword into the box below:
3. Hit start now.
You might now see something similar to this.
Please remember these stats may have changed since this article as traffic may fluctuate with trends.
As we can see this keyword has a 140 monthly search volume. Potentially 140 customers to your blog with this problem. The great thing about this tool is the related keywords section which you will see in the bottom right. You will see the keyword how to get bigger arms at home with 320 search volume per month. Is this keyword going to make you a millionaire over night? No probably not it’s not exactly 1000s of visits per month. However if you were to combine some of the related keywords in your posts you could potentially reach up to 1000 users with the same problem per month.
How does this translate into making money from our blog?
Now imagine for a second you could convince 1% of those people to buy a product from you making you just $5. That would produce $50 of passive income monthly. Now start to do this with 10 more keywords and you are starting to cover potentially your rent of the place where you work.
Do it with 100 and you ar starting to get into a good position as a blogger.
Ofcourse the other aspect is you need to look at what sorts of products you can sell. However it is my advise especially if you are starting out to not look at that at all. Focus on adding value to your users. However when choosing your topics just be logical about it and think to yourself whether the user landing on this site will be a potential buyer for a solution. If yes you are all set.
I would suggest you get a copy of semrush and do more thorough research into keywords and volume you can use on your blog. It really will save you time. Getting you to more traffic faster.
Another really simple way to go about knowing whether something is commercially viable or not. Just do a quick google search for a broad keyword in your niche if you see google ads then there is money, because someone is paying to make more money.
How to create your blog – How to start a blog WordPress
To get you off to a really good start you need to find a good domain. I’m not talking about some domain you just register fresh I’m talking about a domain with existing authority. This might be a bit tedious and time consuming but really will help your blog in the short term. What we will do is look for expired domains which have some good authority. I will show you below how it works.
First you will need to head over to expireddomains.net. I do advise you sign up for an account to allow you to get advanced searching options. If you have registered and logged in you will see something like this.
At the top we will click on deleted .com. There is no true evidence to confirm this, but I have always found that .com domains just rank better over all. So for our example we will be looking at .com domains. Now what we will be looking at is two things, domain age and whether the domain has any back links. Also we may want to sort by similar web rank.
Let’s filter out the bad domains
To make things easier I usually filter out adult domains, keep ones with similar rank and only show ones which are available.
What to look for in a good domain for your blog?
If you are looking for a domain with a specific keyword in it, you can try add the keyword to the contains box. Click apply filter and lets examine some of the domains.
Here we will see some domains with similar rank, a good aging.
As you can see some of these domain are almost 15 years old and have some pre existing backling. What we want to do next is head over to moz.com and just check on their authority. For our example I will use the domain : bilgisite.com
So on moz.com you will just type in the domain name.
What you would want to pay attention to is spam score and authority.
The domain should have almost no spam score and the domain authority preferably should be above 25 to start out with. Also this gives you an opportunity to check the back links on the domain. More more details on back links you can analyse this on semrush.
Now follow this process to find your perfect domain.
This is so tedious can I just register a new domain
If you find this tedious and prefer to register a new domain. You can of course do this, but you will need to build up your own authority over time which may take longer for your blog to rank correctly. So end of the day really it’s up to you. If you want a more custom domain rather register new and build your brand around that.
Now that you have decided on a domain name lets register your blog
We make use of a hosting provider called bluehost. Please also note We have an affiliation with them and will earn some commission of any services you purchase. However they are still a great service and have hosting tailored for bloggers so I would really recommend you follow along in this guide and give them a try. To get to them you can visit their site by clicking through our link here: click here for bluehost.
Click on get started
Once there click on choose plan.
At the time of this post you will see this plan. However if this has changed please just choose the mid level plan.
This plan should allow you to handle super high volumes of traffic. Also ssl is very important to allow search engines and your users to trust that your blog is secured.
You should now see this, enter the domain you want to register and click on next.
The domain for example could be something like tangentlife.com which is my domain.
Add your account information and make sure domain privacy is ticked.
Add your billing info and read the terms and check the accept box.
Once you have done this you need to activate your domain. You will then be asked to create a password and from here you should be able to access your new wordpress blog.
Next you will want to enable ssl. This will just give a lot more authority to your domain and will make your site more secure for your users and will be seen as more trusted in the eyes of search engines. In order to turn this on login to your bluehost account. Click on My Sites, then click manage sites, click on security and turn on the free ssl. Once this has been done and your domain is fully active you should now have your site secured with ssl.
Some tips on setting up your blog – How to create your blog
Now you would want to start adding some useful plugins to your blog here are some I recommend.
- Yoast SEO – This plugin helps you type your posts with strong on page seo principles in mind. Here is a screenshot of what it looks like:
Yoast will also create a sitemap.xml for you which will store all your posts. I will show in a later section how we can use this to have search engines index your blog.
2. OnePress Image Elevator – If you have an explainer blog this plugin is great for when you want to paste screenshots from your clip board directly into your blog posts.
For now that is all you will need to start.
How do I publish a post
Just a side note for those who do not know how to publish posts. Simply go over to the menu on the left and click on Add New under posts.
So you have your blog and now you have started adding your posts. Once you have reached more than 10 posts move on to the next section where I will cover how you can get your blog indexed on the search engines.
Blog writing examples
If you want to start blogging you need to have a winning format on writing blog posts. Usually the best practices are to keep paragraphs short, add headings to break up your content and to add video and images to split your content or to provide alternatives to ways visitors can consume your content. I use the follow blog post structure as an example.
- Introduction to the article. I always add a short introduction on what the article or blog post will cover.
- I start with the piece with a heading and image keeping the paragraphs short.
- Frequently asked questions section. This section helps you add more value to your articles and allow your articles to grow in length.
- Conclusion finally I add a conclusion and link to other posts which might be useful to my readers.
Getting your blog indexed by search engines
Let’s start with getting your blog indexed on google. Google undoubtedly is the biggest search engine at the moment and it is imperative we start indexing our blog on there first. In order to start the indexing process head over to www.google.com/webmasters. You will need a google account to register. Start by creating your account. Then follow the following steps to have your site added:
Get our verification code
Type in your full url to your blog in the box and click add. Once you have done this. You will be presented with this screen.
Click on alternate methods. Then choose html tag.
We will use this to verify with google that we are the actual owners of this site. The easiest way to enable this is to make use of Yoast which we installed earlier. Click on SEO then dashboard:
Then click on Webmaster Tools:
You will see 3 boxes below one with google search console. Add the verification code there. The verification code will only be the portion between the content = “”. So in this case will be UFpU5pmVKRLWLN6Iq3xLQH1zNqhSVy5T5KGa2TUvM4s. Once done click save.
Once done head back to webmaster tools to do the verification.
Click on verify and you should get a success message. Your site is now verified by google.
You should now see your site in a list like this:
Click on your link and you will be presented with a screen like this.
Click on sitemaps. Once there click on add sitemap.
Type in sitemap.xml and click submit. Google now knows about your site and will start the indexing process. Allow up to 30 days for your site to be indexed.
Top ways to grow your blog’s traffic
SEO – Search engine optimization for your blog
So now the big question. I have setup my blog, google knows about it but how do I get more traffic. Well the simple and not so simple answer is SEO. In order for your keywords to rank higher on search engines you will need back links. Just like with your content always have only quality back links to your blog. The best way to obtain these back links is by doing what is known as guest posts. This technique can be used to get back links from other authority sites in your niche. This simply is an exchange of blogs posts from one blog to another where authors swap out articles and add their links to the posts. These are excellent back links because both sites are relevant to the niche they are in. Just making your site look just so much more authoritative in the eyes of google.
Social platforms such as twitter, facebook and pinterest can be quite useful to build more traffic. However the main thing to consider is where are your target users hanging out. If you are in the health, beauty and wellness niche, pinterest is great for this. Pinterest users are mostly focused on some of those topics at the moment. If it’s more business related you may want to look into linkedin. If it is extremely niche and you are adding a lot of value you may even consider posting on reddit. Just be logical and sensible about it and think about where your users are. Don’t waste your time on social platforms which don’t have communities for your niche.
Forums are somewhat older of a concept. However they are extremely niche and you can easily target your user group in forums. Make sure to contribute really good content and responses and you might find that users from forums click through to your site from your signature.
Youtube or video
Why not start publishing videos about the things you have blogged about. This will just give you another platform to launch off and you can place your precious links inside your video description to help you blog rank better in search engines.
Free traffic sources for your blog
If you have implemented some of the techniques above and you have been struggling to have much success with it. Then you should consider using some of these free traffic sources. If you are starting out with your blog it is not advised to spend a lot of money to get it going. For this reason here I will list some of my top ways to get free traffic to your blog.
- Join niche related forums, use your expertise to add value to forums and add a link in your signature. This will not just increase your backlinks to relevant sites, but also give you some click throughs from already established communities. The great thing about this is that you will most likely continue to get traffic from these sources if you have added value. Search engines can be quite tricky to rank on, but you can easily derive traffic from community sites if you offer some great value.
- Quora is one of my favorite traffic sources. Even though they only offer no follow backlinks, the point really is to build a following with your expertise. Quora allows you to answer questions on your niche and add some value to users subscribed to that question. If you have built yourself up as an authority people will start clicking through to your site for more information. This just requires a bit of patience and daily work.
- Reddit, reddit can be a great source of traffic. Reddit is very critical about content though so be sure to post only highly useful content. Otherwise your content will be down voted and you may even face some nasty comments.
- Pinterest is always a favorite for me. Create informative long pins and publish and share them on pinterest. Pinterest really is a great new free traffic source which could sky rocket your traffic to your blog quickly.
So now you have some traffic so what about your brand?
Truly the easiest way to start building that brand is to get yourself a professional logo and great looking wordpress theme. If you don’t have the skills to build wordpress themes yourself you can find some awesome developers here on fiverr. As well as designers which can design you a professional logo in no time check out fiverr for more info. Once you have this in place you can simply upload your theme to your wordpress by clicking on appearance on the left and then themes and then uploading your theme to your account. Once this is done you can activate your new wordpress theme for use. I might do a guide on developing your own wordpress theme if anyone is interested. Let me know if you would like to see such a guide.
Ways to monetize your blog
Here are some easy ways you can monetize your site and a couple more advanced methods.
- Google adsense – google will pay you for any referring clicks you can send them off your site.
- Affiliates – This of course is the easiest way to generate money from your blog. A lot of affiliate programs might pay for leads or clicks. However most require a confirmed sale. However if your content is relevant to your blog or your post you could easily convert your traffic into sales earning your affiliate commission.
- Use your blog as a consulting service, so you got a lot of traffic and you doing really well maybe your users want to know how you did it. You could contract out mentoring services to assist your users in building their own blogs.
- You can sell physical products off your blog using a plugin called WooCommerce. Alternatively you can use the drop ship model to sell products and have them shipped direct to your customer without having to even handle the stock. To find out more about this you can visit our post on how to start an online business or if you are interest in selling apparel and want to start a t shirt business check out our post on that.
Getting the edge on your competitors
With new advancements in the way search engines read your site information. It is time to get with the trends and upgrade your site. Even though this has not yet been included in modern day search engine rankings as of writing this post. It will however feature strongly in future. Search engines like google for example are now looking at newer ways to get more engagement and higher quality content onto their search results. One of the ways they are doing this is through rich structured data. Have you searched for recipes online lately and got a nice v-card looking type search result. This is what structured data can bring your site. More real estate on some of the top search engines. In order to implement these you may need to learn standards like hentry, hatom and other structured data formats.
If you have followed this guide and you are using wordpress you can simply get started with this by installing a plugin called rich snippets. Rich snippets allows you to get special features when posting your blog posts. See some examples below of the different types of posts it supports.
Using these types can enhance your blog posts with additional information which search engine can utilize to display in their search results when people search for your content. Giving you more space on the search engine page increasing your click through rates. Creating more engagement with your content and more.
Here is an example of what an article structured data post could look like.
Rich snippets will display this excerpt or summary at the bottom of your pages to help Google and other search engines identify information about your posts.
How to create a wordpress theme
So you have got your wordpress blog setup. You have a few posts and are starting to get some traffic. So maybe it’s now time to start creating your own wordpress theme. Here are a number of excellent videos which will help you build a very basic theme. The tutorials are intended to teach you how to build a basic wordpress theme from scratch. This will allow you to easily modify and customize your theme going forward. Check out the below videos for a full guide on how to create a wordpress theme.
Frequently asked question on how to start a blog
How can I start buying expired domains for seo?
It is actually very simple to start buying expired domains for seo. You just need to make sure a of a few things before buying an expired domain. One of which is the spam history you can check up on this with the process I provided above in my blog post. The short end of it though is you just need to check if there was spam on that site in the past and that backlinking profile is clean.
How can I start my blog?
You can follow the full step by step process above to start your blog. I suggest you make use of a self hosted WordPress setup for your blog just to get you off to the best start possible.
How to start a blog using WordPress?
In order start a WordPress blog you need a self hosted account with a hosting provider. I suggest Bluehost for any beginners which want to get started with blogging. Bluehost has a simple 1 click install option which will help you get started super quickly.
Where can I get a SEMRush promo code?
If you want to check out SEMrush you can check it out over here: SEMRush
How to start your own blog for free?
If you are not ready for an investment and want to start a free blog there are a few other platforms you can use like WordPress.com, Blogspot and Tumblr. These are all great free platforms, but remember they all come with their own risks and limitations. So I would definitely still advise that you go for a self hosted blog.
How to use Google Webmaster Tools with your blog?
In order to start using Google webmaster tools with your blog you just need to submit your site. Add the verification code to your blog’s code and verify your site. Once verified just submit your site map and you are ready to go.
Are there blogging sites that pay?
Blogging pays by generating traffic to your blog. Then using the targeted traffic to allow you to make sales to people who are interested in the products you are selling.
How to make money with wordpress?
Simply just start creating excellent content on your WordPress blog and start to monetize with different affiliate platforms once you have enough relevant traffic coming to your blog.
How much money can you make blogging?
Blogging can reward you in so many ways. The amount you will earn with a blog is completely related to the type of traffic you get and how much of it you get. The more qualified traffic you get the more you can sell products or services which pay you money.
What other blogging platforms are there?
There are a few blogging platforms available to you. Square space and platforms like Tumblr, Blogspot and more are all blogging platforms which you can use to start your blog. Some are free platforms and others not.
How to create a blog for free on google?
If you want to start a blog for free on Google you can use their free blogging platform Blogspot. Check it out here blogspot.com.
How to start a blog for free?
There are a number of free blogging platforms out there which you can use. Here is a list of some of them.
How to start a blog on Facebook?
If you want to use Facebook as a blog. Facebook as a nice option where you can add notes on your profile. You can easily create posts with the notes section.
How to start a fashion blog?
If you want to start a fashion blog you can use the same steps as above to create your fashion blog. You must just remember for fashion blogs you may want to include more graphical images on your blog just to add more visual effects on your fashion blog.
How to make money with a blog for beginners?
If you want to start make money as a beginner blogger. My suggestion is always to first create excellent content. Before you have excellent content on your blog you won’t generate traffic. If you don’t have traffic you can’t monetize so the easiest way to start is to follow the guide above and then just start by creating quality content on your blog.
Conclusion of how to start a blog and make money in 2017
I hope you all enjoyed this post on how to start a blog. Let me know in the comment box below what you liked what you didn’t like. What you would like more info on. I will be glad to add some more awesome posts for you guys to utilize.