If you want to learn how to start a blog and make money doing it, this is the place to be. You will get true, uncensored information and a step-by-step guide. Becoming a blogger is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for quick, easy cash. Blogging takes dedication, commitment, consistency, and some thick skin. It is a constant learning experience but can provide you with a full time income from home.
Creating a successful blog is not an overnight event. You can start a blog in a matter of minutes, a good blog in hours, but to make a profitable blog takes years. This is not meant to discourage you but to force you to be realistic with yourself. Most of the bloggers you see on the top earning lists have been doing it for 5, 10, and 15 years. However, the pennies can eventually turn to dollars and then tens, twenties, and more. So if you are serious about starting a blog and making money, lets get started. These steps show my exact process every time I start a blog.
Choose a Blog Topic
Many people create a random blog and hope to make money. This is not how it works. Your blog needs focus and a topic. Think long and hard about the topic you choose to write about.
Blog topics need to be:
- Something you are passionate about. You need to love this topic so much that you would talk about it for free. Blogging takes a lot of time and you don’t want to get sick of your topic.
- In a niche that is narrow enough to make you different but wide enough to get a lot of readers. This blog is about personal finance, but there are tons of blogs like that. So, I decided to cater to moms and money topics that they can relate to.
Do Some Keyword Research
Before you jump into naming your blog and choosing a URL, you are going to need to do some keyword research. This will set your blog up for success from the beginning. Keyword research in one of the basic concepts of search engine optimization (SEO). Having good keywords in your blog name and throughout your blog will give you blog a better chance of showing up in the search results. This is how your potential readers and followers will find you.
For a beginner blogger, all you need is your search engine or a Google account to do some minimal keyword research. The trick is to find the kinds of words that people are typing into the search engine to find the kind of information you are talking about. If you wanted to start a blog about your hobby in RC racing, you would type that into the Google Keyword Planner or Google Search.
Google Keyword Planner
When I do this with the Keyword Planner, I get a list of terms related to “RC Racing” and how many times people search for that term every month. There are a total of 709 related keywords. These terms give you a great idea of what people are searching for. Below is a screen shot of my results.
Another option is to begin typing into the search engine and use what pops up for suggestions. Google takes what you have typed so far and gives you suggestions based on what it thinks you may be looking for. This is the most basic version of keyword research and is fine for those starting out. But, it doesn’t give you any idea of how often the term is searched for.
For more in depth information about keyword research, check The Beginners Guide to SEO – How to do Keyword Research. This inforgraphic is published on Moz.com; which is an essential source of information for any blogger. You can learn so much about search engine optimization with the resources found there.
Choose a Blog Name
When you first start a blog, it is hard to not want to just jump write in and start writing. You will want to first thing about what type of audience you want to reach, and what you will talk about. This blog is targeted towards moms who are interested in their personal finances. So, “Momma Loves Money” does a good job a conveying that to potential readers. It is not just about budgeting, saving money, or making money. It is a blog about everything to do with money that a mom could be interested in.
You need a blog name/title that will be short, relevant, and easy to remember. This is the first impression someone will have of your blog. I would be much less likely to have people click on my blog if it was called “Personal Finance Blog”. See what I’m getting at here?
Make sure you think of a few different versions of the name you decide on. Have a list of 5 or 6 because you may need them in a few steps.
Choose a Blog Platform
The next step of starting a blog is deciding where you want to publish your blog. There are quite a few places to write a blog for free. But, some of them do not allow advertising and most others force you to have an ugly domain name. The two biggest platforms are Blogger and WordPress. I personally use the self-hosted form of WordPress. If you would like to see the differences between the two check out the comparison: Blogger vs. WordPress.
Buy a Domain Name
A domain name is basically your blogs address on the internet. This is where to find your blog and where it lives. This is typically something like www.yourblogname.com. You can also get domain names with .net, .org, etc.
Deciding on a domain name can be difficult. The best thing you can do is get a domain name that matches your blog name. This is because it would look very foolish if I went to www.blahblahblah.com to find a blog called Mommy’s Cupcakes. But, the specific domain name you want may not be available. You can use GoDaddy to do a domain name search, and determine if the name you want is available. You may have to go through quite a few. This is where your list of different blog names will come in handy.
Once you decide on a domain name, you can register it with GoDaddy or a whole list of other places. But, my suggestion is to register it with the company that you get your web hosting through. They typically will give you a better deal or throw it in for free with your hosting account.
Buy Web Hosting
There are tons and tons of different web hosting companies. If you want to see some kind of review or comparison of them, check out The Best Web Hosting Services of 2015.
I personally use Dreamhost and don’t have a single complaint. If you sign up for hosting through them, do me a favor and sign up using my code MLM123 to get a free domain name with your hosting. You can also get starting through my Dreamhost affiliate link.
Download Software and Plugins
I wholeheartedly suggest using WordPress.org software on your self – hosted blog. If you look at 90% of the highest earning blogs, they use WordPress.
Once you have that installed, there are a few specific plugins that I suggest you use. Plugins are basically separately created code that enables your WordPress site to do addition things. The plugins below are free and I use them on all of my blogs.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast (Best SEO Plugin)
- W3 Total Cache (Speeds up your site)
- iThemes Security (Keeps Hackers Out)
- Shareaholic (Encourages sharing on social media)
Start Building an Email List
From the moment you get your blog up and running, you need to start building an email list. This is that little box you see on blogs that say something about subscribing for updates. If you have this up from the start, you will never miss an opportunity to get a new follower. Your mail subscriber list will be like gold later.
Create Social Media Accounts
Social media is starting to be a huge part in businesses/blog failures or successes. Do some research within your niche and determine which social media outlets are most common. Then, create accounts on those sites and become active in the conversation. Make sure to also add the links to your social media accounts in a prominent area of your blog.
Most influential Social Media
- Google +
Publish Great Content
I’m not going to dwell on this one too much because there are so many blog post on the internet about how to write good blog posts. I will say this: Great content gets your readers attention and keeps it. However you choose to do this is up to you.
Start Getting Backlinks
Backlinks are the things that make your site look trustworthy. These can come in the form of social shares, likes, guest posts, blog mentions, etc. The more different, quality places you get links from, the better. So, offer to write content for another site like yours in exchange for a link back to your blog.
Monetize Your Blog
There are tons of different ways to make money from blogging. My most successful at the moment is Google Adsense. It takes some effort to get approved sometimes as they like to see a lot of content before they approve you. So, if you are brand new to this, write a few blog posts before you apply. For more information on difference revenue sources, check out How to Make Money From a Blog.
If you still have questions or would like to me to cover something in more detail, please let me know. I want to make this post an essential resource for new bloggers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that you think might be stupid. I sometimes leave things out because I have been doing this for a while and forget that not everyone knows as much as me.
Thanks for making it through this post. Its only going to get longer. Lol