Are you thinking of how to start a blog that is profitable so you can get some side bucks? This can be a great way to share your passions and knowledge with the world while generating extra income on the side. Blogging is one of the best business opportunities online. But how do you go about starting a blog that truly makes money? In this post, we’ll share some tips and advice on how to get started.
Whether you’re looking to make a few bucks from sponsorships or AdSense, or you want to create a powerful business hub that attracts customers and followers, read on for our step-by-step guide on how to get started.
Table of Contents
- Preamble to How to Start a Blog that is Profitable
- Some Misconceptions About Blogging
- Requirements for Successful Bloggers
- Why Start a Blog?
Start a Blog in 16 Steps
- 1. Select Your Niche and Blog Idea
- 2. Choose Your Blogging Platform
- 3. Select A Good Domain Name
- 4. Choose A Reliable Hosting Provider.
- 5. Install WordPress
- 6. Select A WordPress Theme for Your Blog
- 7. Add WordPress Plugins
- 8. Customize And Optimize Your Blog
- 9. Installing Google Analytics Is a Step You Should Not Skip!
- 10. Decide on Publishing Content Frequently
- 11. Write And Publish Great Content.
- 12. Do Not Forget To Monetize Your Blog.
- 13. On-Page SEO.
- 14. Adding Affiliate Links.
- 15. Adding Google Adsense:
- 16. Link Building.
- Final Take Away
Preamble to How to Start a Blog that is Profitable
Covering how to start a blog in a single post will be a difficult task to do. This post has been broken down into several parts to make it easy to read and remember and it contains summaries of the different parts with a link to a comprehensive explanation after each summary where possible.
Many blogs have failed in the past because of a lack of focus. Blogs focusing on a particular topic are easier to grow and manage. When we talk about everything at the same time, we bore our readers and burn out fast.
Many consider blogging to be leisure. This is far from the truth. Blogging is a serious business and needs our constant attention. Blogs don’t just grow. Activities like writing engaging content, search engine optimization, social media marketing, link building, etc., are used to grow them. Aside from blogging as an individual, blogging is also a lucrative side hustle for couples who have some writing and digital marketing skills.
Some Misconceptions About Blogging
Many people have a wrong notion about blogging and having the right mindset is important for your success. Some of the misconceptions people have are listed below.
a. Blogging is an easy way to make money online:
Many people approach blogging with this mindset which leads to their failure. Blogging is not an easy way to make money online but it can be rewarding for those that dedicate time to it.
b. Write good content and people will visit:
Nobody visits a blog they have no idea about. Good content is king but marketing the blog using SEO, social media, etc. is crucial to blogging success.
c. More visitors equal more profit:
This is not entirely true. A blog that has no means of monetization will miss making money from visitors. A blog has to sell a product or service (in the form of advertisement, affiliate marketing, etc.) to make profit.
d. I need to know it all to start:
No blogger knows it all. Bloggers just know a little more than an average person but continue to learn more as they blog. Nobody knows it all and learning never ends. So, feel free to start that blog with the little knowledge you have and improve.
Requirements for Successful Bloggers
Fortunately, there are no requirements to start blogging you can’t acquire. You just have to be motivated enough and be willing to learn. You don’t need to be extremely good at the English language. Simple and short sentences can do. The following traits will help a new blogger who wants to learn how to start a blog and grow it to become profitable.
a. Being passionate about the subject matter:
Given the right conditions, passion can be developed for any subject.
b. Being patient:
Results may take some weeks, months, or even years to arrive. So, patience is required to build a successful blog.
c. Ability to network:
Blogs are social media and require interaction. Successful bloggers respond to comments on their posts and contribute to others’ blogs.
Being dedicated to a course helps to keep us going even on rough days. Blogging will get tough and rough at some point but only those that are dedicated and have chosen to commit time and energy to it will survive.
e. Eagerness to learn:
Successful bloggers are willing to learn, relearn and learn again. They read widely about their subject to have up-to-date information. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Why Start a Blog?
But first and foremost, you should evaluate why you want to start the blog in the first place. People start blogs for these main reasons:
1. To communicate a particular message or idea to others through your blog.
2. To educate and inform your audience on a specific area of interest.
3. To sell and promote products you make or as an affiliate marketer is another popular reason to start a blog.
4. To give your creative juices an outlet through writing on a blog. When you have a passion for writing and have a decent writing skillset, you are on the right path by starting a blog.
Start a Blog in 16 Steps
Creating a successful blog takes work and is very rewarding financially. A successful blog is one that generates high-quality traffic and creates income. These are the results of hard work, persistence, and a good amount of invested time. Getting to a point where your blog receives thousands of visitors every day is no child’s play. Irrespective of the niche your blog deals with, the steps below will guide you in the process of starting and launching a successful profitable blog. Let’s dive into these best practices!
1. Select Your Niche and Blog Idea
Start by carefully choosing a niche in a topic area that interests you because this is the ‘heart’ of the blog. This niche should not only interest you but be one that has enough content ideas that you can develop into the foreseeable future. The best way to choose a good and interesting niche area is to select an evergreen niche like health and fitness or finance. These topics also have high earning potential from a blog. However, do not restrict yourself to a popular niche because there is an audience for almost any and every niche or interest you may wish to talk about (yes, even Amish Friendship Bread).
It is also advisable to niche down into smaller topics as a beginner. This helps you dominate in a less competitive niche and rank for that keyword on search engines. Essentially, your niche should appeal both to you and your potential readers. To pick out the best possible topics for your blog, you should do detailed keyword research (please do not skip this research) and consider factors such as:
a). Your Talent
Your talents and abilities can help you choose the best topic for your blog. For example, if you are talented in vintage fashion and design, the most obvious choice will be to choose vintage fashion as your blog topic. Similarly, if you are proficient in ukulele music and have a deep interest in it, you can settle for ukulele music as your niche topic.
b). Your Present Career
Your profession or area of expertise may present a good starting point for your blog, and this is because you already possess rich knowledge in this field. For example, if you are a doctor or medical practitioner, blogging about the field of medicine is a good idea because you are well acquainted with it.
c). The skills and knowledge you have developed over time
If you have experience and knowledge that you have acquired over time in any field, why not choose it as a niche? For example, if you have mastered how to cook outdoors and during camps and hikes, this may present a good niche to share information with your readers. Share some best-kept secrets and tips about managing outdoor cooking and alternative ways of making favourite meals, quick simple recipes, making nutritious and tasty food over campfires and grills, and more. Share your experiences with audiences that will appreciate learning from you.
d). The things that your potential readers might find interesting
While blogging about an area of interest keep your readers in mind and do not make them feel left out. Take a particular topic and visualize how it can have a universal appeal. For example, if you decide to talk about pets, the best way to build it up is to share tips about how to train and take care of your pet dog or cat. Here, you will get a large audience for your blog because this is a topic that has a universal appeal. However, the wrong way of approaching this topic would be, for example, to talk about how amazing your dog is. That may not resonate with your potential readers as much as you expect. However, personalization of topics is always a good idea.
Some of the blog niche topics that are evergreen and have constant interest include:
- Financial management
- Fitness and health
- Relationships and dating
- Technology and gadgets
2. Choose Your Blogging Platform
After choosing a topic, selecting the best blog management platform is essential. WordPress is the most popular and easiest blogging platform in the world today. It offers you total control over your blog and what it contains. In addition, setting up your hosting account and your domain name with WordPress is very easy.
While using free blogging sites such as Blogger is easy on your pocket, you may still be at a disadvantage point because of the limitations associated with these free blogging sites. For example, your blog is fully subject to the rules and regulations of these free blogging sites, and you do not have as much control over it as you would wish.
3. Select A Good Domain Name
You can get creative when choosing a domain name for your blog because there is a likelihood that many of the domain names you may think about may have already been taken as domain names. Here are some best practices to help you settle for the best domain names:
a). Keep your domain name short
This is one area where you do not want to go wrong! If your domain is very long, it will be harder for potential readers to remember it. This can be very detrimental to your blog because if potential readers cannot access your blog because of a long domain name, they will go to other blogs. Consequently, you will lose a lot of traffic.
b). Selecting the common ‘.com’ domain names is highly recommended
A ‘.com’ domain name is perceived as more credible than a ‘.biz’ because it’s what was known from the beginning. Most people, therefore, tend to remember domain names with this domain ending.
c). Your domain name should be easy to write down, spell out, and pronounce
A domain name that is easy to spell out helps potential readers remember the name of your blog.
d). Ensure that your domain name somehow communicates or gives your potential readers a clue about what your blog entails.
This helps to give the correct image of what your blog will be about. For example, ‘fashionbymaria.com’ is a short, memorable and creative domain name that most of your potential readers will easily recall and understand.
When you decide to buy a domain name, you can get it either directly from a domain registrar or buy an already existing domain name from another person. Purchasing a domain name from a domain registrar is cheaper than getting an existing domain name from another person. A domain name from the domain registrar can go for an average of $10. However, buying a domain name from its owner can cost as much as $1000 up to $50,000 or more. It’s therefore advisable to get one from a domain registrar.
4. Choose A Reliable Hosting Provider.
A good hosting service is essentially a “home” for your website, and it is responsible for providing server space for your website. The functionality and performance of your blog depend heavily on the hosting provider that you select. The main function of your web hosting provider is to ensure that your blog is always accessible to your potential readers.
For a WordPress website, Hostinger is one of the best web hosting providers. The Hostinger hosting provider comes with affordable pricing starting at $1.99/month for the discounted package and $10.19 for the normal package. In addition, it is relatively simple to use.
Bluehost presents another good option for a web hosting provider. Bluehost comes with many benefits, just like Hostinger. Some of the great features of the Bluehost hosting provider include:
- It is easy to use
- Bluehost comes with excellent customer support
- It has a Free SSL certificate that guarantees the security of the data of your blog visitors
- It offers impressive scalability that helps you grow your blog with time
- Bluehost hosting provider provides you with a hosting service at an affordable rate for the basic one-year plan that includes the hosting services and the domain registration service.
A combination of the WordPress blogging platform and Bluehost hosting service is the most commonly used and preferred, because of the numerous benefits these two platforms offer.
When it comes to choosing a hosting provider it is good to consider what kind of hosting you need. The 3 main types are:
a). A dedicated, Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting.
For this, your web hosting service provider allows you to enjoy the privilege of a dedicated server for your website. Dedicated hosting comes in handy for websites that get a lot of traffic. An advantage includes the ability to enjoy your website’s scalability and high responsiveness. However, the major downside of a dedicated hosting service is that it is expensive.
b). The Shared Hosting Service.
Here, a single server plays host to different websites. While it may be a more affordable hosting service option, shared hosting may be susceptible to occasional security breaches.
c). A Virtual Private Server.
With this hosting service, a single server hosts several websites, but each website gets to enjoy its dedicated resources.
5. Install WordPress
WordPress has the best content management system (CMS) that will help you manage all the posts you share on your blog. It is easily customizable, and installing it is even easier. Web hosting service providers allow you to enjoy WordPress’s unique features through a ‘single-click’ install process.
Some web hosting service providers like Hostinger allow you to install WordPress when signing up for the Hostinger web hosting service.
6. Select A WordPress Theme for Your Blog
WordPress offers a wide variety of themes to select from. A theme for your blog is essential in giving your blog a distinct layout and design. You can choose any theme you wish to and can change it later. WordPress also offers free and paid themes. It has different marketplaces such as StudioPress and ThemeForest. The themes on StudioPress are relatively costly. However, the high quality of the themes makes the prices justifiable.
ThemeForest gives you a more extensive catalogue of themes to work with. In addition, the themes on ThemeForest are relatively more affordable compared to those found in StudioPress. After you have bought your preferred theme, you need to add it to your website.
To add your theme to your website, do as follows:
1). Log in to your WordPress blog. On the dashboard, look for the ‘Themes’ section.
2). Click on “Add New” to upload the theme(s) you had purchased or chosen. Give it a few minutes for your theme to be applied to your website.
3). After that, you can simply manage whichever themes you may have uploaded on WordPress.
With WordPress, you do not have to upload purchased themes. A quick search in the WordPress dashboard can give you an extensive collection of free themes that you can add to your blog too.
7. Add WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins are essential tools you can use to customize your blog. Essentially, plugins aim to boost the functionality and capability of your website and personalize your blog. However, it is advisable that you only add the plugins that you need. Adding many plugins that you do not require can hamper the performance of your website because they become very complicated to manage.
Plugins are a must-have for your blog to perform well. One of them is Yoast SEO which is one of the best tools to use in performing on-page SEO checks. Install this plugin if you want your website and blog posts to be SEO-optimized.
Akismet is another good plugin you can install on your blog, and it is very effective at filtering spam and enhancing the performance of your website. Plugins are good because they allow you to add the extra features you desire to your blog.
8. Customize And Optimize Your Blog
Customizing your WordPress blog allows you to transform your blog to your own liking. You can play around with various features that will eventually give you the blog you desire. For example, you can choose the tagline of your blog that best suits you. In addition, you need to optimize your blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This assists the website to rank higher for specific keywords on the Search Engine Results Pages of Google or Bing.
Another way to optimize your site is to take the opportunity to configure XML sitemaps settings. The XML sitemap is a file that lists the important web pages of a website so that Google can crawl them and understand the structure of your site. Modifying these settings helps to display the URLs associated with your website. It also allows search engines like Google to crawl your website for the latest content that you have posted. The Yoast SEO plugin comes in handy to enable the automatic updating of the XML sitemap settings. You, therefore, do not need to make manual changes to these settings.
9. Installing Google Analytics Is a Step You Should Not Skip!
Setting up the Google Analytics tool before launching your blog is recommended. Regularly monitoring your website performance with this tool provides you with essential information that includes:
- The number of your website visitors
- The most visited blog posts and website pages
Setting up the Google Analytics account is relatively simple. The steps you ought to follow include:
- Log into your Google account.
- Head over to Google Analytics and select the option that reads “Start Measuring.”
- Creating your Google Analytics Account comes next.
- You can use the name of your blog or website for your Google Analytics Account name.
- The next window will give you options of what you wish to measure. In our case, you click on “website.”
- The next window displays fields that require you to fill in the name of your website, its URL, and the industry in which it falls.
- Then, click on the tab that reads “create.”
At this point, your Google Analytics account has been created successfully. You are then given a particular code. Copy and paste this code into your website so that you may initiate the process of data collection from your website by the Google Analytics tool.
10. Decide on Publishing Content Frequently
The frequency with which you share posts to your blog has a significant influence on the success of your blog. Posting once or twice a week is a good start. However, you should always ensure that you post high-quality, long-form content if your blog is a personal one. On the other hand, businesses that rely heavily on content marketing to attract more customers should share daily content, preferably 20 posts in a week.
11. Write And Publish Great Content.
Now to the crux of the matter! After we have already handled the technical aspects of creating a blog, what’s left is writing good content that is ever-fresh and monetizing your blog. If the niche you have settled for is an area where you possess a great level of expertise, finding great content to write shouldn’t be much of an issue.
In your selected niche, come up with various topics and keywords that will assist you in writing your content. Performing smart keyword research is instrumental in helping your content draw in more readers. You can also come up with the best content by looking at what others previously shared on the topic you are talking about. However, always ensure that the content you eventually come up with has the highest degree of originality and creativity. It is important to share content that your readers will find valuable. Creating a blog outline before writing your content will make it easier to arrange your thoughts and prevent writer’s block.
Never Created a blog post? These are the steps to follow:
- On WordPress Dashboard, click on the option that reads “Posts.”
- Then, click on the option that says “Add new.”
- This takes you to the “editor” window to begin writing.
- There is a + sign in the right-hand corner. Clicking on it displays different features intended to help you personalize your writing content. Whether you wish to add images, videos, headings, etc., you have the freedom to do it here.
12. Do Not Forget To Monetize Your Blog.
Monetizing your blog is important and can be very lucrative if done well. Some of the different ways to monetize your blog include:
- Using Info products: Info products are digital products such as online courses and e-books.
- Advertising Networks: Ad networks like Google Adsense, AdThrive, Bidvertiser, Ezoic and Media.net can help you quickly deploy ads from publishers on your blog upon approval.
- Using affiliate programs: Here, you can collaborate with brands by promoting their products and services. In return, you get a commission (that is agreed upon) on any sales made through your blog.
- You can offer a consulting or coaching service at a fee: Here, you actively use your blog to get clients that require your expert opinion in your area of specialization at a fee.
13. On-Page SEO.
While adding articles/posts to our blog, it is important to start your on-page search engine optimization immediately. Yoast and Rank Math are plugins that are very useful in doing this. You can choose any one of them but not the two at once.
These plugins check the SEO level of the post you are publishing and give suggestions on how to optimize it better. They allow the page title, H1, meta description, and other parameters to be matched with the keyword of the page/post.
Linking together related posts is another way of improving the blog posts’ visibility. This has a positive effect on SEO.
14. Adding Affiliate Links.
Affiliate links are special URLs from affiliate networks and service providers. They are used to track sales coming from your blog. The blogger makes some money when visitors purchase through affiliate links. This will interest many people looking for how to start a blog and make money from it.
Products and services promoted with affiliate links should be relevant and useful to the niche of your blog. It’s important not to litter your blog with affiliate links and only use them when necessary.
15. Adding Google Adsense:
I realized that when I first searched for how to start a blog, my mind was fixed on Google Adsense. Before then, l didn’t know about other ways of monetizing a website or blog.
Google AdSense platform allows website and blog owners to display targeted advertisements on their pages. Money is earned when blog visitors view or click the advertisement.
You need serious consideration before implementing Google Adsense on your blog. Many successful bloggers do not use Adsense on their blogs. There are reasons this is so. The use of affiliate marketing is the option preferred by many successful bloggers. It can pay better than Adsense when done right and does not obstruct your pages like AdSense. There are also other ad networks you can consider as a blogger.
16. Link Building.
We can’t discuss how to start a blog without discussing the process of link building. Search engines are very interested in the number of quality sites linking to your blog. This helps to improve your site ranking and trust.
There are several ways of building links to your site. Creating useful content that is shareable and submitting guest posts to reputable blogs in your niche are some ways of link building.
Final Take Away
While coming up with a blog with a lot of traffic is by no means an easy feat, setting up a blog that you love and want to work on is quite easy. Always share high-quality posts frequently and never miss the opportunity to monetize your blog. Also, find time to measure your blogging success and identify areas that need to be improved. Good luck!