Last Updated on February 11, 2020
Do you want to learn how to start a blog and make passive income online from it? Starting a blog is the best way to get going with your online career with almost nil investment. The process is fun and you get to express your interests and passions too.
I’ve been blogging for over 12 years now, and let me tell you it is a cake walk. You don’t require any technical expertise or experience to get started with blogging. Here in this article, everything about blogging and monetizing it is covered in simple language.
How to Start a Blog in 2020
Below are the step by step instructions on how to start a blog in 2020 and make a living online from the same:
Choosing your blog niche and area of interests
You may choose any niche which works for you. And a big part in choosing the niche comes from your personal preferences. Interested in dinosaurs? Go for a blog on prehistoric animals! Like cooking? Food blogging is for you!
Once you have decided upon a niche, workout on the below steps on how to start a blog and the next thing to look out for is how to monetize it.
High restriction or specialization of the niche will result into fewer readers and it is certainly not a sustainable model to work upon. To beat this, club similar ideas together and make your focus area a little large.
You don’t need to jump to a different niche altogether but bringing two close topics together will certainly help.
Choosing the domain name
Once your thoughts are clear on the niche, the next step is to book a domain name. The option to register a domain name will be available with your web hosting. Since the importance of the domain name cannot be emphasized enough, here are some more pointers that you should keep in mind before selecting a domain:
- Google search the domain to see if there is any URLs/websites registered with the same name. Don’t register the domain if you find any, even with a different extension.
- It should be easy to remember and type in case of a brand name. Avoid excessively long or dull sounding domain names. People have short memory span and a catchy or quirky domain name is essential.
- The domain name should be industry relevant and in the niche “bracket”. The name should impart the idea of the content within.
- Keywords are really important in domain name too. By using keywords in the domain name, you tell search engines about the contents of your blog. Be creative and combine keywords to make your domain stand out.
- The domain name should be easy to not only spell but pronounce too. You may be asked to share your domain name in person and having an obnoxiously tough to speak domain name will lead to confusion and dismay.
- At all costs, avoid hyphens in domain names. Hyphens are usually associated with spam domains and you don’t want to be associated with them anyway. Further, the chances of mistakes in hyphened domains are more.
- Putting double letters just to get a domain name similar to a popular one is a big turn off. Imagine a pizza restaurant by the name of “Dumino Pizza”. Would you simply trust a business which cannot even put an original name? Also, double letters increase the chances of typos.
- In the domain name too, just like your business, it is wise to leave room to expand. You don’t want to limit your long term options. For example, choosing a domain name with “dogfood” in it is actually limiting the business potential; rather, opt for “petfood”.
P.S. It might happen that the domain you have finalized might be registered previously and is a dropped domain. You can check the same by using the domain archive at Way Back Machine. Always prefer using a domain that has never been registered or dropped in the past.
I prefer using either dot com (.com) or dot net (.net) extension while registering a domain name however the options are endless. You could also look at other extensions such as .info, .io, .net et cetera. New extensions keep on coming up every few days.
Take your blog live, online (web hosting)
To take your blog live on the web, you need a server (web hosting) where you can store all your files, images, media et cetera for your website.
You should use a web hosting that has a high level of automation, which can help you install WordPress (A powerful and popular content management blogging platform which drives over 35% of the internet and used by all leading bloggers and media companies).
What we are exactly looking for at this stage is an ideal combination of WordPress + Hosting.
Web Hosting platforms are cheap but too many to choose from. It is often easy to get lost in all the attractive and often confusing packages they have to offer. As we are at the learning curve of how to start a blog and just getting started with it, To begin with I would recommend you to sign-up with Bluehost as a hosting platform.
It is the ideal choice for all newbies and seasoned experts too. Here are some of the benefits associated with using Bluehost:
- Get an SSL certificate for Free
- Get unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Get a Free Domain Name
- Easy to Use Control Panel
- 24×7 live-chat support with 30 days money back guarantee.
I’ve got you a special discount at Bluehost for only $2.95/month. Here are the steps to buy hosting from Bluehost:
- Go to Bluehost and click on ‘Get Started Now’
- Next, I would suggest to get started with the basic $2.95 plan but just in case you want to start more than 1 blog, you may choose plus or choice plus plan as well.
- Now the best part about choosing Bluehost hosting is you get to register a domain name for free, enter your domain name if you have one or you can also select the option to choose later.
- Next you would need to enter your address; you could also do Gmail sign in for auto completing some fields.
- Next, select the package, I would suggest to select the Basic 36 Months Plan as it offers huge discount and that’s the only investment you would need to make for a very long time. Also select the “Domain Privacy + Protection” as it would keep away all the spam from your website by not letting the registration email ID being exposed public-ally.
- Lastly enter your credit card details, and finish the transaction, it’s 100% safe and secure to do so.
That’s all! You are done with the purchase and signup, the next step is to configure and customize WordPress. Let’s get started!
Apply theme design to your blog
A theme is the first visual impression on your readers and you must choose it wisely. When choosing a theme, you should pay attention to aesthetics as well as readability. Try to maintain the balance between design and comfort. You don’t want to mess with readers’ attention, for sure! For choosing a theme for your blog, follow these steps:
- Enter your credentials and login into your WordPress account.
- On the left side, move mouse on the appearance menu and click on “Themes”.
- You will see a huge number of free WordPress themes for your blog to choose from.
- Clicking on the thumbnail of a theme will give you a fair idea of your blog’s appearance.
- If you like a theme, press on the thumbnail and then, the install button to apply it.
- There are options to customize a theme as well, should you desire to change some elements.
- Further, there a number of filters that you apply to get the best fit for your blog.
With infinite options (free as well as paid) as themes, the only issue is to get lost in the designs. As we are just starting off with our blog, you should keep these pointers in mind:
- Fancier doesn’t mean better. Don’t get allured by glittery themes which don’t match up with your blog and its content. Don’t trade your content’s legibility with designs. At the end, it is your content which will make the readers stay, not the design.
- Responsiveness or device compatibility across various platforms should also be taken into account. A lot of people prefer reading blogs on their mobiles and tablets. This implies that your theme should adapt to the device a person is using.
- Since our objective, how to start a blog is two-fold, we cannot emphasize enough on SEO friendliness of the theme. You don’t want to end up on a theme which looks great but is coded poorly and is difficult for search engines to read.
Installing WordPress plugins
The power of WordPress lies in the fact that it is highly customizable. And one way to customize it is through plugins. WordPress plugins grant extra functionalities to the blog and makes many operations easier. They are small batches of software which can be installed within WordPress. You, of course, don’t need dozens of them in the beginning. Doing so may cause problems later because of shared resources and one plugin interacting with another. Some of the few plugins that you can begin with are:
- Yoast SEO – highly recommended SEO plugin for handling SEO tasks immediately.
- Akismet – for filtering comment spam and ensuring “cleanliness” of the blog.
- Contact Form 7 – to setup contact page on your site and creating contact form.
- MailChimp – to connect your site to a MailChimp account, create email signup form, and collecting subscribers.
Apart from these, many other plugins such as WP Rocket, Sumo, and Updraft Plus are recommended for beginners. However, you can explore them as and when there’s a need. When you’ve found a plugin you want on your site, install, and activate it.
Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is just amazing. And after all, you will need a lot of Google lovin’ too in the long run. It is the best analytics tool to assess the performance of your blog. Since data reading and acting upon the loopholes can take a whole lot of time and mind, we can skip a major part of it for later. For now, we will only create an account on Google Analytics and install it on your blog.
The reason behind this is Google Analytics collect data over time and getting on board at the earliest possible helps. Also, some of the data which is easy to comprehend can be motivational which will give you the necessary push to work better. You will see the records on visitors, which will boost your confidence. To setup an account on Google Analytics, follow these steps:
- Visit Google Analytics and create your account.
- Copy and paste that snippet of code into your site.
- Google Analytics will now collect data of the blog.
All of the statistics that you collect will give you insights on how your blog is performing. Even minor changes in the content strategy, SEO, or designing can lead to bigger impact in the long run. And to determine the effect, you will need a proper tool, which Google Analytics promises to be.
Setting up an email list and getting subscribers
Email marketing is something you will have to do sooner or later. The response from email will always supersede any other channel. Retrieving and collecting email list(s) is a task you should begin with as soon as you intend to start posting.
Email marketing is something you will have to do sooner or later. The response from email will always supersede any other channel. Retrieving and collecting email list(s) is a task you should begin with as soon as you intend to start posting.
On being offered to, these email addresses are highly likely to subscribe to your content and buy a product or service.
In the beginning, you may not be sure of what to send but that is okay. Once you progress with your blog, you will have plenty of things to share and pitch.
You can use MailChimp wordpress plugin to collect emails on your blog. Since it takes time to build a list, let alone be a quality one, start from day one.
Add an opt-in for your audience to sign up for your newsletter. This will be sufficient for email harvesting and get your dice rolling.
Some essential tips to help your email list grow are:
- Just like your content, the body of your email should be impeccable. People notice your email body seriously and poor language can be a serious turn off.
- Encourage your subscribers to share and forward your emails. You can put social sharing buttons and “email to a friend” buttons for simplifying stuff.
- Use different types of email subscriptions for targeting different set of audience. Recipients are more likely to click through email if it caters to their specific interests.
- Using your old emailing list is a good move too. Create an engaging opt-in message and send it to your old list members for re-opting with more features and benefits.
- Promise to deliver “bonus content” or “special content” to your subscribers. You can also give discounts or early access to the exclusive content.
- You can use social media as well to promote your new content and grow subscribers. Encourage entrants to feed their email address and give them the link to participate.
Keyword Research & Writing your first blog post
We have raised a workable structure for the blog by now and the focus is on writing the first blog post. Although there are no fixed rules to write blog posts, sticking to a few basic ones help in monetisation.
The first direction in this regard is to choose the topic on which you intend to write and perform a little background check on the keyword. This research will help you to generate ideas for your first and subsequent blog posts.
Write down all the ideas that come to your mind and note down the keywords associated with them. There are some online tools such as those on Moz and Ahrefs you can use to check how well a keyword is performing.
Aim for those keywords which are generating more traffic and will also appeal to your target audience.
you have listed the keywords on a variety of parameters such as volume, difficulties, and placement opportunity, arrange them in order of priority. The target is to hit the audience with a content which not only includes popular keywords but also doesn’t compromises on quality and natural flow.
You can check out some other successful blogs in your niche by doing a google search for generation of ideas and see their style of writing.
Ideas can come from anywhere and keeping an eye on such successful blogs will update you on what’s “sell-able”.
Steps to post your first blog post
After the long exercise on generation of ideas and research, we will proceed to write the content. For this, follow these steps:
- Go to the “Add new post” section on the dashboard of WordPress. A black text page where you can write the article or copy-paste it will open. This is where we will work with the blog text.
- Write a catchy and attention-seeking headline for your blog post. Writing headlines that are engaging, interesting, and true to the content within will increase your trust score.
- You should not let the default URL be your blog post’s address. The performance of your blog post in organic Google search results depends highly on your URL. Don’t forget to include your target keyword phrase and keep it short. Avoid numbers.
- Once you are done with your blog post, you are ready to publish it. Choose the most suitable category of the blog post from the side menu and press the publish button.
Some pointers to follow
- A blog is kept interesting and alive through a number of factors. The first is, the content itself. The language and the tone of your content are largely determined by your target audience.
- Posting frequency is also important. A reader who has had a good experience on your blog may want to come back again. But if you are not regular in your posting, chances of losing him are higher.
- Choosing the right font size and styling is important. For blogs, we recommend you to stick to size 14 or 16 for best visuals. Use bold and italics wherever there’s a need for emphasis.
Adding important pages on the blog
There are some pages which are almost customary to add on your blog. Absolutely don’t forget adding them. The list is as follows:
- About – It will contain a preliminary introduction to you and your blog. Don’t write paragraphs or long texts, rather, stay short and simple. Adding a photo of you will add charm. You can also get a custom logo made later.
- Contact page – This is the page where your contact details such as email address and/or phone number(s) will be put. You can use Jetpack contact form feature here to create a contact form.
- Media kit page – There is no immediate need to put this page but you should be aware of it. This page will feature the traffic statistics of your blog and available advertising options.
- Email Sign up Widget/page – This page will have the subscription form where people can sign up for your email list.
As already explained, maintaining a blog is a long term strategy. You will have to focus on a lot of things together and simultaneously.
Of course, there are tools to simplify your tasks but one thing which you have to pay extra attention on is the content. The content is the spine of your blog and it can either make or break the game.
Your motive here is to not just create another blog but to nurture it over the time. And for this, you need a solid content strategy.
In short, content strategy is the well-researched and backed plan of writing content for creating maximum impact and reaching out to the target audience effectively. Through a properly planned content strategy, you will reap a multitude of benefits, which are explained ahead.
The next question is – how to frame a content strategy for your blog? Let’s begin with it!
Setup your goals
Decide what are the desired outcomes of your blog content? You may want to setup yourself as an author or just trying to sell anything, the reasons are varied.
Identifying the goal will help you decide how to proceed with the content planning. And it is always better to decide the goals in the start; because once your blog is a little established, you may have problems switching on later.
Remember, goals are something that will drive your blog. Your short term objectives will be set according to the goals and thus, even if it takes a while, identify them.
Understanding your target audience & readers
The number of visitors on your blog determines whether your blog is working fine or not. And to write for them is to commit to them. And readers will commit you back if they can resonate with your content.
To resonate with them, you will have to see the type of content they wish to read. Who you write for is as important as what you are writing.
It pays off eventually to research a bit about the audience you intend to hit with your content. So, we will dwell around some characteristics such as demographics and psycho-graphics of your target audience.
Demographics will tell you about age, gender, location, job titles, companies they work for, and other “census-like” data. Psycho-graphics will tell you personality based traits such as values, interests, and attitude.
Now, once you put them all together, you will start getting a rough idea of what your ideal reader will be like. For example, if your niche is extreme sports, an ideal reader may be someone in the 20s or early 30s, living high up in mountains and has an active lifestyle.
The next question is where does this ideal person look for online resources catering his interests?He may be looking for extreme sports on Google groups or Facebook groups, following some popular travel bloggers, racers, or motorsport teams. He may also use the products recommended by them for his own ventures.
Types of content
- List Posts – Basic article comprising of lists, either in the order of ranking or not. The list items are often accompanied by short texts (200 words per listed option) and a related image.
- Interviews – Interviews with famous personalities, influencers, entrepreneurs, and established bloggers in the community. Again, it is a popular type and many people specifically search for interviews.
- Personal stories – Your personal experiences and stories which could be beneficial for your readers and enrich them. These stories help them make informed decisions.
- How To Posts – Articles dealing with tutorials and guides. This type is increasingly getting popular and you can harness social media power, especially Pinterest through this.
- Roundup posts – Roundup posts are posts where multiple answers are present for a single question. A reader gets to know different opinions on the same subject at a single place.
- Video posts – Video posts are simple video clips of you speaking the content which you could have written otherwise. You can shoot a video, put it on YouTube, or simply embed the link.
Of course, your readers will not respond to all of them in the same manner. Once you have created different types of posts, you can adjust accordingly and create more of that content which is liked, shared, and read more. Don’t forget, the more you put in, the more you get out.
Mapping the content and readying up
It is advised to have some content ready before making the blog live. If you have a sizeable following already on a social network, chances are that your first post might get shared hysterically.
If someone from the bandwagon comes up on your blog and finds only one post to engage with, it might be a little disappointing. If you want a lot of readers up front, you need to create content in advance.
Starting off with a decent number, say anywhere between 10 and 20 is a good idea. Ideally, you can prepare for the launch one month in advance and progress with creating one or two posts daily from the core content topics.
Tools for content management & scheduling
Writing content and also sticking to the content strategy can be really exhausting at first. But then again, there are a number of tools to sort you out through this! These will help you stay organized and motivated.
Some of these tools for content strategy management are Trello, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and CoSchedule.
As we are just starting off with the blog, we will start off with Google Calendar to setup our editorial calendar.
To begin with, open a new Google Excel spreadsheet and start with basic four columns – publishing date, title, keywords, and notes. You may add on reference links, category, and resources as columns too, if you like. This is the basic structure of your editorial calendar.
Use Photos & Multimedia for Additional Benefits
It is no brainer that images and multimedia grab more attention than text does. And this holds true across blogs, social media platforms, emails, just about everything.
Simply adding a few images can have a great impact on your blog and make it more shareable. After all, nobody likes to just go through blobs of endless text, howsoever worthy they might be. Sometimes, the type of content you are writing may demand photos and other multimedia even more.
Free blog image sources
- Unsplash – The best online resource to find free to use and user loaded photos. Each photo is curated by the team and in high quality and guaranteed to be available in multiple sizes and resolutions. You are not even compelled to oblige the photographer by duly crediting his work, but it is recommended ethically that you do.
- Death to Stock– If you can spend some money, this is the best resource for stock images. You will get a curated collection of free images for a fee of USD 12 per month. There are different categories to choose your preferences from.
- New Old Stock – If your taste is in vintage, this is the website to check out. There’s a huge collection of vintage photos from public archives. There are tons of options for your design style, content, and niche.
- Wikimedia Commons – Everyone knows Wikimedia! It is possibly the largest collection of photos and other multimedia to select from. Wikimedia Commons is a great resource for beginners who are just starting off with their blog.
- Pixabay – You can use over 2 million photos, videos, vector graphics, and illustrations for free on Pixabay. The quality isn’t as great as on other mentioned websites but of course, the range is huge.
Free blog image design tools
- Canva – A free to use and popular tool for designing images. There are drag and drop customizable templates to create and modify designs. You will get a lot of design resources, logos, and photos to work upon.
- Pixlr – If you are a little experimental and don’t shy from using tools, this is your preferred design resource. There are some amazing tools to create brilliant visual effects and designs.
- PicMonkey – It is an online photo editor for editing personal photos. You can have the access to the app as well for creating your own stunning edits and designs.
- Visme – Like Canva, this resource has all the facilities for letting you create custom blog designs. You can choose from hundreds of templates for blog graphics, infographics, social posts, and more.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is an advanced topic and a discipline in its own accord. It is easy to overlook it while starting off but not recommended at all.
SEO or search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your blog posts and the blog itself to drive targeted traffic from organic search performed on search engines. We can roughly split it in two parts –
- On page SEO – The type of SEO that is to be done on the blog page and across the website. Focus is on content quality, keywords, length, paragraphing, images etc. Crawling of webpages and indexing in search engines including the site speed are focus areas too.
- Off-Page SEO – Backlinks from other sites and other places.
A properly coded and optimized blog will show up higher in the search engine results when a relevant query is made.
Search engine visibility
Check if your website is visible at search engines. WordPress has the option to hide your website from search engines; this button enables you to work on your website because making it public. Log into the admin area of your site and visit settings > reading page to see if the option to hide from search engines is checked or not. Uncheck the box and save the changes.
Use of SEO friendly URLs
A URL is said to be SEO friendly if it explains the content of the page easily. A glimpse at the URL, made by search engines and human beings alike, should impart the idea of what lies within. For example, for an article on best motorcycle helmets:
Bad URL – www.abc.com/motorycle-gfifij-2jcikjcik/
Good URL – www.abc.com/best-motorycle-helmets/
The difference is clear, isn’t it? We can get an idea of the blog post by merely reading the latter URL. Avoid using random numbers, cryptic text, and such.
Using SEO friendly permalink structure improves positions in search results. For checking and updating your WordPress site’s permalink structure, visit the settings > permalinks page. Choose the post name option and then, click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.
Checking various SEO points before publishing
Merely installing a WordPress SEO plugin isn’t going to help. It is a constant process carried out to see what works and what doesn’t.
Yoast SEO plugin allows you to add a title, description, and focus keyword on every blog post and page. You can see a preview of your website on Google search.
You should write keywords, slug, meta description in accordance with your content and check the red bullets below the main text frame. Your aim is to turn the red bullets into green by editing and correcting your text body. Also, optimize your title and description.
Some other SEO tips for your blog that you may find useful:
- Use appropriate tags and categories for your blog posts. Tags are very specific to the blog post and contain the focus keywords (and variations) or subject areas the content addresses. Categories, on the other hand, are broad groups your post belongs to. They are to be seen as table of contents of your blog.
- Relevant internal linking is a good habit. You should link relevant articles of your blog post. This helps in two ways – the reader gets an extra resource for reading and you get to link another article. Also this increases his retention time on the blog.
- On linking to a website, you pass on your site’s SEO score to that link. For good rankings, you need more juice than you give away. Add the “nofollow” attribute in WordPress to external links on your blog. This instructs search engines not to follow those links.
Optimizing WordPress images for SEO
We have already learnt that images are important but you need extra caution while playing with them. If you are not careful, they can slow down your website.
There are a plenty of tricks that you can follow, often using some tools, to optimize the images. However, in the beginning, try to focus on size as well as resolution of the images. This will solve your problems to a large extent.
Another trick is to use descriptive title and alt tags. Search engines will get the idea of what your image is about through these texts. Another benefit is that users with visual impairment get audio feedback through these descriptive titles and alt tags. In WordPress, you can add title and tags when you upload an image.
Backing up the blog
Imagine all the hours put into creating the blog from scratch and one day, all of this gets lost because of a software related issue, host failure, or simply human error.
Not just the content, but the data, the comments, the links, the readers, the email lists, everything. To save yourself from such a tragedy, backing up your blog is highly essentially.
Although hosting services offer data backup but it is recommended to have a backup plan independent of the host.
The common problems with web Hosting Backups are as follows:
- Most of the automatic web hosting backups happens only if your website is within size limit. If your website is content and multimedia rich, chances are only a fraction of your website i.e. what is permissible and within limits will be saved.
- It is important to know that your web hosting provider is backing up which kinds of databases and files and whether you have ready access to it or not. This way, you will be informed in advance of the steps to take if there’s a crash.
- Hosting companies have different backup frequencies. Some create backups weekly or daily while some do it fortnightly. The earlier the better. Your site may lose its data anytime and you don’t want a month old version at the least.
- Web hosts may claim to take backups of your site at regular intervals but they may not store various versions of it. Usually, the latest backup takes place of the old backup. It is better to have multiple versions stored.
For automating the process of backing up the blog, there are two popular plugins – UpDraftPlus and BackWPUp. Both these plugins sync to any cloud service, such as Dropbox, that you use.
Hitting the social media
Social media marketing is one of the biggest ways today to reach out to a large number of people, in a relatively short time.
To begin with, you need accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These are top three social media platforms which will give you volumes of regular visitors, if things are done right.
Of course, you can explore LinkedIn, Reddit, and Snapchat as your blog progresses. As a suggestion, begin with the platforms where your target audience spends most time. Maintaining social media accounts is no joke after all!
Each social media platform appeals to a certain type of audience. A brief introduction and respective content promotion opportunity of these social media platforms:
- Facebook – You can post videos and curated content.
- Snapchat – For photo and infographics sharing and stories.
- LinkedIn – Professional content and career guides.
- Pinterest – Infographics, how-to guides, and other visual content.
- Reddit – Personal commentaries and discussions about your niche topics.
- Instagram – Photos, stories, and other visual content, often stylized.
- Twitter – News, blog posts, and GIFs.
You don’t have to manually manage all these platforms; thankfully, there are specialized tools for that. You would be able to promote your posts using these tools maybe once a week. Here are some of the social media marketing tools:
- Hootsuite – It is a powerful social sharing, scheduling, and progress monitoring platform. It may seem overwhelming in the beginning but once you get hold of it, it will make many tasks easier.
- Gain App – If your blog has multiple authors, Gain is a powerful tool for management and collaboration. Gain is a tad bit expensive and you may not need it immediately too.
- Buffer – The best way for starters to schedule social shares in advance. You can post on Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook through this amazing app. There’s a browser add-on plugin too for scheduling posts.
Promoting your blog is what you should spend equal time on, if not more. Imagine spending hours writing an amazing content only to see it performing poorly and not up to the mark. This is why promoting is important.
All of your labor can be futile if proper promotion is not done. That being said, social media and email marketing aren’t just two methods through which you can promote your blog to your readers and outside.
Head onto the homepage of this blog and download my exclusive guide to learn more about 80+ ways to drive traffic to your blog/website.
Forums and communities
As a blogger, your aim is twofold – to connect with other bloggers and influencers in the arena and to connect with your target audience. While the former has changed dynamically over the years, the latter remains pretty much significant.
You should look out for a relevant group to join. For example, if your interest lies in wildlife, there are some huge groups on Facebook where likeminded enthusiasts club and share their stories, photos, and other things.
One thing to keep in mind is that more often than not, these groups are moderated heavily and focus on quality than quantity. Blend in, don’t force your way in.
Guest posts and blogging on other mediums
Guest blogging is the best way to connect with other bloggers and already established audience. But finding a way in to a guest post isn’t as easy as it sounds. Bloggers usually like to help each other but there should be a genuine effort and feeling of mutual support here.
It is easy to get disheartened on rejection but that is part and parcel of this. Slowly, as you build your own blog with quality content, you will find that rejection rate has gone down slower.
You can start off with smaller blogs and sites with similar audience. Eventually, as the network grows, you will develop connections and start posting on bigger blogs.
For starters, you can repost your blog post on Medium or Quora. When it comes to popularity and outreach, Quora is better. You can search for relevant topics and the questions related to them on Quora and respond to user’s queries.
Don’t just copy and paste your blog content, rather create quality answers and then redirect the users by linking your blog post. Don’t ever forget that your answers should be natural and smooth-in-flow.
They shouldn’t appear to be written just for the sake of links. And then, there are some other ways to promote your blog and generate organic traffic, such as:
- Attending seminars and conferences related to your niche will also put you on a higher pedestal. I have seen many YouTubers and vloggers attending relevant conferences, and simply promoting self.
- Interviewing people in your niche is a good deal. You can learn from the process while capitalizing on popularity of famous people in your niche.
Securing your blog
Securing your blog is essential and shouldn’t be overlooked. If you are serious about your blog, follow these tips to protect it from hackers and malware:
- Don’t compromise on hosting. Choose a good hosting company which offers multiple layers of security. You don’t want your data to erase overnight or misdirecting URLs. Cheap isn’t necessarily good; invest in a good hosting.
- Manual monitoring is good but it shouldn’t consume all of your time. Install a good WordPress security plugin such as Sucuri.net. It will constantly monitor your blog and the data therein for any potential threat such as malware and spam.
- The code editor function in the WordPress dashboard lets you edit the theme and plugin. Once you make your blog live, disable file editing. If hackers gain access to your panel, they can inject malicious codes to your themes and plugins.
- This may seems cliché but using strong alphanumeric passwords is still the best way to prevent your blog from getting unauthorized access. The more complex your password is, the harder it will be to crack it.
- Single Sockets Layer (SSL) is beneficial for all kinds of websites and it makes sense to use it for extra protection. By using SSL, the information is encrypted before it is transferred between the user’s browser and your server.
- As the default setting, WordPress users can login as many times as they want. However, by limiting login attempts, you are basically preventing brute force attacks. Hackers can try only for a limited number of times before they are locked out thus rendering their attack useless. For enabling login attempts, you can use a plugin too.
Making money from your blog
After your mastery on how to start a blog, the most critical and last step is monetizing your blog.
First, you recover the costs involved in setting up the blog and second, to generate profits. Whatever method you choose to monetize it, remember that it is not similar to gambling in a Las Vegas casino.
You aren’t getting millions easily, but of course, it is not impossible too. Don’t fall into the trap of “fake” stories of expensive cars and mansions. Below are some of the most prominent methods used by bloggers of all niches.
Google Adsense is probably the simplest way to generate income from a blog. There are many bloggers who make money by simply showing ads on their blog.
What Google AdSense does is acts as a broker between advertisers and you (or the blog). Google allow sellers of products/services to bid for keywords matching your content.
Thus, you get the best rate possible for the ads. In the beginning, the rates may not be high but once your blog gets running, the rates will too increase.Quite naturally, when you are selling space for ads, you will have to adjust text and design placements accordingly.
Affiliate marketing is most widely acceptable monetization method. And it is used by newbies and experts alike.
To understand how it works, think of a product or a service related to your niche. Suppose you write on wildlife photography and there’s a wildlife animal sanctuary which offers you to recommend their new “2 days safari package” one your blog.
When a reader buys the package from your blog, typically through an affiliate link, you get a referral commission.
Learn here how to select an affiliate program for your blog.
Online store to sell physical products
Bloggers also sell products directly on their blog which are mostly created by their own. It could be a physical product such as artwork, e-book, music, tools, and apps.
You can turn your blog into a membership site by offering premium content and courses.
By selling the products directly, you actually get in charge. Also, you can quote the rate that you like and simultaneously, eliminate the dependence on others.
Woo-Commerce is an amazing plugin for e-commerce. It has got terrific reviews too.
Selling Info-products & Courses
Info-products model works similar to affiliate marketing but instead of converting them on the blog itself, you convert them through email.
So, you will get visitors on your site which will be offered freebies(like an e-book or a small action strategy) or anything in exchange of their email address.
Once they have subscribed, you will run them through a launch funnel. These funnels are designed to sell info-products, which are usually e-learning video courses.
Your earnings will depend on the volume and target market. The more people come to you, the higher is the possibility of conversion.
For pricing, you can check other bloggers’ rates and set a competitive edge. This method has its own problems – choosing right category as well as target and need to be a perfectionist at direct-response copy.
Sponsored content and reviews
Sponsored content is another fantastic avenue you should explore to monetize your blog. In short, any content aimed particularly to promote a brand or a product in exchange of a fee is called sponsored content.
As you progress with your blog, you can approach different companies selling products related to your niche and offer them to write sponsored content of a product.
This content will broadly talk about the product, its benefits, its uses, availability, features, and how it fares better than the same product from a different company.
Sponsored content can also be in the form of a review where you review multiple products and give your own judgment for the best choice.
You could also sell guest posts on websites like fiverr and peopleperhour for your blog.
Learning how to start a blog is easy but creating one that is successful and makes money takes efforts.
Remember that it is your blog, your own digital space to express yourself. Be original, be humorous, experiment, and most importantly, be patient.
Every great thing takes time to build and you should take one step at a time rather than rushing into everything.