Blogging can be a great way to earn a nice side income from sharing your passions online. And it isn’t as difficult as one may think. If you have the willingness to learn and the follow-through to make it happen, you can have your blog up and running in no time. Follow these steps to start a blog and make money online.
How To Start A Blog And Make Money
Pinpoint Your Passions & Profit Potential
1. The most profitable, established blogs were built around a passion. It is absolutely essential that you choose a topic you find engaging as an individual. Choosing a field based on what others are doing or what you think will bring in the big bucks will get you nowhere fast. You will lose interest before your first paycheck. Identify your passions. What is it that you love to live, learn and share with others on a daily basis?
2. Your next step is to determine whether there is profit potential in the area that has you interested. The quickest way to do this is to ask, “what do I have to buy to make these dreams a reality?” Are there specific supplies necessary? Does your hobby require some kind of investment? If you are able to feed your obsession with free information alone, you may find your income potential is limited. There may not be many paying advertisers or affiliate programs available. That does not mean that you can’t make money, it may just mean you will be relying on avenues like AdSense.
3. Blog Setup
Once you have settled on your topic and you are confident that there is money to made, you need to start creating your online space. You will need three things to get your blog online:
- A compelling domain name
- Quality Hosting
- WordPress Installation
There are many reasons why Bluehost is so highly recommended, but here are a few:
- Their service, reliability, and usability. In fact, they are one of the very few hosting providers officially recommended by WordPress!
- A domain name is included free! (Your domain name is where your blog is located online and what it’s called. Ex. theworkathomewife.com)
- Their Control Panel is easy to use.
- Installing WordPress is a breeze.
- SSL is included FREE. This is absolutely essential as Google will soon be marking sites without SSL as “not trusted.” Some hosting companies charge hundreds of dollars per year for this.
- They also offer courteous and professional 24-hour in-house technical support for your hosting account 7 days of the week all year long. That means when you call in at 1 in the morning on a Thursday, you are calling to the same place that your hosting account is at and someone there will be able to help you.
- Plans start as low as $2.95 per month
Also, to help make sure that there is little to no risk for you, Bluehost has a money back guarantee. So, if their hosting is not what you need or want, you can cancel at any time.
To get ready, you will want to gather a few things beforehand to make the process even smoother. Here are some things you will want to have on hand:
- Think of a Domain Name – a domain name is the human recognizable companion to an IP address. The Domain name is tied to the IP address, so instead of typing in a string of numbers, we can simply type in something like “Google.com” and be taken to the correct webpage.
- Your credit card or PayPal account for payment.
Set-Up Your Hosting Account
To get started, go to Bluehost’s homepage and choose your hosting package.
You can then setup your free domain name now, or come back to it later.
Bluehost offers a number of ways you can save big.
- Purchase 36 months of the Basic plan and pay just $2.95/month (total $106.20 for 3 years of webhosting!)
- Purchase 24 months of the Basic plan and pay just $3.95/month (total $94.80 for 2 years of webhosting)
- Purchase 12 months of the Basic plan and pay just $4.95/month (total due today $59.40)
- Go month-to-month and pay $9.99 per month ($9.99 due today)
After you have filled in your information and chosen your hosting package, you can click the payment button to complete your purchase.
Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you will be able to get started blogging.
3. Content Creation
Now your new blog is ready for content. You should have a bucketful of blog post ideas in the beginning. After all, you did think you could start an entire website about this topic. 😉 On those days you need a little inspiration, check out this list of writing prompts on Stringcan.
4. Get Traffic
Once you have a post or two published, it is time to start gathering your following. As a beginning blogger, you may not care too much about things like Search Engine Optimization. You just want to blog! I’m cool with that. Before you start smothering your passion with technical things (which you can learn later), let your excitement be your best promoter. As this is a blog created around your interests, you know where everyone is hanging out. You are probably a member of the forums. You know the best social networks for this industry. Get out there and grow your community.
When setting up your WordPress blog, you likely installed a plugin or two that allow readers to follow your site through social networks, RSS feed and email newsletter. Make sure those are configured correctly and always ask new viewers to follow you.
5. Create a Steady Income
Some bloggers write primarily as a hobby; whether or not they make money from their blog doesn’t make too much of a difference. Other bloggers, however, write seriously in hopes of making an income or reliable supplemental pocket money. For these bloggers, being able to count on a certain amount of money each month through their blogs is important. Here are a few ways you can make a steady income by blogging. Bear in mind that how much profit you make from your site each month will depend largely on how much time you invest in your blog, how many different ways you monetize your blogging, and how large of an audience your site reaches.
Guest posting for other sites might not jump out as an effective way of monetizing your blogging, but in the long run, you can develop a steady stream of income by guest posting. Many blogs pay for guest posts. If you agree to regularly guest post each month for a blog that pays you to be a contributor, you could make anywhere from $50-$100 for the guest posts you write, depending on the blog. It might not be much, but it’s something you can rely on.
Additionally, guest posting is a great way of getting your name as a writer out there and driving traffic back to your blog, which increases the income you make through affiliate advertising and pay-per-click advertising. Most blogs will include a link back to your blog, along with a short bio about you as a writer. This encourages readers who enjoy your posts to go visit your blog. You can also usually include links within your guest posts to posts on your own blog – just double check with the blog owner to make sure this is allowed before doing so. Avoid turning a guest post into a series of links; make sure the post has enough information to stand alone, but include a few links that give interested readers more in depth information or resources related to the topic of the post.
A few sites that pay for guest posts:
- The Motley Fool
- The Krazy Coupon Lady
Many companies look for bloggers to write sponsored posts for brands or products. The company agrees to pay you a certain amount of money for you to write a post showcasing their brand or product. Bear in mind that most companies look for blogs that have a certain amount of monthly traffic when paying for a sponsored post. Becoming part of a blogging network can help connect you with different companies that are looking to pay for sponsored posts. If your blog has a clear niche and a regular flow of traffic, sponsored posts can become a source of steady income. Make sure you respect blogging etiquette by informing readers when a post in sponsored.
Find products, brands or even places that you think your audience might be interested in, and become an affiliate. This implies either placing an advertisement in your sidebar or including affiliate links within your content. Every time a reader clicks on the advertisement or link and makes a purchase or interaction clearly defined in the affiliate agreement, you receive either a percentage of the sale or a previously agreed upon amount.
Join an advertising network, and place a few advertisements in prominent locations on your blog. Common placements include banners above your posts, in your sidebar and beneath or between posts. The more people see the ads your advertising network places on your site, the more income you make. Some advertising networks pay a set amount per click; others pay a set amount per thousand views.
- AdThrive – the one I use
- The Blogger Network
- Media.net – get an extra 10% on your earnings when you sign up through this link
Do you have something of your own to sell, like educational resources or e-books? Consider selling these on your blog. You decide your prices and what sales or promotions you offer. Depending on how much appeal your products have for your audience, product sales could become a primary form of income, or just add a little more to what you’re already making through other forms of monetization.
If you regularly provide a variety of resources, like printables or tutorials, instead of selling everything you create individually, you could set up a membership package. Blog readers would pay a one-time fee that provides them with access to all of your resources. The general public can continue reading your posts, but would not be able to download the products and materials you create. Turning memberships into a substantial form of income depends on having a significant flow of regular traffic to your site, and providing regular, high-quality resources that are useful for your readers.
Blogging doesn’t usually generate income right away. You need to spend time investing in your site, building your readership, and determining which forms of monetization will be most effective for you, based on your skills, the nature of your site, and the interest of your readers. Consider picking one or two monetization strategies to start with, and then gradually adding more after seeing how your readers respond and evaluating your options.
6. Continue Learning
Once the content is flowing and your community is growing, do not stop learning. There are always skills that can help you take things to the next level. Every blog can benefit from search engine optimization and the occasional coding tweak. Don’t let yourself fall behind with this new technology. Follow a few “blogging blogs” in addition to those experts in your niche. A few of my favorite programs?