Here you will learn the basics of starting a blog that is capable of fueling an online business.
I often get questions about how to start making money online with a blog but when the conversation ends, it seems as if people are still confused.
So, here is my attempt to explain how blogging works more thoroughly.
If you are searching for ways to make money overnight or the answer for the next big get-rich-scheme, this post will disappoint you.
Earning money with a blog is a long-term goal that requires work that can take several months or years to accomplish.
The key to building a profitable blog is understanding that you will spend lots of time figuring out how to serve other people.
Let me explain…
Starting a blog for profit is essentially starting an online business. This is what lots of people don’t understand.
If you aren’t trying to make money, the rest of this post doesn’t apply to you. So, please go sip a smoothie and enjoy yourself.
If you do want to make money you’ll never want to forget this… “Blogs don’t make money – businesses do.” This is a popular saying in the blogging world but I wish I understood it much sooner.
I’m going to share with you all the reasons why, while simultaneously showing you how to create your blog.
It’s going to be some tough love in this post, but you’re tough.
Let’s get to it.
WHY START A BLOG
Maybe you’ve seen the income reports of the six-figure bloggers that are posted all over social media with stuff like “How I Made $30K in One Month…” and you’re thinking, I just want a fraction of that to make my life easier. I get it; however, I want to challenge you to dig deeper.
Why do you really want to blog? It’s probably not just for the money. It’s probably because that money can give you something you don’t currently have – freedom.
- Freedom to not have to set an alarm clock to wake up and work for someone else.
- Freedom from annoying bosses and co-workers.
- Freedom to make more decisions about how’ll you’ll spend your time.
- Freedom to decide when you want to use childcare.
- Freedom to choose the work you enjoy and work from anywhere.
The answer, no matter how you frame it, is most likely FREEDOM.
But, here’s the thing.
Let’s say you create a kick-ass blog that brings in the dough but you hate the topic and the audience aren’t the people you want to communicate with on a daily basis.
Then…you’ve created a business for yourself that you don’t like.
The alternative is to create a business you enjoy (my recommendation).
Here’s how to create a profitable blog:
- Decide how you want to serve.
- Choose a blog name quickly.
- Invest in your blog from the start.
- Write useful and strategic content.
- Drive traffic.
- Build your email list.
- Learn what your audience wants and needs. (Give it to them)
- Be persistent and consistent.
1. DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO SERVE WITH YOUR BLOG
The average person spends most of their time thinking about how to make their own lives better. As a profitable blogger, you have to do the opposite.
You have to be constantly thinking about how you can help other people solve their problems so that their life can be better.
It may be surprising but let’s be clear, profitable blogging is all about helping your readers
- A fashion blog can help women find affordable fashions within their budgets.
- A Knitting blog can help people with basic and advanced knitting techniques and patterns.
- A finance blog can help people find ways to live well and spend less money.
- A home decor blog can help people design spaces that inspire.
- A mom blog can help busy moms pregnancy, toddler activities, or parenting.
- A clean beauty blog can help buyers be aware of greenwashing and clean products.
No matter what topic you choose for your blog, your goal should be to help the people who are reading your posts. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Deciding how you plan to serve your audience will make connecting with your audience and monetizing your blogging business less challenging.
If you don’t have it figured out yet, that’s okay. Don’t let that be a reason you don’t begin.
Choose a topic, if you don’t like writing about it later, fine, change your niche. Lots of people change their minds (that’s allowed).
If you know what you want to write about, great! If you don’t, pay close attention to the next section.
2. CHOOSE A BLOG NAME
You could spend hours thinking up a catchy blog name that’s unnecessary. The best thing you can do when deciding to name your blog is to keep it simple.
Here are some options:
- Use your name. If you change topics or niches, it’ll be no big deal. Now, if you go for budgettravelfinesse.com (totally made that up) and then you get into luxury travel, you might have a problem.
- Use your topic in your blog’s name. If you are committed to teaching people to crochet, you can make that part of your blog name like easycrocheting999.com (made this one up too).
- Use a name generator website.
Whatever you decide, don’t spend too much time on it. The name of your blog isn’t the most important thing.
Below are some tips to help you:
- Choose a name that is easy to spell and not too long
- Keep it short and sweet. No one wants to type in a 28-letter website name.
- Choose a name that is easy to spell and not too long
- Research before choosing your domain name.
- Sometimes, the name you want is taken, trademarked, or very similar to another name that is already well branded.
- I like to use sites like Hover.com and Knowem.com, to check the availability of domains and the availability of social media handles.
- Research before choosing your domain name.
- Choose a simple extension.
- There are many extensions to choose from like .com, .co, .org. etc.
- Your website/blog name is also known as your domain name.
- Example: Tiffanybgreen (name) + .com (extension)
- There are many extensions to choose from like .com, .co, .org. etc. – If you are new, stick to .coms
- Choose a simple extension.
FYI: Many hosting sites will offer free domain name registration for the first year. We will talk about this later.
Give yourself a day or so to choose a blog name.
3. INVEST IN YOUR BLOG/BUSINESS FROM THE START
Decide your blog is your business from the start and invest in a quality website builder, host, and theme.
So many people try to go the free route with their blogs, but earning money on a free platform is extremely difficult. Plus, you want ownership of your platform and content.
Give yourself a good start and avoid the hassle of needing to transfer your website after you’ve already started by building your website on a self-hosted like WordPress.org (NOT WordPress.com). My very first blog was on WordPress.com and it was great for helping me learn the platform but the blog never got any traction.
*I get asked what about Squarespace. I think it’s great. It has pros like it’s an all-in-one platform and the website templates/themes are amazingly responsive. I just have a bias toward WordPress because I learned it early on. You can have a successful blog on Squarespace – several people do.
WordPress.org is free but hosting your website with quality hosts like Bluehost, Siteground, or Bigscoot isn’t free. Ensuring your website is self-hosted allows you to own your content, earn income with ads, and customize your website with tons of options that aren’t available on free platforms.
Themes and templates make your blog pretty. I’m a fan of Georgia Lou Studio’s Themes and Sparrow & Snow Themes – both are affordable and easy to customize.
Also, WordPress offers free and paid themes. There is nothing wrong with starting out with a free theme, many are elegant and professional-looking, some just lack desirable customization options.
In the beginning, customization isn’t as important as content, so you can always use a free theme and then upgrade later. Do not feel obligated to rush and purchase a theme.
Set up a WordPress blog using Siteground or Bluehost as a host.
Choose a free or paid theme and install it on your new website.
4. WRITE USEFUL CONTENT
Here is some of that tough love I was talking about.
No one cares about the rainbow you saw in the sky last week or what you had on your toast last night. Unless you’re a celebrity, you should be writing to answer the questions that your audience has.
If you have a website about veganism for beginners. Your first post needs to answer the questions that beginner vegans have:
- Where do vegans get their proteins?
- How do I start being a vegan?
- Is being vegan expensive?
Where did I get these questions? Google.
No matter your niche, it is necessary to make sure you are writing useful content. Please don’t waste time writing about yourself unless it leads to information that is valuable for your reader.
This is the content that can drive the traffic you are seeking.
Here are some more tips:
- Write content that people search for in search engines.
- How to post and list posts are a great start.
- Write using headers and short paragraphs. Make it easy to skim.
- Use beautiful photographs. *Make sure you take your own or use stock photos to avoid copyright infringement.
- Connect with story-telling.
- Hang out where your audience hangs and listen to the questions they have.
- Be authentic when providing advice and information.
- Respect your readers by only creating content that you’d read if you searched for your posts.
Write 3 blog posts using the tips above.
5. DRIVE TRAFFIC
I used to think that writing a post and pushing publish would be enough to thrive as a blogger. I thought wrong. Hitting the publish button is just the beginning of a post’s journey.
There are literally millions of new posts, articles, and editorials published each day and getting eyes on your posts will be the real job of blogging for traffic and profit.
Here are some ideas for getting traffic to your blog?
- Pinterest- In my experience, Pinterest has been the fastest way to drive traffic.
- Youtube – Youtube is owned by Google and if you are comfortable with video, it’s a great way to drive content to your blog.
- Google- Invest some time to learn about SEO or search engine optimization.
While social media traffic is nice, it can be very inconsistent. Invest in learning best SEO practices from the search engines (Pinterest, Youtube, and Google).
Choose one search engine and master it to drive traffic to your website, then move on to others.
*You can claim all the social media handles at once but I suggest not trying to learn them all at once.
BTW: Facebook and Instagram aren’t search engines.
6. BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST AND CONNECT
Email is huge for bloggers because it is how you will stay in touch with your audience without algorithms getting in the way.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Google have algorithms that control what people see on their platforms. If you are in someone’s inbox that is more valuable than any follower counts on social media.
Most people check their emails frequently and if you have something they want to hear or understand, they will open your emails and click through to read your content. If you aren’t social media savvy and mildly introverted like me, this is a great way to connect with your audience.
Choose an ESP (Email Service Provider)
Your website needs to have an easy way for people to sign up and get on your email list. Email service providers for bloggers include MailChimp, Mailerlite, MadMiMi, Converkit, and others.
I recommend getting started MailChimp which is free for 2000 subscribers. Then moving on to Convertkit as you grow big. If finances aren’t an issue, start with Convertkit.
Getting people on your email list
If you want to get people on your email list, offer more than just newsletter updates. Give something irresistible or useful that can help your audience right now.
Here are some incentives you can create to get people to subscribe:
- Free guides
Make sure your incentives are intentionally very specific to who you want on your email list.
For example, on my other website, I want pregnant women on my list, so I offer a pregnancy-related opt-ins and incentives. Once I have my desired audience on my list, I can write directly to them and for them and know that I’m providing amazing value.
Choose an email service provider and get it set up.
Create a valuable offer/opt-in that provides value to your targeted audience.
Link your offer to your form or landing page.
7. LEARN, LEARN, LEARN
When I started blogging with the goal to earn an income, I had so much to learn. I started with free courses and then I started taking the paid courses to get the expertise of bloggers that are successful.
The free courses and incentives will allow you to decide if you like a blogger’s style of teaching and if you can trust them to get you to your next goal.
Use your best judgment before shelling out your hard-earned coins but don’t cheat yourself out of valuable time by trying to figure everything out on your own.
If someone you trust has already done the hard work of finding exactly what you need, use it!
For any step in which you don’t understand how to proceed, seek help.
Please don’t think “I don’t know how” and then stop. Be the business owner that goes the extra mile. It’ll make you stand apart and you’ll constantly be learning.
8. BE PERSISTENT & CONSISTENT
You don’t have to be perfect at anything to be a successful blogger, but you do need to be persistent and consistent.
- You will get frustrated.
- You will get overwhelmed.
- You will want to quit.
- You will mess up.
- You will not be the best when you start.
These all sound like great reasons to quit blogging and I’ve felt and done all these things. But I never gave up. I made my first $100 and it gave me the motivation and belief I needed to earn my first $1000.
You can be a profitable blogger with a real online business, it will not happen overnight but with time and effort, YOU CAN DO THIS.
Decide you’re going to do it, then honor your word to yourself.
What do you think? Does this make you feel capable of starting your own profitable blog/online business?