If you’ve been thinking of starting an online business that will allow you to earn enough passive income to quit your job, you should consider starting a blogging business, which is one of the best ways to make money on the side.
There are tons of people making good money from their blogs, and there is no reason why you can’t do the same. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of the highest paid bloggers in 2022.
Despite there being lots of bloggers who earn a living from their blogs, there are many more who do not earn any significant income from their blogs.
The difference between the two groups lies in their approach to blogging. If you want to make money blogging, you need to think of your blog as a business –right from the very start.
In this article, we’ll show you how to start a blog the right way. We’ll give you a step by step guide on how to build a blogging business that will allow you to make money online and achieve your dreams.
Are you ready? Let’s get started…
Get started with Bluehost for $2.95/month (63% off).
1. Select A Profitable Niche For Your Blog
If you want to build a blog that will make you money, it is important to ensure that the blog is focused on a specific topic or niche.
If your blog talks about every topic under the sun, you’ll have a hard time building an engaged and loyal audience that can be monetized.
So, how do you choose a profitable niche for your blog?
There are two things you need to look at when choosing a niche for your blog – your passion for the niche, and the audience monetization potential.
When you pick a niche for your blog, you’ll spend the life of your blog talking about that topic. If it is a topic you’re not interested in, there’s a very high chance you’ll get bored somewhere along the way.
In addition, if you’re not passionate about the topic, your readers will sense your disinterest and lack of enthusiasm, so it will be quite difficult to build a loyal audience.
Your chosen niche also needs to have a significant number of people interested in that topic. You cannot build an audience if no one is interested in what you are talking about. It also means that there’ll be no one to buy products related to that niche.
You can make good money with just about any niche, provided you have a passion for it, and there are enough people interested in it. Bloggers are making money even in some of the weirdest niches like herbs, gardening, anime, traditional medicine, and so on.
2. Choose A Blogging Platform
To run a blog, you need a blogging platform. This is essentially a software program that allows you to manage various aspects of your blog, such as publishing new content, adding new pages to your blog, adding different functionalities through plugins, and so on.
There are dozens of great blogging platforms to choose from, but we recommend using WordPress. WordPress is an open-source blogging platform that can be installed on most third-party hosting servers.
WordPress is also the most popular blogging platform in the world, which is evidenced by the sheer number of websites and blogs running on the platform.
As of 2021, there are over 455 million sites running on WordPress, accounting for over 35% of all websites in the world, and 62% of websites built using a content management system (CMS).
There are several reasons why we recommend building your blog on WordPress. Here are a few of them…
- The WordPress platform is free to use. You don’t need to pay anything to download WordPress and install it on your blog. However, you’ll still need to pay for web hosting.
- Building your blog on WordPress is very easy, even if you’re a complete beginner who has never built a website before.
- WordPress gives you total control over your blog, including the look and feel of your blog, how to monetize your blog, as well as the ability to edit your HTML code.
- WordPress gives you access to thousands of free themes and layouts. If you want to add a more professional and exclusive feel to your blog, there are thousands more premium themes to choose from.
- With WordPress, you get access to hundreds of thousands of free and premium plugins, which you can use to add more functionality to your blog.
- There is a huge WordPress community where you can interact with other bloggers and website owners. This means that, even if you get stuck – which is very unlikely to happen – there are lots of people willing to help you resolve your issue.
If you don’t want to use WordPress for some reason, you can build your blog using website builders like Wix or Squarespace. These two platforms are all-in-one solutions that handle all aspects of setting up your blog, including hosting and domain registration.
While they are good for beginners, they have limited customization options, limited theme and plugin options, and can sometimes be more expensive compared to building your blog on WordPress in the long run.
Get started with Bluehost for $2.95/month (63% off).
3. Pick A Domain Name
Your domain name is what defines your brand. It is the name that people will use to refer to your blog. It is also what your readers will type into their web browsers whenever they want to access your blog.
When choosing a domain name for your blog, there are no limitations. You can use any name, including your own name. Unless you already have an established personal brand, however, we don’t recommend naming your blog after yourself.
Instead, it is more advisable to give your blog a name that gives your visitors an idea of what your blog is all about.
Other things to keep in mind when choosing a domain name for your blog include…
- Go for simple domain names that are easy to say and spell
- Avoid domain names that contain hyphens, numbers, and homophones
- The shorter the domain name, the better
- Whenever possible, go for a domain name with a .com extension
If you find it challenging to come up with a nice name for your blog, you can always use a business name generator to find suitable domain name ideas.
There are several reliable domain registrars, but we recommend registering your domain on Bluehost.
Once you’ve picked a suitable domain name, you’ll need to check whether it is available before settling on that particular name. You can do this using Bluehost’s domain name checker.
Get started with Bluehost for $2.95/month (63% off).
4. Get A Web Hosting Account
In order for your blog to be live and accessible on the internet, you need a web hosting provider who’ll provide you with space on their servers to hold your blog’s files and data.
There are lots of web hosting providers to pick from, but we recommend hosting your blog on Bluehost.
There are several factors that make Bluehost the best web hosting provider for beginners, including their affordable prices, great customer service, reliable hosting packages, and site security. With Bluehost, you also get a free domain name.
To set up your web hosting account with Bluehost, open Bluehost.com and click on the “Get Started” button.
You’ll be taken to a page where you’ll be required to select your preferred plan.
Since you’re just getting started, select the Basic Plan. If you go for the 36-month agreement, you’ll get the Basic Plan for just $4.95 per month.
Once you’ve chosen your hosting plan, the next thing you need to do is to register a domain name.
Remember the domain name you came up with in Step 3? Type it in the box to your left (Create A New Domain), confirm that the dropdown menu is set to .com, and then hit “Next.”
Once you do that, you’ll be directed to the checkout page.
First, you’ll need to provide your personal information. Alternatively, you have the option of signing in using your Google account.
Next, confirm the package information and choose your preferred package extras. Adding package extras will drive up your costs, so you can just add Domain Privacy + Protection and leave out the rest.
Domain Privacy + Protection helps keep your private information, such as your email address, phone number and physical address safe and secure.
Finally, enter your payment details, click on the checkbox to confirm that you have read Bluehost’s terms of service, and hit the “Submit” button.
Once you complete the checkout process, your first blog is now live on the internet. However, there’s still some work that needs to be done before you can start sending visitors to your new blog, which brings us to step 5.
5. Starting A Blog On WordPress
Now that you have created your web hosting account, the next thing you need to do is to install WordPress on your new website.
Installing WordPress allows you to easily customize the look of your blog, add pages, publish content, add plugins and widgets, and so on.
The process of installing WordPress on your new site is pretty easy. Start off by logging into your Bluehost account using the login details emailed to you after you completed the checkout process in step 4.
Navigate to “My Sites,” and on the top right corner, hit the “Create Site” button.
Next, you’ll be asked to provide some information about your blog, including the site name and tagline.
Enter your domain name (without the .com extension) as the site name, add your tagline, and hit “Next.” If you don’t have a tagline yet, there’s no problem. You’ll add it later.
You’ll then be asked to choose the domain name where you want WordPress to be installed. Since you only have one domain name at this point, select this domain from the drop-down menu.
You’ll also be asked to choose whether you want some of Bluehost’s recommended plugins to be installed on your site. You can just leave the plugins checked and hit “Next.”
Once you click on “Next,” WordPress will automatically start installing on your Bluehost account. You’ll receive a “WordPress installed successfully!” notification once the installation is complete.
That’s it! The WordPress CMS is now running on your blog and ready for you to start publishing content.
At this point, however, your blog still looks a bit boring. To make your blog look appealing, you’ll need to pick a theme, which brings us to the next step.
6. Select A Theme And Design For Your Blog
WordPress themes are pre-made templates that allow you to change the overall design and appearance of your blog.
WordPress themes control a wide variety of site elements and features, including the site layout, font styling, widget locations, colors, the appearance of blog posts, and so on.
The best part about WordPress is that you literally have thousands of themes to choose from, so you almost have a guarantee that you’ll find something that suits your blog and brand.
To add themes to your new blog, start by logging into your WordPress admin panel. The easiest way to access the WordPress admin panel is to enter yourdomain.com/wp-admin on your web browser.
Once you’re inside the WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to “Appearance,” and then click on “Themes.”
This will take you to a new page showing some of the default themes that come with WordPress.
You can either apply one of these themes to your blog, or find a better, flashier theme. To add a new theme, click on the “Add New” button at the top.
You’ll be taken to a new page with thousands of free themes to choose from.
Here, you can either browse through the different themes or search for a specific theme. You also have the option of filtering the available themes by features.
Some beautiful and popular themes you might want to consider for your blog include…
- Neve: This is a lightweight yet very versatile theme that works for most kinds of websites. What makes it perfect for blogs is that it is optimized for search engines, and it works well on mobile devices – which are the most commonly used devices for reading blogs.
- OceanWP: This is a clean and easy to use, highly customizable theme that comes with a ton of extensions to enhance the functionality of your blog. It is also compatible with popular page builders, such as Beaver Builder and Elementor.
- Astra: This is a simple yet elegant theme that is perfect for showcasing your blog content. It also works very well with ecommerce, in case you decide to add an online store to your blog.
- Poseidon: This theme works best for blogs that feature mixed content with sharp and captivating visuals. It’s creative application of negative space greatly improves the readability of your blog content, and you also get a full-screen carousel to showcase your most popular content.
- Hemingway: This is a clean theme with a simple two-column layout that works really well for blog sites. It also offers lots of customization options, as well as the parallax scrolling effect, which gives your blog an elegant feel.
Once you find a theme you like, click on the “Install” button to install the theme to your site, and then hit the “Activate” button to apply the theme to your blog. This will make changes to your blog and give it a new design and appearance that comes with the new theme.
Don’t get too caught up with choosing a theme for your blog, since you can always change the theme whenever you come across another theme that you like better.
After selecting a theme for your blog, you’ll also need to install a few plugins to add extra functionality to your blog. Plugins are pieces of software that allow you to do things like adding a contact form to your blog, adding forums, adding lead capture forms, and so on.
There are plugins for just about any site feature you can think of, but for now, you only need to focus on the basic plugins.
To add a new plugin to your WordPress blog, go back to the main WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Plugins,” and click on “Add New.”
This will take you to a new page with tons of plugins to choose from, as well as the option to search for a specific plugin.
Some of the essential plugins you might want to install on your blog at this point include…
- Yoast SEO: This is one of the most important SEO tools for any blog that wants to rank high on search engines. The Yoast SEO plugin analyzes your content for SEO-friendliness, and gives you lots of other tips on how to improve your site’s on-page SEO.
- Jetpack: This is a multifunctional plugin that helps you with things like malware and spam protection and blog backups. Jetpack also allows you to integrate your blog with social media platforms, and gives you access to some website analytics.
- Akismet: Dealing with spam can be very hectic, yet blogs are a very popular target for scammers. The Akismet plugin helps you filter spam from your blog comments, thus saving you lots of headache and disk space.
- WP Rocket: The slower your blog is, the more likely that people will abandon it without reading whatever brought them to the blog. The WP Rocket plugin speeds up your blog by creating and preloading cached copies of your blog, as well as compressing static files for faster loading speeds.
- MonsterInsights: MonsterInsights is a powerful plugin that gives you insights about your audience – the number of people visiting your blog, where they are coming from, the pages they spend most time on, and so on. This can, in turn, help you identify the most popular kind of content on your blog and allow you to create even better content.
When you find a plugin you want to install on your blog, simply click on “Install Now”, and after the installation is complete, click on “Activate.”
Once you’ve selected a theme for your blog and installed a few essential plugins, you are now done with the process of setting up your blog. You are now ready to start creating content for your blog and sharing it with your audience.
7. Write And Publish Blog Content
Now comes the fun part of starting your blog – writing and publishing your very first piece of content.
Before you start creating blog posts, you’ll first need to create a few static pages for your blog. Some of the most essential pages for a blog include…
- Homepage: You can choose to have a dynamic homepage that displays your most recent blog posts, or you might opt to have a static home page. If you opt for a static home page, you’ll need to create content for the homepage. This can focus mainly on telling your visitors what your blog is about, and why they should check out your blog posts.
- About: This page tells your readers who you are, why you started your blog, and so on. The aim of the about page is to help you create a connection with your readers.
- Contact: If you want your readers to get in touch with you, you’ll need a contact page with your email address, links to your social media pages, and so on. You can also add a contact form to this page.
- Products and services: If you’re going to sell products or services on your blog, you’ll also need a page to provide additional information about your products and services and explain how your visitors can make their orders.
Adding a new page to your WordPress blog is pretty easy. Simply go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Pages,” then click on “Add New.”
Once you have created the static pages for your blog, it’s now time to move on to actual blog content.
Just like adding new pages to your blog, creating your first blog post is equally simple. On your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Posts” and then click on “Add New.”
Being your first time blogging, the question on your mind at this point is probably, what should I write about?
The best way to come with content to write about is to think about your target audience and the kind of content they would want to read. To help you figure out the kind of content that will appeal to your target audience, you can ask yourself questions like…
- What is my target audience passionate about? What excites them?
- What common challenges does my target audience encounter?
- What is it that my target audience hates?
- What are the dreams, goals, and aspirations of my target audience?
Answering these questions will help you to come up with content that is appealing to your readers.
For instance, let’s say your blog is in the cycling niche. So, what common challenges do cyclists encounter?
One common challenge for cyclists is bicycle theft. With that in mind, you can write an article on “10 tips to protect your bicycle from thieves.” It’s that simple.
All you need to do now is write the best article possible. Below are some tips that will help you write an interesting and engaging article that your audience will enjoy reading.
- Ensure everything you write is relevant to your topic and useful to your readers.
- Keep your writing conversational. You don’t want to sound like a boring college professor.
- Keep your paragraphs short. No one enjoys reading blocks of text.
- Split up your content using subheadings to make it scannable.
- Use bullet points, lists, and images to break the monotony of text.
- Ensure there are no grammatical errors and typos.
If you want to build a successful blog, you have to make the commitment to publish new content consistently. However, this is unlikely to happen if you’re planning on blogging whenever you feel like it.
If you want to be consistent with your blog, you have to create a content calendar. Brainstorm on the topics that you are going to cover over the next six months (or one year), list them down in a spreadsheet, and add a publishing date next to each blog post.
If you do this, you won’t find yourself wondering what to write about on the day you’re supposed to be publishing, and it will be a lot easier for you to remain consistent.
8. Optimize Your Blog Content For SEO
When people want to learn about something, they go to a search engine like Google, type in their search query, and then click on one of the top results to find answers to their questions.
This means that if you want people to find your blog posts, you have to appear on the first page of Google and other search engines. How do you do that? The answer is search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your blog content to increase its chances of ranking high on search engines. This makes your blog more visible and allows you to attract more traffic.
So, how do you optimize your blog content for SEO? Some of the things you can do to boost your search rankings include…
1) Use Keyword Research To Plan Your Content
People looking for information related to your topic often use certain keywords in their search. Using various keyword research tools, you can identify the main keywords your audience is using to search for content related to your niche.
By planning your content around these keywords, you’ll actually be creating the kind of content your audience is looking for, which will increase your chances of your content being found and read.
2) Use Effective Blog Post Titles
Your blog posts titles serve two purposes. They tell your search engines what is contained within the blog post and convince web users to click on your article.
When your blog post contains the keywords that people are searching for, it has higher chances of appearing on search engines.
In addition, effective blog post titles that get people to open and read your articles will improve your SEO, since this tells search engines that your blog post contains the information people are searching for.
3) Use Internal Links
Linking related articles on your blog to each other boosts your SEO in two ways. First, it makes it easier for search engines to find new content on your blog. Second, it makes it easier for search engines to understand the context of each blog post.
In addition, strategic internal linking also allows you to send your readers to other relevant posts on your blog.
4) Include Images And Videos In Your Posts
Adding images and videos to your blog content makes the content more engaging, leading to more time on-page. Images also provide you with opportunities to add keywords to alt tags and image descriptions, which is good for search optimization.
5) Make Your Content Easy To Read
Readability is one of the factors that search engines like Google use when ranking web pages. The easier to read your content is, the more likely it is to rank higher on Google, keeping other factors constant.
Some of the things you can do to improve your content’s readability include using shorter sentences and paragraphs, using headings and subheadings, adding images, including bulleted lists and tables, and so on.
9. Promote, Grow, And Market Your Blog
One of the main reasons why most blogs fail is because people don’t put any significant effort into promoting and marketing their blogs.
Here’s the thing; you might have the most beautiful blog, and the most engaging and valuable blog content, but if you don’t let people know about your blog, no one will read it, and you won’t make a dime from it.
Actually, the most successful bloggers will tell you promoting and marketing your blog is more important than publishing frequently.
So, how do you promote and market your blog? Let’s check out a few ideas below…
1) Social Media Marketing
Today, everyone is on social media, so sharing your blog content on social media is a great way to get your blog noticed.
All you need to do is create social media pages on the platforms that are most popular with your audience, grow your following on these platforms, and then share your content with these followers whenever you publish.
2) Email Marketing
Sometimes, people looking for specific information visit your blog, read one of your posts (which they love), but they never come back. The best way to turn such people into regular readers is to use email marketing.
When people visit your blog, ask them to give you their email address in exchange for a lead magnet. Once you have their email, you can then notify them whenever you publish new content.
Aside from notifying your subscribers whenever you publish new content, you can also use email marketing to promote additional content offerings, such as eBooks, and promote your freelance services.
To promote your blog through email marketing, you’ll need access to email marketing software, such as ConvertKit or ConstantContact.
3) Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is another great way to get new people to know about your blog. Guest blogging involves pitching and writing content to be published on other authoritative blogs within your niche.
There are three reasons why guest blogging is such an effective way of promoting and growing your blog. First, guest blogging allows you to reach the other blog’s audience – who you’d not have reached otherwise and convert them into fans of your blog as well.
Second, guest posting gives you an opportunity to build your personal brand. Having your content published in reputable blogs within your niche positions you as an authority figure, which will make people more likely to read the content on your own blog as well.
Finally, guest posting earns you backlinks from authoritative sites. This will boost your SEO optimization, leading to more visibility on search results.
4) Online Paid Advertising
For bloggers who have the budget for it, investing in paid online advertising is a good way to quickly build an audience for your new blog. Paid advertising puts your blog right in front of people who are looking for the kind of content you have to offer.
Some paid advertising channels to consider include paid social media ads, search engine ads such as Google AdWords, and advertising your blog posts on content discovery platforms.
5) Blog Commenting
This blog promotion strategy involves posting comments on the posts of other top bloggers within your niche.
However, don’t just post comments for the sake of it. Share thoughtful comments that add value to the initial blog and showcase your expertise. With time, other readers will want to see more of your content on your own blog.
Aside from helping you build authority and credibility, blog commenting also helps you build relationships with the other bloggers, which can lead to more opportunities to grow your blog.
6) Submitting Your Content To Bookmarking Sites
Another effective way to get people to discover your blog is to submit your content to content bookmarking sites such as Flipboard, Digg, and PearlTrees.
Doing this puts your content in front of people looking for information related to your niche, leading to increased traffic to your blog content.
10. How To Start A Blog And Make Money Blogging
One of the reasons you decided to start a blog is to make money. Now that you’ve set up and designed a beautiful blog, created engaging and valuable content, and promoted your blog content to drive traffic, it’s now time to convert this traffic into money.
So, how do bloggers make money?
The good thing with blogging is that there’s no shortage of money making ideas. Below, let’s check out some of the different strategies you can use to make money from your blog…
- Selling Ads: This is the first thing most bloggers think of when it comes to monetizing their blogs. With this approach, all you need to do is to sign up with an advertising network, such as Google AdSense, or Google Adsense alternatives such as AdThrive, or AdCash. The network will then display relevant ads on your blog, and you can either get paid for impressions or clicks.
- Affiliate marketing: This monetization strategy involves recommending other people’s products to your readers, and then getting a share of the sale whenever someone you’ve referred makes a purchase. You’ll be issued with a referral link or code to help in tracking the sales drive through your blog. If you decide to use this monetization strategy, make sure to only recommend high quality products to avoid losing your readers’ trust.
- Sell your products and services: As a blogger, you already have an engaged audience that trusts you. You can turn this audience into income by creating your own products or services, and then selling them to your audience.
- Creating sponsored posts: There are brands within your niche who may be looking for a chance to put their products and services in front of your audience. Such brands will be willing to pay you to create and publish sponsored content that talks about their products.
- Selling online courses and coaching: As a blogger, you already have knowledge and expertise that other people want, which is why they read your blog posts. You can package your knowledge and expertise into online courses and coaching products and sell it to your audience. For instance, if you have a blog about content marketing, you could create an online course on how to master content marketing for startups.
There are several other ways of making money from your blog, such as creating a paid job board, creating a paid membership area, hosting webinars, holding virtual summits, selling freelance services, creating a paid business directory, selling eBooks, accepting donations, and so on.