How To Start A Blog
So you want to start a blog and maybe even make some money online? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This guide contains everything you need to do to start a successful, money-making blog.
What Is A Blog? And How To Start A Blog!
To answer the question, “What is a blog?”, we first have to answer the question “What is a website?”.
A “website” is a group of related pages that are published on the Internet. They are grouped together on a single domain name, i.e.
Everything you see on the Internet is a website of some sort.
A blog is a specific type, or subcategory, of a website containing content that is published in chronological order. They were once called “weblogs” for this very reason.
Most blogs today run on the WordPress.org platform. In simple terms, WordPress is a very powerful content management system that makes writing and publishing content on the Internet possible for all of us non-techie people. Before WordPress, if you wanted to create a website, you basically had to be a software developer and understand how to write your own HTML.Today, there is no difference between a blog and a static website IF you’re using WordPress. There are other options out there for creating just a website, but why would you want to?
To be successful online, you need a healthy mix of both static pages, a blog, and a strong social media presence.
Why Start A Blog?
There are as many reasons for starting a blog as there are blogs on the Internet, but some stand out more than others.
The 3 most common reasons for starting a blog are:
- To make money online
- To share or teach
- To build brand recognition for a business
Starting A Blog To Make Money Online
Making money online is possible and can be very profitable. It all depends on your personal preference and how hard you’re willing to work. Trust me, there are things that you are going to have to learn and do that will not always be easy.
Here are just a few of the ways that you can make money online from your blog. We’ll get into the details later… For now, just keep these in mind as you go through the rest of this guide.
Direct Advertisers. These are individuals or companies that will pay you money banner ads, text ads, and to write paid reviews featuring their product or service.
Affiliate Marketing. Companies like Amazon, JVZoo, and ClickBank are large networks of products and services that you can promote on your blog for a commission.
The most recognizable ad network is Google Adsense. They connect advertisers with content publishers (bloggers) to place ads on your blog.
Create And Sell Your Own Product Or Service.
This is the holy grail of making money online, so start thinking of the product or service you may want to create and sell.
Starting A Blog To Share Or Teach
Some of the most popular blogs today started out as just a guy who wanted to share his journey, his lessons learned, or years of accumulated knowledge. You have more to give to the online world than you may think.
What are you really good at? Really bad at? Either way, your story can help others.
What’s the one thing that you could talk about for hours? This is likely to be something you’re really passionate about and that passion will come through on your blog.
Maybe there’s a book that you’ve been wanting to write? A blog is a wonderful way to write it one chapter at a time.
Have you survived a trauma or disaster of some sort? There are other people out there going through that same thing right now and you can help them.
Building Brand Recognition For Your Business
A blog is a great way to expand the reach of your business. Because blogs are continuously updated and typically contain a wealth of knowledge, both people and search engines LOVE blogs.
A blog is a perfect place to address the questions, problems, and concerns that your customers have. It allows you to build trust and stay top-of-mind so that when they are ready to buy, they will buy from you!
Choose A Topic For Your Blog
This is where new bloggers either move way too fast or get completely stuck!
If you move too fast, you’ll end up with a topic that has no staying power… You get bored with it. There’s not a large enough market, so you get no traffic. Or, the market is large enough, but the market wants everything for free.
The flip side is never being able to decide on a topic, so the blog just never gets off the ground.
Here are some tips that will help you select a topic for your new blog.
Passion Vs. Money Makers
The biggest question when it comes to choosing a niche, or topic, for your blog is “Should I choose something that I’m passionate about or something that makes a lot of money?”
If you want your blog to be truly successful, then it needs to be both.
You need to be passionate about the topic because you’re going to spend A LOT of time researching, writing, and sharing content about your topic.
It also needs to be popular, meaning that people actually search for things related to your blog’s topic. A successful blog needs readers and followers. I recommend that you choose a bigger, more competitive niche than a smaller niche with no interest. Yes, it may be easier to get on page one of Google for the less popular nice, but 1% of 10,000,000 readers is still a larger following than 100% of 1000 readers.
Choose An “Evergreen” Topic
Sure, you can have a VERY successful blog on the current presidential election, but once the election is over, your blog is dead. A better option would be to cover politics in general so that there’s always something
Is The Topic Profitable?
If you want to make money from your blog, the topic needs to be related to something that people want to buy or a service they are willing to pay for.
Nothing Is Forever
Your blog topic will morph and change over time and that’s perfectly OK. It will be harder as your blog becomes more mature but still doable. You can also start another blog on a new topic down the road, but I recommend mastering one topic first! You will quickly get overwhelmed if you try to start multiple blogs at the same time.
Get A Domain Name
This is another place where new bloggers get completely STUCK! Yes, your domain name is very important and you want to follow the tips below to make sure you get a good one, but it’s not a total show stopper if you don’t get the exact domain you want.
I highly recommend GoDaddy as your domain registrar. They get 5 stars across the board.
Here are some tips for getting the perfect domain name.
1. Your domain name should be easy to pronounce and type
Make sure that when you say your domain name out loud – yes, say it out loud 3 times fast. Do you find yourself tripping over your words? Then it’s probably too complicated.
It should also be easy to spell and type without mistakes. Ask your 5 best friends to spell your domain name. If they get it wrong, so will your customers.
2. Keep your domain name as short as possible.
Short is always better. Think of the most popular sites on the internet – Google, Amazon, Twitter – they are all short, easy to pronounce and to spell.
It is getting harder and harder to get those short names, so you’ll have to get creative.
3. Use your keywords in your domain
For me, this is even more important than the length. Your domain name should tell your customers what your site is about. It can be your name if you’re trying to build your personal brand, or if your site will be a recipe site, make sure to say that in your domain. E.g. “healthyitalianrecipes.com” – it’s not short, but it’s very clear what the site is about.
4. “.com” still wins
There are tons of domain extensions these days, but in general, “.com” domains are still the most common and most popular. If you go with a “.training” domain and someone else owns the “.com” version, guess what? A significant portion of your visitors will mistype the domain and go to the other site. It’s not a big deal unless they are in the same business as you and in that case, you just sent your customers straight to your competitor.
5. Do not use numbers or hyphens
While they are technically allowable in a domain name, they are easily misunderstood and mistyped. So just don’t use them.
6. Make it easy to remember
While I don’t recommend going with a name like Amazon, unless you have the budget to market and grow the brand, it should be easy to remember.
Come up with your top 3-5 ideas and run them by your friends to see which one sticks. I recommend running your ideas by your target market as well – focus on the same age group that you want to attract. Certain words and phrases will click better with a certain age range.
7. Do your research.
Search for your blog title and domain name on the internet, social media, and trademark directories. This will help you avoid any legal issues or trademark violations down the road.
Find A Blog Hosting Company
Your blog needs a place to live and while this sounds simple, the choices number in the 100’s if not 1000’s and they all claim to be the best. In this section, we’ll tell you what to look for in a hosting company and what to avoid at all costs!
Things To Look For In A Blog Hosting Company
Managed WordPress Hosting
WordPress is King when it comes to blogging and managing your website. It’s powerful and incredibly flexible, but because of that, there are a million different options and ways to configure it. You need a hosting company who knows and supports WordPress.
Training To Be A Successful Blogger
Most traditional web hosting companies will install WordPress for you, but then you are completely on your own! Being a successful blogger takes SO much more than just having your site online. You need excellent training in addition to hosting.
Real Person Support
Make sure that you can reach a real person when you need help. FAQ’s and documents are great for some things, but when you’re struggling and frustrated, you need a real person to walk you through the issues.
Themes and Plugins At No Extra Cost
Installing WordPress is just step 1. You’ll also need to install a high-quality theme and the right plugins to help your site succeed. The ideal hosting company has already done the research for you, purchased the best themes and plugins, and will install them for you at no additional cost.
Why Free or Discount Hosting Is A Really Bad Idea
The biggest question I get is “How can I start a blog for free and make money online?” I literally laugh a great big belly laugh when I get this question! Quite frankly, that just not possible. The saying that it takes money to make money is 100% true. You will get what you pay for, so it’s well worth the upfront investment to get a high-quality service that will help you succeed.
Free blog hosting companies provide little to no personal service with your blog and good luck getting help learning “how” to blog.
Free blogging services may offer training, but it will be at a huge additional cost. Most of the time, they just don’t offer training at all.
Many free or discount hosting companies will run their ads on your site. Remember, if it’s free, you’re the customer.
Poor Site Performance
Site speed and uptime are huge factors in your SEO rankings so this is not an area where you want to go cheap. Most free hosting plans offer very little space and bandwidth for the money. If you want performance, free very quickly becomes paid.
Setup / Customize Your Blog
Once you’ve found a solid blog hosting company, the real fun begins…
It’s time to set up your blog so that you can start blogging.
Here are the steps to set up your blog.
Rather than repeat all of the steps, here are the step-by-step instructions provided by WordPress.
If you’re not a techie person, when you see those instructions you may feel incredibly intimidated. So what now?
<INSERT A SHORT CTA HERE>
Purchase A High-Quality Theme
One of the really awesome features of WordPress is the ability to completely change the way your site looks by changing your theme. No more hiring a developer and paying 1000’s of dollars for a new design.
On that note, I DO NOT recommend using a custom theme design. It’s a money pit and not worth it. There are 1000’s of free themes in the WordPress repository, but how do you know which ones are good, coded correctly, and will actually work when you install them?
I recommend going with what’s known as a Premium Theme. A premium theme will normally cost you between $35 – $100, but it’s well worth the price because these themes are written and supported by qualified developers.
Configure Theme Settings
Another reason for going with a Premium theme is that the developers will provide detailed setup instructions. If you go with a free theme, you’re pretty much on your own and that’s just a bad idea.
Every theme includes its own options for customization and unless you’re very familiar with WordPress, you may install your theme and be stuck with no idea where to go.
Install And Configure Plugins
The next step is to install the plugins that you’ll need to be successful. These include things like image management, SEO optimization, email subscribe forms and social media buttons.
Here are the plugins that I recommend. Yoast SEOAddToAllAddToAny Share ButtonsAdvanced AdsBlack Studio TinyMCE WidgetRegenerate ThumbnailsSumoMe<This list goes on and on>
Add Categories, Menus, And Navigation.
Site structure is another thing that’s very important for SEO. Google needs a well laid out site structure to better determine what your site is about and how much traffic to send you.
You’ll want to come up with the top 5 or so categories that you plan to blog about, do some keyword research to make sure they are good topics with enough traffic to justify using them on your site. If you have more than 5 categories, you should start considering subcategories and/or tags instead.
Once you have your categories, You can use those to set up your menus and navigation.
How To Write Your First Blog Post
“How do I write my first blog post? What should it be about?”
This is one of the most common and fear-inducing questions asked by new bloggers. My answer is simple. Write your about page first.
You already know everything there is to know about you, so this one should be easy!
Write Your About Page First
Tell your readers who you are and why you decided to start a blog. Tell them what your blog is going to be about and what they can expect from you. And finally, tell them how they can get in contact with you.
Your about page is also a great place to feature some of your best articles and get your readers to opt-in to your email list.
What’s Your Writing Style?
Are you structured and organized or are you creative and fluid?
You’re about page should set the tone for how you will write the rest of your articles. Here’s a good structure to follow for all of your shorter articles. We’ll get into Cornerstone Content in another post. 😉
- Use an engaging headline. “About” is just so boring!
- Add a short introduction that tells what the rest of the post is about.
- Add 3-5 Subheadings. It’s a great opportunity to include some of your keywords.
- Add 2-3 paragraphs under each subheading. Remember, when writing online, keep your paragraphs short for readability.
- Close it out with a summary and call to action.
This template is simple and just works, so use it!
How To Make Money Online With Your Blog
The theory behind making money online is not complex. In fact, it’s ridiculously simple.
This is all you need to do…
- Create a blog
- Get tons of traffic
- Grow an email list of loyal subscribers
- Send relevant offers to your subscribers that they want to buy
Seriously, that’s the process. But, starting fresh with no help and support… Well, it may as well be impossible!
Hey if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed from reading this and want to quickly see how to speed things without the tech overwhelm the keep reading…
I’m holding a FREE webcast workshop where you can learn how with just 90 minutes a day you can make some extra income blogging from your laptop.
I’ll even show you how you could generate SIX Figures a year.
Show up to the next workshop you got nothing to lose in fact if you prove me wrong and I don’t show you how you could make SIX Figures a year blogging only 90 minutes per day I’ll give you a crisp $100 bill.
Sign up for the next FREE blogging webcast workshop by clicking here!
Thanks for taking the time to stop and read my blog.
Yours For Prosperity,
Wanna Learn How I Make 6 Figures A Year Working Only 90 Minutes A Day?
Then jump on our next FREE webcast workshop that’s going to show you how I generate 6 figures a year working only 90 minutes per day from anywhere on my laptop.
You can sign up for FREE for the next one by clicking here!
Thanks for taking the time to stop and read my blog.
Yours For Prosperity,