I’m trying to keep a super easy guide up that people can follow.
This article will teach you a bit about how to choose a profitable blogging niche, set up a blog from scratch, and understand the basics you need to build on with blogging. Following these steps should help your traffic grow steadily. Some points are repeated as I’m hoping even if you choose to skip around you pick up the important bits.
- How to Blog and Earn
- Step 1. Pick a Niche
- Step 2. Create Relevant Domain Name
- How to Find Your Domain
- Step 4. Pick a Host
- Getting Started With Siteground
- Step 1: Choose a Plan
- Step 2: Register Your Domain
- Step 3: Review & Complete
- Step 5. Set up WordPress
- Step 6. Make Money
This will be my own obligatory post about how to start a blog. It is easy to start a blog. It is hard to design and build a blog.
I don’t want you to pick this up with the expectation that things are easy and everything just magically works right away. It isn’t an instant and easy way to make money as all of that depends on many variables mostly limited by your traffic and monetization choices.
Blogging takes a lot of work, strategy, time, dedication, and you basically have to treat it like a girlfriend or boyfriend you have to check often and tend to lovingly. It isn’t a get rich quick sort of deal. It is an online business and it will take it some time before it will generate consistent revenue.
If you are a person who knows what you are doing, it is very easy to quickly hit the $500 a month mark in 4-6 months. Most bloggers it takes much longer if it is their first attempt.
It varies according to work put in and how you promote your site for traffic. As long as you go into this with realistic expectations you should be successful.
A lot of bloggers quit before they have even earned a cent because they seem to expect quick money. They complain it is all taking too long.
It isn’t uncommon to not make anything during the first 2 months of blogging. The first earnings will be basically a trickle unless you have a very good affiliate conversion rate.
Some make a couple hundred their first month with low traffic and good affiliate choices.
A normal blog earning progression is:
Month 1: $0
Month 2: $10
Month 3: $25-50
Month 4: $75-250
Month 5: $325-500
Month 6: $525
Month 7: $650
Month 8: $950
Month 9: $1100
Month 10: $1700
Month 11: $2300
Month 12: $3000
How to Blog and Earn
Making a blog for the first time requires a lot of learning and a certain set of steps.
The steps are:
- Pick a Niche
- Choose Domain Name
- Choose a blogging platform
- Pick a host
- Install and setup WordPress
Step 1. Pick a Niche
Your niche is what your blog is about.
I have 4 other sites that target specific topics. They all seem to display different growth and traffic habits. My best advice is to pick one topic and write just about that.
Don’t write about gardening, animals, and home decorating. Write JUST about gardening. Write just about one thing at least to start. A blog niche doesn’t quite communicate what is going on there.
The secret to all this is you have to figure out how to cater to one type of audience and keep those readers glued to your content. Figure out your type of person who likes your stuff, then write for them and with them in mind.
Choosing what to niche down with is hard. Most people end up wasting a large chunk of time experimenting before settling in. Don’t waste months of your life stressing about your niche. Again refer to this post if the niche is where you are getting stuck.
I usually tell people in the niche planning phase to write 40 articles about whatever they want. Test the niche for how well you enjoy writing about it and try to gauge how well you can sustain writing about it.
There is some planning involved in selecting a niche. If you want a blog that makes money more readily then you will want a niche that gets good traffic, has good affiliates, and good ad conversion potential.
One important note is not to write about too many topics at first. Gaining traffic is hard otherwise. If you start off writing about container gardening, don’t add unrelated topics like owning horses. Your growth phase will take much longer.
If you have 70 posts up about watercolor techniques, Google will start to pick you up as probably being an expert about watercolor techniques since you keep posting about them.
When I researched it I narrowed it down to some topics mostly at the suggestion of another blogger’s list. My post about choosing a niche has a similar though slightly different approach to the topics.
- Personal development – Help people become their best selves.
- How to make money – Primarily covers methods of making money online. (very competitive)
- Personal finance – Helps people in their financial life and decisions. (also very competitive)
- Health and fitness – A lot of topic choice here as long as it enhances health. For these, you need to link to credible sources that back up your health claims as it will help make your site seem more trustworthy.
- Food – These are generally recipe blogs. Usually, you want to pick a specific kind of food. ex, Vegan Crockpot Recipes, authentic Japanese recipes, etc. Food blogs also have the perk of being able to get going fairly early on with Gourmet Ads which is a pretty good ad network and specific to food blogs.
- Beauty and fashion – People like learning about makeup or how to dress or overall look better. A very good starting point if you can handle writing about it.
- Lifestyle – This niche is a whatever you want niche. Write about any and all of your interests. One of the more popular things under this niche is travel.
Your Own Niche
The main thing is you want a niche you are authentically interested in. Blogging is like a marathon race and you won’t get very far if you can’t slot yourself into a steady pace. So something you feel motivated to write about as well as something you can write about a lot.
It should feel natural to finish one blog post and then move on to the next one. You want to grow a large and high-value content stash on your blog and you want to always have post ideas if possible. You also want them to be QUALITY so your reader feels motivated to bookmark you to refer back when they want.
Your blog topic has to have an audience or you will not get much traffic. If there are other blogs up writing about your niche topic and doing well, this is a good sign as it means there is an audience so your topic can be monetized in some form or fashion.
Step 2. Create Relevant Domain Name
Once your niche is figured out you need your domain name. The domain name is your site address and how people get to your blog. Domain names are important as they are the first thing people see when they are checking out your site.
How to Choose a Domain:
- Use keywords related to your niche – It is useful that people can tell at a glance what your site is going to be about and slightly helps Google rankings. You can also go with something brandable.
- Make it short – Short domains are generally more appealing to people. They are quick and easy to type.
- Has to be memorable – If your site is easy to remember then it will be easier for people to find you again.
- Use your name – Some bloggers skip right to using their name as a domain. It helps them build their own personal brand. It is not recommended if you plan to sell the site at a later date. This is useful if you plan to use the site as a sort of website “resume” if you are looking for freelance work.
- Always buy a .com – The most popular and commercially viable extension is .com.
How to Find Your Domain
There are 2 sites I like to use when searching for domains.
If I’m still not seeing what I want I go with
You can explore all of these sites and try different words and see what is available. Write down the ones you like then select from the best. Avoid adult or mature keywords unless you are building a specific kind of site for that.
Step 3. Choose a Blogging Platform
You will usually want to avoid free platforms. They limit you a lot in design and customization. In most cases, you don’t technically own the site and most of them can’t be monetized very well.
I started out on Blogger for practice and then upgraded to a proper blog. Starting on Blogger is a pretty solid way to get going. You can also get a free domain from Freenom though I recommend getting your normal paid .com domain.
If you want to start off completely without investment, this is probably the easiest way. You will want to eventually switch to a .com domain for sure. You can easily redirect traffic from the old domain when you switch. But you do not want to stay this way for more than a month or two. It restricts you from a lot.
Why you should not start a blog for free:
- Affiliate Marketing becomes hard to impossible. No Brand or Company wants to be associated with a free blog. They will feel it degrades their image and your operation doesn’t look polished or professional enough.
- Ads are hard to place. Free blogs often have no way to help you monetize effectively. Blogger lets you pick up Adsense, but you have no ability to do the full range of other ad networks.
- Lose everything. Free blogging places can do whatever they want. You might end up with all of your stuff erased or they might change the rules and then expect you to start from scratch.
- Crippled SEO and poor rankings. Basically the whole deal with blogging is you want to make yourself attractive to Google. Google doesn’t rank free sites in their search results.
- Your domain sucks. People don’t want to go to carrotycake123.blogspot.com as it looks ridiculous.
If you only make 2 core investments, it should be on a good host and a proper website theme.
A different use of Blogger and what I do personally is I create accounts to act as storage “mules” that hold my drafts. I have about 4 different blogs of unpublished articles about different subject matter. When I have one loaded up with sufficient articles I might either sell them as a build your own site content kit or make a site myself.
You may want to spend a month building a mule blogger until you have sufficient content and then pay for your hosting and stuff when you actually have content to put up.
The best blogging CMS is WordPress right now. You will want to go with a self-hosted WordPress blog.
If you have money for investment, go ahead and go with buying your .com domain and your hosting package. It will be completely yours and you can customize and monetize your content in all the ways you desire.
Step 4. Pick a Host
I have tried a couple of different hosting providers over the years. Now a lot of bloggers seem to promote Bluehost because you only have to pay “$2.95 a month”. What they fail to mention is the rate of $2.95 a month only happens if you purchase 36 months worth at once.
Bluehost has also changed ownership and some of their service features aren’t what they used to be. Some claim it has been recovered by now, but I’ve found a couple other attractive options.
My personal recommendation? The hosting provider known as SiteGround. This is the host I’ve chosen to promote and where my sites will end up most likely unless I find I like a different host.
It boasts superior site speeds and has a very responsive support team. If you break your site, they can fix it in many cases. They will also work quickly so your site stays up.
- One-click WordPress install – Have a site up quickly
- Auto-updates – Keeps WordPress current
- Supercacher – SiteGround plugin that increases site speed
- Daily backups – Keeps your site protected and backed up
- Free SSL – Real nice perk because SSL can be annoying to deal with. I usually hook my sites to Cloudflare with an SSL plugin and it usually takes care of that problem.
Getting Started With Siteground
Step 1: Choose a Plan
First thing is to look at the SiteGround offerings. You shoul have 3 main plans visible.
For just starting the StartUp plan is sufficient. Some people prefer starting off with the GrowBig plan because they get extra features and uncaps things a bit.
Step 2: Register Your Domain
Next you will want to register your domain you created earlier and then proceed.
Step 3: Review & Complete
In the last step you can select your payment and any extra services you want. The payment periods are either 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months. The special discount only applies to your first invoice and then it switches to regular price. Some optional features are for domain privacy to protect your personal information or a site scanner to keep up with site health.
Step 5. Set up WordPress
Siteground has a one-click setup for WordPress. If for some reason you have an issue installing it you can talk to SiteGround support and they will get everything ready for you.
Once you have WordPress installed you want to head over to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin and log in to your dashboard with your username and password. Don’t be overwhelmed with the dashboard, stuff will seem complicated at first but it becomes extremely easy. You will want to use Google to search for anything you need to know.
For choosing a good starter theme you want to go with Generatepress.
Step 6. Make Money
1. A blog helps you attract clients
This is the current plan I have with this blog as the topics under this niche will help me be attractive to a particular job market.
The fact is you can have all the skills or talent in the world and it won’t mean a thing if you can’t market yourself well.
You need authority and distinction and something you can point to. Having a blog establishes such things and you will have an online presence and people will recognize you.
Your blog is your portfolio.
Part of the reason I built this blog is I’m in a lot of blogger groups and they ask questions. I start to answer and they often get overwhelmed because blogging information is a lot to take in.
It took me months upon months of reading and my own testing to determine various things. Some of the people who read my posts opted to just hire me on for different jobs. This is nice having a glut of good jobs to do.
2. A blog makes you money online
Everyone and their mom is either blogging, podcasting, building a YouTube, or working on an Instagram, etc.
The main reason is they have great growth potential and they are flexible. The investment is low and as you figure out the game of it you can drop that 9-5 and work when you want to.
The income potential is also a lot higher than all your standard jobs.
3. A blog helps you establish your own brand
Your blog is a place that can hold your story. It communicates at a glance how strong your skills are and informs people all about whatever it is you write about.
Over time you gain authority and can improve and next thing you know you have new opportunities for whatever your business interest are.
The product can either be yourself or whatever it is you create.