Blogging as a hobby is an excellent way to share your thoughts with millions of potential readers. However, when properly planned and executed, blogging can help you generate a full-time income.
With the rise in popularity of professional blogging in recent years, some employees are gradually shifting away from working in a cubicle and attempting their hand at entrepreneurship. And what better way to start your own business than with the low-cost, low-barrier-to-entry business of blogging?
This in-depth guide will teach you how to start a blog and make money online by covering the fundamentals of creating a profitable blog.
How to Become a Professional Blogger
Blogging can be a part-time hobby to supplement your full-time income, or it can be a means to financial independence. Many successful professional bloggers recognized the potential of their blogs early on and left their 9-to-5 jobs to build an online business. These bloggers have gone on to build million-dollar online assets through consistency and hard work.
Nonetheless, when thinking about blogging or making money online, avoid recalling the dot-com millionaires. Nowadays, success as a professional blogger, or even as a freelancer, takes at least a year, and that’s if everything goes perfectly. Writing and publishing online content is the easy part; the difficult part is promoting your blog, increasing traffic, and converting it into revenue.
This is why most bloggers give up before they have a chance to succeed. People today have been conditioned to expect instant gratification, so when the results are delayed, they become confused, frustrated, and eventually disenchanted with the idea of making money on the Internet. As a result, if you want to make money blogging, you should research the process and adjust your expectations accordingly.
1. Establishing your blog
Before you start a blog, you should think about a variety of factors. You may be aware that WordPress is the most popular and user-friendly free blogging software. All technology experts recommend WordPress for novice bloggers, with Drupal or Joomla reserved for advanced users.
Similarly, selecting a user-friendly, high-quality, yet low-cost hosting company is critical. Some of the best hosting services for new bloggers provide “one-click” WordPress installations, making the process easier for users with no technical knowledge. Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, and Web Hosting Hub are a few of the top providers.
2. Developing a content strategy
A content strategy will serve as your road map for growing your blog. You must be able to define the following from here:
- Goals – Why are you blogging?
- Goals – What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? (Set your goals by quarter or year so you can revise them based on your progress during that time period.)
- Target market – Who will be your target market? What are their demographic characteristics (age, gender, education, interests, needs/wants, challenges, purchasing power, and so on)?
- Competitors – Are there any other blogs that cover the same topics as yours?
- Advantages – What do you believe you have an advantage over your competitors? What is your added value?
- Disadvantages – How can your weaknesses be strengthened?
- Social media – What is the goal of your social media accounts (interacting with followers, driving more traffic to your blog, increasing sales, brand awareness, etc.)?
3. Choosing the best design and layout
Most new bloggers aren’t web designers, but I recommend that you avoid using WordPress’s default theme and instead purchase a premium theme. You should not underestimate the importance of design, layout, and style, especially if you are attempting to establish yourself as an authority or expert in a specific niche. The appearance and functionality of your blog are critical to your credibility.
Genesis by StudioPress is my personal favorite framework, but there are thousands of beautiful free and low-cost themes available from ThemeForest, Elegant Themes, and MyThemeShop. It is best to start with a free theme to gain traction for your site; however, you will eventually want to invest in a paid theme or even a custom design.
4. Establishing an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is used to plan and schedule post ideas. This will give you plenty of time to research, write, and schedule content ahead of time. As a solo blogger, you may not need a formal editorial calendar, but you may want to create a regimented schedule to hold yourself accountable. For example, plan to post every Monday through Thursday and use the weekend to prepare.
5. Choosing the Best Advertising Platforms
For inexperienced bloggers, ad banners have become the go-to monetization strategy. There are numerous ad networks and platforms available, with Google AdSense being the most popular and offering the highest pay-per-click.
These contextual ad programs offer a variety of ad units that you can place on your blog. These units will then show advertising based on the content of your page and your visitor’s browser history by simply copying and pasting code, increasing the chances of visitors clicking the ads.
At the same time, because ad networks aren’t always the best monetization strategy, there are dozens of other ways to make money blogging. Other possibilities include becoming an affiliate for specific products/services, earning commissions on Amazon products, selling leads to businesses, getting paid to write sponsored reviews, creating an online course and charging a subscription fee, or even selling advertising to major brands.
6. Learning how to write excellent blog posts
Writing, like any other acquired skill, is something you can get good at if you put in the effort. This is true even for bloggers who weren’t great writers before but were able to develop a distinct style that caters to their audience due to their passion for blogging. It’s also worth noting that how you write a blog depends on your target audience: a B2B blog requires a different writing style than a B2C blog.
Aside from writing, you’ll need to optimize the look and feel of your blog post. Instead of just a body of text, we recommend that you include a variety of content, such as images, videos, podcasts, lists, and so on.
7. Promoting through the appropriate channels and constructing backlinks to your blog
After you’ve written and published a post, you’ll need to promote it to your intended audience.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received came from a professional blogger who sold his site for a few million dollars. He stated that the key to his success was spending 25% of his time writing and editing and 75% of his time networking, promoting and building links.
Backlinks are the result of a successful content marketing strategy, which is an important search engine optimization (SEO) practice. Essentially, being able to generate backlinks from other sites pointing to your blog posts helps you rank higher in search engines, resulting in organic, free traffic to your blog.
8. Get in touch with other bloggers and communities.
Genuine human connections, rather than just links, are now preferred in online marketing. Relationships with other bloggers and industry experts can help you expand your reach and influence, allowing more readers to discover your blog and become loyal followers.
I recommend reaching out to influencers in your niche via Twitter, LinkedIn, the comments section of their blogs, and direct email messages. When contacting someone for the first (or even third) time, don’t ask for a favor right away. Demonstrate a genuine interest in their work by sharing your thoughts and ideas. These people have had enough spammy comments and emails and have learned to ignore such requests.
Instead, offer to assist them or solve a problem you’ve noticed they’re experiencing. Always try to give before receiving. The goal here is to form meaningful connections with like-minded individuals and bloggers with whom you can collaborate in the future.
Blogging can help you build a strong foundation for an online business if you plan and execute the eight steps outlined above. While success may not come overnight, passion, determination, and consistency can assist you in turning your new blog into a money-making machine.