Blogging can be a lucrative side hustle, but when you are new to the world, it can all get a bit confusing. There are so many terms that get thrown around like ‘SEO’ and ‘self-hosting’, that it can be hard to know where to even start in terms of making sense of this brave new world.
But, if you have read a few great blogs that attract a ton of readers and have ever thought to yourself that you could do that, there really is no harm in giving it a go. You can start a blog for free, and it is possible to earn money as you grow your readership.
Here are the basics of blogging to get your new blog started.
A Beginners Guide To Making Money From Blogging
Pick A Platform
Firstly, you are going to need a blogging platform. There are lots out there to choose from. The most notable ones are Blogger, Wix, and WordPress. There are two different versions of WordPress. There is the free to use version, where your website will be hosted on the WordPress.com servers. You can pay to upgrade your site using this option.
There is also WordPress.org. This version is free to use and is referred to as ‘self-hosted’ WordPress. It comes with many of the additional features that you would pay for with WordPress.com. However, you will need to find your own webhosting in order to use it. Two popular web hosting sites include Siteground and Bluehost.
My blog started out several years ago on WordPress.com for free. Once I decided I was committed to blogging I switched to self-hosted WordPress.org and never looked back. Yes, there is a learning curve, as there is with any new technical platform. However, I fully recommend WordPress.org for your blogging needs. It is relatively inexpensive to set up, and will give you much greater control over what you can do with your blog.
Once you have decided which platform you are going to use, you will need to pick a name. You can buy your domain name, and you will need to pay to renew this annually. Think of something catchy that fits you and your niche, which includes a keyword (or keyword phrase) if possible.
Content Rules Supreme
Once you have your blog and it has a name, you will be ready to start filling it full of content. If you have an empty site, you won’t get visitors. The more your site has on it, the more likely you are to get people to read it, and to stick around.
You will need to create high-quality content and post it on a regular basis. Think about the niche that you want to write in and stick to a selection of different topics within your niche.
Use catchy headlines that will attract your readers, and include images along with the posts. Posts need to be of a reasonable length and have enough substance to capture the interest if any visitors. At the end of your post, you may want to consider trying to engage your readers by asking them a direct question that will prompt a response in the comments section.
Content is the thing that will keep people coming back to read more. Be sure and provide your readers with information on your page about how they can subscribe to get updates from you.
Building Your Readership
You will need to build your readership in many different ways. You should definitely be engaging on social media in order to drive traffic to your blog. Share all of your posts on as many social media platforms as possible. Make sure that you engage with your followers on these sites too. Building your followers on all platforms will ultimately increase your overall readership.
If possible, install Google Analytics on your blog, to find valuable traffic information on your blog. You will want to know how people are finding your blog, how long they are staying, and what type of content they are engaging with when they are on there. Use this information to learn from and adapt your content according to your findings.
Once you are getting traffic to your blog every day, you may be able to start monetizing your blog.
Monetizing Your Blog
There are several ways of monetizing your blog. However, you need to have a solid readership before you are likely to see any returns from your attempts to do this. First, you can earn money from ads on your site. Another way that you can earn is through affiliate marketing. This is where you include links to products that you are promoting on behalf of someone else. When your links are used and a sale is generated, you will get paid commission. Affiliate marketing can make you a considerable amount of money if you know what you are doing.
You could also earn money from your blog by creating a product and selling it. If you know your audience well enough, you have likely identified some problems that need to be solved. If you can create a product that provides solutions to them, then you can market that product via your blog. Great ideas are apps, information products, eBooks, and reports.
Another alternative is to sell your services. If you’ve managed to create a blog that has a lot of interest, views, followers and fans and you understand writing, content, SEO and online marketing, you can offer to act as a consultant to others who want to do the same thing. You’ve got the recipe, and you’re the magic ingredient to help others experience the success that you have.
When it comes to earning money through your blog you need to be transparent with your readers. If you are likely to be able to make any payments in return for clicks on links or adverts, then your readers need to know about your interests. This means inserting disclaimers in posts and including a full disclosure policy on your website in a place that can be easily found.
Optimizing Your Blog
Ensuring search engines can not only see your blog but that they put it high enough in the search rankings to be read is vital. In order to do this, you will need to employ some search engine optimization (SEO) techniques when you are creating your content and setting up your site. Using plugins like Yoast SEO is a very helpful way of doing this.
There are numerous ways to maximize your SEO. Keywords are vital. Pick out the keywords that you believe your content should be searched for and use these throughout your content. Inserting links back to content elsewhere on your own site is also helpful, as is linking to external sources to provide credibility in your content.
SEO is a crucial area of blogging, and it is worth investing time and effort into understanding the many strands that can help your site get seen.
Regardless of which ways you choose to monetize your blog, it’s imperative that you understand who your audience is, what your point of view is, and how to combine the two in order to provide solutions to your audience that they are willing to pay money for. By doing so, you can earn a living from blogging.