Do you want to start a blog? And make money from it? Don’t know where to start?
If you said ‘ Yes’ 3 times, this post is right for you!
In this post, we will be discussing everything from starting a blog in 20 minutes to making money through it. (The post is going to be really long, so please bear with me!)
Blogging is a fad nowadays. Everyone has a blog.
But, have you ever thought, ‘ Why do I need a blog?, How would it help me?’
Let me help you with that.
A blog can help you to;
- Express yourself better and reach people
- Create Passive Income source
- Become a better writer
- Get more visibility for your business
- Get recognized as a subject expert
- Build a network of like-minded people
- Sell a product
Now that you know why you need a blog, let’s get into the details.
What can you expect from this guide?
How to create a blog and earn money from it(5 simple steps)
- Choosing the Niche. Your blog topic
- Setting Up your Blog. Make your blog online
- Create Content. the lifeline of your blog
- Promoting Content. Spread the word
- Making money blogging. Monetize your blog
Without wasting any time, let’s dive right into the guide.
1. Choosing the Niche (Your blog topic)
I understand. You have so many ideas running through your mind.
You want to blog about everything. About your life, your job, your travel, your drone making hobby.
But, is it really a good idea to have a blog about everything? I think not.
What is a Niche?
A niche market is a subset of a general market with its own requirements and preferences. For example, if the pet food is a general market, vegan pet food is the niche market.
a. Here’s why blogging on a single niche is good for you:
Quality Audience: The traffic you drive to your blog won’t be that huge, but the traffic will be qualified. You will have an audience who have intent to buy your product or service.
Earning Potential: As I said, you have a quality audience. People will be more than happy to buy from you since they trust you.
Loyalty: You write about a single topic, that too in-depth. Your audience will look up to you as a subject expert and keep coming back to your blog.
So, how do you actually choose a niche?
b. How to choose a good niche for your blog?
Having a good niche is extremely important to achieve the goals of your blog. Here’s how to choose a niche:
Is it your passion?:
Identify what you are passionate about. Build a blog around it. Going by passion will let you create more valuable content and also will let you think from the perspective of the audience. You won’t burn out doing what you love!
How to find your passion?
Here’s an easy way. Think of ten activities you do for fun. Check youtube and google history and find out what you search for. Now, narrow down the 10 things to one single hobby or interest. This will be your niche.
Does it solve a problem?
Writing about your cute little teddy bear might be appealing to you, but not to others. They simply don’t care unless your blog helps them. Try to solve problems, always. People pay for a solution.
Is it profitable?:
Your niche solves problems and you are passionate about it? Then, check if you can make money out of it.
- Go to google keyword planner or uber suggest and search for your keyword. Search for some more keywords related to your topic and look at their search volume.
- List down 5 products related to your niche. Use, jungle scout sales estimator to understand the sales metrics. This will help you evaluate the transactions going on in your niche.
- Check for your competitors’ traffic to understand the demand for your niche.
c. Top 11 Niches that are profitable
Heres a list of niches that are not so crowded.
- Mom Blogging
- Growing plants in a flat
- Pickle making
- Alternative medicine
- Shore Fishing
- Catch and Cook
- Rainwater harvesting
- Clean energy
- Waste to useful stuff
Selected the niche that you like? Awesome.
Now, let’s move on to setting up a blog. I will divide the topic into two parts. One will explain how to set up a blog for free and the other one will require some investments.
Starting with the free one,
a. How to create a blog for free?
If you want to go with free options, there are many. But if I were you, I would suggest one of these three.
Blogger is a free publishing platform owned by Google. When you sign up with blogger, you get a free hosting and domain name.
Your domain name will have .blogspot extension, Blogspot being a free domain provider.
WordPress is an open-source content management system. It offers free CMS for your blog, the platform where you can write and publish content.
There are two ways in which you can use WordPress. The free one lets you get hosting and domain for free, same as Blogger.
Wix is a website builder that offers free hosting and domain name. This platform is much more customiZable than both WordPress and blogger.
Like the other two, being a free platform, there are downsides to Wix as well.
If you are really serious about making money blogging, I ask you to stay away from all of these free options. WHY?
- Being free platforms, the domains have extensions like .blogspot.com etc. This will hurt your branding
- The platforms don’t let you download plugins or themes and modify the website according to your convenience
- They own all the rights and can take your content down anytime they wish
- Your SEO will really hurt as there are not many options.
Have you seen any free blogs with extensions like blogger.com or wordpress.com rank high on google? I haven’t!
b. Self Hosted or Paid Blogs
Self-hosted blogs are the ones in which you pay for both hosting and domain.
You need to understand a few things before starting a self-hosted blog. Namely,
- Buying the Domain name
- Buying Hosting
- Connecting the Domain name with hosting
- Setting up the Content Management System
Buying the Domain
Imagine this, your blog is a property that you own. usually, every property on the internet is given a unique set of numbers that are hard to remember. Your domain name is the simplest solution to that problem.
A domain name is an address to your blog. people type in your domain name to get to your blog.
You have to buy a domain name from a domain name registrar. It’s an easy process and nothing technical involved.
- Go to a domain registrar like Godaddy
- Signup with your Email
- Check for availability
Before heading over there, you should decide a catchy name for your blog.
You will be tempted to use your name for your domain, but don’t do that. Think of a name that aligns with your business or niche.
Suppose you write about dirt bikes, something like dirt bike planet would be an awesome choice.
P.s: The domain name should be easy to remember, short and catchy. No space or special characters!
Buying a suitable hosting account
Remember the example of your domain being the address of your property? Hosting is the land.
The land on which your blog is to be built. Your domain name points to your hosting.
Now, there are a lot of hosting providers out there, but be careful while buying them. Your hosting needs to be strong in order for your site to load quickly.
I always recommend going with Hostinger. They provide good services for reasonable costs.
Connecting Domain name and hosting
Now that you have bought both domain name and hosting, let’s learn how to connect both. The technical name is Domain Pointing.
There are two ways to do it, one is easier and the other needs more technical knowledge.
I will explain the simple one here. If you want, check out the alternate one here.
- Go to your hosting account control panel and click on details. You will find something called Nameservers here.
- Now, go to your domain name provider and look for manage DNS (Godaddy).
- Scroll and find the DNS servers. Change the name servers to that of your Hosting provider.
Setting up a content management system
A content Management system is a platform on which you create, modify and manage content.
There are many content management systems out there like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla etc. WordPress is the most widely used content management system.
In fact, about 60% of the websites are based on WordPress.
Setting up WordPress for your website isn’t difficult. You do not need to have any technical knowledge. I will explain how.
How to setup WordPress for your website
- Open your hosting account. Go to Cpanel.
- In the Cpanel, you will find app options like WordPress, Joomla, drupal etc. Click on WordPress to install.
- Enter the necessary details required and wham! You are ready to go.
P.S Always use https://www. as the default version of your website.
Note: In some cases, there might be errors while installing WordPress directly. In such cases, you will have to install WordPress in the root directory. Here’s how.
Congratulations. You just created a blog!
Now, you will need to choose a theme for your blog. Also, to unlock the full functionality, you need plugins as well.
I will tell you about the plugins in a minute.
How to Install Themes on WordPress
To install a theme, go to the WordPress dashboard. You will find an option called appearance.
Click on the appearance and then on the theme. Click on ‘add theme’.
There are good themes in WordPress. You can select any one of them based on how you want your blog design to be.
I use ‘Manta’ for one of my blogs and it works well for me.
How to upload the theme to WordPress
If you are not satisfied with the themes WordPress offers, you can upload one!
Sites like ‘theme forest‘ and ‘Elegant themes’ let you download free and premium themes.
Once you have downloaded the theme you like, click on the upload theme option in the add theme section. Select the file and activate it.
Adding Plugins to WordPress
In your WordPress dashboard, there is an option called plugins.
To add plugins to your WordPress site,
- Go to the plugins option and click on add new.
- Select the plugins you want to install and click on the install button.
- Activate the plugin.
Note: Before activating a plugin, always check for compatibility with your version of WordPress.
Few Tweaks in settings
There is one small tweak you must absolutely do before you start writing on your blog – setting your Permalinks.
Permalink is the default URL of any page in your site. Once published, you should never change the link of that post. If you do so, your SEO will get affected.
Go to settings>>>>>> permalinks
In permalinks, change the URL as you like. I like to keep my URLs as site URL/post name. This helps me to easily identify posts.
Now that you have finished setting up your blog, the next thing you need is the content.
Remember that Content is the most important part of your blog. people visit your blog for the content. Nobody cares about the structure and design of the blog much!
In this post, I will just briefly browse through simple concepts of content. Content writing is a vast area and would require a 2000 words post to explain the entirety of the concept.
Lets quickly understand the types of contents
- Text Content
It is important to use different types of content on your blog. Too much text just bores people.
a. How to write a post on WordPress
The post is where you actually write content. Unlike pages, posts will be included in the blog section. Each time you publish a post, it will be automatically be added to your blog.
To write a post on WordPress, follow these simple steps
- Click on the post option in the dashboard and click on add post.
- You will see a text area, where you can write, add images and videos and tweak the HTML of the text.
- Write the post, add the title, edit the URL and tweak the necessary options like featured image, excerpts etc.
- Hit on that BIG PUBLISH button. You have your post ready and published for the world to see.
Before publishing, on the left-hand side, you will see an option called excerpt. Write what your article is about in that section. This will appear on your home page
b. Making your site faster with Cloudflare CDN
I use Cloudflare for my blog. It provides me with a free SSL certificate and reduces the load on my hosting server.
I don’t really know how it works, but I do know that it works quite well!
Here are the steps to follow to connect your site to Cloudflare
- Go to Cloudflare and create an account.
- Go to DNS settings in Cloudflare and copy the nameservers.
- Paste the name servers in your domain registrar( same as we did with hosting account!)
- You are ready to go!
So, you published your post? What next? Wait for people to come to your site?
That would be the biggest mistake you make.
You must promote your content!
There are three ways you get visitors to your blog.
- Organic traffic by SEO
- Direct referral traffic
- Social Media Traffic
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your site visible to Google so that people can find your content. SEO is a huge topic for us to cover here.
I will link an article for you to learn what SEO is.
Let’s talk about
- Direct Referal traffic: Direct referral traffic is the traffic you get when you tell someone about your website and they visit. The more people you tell about your blog, the more visitors you get. And, if you write awesome useful content like me, they keep coming back 😉
- Social Media: Did you know that you could use social media to get visitors to your blog? I bet you didn’t. if you did, you are awesome!
Create a Facebook page, Instagram account and other social media pages and share your content there. You will be surprised how much boost you get through social media traffic.
One think about creating content on your social media pages is that you have to be relevant to the trends.
We are finally here. The part which you all were eagerly waiting for!
There are numerous ways in which you can monetize your blog.
We will understand some of the most famous ones.
Adsense is the way of earning in which Google places ads on your blog. You get to decide where those ads go.
When your visitors click on the ads, you get paid.
The pay is usually determined based on the number of clicks on the ad. The amount is decided by Google.
This way of earning is purely based on the number of visitors you have on your website.
To start earning through AdSense,
- Create an AdSense account
- Submit your website URL and fill the necessary billing details.
- You will get a code from Google that you need to paste on your website
- Google will verify your website and within a few days, ads will be up and running!
However, there are certain rules and regulations that you need to follow ( set by Google). If you fail to do that, Google may terminate your AdSense account at any time.
b. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate Marketing is a process in which you sell products for others and you get a commission on each sale through your link.
Affiliate marketing has higher returns compared to Adsense and won’t be controlled by Google.
Let me give you an example.
Your blog is about mobile phone reviews. You review phones on your blog and help your blog visitors decide which phone to buy.
what you can do is, include a link to amazon (your affiliate link) from where people can buy the phone.
If they visit Amazon through your link and buy anything, you get a commission for it.
There are a lot of companies that promote affiliate marketing of their product. Digital products like courses, tools, books pay you almost 90% commission!
c. Digital Assets
Digital Assets are a great source of income. But, these need a lot of time and effort.
You can write an ebook, record a course and even sell your products to your audience through your blog.
One best thing about Digital Assets is that they are expensive and generate a large amount of money.
This is a method that I personally created.
Suppose you have a blog about finance. If you write a post about insurance, you can collect emails of your website visitors by asking them to sign up and can sell the leads to insurance companies who will pay you thousands of dollars for valid leads!
You know how to set-up a blog, how to choose a niche, how to install themes and plugins, write, promote and earn money from the Blog!
Which way of earning are you going to use? Let me know in the comments.
Frequently asked questions:
How much does setting up a blog cost?
It is possible to start a blog with just 30$. You can improve on it as your traffic grows
When can I expect to start earning from a blog?
It really depends on the niche. A blog requires 6 months to fully establish itself.