Although it takes time, care, and effort, setting up a blog can earn you a full-time living.
If you set everything correctly and follow all the steps needed, blogging can pay your bills and for your vacations for the rest of your life.
That said, most of the steps involved in setting up a blog seem like common things, and I know you are aware of many of them.
Or, at least, you have a good idea of how they are done.
Luckily, the internet is not short of information on blogging.
That’s why I am going to make this as simple and straightforward as possible. I will get straight to the point from how to get started setting up your blog and monetizing it.
Ready to get started?
The Basic Stuff
1) The first thing to do is to choose your blog topic.
One of the biggest mistakes many newbie bloggers make is trying to write about anything that comes to their mind.
The problem is that when you fail to target a specific group, you become disoriented.
Therefore, it is important to choose a topic based on whether it is profitable and also based on your interests.
2) Narrow down your audience.
If your blog focuses on losing weight, who is your specific target.
Stay at home moms?
The narrower your target audience is, the easier it will be for you to grow that audience.
3) Choose your topic based on your audience’s interests.
If we take the weight loss topic as our example, if you are targeting retirees, then you cannot be writing about radical diets and extreme sports to lose weight.
You will likely be recommending things like walking programs, swimming, resistance training, and Tai Chi.
4) Pick a name for your blog.
Your blog name should tell about what your blog is all about.
It could be your company name, a benefit-driven name, your name, or a new name like Google.
Make sure your blog name is not copyrighted anywhere else.
You need to have full rights to use your preferred name.
The Technical Stuff:
1) Get a URL
I presume the name of your blog is going to be a dot com.
If not, you might need to choose another name.
Also, consider buying other domain extensions for your urls such as dot org and dot net.
2) Decide if you are to execute the technical aspect of your blog or if you are going to outsource the work.
If you are not technically skilled and dislike the hassles involved in setting things like WordPress, plugins, and themes, then you might need to outsource this work to someone skilled and reliable, whose charges are affordable.
3) Get Hosting
Website hosts are not created equal.
Do thorough research to find a suitable one for your site.
Choose hard-to-crack passwords.
And if someone is helping you set up your blog, assign them administrative functions.
4) Select a theme template for your new blog.
Your theme should be clean, professional, and uncluttered.
Select your preferred blog colors and personalize your header with your blog name.
5) Select which plugins to use.
Avoid focusing too much on this as you can add more plugins later as you decide the features you desire.
6) Install a spam filter.
This is necessary if you are going to allow comments on your blog posts.
You need to have a spam filter in place.
7) Choose the look and feel of your blog.
What is the first impression that you want to create for your visitors?
This look and feel should be consistent throughout your entire blog.
8) Choose your typeface.
While this may sound inconsequential, your font can have a tremendous impact on the impression and readability of your blog.
Now The Fun Stuff !
1) Establish and develop your brand – now you have, say, your blog about weight loss for retirees.
That’s a good start, but you need to do better.
And you can do this is by developing your unique brand.
This will help you stand-out from your competition and allow you to be in a league of your own.
2) Come up with an easy-to-remember tagline for your blog.
Here is a list of 45 clever examples of taglines that can give you an idea of how to come up with your own.
3) Choose your blog voice.
Writing for engineers is entirely different as compared to writing for babysitters.
Decide up front the voice you want to adopt.
Do you want a serious and professional voice or approachable and down to earth voice?
Do you want to portray yourself as a likable and funny person or a professional, no-nonsense person?
It is up to you to decide the voice to take.
4) Set a blogging goal.
How often will you publish blog posts?
How many words should each of your posts have?
How will you maintain and keep up with these rules?
You can use a free service like HabitRPG.com to help you keep on track.
By setting your goal upfront, you are more likely to stick to it.
The Necessary Stuff
This is a legal stuff, so it is important to have it written right.
3) Add an appropriate disclaimer to your blog.
Again, conduct a Google search to know how you can write yours.
4) Develop your blog commenting policy.
Be clear on how things like self-promotion, foul language, and other things that revolve around commenting will be handled.
Have a clear commenting policy displayed in the right place for your commenters to see before they comment.
The Foundational Stuff
1) Come up with your “About” page.
This is among the most important pages on your blog, yet many bloggers fail to give it the focus it deserves.
To get help with how to write a great about page, use this guide:
Here are great examples of about pages you can use:
2) Add a contact page.
Your contact page needs to have real information including your street address, your email, and your social media accounts.
Many times, your visitors click on this link to see if you are out there to scam people or you are a real person.
Add a lead capture box on this page and make sure to attach an incentive to it.
This is one of the best pages to get people to sign onto your list.
Therefore, don’t ignore it.
3) Add lead capture boxes
You can place these boxes on the right sidebar of your web pages, in the middle of your pages, or at the end of your pages.
You need to test them to see which location will work better.
4) Offer an outstanding incentive to woo people to join your list.
This incentive should be something that people will find valuable and would normally pay for, but now they are getting it for free in exchange for their email address.
Make sure to tailor your incentive to your audience!
5) Use Google Analytics to know what is working for your visitors and your blog, and what needs to be improved.
More Fun Stuff
Choose to post regular features such as news roundups, case studies, interview of the week, how-to articles, opinions of the week, and so forth.
These regular features will help you give your readers what they expect and it makes it easier for you to keep creating new content.
Always write the best, quality content.
it’s better to spend time coming up with one quality post than creating 5 mediocre posts.
Take time to come up with best headlines.
There is one thing blog posts and books both share; they sell because of titles.
A lousy book with a great title will sell, although it will get terrible reviews
A great book with a lousy title won’t sell.
This applies to blog posts as well.
A great post with a catchy title will be warmly received by readers and will even get shares on social media.
Besides, it makes you look great.
They say, a picture speaks a thousand words, therefore it is great idea to use images in your posts.
However, choose your images carefully to make sure they complement your content.
Keep an ideas book handy
Ideas can pop into your head anytime and it is important to have idea book near you so that you can jot down any idea that comes to mind.
Add feeds from other sites – if you do not blog regularly, consider adding other feeds or content from other blogs.
Blog posting or not? – decide if you will allow guest posts. If you will, you need to define your guest post policy.
Consider using videos. Offer your content in both video and text formats. Some people will prefer to watch a video instead of reading articles. Therefore, consider giving it to them.
Hire a copy editor to review your posts- before publishing your posts, have an editor go through them for mistakes and run on sentences. Flawless articles will help you avoid comments of people who like pointing out mistakes.
Now That You Have Made Your Tenth Blog Post…
Add search to your blog
Search functionality makes it easier to find content on your site.
The reason I propose you add search functionality after you have published several blog posts is because you want to have enough posts that warrant a search.
Make your archives readily available
Your readers may want to see your older posts by topic, title, or date – so make it easier for them to find your archives.
Pin related posts to the end of each blog post.
This will keep your readers on your blog.
Blog Promotion Stuff
- Let your social media audience know every time you make a new post
- Add your blog URL to your social media bios
- Add social sharing buttons to each blog post and encourage them to share
- Email your list to notify them about new posts. Summarize the content in your email with bullet points highlighting what is covered in a post. Make them want to visit your site and read the post
- Join blogging communities that have other blog owners to promote each other’s blog posts
- Share other people’s content as well. Most will appreciate your gesture and do the same for your content.
- Respond to comments. This will increase the number of engagements you get, which will boost your popularity. This, in turn, encourages people to share your content.
Monetizing Your Blog
- Create and sell your products. You are the owner of your blog and your audience sees you as an expert in your field, so why not sell them your products.
- Promote affiliate products and services to your list. However, be careful with this one. You need to promote valuable products that you know will offer value. Your list can be valuable and you can earn many, many times from it as long as you promote valuable things to them wisely.
- Integrate affiliate products into your posts. For instance, if you are writing a post on how to set up a website, you can promote a hosting company in your posts. However, be sure to disclose that you are an affiliate for that hosting company.
- Sell membership subscriptions – reserve your best information for your paying subscribers. Create a forum for paying members to increase the value of your membership subscription. For instance, if your blog is about traveling, reserve the best deals and tips for paying subscribers and give them a platform to share their travel stories.
- Add ads to your blog. You can do this by yourself or use an ad service such as AdSense.
- Ask for donations. This depends on your blog’s topic. It can work very well.
- Get a sponsor. Once you start getting significant traffic, you can think about getting a sponsor for your site.
- Do product reviews. Review products that are relevant to your audience and offer affiliate links to all the products. However, be sure to disclose to your readers that you will be earning a certain percentage of their purchases.
- Start selling teaching programs that you have created like those on Udemy.
- Sell coaching. You can teach your readers via Skype or do a group coaching through webinars, videos, and conference calls.
- ell a service. This might be your service or you can act as an intermediary.
- Get speaking gigs. Once you establish yourself as an expert, you might land a speaking gig to speak to newbies in your niche.
- Compile your best posts into books and sell them on Amazon.
- If you are doing podcasts, compile them to create an audio product or sell your podcasts on iTunes
A blog by itself is a hobby, not a business.
However, when treated as a business, it can become lucrative.
The surprising thing about a blog is that, for many blog owners, their greatest sources of revenue come, not from their blogs, but from the connections their blogs build.
When you establish yourself as an expert, the bigwigs in your niche will reach out to you.
In turn, you will find that these bigwigs are more open to meeting you and entering into partnerships behind the scenes.
In fact, having a profitable blog opens up a new world of professional possibilities you may have never thought of.
Although sometimes frustrating, it is a wonderful, gratifying journey that many people would not trade for anything.
Above all, though, have fun creating and monetizing your blog!