Blogging is passion for me, and it’s something I enjoy doing. It’s not a work for me, because it’s something that makes me feel complete. This is one of the many reasons I have taken blogging as a full-time professional career, and even after 4 years of professional blogging, I never found it boring or felt like work.
With every passing day, I’m diving deeper into the world of blogging, and I keep sharing my experiences and learnings here at ShoutMeLoud. Now, for many blogging is not the same like me, because to live a regular life money plays a major role, and without money, blogging is just a part-time work, and can never be a top-most priority. This is kind of sacrifice many of you are making, to ensure you don’t miss out your present for your future. In this guide, I will share a complete guide on how to start blogging for making money. I will be referring to many selected articles from past, which will ensure that you don’t miss out anything.
I will make this handy for any newbie, who have never started a blog, and still want to learn the art of blogging for money only. Do remember, blogging is not for everybody, and there are many other ways to earn money online. Since, I love blogging and find it to be most profitable way to make money, this post is targeted to those enthusiastic people, who are ready to learn something new and make money from it. I will try to cover all important aspect of blogging, and I will be sharing tons of links from the pasts which will ensure that this posts doesn’t feel like in-complete. If you really planning to start blogging for money, make sure you open all links mentioned in this post to ensure you are not missing out anything.
How to start a blog which will money for you:
To be honest, for blogging you don’t need to have any skills apart from writing. If you know how to express yourself with writing, which adds values for the people, you can become a blogger. Though, there are some technical requirement which you can always achieve by hiring people. There might be an initial investment, but it will be worth it for making a great future with the help of blogging.
Niche/Topic of your blog:
The very first thing you need to do is find the niche of your blog. By niche I meant finding the topic for your blog. You might be jack of all trades, and want to start a blog on multiple topic, but it will not be fruitful, as people like to subscribe to a blog, which is authority in particular topic.
Even from search engine point of view, a blog/website dedicated on single topic ranks higher. Now, the question is how you can find the topic of your blog? Here are few tips that will help you to get started:
- Find a topic that you know better than anyone else. It doesn’t have to be the job you are doing, and it could be anyone. Try to think about the topic that you mostly like to talked about, and you can comfortably talk about it for hours.
- A good idea is to pick a topic that you usually read about. The topic which you read about all the time, is something that interest you.
- Also make sure you have a keen interest on particular topic, and you can add values with your own insight.
- For newbies, I always recommend to take help of pen-paper and write down the topics in different columns that you like. For ex: Photography, Scientific research, Baby care, health care and so on. Now, try to write 20 post ideas for those different columns. When you are writing the post title, think about what you can write without taking reference. By the end of 20th article, it will help you to find the topic (Niche) that you like the most.
This is one important step before starting a blog, as it will help you to pick a topic that you are most passionate about. This will ensure that you will not burn out when your blog goes life. Most of the newbie blog dies in short span because of lack of passion and continuation. If you are picking a topic that you like to talk about and write about, it will ensure that your burn out period will never come. So, I assume you have selected the niche for your blog which can make some money for you.
There are many blogging platform out there, and people have different opinion about it. Most of the top bloggers I know of have started blogging on BlogSpot.com. For any new blogger, I always suggest you to start blogging on BlogSpot platform for first 1 month on regular basis, and this will help you to learn the basics of blogging. Once your basics are cleared, you are ready to start blogging on serious platform.
Once you have crossed the testing period, you are ready to do something more meaningful. Get a WordPress blog, and don’t confuse yourself with WordPress.com and self hosted WordPress blog. A self hosted WordPress blog (WordPress.org) is what you need. It means you will be installing WordPress on your own hosting and getting a domain, which I will explain further. I’m not getting in detail about pros and cons of different blogging platform, but if you are still interested to know about it, here are few articles to clear your basic doubts.
Name of your blog is most important and most crucial part for the success. A domain name is the URL of blog which a visitor will use to open a blog. For example: www.ShoutMeLoud.com
When you start a blog on BlogSpot or WordPress.com platform, you get an address like name.blogspot.com and name.WordPress.com. A custom domain name is like www.ShoutMeLoud.com, for which we need to pay around $11. If you are following this blogging for money guide, you should start a blog on BlogSpot without any custom domain. When you learn the basic role of blogging, you are ready to invest a little on domain name, which I will cover in next topic “Webhosting”.
Now, there are few rules which will help you to pick the best name for your new blog, and here are some of the tips from my experience:
- Use only .com domain extension. Use .in or country based domain extension when you are targeting traffic from a particular country.
- Your domain name should be easy to pronounce and easy to type.
- Make sure your domain name should not confuse listener.
I usually follow two rules when selecting a domain name for myself and for my clients. Here are two rules which I follow:
For long term venture:
If you are planning to create a blog for long term stuff, a good idea is to go for a branded domain name, which doesn’t have any meaning, but it’s easy to recall and easy to type. For ex: Shout Me Loud, Labnol and so on.
For SEO advantage:
Now, if you are planning to create a blog which sole purpose is to make money and you are unsure about long-term goals, you can pick a keyword rich domain name. a good idea is to have your main topic (Keyword) as first name, and followed by a suffix like Guide, resource and so on. Ex: Cydiaguide, Techguides and so on.
You can use tools like Bustaname to get suggestions for your domain name. My suggestion is to use you creativity and pick a name which make more sense, and easy to brand. Here are few things you should not do when selecting the domain name for your new blog:
- Don’t use your personal name as blog name. Because, it will not look professional when your blog will grow, and when you target audience shift from local to global.
- Don’t use too long domain name. Try to keep it lower down 12 character. Ex: ShoutMeLoud
- Don’t use domain extension like .info, .net and so on, because they tend to rank bad in Search engines. I always prefer and suggest to use a domain name extension like .com or .org.
- How to select great domain name for your business
- How to find best domain name for your Website
- How to write blog business plan in 9 easy steps
Now, I assume you have crossed the infant stage of blogging on a free blogging platform like BlogSpot or WordPress.com, and you should move to a self hosted platform. By self hosted platform, I generally meant to install your blog on your own server. This way you will have more control on your blog, and you are responsible for all your actions. I have already shared a complete guide on webhosting for beginners, which will help you to learn the basics of hosting servers. Just to make things simpler:
Grab a hosting package from Bluehost and use this guide to install WordPress on Bluehost hosting. Bluehost offers free domain along with hosting, and it will cost around $4.95/month which is a decent amount for a quality webhosting. If you are completely new to WordPress platform, here are WordPress video tutorials to train you. It will be little time-consuming, but if you are serious about making money from blogging, you have to spend dedicated time to understand and learn the basics. Here is a video to get you started:
Set up your blog:
To start setting up your blog for branding and make it perfect, below I have shared some guides which you can refer to get started:
- Learn how to set up WordPress blog for the first time.
- Places to submit your blog for the first timer.
- Must have subscription option for your blog.
- Set up domain Email address on Bluehost server.
Setting up a perfect blog might be little tricky, because with time you will learn about the many basic things, and you will learn it over the time.
Plan your content:
Before you start writing your first blog post, you should make a content strategy. For example, if you are picking a niche like “WordPress”, think of most basic questions a user will have, and you can create content title based on that. I will be talking about Keyword research and other stuff later in this article, but for now lets concentrate on content planning from a user point of view. So, lets assume your niche topic is “WordPress blog” and here are basic questions a newbie user will have:
- What is WordPress
- Why WordPress is better blogging platform
- Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org blog
- How to create a WordPress blog.
- Must have plugins for your WordPress blogs and so on…..
A good idea is to create a spread sheet and note down all your idea. If you are little technical, you can take advantage of mind mapping tools to have a visual appearance of your ideas. Above titles are an example, and you should note down ideas based on the topic of your interest. Content planning will help you to stay focused with time, and you know what you have to write next. Planning is most crucial part of creating a perfect blog.
Design of your blog:
Blog design is most important aspect of your blog, because a good design will ensure that your visitors will love your blog. For WordPress, there are many free and Premium WordPress themes out there, and I always recommend to go for a premium theme, because you will get all the support and starter guide, and more over, you will have a quality design for your blog. Here are three premium theme clubs which I would recommend you to start with.
- Genesis : This is costliest option, but certainly one of the best theme framework out there. You should opt for pro-package, which will let you access all their skins and future updates for free.
- Swift: This is a theme for an Indian web-developer “Satish Gandham”, and he is known for priority support. If you are completely technically challenged, you should opt for Swift theme and ask Satish to set it up for you.
- Theme-junkie: This theme is perfect for people who want to design their theme themselves. There are many good themes out there, and with easy to control design panel, you can customize your WordPress theme without any issue.
There are many more premium WordPress theme clubs out there, but I recommend anyone of above three for instant and professional start.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins out there, and here I will mention few of those plugins which are must-have for any new WordPress blog. If you have never installed a plugin before, here is my guide on installing WordPress plugin. Here are plugins which you should have on your newly created WordPress blog:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
- W3 total cache
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
- Google XML sitemap
- SEO friendly images
- No self pings
There are many more plugins, but above plugins will ensure that you have all basics plugin installed on your blog.
Add important pages on your blog:
Here are some of the important pages, which you should have on your blog from day one.
- About page: Contains detail about your blog, and you.
- Contact page: A page with contact form. You can use Contact form 7 to create a contact form on WordPress.
- Comment policy: Add a comment policy for your blog.
Branding of your blog:
It’s very important for any blogger to brand their blog from day one, as people like to associate themselves with a brand. Branding a blog is quite easy, and you have already done 50% of branding by picking up a good looking design from my above steps. Here are few additional steps to help you:
- Create a logo for your blog. If you are not a designer, you can always find logo makers on fiverr which will cost you not more than $5. Make sure you ask the designer to give your the .psd file, which you will be needing for future use.
- Create a favico for your blog, which will again not take a lot of time.
- Create a Facebook page, Google plus page, and Twitter page for your blog.
Writing your first content:
Now, this is where the real-challenge begins, as you need to write content which are not only useful but written in excellent quality. I will share some of the articles link below to get you started, but here are few tips which will ensure you don’t make mistakes a newbie usually makes:
- When you are writing your content, imagine there is a person sitting next to you, and he doesn’t have any knowledge about the topic you are writing. Now, your content should cover all the aspect of basics to advanced to explain your topic to the guy. You don’t have to go crazy with details, but it should have enough details.
- Above tip will ensure that your content length is up-to the mark.
- Write in first-person tone, because there is only single person who is reading your blog. For example, you are reading this blog post alone. So, use you instead of we.
- Try to take your own screenshots using software’s like Snagit (that’s what I use). Don’t use images from Google image search directly. If your still need images for your post without taking screenshots, here are two guides to help you. Find images for your blog using Google advanced image search, and find free to use images using Flickr.
Here are few articles that will ensure when you write your first blog post, you will definitely end up creating great content.
Now, Make money from blogging in easy steps:
The best and easiest way to make money from blogging is AdSense, and I will not get into details, as below guide will ensure that you end up making money from your blog.
When you starting a new blog, ensure that you use minimum ads. Too many ads on a new blog is a big turn-off, and you will failed to turn your first time visitors into loyal readers. Here are some additional tips that you should keep in mind to make money from your blog:
Here are some advance topics to learn basics of money making via affiliate marketing:
- What is affiliate marketing and FAQ
- How to make money with Amazon affiliate program
- Become a Dreamhost affiliate to earn up to $97/sales
Search engine optimization of your blog and learning basics of SEO:
SEO is an advanced topic and it’s hard to complete it in single article. Many newbies try now to concentrate on search engine optimization, and it’s a big mistake. Search engine optimization helps you to drive targeted traffic from organic search, which in-turn makes more money for you. There are three core part of SEO:
- On page SEO: Your content quality, Keyword placement and other factors.
- On Site SEO: Crawling, indexing of your website.
- Off Site SEO: Backlinks from other sites.
With the evolution of SEO, I would also like to add two more here:
- Social signals: Social media plays a great role in improving your blog ranking. Specially, Google plus is proven to be the best social networking site to improve ranking.
- User experience: New Search engine optimization is all about giving a great user experience. Some of the key aspect of good user experience: Navigation, site loading, website design, readability and so on.
Here are couple of articles, which you should definitely read to learn about SEO:
- What is Crawling and indexing in SEO
- Understand Dofollow and Nofollow links
- Why Keyword matters for SEO
- Keyword research for dummies using Google Keyword tool
- How to write SEO optimized articles in WordPress
- How to use Post permalink and post title combination for SEO
- How to SEO optimize Post Title for Readers and for Search engines
- How to optimize WordPress robots.txt for SEO
- What is anchor text
- How to index a Website in Google search within 24 hours
- What is backlink for SEO
- Understand Permalink and best WordPress Permalink for SEO
Getting traffic to your blog:
If you have done everything as mentioned above, you will start getting organic and traffic from social media sites. Now, here I’m sharing some of the selected posts to help you drive more traffic to your website. Do remember, targeted traffic makes more money.
- 10 ways to drive traffic from forums to your blog
- How to drive organic traffic to your blog
- Using Flickr to give free traffic to your blog
- How to promote your old blog posts
Readership and improving your blog:
One major difference between a normal blog and A-list blog is the detailing. An A-list blogger usually takes care of every tiny details to ensure user subscribe to blog, and love to become a part of it. This is what we call turning one time visitors into readers. Here are some of the advance and less talked techniques to take your blog to the next level:
- Why blog readership is more important than SEO
- How to get more blog readers and keep them
- 5 Killer and working tips to attract readers to your blog
- Why no one is reading your blog & how to make them read
- How to motivate yourself for blogging when you are demotivated
Learn from other mistake:
One way to ensure that you don’t end up creating a mess on your blog is by understanding what common mistakes a newbie usually makes. Infact, when you are reading stuff like how to do SEO, you should also read about SEO tips which are not suggested to implement. Here I’m outlining some of the articles which will give you detailed understanding of common mistakes a blogger usually makes, and not only this costed them credibility, but also costed them money:
- Six ways you are cheating your readers: Things not to do
- Top 21 blogging mistakes that can ruin your blog
- 11 costly mistakes that may reduce your blog traffic
- Biggest mistake of my blogging life
- 5 Common mistake a new blogger frequently make
- What common mistakes an amateur blogger makes
This article is almost 3500 words long, but if you have read the article seriously along with all hyperlinked posts, you are already 3 steps ahead of creating a successful blog to make money for you. Do remember, it will take time to earn money from your blog, but once you start doing that, there is no end to it.
If you have additional questions related to blogging or making money from a blog, feel free to ask me via comments. If you find this guide resourceful, do consider sharing it on social networking sites.