Last updated on December 7th, 2018 at 04:00 pm
Making money with a blog is one of the most exciting ways to earn income online. You may question how it can be exciting since blogging involves a lot of writing.
It is exciting when your blog’s content begins to generate sales. Whether it is from affiliate products or display ads, earning income from a blog never gets dull!
I have been asked on occasion about how to get started with a blog. I will share my own blogging crash course here outlining the essential things to implement in order to make your first sales online.
Your Blog Set Up
First things first, you will need to set up your blog. I use and recommend WordPress. WordPress is open source website software that is free to download and install. Don’t worry if you have no technical background.
I’ll explain how to get started below.
Choosing Your Blog’s Topic
This is also referred to as choosing a niche. This is simply the overall topic of your blog. You can choose any niche you like.
If you have trouble deciding, you can always think of sub-niches within the top three evergreen niches: health, wealth, and relationships.
Regardless of the niche that you choose, you can find a way to monetize your blog whether with affiliate products or display advertising.
Registering a Domain Name
Once you have your blog’s topic in mind, it is time to choose a domain name. You can register a domain name with any number of domain registrars such as NameCheap.com.
Some web hosting providers will register your domain for free when you pay for a yearly plan. You can get a free domain name as well as WordPress auto-installed for you with an Optimized WordPress Hosting Plan.
Setting Up Web Hosting
There are tons of web hosting providers to choose from. Since you will likely build your blog using WordPress, you can consider three hosting providers that WordPress recommends themselves: Dreamhost, Siteground, and BlueHost.
I use both Dreamhost and SiteGround without any issues. SiteGround does have some of the best customer support I’ve ever experienced with any hosting provider. You can contact them by phone, email support ticket, or live chat.
You do not need to worry about having any web experience when it comes to installing WordPress. Most major web hosting providers (including the ones mentioned above) offer one-click WordPress installation.
All that you have to do is follow a few prompts and click a button. Within minutes, your WordPress website will be installed. Then it is a matter of choosing a free (or paid) WordPress theme.
Learning how to use the platform is extremely easy. There are tons of YouTube videos that you can learn from as well as documentation on the WordPress website.
Good content is what keeps your blog going. Without content, you cannot attract targeted traffic and you cannot convert visitors into sales.
Below, I will highlight the key elements of content creation.
Before writing any blog post, I always do keyword research. It helps to create content around the various questions and concerns people have related to your blog’s niche.
I do keyword research using a few keyword tools. Two are free to use and one is paid. Once you get an idea of what people are searching for, you are then able to compile a list of keywords to write articles about.
The content you create based on your keyword research will help to attract targeted visitors to your blog. These visitors have a greater chance of converting when they click on your affiliate links or display ads.
Using Keyword Tools
As mentioned above, I use three main keyword tools. Two are free to use and one is paid. You do not need to rely on paid keyword tools at all.
The first tool I use is Google. I type in my keyword and use Google’s autocomplete feature to find out what people in my niche are asking about.
Here is an example of the type of longtail keyword phrases you can find using Google:
The second tool that I use is called, Answer the Public. This tool returns questions that people search for based on the keyword that you type in. You can generate a huge list of article ideas with this tool alone.
The paid tool that I use is called, Jaaxy. I like this particular tool because it is easy to use and understand.
It tells me how many searches per month a particular keyword phrase is estimated to receive. It also has a ranking tool so that you can find out where your blog pages are ranking for a keyword.
I am also able to tell how difficult a keyword is to try and rank for. If the keyword is listed as “great” under the KQI column, then I know it is worth writing about that keyword.
Create a Writing Schedule
It is helpful to create a writing schedule for yourself. This is especially important when you have other commitments such as a job, family, etc. My goal is to write at least 2 to 3 new posts per week.
Create a schedule that you’re comfortable with. If you know you can only post one really good piece of content per week, then do that and stick with it. The key is consistency.
What also helps is to create a list of 30 keywords, then create blog titles for those keywords, and then when you’re ready to write, you have a list of topics to choose from.
Otherwise, you may run into writer’s block. You can easily end up wasting a lot of time trying to figure out what to write about. If you create a list based on your keyword research, you will always have a backlog of ideas.
Monetizing Your Blog
The way your blog earns money is based on the methods that you choose to monetize it. There are numerous ways to monetize your blog.
However, the two most common methods include affiliate marketing and display ads. Affiliate marketing is one of my favorite ways to earn income online.
You may already be familiar with affiliate marketing. If not, here is a brief definition:
Basically, you sign up to an affiliate program of your choice (it is free to be an affiliate), place the affiliate links in your content (provided by the affiliate program), and when a visitor clicks on those links, it is tracked.
For example, let’s say you became an affiliate with Clickbank. Clickbank is an online retailer of various digital and physical products.
You are able to promote any number of products they have sold there. Most of the commissions are anywhere from 50% and up.
If you were running a blog in the fitness niche, you could find a related product and write a review about it. You could then add your affiliate for that product.
If a visitor clicks on your affiliate link and buys that product, you would be credited a 50% commission (or whatever the commission rate is) for the sale.
With a good amount of targeted web traffic, you could earn several hundred or even thousands of dollars in commissions per month.
Display ads work a bit differently. You earn income based on when visitors click on the ads. There is no other work that you need to do besides creating content.
Many bloggers that receive several page views per month can earn thousands of dollars just from display ads alone.
Where to Go From Here
Although this blogging crash course is brief, it is still the same information I would relay to anyone that asked me how to get started.
The most challenging part is staying consistent. Earning income with a blog doesn’t happen quickly because you are on the internet.
It could take many months before you earn your first dollar online. However, once the ball gets rolling, it does pick up speed.
If you prefer more guidance on how to create a money-making blog, consider following a step-by-step blogging course such as this one.