Last Updated on September 16, 2022 by Vasco Lourenço
Looking for an easy step-by-step guide on how to start a blog?
Then keep on reading.
In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about starting a blog and tips about making money with your blog. You’ll learn how to start a blog from scratch.
But before we proceed, let me ask you a quick question: why do you want to start a blog?
I believe it’s important to ask yourself why you want to start a blog because if you have a clear and objective answer, chances are you’re going to have a successful blog. On the other hand, if you’re just fiddling around, you may lack the motivation to keep your blog alive in the long run.
Anyway, if you reached this page, I’m sure you know what you want.
Let’s get started!
How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online
Going online and posting something under our name may feel scary. I know, I’ve been there.
So just to give you a head start, let’s answer some common questions.
First of all:
A blog is basically a website that has regularly updated content published periodically. It’s usually written in an informal way and often favors a friendly conversation with the reader through the comments section.
If you want to leave your fingerprint on the web and begin making money online, starting a blog is the best way to go. You don’t need any college degrees or credentials, and you don’t even need to be a professional writer or learn how to build a blog.
It doesn’t matter where you come from, your age, gender, and professional status – all you need is your true intention to start. And since there’s no commitment, you can grow it at your own pace.
While everything that messes around with computers and software requires some technical knowledge, starting a blog nowadays couldn’t be more beginner-friendly. Throughout this article, I’ll show you how easy it can be to start your own blog, so keep reading.
Yes, you can! There are lots of people today earning thousands per month with their blogs.
While you need to have some strategy to earn money with your blog and to be able to scale it, don’t get in the trap that many bloggers fall into – which is thinking about the money first.
Remember that your blog is supposed to be directed to real people who may interact with you. So your primary intent should be to focus on your message, high-quality content, and providing value to your readers.
If all these things are on the table, then money will follow easily. (I know there are strategies out there that put money first, but that requires a different approach and mindset, which is not the scope of this guide)
With no further ado, let’s start a blog! This complete step-by-step guide will guide you through all the crucial steps you need to go through.
1. Choose Your Niche and Your Blog’s Name
This is perhaps the most important step when starting a blog because it will determine the overall content you’ll be writing about for the remaining life of your blog.
When choosing a niche, you’re choosing a range of people who have unique needs and preferences that make them different from others.
Many bloggers choose their niche based on their own passions, skills, or experiences. A food lover might start a recipe blog. An athlete might start a fitness blog.
But I want you to think differently.
Instead of thinking about the niche you want, I want you to think about who you want to write for.
For example, while I have skills and experience as a musician, I have no intent in writing for musicians or people who want to become musicians.
This blog intends to reach people who want to start their online business (which may also include musicians) and share my findings with them. I also include software reviews and business tools most businesses needs.
When you choose your niche based on who you want to write for, you’re setting for yourself a never-ending motivation. You’ll always find something to write and share. It’s like our constant chat inside our heads – it never stops.
Remember that when people research and read content on the web, they want to be engaged and directed somewhere. And when you have a clear idea of your target audience, it will be easier for you to find that engagement.
How should I name my blog?
Your blog’s name (yourblog.com), or blog title, should represent the topics you write about, or it could also be your name, a brilliant mix of words, or even a newly invented word. Although you can get really creative here, it’s best to choose a name that describes or suggests your blog’s content, like travelwithme.com or yummyfood.com. You get the picture.
If you have no idea what you should name your blog, that’s ok. You can choose it later. We always strive to find the perfect idea, but the reality is that we find our direction by taking action right now. So instead of holding yourself back, let’s continue!
2. Host Your Blog
The next thing you should be focusing on is web hosting.
Like any website, your blog needs a hosting server to store your files so people can access them. We might think that all the online content is virtual, but it actually lives inside several physical servers worldwide.
If you want to have a blog with good performance, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of choosing a good web host. A good hosting server will keep your blog running fast and always up, creating a good user experience for your readers.
An excellent web hosting service should be reliable and affordable to start with. It should also include 24/7 customer support via chat, email, or business phone system.
While there are many hosts out there, I found the best in all aspects for beginners to be DreamHost. I recommend DreamHost as the most accessible and affordable host to start a blog.
Here’s a list of some of its great features:
- 100% server uptime guarantee!
- 24/7 customer support availability by email or chat.
- 97-day money-back guarantee! Not like the 30-day that most servers offer.
- WHOIS domain privacy – most hosts force you to pay an extra fee to keep your personal information hidden, but DreamHost includes this service for free with your custom domain registration. This service hides your confidential details, including your full name, email address, residential address, and phone number (and I’m sure you don’t want this type of information going around the web).
- Free domain name.
- Unlimited traffic.
- Recommended by WordPress.org.
- Various hosting options to choose from.
- Free SSL certificate.
- Fast SSD Storage
- 1-click WordPress Installation.
- Advanced high-end security measures.
- High-speed servers.
- It costs $2.59 with all these features and 1 website.
- It costs $4.95 with all these features plus unlimited websites.
Let’s follow along with this step-by-step guide to set up your domain name with your web hosting plan:
Step 1: Go to DreamHost and choose your plan
Scroll down, and you’ll see two hosting plans:
- Shared Starter
- Shared Unlimited
These are 3-year plans, which are the most affordable. The Shared Starter, which is the basic plan, starts at $2.59/mo for the first 3 years. After that period, the price doesn’t change for the renewal!
On the other hand, the Shared Unlimited plan starts at $4.95/mo for a 1-year or 3-year period, If you’re planning to grow your blog long-term, I recommend the 3-year period, but after the first 3 years, the renewal goes back to the regular price of $7.95/mo (always in 3-year periods).
Personally, I recommend the Shared Unlimited plan because you can have unlimited websites and free unlimited email accounts included (you could have an email like email@example.com, for example, which looks more professional). On the Shared Starter, you would have to pay a small monthly fee for a custom email address.
But if your budget is meager, choose the Shared Starter for just $2,59. You can always change it later if you wish.
Here’s a special deal for you. If you purchase any of these plans through this link, you’ll get a $50 discount!
Now that you’ve chosen the plan that best suits you, it’s time to register your domain name.
And guess what: it’s free for the first year!
Beware that different domain extensions have different renewal prices. For example, .com renews yearly at $15,99 while .christmas renews at $39,95. Who would have thought there’s a .christmas domain extension? 🙂
Check whether your chosen domain is available or not, but don’t worry if you have not yet come up with a name. You can always choose it later.
Next, you need to add your details.
To set up a hosting plan, DreamHost only asks you for your email, name, and phone number.
On your right, you get to choose for how long you want to opt for the plan. For better pricing long-term, I’d recommend choosing the 3-year plan to get the lowest possible monthly price.
This low upfront payment is also available with the 1-year subscription plan. I wouldn’t recommend the monthly package since it gets too pricey. Whichever plan you choose, you’re on the right track to start your own blog.
As you scroll down, you’ll see the section “Additional Options.”
You can leave the WordPress pre-installation checked because that’s the platform you’ll be using.
The WP Website Builder is optional (and free). Basically, it’s just a fancy and easy web page builder with hundreds of template designs to help you build your pages fast. It’s great for beginners.
If you’re worried about your blog’s security, DreamHost has a malware remover built by themselves, called DreamShield. If you want, you can check it for $3,00/mo with no commitment.
Finally, don’t forget to choose your payment method. DreamHost accepts all major credit cards and PayPal.
The total price you have to pay is listed on the image’s bottom right (see the previous image). And you won’t have to pay for the next 1 or 3 years depending on the plan you choose. Plus, there’s a 97-day money-back guarantee in case you decide you’re not ready yet to commit to your blog. That’s more than 3 months for you to experiment a lot!
This is all you need to sign up!
Ready to start your blog? Get started with a special $50 discount on DreamHost.
Next on the list, comes WordPress installation. If you already checked the pre-installation of WordPress in the “Additional Options”, you can skip the next section and go straight to your blog design.
3. Install WordPress
Now’s the time to explain what WordPress is and why you need it.
If you want to make money with your blog, WordPress is your platform of choice.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), i.e. a platform where you write, design, customize, and publish your content. Bloggers want to write and publish content easily, and so a good CMS should be easy to work with, and you should be able to organize your posts, images, and videos effortlessly, and take control of the overall theme design.
From all the blogging platforms out there, WordPress stands out at the top, making it the best CMS you can have, as you can see in the chart below:
96% of blogs in the US are using WordPress! That’s a lot.
You also have other CMS like Wix and Squarespace, but to maximize your earning potential and to benefit from the world’s most flexible and functional CMS, you’re better off with a self-hosted WordPress blog.
However, before we continue, I want to show you that WordPress comes in two different platforms: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
If you want to have full control over your blog and be able to monetize it, then you should forget the .com version, and stick to the self-hosted Wordpress.org.
While WordPress.com is free to use (with a lot of restrictions) it doesn’t allow you to have your custom domain name (eg:yourblog.wordpress.com). You would have to pay an extra for it.
Besides the limited monetization options, you can’t even use plugins and themes outside of WordPress. And let me tell you that the best plugins for a fast and secure website are not from WordPress.
On the other hand, WordPress.org lets you fully customize your blog design, install third-party plugins and themes, has powerful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) features, so your audience can find you easily, and is perfect for monetization.
Wordpress.org is not free (you have to pay a very small monthly fee) but it comes pre-packaged with your web hosting plan.
WordPress can be installed with the ease of one click through DreamHost, so you can run your blog in a matter of minutes.
If you didn’t check the WordPress installation in the “Additional Options” mentioned in the previous chapter, let me show you how it’s done.
Install WordPress with one-click installation
Time to set up your blog.
Inside of your dashboard in DreamHost, you can install WordPress automatically with only one click.
After you click on “Learn More & Install” you’ll be prompted with this screen:
DreamHost gives you two additional options with the WordPress installation.
- Deluxe Install: if you want a nice selection of already available free blog themes to choose from besides those that come pre-installed with WordPress, you can check this one. It also adds other features like a standard selection of plugins and a security enhancement.
- WP Website Builder: this is an easy drag-and-drop page editor with hundreds of template designs to help you get started fast.
You can try them both, and with time, if you don’t use them, you can always disable them in the plugin section of WordPress, so they don’t consume too many resources.
Now you just have to select your domain, and after you click the blue button, WordPress will begin the installation. It’s as easy as it gets!
In a few minutes, you’ll receive an email from DreamHost with your WordPress accounts details. asking you to choose your password.
4. Design Your Blog
Now that you’ve setup up your blog, it’s time to put your creativity to the test!
I would say this is the trickiest part of starting a blog since you might be caught up in the trap of infinite never-ending visual details. What font, color, or blog theme should I use?
There’s a lot of free WordPress themes to choose from, and you can spend days and days experimenting and trying different visual approaches.
One thing I know from experience is that you don’t want to go down that road. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Before you know it, you’ve spent your precious time caring for the “right” color instead of creating high-quality content. And as we all know, the “right” thing is never enough. There’s always something you can improve. Perfectionism kills your productivity.
It’s best to do it over time, without neglecting your blog content, which, after all, is the main purpose of your blog, isn’t it?
What is a WordPress theme?
A WordPress theme is a combination of templates, files, and stylesheets that are responsible for the way your blog looks visually.
In other words, a theme will determine what your readers will see when they enter your blog. You want your blog’s design to fully illustrate and express what it’s all about. The simpler and less distracted it is, the better.
Just to see how important your blog’s design is, a study from Carleton University, in Canada, demonstrated that it takes 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website, which in turn will determine if they like it or not, and how long they will stay.
A good theme with a great design will make your readers come back for more, and will also build their trust for your blog.
But this doesn’t mean you have to over-complicate your design with tons of graphics, fonts, and colors. In fact, the best designed themes are simple, uncomplicated, and easy to read.
How do you choose a theme?
This is how your WordPress dashboard looks when you log in to your DreamHost WordPress account:
On the left side, go to Appearance >> Themes.
You’ll see the pre-installed themes that came with the one-click installation of WordPress. But if you select “Add New”, you’ll get a ton of free themes that you can choose from.
You can then refine your search by “Featured”, “Popular”, “Latest”, “Favorites”, or even applying a filter.
For starting, I suggest you pick a clear and simple free theme, like GeneratePress or Astra, which are some of the fastest and most lightweight themes on the market. Speed is key to ranking on Google, which you don’t want to overlook.
Usually, with many free themes, you can upgrade later to a premium version with more features. However, as you’re starting, you should focus more on creating great content instead of looking for complex premium themes that might be a distraction.
What you should be doing in this first stage is to attract readers to your new blog. And that comes with good keyword research, which we’ll focus on in a few moments.
Get started with DreamHost for $2.59/mo (68% off).
5. WordPress Plugins
Now that you have your WordPress blog set up, there are some plugins you should keep in mind to add extra functionality to your site.
A WordPress plugin is an application that “plugs into” your WordPress website, adding new functionality or expanding existing functionality on your site. You may create any website using plugins, including eCommerce stores, portfolios, and directory sites.
Here are the main plugins you may use when first starting a blog.
Yoast SEO is a free WordPress plugin that aids in search engine optimization for your website.
This implies that you may improve the way your website appears on Google so that it will attract more visitors.
It is a plugin that is both free and premium and has almost all the features you’ll require to optimize your website.
You can revise the page titles and descriptions, get input on each page’s content, and guarantee that all photos have alt tags.
This will increase the amount of traffic you get from search engines, which is often one of the most important traffic sources for any website, and will also help your website seem even better on Google (and Bing).
Elementor is one of the best WordPress page builders that lets you create attractive website pages without knowing any coding.
You can use Elementor to develop your marketing content, such as landing pages, posts, websites, pop-ups, etc., whether you’re a small business owner, freelancer, marketer, or even an agency.
It offers features that make building a website quick and simple. There is a free and paid version available. However, you can accomplish practically anything with the free version.
WP Rocket is the most potent WordPress caching plugin available.
It incorporates over 30 speed optimization elements to speed up your website, and since it performs everything automatically, no coding expertise is required.
Your site’s load time could be increased by 50% using WP Rocket, improving user experience overall.
WP Rocket is the market leader in performance optimization, with more than 50,000 active users and more than 10 million downloads to date.
With an active presence on over 1.3 Million websites across the globe, it’s one of the easiest ways to implement a cookie consent banner and have GDPR compliance.
How To Install A WordPress Plugin
To install a WordPress plugin, follow these steps.
On your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins and click on Add new.
Next, you’ll be able to search the plugin by typing in the search box or you can upload it directly to WordPress in case you have downloaded it from the merchant’s website.
After adding your plugin, you just need to install and activate it.
Next, we’ll focus on writing engaging and quality content for your blog.
6. Create Engaging Content
If you want to start a blog, that’s because you already have something to write about, am I right?
But is that enough?
You might have a beautiful blog with a great design, but if your content is not strong and engaging, you’ll have no readers.
The thing that makes readers come back for more is the content you create and the value it provides them.
Whether the subject is business, travel, or relationships doesn’t matter. When someone is reading a blog post, they’re usually looking for specific information, and they’ll spend most of their time on blog posts that give them exactly what they want.
That’s why picking your niche is crucial for creating strong content capable of attracting readers. The sooner you define it, the better since it produces more focus on your writing and clarifies to your readers what your blog is about.
But it’s ok if your niche grows over time. After all, a blog is a living entity.
While you don’t need to be a professional writer to start a blog, you do need to have basic grammar knowledge and know some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to make your content rank on the web.
Unlike the long sentences and paragraphs of novels and romances, writing a blog uses short paragraphs, single sentences, and images that help keep readers engaged, avoiding boring long blocks of text.
A great grammar tool that I use and recommend is Grammarly. I believe a grammar checker is a must-have tool for any content writer who wishes to stand out and grow their audience. Besides, poor grammar can hinder your readers’ trust and your search rankings.
Fortunately, with today’s AI writing software, you don’t even need to be a native English speaker to generate high-quality articles. Quillbot and other similar tools can assist you in rewriting that sentence you’re unsure how to write.
Now that you picked your niche, how do you know what content to write about? How do you know people are searching for that kind of content?
This is where keyword research comes in.
What is keyword research?
Bloggers and content creators use keyword research to find out what type of content people search for in search engines like Google.
When you have an idea of what and how much is being searched for (in Google, for example), you have a good suggestion of what you should write about to attract as many readers as possible.
You can also know the estimated competition in organic search for that particular keyword. The higher the competition, the more difficult it will be to rank for that target keyword. This will let you know the topic ideas you should focus on.
Keyword research tools can give you lots of content ideas on what you can write about, and when you brainstorm all those content ideas, you’ll find that for the same target keyword, there are many variants you can use.
Now, don’t just repeatedly stuff your content with the same target keyword, especially when you’re using long-tail keywords like, for example, “best cheap hotels near the beach in Mexico.” If you drop this keyword too many times in your post, your blog can be penalized by Google. On the other hand, you’ll be ok if you use the short tail keyword “beach in Mexico” quite a few times.
When writing a blog post, you should focus on creating more high-quality content instead of repeating the same keywords repeatedly to try ranking on Google – that may backfire. Try to develop synonyms for the main keyword you’re targeting, also called semantic keywords.
Here’s what Google has to say about keyword stuffing:
“Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.”
For effective use of keywords, there are some good practices that every blogger should be aware of when writing a blog post:
- Use your target keyword in your blog post title.
- Put the keyword in the first and/or second paragraph.
- Include the keyword in the permalink.
- Use it in your headings.
- Include it in the “alt” tag of your images.
- Add it to your meta description.
When you optimize your content using keyword research tools and create great content related to that target keyword, Google might see you as an authority, driving more traffic to your blog.
How to optimize your content with relevant keywords
Ranking your post on Google takes time, and a good way to accelerate the process is to submit your post to Google Search Console so it can be indexed faster.
Google makes changes to its ranking algorithm almost every day. One of its biggest updates was the Hummingbird update in 2013, making it “possible for a page to rank for a query even if it doesn’t contain the exact words the searcher entered.”
This means that Google can rank content based not only on one main keyword but also on long-tail variations of that same keyword.
One way to optimize your content is by adding long-tail variations of your main keyword.
You can use Google Keyword Planner (it’s free) to search for relevant long-tail keywords.
In this example, I’m using the target keyword “video editing software.”
While the keyword suggested includes branded names of various software, you can also optimize your content by including these variations on your headings:
- The best video editing software.
- What is the best free video editing software?
- Video editing software tips.
- Online video editing software.
- Video editing software for mac.
- Video editing software for windows.
As you can see, you can multiply a keyword through different blog posts or even on the same post to make it more valuable. By doing this, you’ll begin to rank for many more keyword variations, and you’ll be able to grow your traffic.
Also, the more specific a search term is, the easier it will be to rank because fewer websites compete for it. In other words, fewer websites are pointing to that long-tail keyword.
You can also use Google Trends to see the relevancy of your keyword over time and find potential keywords to work on. Google Trends is a free tool provided by Google.
Many ranking tracking tools also help you track your rankings on search engines. By using these tools, you can create a more effective content strategy.
Now that you have researched your keywords, it’s time to start creating engaging content to attract your target audience.
How do I create engaging content?
Ask yourself this question: What do I like when I read a blog post?
Am I only looking for specific, technical, and practical information? Do I like the casual conversational tone of the text? Am I interested in the personal experience of the writer?
Actually, engaging content is a mix of all of these aspects and many more.
If you can communicate with your target audience in a way they understand, that’s a good start. That’s why it’s important to know who you’re writing for.
This way, you know what problems they might have, and it’s your job to offer them a solution.
People go online to search for solutions to their problems. If you offer them solutions or provide them value, they might stick around for some time and maybe even come back later.
Maybe I’m repeating myself here, but your content should provide value to your audience. Lot’s of it for free! Your audience will learn to trust you, and in the long run, they’ll be more likely to buy a future product you might sell. All because they trusted you in the first place.
And why do they trust you? Because you provided them value from the beginning.
Creating great content with the added value alone doesn’t determine if it will grab your audience’s attention.
There are other ways to keep them engaged:
- Make it visual. Add images, gifs, infographics, or videos to agitate a bit the monotonous written word on a screen.
- Make it conversational. Imagine you’re speaking to your best friend when you’re writing. It’s one of the easiest ways of engaging with people. It’s all about familiarity and a bit of humor also.
- Don’t use too many “expensive” words. You might think that writing a copy like you would write your Ph.D. thesis is better. It’s not. Murky, complicated writing means less engagement and less intentional readers.
- Create action-oriented content. The ultimate proof that your content is engaging is if your audience engages with you. When people look for solutions on your blog, they want to be guided to do something. It might be a newsletter sign-up, following you on social media, you name it. This is a good way to build trust with your audience over time.
I know this may seem too much for someone just getting started. Don’t wait for perfection when you’re starting a blog. Publish fearlessly, and remember that you can always update it later.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes by Abraham Hicks.
“You can’t get it wrong and you never get it done.”Abraham Hicks
Now go and start your blog!
Get started with DreamHost for $2.59/mo (68% off).
7. Promote Your Blog
Now that you have published your first posts, you can start promoting your content.
But how do you do that if nobody knows you?
One of the easiest and obvious ways of promoting your blog is through social media. Turn to the biggest social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit, and see where your audience spends the most time on. While it’s tempting to join every platform, it’s best to stick with those where your audience lingers, so you can optimize your time.
How do you know which platform to choose?
It’s a bit of trial and error, and a “learning from experience” process, since everybody’s approach is different. However, there are some guidelines on what type of content works best for each platform:
- Facebook: Videos and curated content.
- Twitter: News, blog posts, and GIFs.
- Youtube: Video content.
- Instagram: High-res photos, quotes, and stories.
- LinkedIn: Professional content, jobs, and company news.
- Pinterest: Infographics and step-by-step visual guides.
- Reddit: Comments and discussions about relevant topics in your niche.
Just like anything else, you need to experiment and see what yields the best results.
Now, don’t just dump your links in a spammy way. Nobody will care if you do so.
Just like the content of your blog, when you are interacting in social media, you need to provide value and build relationships, so people can trust you and feel curious about what you have to say in your blog.
You can also connect with fellow bloggers and community groups on those platforms, and also on forums and message boards. A simple search by “your niche” on Facebook groups, for example, will bring many results. Choose those that have more members in them.
Create a newsletter
I know, I know… You’re a beginner and have nothing to offer your audience yet. Why would someone give you their email address?
Just like I said before, a blog is a living entity and grows over time.
If you don’t have an ebook or any other digital asset to give for free as a lead magnet, you can always create a simple newsletter, offering your reader an opportunity to receive via email your newly fresh posts as soon as they get published.
You can convince your readers to start following your publications with a simple form saying something like this: “Subscribe to my newsletter and get the latest blog posts.”
An email newsletter helps keep your email subscribers engaged and thrilled about the content you’re writing, and it’s a good way to grow your traffic over time.
It can also give you a broader perspective about the performance of your content.
The money is in the list
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of content marketers say that email engagement is the top metric they track to measure content performance.
Many marketers abide by the proverb: “The money is in the list.”
And many will say that having an email list of dedicated fans and clients is the single most important asset any business can have. Creating a newsletter is the perfect way of building and deepening a relationship with your audience, where you can turn prospects into buyers.
There are many tools to get started with your newsletter, and the best free email marketing tool I recommend is Mailchimp. It’s free if you have less than 2000 email subscribers. For a beginner, that’s a lot.
8. Monetize Your Blog
You might not have started a blog to monetize it, but why not consider it?
When I created my first blog with my former partner (a recipe blog), we decided to join an ad network as soon as we got a pretty amount of traffic.
For about 2,000 visitors per month, we were getting around $6. Not much, right? However, the numbers depend on the ad network you join.
We clearly had no monetization strategy, but we were thrilled with the idea of earning some money just by sharing recipes.
While joining ad networks (Google Adsense, for example) is an easy way of generating income, you’ll only see big results when your traffic is in the tens or hundreds of thousands of visitors per month. However, some ad networks such as Ezoic and Mediavine have a high CPM (cost per mile or cost per thousand), but you need to get a lot of traffic first to get accepted.
For a beginner, that’s disappointing.
There are better ways to start making an income with your blog right from the start.
1. Join affiliate programs
Joining affiliate programs is by far the best way to make passive income with your blog if you’re a beginner.
Whether your blog niche is food, travel, personal finances, marketing, or others, there’s always a possibility to monetize it through affiliate marketing.
How does affiliate marketing work?
When you join an affiliate program or affiliate network, you’ll be given a special link, also known as a tracking URL, that you can use in your blog posts. If someone clicks through that link and completes a purchase (or another metric, depending on the affiliate conditions), you’ll earn a commission from that sale. You’re being rewarded for referring a customer to your affiliate partner.
It’s like being a freelance digital marketer. If you have ever thought about doing digital marketing, this is your chance.
While many affiliate programs are free to join, some require your blog to have a decent amount of traffic for you to be accepted. That’s why it’s best to focus first on your content and growing your traffic and then apply to those affiliate programs.
Many big brands like Amazon have affiliate programs, and usually, you’ll find a link to their affiliate page at the bottom of their website (the footer section).
Once you have your blog niche decided, research affiliate products that interest you (and your audience) and find if you can partner with that brand as an affiliate.
Besides partnering with brands, you can join affiliate networks like ShareASale, Commission Junction, Rakuten, ClickBank, JVZoo, and PartnerStack. They all have hundreds, if not thousands, of products you can promote immediately.
Now, don’t just throw down a bunch of links in your posts without providing real value. You’d lose the trust of your reader right off the bat. And you only want to use products relevant to your audience and your blog niche.
2. Create an online course
You can also monetize your blog through an online course.
In one way or another, we all have skills. Why not package them in a well-detailed and comprehensive course that you can sell to your audience?
In fact, many successful bloggers have created blogging courses to help other bloggers succeed too.
When you start a blog, you may feel like you don’t have enough theoretical or practical baggage to create a course. But as you keep improving your blog, learning from mistakes, and your audience starts to grow, you know there’s always someone interested in what you have to say.
While creating an online course at the beginning might seem like a big endeavor, it will find its perfect audience with time.
And with the present state of the world, e-learning is on a rise like never before. People are looking for more education online, and new generations interact better visually when learning than sitting at a desk in a boring room.
Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera, and Teachable are some of the best-known platforms that you can join to launch your online course. While the course is hosted on their website, you can link it from your blog.
On the other hand, if you wish to have your course completely branded as your own in your blog, Thinkific is a perfect choice.
3. Join Ad Networks
Advertising is a good way of generating revenue from your blog right from the start.
If you’re just starting out, the only network I recommend is Google Adsense. All other networks require your blog to have some decent traffic (many require at least 100,000 visitors per month to be accepted). For a beginner, this may sound overwhelming. But be patient, you can get there.
Although Google Adsense is the easiest way to monetize your blog from the beginning (in what comes to ads), mind that you won’t make a lot of money with it. Google Adsense has a very low CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and CPC (cost per click), meaning you wouldn’t see significant earnings initially.
However, once your traffic increases, you might consider joining ad networks like MediaVine, AdThrive, GourmetAds, Adsterra, BuySellAds, and others.
Advertising is not very profitable short-term as relevant blog income unless you figure out a way to drive thousands of visitors per month to your blog. On the other hand, it might give you an incentive to keep blogging when you have no other forms of monetization implemented.
If you use Google Adsense or any other network, just make sure the ads displayed on your posts (and your blog overall) are not too distracting and annoying, as they might scare your audience away.
Remember that your blog should look clean and friendly if you want your message to pass through the most effective way.
4. Sell your own products
Another great way of monetizing your personal blog is by selling your own digital or physical products. And if you want to make the most out of it, stick to the digital products, as they can be sold an infinite number of times, generating passive income. You can earn while you sleep!
The first digital product that comes to mind is an ebook.
What’s your specialty? What have you been learning throughout the years? You can package your knowledge in an ebook and create a specific page on your blog to sell it.
People are learning more and more from ebooks and online courses rather than from the normal classroom. They rather spend their money on a practical ebook put together by a knowledgeable person who actually has experience in the matter than on an impersonal school book.
This graphic shows you that the global ebook revenue by region is continually rising.
Besides informative ebooks, you can also sell your audio files (music or sound effects), sheet music, photographs, or video files.
Whatever it is, it must be relevant to your readers’ concerns.
Ultimately, it all boils down to solving the problem your audience has. That’s why they ended up on your blog in the first place.
9. Keep Consistency
For a blog to prosper and grow, it needs some consistency. And if you want to keep consistency after the honeymoon phase, you need to know why you started the blog, to begin with.
Sometimes you might run out of content ideas, or just feel tired. Having some self-motivation hacks can help you get back on track. After all, you won’t have the benefits of having a long-term blog if you don’t commit to it and post regularly.
How much should I post?
Huffington Post, one of the biggest blogs in the world, publishes content every 58 seconds (and this is a stat from 2013).
While that’s really impressive, on the other hand, you have Brian Dean from Backlinko publishing a few posts now and then. But each one of them is monumental, with lots of actionable tips and techniques.
Either way, you need to give your readers a reason to return. And that starts by publishing consistently.
Now, even if you have many blog post ideas, don’t go overboard and try to publish them all simultaneously. Be sure each post has quality.
If you’re just starting out and find it difficult, you don’t have to write long posts just to have thousands of words in them. That might kill your motivation. Start slow.
It’s better to have a 500-word great-quality post than a 3,000-word low-quality one. Remember that you can always update it later.
Focus on quality rather than quantity
When I browse through some blogs I like, I get impressed by the long, wordy content each post seems to have. But these blogs have existed for years, and their content is regularly updated.
And when you update your content, you increase its length.
That’s why you might feel like quitting if you start comparing your posts to others in the same blog niche. Don’t do that!
Also, if you can’t create new posts frequently, at least you might update your existing posts regularly. That will keep your creative juices flowing.
How to Start a Blog FAQs
Here are some of the most common questions we ask when starting a blog.
What is a blog?
A blog is a website that’s frequently updated, usually written in an informal style, where you can engage and connect with your readers.
It’s a great way to increase your subscribers via email subscription, to connect with people, and to make money online.
How to start a blog for free?
If you want to start a blog for free, you need a free blogging platform like Medium, Tumblr, or Blogger. These are great platforms to practice your writing and get exposure without paying a monthly or yearly fee. They’re very easy to use: just head over to their website, create a free account, and you’re all set in a matter of minutes.
However, if you intend to monetize your blog, these self-hosted free platforms are very limited and restricted, and making money with them is almost impossible. For a more reliable and fully customizable blog with unlimited possibilities for monetization, you should opt for a fully-hosted platform.
How do bloggers get paid?
While becoming a blogger is not that difficult – you just need to publish your first post, and you’re a blogger – if you want to get paid, you need to think about it strategically.
There are different revenue streams when it comes to making money with your blog: advertising, affiliate commissions, sponsored content, sales from courses and digital products, and more.
Why should I start a blog?
There are various reasons why you should start a blog.
- You like to write and want to share your experiences or tell stories.
- You want to build an online business for yourself and work from home.
- You wish to inspire others.
- You like the idea of making money online.
- You want to connect with other people online.
- You love to learn new things.
Whatever that reason, just remember that real people will read your content, so be sure to provide quality and value to your reader.
To start a blog, you should know why and who you are writing for. This will make it much easier when choosing what to write about.
How to Start a Blog: Conclusion
Whether you just want to have some fun online, work from home, or build some income streams on the side, starting a blog is one of the most versatile ways of creating content that will live for years to come.
And imagine what you could do with all that content years from now. You could:
- Select the best posts and turn them into a book.
- Set your financial freedom for life.
- Have inspired thousands, if not millions, of readers.
- Set for yourself a standard that you think it’d never be possible.
All these possibilities are there, but they can only happen if you take the first leap.
And that is by starting a blog today.
You may think that the Internet is overcrowded and that many people are already writing about the same things you want. But don’t let that thought bring you down or discourage you.
We are all unique beings, and we all have our unique way of telling a story, even if numerous persons have already told that story.
What affects me may not affect the person near me, that’s why there is always an opportunity for each and every one of us.
I believe there are hundreds of thousands of posts about starting a blog, but because you’re reading this post right now, that makes all the effort worthwhile.
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