Looking for help on how to start a blog in 2021 from scratch? After having started and scaled multiple blogs and as a full-time blogger, I can tell you for a fact, that starting a blog is still very much a profitable business idea. In this post, I’m breaking down how to start a money-making blog from scratch.
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Step 1: Setting The Foundation
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Pick a niche
The niche or category you pick is going to be instrumental in how fast the blog grows and how much money your blog makes.
When it comes to picking your niche, you should look at a niche that is 1) profitable and 2) is something you are passionate about or want to learn about.
If you pick a niche that is profitable but that you don’t care about, you won’t be able to stick around long enough to make it work. Making money from your blog takes time and effort so unless you aim to just have a blog for fun, take your time to figure out which niche you would like to start a blog in.
When it comes to profitable niches these are the best 5 to pick from: health, wealth, relationships, hobbies, and personal development. Remember, you can niche down and pick a small focused area to start a blog in. I highly recommend that you start with a small but profitable niche and expand to more categories once your blog grows.
Here’s an example of how to niche down: Health > Fitness > Exercises > Yoga > Hot Yoga.
Buy your domain
Once you’ve decided on your niche, the next step is to pick an available domain that will also ideally be your blog name or brand name. For example, the blog you are reading right now has the domain digitalempires.co
- You have the option to buy Marketplace – Get a self-host. Get a 60% offer on Hostgator to host your blog or website.
- Install WordPress and a good theme.
- Learn content management systems and pick efficiency over beauty.
- Pick a niche that is profitable and that you can imagine working on for the next few years.
- Choose a domain name with .COM extension.
- Avoid using hyphens, numbers, or hard-to-pronounce names for an international audience.
- Choose a self-host such as Hostgator and use wordpress.ORG instead of going on wordpress.COM because the latter is very limited and more pricey in the long run.
Step 2: Creating Solid Content
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- Time is money. Your time is best utilized in creating content that your audience wants to read and driving traffic from that particular audience. Blog = publishing platform, Content = blog posts
- Social media platforms work great as a vanity metric and it feels great to have 10,000 Instagram followers but the sad truth is the time you spend in growing multiple social media platforms is the time that you can spend on working your blog’s content as well as driving traffic to it.
- Your content is what will get people to read your blog, monetize it and build your authority in a niche.
- If you try to be everywhere then you won’t grow anywhere. You have to find out where your ideal audience is hanging out and pick one social media platform to focus on at the beginning until your blog has reached a point where you can afford to create content for multiple social media platforms.
- Without a solid content strategy, you cannot expect to make money blogging.
- You don’t need to be a great writer or be a professional in your niche. You can learn how to create blog posts that convert even as a total beginner.
- Pick the right keywords for your blog post. Use tools like Google Trends or Keysearch to find new ideas.
- Create content consistently. The first year of your brand new blog is very critical in deciding whether or not you end up making money with that blog. If you post 1 article a week, it will take forever for you to start making money blogging. Try to post 2-3x weekly if possible so that you can get in the habit of writing blog posts as well as driving traffic to them and create a routine around the same.
- The main reason to create content consistently is that at the beginning you’re gonna be competing for traffic with websites that have been around for 10-20 years. This implies your audience has a choice between reading your blog with 40 articles versus a blog that has 400 articles.
- When you consistently show up and create new content, you start to build an audience that also consistently shows up, reads your blogs, and buys your products and services.
- Run your article through a free extension like Grammarly to proofread it for mistakes.
- Use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your blog post for Google SEO (read the blog for technical help)
Step 3: Getting Traffic
- Traffic is the lifeblood of your blog. Zero traffic equals zero income. So, pick the right traffic source. The biggest reason why most blogs fail is not that the blogger doesn’t work hard, it is because they don’t have enough traffic. If you start focusing on bringing new visitors right from the very beginning, you can grow and start making money from your blog faster as well.
- Major traffic sources: Google, Pinterest, Youtube
- Minor traffic sources: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, Quora
- Major traffic sources need more effort to build up but once set up, they pretty much bring you traffic on auto-pilot.
- Minor traffic sources on the other hand can be a massive waste of time unless you have a large social media following already that you can leverage.
- Focus on one traffic source first, master it and then move on to the next.
- The biggest mistake that most bloggers make is that they focus too much on Google and they don’t focus on anything else at the beginning of their journey. Google takes a couple of years until they start to show your website on search results.
- The source of traffic that is better suited for newbie bloggers is Pinterest. You don’t need to wait a couple of years before you start to see traffic from the source. It is designed to get people to click and check websites.
- Google is the hardest one to rank for especially as a new blogger. Youtube comes next as you need a large volume of videos and subscribers to start getting consistent traffic. I would recommend getting TubeBuddy for your YouTube growth.
- Pinterest is the fastest one to get organic traffic from if you want to start driving traffic quickly to your blog. Get 1 month of Tailwind for Pinterest free here.
- You don’t need to pick one traffic source over the other. You should be focusing on one traffic source at one time, building and leveraging that. Once you have built and leveraged one particular traffic source, you can move on to the next.
Step 4: Building Income Streams
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- Think like a business owner. It doesn’t matter if you want your blog to be your side hustle or your full-time job. The bottom line is every business sells something.
- Traditional bloggers rely on 2 streams of income. 1) Ad revenue 2) Affiliate revenue
- Both these streams of income require a large amount of traffic to get started with. If you’re just starting you probably won’t make a lot of money if you limit yourself to only these two income streams.
- Modern-day bloggers who think like business owners end up creating their own products and services because they understand that every business sells something.
- While creating your own product is a bit more challenging and does require you to have more experience you can absolutely start selling your services from day one. Just list down all of the skill sets that you have which you can offer in exchange for money.
Here’s the list of income streams and their platforms:
- Advertisements – Google Adsense, Mediavine, AdThrive
- Sponsorships – IZEA, Tap Influence, Aspire IQ
- Affiliate Programs – CJ Affiliate, Share A Sale, Flex Offers, Rakuten Marketing
- Products – physical, digital
- Services – consulting, coaching, agency, freelance services
- Ads and sponsorships are best for bloggers who have at least 10,000 page views per month.
- Affiliate marketing can be done at any stage but requires a high amount of views, trust, and conversion to make a decent living.
- Offering services is the fastest way to start making money with your blog. You can use sites like Fiverr and Upwork, ideally, your blog serves as a portfolio to get new clients.
- Offering products can be the most lucrative way to make money but you do need to build an email list and learn sales.
- If you feel like you have nothing to offer in terms of services you can pitch to a more experienced blogger to work for them for free maybe as an intern/assistant in exchange for training and experience.
Step 5: Fast-track Growth
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- Learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is an art and science of being discovered on a search engine like Google, Pinterest, or YouTube.
- Double down on creating new content. The more you publish at the beginning, the faster you will grow.
- Pick one channel to drive traffic and master it. Without sufficient traffic, you cannot expect to make money blogging. Each search engine has different rules. This is why you should commit to just one traffic source first, master the SEO for the traffic source and then move on to the next.
- Invest in ebooks, courses, or coaches who can help you fast-track your growth. Success leaves clues.
- Stay consistent and patient. You’ll learn the skills you need with experience and guidance.
- Invest in your blog. Every blog that makes a solid amount of money takes time and effort much like any other business.
- You can invest in tools such as getting a self-hosted website, professional theme, etc.
- You can invest in educational resources to learn about your blog. Check out the MOZ blog which has tons of free resources for new bloggers to understand exactly how SEO works and how you can leverage it to start ranking on Google search.
- The faster you’re able to learn and optimize for SEO the faster your traffic will grow and the faster your income from your blog will grow as well.
- Commit to your blog for at least one year before you give up. Because blogging requires time and effort but it also requires you to learn different things.
- If you invest in the right resources and show up consistently, you will succeed much faster.
For more information, check out my BLOG LAUNCH BLUEPRINT to launch a kickass blog for free. Get instant access now to this FREE blueprint!