How Start a Blog and Make Money?
Before we start on this how to create a blog guide, let’s explore what’s a blog. The definition of a blog has diversified over the years.
It could be an informational site or something that engages the readers in a useful way. Anyone can start a blog today, and there are many free blogging platforms available for this.
Our focus today is using WordPress to create a compelling and straightforward blog.
How to Make a Living Blogging?
Blogging has grown from being an online journal or a channel for communication to a source of income. There are many ways in which bloggers can make money.
· PPC advertising is one of the most straightforward methods to make money with a blog
· Bloggers can earn by adding affiliate links on their blog posts
· Earn sponsored blog posts
· Selling digital products through blogs
· Use the blog as an online coaching platform offering digital lessons and sharing your skills.
The very first step towards strengthening the foundation of any blog is to decide upon a niche.
From health to entertainment to technology, there are various domains in which you can pick your niche. In each of these categories, you can dig deeper like beauty, health, parenting, fitness, DIY or home improvement, and so on.
While most of them work well with the audience, some particularly interest people of all age groups. These are also the ones that can garner better organic traffic and also earn monetary benefits.
Celebrity lifestyle, review blogs, beauty blogs, culinary blogs, home décor inspirations, finance – frugal living ideas, health, and fitness blogs are trendy ones.
These are also the ones where people always have questions, and they are always seeking for answers.
The rule of thumb is to pick a niche that applies to the everyday lifestyle of the ordinary people, people like me and you. The niche should be such that it answers the common questions they have or offer solutions to the problems they face. It would be the kind of blog that they keep coming back for more information.
Take parenting blogs; for example, new parents are full of questions. Therefore, they love to check out parenting blogs, to take part in discussions in parenting forums, and to find support from other new parents around the world.
Getting a Cheap Domain Registration
The domain name and extension are both essential. These are the first impressions of your blog.
Stick with simple names, but make sure that it is relatable. It can contain your name or your initials, but it should also give a brief idea about what your blog is.
My favorite personal domain registrar to get a domain for a reasonable price is NameCheap. They often offer discounts, and there is always coupon code to lower the domain price even more.
Pro tip: Install Honey extension on the Chrome browser. This extension will automatically go out and search for any discount code to use not only on NameCheap but many other sites.
Stay away from free domain providers. Those providers only allow subdomains. You need to customize your domain with .com, .org, or other extensions.
I would stick with a .com domain since most people used to see .com instead of other extensions or TLDs (Top-Level Domains).
The next step is to look for reliable hosting providers like BlueHost, HostGator, and others.
Which Webhosting Companies?
My personal choice for hosting is BlueHost, but there are other great hosting providers like HostGator. BlueHost with prices as low as $3.95 per month, this one provides plenty of features for the new bloggers.
BlueHost offers a one-year free domain to promote their hosting services. Although this seems to be a good combo deal, the domain registration, in the long run, is much more expensive than NameCheap.
More than 2 million websites today depend on this web hosting platform.
A bonus with BlueHost that I like is that they provide FREE SSL certification for security. Free SSL is huge since website security is one of the ranking factors in Google’s search engine. We will talk more in-depth about SSL in a little bit.
If you already have a WordPress blog, then the easy installation of WordPress offered by this provider comes as a plus. Depending on how you would like to scale your blog space, you can also opt for other features like blog analytics and traffic pattern management.
BlueHost provides shared, dedicated as well as flexible VPS (virtual private server) hosting options. It comes handy when you take your blog to the next level and when you also use it for large scale monetization tasks.
HostGator for Alternative Hosting
HostGator is another excellent alternative for an affordable hosting services provider. The affordability makes this a suitable option for beginners in blogging, looking for a dependable hosting service. Prices here start for as low as $2.75 per month.
HostGator one also offers a domain free for a year. There are also dedicated hosting plans, VPS hosting, and WordPress hosting.
For those who like to take their blogs to the next level and create a business website, a website builder tool is a powerful option.
Both BlueHost and HostGator also impress with their very responsive round the clock customer care channels.
The Significance of SSL
If you thought only large blogs and business websites should worry about SSL certification, think again!
At the beginning of 2018, Google announced that “Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure” as a step towards moving to secure web.
Therefore, even a small blog would benefit from obtaining an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certification. SSL ensures that all types of data sent and received between the client and server remain secure and encrypted.
This certification gives your audience the trust that their information would be protected. It is particularly handy when you ask your audience to subscribe for updates. Knowing that the blog has an SSL certification would give them the confidence to provide their information.
Content Management System
When we talk about blogging, one of the most influential platforms out there is WordPress.
WordPress is a content management platform that allows users to customize their websites and create blog posts. The blog post you’re reading right now built on top of WordPress. The best part is… it’s free.
It is also perhaps the first thing that most people think of when they are looking for creating a free blogging space or website.
WordPress is one of the oldest options out there; most of the Webhosting providers allow easy WordPress installation.
HostGator and BlueHost both offer this convenience. WordPress also provides a lot of SEO (search engine optimization) benefits. Therefore, getting your blog to rank well in Google searches becomes easy.
The ease of integration of your blog with social media through plugins comes easy when you use WordPress. Therefore, you would be able to diversify the sources of traffic and expand your blog’s reach.
We will discuss WordPress Plugins in the future, for now, understand that WordPress has many integrations that make setting any website functions with ease.
There is also strong community support that you can find online when you blog with WordPress. The ease of using WordPress and the convenience of customizing the blog site are other aspects that make it the best content management system for beginners.
WordPress offers plenty of choices for bloggers to tune the aesthetics of the blog. Many sleek themes can easily be applied to create the desired visual effect. Talking about elegance, Divi is one of the most popular WordPress themes available today.
Divi from ElegantThemes
The next step after installing WordPress is to install a “theme” or a skin outlook for your website.
WordPress comes with a lot of free themes that you can pick from, but in my opinion, these themes are not as efficient and might slow down your page-loading time.
I am probably biased in terms of my favorite WordPress theme, but I love the Divi premium theme by ElegantThemes.
Divi’s Visual Builder Technology has been making headlines for being stylish. It has grown from being a visual experience to an all-new website creation tool.
The ease of easy drag and drop feature to create a beautiful and elegant website that looks like a professional built it is just too fantastic. The best is, no knowledge of coding needed to create such an excellent website.
The price for Divi is $69 a year, but the bundle with other useful plugins is $89 a year. I own the lifetime license with all plugins for $249. Keep in mind the theme can be used for multiple websites.
One of the plugins from the Divi bundle that I also really like is Bloom, an opt-in form built for Divi. It allows bloggers to collect emails from the audience to subscribe to their newsletter.
The versatility of this theme makes it suitable for both new bloggers and the pros looking for a dramatic makeover to their blog or website. With the ability to edit various elements in batches to create different effects and shape dividers, this tool offers a lot of perks.
There is a neat layout library to check out and make a significant transformation to your blog.
Create a Logo
Let’s recap. We have come up with a niche, registered a domain name, secured it with suitable encryption, and also installed WordPress, plus a tailored theme to suit your style.
What comes next? A good logo!
Branding is essential not just for businesses but also for blogs. Given that there are numerous blogs out there, you have to look for ways to make your blog stand out.
A logo is also your image to the world. Adding a catchy logo is one of the most crucial steps in branding for your blog. When designing your logo, think about the color theme of your website. A rule of thumb is to stick to no more than 3 colors.
Canva is a tool that broke the convection that you need to hire is a graphic designer or learn graphic designing to build a logo.
From designing logos to posters, flyers, business cards, and even resumes, there is so much that you can do with this site. You can try the free logo maker to create and affix your logo to your blog.
Canva’s free templates and elements are good enough for a website logo design. Even if you happened to pay for certain elements that you like, the cost is usually around $1 for single usage.
Once the logo designed successfully, you can then use it not just in the blog but also on your social media pages. The logo helps build familiarity and make people remember your blog.
Pro tip: If your logo contains icon elements with your brand name, make sure to save a smaller image of the icon itself for your favicon.
A favicon is a small icon on top of your browser for your website. It is your site identity in Google’s eyes. A favicon helps to brand your website further.
Essential WordPress Plugins
What are WordPress Plugins?
A plugin is a functional integration module that allows a seamless feature install to your website. Plugins are the reason why WordPress is so powerful and efficient. Plugin installation is also effortless and quick.
Access the plugin menu in the WordPress console page and click on “Add New” and either upload custom plugins or search in the existing library.
The first plugin you need to search and install is called Wordfence Security. This plugin will block any attempts from intruders accessing your website, and it will notify you through email when anyone, including yourself, attempting to gain access.
The free version is enough for a new website. There is no need to get the paid version unless your website traffic increased by a lot.
Next, install an SEO plugin to help optimize all the blog posts that you will be creating. Math Rank SEO is a good option for new websites. It has all the main features and guidance to optimize each page.
All-In-One SEO Pro is a premium SEO plugin that comes with many extra optimization functions such as advance Google Analytic tracking, SEO for categories, and much more.
The final plugin we will need is Imagify. Imagify helps reduce the size of any images that you upload to the website so the page load speed will remain fast. This plugin works automatically to reduce the file size of your images as you upload.
How to Create a Blog Content
Now that you have created a website, the next step is the most important one – content creation. All the superficial charm your blog holds would be futile if you do not post enriching content on it.
Content relevance is the priority. Then comes the periodic publishing process. You should create a pattern for posting your blog posts.
Leave a hint, a small element of suspense to your audience and let them keep anticipating the next post. That will keep readers yearning for more and will also motivate them to come back for new articles. Create content that will engage the audience and also add value to them in some way.
There are two types of bloggers – those that write and post the content themselves and the others who get the content written and handle the blog management and ownership task.
As your blog grows, you might have a lot of other things to look into besides writing content for it. You should, therefore, be open to hiring writers. You cannot do away with just any writer.
You would need someone who would help maintain the life of the blog and take it in the same direction that you had been taking it. If you are hiring a writer from the very beginning, then you need some persuasive writers who can help allure the audience to your blog.
Fiverr is one of the most popular sites and also a credible one where you can find freelance writers. Some writers would be ready for long term commitment and those who can help you out temporarily. You can filter our writers based on ratings, niche, pricing, and the availability window.
iWriter is another excellent content writing service to check out. You can get quality content at affordable pricing, suitable for the expert bloggers and the newbies alike.
The service makes it possible to get SEO content with high delivery speeds. Unique, deeply researched content is easy to obtain for your blogs from iWriter.
Growing Email List
Delivering content is not enough – you should also gauge the response. To increase the response, you should make it a point to communicate with your audience regularly.
You should make it a habit to ensure that no comment on your blog post goes unanswered. Even if it is a simple note of appreciation for the post adding a reply strengthens the rapport between the blogger and the audience.
To be able to engage your audience and grow the audience size, GetResponse is a useful tool.
GetResponse helps easy automation of marketing and creates a touch of personalization for the audience. You would be able to set the desired autoresponders with the help of this service.
GetResponse also has opt-in forms to grow your email list. It’s compatible with Divi’s Bloom opt-in forms so you won’t have to recreate any opt-in forms.
The best part is that GetResponse has a 30-day free trial, try it out, you will not regret it. The basic plan starts $15 per month for up to 1000 subscribers.
Whether you have a small blog or a large business website, this autoresponder makes it easy to elevate your email marketing efficiency.
Aweber is another great autoresponder tool. It also offers a 30-day free trial. There are many plans to choose from based on the level of automation you need for your blog.
The plans start from a price of $19 per month that allows up to 500 subscribers, making it an excellent choice for new blogs. Signup forms, emails, analytics, and more are all part of the plans offered.
If you are working with multiple writers on board, then this one comes with a Team Hub to make collaboration simpler.
Wrapping it up
Blogs are easy to create, and there are many monetary and other benefits to them. Summing up the basics of blog creation:
- 1. Find a niche
- 2. Create a domain
- 3. Host and Secure your blog
- 4. Personalize it with a theme and logo
- 5. Increase functionality with plugins
- 6. Pack a punch in your content
- 7. Acquire, engage and retain audience
These are the 7 essential steps to a sustainable blogging journey. When you master the art of creating and maintaining a blog, you are already an entrepreneur. Once you can gauge the pulse of the audience and deliver content that they anticipate, then you have a platform where you can expand, materialize, and monetize your ideas.
I hope you enjoyed this ultimate how to create a blog guide. Feel free to reach out to me if you ever need help setting up your blog. I am always here to help.
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