Thanks so much for this great post! I’m a new stay-at-home mom and was researching jobs I could do from home (so I could stay at home for the longterm!) and I kept coming back to blogging. I have read and re-read your post multiple times and downloaded Ruth Soukup’s book; so good! I feel like I’m much more set up for success and not floundering in the dark! I would love any feedback on my website!
Anyone who's serious about building a blog and making money, needs to leverage Google's webmaster tools to see what keywords they're ranking for and any messages that would impact their ability to rank. This will also allow you to submit an XML sitemap and track keyword impressions along with click-through rates. This is one of the most useful tools for growing your site or blog through constant analysis of your efforts.
That concludes our official list of the steps you should take to become a successful blogger, but let’s go over a few honorable mentions we couldn’t squeeze into the list. For starters, growing your email list is an obvious one. It’ll help you turn casual visitors into regular readers and eventually customers. Read our posts on how to create an email marketing strategy and how to start an email list for free for more information.
Find Your Niche. You needn’t have a niche, but it helps. When learning how to be a blogger, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re passionate about. Running? Cooking? Being a parent? Have you found your passion? If so, whatever it is, write about that. If not, then you must first find your passion. (Note: We generally recommend that people don’t start a blog about minimalism or the paleo diet or any other heavily saturated topic. But what we really mean when we say this is: don’t create a blog about something unless you have a unique perspective. If you’ve embraced simple living and have a unique perspective, then by all means have at it.)
Indirect Income – later on in my blogging journey opportunity has come for ‘indirect’ income streams. As my blogs and profile grew as a result of my blogging I was able to sell my services as a speaker and consultant and was offered the opportunity to author a book with the publisher Wiley. Later I was able to start an event for bloggers which also made money. None of this income came directly from the blog – but rather it came ‘because’ of my blog.
Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing – I bought this ebook last month, and I highly recommend it. Facebook is an area I'm currently working on, and I've already read the whole book. The author of this ebook grew her Facebook page from 2,000 to 100,000 followers in just 5 months! Crazy, right? I started 2016 with just around 6,500 Facebook followers and ended it with 38,000. I owe a lot of that to the great tips in Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing. Growing my Facebook page has allowed me to reach new readers, improve my blogging income, grow my email list, and more.
Define Your Ideal Readers. Once you’ve found your niche, you need to know who will be reading your blog. For example, we blog about living a meaningful life with less. Thus, our ideal readers are people who are interested in exploring minimalism so they can clear the path toward more meaningful lives. If you want to write about your newborn baby growing up, that’s wonderful: your ideal readers are probably your friends and family. If you want to write about restoring classic cars, that’s cool, too. Tailor your writing to your readers (whether it’s your family or local community or whoever else will read your blog).
This is where having a clear content calendar becomes so important. If you can spend a couple hours each month mapping out all the posts you want to write, you’ll always know what you should be working on and when it’s due. This can be in a simple Google Doc like the one in my free blogging course, or by using a tool like Trello that lets you track posts through the whole process from idea to writing to published and promoting.
Oh, and side note—once you've started generating a decent amount of traffic to your blog, it'll be a smart long-term decision to move up your hosting plan to a managed WordPress hosting provider like Kinsta that have even more features (which is what I use now that I'm in the hundreds of thousands of monthly readers), especially when you're in need of speeding up your WordPress blog.
Search for blogs that cover similar topics. Use a search engine and the search bar on blog hosting sites to find blogs that cover your topic or related topic. Read a few blog posts from the most popular ones, that show up high on the search ranking, have the most comments, or display a readership of 20,000 or more. Get an idea for how much interest and competition there is.
Responsiveness is a must: Responsiveness refers to themes that make sure your blog looks as good on a laptop, as it does on someone’s smartphone. Today, more and more people use their phones to read blogs and depending on your audience, that number could be 50% or higher (like mine is). Google also favors mobile-friendly websites and ranks them at the top of their organic search results. If you’re not totally sure whether a theme is mobile friendly or not, copy and paste the URL of the theme’s demo page into Google’s Mobile Friendly Test page. (This test will almost always show some warnings. But major red flags to watch out for are text too small or content wider than screen.)
Start a blog. If you don't own a blog yet, you need to find the right platform for you. There are so many blogging platforms out in the market to choose from such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Medium, Weebly etc. Try one out; if you are not satisfied with its offered features, then you can move to another, there are countless options some are free and some paid.
You also need to do things like select a theme. What will your design look like? Will you use a standard theme that's free or will you splurge on a premium theme? There are literally hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes that can be chosen to hep you with the design and layout of your blog. Two of my favorite options for sourcing premium WordPress themes are Envato's Theme Forest and Template Monster.
Once you have a popular blog, advertisers will be hounding you for the opportunity to advertise. The best way to take advantage of this situation is to use Google Adsense. They find the advertisers for you and all you have to do is place the Google Adsense code on your blog to start running ads. Google Adsense takes all of the hard work out of the process and just cuts you a check.
You also don't have much say in how much you're able to make with these revenue streams. Products (e.g. ebooks, video courses, apps, etc…), on the other hand, are your own. You can price them at whatever you want them to be or at least what your audience is willing to pay. This gives you the freedom to create whatever type of content you want and earn however much money you want.
Make it easy for the person you are guest posting for. Don’t forget to edit and proof-read and perhaps even format the post before you send it to the website. Make it as easy as it can be for the website owner to just cut and paste the article and hit publish. I used to publish guest posts on The Positivity Blog maybe 6 years ago and I loved it when people did that. I did not love it when people sent me lazy drafts and hoped I would do the cleanup.
Find something that other people are interested in, too. If you choose to write about Himalayan basket weaving for men, you probably won’t have many readers, and you’ll have a hard time earning any income. Try to find something that combines your interests with things other people also care about. For my main blog, I write about money advice. I’m a personal finance nerd but, fortunately, there are people online looking for that type of information, too.
Exactly! I’ve heard the analogy from many different people that you really just need to be one step ahead. It’s kind of like the model of discipleship. The people who are ahead in a certain aspect can help those who are a step behind, and hopefully you also have someone ahead of you to look up to and learn from. I hope you’ll come back and update me when you start your blog Kim!
You have to be careful with statements like it’s just about getting people to give you an email address and that is where the relationship starts – it’s not, the reason why they signed up to your list is where it starts and frames the communication you then continue via the list. You are dealing with the motivation behind why people make decisions and every single point of interaction matters, not just what goes on with the email list.
Please, do yourself a favor. Work only with reputable hosting companies from day one when starting a blog. It’s not such a huge expense anyway, you can get something cool for as low as $3-4 a month. Bluehost is good. SiteGround as well. Digital Ocean if you’re server-savvy. Or WP Engine if you want to spend some more. We’ve looked through all these companies in our research piece.
Me: Maybe, but I wouldn’t worry about that right now. If you go into building your blog knowing that you’re going to launch an ebook on such and such date, or start a membership website right away, you’re going to fail. Work on your blog, build it naturally with the primary purpose of helping people. If you do that, you’ll gain authority and by then you’ll know what you should do next. Keep everything we talked about in mind so you’re ready when that happens.