In the end, running a blog is one of those things that seems simple in itself, but the gap between just doing it and doing it to its fullest potential is actually huge. There’s just so many moving parts! There’s WordPress itself, writing content, editing, formatting, hosting, SEO, link building, social media, email lists, networking, and on and on and on.
Great question! Yes, starting on a free platform limited my visibility to search engines (there are so many spammy blogs and sites that are self-hosted, I think that google just ignores all of them). They also don’t have the speed that self-hosted plans can. (readers don’t want to sit around waiting for a site to load) While you can do custom blog URLS with some free platforms, if you have the /blogger or /wordpress web address, it just doesn’t look as professional or legit to potential readers and sponsors. It also limited my ability to customize and optimize my blog design for growing my audience and income. There may be other reasons someone more technical than myself could explain, but all in all, I saw my traffic increase almost over night after I switched over. I hope that helps a bit! Best wishes with your blog!
Lastly, don’t be afraid or too shy to integrate your personality into your brand, and yes, your blog is your brand. Consumers want to buy products from brands they trust, and there are few greater ways to form relationships with them than by sharing your own thoughts and personal struggles in your niche, showing more of yourself, and generally being as authentic and transparent as possible.
Write down every topic that you are knowledgeable or passionate about. You'll have a much easier time making money from a blog you are interested in, rather than trying to write content you don't like because you think it will make money. Some examples are hobbies that you enjoy, your career, or some specific and miscellaneous knowledge that you have.
It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the “How to start a profitable blog in 10 minutes and earn $5000 / month while you sleep!” articles that you see out there. But the thing is, those articles leave out some details – they do this on purpose, so that you go ahead and start your blog RIGHT NOW, without giving it any thought – so the writers can earn commission on hosting sales. Many bloggers earn so much money from hosting sales with their how to start a blog tutorial that they hardly even need to try making money anywhere else on their blog.
When Jeff and I started blogging about finance and investing last year, we knew that you could use a blog to generate income but we wanted to focus on building a library of content first, before we looked at ways to generate additional revenue. We wanted to focus on growing on a local level here in Virginia and then scale up and look for opportunities to make moves online.
One attractive feature of promoting digital information products is that the commissions tend to be higher than that of physical products; ranging anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent or even higher. As an example, if someone is selling a digital information product for $500 with a 50 percent commission, you can earn $250 per sale. This is much higher than commissions on physical products due to the high profit margins.
Getting into the groove of writing content for your blog is fairly easy. Once you’re there, you’re there. But writing for your email list is a big challenge. Some women go on scrapbooking weekends. Some men go off to hunt. When it’s my weekend to take off by myself, I pack up my computer and a few bottles of wine and head to my sister’s house to write auto responder emails.
Include keywords in important places. Include them in your blog post title, the large "headers" introducing a new section, the first few sentences of your post, and in links. Change your settings so each blog post's URL includes the title of the post, not the date it was posted. Try to make these as descriptive as possible to raise your ranking in search results and attract the right audience.
By now you’ve probably come across the term “plugin”, and you might be wondering what the heck that is and if you need any of ’em. There are pros and cons to plugins, and you definitely don’t just want to dive in and start installing plugins left and right. Lesson 5 is an overview of what plugins are, how to install them, and what to be careful about regarding plugins when you start a blog.
And that’s totally fine (hint: I don't either)! There are some incredible free blog photo and design resources you can use to enhance your posts, even if you’re not very design-minded at all. You can even just use product screenshots throughout your content, depending upon the subject matter—take for example my recent article about the best CRMs for small business.
If you can keep your readers engaged and actively reading your content and digesting it thoroughly, Google will take notice. Engagement, calculated through things like the average time spent reading your content, average session time, exit rate, bounce rate, and so on, is one of the primary components when ranking on Google's competitive Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Having something to sell will give you something to plan your content marketing and email marketing strategies around. Let’s say you want to sell a full recipe book for the keto diet. So, you publish a post on your “Top 5 Hacks for the Keto Diet” and offer a seven-day keto breakfast plan as a lead magnet to attract subscribers to your email list. You send the breakfast recipes to your leads over a period of seven days and advertise your book at the end of it.
Of course, there are other CMS options you can look at, such as Squarespace, Ghost, and Wix when learning how to start a blog. However, I strongly recommend setting up a self-hosted WordPress site for your blog as it’s the most sustainable, long-term solution—and really the only option worth considering if you're starting a blog with the eventual goal of making money from your website in some way, shape or form.
A content upgrade is a bonus that’s very specific. For example, I got a popular post about self-esteem. And the content upgrade for that specific post is simply a checklist in downloadable PDF format where the reader can get all the tips from that post neatly summarized in a document that they can keep on their smart phone for whenever they need it.
Outstanding Customer Service. Bluehost’s customer service is 100% US-based. With hold times that average less than 30 seconds and 100% in-house, on-site staff in their Texas offices, you can rest assured that the person helping with your site knows how to help. In other words, if you have any questions, they will help you through the entire set-up process.
The best avenue for making money from your blog is through email marketing, plain and simple. Hands down, this offers one of the quickest and surest strategies for earning an income through your blog. But before you get there, you need to sign up to an email marketing platform like Aweber, ConvertKit, MailChimp, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft or any other number of platforms that exist out there.
If you absolutely cannot find a dot-com domain, then you could opt for a different extension, but be careful not to make that extension country specific. For example, don't use .US or .CA or even top-level domains such as .info or .cc or .name because you simply won't get the same global awareness and appeal that you would with a dot-com domain name.
Solid numbers about blogging incomes are hard to come by. For example, in the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lump bloggers in the very broad category of “Writers and Authors” which has a median income of $61,240 per year. That’s not an accurate measure since there are vastly different occupations included in that category. Information from small surveys and anecdotal evidence can also be found online, but much of it is outdated or taken from tiny sample sizes.
In addition to getting new readers to your blog, you will also want to make sure your current readers are coming back. This is where email marketing plays a big role. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors (with their permission of course), you can then notify them when you post something new on your blog. This keeps people coming back to your blog, which not only gives you more readers over time, it also allows you to build a closer relationship with your readers.
Every time you add a plugin to your site, you add more computer code to the back end. And more code means more for the search engines and other computer-y things to wade through. And more to wade through often means a slower site. No one likes slower sites, not readers and especially not search engines like Google (which we are all trying to please so they send visitors our way!).