Why? While it's relatively straightforward to begin a blog, it's a monumental undertaking to generate any semblance of traffic and profit from your arduous efforts. You need laser-focus and persistence to build an audience or reach mass saturation with your prose. It takes time and it takes long and drawn out evenings burning the proverbial midnight oil.
The major email services like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL have made some recent changes that you need to know about. Going forward, you will need to have a domain specific email address that is connected to your custom domain. If you plan to send emails to your readers and you don’t have a domain email address, your emails are going straight to the SPAM folder!
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).
Unless you have a very good reason (unlikely), do not use the Plain or Numeric structure. They don’t play well with Google and other search engines because search engines use words, not numbers, to understand what your posts and pages are about. Search engines will be more likely to send people to your site when search words match the words in your permalinks.
Congratulations, you’ve completed reading the “How to Start a Blog” guide! By now you should have your own domain name, hosting space and your blog set up. Next, you will need to get familiar with the WordPress dashboard, learn how to make desired changes, learn blogging basics such as content creation and promotion in order to become a successful blogger. Check out our Resources and Blog sections to learn how to run your blog.
Talk to people about what you’re doing: It might seem too simple, but tell the people around you what you’re doing. Get excited about your blog and share the things you’re working on. As Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking told me: “Maybe it’s just your friends reading you to start, but you should be responding to every comment and going out and commenting on other blogs. This is essentially your industry and these are your coworkers.”
Thankfully Number 7. and 10. work really well for me because I am easily overwhelmed thinking about how I have to compete with all of the content and service providers out there. It’s just not my thing. I rather rock my little corner of the world and have a smaller, loyal following. As a consumer I prefer to devote my time and attention to someone who provides super-niched, rich, quality content on a less frequent basis than someone who just fills space because he/she is on a content schedule. Therefore, when email letters or blog posts do arrive it feels like a treat, and I trust that person more because he/she waited to write when inspiration struck and valuable content could be delivered. Furthermore, my own following is rather small, but it remains loyal. And, I’m ok with that. As my list has steadily grown over the past couple of years my open rate is consistently at 40-42% every month and many of my clients are annual repeats.
I made my first cents (yes, you will start with cents. It will be thrilling) 4 months after I started this blog. (That includes one month were I did almost nothing.) I believe, if you do it right, you may start to see a profit as soon as 4-5 months in. It will not be much. But it will grow. You will probably not make a full time income for a while. This is not a get rich quick thing.
For many visionary novice bloggers, the world is not enough. The stash of free themes (more than two thousand themes are available on WordPress.org) does not satisfy their particular desire for look and feel. There are two other options you can take a look at, premium and custom themes. But they incur a cost, sometimes a tiny one, at other times a huge amount.
Start your search for a theme as soon as your WordPress platform is installed. The look and feel of your blog rely on the theme you choose. Your readers will first notice the overall appearance, before even taking a look at the content. Choose a theme that looks great, but also works for your unique content needs. The default theme that comes with your WordPress blog installed is Twenty Seventeen—while it’s a good starter theme, you’ll want to choose a theme that is unique and compatible with your niche.
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.
You can also look into pre-selling your course. What this looks like is you create an outline of the course idea, then a sales page and a webinar, and if people buy, you know you’ve got a winner! Just be sure that you can actually deliver your course in the time frame you promise, so you won’t lose credibility with people who register for it. If this seems too scary, why not create the first few modules? This way you know you’ll have something to deliver while you’re doing your preselling.
I want you to have realistic expectations, though. Those results are not the norm. My first month of monetizing my blog I made several thousands of dollars. But that occurred after I had been blogging for eighteen months. But do the math – I’m estimating my business will earn six-figures in ** the second year**. And I’ve never monetized a blog before!
Today, blogging is no longer only a hobby confined to a college dorm room. It can be used to publish all manner of content, from personal journals to corporate business magazines. This boom of online content creation has created new business models and job opportunities. Existing businesses use blogging to drive content marketing campaigns, while others use create business models with blogs at the center.
Personally, if you have the resources I would go for the second option. Not only does this tell readers who you are and if they’re in the right place. But it also gives you a chance to show social proof (that other people have recognized you as a thought leader). Of course, you might not have this right away, so it’s perfectly fine to just go with the first option.
Some people will argue that you shouldn't start a blog in a niche that isn't too popular. For example, if you want to write about something like crocheting or playing a specialized instrument, understand that the appeal of the blog can only be as large as the total global audience in your prospective language. Some things simply don't have a large audience.
Hello! I read your article with pleasure. I was glad that you were not beating around the bush but instead said in a straight-forward way that if anyone expects results, she/he must invest in their business. You outlined few downsides of choosing to have a blog for free. I think this is a very crucial decision and it impacts the way future blogger will act in the future. I remember when I started 6 years ago, I wanted to reach the tops by not spending a single dime. I ended up with wasted hours, frustration and no single earned penny in my pocket. If we want to do something well, we need to invest proper resources. All the best in 2018!
Network with other bloggers or mention their blogs: Early on, you want to get on other people’s radars. And one of the best ways to do that is to mention other relevant bloggers and blog posts on yours. For Austin Belack, founder of Cultivated Culture, that meant linking out to relevant blog posts and then emailing the blogger and saying “Hey! I mentioned you in my most recent article. If you think it’s worthy of a share, I’d really appreciate it. But if not, I’m happy to keep sharing yours.” This drove the initial 50,000 to 60,000 readers to his blog.
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!
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.
This is such a helpful post. Thanks, Carly! My one big question is how do you do this (maintain and publish a blog) while being a stay at home mom? I would love to do what you’re doing more than anything. I have a two year old and another one on the way, and I feel like I absolutely have what it takes to be a blogger, but with how busy littles ones can keep you, I have a hard time imagining making it all work. I’m new to your blog. How often do you post? How many hours a day do you typically spend on the blog? (By the way, I noticed that you responded to the comment above mine at 12:20 am, that could be my answer–ha!)
Money. You should not start a blog to make money. We need to get that out of the way first. If your primary objective is to replace your full-time income from blogging, forget about it. It doesn’t work that way. Do you think that Jimi Hendrix picked up his first guitar so he could “supplement his income”? No, he didn’t. Rather, he did it for the love of it, for the joy and fulfillment he received, and the income came thereafter—much later actually.
It’s dependent on traffic. Traffic goes up and down and you never know when it is going to do a major dip. Most advertisers pay based on the number of views their ad will get. This turns you into a traffic monster. You start to look for creative ways to get any kind of traffic, no matter if it’s good traffic or not. This can easily lead to your site becoming another junk site that you try to avoid.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that making money blogging is not possible by putting your site up and letting it sit there. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work here, so be sure youâ€™re willing to put in the time. Most bloggers donâ€™t see a spike of income for several months (sometimes years) after starting their blog. Before you dive too deep into blogging, remember these little bits of advice: