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.
The first thing we did when starting our blog was go to Bluehost and register our domain, which is free with hosting. We’ll explain hosting in a moment, but let’s talk about your domain name first. Your domain name is an important part of your blog because it creates a first impression—it is the name of your blog. Also known as your URL, your domain is also your address on the web. For example, our domain name is www.theminimalists.com.
Hi and thanks for all the info. These are great step by step instructions. I am new to blogging and this is my first attempt. I have my domain name from NameCheap. I just purchased hosting with HostGator. Now, when I go to install WordPress, I am not finding the install you mention in your blog. I already installed one time and followed the free link (which looked completely different from your graphics) but I never saw the bar saying your install is complete and I never got any login credentials. When I checked My Installs, WordPress was listed there. Since I could not find the credentials, I uninstalled it. What am I doing wrong here? I think I need to start over!
You can become a successful blogger if you are a good communicator. Some people think that a blogger’s work is over after writing the article. But they are wrong. The main work starts after the completion of the article. A blogger needs to promote that article on social networking sites and then he should also reply to all the comments he got on his article. You need a good communication skills for this. So improve your communication skills if you want to become a successful blogger.
Be Honest. Your blog needs to be authentic—it needs to feel real—if you want people to read it. You can be your blog, or your blog can be you. That is, do you really embody the stuff you write about? If not, people will see through it. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is the famous Gandhi quote. Perhaps bloggers should build the blog they want to write for the world.
Transparency. Being transparent is different from being honest. You needn’t share every detail about your life just for the sake of being honest. Always be honest, and be transparent when it adds value to what you’re writing. (Because everything we write must serve the greater good, you won’t ever see pictures of us using the restroom—that’s just not relevant.)
This is the ultimate path to monetary success and independence, something that may have had an influence in your decision to become a blogger. Affiliate marketing, sponsorships and advertisements are great, but they all make you dependent on another company. This means you won't have complete freedom when it comes to the type of content you want to create and the decisions you make.
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!
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.
Choosing an extension is also important. The extension is the “.com,” “.net,” or “.org” after a website. There are now dozens of extensions, but those three are the most familiar to English-speaking audiences and will drive the most traffic to your website. Unless you’re a non-profit or a similar type of blog, don’t go for “.org” -- a “.com” is the top choice, followed by “.net.”
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.
Finally, in order to build a blog that actually makes money, you need to get social. You need to collaborate with others. Communicate with leaders in your niche. Reach out and share other bloggers’ content. Acknowledge their work and give them positive feedback. Don’t be pushy about it and don’t look for anything in return. It doesn’t quite work that way.
This obviously isn't a book on SEO techniques, but I totally disagree with the author that SEO is an "old school" way of generating traffic. The bulk of my traffic has always come from search engines and, while social media is changing how we use the internet, I don't think enough emphasis can be put on the importance of search engines as a source of traffic for most blogs.