Blogging is one of the most effective ways to grow your business and make money online. So, if it is something you have been considering, but don’t know how to go about it, then you will find the following really useful!
This is a step-by-step guide that will help you to start a successful blog and reach your goals this year.
So, here we go!
STEP 1: PICK A NICHE
This is the most important step to take before starting your blog because it is an excellent way of growing your business and attracting the right audience. Having a niche makes it easier for you to market to the right people and it ensures your readers find you faster.
So, here’s how you can find the perfect niche for your blog:
Explore your interests and passions
Providing content that’s in line with your interests or passions is a great way of keeping your readers engaged. It will also keep you motivated to continue blogging because you are writing about something you love. So, explore your interests and select a topic that is close to your heart. Make sure that it’s something you are knowledgeable about or something you enjoy researching. This will help you to create useful and interesting content.
Running an online business isn’t easy. You will encounter tests, setbacks, and challenges, and quitting will be easy if you are working in an area that you don’t enjoy. But if it is something that you care about, you will persevere and meet the challenges head-on. So, discover your passion or interests by answering three questions; What topics do I like learning about most? How do I prefer to spend my free time? What newsletters or magazines do I often subscribe to? Once you figure that out, know your audience!
Find an audience
Figuring out whether or not your niche has an audience is the next step to selecting the right topic for your blog. You don’t want to be sharing content that no one notices. So, use Google Trends to find out if your niche is receiving increasing or decreasing interest. Are people searching for your niche? If so, how often?
You can also use a keyword research tool such as KWFinder and search using key terms related to your niche. This will help you to determine how many people per month search for your content. Your key terms need to have at least a couple of thousand searches per month so you can come up with lots of blog posts that keep people interested.
Identify problems you can solve
Finding out the most common problems that your target audience has can also help you to choose the right niche. To prove your credibility, stick to ones you can offer effective solutions to. Identify problems in your specific niche by going to popular online forums such as Quora and finding out what questions people post or what problems they have. You can also have one-on-one conversations with your target audience. Send out questionnaires, email surveys, or talk about what you are trying to achieve on your social media platforms and ask for feedback. This will give you an idea of the type of content you should be creating for your readers.
Know your competition
When you have explored your interests, found your target audience as well as the right problems to solve, research your competition. Bear in mind that if your chosen niche has thousands of people interested, it means you have competition. But don’t let that scare you. Competition is a sign that you have found a profitable niche. So, figure out how you can make your mark and differentiate yourself from the crowd. Study your competition, find loopholes, and see what you can do differently. If there is too much competition but your competitors are serving low-quality content to their readers, dive into it because you are sure to succeed if you do the exact opposite.
STEP 2: CHOOSE THE RIGHT BLOGGING PLATFORM
After picking a suitable niche, use the best blogging platform. You can either create your blog using a content management system (CMS) or code it from start to finish. Most people prefer using a CMS because it is easier, faster, and provides you with countless themes and plugins to choose from. One other thing to consider when choosing your platform is the kind of blog you want to create. Is it going to grow with time? If so, you will be adding more features to it time and again. Hence, pick one that’s flexible and leaves room for growth.
Now, let’s have a look at some of the best platforms to choose from.
This is an open-source free blogging platform that lets you build blogs or websites in a couple of minutes. WordPress.org is the world’s most popular blogging software mostly because it gives you complete control over every aspect of your blog and flexibility once your business starts to grow. You have the power to easily add extra features like an online store, forums, galleries, or paid membership. You also gain access to thousands of themes and plugins to make your blog stand out from the crowd.
One of the most exciting things about this platform is its SEO friendly feature. You can easily create SEO friendly URLs, tags, as well as categories and rank high on Google.
The only downside to choosing it for your blogging career is that it takes time to master the best ways of managing your site. Plus, you have to do your own backups and manage your site’s security. Other than that, it is the best blogging platform out there.
Creating your blog with WordPress.org is free but you will have to buy a domain name and hosting to start. As is the case with any website.
Quick reminder: When picking a domain name for your blog, choose a simple, creative, and professional name that best describes your business and attracts the attention of your users.
Blogger is a free blogging service that was acquired by Google in 2003. It is easy to use and does not require any technical skills to get started. You only need a Google account to begin. It’s a secure platform and reliability is one of the advantages of using it as a blogger. However, it has limited features, fewer templates, no frequent updates, and does not give you full control over your site. This is why some users sooner or later switch to WordPress. If you want a custom domain for your blog, you have to purchase from a third -party because this platform only offers Blogger subdomains.
Wix was founded in 2006 and has over 100 million users across the world. One of the main reasons for its popularity is that you can easily create great-looking websites with zero coding skills. Gain access to lots of templates so you can customize your site in minutes or use their drag-and-drop tools to easily set things up. There are many benefits to choosing Wix as your blogging platform. However, it comes with a fair share of disadvantages. For instance, once you choose a template you cannot change it. The free account is limited, your live site will display Wix ads and branding, and their e-commerce features are limited to paid plans. A free account comes with a Wix subdomain. If you want a custom domain you can select from their pricing plans that are very affordable.
Medium is a free blogging platform that was launched in 2012. It is more like a social networking site that allows you to create an account and publish your articles. Popular among bloggers, writers, and journalists, it is easy to use, does not require any setup, and allows you to reach out to an existing audience sharing similar interests. Nonetheless, its features are extremely limited, you cannot use your unique domain name, and you cannot run your own ads to make money. Which is something that most bloggers aim for.
The bottom line? Pick a platform that tailors to your needs and lets you share your content the way you desire to.
STEP 3: CREATE AN EFFECTIVE CONTENT STRATEGY
The main point of owning a blog is to share valuable information with the world and to keep your readers coming back. So, after you’ve chosen the right platform, create an effective content strategy that will help you to achieve exactly that. Decide on the regularity of your writing. How often will you be writing and posting? Once you determine that, stay true to your audience. Don’t make the mistake of posting sporadically as this gives your readers the impression that you are not committed to your work and keeps them away from your blog.
Here’s what you can do to avoid that:
Share unique, informative, and valuable content
This way, you will keep your readers coming back and sharing with their friends with little or no effort on your side. If your audience knows that your blog is the place to go for certain information they will hardly stay away. With that in mind, write to please. Offer content that keeps them thinking “This site is all I need to get ABC done.” Give them a reason to visit your site to find solutions to their problems, gather specific information, or recommend it to their loved ones. Create the type of content that provides unique information to your visitors. The kind that they cannot easily get from other blogs. Rare content that is both valuable and interesting. That should be your aim.
Nothing says “I have no idea what I’m doing” than constantly posting content from other sites or bloggers. You can easily lose your audience by doing that. If your blog followers receive certain information from specific sites only to bump into the same content on yours, they will lose interest. So, avoid copying or publishing content from another writer. Do some research but find your own voice. Use your unique style of writing and stick to it. Use a duplicate content checker before publishing to protect your online reputation and continue building it. Copyscape, Grammarly, and Quetext are examples of some of the best duplicate content checker tools you can use.
Stick to your niche
Many bloggers make the mistake of going off-topic or posting things that are not in line with their niche. Don’t be one of them. Retain your readers’ attention by remaining true to your purpose or what you represent. Stay connected to your loyal users by sticking to your niche. Don’t talk about traveling if you are a tech blogger. Focus on technology and explore different avenues under the same branch. For instance, best current technology trends, high paying I.T jobs, increasing traffic to your site, etc.
Know what you stand for and deliver what’s expected.
Another great tip you can use when coming up with an efficient content strategy is to measure your results by asking your users for feedback and listening to them. Ask your audience what they would like you to write about in your next article, encourage them to suggest topics that identify problems that they are struggling to find effective solutions to online, and meet their needs. When that’s done, create and upload quality and in-demand content.
You can now move on to the next step!
STEP 4: GROW YOUR BLOG AUDIENCE
Your main goal as a blogger should be to increase traffic to your blog and keep your readers coming back. Here’s how you achieve that:
Create viral content.
Viral content is the key to generating traffic and retaining your audience. So, master how it is done. Visit sites that create viral posts. Observe how they structure or present their content and learn from them. Apply the same methods to your posts and grow your audience. This does not necessarily mean that you have to copy their content or style of writing. Remember, that is one way to lose your followers. Hence, write original and unique content that reflects who you are and is interesting enough to share.
When you visit high-ranking sites, keep an eye out for the comments. What do people mostly comment on? What piques their interest? What got them talking? Once you identify that, go over the article again and see how the topic was presented. You are now ready to start creating viral content. So, keep a few things in mind; write headlines that sell and consider content length. Choose a headline that grabs the user’s attention and raises their curiosity. Provide quality truthful content. Keep your posts between 1000 to 3000 words because longer posts are great for SEO, backlinks, and organic leads. Plus, your readers can easily share your article if it contains well-researched and in-depth information.
Share your content on social media platforms.
Join several Facebook groups that are specifically created for bloggers to meet, promote, and share content. Advertise your blog or link your blog posts to all your social media platforms. If you have 1000+ friends, share your articles, and ask them to share with their contacts, you can increase traffic to your site. Not all of them may be interested in doing that but you will get a decent number of people who are more than willing to. You can also use Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and any other social media platform that you prefer.
Drive traffic to your blog and have a bigger audience by reading other bloggers’ content and participating in discussions. This will encourage them to do the same where your work is concerned. Show interest in their work and appreciate what they share. Network with other bloggers to establish yourself as a blogger. Get noticed by leaving positive comments on their pages and asking relevant questions. Talk about how helpful their posts are and just engage them in conversation.
Contribute to top blogs.
Be a guest writer on top blogs. Target high traffic blogs and pitch your article. If you get lucky, you will be featured on their site. That alone can greatly increase traffic on your blog and give you high rankings on Google. Search for influencers that have a great number of followers on social media and ask to be a guest writer on their blog. Before pitching, do your research. Figure out how your post is going to add value to them and then send in your pitch. If you do it right, you will get a YES.
STEP 5: MAKE MONEY BLOGGING
Making money is the next step you should take after successfully launching your blog and growing your audience. There is no better time to do it than when you have succeeded in those two areas. So, let’s get to it!
Join Affiliate Programs.
Affiliate marketing is where you recommend certain products or services to your followers. Every time someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you receive a commission. This is one of the best ways to monetize your blog. You can make over $20 000 a year if you have a good amount of traffic and work with the right companies. Make the most of affiliate marketing by promoting products in your niche and recommending products that your readers are interested in. You can find countless products to promote from companies that have the best affiliate programs for bloggers. For example, Amazon, Shopify, and ShareASale.
Implement Google AdSense.
This is a simple way of earning money. Just add a script from Google to your site and display ads. When a visitor clicks on the ad, you earn money. So, the more clicks you generate, the more money you make.
Once you have established yourself as a professional blogger and have profound knowledge about your area of expertise, you can start selling eBooks. They are an excellent way of increasing your income. Write an eBook and advertise it to your existing audience. Your eBook can contain some of your best blog content converted to book chapters. Use Canva to design a cover and convert it into a PDF. You can make a lot of money here. Because your book would be sold directly from your blog which means no retail stores, no publishers, and no distributors. All or most of the money goes into your account. Use PayPal to collect payments.
Offer online courses.
Create an online course. Offer lessons and other downloadable support materials. Record short, informative videos that offer instructions on how to do ABC. If there is something you are great at, for instance, painting, freelance writing, or programming you can create a course and sell it to your followers. Numerous people would be glad to learn from you especially when they already know how valuable your content is.
There are countless freelance services you can offer on your blog. You just have to find something that you are great at, search for effective ways of selling it to your audience, turn that information you have into a podcast, eBook or course and sell it. If you choose to launch a Podcast, keep your shows lively and entertaining by discussing exciting topics and featuring interesting guests.
Turn your blog into a membership site or offer certain content that is exclusive to subscribers. By this time your audience trusts and values your content. So, they will be more than willing to turn into paying subscribers. Create invaluable material that your readers cannot find someplace else for free. Use videos, audios, eBooks, etc.