Sooo, wanna learn how to start a blog and make money?
In about 2 years I went from a struggling mortgage broker to a successful blogger. Later day job!
I decided to write this resource article for two types of people who are looking to make money with their blogging.
Person 1 - Completely new to blogging and needs a solid starting point to begin their journey.
Person 2 - Has been blogging, but is not achieving the level of success they have hoped for yet.
I have personally been both of these people in the beginning phases of my blogging career.
If it wasn’t for my stubborn persistence and constant thirst for knowledge, I may still be one of these people; but I’m not. I can proudly say I know make a full time living from my blogging and other Internet-based ventures.
Starting a blog with the intent to make money isn’t easy – nothing worth while in life comes easy – but it’s definitely not a pipe dream for those who are willing to pour in the blood, sweat and tears.
My blogging career actually began in a cubicle, in between taking sales calls at a private mortgage bank I worked for. This was at the heart of the recession and making ends meat was not easy. I’m not really the salesmen type and I didn’t like the idea of trying to convince people to refinance their home over the phone. Besides, being stuck in a cubicle all day long was not what I had in mind when it came to finding my dream job.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to find a low-cost way of creating an opportunity for myself that would allow me to actually be my own boss and make a living.
Another broker at the bank kept telling me about the blogosphere and how people are actually making money online with this whole blogging thing. So, I started doing some Googlin’ on blogging and ways to make money and thought this was definitely worth pursuing. After playing with a few different blog platforms – both free and self-hosted – I decided to start blogging seriously using WordPress. I currently run several websites all on the WordPress platform and I highly recommend to anyone who wants to get serious about blogging to do the same. In fact, many of the top blogs in the world use WordPress. Read, WordPress Dominates Top 100 Blogs.
To make a semi-long story short, I work from home fulltime and am steadily growing my portfolio of online businesses ( I treat each website like a small business apart of a larger corporation).
Step1. Get your blog’s domain name
For example, www.yourawesomeblog.com. Ever website needs a domain name. There are many domain registrars (sites where you can register and purchase a domain name) available out there. The most notable is GoDaddy. Most hosting companies have the option for purchasing both a domain name and Web hosting service.
Most domain names cost around $10 bucks. When you go to purchase your domain name make sure you have several domain names in mind. The reason being is the domain name you want may already have been taken by someone else. Only one instance of a domain name can be registered at a time. The most common domains to register end in .com. If you first option is taken, try seeing if the .net version of it is available. If you go to GoDaddy, you can search for domain names for free and they even give you similar options to your search that are available.
- Get domain name from GoDaddy
- Get domain name from Hostgator (easiest option – this eliminates a frustrating step in the installation process)
Step 2. Get hosting for your blog
All websites need hosting. No hosting, no website. You can read more about hosting further down in this post.
- Get a hosting account from Hostgator (as little as $3.95 a month!) This plan will work for most bloggers just starting out and can easily be upgraded once your blog takes off and gets tons of traffic!
I use Hostgator for most of my blogs. To get the first month of hosting for only a penny, use this code: MMBBDiscount
Step 3. Install WordPress
- Famous 5 minute Install at WordPress.org. (Could be frustrating for some but it works)
- Hostgator has a very quick installation process that takes less than 5 minutes to install. (May need to use their live chat to walk you through it, but wont take much time)
- Try this free WordPress installation service. (They do good work and even provide some extras in their services)
Note: You’ll have to sign up for hosting with Hostgator through the link above in order for the service to be free for you. They get compensated by Hostgator for sending them business. This is called affiliate marketing and is a great way to make money blogging!
Step 4. Find a theme for your blog
Step 5. Start learning how to blog with WordPress
- Scour the Internet for videos and tutorials. Search for learn WordPress, “WordPress courses”, “WordPress videos”
- I recommend this WordPress video series to many of my small business clients. It currently has 22 HD-quality videos about learning WordPress and more are added and updated regularly.
I have explored many different opportunities to monetize my blogging efforts. Some have become home runs while others struck out miserably!
The best advice I can give for those who are looking to create sustainable, long-term income is to diversify. Having many different sources of income will reduce your risk and help to facilitate a more steady flow of revenue. If you solely depend on promoting a couple affiliate products and they end up being discontinued or the company that creates the product or service goes out of business; well, there goes your money.
Hosting is to your blog what land is to your home. Every website/blog needs a server to store all of its files (images, theme, post/page content, etc) on. Without Web hosting it would be impossible to access any websites. There are many different types of web hosting and not all have the same intended use. Instead of trying to convey Web hosting in this post, I think it will serve you better to read one of the best posts I’ve come across that explains Web hosting. Read, What is Web Hosting
Blogging has evolved from its early days as a “dear diary” digital platform and morphed into a realistic and proven business model. There are a growing number of ways for individuals to make money from blogging. Creating a blog business is a wonderful opportunity for those who do not have the financial means to start a traditional brick-and-mortar business. As the Internet continues to evolve, avenues for those with an entrepreneurial spirit will continue to open up.
Make Money with Contextual Advertising
One of the more simple and hands-free ways to make money is with Google Adsense.
AdSense is an adserving application run by Google Inc. Website owners can enroll in this program to enable text, image, and video advertisements on their websites, and it’s completely free! These advertisements are administered by Google and generate revenue on either a per-click or per-impression basis.
So, you can write about anything that you like: photography, baseball, books, horseback riding, etc. Google Adsense will scan the contents of your blog pages and display relevant ads that are inline with that content. Whenever someone clicks on the ads, you’ll get paid a commission.
Another contextual advertising service that popular with bloggers is Chitika. It even works in conjunction with Google Adsense and it is completely free.
Read, Make Money with Google Adsense for more information.
Make Money with Sponsored Advertising
In addition to using contextual advertising, you can also sell advertising space on your blog. Advertisers need to get as much exposure as possible. They need people to know that they exist. That is why they will look for popular websites/blogs to advertise on. If your blog is well established and garnering a large amount of traffic, you can negotiate some very favorable terms with advertisers.
To illustrate further; think about television ads. When Seinfeld was ruling the airwaves, advertisers were willing to pay more for a spot during the sitcom because they knew millions of people were watching. Millions of people who may become potential customers. If you run a blog that attracts a large readership, advertisers who have products/services that are in-line with your blog’s niche would be wise to look into purchasing some ad space. This is one reason why relevant, value-added content is king!
Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing was one of the first avenues bloggers explored when trying to monetize their blogs. Today, affiliate marketing is as strong as ever, creating a large amount of wealth for bloggers in the affiliate marketing niche.
So how does it work?
By promoting certain products from advertisers (online merchants), you can get paid a commission for driving them business from your blog. For example, lets say you have a blog about dog training. One way you can make money from your blog is to sign up as an affiliate with Amazon.com’s associate program. Once you become a partner with Amazon (which is completely free), you have access to their entire inventory of products! You could find a few books and DVDs on dog training to write reviews about and advertise them on your blog. When one of your readers clicks on the advertisement and makes a purchase with Amazon, you will get paid a commission from that purchase. Amazon is more than happy to pay you a commission for sending business to their website. You essentially have become an extension of their sales team.
Additional post on affiliate marketing
Do I participate in affiliate marketing?
Absolutely. Many of the links in this resource post are affiliate links. In fact, almost a quarter of my overall income portfolio comes from affiliate marketing.
Make Money with Digital Products.
Once you have been posting and creating content consistently for several months (this can very depending upon the frequency in which you post), you should have enough content to work with that can lay the foundation for writing your own ebook.
Ebooks are typically used in two ways:
- Created and sold as a digital product.
- Created and given away for free as a means to encourage people to sign up to an email list. This is a great strategy many bloggers use to grow their email list for future promotions and marketing.
Creating video tutorials and guides is also a very smart way to generate income. If you have knowledge and skills that you can teach to other people, creating videos may be a great opportunity for you to look into.
By creating your own ebooks or tutorial videos you can sell them and keep 100% of the profits! This is a great way to create your own stream of income and reduce the need to depend on other people’s products and services, which you only get a percentage of.
Additional article on making money blogging:
SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEOmoz is a pioneer in the SEO industry and gives this definition:
SEO is the active practice of optimizing a web site by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines.
So, why do you need SEO for your blog?
Put simply, so your blog can be discovered in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. These search engines use very complicated search algorithms to provide the most relevant results when people type search queries into their browsers. Using proper SEO techniques and strategies will help you improve your rankings in the search engines.
Here’s what I mean by boost your rankings.
If you run a blog that’s all about teaching people how to juggle, wouldn’t you want your blog to show up when people search for the term “learn how to juggle” or “learn juggling”?
I’ll assume you would.
If you don’t have a sound SEO and link building strategy in place, you are not going to show up in the search results for terms such as these and the likelihood of anyone discovering your wonderful blog about juggling are slim to none. You may have the coolest, most informative blog in the world, but if nobody knows it exists, then what’s the point of blogging? Especially if your are in this to make some money.
Link building is a huge part of SEO and good link building strategies are how many bloggers and Webmasters get their websites ranked #1 in the search results. Links are what search engines use to navigate the Web, discover how pages are related to other pages, and are part of the algorithm they use to rank sites in the search results. Much of link building is performed for off-site SEO.
Additionally, we have a free SEO Link Building Tutorial you can download for free.
Opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternative forgone. In economics, it’s the expression of the relationship between scarcity and choice. For example, If you choose to spend a couple hours in the evening watching Friends reruns or Sportscenter, the opportunity cost is not enjoying another activity; or working on your blog.
Why do I bring this up?
Well, many people who embark on a journey to make money with blogging don’t have a full 8 – 10 hours a day to devote to it. Whether they are juggling a job, family or school while finding time to grow their blog business, there are choices that need to be made with respect to how they use their time. Time is scarce and making the best use of it comes down to making good choices.
If you truly want to succeed with blogging, you need to make the best use of your time a resources. Not everyone has the financial means to buy all the latest softwares or hire a crack team to do most of the work for you. However, there are tools and resources that are both free and fairly inexpensive that will allow you to make the best use of your time and accelerate the growth of your new blog business.
Could you scour Youtube and the myriad of sites that have videos on how to learn WordPress? Of course, but how much time will you spend sifting through thousands of amateur videos, watching some that don’t make sense, are poorly done, or are now outdated and obsolete? There are some great WordPress courses available that will teach you exactly what you need to get started in the right direction, and save you some time.
Link building and SEO is a very time intensive aspect of marketing online. There are many companies that provide link building services, outsourcing opportunites with sites like Odesk, and some great software that automates portions of the SEO process. Many of these types of opportunities will help you make the best use of your time and allow you to accomplish much, much more than simply doing everything yourself.
I wasted countless hours Googling and spending time trying to figure out certain things. Had I paid a few bucks for an educational service or to have a professional perform some tasks for me, I would have saved a great deal of time and been able to spend that time being more productive.
Don’t get me wrong, you need to make a like a sponge and learn as much as possible. Just keep in mind, as you learn more and get a better grasp on how to make money blogging, you will find that there are tools and resources available that you will want to take advantage of. Think like a business owner. Take advantage of technology and the right kind of resources in order to grow your business.
If you are serious about starting a blog and making money with it, then you need to be realistic about the amount of time and energy you are willing to commit to making it happen. Again, it isn’t going to be a cakewalk, but you can definitely find a great deal of success.
In order to make sense of where to go, what to concentrate on and stay focused, break down your new journey into three parts.
- Learn and understand your blogging platform. In this case, it would be WordPress. This is the main tool in your arsenal and understanding how to use it will reap huge dividends.
- Think like a business. How are you going to make money? What products/services are you going to promote? I treat each of my websites like a business and it has helped me to focus my efforts while keeping the ultimate goal in mind; making money.
- Learn all about SEO. SEO and link building are a very important form of marketing online and you must have sound, actionable strategies in place if you are going to succeed. Social Media is slowly becoming a metric that search engines use in determining search rankings. This aspect of marketing online is always changing so keep up-to-date on this stuff. Find good tools and resources for implementing your SEO strategies.