Starting a blog is no longer enough.
There are millions of blogs out there, and most of them get nowhere because they don’t have a strategy in place.
In this post, you’ll not only learn blogging for beginners, but you’ll get 17 concrete steps you can take to dramatically increase your chances of success.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t started a blog yet, or if you’re a veteran, because just one of these tips can make a big difference in your life and in your blogging.
With that said, let’s start with the first tip.
Don’t just start a blog because you want to make money. There are no shortcuts to success.
If you want to build a thriving blog that brings in revenue, you will have to work hard, and to stay motivated, you have to find something you’re passionate about.
Or at least something you’re interested in.
When your purpose is weak, your chances of giving up somewhere along the way go up dramatically.
So ask yourself the following questions:
- Why are you starting a blog?
- What do you want to get out of doing this?
- Why do you want to succeed?
If you have a strong reason for starting your blog, you will go far. This is a long-term game. Always remember that.
The next step is to find your niche. The best way to stand out from all the millions of blogs out there is to become an expert in a highly targeted area.
Think opt-in conversion expert instead of email marketing. Think turning your blog into a book instead of just general blogging tips.
Get specific and you will go far.
4. Solve a Problem
One addendum to finding your niche is to make sure you solve a problem.
Money is made by solving problems for people. If you can help someone get more subscribers on their list and make more money, you’re solving a problem.
So think about what problem you’re solving, and then do some research on if people are willing to pay for having that problem fixed.
To really stand out from all the noise, you have to inject your personality and expertise into your blog.
There are too many people out there teaching something they have no experience in.
If you don’t have experience, get some. The more you know, the more you can share with your audience, and the more they will grow to know, trust and like you.
6. Come Up with a Domain Name
There are many ways of coming up with an excellent domain name, but in the end, you alone have to decide what kind of name and brand you want to build.
A few tips for coming up with a good domain name is to make it:
- Easy to spell
Coming up with a name is tough, so go for good enough instead of perfect.
7. Tag line
Coming up with a tagline is not absolutely necessary when you’re starting out, but it can be a lot of fun.
Go for a tag line that communicates who you help and what you help them with. If you help small businesses get more leads on their email newsletter, a simple tag line could be:
“Turn your readers into leads, and your leads into raving customers.”
8. Pick Your Web Host
Avoid using a free blogging option like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. If you’re serious about blogging, you need a self-hosted service.
There are plenty out there, like BlueHost and HostGator. They are just a few dollars a month and will get you started on the right path.
9. Pick Your Theme
Next up is picking a WordPress theme that makes your blog look professional.
Again, there are several free options out there, but I recommend you spend some money and get a good premium theme. Some of my favorites are:
If you’re strapped for cash right now, go with a simple free theme and upgrade later.
10. Pick Your Plugins
Once you’ve got a web-host and a good looking theme, it’s time to get your plugins in order.
Keep the amount of plugins you use to a minimum. Each plugin you add will (usually) make your site slower, which isn’t the best thing you can do.
Here’s a list of plugins I use:
- Akismet — to prevent spam.
- Audio player — to play interviews and podcasts.
- Broken link checker — so I can remove and fix broken links.
- Contact form 7 — so people can contact me.
- Google XML sitemaps — to create a nice and simple sitemap for Google to crawl.
- Popular posts — to help people find my best content.
- Sharebar — so people can share my content on social media.
- WP smush.it — to reduce image file sizes and make my site load faster.
- WP super cache — another plugin that helps my site load faster.
The next thing you have to do is get analytics set-up, which will help you keep track of how many visitors you get, where they are coming from, and what they are doing on your site.
If your traffic isn’t growing from month to month, something needs to change, but remember, traffic isn’t everything.
If your goal is to make money with your blog, you should be building your email list, and converting that traffic into email subscribers.
12. Content Strategy
You need to have a solid content strategy in place, so think about the following questions:
- What kind of content will you produce? (audio, text, video)
- How will you produce it?
- How often will you publish new content?
- How will you make new readers aware of old content?
- How will you use your content to grow your business?
Your content is what will build authority and trust. The more you can share, the more people will trust you.
13. List Building
I mentioned building your list above, and it’s crucial if you want to make money with your blog. Think about how you will get people on your list, and what email service provider you will use.
One of the easiest ways to start is to give away a free 5 to 10 page report when people sign-up.
There are many email list service providers out there, and they do cost money, but it’s an investment worth making. One of my favorites is Aweber. I’ve been using them for over 5 years.
Do not skimp on starting an email list, because while you may save money now, you will end up losing thousands in lost opportunity down the road.
The next step is to think about how you will monetize. How will you make money with your blog?
If you don’t want to make money with your blog, you can skip over this step. But I see so many people jump into blogging without having a simple business plan.
You have to have an idea of how you will generate revenue. You don’t have to be crystal clear, but there needs to be opportunities for you to do so.
Look at what people are already paying for. Go to ClickBank, Amazon, or just use Google to find products and services people are selling in your market.
15. Traffic Generation
How will you get traffic to your site?
Write down at least three traffic generation strategies that you will start off with. For example, I started with blog commenting, but I quickly moved over the guest blogging, because it was so much more effective.
To this date, I’ve written close to two hundred guest posts for different blogs, and they all keep bringing traffic to my site and building my list, and consequently, my business.
How will you connect with peers in your field?
If you blog about knitting, how will you connect with other knitters?
This part scares people, and it scared me for a long time. Or to be honest, it still scares me, but in reality, it’s about making friends and being yourself.
Just write down how you can connect with fellow bloggers. Maybe you can comment on their blogs, see if they hang out on Twitter or Facebook, or simply shoot them an email.
Start connecting with people right away. Think about how you can add value to their lives and people will appreciate your help.
Last, but not least, write down what your expectations are. Here are a few questions to get you going:
- Where do you expect to be with your blog in 6 months?
- What will happen if you don’t reach those expectations?
- Why do you want these results?
If your expectations are unrealistic, you will be in for a disappointment, and you’ll probably give up.
But if you equip yourself with the truth, you’ll know what to expect, and you will keep going when the going gets tough.
Whatever you do, don’t just move on and read another article. Pick one of the tips above and implement it.
If you haven’t started a blog yet, look at the first few tips on passion, purpose and finding your niche. Sit down and brainstorm some answers and then move forward.
Starting a profitable blog is not easy, but it is worth it. It opens doors, helps you grow as a human being, and if you work at it, can help you make a living working from home, just like it has done for me.
It’s not easy, but it can be done.