I’ve written these high-level tips to start a blog, for those of you who frequently message me asking questions like..
Jonny, I want to start an online business. What’s the best way to start a blog, that generates income?
At the end of this post I’ve got a free gift for you that will give you access to a blogging platform to practice and plenty of video training 🙂
Here’s what everyone needs to know about blogs.
There were an astounding 600,000,000 blogs on the world wide web in 2020, 31,700,000 of which were active.
This pastime, once a side hustle at best, is quickly becoming a business go-to, providing existing companies with a platform, and seeing standalone bloggers earn as much as $200,000 per year. Those are high figures, and it’s no surprise that, right now, more of us than ever want to break into the blogging industry.
Unfortunately, making money here isn’t as easy as rambling on the internet. This might have sufficed when blogging was more of a social outlet than a way to earn money but, now, the business of blogging is all about driving sales, conversions, and reputation.
To help you tick all of those boxes, we’re going to cover a few of the best ways to start a blog, and how exactly getting each of these right can see those banknotes rolling in at long last.
1 – Nail your niche
You’re about to deep dive into a sea that’s already teeming with 600,000,000 bloggers, and let’s face it, you’re going in at the bottom of the food chain.
This is terrible for your prospects but, as is always the case in a teeming market, differentiation is your best chance at swimming to freedom (or money, in this case.)
This is where your blogging niche comes in – your point of difference and the true platform on which your earning potential rests. To nail your niche the first time, it’s vital to start by considering –
- Your interests
- Existing markets
- What’s already out there (and more importantly what isn’t)
- Each topic’s earning potential
Tools like Google’s AdWords keyword planner are especially useful for improving your market grasp, at least helping you to narrow things down.
Once you’ve done that, it’s vital to remember that there is no such thing as a new idea, only new executions.
Notably, you need to make sure that:
- You have something original to say
- You have a detailed understanding of the topic
- You’re passionate
Get these in the bag, and your niche could see you earning nicely (and setting up a decent blog) in no time.
2 – What’s in a name?
The best niche isn’t going to help you stand out from the crowd if you pair it with a convoluted domain name like www.idonthaveaclue12345.com. This is very much reminiscent of our disastrous teenage blogging days (come on, we’ve all been there,) and is never going to gain you market recognition or respect. Instead, as with any other business, you need a concise, relevant, and catchy name.
There are some blog name-generating tools out there, such as Wordoid or Panabee which can provide some fantastic suggestions to get you started.
Techniques like Blogging Wizard’s ‘magic blog name’ formula can also help to break names down to size with a simple sum –
Blog name = [topic or audience group] + [end goal and transformation]
However you go about it, a decent blog name should revolve around –
- Your niche
- Your target audience
- The intended tone of your page
- Your overall brand
Once you’ve managed to land on a blog name that rolls nicely off the tongue, make it official by registering with a domain host like Bluehost or Hostgator to finally start carving out your space on the internet.
3 – Power your blog with the right platform
The best blogging niche is never going to stand up on a platform that’s either too simplistic or not fit for purpose. Instead, like commercial premises in the business world, you need to think of how your platform of choice looks, functions, and impresses.
For 93.2% of bloggers, the hostess with the mostest right now is WordPress, followed rather shockingly behind by Blogger with just 5.25% of the votes.
That’s what we call a landslide, and it’s a sure sign that the professionalism WordPress offers is the best way to boost your blog thanks to features like:
- 58,514 optional add ons
- Fully customizable layouts
- Mobile-friendly designs
- Post categories
- And more
That said, before you jump on this bandwagon, it’s always worth making sure to ask crucial questions such as –
- How much website knowledge do you have?
- What overall image are you aiming towards?
- What’s your budget?
With pretty pricey in-points and sometimes complex integrations, WordPress isn’t right for everyone. And, with switches down the line potentially losing your blogging audience, you want to make certain that you’re moving your blog into a home for life!
4 – Settle on a posting schedule
Too many budding bloggers assume that they can post whenever and still enjoy success, but that’s definitely not true.
Right now, blogging is a business like any other. Whether you’re doing it full time or on the side, you owe your audience reliable, regular content that provides valuable interactions and a stable level of trust/predictability.
This is what keeps readers coming back, and it’s also the single best indicator as to whether or not Google will favour your page.
With that in mind, a reliable posting schedule is a prerequisite, based off of times that garner the best results.
Unfortunately, there is no ‘one best time’ here.
Instead, your blogging schedule should focus on reliability (blogs that post 2-4 times a week generally perform better,) and timings tailored towards the type of blog post you’re publishing, e.g:
- Affiliate posts perform best on Friday when 53% of people get paid
- Sponsored posts perform best at times of high social media engagement such as Fridays 10 am-12 pm or Wednesdays at 11 am
- Opinion-based blogs perform best when readers have a chance to sit down and digest, such as evenings from 6 pm onwards, or weekends
Creating a timetable and a publishing schedule is one of the most important tips to start a blog successfully, that people often ignore.
Don\t be one of them 😉
5 – Optimize your content
As great as it would be to simply send content into the ether and reap reward, successful, and more importantly lucrative, blogging has to be a little more tailored than that.
Notably, bloggers need to optimize their content to appeal to both their audience and the search engines that champion their page for discovery.
From an audience standpoint, studies have revealed a great deal about what works, such as the fact that –
- Headlines of 14+ words get 2x more traffic
- Blog posts that take 7 minutes to read receive the best engagement
- Articles over 3,000 words get 4x more shares
- Blog posts with 5 lists per 100 words get 4x more traffic
For social media optimization, a range of factors also need to come into play, including:
- And more
Adding these findings together, it’s plain to see that, where optimisation is concerned, layouts, titles, and content all need to be tailored towards the best audience reach.
Only then can bloggers ensure wide readerships, and the monetisation that these make possible.
6 – Create a community
Like social media, blogging is very reliant on community. On a basic level, this is an effort that will help to win your spot on the search engine front page, as well as building all-important reader loyalties.
A wider community with other bloggers is also key for ensuring shares and mentions which, ultimately, are where true audience increases lie.
As a new kid on the blogging block, you’re especially going to want to start building a community from the ground up by:
- Replying to comments within a couple of hours
- Commenting on other blog posts
- Reaching out about collaborations/joint blogging ventures
- Including calls to action in your posts (what do you think?/let me know how you are in the comments)
- Offering value (knowledge/brand deals/valuable information)
At the end of this post Im going to invite you to join a community of over 1m online bloggers 🙂
7 – Understand your earning potential
Every step that we’ve covered so far has been a step on the path towards one key blogging focus: earning potential.
Now that your blog is up and running, your posts are performing well, and your audience loves you, it’s time to delve into what earning potential looks like in the blogosphere.
In reality, no bloggers make money off the back of their content alone. Still, as discussed, significant earnings are possible here, and they largely revolve around your understanding of where profitability rests. For the vast majority of bloggers, real earning potential generally comes from –
- Direct advertising
- Affiliate programs
- Sponsored content
- Product sales
- Services offered
- Paid posts
- Premium content
Most often, bloggers who work with brands, either for advertising or content creation, receive the highest rates of pay. Initially, you may find that you need to reach out to relevant brands and cite your subscriber numbers to get them on board.
Once you’ve seen some success, you may find that brands start reaching out to you and, in this instance, developing a media kit and perhaps even hiring an agent is your best chance at securing lucrative deals that keep your audience, and your bank balance, very happy.
Think you’ve got what it takes to make blogging a viable business enterprise?
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