How to start blogging and make money : Beginners step-by-step guide

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MAKE MONEY BLOGGING, REALLY?

I totally understand the skepticism.

How do you start a blog and make money these days? I mean, there are like millions of blogs out there already. Plus there’s YouTube, Twitch, and Snapchat right? Yes you can, and you are now reading a money making blog.

But here’s the thing.

I am not going to lie, and you will need to overcome a learning curve. If there is a will, there will always be a way around.

You just need some patience, and be willing to invest time on learning new skills.

You will need to stand out of the crowd as a source of valuable information to gain trust, readership, and of course, sales. It will be a rocky start, but what waits at the end is well worth the effort.

This guide will show you the exact steps I took to create a blog, monetize and promote it.

If you follow through this guide, it should get you started with a fully functioning blog and some ground works done. But a fair word of warning, and to manage some expectations :

  • This is a beginners guide, you will not start making millions overnight. Only rotten marketers and cheaters will use this promise to cheat your money.
  • Reading this guide will help you, but not guarantee you make money… It is all up to your personal effort to make things happen.
  • There may also be some money involved for running your own website, but I will also recommend some free alternatives.

 

 

AN HONEST DISCLOSURE

Quick, hide your credit card!

Evil ninjas have put in affiliate links and advertisements in this post.

If you buy stuff from these links, they are going to make commissions and feed the person who wrote this post.

Just a part to keep this blog going, and enable me to give more to you guys.

So thank you if you decide to pick up my recommendations!

 

THE OVERVIEW

What do you need to make money with a blog?

  • A blog. Doh.
  • Products or services to sell. Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to sell, we can always find offers online.
  • Interesting and useful content.
  • Traffic, otherwise known as people visiting your website, people who might be interested in your offers.
  • Paypal account, you are probably going to need one to receive money.

Running through everything will probably take some time, so brace yourselves, technical is coming. Not really.

For easy digestion, I shall divide this guide into sections instead.

Section A
Setup

Section B
Content

Section C
Monetize

Section D
Traffic

Closing
What’s Next?

 

SECTION A : SETTING UP YOUR BLOG

The first thing you need to have – a blog.

No blog, no means to generate online income.

I know, it’s a major pain in the bottom to get this done. But thankfully, this is probably going to be a one time pain only. So let’s get going.

A1) WHAT IS YOUR INTEREST?

This, is very important – What is your blog going to be about?

I will recommend starting with your hobby, as you will most probably have a lot to talk about it. If you don’t have a hobby in particular, go with your profession. I am sure you will have 1001 things to write about it as well.

A common mental block for newbies is that – I am not an expert, I am not fit to write about it.

Please don’t.

You don’t have to be an expert to start blogging. In fact, you don’t have to pose as an expert. It is even better if you share your learning journey with readers, and engage with them more.

Secondly, do not belittle your profession.

Be it a cleaner or plumber. I personally search for things like “how to get rid of a stain” and “how to fix a leaking pipe”. You have no idea how useful these posts are!

A2) THE TECHNICAL OVERVIEW

Oh. My. God. It’s technical.

Not really, just two things that you have to be aware of in the Internet world – Domain name (otherwise known as website address) and server.

Yeah, that’s it.

In order to establish your blog, you will need a server to host your website, and register an awesome website address. How do we go about doing this?

  • Paid hosting : Pay a small monthly subscription to a hosting company, and they provide you with a server plus domain name.
  • Free hosting : Otherwise, there are the free options, which are limited in a few ways.

A3) PAID HOSTING

If you are serious about building an online income, I will recommend starting with Wealthy Affiliate.

The premium membership does cost quite a bit, but it comes with everything you need to succeed – Hosting, support, tools, tutorials, and most importantly, a community of like minded folks who wants to make money online.

Click on the banner below to get started, or read my review here.

If you are not willing to shell out too much money, Wealthy Affiliate is still well worth to join as you will still get 2 free websites… just without the custom domain name.

Alternatively, there are hosting companies with very affordable hosting plans as well. I shall recommend the good old reliable Bluehost.

Now go choose an awesome web address, and setup your base camp.

A4) FREE HOSTING

If you do not want to spend any money with hosting, here are a few free options.

I personally don’t recommend these free options for a number of reasons :

  • Some of these free hosts may not allow you to profit with their free service.
  • In fact, some of them may freeze your account if they find you profiting from their free service. Just a way to force you to upgrade to their paid plans.
  • Limited in many ways – you may not be able to use your own custom web address, you cannot do any customization, and probably no tech support.
  • The website address looks noob. http://noob.tumblr.com/ Yep, anyone looking at that will know that you are using a free blog. Not very convincing if you are trying to sell.

Nonetheless, I leave the decision up to you.

A5) WORDPRESS TUTORIAL

This section only applies to those who are subscribed to Wealthy Affiliate, where WordPress is installed by default. If you are on Blue Host (or other paid hosting), you can install WordPress with probably a “one click install” these days.

If you are new to WordPress, here is a series of tutorial for your reference.

P.S. Even if you don’t finish all the tutorial videos, WordPress should be able simple enough for you to figure out in 30 minutes.

A6) SETTING UP WORDPRESS AND PLUGINS

Now that you have a fresh installation of WordPress, there are more ground works to be done.

Sad. But this shall be the last step, and it’s a one time effort.

  • Plugins -> Add New. I will recommend installing the following plugins – Ninja Forms, Super Socializer, W3 Total Cache, Wp-SpamShield, and Yoast SEO.
  • Settings -> Permalinks. Set it to “Post Name”, for SEO purposes, the shorter the URL slug, the better.
  • Appearance -> Themes, Appearance -> Customize. If you have not already chosen your theme, and customized it already.
  • Super Socializer. Personally, I will disable social commenting to speed up loading. Also, under social sharing, I will disable the floating interface. Very annoying on mobile screens.

The end of setup. YEAH!

 

SECTION B : CREATING CONTENT

Content is king.

Without content, your blog will just be an empty shell.

This is the part where you think of interesting topics, and write some X-Men, Superman, Batman, Ninja Turtle articles.

B1) THE BIG 5

These are not quite “content”, but these are the 5 pages that you will want to create first for a new blog.

Law can be painful sometimes, so just cover yourself. Plus, it’s good for SEO and building some trust factor.

Note : New WordPress users, it’s Pages -> Add New.

About : About your blog, maybe write something about yourself.

Contact : Just a simple page with the means to contact you. Through email, phone, or maybe just messaging a Facebook page.

Privacy Policy : Don’t have to hire a lawyer. Here is an online privacy policy generator that you can use.

Terms of Use : Again, here is an online terms generator that you can use.

Disclosure : Another simple page to state that your blog is making sales, and has affiliate links what-not. Most affiliate programs will require you to have this disclosure page.

B2) CONTENT IDEAS

Onto the proper contents. So… where to get started?

Think of the topics that you can write. One method that I personally use, is to “drill down” on a main topic to find ideas.

For example, I have a blog about pets. For the first level, it can easily branch out into food, toys, care, training and health. As for the second level of care, it could be everything from daily exercise to diet.

That should give you plenty of content ideas when you dig deep enough. If you ever run out of things to talk about, the “evergreen” ideas are your best bets – rumors, reviews, top 10, and regular random posts.

B3) WRITING GOALS – ADD VALUE

I know it’s a blog, but I personally don’t write casual things like “my neighbor’s dog is cute” and “I drank too much coffee today”.

You need to understand your audience, and understand the people you are trying to connect with. If your blog is going to be about pets, then maybe a cute dog post is appropriate.

But what about it? What purpose does it serve? Let people see some cute dog photos, that’s it? Don’t just write about casual things, add more value, and give more to your readers and yourself.

Make casual posts great again.

Cute dog? How about a post that says “10 cute toys for dogs that will make your day (and your pet)”? Recommend some good toys to your readers, while you make some sales commission. Does that make more sense?

Oh. If you need some ninja writing tips, keep this one for your further reading.

Ninja Tips for Writing SEO Friendly Content That Rock

P.S. Recommend things as you may, but don’t turn into a cheat. Try to recommend things that you have actually used or know well.

B4) I NEED FREE IMAGES!

If you need images for your blog, there are plenty of free stock photos online. I personally haunt Pixabay and Pexels.

If you need more, here is a long list of sites on my other blog.

Websites To Download Free Stock Photos That Don’t Suck

P.S. These are free stock images that you can use, but do not claim them to be your works, and you cannot sell them as they are.

B5) FEED THE CONTENT MONSTER

How regularly do you have to write? Or this is what we call, how often do we have to feed the content monster?

The monster is always hungry for more. You can feed it on a daily basis, weekly, even monthly. Just don’t starve the beast.

My personal take is bi-weekly or monthly. While I don’t post very often, I make sure each one of my post is long, solid, and informative.

 

SECTION C : MONETIZE

The almighty moolahs.

They don’t just fall from the sky.

How we all wish so, but that is not going to happen. So here are some options to make money from your blog.

C1) AFFILIATE SALES

What are affiliate sales?

It is simply selling products on behalf of someone else and getting a commission. This is probably the easiest place to start for beginners, and the most profitable.

There are plenty options floating around on the Internet. The best place to start will probably be the two big boys – eBay and Amazon, they both offer affiliate programs. Join them, pick a product, and recommend them in your blog posts.

If you are into digital products, the other common places to look are Clickbank, Commission Junction, and JV Zoo.

There are tons of affiliate programs floating around, you only need to look around.

C2) ADVERTISEMENT NETWORKS

If this is your first blog and it is brand new, I will not recommend this path.

This method works by signing up with an advertisement network, and they will give you a code fragment to put into your blog. This code fragment will in turn, show ads on your website. There are several networks out there, but these are the two that I personally use.

  • Big brother Google Adsense pays the best, but is extremely picky these days. New blogs don’t stand a chance to get approved, but keep this for the future.
  • Infolinks is probably a good place to get started with a new blog, but don’t expect too much.

Do note that advertisement networks are kind of like a 2 sided sword for new blogs. It will probably bring in a trickle of cash, but also know that ads are annoying to most people… it may drive your readers away instead.

C3) BLOG SHOP

If you have something to sell on your own, turn your blog into a shop!

It’s really common these days, and quite easy with WordPress – simply install Woocommerce in your Worpress plugins page.

A small warning to not go this path until you are ready to run a small business. You are expected to fulfill orders, do customer service, and deal with logistics in one way or another.

C4) DROP SHIPPING

An age old method.

You accept orders on your blog, and have your supplier deliver it to the customer directly.

The regular places to look for products and suppliers are on Aliexpress and the Chinese TaoBao.

Personally, I am not a fan of this method. Be very careful when you deal with the suppliers though. When customers receive products with the address of your supplier, they know where to go the next time.

Also, you can be screwed if the supplier decides to not send the item, or suddenly go out-of-stock.

C5) SPONSORSHIP AND DONATIONS

Have some awesome skills?

Show it to the world, show it to the companies. Who knows, that might land you in a sponsorship.

If you cannot wait, check out Patreon.

 

SECTION D : TRAFFIC

If you build a website, nobody will visit it.

That is the brutal truth passed down by my mentor, and no traffic equals to no customers, is equals to no sales.

So you need to learn some marketing, and drive people to your website.

D1) WORD OF MOUTH

Don’t underestimate the power of the old school.

Let your friends and family know that you have a blog, and visit it. Your friends will let your friend’s friend know and visit your blog. Your friend’s friend may then let their cats and dogs know.

You never know how far this will go, and all it takes is a few words.

D2) SOCIAL PLATFORMS

By far, this is the easiest traffic source to get started with.

Plus it’s free.

Start your own Facebook Page and Twitter account. Share your awesome post on some groups (make sure to not break any group rules, no spamming), and watch it grow.

If you are crazy like me, start a Google Plus page as well. Spread your awesomeness everywhere on Reddit, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Digg, Diigo, Medium, Delicious, and Filpboard.

D3) SEO – NOTICE ME. GOOGLE, BING AND YAHOO.

The slow and steady way to win.

SEO can be a difficult skill to master, and I shall not include it in this guide – this will take a few long tutorials to go through.

But for now, at least let the search engines be aware of your new blog – register your blog in both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

D4) PAID ADVERTISEMENTS

Have some money to spare? Advertise your blog. On Facebook, Google or Bing.

Fastest guaranteed way to bring potential customers to your blog, but do they convert into sales? Sadly, sales letters and ninja tactics are not part of this guide either.

Not this time.

I shall cover sales in yet another long donkey bottom guide. For now, this should be the end.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Congratulations on finishing this long guide.

If you have completed all the above steps, you should have a blog that is ready to make some cash. I know, it may be frustrating to not see any money rolling in immediately. But that is just how things are – at the very least, all of these are good honest work.

My word of advice – don’t stop here.

Continue to blog, create more interesting and useful content. Build up your readership, and continue to improve. Money will eventually come.

I got my first pathetic paycheck of $10 only after 6 months of blogging. No regrets though. Because I know that if I can generate online income once, I can do it again. With faster and bigger paychecks in the future.

All it takes is patience, and a lot of self improvement.

So please again, don’t stop, don’t give up. If you need help, join us in Wealthy Affiliate. It’s free, and no credit card is required to join.


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