Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
If you’re like a lot of writers, you want to know how to start a blog and make money at it. For a writer or a creative or an entrepreneur, could there be anything more appealing than The Blogger’s Life? You camp out at your laptop, write a page here and there, post it … and then listen to the Ding Ding as your post generates large deposits into your bank account.
Plenty of people start blogs. Few stick with blogging. And even fewer make money at it. But YOU can.
Here’s a surprise for many who want to solve the Big Money-Making Blog Mystery: bloggers don’t make money from writing posts. Bloggers make money by selling products or services. The blog post is a sales vehicle.
Readers read your blog and then click on links that earn affiliate income. Or a vendor pays you for advertising space on your blog. Or you sell your own products and services on your blog. In fact, 61% of online users say they’ve bought something after reading a blog.
If you want to know how to start a blog and make money at it, you need to have a plan. You need to choose a blogging topic that can pull in readers. And your topic needs associated products and services that appeal to those readers so much that they will click and buy. I’ve done it. You can too.
A few years back, I started a money-making blog for fun and to write about a topic that was different than my regular copywriting client work. I enrolled in Nick Usborne’s Money-Making Websites course, which guided me through how to start a blog and make money by providing one simple commodity to readers: information. People go online for information. If you create a blog that provides information about a specific topic, then readers will find you.
It would be fun to blog about anything that flies into your head. Some people do. But of those, very few make money.
In order to blog and make money, you need to choose a specialized site concept – one that readers are interested in and searching for. Remember, people go online for information. By choosing a topic that users are searching for you’ll attract readers who are looking for specific information.
To choose a site concept for your blog, first make a list of your interests. Then do a bit of research.
Plenty of tools can help you narrow your blog site idea. One of my favorites in Solo Build It. It’s an all-in-one website and blogging solution. Solo Build It has tools that help you choose a blog site concept that you can turn into an online money-making business. It’s also got a site builder, image library, email list manager, blog feed …
Plus, when I first started my blog, Solo Build It guided me through identifying my site topic and choosing my first couple of hundred keywords. (These days, I still use the keywords generated in my Solo Build It account, but I do additional SEO research on my own, too.)
To operate a blog, you need a blog host and a blogging platform. The host “rents” space to you online. The platform is an online tool in which you build pages or posts and load them into your web host.
Choosing from among the hundreds of blog hosts and blogging platforms can be overwhelming. One of the most popular platforms is WordPress. You can download it for free at www.wordpress.org. You can personalize the free templates that come with WordPress or you can pony up a few bucks and buy one.
Of all the options out there, I’ve chosen Solo Build It for hosting and building my blogs. I want to minimize my technical angst. Solo Build It’s Action Guide and Help do that for me. Plus, everything’s all in one spot. I don’t need to pay for a host … log into a separate blogging platform … concern myself with widgets. Solo Build It is specifically designed for people who want to know how to start a blog and make money at it – and even expand that blog to build an entire online business.
If you know how to write an outline then you know how to plan your website’s navigation. From your research, you’ve got a list of keywords. Use them to create your initial navigation structure (or categories) for your blog.
Think back to our example about parenting triplets. From your research, you gathered keywords like “preparing for triplets checklist,” “raising identical triplets,” “cost of raising triplets,” “pregnancy with triplets” …
Organize those keywords into an outline, similar to how you’d create an outline for an article or book. A navigation menu typically appears as a collection of links horizontally across the top of a website, vertically as a column, or even as clickable boxes.
While some blogs don’t list a menu or categories, I say offer them. You want readers to stay on your site as long as possible. Your navigation categories show them other content you offer and subsequently guide them to other pages on your site. The longer they stay, the more they read. The more they read, the more they will likely eventually buy.
Items on your navigation list become your Tier 1 pages. Those are the pages you’ll write first. Start with at least five Tier 1 pages. Then flesh out those topics when you …
Tier 2 posts unpack Tier 1 information further. For instance, let’s say one of your Tier 1 pages is “Cost of Raising Triplets.” Your keyword research gives you all kinds of information you can blog about:
Each of those keywords becomes a post idea that you can link to from your Tier 1 post.
You’ve already set yourself up to build organic traffic with good search engine results by choosing high need, low supply keywords. But you can get your blog traffic off to an even better start when you …
Once your blog has been live for at least six months, you’ve published at least 30 individual posts, and you continue to systematically publish posts (rather than all at one shot), then the search engines notice that your blog is “for real.” If you monetize any sooner than that, you’ll send up red flags.
Let’s say you’ve carefully built a purposeful information blog. Traffic is picking up. You’ve got the beginnings of a nice email list. It’s at this point that you can begin to monetize your blog – that is, make money.
It’s one thing to know how to start a blog and make money at it. Tens of thousands of people start blogs every day. Many dream of living The Blogger’s Life.
It’s altogether another challenge to stick with blogging long term and generate cash. The key? Repeat steps 4, 5, 6, and 7. Write more posts. Build traffic. Continue to evaluate your monetization streams. And repeat.
Building a money-making blog is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a long-term project. Most bloggers don’t stick with it – about 80% at last count. But if you choose a good site concept, consistently add posts, and persist in building traffic, you can be one of the few who does.
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