Everyone's thought about starting a blog but few ever do it, let alone succeed.
We're talking about bringing in serious money, rather than just your Uncle Joe's rambling online journal and stolen memes.
Are you wondering what it takes?
It takes a lot of thought and a bit of luck to learn how to start a successful blog.
If you're willing to put in the work then read on and we'll show you how it's done.
It All Starts With a Plan
Before you even decide on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you need to go in with a plan.
You'll need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What topic will the blog be on?
- Is it connected to an existing business?
- If not, do you have a business plan?
- Are you willing to put in a lot of unpaid time?
- What's your starting budget?
- What relevant skills do you have?
The above isn't an exhaustive list on how to start a succesful blog but it's definitely enough to get the ball rolling.
In this post we're talking about blogging for beginners, so to keep it simple the two main categories of blogs we're focusing on today are niche blogs and business blogs.
You're probably wonderng how to make money blogging...
While we'd love to tell you that it's super simple to make money with a blog with just about any topic... it's not.
Learning how to blog so that it actually makes money is time consuming and there's a lot of pitfalls. If you get it wrong, you can end up spinning your wheels for months. There's a lot to consider: site hosting, site theme, SEO, keyword research, monetization, and more. You can accellerate your learning curve by joining a blogging course like Blog Growth Engine, reading books, and watching tutorials online from YouTube, but it's still a ton of effort.
Super niche subjects like breeding a specific species of African dwarf cichlid may be your passion but there's not a whole lot of products you can sell or keywords you can rank for.
There needs to be both products to sell and enough information to cover.
Likewise, you don't want to go too broad.
A blog about fitness? Too broad.
Fitness for heavyset middle-aged men? Now we're getting somewhere.
Introductory level powerlifting for heavy middle-aged men? That's about the level of niche that it'll take to succeed as a beginner.
You can move away from your initial niche later but you have to do so in stages. You need a subject on which you can quickly become the authority if you ever want to make your blog more than just a side-hustle.
Niche blogs will make most of their money through affiliate marketing, although per-click or per-view advertising can still make you a bit of money.
The problem with relying on ad clicks is that you need an impressive volume of traffic in the first place... which is hard to achieve if your site is plastered with ads.
You don't have to be a general contractor to have a business blog.
You don't even necessarily need a business to begin with. You just need to understand that it's a different model from a niche blog.
In this case, you'll be selling your product or service and using the blog to attract potential customers.
Are you particularly crafty? If so, you may want to start a blog about your popsicle art or whatever it is that makes your arts and crafts unique.
The business models based around hobbies are endless.
You can teach people to do things and sell advanced lessons, sell your handicrafts/services, or just promote a more traditional business through dominating the local search engines.
What If My Plan Doesn't Fit?
If your business or plan to make money through some kind of affiliate marketing doesn't seem to click with either blog model then there are still options.
These days sales funnels are all the rage for smaller projects that don't lend themselves well. Using specialized software you can definitely get ahead of the competition.
Great Content and Promotion - The Real Secret of How To Start A Successful Blog
You need to focus on both creating great content and promoting it.
This is the meat of the matter.
While a tasty, attractive bun is necessary to sell the burger, people aren't going to come back if the meat and toppings are horrible so your initial focus should be on making excellent content.
Putting Together Content
Content is the primary draw of any blog.
You'll need to know how to write a blog post and create an editorial schedule to stick to.
Look, writing content about things you love is awesome. At first.
Your blog needs regular updates, however, especially once you begin to draw in regular viewers.
It'll begin to drag after time.
That said, you'll want to develop a few templates to work with when you're creating your content.
The formats are numerous but buyer's guides, how-to's, and informational posts will make up the bulk of what you're doing.
Don't be afraid to experiment, of course, but the tried and true will be your bread and butter during your blog's rise to the top.
There is one thing you need to do, however, which is to learn the basics of on-page SEO.
Most blog owners don't have hundreds of dollars lying around to invest in advertising right out of the gates.
That's where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes into play. It's the easiest way to begin attracting viewers without having to spend a ton of money right out of the gate.
There's another way to get free traffic: social media.
Facebook is particularly great for this, especially since the bulk of the audience for most niches can be found there. Start engaging in niche Facebook groups related to your audience.
You'll quickly find that you can build a following.
Ongoing Promotion, SEO, and Staying Power
Once you've begun to gather a decent amount of daily traffic to your blog, you'll want to keep the ball rolling.
That means a continuing strategy to bring in traffic.
Your blog should have been monetized from the start so bringing in traffic and converting them into paying customers is your top concern.
There's a simple formula as long as your copy isn't downright horrible.
Traffic + Great Offers = conversions = money.
It's that simple.
Ramp Up Off-Page SEO
SEO is an ongoing process.
Each post should be good enough to bring in organic backlinks on it's own but that's not going to be enough to keep you at the top of the search engines. Or even get you there, depending on the niche.
You'll need to actively find ways to gain backlinks. Guest posting was said to be dead by Google as recently as 2014, but... that's not true in the slightest.
There are a lot ways to get backlinks but the important part is to start gathering them anytime you're not bringing in content.
One of our favorite ways that we regular recommend is the HARO baklink method, anyone can get great high-authority links from this method with a little grit and determination.
Continuing Social Media Marketing
Stay away from PPC marketing for blogs as a beginner.
Even the best won't have a high enough conversion rate, especially on the first visit, to make it a viable form of advertising for content-based sales.
Instead, start running campaigns on social media. Instagram and Facebook campaigns both allow you to get a tight focus on your audience. Wise application of targeting is key to the success of your SMM campaigns.
You should also make sure that you're regularly engaging with your social media campaigns. Depending on your niche and forward persona this can take the form of thanking customers or actively engaging in playful banter.
The big thing is to make sure that a considerable amount of your income goes back into whatever paid advertising method you choose. The results may not be totally linear but in general, more money put into the project leads to more money out.
Keeping It Up
Inevitably people start to lose focus as they gain momentum and realize this is actual WORK.
You should be seeing some amount of income within a few months as long as you keep at trying to drive traffic, and celebrating small wins is key to maintaining momentum.
The hardest part for most people is not running to the next shiny thing. This syndrome has people jumping between different methods of monetization and driving traffic before they even begin to see results.
The other problem is burnout.
The best way to avoid these problems is to stick with a formula and then hire outside workers to take care of some of the day-to-day management.
Hiring content writers using a well-tested template? Takes work off of you and makes sure that you're still using a method that works.
You're not going to build a vast empire overnight. Or even within the first year in most cases but that's the biggest sticking point for most people when it comes to creating a profitable blog: they lack the ability to stick with things for the long haul.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Knowing How to Start a Successful Blog Is Only Half the Equation
Learning how to build a successful blog is the first half of the equation.
The second half is the follow-through. Without taking action you won't be able to accomplish anything in the first place.
The above is only a quick guide, of course. There's so much more we can teach you.
If you're willing to put in the work, we're willing to teach you.
Why not make a commitment now and get started building your profitable blog? Adam Enfroy's courses are perfect for this.
- How to start a blog that makes money the right way
- How the pros make money blogging, and how you can, too
- The best blogging platform used by the pros (get this wrong and it could kill your blog before you even get it off the ground)
- How to choose your blog niche, get a free domain, and install WordPress
- And so much more...