For the last 25 years, blogging has been a popular way to share information and entertain readers. However, what many people don’t realize is that blogs aren’t just a way to express yourself — most major blogs are operated as multimillion-dollar businesses.
These days, there are many people who pick up blogging as a pastime and use their SEO and marketing skills to turn it into a profitable business. If you want to join the ranks of bloggers who make money through their sites, then follow these five easy steps to create and monetize a blog.
1. Choose a Niche and Decide on Topics
Before doing anything, you will need to choose a niche for your blog. Many people say that your niche shouldn’t be saturated, as it means you’ll have to fight for the same readers as everyone else. However, picking a niche that is already popular can be beneficial — when readers are already searching for what you’re writing about, there is some proof of concept already in place. A few great niches to consider include:
- Software and tech
- Business and entrepreneurship
- Parenting and family
- Health and wellness
The reason that these niches work best is that there are lots of things to write about in each of them and they are popular with readers. If you ever want to go the affiliate marketing route, these niches have lots of great products and services you can promote.
Once you’ve identified the niche, it’s time to develop topics that will be part of your blog. Brainstorm a long list of ideas and then narrow down the ones that are most likely to generate readership and engagement. It helps to create a list of keywords based on the blog topics that you can use in your content later on.
You can do this using a simple tool like Google Keyword Planner. For example, if you were starting a blog in the marketing niche, one blog topic idea would be a long-form piece about creating LinkedIn content to promote a business or grow a personal brand.
By using the Keyword Planner, you can find targeted keywords and phrases related to this topic like “LinkedIn content marketing” or “LinkedIn content strategy.”
You can use a paid tool like Ahrefs to check individual keywords and see which ones are easiest to rank for and have the highest search volume. A few tips for topic and keyword research:
- Don’t base your whole content strategy on keyword research. Google’s Helpful Content Update is one of many consistent innovations that algorithmically prioritize useful and informative content regardless of its keyword relevance.
- Match the intent of your keywords to your blog post type. Affiliate posts that rate products or services should have commercial keywords, while informational posts should contain non-commercial terms.
- Targeted content that focuses on specific topics can be just as valuable as general content that covers a broad range of topics. When you find a unique topic, it can be easier to rank for a subject-specific keyword than trying to compete with general terms.
2. Get a Domain Name and Hosting Account
Once you’ve chosen your niche and topics, it’s time to get started on setting up your blog. The first step is registering a domain name that reflects your brand or website topic (exampleblogname.com). You can register a domain name through various registrars like GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Google Domains (Google Domains is best).
After registering the domain, you’ll need to find a web hosting provider. Depending on your budget and website needs, there are many different hosting plans available. If you’re just starting out and don’t expect high traffic volumes or complex functionality, then you can opt for a shared hosting package. If your blog grows or you want more control over the server environment, then you can upgrade to managed WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, or dedicated servers.
3. Set Up Your Blog
Setting up your blog can go a few different ways, depending on your available resources and the level of investment you’re willing to make. For a basic blog, you can use a popular open-source CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress or Joomla. This type of setup usually requires no coding skills, and there are thousands of free themes and templates to choose from. There are many plug-ins available that let you add extra features to your blog.
If you want more control over the look and functionality of your blog, you can design it yourself, create wireframes, and hire a developer to code it. This approach will cost a lot more money and will require a lot more time, but it’s the best way to create a custom blog from scratch. When setting up your blog, you’ll have to remember to configure various technical settings like Google Analytics and Search Console, as well as plugins or custom code for features like social media integration, newsletters, and online payments.
4. Write Quality Content
Once your blog is up and running, it’s time to start creating content. There are plenty of blogs out there with keyword-stuffed content that doesn’t provide any value. However, if you want to create a blog that stands out and has longevity, then you need to focus on quality. When writing blog posts, your main goal should be to provide a quality experience for readers and ensure that the content is as helpful and informative as possible. Here are a few tips:
- Write as if you’re talking to one person, even if your audience is millions of people
- Break up content into digestible chunks with headings, lists, videos, and images
- Make sure the content is well-researched and accurate
- Link to relevant sources or previous posts on your own blog
For other tips, following the blogging tips by Robert Kormoczi is a good place to start. There are a few other things you can do to improve the shareability of your articles and get more traction.
Creating informative content that includes statistics is one of the best ways to do so. When your article is a source of information, many other creators will link to it or use your article as a reference. You can also create infographics or videos to supplement your articles, as these can be shared on social media via both your personal accounts and others’ accounts.
5. Monetize With Ads and Affiliate Programs
Once you’ve built up an audience, it’s time to start looking at ways to monetize your blog. Advertising is one of the most popular methods for blogging income, but there are other options too. You can also opt for affiliate marketing or sponsored content, where companies pay you to promote their products or services.
You can also look into creating digital products that are related to your blog topic (e.g., ebooks, webinars, courses) that educate your readers more in-depth on some of the things you write about. Offering consulting services and additional products (SaaS, eCommerce) can also be a great way to monetize your blog. These require a larger investment of time and money but are a great way to make passive income from your blog in the long run.
Creating and monetizing a blog is not an easy task, but it can be quite rewarding in the long run. Not only does it enable you to create passive income from your blog, but it also allows you to share your expertise and knowledge with the world. If you’re savvy and dedicated, it can also be a great way to add additional revenue streams to your existing business.