Following these steps can help you start your blog and start making money online!
1. Choose a Niche
Choosing your niche is all about what you’re passionate about. It could be crocheting, puppies, engineering, wool socks, or even your favorite soda. When you decide on what your niche will be, this will be what the content of your blog will revolve around.
You may think that it will be difficult to come up with things to write about when you start blogging about something you love, but even the tiniest niches can offer up a multitude of topics.
For example, if you want to blog about chocolate cake, you don’t have to settle for just posting chocolate cake recipes and raving about how delicious chocolate cake is. You could write posts about the origin of chocolate, the origin of cake (flour, eggs, butter, milk or any other cake ingredient as well), when chocolate and cake were first combined to create a dessert, the number of people in the world who love / hate chocolate, chocolate allergies, chocolate scented candles and perfumes, cake scented candles and perfumes, how chocolate is produced, the various types of chocolate that are made around the world, the best celebrity chocolate wedding cakes, and so on.
As long as the topic is tied to chocolate cake, chocolate, or cake, you’ll still be sticking to your topic as you produce content.
2. Choose a Name
Picking a name for your blog can be an exciting process. Most bloggers will chose some relatively obscure reference that only people who are in love with their niche will immediately understand, other will go with a simple play on words that related to their blog topic. For example, a blog about celebrity parties might call itself “Celebrate”. A blog about aromatherapy gifts may call itself “Pleascentries”.
Though a name can draw people in, if they don’t find interesting content on your blog, they won’t stick around to read much, and definitely won’t be returning (which will hurt your profits!). So, if you have to stick with a more basic blog title such as “Bob’s Bolingbrooke Sewing Circle” or “Lisa’s Car Blog” don’t fret.
3. Get a Domain
A domain name is uniquely yours. BobsCircle.com or LisasCarBlog.net would be examples. However, domain names cost money. It usually isn’t an exorbitant amount, somewhere in the range of $5 to $50 for a year, but you will need to pay this up front and pay it each year.
A domain name is beneficial because it’s easier to share with people in links, it’s easier for people using tablets or smartphones to type because it’s shorter, and it makes your site URL easy to remember so that people can visit again and again.
The alternative is to get a free blog that will include the name of the company that is hosting your blog. This means you might have a lengthy URL such as www.lisascarblog.freewebsites.com or www.freewebsites.com/blog/bobscircle.
If you’re low on funds, you could use one of the free domains, then (once you get the money to do so) purchase a unique domain that simply forwards people to your blog. This means that someone who types in www.lisascarblog.com will be sent to www.lisascarblog.freewebsites.com without having to type in the extra characters.
4. Open a Blog Account and Email
You might think that opening the blog account should have come first, but that’s how some people may actually miss out on getting the domain that they wanted. Domains can go quickly, especially if the URL contains popular keywords like ‘cars,’ ‘money,’ or ‘pets.’ There are companies who buy up domain names and sell them to people at higher prices to make a profit. This is why it’s so important to try to purchase your domain name as soon as possible.
Opening a blog account is pretty easy going. You’ll be asked a series of questions about the blog’s content and owner and then you’ll be set up to start blogging when you’re ready. Sites to go to for blog hosting include WordPress.org, Tumblr.com, and Wix.com. You can do a Google search and find a blogging platform that suits your needs (including Google’s Blogspot.com).
Also make sure you get an email account that is just for blogging business. Once you have a domain, you’d be able to add an email account with a address such as Lisa@lisascarblog.com.
5. Get a Payment Account for the Blog
Since you will be running your blog as a business, it’s important to have an account that receives funds from your blogging efforts. Life is a lot simpler when your personal and blog accounts are separated. Don’t forget that, by having a home-based business, you can write many expenses off on your taxes, such as rent/mortgage or even utilities.
PayPal is a great way to get paid quickly and easily online, and most marketing sites use it as a method of paying out commissions. You can tie your PayPal account to your business checking account, or you can get a business debit card from PayPal which will allow you to access your PayPal funds just like you would use money in a regular checking account.
6. Create Buffer Posts
Life happens. So one of the most loving things you can do for yourself as a full-time blogger is create buffer posts.
These are posts that aren’t tied to specific dates and can be posted any time that you have an emergency you know will take you away from a computer for a while. Most blog sites will have an area especially for ‘draft’ posts. 5 buffer posts would be a bare minimum to have on hand in case you go on vacation, become ill, or become overwhelmed with other personal business. Instead of sitting down to write an entire post from start to finish, you can just publish one of the draft posts you’ve already written.
7. Join Internet Marketing Sites
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. By signing up as an affiliate for various businesses, you can promote their products on your related posts and earn commissions when people buy from that business because they clicked on an ad on your blog. This is what internet marketing is all about.
Here are some internet marketing sites you can sign up for to get started.
Commission Junction: www.cj.com/publisher-sign
Rakuten Linkshare: https://signup.linkshare.com/publishers/registration/landing?ls-locale=us&host=linkshare
8. Publish Content With Ads
Now that you are signed up with a few advertisers, it’s time to put their ads together with your content and start making money online!
There are two basic methods for blogging and using affiliate marketing.
You can write a post and then go back and find places to insert ads for specific products and services. For example, if you write a post about the significance of chocolate to working class families in the 1700s, you could sprinkle ads for chocolatiers, genealogy information, or books on the American Revolutionary War throughout the piece.
The other method is to indirectly sell the audience a particular product. For instance, in the same post about chocolate in the 1700s, you could end the piece by suggesting your readers get a copy of a book on the Revolutionary War to learn more about how people lived in this era. These harder selling posts can get people to click and even buy, but too many of these in your blog can be off-putting because your reader starts to expect that you’re going to try to sell them something in every post.
9. Open Social Media Profiles for the Blog
After you’ve posted a few articles, you’ll want to share them throughout the social media sphere. This means you’ll need a couple of social media profiles that are committed to the blog. Be careful not to get bogged down trying to have a presence on too many social media sites. Choose no more than three so that you can give each one the care and attention that it deserves.
Which sites to choose will depend on your subject matter. If you’re going to have a lot of original photos (if your were a cake-maker, for example) then Pinterest is a definite must. If you’re going to be giving updates on live events (for instance, if you’re following political campaigns) Twitter will be essential for sending out short messages from your smartphone to tell your followers what’s going on so they’ll be anxiously awaiting your next post.
For just about any blog, Facebook is going to be standard as a social media profile. But others such as Google+, LinkedIn, or Instagram could be good choices based on your target audience. Do a little research and find out where you want to invest most of your social networking time.
10. Maintain the Blog
Though this is the last step, it can sometimes be the hardest.
Make sure that you are posting content on a regular basis. Daily is the standard for most bloggers, with multiple posts per day being best.
If you can only find time to post a few times each week, try to make sure the posts are published on the same days and at about the same times. This gives your readers a sense of consistency that can help them see your blog as professional and organized, meaning they’re more likely to subscribe to your blog.
Once you follow these ten steps, it will be time to wait for the commission payments to start rolling in. At that point, you’ve become a professional blogger with your own home business.