You can start a successful blog on just about any topic imaginable. Many people make a living through blogging. Some of the most successful blogs make over $50k a month. Needless to say this is a huge motivation to get into blogging. But that’s not enough, you have to know what you are doing and have some basic technical knowledge. To get you up to speed, here is almost everything you need to know when setting up a blog.
Successful blogs often write from a personal perspective that allows them to connect directly with their readers. In addition, most blogs also have a “comments” section where visitors can communicate with the blogger. Interacting with your visitors in the comments section helps to further the connection between the blogger and the reader.
This direct connection to the reader is one of the main benefits of starting a blog.
Should you start a blog?
One of the misconceptions about starting a blog is that you need to be a great writer to be successful. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In addition, you don’t need to be an expert on any of the topics you write about to have a successful blog.
To be successful as a blogger there is really just one requirement: a passion for your topic.
At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Writing about things that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier. As long as you are writing about things that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through and keep your visitors interested.
So why would you go into blogging? There are a few reasons:
- Share your story. A blog allows you to have a voice and be heard. You can share your story with the entire world if you so choose. One of the most common ways blogs are used are as a diary where the blogger writes about their daily experiences so that friends, family, and others can all be a part of their lives.
- Make money from home. Blogging can be quite lucrative if done correctly. The top bloggers in the world obviously earn quite a bit, but even a part-time blogger can expect to make a nice profit if things are done correctly. The best part about it is that blogging is a form of passive income, since you can spend just a few hours a week writing a piece of content and then continue to profit from it long after the the writing is finished. I go into much more detail on how to blog for money later in this guide.
- Recognition for yourself or your business. No, you probably won’t have paparazzi following you around because of your latest post. But a successful blog makes your idea into a reality, and can gain you a ton of recognition in your respective field. Many bloggers are known as experts just because of their blogs, and some have even gotten book and movie deals based on their blogs.
- Find a community. Blogging at its heart is interactive. You write a post and people comment on it. This is a good way to connect with people who are interested in the same things as you are. Blogging allows you to teach these people based on your experience, and it gives you the opportunity to learn from your readers as well.
Let’s start your blog!
Step 1. Pick a blog name
If you’ve already got an idea for the name of your blog, you can check to make sure that no one else has already registered it:
Note: You cannot use any spaces or punctuation other than dashes in a domain name.
If you find that the name you wanted is already taken there are a few things you can do:
- Try a different domain extension. If the .com version is already registered you may still be able to get the .net or .org version of the name.
- Add small words. Words like “a”, “my”, “best”, or “the”.
How to Choose a Blog Topic & Name:
If you don’t have an idea for a name already, the first step is choosing your blog topic.
If you’re not sure what to blog about, there are a few ways to find a good blog topic:
- Life experiences. Everyone has lessons they have learned through life experience. Sharing this knowledge can be incredibly helpful to others in similar situations.
For example, I recently helped a woman start her blog about being a fireman’s wife. She has a lot of experience and knowledge to share with others about this topic, and it has helped her connect with others in similar situations.
Think about the things you have experienced in life. This could be related to your family (example: a blog about being a stay at home mom), work (a blog about experiences dealing with clients), or other life experiences (a blog about dealing with a troubling time such as a disease or divorce, or about a happy time such as preparing for a wedding or a birth of a child).
- A personal blog. A personal blog is a blog all about you. This will include a variety of topics, from things you do on a daily basis, to random thoughts and musings. This is a great way to share your thoughts with the world without having to stick to just one topic.
- Hobbies & passions. Hobbies or other interests you are passionate about are a great place to start. Cooking, travel, fashion, sports, and cars are all classic examples. But even blogs about more obscure hobbies can be successful, since the your audience is literally anyone in the world with the internet.
A good blog name should be descriptive so that potential visitors can instantly tell what your blog is about just from the name.
If you are blogging about one specific topic then you will definitely want to include that in some way when you pick a domain name.
Step 2. Get your blog online
Now that you’ve got a name picked out it’s time to get your blog online. This might sound hard or technical, but the steps below will walk you right through and make the process easy.
To get your blog up and running you need two things: blog hosting (also known as web hosting) and blogging software. The good news is that these typically come packaged together.
A blog host is a company that stores all of the files for your blog and delivers them to the user when they type in your blog name. You must have a blog host in order to have a blog.
You also need to have the software to build your blog which is WordPress.
Step 3. Customize your blog
Once you login you will be in the WordPress dashboard. This is where you can make any changes you want to your blog.
Everyone has a different idea of how they want their blog to look. One of the great things about WordPress is that you can change your entire layout and design with just a few clicks.
In WordPress, blog layouts are known as “Themes”. What is a blog theme? Themes control the entire design of your WordPress blog. To change your theme you are going to click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu.
You will see several free WordPress themes are already installed on your blog: Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Sixteen, etc. These are well-designed, clean-looking themes that can work for just about any type of blog. In fact, many of the world’s top bloggers use one of these themes.
Step 4. How to write a new blog post & publish it
Now that your blog is up and running it’s time to actually do some blogging! Let’s create your first piece of content.
Go to the left menu and click on “Posts”.
You will see there is already a post there. This is a default post on every new WordPress blog, and we don’t need it. To delete it click “Trash” just under the post.
To begin writing a new post, click the “Add New” link.
You are now on the post editor screen. Enter the title of your post in the top box and then begin writing your post in the lower box.
If you would like to add a picture to your post, click on the “Add Image” icon and click “Upload” to upload a picture from your computer. You can make adjustments to the picture size on the next screen. When you are ready click “Insert into post” to add the picture.
Once you have finished your post just click the “Publish” button on the top right side of the screen to publish the new post.
Step 5. Content That Should be on Your Blog
There are two main types of content your blog should provide: static and dynamic content.
Static Content: Your blog should contain a few necessary pages explicitly designed to provide the visitor with the tools they need. The content on these pages is static, meaning – the content doesn’t change, or at least not very often. These are mainly top-level pages that can be accessed via a menu on your blog.
These static content pages should be in place well before you launch your blog to the world.
Important static pages to include:
- About Us – This page should include a biographical summary of the author(s) as well as a mission statement. Think about the answers to these questions: How did your passion for the subject matter develop? What do you want to convey to the world? What is your ultimate goal?
- Contact Us– A contact page provides the visitor a place to reach the author which, in turn, provides the visitor with the reassurance that you are a real and reachable author. You can add your physical address, phone number, and custom email address. Or you can utilize a simple contact form to keep your personal identifying information private. You should put links to all of your social media profiles here as well.
Aside from your blog, which is generally introduced on the home/main page, these two all-important pages should be visible on your top (header) menu and easy to access.
Other static pages that are equally as important but less commonly thought of are:
- Disclaimer Page: If you intend to monetize your blog, you must describe the ways you intend to generate income. This is an absolute must-have page that should not be overlooked, as per FTC guidelines. For example, if you are discussing and endorsing a product, and stand to profit by linking to the product, this relationship must be disclosed.
- Terms of Service: If your blog is also running a store or selling services, it is a good idea to have a Terms of Service page to lessen your potential liability.
Step 6. How to write great blog content
Each post should be lengthy, informative, and engaging. It’s not always easy to come up with new blog post ideas on a regular basis and you are free to mix up the tone and even the subject matter to keep things lively and interesting. It’s your space, after all. But there are a few elements that each and every piece of content should endeavor to include.
Define the Content: Create an alluring post title that stimulates curiosity and encourages clicks. Use the first paragraph of your post to clearly define the topic of your article and provide a possible hook to keep the reader reading.
The Longer the Better – But Break It Up: The more information and detail you include, the better. But visitors will begin to skim if the content contains lengthy paragraphs a mile long, and will pop out faster than they came in. Visitors enjoy tidbits. Keep your paragraphs short with spaces in between, use lists and standout quotes, use images, and always include headings and sub-headings so that visitors can find what they’re looking for.
Step 7. Make money from your blog
Once you have put in the effort of creating great blog content and promoting your blog, making money from your blog is actually the easy part.
Blogs have the potential to be extremely lucrative, but don’t assume that you’re going to start making money in the first week, or even in the first month. It could take six months to a year to start seeing a steady stream of income. Blogging takes work and dedication, but once you develop a large enough audience, there are several methods you can employ to monetize your blog.
Sell affiliate products
An affiliate program is a commission-based way to advertise. When one of your readers clicks on a link on your blog, they get sent to an advertiser’s site and you earn a commission if they purchase. Affiliate links are a nice way to earn income through the use of product reviews. However, you must remember to disclose that you are an affiliate for the product.
Sell Products and Services
Selling your own products and services directly on your blog is a great way to increase your income. As your blog grows and you begin to see a wide audience, your products and services will begin to sell themselves.
Use the sidebar of your blog to increase the visibility of what you sell using visual images and a link to your storefront page.
Sell digital downloads
Ebooks, video tutorials, and e-courses are the most commonly consumed digital materials sold by bloggers. With little to no overhead and no shipping costs, you can keep the price low and inviting.
If you are extremely knowledgeable in your field, an ebook can practically write itself. Give it a try, you might surprise yourself!