Someone says that blogging is dead, while others see blogging as a profitable niche for the business. Where is the truth and how in fact today bloggers make money online? I decided to combine my own experience and some research in order to clear up the picture and help you to understand all the truth about blogging and show the best ways to make money online writing the content.
- Decide on a blog name
- Select a platform for blogging
- Optimize blog
- Create content
- Promote your blog
- Monetize your blog
My blogging journey started in April 2017 and lots of work has been done since that time. I had to read tons of articles, tried hundreds of tools and tested tens of marketing channels in order to grow. And I still work hard to create and promote new content and increase blog traffic.
The real game began when I decided to treat my blog as a business. I stopped to publish random articles on random topics. I decided to develop a well-structured process and discipline myself though I didn’t want to forget to enjoy the process. And here are the key stages everyone should go through once you decided to make money blogging.
1. Decide on a Blog Name
Once you decide to start a blog, the first thing you should do is to understand your niche and create a catchy blog name. I think that this step is very responsible because your blog name will be closely connected with the blog domain name which is hard to change when you start getting some loyal readers and regular website traffic.
So, how to choose a name for your blog:
- Do not go too narrow. You can start from one narrow niche and in a month you can get an idea to cover another topic, so make sure your blog name gives you some space for scaling up your ideas.
- Do not use special characters. Such naming is not very good for SEO and looks old-school.
- Make it clear and easy to remember. Avoid too long names. People will spend seconds to remember your blog.
- Check the domain name availability. Make sure the domain name you liked is free to buy and remember the simpler it is the better.
Once you have your perfect blog name it is time to choose the platform for your future blog.
2. Select a Platform for Blogging
There are many opinions as to the platform we should use for blogging today. Several years ago asking about blogging platform everyone was talking about WordPress. Today we have many alternatives, like Medium, Wix, Weebly, Jimdo, etc. Additionally, there are also many examples of successful bloggers who use social media only and make thousands of dollars a month from their blogs.
So what is the right choice here?
I am not very technical and coding is not my cup of tea, but thinking about my new blog I strongly decided to be independent of any 3rd party websites that sooner or later can be closed and kill my business.
Do you remember the day when Instagram was unavailable all around the world? I was shocked to learn how people are very much dependent on this social media. Here are some screens I made from the website where people checked the status of the Instagram issues.
and even more…
Read also: How to make money on Instagram
As far as you can see no one can predict what happens next and you cannot be confident that your business won’t be influenced by such factors.
If you are just starting your blog I would recommend using WordPress, while 3rd parties platforms could become your channels for content promotion.
3. Optimize Blog
Talking about WordPress I would like to pay special attention to the types of plugins that need to be installed in order to make sure your website is well optimized, secure and user-friendly.
Make sure your website is fast and well-optimized, as these factors are a part of search engine algorithms. The best WordPress optimization plugins are WP Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Rocket. Additionally, I would recommend using AMP plugin for mobile optimization.
My favorite SEO plugin is Yoast SEO, it contains all the necessary features to analyze your content structure, readability score, keywords, meta description, article length, and search engine optimization analysis.
Though the decision which plugins to use mostly depends on your marketing strategy, there are some basic marketing plugins you can start with:
- MailChimp for WordPress – even if you don’t have an email list and the traffic is low start collecting the emails. You’ll see that even several subscribers a week can contribute to your growth.
- Social Media Share – make sure your content can be easily shared across the web to all the most popular social networks.
Once you make sure that your website is well optimized, it’s time to move to post your blog content!
4. Create Content
Most bloggers are so very much focused on SEO, marketing strategies, and just being everywhere at the same time, that they forget about their primary goal to be a blogger and provide valuable content to their readers.
It was proved that content is the king and the main strategic focus at any marketing campaign. And your main task as a blogger is to generate regular content to turn your website visitors into subscribers and true blog fans.
Here is the list of the main components you should take into account before writing your blog post:
Probably if you’ve already decided on a blog niche you have tons of ideas of what to write about. But will your topics be interesting to the audience? You can create a very cool content but what is the sense if there are no people who are interested in reading it. Moreover, people should not only read, but they should also be willing to share, comment and save it.
But how do you know if the topic is trendy and highly searchable online? Here are the tools for you, save and use them for your blog:
Buzzsumo – a content analyzer showing the most shareable content for the period. If you have doubts as to your topic just put the keywords and get the list of the most popular articles in your niche.
Keywords Everywhere – a keyword analyzer tool showing a number of requests per month. I like this tool because it has a browser extension and always shows the keywords analytics while you browse the net.
Google Search – search the topic and pay attention to the related search results that are on the bottom of the page. This data shows the most searchable requests with lower competition.
Even when you create highly valuable content your main task is to make people click on it and get to its page. So, you should create a catchy blog title and here is my experience you can also use and generate blog titles more easily:
- Show the value your content brings to the reader
- Use facts and numbers to make your content even more shareable
- Use title generating tools like Portent or Hubspot
I think you already know about the role of blog post optimization for Google. If you want to rank higher your text should not only be well-structured, grammatically correct and have more than 1000 words in length. It should also be optimized for SEO and have a particular structure similar to this one:
- Meta tags
In order to control the article structure, I would recommend using SEO plugins mentioned above in the article.
5. Promote Your Blog
This is one of the most important steps for each blogger and the most confusing one. As a blogger, I always wanted to be everywhere at the same time and spent too much effort promoting my content and getting no or little results. This time I would like to share with you my strategy for blog content promotion so that you won’t make the same mistakes.
20% of the time to write the content and 80% to promote it
This is the perfect formula I understood with time and experience. Definitely, you can generate articles daily, but it will take months till they get ranked and visible online. So you should put some efforts in order to help search engines “understand” that your content gets readers and deserves to have higher positions.
Let’s dive into the strategy I use to promote my blog once the next blog article is published:
- Pingomatic – inform search engines about your blog update
- Pinterest – create several visuals and pin to your several group boards related to your niche. I know bloggers who use Pinterest as the main source of traffic so do not miss this opportunity.
- Share your link across your social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Mix, Digg, Quora, Tumblr, Reddit, etc.
- Email marketing. If you collect emails (!) promote your article through email marketing.
- Share your link to forums related to your niche. Make sure you are an active member of the forums and do not spam the members. Create an account several days earlier of your blog promotion date and make a couple of posts there.
- Comment on other blogs related to your niche. Get prepared beforehand creating a list of blogs you are going to comment on. Do not be spammy and leave only valuable comments containing more than 15 words. This strategy will give an opportunity to generate additional traffic to your blog and get connected with fellow bloggers.
- Guest posting. This is one of the most time consuming but the most effective strategy of blog promotion. To increase your blog Domain Authority score and get higher ranks you should get authority links from other blogs. Contribute from one to three guest posts linking back to your new article. The more the better but this is the required minimum.
- Repurpose your content. This is a very cool strategy I like so much because it allows me to generate a dozen of new content out of any article. Just do the following: 1) use the content to create slides and share it to Slideshare, 2) create video and share it to YouTube, 3) create infographics and share it to Pinterest and Infographic directories.
And remember the more interesting and trendy your article will be the more organic shares it will get. And, as a result, more traffic, readers and potential clients. And that is the number one goal for any blogger!
6. Monetize Your Blog
This is my favorite step! I think yours also.
So, is there a chance to make money blogging? YES! But the way “how” depends on your primary goals and main focus. Anyway, I should start by underlining the main point here – treat your blog as a business you invest your time and efforts to.
There are two main strategies for making money online from blogging:
Traffic-oriented monetization means that the main source of your income is highly dependant on website traffic. If you decided to choose this strategy, TRAFFIC will be your main focus from the very first day.
Here are the main traffic-oriented ways to make money from a blog:
This is the very first stream of income of most bloggers who put Google Adsense code to their web pages. Nevertheless, there are ads platforms that pay much higher than Google and are the main goal for bloggers to get the minimum required traffic like Mediavine (apply from 25k pageviews) and Adthrive (apply from 100k page views)
Make a commission selling the 3rd party services and goods through your blog. Here is the list of the best affiliate platforms for bloggers that pay the highest commission:
Once your blog becomes more visible online and starts getting the real traffic you will get requests from companies and brands for a sponsored post opportunity. Writing sponsored reviews and advertising content can become a good addition to your main stream of income.
Brand-oriented monetization strategy means that the main source of your income is highly dependant on your brand. If you choose this strategy building your BRAND will be the main focus of your blog growth strategy.
The main brand-oriented ways to make money online:
Digital products (courses, e-books, digital downloads)
Write an e-book or create an online course and make money online selling your products through your blog.
Online services (consulting, marketing, web production, etc)
The perfect strategy for designers, content writers, marketing specialists, developers, etc.
If you have experience in any business there are people who need your help. Become a coach and make money online sharing your expertise with people all around the world.
I for one prefer the second strategy focused on building a brand. And it is the most powerful and perspective business strategy. People have so much information online that they spend only seconds visiting the next brand new website. Building trust and working with your brand reputation will help you build a strong background for any business model and build a profitable company. Additionally, all that regular Google algorithm changes cannot guarantee you any stable flow of traffic.
As you can see blogging is a system that can become a profitable business. Do not treat it as a hobby from the start thinking that someday it will grow and bring you some money. Choose the right strategy, either a traffic-oriented or a brand based, and stay focused. If your blog brings real value to people, it is updated regularly with quality content it will bring you financial freedom and success!