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Wanna start a blog and make money in your pajamas?
I know. Stupid question.
Honestly, I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t trade her 9-5 job for the opportunity to be her own boss and make a passive income while she sleeps.
Not to say there isn’t a LOT of work that initially goes into starting and running a profitable blog. Cause girl, there is!
But it’s SO worth it. And I’d love to show you how to get started!
So, let’s take a peek at how you can start a blog of your own and make that money honey!
WHY START A BLOG?
First things, first.
What do you want to give your audience?
A successful, profitable website provides something of value for it’s readers.
You can do this in a number of ways. Here are a few good ones:
- Inspire your audience to do something
- Provide knowledge in a particular area of interest
- Offer entertainment to take your reader out of her daily routine for a few moments at a time
Think about the intent of your blog so it’s purpose is clear from the get-go.
WHAT WILL YOU WRITE ABOUT?
There are a million different things to write about.
It can be challenging to narrow it down, right?
Get started by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do I have experience with?
Think about something in which you can establish yourself as an authority through personal experience.
- What do I love?
Consider your passions. What is the one thing you can talk about for hours on end?
- Can it be monetized?
If you plan to make money with your blog, give this one some good thought. Think through the ways in which your blog can create income for you. Is it affiliate marketing? Sponsored posts? Your own products or services?
Once you know what you’ll blog about, you can begin to research your ideal reader.
It’s uber important to know who you’ll be writing those killer posts for.
Think about who your target reader will be:
- Are you writing for men or women?
- What is their age group?
- Are they married, single, divorced?
- What are their goals? Frustrations? Pain points?
- What are their wants and needs?
This will give you a better sense of the reader you want to attract and connect with.
Check out Adam’s article to help you dive deeper into finding your perfect blog niche to avoid failure. He’s got lots of cool ways to help you niche down without pulling your hair out.
SET YOUR GOALS
Set yourself up for success, girl!
Begin your blogging journey with your eye on the prize and create goals for your blog.
I love the SMART method.
It’s my fave method because I have a much higher chance of actually attaining my goals when I set them up using the below points.
Specific – your goal must be clear and simple
Measurable – you must be able to track your progress so you can stay motivated
Achievable – your goal should stretch your abilities but still remain possible
Relevant – your goal should align with your overall biz model
Time-bound – your goal needs a target date so you have a deadline to focus on
Setting goals is essential to your blog’s success and this method will start you off on the right foot.
SET UP YOUR DOMAIN
All this techie stuff can seem a little daunting (and scary!) at first. But seriously, it’s not.
I started this blog using WordPress and host it through Bluehost. Both have been awesome and super easy to use right from the start of my blogging days.
You can easily get yourself all set up in about 30 minutes by following my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog for beginners. Yep, it’s that simple.
FIND A PERFECT THEME
I love this part of starting a new blog.
It’s kinda like decorating your home or buying a new outfit. It gives your readers a glimpse into your style and personal vibe from the moment they lay eyes on your blog.
There are tons of different themes to choose from.
I’m into the more feminine-themed blogs, so I LOVE Bluchic‘s themes. I had such a hard time deciding on mine since they’re all so gorgeous but finally decided to go with their Victoria theme.
Super happy with my choice, and wouldn’t change a thing.
Here’s a sneak peek at a few of my faves from their selection. Ah-mazing, right?
If you’re not so hot on the feminine themes, I gotcha. StudioPress has some of the most clean, professional themes I’ve come across and highly suggest checking these bad boys out.
You’ll love, promise.
INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOLS
There are a million and one blogging tools out there. But rest assured, you don’t need them all.
Phew! Cause those puppies can add up quickly!
I suggest starting out with the basics and then add on as you need to.
When you’re first considering which tools to invest it, think about if and how they’ll help you achieve your immediate and larger blogging goals.
My first purchase for my blog was switching my email service provider (ESP) from Mail Chimp to ConvertKit. This was a MUST for me since my goal was to grow my email list and monetize my blog.
It’s been one of the best investments I’ve made by far.
Another important buy for my blog was grabbing a subscription to OptinMonster. This purchase goes hand-in-hand with my goal to rapidly grow my email list.
I can easily create multiple, eye-catching opt-in forms for my incentives and stick them all over my website with this user-friendly tool. Totally worth it, girl.
CRAFT A TRAFFIC PLAN
Simply put – you need traffic for a successful blog.
But how the heck do you get it?
Here are some of the best ways to get targeted traffic to visit your awesome new website.
1. Write for your reader
Do your detective work to find out what your target reader wants and needs. Then create quality posts filled with actionable steps.
Here are a couple types of posts that’ll attract traffic from your audience.
Write posts to solve a problem
Think about it.
Which type of blog posts do you typically visit? The kind that helps you ease a frustration or answer a question? Yep. Those kind of posts are golden. So create posts that directly help your reader. Include specific strategies that lead them to desired results.
Need help determining what your readers need?
Get nosey. Poke around in Facebook groups to see what problems people have and check out the comment sections of other blogs in your niche.
Write posts about what’s popular
It sounds easy enough, right? Create posts about what’s trending within your niche. If it’s a hot topic among your audience, you should write about it.
Not sure what your readers are loving these days?
Take a look at your competition. Visit their blogs to see what they’re blogging about. You can also use Pinterest as your guide. Check out what people in your niche are pinning and create your own posts about these topics.
I’ve found some of the best pointers for writing great blog content in this post from Pro Blogger.Write good content and they will come. Solve their problems and they'll return for more.Click To Tweet
2. Have a plan for SEO
If you want your blog to be ranked by Google, you gotta know SEO.
This can be a tricky beast at first. But once you understand the basics, you’ll be on your way to ranking in no time.
Grab your free copy of my SEO Guide for Beginner Bloggers to get started.
3. Promote your blog
It would be great if everyone simply flocked to your new blog once it went live, right?
Since things usually aren’t that easy, your blog may need a little help from social media.
Facebook groups are vital for new bloggers.
They help you get connected with other bloggers and make it easy to promote your blog content.
They’re also a great way to make yourself more visible within your niche. In addition to posting your content on promo days, make yourself visible by answering questions, creating discussion, and supporting your fellow bloggers.
Hop on over to my Facebook group if you’re looking for a great place to start. You’ll also find an awesome list of additional groups in my free Blogger Resource Collection.
Pinterest group boards are pretty much essential.
They’re perfect for getting your blog posts seen and shared by potentially thousands of readers each day.
Not sure how to find group boards to join?
Take a look at Pinterest accounts that belong to popular bloggers in your niche. Browse through their boards to see which groups they belong to.
You can tell which of their boards are group boards by the multi-person profile pic pointed out below.
For best results, find boards with a high number of followers and a high repin rate.
Join a dozen good ones and regularly pin to these boards.
I’d love for you to join my group board! And you can also check out my free Blogger Resource Collection for over a dozen more.
Pinning can take a fair amount of time each day if you plan to maximize your exposure.
So, to save yourself quality blogging time, you can set your pinning on autopilot with Tailwind.
I use a combo of manual pinning and scheduled pinning which has proven to be a good strategy so far.
Learn the best ways to harness Twitter for some blog love.
Take a peek at this helpful article on Smart Blogger to shed some light on how you can include Twitter in your promo mix.
4. Collaborate + Network
One of the best ways I’ve found to grow my blog traffic is by forming relationships and partnering up with other bloggers in my niche.
It can seem a bit uncomfortable at first if you’re a bit of an introvert, but don’t let that stop you.
Step out of your comfort zone and take your blog to the next level. You got this, girl!
There are a ton of ways to network and collaborate.
Here are a few of my faves:
Creating posts for other websites is an awesome way to drive more traffic to your blog. You can quickly attract new readers to your site by getting your content published on another website.
Stumped on how to get started?
Look for collaboration threads within Facebook groups to find bloggers looking for guest posters. You can also Google it. Simply type in ‘write for us + your niche’ and a slew of results will pop up.
Here’s an example of how you’d search Google if you blogged about homeschooling.
Check out this amazingly comprehensive article on guest posting by Outreach Mama to get the low down on successful guest posting.
People love a good webinar jam-packed with helpful information.
Team up with a blogger with a similar vision and target audience to collaborate on a project.
If you’re totally new to the idea of a webinar, this is a great way to learn the ropes with somebody working with you each step of the way.
Find fellow bloggers to work with by checking out Facebook groups. Many bloggers in these groups are newbies as well and will jump at the chance to expand their audience.
Join forces with fellow bloggers to offer free products or services to your audience.
This is a fun opportunity to grow your audience and promote your products or services at the same time.
Poke around Facebook groups and visit other blogs in your niche to find bloggers to partner up with.
I love Janine’s post for essential details on creating a successful giveaway once you find your team mate.
START AND GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST
If you plan to monetize your awesome new blog, you need to start an email list.
Who better to purchase your services and products than your loyal followers and fans, right?
Build trusting relationships with your regular readers to begin creating a profitable blog.
So, how does one start an email list?
1. Pick an email service provider
Do your research and grab the email service provider (ESP) that aligns best with your blogging goals.
Ask yourself the following to help you decide which ESP is right for you:
- Will I create email courses for my blog?
- Do I want to create automated emails to send to my subscribers?
- Do I want to track my subscribers product and service interests?
- Do I want an ESP that includes opt-in forms and landing pages for my incentives?
These are all important questions to consider, especially if you’re looking to create a profitable blog. And they’re all reasons why I chose ConvertKit as my provider.
2. Create an incentive to attract subscribers
If you’re not familiar, an incentive (AKA a freebie or lead magnet) is something valuable that you offer to your readers for free, in exchange for their email address.
An ethical bribe, if you will.
Not sure what kind of incentive to whip up?
Provide a solution to a specific problem or frustration your reader is dealing with. It should come in a format that is easily consumable and provides a quick fix.
A checklist. A cheat sheet. Maybe even a mini ecourse. Do your research, find out what your audience needs, and give it to them – for free.
I’ve also got a free course you can check out if you’d like a little extra guidance creating an irresistible freebie for your audience.
3. Promote your incentive everywhere
Create opt-in forms and include them all over your website so your readers can easily see what you’re offering and sign up to receive it.
I love using OptinMonster for this. It seriously takes minutes to customize my opt-in forms and sprinkle them throughout my website (in posts, on pages, in my sidebar, as pop-ups, etc) so my audience doesn’t miss them.
You also want to promote your incentive all over social media to get lots of eyeballs on it.
Post it in Facebook groups, pin it to Pinterest group boards, and tweet it on Twitter.
Promote your incentive everywhere your audience hangs out.
PLAN TO MONETIZE
Yep. If you want to make money with your blog, you need a strategy. Sometimes we get so ahead of ourselves, we forget this crazy important step.
Two successful ways to create a profitable blog are affiliate marketing and selling your own products + services.
1. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make passive income from day one of your blog. There’s no point in waiting to get started.
Hop on the affiliate marketing train ASAP!
You can make money by promoting someone else’s product or service through a special link they provide to you. Then, when people buy something using that special link, you make a commission. Awesome, right?
Wondering how to get started?
Identify a handful of products or services you use and love. Then think about the types of products or services your target audience could benefit from.
Consider joining a few great affiliate programs like these:
Develop a solid affiliate marketing strategy for your website and this stream of income can be ultra profitable for your blog.
Amy Lynn Andrews sums up affiliate marketing for the beginner perfectly in this blog post. Lots of good info right here.
2. Selling your products + services
You can also provide services such as blog coaching, freelancing, or becoming a Virtual Assistant (VA).
Or you can create products like an ecourse or ebook and sell it to your audience.
These are all popular ways bloggers make sustainable income with their websites these days.
Check out these helpful tips Danny Iny pulled together to help you create products that sell like crazy.
Start Your Blog and Make Money
Whelp! There you have it!
You’re totally capable of starting your blogging journey today!
Feeling pretty good about it?
Tell me in the comments. I want to hear from you!
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Related Posts to Read:
How To Make Money Blogging
How To Drive Traffic To Your Blog As A newbie Blogger
Free Images For Blog Posts And Social Media