The proof is in the pudding as they say. These are the exact nuts to bolts steps to start a successful blog from scratch – step by step. There are no hidden secrets, gimmicks or services I want to sell you. Just a super simple recipe that can and has turned blogs into million dollar a year businesses.
I’ve put together this guide from the top bloggers in the world who make over 1 million per year. That’s not a typo. Since I’ve implemented their methods I’ve made over 10K per month and I’m a newbie blogger. Most beginner bloggers quit because they think it’s easy. It is simple to set up a blog anyone can do it, on the other hand it’s not so easy to keep up with the level of consistency required.
Starting a new blog requires the same time and effort as starting any new business online or not. It requires three things; patience, persistence and perseverance. But if you want to be able to work from anywhere in the world, take vacations whenever you want, pay off debt or loans, and make unlimited passive income that most people only dream of in their lifetimes…hey, it’s not a bad gig:-)
Let’s get started.
Is Blogging a Business?
Make no mistake your blog is a business. The second you decide you want to make money off of it, it is a business and you should treat it as such. That means take it seriously.
In the blogging world you are sharing information with people who want to learn from your expertise. The acronym WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) should be your mantra. Because that is what people want to know from your blog. They don’t care about anything else trust me. Once you can provide them with valuable information that they can use that they keep coming back to you for (key) you are gaining their trust.
Your blog is a lead generation tool. Keep providing genuinely valuable information to your audience and they will look to you as their authority. They will purchase the advice you have to offer. Hopefully. If it solves their pain or their problem, whatever that is.
The Million Dollar Blogging Recipe
Step 1: Set up Your Blog
The first step is to set up your blog, but where should you start?
If you want to monetize your blog you need a self hosted blog. Self hosting is when you own your own domain. That means that you can’t have it hosted on a free host like blogger.com or Tumblr.com.
Why Do I Need A Self Hosted Blog?
If you own your own site and all of the contents then you can have ads on it, join affiliate programs and work with big brands and eventually have an ecommerce shopping page if you like.
A ‘Free’ host site can shut you down whenever they like because they own it. So keep that top of mind! You don’t want to do all that work for nothing!
A Note on Niches
You have to pick a niche for your blog. Don’t get talked into writing a ‘lifestyle blog’ unless you have a team of 100 people writing a gazillion articles for you. There’s way too much competition out there. Yes we all have a lot of different interests but you want to build an audience who come to you as an authority on a subject.
It’s too difficult as a beginning blogger to write about a huge niche like exercise one day and finances the next. You may want to focus on a smaller, more unique niche, i.e. Specific types of exercises, how to create a budget plan as a single mom, or even mapmaking
However, with that being said you want to write about something that has a huge audience as well.
A niche that is too unique and doesn’t have a lot of competition will be a tough sell. (There are always exceptions)
Read my post on niches to hone in on what you think is right for you.
Get a domain name. Run some ideas through a domain checker like godaddy, namecheap, networksolutions etc. to see what is available. Always pick one that gives people an idea of what your blog will be about and make sure it ends in .com.
Get Web hosting. You’ll see a lot of cheap hosting ads out there. I like Bluehost – it’s inexpensive, fast and their customer service rocks.
Install WordPress. I started on Squarespace but WordPress is hands down the best platform for beginning bloggers.
Upload a theme of your choice. Something that represents your style yet looks professional. There are free, low cost or premium themes from a variety of companies.
Mine is from PipDig in the UK. But there are thousands of gorgeous ones out there. Don’t stress too much over it – you can always change it up later if you’re not happy.
Update – now my theme is from WordPress built on the Genesis Framework.
Once you’re all set you’re ready to start writing, publishing content and drawing traffic!
Methods of Drawing Traffic to Your New Blog
There are two methods of drawing FREE traffic to your new blog:
- Search engines
- Social Media
To increase traffic through the search engines you have to do keyword research. Use Google’s FREE Keyword Tool, Buzzsumo and SEMrush. I also like the Jaaxy keyword research tool. It’s super user friendly and was actually developed for affiliate marketers.
Write amazing, eye catching, mega headlines that grab your ideal reader’s attention. Study Copyblogger for the best Copywriting practices and how to write stellar post headlines. This is so important because if no one clicks on your headline they won’t ever read your articles and you won’t drive any traffic!
Step 3: Convert Visitors into Email Subscribers
Every single blogger and online entrepeneur will tell you that building your email list is the most important thing you need to do and I’m no exception.
Growing your list will determine how successful your blog will be. This is because once you have emails you have a way to reach out to your readers. You don’t want people to visit your blog and leave, never to return again lost in cyberspace. Your job is to convince them to subscribe.
Get an automated email marketing system like Mailchimp which is FREE. I also recommend ConvertKit for bloggers.
Make certain you have a Sign-up form on your blog whether in pop up form, slider, or sidebar. It must be compelling and offer an invaluable incentive for them to sign up. Something they absolutely must have that is of value, that will solve their PROBLEM OR PAIN.
Step 4: Send Valuable Content That Builds Trust
People won’t buy from you unless they trust you and like you. Not everyone will like you but they must trust you. Don’t bombard them will things you are trying to sell. Build a relationship and a connection. Offer valuable free content, expertise and advice. Notice how I keep adding the word ‘value?’.
Once they see that you’re not just trying to sell them something they’ll be wondering if your knowledge, product or service is actually worth the price for your paid offerings.
However, and this is where many bloggers make a critical mistake. Never assume what your audience wants. Take your time and do your research to discover what your readers are truly looking to know.
Listen to your audience. Read their comments. Read their replies to your emails. Take surveys. Ask questions. Find out what their biggest problems are.
Then and only then do you spend the weeks and months it takes to create a product or service that SOLVES it.
Now these are the basic steps for creating a blog. As you can see it’s pretty simple. You need very little ‘techie’ knowledge to do it. The key is following the recipe and not swaying from it.
Types of Things Blogs Can Sell
How much money can you make from blogging?
The fact is, most bloggers make as much money as any other type of online entrepreneur in the beginning:
Which ain’t much. Why? Because most Quit. Plain and simple. Patience, persistence, perseverance.
And it’s not because there’s no money in it. Smartblogger makes more than $1 million per year, Making Sense of Cents over 150K per month, Chasing Foxes 100K monthly, Pinch of Yum, Just a Girl and Her Blog, ViralNova, ViperChill, Matthew Woodward, Pat Flynn…I could go on and on…and it’s nowhere close to the most profitable blogs out there.
The Penny Hoarder made 20 Million last year through Affiliate Marketing. Yup.
Step 5. Get Creative With Graphics
A good blog these days has to have an incredible design. There’s just too much competition out there to have a blasé website. If you have zero design skills no worries! There’s plenty of ways to get your blog looking stunning and professional with little cost these days.
If you don’t have the bucks to hire a web designer the stylish templates, stock images, graphics and fonts available today will captivate you with their beauty and formattable features.
Creative Market is a digital artist and bloggers dream! They have everything in the way of photos, themes, fonts, graphics, add-ons, plugins, palettes, even 3D!
Powered by Creative Market
Now, if you think this is really something you can put your time, passions, hopes, efforts, dreams and energy into, you’re ready to move onto the next part!
Blogging is simply awesome! It’s your own little part of the internet created especially by you! You can write about your passions and interests, help people with their problems, help them to be successful, teach what you already know or what you want to know, and be a part of an amazing community of other bloggers!
Get started on this amazing journey today! Sign up for my amazing traffic driving strategies and ways to make a full time living online. I wade through all the B.S. so you don’t have to.