Find your niche
The first thing you need to do after deciding that you’re going to start a blog is choosing the niche. Why? Your blog must be focused on one topic, or it won’t rank in Google.
You see, Google ranks your blog and it’s posts based on the keywords that you choose.
If your blog is all over the map with a ton of different keywords, you’ll confuse Google. Your goal is to make sure Google knows what your site is about so it can direct the right people to your posts.
If you’re selling fishing equipment on your blog, it’s useless if someone goes to it after a Google search looking for cupcake recipes.
How to choose your niche
Your niche should be something that you’re genuinely interested in. You don’t want to choose a niche only because you think that it will make you money. It’s a mistake to enter into something with only the aspirations of making money. You will not succeed if all of your focus is on money because you’ll get bored writing the content.
Choose a niche that you are passionate about and then find a way to make money from it. If you can get traffic, there are a million ways to turn it into cash. The first thing you have to do is have the passion and drive to succeed, and from there, anything is possible.
Brainstorm and come up with ideas
Sit in front of your computer or scribble down on a piece of paper a list of ideas would make for good niches for you to enter. Don’t worry at this point if the niches seem a little odd or far out there. A couple of the niches that you jot down are going to be a little weird.
We’re talking about the first things that come to your mind while brainstorming, so it’s acceptable that there would be a few abnormalities in the mix. You might be surprised to learn that those weird ideas could very well be niches that don’t have much competition.
You need to find a niche that doesn’t have a million people creating blogs about so you can carve your spot into the niche and be seen as an influencer.
Take a look at the metrics of your niche ideas
The way that you quickly see how much traffic and the difficulty of ranking in Google for your niche is by using something called Ubersuggest. You can use it for free, and it has a lot of information that paid tools offer.
Using Ubersuggest will give you an idea of how difficult it is to rank for a keyword and how much traffic you can expect. It isn’t flawless, and some question the numbers, but it’s an excellent free tool to help you.
The information is accurate enough where it will guide you to settle down on a niche that you can work with.
What you’re trying to do more than anything is to come up with a niche with a decent amount of traffic that isn’t full bloggers competing for it.
Why choose WordPress.org?
The reason you want to use WordPress.org is that it enables you to host your own blog. WordPress.com is both a free and paid blog hosting platform that’s good, but it doesn’t offer the flexibility that many bloggers are searching for.
You will find that WordPress.com severely limits what you can do with your blog, such as the plugins you’re allowed to use and the design of your site. Flexibility isn’t what they’re about; WordPress.com is all about offering solutions for bloggers who want a more hands-off approach to running their blog.
If none of that convinces you, maybe this will; sites like VOGUE, The White House, The Walt Disney Company use WordPress as their CMS. They use the same content management system that you will on your blog.
The reasons why governments, nonprofits, and also mega corporations use WordPress is because it’s safe, secure, and free.
It’s much cheaper to host your WordPress blog elsewhere
Let’s be honest and say that WordPress.com isn’t cheap. Sure, it’s a great service, but it’s not budget-friendly. You can host your own copy of WordPress for much cheaper. The savings alone make the choice a no brainer for many people.
The average blogger will end up paying way more than they should when using WordPress.com. The advantages don’t outweigh the disadvantages, and that’s why price-conscious consumers go with hosting their blog.
Flexibility is important so you can scale up when needed
The lack of flexibility is a huge concern for bloggers who want to grow their business. You might want to have more functionality on your blog or do something that WordPress.com doesn’t allow.
They are so strict that almost anything that you can think of isn’t allowed. It isn’t far fetched to believe that as soon as your site grows and you want to make the user experience better, you won’t be able to because of their restrictions.
You may find that the support is better when hosting your own WordPress
It’s three in the morning, and your blog is down. If you’re using a well-known host with around the clock support, you’re not going to sweat it. All you have to do is submit a ticket or enter their live chat, and someone will get right to work trying to figure out what your problem is.
A big hosting company has the resources to make sure that no matter what time of day, there is someone there to help you. It could be a holiday, weekend, or in the middle of the night, and your questions will be addressed quickly by a highly skilled professional.
Pick a domain name
The first thing you need to realize when choosing a domain name is, all of the good domains were taken about twenty years ago. Seriously, most of the great domain names are gone. Don’t worry; you can still find something that is useable.
You aren’t going to get a short little four character domain name that has no numbers in it or anything like that unless you have deep pockets. The average person reading this will snag an unregistered domain name and build their site using it.
That’s okay because a domain is only as good as you brand it. Anyone who thinks that a blog has to have a super tiny URL is out of their mind.
Make a list of the keywords associated with your niche
Try to come up with ten to twenty keywords that people associate with your blog’s niche. You can then enter those keywords into a domain name generator to see if anything pops up. What a generator will do is, it’ll add a suffix or prefix to your keywords to see if there’s anything available.
Using a generator will help you shorten the time it takes to come up with a good domain. Though, you probably shouldn’t solely rely on the generator because it might spit out things that aren’t completely useful.
Sometimes the best domains are those that you come up with out of the blue when you are doing something like vacuuming the floor. A domain will pop into your mind, and you’ll grab your phone and see if it’s available.
Harness the power of multiple domain name generators at once
Name Mesh is a fantastic service that pulls data from over 20 domain name generators at once. You can easily find many different available domains using this free service, and it only takes a few short seconds. Add your keywords and then let the generator work its magic.
It won’t be long until it spits out a list of available domains that you can scroll through. Try putting in every one of your keywords and checking out the list of domains it generates.
Don’t only add one of your keywords since to utilize this service to its maximum benefit; you should try all of your keywords and see what happens.
You can run through a list of ten keywords in a few minutes, and you could end up finding a real gem.
Why is your domain name so important?
Your domain name is your brand, and it’s something that you can’t forget. If people forget your brand, they forget your domain name. It’s pretty simple, really.
Your domain should be short, hopefully, two words at the most. The domain you choose should contain at least one of your keywords.
You want people to associate your domain with the niche they’re interested in. If your blog is about gardening, your domain should say something about gardening, plants, or something people would associate with your interest. Don’t choose a second rate domain because you’re in a hurry to create your blog.
Find a domain that people can remember, even if it takes you a little while.
Get a web hosting
Why do I recommend Bluehost?
Bluehost has been around for what feels like forever. You can trust Bluehost to deliver a superior product along with top-notch support. It’s impossible to overemphasize how vital quality hosting is for your blog.
The things I like about Bluehost is you get a ton of features, the hosting is super fast, and they have the support that is right there day and night.
You don’t have to worry about your blog disappearing, and if something does happen, they are always there to help you. If all that wasn’t enough, their prices are almost impossible to beat, considering the quality of service.
They’re able to offer such high-quality service at significantly lower prices than most hosts because they have a ton of customers.
Bluehost is one of the most popular hosts on the internet. Bluehost owns their own equipment, the data center, and their support staff are in the house, and all three of those things are why they can pass the savings onto you.
You can rest assured that Bluehost isn’t going away any time soon. You can host your site with them today and continue on for five or ten years if you want. Bluehost will be here for as long as you are a blogger, and that’s nice because it’s one less thing you have to worry about.
The hosting space is filled with plenty of fly by night companies, but Bluehost isn’t one of them.
3. Quick support
4. Premium bandwidth
5. New servers
6. Easy to use WordPress installer
7. Money-back guarantee
8. Endorsed by WordPress
Here are the steps you need to take to join Bluehost
You will need to visit Bluehost before you can become a customer.
Select hosting plan
There are four different plans you can choose from. They are Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro. Read through each of the plans and see which one is best for you.
Create your domain name
If you already have a domain name, please use that. You can also buy a domain through Bluehost if you prefer. They make it really easy to buy a domain name and if you haven’t bought yours yet, now is as good of a time as any.
Register with Bluehost
You’ve now decided which plan to buy. Now you have to register and get the ball rolling.
Add account information
Go through and all of your personal information. Bluehost needs this so they can contact you if necessary. They also need your info to protect against fraudulent customers who try to rip them off.
Don’t worry; you can feel safe when giving Bluehost your private information. They won’t do anything with it.
Select your hosting plan
You’ll have to select your hosting plan from the four we spoke about earlier. If you’re worried that you might outgrow your account, you can always order the next size up. The prices are cheap enough where you can go to the next level without breaking your piggy bank.
Package extras (Check the Domain Privacy Protection)
Here is where you check out all the bells and whistles Bluehost offers. Do any of them appeal to you? If they do, get them. If not, just keep on going with the ordering process.
Payment information and Submit
Fill out the payment information so they can charge you and then click submit.
Create your account
Click the “Create your account” button
Enter your password and complete the account set up
Click the “Go to login” button
Enter“Email or Domain Name” and “Password”
Create your website
Before Launch your blog, answer the following questions and choose a theme.
Choose a free theme at the beginning, and the Premium theme has to be paid. You don’t have to use a paid theme if you don’t want to. There’s no reason why you can’t stick to a free theme for your blog if that’s what you want.
Launch your blog
Click the “Launch My Website” button.
Click the “WordPress” button into Dashboard, or you can enter the “yourdomainname.com/wp-admin” to access your WordPress login page.
Change your theme
Move the cursor to the “Appearance” click “Themes” and click WordPress.org Themes.
You can preview the theme first, click install, and then Activate.
Delete other themes
You’ll see that WordPress already comes with several themes added for your convenience. You can delete those themes, and it’s a good idea that you do so. Even though the theme isn’t in use, it could be a security risk down the line if hackers find a vulnerability in the theme.
Customize your blog
Customization for each theme will be slightly different. It’ll take you a little time to get your blog’s look and feel the way you want it. Don’t expect that you’ll have the design down right out of the gate.
The layout is the basic design of your site. Think of it as the lay of the land. Here you get to choose the layout style of your site.
The header is the area at the very top of your site. Usually, there are links, a logo, and other things in the header.
The footer is at the very bottom of the page. Sometimes people use the footer area to link such things as a contact us page and about us page.
Colors & Background –
The background is the background of your site. You can change the background to an image or modify the color. You can change the colors of almost anything you want within WordPress.
Typography is the size, color, and font of the type. Simply put, typography controls the way the words look on your page. If you’re happy with the way things are, no need to touch anything here.
The buttons are the things that people click on. You can change and modify how the buttons look. It’s probably best to keep the buttons the way they are unless you have a theme that requires something a little more unique.
Menus are the things that you click on and pull down. You can change the way they look in this section.
Widgets add functionality to your site. You can use them to control what’s in the sidebar and footer. The widgets area is literally to drag and drop to make everything work.
Homepage settings –
The homepage is the front page of your site. When people visit the root of your domain, what they see is controlled by your homepage settings.
Additional CSS –
If you’re a programmer, this is the area where you put in additional CSS code to change your design or to add functionality. If you’re not a designer, don’t worry about this area.
Install WordPress Plugins
I recommend installing these plugins
MonsterInsights is a plugin that makes using Google Analytics really easy. The reason why you want to use Google Analytics is that you won’t understand who is coming to your blog.
You’ll get all kinds of detailed information about the visitors to your blog, and you’ll be able to use it to help you create content that people find useful.
Contact Form 7–
Contact Form helps you create contact forms so people can, well, contact you. You need to give people an easy way of getting a hold of you, and using this plugin enables you to do that.
Yoast SEO -–
Yoast SEO has been the gold standard for SEO plugins for quite a few years now. Using Yoast is like having an experienced SEO expert looking over your shoulder while you’re producing content. The plugin guides you as you publish your posts, and it will tell you what needs improvement.
Easy Table of Contents–
Easy Table of Contents enables you to quickly and easily create tables of content. A table of content is nice because it allows you to give the user a ton of information in a format that is easy to digest.
WP Super Cache –
WP Super Cache is a plugin that caches your pages for those who frequently visit your site. If your pages are cached onto their device, they will load faster.
Akismet Anti-Spam –
Spam is a huge problem for blogs because people are always trying to get backlinks from comments. Akismet Anti-Spam helps you weed through the spammers so that you don’t have to sift through tons of comments to find actual readers of your blog.
Write your first post and promote your blog
Let’s Go Write Your First Blog Post
Click the Posts item on the left, and then click the Add new button
The save draft feature allows you to save a piece of content that you’re working on. You might not want to publish the post now or want to get up from the computer to do something else. You can save the draft so that it’s there for when you’re ready to work on it again.
The preview feature will allow you to preview your post before posting it. Previewing your post comes in handy when you’re unsure how it will look and want to make sure everything displays the way you want it to.
Pressing the publish button will make your post go live. If you publish your post, it will then be visible on the front page. The only press publishes if you’re ready for the public to see your final work. If the post isn’t ready, save as a draft and keep editing it until you’re ready to make it famous.
Promote Your Blog
Now that you have your blog online and there are posts, you’re ready to start getting traffic to it. It’s going to take you some time before the traffic pours into your blog. That’s okay because after your blog builds up a big following, you will then be able to turn it into cash. You can’t make money from your blog if there is no one visiting it.
SEO is a long term goal to get traffic
It’s going to take you a long time before you start to see any traction at all from Google. It takes about nine months for a piece of content to receive the maximum amount of traffic from Google daily. That’s why it’s crucial that you routinely publish new content so that your blog has fresh visitors coming in every day.
Social media can blast content to your blog
Like with SEO, you are building up social media accounts that take quite a bit of time. You can’t expect to grow your account overnight and receive thousands of visitors every day.
It will take you a few months before you’re able to build up social media accounts big enough to send you the amount of traffic required to become profitable.
Reddit can send you traffic, but whatever you do, don’t spam
People on Reddit hate spam, and they won’t tolerate it. If you spam Reddit, it won’t be pretty. Build up a following on Reddit, and some of those people will eventually click on over to your blog and check it out.
Blog comments can deliver some backlinks and readers
People overlook blog comments because they view them as spam. Blog comments aren’t spammy if you do them right. Seek out blogs that have high-quality posts with an active commenting community.
If you can become a valued member of the community, you can drive traffic using your profile name’s backlink. It won’t drive massive amounts of traffic, but you might get few extra dedicated readers who help your blog grow.
Forums are old school, but still pretty active
You’ll have to dig around to find forums that are still active. Quite a few forums are long gone, but that doesn’t mean they are forgotten. A forum should be treated, much like blog comments, in that you must become a valued member of the community.
If you are seen by the regulars of the forum as a valued member, they might allow you to post a link back to your site. Also, if the forum allows for signatures or a profile, you can utilize them to deliver traffic and boost your SEO.
Make money Blogging
How do you make money with your blog? That’s a question every blogger asks themselves at some point. You’re probably not going to have one way that you monetize the traffic to your blog. You will more than likely have several different ways that you make money.
You want to diversify how you profit from your hard work so that in case something happens to one income stream, you’re not left in the dark.
Someone would rarely end up losing their entire revenue stream, but it happens. Sometimes commissions are cut, or the company goes under, and you’re left trying to figure out what to do next.
Display ads make money without the worry of conversions
Display ads are like those from AdSense from Google. All you have to do to make money using display ads is to put them on your pages. You don’t have to do anything else, and there’s no selling involved.
You spend all of your time driving traffic to your site, and the ads will put some money in your pocket.
Affiliate marketing is super popular, and there’s a reason why that is
The reason why you hear about bloggers making bank with affiliate marketing is that they are. Affiliate marketing is where you promote a company’s products or services, and they pay you a commission. It’s best if you focus on building up a niche blog where you can sell stuff that people need.
Get subscribers to your email list and propel your business to great new levels
Have you ever wondered why some bloggers seem to make a killing? It’s because they focus on building their email list. Their list gives them the best opportunity to make money because all of the people who joined are interested in what they have to offer.
You will never find a better source of traffic than that which comes from your email list. Every person who visits your blog should be asked if they want to join your list. Remember, every person who joins your list will be ripe for marketing to down the line.
The reason why you want to spend so much time and effort building your list is, most people will never come back to your blog. They will find it through Google, and that’s it. If you have people subscribed to your email list, they will continuously consume your content. You also have a better chance of turning them into customers.
An email list subscriber is invaluable because they can be your customer for the rest of their lives.
What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
The difference is WordPress.com is a free and paid hosting platform for WordPress. WordPress.org is where you get your copy of WordPress and plugins that add functionality to the content management system or CMS. You should think of WordPress.com as a hosting platform for WordPress that does all the work for you.
The problem is, they also have quite a few restrictions that make hosting your WordPress site quite difficult.
Bloggers who want total control over their blog will go to WordPress.org and download the CMS and upload it to their host. Most hosts these days, such as Bluehost, have installers so that you don’t have to go through all that. At Bluehost, you click a few buttons, input your information, and then WordPress is installed for you.
The whole process takes less than five minutes, and you don’t need to be a tech whiz by any stretch of the imagination.
The vast majority of blogs on the internet are self-hosted using the script from WordPress.org. A tiny percentage of the sites use WordPress.com because of the high cost and the inability to customize your blog.
WordPress.com’s main users are bloggers who use their free service, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re not taking your business seriously.
Even those who use their paid service find themselves frustrated over time because they want to do things to their blog that they can’t. WordPress.com restricts what themes and plugins that you can use on your blog.
It’s this strict control that makes many bloggers so frustrated that they’re willing to leave and never look back.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog?
The two main factors in the cost of starting a blog are your domain and hosting. Hosting at Bluehost will cost you between roughly $50 to $100 per year. A domain will cost you between $8 to $15 per year, depending on the domain registrar that you use and the extension.
You should stick with .com extensions so that you don’t end up being stuck with high renewal fees. Sometimes the other extensions will be cheaper for the first year then the following years; it will cost much more to renew them.
You also have to factor in plugins and themes
There are both free and paid plugins and themes that you can use with WordPress. Many beginner bloggers start with free themes and work their way to paid versions. If you’re really doing great with your blog, you can pay someone to create a theme for you from scratch.
A theme can cost anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. The main thing that you must keep in mind when buying a theme is that some themes require you to pay a yearly fee.
It’s best to find a theme that you can buy with a one-off price, but those themes tend not to offer very good support.
Plugins offer functionality to your WordPress site but often do so at the expense of site speed. If you use too many plugins, you will notice a drastic drop in how quickly your blog loads.
It’s best to use as few plugins as possible, and that’s why you may want to avoid them at all costs if possible.
How Do I Start a Successful Blog?
You begin by choosing the right niche. You find a niche that you enjoy writing about that isn’t overcrowded with the competition. From there, you do proper keyword research to make sure that you’re writing content that isn’t bombarded with a ton of keywords that you can’t rank for.
After that, you then promote your blog. Let’s go through this step by step, so you have a better understanding.
- Choosing the right niche for you
The best niche is one that you can do with little to no research. Why is that? You don’t want to spend all of your time doing research and not creating content.
Yes, some of your content will require you to do a massive amount of research, but the majority of your posts won’t be like that. Instead, they will be shorter posts that you will be able to write off the top of your head since you’re an expert in the niche.
2. Keyword research is the one area most people fail in
You need to spend the time searching Google for keywords that don’t have much competition. The way you do that is by performing searches and also checking out the top listings.
If you see that the three listings at the top are weak, that means you have an excellent chance of outranking them with high-quality content.
3. Create posts that are the best you can
High-quality content is what Google wants, and it’s the only thing that they will list. It’s not difficult to figure this out, but most people want to cut corners. If you produce content that isn’t worthy of Google listing it in the top three spots, it won’t.
Plain and simple, Google won’t show your content any love if it sucks. You must create high-quality content that Google will send traffic to. Google will know if your site is worth top listing because it will watch how its users react when they reach your site.
4. Monetize your blog to be rewarded for your efforts
Making money is the next logical step, and you can do that through a variety of means. You can run display ads, create digital products, or make money through affiliate marketing.
New bloggers overemphasize the importance of monetization before they begin to get traffic to their blog. Worry about getting traffic to your blog, and then you can spend time trying your best to make money off of it.
Every post on your blog is another chance to make money. You see, Google lists each page of your blog and not only the root of the domain. That means if you have 150 posts, you have 150 opportunities to get traffic from Google.
Never forget that you can build an unlimited amount of posts, and they’ll get traffic as long as the content on them is high quality.
How Do I Start a Food Blog?
A food blog is going to be reliant on multimedia, such as images and videos. So, with that in mind, you have to take plenty of pictures of the food. Do food bloggers cook the food themselves or get it at restaurants?
Well, that’s totally up to you. Some food bloggers cook and also showcase what’s available to them from local restaurants. You will have to create such a high amount of content that you’ll have to go out of your way to come up with different sources.
- A food blog must be artistic and knowledgeable
There is a certain artistic slant to a food blog that most bloggers don’t seem to appreciate. The art tends to be found mostly in the pictures taken for the blog. You have to present the food in a way that makes it palatable to the end-user.
You want the person to wish they could take the food off of the plate, somehow over the internet, and eat it.
2. Build your brand on Instagram and YouTube
You need to take advantage of social media to get your food blog off the ground. Food blogs are personality-driven, which means you’ve got to somehow get your personality across in your content. People just like you if you are to make any headway as a food blogger.
The way that you introduce yourself to people is through social media and YouTube. By the way, many people think of YouTube as a social media platform, and you can use it to give people the chance to get to know you.
What you’re trying to do is present yourself in a way where people can learn about who you are and what drives you to be so interested in the food scene.
3. Above all else, have fun
The readers of your blog will know if you’re enjoying yourself or not. If you’re not having a blast, no one will ever follow your blog or social accounts. Smile, be happy and do whatever in the world of food that excites you.
If you like to cook at home, whip up some delicious dishes and share them with the world. If you’re the type who loves takeout food, do your best to eat and document your experience at as many restaurants as possible.
How can I increase my blog traffic fast?
There are a few traffic sources where you can deliver a blast of visitors to your blog. You need to be careful because you don’t want to be seen as a spammer. If people think that you’re spamming a platform, it won’t work.
So, with that in mind, you will need to be extremely careful when using these methods. They will get you fast traffic, but the risk is that they will cause you to get banned from the platform, and if that happens, you’re not going to get any benefit from it ever again.
You’ll also tarnish the good reputation of your blog, and that’s never a good thing.
- Reddit has millions of visitors, and they visit sites
Yes, they do. Some people think that Reddit users only hang out on the site and nothing else. If you want to get a super amount of traffic to your blog fast, Reddit is the place to go.
It’s not unheard of for people to get thousands of views to their blog within an hour or two after going viral. It does happen all the time, and it’s surprising considering how easy it is to post on Reddit.
The thing is, you don’t want to spam the platform, or people will begin to downvote your posts. Instead, build up a following on the platform and do your best to get them to come over to your blog.
You can do this without spamming, but it will take you some time before you can do it consistently.
2. Facebook groups are where the action is
It is the second most visited site on the internet, and it’s the number one social networking site. Facebook groups are loaded with tons of people who are more than ready to check out your blog.
You will need to add value to the group before any of them will click on over to your posts.
If you spam Facebook groups, you will be banned, and your traffic source will dry up. Instead of spamming, try your best to provide high-quality content to the people in the group.
If you do, you’ll be able to drive all kinds of traffic to your blog posts, and it will be almost instant.
You can also start your own Facebook group and get people to join it.
How do I get traffic to my new blog?
It’s going to take some time for your new blog to get traffic. Patience is required of you, and you’ll realize that after you create a few posts that seem to go nowhere. What you want to do is spend your time creating quality content while building a following.
If you create content that Google ranks high, and you find plenty of like-minded people on social media and elsewhere, the traffic will start to flow. It will take Google several months to send traffic to your pages, but that’s okay since the traffic is steady.
Build relationships with people on social media
You don’t want just any followers on social media; you need people who are going to interact with your content. If you spend time building up a solid following, you will be able to market to those people.
You have to build up an online reputation, and from there, you can start to form the type of partnerships that matter.
Remember, your social media followers are real people, and all of them can become your customers. If you view them only as numbers, you’re doing yourself a disservice because you won’t develop the type of relationship required to make money from them.
Search Engine Optimization is a long term game
You do want traffic from Google, but it will take you a long time to get it. We’re talking months and years. The traffic you get from Google is worth more than gold, so in the end, it doesn’t matter how long it takes.
Your blog is going to be online forever, so a few months isn’t that long if you think about it. The way you get traffic from Google is you do proper keyword research, build backlinks, and do your best to find people who will become repeat readers.
Quora is often an overlooked source of traffic
Most people don’t think about Quora when they think of ways to drive traffic to their site. However, Quora is a fantastic traffic source. If people find the answers that you provide to questions useful, they will click on over to your site.
It’s fairly easy to get traffic from Quora, and they rank pretty high in Google. Quora gets millions of visitors, and they do click on links in the answers. Don’t spam Quora, since the answers are up and downvoted. The last thing you want is for your answer to getting downvoted, and no one sees it.