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Wondering how to start blogging?
I can help you.
I have around 12 years of experience running digital marketing campaigns for several Series C funded startups.
Check my LinkedIn profile.
Even though I have worked extensively on digital marketing and had a good career, I have a regret.
Not starting a blog 10 years ago.
If you are stuck at work you dislike, facing difficulty in making paying bills or looking for a passive source of income, blogging can solve some of your problems.
Blogging requires literally zero capital to start, you can learn by yourself and it can make you money.
If you want to start blogging and make fast money, there is one thing I want to tell you right now.
Blogging is not an easy way to make money online.
That being said, I still say blogging is still better than a full time day job.
What good is a job when you have to drive two hours to get to work, listen to your boss, get along with people you do not like, drive home and years later get fired one fine day.
Even if you invest few hours a day into your blog while keeping your day job, in few months you can make some passive income and if it works out, you can even quit your day job.
But all of that is for the future (let’s not count chickens before they hatch).
There are bloggers who claim to give you secrets on how to make $50,000 if you just follow their instructions- let me tell you that is just pure bullshit.
They are most likely trying to keep you engaged by painting the picture of a blog as a money making machine (most likely they earn through affiliate links) or trying to sell you a course.
If you want to know how to start blogging, you will get all the necessary information right here.
This is without you having to read 10,000 words or taking a course.
I will give you a framework on how to start blogging, how to choose the right niche, elements of a successful blog and how you can make money from your blog.
After starting lot of online businesses, including blogs, I have understood that to make money online, the key is consistency.
As we look for instant gratification and even faster “get rich quick” schemes, we forget that sometimes the best things in life take time.
Even I have been guilty of that.
I jumped from one online business to another because when I do not make money fast, I get disappointed, lose motivation and think I can probably get rich fast with the next idea.
It’s not how many blogs or websites you start- its how many hours you can consistently put into a single website and then have the patience to wait till you start making money.
So without any further delay let’s get started.
How to Start Blogging in 2020 & Make Money
Ingredients You Will Need
If you have all of these, you can start a blog and make money online.
I can guide you with everything except for the last three things.
Those depend entirely on how committed you are to making your blog a success.
A Domain for Blogging
To start blogging, you need a domain.
A domain is your address on the worldwide web.
Think of it like your post card address to which people send you envelopes.
Without a good address, your mail can get lost.
Similarly, try to pick a good domain for your blog which is short, catchy and easy to remember.
You can even combine few words and make a memorable domain name.
If you still need help figuring out the right domain name, I have compiled a list of blog name generators which you can use.
So now that you have a domain, its time to go to hosting.
You can buy your domain from any of the popular domain registrars, it makes no difference.
Only one advise, try to avoid GoDaddy. I think they are scamsters.
Many times I have seen that when you search for a good domain and it is available, if you do not buy it the same moment, it is gone.
Then GoDaddy sends an email that this domain has been put on sale and will ask you 10x the original cost of the domain.
I’ve noticed this few times, still I use GoDaddy because thier customer support is good.
Hosting for Blogging
Hosting is the place where all your website’s content, images and other files reside.
Hosting is basically storage that allows you to keep your content linked to the domain to become accessible.
If you do not have reliable hosting, your website will go down from time to time.
I personally recommend people to start using a cheap hosting to start with so that they do not feel like they are wasting too much money during the initial days.
You can use Bluehost, they are cheap, reliable and offer good support.
While we are on hosting, I should tell you that I am an affiliate for Bluehost.
When someone buys a Bluehost hosting through my link, I get a commission.
This commission is what helps me earn from my website.
I also have a bunch of good premium themes which I can provide you with if you purchase your hosting plan through my Bluehost affiliate link.
I will also help you set up your website along with the theme so all you have to do is start writing the content.
The platform for your Blog
For any beginner level blogger, WordPress is the best platform for your blog. Period.
This is because WordPress is easy to install, support tons of themes and has unlimited plugins for customizations.
Without even considering platforms like medium or Squarespace or anything else, just install wordpress and you are good to go.
Depending on your hosting provider, you can directly install WordPress and install any of my free themes and start your blog.
Now, the next ingredient for your blog.
A Niche for Your Blog
A niche is your specific area of interest which you have some expertise and you can write content about.
Picking a good niche is absolutely critical to the success of your blog.
For example let us consider that you are passionate about driving and you have good knowledge on cars.
You can start an auto blog and start writing interesting content about cars.
Once your blog starts getting traffic you can monetize through ads, selling car accessories or even selling leads to automobile dealers.
I want you to carefully think about a few niches you can focus on and then decide on a single niche and some sub categories.
You should have a core audience and then some related audience who will also find the blog interesting.
For example, I write about business, earning money online, career planning and real estate.
If you are too confused about what niche to pick, I would suggest just start with your top three and see which category is getting you the most traffic.
Once you have figured out a winner, keep focusing on it and as you get traffic you will become more motivated.
Keyword Research for Blogging
No post on how to start blogging will be complete without keyword research.
There are billions of keywords for which people are dependent on Google for answers.
There are millions of websites that provide information related to these keywords to users.
So how will your blog stand out?
This is where you need to be smart.
I personally recommend Ahrefs as a keyword research tool.
You might have also heard of something called Google Keyword Planner.
Google Keyword Planner is basically for running paid ads on Google network and it can give a rough estimate on the keywords.
However, you will only get ranges for keywords (example from 10-100k) and this is not always very useful.
Ahrefs on the other hand can give you all information related to keywords, competitors who are ranking for these keywords and opportunities for ranking your content quickly.
I have also used SEMRush for keyword research, but in my opinion, nothing beats Ahrefs.
Ahrefs offers a 7 day free trial, so you can play around with the tool to find your best keywords and do competitive research.
I am not an affiliate of Ahrefs and I am recommending this product through personal experience. I can add an affiliate link for SEMRush and recommend it, but Ahrefs is the best tool and I rather you start your blog with the best tool.
If you need any help with your keyword research, let me know and I will help you with your keyword research and even take some time to explain to you how Ahrefs work and how you can use the tool for your competitive research.
There are broadly two types of keywords. Short Tail and Long Tail
Consider this keyword: Best Business Ideas – this is a short keyword for which competition will be high and it will require a lot of effort to rank.
Now consider this keyword. Best bluetooth earphones under 1000 – this is a long tail keyword which will be slightly easier to rank.
You need to identify short and long keywords and include both of them in your content so that you get traffic from people who are searching both these keywords and even related keywords.
When you start with blogging, just have a basic understanding of keywords and just start writing.
You will automatically add many keywords to your article and over a period of time you will start ranking.
Basics of SEO for Blogging
When you are staring with blogging, you need to focus on Search Engine optimization because you will not be spending money in promoting your content.
While SEO sounds complex and there are many SEO gurus who will confuse the hell out of you, I will keep things very simple.
This is what you need for SEO for your Blog.
- A Reliable hosting that is fast (Remember Bluehost?)
- Install WordPress (I will install and give you a premium theme)
- Configure Google Analytics (I can do this for you) to track traffic to your website
- Configure Google Search Console( I can do this for you) to track Google Search related information
- Write good long form content
- Optimize Title, Meta Description, Alt Tags, Interlinking
- Try to get backlinks from few good websites
That’s it. For someone who is learning how to start blogging-this is all the SEO you need.
The Actual Content
Now, we get to the heart of the matter. The actual content.
As you might have guessed, there is already a lot of content produced by people on the web.
Some are unique, some are rewritten and some are just plain copied.
You want your blog to be in the first category no matter what.
If you check this blog, you will find all the content including this article is 100% unique.
Its 3 A.M as I am writing this- there is no other version of this content that exists anywhere else on the web.
Sometimes you will need to rewrite content such as product descriptions or technical information or definitions.
However, you should always strive to write unique, original content-Google likes this and gives high weightage to original content creators.
How to Write content for your blog
Everyone, including you is a writer.
Because now our jobs demand some form of writing, all of us are writers.
We write emails, memos, ad copies, and even text messages.
I do not need to teach you how to write, but I will tell you my content creation process, maybe this will help you.
I identify the keywords
I identify related topics
I create a draft article on a word document with main topics and sub topics I want to cover in the article.
I start writing slowly. I write maybe 500 words at a time.
Then, after some time, I come back to the article and write another 300 words.
I break down the writing process into chunks of 30 minutes so that I do not get bored and my article keeps evolving with time.
At the end of the day, I have a unique article that is about 2000 words ready to be published.
Now, I create a good featured image for the article.
Then I check the URL, Meta Description, Alt Tags etc using Rank Math SEO Plugin.
However, I do not publish on the same day.
Next morning, I read the article again and make necessary changes and hit publish.
As soon as I publish, I also go to Google Search Console and Index the page.
Now, your content creation process is complete.
Google likes content that is frequently updated, so once in a month you can come back to your already published article and you can update it.
This adds more weightage to your content.
What if you do not have the time to write?
If you do not have the time to write well-researched, thought-out articles you can consider outsourcing content to freelance writers.
However, do remember that for most freelance writers, writing content is just a task and you cannot expect the same quality of work as if you were doing it.
My suggestion is to give a lot of research based work to freelancers and then you write on top of it to make the article better than competition.
Now, the last ingredient for making money online.
There is no such thing as making quick money online except e-commerce but for that you need to invest money and a lot of hard work.
For example, you get a product at USD 5, Get a Customer at USD 2, Add your margin, add your shipping cost and deliver- you make a profit.
When you are starting a blog, you will need time and patience.
From my experience, you need at least 6 months to 1 year to start seeing any kind of traction.
For the next 6 months, just have a blind faith that your blog will get traffic and keep churning out content.
During these 6 months, you can also identify social channels where you can push your content and start contributing to forums to drive traffic.
I never mentioned social media distribution before, because right now you need to focus on content and not distribution.
If you think you have written a great piece and it deserves to go viral or have a massive number of shares- you will be disappointed when it doesn’t. Stick to the basics.
You will slowly start seeing results.
Along the way, you can ask me any questions and I am here to help you.
Making Money Through Blogging
Once you have traffic, I can tell you many ways to make money from your blog.
But traffic is the key.
Not just mixed traffic, targeted traffic who likes your content and keeps coming back for more.
I do not know if you know the concept of 1000 true fans but I will tell you.
1000 True Fans in Blogging
In 2008, WIRED editor Kevin Kelly wrote an article on the concept of creators requiring only 1000 true fans to make a good living and I think its a great concept for blogging.
Imagine you have 1000 true fans for your blog.
These people are really passionate about your blog and would be willing to contribute USD 100 to you over a period of 1 year.
That’s USD 8.3 in a month.
With these 1000 true fans, you can earn $100,000 a year.
Obviously it is a very simplified version of the actual content creator-fan relationship but I think there is some merit in pondering over the concept.
If you can get 10 people to buy your course of USD 50 in a month, thats USD 500 every month.
As you go along and get more traffic, you can keep doubling that number.
Back to making money from your blog.
If you have traffic, you can do the following to make money from your blog.
You place ads on your website, users click, you get money. Simple.
Now there are people who will tell you ads ruin the experience on the blog and to some extend it is true.
But for new bloggers, the easiest way to monetize is to place ads.
Once you have some organic traffic, you can apply for Google Adsense and then let Google place ads automatically on your website.
You refer products or services to your audience and you get a commission when someone makes a purchase.
Remember, the BlueHost affiliate I showed you earlier? Same way!
If your blog is into pets, you can put affiliate links on Amazon for petcare related products and earn commission when someone buys the product.
Affiliate commissions only work with scale, so if you are getting very few visitors to your blog, the first step should be increase traffic.
Affiliate marketing, like email marketing, is a numbers game.
The more people click on your affiliate link, the more chances are there of people buying.
Selling Ebooks, Courses & Digital Products
Once you have built up a good audience who are engaged with your content, you can consider trying to sell courses, ebooks or digital products.
The beauty of digital products is that once you create a product, every sale gives you almost 90% margin.
What you will need to sell digital products is a landing page & a payment gateway-that’s it.
But make sure that your digital product such as eBooks or courses are adding value to your audience or they will never buy another product again.
From my experience, affiliate and digital courses are the best way to earn money from your blog and ads is the easiest way to make money.
I have enabled Google “Auto-ads” on this website so I am letting Google place ads on the website.
To sum up, this is what you need to do to make money from blogging.
If you need any more help to start blogging, do let me know and I will personally respond to you. Good luck with your blogging journey!