Hello! My name is Jared, and welcome to my humble blog.
Since I started this blog, I’ve already earned thousands of dollars of mostly passive income. It’s been such a life-changing moment for me. Because of this small, humble blog, I can now work wherever and whenever I want (mostly at home in my PJs) while earning a fulltime income. I no longer have to worry about a boss, or a toxic work environment, or long commutes, or any of that. Because of blogging, I’ve been able to take back my life, to take control of it, and to get more out of it every single day.
Now I’d like to help you achieve all of that, too. So, I’ve created this tutorial to help you make a living off blogging, and make your blog a ticket to financial freedom and a more fulfilling life.
This tutorial is split into three big parts. The first part teaches you how to start a blog for beginners from scratch. The second part teaches you how to grow your blog, attract readers, and build a loyal following. The third part teaches you how to monetize your blog, from the best ways to make money from blogging to earning a fulltime income off your own blog.
Plus, there’s plenty of interesting info added, to help you fully understand what blogging is, why is it so popular, and why should you start your very own blog.
Ready? Let’s begin.
How to start a blog (summary)
If you’re pressed for time, here’s a preview and a summary on how to start a blog for beginners, from scratch, in just a few simple steps.
STEP 1: Pick your blog topic (niche)
Choose the topic, or niche, you want to blog about. It could be anything – personal finance, motherhood, solo travel, or a minimalist lifestyle. But make sure it’s a topic that you’re passionate and knowledgeable in, something that other people are interested in as well, has a money-making potential (if you want to earn money off your blog), and has a future (it’s a topic for the long-term).
STEP 2: Choose your blog name (domain)
Next, choose a name for your blog. It’s called the domain name (think of google.com or wikipedia.com) Again, it could be anything you want. But the ideal domain name is something no one uses yet (every domain is unique), is easy to remember and type in, and has the appropriate domain name extension (it’s the .com, .net, etc. part). Also, you have to pay for the right to own a particular domain name.
You can check if your tentative domain is available using the nifty little tool below. If it’s available, you can then register and buy it in the next step.
STEP 3: Set up your web hosting
Web hosting is the paid service that puts your blog online and allows it to be seen and accessed by you and other people. Your best choice for web hosting is the Basic Plan from Bluehost. It’s perfect for beginners and is very affordable. It’s guaranteed to make your blog load fast, keep it safe and secure from hacking, and keep it online at all times. Plus, you get your own domain name for free for one year!
To purchase the Basic Plan from Bluehost, click the button below. It will direct you to Bluehost’s website. Then on that page, click HOST YOUR SITE, then GET STARTED, then under BASIC PLAN, click SELECT.
STEP 4: Set up WordPress
WordPress is an amazing software that lets you customize your blog and publish content online. Think of it as your blog’s operating system. As many as 40% of all websites on the Internet use WordPress. Fortunately, when you buy one of Bluehost’s web hosting plan, WordPress is installed for you for free. Simply complete Bluehost’s step-by-step guide on setting up your blog to launch WordPress.
STEP 5: Customize your blog
You can change the look and layout of your blog with a theme, and enhance your blog’s functionality with plugins. Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard, and on the lefthand menu, you’ll see the options for THEMES and PLUGINS where you can change your theme and add plugins respectively.
STEP 6: Start creating content
Once everything is set up, you can now start creating content, i.e., your pages and posts. Begin by creating your basic webpages like home page, about page, and contact page. Then you can start writing your first ever blog post.
Again, this is just a summary of how to start your blog from scratch. You can find the full version of the tutorial if you scroll down below. It’s complete with all the information and details you’ll need. You can also find the tutorial on how to grow your blog, attract readers, and build a loyal following. And finally, you can also find the guide on how to monetize your blog, which includes the best ways to earn off blogging and a sample roadmap towards making a fulltime income with your blog.
What is a blog?
A blog is a website that features regularly updated content – known as posts, entries, or articles – all arranged in a chronological order, with the newest ones appearing first.
It contains information and/or the personal thoughts, opinions, observations, and experiences of a writer, or a group of writers, on a particular topic. Blogs are often written in an informal or conversational style.
All blogs are either websites or part of websites. But not all websites are blogs. For one, many websites aren’t regularly updated like blogs are.
The word ‘blog’ is simply a shortened version of the word ‘weblog’, because when blogging was invented sometime in the 1990s, the first ever blogs functioned like an online journals or diaries. It’s there that people would write about – or log – their day-to-day happenings and share personal stories.
Today, blogs have grown into more than just online journals and diaries. While some modern blogs still can – and still do – function like online journals and diaries, most now serve as reliable sources of useful information and instruction on every topic imaginable, from personal finance, travel, fashion, fitness, motherhood, interior design, home gardening, to politics and economics.
Why are blogs so popular?
From a handful of blogs in the early 90s (they weren’t even called blogs back then), today there are now more than 600 million blogs on the Internet, out of a total of over 1.9 billion websites. That means roughly one in every three websites is a blog. Meanwhile, 3 billion blog posts are published each year.
In the US alone, there are more than 32 million bloggers who post at least once a month. That’s equivalent to around a tenth of the total US population, or almost one in ten Americans!
It’s clear then that almost thirty years since the first blog was created, blogging has not only survived, but has managed to thrived, and in fact is only continuing to flourish.
But why are blogs so popular, and why are they only increasing in popularity? Here are the best reasons why.
1. Blogs can be anything
The first blog was nothing more than an online journal or diary. Today, a blog can be whatever you want it to be.
You can blog about anything – food, fashion, fitness, or frogs. You can write however you want – formal or conversational, technical or creative, etc. You can create short-form or long-form content. You can publish tutorials, recipes, guides, travelogues, listicles, reviews, testimonies, case studies, news articles, feature stories, journal entries, or whatever. You can also use different types of content other than written, like images, infographics, audio, video, and the like.
It’s not just about the content though – you can design the look of your blog however you want. You can add a variety of plugins to give your site enhanced or entirely new functionalities. And you can make you blog private or public, free or paid, and more. The bottom line is that blogs are versatile, adaptable, and multipurpose. In blogging, the only limit is your imagination. You define your own space. You set your own rules. You create the content you want.
2. Blogs are useful
A large chunk of all the information on the World Wide Web can be found on blogs. That’s because blogs comprise close to a third of all websites on the Internet. So every time you search something online, there’s a high chance that you’ll get your answer from a blog.
Think about the last time you searched something on the Internet. When you wanted a budget travel guide for a tropical island getaway, you probably found it on a travel blog. When you were looking for new recipes to try at home, you likely discovered them off a food blog. And when you needed advice and guidance for new moms, you learned valuable insights after reading a couple of mommy blogs.
Blogs contain so much valuable information and knowledge. They provide answers to your questions and solutions to your problems. That’s how useful blogs are.
3. Blogs are effective
Blogging is effective; it delivers results, both for blog visitors and the bloggers themselves.
For visitors, blogs offer interesting and useful content, from personal finance tips, productivity hacks, postnatal care procedures, to political discourse. Blogs provide information, offer insight, and kindle inspiration. And people trust blogs – did you know that blogs are rated as the fifth most trusted source for accurate online info?
For bloggers, on the other hand, blogging is a perfect way to share your story, knowledge, interests, and experiences. It’s a powerful way to connect with people across the world, build a community, and create meaningful relationships. It’s a low-cost yet effective way to promote your brand or business and reach out to new and existing customers. And it’s a profitable way to earn money, whether that’s money on the side, a fulltime income, or something more.
4. Blogs are easy to start
Gone are the days when blogging was solely the preserve of computer or Internet geniuses. Today, everyone and anyone can start their own blog. All you need is a laptop, a decent Internet connection, and a couple of bucks a month to pay for web hosting to get your blog going.
And you don’t even need to be a techy person to start a blog. With just some basic knowledge of the Internet, you can build your own blog in a matter of minutes. Plus, there’s plenty of helpful tutorials available online – like this one – to guide you through the process of setting up your very own blog.
5. Blogs make money
Yes, it’s true. Blogging pays, and it pays quite well.
In fact, did you know that the most profitable blogs rake in millions of dollars a year? The top earners are HuffPost ($500 million a year), Engadget ($47.5 million), Moz ($44.9 million), PerezHilton ($41.3 million), and Copyblogger ($33.1 million). But of course, these blogs are already companies in their own right, with rank upon rank of paid professional writers churning out content after content.
So what about blogs owned by individuals? Well, the monetary picture is also quite rosy. Did you know that pro bloggers earn an average annual income of $185,975, while the best of the best make millions? However, these top bloggers comprise just a small percentage of the blogging population.
More bloggers just make a nice, healthy fulltime income off blogging, while even more manage just enough for a decent side income.
Of course, there are also bloggers who don’t make any money at all.
The point is, blogging pays, and it pays quite well, but only for those who put the necessary time and effort into it.
Why start a blog?
Did you know that worldwide, people search Google for ‘how to start a blog’ more than 121,000 times a month? That’s around 4,000 people who consider starting a blog every day! And that’s just on Google: what about the people who use other search engines, or come from social media, like Pinterest (like you!), or who type in other blogging-related search terms?
But why are so many people interested in blogging anyway? Why do so many consider starting their own blogs every day? And for that matter, why should you start your own blog? Here are the best reasons why.
1. Share your story
Everyone has a story a tell, and you are no exception. It sounds cliché, but it’s true.
You have something that the world needs to know. Whether it’s a new way of doing things, a novel solution to an age-old problem, a different take on the ordinary, a fresh perspective, an ingenious attitude, or an original story, you have something unique to share with the rest of the world. Something interesting. Something useful. Something inspiring.
So start your own blog. Write about your awesome travels and adventures. Talk about the latest and boldest in fashion. Share your must-try food recipes. Give the best tips and tricks on home gardening. Guide people into prudent financial management. Let fellow moms know about the secrets of a successful motherhood. Help others discover the joys of slow living.
Whatever it is you’re excited to share with the rest of the world, a blog is the perfect way to do it.
2. Connect with people
Blogging is the ideal platform to reach out to other people, create a community, and build engaging relationships. It’s an awesome way to connect with individuals who have the same interests as you, who share the same passions, motivations, and even opinions. And it’s also a wonderful way of learning new things and novel ideas, and exchanging different points of view and philosophies.
Whether it’s sharing the secrets of successful parenthood with fellow moms, swapping recipes with food enthusiasts, teaching aspiring solitary adventurers the basics of traveling alone, or working with brands and businesses for sponsorships, blogging is an excellent way to form and foster relationships.
So start a blog today, and you’re guaranteed to meet new people, make new friends, connect with the rest of the world, and be part of something bigger than yourself.
3. Promote your brand or business
Did you know that blogging is a surefire way to get your brand noticed and drum up traffic to your business? It’s true – and it’s all backed by statistics. In fact, did you know that:
- small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads?
- businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t?
- a business website featuring a blog has a 434% higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines?
- 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than advertisements?
- 90% of consumers find customer content useful?
- 47% of buyers view 3-5 blog posts or other pieces of content before starting the buying process?
- 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based solely on a blog post?
- or that 34% of buyers make an unplanned purchase after reading quality content?
So, if you didn’t know before, well, now you do! Blogging is a great way to get the word out on your business. So whether you have a longstanding business, or you’re planning to launch one very soon, start blogging about it today, and start getting real customers – and real sales – in no time.
4. Make money
The secret’s long been out – there’s money to be made in blogging, and there’s plenty of it, too.
Did you know that pro bloggers make an average annual income of $185,975, while the best of the best rake in millions? Or that 35% of affiliate marketers – most of whom are bloggers – earn over $20,000 yearly in passive income, while the top affiliate marketers can pull in as much as $10,000 a day?
Did you know that the average blogger with a fairly sizeable audience earns an average of $1,442 for one sponsored blog post alone? Just one. Now imagine if you’re paid to write 3-4 posts like that in a span of 30 days – you’ve just earned yourself a fulltime income for the month!
And these (affiliate marketing and sponsored content) are just two of the many ways bloggers can earn an income. There’s a lot of money to be made, too, in online ads, in consultation and in hiring out your services, and in selling physical and digital products, among others. In fact, did you know that the wealthiest bloggers derive 80% of their income from selling online courses?
These statistics are proof that blogging is an enriching activity – literally! But it’s only for those who can commit the necessary time and effort. So if you think you have what it takes, and you’re thinking of making extra money, or a fulltime income, or even something to make you rich, start a blog today, and start earning money.
5. Work from home or anywhere
Blogging is one of the best jobs that allow you to work from home, or from anywhere you want. It’s a job you can take with you wherever you go. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access your blog – your work, your business – from anywhere, and still be able to make money.
Just imagine. No more rush hours, long commutes, or toxic work environments. You can simply stay at home and still earn money, all while having more time to yourself, your family, and for the things that really matter in life. And when you want to take a break from working from home, you can just pack up your laptop and go wherever you want – and you’ll be earning money just the same.
So start a blog today, and have the freedom to work anytime and anywhere you want. Whether that’s at home, on your bed, while still in your pjs; or in a forest cabin up in the mountains; or halfway across the world on a tropical island paradise, the location matters little – what matters is that you’re still getting paid.
How to start a blog
Now that you know what blogs are, why are they so popular, and what reasons inspire people to start blogging, it’s your turn to start your own. Here’s a complete step-by-step beginners’ guide to help you build your own blog in just six simple steps. At the end of this tutorial, you’ll have your very own blog, well set and fully functional, and with the right foundation for steady growth and a solid money-making strategy.
Ready? Let’s begin.
1. Pick your blog topic (niche)
The first step to starting your own blog is to find a topic you want to talk about. What issue or idea do you want to explore or examine? What theme or thought do you want your blog to be known for?
In blogging, your topic is known as your niche. So what niche do you have in mind? Perhaps you’d like to share prudent money management tips and start a personal finance blog. Or write about your exciting travels and adventures on your own travel blog. Maybe you want to form a community with fellow work-at-home moms on your mommy blog. Or maybe you’d like to create a blog that’s focused on the virtues of minimalism.
Go ahead and pick a topic or niche you want to blog about.
How to find the ideal niche
If you don’t have a topic just yet, here are some useful tips to help you find your niche.
- Pick a topic you’re passionate in. You want to blog about something that you’re wholeheartedly interested in, a topic you enjoy not only today, but also in the long term. When you’re passionate about your topic, writing about it will not feel like a chore and it becomes easier to create quality content on a consistent manner. Besides, if you pick a topic you don’t like, you might quickly lose interest in blogging and give up altogether.
- Make sure there’s an audience for it. Chances are, you’re not just blogging for yourself – you’re blogging for other people, too. You want to attract engaged readers and followers. You want to connect with them. And you want them to buy the products and services you’re offering on your blog. So pick a niche that many others – and not just you or a select few – are also interested in.
- Should be something profitable. Of course, you do want to make money with your blog – a side income, fulltime income, or much more. So pick a topic where you can earn, where there are products and services to sell, and enough people to buy them. After all, blogging, even if purely for passion or as a hobby, still costs time, effort, and money, so you might as well earn from it.
- Make sure it has a future. You want to build a blog that lasts, and it all starts with the right topic. Pick a niche that’s for the long-term, something that’s relevant (and profitable) not only today and tomorrow, and but also ten years into the future.
Most popular blogging niches
If you still can’t decide on a topic, here are the most popular – not to mention profitable – blogging niches on the Internet. Notice that these are very broad topics. You may want to choose something from here and narrow it down.
- Personal finance
- Food, recipes
- Fashion, beauty
- Lifestyle, mommy blogs
- Travel, outdoors
- Blogging, digital marketing
- Health, wellness, self-care
- Fitness, sports
- Arts, crafts, DIY
- Home, décor and design, gardening
- Technology, gaming
But these are just a few examples of blogging niches. You can literally write about any and every topic imaginable. Don’t limit yourself to the abovementioned. As we’ve learned earlier, blogging is popular and relevant because it accommodates all kinds of theme and thought, and not because it is restricted to a select few subjects.
Remember, choosing the right topic is the most important step in starting your own blog. You’re laying the foundation of your future success here.
So it’s alright to take as much time as you need. Do your research. Weigh your options against what you want, and what the world wants. While it’s ok to pick a niche purely out of passion, make sure you’re being reasonable – passion alone won’t determine future growth and profitability.
Once you’ve selected a topic or niche, it’s time to move on to the next step.
2. Choose your blog name (domain)
The second step in building your own blog is to choose a name for your blog. That’s what’s called a domain name. Your domain name forms part of your Universal Resource Locator or URL – basically, your website address, or what people type in on the address bar to go directly to your site.
Examples of domain names include:
- phmillennia.com (my own domain)
Every domain name is unique. It can’t be shared between different websites or blogs. And it costs money to own and use a certain domain name. You have to pay an annual fee to register and keep your domain name. If you stop paying the fee, you lose the right to use that domain name and it goes up for sale.
But don’t worry about registering and buying your domain name just yet – you can do that in the next step.
For now, focus on crafting a great name for your blog.
How to create the ideal domain name
So what do you want to name your blog? You can use your personal name or a variation of it. Or maybe something related to your topic. Or perhaps something else equally creative. Remember, your domain name is a very important element of your blog. It’s your brand, your image, your identity. So give it a lot of time and thought.
To help you craft a great domain name for your blog, here are some useful tips to consider:
- Make sure it’s available. Every domain name is unique. You can’t have one that someone else already owns. So come up with something that’s still available. You can use the nifty little tool below to check if your tentative domain name is still unclaimed. If it is, you can register and claim it in the next step.
- Something easy to remember. You want your domain name to be something unforgettable, or at least easy to remember. So make your blog name unique and catchy. Maybe nothing too long. And it helps if it’s easy to spell and pronounce.
- Easy to type in. Avoid overly complicated names with lots of numbers and symbols and an unreasonable mix of uppercase and lowercase letters. The last thing you want is for potential visitors to mistype your domain name and end up on a different site!
- Probably related to your topic. Your domain name can give potential visitors a hint on what your blog’s about even before they get to it. So you might want to pick a name that’s related to your niche, especially if you’re blogging about topics like personal finance, food, etc. But this is just optional.
- Choose a domain name extension. A domain name extension, domain ending, domain category, or top-level domain (TLD) is the last bit on your web address (.com, .net, .org, .gov, etc.). There are lots of unique and creative TLDs (.cool, .sexy, .pizza, .coffee, etc.), but you’re still better off using the tried-and-true ‘.com’, or if that’s not available, then ‘.org’ or ‘.net’. Did you know that ‘.com’ domains are over 33% more memorable than those with other TLDs? Or that when people misremember a domain name, they’re 3.8x more likely to assume it ends in ‘.com’ than anything else?
Remember, while the right domain name is important, you don’t want to spend too much time creating the perfect domain name. Otherwise, you’ll only end up wasting valuable time and effort, which you could have spent in building your blog around a good domain name instead. Worse, you might get caught up in trying to choose the perfect domain name that you never start blogging at all!
Once more, you can use the tool below to check if your preferred domain name is still available.
If it’s already taken, try using a different domain name extension or TLD, like ‘.org’ or ‘.net’, or simply come up with a different name altogether. Once your domain name’s good to go, you can register and claim it in the next step.
3. Set up your web hosting
The third step in starting a blog is to set up your web hosting.
Web hosting is what allows your blog or website to be on the Internet, to be seen and accessed by you and other people.
You see, a website or blog is made up of many different files, and these files are kept in a special computer known as a server. All websites are stored on servers. When someone wants to access your website, all they need to do is type your domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to the server hosting your website, and your website will be delivered and made accessible to them on their browser.
The bottom line is that you can’t have a blog or website without web hosting.
Why Bluehost is the best choice for web hosting
Now, web hosting is a paid service provided by web hosting companies. These are the businesses that own the servers that store and host websites. When you buy web hosting service from a web hosting provider, you’re renting a space on their servers to store your blog’s files, put your blog online, and make it accessible to you and other people.
There are plenty of web hosting companies out there. But the ultimate option for you is Bluehost. Here’s why:
- Beginner-friendly. Bluehost provides you with all the tools you need to build a blog from scratch in just a few clicks.
- Free domain. Bluehost will register your custom domain name – free of charge – for your first year.
- Reliable. Bluehost ensures your website stays online and accessible, and works smoothly and problem-free, all year round.
- Fast. Bluehost guarantees your blog loads at high speed, so you needn’t worry about losing visitors and potential revenue.
- Secure. Bluehost provides you with strong security measures to protect your blog from hacking, malware attacks, spam, etc.
- Affordable. Bluehost offers a variety of web hosting packages at the most affordable prices on the market.
- Money-back guarantee. Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk in case you change your mind.
- Customer-friendly. Bluehost employs expert customer support to ensure you get nothing less than the best web hosting service for your blog.
- Trustworthy. Bluehost is the trusted choice of over 2 million website owners across the globe.
How to set up your web hosting with Bluehost
Enough said, it’s now time to set up your web hosting with Bluehost. Below is a step-by-step tutorial – complete with screenshots – to guide you through the entire process.
Step 1. Go to Bluehost.com and choose your hosting plan
Click the button below…
…which will take you to this page. Click HOST YOUR SITE…
…which will then take you to this page. Now click GET STARTED…
…which in turn will take you to this page.
This is where you can see the price cards for all web hosting packages offered by Bluehost. Note that more prominent prices displayed are discounted prices – they only apply to your first purchase/invoice. The regular prices apply after your first 12-month or 36-month term – whichever you buy – is over.
For beginners, the best package is the BASIC PLAN. It has everything you need to build your blog, including:
- Web hosting service for one website. Perfect for beginners.
- Free domain for one year. You’ll have your custom domain name registered and ready-to-use – for free – for your first year.
- Free CDN. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a group of globally-distributed servers which enhances your website speed and security, and enables your webpages and content to load faster.
- Free SSL certificate. A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is an important security feature to keep personal information, e-commerce transactions, and other sensitive data safe with encrypted connections.
- 50 GB SSD storage. This is more than enough space to store all the content you create on your blog, and will take a long time to use up.
- Custom themes. Pick from hundreds of beautiful, bespoke themes to bring your blog to life.
- Website builder. Create a professional-looking website fast and easy with this easy-to-use drag and drop WordPress website builder.
- 24/7 customer support. Bluehost has your back every step of the way.
Now on the Basic Plan price card, click SELECT.
Step 2. Set up your domain name
After choosing your web hosting plan, you will then be taken to this page.
This is where you can register your domain. We’ve already checked if your domain name is available a while ago, but you can also do that here. You can also choose a TLD, but a ‘.com’ is already the best possible choice, and it’s automatically chosen as a default – though you’re free to choose whatever you want.
So type in your domain name on the text field provided, then click NEXT.
Step 3. Create account and complete your purchase
Once you finish setting up your domain, you will get to this page.
Now this is where you can register with Bluehost and complete your purchase. So fill in the required fields with the appropriate information.
Then choose your hosting plan’s duration. With a 12-month plan, you’ll pay a lower price upfront. However, with a 36-month plan, you’ll make a lot more savings in the long term. It’s up to you. Remember, you’ll only be getting your discount for your first 12-month or 36-month term – whichever you buy. After that, the regular renewal rates apply.
But before you pay for anything, take a look at this part first.
As you can see, Bluehost has taken the liberty of bundling some additional features to your purchase. It’s up to you if you want to buy these extras or not. You can find out more about each by clicking More Information.
But if you ask me, only the first one – the Domain Privacy + Protection – is really essential. If you select this, Bluehost can hide your personal contact information and keep it from being accessed by just about anybody, including spammers.
Meanwhile, the rest of the add-ons are just optional. Besides, if you do need them, you can purchase them later on anyway.
So check only the boxes next to the features you want to buy, and uncheck those you don’t want. Then enter your payment details.
If you have filled in every field with the appropriate information, you can tick the check box indicating that you read and understood the Terms and Conditions.
Then click SUBMIT.
If your purchase goes through successfully, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Bluehost.
Step 4. Complete Bluehost account set-up
After completing your purchase, you’ll now be taken to another page welcoming you into Bluehost, and also prompting you to complete your Bluehost account by creating a password. Make sure your password is something strong and difficult to guess, but also one that you won’t have a hard time remembering.
Once you have your password, you can then log in into your Bluehost account.
4. Set up WordPress
The fourth step in starting a blog is to install WordPress.
WordPress is an amazing piece of software – a Content Management System (CMS), to be exact – that lets you create and customize your website or blog and publish content online. Think of it as your blog’s operating system.
WordPress is free and open source, which means anyone and everyone can use install, use, and modify it.
It’s also very simple – you can use it to create, edit, and manage your blog even when you don’t know anything about coding, web design, or web development. In fact, it’s actually built for non-technical people.
And it’s also very popular – about 40% all websites on the Internet are powered by WordPress. So chances are, two out of every five websites you visit are made with WordPress. By the way, the overwhelming majority of blogs use WordPress.
Now, to use WordPress, you have to manually install it on your website through your web hosting. At least that’s the old-fashioned way to do it.
But with Bluehost, WordPress will be automatically installed for you. All you have to do is complete a few finishing touches to make your WordPress blog on Bluehost good to go.
How to set up your WordPress blog on Bluehost
Upon logging in to your Bluehost account, Bluehost will offer you a step-by-step guide to help you set up your WordPress blog. Note that this is optional. You can skip this if you want and do it all by yourself later on. But for absolute beginners, this is really helpful and can make setting up your blog a total breeze.
Step 1. Tell a little something about your blog
You’ll be asked what kind of site are you creating (blog, etc.), what type is it (personal, etc.), and who are you creating it for (myself, etc.).
Step 2. Add a few things to your blog
You’ll be asked to pick some features to add to your website, such as an About Me page, a custom logo, etc.
Step 3. Tell some more about your blog
You’ll be asked what name do you want your site to have, what’s its tagline (or slogan), and how comfortable are you with the whole process of creating websites.
Step 4. Pick a theme
You’ll be asked to pick a theme for your blog from a selection of free and paid themes. By the way, a theme is a collection of templates used to change the overall look and feel of your website. You can pick one now, or do it later. You can always change your theme anytime you want.
After all that, WordPress is already installed for you. You’ll then be taken to your Bluehost account dashboard.
How to launch your blog
Inside your Bluehost dashboard, you’ll see even more options to customize your blog just before you launch it. Note that these are all optional. You can do all these on your own time, and through your WordPress admin dashboard instead. Bluehost is just really being helpful and making sure you get a nice, simple, step-by-step guide in setting up your blog.
Anyway, you can launch your blog and make it online by clicking on the button Launch My Site.
You see, while installing WordPress, Bluehost has put up a ‘Coming Soon’ page on your domain name by default. It’s just a temporary page, sort of a placeholder or an ‘Under Construction’ sign, that gives you time and privacy to work on your blog before it’s ready. If you launch your site, this page will disappear, and it will now be your blog that people will see when they type in your domain name (instead of that ‘Coming Soon’ page).
There’s also another way to launch your blog, but through your WordPress dashboard, which you’ll find out later.
You can launch your site now, or launch it later.
If you do launch your blog now, notice that everything still looks incomplete. That’s totally ok – it just means you have a blank canvas you’re completely free to work with and make beautiful. Now’s the time to do some actual blog-building, including changing the design and structure and creating content, through your WordPress dashboard.
How to access your WordPress admin dashboard
You can go to your WordPress dashboard by clicking the WordPress button on your Bluehost account page.
Alternatively, you can manually access your WordPress admin dashboard directly on your browser’s address bar by typing in ‘https://yourdomain/wp-admin’ (for example, ‘https://phmillennia.com/wp-admin’). Doing that will take you to a log-in page where you can enter your WordPress username and password, and which will then take you to your WordPress admin dashboard. It’s a good idea to bookmark your blog or your WordPress login page on your browser so you don’t have to type it in on the address bar every time.
5. Customize your blog
You now know that WordPress is what allows you to modify your blog and fill it with content. And all that is done through your WordPress dashboard.
Your WordPress admin dashboard, or admin area or admin panel, gives you access to all the site management features of WordPress. It’s full of menus and submenus that let you change the look and feel of your site via themes, enhance your site’s functionality via plugins, tweak other various settings of your website, moderate and respond to comments, upload images and other forms of media, and create and edit pages and posts for your blog, among other things.
Your WordPress admin dashboard is like a studio, if you’re an artist; a kitchen, if you’re a chef; or a cockpit, if you’re a pilot. It’s where you make things happen. It’s where you work your magic. As a blogger, you’ll be spending a lot of your time on your WordPress dashboard.
Now, there are plenty of exciting stuff you can do on your dashboard. You can explore all of them later on. But for now, you should focus on two things – changing your theme, and adding plugins.
As has already been mentioned, a theme is collection of templates used to change the overall look and feel of your website. It’s what controls the entire design and layout of your blog. There are a lot of themes to choose from. Some themes are free, some paid. Some themes focus on expressing your creativity, others on giving your blog a clean and simple look. If you haven’t chosen a theme from Bluehost’s 4-step guide a while ago, you can do so now.
How to change your blog’s theme
On your WordPress dashboard, on the lefthand menu, click APPEARANCE, which will open the THEMES panel (or hover over APPEARANCE then click THEMES).
Notice that you already have a selection of themes (the ‘Twenty-Somethings’) pre-installed for you for free by WordPress. Hover your cursor over each theme card to know more details. Click LIVE PREVIEW to see what your blog will look like with that particular theme. If any of among them catches your fancy, click ACTIVATE to make it your blog’s current theme.
To see your current theme in action, simply click your domain name or blog name on the left part of the top bar (the one with the house icon), and it will direct you to your live site. To go back to your WordPress dashboard, click the same thing (your domain name with but this time with a dashboard icon), and it should bring you back to your blog’s behind-the-scenes.
But there are thousands more free WordPress themes to discover. To find more themes, simply click the ADD NEW button on the top, or the ADD NEW THEME card at the bottom. Either will open a panel with tons of themes to choose from. You can filter the themes according to what are the most popular or the latest. Hover your cursor over each theme card for more details and for a preview of a particular theme. If you find a theme you like, click INSTALL, then click ACTIVATE (after it completes installing) to make it your blog’s new look and layout.
You can also purchase paid premium themes from third-party websites. Just buy the theme you like, download and save the .zip file on your device, and then upload it to your dashboard by clicking UPLOAD THEME, then CHOOSE FILE, then selecting that specific .zip file. Once it’s uploaded, click INSTALL NOW, then ACTIVATE, and your blog now rocks your paid premium theme.
Now, if you’re having a difficult time picking a theme, just choose a theme that looks simple and clean for now. You can change it later. Besides, you can change your theme anytime you want.
Next on the list is to add some plugins to your blog.
Plugins are bits of software that integrate – or plug in – to your WordPress site. They enhance your blog’s functionality or add extra features. Some plugins are free, some are paid, though most offer a free version which you can then upgrade into a premium one at a fee. While there are thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins available, you won’t need them all. In fact, you’ll only be needing a few. Too many plugins – as well as unreliable ones – can slow down your site and even compromise security, so install only the ones you need.
Must-have plugins for your blog
As mentioned, you’ll actually need only a few plugins for your blog. For starters, here are the most essential plugins you’ll want to install first. All of them are free, and Bluehost might have already installed some of them for you.
- A Google Analytics plugin. Google Analytics is a free service that allows you to track, analyze, and understand your website traffic through detailed statistics and metrics. Instead of logging in to your Google Analytics account on a separate page, a WordPress plugin brings the power of Google Analytics right on your WordPress dashboard, and simplifies and summarizes the data so you can understand them better. The most popular choice for a Google Analytics plugin is MonsterInsights.
- An SEO plugin. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, in simple terms, is the process of improving your website or webpage so you can rank higher on Google (or other search engines) and get more traffic. Did you know that the first five results on page one of Google get nearly 68% of all clicks? That’s why you need a WordPress plugin for SEO to help you create high-ranking content and drive more visitors to your blog. The most popular choice for an SEO plugin is Yoast SEO.
- An anti-spam plugin. Your blog will inevitably attract spam, a term that refers to all forms of unwanted user content, and which often contains links to harmful sites or files. Hence, you need a WordPress plugin to filter, block, and fight spam from comments, trackbacks, and contact form messages. The most popular choice for an anti-spam plugin is Akismet.
- A contact form plugin. Your blog will also inevitably attract people who want to talk to you, from impressed readers with heartwarming messages, fellow bloggers wishing to collaborate, to brands and companies wanting to establish business ties. A WordPress plugin provides a way for everyone to reach out to you in a fast, simple, and organized way. The most popular choices for contact form plugins are WPForms and Contact Form 7.
Note that after installing some plugins, you need to set them up further and adjust their settings accordingly. For example, after installing MonsterInsights, you need to launch it and complete the steps necessary to set up Google Analytics on WordPress. Don’t worry. It’s all very easy and the steps are all laid out for you via the plugin’s handy guide.
How to add plugins to your blog
To manage all your plugins, simply click PLUGINS on the lefthand menu on your WordPress dashboard. It will open a panel where you can view every plugin you have installed, along with their details and settings, and with options to activate, deactivate, update, or delete them.
Again, you will notice that Bluehost has taken the liberty of installing plugins it thinks are important – and well, it’s right. Bluehost has installed some pretty useful plugins for you, like the ones mentioned above. It’s also installed its own plugin so you can access the tools on your Bluehost dashboard right on your WordPress Dashboard.
To add new plugins, simply click the ADD NEW button on the top part. That will lead to a page where you can browse thousands of free WordPress plugins. You can filter the plugins according to what are featured, popular, or recommended, or just search for what you want through the search bar. If you see a plugin you think you need, just click INSTALL NOW and then ACTIVATE.
You can also add your own plugin from your device via the UPLOAD PLUGIN button.
Now that you know how to customize your theme and manage your plugins, you can explore the rest of the tools on your dashboard. But you have plenty of time to do all that later.
For now, focus on the last stage of building your blog.
6. Start creating content
You’re now on the homestretch, at least for now. You already have a blog live on the Internet. But it’s still empty, so it’s time to fill it with some pretty amazing content. In blogging, content mostly means two things: static content or your pages or webpages, and dynamic content, or your blog posts.
A page or webpage is a document written in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and is accessible on the Internet. Webpages make up websites. They are what pages are to a book.
Now, pages give your site structure, organize your content, and provide information about your blog to search engines and to your visitors. They can usually be accessed via your blog’s main menu. They’re mostly static content, which means that they aren’t created or updated as regularly as posts.
Must-have pages on your blog
When you have a brand-new website (like you do now), there are a couple of webpages that you need to create first, namely:
- Homepage. This is the page that visitors will land on when they type in your domain name on their browser’s address bar. Homepages vary in design, but an ideal one usually includes a brief introduction on what your blog is all about, a selection of your most popular or recent posts, a display of products or services you’re offering, etc. And since first impressions last, you should make your homepage as appealing and as engaging as much as possible.
- About (Me/Us). This is the page where you provide more information about your blog and about yourself. This is usually where you introduce yourself as the author, tell something about your blogging journey, what motivated you to start blogging, what plans do you have for your blog, etc. As you can already tell, an About page is as personal as it gets – it’s your chance to share your story, build a connection, and convince visitors to trust you.
- Contact (Me/Us). This is the page where you have your contact information – email address, business address, telephone number, etc. – displayed, and a functional contact form furnished, for persons or organizations who want to get in touch with you.
Other pages that are less commonly thought of, but are no less important, include:
- Disclaimer. This is the page that explains how you monetize your blog. If you plan on making money off your blog, such as by displaying ads or promoting affiliate links, then this page is a must.
These are just some of the pages you want to have on your website before anything else. As your blog grows, you can add more webpages to fit your needs, like a separate page for an ebook or online course you’ll be selling, or one for your archives to display all your posts – you get the idea. But for now, these first pages will do.
How to create a new page
To manage all your blog’s webpages, simply click PAGES on the lefthand menu of your WordPress dashboard. That will open a panel where a list of your blog’s pages is displayed, as well as options to create new ones and edit, duplicate, or delete existing ones.
To create a new page, click ADD NEW. That will open an editor where you can create your blog’s pages (or posts). It’s called the Gutenberg Block editor. As its name says, it allows you to create content using blocks.
There’s a block for titles or headings, another for paragraphs, separate blocks for images, audios, videos, quotes, lists, buttons, columns, tables, everything. The idea is that if you want to create something, just add the appropriate block.
Say you want to add a title to your page – then simply add the appropriate block (heading) via the plus (+) button. To insert an image, add an image block. To add a video, add a video block. You get the point. Each block offers plenty of customization, allowing you to increase font sizes, change the background color, align images to the left, right, or center, etc.
The Gutenberg block editor is very intuitive – you’ll learn how to use it in no time. You’ll simply be adding and arranging blocks according to your preferred design and layout. So go ahead and start building the first pages for your blog.
You can use PREVIEW to get a peek on how your page will look like before you publish it. Every time you save your work, you can refresh the preview so it will reflect your most recent changes. And your page will remain a draft until you publish it, so you can keep editing it until you’re ready.
Once you’re done, you can click PUBLISH to make it live. Remember, if for some reason you don’t like the look of your page, or you need to add something to it, you can always edit your page anytime you want. And you can even unpublish it, too, or delete it altogether.
After setting up your most essential pages, it’s now time to turn your attention to writing posts for your blog.
Posts, also known as entries or articles, will form the bulk of your blog’s content. They are what blogs are really known for. They are the material you write – stories, guides, tutorials, walkthroughs, recipes, lists, news articles, case studies, product reviews, etc. Your posts are what gets Google to notice your website (mostly). They are what makes people notice your blog and come visiting. They are what helps people, answers their questions, provides solutions, makes them laugh or cry or be inspired or whatever. They are what makes people remember your blog, and keep coming back for more. Also, they are what makes you money (mostly).
What makes a great blog post?
Before you start hacking away at your keyboard, it’s an excellent idea to find out what really makes a good – no, a great – blog post. After all, the success of your blog (largely) depends on your how well you compose your entries. You don’t want to settle for writing just good posts (ordinary posts are out of the question!). You want to craft great blog posts. Because good blog posts bring visitors, yes, but great blog posts make them stay and keep coming back for more.
Of course, defining what a great blog post is is very much subjective. After all, great blog posts come in all shapes and sizes. Nonetheless, they do tend to share certain similar characteristics. With that in mind, a great blog post:
- Has a clear topic. It has a specific, well defined, and straightforward subject, and doesn’t stray from that from start to finish.
- Is interesting or helpful or both. It’s something that appeals, engages, solves problems, answers questions, and imparts information, insight, and inspiration.
- Has an intriguing title. Your title is the first thing people will see – and the last, if you don’t do it right. So grab people’s attention and get them to click with a title that tickles.
- Has a captivating introduction. The title is what makes people click, sure, but the intro is what makes them stay. So get them hooked right from the get-go.
- Is well outlined. A proper outline provides structure and organization to your post, and helps you convey your topic effectively.
- Is scannable. Make sure your post is easy to digest. Use headings and subheadings. Break up long paragraphs. And your sentences are generally better off short than long.
- Is well edited. Four words – write well, edit often. Proofread your post before you publish. Weed out typos. Rewrite awkwardly put together sentences. Use proper punctuations.
- Has images. Whenever possible, add images to your posts for visual engagement. Did you know articles with images get 94% more total views than articles without?
- Has a compelling call to action. At the end of your post, encourage your readers to take an immediate action – whether that’s to buy your product, subscribe to your newsletter, share your content, donate to your cause, etc.
- Is SEO ready. A great blog isn’t just something search engines can find, but something they’re fond of. Make sure your post is SEO friendly.
Remember, these are all just tips. They’re not meant to limit your creative freedom or force you into altering your own writing style. These are but to guide you into crafting a blog post that works for all. Because if you want other people to discover and delight in your blog, then you can’t just write for yourself – you have to write for them, too.
How to write your first blog post
With all that out of the way, you’re now ready to write your first ever blog post.
You can manage all your blog posts via the POSTS button on the lefthand menu on your WordPress dashboard. Clicking that will open a panel where all your blog posts are listed, and with options to create new ones or edit, preview, or delete existing ones.
Now click ADD NEW. That will open the very same Gutenberg Block editor you used to create your pages. It’s the same thing you’ll be using to create your first post, and all your blog posts, for that matter.
As already mentioned, the Gutenberg Block editor works by adding the appropriate block. You want to write the title of your post – add a heading block. You want a subtitle – another heading block, but this time change the heading size. You want to add your main text beneath the title – go with the paragraph block. You want to add a beautiful picture just underneath that – do so with an image block. You get the idea.
But what should you write for your first blog post?
Perhaps you want to write an introduction to your blog, some sort of a primer or an explainer about your blog, what is it about, who is it for, and what visitors can expect to read. Or maybe you want to tell a little tale about yourself, a travel story, life lesson, funny anecdote, or the reasons that made you take up blogging. Or perhaps you’d like to get straight to a well-researched topic with plenty of statistics and links to credible sources. It’s up to you.
But these are all just suggestions. You can write whatever you want, really. Just make sure to write something interesting, something engaging, something amazing. Add pictures to make it livelier. Insert some quotes if applicable. And don’t forget to choose a great, catchy title. Remember all the things that make a great blog post? Do those.
You can click PREVIEW to get a look on what your post will look like before publishing it. Just like with your pages, as you work on your blog post, you can keep refreshing your preview to reflect the most recent changes. Your post will remain a draft until you decide to publish it.
If you’re ready to share your post with the world, click PUBLISH to get it online.
Note that publishing a post isn’t irreversible. Just like with your pages, you can edit and update your published posts anytime you want. You can even unpublish them or delete them. And that SEO thing from earlier – you’ll learn that, too, but later, in the next stage of your blogging journey.
But that’s it for now. You’ve just written your first post. What do you think? Isn’t it amazing? Don’t you feel proud and accomplished? Well, you should be!
Anyway, now that you know where and how to write your first blog post, you now also know where and how to write your second, third, tenth, fiftieth, or even one hundredth post, and all the rest of your posts. Because you’ll be writing many more than just one.
The more posts you create, the faster your blog will grow, and the more visitors you’ll have on your website. Of course, the number of posts alone will not determine how successful your blog will be, but it helps a lot of you’ve got a ton of content to offer. You’ll learn more all about growing your blog in the next big stage of your blogging journey.
How to launch your blog (if you haven’t done so in the fourth step)
If you haven’t launched your blog from your Bluehost account page, you can do so from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard. Notice the glowing COMING SOON ACTIVE button on top of your dashboard? Simply click it, and that will deactivate the ‘Coming Soon’ page that people will see when they try to visit your site (you can’t see it yourself when you’re logged in on WordPress). Your blog proper will then be accessible to the rest of the world. You can also click BLUEHOST on the lefthand menu on your WordPress dashboard and then LAUNCH YOUR SITE from there.
On to the next stage of your blogging journey…
You’ve just created your blog – from scratch to something beautiful.
You picked a clear topic and came up with clever and creative name. Your blog is now online, it’s got a lovely theme and some nifty plugins to boot. It’s also looking quite well organized, thanks to the pages you created. And look, you just wrote your first ever blog post, made sure it wasn’t anything ordinary, but a good – no, a great one – and you even shared it with the rest of the world.
To think you did all that by yourself… you’re really amazing, you know that? You make me proud. And more important, you make yourself proud.
But this isn’t the end. Your blogging journey has only just begun. Everything you’ve done so far, is but to prepare you for what comes after. In the next stage of your blogging adventure, you’ll learn the tools, tips, tricks, tactics, and techniques you will need to grow your blog, rank high on search engines, reel in readers, and build a loyal following.
Beyond that, you’ll then come to one of the most exciting moments of your blogging journey. You’ll be learning how to monetize your blog, and watch as you grow your earnings from a few cents to a few dollars to a fulltime income, and maybe something more.
So you see, there’s quite a lot in store for you. A lot of hard work and commitment. But also, a lot of rewards and fulfillment.
Are you ready? Good luck!
How to grow your blog
Now that you have a blog, your next priority is to grow it. Here’s a very detailed guide to help you build up your blog through content creation, optimization, promotion, and collaboration with other bloggers. With these actionable steps and strategies, you’ll learn how to show up on search results and on social media, get more people to your blog, and create a dedicated base of readers.
Ready? Let’s begin.
1. Create and update
The single best thing you can do to grow your blog is to simply grow your content. That doesn’t just mean writing more blog posts, but also writing better and writing consistently. You want to create content that your readers will find valuable and meaningful, something better than your competition, and you want to do that on a regular and committed basis.
But don’t just focus on creating new content – you also need to continuously update and maintain your existing blog posts as doing so results to higher search rankings, more traffic, and better conversions.
Let’s go over some tips to help you build up your content the right way.
Create valuable content
It’s not enough to write more blog posts, you have to write blog posts that matter. If you want other people to find and grow fond of your blog, then you can’t just write for yourself – you have to write for them, too. That means your blog should offer value to other people, either through information, instruction, entertainment, or otherwise.
Your content should be answering people’s questions, providing solutions, addressing pain points, teaching new knowledge, offering insights, giving advice, keeping them entertained, or making them inspired. Your posts should leave visitors fulfilled, satisfied, richer for the experience of having read what you had to write.
Whether you’re putting together new kitchen recipes, guides on how to travel solo, tips and tricks on motherhood, or lists of must-read detective fiction novels, you want your audience to know that your blog is useful and interesting, that it is the place they should come back to every time they need help.
Remember, to get people to spend valuable time on your blog, you have to offer them something valuable in return, something worth their precious time and attention.
Create content around the right keywords
When people search for something on the Internet, they usually don’t type in a whole sentence, paragraph, or chapter. They type in (or speak) a word or two or a short phrase. Those are called keywords. They’re the main terms or phrases that represent people’s search queries. For example, when you’re interested in creating your own blog, you usually type in the keywords ‘how to start a blog’ on Google.
As a blogger, it’s your goal to match your content with what people are searching for. You want to write for these searchers; you want to tell the answers to the questions they’re asking. That means building your content around the right keywords. If you can provide the closest, most relevant, and most helpful answer to a certain query, you win the top spot in Google’s search results – that means you’ll get most of the traffic (and profit).
Your keyword strategy begins by finding the right keywords to write about. That involves doing research to find out what people are typing in the search bar. It also involves finding out what search queries in your niche are popular. Google Trends can help you with that.
Next, you have to target long and specific keywords – called long-tail keywords – rather than short and vague ones. Think of ‘how to start a blog’ rather than just ‘blog’, or ‘best phones for photography under $500’ rather than just ‘phones’. Long-tail keywords essentially signal that the user has already something specific in mind, they know what they want, and if it’s a product, then they’re close to buying it. Target long-tail keywords, and its going to be you who makes that sale (and that profit).
Then you have to make sure your keywords are found all over your article – in the title, URL, headings or subheadings, content proper, etc. But don’t just stuff in keywords –make sure they fit your content logically and naturally. Plus, keyword stuffing is bad, for users, for search engines, and for you. Remember, you’re writing about keywords, not writing in keywords.
Finally, know that you don’t have to write a separate article for every keyword – you can write about multiple related keywords in one long, helpful, detailed, and definitive article. For instance, if you’re writing about ‘best phones for photography under $500’, you could turn it into a larger article on the best phones for photography at every price range (under $500, under $1,000, etc.).
Create better content than your competitors
It’s not enough that you’re writing unique and useful blog posts. Every other blogger out there is doing that (or at least trying to). To stand out from the crowd, you need to go the extra mile and create content that’s better – much, much better – than the competition.
So make your posts longer, more comprehensive, and better researched. Use simpler language to make your articles easier to read and understand, and a more organized structure (headings, subheadings, sections, bullet points, etc.) to make them easier to follow.
Have a catchier headline, more captivating intro, and more compelling storytelling. Include other content types that your competitors aren’t using (or using much of), like high quality images, infographics, animations, videos, etc. Keep your content regularly updated, and make them more shareable through social share buttons.
Ultimately, to outrank the competition, your content should offer more value than anyone else’s. You shouldn’t just be able to answer more questions – your answers should be better, your information more thorough, and your insights more in-depth.
As a rule of thumb, the more frequently you publish new posts, the easier it is to rank higher on search engines and build organic traffic.
But how often you should be posting new content depends on several factors. For one, if you’re working alone or with others: a one-person blogging team might struggle to create consistently, while a staff of writers can easily churn out content after content. Another is the nature of your posts: long, in-depth, and well researched articles take more time to create.
In general, however, most experts agree that blogging two to four times per week provides the highest results in both traffic and conversions. So aim to be consistent with that. But remember, quality beats quantity – always. Don’t blog just to reach your target number of outputs per week. If you do, then the quality of your posts might also suffer, and you might yourself suffer from burnout.
Update old content
Your work doesn’t end after you hit the publish button. You still have to do a lot of support and maintenance work after that.
You need to review and update your old posts to reflect newer, more accurate, or more relevant information. You need to link them to and from more recent entries, regularly check on their SEO, give them a new format or layout, add images or videos, and ensure everything is up to quality standards.
Updating old content is important – you get higher search rankings, more traffic, and better conversions. In fact, did you know that updating an old blog post the right way can result to as much as a 70% increase in organic traffic? And a 362% traffic increase isn’t at all impossible!
Use an editorial calendar
To help you create and commit to an effective content strategy, you need an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar, simply put, is a schedule or timeline of the tasks you need to do on your blog. It’s mostly about what blog posts are you going to write, when are you writing them, and when do you plan on publishing them. But it’s also about tasks other than content creation, like when are you updating old posts, sharing your content on social media, responding to comments, applying to affiliate programs, pitching to potential sponsors, etc.
Using an editorial calendar gives you plenty of benefits, such as:
- Strategic planning. An editorial calendar shows you the big picture – it shows you where you need to go (short-term and long-term blogging goals), how to get there (content type, topic, audience, etc.), and when you should get there (schedule or timeline).
- Effective time management. An editorial calendar allows you to budget your time efficiently, ensuring that blogging tasks that matter more receive priority. Also, the definite deadlines make clear what you’re expected to deliver and when.
- Organization. A systematic approach to blogging provides structure and clarity. You know what, when, where, how, and why things will happen. You can control your time and resources. You can remove distractions and focus on the tasks that matter.
- Eliminate writer’s block. Since you have content ideas prepared beforehand, and have planned what to write and when, you avoid the frustration and failure of a creative slowdown. You also avoid wasting valuable time.
- Diversified content. Because you can plan out your content ahead of time, you can guarantee that your posts aren’t all the same boring types. You can mix and match different types of content, identify both topics you aren’t covering or are covering too much, inject new ideas, and ensure every blog post is fresh and interesting.
- Relevance. An editorial calendar helps make sure that you’re publishing the right content at the right time, that you can prepare for seasonal events as well as keep up with current goings-on.
- Increased traffic. The more posts you have, and the more often you publish, the more traffic you can attract. An editorial calendar helps you be consistent with your publishing cadence, and keep you on track to accumulating meaningful content.
- More profit. Ultimately, posting useful and relevant content at a timely and consistent schedule means more traffic, more successful conversions, and thus more money.
For your editorial calendar, you can use something as simple as a regular calendar, a bit more advanced like a spreadsheet, or something altogether digitally bespoke like a project management tool (Trello, ProofHub, etc.).
But whatever tool you decide to use, your editorial calendar should have a clear and definite timeline or schedule. You want to establish how long your content plan is (year, quarter, month, etc.), what your blogging goals are, how often you’ll be writing and publishing, and what content you need to write (type, topic, keyword, audience, etc.) and when, among other things. And don’t forget to plan for other blogging tasks other than content creation.
Note that these are just a few of the tips and tactics you can do to grow your blog, content-wise. There are plenty more, but these are simply some of the most important and most pressing. You should know that these tips don’t work separately, but in tandem. You need to apply them all for the best results. And don’t be frustrated if they don’t work immediately. Remember, great things take time. Blogging is no exception.
There are plenty of sources you can get traffic to your blog from. But far and away the best source is still Google (and search engines in general). Free search engine traffic (as opposed to paid search ads), otherwise known as organic traffic, remains the largest source of traffic out of all channels. In fact, did you know that 53% of all site traffic comes from organic search alone?
Organic traffic isn’t just the largest, it’s also long-lasting and consistent. And did I mention it’s free?
Knowing all that, it’s important to make sure that Google (and other search engines) knows that your blog exists. And not just that. You also want Google to think that what you have to offer is the best possible there is. You want Google to promote your blog, to show your blog posts on page one, at the top search results, at the number one spot if possible. Because the first position on Google’s page one alone already gets 32% of all clicks.
And that’s where SEO comes in. As mentioned earlier, SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your blog, page, or post so you can rank higher in organic search results.
Now, SEO is a difficult thing to master. It can be overwhelming, especially to beginners. Fortunately, you don’t need to be an expert on SEO to reap some of its benefits. In fact, there’s plenty of quick tips and actionable steps you can do to ensure that your blog has the SEO basics covered. Here are the best ones:
Install a good SEO plugin
One of the easiest and savviest things you can do, SEO-wise, is to install an SEO plugin on your blog. A good SEO plugin helps you optimize your content, keywords, and readability, and over all improves your site’s rankings on search engines.
As it stands, Yoast SEO (the one you got) is the most popular and most recommended WordPress SEO plugin out there – and for good reason, too. It comes with tons of features to optimize your website, including built-in content analysis and sitemap management. Most of what Yoast SEO does is automated, but it still requires plenty of input and decisions from you.
Make your site mobile-friendly
As of the latest figures, mobile devices now account for nearly 55% of all web traffic worldwide. While desktop devices remain important, particularly in the US (where total web traffic is 50% desktop and 46% mobile), mobile web traffic is only expected to grow in the future.
Google knows this, and that’s why it has updated its algorithm to prioritize mobile-friendly sites. In fact, mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your site’s content for indexing and ranking.
And now that you know this, you in turn need to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. For starters, you need to ensure that your site is responsive, which means it will automatically adapt to the size of the screen used, especially on mobile devices. Keep your web design simple and functional. Make your fonts and buttons large enough. Compress images and huge files. And avoid ads and popups that block your content.
Improve site speed
Everyone hates slow websites and pages that load too long. That includes Google (and other search engines). In fact, page speed is a ranking factor in Google searches.
To improve your blog’s speed, you need to choose the right web hosting provider (like Bluehost), use CDN (content delivery network, like the one Bluehost provides), pick a fast and lightweight theme, compress and optimize images, minimize plugins and widgets, and reduce the number of ads displayed (if you do have ads), among others.
Create a sitemap
A sitemap (or XML sitemap, with XML meaning extensible markup language) is simply a list of all the pages (including posts) on your website. It’s meant for search engines, not people. It’s there to help Google (and other search engines) find and index all of your site’s content and understand your website structure (what pages link to what, etc.) for easier navigation.
While a sitemap is a must-have for huge websites with lots and lots of pages, it’s also beneficial for small beginner blogs. It helps Google find your newly created pages and posts quickly and allow visitors to find your blog in the search results.
Fortunately, you don’t have to create a sitemap on your own. Yoast SEO does it for automatically. Simply click SEO on the lefthand menu on your WordPress dashboard, then FEATURES, and you can see that the toggle for your XML sitemap is turned on by default. If you want to take a look at your own blog’s sitemap, click the question mark icon, then click SEE THE XML SITEMAP (Note: all the links you’ll see on your sitemap are clickable).
Link a lot
One of the most effective things you can do to improve your blog’s SEO is to build links, and to build a lot of it. You want links within your blog, from your blog, and especially, to your blog.
Links within your blog are known as internal links. You’re basically linking related pages and posts within your own site. Internal links connect your content and help Google understand the structure of your blog. The more links a page or post of yours gets, the more important it seems to Google, and the more chance it ranks higher.
External links, or outbound links, on the other hand, are links from your blog to other websites or online resources. These links are used when you quote information from pertinent websites, refer to related online materials for further reading, and credit your sources, among others. Linking to high quality and relevant sources helps build trust and authority, and helps Google understand your blog better and how to rank you.
Finally, backlinks, otherwise known as inbound links, are links directing towards your blog from other websites. Every backlink is like a vote of confidence – it shows you that your content is valuable and worth referring to. The more backlinks you get from relevant, trusted, and authoritative websites, the more important you seem to Google, and the better your chance at ranking higher.
Follow a simple and logical URL structure
A URL (Uniform Resource Locator), also known as a web address, is a reference to the location of a specific website, page, or file on the Internet. It’s the link on your browser’s address bar when you visit a website or a webpage.
For best SEO, you want to choose a simple and logical URL structure for your own blog. That just means your URLs should be understood by people. To help you do that, you want to:
- Use lowercase letters. Most URLs on the Internet are in lowercase form (as opposed to mixed or uppercase). It’s what people have come to expect and it’s easier to read. And keep all your URLs standardized in that form.
Not recommended: https://www.eXAmPle.com/SamPLe-pAGe
- Use readable words rather than long id numbers. You want your URLs to be simple, intelligible, and descriptive.
Not recommended: https://www.example.com/ index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5ebc944f41daa6f849f730f1
- Separate keywords with punctation. This helps users and search engines identify concepts in your URL easier.
Not recommended: https://www.example.com/samplepage
- Use hyphens (-), not underscores (_). It’s difficult to see underscores when the URL is published as a bare link (there’s a line underneath links, remember?).
Not recommended: https://www.example.com/sample_page
- Consider removing dates. Future-proof your URLs. Past dates on URLs, especially on evergreen content, make them look obsolete and irrelevant.
Not recommended: https://www.example.com/sample-page-2020
You can check your blog’s default URL structure by going to the lefthand menu on your WordPress dashboard, hovering or clicking over SETTINGS, then PERMALINKS, which opens a panel where you can customize your URL settings. Note: you can change your URL structure only if your blog is newly created from scratch. But if your blog has been around for a while with lots of posts, absolutely do not change anything – it can ruin your site!
You can, however, change your pages’ and posts’ URL by going to that specific page or post and editing the URL SLUG.
Use the right keywords
While keywords aren’t as important as they were before to SEO, they still do matter. So you still want to pay them close attention.
That means it’s still important to carefully research for the right keywords and build relevant and engaging content around them. It’s still essential to prioritize long-tail keywords over short-tail keywords. And it still matters that your keywords appear in your post titles, URLs, headings, subheadings, meta descriptions, alt texts, etc.
But keyword stuffing should be avoided at all costs. There’s no value in cramming keywords to your article to the point that it becomes altogether unintelligible. It won’t improve your SEO. You’ll only be creating a negative user experience. And you’ll even be penalized by Google.
Instead, your goal should be to write naturally, and your keywords (or synonyms) should fit in logically and organically with your content.
The bottom line: yes, keywords still matter to SEO, but don’t get hung up on them. Focus instead on creating helpful and meaningful content that provide real value to people – now that’s much better for SEO.
Use the meta description tag
The meta description tag is a brief summary or snippet of a page or post in your blog. It’s the short text displayed beneath the title of an article or post in the search results. It’s meant to help people decide whether to click on your article or not. If it contains helpful information relevant to their query, it sells the click, and the more clicks you get, the better your ranking.
But if you haven’t prepared a meta description tag for your page or post, then Google will simply come up with its own – and sometimes, it’s a hit or miss. At times, the snippet it displays from your article is helpful to people, and at times, it’s not. So it’s always better to have your own meta description just in case.
You can craft your meta description tag for each of your page or post through Yoast SEO. Just open the editing interface for a particular page or post, find the Yoast SEO panel at the bottom, and input your meta description where it says so.
When crafting a meta description, keep it short and sweet – you can write as long as you like, but Google only displays a max of 160 characters. So make sure your meta description is concise, clickworthy, and contains your keywords in a natural and non-spammy way.
Don’t forget your alt text
Alt text, a contraction of alternative text, is just a written description of an image on a webpage. It appears in place of an image when that image fails to load on your reader’s screen.
Alt text is meant for people who can’t see the images on your blog, including those who use screen readers or have low-bandwidth connections. It’s also used by Google (and other search engines) to understand what the subject matter of your images are, and to better index and rank your blog.
So if you want to rank higher on search engines and gain more traffic, don’t forget to optimize your images with alt text. When choosing alt text, focus on creating helpful and information-rich descriptions that use keywords appropriately and naturally. Avoid stuffing your alt text with keywords – it results to negative user experience and to your site being seen as spam.
Optimize for people first
Although SEO is concerned with fine-tuning your website so it gets found by search engines, its ultimate goal is to connect people with content that’s helpful, engaging, and valuable. And that should be your goal, too. So yes, by all means, learn SEO. Master it. Apply it to your blog. But don’t forget that still the best way to bring people to your blog is create content that matters – to you, to search engines, and most of all, to other people.
Remember, these are just a few basic tips to help you make your blog SEO-friendly, to help it be seen and win in search engine results. As already mentioned, SEO is difficult. It takes a lot of time to learn it, and even longer to master it. And even then, you still have to contend with the fact that SEO is always changing even as search engines continually update their ranking factors, reconfigure their algorithms, etc.
Still, it is in your best interest to understand – and eventually master – SEO, as doing so will reward you with a large, long-lasting, and free traffic to your blog.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to write great content and hope people will find you. And even if you improved your blog for SEO, well, it takes a while before search engines will notice you. Yes, crafting and committing to a good SEO strategy can bring large, long-lasting, and free traffic to your blog. But it also takes about 6 months on average before you see an increase in traffic, while the full results are visible only after 12 to 24 months.
However, you can’t just sit idly by and wait for things to happen. Good things come to those who wait, sure, but better things come to those who go out and get them. So while waiting for your SEO strategy to yield results, you should be proactive and be out there promoting and endorsing your blog.
Promotion is just as important as creating and optimizing your content – if not more so. In fact, many marketers swear by the simple formula of spending 10% of your time writing a blog post, and the remaining 90% promoting it. So here are some of the very best channels you can use to get the word out about your blog – for free.
Email promotion is a tried-and-true-formula for endorsing your blog effectively and for free. Old-fashioned, maybe, but it’s worked before, it still works now, and it will likely work just as well in the future. Hence, why it’s been a favorite of bloggers ever since. Here are some reasons why you should love email marketing, too:
- Widespread. There are over 4 billion email users worldwide and over 7 billion email accounts. Over 3 million emails are sent every second. And 95% of people check their email every day.
- Effective. You’re 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet. Email is 40x more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook or Twitter. And email subscribers are 3x more likely to share your content on social media than visitors from other sources.
- High ROI. The average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is $42 for every dollar spent.
- Profitable. About 4.24% of visitors from email marketing buy something, compared to 2.49% of visitors from search engines and 0.59% from social media.
- Personalized. Delivering personalized emails that are relevant, interesting, and useful straight to your subscribers’ inbox can make them feel special and help build meaningful connections.
- Easy. Email marketing is simple and uncomplicated. Plus, opt-in plugins and email marketing platforms do most of the work for you.
- You own your list. Your list of email subscribers is your earned traffic. Google, Facebook, or any other platform can’t take it away from you. You can get traction and build traffic with your own email list even if you’re not getting any love from Google, even if search engines or social media decide to change everything.
How email promotion works is simple. It begins with you convincing your visitors to sign up on your email list. Offer them something worthwhile in exchange for their email address – apart from interesting and valuable content, of course – like free ebooks, online courses, stock photos, or anything related to your topic that your readers will find useful.
Once you have a list of emails, you can then send your subscribers promotional material – say an update about a new post or product, or even better, a newsletter or blog digest containing a roundup of your best posts for the month, quarter, or year, etc.
Beyond that, here are some more tips to help you succeed in email marketing:
- Install a WordPress opt-in plugin. Build your email list with a good opt-in plugin, which provides users with a sign-up form or page (pop-ups, sidebar opt-ins, in-post opt-ins, etc.) where they can opt to subscribe to more of your content, delivered straight to their email inbox. Note that you can’t send emails to people without their permission; you can only send to those who sign up and actually want to receive your content. You can use plugins like OptinMonster, Sumo, MailPoet, Holler Box, etc.
- Offer something worthwhile in exchange for emails. People will only part with their email if you offer them something valuable in return. Good, useful content is foremost among that. You can also offer freebies like ebooks, courses, webinars, cheat sheets, templates, discounts, etc.
- Join an email marketing platform. This is the software that allows you to create and send well-designed emails (like newsletters or blog digests) to your subscribers, and see important stats like open rates (what percent of your subscribers are opening your emails), click-through rates (what percent of them are clicking your links), etc. You have to set up an account with an email marketing platform and then connect it with your WordPress email opt-in plugin. Many email marketing platforms are free, but you need to upgrade to a paid premium account after a while to access more and better tools. The most popular include MailChimp, Moosend, HubSpot, SendInBlue, etc.
- Pick a sending schedule. Choose how often do you want send emails to your subscribers. Will it be weekly, monthly, etc.? Consider how often you’re publishing new content. Plus, you should know that sending too frequently might annoy your subscribers and lead them to unsubscribe, while sending seldomly might make them forget and lose interest.
- Send only your best content. Sending irrelevant or badly written or designed emails will make your subscribers think you’re spamming them. So make sure you’re only sending them the best content. Write clickworthy titles, subjects, and emails. Design your newsletters beautifully. And make sure your content is fresh and interesting.
- Call-to-action (CTA). Include a clear and attention-grabbing CTA on every email so your subscribers know what action you want them to take (buy a product, get the discount, read the article, share on social, etc.)
- Personalize. Did you know that personalizing emails, like addressing your subscribers by their first name, tend to deliver 6x higher transaction rates? Your subscribers’ first and last names are part of the sign-up form provided by your email opt-in plugin, and you can adjust the settings of your email newsletters (like using first names) on your chosen email marketing platform.
- Optimize for mobile. About 63% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so your emails should be mobile-friendly.
- Option to unsubscribe. Your subscribers have the right to unsubscribe to your content if they no longer want it. Show and tell them exactly how to do it (buttons, links, steps, etc.). And when they do unsubscribe, make sure you respect their choice.
- Measure engagement. See how your emails are doing by monitoring important stats like open and click-through rates. Track what email designs, titles, subjects, etc. work best for your users and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Social media sites are some of the most effective platforms to promote your blog on. With vast and diverse audiences, unlimited global reach, and easy to use tools to communicate and engage, social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest could catapult your blog from obscurity to worldwide fame. And best of all, social media is free.
That said, not all social networking sites are built the same. Not all of them are compatible with your blog. While it’s perfectly understandable that you want to establish a presence on all social media sites, the fact is that each one of them requires valuable time and effort, things you’ll be constantly short of, especially when you’re juggling your schedule between content creation, site maintenance, promotion, and a host of other tasks.
The best thing you can do is to pick one or two of the most appropriate social media platforms and excel in those. So take a look at the some of the most popular and relevant social media sites and see where your blog is best suited.
- Facebook. The biggest social network worldwide, with roughly 2.91 billion monthly active users as per the latest data. Males account for 56.5% of global ad audience (those reached by ads), and females 43.5% (data reports only male and female). Meanwhile, over 31% of total ad audience are aged 25 to 34, the largest age group, followed by users aged 18 to 24, which account for 23% of total ad audience. India has the most Facebook users (reached by ads), at least 349 million, while the US comes in second at 194 million. Note that total number of users vs. total number of users reached by ads are different.
Best ways to promote your blog on Facebook are by creating a Facebook Page where you can share your blog posts, or by forming a Facebook Group where you can build a community for people who care about your blog, its niche, or other related topics. Add prominent images to your posts for more engagement. Plus, share juicy snippets, quotable quotes, interesting stats, etc. from your articles apart from just linking your posts wholesale.
- Instagram. With almost 1.5 billion monthly active users, it’s the fourth most-used social media platform. Females make up 48.4% of total ad audience, while males constitute 51.4%. The largest age group are users 25 to 34 years old, which account for 32% of total ad audience, while users aged 18 to 24 are at second at 30%. India (201 million) and the US (157 million) have the two greatest number of users (reached by ads) worldwide.
Instagram is all about the visuals (mostly). So promote your blog using only the best images and videos to capture your audience’s attention. Utilize Instagram Stories to share your blog content and don’t forget to include your Instagram handle with your blog or blog post URL posted there. And captions shouldn’t be an afterthought – write short but compelling and relatable descriptions that users will be emotionally invested in and that will drive them to your blog.
- Twitter. There are around 436.4 million users on Twitter worldwide. Of its total ad audience, 29.6% are female and 70.4% are male. The biggest age group on Twitter are users 18 to 24 years old, making up 28% of total ad audience, while the second biggest are users aged 25 to 34, or 24% of total ad audience. The US has the largest number of active Twitter users (reached by ads) at 77.8 million, while Japan ranks second at 58.2 million.
It’s Twitter, so when promoting your blog posts, your tweets should be short and sweet. Write something brief but provocative, or include an intriguing quote or statistic from your article. Add something visual – featured image, GIF, or video – for greater engagement. Retweet if your blog content gets tweeted by others. And remember to include your blog link on your bio.
- Pinterest. See the next section.
- LinkedIn. With 790.4 million users, it’s one of the largest social media platforms worldwide. Females constitute 43.4% of total ad audience, while males 56.6%. Members aged 25 to 34 account for the largest share of total global users, a whopping 61%, while users 18 to 24 years old make up the second largest, at 21%. The US (180 million) ranks first with the highest number of members (reached by ads), followed by India (81 million).
LinkedIn is a business-oriented site used by companies and professionals, so it’s not for all blogs. You can share your blog entries or write articles directly on the site (that link back to your blog). Take note – posts with images, especially larger images, get 2x higher engagement, while a video post is 20x more likely to be shared by members. Don’t forget to check your publication section and featured section on your profile – it’s there you can list and link your blog posts and encourage people to read them.
- TikTok. Global monthly active users number 1 billion, making it one of the world’s largest and most active social media platforms. Total ad audience is 56.1% female and 43.9% male. Users aged 18 to 24 make up nearly half of total ad audience at 44%, while those aged 25 to 34 account for more than a third, at 32%. The US has the most users (reached by ads) at 120.8 million, and Indonesia (87.5 million) has the second most.
Love it or hate it, TikTok is here to stay, and it’s growing really fast. It’s also an effective platform for promoting your blog. Create super short but interesting and entertaining videos about your blog posts, but mix it up with other non-blog content, especially viral/trending ones. Go for a Business Account instead of a personal one so you can access more analytics tools. And don’t forget to link your blog to your bio.
All social media platforms come with their own features, nuances, and caveats, and you should tailor your blog promotion strategy according to the platform you’re using. But there’s also plenty of things you can do that work for all platforms, namely:
- Create social share buttons. Make it easier and automatic for your audience to share your blog content with just a click or two. FYI, social share buttons are the little icons for each social platform which you can add to your blog or blog post for one-click sharing to social media. They sometimes come with your blog theme, or you can add them via a plugin like Smash Balloon, Shared Counts, Revive Social, Social Warfare, etc.
- Don’t forget to link. Make it easier for your audience to go directly to your blog or blog post by linking. Your links should be visible at all times. If possible, all your images or posts should be clickable links. And all your social profiles should have your blog links.
- Stick to a schedule. Find the optimal hours to post your content, as well as the optimal frequency of posting, and be consistent with those. Again, different social media platforms have different optimal timings, so plan accordingly.
- Stay in tune with the latest. When it comes to social media, jumping on the bandwagon is a good thing. Take advantage of trends, hacks, challenges, and other viral social media stuff, and use them to promote your blog.
- Maximize hashtags. Almost all social media platforms use hashtags. They allow your content to be easily discovered, engaged with, and promoted. For maximum effect, keep your hashtags simple, relevant, and not too many. Use trending hashtags whenever appropriate. And don’t forget to create your own unique hashtag/s for brand awareness.
- Optimize for mobile. The latest stats show that 91% or about nine in 10 people use mobile devices to access social media. This means your content for both social media and on your blog should be mobile-friendly.
- Track your Google Analytics. Keep an eye on your metrics. See what social media platform or campaign work best in sending your traffic and maximize your efforts there. Track where you’re performing bad and adjust your strategy.
Alright, so these are just a few tips you can use to promote your blog on some of the biggest and most used social media sites. If you’re a savvy social media user, then you can definitely add more to the list, so use all that social media knowledge and know-how to get the word out on your blog in the most effective and efficient way.
Out of all social media platforms, Pinterest deserves a section of its own, simply because it’s not like quite the others. Pinterest is a visual social site, just like Instagram. But it’s also a visual search engine (or a visual discovery engine, as it calls itself), just like Google Images. So really, Pinterest is a mix between a social network and a search engine.
Now you probably already know how Pinterest works. It allows you to collect or pin images and graphics from across the Web – they are called Pins – and curate them into your boards (think of them like pinboards in real life). You can create a board for every topic you want – vegan food, antigravity yoga, farmhouse decor, positive affirmations, etc. And you can also create your own Pins and upload them directly to your Pinterest account.
But what you probably don’t know is that Pinterest is quite the perfect platform to promote your blog. Here are some reasons why:
- Large and active. Pinterest has 444 million monthly active users, making it one of the biggest and most used social media platforms worldwide. In the US, Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media site, where it has the highest number of users among all countries.
- Positive. About 91%of people believe Pinterest is a positive place. Indeed, in one survey, 90% of respondents called Pinterest an ’online oasis’.
- Inspiring. Pinterest is a place to discover new ideas. Nine in 10 Pinners use the platform for purchase inspiration. About 85% say they use it to plan new projects. Around 98% say they try new things based on what they see on the site. And 77% of Pinners have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest.
- Lucrative. More than 47% of time spent on Pinterest is spent shopping. About 66% of Pinners are actively searching for products and services to buy based on what they on Pinterest. A whopping 85% of users have purchased a product inspired by Pinterest content. Also, Pinners spend 80% more in retail than consumers who don’t use Pinterest. And shoppers on Pinterest have 85% bigger baskets than shoppers on other platforms, and they spend twice as much per month.
- Effective. Bloggers have been using Pinterest to drive massive amounts of traffic and conversions to their blogs for years. After all, Pinners are 3x more likely to click to your blog or website to learn more about your product, service, or article than on any other social media platform. And Pinterest Pins have the longest average lifespan – about three months – compared to posts on Facebook (5-6 hours), Instagram (48 hours), or Twitter (15-20 minutes). In fact, your Pins could still be sending you traffic a year, or two, or even three after publishing it!
Promoting your blog on Pinterest is very straightforward. You simply create a Pin for your blog post, upload it on Pinterest, and when other users find your Pin, they can click it to go to your article. Or you can pin images from your blog post directly to your Pinterest boards. Here are some more useful tips to help you succeed in Pinterest:
- Set up a free business account. You get access to analytics so you can track and measure your Pinterest strategy, plus have the ability to open a Shop or run ads.
- Claim your website. You will receive the analytics for all Pins from your site, regardless if you or others did the pinning, and let people know where they can find more of your content.
- Create vertical and visually stunning Pins. Make sure your Pins are beautiful and can really attract eyes and attention. And make sure they have a 2:3 image aspect ratio – that means long images rather than square or wide.
- Write big and standout titles/text overlays. Your Pins should contain large and easily readable titles or text overlays that state the headline of your article, what action you want users to take, additional info, etc.
- Add your brand. Include your blog name or logo on every Pin you design, so people will know who or where to go to for similar content. Also, so your Pins won’t be stolen. Include your brand in a conspicuous yet tasteful way.
- Add ‘pinnable’ images to your blog posts. Make it easy for your readers to share your articles on Pinterest with beautiful, bespoke Pins.
- Add a Pinterest plugin to your website. Use a WordPress plugin to make it easy and instant for readers to share all your images on Pinterest with just a click or two.
- Create multiple Pins for the same article. Craft a variety of beautiful Pins for each of your blog entry to see what specific design, layout, or color works well for users.
- Pin during optimal times, and consistently. Bloggers and marketers say that the best days to pin are Fridays and Saturdays, and the best hours from 2 to 4 AM and 8 to 11 PM (Note that majority of Pinners live in the West – US, Canada, Western Europe, Brazil, Mexico, etc., so use the appropriate time zone). However, you can also pin multiple times a day every day. Timing is important, but consistency more so. Whatever schedule you choose, be consistent with it.
- Plan ahead. Pinners plan for seasonal events way ahead of time, and so should you. In fact, on Pinterest, Christmas planning starts as early as April!
- Optimize descriptions, everything. Pinterest is also a search engine, so optimize your Pin titles and descriptions, hashtags, board names and descriptions, as well as your profile name and description, with the right keywords.
- Track analytics. See how your individual Pins are performing, what design or title or pinning schedule works, and calibrate your Pinterest strategy accordingly.
These are just a few tips to help you maximize your Pinterest strategy. You’ll discover more on your own when you use Pinterest. But the best thing you can do is to stay on top of changes. Pinterest makes updates every now and then, some very minor, but others very big, so keep an eye out for those. Know what new things to look out for and know what current strategies still work and what do not anymore.
Note that these are but a few of the ways you can promote your blog effectively and for free. There are plenty more things you can do to get the word out on your blog, from something as simple as telling your mom, your friends, and your cat about your blog; going old-fashioned and sending out business cards with your blog name and link on it; to joining online forums like Quora and promoting your blog there in a natural and non-spammy way.
With all this talk of rankings and outdoing other bloggers, it can be easy to think that blogging is simply about competition. It’s not. It’s also about cooperation and networking.
Bloggers need other bloggers, and bloggers help fellow bloggers. It’s been that way ever since. Otherwise, the blogging community wouldn’t have been as successful, and the blogging story wouldn’t have been as colorful.
When bloggers work together, something creative happens, and there’s plenty of growth and profit for all to be realized. Here are some of the most common ways you can collaborate with other bloggers and grow your blog at the same time.
Networking with your fellow bloggers begins with something as simple as leaving a comment on their blog. Most bloggers enable comments on their website. It’s for visitors to share their thoughts and start conversations. And it’s also a good place to promote your blog.
When commenting, you want to do so with much tact and taste. You don’t want to simply leave a bare link to your blog and nothing else – it looks spammy that way and will be removed in an instant, or will not even be posted in the first place.
Instead, you want to contribute a sincere and well-thought-out comment suitable to the topic of the article, and then link your blog naturally. Your comment should be genuine – say an affirmation, a suggestion, or even a question directed at the author – and you linking to your blog should come off as logical and relevant.
Don’t worry. Many bloggers are familiar with this, as they themselves do it or have done it. Most will allow you to include links to your site, either via your name (as a commenter) or within your comment proper. Such links are often no-follow links, which means that they don’t contribute to SEO, but they still direct to your site nonetheless. When other people happen to read your comment, they can click on your link and go to your website, earning you visitors.
In return, it’s also a good idea to turn on comments on your blog, and allow fellow bloggers who have something genuine to say link to their respective blogs.
Another way you can connect with other bloggers is through links. As previously mentioned, it’s a good idea to link to other blogs and websites when you’re writing your own articles, whether it’s for citation, recommendation, etc. It’s not only a show of goodwill, it also helps with SEO. Plus, when you’re a big blog and you’re linking to smaller blogs, it really helps them out. A lot.
But even more important is to get your blog linked to from other blogs and websites, especially the big, popular, and authoritative ones. Remember inbound links? Well, when you’re a small blog and a big blog links to you, it’s a huge thing. It could help you out immensely. So you want to reach out to those big blogs and ask them to link to you. Of course, give them a valid reason to link to your blog – say you just created a post that includes them, etc.
And links aren’t just confined on your websites. Share the links of your fellow bloggers on your social media accounts, too. Tag them. Give them mentions. Give them shoutouts. Then reach out to other bloggers so they would do the same for your blog (again, give them a reason to).
This is basically just you writing articles for other blogs, usually for those that get far more traffic and attention, in exchange for them giving you a link to your blog or website. The idea is that you’re helping them build their content library for free with an interesting, relevant, and useful article, and they in turn are helping you gain traction by linking to your blog, promoting your article, and making people aware of your name and blog.
To find blogs that accept guest posts, you’ll have to do a lot of reaching out. Begin by looking up the big, popular, and profitable blogs and websites that dominate your niche and list down their email addresses. Once you have your list of emails, send them a message pitching your proposal for a guest post. Convince them that you have something worthwhile for them, an engaging, informative, and original article that ties in well with their content.
Now many of them won’t respond, unfortunately, especially if you’re just a tiny blogger. But some will do. So for those who give you positive replies, continue communicating with them until you reach a deal and you finally get to publish your guest post.
You could also go to the blogs or websites of potential partners and look for the button, page, or link that says ‘Write for Us’ or any variation of it. That’s usually a cue for guest posts or even freelance blogging work.
In return, when you yourself have found success in blogging, don’t forget those who follow after you. Don’t be afraid to accept guest posts from other people, especially if they’re offering genuinely interesting and useful content. Give them a chance at least, and don’t ignore their emails. Remember, guest bloggings is a win for both parties – you get a free article to add to your content library, and your guests will get some traffic to build their blog.
Remember, what you read are just some of the most common and effective ways you can grow your blog. You’ll be discovering even more creative ways to build up your content, traffic, and conversions as you go along. After all, growing your blog is meant for the long-term. It’s what you’ll be doing for as long as you choose to blog. The key is consistency. Don’t give up hope when things don’t work out fast. Be patient. Eventually everything will pay off – and I mean that literally, as you’ll soon find out in the next stage of your blogging journey.
How to monetize your blog
Now that everything’s in order with your blog, it’s time to start monetizing all the work you’ve done, and all the work you’ll still do. Here’s a detailed guide to help you put in place a monetization strategy for your blog. It involves ways you can make passive income, as well as active income, through blogging.
At the end of this guide, you’ll learn the most common and most profitable ways to earn money off blogging, identify what income streams are best for you, see a sample roadmap towards making a fulltime income from blogging, and understand how to earn yourself a fulltime income off your very own blog.
Ready? Let’s begin.
1. Affiliate marketing
This list starts with one of the easiest and most profitable ways to monetize your blog – affiliate marketing. It’s where you promote other people’s or company’s product, service, or entire brand on your blog (or social) and you get a commission for every successful sale.
Affiliate marketing is easy in that you don’t have to create the product (or service) you’re selling. Basically, you’re getting paid just for promoting (and directing successful sales). Plus, there’s usually no cost involved in becoming an affiliate. It’s in the brand’s incentive to attract as many successful affiliates as possible.
So affiliate marketing is great for beginner bloggers, especially those who don’t have their own product to sell just yet, because it’s easy to learn, understand, and implement. And it’s even better for experienced bloggers, because then you have all the knowledge and skills to create content that really convinces people to buy the product or service you’re promoting.
Most brands and companies today now have an affiliate program of some sort. If you want to try your hand in affiliate marketing, finding the right affiliate program is the first step. And to do that, you can:
- Join a brand’s affiliate program. If you know of a product or brand relevant to your niche that you think is worth recommending to your audience, because they might find it useful themselves, then go to that product’s (or its company’s) website and check if it has an affiliate program. Popular affiliate programs include Amazon Associates and eBay Partner Network, but there are literally millions of affiliate programs to join!
- Join an affiliate network. Affiliate networks are platforms that connect brands and companies with publishers and content creators. They make it easier for merchants to find people to promote their products, and for bloggers and influencers to find a product or brand to promote. Examples of affiliate networks include ClickBank, FlexOffers, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, etc.
Once you have chosen an affiliate program you want to promote, your next steps are:
- Sign up. Create an account with your affiliate program or network of choice. Make sure you complete all the required info and choose how you want to get paid.
- Get your affiliate link. It’s your unique, personalized link to a product or brand you’re promoting. When other people click on your affiliate link, you get credit every time they make a purchase.
- Create content. Your job is to promote your affiliate link on your blog or social network. But you just can’t leave a bare link anywhere you want. You have to convince people to click on that link. That means creating genuinely meaningful, useful, and compelling content about the product or brand you’re promoting, and then include your affiliate link to direct visitors to said product or brand.
- Promote. Once you have created content, like product highlights, roundups, etc., you need to promote them. That includes optimizing your posts for search engines, and promoting your articles on your social media accounts and to your email subscribers. Your aim is to maximize exposure, get people to click on your articles, click on your affiliate links, and then make purchases.
- Profit. Every time someone makes a purchase or completes a required action using your link, you earn a commission (or other reward) based on the details of your affiliate program of choice. Your payout and payment method also depend on the affiliate program you’re promoting.
- Rinse and repeat. Now find other affiliate programs to join and repeat the entire process. The more affiliate programs you join, the more successful sales you get using your affiliate links, the more income you receive.
Now you should know that in many countries, you are obliged by law to disclose your affiliate ties with brands and companies. You need to inform your readers – very clearly and prominently – about the presence of affiliate links in your articles, what do they mean, why they are there, what happens if people click on them, and that you earn money on qualified sales. You also need a disclosure page on your blog that states that you take part in affiliate programs and earn money in doing so (in addition to the individual disclosure on each article with affiliate links).
Anyway, as you can see, the concept of affiliate marketing is very simple and straightforward. And your potential income is limitless, as long as you join lucrative affiliate programs, promote products that people actually want to buy, and make successful sales. That’s why it’s a great choice for beginner bloggers looking to monetize their blogs early on, and an even greater choice for experienced bloggers who can leverage their expertise to direct qualified sales.
2. Selling digital products
You could sell other people’s products on your blog, sure. But you could also sell your own products and make more money in doing so. Now there are two types of products you can sell: digital and physical. Let’s start with digital products.
A digital product is any product you sell online that doesn’t have physical form or substance. It can be sold and distributed repeatedly without the need to replenish inventory – put simply, it means you can create it just once and sell it as many times as you like (unlike a physical product, which you have to create for every sale).
Examples of digital products you can sell on your blog include:
- Online courses. Create your own online course about a topic of your expertise that are relevant and helpful to your audience. It could be about how to start a blog, negotiate a pay raise, get started with decluttering, or anything. Your course could be something as simple as a PDF file or a series of videos.
- Ebooks, audiobooks. Create an ebook or an audiobook that’s useful or interesting to your audience. It could be anything – how to be a work from home mom, how to use essential oils for healthy skin, must-have tools for podcasters, etc.
- Digital printables. These are digital files or documents that your customers can purchase and print for themselves. These include planners, journals, checklists, worksheets, calendars, cards, labels, stickers, wall art, coloring pages, knitting and crocheting patterns, etc.
- Templates. These are sample documents or files that customers can purchase and personalize for their own use. These include Canva templates for Pinterest Pins, legal pages for a blog, business flyer templates, etc.
- WordPress themes. If you know how to design and develop a theme for WordPress, you could start selling it too.
- Plugins, software. You could sell fully-fledged software programs and applications, or plugins (like WordPress plugins), which are essentially add-ons to bigger software products.
- Filters, presets, graphic design elements. These are basically anything to help make a good graphic design or image such as clipart and vector files, enhance a photo like Lightroom presets, etc.
- Photos, videos, music tracks, sound clips. You could also sell media products such as stock photos, video clips, sound effects, or even your own music.
As you can see, there’s a lot of digital products you can sell. And they’re great because you only need to create a single digital product and you can sell it infinitely. You don’t have to worry about inventory, storage, or shipping – people can literally just download your digital products or receive them via email.
Anyway, there are several ways you can start selling digital products. You could:
- Add an ecommerce store on your blog. Convert your blog into a fully-functional online store with a plugin like WooCommerce, which allows you to sell digital and physical products, receive secure payments, manage inventory, and manage all your taxes automatically.
- Create your own store on an ecommerce platform. Open your own store on dedicated and fully-hosted ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Big Commerce, BigCartel, etc. These websites offer paid complete solutions to help you start, grow, and manage your online business, and are especially made for non-technical people.
- Sell on dedicated digital sales platforms. Sites like SellWire, Sellfy, Easy Digital Downloads, FastSpring, etc. are especially made for selling digital goods, complete with the tools and features you need to manage your business. You could open a store in any of these to eliminate the hassle of setting up shop on your own blog.
- Sell on Etsy (or similar sites). Etsy is known mostly as a marketplace for handmade crafts and vintage items, but it’s also a huge place for buying and selling digital goods like printables.
- Sell on self-publishing companies. You could sell your ebooks or audiobooks on self-publishing sites like Amazon KDP, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble Press, etc.
- Sell on stock photo and graphic resource sites. You could sell your stock photos, illustrations, graphics, clipart, vectors, PSD, and other graphic design elements on sites like Alamy, Shutterstock, Getty Images, Creative Market, Design Cuts, TemplateMonster, etc.
- Sell on WordPress-related marketplaces. If you have WordPress themes or plugins to offer, you can sell them on ThemeForest, Creative Market, MOJO Marketplace, etc.
Selling digital products can be intimidating and overwhelming at first, but you have to try it at some point. It can make you more money than any another income stream. Did you know that the wealthiest bloggers derive 80% of their income from selling online courses? So yeah, eventually you have to start selling your own products.
3. Selling physical products
Alongside or instead of digital products, you can also sell physical products on your blog. Physical products are goods that you can touch and feel – it’s pretty much self-explanatory. These include:
- Books (paper books)
- Planners, journals, notebooks, stationery
- Handicrafts, artworks
- Toiletries, cosmetics
- Artisanal food and beverages
- Clothing, fashion accessories, jewelry
In general, selling physical products requires much more time and effort than selling digital ones. For starters, you have to create each product separately (unlike a digital product, which you create once and sell as many times as you like). Then in most cases, you also have to handle the packaging, shipping, etc.
But selling physical products also has its advantages. For one, since each product is made separately, it’s regarded as more valuable. Your customer wouldn’t mind paying a higher price for it. Second, you can build more meaningful relationships with your customers because the products they’re buying from you are a direct extension and physical manifestation of your effort, creativity, and passion.
Of course, you can also sell products that you didn’t have to make personally. You could buy products from other people or companies, and simply resell them yourself. This works best if you already have the audience willing to buy, or the know-how to attract such an audience, and you can find a reliable and affordable supplier.
With all that said, there are different ways you can sell physical products as a blogger. You could:
- Add an ecommerce store on your website. You could install a plugin like WooCommerce to your WordPress blog to add an online store or fully convert it to an ecommerce site.
- Create your own dedicated ecommerce store. You could set up your own online store on a fully-hosted ecommerce platform like Shopify, Big Commerce, BigCartel, etc. These websites offer paid complete solutions to help you start, grow, and manage your online business, and are especially made for non-technical people.
- Sell on online handmade stores. If you’re selling artisanal or handmade products, crafts, or vintage items, you could sell them on online marketplaces like Etsy. All you need to do is sign up, create an account, complete your shop details, and start listing and selling. You could also try Amazon Handmade, IndieMade, Bonanza, Zibbet, etc. Depending on the platform, you’ll be charged a variety of fees, but you’ll have the all tools for managing your business as well as a dedicated market to sell to.
- Sell on Amazon or eBay. You could also sell your products on Amazon or eBay. You’ll also pay a bunch of fees, not to mention compete with stores selling cheap, mass-produced goods, but the upside are the tools you get to manage your business and the large market of buyers.
As you can see, selling physical products might require you to use a third-party platform, but that doesn’t mean your blog is already sidelined. On the contrary, it becomes more important is it is what allows you to stand out from other stores on your chosen platform. Use your blog to promote your products through creative lists, roundups, product highlights, etc., and drive massive traffic – and sales – to your online store.
4. Selling services
Apart from digital and physical products, you could also sell services on your blog, such as:
- Coaching. You can sell one-on-one or group coaching sessions on a variety of topics you’re a master or an authority in, from personal finance, social media marketing, creative writing, yoga, DIY crafts, to life and living in general. This is one of the best ways to monetize your expertise and experience while directly connecting with your audience.
- Consultation. You could also offer consultation sessions, which are usually more personal and are tailored to your current client’s needs and situation. For instance, you could get paid to help a client decorate and design her home office, if you’re an interior designer; or provide advice and actionable steps to a client struggling with her business, if you’re a business consultant.
- Virtual assistance. If you’re a virtual assistant, you could offer administrative, secretarial, and support services (managing schedules, scheduling appointments, preparing reports, making calls, sending emails, etc.) to paying clientele.
- Blogging and social media management. You could also sell your services as a blogging guru or a social media expert.
- Photography. If you’re an expert in photography, you could sell your services as a professional photographer.
- Wedding (and other events) planning. If you’re a wedding or events organizer, your blog or website is basically your online office. It’s where clients can find you and book your services.
Now selling services won’t make you passive income. It’ll make you an active income, as you’ll be directly trading your time, skills, and effort for money each time you perform a service. Therefore, you should make sure that the services you’re offering are worth the time you could otherwise spend on building more passive income streams. But a good thing about mixing passive and active income streams is that you get a more consistent overall income each month.
Anyway, to start selling your services on your blog, you should:
- Have a beautiful and functional website. When offering your services for sale, you need to clearly and effectively communicate your expertise, authority, and credibility. You want people to trust you. And it all starts with a well-designed blog or website that not only looks beautiful and professionally made, but also works smoothly and quickly.
- Create a sale page/s. Set up a dedicated page (or pages) on your website where potential clients can see what services you’re offering, how much are your rates, the benefits of working with you, work you’ve done before, testimonials and reviews from past clients, as well as book, buy, or rent your services, complete with a payment system, contact information for inquiries, etc.
- Promote your sales page on your blog. If your blog or website isn’t solely about your services, then make sure you help visitors and potential clients find your sales page, or at least the part where they can see what services you’re offering and how they can book your services. Add banners, images, buttons, or links that direct to your sales page on your header, footer, sidebar, beneath the titles of your articles, etc.
- Write posts about your services. Create useful blog posts and articles promoting, highlighting, or mentioning your services. For example, if you’re offering wedding planning services, you could write posts about the newest wedding trends, best wedding destinations, or the perfect wedding dresses, and then introduce your business as the one to arrange, organize, or realize all these for your clients (that is, if you do actually offer those things).
- Promote on social media. Get the word out about your business on social media. Promote your services. Link your blog posts about your services. Share highlights from your past work and testimonials from past clients.
Selling services go hand-in-hand with selling products. For instance, if you’re selling coaching services, you should also be selling online courses, ebooks, and digital resource kits. If you’re offering professional photography services, you could also sell stock photos, Lightroom presets, etc. It’s all about maximizing and diversifying your monetization strategy. And it all leads to a larger and more stable income for you.
Online ads, or advertisements, are another way you can monetize your blog. They’ve been here ever since, and they’re only becoming more popular today as marketers increase their spending on digital advertising, especially on mobile devices.
Now online ads are usually a debated topic in the blogging community. You’ll find bloggers who are against it. They say that ads only ruin user experience by messing up your blog’s otherwise beautiful design and layout, partially or fully covering your content, forcing your site to load slowly, and even putting off your readers when the ads are too garish and tasteless. Ads also distract people and unwittingly make them leave your site and click to another, thereby robbing you of a potential sale, subscription, etc. Besides, you usually need a lot of traffic just to make a decent income from ads.
But then there are also bloggers who favor running ads. They say that almost every site and platform on the Internet is filled with ads, such that people have already come to accept them as part of the online world, so they wouldn’t bother your readers as much. Ads are also a quick and effortless way to earn passive income off simple and normal actions like views or clicks (sometimes even accidental ones).
The choice to publish ads on your blog is yours to make. But if you ask me, ads are a good thing as long as you don’t overdo it. Ads provide an extra source of income. And they won’t ruin user experience, as long as you only put ads strategically and sparingly. Besides, many ad programs today are now using more modern and organic ad designs and intelligent ad placement, to make sure that the ads being displayed fit the look of your blog, are not too obtrusive and annoying, and are placed only on the most ideal parts of your site.
As a blogger, there are four different types of ad pricing models you should know about. Each type allows you to earn money in a different way.
- CPM or cost per mille (mille is the Latin word for ‘thousand’). You get paid for every 1,000 views a single ad gets. This works best if your blog gets tons of traffic.
- CPC or cost per click. You get paid every time a visitor clicks on that single ad. This works best if your readers and visitors are highly engaged.
- CPA or cost per acquisition. You get paid only when a visitor makes a purchase or signs up after clicking that single ad. This usually involves ads from affiliate marketing programs.
- Fixed-rate. You get paid a fixed amount for a single ad, whether that ad does well or not. This usually happens when you manually sell ad space and negotiate directly with advertisers.
Anyway, there are three main ways you can publish ads on your blog. You can:
- Sell ad space directly. You can create and designate spaces on your blog (on top of each article, at the sidebar, on the footer, etc.) where ads can be shown. Then you contact brands and businesses personally and sell them these ad spaces for their products and services. You can work out the pricing, payment method, etc. This involves a lot of work, effort, time, and patience, but you get to keep 100% of what you charge.
- Join ad programs. These are platforms that connect publishers with brands, companies, and media buyers. Just sign up and they’ll automatically start publishing ads for you. Ads shown usually match your blog’s niche and audience, plus match your website design, too. You have substantial amount of control over where ads can be shown, how they look, etc. This is by far the easiest way to make money from ads, but the ad program gets a cut from what you earn.
Different ad networks have different requirements for joining. Some require you to be in a certain niche (travel, lifestyle, insurance, etc.), or reach a certain monthly traffic (50,000 page impressions per month, 100,000 unique monthly visitors, etc.). Some use display ads, some use in-text ads, etc. The most popular ad programs include Google AdSense, Media.net, Infolinks, Monumetric, Ezoic, Mediavine, AdThrive, etc.
- Join affiliate programs. Many affiliate programs don’t just provide you with affiliate links. They also provide custom banners, images, etc. that serve as ads. You can manually place these custom ads anywhere on your website. They work like your affiliate links – every time someone clicks on them and makes a purchase (or completes a required action), you get paid.
Now remember, ads are a good thing so long as you don’t overdo it. Be smart on where you place your ads. Put them in spaces that are easily seen, on pages where you get the most traffic, etc. But don’t overwhelm your users. And maybe don’t put ads on articles where you have your affiliate links – users might be distracted by ads, click on them, leave your site, and rob you of a potential and more lucrative affiliate sale.
6. Sponsored content
Sponsored content refers to content that brands and businesses, and sometimes private individuals, pay you to write and publish on your blog. Essentially, you’re getting paid to promote, endorse, and talk about a certain product, service, or the entire company selling it. Examples of sponsored content include paid product reviews, testimonials, listicles or roundups that include the product you’re promoting, etc.
Depending on your popularity, expertise, and experience as a blogger, sponsored content could easily generate you some big bucks. Did you know that an average blogger with a sizeable following could already earn as much as $1,442 for just one sponsored blog post? Write three of those in a month and you’ve already made a fulltime income.
Anyway, to get sponsors to notice you and pay you to write blog posts, articles, and other content for them, you need to:
- Create quality content. The best way to attract sponsors and get them not just to notice you, but to want to work with you, is to create meaningful, engaging, useful, and topnotch content. That tells them that if they’re going to work you, then they’re making the right choice because you’re guaranteed to write quality sponsored posts that people will find interesting and useful, and that will very likely convince them to buy or use the product, service, or brand you’re promoting.
- Rank high on search engines. Sponsors usually work with bloggers and content creators who rank highly on Google and other search engines. That increases the likelihood that the posts they’re paying for (and in effect their products and services they’re paying you to promote) will be seen – and bought – by the greatest number of people.
- Be found (and be popular) on social media. Sponsors also often work with bloggers who have a big and active presence on social media – for obvious reasons. They want their products and services to be seen on as many different channels and platforms as possible, thereby increasing the likelihood of engagement, conversion, and sales.
- Set up a sponsored page. Create a page on your website specifically designed for interested sponsors. Tell them why they should work with you. Add your contact info, or better yet, include a custom email form for sponsorships (which includes details about the proposed sponsorship) to make everything organized and very professional.
- Create a media kit. On your sponsored page, your media kit should be a big focus. Your media kit is what will convince potential sponsors to work with you. It’s basically a summary of your blog, including your website stats (number of visitors, email subscribers, etc.) as well as your social media stats (what platforms you’re on, how many followers, etc.). It also includes all the brands you’ve worked with, links to similar work you’ve done (besides your blog), etc.
- Pitch to potential sponsors. You can’t just wait for sponsors to come to you. Go to them instead. Make a list of possible sponsors – big brands and companies on your niche, etc. Or see who’s sponsoring similar bloggers on your niche. Then send emails to these brands and companies, ask for sponsorships and tell them why they should work with you. Link to your blog and social media accounts. Add your media kit. Provide samples of your work, etc.
- Join sponsored content networks and marketplaces. These are essentially websites and platforms that act as intermediaries or middlemen between brands and bloggers/publishers. They’ll connect you with companies willing to support and sponsor you. The most popular platforms include Cooperatize, Izea, Markerly, TapInfluence, SeedingUp, GetReviewed, etc.
Remember, sponsored content isn’t all about money. Don’t sell yourself short – know how to value your time, skill, effort, and reputation. Don’t sell yourself out – work only with brands and businesses that mean something to you, those you truly support or are genuinely interested in. And don’t sell your readers out. It takes a lot of time to earn your readers’ trust and loyalty; it only takes a short while to lose it. Don’t betray your readers – make sure your sponsored posts are honest, useful, and are relevant to your niche and audience.
You also need to remember that depending on where you live and operate your blog, you might need to write a disclosure to inform your readers that what they’re reading is sponsored content. You also need a disclosure page on your blog that states you accept sponsored content (in addition to the individual disclosure on each sponsored article).
7. Referral bonuses
There are plenty of products and services that offer referral programs, where you’ll get paid money for recommending your friends, acquaintances, contacts, and other people to sign up, use these products and services, complete an action, etc. And if you could get enough people to sign up on enough referral products and services, then the referral bonuses you’ll earn could add a lot to your blogging income.
Earning from referral bonuses is a straightforward process and involves only a few steps:
- Find a product or service with a referral program. Pick one that is legitimate, applicable to your niche and audience, something your readers will want or need, and something you use yourself.
- Sign up. You yourself will need to sign up first on your chosen referral program, so you can get your referral link – it’s basically this unique, personalized link that when another person clicks it, it lets your chosen product or service know that it was you who should get credit for referring that new person.
- Promote. Now you need to promote your referral link everywhere. On your blog, on your socials, on your email list, etc. But you have to know first where you’re allowed to promote it. Some referral programs only allow you to post your link on your website, some only through email, etc. And of course, you can’t just post your referral link and that’s it. You have to create content around the product or service you’re promoting – write a review, an article, etc. – which will convince your readers to click your referral link.
- Profit. When someone clicks on your link and signs up or completes the required action, then you earn your referral bonus.
- Rinse and repeat. Find more referral programs to join, get more referral links, create content about those links and promote them, get people to click those links and complete the desired actions, and earn more referral bonuses.
As you can tell, referral programs are quite similar to affiliate programs, except that the former is all about rewarding current loyal users regardless if you’re blogger or not, while the latter prioritizes third-party advertisers like bloggers, publishers, content creators, influencers, etc.
And you should also know – not all referral programs give out money (cash, credit, discounts, etc.) as a reward. Some provide products, perks, and other incentives instead. And some referral programs have a limit to how many new people you can refer and be rewarded for.
Anyway, some examples of products and services that offer referral programs include:
- Swagbucks. This survey app/website will give you 10% of the lifetime earnings of each person you successfully refer.
- Rakuten. This cashback app/website pays you $10 for signing up (and completing additional requirements), and a referral bonus for getting your friends into the program.
- Respondent. This high-paying research site will give you $20 for every new referral who earns their first $75.
- Payoneer. This financial services platform rewards you and your referral with $25 each, as long as your referral meets certain requirements.
- T-Mobile. This wireless network operator gives you $50 for every qualified referral (max 10 referrals).
These are just a few examples. If you have a product or service you’re using, and you’re thinking it’d be great to recommend it to other people, go to that product or service’s website first, and check if it has a referral program. It’s a nice way to earn a little something from referring a product or service you would recommend anyway.
8. Freelance writing/blogging
If you’re making money blogging for yourself, then why not try blogging for other people, too? If you have the skill and the time to spare from working on your own blog, then freelance blogging for paying clients could definitely be another lucrative income stream.
Freelance blogging involves writing blog posts and articles for clients. And that includes researching topics and keywords, editing and proofreading your text, and optimizing your content to make it SEO-friendly.
If you’re interested in diversifying your income streams by becoming a freelance blogger, here’s what you can do to get clients to notice you:
- Promote on your blog. Set up a page on your website where you offer your blogging services for hire. Include your contact information for interested clients. Plus make sure your blog is full of well written and engaging articles in the first place – your blog is already your resume and your portfolio.
- Promote on social. Use your social media accounts to get the word out about your amazing writing and blogging services.
- Guest post. Collaborate with other bloggers to have your work published on their own websites. You’ll do it for free at first, but soon, people will be willing to pay you to write articles for them. Plus, if you write enough guest posts, especially on big blogs, you’ll soon attract interest from paying clients.
- Pitch. Send an email or a message to possible clients – mostly brands and businesses, and other bloggers and website owners – offering your blogging services. Link your blog, or include your media kit or portfolio of written works, for further credibility.
- Accept offers or inquiries. If you’re well known in the blogging and online sphere, expect people to come to you with offers or inquiries of blogging work. It’s up to you work out a deal with these potential clients.
- Join freelancing platforms. Sign up on freelancing websites like Upwork, iWriter, FlexJobs, BloggingPro, etc. and look for writing or blogging jobs.
Now freelancing takes time and effort, valuable resources that you could be devoting on working on your blog instead. So you have to make a choice here: will you earn more money by blogging for others, or by pouring all your time and effort into your blog?
Now if you’re already a well-established blogger with significant reputation and following, and your blog is pretty much on autopilot, then you definitely have the skill, expertise, and the time to blog for others and charge a high price for it.
But if you’re only a beginner blogger, it’s better to focus on your blog first until it starts making money. The hardest part of blogging are the first few months of building it up – you would want to focus all your time and attention to it first.
9. Offering related services
Apart from freelance writing, you can also hire out your other blogging-related skills to paying customers. As a blogger, you’ve now learned and even mastered a wealth of skills that other people value highly and are willing to paying for, such as:
- Web development and web design. If you know how to build beautiful and functional websites.
- Graphic design. If you know how to create stunning images, infographics, Pinterest Pins, logos, printables, etc.
- Photography and photo editing. If you know how to capture the perfect shots and edit them.
- Videography. If you know how to record great videos and make even greater films out of them.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). If you know how to improve websites to rank higher on Google (or other search engines) and get more traffic.
- Social media management. If you know all about social media and how to use them to drive traffic and engagement to a blog or website.
- Digital marketing. If you know how to leverage digital technology (websites, online content, social media, email, etc.) to promote products and services.
Just like in freelance writing, you can hire out your other blogging-related services if you:
- Promote on your blog. Create a page on your website where you list out all the blogging-related services you’re offering. Include your contact information for interested parties. And don’t forget that your blog should be well built and well designed, and your content, from article to photos to logos, should be well made.
- Promote on social media. Tell everyone on your social accounts that you’re blogging-related skills are available for hire, and tell people how to get in touch with you.
- Reach out to potential clients. Seek out possible customers, usually brands and businesses and other website owners and bloggers, by sending them a pitch via email, chat, or sometimes, call. You’d be more credible if you have a fully-fledged media kit, or a separate portfolio of samples of your work.
- Accept offers or inquiries. There are times when potential clients, whether private individuals or organizations, will contact you instead. That could happen if you’re already of significant importance and popularity, or they might have randomly stumbled upon your blog and were impressed by what they saw. Then they’ll contact you seeking your services. Respond to them, work out a deal, and don’t let these opportunities just pass by.
- Join freelancing platforms. You could join freelancing websites like Upwork, FlexJobs, Fiverr, etc. and scour their job boards for suitable work.
And just like in freelance writing or blogging, you should consider whether freelancing is a worthwhile use of your time. Would you be earning more money if you’re hiring out your skills, or if you just focus all your efforts on growing your blog instead?
10. Membership/subscription fees
Most blogs offer their content for free. But there are some blogs that are require visitors to pay a certain fee to access some or all of their content. You could turn your blog into one of the latter to make money.
For instance, you can turn your entire blog into an exclusive membership site, and require visitors to become members and pay a set membership or subscription fee to access your content.
Or you could keep your blog free for all, but offer premium content and services to members. These could include premium articles, exclusive courses, or members-only website features like private forums, etc.
By turning your blog into a membership site, you can rely on a consistent and recurring stream income from membership/subscription fees. And because you already have steady revenue, you don’t need to bother yourself with other ways to monetize your blog. Instead, you can focus all your efforts into creating content worth paying for.
Anyway, to turn your blog into membership site, you need to:
- Pick a model. Decide how much of your blog do you want to turn into pay-to-access. Do you want to keep most of your blog free, but offer premium content (articles, forums, etc.) to paying members? Or do you want to turn your entire site into a members-only area?
- Install a membership plugin. To easily convert your WordPress blog into a membership site, simply install a membership plugin like MemberPress, LearnDash, Teachable, Restrict Content Pro, S2Member, etc.
- Set up payments, levels, rules. Through your plugin, decide what your membership levels are, how much each level costs, what perks or products people get for each level, what are the restrictions, etc.
- Create premium content. Make sure you create content that’s worth paying for (articles, videos, courses, etc.), and make sure your members can access them immediately upon joining.
- Include a membership page. You need a page where interested people can view your membership plans and pricing, sign up and log-in.
Remember, not all blogs are suitable as membership sites. Most people expect blogs to offer free content, so if you want people to pay to access your content, make sure your content is worth paying for in the first place. It helps if you’re already known in the blogging and online world, and people know that you offer expert advice worth paying for.
11. Speaking engagements, seminars
If you’ve already gained substantial clout and a significant following as a blogger, you can monetize your skill and influence by offering and accepting speaking engagements. Put simply, you’ll get paid to talk to people and share your experience and expertise.
And since you’re already recognized as an authority in your blogging niche, you won’t just be talking about blogging per se. You can also talk about things on your niche – travel, personal finance, digital minimalism, stress management, etc.
If you’re already known to the public, then speaking engagements will come to you naturally. You won’t be doing much – it will be brands, businesses, and other organizations, or even individual persons, who will reach out to you.
But if you’re still building up your reputation, then you have to do a lot of self-promotion. Build up your blog. Offer excellent content. Grow your audience. Be seen and be heard on social media. And it also helps if you tell other people that you’re available for hire as a speaker – you can say so on your website, on your social media accounts, etc.
Another way to add even more to your income is to start a podcast, which offers several benefits that complement blogging well, such as:
- Growth. Podcasts offer a new and different way for people to appreciate your content. Some people simply prefer listening rather than reading. By offering your content in two different formats, you can attract the best of both worlds, readers and listeners alike. You can grow your audience faster that way, and more audience almost certainly means more profit.
- Save time. For people who don’t have the time to sit down and read your articles, they can listen to your podcast instead while they’re doing other things, like walking, commuting, mowing the lawn, preparing dinner, etc.
- Deeper connections. A podcast can also build closer and more intimate relationships. When people can hear your voice, perceive the changes in your tone, and feel your emotions, they can know you better and relate to you on a more personal level.
However, you should know that podcasting isn’t for everybody. It requires a lot of time, effort, and equipment. With all the work you’re already doing on your blog – writing articles, optimizing for search engines, promoting on social, maintaining your site, etc. – starting a podcast will essentially double your workload.
Plus, getting your podcast found online isn’t easy. Unless people already know you or what you do, very few will be interested in what you have to say. In this regard, bloggers who have already earned significant reputation and following are better suited to podcasting.
13. Selling (flipping) blogs
You can also make money by selling blogs or websites – literally.
There are plenty of people (or companies) out there who want to have their own blogs or websites, but don’t want to bother themselves with the long and difficult process of starting and building up one. Instead, they’re looking to buy well-established blogs or websites already, especially the ones that are already making good money.
So if you can start a blog, build up its content library, and direct paying traffic to it, then you can sell it for a profit.
Of course, you have to have the expertise in blogging first, from content creation, SEO optimization, promotion on social media, and monetization. All these things, and more, are what make a successful blog.
Then you also need to have the expertise in pricing and valuation. You need to consider everything – from current traffic, age of your blog, diversity of its income streams, domain authority, email list, how much time you spend working on your blog, legal issues, to potential growth and profit for the next two, three, etc. years – before settling on a final price for your blog. You also need to consider whether you’ll make more money by selling your blog, or by keeping it and its earnings for yourself instead.
Alternatively, you can also buy low-performing blogs, turn them around, and sell them for a profit.
Finally, you can also supplement your income by accepting donations, tips, and contributions from other people. It’s perhaps the quickest and most direct way that your readers can support your creative projects and help you grow blog.
However, this only works if you can convince your readers that donating to you is a worthwhile use of their money. To do this, you need to, first of all, give them the best content you can create, content that’s truly interesting, useful, entertaining, and valuable in all ways. Your content should answer their questions, provide solutions to problems, address pain points – you get the idea.
Second, you need to build meaningful relationships with your readers, really engage with them on personal level. Your posts and entries should feel as though you’re giving a heart-to-heart talk with your readers. Give them a reason to like you, to trust you, to cherish you. And make it a point to respond to your readers’ comments, questions, emails, etc.
Third, you can also offer incentives, rewards, or perks for people who choose to contribute to your cause. Perhaps you can offer exclusive content available only to your patrons. Or you can put a list of your donors on your website’s sidebar or footer. Maybe you can add a small section or block acknowledging your sponsors right before every article. Or you can give them a shoutout or mention on social media. It’s up to you.
Anyway, there are several ways you can accept donations to your blog, the most common of which are:
- Add a PayPal Donate button. PayPal provides you with a customizable Donate button that lets people make contributions straight to your PayPal (Business) account. Simply copy the given HTML code and paste it on all the pages (or posts) where you want your button to appear. Learn more how to do it here.
- Add a custom donation button or form. You can also create your custom donation button or form via your theme or website builder. Then you can link it to your PayPal, Stripe, or bank account to receive donations.
- Install a donation plugin. You can also set up donations to your WordPress blog just by installing a donation plugin. The most popular ones include WPForms, WP Simple Pay, GiveWP, Seamless Donations, etc.
- Open an account on membership or crowdfunding platforms. These are third-party websites that help content creators earn an income from contributions, donations, and membership or subscription fees from their supporters. Usually, these platforms allow you to provide perks or rewards to your supporters. The most popular ones include Patreon, Podia, Indiegogo, Buy Me a Coffee, Ko-fi, etc. Just make sure you tell your readers where they can donate – either through buttons, links, pop-up forms, or pages on your website that direct to your account on your crowdfunding platform of choice.
How to earn a fulltime income
Now that you know what the best ways to earn off blogging are, it’s time to put together a monetization strategy for your blog. Essentially, you want to identify what income streams will work best for you. Should you do affiliate marketing early on? Or should you start selling products already? Your blog income will be determined by what monetization techniques you put in place, as well as how well you create content and promote it on search engines through SEO and on social media.
But let’s say you’re working your way towards your first fulltime monthly income. You’re a new mommy blogger. You have a newly built blog, where you write and share pregnancy, parenting, financial, and lifestyle advice for other mothers. Here’s what your income reports might look like for every significant milestone:
$100 a month
You spent your first two months building your blog from scratch until you now have a beautiful and fully functional site. You wrote 20 blog posts and entries, and you’ve committed to publishing a new article twice a week. You opened a Business Account for your blog on Pinterest, where you share stunning Pins for your blog posts, which you design on Canva. You applied to two affiliate programs and got accepted, and you’ve been writing and promoting articles about baby brands and products which you think your fellow moms might like.
By the end of your second month blogging, you managed to hit 2,000 monthly visitors to your blog and earn your first $100 a month income.
|SAMPLE INCOME REPORT|
|Affiliate program #1 (ShareASale)||$65.89|
|Affiliate program #2 (Amazon Affiliates)||$47.09|
$1,000 a month
Buoyed by your early gains, you put more time and effort to growing your blog and your Pinterest account. You continue writing thoughtful and compelling content, and you continue getting engagement from your growing audience. In particular, you created your own tutorial on how to start a mommy blog, applied to two more affiliate programs related to blogging, and were accepted. You also decided to join your first ad network and see if ads are worth it.
By the end of your fifth month blogging, you now have 8,000 monthly visitors to your blog, and you just reached your $1,000 a month milestone.
|SAMPLE INCOME REPORT|
|Affiliate program #1 (ShareASale)||$254.60|
|Affiliate program #2 (Amazon Affiliates)||$208.34|
|Affiliate program #3 (Bluehost)||$390|
|Affiliate program #4 (Elegant Themes)||$65|
|Ads (Google AdSense)||$151.67|
$3,000 a month
Blogging has really grown on you. You’ve become more comfortable with the process, and it has been showing on the way you manage your blog. All the things you did before now take much less time and effort, and with all that extra time you freed up, you decided to open your own shop on Etsy selling digital printables like baby meal planners and baby-themed stickers. Brands, too, have begun to notice your presence, and it wasn’t long before you landed your first sponsored blog post.
By the end of your eighth month blogging, you got over 25,000 monthly visitors to your blog and your first $3,000 a month income.
|SAMPLE INCOME REPORT|
|Digital products (Etsy)||$201.35|
|Affiliate program #1 (ShareASale)||$303.07|
|Affiliate program #2 (Amazon Affiliates)||$275.12|
|Affiliate program #3 (Bluehost)||$1,300|
|Affiliate program #4 (Elegant Themes)||$194.66|
|Affiliate program #5 (ConvertKit)||$100|
|Ads (Google AdSense)||$484.11|
$5,000 a month
You’re ecstatic about the way everything is growing with your blog, your Pinterest account, and your Etsy shop. You’ve applied to a couple more affiliate programs dedicated to childhood learning and education. And more brands were reaching out to you for sponsorship deals. Soon you decided that it was time to create and sell your first online course – a course on how to start a mommy blog from scratch, complete with everything beginners would find useful and inspiring. On top of that, you also wrote your first ebook containing pregnancy advice for first-time moms.
By the end of your eleventh month blogging, you now have 55,000 monthly visitors to your blog, and were able to rake in your first $5,000 a month income.
|SAMPLE INCOME REPORT|
|Online course (How to start a mom blog)||$525|
|Ebook (Pregnancy advice for first-time moms)||$115|
|Digital products (Etsy)||$453.50|
|Affiliate program #1 (ShareASale)||$396.74|
|Affiliate program #2 (Amazon Affiliates)||$301.04|
|Affiliate program #3 (Bluehost)||$1,625|
|Affiliate program #4 (Elegant Themes)||$254.17|
|Affiliate program #5 (ConvertKit)||$145|
|Affiliate program #6 (Kiwi Crate)||$84.08|
|Affiliate program #7 (The Scholastic Store)||$79.18|
|Ads (Google AdSense)||$778.51|
$10,000 a month
It’s been more than a year since you first set out on your blogging journey. You look back and see how far you’ve come, proud and grateful that you had the courage to take the first step. You blog has brought so much joy and benefit to you and to your family. But you look ahead and see that there’s more in store for you, and you realize that the work is far from over.
And so you push on. You continue writing insightful, inspiring, and information-rich content, and you continue engaging with your loyal following in genuine and meaningful ways. You’re promoting your blog, your Etsy shop, and your online courses not just on Pinterest, but on every social media platform you could manage. You applied to more affiliate programs centered around motherhood, family, and home. You switched to a higher-paying ad network, now that you reached the required monthly traffic to join. You even launched a companion book to your first ebook, this time a collection of parenting tips for first-time moms.
By the end of your fourteenth month blogging, you drew in 90,000 monthly visitors to your blog and achieved your first $10,000 a month income milestone.
|SAMPLE INCOME REPORT|
|Online course (How to start a mom blog)||$1,600|
|Ebook #1 (Pregnancy advice for first-time moms)||$200|
|Ebook #2 (Parenting how-tos for first-time moms)||$305|
|Digital products (Etsy)||$809.45|
|Affiliate program #1 (ShareASale)||$453.24|
|Affiliate program #2 (Amazon Affiliates)||$397.68|
|Affiliate program #3 (Bluehost)||$2,600|
|Affiliate program #4 (Elegant Themes)||$301.89|
|Affiliate program #5 (ConvertKit)||$210.90|
|Affiliate program #6 (Kiwi Crate)||$145.96|
|Affiliate program #7 (The Scholastic Store)||$103.40|
|Affiliate program #8 (MomSelect)||$93.52|
|Affiliate program #9 (Wayfair)||$285.44|
|Affiliate program #10 (Mommy Makeup)||$197.33|
|Affiliate program #11 (Grocery Budget Makeover)||$78.02|
You’ve made it. In a little more than a year, you built a blog from scratch and turned it into a money-making machine that earns you fulltime income. More important, you proved to yourself that you have the perseverance and acumen to start and manage a business to success.
You’ve steadily and successfully steered your blog from milestone to milestone, and now that you’re earning more than $10,000 a month blogging, you’re now ready to take on your next goals – $50,000 a month, $100,000 a month, then who knows what’s next? Perhaps you’d like to start more blogs on other topics you’re interested in, too. Or maybe you’d like to turn your successful blog into an LLC. Or maybe, even maybe, you’d like to form your own digital marketing company. The future’s wide open.
One day, or Day One.
Today could just be another day, or it could be day that will change your life forever. This could be the day that marks the beginning of your journey towards financial freedom and a more fulfilling life. This could be the day you finally start your own blog, build it up, grow it, and manage it towards success.
And one year from now, you could be the proud owner of a successful blogging empire, earning unlimited passive income, working wherever and whenever you choose to, and living your life the way you want to.
Look, I can’t promise you that blogging is going to be easy. It will require a lot from you. A lot of hard work, effort, patience, sheer will, and most of all, love.
But I can promise you this: it’s going to be worth it all.
But only if you have the courage to take the first step.
…One day, or Day One.