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Starting a blog business: an easy way to make money from home?
Everyone seems to want to start a blog, and make tons of money doing it. After all, how hard is it to write about something you know, and then have people read it? Then you sell advertising or products to all those people reading your blog, and voila, instant millionaire, right?
Starting a blog business sounds super easy.
But it isn’t quite that easy. It’s true that blogging can be a way to make money from home, but it isn’t fast money, and rarely do you get a blogger who turns their blog into millions.
Bloggers make their money from a number of different sources.
The first are obvious — selling ads on their site, or through an affiliate recommendation. An affiliate sale is where a blogger will recommend a product, such as a book, and link to a site where the reader can purchase that book. If someone purchases the recommended product through the blogger’s affiliate link, the blogger receives a commission.
Another way bloggers make money is through the sale of their own e-products.
Ebooks, ecourses, planners, webinars, or any number of printable products are all options. Bloggers can also sell their own physical products: clothing, art, physical books, bags or just about anything else. A blog makes an excellent vehicle to direct customers to your own store. You can start a blog as a way to advertise another business as well.
Starting a blog is relatively simple.
Your blog is just one kind of website. Like every other website, you need a domain name, hosting and software to be able to put the content online.
Now if you’re confused by these terms, don’t be.
Think of a website as virtual real estate.
The domain name is the address on the map, the hosting is the land, and the software is the house you build on the land. When you start a blog, you want your internet real estate to be memorable and recognizable.
There are number of companies that will sell you domain name registration and hosting: GoDaddy, BlueHost, SiteGround, just to name a few. The cost will depend on the domain name you choose (.com names cost more than .org or .net, or any other variation).
While you can purchase a domain name together with hosting, you probably shouldn’t. If you change hosts, it’s a lot easier to point the domain to your new host if it isn’t integrated with the old one. However, transferring your domain name isn’t hard either.
(My personal recommendation is SiteGround. The customer service is unmatched, and the hosting rates are very competitive! If you choose to go with them, please click on my affiliate link. I appreciate your support.)
Content management software
The software you choose to design your site with will also vary. Some are better for ecommerce and some are designed for content development, such as a blog. WordPress is one of the most common website software options — it powers up to 15% of the websites on the internet. Another option would be Joomia. Or you could try Blogger, Wix or SquareSpace.
Be warned: it’s really hard to transfer your content between content management software. So if you pick Wix or SquareSpace, and later want to switch to WordPress, you might end up with a lot of extra work!
Before you start a blog:
Spend some time in planning. When you start a blog you need to know who you are writing to, and why.
Who is your audience, and what will you be telling them? What is your personal expertise?
Pick your niche. The more specific you are, the better your blog will stand out. Be too general, and you’ll get lost in the crowd.
Maybe consider something you’re passionate about. It will make it easier to find topics to write about — and make the writing easier too.
You may want more than one topic. Try to keep them related. Too many different topics and you’ll confuse your audience.
Designing your blog:
Once you’ve decided on your blog topic and set it all up, you’ll need to design it. You can hire a professional to set up and design your website, or you can do it yourself. Every website, including a blog, is always a work-in-progress, which means that what your site will look like now will change, as you grow, learn and improve.
Key terms to know:
If you choose to do it yourself, there’s a few key terms you need to know about: theme, header, and SEO.
A theme is the overall look to your site.
Themes or templates are provided to help give your website a specific look and help make everything work together. The colors, fonts, lines and shapes that you pick that unify the different elements of your blog. You can get pre-made themes, often free, or you can purchase a theme with premium elements. If you’re really confident with your css and html skills, you can design one yourself, but for the beginner, I don’t recommend you try.
A header is the banner you see across the top of every site.
It usually has the name of the site or company who owns the website, and their logo. It will also contain a tagline or slogan of some kind, plus the menu for the website. The menu helps readers navigate through the site.
SEO refers to “search engine optimization”
It’s where your site gets listed on a search engine. Everything from the domain name to the name of the site, to its description and the content on it helps or hurts the SEO.
SEO is based on “keywords” or certain words and phrases that are targeted when someone searches for something. For example, if you were to Google “how to start a blog” you may come across this blog post. The phrase “how to start a blog” is a keyword, and if I’ve done my SEO correctly, you’ll be directed to this post.
Designing a header or any other graphics for your website doesn’t have to be complicated.
If you’ve got an eye for how things should look on paper (most of us can tell when something looks good or bad), then you can do beginner graphic design. Of course, if you want something fancy, complex or even just to look professional, I do recommend finding a graphic designer to help.
If you’re looking to DIY, try sites like PicMonkey or Canva, or get a beginner copy of Photoshop, and play around.
So you’ve now got the beginnings of a website.
You’ve got an address and hosting for it, you’ve figured out software and picked a theme. You’ve named your site, designed (or had a designer do it) a header, and now you’re ready to develop your content.
A typical blog post is between 300-800 words. For SEO purposes, don’t post shorter than 300 words.
Think back to middle school, and the 5 paragraph essay you were forced to learn. Now forget it.
Writing a blog post is nothing like writing an essay!
You want to write as though you were trying to talk to your best friend, your coworker, your neighbour or your mom. Whether you’re describing something, explaining how to do something, or giving your opinion on a topic, you want to write casually.
Short sentences are absolutely OK! You can even do a fragment or two. Like this one.
Lists, how-tos, reviews and descriptions are very popular types of posts. You can also do comparisons, opinions, informational or even a journal entry.
What you blog about will depend on you and your chosen niche. However, spelling, grammar, punctuation and all those rules of writing do count! Poorly spelled or written blog posts will not get repeat readers.
Every blog post needs pictures.
I recommend one picture per ~500 words. Choose pictures that are relevant to your blog post. They should emphasis, enhance or illustrate a point you made in your blog. You can even create graphics to help — charts, quotes, or infographics are excellent visual material for your blog.
Do NOT just google pictures and use whatever you find online.
You may end up in a lot of trouble doing that! You’ll want to find pictures that are royalty-free. You can use a site like Shutterstock and pay a small monthly subscription for access to thousands of pictures. Or try free stock photo sites like Pixabay or Pexels.
Even better, take your own pictures!
It’s time to publish!
Once you’ve written, proofread and edited your post, and added in your pictures, its time to publish. You can publish immediately, or you can choose a scheduled time for it to be published.
You also want to attach social media channels to the publishing, so that notices will go out automatically on Facebook, Twitter or whatever other social media platform you’re on. And don’t forget to pin your blog post on Pinterest!
Congratulations. You’ve created a blog.
Now you just need to update and post new content regularly (once a month? once a week? more? less?). The key is to be consistent on your timing of new content, not frequent. It’s better to post monthly than post 5 times in one week, then nothing at all for 3 weeks. (That’s what the scheduling feature is for!)
Blogging will take time, effort and patience.
Readers for your blog don’t happen overnight, and that will take promotion on your part. But with consistent posting, good value content, and persistent promotion, you’ll develop a community that you can eventually start to sell to, and make money.
What is your blog about? Leave your link in the comments!
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