Want To Make More Money Blogging?

How To Start A Blog And Make Money

The Ultimate Guide

Welcome to the Successful Blogging guide on how to start a blog and make money.

This page is your starting point, designed to nurture you towards three key goals. These are:

  1. To successfully create and launch your blog
  2. To grow your audience through valuable, actionable content they’ll love
  3. To monetize your blog

If you want to know more about me, Sue Dunlevie, you can do so by viewing my About Page or email me at sue@successfulblogging.com

More information and resources:

I’ll give you further study options, reading materials and/or tools in each section, to give you an advantage to starting your blog.

Shall we begin?

Forward: What You'll Learn

How to lay the foundation for a strong and successful blog

Step One: Website

How to set up your website with your own domain, hosting and email provider

 Step Two: Setting Up Your Site

Getting the best domain name, installing WordPress and picking a theme that converts visitors to subscribers

Step Three: Creating Content

Defining your audience and deciding what problem you solve for your readers

 Step Four: Attracting Traffic

Marketing your content through emails, social media and simple SEO

Step Five: Making Money

The four best ways to monetize your blog

Step Six: Automate and Outsource

Resources, tools and other automation and outsourcing advice

What You'll Learn

Making money through your blog may sound easy. Let’s face it,  we’re bombarded by blogs, links and newsletters stating how this person ‘made a six-figure income’ or how that person ‘lives from the income their blog generates’.

While making big money is certainly the idea, it doesn't come silently. You will need accurate bookkeeping and organization, plus you'll need to contemplate how to handle your withholding allowances when it's all said and done.

Ultimately, the thing you need to remember, however, is that making money with your blog takes hard work, dedication, and patience.

It won’t happen overnight.

You need to lay the foundation, build your blog’s scaffolding and furnish it before the money starts to come in. So here’s what you’ll learn by reading this:

  1. Which hosting service to choose for your blog and finding a mailing list provider
  2. How to set up your website, including choosing your domain, installing WordPress, choosing a design and installing a theme
  3. How you go about creating amazing content, defining your audience and providing value
  4. Sourcing traffic, optimizing your content and email marketing
  5. How to make money from your content, from your skills, and from your own knowledge
  6. How to semi-automate the process so you can free up your time

I’ll be with you every step of the way, offering you my thoughts, insights, and guidance. I’ll be there to urge you on and show you that you can do it. It simply requires some work, like all good things.

Step 1: Website

Before you start thinking about what to call your blog, what your topic is going to be and the kinds of content you’ll be creating, it’s best to consider two key things that are vital to your success.

Your website host and mailing list provider.

Everything you do in your blogging journey will hang on those two things.

A good web host needs to be able to handle the traffic you’ll be generating. It needs to be fast, easy to use and quick to set up. Forget about pricing for a moment and focus on quality.

Your blog is going to be a source of income - it needs to be reliable and accessible.

recommend Bluehost when you are first starting out just for this reason.

(Please note: a few of these links are affiliates which means I will earn a small commission if you buy the item, with at no extra cost to you.)

Similarly, your mailing list provider needs to be equally reliable.

Many people may say that email marketing is dead - this couldn't be further from the truth. Your mailing list will be a vital source of targeted traffic and monetization, which you can tap into in an instant.

Finding a great provider for your email marketing will make sure you deliver consistent, high-quality results over and over.

I recommend starting with the email provider Moosend,  which is free under 1000 subscribers...both due to its reliability and ease of use. Then switch to ConvertKit when you hit 1000 subscribers - they are great because you can "tag" subscribers and segment your list.

Niche Further Reading:

Step 2: Setting up your site

Your next step towards monetizing your blog is to get things set up. A great blog with the potential to make money doesn't just need to be strong, sturdy and reliable.

It needs to look and sound great too.

First, let’s look at your domain name.

An ideal domain name should:

  • Roll easily off the tongue - it needs to be easy to say, to spell and to type
  • Be memorable - it might be tempting to go for something long and detailed but keep in mind how memorable that will be to your readers. A shorter, snappier URL is much more likely to be remembered
  • Reflect your topic - think about what you’re going to be writing about. If it’s about blogging, consider incorporating that word into your URL somewhere. This will make it easier to find and will give readers an idea of what they’re likely to expect.

I use Namecheap to register all of my domains because they give you free "WhoIs" for your first year and it's very easy to set the name servers (sounds technical, but it's easy).

Once you’ve bought your domain, you’ll need to add it to the hosting package you chose to host your website. You should receive an email from your domain provider with instructions on how to point your domain to your host’s servers. These emails are usually to-the-point with clear, step-by-step guides on getting you up and running.

If you’re still stuck, however, there’s plenty of guides on BlueHost and YouTube, if you have chosen a different host.

With your hosting package and domain sorted, it’s time to actually build your blog.

There are many blogging platforms out there to choose from - I list 10 of them here - Where To Start A Blog: 10 Blogging Platforms For First Time Bloggers-however, I’ll always use WordPress.org as my number one choice due to its versatility. Therefore, for this guide that’s what I’ll be working with and we’ll start with installing WordPress onto your website.

Dependent on what hosting provider you use, your WordPress installation should be pretty straightforward. Most hosts these days will offer a one-click install of the WordPress software and will email you instructions on how to do this.

If you settle on using BlueHost for managing your website, I've written a helpful step-by-step guide you can use to get up and running.

We’re at the really fun stage of your blog creation process here. This part is all about getting the look and feel of your blog just right.

WordPress is incredibly easy to design with and make your own. There are some fabulous websites out there build on the platform that looks amazing. Yet we’re not all creative geniuses, so it’s perfectly okay to buy a theme or pay for someone else to design it for you.

For awesome WordPress themes, you’ve got plenty of options:

  • StudioPress is a site that deals exclusively with WordPress Themes built for the Genesis Framework. I dare you not to fall in love with these. This is what I use. (check out my Website In A Week, so you have a pro site without DIYing it!)
  • Plus WordPress.org itself has an archive full of free themes that you can use if you want a basic setup.

To get a theme custom designed or tweaked, consider the following places:

  • Fiverr - this site is full of talented graphic designers and artists who will take on a project for as little as $5.50
  • Alternatively, you could look within the marketing and design community for bloggers who offer design services to their readers.

Step 3: Creating Content

When you begin creating content for your blog, the key thing to remember is your audience.

At the very front of your mind should be the people you’re writing this content for. Who are they? What problems do they have? What questions are they asking? What are their pain points?

Only after you know what their problems are, can you provide the solutions.

Craft your content around those problems and then provide a thorough, detailed blog post that covers the solution - how your reader can overcome it.

An example of this in action might be:

A blogger you follow on Twitter is struggling to come up with good headlines for their posts. So you create an article with multiple resources and approaches that the blogger could take to craft punchy, attention-grabbing headlines.

They have the questions - you provide the answers.

But you can’t just go willy-nilly with your content. You need to remember to keep it relevant to your audience. There’s no point writing about blogging if your audience isn't made up of bloggers.

Which is why you need to define your audience first.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Create personas of your ideal reader. Flesh it out with everything about this person and use it as a guide.
  • Research where your ideal reader hangs out online and listen in on their conversations.
  • Conduct a survey asking your ideal reader what they struggle with and write posts about the answers to their questions.
MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION FOR YOU  How to Do Blogger Outreach in Facebook Groups

If you'd like more information on how to create compelling content, Click here to get your free report

With an audience ready to receive your content, you’re ready to create it. Here’s some further reading you’ll find useful:

Step 4: Attracting traffic

Getting traffic to your blog might seem like a futile effort at first. You’re sending your posts out into the ether having put loads of time and effort into making them valuable, yet no one seems to be reading them.

This is where you need to start putting in more work.

Yes, you read that correctly.

More. Work.

I told you it wouldn't be easy, right?

The great news is that the hard work pays off. You just need to have a little patience.

Your hard work at this stage will be in the form of marketing your content. You can do this in several ways but to keep things simple, let’s cover three ways to market your blog posts:

  • Posting on Social Media
  • Optimizing for Search Engines
  • Email Marketing

Posting on Social Media

Social Media has the potential to open up your content to a whole tribe of interested people. With the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, sweeping the world with their massive networking potential, it’s fairly easy to be found and heard.

However, people are sensitive to complete self-promotion, so choose your strategy carefully:

  • Market on platforms where your audience hangs out the most. If your content is heavy on tutorials and visuals, for example, your best method for social media marketing might be Pinterest or Instagram, since this content does particularly well there
  • Don’t just bombard followers with links. Choose catchy headlines, include hash tags where relevant and use eye-catching images
  • Respond to every notification and mention you receive - carry on the conversation and create lasting relationships
  • Share other people's content - this will open you up to reciprocal sharing and will put you in front of key influencers

Optimizing for Search Engines

As you publish more and more great content, you’ll notice that you get traffic from search engines such as Google and Bing. They generally call this search traffic or organic traffic because you’re essentially not marketing it - the readers are finding you instead.

To attract the right kind of readers to your content via the search engines, you’ll need to make sure your articles are optimized properly.

There was a time when this meant stuffing your blog posts full of keywords. Now, however, that’s not necessary. The emphasis is more on quality and value but there are still things you can do to encourage a better performance:

  • Research keywords using sites like Google Keyword Planner to find out what people are searching for, in relation to your niche
  • Add your keyword naturally into your post title
  • Use your keyword sparingly within the body of your post
  • Place your keyword in the title and alt title of any images you’re using within that post
  • Use the keyword in your meta description (while this is no longer a factor in search engine optimization, it’s still useful to do this to prompt readers to click-through)

Email Marketing

I mentioned email marketing at the beginning of this guide as a valuable source of traffic. Growing your email list can be as simple as adding an opt-in form to key areas on your blog such as your sidebar, across the top of your blog, after posts and as a pop-up.

Once your list starts to grow, you can send your latest posts to your readers via email.

You might like to send your subscribers a weekly roundup of your best performing posts. Alternatively, send an email every time you update. Whatever you decide, remember that people are inviting you into their inbox out of choice, so treat your subscribers as you would like to be treated yourself.

  • Keep it personal by talking about your targeted readers' problem(s)
  • Don’t just list out what they’ll read, show them how they’ll enjoy reading. What problem will it solve for them?
  • Invite conversation by asking your list to get in touch if they have any problems
  • Encourage users to unsubscribe. It might seem counter-intuitive, but inviting people to opt-out of your list, will make sure the people left there will be the ones most interested in what you have to say.

With these key marketing strategies in place, you’ll soon see your traffic increasing. Remember, consistency is the key, regardless of how many times a week you post. Pick a day and time to post - a frequency you’re comfortable with (and I recommend just once a week) and consistently publish at those times.

Here’s some further reading on getting traffic:

Step 5: Money Making

step-5

Let’s now look at what you’ve been waiting for - how to make money from your blog.

There are many avenues you can go down when considering monetizing your blog. I'll just discuss the ones that my clients ask about the most.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is another way you can earn money through your blog content.

This requires placing a banner or a link within a post / somewhere on your blog, which links back to a product or service. When someone purchases through your link, you’ll earn a commission.

There are many affiliate marketing programs out there. Some you might consider using include:

The key with affiliate programs is to just promote products you would endorse and actually use yourself. This gives you context and authenticity when you recommend them to your readers.

Don’t just promote just any old thing. Keep it relevant to your audience, your blog, and your existing content.

Product Creation

Product creation is the process by which you develop and sell your own products. It can be a highly lucrative form of monetization since you’ll be marketing your products to an audience that’s already interested in what you have to say. Further to this, they’ll be your own products - there’s no middleman taking an affiliate fee.

Here are a few ideas for products you could create:

  • eBooks - many bloggers use eBooks as a way of selling information. They can be published to Kindle, made available for many devices and can be as detailed or as simple as you like.
  • Videos - create video tutorials and show your readers how to solve a problem they have.
  • Courses - a course is a complete information package that promises to teach a “how-to” subject. Bloggers can make large sums of money creating and selling their own courses, it simply takes time and enthusiasm to get the ball rolling.

Again, keep your products relevant to your audience and your content to generate the best results.

Freelancing

Do you have a unique set of skills or experience that you could sell to other bloggers and members of the public? If so, this is another great way to use the power of your blog to make money.

Think of your blog as a broadcasting platform - every new reader is another potential client. When you think like this, doors will open and new possibilities and opportunities will present themselves.

Here’s what you could offer as a freelancer from your blog:

  • Copywriting services
  • Blog design
  • Content Management
  • Coaching
  • Business consulting
  • Social Media strategy

The possibilities are endless!

For further reading on monetizing your blog, check out some of these posts which I think you’ll find helpful:

Step 6: Automation and outsourcing

step-6

We've nearly reached the end of this guide. I hope so far you’ve found it useful, however, there’s one last thing I want to talk about before signing off. It’s how to automate some of your blogging responsibilities to save time.

Because running your own authority blog is a lot of work!

It’s also time-consuming - something you might struggle with if you have other responsibilities such as a family and a full-time job.

The good news is, there are ways you can make blogging and monetization much easier.

  • Outsource your content writing - hire a ghostwriter to create some of your content to free up some of your time. The work will be in your own name and a good ghostwriter will tailor the voice of anything they create to fit with your own branding
  • Outsource your marketing - get a Social Media Manager in to watch and look after your social accounts. A few hours saved each day from content marketing is a surprisingly good amount of time to do something more important
  • Use tools like Hootsuite to automate your Social Media broadcasts
  • Use Evernote (my favorite tool) to jot down your ideas for blog posts as they come to you

Here are some articles on outsourcing and automating that will help you:

Make sure that you send me an email at sue@successfulblogging.com when your site is up and running and I'll tweet and post it my social media channels!

How To Start A Blog And Make Money

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115 comments on “How To Start A Blog And Make Money”

  1. Hello mate,

    I have been looking for this article for a very long time. Finally, I have found your article and it helped me to build up my own blog. Honestly speaking this is the best post I have ever read about making money online. I recommend everyone to follow this procedure.

    Thanks for sharing this useful article.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for sharing informative information. I am really Impress with your blog I have learn how to make money quickly from our blog

    Keep sharing.

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  3. hey, thanks for posting this great step by step detailed article about starting a blog and making money by it. I have read lots of post on the same topic but i have found this post most worthy. 😀

  4. I really appreciate you for writing such a great helpful article on how to start a blog and earn. It really helped me to get some new ideas and keep writing more good articles

    Thanks 🙂

  5. Good article. Reminds me of all the steps needed to be successful blogging. It sounds easy when you down through the list, but each section takes time.

    Creating your site, hosting, building traffic, and everything you need to do to market it. Learning how to monetize it the best way possible and that's geared toward them.

    A lot of testing and failures comes with blogging, but if done right. I think it be a great long term investment. However, this article is great for beginners trying to find a structure on getting started.

    After all, its about action and not giving up, long hours and sometimes pointless nights... lol but you'll learn something each and everytime

  6. Hey Sue,

    You have really put a lot of efforts in curating such an informative article on how we can start a blog. Recently, I started my blogging journey and this article really helped me a lot.

    Regards,

    Deepika

  7. Wow.

    Thank you for taking the time to post such relevant, useful info. The entire blogging community is filled with twists, turns and outright end-arounds that abound and keep one focused on an ever moving target.

    The trick is persistence, resiliency and keeping a good thought no matter the task set out to accomplish or chore that's put upon you.

    Again, thank you for providing an excellent resource guide from which to draw. Kudos and acclaim.

  8. This is one of the most reliable ways to earn money on the Internet and is a great start because you do not need money to run your business. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

  9. I must say you are very skilled at persuasive writing if you can convince me to share your views. I am very impressed by your excellent writing abilities. Please keep up the good informational writing.

  10. For new bloggers, Which is the best free theme for wordpress and Howmuch bloggers had started their blog with this guide. I just want to know.

  11. You can go with any free theme - I prefer if you let us set up your blog because we give you a Premium theme from studiopress (usually $99 to $149). They perform quicker and are lighter than the free themes.

    Thanks for your question!
    Sue

  12. Dear, Sue Anne Dunlevie

    I have read from the very beginning on how to set up and find a great domain name, all the way through to the very end about making money off my blog and Freelancing. I even took notes. I mean hours of note after note and not because I read straight through everything, I went from understanding how to get started to bring totally confused. I am at an information overload and I need major help, step by step guidance on setting up a blog. Can you please help me. I am lost and do not know what to do.

    Sincerely,

    Dana

  13. Hey Sue,

    You have really put a lot of efforts in curating such an informative article on how we can start a blog. Recently, I started my blogging journey and this article really helped me a lot.

    Regards,

    Debbie T

  14. Good and useful Tips for all new bloggers like us. Thanks a lot for sharing this great information

  15. Hey Sue,

    This is a really helpful article for those who are looking forward to starting a blog and make money out of it.

    Really appreciate your effort writing this.

    Thanks

  16. I have blog from around 1 year and it's very difficult for me to attract audience.

    plz give some advice to get more audience.

    thanks.

    1. Are you doing guest blogging or giveaways or some other way to attract traffic to your blog? You need to do work off of your blog in order to grow your blog.

      Thanks for your question.
      Sue

  17. I appreciate your article. Very useful article for beginners to make money online. Things you share, not everyone disclose. Great.

  18. I've noticed the power of integrating or implementing video on site regardless of real estate space on page as it seemingly outranks sites that don't have vids at all. I like this systematic approach of this article it is nicely theme based as well. Great work!

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