Blogging is one of the easiest ways to start making money online as well as it has a great potential. Not only can you quickly start a money making blog, you can create a whole business around it.
Take this blog for example, it is following the same model and is making me a nice income every month. So let me explain how it works and how you can start your own money making blog.
To start, you will have to set up a blog. You have a choice of using a free blog host, such as WordPress or Blogger, or hosting your own WordPress blog. I recommend you to start with a free blog host to get your feet wet if you have never done this before, and move on to a self-hosted blog once you have some experience.
But before you go ahead and create a blog, you have to decide what you’re gonna write about. This is a very important step. The key to a successful blog is a proper market research and knowing what your readers are interested in. So from now on, let me break it down to steps.
Step 1 – Market Research
As I said, this is very important. You should start by considering what you personally are interested in. Blogging about something you’re passionate about is a big plus because not only you are knowledgeable on the subject, you will also not have any problem with post ideas. Start with brainstorming such ideas.
Next, go to Blog Search and search each idea. This tool is going to be your as a blogger’s best friend. The idea is to choose a topic that has most results. Note that you can narrow down the results by recency in the right hand sidebar – the more results you see in recent times the better. It shows that the topic is hot and there’s a lot of readership.
Tip: While it’s true that the more people blog about a topic the better, you should also consider to blog about more specific topics. Competition is also something to consider and you want to compete only with your direct competitors. For example, if you want to blog about flower gardening, don’t create a blog about “gardening”, make sure to include the word “flower”, that is “flower gardening”. That way you will avoid competing with vegetable gardening, landscape gardening, etc.
Step 2 – Keyword Research
Once you have a main topic, familiarize yourself with the main keywords that people in your niche search for. It’s important to know the keywords because by including them in your blog you will make it easier for the readers to find you. However if you are completely new to this and find it a little bit overwhelming, don’t worry about it. Just let it flow naturally, chances are you will get it about right without giving much thought anyway.
To do the keyword research, though, use the Google’s Keyword tool (or any other keyword tool of your choice) and simply enter your topic. It will give you the list of related keywords and the traffic numbers. Take a note of the top keywords for future reference. You will use them in your posts.
A special attention should go to the very top keyword, the one that gets the most traffic. This keyword will be the closest (or exact) to your main topic. For example, if you’re gonna blog about dog training, the main keyword will be, quite unsurprisingly, “dog training”.
Step 3 – Create Your Blog
I’m not going to go into detail on how to set up a blog – it’s pretty straightforward, especially if you use a free blog host. The main requirement for this step is to include your topic (or the main keyword if it’s not the same) in the blog title. For example, if your blog is about flower gardening, don’t call your blog “Stacy’s Blog”, call it “Stacy’s Flower Gardening Tips” or something like that.
Also, when choosing a design theme, try to keep it simple. Avoid fancy teams because they are memorable and chances are there are a bunch of other blogs already using it. A nice simple and clean theme can go a long way. If you can, buy a premium theme or even get one designed specially for you.
Step 4 – Start Writing
Once it’s set up, you can go nuts. Write about anything on topic, and sometimes off-topic. Just be yourself. If you’re short on ideas, go back to the Blog Search and see what others are writing about. Subscribe to top blogs in your niche to stay on top of the news.
Use keywords in your posts as much as possible. Use the Google’s Keyword tool to find ideas for keywords. You don’t have to stuff keywords into your posts (actually you should avoid doing that at all costs) but your post title should match the keyword as much as possible.
Here are some tips about the writing style:
- Don’t use any fancy fonts and limit the use of images unless it’s absolutely necessary – try to keep it simple and clean, that way it’s easy and pleasant to read
- Provide tips and tricks
- Create top lists (for example “Top 10 Tricks to Make Your Dog Stop Barking”)
- Talk about the latest happenings in your niche, if any
- Ask questions and encourage your readers to answer in comments
- Try to always ask for feedback – engaging your readers to comment makes them feel welcome and encourages to come back
- Always answer to the comments so that your readers know you care about what they have to say – interaction is key in building a solid readership
Step 5 – Get Traffic
Now this is where the magic happens. To get readers you need visitors. Here’s a step by step plan to make sure you get a healthy amount of traffic to your blog:
- Submit your blog to blog directories (here’s a list)
- Submit your blog’s RSS feed to RSS directories (here’s a list)
- Use the social networking plugins such as TweetMeme button, Facebook Open Graph plugin, Social Bookmarking Reloaded. Social plugins work best when you already have a presence and following on the social networks, but you can use them even if you don’t. With their help, your most interesting posts can go viral without you having to do anything.
- Find blogs that accept guest posts. This is a very important and big step that can bring you a lot of traffic. To find such blogs, simply search in Google for your keyword and words “write for us” or “guest post” (for example, dog training +”write for us”). Such blogs usually give you the guidelines of what kind of posts they are looking for, simply follow their guidelines. As a rule of thumb, they always look for top quality content, so you will have to do your best to write great posts.
- Find top blogs in your niche and subscribe to their RSS feed. As soon as they make a new post, hurry to their blog, read the new post and make a comment. Make sure to enter the url to your blog where appropriate. That way your comment will be one of the first and their readers will see it, and likely follow through to your own blog. The key when making comments is to make them insightful and giving value, don’t even think about posting just “thanks for a great” and expect to get anything from it.
- Make it a daily routine to comment on other blogs in your niche. Always try to provide value in your comments and try to make friends with other bloggers. Relationships with other bloggers can take you far.
Those are the must-do traffic generation strategies for bloggers. However, you can go beyond that and use any techniques you know.
Step 6 – Monetize Your Blog
First of all, don’t think about monetization before you get any traffic. Build and establish your blog first without any ads. Once you start getting steady traffic, then you can add the ads and start monetizing it.
Here are some ways how to do that:
- Adsense is the easiest way to monetize your blog. Simply add a few Adsense blocks to the sidebar, or even in your posts.
- Sell advertising space. You can do that by simply announcing that you sell ad space on your blog (making a post about it and adding a link to the side bar, for example). You can also add your blog to a marketplace such as buysellads.com
- Write product reviews. This is a great way to make some commission from affiliate programs, especially if you write a review about a product you’ve personally used. People, especially those who already look for opinions about specific products, are more likely to buy after reading your review. And since you include your affiliate link which they click, you get a commission. Make sure to disclose that you get a commission, though, that’s to comply with the FTC rules (to stay on a safe side, do that even if you’re not located in the US).
- Create a newsletter. This is a more advanced technique but building a list of your readers can be very beneficial in the long run. I’m not gonna go into the specifics of list building, but having an ability to email all your readers, even if just to invite them to read your latest posts now and then, can grow your blog and its profitability exponentially.
- Create a paid listing section. Check out the Shoemoney Marketplace to see what I mean.
That’s it for this short guide. As a final tip, keep your eye on other blogs (such as this one) in your niche and outside for ideas of what more you can do with your blog. And have fun blogging!