Blogging has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my career, and I’ve put together this comprehensive guide where I cover everything you need to do to start a successful blog.
Follow the 8 steps in this guide and you’ll have your blog up and running in no time, even if you’re a total beginner.
Browse Our Guide:
Find Out Why You Want to Start Blogging in the First Place
There are a multitude of reasons on why you might want to start a blog. I started the HUSTLR blog purely to achieve my mission of helping as many people as possible to achieve success in their online business or side hustles. My reason to start blogging is to provide a resource for people, but there are many more reasons to start a blog other than this.
While there is no right or wrong answer for why you should start a blog, it’s imperative to know your reason from the get-go. Blindly starting a blog without any end goal in mind would lead you down a path of frustration and confusion as you wouldn’t know what to strive for in your blog.
Now, I know what you’re thinking at the back of your head: “I got into blogging to make money online, that’s the only reason!”
Well, let me be the first to break it to you that blogging has a lot more going for it than just the money-making aspect.
With that said, let’s explore some of the common reasons on why you might want to start a blog. I’m certain that you would relate to some of these.
1. TO IMPACT THE LIVES OF OTHERS
Before I started blogging, I never gave it a single thought. Why would I write articles for free, I can use my time to make money instead, right?
Well, ever since I started blogging, I was amazed at the impact that my blog brought to others, and that was truly fulfilling.
If people are reading your blog, no matter what it is about, you have a deep influence on the lives of others.
With digital content evolving into shorter and shorter bursts of content, like Instagram Stories, the ability to fully capture an audience’s attention for just a few minutes (or more) to read on what you have to say is truly remarkable, and gives you a unique voice that you can’t really replicate elsewhere.
Regardless of the subject that you are writing about, if you provide great value in your blog, be it entertainment or education, you’d be surprised at the level of engagement a blog can provide.
For me, the HUSTLR blog was centered around getting people to start their own online business and attain freedom from their 9-5 job. Through my writing, I’m able to connect with people that are struggling to get their first online business up and running, just like I was a couple of years ago!
There’s nothing quite like getting an email from your readers telling you how much your blog has helped them. It’s one of the most fulfilling feeling aspects of blogging that keeps me going everyday!
2. TO OPEN DOORS TO MANY UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES
One of the amazing aspects of blogging is that you truly own your content. The work you put into your blog is out there on the Internet, and it stays there forever. I know that sounds cheesy, I have posts that were written over a year ago that people still read today.
As you start building a reputation of putting out good, high-quality writing, you establish an organic authority over that topic, which might open up some doors for you unexpectedly.
For HUSTLR, it opened up a ton of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for my blog. For example, since my blog is centered around starting your own online business, I’ve been able to connect with several like-minded readers and feature them on my podcast, where I get to have insightful conversations about the nitty gritty of starting an online business for the first time, document it, and share it with others to give extra value!
3. TO MEET NEW PEOPLE
I’ve made a lot of acquaintances through my blog. Being able to connect and learn from people that I wouldn’t have met in real life is one of the biggest positives of blogging.
For me, since my readers are mostly interested in starting their own online business, I’ve been able to relate so much from my readers that are deep in the trenches of starting their online business. The insights that I’ve been able to get from my readers are truly priceless, as these are real conversations with real people that are into the same journey as me, and you can’t find this anywhere else.
On top of that, since blogging comes from a place of abundance (you’re producing content for free, after all!), most people out there are more than willing to connect or offer a bit of advice when you need it.
You never know who you will meet, but it goes without saying that expanding your connections will definitely be handy in both your personal and professional life.
4. TO BUILD A BUSINESS
Of course, I have to include this as a reason to start a blog. Blogging can be a great way to improve the business you already have, or to create a business all on its own.
In my other business, Vape Club, blogging has indirectly allowed my business to have a fantastic rank on Google, where my business was the go-to authority on Malaysian e-liquids. While Vape Club’s core business model was eCommerce, blogging has been a huge contributor to its success.
Depending on how far you want to take it, the money you make from blogging can easily surpass your income from your regular job if you put in the effort to turn it into a full-blown business.
My blog on Vape Club is a great example of this, it has inadvertently allowed me to generate a side income that quickly surpassed my regular job, and given me the freedom of time to grow it exponentially to what it is today.
If these reasons get you fired up about starting a blog, the thing you’ll need to do is to actually decide what to blog about.
Decide On Your Blog Topic and Niche
Starting a blog begins with first deciding what you’re going to blog about.
Determining what to blog about can seem daunting at first, but with a little brainstorming, you’ll eventually be able to nail down on your target niche.
As a rule of thumb, I strongly recommend creating a blog around a topic that you are passionate and knowledgeable about, as the end goal is to establish your blog as an authority for that niche.
This is key in sustaining your drive to run the blog down the line, if you chose a blog niche just for the sake or capturing more traffic from its keywords, chances are that you’ll feel that blogging is more of a dreaded chore than an interesting side project as you go along, and that will show in your content.
For me, I’ve always been passionate about exploring side hustles, and how it can drive massive impact to someone’s life. It’s only natural that my blog is centered around something I’m interested in.
Start thinking about topics that you are personally interested in, and don’t worry too much on the size of that niche for now, as you can easily adapt your niche to be wider/deeper later on if needed. Also don’t worry about the monetization aspect of your blog at this stage, as you can absolutely monetize any type of blog. Don’t let these concerns hold you back!
Before you ask, yes, your blog can be about anything and/or everything. It’s entirely up to you.
To get you started, here are some possible ideas. The list isn’t exhaustive, and only serves as a starting point to get the ball rolling.
The beauty about having a blog is that it can be anything you want it to be, but it’s super important to know that you need to double down and focus on that niche. Focus is important when finding a niche. Your goal is to relate to the target audience of that niche, and to do that, you can’t go too broad in your topic ideas.
HERE'S AN INTERESTING COMPARISON TO SHOW YOU WHAT I MEAN.
Let’s imagine 2 fictional bloggers; Ben and Dave.
Dave is interested in electronic gadgets, and loves anything related to tech. He reviews smartphones, TVs, game consoles, speakers, and the like. He recently got to try out a Tesla, and finds it the most tech-centric car on the market, and decides to write about it in his blog.
On the other hand, Ben runs a Tesla specific blog, where he test drives different Teslas, gives his opinion on them, and blogs about all things related to owning a Tesla.
If you were in the market for Tesla, which blog would you find more credible? I’m sure the answer is a no brainer. I’m not trying to say that a tech blog is too broad, but in this specific example, you would go for a more focused blog when you’re specifically interested in a Tesla.
Now, you might be wondering, how can I make money from blogging about Tesla? Surely this is just a fun side project that doesn’t amount to anything, right?
Well, it turns out Tesla actually offers a referral program, which offers crazy perks for their top affiliates.
Don’t believe me? The fictional blogger Ben isn’t really fictional at all.
Ben is a real person that runs one of the best Tesla blogs, Teslanomics.co, and has generated approximately $10 million USD in sales for Tesla through his referral code on his blog.
The payout? Ben gets the upcoming 2020 Tesla Roadster supercar, valued at around $250,000 MSRP, for FREE!
I hope this illustrates the importance of focus on your blog, as ANY blog can be insanely profitable if your content is fantastic, and you are the go-to subject matter expert in your niche.
Here’s another concern I want to address when deciding the niche for your blog: Do you need to be an expert on the niche of your choice to start blogging about it?
This is a valid concern that definitely warrants its own discussion, as there are many different opinions about this.
Personally, I don’t think you need to be an expert or have a degree in most cases when it comes to blogging.
I know many fitness bloggers that track their journey from being horribly out of shape to reasonably fit. They don’t have the best physique compared to the other fitness bloggers, but they do well compared to where they’re coming from.
You see, your personal take on your topic is entirely unique, as nobody else has lived your life and had your experiences; just by writing authentically, your blog will naturally be unique, and there’s always someone out there that wants to hear from YOU!
More often than not, readers appreciate the authenticity of following a real person’s journey, read about how a real person made it through a problem, and so on. This is a great example of why you don’t need to be a top expert in the subject matter when you get started, you just need to be yourself.
However, if you are wanting to give advice about sensitive matters; such as legal advice, then, yes, you should probably be an expert beforehand, as you can cause some serious trouble if you pass on the wrong information to your readers.
Take some time and brainstorm about ideas that you’re passionate to write about and the audience you relate to the best. Once you have that down, you’ll then need to come up with a name for your blog and get it set up.
Decide On Your Blog Name and Set Up WordPress
By now, you should have a niche in mind already for your blog. The next step forward would be to come up with a name for your blog. A great blog starts with a great name, after all.
A good blog name would be something easy for people to remember, short, catchy, and be a good indicator on the contents of your blog. While it’s ideal to cover all of these facets, I totally understand that most people would need to prioritize some aspects over others, so let’s dive deeper into these.
My top priority would be to make sure that it is easy to type. I’ve seen blog names that are convoluted, difficult to pronounce/spell and so on. Ideally, your name should be simple words that you can mention to someone in an elevator pitch. Keep it simple!
Also think about what you’ll be writing about. Visualize the topics you want to write about on your blog, your target audience, and jot down descriptive words that represents your persona. You may want to think of something funny, use alliteration, or something else to make your blog name catchy and memorable.
If you’re having a bit of a block, try using a thesaurus to check out similar words. Sometimes, your first choice for a blog name may not be available, or you might not have thought of other words that catches your attention better. A thesaurus goes a long way in discovering catchy words.
As long as your name covers these facets, you should be good to go. Have 3-4 ideas ready before you proceed as you might find some of the domains for those unavailable.
Once you have that, follow these steps to get your blog set up. Let’s get started!
1. Choose Your Domain Name
When you buy a domain name, you need to make sure it will be handed over to you reliably, which is why I always use Namecheap when purchasing domains.
Head over to Namecheap to search for your domain of choice, and be sure to go through your options if your preferred names are unavailable. Please go for a .com domain if possible.
2. Choose Your Hosting Plan
Every website needs to have hosting. It’s where the contents of your blog will live on the Internet, so it’s key to pick a provider that’s responsive and reliable. Namecheap offers fairly inexpensive hosting, but I recommend a different option instead.
In my experience, WPX is the best all around hosting company for new bloggers in terms of performance and cost. They’ve also got great scalability to accommodate your blog as it grows, which is really important. If you can afford it, I highly recommend going for WPX.
3. Install WordPress
Now it’s time to install WordPress on your site (don’t worry, it’s easy!).
WordPress is the world’s most popular site builder. It powers more than 33% of all websites on the Internet, that’s millions of websites all over the world, so you can bet it’s the best option out there.
Depending on your hosting, the process of installing WordPress might be slightly different, but I can assure you that they are all very straightforward.
Use the email address you signed up with and the password included in your order confirmation email to log into your hosting service.
Once you’re logged in, you should see an option to install WordPress, just follow the instructions and you should have WordPress installed in no time.
4. Log into WordPress
Once WordPress is finished installing, you’ll get a confirmation message giving you info for where to access your WordPress login, your username, and a randomly generated password to sign in.
Your WordPress page can be found at http://yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin. Go to that URL and sign in.
And that’s it! You’re all set up and ready to go with your new domain.
HERE ARE SOME BASIC TIPS FOR NAVIGATING WORDPRESS:
Whew, that’s a lot to cover. While I only briefly walked through WordPress, there’s a ton of resources available on getting it set up just the way you want to.
Don’t worry too much on configuring WordPress for now, as it’s an on-going process as your blog matures.
Create A Content Strategy
Woohoo! Now that you’re blog is set up and running, we’re finally ready to start blogging!
While you may be tempted to get started right away and start churning off blog posts as they come to mind, having a blog content strategy will save you countless hours of time you would have wasted on writing about the wrong topics or answering questions that no one was asking.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
Think of a content strategy as properly planning out your journey before embarking on a road trip. While you may lose a couple of hours of a head start, you’d save significantly more time down the line by knowing the best route to your destination, and avoid costly detours.
The first thing you need to do is think about the audience in your blog niche, and put yourself in their shoes. What are their biggest pain points, interests or motivations, and how can you address them?
Ideally, your content should directly resonate with an interest that your audience has, so when they do discover your content, they immediately know that this blog is for them. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read.
Chances are, people only want to read your content if it benefits them, one way or the other.
Your readers should be informed, entertained or enlightened every time they consume your content. If you can achieve this consistently, you’ll be able to easily build a loyal audience that comes back to you all the time.
Here’re a few questions that you can ask yourself to decide the direction of your blog content:
LET'S USE AN EXAMPLE TO GIVE YOU A CLEARER PICTURE
Doug is a desperate young professional in his mid 20s that’s hitting a glass ceiling in the corporate ladder, where he’s slowly realizing that his projected income can’t maintain his lifestyle down the line as he’s looking to purchase a home in the near future.
As Doug cuts back on his expenses to live a more frugal lifestyle, he feels trapped when he discovers that he can only save so much from his salary. Doug figures that a side business to supplement his income is what he needs, but he doesn’t know where to begin.
In this scenario, these articles would be perfect for Doug:
By addressing your audience’s underlying motivations, you establish yourself as a reliable source to help them achieve their goals.
Once you got that down, the next step would be to come up with keywords for your topic ideas.
I can’t stress the importance of keywords, as they are essentially the bread and butter of any blog. Keywords tells search engines such as Google on what your blog is about, and is the key to getting consistent traffic for potential readers.
You’ve probably heard of the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) countless times, but I can tell you that it isn’t as difficult as most people make them out to be.
Here’s a simplified explanation of the underlying steps that contribute to a great SEO strategy.
Find some highly searched keywords with relatively low competition.
Produce fantastic content that includes your targeted keywords in the blog itself, as well as the meta-descriptions (titles, body, headers, alt-text).
Get backlinks to that content with your targeted keywords as the anchor text (if you’re writing about side hustles, make sure the link to your site is linked on the text “side hustles”).
A robust SEO strategy that encompasses these 3 factors will be your very first step on the way to the first page of Google, but you might find yourself in a situation where the topics you truly want to write about doesn’t necessarily yield the right keywords.
While keyword research is a great way to come up with blog content ideas, it shouldn’t hinder your entire content strategy. It’s up to you to find the optimum influence that SEO performance has in the topics and message of your content.
You should always combine a keyword opportunity with your knowledge of your target market and personas to write the best possible content, not the other way around. To put it simply, if you’re just going to churn out articles based on keywords, you’d quickly lose focus and variety in your content.
Produce High Quality Content
Now that you’ve got your topic ideas and keywords down, the next thing that you should focus on is the quality of your content and headlines.
Let me first preface by saying that your blog is yours, and only yours. Nobody should be telling you what to write about, or what writing style you should adopt, but there a few key principles behind stellar quality blog content that is true for all blogs.
1. Your content must always provide value.
I can’t help but to repeat this, but it’s so important that you’re producing content people actually find value in. For every piece of content you write, put yourself in your reader’s shoes and ask, “What am I getting out of this?”.
If you can’t answer that outright, then you might want to rethink that piece of content.
2. Keep it concise and straight to the point.
Nobody wants to read a bunch of fluff. Keep your paragraphs short and put your ideas out front and center. There’s no need to explain your ideas in a roundabout way just to boost your word count; unless you have in-depth ideas to share about your topic.
3. Let your personality shine.
Your blog should be imbued with your personality, if you have a strong opinion about something, let it fly! Neutral sounding, “safe” opinions typically result in sterile content that is dry and generic. That’s the last thing you want for your blog.
4. Make use of high quality images.
Great images make a huge difference to spice up your blog. Use screenshots, infographics, or stock images to illustrate your point whenever needed to break up long chunks of text in your blog. This isn’t as hard as it sounds!
To truly grow your blog, I would say these tips are mandatory. While it’s so easy to just think that you don’t need to do these when you’re first starting out, these tips are much easier to implement than you’d think and goes a long way to brand your content to a higher standard. Make it a habit to always be consistent in your quality.
Another thing to note here is that quality prevails over quantity. There is a lot to take in when you first start blogging. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many ideas or churning out too much content at once. You are much better off with one high quality post than posting 5 sub par posts.
Now, even if you have the best content in the world, nobody would ever discover them if you don’t have fantastic headlines. And yes, in this day and age, you have to be somewhat ‘clickbaity’ in your titles to attract the readers you deserve.
With that said, there’s a fine line between baiting your readers into clicking through to an article that doesn’t live up to its promise versus luring people to your content with a juicy headline. It’s up to you to find that balance, but please never ever deceive your readers.
Not sure where to get started with headlines? There’s a free tool for creating headlines that I highly recommend: Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer.
This proven tool scores your titles from a scale of 0 to 100 based on the use of common, uncommon, emotional, and powerful words. I recommend playing around with it until you get the hang of creating compelling headlines on your own.
Making Money From Your Blog
Now that you’ve got great quality content and a content strategy, let’s address the elephant in the room:
How Does A Blog Make Money?
There are a ton of ways to make money from your blog, no matter which niche you’re in. The possibilities are truly endless depending on the size of your blog, but I’ll go through some of the more common ways that blogs make money.
1. Affiliate Marketing
This is by far my favourite way to make money from a blog, as it’s completely passive and automated, and does not require any upfront work (other than running your blog, of course).
Affiliate marketing is when you (the blogger) promote a product or service on your blog and when someone makes a purchase with your affiliate link, you receive a commission for referring that sale.
With the prevalence of eCommerce these days, you can affiliate pretty much anything under the sun. Be it digital/physical products, services, or subscriptions, there’s an endless sea of things you can recommend to others and get a kickback for.
This is one of the most common ways blogs make money, and by far the easiest one to get started on.
Here are some examples of things you can be an affiliate for:
Sign up for an Amazon Associates account and get up to 10% for every sale made by using your link! Amazon’s commission rates vary based on categories, but here’s the beauty of it – whenever someone clicks on your link, a cookie is placed on their device, and everything they buy from Amazon in the next 24 hours is considered to be referred by you! Just imagine how much money you can make from this during Black Friday.
Is there an eBook or course related to your niche that you can stand by? Chances are, you can make money by recommending that digital product, and more often than not, since digital products are produced with insane margins, they usually come with super lucrative affiliate commissions, some as high as 50%!
This is very similar to digital products, where you get a cut whenever someone signs up for a subscription with your link. The commission structure depends on the service, but just like digital products, they usually offer high commission rates since subscriptions tend to have huge margins to begin with.
Sounds exciting? Before you jump right in, it’s super important to only recommend products relevant to your blog topic that you genuinely tried and enjoyed. Choosing to promote an inferior product (or one that doesn’t align with your viewpoint) just to earn more money would severely harm your integrity, and on the Internet, it can easily lead to your downfall faster than you’d think. Just look at what happened to James Charles, one of the top makeup YouTubers.
Affiliate marketing also involves in-depth research, as you’d need to articulate the value of the product you’re promoting with insightful, well-written content. After all, you want to make sure your audience knows that the product is beneficial for them, and they would want to know how it stacks up against other options.
There’s much more to affiliate marketing than this, and it would be impossible to fit all of its nuances here. But you get the gist of it; produce content, drive traffic, make sales, get paid.
2. Display Advertisements
Unfortunately, while this is one of the easiest ways to make money from your blog, it’s also the least profitable, in my opinion. Simply put, you get paid by placing an ad on your blog, and get paid whenever someone sees that ad or clicks on it.
The beauty of it is that it’s 100% passive, but the downfall is that you often don’t make much from this unless your blog has really high traffic, and placing ads on your blog is often intrusive as it cannibalizes your reader’s attention from your content.
There are several ad platforms out there, but the most common one is definitely Google AdSense. They offer lower payouts (compared to other ad networks) and less customizable ads, but is the easiest to set up and get going.
When your blog grows down the line to more than 25,000 sessions per month, you can move up to a higher tier ad network that offers better payouts, like Mediavine or AdThrive (minimum requirement of 100,000 monthly pageviews). As you move up to higher tier ad networks, you can expect better payouts and customizability with ads.
3. Digital Products
This is by far the most profitable way to make money from your blog. I created my first ever digital course, the Ecomm Freedom Masterclass, in late 2018, and it immediately opened my mind to the sheer scalability of a digital product.
Now, you don’t have to create a full fledged course like I did. You can get started with a simple eBook, which you can sell on your blog, or on Kindle – that will never go out of stock and does not require shipping!
In fact, there’s little to no cost difference if you sell 10 or 10,000 copies. All you have to do is compile some of your best content, offer more value where you see fit, and package it into an eBook. Thanks to the sheer scale of the Internet, you can then charge a super cheap price for it (think $5), and still be able to make a decent profit, since it costs almost next to nothing to host an eBook.
You’ll definitely need to put in a lot of upfront work to produce a digital product, but this work will get you paid over and over again, offering unlimited scalability. If you feel like you have something to offer in a digital product, I highly recommend that you go for it by all means.
4. Sponsored Posts
Sponsored blog posts are not passive, but they are often lucrative, and when done well, integrates with your content seamlessly. Sponsored posts can come in several forms, it can be a post on its own, or a segment on your content.
Basically, you get paid to publish content promoting a certain product or brand. Unlike ads, affiliate marketing, and digital products, this isn’t completely passive, as you only get paid when you publish the ad.
That’s not to say that sponsored posts require a lot of effort. Depending your deal with the sponsor, you’ll need to just publish a post or create an ad segway in your content.
The best way to find sponsored post opportunities is through networks that connect publishers (bloggers) with advertisers.
Here are a few to get you started:
A better way to do this is to reach out to brands that are relevant to your niche, or have brands reach out to you. Chances are, more relevant sponsored posts convert way better and appear less intrusive.
Before you ask, yes, you can most definitely make money from your blog.
The maturity of the Internet has made it a huge place, and there is always room for people to consume your content. No matter how daunting it may seem at the start, there is always going to be a place for good content that offers value, and as long as you can provide that and optimize your blog properly, you will be able to attract an audience.
It’s certain in the realm of possibility to start making money as soon as a couple of months, or less.
Blogging is definitely not the fastest way to make money, though. Depending on effort you’re willing to put in, it can take months or even years before you see serious income.
With that being said, you truly own your content, and the work you put in to your blog won’t ever really go away, and you can monetize it over and over again (with evergreen content). There is virtually no limit on how much money you can make from your blog; there are bloggers that make upwards of 6 figures monthly just from blogging!
Now that you’re fully aware on the ways to make money from your blog, it’s time to move on to scaling the traffic to your blog.
Grow Your Traffic
Woohoo! Now that your blog is set up and you’re ready to monetize it, it’s time to grow your traffic.
While higher traffic more likely means more income, you really don’t need millions of readers per month to make money. Depending how you monetize your blog, you can certainly generate a decent revenue from just a few thousands of loyal, engaged readers.
A key takeaway here is that growth doesn’t come before you get the fundamentals down. At the end of the day, you still need to provide value in your content and properly engage your readers. None of the growth tips that I’ll share with you shortly will work unless your content is great.
If you think you’ve got the hang of the fundamentals already, there are some things you can do to grow your traffic to the next level.
1. Create pins on Pinterest
Pinterest is one of the best traffic sources for new blogs. Long images with texts that prelude to your content is a great way to get the word out, and with great images, your Pinterest traffic can grow rapidly if people are pinning and repinning your images. I highly recommend going all out on Pinterest for new blogs, as I truly believe it’s the best way to get early growth for any blog.
2. Transmute your content to post on social media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube are great ways to attract new eyeballs on your blog. Chances are, most of your blog content can easily be transmuted into other forms, like a video, text snippet, or a podcast. Experiment with these other forms of content to multiply your traffic from other sources.
3. Network with other bloggers
The blogging community is huge and from my experience, super friendly. More often than not, other bloggers in your space are looking to network with others as well. This means you can easily interact with them on social media, reach out to them if you have an idea, and way more. It goes without saying that you should be genuine about this, and don’t ask for too much in return.
4. Post with a regular schedule
To keep your audience engaged, posting with a regular schedule goes a long way to keep your content fresh in your audience’s minds. The nature of the Internet is that everything has a short attention span, and going for a long period without fresh content is extremely detrimental. Commit yourself to a schedule of posting at least 1 piece of content per week at the minimum, and build on that when you’re ready.
5. Guest post
This can be a great way to reach a new audience. Guest posting usually entails writing a short segment on someone else’s blog, to offer your unique insight/perspective on a certain topic. Depending on who you guest post for, you’ll be able to attract a huge new audience to discover your blog.
6. Make it easy to share your content
How easy is it for new readers to explore your other content, or search for a specific topic? By making it as easy as possible for readers to discover your other content, you’ll naturally rack in way more pageviews. Some simple tips to achieve this are to sort your content by categories and tags, including a search bar, and so on. You should also practice including links right in the text when needed to encourage your readers to consume that relevant content.
7. Improve the navigation on your site
Sounds like a no brainer? You’d be surprised on how many blogs have obscure, hard-to-find social media icons, or having all of the info that is needed for sharing (title, link, and your name), and so on. Don’t make this mistake and have your info displayed prominently on your blog.
Again, you should focus on these tips only after you get the fundamentals right. Don’t get too hung up with growth unless you’ve got great content to begin with. When you pair great content and these growth hacks, you’ll easily be on your way to attract a huge audience to your blog.
Now, what should you do next if you’ve already got great content, great monetization, and a huge audience?
Build an Email List
By now, you should have everything you need to start blogging and start making money!
Here’s the catch though, if Pinterest goes down, or you suddenly get an unexpected ban on your social media, there’s always a slight chance that your entire business can instantly be shut down overnight.
I’ve had my share of unexpected problems with Facebook, where I got banned unexpectedly when I’m pushing a time sensitive ad campaign.
When you produce content that is shared on platforms, the truth is that you’re not really in control of the content you produce.
These sites are changing their algorithms and policies all the time, and that has a major impact on your reach and your blog traffic. If you’re at a point where you’re making a sizable income from your blog, this can have a huge impact on your revenue!
You’ll never know when the next big change will be pushed out to these platforms, and whether or not all of your hard work that you put in will be affected.
This clearly makes social media an unreliable source for traffic and sales over the long run.
While you shouldn’t put all of your eggs into one basket, ie, social media, they’re still a fantastic source of new traffic that you just can’t ignore.
So how do you alleviate this problem?
The key lies in your email list.
Your email list is the one thing that nobody can take away from you. There’s no algorithm dictating whether or not your email will arrive at recipients’ inboxes other than the spam filter.
Make it a priority to nurture your email list, and never abuse them as they’re without a doubt the greatest asset for your blog.
By now, you should be able to see why growing an email list is one of the most important parts of any business.
It’s actually fairly simple set up, and here’s what you need to do to start building your email list.
1. Sign up for an ESP (Email Service Provider)
There are a ton of great options out there, but the one we recommend for its ease of use is ConvertKit. ConvertKit has a tiered plan that scales in pricing with your subscribers, so you wouldn’t be paying much if you’re just starting out.
They also have a 30-day free trial, so you can use it without paying first to see if ConvertKit is right for you.
2. Collect emails with a lead magnet
Depending on your theme on WordPress, you’ll usually find a built-in email collecting pop up box that you can include throughout your site. We use Thrive Themes, which does come with an easy-to-setup opt in form for emails. Place opt-in forms on your blog: sidebar, footer, in blog posts to start collecting emails!
Once you’ve got that set up, you’ll need to produce an enticing offer to get people to sign up for your email newsletters. The best way to get people to sign up for your list is by offering an incentive of some sort, also known as a lead magnet. Here are a few examples:
Always strive to over deliver in whatever you’re offering. Your first email is often the first touch point you have with a new reader, so it’s super important to make a great first impression. The last thing you want to do it turn off a brand new audience by disappointing them with poor content in your first email. Put in some time to craft your offer, as you’ll be using this over and over again to welcome new subscribers.
3. Maintain your email list with newsletters
Once you have people on your list, you’ll need to keep your list engaged and warm, and the best way to do this is to deliver value to your email list consistently.
If people don’t find anything of value in your emails, they’ll start ignoring your emails and eventually unsubscribe. Don’t let that happen!
A great way to give jam packed value consistently is by blasting out a weekly newsletter. This way, your subscribers know they can expect a value-dense email from you on a specific day every week.
Here are a few things to include in your weekly newsletters:
- Special announcements
- News or stories related to your blog topics
- Your personal favorite news/updates of the week
- New content on the blog
Maintaining your email list is essential to your blog. What you’re doing here is building a loyal fanbase that respects what you have to say and, when the time comes, will pay for what you want to offer, whether that’s your own product or from an affiliate.
It’s never too late to start building out an email list, and it will be the most valuable thing you can do for your blog. Like I said before, your email list is the one thing you truly own, and easily your greatest asset.
Wrapping It Up
That’s all for the 8 steps to start a successful blog! We’ve covered a lot of ground, and you’re now fully equipped to get your blog up and running.
I really hope you’ll take action and start your journey in blogging like I have, and it’s really one of the things I wished I started sooner with.
All the best in your blogging journey!