Did you know that you can earn through blogging? Oh yes, you can.
However, earning through blogging is not as easy as it seems. It does not mean that as long as you write something in your blog, money’s going to come in. 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.
Now, let’s walk you through the things you need to do, step-by-step.
Step 1: Website Scaffolding
Setting up a solid website would require these two basic elements: a website host and a mailing list provider.
Website Host. A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. A good web host must be able to handle traffic well. It needs to be fast, and is convenient to set up.
Mailing List Provider. Email marketing is the ultimate key to a solid audience base. Your mailing list will be a vital source of targeted traffic and monetization, which you can tap into in an instant. Choose a reliable mailing list provider.
Step 2: Setting Up Your Website
A great blog or website needs to be strong, and reliable. However, it also needs to look good, and sound good – meaning, it should be marketable.
Choosing a Domain Name. Your domain name is your address in the Word Wide Web, say www.slyejoyserrano.com, that’s a domain name, an address to a specific website in the vast web. 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.
Registering a Domain Name. You can use independent domain registration sites like Namecheap to register your domain. Then, you add it to your hosting package. But there are web hosting providers where you can register your domain name on top of your hosting package (like BlueHost or HostGator).
Content Management Systems. Content management systems (CMS), also known as “blogging platform”, helps you curate your content and build how your website will look like. There are many CMS to choose from. The more popular of these are WordPress, Blogger by Google, Drupal, and Joomla. Don’t worry, web hosting providers have one-click installation options for these CMS.
I personally recommend WordPress. It is incredibly easy to design with and make your own. There are plenty of resources about building a WordPress site – impressive plugins, beautiful themes, and awesome flexibility.
Step 3: Creating Content
Content is king. And, content marketing is leading the way. Your content is your connection to your audience. Content is the fuel of your site.
Content Marketing. The key thing to remember in content marketing is your audience. Who are they? What problems do they have? What questions are they asking? What are their pain points? Effective content is the kind of content that alleviates pain.
Here’s a few ways you can do all these:
- 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.
Niche Content. The catch about blogging is that there are plenty of content online, and it is basically extra difficult to stand out and build a good following. The key is to provide a unique, niche content – the sort of niche where only a few dare discuss. Research about what people are looking for and how the current web contents address this inquiries. You can use Google AdWords, and other keyword research tools.
Step 4: Generating Traffic
The success of your site, in terms of monetizing it, lies not only in your content, but more so in the number of people who come in, stay, and come back to your site – we call that traffic. Indeed, driving traffic requires more work – from creating content, to getting this great content to people.
The major sources of traffic are the organic (search-engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing), social (from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.), referral (referred through other websites), and direct traffic (when visitors go to your page directly by typing in your web address).
Prioritize your social and organic traffic.
Social Media Traffic. 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.
Search-engine Optimization (SEO). When a user go to Google, or Yahoo and try to look for something, your goal is that your website comes at the very first page of the search-engine results page (SERPs). An SE-optimized website is favored by these search-engines, and display them in the front pages.
Optimization is a tedious task and it’s a long-term goal. The most basic SEO hack is keywords, and quality. 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. Every blogger must be diligent enough to keep a list of their subscribers and make sure they stay in touch with your blog. You can send them interesting updates on a daily, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, and keep them interested with your site. This is the key to maintaining a solid readership, and ensure sustained traffic to your site.
Step 5: Monetization
Now, how do bloggers earn through blogging? Well, there are a number of ways such as advertising, and affiliate marketing.
Advertising. Advertising is one of the most common ways to monetize your blog and can come in various formats such as:
- Banner advertising – such as Google AdSense, Bing, Facebook and other ad platforms
- Sponsored reviews – whereby you’re paid to review a product or service in return to for you honest opinion
- Sponsored posts – in this instance a brand or PR will pay for you to write about their product or service and include a link back to their website (be sure to no-follow any paid links to stay within Google’s guidelines and best practices)
Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing 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 you can tap:
The key with affiliate programs is to just promote products you would endorse and actually use yourself. But remember to keep whatever it is you want to market as an affiliate relevant to your audience, otherwise, you’ll end up a failure.
Product Creation. You can use a blog, or a website to sell something. Your website will serve as an online product description or brochure of whatever product you want to sell such as eBooks, videos, elearning materials, whitepapers, and many more.
Freelancing. Your blog can also serve as a broadcasting platform. If you have a business on the side of your day job, or you have it full-time, you can use a blog to promote whatever it is that you do.
Here’s what you could offer as a freelancer from your blog:
- Copywriting services
- Blog design
- Content Management
- Business consulting
- Social Media strategy
An example of this kind of blog this blog by a copywriter and freelance writer offering copywriting, and content marketing services, head to his site at: www.slyejoyserrano.com
Step 6: Automation and Outsourcing
Blogging is time-consuming. More so, if you are not a writer, it would prove to be extremely difficult to maintain a solid blog. So, learn to get help from outside. You can outsource content writing by hiring a content writer, or a ghost writer. You can outsource your marketing efforts by seeking the help of a social media manager.