Here's How To Start Your Own Blog And Make Money. A Beginner's Guide

Blogging can be a liberating and profitable pastime, and if you are really serious on developing your craft, it can be a lucrative full time job.

But first, here's a reminder to everyone, blogging is not one of those scamming promises of "getting quick-rich" and easy money-making online schemes. 

It's bloody hard work. 

Just like other serious jobs, blogging requires patience, determination and perseverance to navigate the complex world of content creation to earn. 

There's no such thing as easy money. Even in blogging. You need to invest time and effort to achieve your goal to earn money.

Blogging and its benefits

The only thing that separates blogging from your regular job, is that, it's more like a hobby, nurturing your passion, rather than spending eight crazy hours working on a routine that sometimes bores you.

In blogging, you don't necessarily work for someone else, you work as you please, and in your most convenient time. 

And it's liberating because you can freely talk without being judged. You can express your opinion on things that matter to you and the world.

You can raise your voice through your content. It might be the voice of change, a useful information, that may influence and inspire others on so many levels.

Blogging is basically writing, a content marketing scheme. 

Blog comes from the two coined words - Web and log. A portal of news information, opinion and short articles for a specific interest.

While vlogging is creating a video content, blogging is creating word content. However, it does not require a groundbreaking talent in English writing to maintain a blog. 

Simple writing style will do, you can even write in your own preferred language. But if you need to reach a global audience, it is advised to use English as your main language in writing.

You need to be really hardworking and disciplined.

Blogging is an active engagement online, your website needs to be updated all the time to provide fresh contents to your readers. And establish a strong patience online for proper indexing in search engines.

You need to be active with online activities promoting content to drive traffic to your website. Without high traffic volume, your website cannot be indexed and not visible in the search engines.

And you need to be very disciplined, meaning you should have an established calendar, regular routine, when to write, when to post, to keep your website active.

You need to be proactive in research and reading.

Depends on the topic of your blog, a blogger must be knowledgeable with what's going on in the world, and has valuable information to share to the targeted audience to keep the blog relevant and engaging.

You need to follow a certain ethical standard in content creation. Blogging is about responsibility and should not be used as a platform to spread hate, fake news, defamation and illegal activities. 

Blogging is sharing relevant stories, information and interest that's beneficial to everyone. You need not to be super expert in your topic, but at least you have knowledge with what you are sharing to people. 

Bloggers are considered the newest breed of influencers.

Choose a niche or interest

Before you create a blog, you need to choose a specific topic to write about or create a content. It's called a targeted niche, or a specific subject of interest. 

Example of targeted niche: Travel, religion, gardening, farming, politics, lifestyle and fashion, food, history, people and society.

It's important to pick a specific niche if you are planning to monetize your blog because most advertisers do not want a website that has no targeted audience. 

SEO Strategy

The moment you are ready to monetize your blog, you need to know everything about SEO. It stands for Search Engine Optimization.

It is a digital marketing strategy utilized by website owners and bloggers to optimize website visibility in the search engines. It is the lifeblood of successful content creators. 

It's one way of optimizing the website to get organic traffic from SERP or search engine results page. Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL do not just randomly pick a website out of nowhere to show in the search results.

For your blog to reach a targeted audience, it should be visible in the search engines, thus, needed to be indexed. That's where SEO comes in.

Indexing is a search engine activity but it requires actions from bloggers and website owners to make the page visible. 

These actions include creating SEO articles, posting in web directories, promoting links in social media and actively participating in the community pages related to your niche.

After a search query is entered, the search engines will then show different results, the first pages are usually those websites that have paid advertisement campaign.

The next pages are the so-called organic websites. These are websites that did not pay an advertisement to make their pages visible, but are already popular around the web and have great SEO strategies.

Search engines used a complex algorithm to determine which websites are most relevant to the topics being searched. They will crawl different websites to understand what the site is all about.

Those first ranked websites in the search engines are those pages that have clear platform of a specific topic being searched and applied the use of key words in the articles.

Example of SEO blogs

In other words, SEO articles are relevant posts that offer solution to topics being queried in the search engines. It has a targeted audience.

Now, let's go, and start a blog

To start blogging, you need to sign up for a free account in any blogging platforms. 

If you're not into some serious digital marketing business, and just want to create a blog for pastime, develop a new hobby or nurture a passion, then do not directly jump into a paid hosting because it's quite expensive.

Step 1: Pick a specific interest

You need to build your blog first in a free blogging platform. But before signing up, make sure you already have a specific niche.

Choose a topic that you are passionate about so that it will be easy for you to write regularly or discuss stuff easily. 

If you love traveling, then pick a travel niche, if you love gardening, pick a gardening category, if you are a history buff, then choose history, if you like food, then decide on having a food blog, if you like sharing stories about self-improvement, then choose inspirational or self-help niche, if you love online gaming, then blog about gaming.

It's about a particular interest you love doing.

Do not choose a topic that you are not familiar or no passion at all just because it's the most popular. You cannot sustain the momentum of creating a content on a regular basis.

So, assuming you have already a specific niche in mind, the next step is to determine what blogging platform to use.

Step 2: Choose a blogging platform

There are different blogging platforms online where you can sign up for free. However, I would recommend only two platforms, these are the most popular, the easiest for beginners, and completely free.

I've been using these platforms since I started blogging and it's the most convenient publishing services for beginners.

Blogger.com - An American blog publishing service that allows multi-blogs in one account. It is accessed through a subdomain blogspot.com. 

Its blogs are hosted by Google. It is the most convenient way to apply for monetization through Google Adsense. 

This is where I started my blogging and even when I have already my own domains, I am still using it as my hosting platform because it is free.

Pros:

  • User-friendly
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Easy to navigate and customize
  • Completely free
  • Users can create and manage multiple blogs
  • Easy setup to third party URL the moment you decide to buy your own domain
Cons
  • No wide choices for plugins and layout
  • Features to personalize blog are limited

WordPress.com - This is a blogsite hosting service of Automatic. It is an open-source content management system written in PHP with MySQL. 

This should not be confused with WordPress.org which is a paid self-hosting site. WordPress.com is a free blogging service. I have utilized WordPress platform also in my blogging and it's pretty easy to use and maintain.

Pros:

  • More advance features than Blogger.com
  • Completely free
  • Has wide choices of plugins and cool templates
  • Easy transfer to self-hosted blog should you decide to avail the premium package
Cons:
  • No direct advertising arm for monetization
  • Template editing is a bit advance and kinda tricky for beginners

After choosing between Blogger and WordPress, you can start signing up for free. Then fill up the necessary details. Make sure you already have a particular title for your blog. 

Blog title does not have to be complicated. It's just a representation of what's your blog is all about. You can change it later anyway. 

But for SEO purposes, choose a title that has huge search results in Google, Yahoo or Bing.

When I created my travel and food blog, Gourmand Travel Guide, I googled first the topics on travel and food and these three words yielded high page results.

You can also use your name as your blog title and web address. I have a personal blog, Joyce Lamela, that simply bears my name.

Step 3: Check email for further instruction - To jumpstart your blogging life, you need to verify through your email the signing up process. 

Step 4: Pick a theme. After the verification process, you can now login to your account and start customizing the template and layout.

Choose a theme layout for your blog. There are free templates around the web. I usually go to Sora Templates and Gooyaabi for a professionally-looking blog layout.

Step 5: Customize layout. Layout are page elements of your blog. Usually templates are general layout that does not speak for your content, you need to customize it, by editing the page elements: adding pages, profile, images, and labels.

Step 6: Start writing content. After customizing the layout, you can now start posting content. There's no specific requirements for writing blogpost, you can even post pictures and description.

Step 7: Promote your blog - To start noticing your blog, you need to promote it everywhere - social media, email, telling friends. You may share the link of your blog in your social media accounts.

Step 8: Work on the online visibility of your blog - There are tricks you can apply how to promote the visibility of your website to prepare for the monetization application.

If you are planning to monetize your blog, you need to post at least one article per week. The blog should be at least six months old with 20 posts before you are eligible to apply for monetization.

Here are some tricks how to make your blog visible in the internet

A. Free web directory listing

To establish a strong presence in the web, your blog needs to be submitted on free web directories. Usually, it's simple and does not require complicated action.

Submission to free web directories online is the easiest way to build presence online. It provides an opportunity for link building and visibility.

Web directories helped your blog to be indexed properly by search engines. There are directory listings that offer a free sign up and URL submission.

B. Social media platform

Another campaign promotional tool you can utilize for free is creating social media pages that have high volume of traffic like facebook, instagram and twitter.

Here are the social media pages of my blogs:

C. Build an email list

In your blog, add a feature in the layout section that allows your readers to subscribe your articles for free, in that way, each time you have a new post, it will automatically deliver to their email address. This is one way of increasing traffic of your website.

D. Share links

You can share links of your blogs in your social media accounts to drive potential visitors to your website. 

Step 9: Purchase a domain - Usually the application requirement for monetizing a blog is simple but unlike 10 years ago, most global advertising networks today prefer a blog that has its own web address and not run through a subdomain.

Example of blogs run through a subdomain: 

You need to buy your own domain. 

Choose a domain registrant that offers an easy setup for blog migration. 

What is a domain? Domain refers to the website address or the top level URL of your blog. It is different from hosting. 

A domain refers only to the website address of your blog. Example: www.joyce-lamela.com, while hosting is a publishing service that runs your blog and make it visible in the internet. 

If you have created your blog through Blogger.com, you have a choice to buy a domain-only package then retain the hosting with Blogger for free.

If you are serious in blogging and plan to make it your bread and butter, or you have a business to promote, then you can opt for a self-hosted blog. You need to purchase a domain with a hosting package.

Normally, domain and hosting providers utilize WordPress setup for this package and it's pretty easy to do. I've done it a couple of times without the help of a professional web designer or programmer.

Here's the criteria how to choose a good domain registrant:

  • Easy setup and configuration
  • No hidden fees
  • Cheap annual fees
  • Offers features like free VPN, SSL certificate and security
  • Easy chat support system
  • For a self-hosted blog - a domain provider that offers an easy WordPress setup.

How to look for a domain provider? 

There are different domain registrants online where you can buy your own domain. But below are my tried and tested. Affordable and offer easy setup.

Even if you are a beginner who does not understand anything about web design or programming or coding, the process of these domain providers is not complicated.

Above domain providers offer hosting packages should you decide to upgrade into self-hosted blogs. In my part, I have tried a self-hosted blog for two years with Bluehost. Setup is through WordPress.org.

However, I find the renewal fees very expensive, so I transferred my domains to Namecheap and moved back to free hosting in Blogger.com, my blog earnings were not affected anyway.

I have three active blogs and domains under Namecheap. The templates are designed by Gooyaabi and Sora Templates.

With Namecheap, I am only paying an annual fee of $ 13.50 for each domain. Hosting is free with Blogger.com. So you can stick with just buying a domain and still get monetized.

Step: 10 Start monetizing

After six months, you can now start monetizing your website. 

Monetization is a process of generating income from your website through different Advertising platforms. To do it, you need to apply as a publisher to any global advertising networks.

There are ways how to monetize your blog, just choose a platform that offers a free membership and does not require a complicated process. Avoid an Advertising network that requires you to pay, it's probably a scam.

1. Banner advertisement - The simplest way to earn through blogging is banner advertisement, it does not require any action from your visitors. You can earn here through page views. The more visitors your blog will have, the higher your earnings.

Google Adsense - This is Google's advertising program. They will pay you 70% of the revenue generated from your website traffic. But not all regions have the same computation of revenue. A traffic of 1,000 page views in India lower than the traffic of 1,000 pages in USA or Canada.

However, lately, Google Adsense upgraded its basic requirements in approving publisher's application. I am lucky I was approved before 2010 when blogging is not yet the global trend. 

But you can try submitting your application. Payment threshold is $100.00 and payment is sent through Western Union (in my case since Philippines is not eligible for a wire transfer).

Adcash - I just started Adcash lately. It's a global advertising network based in Estonia (Europe) and does not have complicated requirements. In fact, within an hour of your application, you will be approved instantly. 

Adcash offers an opportunity to earn high. Its top level advertisement schemes are the most effective in the industry. They accept several websites under your account. Payment threshold is also $100.00 and payable through Paypal.

Propeller Ads - This is based in Cyprus and just like Adcash offers the best opportunity for bloggers to earn income. 

Approval of application is pretty fast and within a day, you can start earning after activating your account and adding your blog. Payment threshold is also $100.00 and payable through Paypal.

2. Affiliate Marketing - unlike banner advertisement, affiliate marketing requires an action from your visitors. They need to purchase a product through a link from your website to convert it to earnings.

Usually, they offer a commission of 10% from all referrals you make.

Below offers huge opportunities to generate extra income.
3. Pay-Per-Post - You can write sponsored content in your blog. Payment may varies depending on the writing job you take. When I started blogging 10 years ago, Large part of my earnings came from writing sponsored content from Blogvertise.

Sponsored contents are SEO articles. That is, clients usually give instructions what they want to see in the article you are writing. If it is a targeted SEO article, there are hypertext and keywords that they want you to specify and indicate in the article.

If you are running a travel blog, most probably you will be offered to write about destinations, traveling tips and guide. You need to tailor your post based on the instruction provided by the client.

4. You can run a donation campaign for your website that allows readers to share their generosity to keep your blogsite running for free. 

You can sign up for free account in PAYPAL and generate a "donate" button. Check information how to earn through PAYPAL HERE. Once in Paypal, click "All Tools" and choose the Donate button.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that you are blogging not for money but because it is your passion. Your blogging focus is not solely to earn or make money but to enjoy your craft and improve your work, in that way, you won't be pressured creating a content then feel disappointed if you won't earn big bucks.

Just treat it as your hang out, peaceful sanctuary, hobby, pastime or stress-reliever, later, you will enjoy what you are doing at the same time earning.

We are gearing towards the online gig economy where more and more people are turning into the internet for extra income. Start nurturing your passion now and convert it into a profitable blog. 


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