When I first started blogging – I had no idea that I would ever make a penny doing so. Since then I have managed to be pretty successful in monetizing and a lot of people have been asking me how I have managed to do so. I have a lot to say on the subject, so I am going to break this up into two parts. This post is going to be how you can start a profitable blog from scratch.
I already have a huge post about actually going about starting a blog and using Wordpress – if you don’t already have a blog you’re going to want to reference that after you’ve gotten through this one!
For now we can get started. I want to add the disclaimer that you really cannot start a blog that will be profitable from day one, but there are ways that you can speed up the process. Personally, I made my money back exactly five month after starting, and that was without implementing a solid monetization plan. If you follow these steps you should start making money a lot quicker than I did.
Before starting your blog, work on posts. If you have five or six posts published right when you go live, you will :
- Get more pageviews from the get-go.
- Meet post requirements for ad networks quicker.
- See a lower bounce rate.
So when you create your blog, you are going to want to publish several posts before you start promoting. You could either stagger when you publish them, or publish a few all at the same time so you have plenty of content from the beginning. I recommend the latter. With that said, you may want to save a few posts so that you can start posting on a consistent schedule that your readers will expect.
Along with prewriting content, you’re going to want to have vital pages ready to publish right away. That means your about me, a contact me page, and any other pages relevant to your blog. You’ll see on my menu I have a ‘my list’ page where I share the things on my bucket list. These posts do very well, in my experience. And they are super fun!
Define your niche.
That almost hurt me to write, as I’ve always said a niche is 100% unnecessary to having a successful blog. But having a defined niche will bring you success just a little bit faster than not having one. If you choose to go this route, understand that not all niches are created equal. You want to have a narrow niche, but not too narrow. For example:
- “Mommy Blogger” isn’t narrow a lot. If you’re a mommy blogger you are one of millions.
- “Single Mommy Blogger” or “Mommy Blogger to Special Needs Children” is perfect.
You need to stand out, but you still want to make sure that you will have an audience. So define what you’re going to write about, and stick with it.
Write content that will help people.
Before you start writing about the funny thing that happened to you, write posts that will help people. I write a lot of college guides, and those are what get me most of my traffic. So whatever niche you decide on (if you do, in fact, go that route) consider what you can write that will help people. If you decided on single mommy blogger, you can write a post offering your tips on balancing your time. Once you have readers who like you and relate with you, then you can start throwing in your personal anecdotes.
Utilize social media.
This is something that you need to be doing from the start. Before you create your blog, create social media. Start getting followers as soon as you can, and start connecting with people. Once you have a blog and you start posting, you need to be promoting like crazy. On Facebook schedule content so you’re posting a few times a day, you should tweet your content out every few hours, pin to any relevant boards on Pinterest (just not at the same time – you’ll lose followers, and be consistent.
That is one area I was lacking in (and still am) but is also so important in creating a following. You will probably find that you get most of your views from social media in the beginning, so you need to take it seriously!
Connect with other bloggers.
Don’t target the big bloggers write away. Focus on making connections with bloggers who are new, like you. Be genuine and comment on their posts when you’re interested without asking anything for return. Don’t say, ‘check out my blog’ or leave your link in the bottom of the comment. Most commenting widgets lets you make your name hyperlinked so if they want to see your blog, they can. But when people feel like you are using them, they aren’t going to want to help you. Make friends and then start seeing if you can work together.
OK, now what?
So you’ve followed all of these steps, you are posting consistently and often, and you don’t know where to go from here. How do you start monetizing? I have several posts on this topic already so I won’t go in too deep, but let me summarize.
Google Adsense, Blogher, The Blogger Network, etc. There are a ton of ad networks to choose from. I recommend you start with Google Adsense, as it is the easiest to get into. But the second you meet the requirements for better networks apply there, because you’ll make more working with them.
I just started with affiliate links, and I’m actually pretty happy. I use Amazon Affiliates, which doesn’t pay the best compared to other companies, but I trust Amazon for now, and need to do more research before branching out.
Sponsored Posts/Social Media.
To get sponsored posts or social media opportunities, you should join networks like Clever Girls Collective, Izea, Linquia, Pollinate Media, and the list goes on. There are a ton of networks whose sole purpose is to connect brands with bloggers. You can also get these opportunities on your own, but that’s a lot more difficult.
This is a little different than ad networks – these are spots you sell to other bloggers so they can advertise in your sidebar. You can price depending on how many views you get and how many followers you have. I don’t offer this right now, but a lot of bloggers have great success with this one!
Sell a product or service.
Are you an expert on something? Then write an e-book about it and sell it on your blog. Bring in affiliates to reach a wider audience and bam, you’ll be making a profit. If you are a blog design pro, you can sell themes or graphics to other bloggers. A lot of people earn the majority of their income doing this.
Starting a profitable blog is hard and it takes a lot of planning. If you want to run a profitable blog you need to make a commitment to consistency and dedication. A lot of people don’t realize the work that goes into blogging. Most bloggers do it all themselves: Writing, editing, creating graphics, promoting, SEO, and the list goes on. The more dedicated you are, the quicker that you’ll start seeing profit. As always, if you ever have any questions feel free to email me. I always answer, and if I don’t your email got lost (I’m sorry!) in my mess of an inbox so you can resend.