When I started my blog in 2016 I wanted nothing more than a free guide that could help me navigate through the process. At that time I couldn’t find one so I spent a lot of hours learning the ins and outs by researching content online. What I learned was that building the foundation for a blog is super important to developing a “profitable” blog that can be monetized.
So, currently, I suggest developing a strong foundation by creating amazing content filled with ways to help your readers solve a problem. Creating a strong brand and foundation will help your audience recognize your content anywhere.
Once I figured out who my direct audience was and how to help them solve a specific problem I was able to start making a full-time income from blogging and currently earn $10k a month from my blog each month.
I can remember the first month I made over $1000 from my blog. I was so excited because it was at that point that I realized that I could actually make money doing what I love. For inspiration, I would read income reports from friends who are bloggers and most of them were making over $10,000 per month from blogging.
The Basics: Start Your Blog
1. Pick Out Your Blog Name
One of the first things you want to do is pick out a blog name. So take a few days and write down blog name ideas. Picking out a blog name is very important and should fit your brand and style. For example, if you want to start a mommy blog you probably wouldn’t use the name “Dads R us”. If you did, your readers might get a little bit confused.
So, get creative and keep your ideal audience in mind when picking out a name.
If you need help picking out a name try using a name generator that can help give you ideas on the perfect blog name for you and your brand. Some name generator websites that I like are Domain Wheel and Panabe.
2. Pick Out Your Blog Niche
This is one of the fun parts!
Picking out your name and niche go hand and hand. It’s a great idea to pick a name that fits your niche. For example, if I wanted to start a Mommy blog I might consider a name such as “The Creative Mommy” because I am a creative person as well as a mommy. So that blog name would fit perfectly into my brand and personality.
There are a ton of niches you can go into such as Christian and faith, Personal Finance, Recipe, Fitness, Fashion, Music Education, DIY & Crafts, Lifestyle, Frugal living, Making money with a business, Weddings, Relationships, Animals, Family life, Pregnancy, Mommy blogging and more.
In my personal experience, niches that can make a great amount of money in a short amount of time are Personal Finance (ways to make extra money, how to become debt-free), Frugal living( how to live a frugal life, coupons), Fitness (ways to lose weight and eat healthily), Make Money from a business ( how to start a money-making blog, how to grow your business online), Mommy topics (children, family life), Pregnancy (breastfeeding tips, pregnancy knowledge, and tips).
3. Map Out Your Brand (colors, logo, text font)
Now, the creative part!
Alright! You picked out a brand name and decided on a niche so now you can focus on your brand colors and logo. So when picking out your brand colors it’s a great idea to pick 2 to 3 colors that you will use for your website and social media branding. A great example of this is from Allison from Wonderlass.
If you go to her website you will notice her brand colors and she also uses the same brand colors on her Instagram page.
So, pick 2 to 3 colors you will associate with your blog and business. If you need help with picking out brand colors you can go to Canva and create a mockup of different type of brand colors to get a sense of the type of color vibe you like. Below is an example of how I create brand mock-ups for inspiration for others.
Another great resource is a guide by Elle & Co. She has a full guide on how to pick your brand colors, fonts and graphics. Check it out here!
4. Sign Up For Website Hosting
Good ol’ hosting!
So, hosting might vary depending on your current needs.
I also have a full tutorial on how to set up a blog with Bluehost and you can check out here.
Once you really start growing your page views to your site and getting over 60,000 monthly pageviews, I suggest Big Scoot.
I am currently with Big Scoot and really love them. After switching over to Big Scoot my site speed test went from an F to an A. In the long run, you will definitely want a host that can help with site speed as site speed can affect SEO which can affect organic growth and traffic.
Pretty drastic, right?
Siteground is another great hosting platform if you are just starting in the blogging world as well. The Siteground customer service team is by far one of the best teams in the hosting.
- Bluehost: Great if you are just starting and on a super tight budget.
- Siteground: Great if are you looking to go to the next level with website speed. They also have an amazing customer service team.
- Big Scoot: Great if you are getting over 60,000 monthly pageviews on your site and need something to help with website speed.
5. Pick A Website Theme
The next thing to do is pick out your theme for your site. The platform I always suggest to my clients is WordPress. Most bloggers that I know also use WordPress for their website home.
So, after you set up an account on WordPress then it will be time to pick a theme for your website design. I recommend getting a premium theme by setting up the Genesis framework + a child theme.
Genesis Framework is the base that many developers use to custom their child themes. In order for your child theme to work you have to first get the Genesis framework.
Genesis Framework can be used alone but it will be very basic looking. Additionally, having both helps with not losing your custom setting during updates.
So, as a result of a lot of people also buy a child theme. Note that, most child themes need the Genesis Framework to work so you will end up buying both the Genesis Framework and a child theme separately.
But, in my opinion, it’s so worth it. You can buy the Genesis framework and child theme right from Studio Press. Below are some examples of website themes from Studio Press.
After you purchase the Genesis Framework from Studio Press you can watch the video below to see how to install the framework below.
A Guided Tour of the Genesis Framework for WordPress Theme Settings from StudioPress on Vimeo.
Turn Your Blog Into A Business
1. Create Great Content
When I first started blogging I remember reading a post where Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog said, ”You can have the most perfectly designed blog on the planet, but if your content is not top-notch, you’re going to have a hard time growing your following.”. That really stood out to me and made me realize that the quality of a post is very important.
Great content is when your readers leave with something valuable from the post. A great content post is super valuable in information and has high-quality pictures with examples that help your readers solve a problem.
Most of my posts on my site are 2000+ words and I fill them with content that will help my readers grow their income and budget + save.
If you check out Neil Patel’s site you will see a ton of great posts with a ton of value. Every time I leave his site I learn something new. Since your site should provide value to your audience it should give your audience thorough and accurate information.
If you are not sure what great content is, check out the following posts below to get a better idea.
2. Help Your Audience Solve A Problem
After you study and get a good understanding of what great content is it will be time to start writing your posts. I suggest writing at least 5-10 blog posts before going on live on your blog to get ahead of the game.
Some of the most successful blog posts help people solve a direct problem.
So before you publish your blog posts make sure to fill the post with solutions to help your audience. For example, if you are a mommy blogger that writes blog posts about pregnancy and babies you might have some posts that help mothers prepare for the new baby or a post about how to increase milk supply after having a baby.
3. Set Up Your Blog Posts For SEO
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”, and is simply the strategy or strategies of getting a website to rank well (preferably on the first page) of search engine results.
With the right SEO, your blog has the opportunity to drive massive traffic to it right from Google.
So, add relevant keywords to all your titles & your posts! Also, If you want to go the extra mile add keywords to all your images in your posts as well.
A course that I suggest if you are really looking to really go to the next level with SEO is, Stupid Simple SEO! This course goes over everything dealing with SEO and how to rank on Google the simple way.
4. Set Up Your Email Marketing
Having an email list is a must if you want to build a connection with your readers. A lot of time, readers might not see your social media posts but with an email, you will get to send your content directly to your reader’s inbox. Also, if you are looking to sell any product such as E-books or courses then having an email list should definitely be one of your top priorities.
So one of the next things you want to do is set up your email list. The email providers I suggest are Convert Kit and MailerLite. Convert Kit can be a little on the higher end so if you are just starting out Mailerlite will do great.
5. Set Up Your Freebie
Once you choose your email marketing platform then you will be ready to offer your audience your epic freebie through your opt-ins on your website. To build your email list you will need an amazing incentive that is free to give to people when they sign up for your email list. Some freebies ideas you can try are:
- Step-by-step tutorial
- Video Training
- Email Series
- Mini Ebook
6. Set Your Freebie Up On Your Website
After you figure out the type of freebies you want to offer your audience, next you will place content upgrades and opt-ins throughout your website. For content upgrades on your website, you can repurpose a ton of your blog posts by adding a freebie directly created for that blog post also known as a content upgrade similar to the example of one of my content upgrades in the middle of one of my blog posts below.
This is an example of a content upgrade opt-in I have directly in the middle of one of my posts about saving money and budgeting. I made sure that the content upgrade was relevant to the post. Since the post is about saving money and budgeting I made sure to use my FREE budget printable content upgrade for the post. I made this in Canva!
Blog Promotion + Outreach
1. Create a Pinterest Business Account
One of the main things I did to build traffic to my site from Pinterest was treating my Pinterest account like a business. So, I always suggest converting a personal account to a business account if you want to take your Pinterest game to the next level. You can convert your personal account to a business account by clicking here. Converting to a business account has a lot of great features such as rich pins and Pinterest analytics. If you really want to grow your account you will definitely need both the rich pin feature and the Pinterest analytic tool
2. Put Keywords On Your Profile
Another important way to take your Pinterest profile to the next level is by adding relevant keywords to your business name, bio and Pinterest URL. In order to optimize my profile for SEO, I currently put keywords after my first name. I add keywords to my business name because users will be able to find my profile quickly in a Pinterest search if they search for the keywords I list next to my name.
For example, since I have the keywords “Make Money” in my business name, my profile came up in a recent Pinterest search I did for “Make Money” (listed below).
This makes my profile more searchable on Pinterest.
I also put keywords in my board descriptions and pin descriptions. Check out the video below to find out how to build your rank on Pinterest with keyword research. Keyword research is one of the ways I grew my Pinterest monthly views to over 1 million.
3. Join group boards
One of the best ways to really grow on Pinterest is by joining group boards by other bloggers. On Pinterest, you can join other blogger’s boards and pin your content daily onto the group boards.
This is awesome because Pinterest users might get the chance to see your pins on a daily basis. Even though group boards are an awesome way to get your pins seen by more people I always advise bloggers to pick their group board wisely. In a lot of cases, if the board has a lot of repins it could be a sign of a healthy board.
Pinterest group boards give you instant access to a bigger audience on Pinterest and that’s super huge. For example, if you currently have 500 followers on Pinterest and join a group board with 100,000 followers then your pins have a chance of getting seen by the followers of that huge board. If you want to know more about what to look for in-group boards and how to find the best ones check out this post on my site.
4. Make Pinnable Images That Convert
One of the fastest ways to generate traffic from Pinterest is by pinning high-quality pinnable images. A high-quality pin includes your brand fonts, colors, logo and/or website.
It should also include a catchy title that will entice users to click on it. So, focus on catchy titles that can help your audience. Some of the example titles that a personal finance blogger could write up are, “10 Pizza Recipes To Try This Summer on A Budget”, “ 75 Ways To Pay Down Debt Fast This Year.”
Both of those titles can help their readers solve a problem.
The Pizza Example = Gives 10 pizza recipes I can try!
The Debt Example= Gives ways to pay down my debt faster.
If you are looking for a free tool to help with creating pin and blog titles check out CoSchedule headline analyzer! It’s a free tool you can use to help develop strong blog post titles. It also gives you a score to help analysis your titles and strengthens them. Below is a video training about how to create Pinterest Pins that can go viral.
5. Join Facebook groups
Most Facebook groups have promo days where you can share your latest blog post in the promo threads. The promo threads are also good for finding new relevant content to pin to your Pinterest boards as well.
An awesome group that’s all about blog post promotion is “Bloggers Unite on Pinterest”. This group has daily Pinterest promo threads to help boost your traffic. I also have a promo thread on Friday where my members share their latest posts. Join here!
6. Join Tailwind
Tailwind is truly amazing and one of my favorite tools.
Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduler that you can use to promote your pins daily. It’s a great tool if you are looking to grow your Pinterest account on autopilot very quickly. Tailwind has been credited by a lot of bloggers as one of the best platforms to grow your traffic from Pinterest in a short amount of time.
SOME OF THE ADVANCES OF BEING APART OF TAILWIND ARE:
- You can save time throughout the day by setting up a schedule for your Pinterest pins.
- You can study the Tailwind analytics to see what times are the best times to pin for your content.
- You can find out which personal and group boards are performing the best and which ones aren’t performing as good.
- You can use Tailwind Tribes to connect with other bloggers to help promote your Pinterest pins.
7. Pick a Social Media Scheduler
At times it can be easy to try to be on every social media platform.
But it’s a great idea to pick 1 to 2 main social media platforms and be present on that platform every single day.
The video training below covers how to pick the best social media platform for your brand and suggestions for social media schedulers to save time.
Guest posting is a great way to build up backlinks to your site.
If you want to rank of Google having backlinks from websites with high authority can help you rank. One way you can find guest posting opportunities is right in Facebook groups.
Simply go to a Facebook group and type in the search box, “Guest Post“. Normally you will find other bloggers that are looking for guest posters within’ your niche. If you want to see how a website ranks before you reach out to guest posts you can check out the Mozbar free extension by clicking here!
I also currently use HARO to help with adding high-authority backlinks to my website. Haro is a huge database of daily opportunities for journalists that want to secure valuable media coverage.
It’s legit and a lot of high authority sites use this platform to feature bloggers like you and me. Check out Haro here and sign up for free.
Make Money Blogging
9. Join Affiliate Programs
One of the main ways I make money is through affiliate marketing from my blog. With Affiliate Marketing you earn a commission for recommending and promoting products and services that you love right on your blog. Different affiliate marketing companies hire bloggers, influencers, online business owners, etc to promote their products to their readers. After promoting the product(s) you will get paid for any sales or sign-ups that occur from our referral link.
For example, if you are an affiliate for Amazon and post your direct link on your website, you will get rewarded every time someone signs up and purchase the product you promoted through your link. Within the last 3 months, I have made over $1200 from affiliate marketing. Some of my favorite affiliate marketing companies are, ShareASale, OfferJuice, IGain, Amazon Associate, Bluehost
10. Join an Ad Revenue Company
Have you ever seen different ads on bloggers’ websites and wondered how they got them on there? Well, when you work with an advertising company they place ads throughout your site and when someone clicks the ad you get paid. Working with an advertising company is an amazing way to make passive income very quickly.
In the last two months, I have made $1500 + just from having ads on my website. I didn’t have to do anything because the Mediavine tech team set it all up for me when I first signed up. So, basically, I make passive income from them every single day just from readers coming to my site.
With Mediavine, you have to get at least 50,000 sessions per month which normally equals to at least 60k+ page views per month from a blog. Some of the other ad companies that I have heard great things about are Sovrn (anyone can join and start making money), and Adthrive (you need at least 100,000 monthly pageviews to join this ad company). So, if you are looking into earning passive income every month check out joining an ad-revenue company.
11. Sponsored posts
With sponsored posts, you can share and promote products that you actually love and get paid for it. Most of the time, you have to apply to the company directly to see if you get accepted but it doesn’t hurt to try, right?! Some of my favorites are Linqia, IZEA, and TapInfluence.
You can also check out being a social media influencer. Some awesome places to search for opportunities to become a social media influencer are Massive Sway, Local Influence, Tribe & AmbassadHer Want to know more how to become an Instagram Influencer and make money check out this post on my site!
12. Write An Ebook
One of the easiest ways to sell a product is by creating an Ebook. Selling an Ebook is super awesome because you don’t have to price them super high. When developing an ebook here are some things to think about:
- The topic
- The book layout (font size, images, etc)
- Your book cover
- How you will sell the product
- Your book landing page (sale page)
If you need ideas about how to create your Ebook you can reach out to designers on Fiverr to create your Ebook covers and pages.
13. Create Your First Course
If you don’t think you can teach anything, let me be first to tell that you can totally can. Everybody can teach something even if they just started blogging.
Really focus on what you are strong at and what others ask you for help on. Those can be starting points for developing your first course. Some online platforms that you can develop e-course online for free are Teachable and Thinkific.
14. Develop Your First Mini Product
Create Your Landing Page
After you develop your first product (Course, Ebook, Printable, etc) it will be time to create your landing page for your product. For my landing page, I currently use an amazing bundle with it all from BlueChic. The awesome thing about the Blue Chic bundle is it includes different templates such as opt-in templates, tripwire templates, Thank you templates, and more.
What is a Landing page?
A landing page for your product is the page that introduces your audience to the product that you are selling. Click here to see an example of my landing page for my course Pinterest Superhero!
After I create my landing page I focus on how to sell the product to my audience. To help sell I use a platform called Sendowl. Sendowl makes it really easy to sell digital products directly to your audience from your blog, email, or social media platforms. After all that is done, you are will be good to go to start promoting your new product like crazy.
That’s it for now! In what ways are you making money from blogging this year.