I’m trying to keep a super easy guide up that people can follow.
This article will teach you a bit about how to choose a profitable blogging niche, set up a blog from scratch, and understand the basics you need to build on with blogging.
Following these steps should help your traffic grow steadily. Some points are repeated as I’m hoping even if you choose to skip around you pick up the important bits.
- Hard Work
- How to Blog and Earn
- Step 1. Pick a Niche
- Common Niche Topics
- Step 2. Create Relevant Domain Name
- How to Find Your Domain
- Why You Should Not Start a Serious Blog Attempt for Free
- Play Around For Cheap
- Step 4. Pick a Host
- Siteground Start Directions
- Getting Started With Siteground
- Choose a Plan
- Register Your Domain
- Review & Complete
- Set up WordPress
- Make Money
This will be my own obligatory post about how to start a blog. It is easy to start a blog and hard to design and build a blog. It is even harder to stick with it until you have something going.
I don’t want you to pick this up with the expectation that things are easy and everything just magically works right away. It isn’t an instant and easy way to make money. Success depends on so many variables usually linked to your traffic and monetization choices.
Blogging takes a lot of work, strategy, time, dedication, and you basically have to treat it like a girlfriend or boyfriend you have to check often and tend to lovingly.
It isn’t a get rich quick sort of deal. It is an online business and it will take it some time before it will generate consistent revenue.
If you are a person who knows what you are doing, it is very easy to quickly hit the $500 a month mark in 4-6 months. Most bloggers it takes much longer if it is their first attempt.
It varies according to work put in and how you promote your site for traffic. As long as you go into this with realistic expectations you should be successful.
A lot of bloggers quit before they have even earned a cent because they seem to expect quick money. They will complain it is all taking too long and either abandon or try to sell their blog.
It isn’t uncommon to not make anything during the first 2 months of blogging. The first earnings will be usually a trickle unless you have a very good affiliate conversion rate.
Some make a couple hundred their first month with low traffic and good affiliate choices.
A normal blog earning progression is:
I have seem people jump to much higher numbers before. I’ve also seen people with a site 4 years in and only earning around $80 a month. Improper SEO and content can hurt you and many and many variables play into earnings. The most common issue is not being able to get traffic.
How to Blog and Earn
Making a blog for the first time requires a lot of learning and a certain set of steps.
The steps are:
- Pick a Niche or specific audience you are writing for
- Choose Domain Name
- Choose a blogging platform
- Pick a host
- Install and setup WordPress
Step 1. Pick a Niche
Your niche is what your blog is about.
I have other sites that target specific topics. They all seem to display different growth and traffic habits. My best advice is to pick one topic and write just about that.
Try not to write about gardening, animals, and home decorating. Write JUST about gardening. A blog niche doesn’t quite communicate what is going on there.
The secret to all this is you have to figure out how to cater to one type of audience and keep those readers tuning in to your content. Remember to write always with your reader in mind.
Choosing what to niche down with is hard. Don’t waste months of your life stressing about your niche.
I usually tell people in the niche planning phase to write 40 articles about whatever they want. Test the niche for how well you enjoy writing about it and try to gauge how well you can sustain writing about it. It is safe to explore unrelated things as long as they tie back into the overall purpose of the site and somehow become related.
If your blog is a passion project and you aren’t worried about earning right away, sure, do anything and everything you desire.
Multi-niche sites require a bit more work to get going. I’ve seen some examples around with good earning, they are just harder to create and get going like a more focused site.
There is some planning involved in selecting a niche. For a blog that makes money it is best to pick a niche that gets good traffic, has good affiliates, and good ad conversion potential.
Do not write about too many topics. Your traffic growth will be slow if you try too much. If you start off writing about container gardening, don’t add unrelated topics like owning horses. Your growth phase will take much longer.
After 70 posts about watercolor techniques, Google will start to notice. Google will start to pick you up as probably being an expert about watercolor techniques.
When I researched it I narrowed it down to some topics mostly at the suggestion of another blogger’s list. My post about choosing a niche has a similar though slightly different approach to the topics.
Common Niche Topics
- Personal development – Help people become their best selves.
- How to make money – Primarily covers methods of making money online. (very competitive)
- Personal finance – Helps people in their financial life and decisions. (also very competitive)
- Health and fitness – A lot of topic choice here as long as it enhances health. For these, you need to link to credible sources that back up your health claims as it will help make your site seem more trustworthy.
- Food – These are generally recipe blogs. Usually, you want to pick a specific kind of food. ex, Vegan Crockpot Recipes, authentic Japanese recipes, etc. Food blogs also have the perk of being able to get going fairly early on with Gourmet Ads which is a pretty good ad network and more specific to food blogs.
- Beauty and fashion – People like learning about makeup or how to dress or overall look better. A very good starting point if you can handle writing about it.
- Lifestyle – This niche is a whatever you want niche. Write about any and all of your interests. One of the more popular things under this niche is travel.
Your Own Niche
The main thing is you want a niche you are authentically interested in. Blogging is like a marathon race and you won’t get very far if you can’t slot yourself into a steady pace.
You want to grow a large and high-value content stash on your blog and you want to always have post ideas if possible.
Your blog topic has to have an audience or you will not get much traffic.
Step 2. Create Relevant Domain Name
The domain name is your site address and how people get to your blog. Domain names are important.
How to Choose a Domain:
- Use keywords related to your niche – It is useful that people can tell at a glance what your site is going to be about and slightly helps Google rankings.
- Make it short – Short domains are more appealing to people. They are quick and easy to type.
- Has to be memorable – An easy to remember site is easy to find again.
- Use your name – Some bloggers skip right to using their name as a domain. It helps them build their own personal brand. You don’t want to use a different CMS if you sell the site. This is useful if you plan to use the site as a sort of website “resume” if you are looking for freelance work.
- Try to buy a .com – The most popular and commercially viable extension is .com. The idea is that .com is more memorable and favored.
How to Find Your Domain
There are 2 sites for searching for domains:
For another option:
You can explore all of these sites and try different words and see what is available. You should avoid adult keywords. Advertisers can be a funny bunch.
Step 3. Choose a Blogging Platform
You will usually want to avoid free platforms. They limit you a lot in design and customization. In most cases, you don’t technically own the site and most of them can’t be monetized very well.
I started out on Blogger for practice and then upgraded to a proper blog back when I first started blogging in 2014.
For a free domain go to Freenom. I recommend getting your normal paid .com domain quickly.
If you want to start off completely without investment, this is probably the easiest way to play around.
Why You Should Not Start a Serious Blog Attempt for Free
- Affiliate Marketing becomes hard to impossible. No Brand or Company wants to be associated with a free blog. They will feel it degrades their image and your operation doesn’t look polished or professional enough.
- Ads are hard to place. Free blogs often have no way to help you monetize effectively. Blogger gives easy access to Adsense. The problem is no ability to do the full range of other ad networks and Adsense is one of the lowest paying options.
- Lose everything. Free blogging places can do whatever they want. You might end up with all of your stuff erased.
- Crippled SEO and poor rankings. Blogging is largely about making yourself attractive to Google. Google tends to have a preferences. You have to do your own research there to figure out your options.
- Your domain sucks. People don’t want to go to carrotycake123.blogspot.com for too long as it is too messy to be taken seriously. Sometimes you can find promos or deals where you can get a domain for free the first year though they expect you to pay the renewal fee and all charges going forward after that. Some of these options can be attractive though you might have to work with a .uk or .inc or whatever extension is being offered.
If you only make 2 core investments to start, it should be on a paid private host and a proper website domain.
Play Around For Cheap
For myself, I usually buy up a .com domain from Porkbun for around $8 and sign myself up for a yearly host package on Host Koala for a $5 a year package. Yes, a year. The sites that look promising and show good traction and growth get promoted.
Above all, it is a good place for a beginner to play, make mistakes, and learn without losing a lot, and migration is always an option in the future if desired.
You will want to go with a self-hosted WordPress blog in the end.
It will be completely yours, therefore, you can customize and monetize your content in all the ways you desire. You can own it, nurture it, and develop it.
Step 4. Pick a Host
These two hosts boast decent to superior site speeds and have responsive support teams. If you break your site, they can fix it quickly in many cases.
Siteground Start Directions
- One-click WordPress install – Have a site up quickly
- Auto-updates – Keeps WordPress current
- Supercacher – SiteGround plugin that increases site speed
- Daily backups – Keeps your site protected and backed up
- Free SSL – Nice perk. I usually hook my sites to Cloudflare with an SSL plugin and it usually takes care of that problem.
Getting Started With Siteground
Choose a Plan
First thing is to look at the SiteGround offerings. You should have 3 main plans visible.
For just starting the StartUp plan is sufficient.
Register Your Domain
Next you register your domain you created earlier and then proceed. You can opt to register with Siteground or a different name registrar. If you opt for a different registrar you will have to be able to know how to point nameservers (though over the course of your blogging career this is something you should learn).
Review & Complete
Select your payment. The payment periods are 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months. Some optional features are for domain privacy to protect your personal information or a site scanner to keep up with site health.
Set up WordPress
Siteground has a one-click setup for WordPress. If for some reason you have an issue installing it you can talk to SiteGround support and they will get everything ready for you.
Once WordPress is installed you head over to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin and log in the dashboard. The dashboard is usually overwhelming at first.
You will want to use Google to search for anything you need to know and give yourself time to learn. On my first try it took me about 5 months to feel fully comfortable with WordPress.
For choosing a good starter theme you might want to go with Generatepress. Set things up simple at first and focus on content over site looks.
1. A blog helps you attract clients
This is the current plan I have with this blog as the topics under this niche will help me be attractive to a particular job market.
The fact is you can have all the skills or talent in the world and it won’t mean a thing if you can’t market yourself well.
You need authority and distinction and something you can point to. Having a blog establishes such things and you will have an online presence and people will recognize you.
Your blog is your portfolio.
I’m in a lot of blogger groups and they ask questions.
Some of the people who read my posts opted to hire me on for different jobs because they found one of my blogs. This was a nice change back then as it opened up a world of freelance.
2. A blog makes you money online
The main reason people like blogs is the great growth potential and they are flexible.
The income potential is very open to the possibility of going up.
3. A blog helps you establish your own brand
Your blog is a place that can hold your story. It communicates at a glance how strong your skills are and informs people all about whatever it is you write about.
Over time you gain authority and can improve and next thing you know you have new opportunities for whatever your business interest are.
Go ahead and try your hand at blogging. Remember it is a marathon, not a sprint. Also don’t sit there thinking you don’t have something to offer the world. Write a bit and polish up your skills as you go.