Around about ten years ago blogging was something that most people did as a hobby. A bit like a personal journal of their thoughts but publically available.
Since then blogging has developed into a huge business.
Of course, there are still those who are content to write for fun and simply put their thoughts out there.
But with more and more work required to spread your message, blogging is taking up more time and that means it has to start paying for itself.
It’s possible for a blog to earn anything from a few dollars a month to hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. It’s all based on how you structure it.
Gone are the days of simply being able to write relevant content to your niche, google ranks it and people visit.
That’s how some of the biggest blogs built up their readers back in the day.
If you want to make money from your blog now, you need to be more savvy and prepared. You need to run it like a business and have a structure that’s going to work.
This is one of those structures that works…
How To Make Money From Your Blog is going to be a two part series. Part one, which you’re reading right now, is going to look at what your blog needs to have on it and focus on in order to get visitors to read your content.
Part two, which will be published next week, will look at the different ways you can monetize those visitors once you’ve got them.
There are five simple steps to making a successful blog, and all of those steps revolve around one thing…
…the relationship you have with your readers.
Step 1 – Setup Your Blog
Of course it’s not possible to have a blog if you haven’t set one up, so the first thing is to choose a domain name and get your personal space on the internet created.
You need to start by choosing a hosting a company. The hosting company I swear by is called TSO Hosting and is a UK based company.
They’re websites are very fast and the knowledge of their support is excellent.
You can get WordPress hosting from as little as £1.25 per month, which is about $1.91.
Get started by clicking here. Having tried over ten of the leading hosting companies in the last decade I can vouch for them as being one of the best.
When you join TSO you will also be given the option to get a domain name with your website hosting. If you don’t currently have a domain name then this is the best time to do it.
Choose a domain name, which is the name of your blog and where your visitors will go to see what you write. For example www.michaelwilding.com is the domain name of this site.
Once you‘ve got your domain name and hosting there’s a very simple step-by-step process inside of your TSO hosting that will allow you to create your WordPress website in just one button click.
It’s that simple!
If you’d like to see a video showing you how to setup a WordPress site that’s fully SEO’d then you can check this one out by clicking here.
Step 2 – Producing Your Content
Once you’ve got your blog setup, it’s time to start producing your content.
This is what is going to make or break you. If you start searching for how to create a profitable blog you will see all sorts of shortcuts to doing it.
These primarily include outsourcing your content creation cheaply and getting other people to produce your content in bulk.
DON’T DO THIS!
It’s the quickest way to devalue your brand, name and make your blog as generic as everybody else doing exactly the same thing.
Unless you have a large budget then outsourced content is poor quality and not interesting to read.
If you want your blog to succeed then you must produce content that people are going to want to read.
You must be the face of your blog.
People are interested in other people and their opinions. Not generically written content that doesn’t really help them, doesn’t educate them and is bland to read.
In order to be able to write the content yourself you need to determine how much time you can spend each week writing and how long it takes you to write.
Ideally you want to be able to publish at least two or three posts a week. But… if you only have the time to write one high quality post a week then just publish one post a week.
It may take you a bit longer to build your following, but it will be worth it because they’ll be coming to your blog and spreading the word about your site because what you’re writing is good and unique.
While it can be very tempting to get others to produce your content for you, please stay away from doing this.
And don’t think you have to stick to writing. Any medium can be successful on a blog.
If you prefer making videos, podcasts, graphics or any other form of content then you can do that instead of writing. Writing just happens to be the most common one, that doesn’t mean it’s the only form that can work successfully.
Use your imagination and the medium that you enjoy making content in.
Step 3 – Relationships, Relationships, Relationships
Relationships are everything in the world of blogging. Without them your blog is likely to die a slow and painful death with very little readership.
You should be looking to build a relationship with everyone.
The first relationship you will have is with your audience. This is the most important relationship because it’s your audience who are going to share your content and tell other people about your blog.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve only got one reader at the beginning. Treat them specially and write content that’s going to help them.
Even when you have 1000, 10,000 or 100,000 readers you should be writing as if you’re still writing to just that first person.
Make every post that you publish personal, link it into your life and your style and allow your personality to shine through your content.
That’s what will make your content unique and make people want to visit your website.
After you’ve built a relationship with your readers, the next most important relationship to build is other people who run blogs in your niche.
These people can give you massive amounts of credibility and build your audience faster than any other way.
Because they’ve already got and audience in the same niche as you!
But don’t think that they should tell their audience about you just because you think you have great content.
It’s a relationship and at the beginning your going to be in the weaker position.
Offer to write blog posts for them and ask if they will put a byline at the bottom with a link back to your site.
Everybody who owns a blog is always on the look out for high quality guest writers, that can be you. Even if they won’t give you a link back in the beginning, if the site has enough traffic then thousands of people could be seeing your name associated with some great content and a site that they already have a relationship with.
And that relationship will wear off on you because you are writing for that site, so the trust will already be there.
Go out and network with others in your market, find out how you can help other people and you will find that those people start to offer to help you out as well.
Step 4 – Realise That The Money Doesn’t Come From Your Blog
When first starting a new blog, very few people realise that the majority of the income doesn’t come from the blog itself.
Which you’ll see in part two of this post where we look at how to monetize your blog.
Your blog is the place where you build authority, gain trust and create a brand.
It’s where people learn about you, get help from you and see what you’re trying to do for them.
Think of it as your digital home. It’s where everything about you is stored but… you make money somewhere else.
Successful bloggers use their blogs as a springboard to generate revenue through other means such as product launches, book releases, seminars etc…
Once you have an audience that trusts you, learns from you, and wants to hear from you then the world is your oyster.
With that in mind don’t overload your blog with the primary content focused on reviewing products, there’s loads of those sites out there, doing advertorials or generally trying to get money from your readers.
Because they’ll know. And they won’t come back.
Instead focus your content on helping your readers achieve their dreams and goals. Do that and they’ll keep coming back and bring others with them.
Step 5 – Choose How To Monetize Your Site
We’re going to look at this in detail next week, but for now you should think about how you may want to generate revenue from your site.
Bear in mind that, in my experience, banner advertising is not the best way to go. Yes it can make you a lot of money but you need to have page views in the millions to make it worthwhile.
Until then, it just doesn’t make much sense.
More importantly… don’t implement any monetisation yet. It’s a common mistake to focus on this before you’ve built a trust and relationship with your audience. Do that and you’ll find that you’ve ruined your reputation before you’ve begun.
As a blogger you won’t be focusing on a single income stream, you will have multiple income streams that will generate different amounts of revenue.
Even an income stream that brings in a small amount can add up to a few thousand dollars each year.
While we can plan this to a degree it should also be organic. Listen to your audience, reply to their comments on your blog and discover what it is they want help with.
When you know what they’re looking for, then you can produce that knowing that your customers have already told you what they want and that means they’ll buy. No more guessing.