How To Start A Blog To Make Money In 2020 (Beginners Guide)
Updated On June 3, 2020
STOP! Before diving in, bookmark this page! This post is the most in-depth guide you’ll find to starting a blog and you’ll want to refer back to it as you begin setting up your blog. Don’t lose this step by step guide by bookmarking it now!
I know from experience:
Learning how to start a blog can be a daunting task.
With so much information out there about how to start a successful blog, you can spend hours and hours researching what do to without ever getting started – because, like, where the heck do you start?!
But, there is an upside to all of this:
You can literally learn anything you need to know about how to start a blog on the internet, and usually, that information is free.
For a relatively small amount of money, you can:
- start a WordPress blog in 5 minutes or less
- design your dream blog without having to pay a graphic designer or understand HTML coding
- grow your email list through targeted opt-in’s and email marketing
- increase pageviews with social sharing and Pinterest marketing
- earn money from your blog
Starting a profitable blog (i.e. a blog that you make money from) is an investment – and one of the best ones you’ll ever make at that.
I know you’ve heard the saying: “You’ve gotta spend money to make money.” And starting a blog is no different.
Every penny you spend to start a blog will be worth the investment as you start earning double, triple, and even quadruple what you are making right now at your current job.
Now, on to what you came here for: How to start a blog to make money.
Below I’ve laid out every step, from start to finish, on how to start a blog that earns you money from the getgo.
Every single one of the steps listed and products or services mentioned are the exact same that we used to start our blog and grow it into a profitable business.
The proof is in the pudding:
In the first 6 months of blogging, we’ve
- launched a completely customized website that was designed easily and quickly (without having to hire a graphic designer or understand HTML or coding)
- grown our email list to over 2,700 happy subscribers using targeted opt-ins
- increased our page views by 87%, averaging 45,000 pageviews a month
- created a best-selling product that has earned us $9,900 to date
And, here’s the best part:
We want to share our blogging strategy with you so you can also become your own boss and finally quit your 9-5.
Oh…and did we mention? We’re giving away all our secrets on how to start a blog for free.
Now that you’re ready to change your life forever (and I’m not just saying this – I actually know you will change your life forever by starting a blog), dive into this step by step guide to starting a money-making blog.
FRIENDLY REMINDER! Did you bookmark this page so you can refer back to it? No? Do it now! (You’ll thank me later :D)
1. CHOOSE YOUR NICHE
This is your niche.
And, these are my three biggest tips for choosing your niche:
1. Pick a niche you are knowledgeable about (you do not need to be an expert)
2. Choose a niche you will enjoy writing about for a long time
3. Pick a niche that will make money
You must choose a niche you are knowledgeable about because you will be teaching other people, you need a niche you enjoy writing about because you’ll be writing day after day, month after month, and you want to pick a niche that will make money because, well, that’s why you’re starting a blog.
These are the most profitable blog niches in 2020:
- Personal Finance
- Health & Wellness
- Self Improvement
With these 7 blog niches in mind, choose one that you have some knowledge about and can passionately write about for years to come.
And, if you simply have no idea where your heart lies, choose a lifestyle niche and write about trending topics.
- Choose a niche you have knowledge about (no need to be an expert) and that you will enjoy writing about
- Pick a niche that is profitable
TAKE ACTION: Decide on a niche for your blog and don’t look back!
2. CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME
Now that you’ve decided what your blog niche is going to be, you need to choose a domain name for your website.
You want your domain name to be unique and easy to remember, but don’t get too hung up on trying to choose the perfect name.
Many people have success using their name as their domain name or something clever that tells users what their website is all about.
As I said, don’t spend too much time trying to think of the perfect name for your website – or you’ll never get to step number two!
Once you choose your domain name, you need to do these two things:
1. make sure the domain name isn’t already taken
2. do some research to see if a similar domain name is already in use – you don’t want people confusing your website with somebody else’s
Use Name.com to research domain names to see if they’re already in use or if something similar is already being used.
Once you’ve decided on a simple and memorable domain name, go to GoDaddy.com to register it (so you OWN it) for as little as $5.99 per year.
3. PURCHASE WORDPRESS HOSTING
Now that you’ve registered your awesome and memorable domain name, you need to purchase WordPress hosting to get your blog up and running.
You might be wondering: What the heck is WordPress hosting and why do I need it?!
Well, a WordPress host is a service that enables your website to go live, controls the speed of your website, and manages all the technical aspects of running a blog.
And, when you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you own it fully – making it easier for you to earn money from it.
Here’s the dealio:
There are tons of WordPress hosting options available to you. But, not all hosting platforms are created equal.
I had to learn this lesson the hard way – when my website crashed nearly every day during the first week of going live – and I want to save you from the hair-pulling aggravation.
- 10 GB web space
- Average page load time
- 99.99% uptime
- Free WordPress installation
- Includes SSL certificate
- Unlimited web space
- 16x faster page load time
- 99.999% uptime
- Pre-installed WordPress
- Includes SSL certificate
SiteGround has been around for years and is a trusted name for WordPress hosting.
They offer fast, reliable, and affordable hosting plans that start as low as $0.33 per month.
Here are their other claims to fame:
- Managed WordPress accounts that include installation, updates, advanced caching, and expert support
- Google Cloud powered platform making its network ultra-fast while matching 100% of the energy consumed by their operations with renewable energy
- Constant security monitoring and prevention
- 24/7 hosting support
- Officially recommended by WordPress
SiteGround is simple to use and will deliver powerful hosting to your WordPress blog.
TMDHosting is the WordPress hosting I use and love and recommend (highly) to anybody who is starting a blog.
They offer fast, reliable, and affordable hosting plans that start as low as $5.95 per month.
These are the reasons why I’m a die-hard fan:
- They have 10+ years of award-winning experience
- Their hosting plans use cutting edge technology to offer website speeds that are 16x faster than other hosting companies
- WordPress.org is preinstalled for you along with carefully curated plugins for optimal speed and security
- Their technical support team goes above and beyond the norm, answering any and all questions you have, fixing database problems for you, and ensuring your website is up and running 99.999% of the time
- Free daily backups, spam experts included, and malware protection
TMDHosting will make sure you can launch your WordPress blog quickly and effortlessly.
Now, I know what you’re wondering: What about Bluehost?
I know that every blogger and their mom recommends Bluehost when starting a blog, but I am simply not in agreement with this recommendation.
I’ll be honest with you:
When we launched Who Says What, we used Bluehost as our WordPress host. Aaaaand, we had a pretty terrible experience. Not only was our website constantly crashing, but they were also very unhelpful when we reached out for technical support.
This might sound crazy, but we were ready to quit blogging because of how frustrated we were.
But, thankfully we stuck it out, did some research, and realized we needed to switch hosts – and that is what we did.
So, no. I do not recommend starting your blog with Bluehost.
- You need WordPress hosting so you fully own your blog and can easily monetize it
- SiteGround or TMDHosting are the best hosting options for your WordPress blog
• Click me to purchase WordPress hosting from SiteGround ($0.33/month)
• Click me to purchase WordPress hosting from TMDHosting ($5.95/month)
4. GET STARTED WITH WORDPRESS
After purchasing WordPress hosting for your new blog, you can finally get started on your blogging adventure by logging into your WordPress dashboard.
First, create your WordPress account by registering at WordPress.org.
Then, log in to your dashboard using these credentials by visiting — yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Once here, I recommend adjusting these settings:
1. Settings > General: Edit your site Title (name) and tag line (this is what shows in the tab when somebody is on your homepage)
2. Settings > Reading: Select a static page as. your homepage so you can customize it to your liking
3. Settings > Permalinks: Set to ‘Post Name’
Now, once this is all finished you can start designing your website and prepare to launch!
5. YOUR WORDPRESS THEME
YAY! You’ve made it to the best part (in my creative, graphic-design-obsessed opinion)!
It’s finally time to design your dream website!
And, get this:
You’re gonna design the website of your dreams all by yourself without having to hire an expensive graphic designer or purchase fancy templates or understand a lick of HTML coding.
How, you ask? With a kickass WordPress theme called Divi.
The Divi Theme by Elegant Themes is straight up the only reason I didn’t give up on creating this blog and the only theme I recommend to anybody starting a blog.
Because here’s the deal:
It didn’t take us long to discover how hard it is to design a website without a decent theme. Because, unless you have HTML coding experience, most themes are very difficult to customize to your brand.
Whichhhhh sucksssss because your brand is soooo important to stand apart from the crowd when starting a new blog.
If you want to have complete control over the design of your website (and trust me, you do), then you need the Divi Theme.
Divi uses a drag and drop system, making adding elements to your website a freakin’ breeze (and there’s ZERO HTML coding involved).
Let me show you how easy it is:
So, now that I’ve sold you on the Divi Theme, you can get started designing your blog as soon as you download and install your new theme.
Simply follow these steps:
1. Purchase the Divi Theme by clicking here.
2. Download the Divi Theme in your members area of Elegant Themes
3. Head on over to your WordPress dashboard (yourdomainname.com/wp-admin) to install your new theme
4. Once inside your WordPress dashboard go to appearance > themes > add new > upload theme > choose file > install now > activate
And, now you’re ready to start designing your website (which we’ll take a deep dive into in just a few steps)!
- The Divi Theme uses a drag and drop system that is simple to use and completely customizable so you can easily design the website of your dreams
TAKE ACTION: Click me to download the Divi Theme
6. INSTALL PLUGINS
Once you’ve installed your WordPress theme, you’ll need to install several recommended plugins before you start designing your website.
Plugins are handy tools that do a variety of things, such as add a layer of security to your website, increase your SEO, or create opt-in boxes for your email marketing.
However, with that being said, it is easy to get carried away with plugins, and using too many plugins can slow down your website or can interfere with your theme.
So, it’s best if you use as few plugins as possible and always use plugins that are updated regularly.
These are the plugins that I use, love, and recommend you install on your WordPress blog.
(To install a plugin, visit your dashboard > plugins > add new > [search for your plugin] > install now > activate)
1. Askimet Anti-Spam (Free) – This free plugin analyzes your comments and contact form submissions to protect your blog from spam and malicious content. Askimet filters out 100+ spam comments on my blog every single day – making my life a hell of a lot easier.
2. Bloom Email Opt-In Plugin (Included with your purchase of the Divi Theme) – This plugin, which is included in your purchase of the Divi Theme, allows you to easily collect email sign-ups for your opt-ins. With over 100 templates to choose from, including inline forms, popups, and fly-ins, you can create endless opt-in forms to skyrocket your email list. As with the Divi Theme, these opt-in forms are simple to customize and install on your blog.
To install the Bloom plugin, visit your Elegant Themes Dashboard, download Bloom, and save the file to your desktop.
Next, visit your WordPress dashboard > plugins > add new > upload plugin > choose file > install now > activate plugin.
Finally, visit your Bloom settings to connect your email provider to ensure your sign-ups are being delivered to the right place.
(I use Convertkit as my email provider and highly recommend (more on this soon)!)
3. Custom Sidebars (Free) – If you’re using a sidebar on your website (which I highly recommend you do, at least on your posts) this free plugin is awesome! It allows you to choose which sidebar to display on which posts which is especially helpful if you have different topics and opt-ins available on your website. Totally optional, but highly recommended. To install the Custom Sidebars plugin, click here.
4. Evergreen Countdown Timer (Free) – To easily install countdown timers on your tripwire pages (more on this soon), you’ll need this plugin. Evergreen Countdown Timer is free and easy to use and install on your landing pages to create a sense of urgency and increase conversions.
5. Monarch Social Sharing/Following Plugin (Included with your purchase of the Divi Theme) – This plugin, which is included in your purchase of the Divi Theme, allows you to easily install social sharing widgets on your website. With over 20 social media networks to choose from, including Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, and 5 locations to display them, you can easily skyrocket your following on multiple platforms. In accordance with the Divi Theme, these social sharing widgets are simple to customize and install on your blog.
To install the Monarch plugin, visit your Elegant Themes Dashboard, download Monarch, and save the file to your desktop.
Next, visit your WordPress dashboard > plugins > add new > upload plugin > choose file > install now > activate plugin.
Finally, visit your Monarch settings to customize your social sharing buttons and select where you want them displayed.
6. ProveSource (Free up to 1k monthly visitors) – Using social proof to increase conversions on your landing pages is not only smart but necessary. But, a lot of social proof plugins are expensive and hard to use. That is why I am soooo happy to have discovered ProveSource. For a low price (after 1k monthly visitors), you can create super customized popups to display sale counts, email sign-up counts, customer reviews, and more on specified landing pages. Since using ProveSource on my sales pages, I’ve increased my conversions by 20% — which is why I recommend this plugin to everybody.
7. SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle (Free) – This is another optional but highly recommended plugin. With it, you are able to customize your sidebar with branded text, HTML, clickable images, buttons, and more. To give this plugin a spin, install it here.
8. Smush (Free) – The Smush plugin by WPMU Dev compresses and optimizes the images you upload to your WordPress site so your blog continues to load “amazingly fast.” To install this must-have plugin on your blog, click here.
9. UpdraftPlus (Free) – Install this plugin to schedule weekly backups of your website — Something you’ll be thankful to have if your blog ever gets hacked or deleted.
10. WP-Optimize (Free) – This is a necessary plugin to keep your WordPress site clean and cached so it continues to run smoothly and quickly. Install it by clicking here.
11. Yoast SEO (Free) – Yoast helps to easily optimize your posts and pages for search engines (such as Google and Pinterest) to crawl and find your content. Trust me, you need this plugin if you want your content to be discovered. To install it, click here.
Those are the eleven plugins I recommend using on your WordPress site!
And, to ease your worries, I’ve tested each one with GTmetrix to ensure that they don’t interfere with site speed or the Divi Theme.
Of course, feel free to install any additional plugins that you find useful to your WordPress blog, such as recipe cards if you’re a food blogger or an Instagram feed if you’re a lifestyle blogger.
But, always keep in mind that you should limit the number of plugins you install to avoid conflicts with your theme and site speed.
Pro Tip: If your website starts performing slowly or your theme suddenly stops working, deactivate your plugins one at a time and run a GTmetrix report to see which one is causing the problem.
- Plugins are used as additional customization or performance tools for your WordPress site
- Don’t get carried away with plugins – only use as many as are necessary since too many can cause your website to slow down or interfere with your theme
- If you find your website is loading slowly or your theme isn’t working, deactivate your plugins one at a time and run a GTmetrix report to find the culprit
TAKE ACTION: Install and activate the 11 plugins I have recommended to you above.
SNACK BREAK! We’ve covered a lot of information up until this point, so it’s understandable if you need a break. Simply bookmark this page so you can come back to it whenever you’re ready to pick back up again!
7. DESIGN YOUR BLOGS BRANDED WEBSITE
Awesome! Now that you’ve downloaded and installed the Divi Theme and your plugins, it’s time to design your blog’s branded website.
Heavy emphasis on the word branded.
Because, here’s the real deal:
So. many. blogs. look. exactly. the. same. And you don’t want this.
You MUST create a blog and a brand that stands apart from the rest of the hundreds of thousands of blogs on the internet.
Now, here’s the good news:
Since you’re using the Divi Theme to design your blog, you’ll be able to create a kickass website that easily stands apart from the rest of the blogs out there.
Here’s how to create a stand apart brand in 4 simple steps:
1. Write down the purpose of your blog in 1-2 sentences.
(For example, the purpose of Who Says What is to help young people live their best life. By mastering your money and becoming your own boss, you’ll have time and money on your side which allows you to create the life of your dreams.)
2. Choose 1-3 colors that represent your brand.
(Who Says What has 3 brand colors that represent a different step in our 3-step happiness formula.)
3. Choose 1-3 brand fonts that you will use on your website, pins, and social media graphics.
(Who Says What uses three fonts – League Graphic, which is bold and eye-catching, Virtual, which is handwritten and whimsical, and Lato which is simple and easy to read.)
4. Envision the vibe of your brand and how you want people to feel when they come to your website.
(Who Says What aims to create a spunky, outside-the-box vibe that inspires people to live life outside the norm.)
Sweet! Now that you’ve created a super unique vision for your website, it’s finally time to design some pages (and yes, I’m serious this time)!
These are the 5 pages you should have on your website before launching your blog:
(To create a new page in WordPress using Divi go to your dashboard > pages > add new > [Add title, meta, SEO] > use Divi builder > [build from scratch] start building)
(Remember, to create a customized homepage (instead of displaying just your blog posts on your homepage), go to settings > reading and select “A static page” as your homepage.)
On your homepage, you should include a call-to-action and a sign-up form for your email list, navigation to your most helpful tips, recent blog posts, freebies that you’re offering, and an about me section.
2. Blog Posts Page
This is where you’ll display all of your blog posts.
Divi makes this super easy with their Blog Module! To see how to customize this module on your blog posts page, click here. (Or watch the video below!)
3. Resources Page
Your resources page is where you will display all of your affiliate products and services.
Make sure these resources correlate to your niche and explain why your readers need them in their life.
Having a resources page increased my affiliate commission sales by over 35% so don’t ignore this critical page when setting up your blog.
Take a peek at our resource page here.
Now, this sounds scary, but it really isn’t.
As long as you take the necessary (and simple) steps to protect yourself and your blog, you have nothing to worry about.
And, the best part?
To download your templates for $150 OFF, click here.
5. About Me/Us Page (Optional)
Here’s the deal:
I say that this page is optional because many people say it is necessary, but I beg to differ.
You see, on my website, I include an about me section on my homepage and in the sidebar of every post.
Because of this, I do not feel that it is necessary for me to have an entire page dedicated to introducing myself.
If you do not include information about yourself in other places on your website, I do recommend creating an About Me page.
On this page, introduce yourself, let readers know what you have to offer them, and explain why you are knowledgeable in your niche. You might also consider including an opt-in form on your About Me page!
Once you have designed these 4-5 main pages on your website, you’re ready to start filling your blog with content!
Which brings us to the next step in our guide:
- Your website should represent your brand and stand apart from other blogs
- To create a unique brand/website, keep these things in mind:
- What is the purpose of your blog? What vibe do you want to give off? How should people feel when they visit your website?
- Choose 1-3 brand colors and use them throughout your website, on your pins, and other social media images.
- Choose 1-3 brand fonts and use them on your website, pins, and social media graphics.
- Include these 4-5 pages on your blog before launching
TAKE ACTION: Design your website!
8. FILL YOUR BLOG WITH CONTENT
Ok, so, to recap:
You’ve picked a profitable niche, decided on a name for your blog, got your WordPress site up and running, and designed the basics of your website.
Give yourself a pat on the back, because that is a TON of work!
The best types of blog posts to write (that get a lot of traffic) are:
- How To Guide/Tutorial (How To Cut Your Hair At Home)
- Lists (25 Things To Do When You’re Bored At Home)
- Guides (The Step-By-Step Guide To Filing For Unemployment)
- Round-Ups (The Best Breakfasts You Can Make With Quarantine Food)
- Reviews (Amazon Alexa Review: Is It Worth Your Money?)
Now, here’s the most important part:
Before writing every blog post, you must do keyword research to make sure that a.) people are searching for this type of content, and b.) that your post is search engine optimized.
To start your keyword research, head on over to Pinterest. Then, type your keyword into the search bar. The results that appear underneath the search bar are related keywords that you should include in your post and your pin title and description.
You might be wondering:
What if no (or very few) related keywords appear under my search results?
Well, this means that very few people are searching for your keyword and you shouldn’t waste your time writing content about it.
You want to be creating content that is in line with your niche and that people are searching for. Give the people what they want!
Pro Tip: Click into the search bar on Pinterest and scroll towards the bottom. You’ll find a “Popular On Pinterest” section with 5-8 topics. If any of these relate to your niche, create a keyworded blog post about it ASAP. Also, check out Pinterest trends by selecting “Trends” in the Analytics drop-down in your Business Hub to find more topics to write about and increase traffic to your website.
This is crazy, but, most bloggers will tell you to write and publish 50 blog posts before launching your website to the world.
Andddd, I call bullshit on this.
Depending on your blogging schedule, it could take you months to write 50 blog posts. Meaning it could take you months to start earning money from your blog.
So, here’s a better idea:
Create 10 kickass blog posts that are keyworded to perfection and launch the blog you’ve worked so damn hard on. Then, continue to pump out 3-5 new blog posts each week. This way, you’ll be able to launch your website sooner and generate your first sale quicker.
Pro Tip: Pinterest LOVES new content so make sure you stick to a blogging schedule that allows you to publish new blog posts, products, and/or opt-ins every single week.
- Write and publish 10 blog posts before launching your website so readers have a variety of content to explore when visiting your website
- Continue publishing 3-5 new blog posts, products, and/or opt-ins every single week to generate traffic
TAKE ACTION: Plan, keyword research, and write your very first blog post!
9. MONETIZE YOUR BLOG
Psh. Of course you do.
So, let me fill you in on the best ways to monetize your blog so you can generate a full-time income and quit your 9-5.
The 7 ways to monetize your blog:
7. Guest Posts
Now, here’s the deal:
You should choose more than one way to monetize your blog so you have multiple income streams and aren’t putting all your eggs in one basket.
To get started, I’d choose 2-4 monetization methods and dive in. Then, add more if you see fit in the future.
Let’s go over each monetization method now so you can choose the best options for your blog.
When I first started this blog, every single blogger that I came across advised me to never ever ever put ads on my blog.
Then, I discovered that some bloggers were making $5,000+ a month in ad income alone and I was dumbfounded.
Now, I still don’t know why some bloggers tell you not to use ads to monetize your website, but, I’m here to tell you TO USE ADS to monetize your website.
Ad revenue is passive in nature and takes zero effort on your part after installing them on your website, which is why I highly recommend starting out with ads as your first monetization method.
You can get started straight away with Google Adsense since they do not have monthly pageview requirements. However, I highly recommend applying to Mediavine as soon as you start generating 25,000 pageviews/month to significantly increase your ad revenue.
Now, I’ll be real with you:
The bloggers who are making a full-time income (i.e., $2,000+/month) with ads are those who are getting hundreds of thousands of page views per month (Like 100,000+).
However, even if you aren’t making a full-time income from ads, they are a kickass way to diversify and boost your blog income from month to month – with zero work.
The proof is in the pudding:
I have Mediavine ads on my blog and get roughly 30,000 page views per month. And, every month I make anywhere from $200-$400 from my Mediavine ads, which, in my opinion, isn’t chump change!
As long as you use ads tastefully (i.e., don’t overwhelm your website with them), they are a great way to monetize your blog and I highly recommend using them to do so.
Using affiliate links to monetize your blog is another kickass passive income stream that I recommend every blogger use.
It’s really easy to get started with affiliate marketing:
Simply sign up for the affiliate programs of your favorite products and services and promote them on your blog by inserting links and ads.
If you’re writing a blog post about the best planners for 2020, you can sign up for Erin Condren’s affiliate program and promote her LifePlanner in your post. Then, whenever somebody purchases an Erin Condren LifePlanner after clicking on your link, you’ll receive a commission!
Here’s a list of the best affiliate programs to sign up for in a variety of niches:
- ShareASale – An affiliate marketing network with 100s of merchants to choose from. Click me to apply to become a member!
- Commission Junction (CJ) – Another affiliate marketing network that has 100s of products and brands to choose from in a variety of niches. Click me to join!
- Amazon Associates – Promote any product on Amazon an earn commissions! Click me to sign up!
- Aragon Premium – An affiliate marketing network with tons of brands to promote. Join by clicking here!
- Ultimate Bundles – A great affiliate network that promotes bundles of products in a variety of niches. Sign up as an affiliate by clicking here!
- TMDHosting – Get paid to promote one of the best WordPress hosts available. Join their affiliate program and earn $50/sale by clicking me!
- SiteGround – Another great WordPress host to promote. Click me to sign up and earn $50/sale!
- Elegant Themes – Promote the Divi Theme to your readers and get paid $30 per sale! Sign up by clicking me.
- Rakuten – Help your readers earn cash-back on purchases they’re already making by promoting Rakuten. Simply sign up for an account here and find your link in the ‘Refer & Earn’ section.
- Ibotta – Similar to Rakuten, Ibotta helps users earn cashback on purchases. When you sign up for an account, you get instant access to your unique affiliate link.
Sign up for relevant affiliate programs and promote the crap out of them!
Hint: To find an affiliate program for a product or service that you love, simply type “‘Product/Service Name’ affiliate program” into Google. If this product or service has an affiliate program, you will find it listed here and be able to quickly apply!
Creating your own product(s) is the ultimate way to take complete control over your blog income.
Before you dive in and create your first product, you need to do some heavy research into what your target audience wants, needs and will spend money on (<– very important!).
Without this research, you could spend months creating a kickass product only to find that your audience doesn’t have a need for it.
So, how do you gather the insight into what your target audience will purchase from you?
–> Free opt-ins! <–
Now, I’m going to do a deep dive into opt-ins in the next section, but here is a quick overview:
An opt-in is a freebie that you give away to your audience in exchange for their email address. This free opt-in could be a printable, template, checklist, ebook, mini ecourse, worksheet, workbook, webinar, tutorial, etc.
Your freebie opt-in should be relevant to your blog content and an obvious addition to the content already on your blog.
For my posts about budgeting, I give away budgeting method templates and checklists for free.
Now, once you’ve created your freebie opt-in and placed email sign-ups for this opt-in on your blog, like the one below, (more on this in step 10), you can start collecting data for your product launch.
I.e., do people sign up for this freebie, are they interested in this type of content, are they engaged in your welcome email series, do they respond positively to a survey about similar content upgrades, etc.
Then, after gathering this information you can get started creating your product and teasing your audience of its launch.
For example, as a product upgrade to my budgeting templates and checklists, I offer a 40+ page budget binder!
Again, your products could be printable bundles, ebooks, courses, tutorials, templates, and more.
Simply use your creativity and research and you’re destined to create a product that your audience will love.
Pro Tip: Digital products are the way to go to create passive income from your blog. A digital product only takes a limited time to create (using Canva), and once this is done, you can sell your product on autopilot with zero additional effort, time, or cost. To deliver your digital product to your customers, use SendOwl who makes selling online a breeze.
Services, like products, are a great way to take control of your blog income since you have the power to pick a price and how you promote them.
Here is a list of services you can offer for profit on your blog:
- Coaching (life, business, fitness, finance)
- Website setup/design
- Freelance blog post writing
- Graphic design
- Social media management
- Email marketing management
- Ad management
- Virtual assistant
To promote any of these services on your blog, create a landing page that highlights your service, whats included, testimonials, prices, etc.
Pro Tip: Use a Tripwire to increase sales of your product(s) or service(s). A tripwire is a sales page that users a redirected to after they sign up for your freebie opt-in that promotes your product or service for a limited-time discounted price. Here is an example of my tripwire page that is presented to users who sign up for my free budgeting templates. (If you like the design of this tripwire page, you can purchase the template for it from Bluechic by clicking here.)
Blog sponsorships are when you are paid by a brand to create a blog post, social media post, or email to promote a product to your audience.
Usually, a sponsorship is for a predetermined amount of money and your post/email must adhere to the guidelines laid out by the company/brand.
You could partner with Nike and create a post highlighting their new sneaker in exchange for $100.
These are awesome places to find sponsorship opportunities:
- Influence Central
- Open Influence
Simply follow the links above to apply to a network and begin being connected to sponsorship opportunities!
Earn money from your blog by offering a monthly membership to your audience.
For a monthly price, you can offer your audience a membership to a resource library that is updated with new products each week/month. Or maybe your membership unlocks weekly webinars for your clients.
Really, the world is your oyster!
Sign up for Patreon to collect your membership fees and dispense the benefits of your membership to your members.
There are tons of bloggers out there that need help creating content for their blogs.
Because of this, you can earn money by guest posting for them!
For a price of your choosing (choose a reasonable price that will be agreeable for the task at hand), you will create a blog post for another blogger to share on their blog.
It’s really that simple.
To find guest posting opportunities, reach out by email to blogs that you read, create a landing page on your own blog offering guest posting services, search on google for them, look on Craigslist, and network on social media with other bloggers in your niche.
- There are many ways to monetize your blog such as:
- Ads (Google Adsense or Mediavine)
- Affiliates (ShareASale, Commission Junction, Amazon Associates, Aragon Premium, Ultimate Bundles, etc.)
- Products (Make sure your product fulfills the NEEDS of your target audience)
- Services (Coaching, website design, freelance writing, graphic design, social media management, email marketing management, virtual assisting)
- Sponsorships (Trend, indaHash, Izea, CLEVER, Influence Central, etc.)
- Guest Posts
TAKE ACTION: Choose 2-4 monetization methods to implement and start earning income from your blog.
10. OPT-INS AND EMAIL MARKETING
I waited for months and months to integrate email marketing into my blog strategy.
And, boy, let me tell you:
What a huge mistake this was.
As soon as I started using email marketing as a strategy to earn money, I began collecting 800+ new subscribers per month and saw my blog income TRIPLE.
So, I’m here to tell you: Do not make the same mistake I made.
As soon as you launch your blog you should begin your email marketing strategy – even if it is to simply collect email subscribers that you can sell to later on.
Why is email marketing so important? For 3 reasons:
- You OWN your email list – nobody can take email subscribers from you
- Having a large email list leverages your need for other marketing tools such as social media, Google, and Pinterest to bring you traffic (If you have a list of 10,00 people, that is 10,000 people you can promote your new blog post or product to without the need for SEO or other social media promotion).
- Your email marketing strategy will not be affected by algorithm changes
How do you get started right away with email marketing?
Simply follow these steps:
1. Sign up for Convertkit (for free) to start creating opt-in forms and collecting email addresses.
2. Create opt-in freebies (printables, templates, checklists, worksheets, courses, ebooks, workbooks, etc) using Canva as content upgrades to your blog posts. Then, create opt-in forms and/or landing pages to collect emails in exchange for your freebie.
3. Send your new email subscribers a welcome onboarding series that introduces you to them and explains what you have to offer them by being on your email list.
4. Email your list with new blog posts and updates.
5. Once you have a product or service to offer your subscribers, send out a product/service launch email series that explains what your offer is and where they can purchase your product or service.
Make it a habit to engage with your email subscribers at least once a week (whether through automated emails or sending out broadcasts) so they can get familiar with you and your brand. This is a critical part of getting people to trust you so they feel comfortable and eager to purchase products or services from you.
- Start your email marketing strategy as soon as you start your blog
- You own your email list, meaning your income and traffic will be more steady in the wake of algorithm changes on social media and search engines
- Make it a habit to engage with your email list at least once a week using automated emails or broadcasts
- Sign up for Convertkit for free
- Create your first opt-in freebie (printable, checklist, template, worksheet, workbook, ebook, etc.) using Canva
- Create a welcome onboarding series to send to your new email subbies who signed up for your freebie
11. MARKET YOUR BLOG
It’s time to unleash your blogs greatness on the world.
By marketing yourself.
Primarily on Pinterest.
I focus the most on Pinterest marketing because it has been the most successful source of traffic for my blog.
And you can put your Pinterest marketing on autopilot, so thats another huge plus.
Oh, and Pinterest is free, so yay!
Pinterest is an awesome place to market your blog because it is a search engine that is comprised of millions of people searching for tons of different things.
This means that more likely than not, your blogs content will find an audience on Pinterest.
I use Pinterest in conjunction with Tailwind to automate pinning and generate traffic to my blog on autopilot.
If you want to learn how to set up your Pinterest and website to generate traffic with Tailwind, check out our post on How To Increase Blog Traffic By 64% In 30 Days.
Once you’re pinning automatically each day with Tailwind, your posts will be circulating on Pinterest and leading people back to your content.
Continue creating valuable content that you promote on Pinterest (via Tailwind) and the traffic and sales will come your way!
12. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
It’s important to monitor the progress of your blog to understand which strategies are working and which ones aren’t.
That way, you know which areas need improvement and which are popular with your audience.
I monitor the progress of my blog (my blog’s stats) in four different places, for four different reasons:
- Google Analytics to monitor website traffic
- Pinterest Analytics on Tailwind to monitor marketing strategies
- Convertkit to monitor email marketing strategies
- SendOwl to monitor revenue
By monitoring the progress of my blog on many different platforms, I can tweak things to improve the success of my blog.
I can also continue doing the things that are working, such as writing similar posts to ones that have received large numbers of shares and likes.
Don’t get too caught up on the statistics, though, because everybody’s progress and success is different.
WOW! If you’re reading this, congrats!
You just stuck through the most in-depth guide to starting a blog and you should feel proud!
With all the information your need under your belt, you can start a blog that makes money and finally become your own boss.
How awesome is that?!
Cheers fellow blogging friend!
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