Starting a blog is a great way to develop yourself, become more creative, and earn some extra money. A lucky few even turn their blog into a profitable business. In this post we will explore ideas around starting a blog, the first steps to take and ultimately how you can make money from your blog.
What will I write about?
So you have decided you want to start a blog but now you need to think of a topic. What is it that makes you passionate? This could really be anything as long as it is something that you know a lot about and are happy to share with the rest of the world. Maybe you are pregnant and wish to share your pregnancy journey or you could be an accountant sharing tips on how to manage your money. Anything goes as long as you are knowledgeable and love what you write about. Of course like anything in life, the less the competition the better, so if you can provide advice or a view on an area most people do not know, this will give you an competitive edge.
First steps to take when starting a blog
Once you have decided on your topic you need to decide on a website design and where to host your website. There are some great free blogger platforms available, simply type in Google ‘Blogger sites free’ and you will find a list of relevant platforms. However, your blog may be part of your current website in which case you might decide to integrate a blog onto your existing site. It is also worth noting that the domain on some of the free sites may naturally make your blog harder to find so take that into consideration.
Now that your blog is up and you have some fabulous posts written you need to make sure that as many people as possible see your blog. Create social media profiles for your blog and invite friends and family to get your first few visitors. Use Twitter to connect with other bloggers and follow other relevant members in order to grow your network. Try to engage on social media as if you were meeting a new person in a networking event. Be friendly, interested and engage with people, inviting them to take a look at your site. If your content is of good quality and people enjoy what they read, they will share you content. Installing google analytics will help you monitor traffic and audience acquisition.
Make sure that you optimize your blog through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you don’t know much about SEO it is worth teaching yourself or investing in some training or consultancy to give your site the best chance of being found. Before you spend money on SEO familiarize yourself and try to teach yourself so you have some knowledge before seeking out further advice. There are a lot of “snake oil sellers” out there, so the more knowledge you have, the less likely you will be tricked by an unscrupulous provider.
How to make money from your blog
After creating a good looking site with engaging and quality content, establishing a social media network and optimising your site for SEO, you should be in a strong position. How much you go on to earn really depends on the size and niche of your network. Once you have grown a significant amount of traffic and followers you can earn money through:
There are many different platforms that you can use to place relevant adverts on your website. For example Google Adsense works in such a way that it shows context sensitive adverts on your website. Google uses SEO to determine the most suitable adverts on your website. On a post about choosing childcare for your child, Google might show an advert for a local nursery. For a list of different advertising platforms that you can use take a look here.
Join an affiliate advertising program
There are several advertising programs that link publishers with bloggers. As an affiliate you feature content on your blog and you get paid a commission when someone takes a certain action on your site. This could include completing a form, subscribing to a site or purchasing something online.
Sponsored content on your blog
You can review or include content from companies looking to advertise on your blog. Make sure that you only feature content that is highly relevant to your audience. You don’t want your audience to get bored of the posts and certainly don’t want Google to penalise you for posts that have been paid for. For more information take a look here.
Sell advertising space on your blog
You can sell advertising space directly to advertisers if you have enough traffic or social media following to do so. You can either charge per impression/click or have a fixed price per advert.
For more information please take a look at the this brilliant free guide with a wealth of blogging resources.
Some final words of advice for long term success: Building up a large following takes consistent hard work and patience. This will take time and effort, so pace yourself and keep at it. Create value for your audience, and do not fall into the trap of diluting your brand at the first sight of some money.