Updated: 6th November 2019
Starting a blog requires a lot of effort, but it is something that anyone can do. I am going to show you how to start a blog using precisely the same steps I used for SideGains.
Some of the steps to setting up a blog will require you to figure a few things out. This is especially true if you are a beginner to all this.
However, I promise you… anyone can do this!
Of course I can’t guarantee your blog will be a success. But I can guarantee the 16 steps below will put you on the right path to owning a successful blog.
A note about options for different domain registration services, hosting packages and themes for your site. I will be biased towards the options I have used for SideGains. There are affiliate links to these. This means anything you purchase through them generates a commission for me at no cost to you.
So without further ado, I’ll press on with how to start a blog based on how I started SideGains.
How to Start a Blog: Contents
Establish a Niche for Your Blog
Think of a Domain Name
Register a Domain Name
Select a Host
Configure Your Domain Name
Add a WordPress Theme
Install WordPress Plugins
Implement Google Analytics
Set Up Google Search Console
Create Social Media Accounts
Create Information Pages
Write Blog Posts
Promote Your Blog
Monetize Your Blog
Establish a Niche for Your Blog
If you already know what you want to blog about, then you’ve already decided your niche. If this is the case, you could skip this step.
However, if you’re not yet decided I have some questions for you.
Why do You Want to Start a Blog? What is the Purpose?
- Do you want to start a personal blog to write about anything that takes your fancy?
- Would you like to raise awareness about something?
- Do you want to blog about something you’re passionate about?
- Is your long term objective to make money?
Personally I think we all get very hung up about niche. You can spend hours looking at bloggers and the income reports they post. You could research their niches and carry out keyword analysis to look for those that seem the most promising.
Sometimes this can hold you back.
Of course certain niches are perceived as money-makers such as:
- Personal finance
- Health & wellbeing
- Online marketing
Should You Start a Blog for Passion or Profit?
Some bloggers advise looking for profitable niches. Others will tell you to choose a niche about which you have a passion.
Does choosing a niche that you’re not passionate about you mean you shouldn’t attempt to start a blog about it?
In my opinion it does not.
I know the following for a fact though. If you spend your time looking for a profitable niche you’re not passionate about, two things can happen:
- You can get stuck in an analysis loop which prevents you from taking action.
- Writing about things in which you have no interest makes it hard to maintain your enthusiasm. This is especially true when things don’t work out as quickly as you’d like.
Experiences of Blogs I Started
I’ll tell you about my experience.
I’ve created a number of blogs that have made money. Here are some examples:
- Personal finance: approx. $90,000 over 4 years
- Personal finance: approx. $12,500 over 2 years
- Personal finance: approx. $10,000 over 3 years
- Language learning: approx $32,000 over 10 years
I am not especially passionate about personal finance but I have had some success in this niche. Conversely, I am very passionate about language learning but I have made comparatively little money in this niche.
I have had three personal finance sites but not because I find it a great niche. It’s because my enthusiasm about the subject waned after a time.
Furthermore, as time passed I found it difficult to come up with ideas for new blog posts that added value. The only way I regenerated my enthusiasm was to start another personal finance blog and rewrite what I’d written previously!
I chose personal finance for very cynical reasons. It made money, but my blogs had no soul.
The SideGains Blog
The SideGains project for me is a real departure from what I’ve done before. Previously I targeted what I thought were the most profitable niches in which I could put in the least amount of effort.
It sounds strange perhaps, but I treated my personal finance blogs with a rinse and repeat approach. This saved me time, but ultimately made my blogs short-term and disposable.
To give yourself a better chance to make money online you have to approach your niche with a long-game view. This advice applies to any niche you choose.
Of course you can make a ton of cash in a relatively short period of time. However this is extremely rare, and not something most mortals can achieve.
Something that almost ALL seriously successful bloggers will tell you is they never made a success of their blogs overnight.
Note: ALL niches can be profitable.
There are around 7.7 billion people on Earth. Around 20% of these people either speak English as their native language or as a second language… that’s around 1.4 billion people.
Of course not all of these people have access to the Internet in the way we do. Neither do they all have disposable incomes. Nonetheless, a staggering number of people do and very specific “small” niches will appeal to lots of them.
Personally I’ve never made a lot of money with a niche that I’m very passionate about. However, I know I’ve found it very hard to maintain my enthusiasm for niches about which I’m not really excited. Even if they’ve made me some cash.
Think of a Domain Name
Once you’ve identified your niche, it’s time to think about a name for your site. I’ve previously written a detailed post about choosing a domain name but I’ll provide a summary here.
You have a few options:
- Brandable names
- Descriptive names
- Your name
Brandable Blog Names
Brandable names perhaps have little meaning about the niche they are targeting but they are memorable. They may also suggest character or personality.
Some examples of brandable names are Bing, Trivago and Amazon. At one time these names meant very little to people, whereas now they mean something to almost everyone.
Descriptive Blog Names
Descriptive names are great as they tell people what the site is about without explanation. An example of a descriptive domain might be wesellcars.com.
Descriptive names also enable you to inject important keywords into your domain. That said, this must be done sensitively to avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword Stuffing is seen as a manipulative way to game search engines. Search engines often penalize domains that are stuffed with keywords.
A disadvantage of descriptive domains is they can be seen as a bit boring. This is where brandable names often work better as they can be more playful or sound more exciting.
Using Your Own Name
Using your own name is useful to promote yourself or when you don’t have a clear idea of a niche. You might use yourname.com to start a blog in a particular niche. If that doesn’t work out, you could start targeting a different one. As your name doesn’t tie you to that niche it makes switching less difficult.
You might use yourname.com to start a blog about one subject and if that doesn’t work out, you could start targeting a different niche. As your name doesn’t tie you to that niche it makes switching niches less difficult.
Brandable names have this benefit too sometimes. But with descriptive names you can be stuck in a particular niche. If that’s the case, you might need to purchase a different domain if you want to switch niches.
If you’re stuck for domain name ideas, the following sites may help you to choose something that works for you:
Register a Domain Name
When you’ve settled upon a name it’s time to register your domain.
Registering a domain does not actually mean that you buy it outright. You can register a domain for a certain period… in reality you effectively rent it for the period you choose.
You normally register a domain for periods up to 10 years. As a result, the price for this varies: the longer the period, the more you pay.
The type of domain extension you want also has a bearing on domain price. For example, .com domains tend to be more expensive than extensions such as .net.
My preference is always to buy a .com domain since these are generally seen as more credible by site visitors. Many SEO gurus advocate a preference for .com domains as they may be seen more favorably by search engines.
Also, domain name prices vary depending upon who you use to register it. I tend to use Namecheap as I’ve always found their domains are reasonably priced. I also find the process of purchasing and setting up my domains with them straightforward.
I’ll also point out that I have bought domains from Namecheap since 2007.
You need to check the availability of your domain name prior to purchasing it in case someone already owns it. Namecheap will tell you whether or not the domain you want is available before you purchase it.
If the name you want is not available, you might have to look for another that no-one has registered yet. However, if your name is really important to you, you’ll have to be creative to find something that is available.
So, if you wanted to register the name holidaynow.com (unavailable right now) you’d need to add something to it to find one that’s available. You might choose instead gogoholidaynow.com or holidaynowplease.com.
Bear in mind that you must avoid trademark infringement when registering a domain. Always research as best as possible to make sure no-one has a legal claim to the domain.
The last thing you need is having to change your domain in a year’s time because someone is threatening you with legal action.
Choose a Host
When you’ve bought a domain you’ll need somewhere to host it. A web host is a service that makes it possible for you to put a website onto the Internet.
It’s basically a server that stores your content and media files and presents them to visitors accessing your pages. You can think of it as a physical location that has an address where your website lives.
SiteGround it the hosting service I’m using for SideGains. I started using SiteGround since launching the site but I’ve been very happy so far with how it’s working out.
If you’re starting out it probably makes sense to choose the cheapest option, the StartUp package:
The StartUp package is currently offered at an introductory price for the first year:
StartUp UK Year 1: £2.95/month and £8.95/month after the first year (prices exclude VAT).
StartUp US Year 1: $3.95/month and $11.95/month after the first year.
I find SiteGround offers powerful servers for the price that have definitely helped to make my site load fast. Page load speed is important for visitors to your site to have a good experience. If your site is slow people will not hang around to read your content, no matter how epic it is.
Page load speed is also an important ranking factor for Google. The faster your site is, the more favorably Google will tend to look upon it. If your site loads slowly, there is a risk that Google will drop it down the search results.
SiteGround has helped me achieve very fast site load speeds, so as I say I’m very happy right now.
Configure Your Domain Name
When you’ve purchased a domain and set up your host, you need to tell the Internet where your blog lives. To do this you have to configure your Domain Name System (DNS), which some people can find a little fiddly.
I mentioned earlier that hosting gives your website a physical address. The physical address is actually an IP address that identifies a specific device on the Internet, i.e. your host server.
Because IP addresses are numbers separated by dots (such as 220.127.116.114) they are not easy to remember. That’s where domain names help.
You have to associate your domain name to an IP address so that when someone tries to find it in a browser, the browser can locate the IP address relating to it and send them to the physical address where your site is hosted.
So configuring your DNS means you link an IP address to your domain name.
You configure your DNS at the place where you registered your domain. You just need specify the server where your domain is located in the records relating to it.
The way in which you configure your DNS works slightly differently for each hosting service. To configure yours you’d need to read the documentation at your hosting provider. You can also reach out to your hosting support team and ask them to help you.
They’ll have no problem with this and will set things up for you in a few minutes.
Once you’ve configured your DNS it takes around two days for the Internet to know how to find your site. After this you’ll be all set!
Unless you’re planning to build your website by coding it, you’ll need a Content Management Systems (CMS).
There are many different CMSs you could choose, but I recommend WordPress… it’s the CMS that powers SideGains.
WordPress is a free CMS: you don’t have to pay for any of the core functionality to use it. It’s an incredibly sophisticated system that is extremely powerful. It is also fairly straightforward to use once you’ve had a little play around with it.
As one of the most widely used CMS platforms on Earth, WordPress is also well supported and regularly updated. Best of all though, it’s free!
To install WordPress you download the installation file, upload it to your server and then run the installation process. It’s a bit complicated as you have to create a database on your server and make configuration changes to installation files. But the process for me takes around 10 minutes.
If you’re not comfortable with installing WordPress yourself, many hosting services will actually handle the process for you… possibly for a small fee.
However, if you are reasonably confident in your technical skills, the WordPress installation guide is pretty easy to follow. And if you’ve selected SiteGround as a host, the SiteGround WordPress installation instructions are very clear too.
Add a WordPress Theme
Every WordPress installation is automatically packed with one or two themes. Themes govern the look and feel of your WordPress site. They also handle elements such as page layout and basic functionality.
Basic out-of-the box themes are functional but they may not excite you. However you don’t need to worry as there are literally thousands of WordPress themes you can install.
You’ve got a few options here. You can:
- Choose a free theme
- Buy a pro-theme
- Pay for a bespoke theme to be made for you.
Free WordPress Themes
In terms of free themes there are several places to look.
Firstly, check out the WordPress Themes Directory, which contains links to thousands of free themes. You can filter themes by popularity or how recently they’ve been added to the directory. You can even filter by specific theme elements to identify a specific layouts, features or blog subject. I’ll warn you, you can lose hours browsing available themes!
Another way to search for free themes is to run a search in Google. Many WordPress theme developers offer free “lite” versions of pro-themes they charge money for. The idea is that you’ll enjoy the lite version so much that you’ll upgrade to the pro-version to gain increased functions and tools.
To be honest, I’ve often installed lite theme versions and stuck with them. Often they’ve been more than sufficient for what I needed.
Buy a Pro-Theme
If you want a more sophisticated theme with bells and whistles you can buy a pro-theme. That’s what I’ve done with SideGains.
I’ve customized MH Newsdesk through the theme functions that enable you to modify the look and feel. I’ve also tweaked the CSS and some of the template files to make it work precisely how I want.
It’s a great theme for a news type site and works perfectly for how I see SideGains growing.
Finding a pro-theme is complicated by the fact that there is so much choice. As with free themes, you only need to search online for WordPress pro-themes and you’ll understand what I mean!
Pay for a Bespoke Theme
I add this as an afterthought really, as bespoke themes cost a good deal more than the $49 I paid. Since bespoke themes are built from the ground up to meet your precise requirements, the cost can run into $1,000s.
It’s not the best option if you want to know how to start a blog with little investment. Having said this, it’s your money!
My advice… try some different free themes to see which you like the best. If you feel the need for a bit more functionality, you can upgrade your theme to the pro-version.
When you start making pots of money, maybe you’ll decide to have a bespoke theme built for you!
Install WordPress Plugins
I mentioned before that WordPress is incredibly powerful out of the box. However, after you’ve installed it you can add even more specific functionality via WordPress plugins.
Plugins are small programs you can install on top of your WordPress blog to make it do more stuff. You don’t require any technical skills to do this since WordPress enables you to install plugins through its interface.
A Note on Plugins
However, I always try not to install too many plugins. Although they can really add value in terms of functionality, they can impact how quickly your WordPress site loads… and fast page load speed is very important for your site.
Unfortunately the more plugins you have running, the slower your site can be. That said there are a few WordPress plugins I’m running on SideGains because in my opinion they are indispensable:
- Yoast SEO for WordPress – This is one of the most widely respected SEO plugins for WordPress. It’ll help do much of the heavy lifting for your search engine optimization. It’s free but you can also upgrade at a cost to get more features. If I could only ever have one plugin it would be Yoast! I am running the free version on SideGains.
- Contact Form 7 – Another widely used plugin that helps you create multiple customizable contact forms. You’ll need a contact form and this free plugin does the job nicely.
- SG Optimizer – This is a plugin SiteGround offers and you can only run it if SiteGround is your host. It’s a plugin that basically makes your site load faster by optimizing dozens of elements. I ran page load speed tests on the SideGains homepage before and after installing the SG Optimizer plugin. The results are staggering!
Implement Google Analytics
Something you’re going to need to understand is how people find your blog and what they do when they’re visiting it. Google Analytics gives you this information in spades, plus a whole lot more!
GA is a tool that tracks and reports upon visitors to your blog. It’s available to use online and via an app and it’s the most widely used analytics tool on the web. Incredibly, it’s free! It just requires you to install some tracking code on your blog to enable it to pass data to GA.
Many WordPress themes have a function to add GA tracking codes or IDs so you can connect your blog to it. There are also plugins you can install to handle this for you.
To access GA you must have a Google Account. This also gives you access to other useful tools, like Gmail, Google Ads and Google Docs.
Google Analytics is an absolutely essential tool for anyone starting a blog. I’ll hold back from a detailed description of what data you can get from it as it’s very comprehensive. Nonetheless you should sign up for an account and set up tracking to start capturing data from day one… even if you don’t know how to fully use it or understand what it tells you to begin with.
Set up Google Search Console
Yet another free tool from Google! The Search Console is something that will help you understand and manage how your blog appears in Google search results. It includes functions to help:
- Submit sitemaps and individual pages to Google’s index
- See internal and external links to your blog
- Find pages that Google has difficulty crawling
- Explore and understand page load errors
- Optimize individual pages
- Find broken links
- See what keywords people have used to find your blog
- View manual penalties and security issues with your blog
To activate Google Search Console you have to validate your domain ownership either by:
- Uploading a file that Google generates for you to your hosting account
- Adding a line of code to your page headers or a configuration to your domain at your registration account.
- Or if you’ve installed Yoast SEO for WordPress, the plugin will handle this for you too. You just need to pass it your Search Console validation code in the plugin configuration for Yoast in WordPress.
Create Social Media Accounts
Since you’ve got your domain now, you should go and register social media accounts for it in:
Even if you don’t get use them immediately, you’ll have them in place for when you’re ready.
It’s great if you can grab your domain name as a handle to make everything consistent. But it shouldn’t deter you from choosing a related alternative if the handle is already taken. For example, these are the account handles for SideGains:
You’ll be VERY busy getting your blog off the ground. As a result, social media promotion might not make it top of your to-do list. However, it’s worth planning for the future and setting up your accounts early on won’t take long.
Create Information Pages
Before you dive into creating compelling blog posts, you’re going to need to put up some pages by default:
- Contact Us
- Terms & Conditions
These pages are kind of expected by visitors to your site and a few are required by law.
An About page gives you the opportunity to tell your story and present yourself as you’d like to be seen. Visitors to your blog will often check this page to find out more about you. As such it can provide a trust signal to people and establish you as a real person.
A Contact Us page is another trust signal. It enables visitors to reach out to you with little effort other than completing a form and submitting it.
While we are on the subject of disclosure, you also have to remember this. Any promotion you make on your blog that could result in you receiving commissions should be openly stated. You can add details about this on your Disclosure page, but you should make a small disclosure on pages where a you might generate commissions.
It is important that you protect yourself with pages that give you a sound legal footing to avoid future problems.
Write Blog Posts
What is a blog without content? It’s taken us a while to get to this point but it’s what your blog is all about!
Content is vital to your blog… it’s the reason for it being! Now I won’t give you any niche-specific tips about writing. However there are some general things you need to think about from a visitor perspective and also for search engines.
Perhaps the most important thing to think about is quality. Your blog post quality is what’s going to give you credibility and make people want to come back to see what else you have to say.
But how do you define quality content? Google has a good handle on what people expect from content, so it’s vital to write blog posts that meet Google’s perception of quality.
I’ve written at length about how Google judges high quality content but I’ll paraphrase it here.
High Quality Content
Google effectively rewards sites that present their visitors with content that demonstrates E-A-T values:
- and Trustworthiness.
So how can your blog and all your posts show expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness?
Well it may be difficult overall for your blog to win a high E-A-T score initially. However, producing high-quality content over time will bolster each of the E-A-T elements. So focus on a few things to put yourself on the right path:
- Write your posts for people and not for search engines. Of course you need to think about keywords to target and optimize your content for them. But your aim should be to write for real people.
- Make sure your blog contains substantial content written in a professional way: no spelling or grammar mistakes please! When I say substantial, I mean 1,000 words and over.
- Blog posts should contain images and videos to make the content engaging.
- Your posts should be well researched and backed up by evidence.
- Provide links in your posts to other relevant pages both on and off your blog domain.
- Your site and posts within it should have a fast page load speed, especially for mobile devices.
- Make your About, Contact Us and other informational pages about your blog easy to find. Also be sure to make the content on them relevant and useful.
- Your blog should render correctly on any device and without errors like broken links and missing images.
- Make sure that any relevant professional qualifications or expertise credentials are clearly visible to your blog visitors.
It doesn’t matter which niche you’re writing about. But if people are searching for things that do not pull your posts high up the search results they’ll never find you.
What does this mean for you? Well it means you have to have two things:
- A strategy for how you can produce blog posts that do appear high in the results
- And a long game mentality.
Let’s get things straight from the outset. You will NOT rank for the biggest traffic-generating keywords in your niche anytime soon. It’s unlikely that there will be no other blogs competing against you in your niche.
Your competitors will have built up their content and their E-A-T score perhaps over many years. There’s no way you’ll just jump right in and disrupt the search engine rankings from day one.
What you should do is look for keywords that are not so competitive and as a result generate fewer searches. As I always say, I’m happy to have 1 blog post that generates 100 visits every day. I’m equally happy to have 100 pages that drive 1 visit each per day… in truth I’m probably happier!
Be under no illusion… getting your blog to rank for competitive keywords will take time and effort. So start with minnows and build yourself up to catching the bigger fish!
Keyword Research Tools
You’ll need tools to show you what keywords people use in searches as well as how competitive they are. The list below shows several ways to carry out free keyword analysis for your blog.
Google Ads Keyword Planner
You’ll need to set up a Google Ads account to use the Google Ads Keyword Planner, so you’ll also need a Google Account. I understand this might seem a bit of a drag. However, you don’t need to set up actual PPC campaigns and start buying clicks to use the tool… you just need an account. It’s useful as it shows you estimated search volumes for keywords and how competitive they are in the paid ads sphere. If a keyword is competitive in Google Ads, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s competitive in organic results too.
If you don’t want to a Google Ads account, you could try other tools that actually give you more insight.
As with Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest provides keyword search volumes (pulled from the Google Keyword Planner) along with associated costs per click and search competitiveness. It also shows you the sites that rank for the keywords.
Additionally, Ubersuggest provides:
- the number of links that point to these ranking pages;
- a domain score for them;
- and a count of the social shares to them so you can see what you’re up against.
Keyword S*****r & Keywords Everywhere
My next suggestion is to combine the output of two tools: Keyword S*****r & Keywords Everywhere.
Keyword S*****r pulls keywords from Google Autocomplete. This is the function that delivers search suggestions when you type in Google’s search box. The suggestions are effectively predictions based upon popular search terms related to what you’re typing. Hence Autocomplete is telling you the popular Google searches that real people are making.
You can pass Keyword S*****r a seed keyword that it uses to pull related search terms from Google Autocomplete… and it will pull thousands! However it doesn’t tell you anything about the number of searches on these keywords or how competitive they are.
Keywords Everywhere is a browser add-on you can install in Chrome or Firefox. It’s database stores monthly search volumes, cost per click and competitiveness for over 2 billion keywords from the Google Keyword Planner and Clickstream. Keyword data is updated once a month and so it is not as fresh as what you get using the Google Keyword Planner directly, but it’s still useful.
And here’s the clever bit…
Install the Keywords Everywhere add-on into your browser and activate it, and then run a keyword search in Keyword S*****r. This pulls related keywords from Google Autocomplete. Keywords Everywhere then publishes the estimated number of searches on these keywords and how competitive they are!
The one drawback is it takes a while to run. I just ran a search for one keyword and it found over 7,000 related keywords. It was still running after an hour!
However, when you’re ready to pull the data, Keyword Everywhere allows you to download a CSV file containing the keywords and all related search data.
There are a bunch of other subscription-based keywords tools that provide all sorts of fancy extras. A few examples are Ahrefs, Spyfu and Wordtracker. But the free ones above will get you started until you’re making enough money to pay for something more comprehensive.
Promote Your Blog
I’ll reiterate what I said earlier. Unless you’re very lucky, it’ll take a long time for your blog to get lots of traffic. One of the ways you can start to make this happen is by promoting your content.
Now promoting your content and the techniques to do so warrant a blog post all to themselves. However, I’ll discuss a few concepts here.
How do you promote your content? Basically by creating opportunities for search engines (and people) to start seeing your content as important. There are several ways this happens.
Search engines like Google use the number of links pointing to a page to determine how important that page is. In fact, Google is explicit in this:
Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B.Google
So the more links a site has pointing to it, the more likely it is that search engines will take note.
Now the value of links from some sites is greater than the value of links from others. Links from sites that Google considers to be authoritative are far more valuable than links from less reputable ones. So it’s not just the volume of backlinks that’s important, but the quality of them too.
Additionally, the more related to your page the backlinking site is, the more valuable the link is.
A further factor is the “anchor text” used as the link that points back to a page. The relevancy of anchor text to the page it’s backlinking contributes to search engine ranking logic.
Social signals also play a part in helping search engines understand how important your blog posts are. The more shares, retweets and repins your posts receive the more likely it is they’ll appear on search engine radars.
My belief is that you should never try to build links or social signals for search engines. Instead build them for real people. If you can acquire links and social signals from sites and influencers that matter:
- you’ll likely receive visits from real people
- and get a boost in keyword rankings.
There are many more ways to promote your blog and I’ll post more on this later. But for the meantime, this is something to get you thinking!
Monetize Your Blog
And now for the money shot!
My advice to you is this. Don’t even think about monetizing your blog until it’s up and running and getting visits.
It makes no sense to me to spend time monetizing when the only person seeing your content is you!
It makes far more sense to invest your time writing blog posts, refining how your blog works and promoting it.
Just to give you some insight. At the point I’m writing this post SideGains has been live for around 35 days. In that time I have received 5 visitors!
I have set up a few affiliate links on SideGains but that’s it… for the moment! There’s really no point right now and I’ll probably hold back on properly monetizing until 6 months.
However, when the time comes, you can use the following methods to monetize your blog.
A simple way to start is with Google Adsense. Adsense offers a way for blog owners to receive a revenue share for clicks on ads Google places on their pages. The ads are generated by advertisers using the Google Ads pay per click platform, who have opted to show them on Google’s Content Network. The Content Network comprises of website publishers who have successfully registered into the Adsense program.
Ads are delivered to publisher sites through small bits of code. The code enables the Adsense system to push ads to areas of a page where the code is located.
As Adsense is very simple to implement, so it’s an appealing way to monetize a blog at first. But it’s not necessarily the most optimal revenue stream for blog owners. That said, you can generate substantial amounts if your blog is receiving high volume traffic.
The next option to monetize your blog might be an affiliate program. Affiliate programs are monetization systems whereby a business (merchant) pays a commission to an affiliate (publisher) if it sends traffic to them via links that result in sales or leads for them.
The system works in a similar way to Adsense. The publisher adds links, images or other media to their sites to drive visitors to the merchant site. If the visit results in a conversion, the merchant pays the publisher a percentage of the sale or a fixed pre-agreed amount.
This can also be a highly profitable way to generate revenue for blog publishers, but again it’s a numbers game. You will need a substantial traffic hitting your blog to generate enough footfall to earn decent revenues from affiliate sales.
Many companies manage their own affiliate programs. However the best way to start is to use an affiliate network that manages affiliate programs on behalf of lots of merchants. Some affiliate networks you might register for are:
Create Your Own Products / Services
Thirdly and possibly the most profitable way to monetize your blog is selling your own products or services. When you sell your own products you do not share the revenue with anyone… it’s 100% yours!
So as an example, you might sell digital products, such as how to guides or other media. You might also sell subscriptions to exclusive content on your site. This might be content that delivers more value or insight than your regular blog posts. However, this is no easy path. You need to be selling products that truly add value as products that stink do not sell in volume!
That’s it for now. I wish you luck in your blogging adventures!
It would be great to hear from you if this monumental post has helped in any way. Please leave me a comment to let me know or post a question and I’ll respond asap!
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