The ultimate 3000-word beginners guide to introduce you to the world of blogging and to walk you through the process of earning money from blogs.
As a beginners you might have many questions and doubts on where to begin and what you need to start your blogging journey.
This guide is aimed at giving you a complete overview of the basics of blogging and things you need to know like,
Which is the best platform to choose?
Blogging tips before starting
How to start a blog?
and Different ways one can make money from Blogging.
Let’s dive right in.
- Introduction to Blogging
- What is a Blog? How is it different from a website?
- Best Platform for Blogging
- Blogging Tips For Beginners
- Best Ways to Make Money Blogging
Introduction to Blogging
In this age of internet, attention is an asset.
Let me explain,
What do the biggest Internet Companies like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, etc have in common?
They are masters in capturing people’s attention, Right?
They know the trick to keep visitors engaged and to keep them coming every day. And we already know they make tons of money.
If you observe closely, each of these companies uses various forms of content like pictures, videos, articles, audio etc to engage its users. Everything from informative articles to cute cat videos can be monetized. And if you can figure out a way to create engaging content, you can make money too.
If you are looking to make passive income on the side or thinking of doing it full time, Blogging is one of the best ways of establishing your presence on the internet and sharing your views on things you love in a format you want.
If you are a beginner who is looking to learn the ins and out of Blogging, you are the right place.
But before we talk about ways to make money, lets clear some basic concepts that are fundamental to building a successful blog.
What is a Blog? How is it different from a website?
The plain and simple definition is, “A blog is a particular type of website, that regularly posts written content.” Three things that differentiate a blog from a website are:
- It gets frequently updated.
- A blog allows readers to engage with the written content by allowing them to comment at the end of an article.
- Content in a blog is categorized in categories and tags.
But to be really honest, the difference between a blog and website is already blurring. More and more websites are starting to have a blog to engage with their audience. For example, Many companies now have blogs on their website where they publish articles to inform and educate their potential customers.
If you are a beginner to blogging, I know all this new information can be a bit overwhelming at first. If someone would have told me a few years ago, that I can create my own blog from scratch in just 60 minutes, I wouldn’t have believed it.
Seems too good to be true, Right? I’ll walk you through the entire process but before that, we need to get some basics cleared.
Best Platform for Blogging
Just like you would store files on your computer, website files are stored on the internet using web hosting.
Web hosting is a service provided by companies(web hosts) in which they let you store your website files on their servers(special computers) by charging a small fee every month.
These companies not only ensure that your website is accessible to everyone using the internet 24*7 but they also take care of several other factors like speed, security, technical support etc.
As the name suggests, the difference between a free hosted blog and self-hosted blog is whether you host your website for free or by paying a small amount.
You can read my detailed analysis of 6 Best Blogging Platforms in this article.
Naturally, there will be some limitations while using the free hosted blogs. But before we do an actual comparison between free and self-hosted blogs, I want to introduce you to this incredible piece of free and open-source software called, WordPress.
WordPress (Self Hosted)
When WordPress was launched in 2003, it was a simple application that made publishing and maintaining a blog easier. Since then, it has grown into a platform that powers 29% of all websites on internet.
WordPress is a CMS (Content Management Software) that lets you build any type of website you want without writing a single line of code.
You can virtually add any functionality to your website by simply installing the required application(plugin).
The most special thing about WordPress is its robust community which ensures that WordPress stays up to date and new features and functionalities are added to it every single day.
The community includes thousands of developers and millions of content creators and site owners who contribute to this community by creating themes(design templates), plugins( Applications that add features & functionalities) or by simply using WordPress.
Some of the big names using WordPress include Time Magazine, Forbes, New York Times, Tech Crunch, Vogue, The Obama Foundation etc.
Beginners often get confused between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, thinking its the same.
But these are two different things. The CMS (Content Management Software) that’s discussed above is available on WordPress.org and is licensed under GNU Public License which means it will be free forever.
On the other hand, WordPress.com is a commercial company that lets you host your blog for free, but you have to pay once you need more features.
Note: WordPress.org(CMS) is free and forever will be, but you can install WordPress only after purchasing your domain name and hosting.
Recommended Reading: WordPress for Beginners: The Complete Guide for Bloggers
Free Vs Self Hosted Blog Comparison (WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org)
What should be the ideal choice for blogging ?
Let’s do a quick comparison based on some important attributes to figure out what’s best suited for your need.
Companies like Medium, Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress.com etc let you host your blog for free, so there’s no competition as far as cost is concerned. The cost of hosting a self-hosted blog is somewhere around the price of one McDonald Burger every month, except you pay in dollars.
Free hosted blogs are very easy to setup and you only have to create an account to start blogging. WordPress does not require any knowledge of coding, but it takes a little time to get used to the platform.
Design & Customization
All the free hosted blogs look generic and offer little to no options to customize and design your blog. On the other hand, WordPress has tons of options from free to paid themes, that can make your blog look like just the way you want.
Flexibility & Scalability
Free hosted blogs often limit you to your earliest ideas and give very little room to modify and add new features as your blog grows. WordPress gives you complete freedom to add new functionalities and features to your blog by simply installing plugins.
In case of free hosted blogs, ads are likely to be shown beside your written content, which can be off-putting to readers. Since you are hosting your blog on someone else’s platform, it is bound to be affected if there is any change in policy or algorithm. Your account can also be suspended if it’s in violation of their policy.
While using the self-hosted blog you own your site and all your data. You have complete autonomy over how the information is shared.
Technical Support and Assistance
Technical support is very limited in case of Free hosted blogs. While using a Self-hosted blog, you can directly contact your hosting provider if there’s an issue. If you purchase a paid theme to design your blog, you can get in touch with them as well to assist you.
If you are looking to start blogging as a hobby, using free hosted blogs makes sense. It’s also a good choice if you want to test your writing skills and response from readers. But if you are serious about making some passive income or doing it professionally, WordPress is the clear winner.
Many beginners make the mistake of starting with Free hosted blog thinking it would give them necessary exposure to blogging and they could easily switch to WordPress later, but it’s not true.
3 Reasons why it does not work:
Using WordPress is unlike using any free hosted platforms. The sooner you start using it, sooner you will get the head start to learn not just WordPress, but also other things like Email Marketing, Content Promotion, SEO, Social Media Marketing etc which will help you to earn faster.
You are very likely to lose all the SEO benefits while making the switch from free-hosted platform to WordPress.
Most beginners are already intimidated by the prospect of creating a website and learning so many new things. What if I’m not able to understand? What if I get stuck? What if I start and it fails?
Let me tell you a secret,
YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES.
And sometimes you might get stuck too. The key is to keep learning and to implement what you have learned on your blog. You don’t have to leave your job to start a blog and by simply taking an initiative you will be surprised by how much can be accomplished in a short span of time.
Blogging Tips For Beginners
I made 100,002.07 dollars last month.
How often do you see a blog post that teaches you about how to start a blog, begin with a statement similar to that one?
Not that they are lying or exaggerating their income, but the problem begins when people start replicating the exact things that blogger is doing and wonder why its not working for them.
See, the thing is the way a blog that “teaches you about blogging” makes money is fundamentally different than a blog that’s related to niches like Health, Fashion, Sports or any other niche.
What’s more amusing are the blanket statements used by some bloggers, that say things like “Advertisements don’t work” or others who advise using “Google Adsense as a way to earn 1000 dollars each day”.
Well, each of these statements might be true in certain conditions but it does not apply to every blog out there.
The truth is a lot of beginners struggle with making enough money from their blogs. And this is actually a good thing, because if it’s that easy to make money from blogging then it no longer remains a sustainable source of income.
The opportunity lies in recognizing what is it that others are doing horribly wrong and capitalizing and improving on that.
Mistakes committed by bloggers and proper strategy to monetize your blog is a different topic in itself but I’d like to touch upon some basic guidelines so that it could benefit absolute beginners.
The worst strategy is to have no strategy at all. Most beginner’s make the mistake of copying some successful blogger only to realize a few months later, that they are not getting the results as expected and then lose hope.
The other most common mistake is to write about “what you love” in a language you are comfortable with and completely forgetting about the reader who’s going to read your post.
The reader should be the prime focus of your blog post. Nothing else.
Writing an awesome post and forgetting about actively promoting your content is also not a good strategy.
One of the best blogging tip that you can learn as a beginner is to stop chasing perfectionism.
There is no such thing as “The perfect Domain Name” or “Perfect Blog Post” .
Small consistent efforts repeated over time to make things better matter much more than wasting your time to make something perfect.
There is no dearth of good strategies that you can implement, but I want to introduce you to 3 key things which are the pillars on which you can build your blog upon:
1.Define your target audience
If you are thinking of starting a blog that’s going to help “people”, you might need to take a step back to figure out who those people really are.
Trying to target a broad audience from the start is a sure shot strategy to failure. If you narrow down your audience, you can plan your content accordingly. It will also help you further to promote your content at platforms where your target audience usually hangs around online.
2. Step into your audience’s shoes
Step into your readers’ shoes and try to think from their perspective. What information are they looking for? What is the problem they are facing?
Then solve that problem. If the same thing has been explained by hundred others, it does not matter as long as you are doing it in your own unique way.
3. Actively promote your content
A blogger’s job does not end after writing an awesome post. You also need to promote it effectively so that it reaches a much wider audience.
These are not all the good and bad strategies that you could follow, but if you take care of these ones, you are already up to a good start.
Related Article: Top 10 Blogging tips for Beginners [ ZERO to 300 dollars- Journey ]
Best Ways to Make Money Blogging
Once you have your blog ready and published content on your site, you can start making money from blogging.
Since a blog is based on a specific niche and has readers who are already interested in that topic, Brands get a much better return on investment for any promotional activity or advertising they do use these blogs.
We’ll go through these methods one by one:
It is one of the most profitable ways of making money through blogs. In this method, you earn a commission every time someone buys a product or service using a link that you post on your blog.
You need to register yourself as an affiliate on sites like Amazon, Clickbank or any other site selling products in your niche and recommend a product to readers to earn a commission, once someone buys using your link.
It is the only method through which you can start earning from day one, as long as you can provide value to your readers and help them make an informed and educated decision.
You can make anywhere from 1$ to thousands of dollars per sale. Pat Flynn, who is a renowned blogger makes 100,000$ per month through affiliate sales alone.
Companies are looking for ways to show advertisements to potential customers. You can earn a decent steady income for showing Ads to your visitors.
You can do this either by directly dealing with companies or you can use Ad networks like Google Adsense and Media.net.
As your reader base grows, you can start collaborating with brands and get paid to write sponsored posts on your blogs.
The brands might also approach you to do giveaways, reviews and also ask you to promote content created by their marketing team in your emails, articles, podcasts or videos.
Selling Digital Products
You can use the knowledge you have on a particular subject to create paid content for your readers. Since you have already established trust with your audience and shown them you know what you are talking about, they are more likely to purchase your products.
Selling Digital products is hassle-free as there are no overhead charges and you just use your blog to distribute them easily. Some of the examples of Digital products are:
- E-books – Publish your own Ebook and sell it using your blog or Kindle Publishing.
- E-courses – Empower your readers by teaching them a skill through online courses.
- Premium Content or Webinars – Create premium content for which users need to pay to access.
- Membership – Sell Membership for a program through your site.
- Photo, Audio & Video – Everything from quality photos, audio jingles, podcasts, audio-books, and videos can be sold.
- Apps, plugins or themes – If you know how to code, blogs can be one of the best ways to monetize your skill.
- Selling Physical Products- More and more bloggers are beginning to sell physical products that cater to their audience. Books, Handmade products, Manufactured products, even tickets to their events and conferences etc.
Selling physical products requires more work as you need to take care of shipping, delivery, returns etc. There are some advanced tricks and techniques which you can use to grow your blogging income exponentially.
I’m currently experimenting with some of these techniques which I’ll be posting on this blog soon.
- Indirect Income
There are many ways of making money through your blogs using indirect revenue sources. You can use your blog to promote yourself and your skills.
Some of the Indirect Income Sources are:
Freelance Writing– You can make decent money writing for brands.
Paid Reviews – Get paid to use products and services and write about them on your blog.
Consulting- You can share your expertise with clients by offering advice and strategy.
Freelance Services- You can promote your freelance services like Photography, Graphic design, Web design etc
Influencer Marketing- You can make a lot of money by being an Influencer in your niche.
Blogs are constantly being bought and sold online. Once your blog starts earning a decent income, you can make a fortune selling your blogs online.
Your blog needs to be at least 6 months old to get a good price. Empire Flippers and Flippa are the popular websites which help you with the entire process of flipping websites.
All of these different ways of monetizing your blog can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time.
But you only have to pick and choose which method works best for the niche in which you are blogging.
And the best way to figure this out is by checking successful blogs in your niche and checking their monetization strategy.
If you are just starting out, I recommend you to focus on writing content and getting traffic to your blog.
Monetizing your blog wont be an issue if you have traffic on your site.
I hope this guide helped you in understanding the basics of blogging and making money from it.
Do let me know if you have any any questions or queries by commenting in the comment section.
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