This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Please read the disclosure for more info.
All blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs. A blog is simply a part of a website where there are multiple articles. Blogs can house a lot of different information and can also be very profitable if done correctly. Blogging became huge in the early 2000 with the rise of Google. Many people think blogs are dead today, but they are still thriving. Many blogs are being created every single day. Some blogs are wildly successful, while some are not so I’ve compiled a list of 10 steps on how to start a successful blog.
1. Build a blog with SiteGround as you web hosting
If you plan to monetize a blog, buy your own domain and chose a good web hosting. I see often in Facebook groups where people will start off with a free blog. You will lose out on so much content and search engine optimization when you do switch over to a paid hosting if you started off with a free blog. Start a blog correctly from the beginning if you have plans to monetize your blog.
When choosing a web hosting, you want to choose the one with the best uptime, speed, and customer service because you will be dealing with a lot of these. While many blogs “suggest” using Bluehost for web hosting, I want to tell you up front that they are the worst host. It is recommended all over the web because they pay the highest commissions out of any other hosting company. They might seem like the best deal in price too with the thousands of recommendations from different blogs, but when renewal comes, the charge is a lot more. From what I can remember, it jumps to around $11 or $13 a month with Bluehost. If you chose Bluehost, your blog will always be down. Go ahead and do a search for Bluehost on Twitter, and you will find all the angry complaints. The complaints are probably all recent too.
I had Bluehost for all my websites for almost a decade because I was too lazy to switch to a different domain. It got out of hand with the pricing and how often my blog was always down. At one point, my blog was hacked and everything disappeared. I eventually had enough of it. I simply cannot recommend that company to my readers. According to several blogging groups on Facebook, the one web hosting people highly suggest is SiteGround. Ever since I made the switch to SiteGround, my websites are always up. I am so satisfied with their customer service too, unlike with my former host. Check out my uptime with SiteGround as my web host.
You will receive free SSL certification with SiteGround. Some web hosting companies do not have this and you will be forced to pay monthly for it. All websites have to be SSL certified now with Google. SSL Stands for secure sockets layer. Web browsers and servers should now all have this authentication, encryption, for data sent over the Internet. If your blog does not have this, Google won’t let you be searchable and your blog will have a warning before people can access it. Have you ever seen those warnings before? You basically can’t see the site, unless you say yes.
SiteGround has a one click WordPress install so it makes installing your WordPress blog super easy. To get a step-by-step tutorial on how to install your next successful blog, check out this blog post on how to start a WordPress blog to make money.
2. Buy a theme
Some people opt to use a free theme for their blog, but free themes lack a lot of features compared to paid themes do. You will want to buy a theme that looks nice with many features, but the most important feature to look for is how often the developer updates it. Lack of updates can cause vulnerability in WordPress websites and can be hacked and brought down. Make sure that you can easily add an opt-in to the theme. Start thinking about landing page designs. A landing page’s sole purpose is to collect emails without any other distractions. This is so important when it comes to building an online business, especially with blogging because your main way to connect with your readers is through your blog, but you’ll have to contact them somehow to receive updates on your blog. Also look for a theme that allows WooCommerce capability incase you ever want to have an online store in the future.
Divi by Elegant Themes, Thrive Themes, and Theme Forest are the three places I recommend. Theme Forest has very nice WordPress themes that are fixed themes, meaning they have no page builders. Divi and Thrive Themes are page builder themes so you can drag and drop elements while building your blog. You can have a blog look the way you want it to look with this route. Thrive Themes is especially great for creating landing pages and it can also house memberships. In case you ever want to create a course in the future, Thrive Themes can house your membership on your domain rather than paying for other softwares like ClickFunnels or Teachable.
3. Add Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels
Make sure you set up Google Analytics when you first start your blog so you can track your analytics and progress. You will want to have these measurements so that you can assess what is working and what isn’t. You’ll also be able to track which blog post is most popular so you can make that post even better or create posts just like it.
Even if you aren’t using Facebook Ads just yet, it’s a good idea to add the Facebook pixel on your blog because you’ll be able to collect every single data from the beginning of your blog. This is very important when running Facebook ads because you can build a look alike audience of the ones that visited your blog. You can also retarget people that have seen certain pages on your blog.
4. Pick a niche that you can monetize
Your niche can potentially determine if you will have a successful blog or not. I see this time and time again in Facebook groups where people are asking about their niche and I always ask how they will monetize it. People may start off a blog to have fun, but I think most people really hope they can make money from it.
If you want to make money from your blog, then you must do some market research on your potential niche. Some people say to follow your passion. I really don’t like this suggestion because not all passion projects are profitable. However, things that you are not passionate about can quickly become a passion if it is profitable. Though, I do recommend picking a niche that you have an interest in that is also profitable because if you have no interest in it, you will procrastinate and not write anything. The whole point of starting a blogging business is that you can start living your best life and do things that you love to do, and if you’re writing things that you have no interest in then that’s not really living your best life.
So how do you determine if it’s a profitable niche? Simply sign up with ClickBank and ShareASale to start doing your market research. ClickBank and ShareASale are a marketplace for affiliate products. Affiliate marketing is when you promote a product from another company and get commission from it.
Start searching if there are any products in your niche. If you see a lot of products in the niche, and the stats look like there are a lot of sales, then that is a good niche to proceed ahead. If you don’t see anything, then you should probably pick a different niche.
Amazon also has an affiliate program called Amazon Associates. Amazon sells everything, but their commission is really low. You want to validate your niche with ClickBank and ShareASale products since commissions can run from 25%-75% on there.
5. Join affiliate programs
To start making money with blogging, the best way to do that is by joining affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing is a very passive income source. This is the bulk of many blogger’s income, which is why in the steps above, I mentioned to do your market research on your niche. If you go into a niche without affiliate products, the only way to make money is by selling your own product or services. This could be time consuming to create or serve when you are also blogging too. With affiliate marketing, you don’t have to deal with any fulfillment.
Start applying for affiliate programs that you are interested in promoting. Some affiliate programs require approval and therefore your chances of getting approved are slim, as they want stats on your blog and how you promote. Don’t let this discourage you though. You can apply for many other ones that give you immediate approvals. You can always go back in a few months to apply for those affiliate programs that denied you once your stats are better. You can read more on how to make money with affiliate marketing for beginners from this blog post. You can also learn how to make $100 a day from affiliate marketing from this blog post too.
6. Stop focusing so much on logo design
As a brand designer, I find it funny to suggest not focusing on your logo. So many people worry about their logo. They put so much time and energy into the logo, yet they have no audience yet. A logo isn’t income generating. Period.
With my signature framework, the first focus is building profit. The next focus after that is branding. Then there is the system building.
If you want to know how to have a successful blog, it’s through building profit first. Profit comes from your writing, affiliate programs, and your audience. You need an audience to come read your blog because that’s what helps generate the sales. You don’t generate sales from your logo, but wouldn’t that be nice?
Just throw something together real quick, and when you are making profit, you can start focusing on your branding design when you are scaling your business.
7. Start focusing on your email list from the beginning
Building your email list is not an afterthought. This needs to be done when you start your blog. Your readers are the ones who buy from you. They have to like, know, and trust you before they buy anything from you.
My favorite email-marketing program is Active Campaign. They are simply the best with so many features that other email marketing programs don’t have. It is also very user friendly. You can even trigger emails based on what content people have checked out on your blog.
To start growing your email list, you should provide a freebie that your followers would want. This would be an exchange for their email. This is what we call a lead magnet for your opt in. If you would like to know more about my email marketing strategy, check out this blog post.
8. Create products you want to make money from or sell your service
Not only can you make money from affiliate marketing, but you can also make money from selling your own products on your blog. You could create things to sell or you can simply dropship an item to someone. Dropshipping is when you sell a product that you don’t actually own. Another vendor owns it. You just order from them, and they ship it to your customer. You can sell products with WooCommerce to add to your WordPress website, or you can have a separate website with Shopify which you can link from your blog. If you would like to learn more about dropshipping, read this article on how to have an online store without having your own inventory.
You could create and sell courses and other digital products. You can host these through your own WordPress blog with Thrive Themes. You could also pay for separate softwares, which requires less tech work on your half. Such softwares include ClickFunnels.
Another way to monetize your blog is with your service. Good with writing? Write for someone. Are you great with graphic design? Be a freelance graphic designer. The list goes own. You could house a small portfolio on your blog.
9. Use Keysearch before writing your blog
Now that you have the basics on how to start a successful blog, it’s time to write. But before all that, you will want to get the keyword tool Keysearch. It’s the cheapest keyword researcher that I’ve found and it does its job. Google ranks articles based on keywords and domain authority. You can research a certain keyword or long tail keyword to see if you have even any chances in ranking for that keyword with this tool. This is one of the number one tools I recommend bloggers get so that you can actually rank on the first page of Google since it is the most wildly used search engine. Not only can you search keyword ranking with this tool, but you can also check out your competitor’s backlinks and what keywords they are ranking at the top spot for. It’s a very handy tool to be able to see what people in your niche are ranking in and which blog articles are most popular because you know that those topics are often searched for and you could write a better article too.
10. Publish to Pinterest and other social channels. Publish everywhere.
When you’ve completed writing a blog post, you must distribute it around the web so people can find it. People don’t just happen to stumble on blogs without it being posted somewhere else. The best social media platform for blogging is Pinterest. Pinterest, unlike other social medias, is an evergreen and searchable platform. This means that if someone searches something, your blog post could pop up. It could also pop up based on repins. Unlike Facebook, once you post, that post will likely never resurface again and it also isn’t searchable.
The best tool for scheduling on Pinterest is Tailwind. You will need this tool if you want to get serious about blogging. This is the tool that has helped lots of bloggers generate thousands of traffic to their blog. When you have thousands of people coming to your blog, and you’ve done all the steps above that I’ve mentioned, then you will start to see the profit coming in.
To take your Pinterest game even further, I highly suggest taking the course Pinterest Traffic Avalanche. This course teaches you all the things you need to know about pinning with Tailwind. It gives a lot of strategies. It also tells you what works and what doesn’t. This course has exploded many bloggers traffic. Not to mention, that the creators of this course make over 6 figures a month with their blogs. Insane right? They did it all from Pinterest and they teach you exactly how to do it in the Pinterest Traffic Avalanche.
You also want to be building up your backlinks. Two ways you could build backlinks to your blog is through commenting in message boards and also guest postings. Getting published somewhere that has a a high domain authority will also boost your blog.
I hope you’ve learned something from this rundown on how to start a successful blog. I see so many people lost when they are first starting out with their blog and I wanted to provide some valuable information to get the person who reads this on the right start to their next successful blog.