Don’t let resistance defeat your desire to learn how to start a blog!
This ultimate guide is here to help you break through the barriers and win your inner creative battle. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth accomplishing ever is.
One of the best decisions I ever made was learning how to start a blog and get paid.
I’m not going to lie, when I left law school and went all in, I was filled with anxiety.
I struggled for over a year before I found the formula to success, and I share all of the lessons I learned in this epic ultimate guide (including the one strategy that lit my brand on fire!).
With every passing year, it gets harder to make money blogging, but for you, that’s a good thing.
Because there’s always room on the internet for high-quality content!
Sure, the era of get-rich-quick blogging is behind us, but for soon-to-be bloggers like yourself, the time is ripe for those willing to work hard.
My strategy has helped dozens of internet entrepreneurs explode their email list, generate thousands of dollars in revenue, and rapidly gain authority, all in a short period of time.
Many of the tools and resources I recommend in this article include affiliate links. When you make a purchase through one of my links, I earn a small commission. I only recommend reputable services that I can personally stand behind. Keep in mind that while certain tools may boost your growth, the real engine of progress is your commitment to providing value to your audience.
With that said, killer content doesn’t just magically appear.
You’ll need to go through the step-by-step process of starting a blog from scratch, beginning with this essential first step…
How to Start a Blog Today: The (Not-So-Big) First Step That You Can Take Now
One of the most exciting things about starting a blog is that not much stands in your way aside from your own resistance.
The first two steps to starting a blog are:
1. Buying an (affordable) domain name.
2. Getting (affordable) hosting.
You can register a domain name and sign up for a hosting plan through Bluehost.
After that, all you’ll need is the motivation to create exceptional content (I know you can do it!).
How quickly can you bust out the first 1,500-word article for your audience?
It doesn’t have to be a piece of art. As a matter of fact, you’ll probably look back on your first article and laugh, but hey, even Picasso had to start somewhere.
Learning how to start a blog for profit may seem like an intimidating task, but just take it one step at a time and you’ll be fine.
Before you continue reading, take a breather, head over to Bluehost, and get some skin in the game. Once you have a domain name and hosting plan, you’ll feel supercharged to write your first article. By the time you come back and finish reading this guide, you’ll be stoked and ready to roll.
I’ve structured this guide so that you can tackle each task as you read along. Take it one easy step at a time and you’ll have a blog created before you can say “monetization.”
The time is now to start a blog and get paid!
Note: This in-depth guide on how to start a blog and make money on the side this year is over 14,000 words long, so you can check the table of contents below to jump to the section you’d like to dive in to more.
How To Start A Blog And Make Money In 15 Easy To Follow Steps
Are you ready to light the blogging world on fire?!
By the end of this guide, you’ll be reved-up and ready to dominate your niche.
Like I said before, the time is ripe for passionate people to excel with their first blog.
Let’s get to it!
1. Picking a Niche
If I had to leave you with one piece of advice before sending you on your way, it would be this:
“Write about something that excites you!”
Figuring out how to start a blog is like running an ultramarathon. When you choose your niche, think of it like choosing a pair of comfortable running shoes. You’ll be bursting with blisters if you pick a pair of sneakers just because other people wear them. The same goes for your niche ̶ it needs to be a good fit for you.
Write about something you’re passionate about.
It doesn’t have to be your ultimate obsession, but you do at least have to be genuinely interested in it.
Your readers will feel your excitement and want to join the party.
Why You Need to Choose a Niche
Niche down ‘til it hurts!
Your content should be specific so that it gives your blog direction.
Picking a niche gives you a topic to focus on.
Your niche is more than just a topic, it’s a commitment to providing solutions to a certain set of problems.
Start with a narrow focus when you first start your blog.
Let’s say you decide to start an Italian cooking blog.
It might be a good idea to focus exclusively on sauces for your first batch of content.
The next time someone needs to know how much ground pine nuts to add to their pesto, they’ll know to come to you for the answer.
Niching down like this will help you build authority faster.
As your blog evolves, you can start covering a broader range of topics. Be the master of sauce first and you’ll become the Italian cooking boss in no time.
When Perrin Carrell of Authority Hacker started his affiliate marketing blog HerePup.com, he wrote all of his early content about dog food.
He became the dog food master.
Soon the internet started to see him as an authority on dog nutrition.
Perrin’s strategy worked. Here Pup! was making $46k/year in revenue before Perrin sold the website in late 2016.
Common Blogging Mistakes
The most successful blogs are run by people who genuinely care about the subject of their blog.
I’m not saying that it’s impossible to start a blog in an industry that you aren’t super familiar with, but for your first blog, stick to a topic that interests you and avoid these common blogging mistakes:
- PITFALL #1: “Craving quick results” Blogging is a race without a defined finish line. Commit to the process, not the results. The revenue will come if you put your focus on creating the highest quality content possible and solving problems for your readers.
- PITFALL #2: “Not investing in your audience” Your early readers are your new children. Baby them. Pamper them. Coddle them with comments. They’re the beginning of the 1,000 true fans that will ensure your success.
- PITFALL #3: “Outsourcing too quickly” As your blog grows, you’ll inevitably need to recruit writers and outsource tasks. When you first start out, put a personal touch on every piece of your blog. Don’t start outsourcing until you’ve earned the loyalty of your core fanbase.
Always create top-of-the-line content.
Have a Clear Image of Your Audience
Chances are that if you’re passionate about something, you’re going to know a lot about the community surrounding it.
That’s great, because without a detailed audience persona, you’re blog will most likely flop.
What makes your target audience tick?
- Where do they work?
- Where do they live?
- Are they single or married?
- Do they have kids?
- How old are they?
- What music do they listen to to?
- What do they do for fun?
- What are their biggest worries?
- What are their biggest worries?
- What problems do they have that need solving?
This last question is the most important one.
Your blog has to solve your audience’s biggest pain points.
What will your blog offer that no other place on the internet does?
What will make you their go-to source forthe answers they need?
Know Their Internet/Social Media Habits
Where does your audience spend most their time on the internet and how do they spend that time? This is important to know when it’s time to promote your posts. Most social networks are growing rapidly within in the US and there’s no sign of them slowing down.
- Is your audience on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat Google or LinkedIn? 59% of 18-29 year olds use Instagram, while Snapchat users tend to be under the age of 24 and live outside the US.
- Do they participate in forums or belong to Facebook groups?
- Are they the type of people who scroll compulsively or do intentional research?
- Do they prefer extensive, in-depth posts, quick reads, or images and video?
The goal of your blog is create value for your ideal reader, not somebody else’s. Your content has to be effortless for your target audience to find and easy to consume.
Your valuable content is useless if it’s buried in articles that are shared on the wrong platforms and are too dense to read.
How Competitive Is Your Niche?
Before you pick a niche, you need to find out how hard it will be to rank for keywords.
Some niches, like health and online marketing, are notoriously competitive.
This doesn’t mean that it will be impossible to get organic traffic, it just means that you’ll have to work a lot harder for it.
Make a list of article topics that you think would provide value to your readers.
Then search for those article topics in Google. What types of websites rank at the top of the list?
Is the page filled with tons of high-authority blogs that dominate the niche? If so, it could make it difficult to get early traction with your blog.
Use website analysis tools like Ahrefs, Moz, SEMRush, and SpyFu to find out learn more about your competitors.
Signs of a strong website include…
- High traffic
- Lots of other sites link to it (especially other high-ranking, relevant sites in the niche)
- Domain Authority/Domain Ranking
Using Ahrefs to Dig Deep Into Competitive Research
Ahrefs is the best software to use to explore the competition. They have the second-most active crawlers on the internet behind Google and provide detailed backlink analysis.
Let’s say you want to write and article on how to lose weight fast and you want to see what the competition is like.
Google the keyword phrase “lose weight fast.” and see who ranks.
Healthline.com is at the top of the list. Go to Ahrefs.com to check out their metrics.
As you can see, Healthline.com is a monster in the niche:
- High traffic: 82 million visitors a month
- Lots of backlinks: 7.2 million
- A high Domain Rating (DR): 90/100
The other sites that rank in the top ten for “lose weight fast” are super strong too:
- Rd.com (Reader’s Digest)
In order to get organic search traffic from this keyword phrase, you’re going to have to beat one of these sites and take their place on the first page.
It’s going to be hard for a new site to rank for this keyword.
On the other hand, if several weak websites rank in the top ten, then you might have a chance of beating them as long as you make your content longer and better.
Here’s what the Ahrefs metrics of a weaker site look like:
This site, Optimal Living Dynamics, is an example of a site that you might be able to outrank for certain keywords after a few months of networking with other sites and getting more traffic to your blog.
Ideally, look for sites that are even weaker than this site. 10k visitors a month is still pretty darn good and so is having over 8k backlinks from other sites.
A site with a few hundred backlinks and couple thousand or less in monthly traffic is one that you have a chance of outranking immediately with only a couple links and highly-optimized content.
Before we go any further with this guide, I’d like to address a common question that many first-time bloggers have…
How to Start a Blog for Free in 2019 (and not get paid)
Starting a blog for free is easy in 2019, but if you want to learn how to start a blog for profit, the free route is the wrong path to take.
There are several downsides to consider with free services like…