Starting a blog is one of the smartest things that you will ever do for your business.
Every day, millions of people go on Google searching for answers to their questions. Everything from "how to lose belly fat fast" to "best paraben free shampoo" to "5 minute makeup tips" to "DIY crafts for kids".
The list is nearly endless.
In fact, Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average. This translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
That is a whole heck of a lot of people out there looking for information.
Now imagine what could happen if you could get even a fraction of those people in front of you and your awesome business.
And imagine if you could get people in front of your business who are already looking for EXACTLY what it is that you're offering....
Well, good news! I can teach you how to do that.
Let's start with your blog.
Why Start a Blog?
Your blog is your home on the internet.
If you promote anything on social media, those posts eventually disappear. They attract some attention, they generate some discussion and maybe even get you some sales. But then they get forgotten and they disappear.
With social media, you have to constantly post new things to get your products and your business out in front of your audience.
Write one killer blog post, however, and you could be drawing in prospects from that one blog post for years.
Your blog can also function as a landing space for your social media promotion.
So let's talk about how to create a blog and start making money online.
Here's what we'll cover. (Don't be scared! This is simpler than it looks.)
- Choose your topic.
- Choose your domain name.
- Find a place to host your blog.
- Choose your theme.
- Install plugins.
- Set up pages.
- Settle on a strategy to earn an income.
- Create a content plan.
- Set up your Google tech.
- Install a sitemap.
- Create an opt in box.
- Create a contact form.
- Connect to social media.
- Add a blog disclaimer.
1. Choose a Topic to Write About
You can create a blog and make money online writing about just about anything.
There are two main questions you'll want to ask yourself when thinking about what you want to write about.
Which painful problem or frustration can you solve? People go online to find solutions to their problems, so if you are a resource and can help them and provide great value, your blog has a great chance to become successful.
What are you passionate about? You can create a successful money-making blog by writing about any topic. If it's something that you are passionate about, then creating content and motivating yourself to actually get to work will be that much easier.
If you want to build a blog for free in about 10 minutes, you can start here.
2. Choose Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the name of your website.
You'll want to pick either:
- Your first and last name.com if you want to brand yourself;
- Or a catchy and memorable phrase that is related to whatever it is that you're going to be talking about.
It's best to select something that ends is .com, not .ca or .org or anything else. This will minimise any confusion when people try to find you.
And you definitely do not want the ".something else" version where someone else owns the ".com". If you do this, they will get a lot of your visitors instead of you!
I use Name Cheap for purchasing domain names, but you can also use places like Go Daddy, or some hosting sites (see #3 below) will sell domain names as well.
3. Find a Place to Host Your Blog
Finding a place to host your blog is like finding a plot of land on which to build a house.
If you use Just Host, they have a handy article HERE on how to install WordPress.
And if you need to install WordPress manually, there's a great tutorial HERE.
Note: WordPress.com is not a viable option if you are serious about making money with a blog. Make sure go to Just Host or Eco Host Net (or any other hosting company) and set up your blog there. (If you install WordPress manually on your hosting site, you'll need to download it from WordPress.org, not WordPress.com.)
4. Choose Your Theme
My favourite paid theme (if you're using a self-hosted WordPress blog) is Thrive themes. Thrive makes it super simple to create gorgeous content and connects seamlessly to your email autoresponder.
Of the free themes, my favourites are Activello and Zerif Lite, but any free theme will do. The key is to install a few and work with them to see which one you like.
Once you have have WordPress installed, or you've set up your free blog using SiteRubix here, you can add a theme by going to appearance > theme.
Select "add new" once you're in themes and select one that appeals to you. You can install any number of themes that you want to test out.
Once you have your theme installed, you can click on appearance > customize to see what your blog looks like and to make some aesthetic changes.
5. Install Essential Plugins
If you're using a free theme, you'll want to install Beaver Page Builder so that you can quickly and easily create gorgeous content without knowing any code. Beaver Page Builder is free, and it gives you handy drag and drop option to create beautiful pages and posts.
You'll also want a plugin for creating contact forms and subscriber boxes (Contact Form 7 and OptIn Cat are good for doing those things).
6. Set Up Your Pages
You'll need to decide on a few things when you start creating your pages for your blog.
For your homepage, you'll want to decide on either a static front page that introduces you and want you do, or a blog roll that features your latest blog posts.
Most themes have the blog roll as the default home page. To change this, you just create a new page titled "Home". Then you go to appearance > customize, click on "static front page" and then select "static front page" (instead of "latest blog posts"). Not ready to create a home page just yet? Just leave it as your latest posts.
Other essential pages:
- Your About Me page lets the reader know who you are and what you do. To write this section, you would FIRST write what the direct benefit of your blog is for the reader. Then you would include a short bio about yourself and who you are.
- Your Work With Me page is a chance to include a contact form or a link to an affiliate program where a prospect can apply to work directly with you. You should also include a few paragraphs about what you do and what the direct benefit is to your prospect should s/he choose to join you.
- If you're not building a team, don't have an affiliate program to promote, or don't have your own coaching program, then you can leave out "work with me".
7. Settle on a Strategy to Earn an Income
There are so many ways to earn and income from your blog.
- You can write posts that include affiliate links to products and services that you love. Affiliate programs pay you a percentage of every sale made through your links and your banners.
- If you are a network marketer, you can blog about something that you are passionate about that is related to your company, and you can build your email list who you can then sell to.
- You can choose an affiliate program that is flexible and lets you earn a great income simply by promoting it.
- You can earn money from Google Adsense if you want to include ads on your blog (but this won't be profitable until you reach around 100,000 visits per day).
8. Create a Content Plan
Industry standard for publishing new blog posts is about once per week. At first, you may want to publish more often to build up your content base and to show Google that you're a serious site.
A simple way to create a content plan is to come up with 6 or more categories (topics within which you could write about a dozen or more blog posts) and then start to brainstorm ideas to fill out each category.
Block off time in your calendar to research and write blog posts, and commit to writing at least one per week. Plan your content ahead of time so that you have an idea of where to start once it's time to write.
9. Set up Google Analytics + Google Search Console (Formerly Google Webmaster Tools)
Google Analytics will help you to determine who is visiting your site, which blog posts are generating the most interest, and where your visitors are coming from.
This will be helpful down the line when you want to optimise your blog: i.e. when you want to write more blog posts like the ones that are getting lots of visitors in order to make more money.
Among many other things, Google Search Console’s main functions allow you to check your index status, optimize your site by eliminating errors commonly overlooked, and gives you pre site search analytics data. Used properly (ideally in conjunction with Google Analytics) can be a very powerful tool to help you get the most out of your your website.
10. Install a Sitemap
A sitemap is important for the spiders to crawl your blog so that you can found by the search engines.
The Yeost SEO plugin will automatically generate a sitemap for you.
11. Create an Opt in Box
An opt in box lets your readers subscriber to your newsletter, where you'll deliver awesome content and where you'll also be able to recommend products. (This is where you can make a lot of money online with a blog.)
OptIn Cat is a great free plugin that makes it super simple to create opt in boxes for your blog.
12. Create a Contact Form
Contact Form 7 or WP Forms are two free plugins that allow you to create contact forms quickly and easily.
You can add a new form, customise it, and save it. Then all you have to do is copy and paste the shortcode (given to you by the contact form plugin) into a text field on your page or post.
You can include a contact form on your "work with me" page and anywhere else you'd like. (Remember not to overdo it, though. Your opt in boxes are really all you need in the majority of your blog posts.)
Any messages sent through one of these contact forms will be sent straight to your inbox. (This is how I get most of my team mates for my network marketing business!)
13. Social Media Links
This is where you connect your blog with all the other social media sites you use. (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc). This builds your presence, authority and credibility and also lets people get to know you and connect with you through other channels.
You can choose a social media plugin that will allow readers to easily share your content. Also be sure to link back to your blog on your social media profiles, pages, etc.
If you’re going to recommend anything on your blog that you receive commissions for in any shape or form, you need to have a disclaimer on your site. This site - www.DisclosurePolicy.org - lets you can create one specifically for your blog (in under 2 minutes) and not have to worry about hassles from the Federal Trade Commission.
Voila! You now have a disclaimer on your website.
Don’t worry if starting your own blog is something you’ve never done before, and don’t worry about the technical stuff. (If you know how to use email you can definitely master a blog.)
The most important thing that you can do if you want to create a blog for free and start making money online is to start creating content consistently. You can improve the look and the functionality of your site over time.
The many benefits of starting a blog far outweigh the time it takes to set it up and get over the learning curve.
If you want to build a blog for free in about 10 minutes, you can start here.