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How to Start a Blog in 2021 and Make Money

How to Start a Blog

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more information.

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More than 15 years ago, I decided to get into internet marketing. I fiddled and stumbled for a year or so, learning bits and pieces along the way. My first few websites and blogs were terrible, and I never thought much would come of them.

In fact, I thought they were so bad, that I secretly wished no one would read what I wrote, and just click the links in the articles and head over to Amazon and buy whatever I was promoting.

But what started on a whim and a side hobby (alongside my main job in IT), over the years has grown into an absolute dream career that both my wife and myself do now. We’re absolutely blessed to have the ability to do this full-time, support our family of three children, and live a life we love. 

Our greatest wish, is for you too to have the opportunity to free yourself for working for a boss, stop following others rules and timetables, and create something of your own that you can be proud of, that stands the test of time, that provides value and enriches other’s life and experience, and gives you the opportunity to attain financial freedom.

We are passionate and committed to help you to create a money making blog. This post contains over 15 years of battle won knowledge in blogging and affiliate marketing, so you too can start a successful blogging business.

The Benefits of Blogging

Let’s solidify the benefits that a blogging business can bring to you:

  • Beginner friendly
  • Low cost of startup
  • Potential to make lots of money
  • Financial independence
  • Being in charge of your own destiny
  • Connecting with and meeting like-minded bloggers
  • Sharing your experience and knowledge
  • Building a social media audience
  • Make a difference in people’s lives
  • Any many more… if you have a specific benefit of blogging for yourself, please leave a comment below

Some Assumptions

I want us to be on the same page, so we can work to accomplish your goals together. As such, I will assume that you want to start a blog to make money. A little bit at first, and then more as your blog grows in size, reach and influence.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting a blog for fun, to share your ideas, connect with friends, maybe post some stories or family recipes or to share your hobby. Those are absolutely fine, and you can still use this guide.

But here we’re focussed on setting up a blog as a business, because at the end of the day, the majority of people want to have some reward for the time they spend on a venture. And the best reward is money. Not for its own sake, but for what it can do for you – provide freedom so you have the time to pursue those things important to you and your family.

Setting up a Blog is Easy as Pie

It certainly can be. You can have a blog setup in about 5 minutes and get your first post up. However there are many important details that you need to be aware of behind the scenes. If not done right from the start, you’ll have to fix things later.

The internet moves quickly and technology evolves at lightning speed. What worked in 2016 does not work in 2021. It’s very important to start your blog in the right way, and lay the groundwork for future success.

A house build on solid foundations will last much longer than a house built on shifting sands. With that said, there is another key consideration that you must be prepared for. Successful blogging takes time. And it takes action. There needs to come a point when you stop reading and researching, and take action now to get started.

For example, you can research the best best hosting providers for hours, even days, comparing every single detail and feature they offer as well as prices and a whole lot of things. At the end of the day, those 8 hours you spend research would have been much better spend writing 4 good quality blog posts and get your blog up and running.

I urge you to jump right in and start your blogging journey, without thinking too much about it and spending days and weeks bogged down in research. Go with your gut and heart and start today!

 

Step 1: Choose a Blog Topic

The first thing you need to do is decide what to blog about. If you blog is for fun or to share your hobby, you don’t need to worry too much. Simply write about your hobby or whatever interest you.

But if you’re treating your blog as a business and want to make money blogging, you need to put some thought into your blog topic, or niche. It’s not as simple as writing what you love to write about. Writing what you love may not make you money, or may make so little that you’re still stuck in your day job.

Because changing what your blog is about is difficult, it’s important to get it right from the start. Try to answer the following 3 questions:

Qn 1: Am I interested in this topic?

Blogging takes time and commitment, and it can be a slow slog at the start before you see any monetary rewards. It takes time to get ranked in search engines, it takes time to get first time visitors, and it takes a lot of effort to convert those first timers into regular readers. 

Hence you must enjoy the topic your blog is about. If you have no interest in pilates, but someone told you they make $5k/month blogging about pilates, and you decide to start a pilates blog, do you have the passion to write content daily for several months before seeing any regular visitors? Probably not. 

On the other hand, let’s say you’re passionate about Lego, and can happily write posts and make videos of you building Lego models for hours every day for months on end. That may be a good blog niche for you. Even if you don’t make money at the start, your passion will see you through the initial hard work.

It’s important to pick a topic you’re interested in, and can maintain an interest in for months initially, and then years down the track as you grow your business. If you choose a topic that you’re passionate about, writing content will be so much easier.

Qn 2: Are there other people interested in this topic?

Once you’ve found a topic you’re passionate about, the next question to consider is whether other people are passionate about it too.

If not enough people are interested, it will be hard to build an audience and generate revenue. There may not be any opportunities to promote products and services in the topic as well, as little to no products are available.

There’s a simple way to figure out if there is a suitable audience for your topic. This is called keyword researchThe tool I use to do all my keyword research is KWFinder

This free tool lets you input your “keyword” to see how much interest there is. A keyword is a phrase that people put into Google to search for. If many people are searching for the keyword, that means it’s a popular topic, and likely can be profitable if you build a blog on that topic.

Try it below. Enter a topic you’re interested in. Let’s say you’re passionate about a blog on vegan recipes. Simply enter “vegan recipes” below.

You will see many rows of results with a search number indicating how many people search for that word per month. You want to ensure there are at least 20,000 people per month searching for your keyword. For our keyword of “vegan recipes”, there are 233,000 every month searching for it.

KWFinder Capture 1

In the diagram above, if you look further down the rows, you will see other keywords associated with vegan recipes:

  • vegan pancakes
  • vegan banana bread
  • vegan cheese
  • vegan pizza
  • vegan brownies

You immediately have some post ideas! But before you launch into your first vegan pancakes post, have a look at the last column named KD. This is Keyword Difficulty and is an indication of how difficult it would be to rank in Google for this keyword. The higher the number, the harder to rank.

What I like to do then is click the KD column, and sort the results by the easiest to rank first. These are show in green in the diagram below.

What we can see is that vegan custard, vegan tortillas, vegan omelette, etc, have keyword difficulty around 25 and are easy to rank for. They also have searches of 6k+/month. 

This is a great way to find your first few post ideas. You want to create posts that have a large number of searches, yet low competition, giving you a chance to rank higher and faster on Google.

KWFinder Capture 2

Qn3: Will I make money in this niche?

Continuing with our assumption that you are starting your blog to make an income, this is a very important question.

While it is possible to make money from most topics, some topics are more suited to monetization than others. Consider for example that you work in banking or finance, and know all there is about personal finance.

If you decide to create a blog about credit cards. There will be dozens, if not a hundred credit card companies who will want to promote their services with you after you get established and grow your blog.

If on the other hand your passion is building ships in a bottle, and you want to create a blog and make money from it, it’s very likely that you will not earn any money from it. Using KWFinder you can see that the search volume for the “building a ship in a bottle” keyword is very low. 

There will not be enough people searching the topic. Additionally, you’ve very unlikely to find products to promote at a commission that will be profitable.

KWFinder Capture 3

If you are planning to run your blog as a business and make money, there are 3 questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. are there products and services readily available that I can promote to my audience?
  2. are there other blogs in this area and how are they making money?
  3. are there opportunities to create my own products when I have built a following?

Once you have answered these questions and settle on a topic for your blog, it’s time to think about the domain name.

Step 2: Choose and Register a Domain Name

Now that you have chosen a blog topic, it’s time to get a little bit more technical and choose a domain name. This is simply the name of your blog on the internet.

Your domain name will have two key functions:

  1. It’s your online brand: the domain name will generally be the same as the blog name, and it’s what people will remember you by
  2. It’s your permanent online address: people will be able to reach your blog from any browser anywhere in the world. It will be your own piece of real estate on the internet

The domain name can end in .com, .net or .org. The most recognized and trusted ending is .com, so try to choose a domain name ending in .com if possible.

Try to think of a name that reflects the topic and niche of your blog as closely as possible.

For example: vegancookingideas.com

You can use your own name in the domain name to give it a personal touch.

For example: JamiesDinnerRecipes.com or SamanthasBeautyTips.com

 

You can check to see if your desired domain name is available by simply entering it below:

Find a domain starting at $0.88

powered by Namecheap

[advanced_iframe use_shortcode_attributes_only="true" src="//www.bluehost.com/web-hosting/domaincheckapi/?affiliate=smartblogstartup" width="100%" height="175" class="domain-widget-smartblogstartup"]

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