Fact: Making money blogging is still one of the top search queries that people input in search engines. Many newbies want to learn how to blog and earn a sustainable living online.
However, there is still a lot of uncertainty about how quickly one can start earning and how to succeed in it. This has led many people to start blogs and abandon them after a few months.
Blogging is tough. It takes a focused mindset to make it in the blogosphere. There is a lot to learn, but when done properly, a blog is a great way to make a tidy dome of money in the long run.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the steps that you should follow if you want to make money online through blogging.
8 Steps to Making Your Blog Successful – Passive Income Online Blogging
#1: Familiarize yourself with the basics
Before you start browsing the internet for a host for your blog, you need to understand the basics of blogging:
#1.1: Find your sweet spot
There are various niches with a wide range of topics that you can cover, and you should find the perfect one for you to blog about.
Ideally, you should bog about what you love the most. That way, it will come to you naturally.
However, you should temper this decision by understanding the people that you are writing for.
You may have a niche that is dear to you, but if you don’t have a large reader base, then your blog will be dead, even before you start it.
Learn all you can about the people you intend to write for; what do they need? How will your blog help them solve or meet their needs?
Once you have determined your reader base, and you find that it is substantial, then you will have found your sweet spot when it comes to blogging.
#1.2: Find your voice
You might be wondering why you need a voice, yet you will be putting down written content on your blog.
The voice of your blog is the tone that you use to communicate with your readers.
The demographics of the people you are targeting will determine the voice that you want to use.
You must be conversational, but don’t fill your blog with personal anecdotes, unless they are favorable to the people you write for.
A blog about lifestyle will be filled with a lot of anecdotes based on what kind of lifestyles you are asking your readers to adopt; a blog about a business will tend to be more formal, but conversationally.
Your voice should be seen in how you use headlines and the final structure of your content.
#1.3: Dress up your blog
This does not mean literally dressing up your blog; it means that it has to be aesthetically fashionable to your audience.
Let’s say you want to start a blog about gaming, then the graphics, media, and colors that you use should be attractive to gamers.
You need to determine the color scheme of your blog, the content that you will use, whether words or videos, the layout of the blog, etc.
If you are not great at web and graphic design, you can get templates that you can customize to fit your blog.
#1.4 Get visible through Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There is no point in creating a blog that nobody will find and read. Right?
You need to become familiar with how you will become “Findable”.
You must learn how to optimize your blog.
The term used for this process is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. This determines where you will be ranked in the Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs.
Your goal is to rank high on the first pages of these results since they are the ones that people pay the most attention to.
So how will you go about this SEO process?
You must have the best keywords that are related to your niche, and use these to write your content.
Keywords are the words that people put in search engines when they are looking for content that you are blogging about; add the keywords properly and they will be able to find your blog easily.
Don’t overpopulate your content with these keywords since this could lead to your blog getting penalize or ultimately banned from the search engines.
Google uses backlinks as a way of measuring just how useful your content is. If you have high-profile blogs referring to content on your blog, then this will improve your rank on the search engines.
Apart from posting on your website, consider writing a few guest posts for high-profile blogs and the create links back to related content on your blog.
Use long-form content
The search engines believe that long-form content has better quality content for users to read about. Long-form content indeed tends to be more detailed than short-form content which is usually highly summarized.
This means that people want to go to a long article describing everything they need to know to meet a need that they have, rather than go to a bunch of short summarized pieces that don’t provide concrete information.
Ideally, long-form content is of 1000 words and above; better if you can have more than 2,000 words.
Get a fast-loading website design
Site speed, which refers to how fast your pages load, has no direct effect on your ranking on the SERPs. However, it will define how much time people spend on your blog, and this DOES affect your ranking.
Have you ever landed on a site that takes a long time to load pages? Did you want for it to complete loading or did you just hit the “Back” button?
If you found it frustrating, then you should know that your readers will be frustrated if your site speed is slow.
Make sure that your site has fast-loading images, themes, fast plugins, etc., and leave out the baggage that slows down a site.
User Experience is prime
Today’s search engine algorithms are primarily concerned about the user experience that your bog provides to your readers.
Make sure that your blog is easy to navigate; answers should be easy to find. One does not have to go through a bunch of pages to get to the solutions that you are providing.
The text on your blog should be easy to read, and ads displayed in a non-obtrusive manner; avoid those nagging popups that can drive your readers nuts and make them abandon your blog.
It will take some time before your website is ranked on SERPs; usually about 6 months.
When you start writing your blog, simply keep optimizing your blog, and one day it will suddenly pop up in the SERPs, much to your delight.
If you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization, here is a useful SEO guide to get you started.
How to Find a Profitable Niche Market for Your Blog | Turn Your Passion into Profit with These Tips
#2: Go ahead and set up your website
Now that you are familiar with the basic functions you have to cater for, to make money blogging, it is time you went ahead and set up your blog.
#2.1: Name your blog
This is the most exciting part of setting up your blog: getting the name right!
The name of your blog will depend on various factors:
- What are you blogging about?
- Is this a personal blog or one that represents your brand?
Determining your blog name is a critical step and one that you should think about very hard.
Come up with a catchy name that can be applied to the niche you will be blogging about, or simply use your brand name.
Armed with the name, you may now purchase your domain based on the name.
The domain name can be an acronym, slang that people understand, or the full spelling of the name or brand that you want to use.
There is a wide range of domain name registration companies that you can use to register your domain name and use it for your blog.
#2.2: Find a reputable host
Just like you have a lovely home to live in, your blog also needs a home that can cater to its needs.
Unless you own a server, which is doubtful, you will definitely need a host to house your blog.
Selecting a host for your blog is a process you should consider carefully.
This is where your blog will live for the rest of its life, since changing hosts down the road may affect the performance of your blog.
Choose a host that can pair seamlessly with your blogging platform. Most hosts can pair with WordPress, which is the world’s premier blogging tool; the hosts will even install it for you once you have paid for your hosting.
The host should also have SSL so the content of your blog is safe from malicious attacks.
#2.3: Choose a theme for your blog
Remember we talked about dressing up your blog?
Right, this is where you start laying down the look and feel for your blog.
There is a wide range of free and premium themes that you can use for your blog. Envato is a great place to find themes for almost any kind of blog that you can think of, irrespective of which Content Management System (CMS) you are using.
Make sure that you demo a theme before you choose it to ensure that it will load quickly when you use it on your blog.
#2.4: Layout the legal issues associated with your blog
Oh Yes! There are legal issues that you should disclose to users of your blog so you don’t get sued into the ground in the future.
Your site will place users on your readers’ computers; you have to let them know about this.
If there is any secondary payment that you receive when they browse your site, you should let them know about this too.
#2.5: Create a page about you and your blog
The “About” page servers a larger function than telling people about yourself
This is the page where people get information about what your blog is all about.
Make sure that the page has information about the benefits your blog offers your readers as well as who you are and why you chose to blog in this niche.
This information helps create a bond between you and your readers and should be done well.
#3: Start writing your blog posts
Now that you have set up your blog, it’s time to start populating it with posts.
You have to decide how you want your blog posts to move from one to another. This is called niching down, where one blog post raises issues that you answer in the next one, and so on.
However, you may also decide to wing it and write about issues that are trending in your niche, even if they are not related.
This is entirely up to you and should be in keeping with the needs of your readers.
As a rule of thumb, SEO is easier when you have blogs that are related, so you can include internal links in your posts.
#3.1: Figure out your topics
Start by thinking about the topics you want to blog about and how relevant they are to your target audience.
If you want to create a blog about long-term changes that someone can do to change his or her life, then there must be a starting point and a flow that you will use to guide them.
Ideally, you should launch your blog with 3 to 5 posts, so you should come up with these titles, write about them and add them to your blog before you launch it.
If your blog is about how to live better with a pet dog, then there should be a clear line of thought moving from the beginning steps right down to the final solution.
You need to consider the transition from one blog post to another. Don’t start talking about feeding the pet and then move on to taking the pet to the vet.
You should fully exhaust the ways to feed the pet dog and the benefits the feeding regime will offer to the pet and the pet’s owner before you move on to issues regarding the vet.
#3.2: Learn to write clickable headlines
There is an art and science that you must learn about how to create headiness that will draw people to your blog posts.
Writing a bad headline will make you lose potential readers, no matter how great the content of the blog post is.
The headline is what people see before they decide to continue reading your post; Make it great.
NOTE: do not use clickbait headlines that have no bearing on the content of your blog post. This could get you penalized or banned from the search engines.
#3.3: Add a Metadescription to your blog post
A Metadescription is the text that you see on SERPs, just below the title. It is a description of what people will get from your blog post.
Google and other search engines use the Metadescription to let users know what your blog is all about, while they are still on the search engine SERPs.
Make sure you use a Metadescription that will entice people to click on the results link.
#3.4: Always add an introduction
Does it bother you when you find a blog post that simply dives straight into the content without letting you know what the full post is about? I know it bothers me.
The introduction of a blog post lets your reader know what the entire post will e all about. It is also a great place to add relevant keywords, which the search engine will love.
The best way to write a good introduction is to keep it short and let it build some form of anticipation so the reader can go right ahead and read the rest of your post.
#3.5: Use appropriate keywords in your blog post
Earlier, you got to know about keywords and how important they are when it comes to making your blog findable on the internet.
Use the keywords in your blog post and use them properly. Stuffing your post with keywords is bad SEO practice.
Find keywords that do not have a lot of competition. You can do this by simply typing the keyword in the search engine and see how many results you will get.
The keywords should be added to your title, Metadescription, introduction, and the body of your blog post.
#3.6: Create great headings and sub-headings
Most people start by skimming your headings and subheadings to see if there is content that is useful to them
You must structure your blog such that it can be skimmed easily, using clear and flowing headings and subheadings; use keywords too where possible.
The search engines also favor blogs that have proper structuring in the posts, and using well-written headings and subheadings shows great structure.
#3.7: Give users helpful content
Although this was mentioned when discussing how to create your titles, you should make sure that the content you provide gives tangible benefits to your readers.
This is a great way to build a loyal stream of readers within a short time.
It is not enough to write about trending topics if the content you provide is not useful. Make your mark as someone who writes useful information about the trending issue that people want to solve.
#3.8: Make your content readable
Some people will think that this refers to using large text on their blog post; although legible content is required, the way you lay it out matters too,
Break up your paragraphs into short bitable sentences.
People tend to skim over large blocks of text without reading them.
If you have a heading with a lot of content within it, break it into subheadings or bullet points and make the sentence no more than 2 to 3 lines.
Grammar is also important when it comes to making content readable.
It will not benefit your blog post much if readers are left wondering what you are trying to say with your words because your grammar and spelling are horrible – clean up your content thoroughly.
#3.9: Add appropriate images to your blog post
When you read a blog post and find a great image to look at, it gives you a little break from all the words you are reading.
Images help people take a break and ponder what they have read.
The images have to be appropriate and support the content you have written.
It is advisable to have 2 to 4 images in a blog post.
Make sure that the images you use have been optimized for fast loading. The bigger the image size, the longer it will take to load, so keep your image size below 500kb.
Tools such as TinyPNG will help you reduce image size without losing quality.
#3.10: Use alt text on your images
Alt-text is used to describe what an image refers to in your blog post. When you hover the mouse over an image, some text appears on a small pop-up box. This is the alt text.
The alt text also helps search engines list your images should someone use an image search on the search engine.
#3.11: Go for evergreen content
There is a tendency for people to write about hyped topics whose interest quickly dies out in the minds of the readers.
If you are creating a news blog, then this could work out well for you, but if you want content that will be used for a long time, then look for evergreen topics to write about.
Topics such as How to make money blogging will always be trending, since there are always new people who need this information; all you have to do is keep updating the blog post with recent trends on the topic.
#3.12: Remove the date slug from your content
I bet you are the kind of person who usually checks on the date when a post was written to determine if it has trending information or not.
When writing evergreen content, do not add a date to the post.
This way, the information will still seem fresh even 6 months down the line.
If you add a date, then the content will seem obsolete no matter how many times you update it.
#3.13: Do write a conclusion for your blog post
A conclusion nicely ties up what people read in the main body of your content.
It serves to leave a lingering mental vision of what you have talked about in your post.
Without a conclusion, the blog post will feel incomplete and may actually offend the reader.
Any call to action that you want to include in your blog post will fit very nicely in your conclusion; this may be asking people to subscribe to your email list, make a purchase of a product or service, etc.
#3.14: Launch your blog
After you have written 5 to10bog posts, you may now go ahead and launch your blog.
This means letting people know that the blog post exists.
Use social media to let people know what your blog is all about and the benefits they would derive from reading more about it.
Using our earlier example of a blog about pets, you could add a great image of your dog on Facebook, write a catchy headline plus a short description and finally add a link to your blog.
Now, these are the steps that you would follow when starting a profitable blog, but it does not stop there.
You still have a lot to do before you start monetizing your blog, but that is a topic for another blog post in this series.
Perhaps you are scratching your head and wondering when you will be able to do all of the above steps and launch your blog.
The best thing to do is simply start.
Whether you want to be a full-time blogger or earn some little cash on the side, you must start somewhere.
There are a lot of people who have proved that one can make money blogging, so fold up your sleeves and take the first steps right now.
You must also have the tenacity to keep blogging until you start making good money. Always start the blog knowing that you will take time before you can make money from it.
However, keep in mind that if you work hard to capture the right audience, then you will definitely make a good living from blogging.
When you provide relevant content, readers will come flocking and so will the money!