Ever Wondered How to Start a Blog? Here is a Complete Guide to Creating & Managing Your Own Blog Space

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If you are interested in learning how to start a blog, you have come to the right place. Consider this your complete guide to both starting and maintaining a successful blog.

Over the years, blogging has become a big business. It has become increasingly popular among both individuals and business owners all around the world.

It is estimated that there are more than 1.7 billion websites in existence on the internet today. Approximately six million of them have blogs. Businesses utilize blogs to help promote their brand, increase their reach, and generate revenue.

In 2021, it was estimated that there were approximately 32 million bloggers in the United States. The number has grown over the years and is projected to continue. It is said that a new blog is being added to the internet every half-second!

Individuals start blogs for a lot of different reasons. They create blogs to share ideas, connect with the digital community, and secure profits. If you are new to the world of blogging, getting started may seem overwhelming. Creating a successful blog, however, does not have to be challenging. There are just a few things you’ll want to consider before getting started.

In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know about blogging and set you up for success with starting your own blog. We’ll explain what a blog is and how it can be beneficial. We’ll also walk you through the steps to get started and share ways to maintain your blog once it is built. So, buckle up because we are about to take a deep dive into the blogging world.

Table of Contents

What is a Blog?

The word “blog” is shorthand for weblog. A blog is part of a website where you create and publish content. The content can include visuals, like photos or videos, that can help illustrate different concepts and make it more engaging for the user.

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Blogs are typically managed by one person. However, there are times when a company might employ a small team of people to work on developing and posting web content together. Rather than an individual effort, it becomes a team effort.

What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Website?

Those interested in blogging may ask, “Are a blog and a website the same thing?” This is a common question among prospective bloggers.

The answer to this question is no. While a blog is typically part of a website, the two concepts are different. There are a few reasons for this.

First, blogs are typically updated with new content regularly. A blogger may post one new article per day or several new articles per week. The frequency is dependent on the user. Websites, however, are not usually updated as often. A website is a more static entity, while a blog tends to be more fluid.

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This can also affect search engine optimization. Since blogs are updated on a more consistent basis, they tend to rank higher in search engines. Blogs typically cover a wider range of topics and are usually more relevant which helps boost their ranking. Since websites are not updated as frequently, they may not have the upper hand when it comes to SEO.

Second, blogs aim to create a connection with users to cultivate deep engagement. Bloggers may write about things that evoke certain emotions in readers that perpetuate a stronger emotional connection to the content. Websites, however, tend to be more informational.

Lastly, blogs tend to drive more traffic. This is because the content is updated regularly and is fresher and more relevant. Bloggers are typically more in tune with what keywords to use to increase SEO rankings and expand audience engagement. Websites may not garner as much traffic because the content is not updated as frequently, and conversation points may not be as reflective of current events.

Whether you are an individual or a business owner, creating a blog or building a website can be helpful strategies for boosting your social presence. Neither is better than the other. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. However, it is important to note the difference between the two so you can make the best decision pertaining to what you would like to create based on your needs, interests, and goals.

What is Blogging?

If a blog is a place where content is posted, then blogging is the act of creating content for the blog. While it sounds simple, it is important to note that blogging is not that basic. It’s not just about creating content, posting it to a website, and calling it a day.

Blogging is an art and words are the medium. It is all about storytelling. When you start a blog, you intend to share your story with the world. In writing blog posts, you have an opportunity to lend your thoughts, opinions, and ideas to others in a way that is deeply personal and meaningful to you.

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Through your writing, you get to engage with others and cultivate a mental and emotional connection. When you create a blog post, you are creating and posting content that has the power to inspire others in an influential way. Starting a blog and sharing your words can put you on a pathway to greater social connection and long-term success.

Where did Blogging Come From?

You may be wondering about where blogging came from and how it all started. How did this artform start and when and where was it inspired?

The look and feel of a blog have changed a lot over the years. Blogs were initially conceived from an online forum software. In the early 1990s, companies like WebEx started to inspire running conversation threads via their software.

As these conversations evolved, the threads were taken and organized by topic. They were then posted to an online “corkboard” of sorts and became like an online diary.

A man named Justin Hall is often credited with being one of the first online bloggers. During his college years and beyond, Justin started a blog and used it to post intimate details about his life experiences to share with others publicly. In 1997, a man named Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog.” Then, in 1999, a man named Peter Merholz used the phrase “we blog” in his blog. The use of the word “blog” grew from there.

Around the same time, companies were starting to publish online tools that would make it easier for people to create, post, and share content. Blogger.com was one such site. This free blog hosting content management system was developed in 1994 and was one of the first of its kind. Other content management systems like WordPress, for example, were released in later years. These online tools became increasingly more popular and more sophisticated.

With an estimated 600 million blogs in existence today, the art of blogging has evolved since its inception back in the early 90s. Today, starting a blog is easier and more accessible than ever before.

What are the Benefits of Blogging?

Starting and managing a blog can be advantageous. There are many benefits to blogging. Together, we’ll explore 16 of the top benefits associated with creating a blog.

Benefit #1: It Allows You to Pursue Your Passion

There is no better way to channel your passion than through a blog. Blogging allows you to tap into your unique interests and share information with your audience via writing. When you own a blog, you have full creative liberty to craft whatever kind of content best suits your fancy.

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If you are passionate about flowers, you can start a blog that is dedicated to that. Perhaps you are intrigued by golf and want to learn to play better. You can create a blog that is solely focused on the game of golf. From learning to play to sharing the secrets of the pros, your blog becomes a safe space to grow your passion project and develop your skills.

You can channel your excitement and enthusiasm for virtually anything through your writing and share it with others. A blog provides you the perfect platform to write about the things you love and inspire others to do the same.

Benefit #2: You Can Do it from Anywhere

Another benefit of blogging is that you can do it anywhere. As long as you have reliable internet, you can create and manage a blog from the comfort of your own home, all with just a few clicks of a button. It is a highly accessible hobby or business venture.

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There are not too many hobbies or job prospects that allow for such freedom and flexibility with regards to location and work schedule. Many of us are confined to a cubicle working standard nine to five jobs. If you aspire to travel, meet new people, and define your work hours, blogging may be a good pathway to explore.

Benefit #3: Helps to Develop Your Skills

Whether you are a new or experienced writer, blogging can help you develop your writing skills. Your ability to write and relate to people will increase with each blog post. You’ll always be thinking about how to craft new messages that are concise, yet engaging, and that will get your readers to take a deeper dive into your content.

It may be interesting to look at your first blog post compared to future blog posts once you get started to assess how much you have grown in this area! The more you write, the better you will get over time.

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In addition to your writing skills, blogging can also help build essential business skills. If you are looking to pursue blogging as a money-making opportunity, you are going to need to learn how to market and promote yourself. You will likely develop skills that are highly transferable across industries and that will benefit you for years to come.

Benefit #4: It’s an Easy Way to Build a Business

Starting a blog can be an easy way to make money down the line. It is a low-cost, accessible way to build a business from the comfort of your own home.

Most content management sites allow you to get started for free. While the services are basic, you can always upgrade for a nominal fee. Typically, the free accounts have more than enough to help you get started.

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If you do not have a lot of capital to invest from the get-go, a blog can be a good way to start and build a lucrative business. You can always start small and build your way up from there as you grow more comfortable with blogging and gain more confidence in your skills.

Benefit #5: Connects You With Others

Perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of blogging is that it allows you to connect with others. These connections are not superficial either. Over time, they have the ability to become strong, deep connections that can nourish you and provide great social and emotional fulfillment.

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Typically, blogs are intended to be conversational and can trigger deep dialogue with people you otherwise may never have encountered in real life. You can build strong connections with people from all over the world, including other influencers.

They say that networking opens doors. Blog hosting is a good way to set yourself up for many “doors” and opportunities in the future. You never know who you might connect with. Many bloggers have been presented with opportunities to write books, lead speaking engagements, and teach all because of the content they post and share.

Benefit #6: Encourages You to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

There is a certain level of vulnerability that is required when you publish content that you created. You put yourself out there for all to see when you share intimate details about your life. You open yourself up to criticism from strangers and backlash from people who may not agree with your outlook or ideas.

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There can be a lot of joy that is sparked from these intense moments of vulnerability, however. Often, exposing yourself in such ways can lead to deeper, more meaningful connections.

It also encourages perspective-taking. Maybe others pitch ideas or thoughts, in contrast with yours, that make you reconsider your stance. Perhaps there is another way of looking at things that you didn’t reckon before. Blogging can open your eyes to new ideas and different viewpoints that you otherwise may not have thought about.

In starting a blog, it is important to note that not everyone is going to agree with you and that is okay. It is all part of the process. We encourage you to embrace the unknown and put yourself out there for the world to see.

Benefit #7: Allows You to Provide for People

Whether you are looking to start a food blog where you share recipes or an IT blog where you share technical solutions to complex needs, a blog allows you to provide for people all over the world.

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Individuals will always need information. Often, when a person has a question or is searching for a solution to something, they will hop online and scour the internet for answers. Your blogging platform may be the place where they find what they are looking for.

If you can help someone with your ideas or services, you are making a difference in the world and that should feel pretty good.

Benefit #8: Provides a Platform to Test Ideas

Have you ever had an idea that you were afraid to share or that you only shared with a few select people? With a small sampling, it can be difficult to secure honest responses to help determine if your idea is a good one.

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A blog allows you to pitch your idea to the world. You can use it as a platform to post and share ideas that you may otherwise have held close. By posting your idea to the public, you can generate honest feedback that will either encourage you to pursue your idea or push you to realign and refocus.

With a blog, if you test a new idea and it fails, you can always try again. Nothing is set in stone. Blogging allows you to try out new things without the fear of failure. As a blogger, you will eventually grow a network of followers who are there to support you in your endeavors. With this strong support network, you can do anything.

Benefit #9: Provide Social Proof that Can Amplify Your Opportunities

Let’s face it. We live in a digital world. Everything is connected through an app, platform, website, or media stream. This is how we connect with new people and keep in touch with those old friends we adore.

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With a blog, you can post articles, videos, photos, and other forms of content that will not only engage your audience but provide proof that you did the things you say you do. This type of content reinforces your story and can open doors. With everything being so accessible, you never know who is going to be looking at your content. Networking is everything!

Benefit #10: Reinforces Your Communication Skills

Not only can a blog help to improve your writing skills, but it can also help to build your communication skills. When you curate a blog post, you need to be thinking about your audience. How do you make the information accessible to them? Is your content easy to read and interpret?

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Clarity and the ability to be concise are important elements in both written and oral communication. Blogging can help you further refine these skills.

Benefit #11: It Can Position You as an Expert

When you research and write about one topic over an extended period you become an expert at your craft. Putting your knowledge and expertise about a particular subject out there for everyone to read lends you an air of credibility. It helps you to establish your name as a trusted source of information in your field.

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Before long, you may have people contacting you for speaking engagements, book writing prospects, and more. The opportunities are endless once you become an established name in the business. All it takes is one blog post to get started.

Benefit #12: It Can Provide a Platform for Writing a Book

Your blogging platform could provide a pathway to book writing. If you’ve never thought about writing a book, think again. Every blog post you publish is content that can be turned into a book. Many successful authors started their careers blogging.

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If you’ve never considered this to be a potential avenue, we encourage you to reconsider. Your journey to becoming a published author may be just a few clicks away!

Benefit #13: It Can Help Line Up Job Prospects

Another benefit of owning and managing a blog is that it could help line up potential job prospects. In blogging, there may be things you are exposed to that you develop a keen interest in over time. These may be areas or topics that you otherwise would have never ventured into outside of your blog.

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New areas of interest often open new doors. So, who knows? Your writing may just encourage you to apply for jobs in a new field or connect you with someone who recruits you to join their team. Landing your dream job may be on the other side of your new blog.

Benefit #14: It Allows You to Give Back

Throughout your life, you are going to have people who lift you when you are down. You’re going to come across people who inspire you to do better and who encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and explore new things.

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One of the best parts of hosting a blog is that you get to build a following of folks who will provide you with the encouragement you need to keep going. They will help motivate you and support you throughout your blogging journey.

Similarly, you have an opportunity to do the same for others. Through your medium, you have a chance to promote worthy causes, highlight the talents of other amazing individuals, and support those who are moving through the same blogging experience.

Benefit #15: It Can Help You Earn an Income

Last but not least, a blog can help you earn income. Over time, this revenue stream can grow into something quite substantial.

When you are first starting a blog, you’ll want to remain focused on what’s most important. Producing high-quality content, inspiring, and engaging readers, establishing a strong following, and being a change agent are all important aspects that can help you stay focused and grounded in your purpose.

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Money should not be your main motivator, but it is something to consider as you grow your online presence. A successful blogger can earn a generous income by partnering with affiliate programs.

These affiliate programs provide links that a blogger embeds into their content. When a reader clicks on the link, they are directed to the merchant’s website. If they purchase something, the blogger can earn a commission. Depending on the affiliate program, these commissions can be substantial. Blogging can be a great way to make money.

A profitable blog requires a great deal of time and attention but may be exactly what you want to work towards as your ideas grow and your online footprint expands.

Benefit #16: Anyone Can Do It

One of the most beautiful aspects of blogging is that anyone can do it. You do not have to be a professional writer or a technology guru to create a WordPress blog, develop a blog theme, identify a blog name, and craft original content that is going to draw readers to your site.

Content Management Systems like WordPress, for example, make it easy for people to get started without much prior experience or knowledge. With a few simple clicks of a button, you can create a blog in a matter of minutes.

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There are also plenty of guides to help you generate ideas and write engaging articles. Tools like Grammarly and the spellcheck feature in Word can also help you edit your content quickly and easily. Often, these programs are available at no cost.

With so many available resources, it can be easy to get started even if you have never written before. All you need is a positive attitude and a desire to learn, and you will be well on your way to becoming a successful blogger.

What are the Downsides to Blogging?

If you are thinking about starting a blog, it’s helpful to consider the potential downsides of this endeavor. While there are many clear advantages, the task does not come without its fair share of disadvantages. Let’s explore a few possible downsides to the blogging business.

Con #1: There is No Clear Pathway to Success

If you are looking to dive into something that has a clear pathway to success, blogging may not be the best avenue to explore. While there are many resources to support you as you get started, there is no comprehensive, agreed-upon industry roadmap.

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The process is going to look and feel a bit different for everyone. While creative liberty may bring excitement to some, it can lead to anxiety for others.

With so much information available, it can be hard to filter out the most useful resources. Sometimes, just getting started is half the battle. This can be a challenging feat if you are inundated with ideas but have no clear strategy for getting started.

Con #2: Blogging Takes a Lot of Time!

Time is everything when it comes to starting and managing a successful blog. When people begin, they may not realize how much time is required to build this type of venture. It can take hours to research topics and curate fresh and engaging content.

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You may also want to research keywords for search engine optimization so that when people search those keywords, your articles rank towards the top of the page.

Additionally, once you post the content to your blog, you may want to further promote your messaging via other social media platforms. You could post on media streams like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, for example. The more you can expand your messaging and increase your reach, the more successful your blog is going to be.

These are just some high-level aspects to consider. Let’s not forget about any email outreach, marketing promotions, or blog customization you do. All those things can add hours to your day.

If you are looking for a quick and easy side hustle or hobby, blogging may not be the best option. The best blogging platforms are going to be those that are built with a high level of thought and intention. Curating original content and sharing it in meaningful ways takes time and success does not happen overnight.

Con #3: There is No Guarantee of Success

When you start blogging, you do it because you love it. You enjoy writing, sharing your stories, and connecting with others via digital space. The best blogs are built by those individuals who hold no intentions other than personal fulfillment.

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For those who start a blog to grow their business or generate income, there is no guarantee of success. This can be disheartening considering how many hours go into drafting ideas, pulling together content, posting, sharing, promoting, and responding to followers. A person can spend hours posting content each week only to find their statistics are static.

Even if you do everything “right” according to the guidance offered online, you may be met with limited growth. This disadvantage can be discouraging. Though, as with anything, if it is important enough to you, you should be willing to take the risk. Who knows, perhaps it will pay off in dividends.

Con #4: It Can be a Lonely Hobby or Side Hustle

Let’s face it, when you are sitting behind a computer screen all day and your only interactions are digital, it can get lonely. Blogging can be a lonely endeavor and anyone who is looking to start a blog should consider this factor.

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If you blog as a hobby, you may still find time to connect with others. If you work in an office, you can still enjoy the interactions with your colleagues before going home to write. These moments can cultivate feelings of closeness, connection, and social fulfillment.

If blogging is your full-time gig, however, you may miss the time you had in an office setting with colleagues. If you are home writing all day, you may feel a bit disconnected from the outside world. Additionally, you may not have the guidance of a “boss” or manager who can help steer you in the right direction when you detour or help you overcome potential barriers in your writing.

Of course, there are ways to overcome these feelings once they settle in. Going to a coffee shop or inviting friends over to help brainstorm content are two viable options to help curb the feelings of loneliness and isolation. However, it is still important that those looking to start a blog or make money blogging keep this in mind as they pursue this venture.

Con #5: You’re Likely to Encounter Technical Issues

When you pursue a digital hobby, you are likely to encounter some technical issues. Technology is great when it works but can be difficult to deal with when it doesn’t.

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For those of us working in a virtual environment, we know these issues well. Sometimes, our internet gets disconnected, or the power goes out. Other times, we may forget to save a document, or our files get wiped completely by a virus. Technology problems can make for frustrating barriers that may or may not be easy to overcome.

If you are looking to start a blog or transition to full-time blogging, this is something to keep in mind. It can be a real downfall if you’ve spent hours working on something and it is wiped out by a freak power outage or computer malfunction.

Con #6: Inconsistent Income

If you are looking to start a blog, you may not be thinking about this becoming your sole source of income. Perhaps there are plans for that down the road. Regardless, it is important to keep in mind that blogging may not always generate a consistent amount of income month over month or year over year.

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There may be some months where traffic to your site is high. People are clicking on those affiliate links and purchasing items from merchant sites. Your commission earnings are substantial.

Then, there may be other months where traffic to your site is low. Perhaps individuals are not interacting as much with your content or with your affiliate partner links. During these times, your income may be substantially lower.

While a Google Analytics account can help you track traffic and view trends over time, the inconsistency can be discouraging. If your blog is your sole source of income, it can also be hard to plan and stick to a budget.

Con #7: Sticking to it Can be Difficult

Starting and managing a blog takes a lot of time, dedication, and self-discipline. You must be willing to put in the effort to reap the reward.

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While blogging allows you the freedom and flexibility to write on your own time, it can be hard to stay focused and stick to a schedule while working from home. Successful bloggers can sit down, stay focused, and create content in a timely and efficient manner. If you are not disciplined, this can be difficult. You may be tempted to get up, move around, play with your dog, or engage in other activities that detract from your writing.

Setting a timer or creating a home office space that is comfortable can help remedy distractions. However, distractions will always be there. In starting your blogging journey, having a plan of action for diving in – and sticking to it – is critical.

Con #8: Other People May Call You Crazy

If you are looking to start a blog, you may face some opposition. This is especially true if you plan to quit your day job to pursue full-time blogging.

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People tend to be wary of things they don’t understand. If someone you know has never stepped outside their comfort zone in this way, they may not understand why you wish to take the plunge. They may be skeptical, and they may openly share their skepticism with you. This can be discouraging, even if you know it comes from a good place.

While their intentions are likely good, the people you love may be concerned about your ability to grow a successful blog. They may be worried about you being able to find stability in an undertaking that, at the surface level, looks very unsteady. Abandoning the safety and security of a full-time job to pursue a blogging business may not make much sense to them.

When you start your blog, you must be prepared to take some backlash. Having a thick skin, especially at the beginning, will only serve you later.

Con #9: Improper Blogging Can Cause More Harm Than Good

A blog can do a lot of good for a business. While a website can serve as a tool for sharing information about a company, a blog can help bring that company to life in an online space.

Blogging allows you to tell your readers a story. It’s a different kind of content. Blogging is meant to be engaging, inspiring, and thought-provoking. Content is designed to be conversational, not just educational. It can help bring your company to life.

However, having a clear strategy in place and a plan in mind is critical. If you start a blog for your business with no real forethought, it can do more harm than good. A bad blog could discourage business.

If you craft content that is hard to read, rambling, inaccessible, and of no great value to the customer, you are going to lose credibility. Rather than purchase from you, your customers are going to seek services elsewhere. That means that you invested a lot of time into something that is not going to pay off in the long run.

Con #10: Blogging is Still a Job

It’s easy to get swept up in the idea of being a full-time blogger. What’s better than waking up each morning, rolling out of bed, and hopping on your computer to write in your pajamas?

Few jobs can afford you the opportunity to work from home (or anywhere in the world for that matter), set your hours, and make a generous income doing so. Jobs like this are far and few in between.

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While blogging affords great freedom and flexibility, it is important to remember that it is still a job. Even though you report to yourself, you must still show up, work hard, and take it seriously. New blog posts are not just going to appear by themselves.

A successful business requires a high level of dedication, commitment, and perseverance. In creating and maintaining your blog, you must be willing to show up and apply yourself every day.

Ready to Get Started? Here’s How to Start a Blog in Eight Easy Steps

Together, we’ve defined what a blog is and what blogging constitutes. We’ve also identified the key differences between a website and a blog and highlighted several advantages and disadvantages of the profession.

By now, you probably have a pretty good idea as to whether this is something you wish to pursue. If you are interested in starting a blog and potentially making money blogging, then you have come to the right place. Now, we’ll reveal how to get started in eight easy steps.

Step #1: Figure Out Your “Why”

Perhaps one of the most important questions to consider is “why?” This should be the first question you ask yourself. The answer to this is going to help guide the development of your blog.

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Are you looking to share information with others? Do you want to cultivate connections with like-minded people? A blog can help you inform, educate, promote, and sell. It depends on what you want to do, but the options are endless.

Here are some of the most common reasons why people start a blog:

  • To promote creative expression
  • To lend their expertise and build an audience
  • To network with individuals across the globe
  • To build a better business
  • To build on existing communication skills like writing
  • To generate extra income

There are lots of reasons why people chose to start a blog. Determining your rationale for wanting to create a blog can help provide clarity and direction as you begin your blogging journey.

Step #2: Determine Your Niche

Once you have assessed your “why” and the motivation for pursuing this opportunity, you will want to determine your blog niche.

According to the dictionary, a niche is a situation or activity that is best suited to a person’s interests or abilities. In the blogging world, a niche is a topic area. It is what the majority of your content will be focused on.

How Do You Determine Your Niche?

At first, it may seem difficult to find your niche or hone in on one thing that particularly interests you. However, this process does not have to be hard.

To determine your blog niche, it may be helpful to grab a piece of paper and a pen to jot down some ideas. What topics excite you most? You can include both personal and professional topics. No topic is off-limits. As you brainstorm, it may be helpful to consider the following:

  • What kinds of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time? If you enjoy photography or experimenting with new recipes, for instance, you may want to focus on one of these topics.
  • What kinds of things do you want to learn? We are all life-long learners. The learning process never ceases. Learning a new skill can be a great way to engage readers. You can write about what you learn and share information with others to help them get started.
  • What are some plans or projects you have coming up in the future? Is there something special you aim to do like go back to school, for example? If so, this can make for great content. Perhaps your niche can be navigating the world of adult learning or attending school as a full-time employee and mom.

Once you have brainstormed a list of possible ideas, notice what calls to you. Is there a topic you naturally gravitate to? If so, this may be a good place to start a blog.

Step #3: Determine Your Target Population

Your target population may be predefined based on the niche you select. However, you may be required to put a bit of extra thought into this.

Now that you have identified your focus area, who is your audience? Who will you be crafting content for? If you plan to start a blog focused on knitting, for example, your content could be written for anyone, as this is a hobby that is enjoyed by people of all ages.

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If you were to write about being a mom to an elementary school student, on the other hand, you are speaking to a much more targeted audience. You are going to want your content to address this subset of the population directly – moms of elementary-aged school children. Targeting your messaging is going to help you build a base of followers and grow your blog organically.

Honing in on the population you wish to write for is also going to be important from a design perspective. You are not going to build and design your blog to show racecars and racetracks if your topic is centered around knitting. You’re going to want your theme to match your messaging. This should also be reflective of those you wish to target.

Step #4: Select a Blogging Platform

Once you have identified your niche, you are going to want to select a platform. This is a service or software that will be used to manage content in the form of an online blog.

Content management systems help bloggers add, subtract, manage, and maintain the content online. There are quite a few options and many of them are free to use or available at a low cost.

While it can feel overwhelming to have to pick a platform, this process does not have to be difficult. Even if you select one to get started, but decide you wish to switch after a few months of blogging, you always have the freedom and flexibility to make that change.

It is important to keep in mind that no single platform is perfect. What is right for one person may not be right for another. Finding a platform that best suits your needs is critical. Before we take a look at some of the most popular blogging sites, let’s dive into some things you’ll want to consider when selecting an app.

Important Elements to Consider

If you are new to blogging, you will want to use a platform that makes it easy to design, customize, and post on your site. There are quite a few different platforms to consider, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few key elements you’ll want to be on the lookout for as you research sites.

Content Editor

A content editor is a key feature of every blogging app. While blogging platforms all have something different to offer, this one feature remains the same across the board. Selecting a platform that makes editing easy is going to be critical.

As you research different apps, it may be helpful to make a list of things you would like the platform to achieve in terms of editing. Would it be most helpful to you if there was a drag and drop feature? Perhaps an auto-save feature is most important so you don’t lose any unsaved work. Sometimes, too, these content editors come with a preview option so you can see what your post will look like on different devices before you publish.

Once you have a list put together of things you would like to see, you can determine which content editor will be the most user-friendly based on your wants and needs.

Themes and Templates

Themes and templates make it easy to customize your site. This is where you can sprinkle a little bit of your personality and add some flavor to your writing. A blog theme also helps you establish a certain look and feel which helps build consistency in your writing.

As you research different sites, pay attention to what themes and templates are available for use. Is there a good variety of templates? Are there free themes or do they cost money to access? How much does it cost to upgrade to a premium theme?

Many free blogging sites offer a wide range of themes and templates that can be further customized for use. With these pre-built templates, you can craft a space you love in no time.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

Optimizing your content is going to be critical if you wish to drive traffic to your site. This may not be as important to you when you start a blog, but it is likely to become more significant as time goes on and you establish a strong digital footprint.

How do you optimize content? Well, using certain keywords and phrases can help. A study showed that sites listed at the top of the results page following a Google search get 88% of the clicks. The top response got approximately 28.5% of those clicks.

In truth, people want information, and they want it quickly. When they search, they are more likely to click on the results that populate first before scrolling down to consider other options. When it comes to writing a blog post, it is important to be thinking in this direction. How do you create content with keywords that are going to populate more frequently in online searches?

Many platforms offer built-in tools that support SEO. This is an important element to look for and consider. If an application does not offer this kind of built-in support, you may be able to purchase an extension that can help, but this will likely come at an additional cost.

Extensions and Integrations

Again, no single platform is going to offer everything you need in one space. However, some platforms do offer a myriad of options that will allow you to scale up over time. While some of the extensions and add-ons may not seem so important now, as you start a blog, they will likely increase in relevance as time goes on.

Extensions that support email marketing, taking screenshots, SEO adaptations, and editing, for instance, are going to be helpful across the continuum of your blog. When you start, these additions will be useful and even after you’ve established a strong foundation for blogging, you will likely tap into these features.

Your blogging business will likely change shape and evolve. Your needs may change, as well as your goals. Selecting a platform that offers an ecosystem of extensions is going to be the most useful now and in the future.

Cost

Another important consideration to make, and perhaps the most critical, is cost. When you research “how to start a blog,” several sites will appear. Many of them will promote themselves as free.

While free sites can certainly be a good place to start a blog, if you are serious about becoming a full-time blogger or have goals to make money blogging, then you will likely need to pay a fee to access additional services over time. Though the initial investment may be small, the long-term investment can be much greater.

In your research, be sure to check out the plans each site has to offer. Different plans offer different options at varied costs. Free platforms may be a good place to test out blogging, but if you want to be serious about it, you are going to need to spend some money to do so.

Popular Blogging Platforms

Now that we’ve explored some of the general functions to be privy to, let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular blogging platforms.

WordPress Blog

WordPress is a popular name in the blogging industry. It’s one you’ve likely heard about before as it holds 90% of the market share in the United States. It is consistently one of the top platforms for aspiring and experienced bloggers, alike.

For those looking for information on how to start a blog, the WordPress blog forum is a great place to search for answers. Having access to articles, how-to guides, and tricks right at your fingertips can be helpful for those who are just starting. It makes it easy to get started.

Creating an account on WordPress is easy and only takes a few minutes. Once you are registered, you can select a theme for your blog. WordPress makes it easy for you to design a new blog you love. In terms of design, the site offers three options. You can hire a WordPress theme designer, purchase a premium theme, or download one of the free theme options. With so many options available, customization is a breeze (and it doesn’t have to break the bank)!

With WordPress, you can publish blog posts quickly and easily, add photos or videos, reply to comments, tracks website updates in real-time, and view notifications. For those who are looking to start a blog, this platform makes it easy to learn, build, and launch.

Getting started on WordPress is simple. While you can start a blog for free on this site, WordPress offers many additional options that you can explore for a small fee. Regardless of what you want to do, WordPress has you covered.

Self Hosted Blog

If you do a quick online search for information on how to start a blog, you may come across articles that refer to a “self-hosted” WordPress Blog. If you are unfamiliar with what this means, let us explain it to you.

This type of blog is created using the WordPress software, but it is not hosted on the website, WordPress.com. This option is usually more expensive than some of the other options that WordPress offers but can be a good one to consider for those who do not want web hosting.

Typically, these kinds of blogs offer more freedom and flexibility. This type of blog can be a good option for those who want to exert complete control over their blogs. This type of blog is easier to monetize, so if someone is looking to make money blogging, this may be the best and most viable option to consider.

Blogger

Blogger is another popular blogging platform that is often utilized by those looking to start a blog. The site is hosted by Google. All you need to get started is a Google account and account activation is free.

With the Blogger platform, crafting a new blog post is as easy as one, two, and three. With a few simple clicks, you can edit drafts or publish your content quickly and efficiently. The platform also allows you to go back and edit content if you notice grammatical errors or if you omitted important information the first time around.

In addition, you can run multiple accounts from BlogSpot. So, if you are feeling ambitious and want to create and manage more than one blog at a time, you can do so with this app. The app makes it easy to switch between accounts.

On Blogger.com, you can also add visuals to your content by embedding images from the gallery. You can also add labels to your posts to keep your content organized and easy to sort through. This platform provides a lot of options at no cost and is a great option for beginners.

Tumblr

Tumblr is an interesting platform as it is a bit different from the rest. It is a cross between a blogging platform and a social media stream and it functions in ways that some of the other platforms can’t. If you are looking to start a blog and want something a bit more robust, Tumblr can be a good app to consider.

With built-in tools, Tumblr makes it easy for users to get started. You do not have to understand coding or be well versed with technology to know how to use this platform. You can create a new blog post in minutes and add videos, photos, and other graphics to help bring your content to life.

The best part is that since Tumblr functions like a social media app, users can like, comment, and share posts once they are published. Creating attractive posts with unique content will almost ensure engagement from your audience.

These features make it easy to not only touch your audience but also expand your reach to engage new readers. New readers can lead to better and bigger business opportunities in the future. This platform makes it simple to build a social community and engage with people in ways you may not be able to with WordPress or some of the other popular blog spots.

Also, a quick side note -Tumblr was recently purchased by WordPress, so there is a lot of excitement and anticipation around what might bubble to the surface in Tumblr’s future.

Ghost

Ghost is another blogging application that is not as well known as the others. You don’t hear the name as much or see it advertised in as many places, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a solid contender.

While the WordPress site, for example, gets a lot of attention, Ghost offers a lot of great features that can make it easy for someone to start a blog. Over the years, these features have caused Ghost to gain some traction in the industry.

The good news is that you do not need to know or understand coding to get started on Ghost. This application is extremely user-friendly and makes for a great experience for first-time bloggers.

Right off the bat, users will notice and appreciate the simplified dashboard. When compared side-by-side with the WordPress dashboard, for instance, the difference is clear. Ghost makes it incredibly easy for users to create, edit, post, and update content. Fewer buttons equal less confusion for new users to start.

Ghost also comes with an easy-to-use content editor. Users can draft and edit posts with ease. They can also add photos, videos, and other visual elements to their content to make it more engaging. All it takes is a few simple clicks of a button to create high-quality materials.

Additionally, Ghost is a secured site. This publishing platform has safeguards to prevent breaches and to keep users and their content safe. With digital hacking and fraud being such a concern these days, bloggers can rest assured their information is secure.

Like WordPress, this site offers a self-hosted option or web hosting. When you sign up for a self-hosted blog, you simply add a custom domain. There is no fee for doing so. This website also offers a series of paid plans that allow you to access and utilize the site without having to secure your host.

Medium

Lastly, Medium is another popular option to consider when you start a blog. This online publishing platform was created by one of the co-founders of Twitter. With more than 60 million active users, Medium resembles Twitter, except you can create and share as much content as you would like without being restricted to 280 characters.

This site is free to join. Creating an account is easy as long as you have a Google or Facebook account. Users can enjoy all that the free version has to offer, or they can upgrade to a more advanced plan depending on their needs.

One of the advantages of using Medium is that users can import data as needed from other sites and sources. So, if there are posts that were already drafted and prepared, they can be imported to this platform quickly and easily.

Medium also makes it easy for users to post content that they can later share on social media feeds like Twitter and Facebook. When they are ready to publish, they will notice a few small buttons asking if they would like to share their content on these sites. With a simple click, the content is shared across applications. This can help users increase engagement with their audience and secure new readers.

One of the best features, perhaps, is that this platform comes with a built-in audience! Yes, you heard that right. When you post content, some readers are already a part of the site and can choose to engage with your content.

As people read your material, they can choose to give it a “heart” to show they like and appreciate what you wrote. The more hearts you attain, the more exposure you get.

Medium gives you a chance to convert general readers to personalized readers which can open up additional opportunities in the future.

Step #5: Select a Domain Name & Web Hosting

The next step in the process is selecting a domain name and web hosting. Often, first-time bloggers get confused by these two terms, so let’s clarify.

What is a Domain?

A domain is a web address. This is the URL readers will type into their internet search bar to access your site. It is important to have a good domain name so that people remember where to go. A sticky name will help drive traffic to your site and make it more memorable.

Your domain name lives within your domain’s host server. It is like the name of a folder within your domain host’s server. All of your content, once organized, lives in different sub-folders within the host server. So, for example, if you have a section on your blog where you write about dogs, the web address may read, “myblog.hostname.com/dogs.”

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting, on the other hand, refers to the website hosting services that are provided by a company. It is best to make sense of this term by using an analogy.

Consider, for a moment, that your blog content is your product. Imagine you are selling towels. Your words and writing are the equivalent of the towels in this example. Web hosting is going to provide you with the physical space to advertise, promote, and sell your towels. It’s like the brick and mortar building space that you rent or own to sell your product (in this case, towels, or your blog).

Some companies specialize in both serving and storing different websites. Choosing the right merchant to work with is important. It could mean the difference between developing a successful blog or building one that never really gets off the ground.

How Are They Related?

A domain name and web hosting are two different, but highly related topics. These two concepts work separately, as well as together, to ensure your blog is as successful as possible.

Without a domain name, people will not be able to access your content. Similarly, without web hosting, you will not have the platform to build or share your content. You need both parts to equal a whole.

Most times, you can purchase a domain name through your web hosting provider. Many of these companies offer packages for both, so you can select what works best for your needs. This makes it easy to get started, though there may be occasions where you need to purchase your domain name separately.

Selecting a Domain Name

One of the most difficult things you will have to do when you start a blog is select a domain name. This may be the most challenging part of the entire process, as you will want to create something that resonates with people and that best describes your niche. It can be hard to come up with names that are not only available, but that speak to you.

Your domain name will be comprised of two parts. The first is the name itself. This will be based, again, on what is available and can be no longer than 63 characters in length.

The second part of your domain name is the suffix. This is the “.com” or .edu” that follows your unique domain name.

Look at Some of Your Favorite Domain Names

The best way to go about this is to set aside some quiet time for yourself. Grab a pen and piece of paper and your computer. Think about some of the blogs you frequent as a reader. Then, go to their sites. What domain names do some of your favorite blogs employ? What do you notice? Jot the names and ideas down.

As you review your list, think about what you want to learn from these blogs. As a reader, what draws you to these blogs? What do they teach you? Are there common words you notice in their domain names that resonate with you or catch your attention?

Brainstorm a List of Words and Phrases

The next thing you’ll want to do is brainstorm words and phrases that you like. These should be things that tie into the topic or niche you wish to write about. Write down as many as you can think of. This list is going to be helpful to you later on in the process.

Create a Domain Name

Now for the fun part! At this point, you have assessed the domain names of some of your favorite blogs to see if some words or ideas jumped out at you. You have also brainstormed a list of words and phrases that stand out to you and that relate to your niche.

With your paper and pen, you are going to want to sit down. This next part requires some serious quiet time, so you may want to curl up in your office chair or find a quiet space where you can focus.

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Considering your list, start to write down potential domain names. Again, you are going to want to create a name that sticks with people, but that is not too complicated. It is best to avoid long names or names that are hard to spell, too. Remember accessibility is key.

Through this process, you are going to write down as many names as possible. Remember, it is not just about coming up with a clever name; it is also about what is available. With millions of unique domain names, the chances of creating one that is not taken right off the bat are slim. The more names you can generate, the better off you will be at finding one that is still available.

If you’ve spent some time trying to think of names to no avail and are still not having success, you may want to try out a domain name generator. These are free online tools that will generate names for you. All you have to do is plug in a few keywords and the system will create and customize name variations that can be used.

The most important thing to remember throughout the entire process is to have fun! You may feel a lot of pressure when you think about finding the perfect domain name, but remember, you are just getting started. Yes, a good domain name is important, but it is not the end of the world if you need to switch it up in the future.

Selecting a Web Host

Now that you have brainstormed domain names, the next part of this process is selecting a web host. With so many companies offering this service, it can feel overwhelming. However, there are a few key things you will want to keep in mind that will help you make the best decision possible.

Customer Support

First and foremost, you are going to want to select a web host that provides good customer support. This is going to be especially important as a first-time blogger.

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Some merchants offer online support for their customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which means you can access a customer care representative at any time should something go wrong. If there a technology issues or a glitch in the system, it is nice to know you can call on someone for support and that they will be accessible to assist with your request.

While there are merchants who offer in-house support, others may outsource. While outsourcing is not a bad thing, per se, it can be a barrier to getting in touch with someone quickly. It is recommended that you select a web hosting company that has an in-house customer care team.

Knowing Your Needs

Now that you have started thinking about how you want to build your blog, you probably have a good sense of what your needs are going to be from a web hosting perspective.

What functions do you need to make sure are available? What tools and features are going to make your experience more worthwhile?

Of course, you can always switch merchants down the line if you needed to but doing the extra research upfront can save you both time and money. There are many web hosting services available and the best one is going to be the one that matches most, if not all, of your needs.

Security

Another important aspect to consider when selecting a web hosting company is security. Online hacking and identity theft are quite prevalent today. You are going to want to work with a company that takes security seriously and that ensures your site stays protected.

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The level of security you need is going to largely depend on your blog and what you feel most comfortable with. If you are using your blog for a business, for example, you may want a higher level of security than if you are just writing a blog on the side as a hobby.

Secure Sockets Layer security (SSL) is something to look for as you research different web hosting platforms. Any reputable site will employ this type of security. It helps to prevent domain spoofing and other miscellaneous threats by certifying the host’s digital signature and identity. Many providers will provide free certificates, so this may be something you do not have to pay extra for. It is something to investigate.

Refund & Guarantee Policies

Another important aspect to consider is a company’s refund and guarantee policy (if any). Sometimes, a company will offer money-back if you are not satisfied with their services.

This can help bring peace of mind and ensure you will not lose money should you need to switch services. Most companies offer a full refund should you need to cancel within a certain time frame.

Backups

Does the web hosting company offer backups for content? A backup is a copy of your website. Backups help to ensure your website stays up and running.

This aspect is like that of a backup used for a Word document or Excel, for instance. It works in a similar way. Chances are there have been times when you’ve been working on writing a paper and your computer shuts off before you’ve had a chance to save your content.

Frantically, you try to reboot, reopen the program, and find your lost work. Luckily, Word does off you an opportunity to reopen unsaved documents based on your latest work. It is possible to recover them, though this is not always the case.

This aspect is critically important, as it can save you from losing hours and hours of work in the event of a technical glitch or another computer issue. It may be worth looking into as you research different hosting options.

Step #6: Register Your Blog

Now that you have determined your niche, solidified your target population, determined a domain name, and identified a web hosting company, it is time to register your blog. In most cases, all you must do is answer a few simple questions and enter in some simple details to get started.

If you are using WordPress, for example, you will first enter your goals. The site will ask what kind of site you are creating, who it is for, and whether it is a personal site or professional site.

Then, the site will present a few icons that you can select from. These icons represent unique sections that can be added to your blog. For example, you can choose to add an “about me” section or customize your icon to be used on your homepage.

Next, the site will ask you about your domain name. You can enter a name and a tagline if you wish. A tagline is a description that populates alongside your domain name when someone does an online search.

While creating a tagline can be helpful, it is not 100% necessary to do so. You can always hold off on entering a tagline and add one at a later time when you can put more thought into it.

In this step, the site also asks you to identify your comfort level with building a website. This is a nice feature that WordPress and others offer. If you mark that you are not that comfortable, WordPress will provide you with additional articles, help guides, and tips that can support you in your blogging journey. The less comfortable you are, the more support the site will provide.

Here, too, you can preview themes and other customization elements. While you do not have to spend a ton of time on this now, it can be good to orient yourself to what is available. Once you have answered all the questions and understand all the information, it’s time to register your blog. When you click the “register” button, the system will activate your account. Your blog is now live!

Step #7: Select a Theme and Design Your Blog

Now that you have done all the dirty work, it is time to have some fun! This is when you can let your creativity soar.

Since we have been using WordPress as an example, we are going to stick with that to help illustrate this next step in the process.

A WordPress blog, for instance, comes with several prepopulated themes and templates that can help you customize the look and feel of your blog. It is important to remember that before your readers engage with your content, they are going to notice the overall look of your blog. You’ll want to create a blog that is visually appealing and that draws the reader in to explore.

On your WordPress dashboard, there is a button called, “appearance.” It is here that you can click to access all the different themes and templates. When choosing a theme, it may be helpful to:

  • Read the description. Many of the available themes come with a short description. This is going to be help find a WordPress theme that best suits your blogging needs.
  • Check the ratings. Users can rate and review different themes. When selecting a WordPress theme, it can be helpful to look at the reviews. Has a theme been rated highly for accessibility and ease of use? You may want to opt for themes with higher ratings to make it easy when you get started.
  • Preview the theme. Another thing you may want to do is preview the theme. This is going to allow you to see what the theme looks like once it is applied to your blog page. Previewing allows you to assess the theme before you publish it on your page.

While selecting a theme can be fun, it can also feel overwhelming since there are so many themes to choose from! It is important to remember that even if you pick a theme, you are not bound to it forever. You can always change your theme as you move through the blogging process. When you change themes, your content will automatically transfer to the new theme, so you don’t need to worry about losing anything.

Free Versus Paid Themes

You may notice that there are quite a few free themes, as well as more advanced themes that cost a small fee. There is no one right way to go about it. If you see a free theme you love, then use that. If there are no free themes that suit your fancy, you may want to consider a paid option. When it comes to paid options versus free options, there is no right or wrong. Just choose what you love and, remember, you can always change it in the future!

Customizable Options

Once you select your theme, you may notice that your blog page still looks a bit drab. The theme is like the skeleton. While the general structure is there, you will still need to spend some time customizing your page.

You’ll notice your WordPress dashboard offers you ample opportunities to do so. There are a ton of buttons and things to click on that will allow you to change the font, the color, the background image, and more.

It may be helpful to spend some time playing around with these options. As you click through, notice what works and what doesn’t. What looks good? What feels good? Here are a few of the higher-level style elements you’ll want to be on the lookout for:

  • Site identity – this option allows you to change your site title and tagline (or add one if you didn’t before) or add or update your site icon.
  • Colors – this feature enables you to change your blog’s background color and primary color. It also allows you to customize the colors on the header and footer of the page.
  • Background image – a nice feature on your WordPress dashboard is the ability to upload and change your background image. If there is a photo you like that you wish to incorporate, you can use this option to upload and enjoy it.
  • Menus – this option allows you to customize your blog’s dropdown menu. When readers are on your site, they can click on this menu to access other areas of your blog or connect to your social media streams or other websites. It’s a valid option, as you can include what you wish in the menu and omit what you don’t want.
  • Homepage settings – another important feature on your WordPress dashboard is the ability to customize your homepage settings. Here, you can choose what you want to appear on your homepage and determine how to it laid out. You can opt for a static page here or you can choose to show your latest blog post, as an example.

Your WordPress dashboard features a ton of options to help you get started customizing your blog. With all of these tools, you can create a blog you love in a matter of minutes. The nice thing is you can always go back into your account and further customize your space, so as your needs and interests change, the look and feel of your account can change, too.

Step #8: Write & Publish Your First Blog Post!

Once you’ve played around with different themes and have customized the colors, background, and settings on your space, it’s time to create your first blog post. Your WordPress dashboard makes it incredibly easy for you do to this.

Determine Which Pages You Would Like to Build Out

First, you’ll need to decide what kinds of pages you wish to post and publish. Some of the most common pages include the homepage, an “about me” section, a contact page, and a page that highlights different products and services. You can have as many pages as you would like. You can always start with a few and then build your way up from there.

  • Homepage – your homepage is your landing page. This is the first place readers will go when they click on your blog link. Here, you can customize this space to include words, photos, videos, or anything else that gives readers a glimpse of who you are and what your blog is all about.
  • About me – your “about me” section provides an opportunity for you to describe who you are to your readers. This is one of the most important sections as it provides a platform for readers to learn more about your hopes, dreams, goals, and interests. It gives a face to the writing.
  • Contact page – your contact page is where readers will go to attain your contact information. Here you can share your phone number, email address, social media handles, and more. It allows readers to get in touch with you should they need to. You can post as much or as little information as you wish on this page, but it is a good one to have.
  • Products, services, and resource page – this page will provide a platform for you to share any products, services, or resources you’re offering your users, if applicable. Luckily, once you build out the content for this page, it likely won’t change much unless you bolster your service offerings or change your product line. This is more of a static page that you can change and update as needed.

Key Elements of a Blog Post

Once you have identified which pages you would like to include and build out on your site, it is time to get writing! Now, you can start thinking about how you would like to write your first blog post.

Crafting an initial blog post can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The process is quite simple, as long as you don’t get too caught up in seeking perfection. Remember, you can always go back and edit or update your content.

As you sit down to write, here are some key elements of a blog post you’ll want to keep in mind. Not every blog post needs to include all of these elements, but they’ll provide you with a basic structure and framework that can be helpful in terms of getting started.

So, if you are curious about how to start a blog, look no further. We’ll walk you through the elements so you can create and publish the highest-quality blog post possible.

Headlines and Titles

A good title is going to catch your reader’s eye and draw them to your page to learn more. When you are thinking about writing your first blog post, you’re going to want to brainstorm clever titles that are going to lure users to your page.

Headlines should typically be ten words or less. You do not want them to be too long or cumbersome. The title should be eye-catching and concise. It is also wise to create a headline that is focused on the present tense to make it real and relevant. You’ll also want to ensure you do not repeat the headline in the first few sentences of your blog post. This will seem redundant.

Not only do headlines catch the attention of readers, but they can also be helpful concerning SEO. Including certain popular keywords can ensure your blog ranks at the top of the search results online. You’ll want to spend some time on this and create something that sticks.

Lede

A lede is the introductory portion of an article or story. Typically, it is the first sentence or two of your writing. Like your title, you’ll want your lede to capture the imagination and interest of your readers so they continue reading. Your lede should also articulate the main point or focus of your article so readers are clear on what they are getting into.

Let’s look at a quick example to help illustrate this element:

“Knitting is an easy skill to learn that can grow into a hobby or a business. You can learn how to knit in just a few simple steps.”

Based on the first sentence, as a reader, I would assume that I am going to learn how to knit if I continue reading this article. The article prepares me by saying that it is an easy skill to learn that can quickly become an enjoyable hobby or potential business opportunity. This sentence is conversational and allows me to quickly orient myself to the intent of the post.

Pictures

Pictures can be a great addition to any blog post. If your post is going to be lengthy, pictures can help break up the text to make the content a bit more digestible for your readers. Photos are also helpful for visual learners. They can provide additional meaning to support your words.

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When selecting photos, you’ll want to choose visuals that are relevant to your audience and your text. If you are writing about knitting, as an example, you are probably not going to select a photo of a person skydiving as this has no real relevance to the topic at hand. Adding a photo of someone knitting, however, makes more sense and can add an extra flair to your content.

Your WordPress dashboard makes it easy for you to add visual elements like photos and videos quickly and easily to your content.

Links

Links are another important element to consider as you start a blog and write a new blog post. You can add hyperlinks to your content that your readers can click on to access information in other areas of the web.

If you are referencing a certain knitting method, for example, you can link your reader to another page where they can learn more. This allows you to provide a brief overview while keeping the information concise and focused. You can support your reader and encourage them to learn more without detracting from the task at hand.

Links will also be helpful if you are looking to monetize your blog. We’ll talk more about this later.

Block Quotes

In addition to visuals, block quotes are another way to break up the text and add meaning to your writing. Blockquotes are typically presented in a larger font and italicized to draw the reader’s attention to this block of text. The quotes are typically pulled from your content and serve to highlight key points or things you want your readers to remember.

Let’s consider a brief example.

“Knitting is incredibly easy and can be a rewarding activity to pursue.”

This sentence would be organized somewhere within your content. It would likely be bigger and bolded, so readers pay close attention and remember this key statement. If there is nothing else they learn from your post, they will remember that knitting is an easy and fulfilling activity that is worth pursuing.

Preparing to Write Your First Post

Now that we have reviewed the five essential elements of a blog post, it is time to start writing your content. There are a few simple steps you must follow to develop your first blog post, and we’ve outlined them here.

Step #1: Determine the Topic

You’ve identified your niche, but now you need to determine what your first post is going to focus on. If you are writing about knitting, for example, you may want to start with a quick introduction. Keep it simple and high level to start. This way, you set the stage and establish a springboard for future articles.

It could also be helpful to focus your first blog post on yourself. Write an introduction so readers know who you are and what you are all about. Here are some questions you might want to consider if this is something you decide to do:

  • Why did you start the blog?
  • What is the goal of your blog?
  • What topics do you plan on covering in your blog?
  • How often will you be posting content?
  • What can people expect to see as they continue to view your blog?

If your blog is not as personal and maybe more business-focused, you may want to skip the introduction. You can always share more about yourself in your “about me” section. Rather, your first post can be focused on your niche. You may want to look at Facebook posts, Reddit, or other social media groups to see what is being talked about with regard to your topic. It can also be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my target audience? Who am I writing this post for?
  • What kind of problem, if any, am I looking to solve?
  • What are individuals in my niche saying? What are they trying to do?

These questions can serve as a springboard for further thought and discussion. They may prompt some ideas that will help you generate your first post.

If you are feeling nervous about your first blog post, it may be helpful to consider something you feel comfortable with. Is there something you know a lot about and can present as part of your initial content? If so, write about that.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to determining your initial topic. The most important thing is just getting started.

Step #2: Research, Research, Research!

Once you have honed in on your first topic, you will want to do some research. Pull up other articles and tap into content that others in the field have developed to read up on what is happening. What are people talking about? What issues are they facing?

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Even if you are well versed in your niche, it’s always helpful to consider what others are saying. Good research helps you publish good articles that will help you establish credibility with your readers. This is a step that should not be glazed over or deemed unimportant.

Step #3: Create Your Title

We spoke a lot about titles earlier in this article and how important they are in terms of capturing your reader’s attention. Now that you have selected and researched your topic, it is time to start drafting your blog post. The first thing you will want to write is your title.

Here are a few tips for creating an engaging title:

  • Keep it short. It is recommended that you keep your titles to 70 characters or less. In this case, less is more.
  • Use powerful words and include keywords. Keywords are going to assist with search engine optimization and in helping your article rise in the search rankings. Power words are going to help get your reader to click on your posting to learn more. They are strong words that invoke an emotional response. In writing, power words are words that typically include one of the following five elements:
    • They are unique
    • They are action-driven
    • They are descriptive
    • They are inflammatory
    • They are surprising
  • Use the words “you” and “your” to help personalize the message. If a reader feels like a title speaks to them, they are more likely to click on your link to continue reading.

If you are struggling to come up with a catchy title, you can always use a title generator as we mentioned earlier in this article. This online tool can help you come up with a title in seconds and can be a good way to get started.

Step #4: Organize the Structure of Your Writing

Now that you have your title and know what you want to write about, it can be helpful to decide on a structure for your writing. Outlining the body content will help you stay organized.

Why Is it important to create a structure?

Creating a structure for your writing is helpful for two reasons. It can help you stay organized with your writing, and it can also help to ensure your content is engaging for readers. If you create a framework for your writing from the start, you can simply fill in the blanks as you go. It can be easier to populate content this way.

Additionally, having a structure makes the information more accessible to your readers. There is a general flow. People like to read content that is easy to understand and digestible. Long streams of text can be hard to decipher. If the content is broken up and better organized, it makes it easier to read and understand.

How to create a structure for your writing

Creating a structure for your writing does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. It is pretty easy to do. When you are thinking about crafting a framework, it will be helpful to think about keywords and the problems or main points associated with your topic.

The problems or main points can serve as chapters or subchapters in your writing. It is recommended that each subchapter be 300 words or less. This will help to ensure you are not creating long blocks of text as we discussed prior. With each subchapter, you can discuss the problem and offer a solution if it aligns with the topic at hand.

Organizing your writing before you start drafting content makes it easier for you, as the writer, and easier for your readers once you publish your first blog post.

Step #5: Draft the Body of Your Blog

Now that you have assembled a structure for your blog post, it is time to start filling in the gaps. In drafting your first blog post, you want to remember to do a couple of things:

  • Use headings. Headings are good for further organizing your content. They break up the sections of text and make it easier for your readers to consume the information you are sharing. Google also loves headings, so the more you use them, the better off you are going to be concerning SEO. You should label your headings H1, H2, H3, and so on.
  • Use bullet points. Bullet points are another great way to further organize your text. They make it easy for a reader to access important information quickly and efficiently. Bullet points also serve to further break down chunks of text.

The body of your blog is going to be the meat or the filling of your post. This is where you get to share all your great ideas with the world, so you want to be sure this section is well-organized, well-researched, and thoughtfully transcribed.

Step #6: Draft a Conclusion

The last step in crafting your first blog post is going to be writing a conclusion. A conclusion is a final paragraph that serves to summarize and reinforce key aspects of your post.

In your conclusion, you want to touch on the main posts of your article to reinforce understanding. If you have a primary keyword, you will want to include it in this section as well.

It may also be helpful to add a call to action for your readers. This is a statement or two that reminds readers what you want them to do or try following your post. If you wrote about knitting, for example, you may include a call to action that prompts them to test it out. Your call to action can be as big or as little as you’d like it to be. It is a good addition to closing out your post.

Step #7: Editing & Revisions

You have just completed your first blog post! Congratulations! Though, you are not done yet. There are still a couple of things you must do before you can consider this process complete.

Now that you have drafted your first blog post, it is time to go back through and edit your content. This is an important step in the process before you hit “publish.” You’ll want to read through your article and correct any obvious spelling mistakes or punctuation errors. Editing is also an opportunity to re-read what you wrote to see if your sentences make sense and flow the way you intended them to.

Luckily, there are a lot of tools available that can help support you through the editing and proofreading process. Programs like Grammarly, for instance, are often available for free or at a low cost. All you have to do is plug your content into their software and the application will check for spelling errors, passive language, and more. These can be a good option for those who want a backup option for peace of mind.

The editing process is critically important. Your readers do not want to sift through text that is jumbled and messy. You, as a writer, do not want to lose credibility either. It is best to spend some time on this step so you can feel confident when you go to hit the “publish” button.

Step #8: Publish Your Post

The last, and perhaps most exciting step, is publishing your post. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. You have worked long and hard up to this point and it is good to see your work pay off when you hit the “publish” button.

It is normal to feel a bit anxious when you hit this button for the first time. It means you are launching your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs into the world for all to see. You are exposed and vulnerable.

However, you should feel proud of this moment. Writing your first blog post is not an easy feat. It takes time, effort, and intentionality.

It is important to remember that even if you realize there was something different you wanted to say or more you want to add, you can always go back and edit your content once it has been published. Your blog is going to be a constantly evolving, fluid work of art that is going to change shape as you continue to progress in your blogging journey.

Growing Your Blog

By now, you know how to start a blog. We’ve discussed all elements of a blog including what it is, what it can be used for, the advantages and disadvantages, and how to publish your first online post.

Once your blog is up and running, you’ll want to promote it. Your blog is a fluid platform. It’s not like you post content once and then you are done.

On the contrary, you must work diligently to create and publish new content that is going to help grow your business. It’s not just about maintaining your blog; it’s about advertising yourself and your space. You must promote your content to engage new readers, increase your reach, and expand your business. Here are 20 quick and easy ideas to help you grow your online presence.

Idea #1: Develop a Marketing Strategy

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to create an editorial calendar. This should be part of a larger marketing strategy used to grow your online space.

An editorial calendar outlines specific dates, times, and ideas for publishing content. It holds you accountable for crafting new blog posts that are relevant to the needs of your readers and for posting them promptly to hold and increase engagement. It can be a great way to stay organized and structured when it comes to managing your blog.

Idea #2: Collect Emails for Email Marketing

Another quick and easy way to grow your business is email marketing. It’s easy to do via a WordPress blog – either a self-hosted WordPress blog or not. It doesn’t matter. WordPress gives you the ability to add space on your blog for people to leave their contact information.

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When they enter their email address, they agree to be contacted. You can pull a list of email addresses from your site to do an email blast. In this blast, you can include helpful information, additional resources, or upcoming promotions that your readers may find interesting. This can be a quick, easy, and low-cost way to further engage with your audience and build new social connections.

Idea #3: Experiment with Paid Advertising

While there are many great ways to grow your business organically, it can’t hurt to test out paid advertising. Though this may not be something you test out right off the bat, it can be a helpful strategy to keep in your back pocket.

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If you have a little bit of extra money to spend, it may be worth looking into Google advertisements, Facebook ads, or Pinterest promotions. This can be a great way to engage prospective customers and draw new users to your site. It’s worth doing a little bit of research first, but may be a low-cost opportunity to consider to see what works best.

Idea #4: Take Advantage of Your Social Media Streams

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. More than 4.5 billion people use social media worldwide and the numbers are increasing every day. Between Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and more, there are many channels for engaging new clients and promoting your blog.

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If you have a Facebook account, it may be helpful to create weekly posts to share new content with your social connections. You can also post photos that link to new content on Instagram. These opportunities can be added to your editorial calendar to ensure you are taking full advantage of them consistently.

Idea #5: Tap into Pinterest

Though Pinterest is technically considered a social media stream, we’ve given it its own category for the sake of this article. Over the years, Pinterest has become a “secret weapon” in the world of blogging. When it comes to digital marketing, Pinterest has a high return on investment. The platform is free and easy to use, which makes it a no-brainer when it comes to building your business.

Idea #6: Consider Guest Blog Posts

Another great way to get your name out there is to generate guest posts on other users’ platforms. Of course, you will want to make sure that these blogs cover the same general topics as you. There is no point in guest writing on a golfing blog when you are focused on knitting.

When you start to comment and post information on other people’s sites, you get your name out there. More readers recognize your name and are more apt to click your links and interact with your content. This is a great way to not only support other bloggers but to increase your reach as well.

Idea #7: Tap into Quora

One effective, but lesser-known strategy for growing your WordPress blog is to tap into sites like Quora. Quora is an online question and answer forum. When people have a question, they will post it to this site for answers. Anyone active on the platform can add a response.

As a blogger, it may be helpful to keep an eye on the types of questions people post. If they are relevant and related to your niche, you may want to post a response. You can always add a link to your blog. The more you respond and build your credibility in this arena, the more likely people will seek additional information and find their way to your WordPress blog.

Idea #8: Host a Webinar

As you grow your online presence, you may want to think about hosting a webinar. A webinar is a virtual session that is scheduled for a specific date and time. All you have to do is provide users with a link to connect via zoom or another interactive platform.

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Once they connect, they have an opportunity to sit with you and chat. You can initiate a conversation that relates to your niche, host a question and answer session, or invite guest speakers to join you. This can be a great way to deepen the connection with existing readers, establish your credibility in the field, and grow your network.

Idea #9: Start a Podcast

If you have the bandwidth, you may want to think about starting your own podcast. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to building your own, you can always think about connecting with other like-minded individuals to interview on their show.

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A podcast is a program that is made available on the internet digitally. People can tune in from their phones or computers to listen in on the conversation. This can be a great way to get your name out there or connect with others who are doing similar work in your industry. It can be an easy and low-cost way to build your WordPress blog.

Idea #10: Host a Virtual Summit

A virtual summit may take a bit more time and dedication to prepare, but it can pay off tenfold. These events are typically all-day ordeals. Sometimes, they can be longer depending on your capacity and the needs or desires of your audience.

A virtual summit allows you to come together with other professional bloggers and readers to engage in conversation, games, activities, and more. The goal is to learn, connect, and have fun! It provides you an opportunity to meet with others, face to face, in a virtual environment as you swap stories and learnings related to your niche. While there is a bit more leg work required for this activity, it can be a great way to boost your blogging business and grow your network.

Idea #11: Make Sharing Content Easy for Your Readers

Sharing content should be pretty easy on your WordPress blog. Some host sites, however, do not make it very easy for readers to share content that has been posted. The easier content is to share, the more likely people are to post it on their social networks.

You can always employ the use of tools like “AddThis” or “ClicktoTweet” to help make it easy for readers to share your content with a simple click of a button. These services are often available at a low cost and are easy to use, making them an effective strategy for growing your business.

Idea #12: Diversify Your Content

One of the best ways to increase engagement with your readers and build your blog is to diversify your content. This is a good learning and development strategy and can be a valuable method for growing your business.

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As you are writing your blog posts, it may be helpful to think about other ways you can present the information. If you are writing an article focused on types of knitting needles, can you present the information to your readers in an infographic? Is there a way to teach people how to knit by creating a short video that can you can post alongside your written content? Diversifying your content will help make your teachings more accessible and more compelling for your readers. It’ll also help to keep things fresh on your blog.

Idea #13: Join Active Communities

One of the best ways to grow your blog and your name in the business is to connect with other like-minded individuals via active communities. Perhaps there are digital groups who also focus on knitting who would be great to connect with. In these groups, you can converse with others, grow your social connections, and learn new things that you can then translate into future content for your blog.

Idea #14: Teach Online Courses

When you are starting a blog, you may not be in a position to feel confident teaching an online course related to your niche. However, as you grow and become more well-versed in your topic, you may want to give it a try.

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Online courses can be a great way to step out of your comfort zone. Not only can you help others learn a new skill, but you can also build skills as you teach. Digital facilitation, public speaking, and content development are all highly transferrable and in-demand job skills that can position you for success moving forward.

When you host an online course, you can also charge a fee. This fee typically covers any course materials and time used to build the content. It can be a great way to not only establish your credibility in your field but to earn a bit of extra income, as well.

Idea #15: Ask Lots of Questions

A great engagement tactic is to ask questions. When you pose thoughtful questions on your blog, you are more likely to get readers to respond and engage. This can be a great way to not only establish closer connections with your followers but grow your network.

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Idea #16: Make Commenting Accessible

When you create a new blog, it is important to think about how users with interact with your space. Are they able to like the content? Is there an option for them to share posts on their social media feeds? Is there a dedicated space for readers to leave comments and feedback?

Some sites, like WordPress, make it easy for users to read posts and add comments. Comments are a direct pathway to a conversation with your readers. Making it easy for them to leave comments will ensure they do.

Not only do you want to make it easy for your readers to leave comments, but you also want to make sure you are acknowledging and responding to comments in a timely fashion. Being attentive to your audience and their thoughts and feelings shows you care.

Idea #17: Utilize Chatbots

A chatbot is one of those tools that pop up in the corner of your screen. Often found on different websites, chatbots allow you to connect with a customer service agent or website representative for help. Typically, these are used in a customer service or technical support capacity, but can they be a great asset for growing your blog.

Often an underutilized tool, a chatbot allows you to connect with people as they land on your homepage. When they connect to your site, you can send a quick note to say hello and welcome them. You can also let them know you are available should they have any questions about your content. This is a great way to establish a rapport right off the bat.

Blogging sites like WordPress, for example, may it easy to deploy this tool. If you haven’t explored this method yet, it may be worth looking into.

Idea #18: Target Exit Readers

This is another convenient strategy for engaging customers, attaining referrals, and ensuring repeat visitors to your site. It’s an especially useful tactic if you are a business owner who is using your blog to promote certain products or services.

When readers go to click out of your site, a small text box will pop up. It contains a message that you can customize to get them to think about something or come back to your site. Sometimes, businesses will include special offers or coupons that can be used during a reader’s next visit. Not only does this help to increase engagement and customer satisfaction, but it also helps to ensure your reader will come back for more.

Idea #19: Create an Online Quiz

Everyone loves a little friendly competition, no? Online quizzes are a quick, easy, and affordable way to promote your blog. You can create a quick quiz in a matter of minutes with a few simple online tools. Once you create your quiz, you can deploy it on social media and other digital streams. When people click on it, they are directed to your blog where they can learn and read more. You can even attach prizes or incentivize participation to boost engagement.

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Idea #20: Use Your Analytical Tools

When you are first starting a blog, you are probably not too concerned with tracking the traffic to your site. At this point, all you are focused on is getting up and running. After you’ve built your blog and are trying to actively grow your business, your analytical tools will become your best friend.

When you install WordPress and activate your account, you’ll notice a feature that allows you to track trends over time. It will show how many visitors have been to your site and what content they engaged with during their visit. This can be a powerful way to determine what is working and what’s not. If there is a topic that a lot of people are gravitating to, it could be a sign to develop more content related to that theme.

The analytics tools can be a bit difficult to decipher at first if you are not used to using them. If you do a quick online search via anyone of the most popular search engines, you should be able to pull up several resource guides and articles that will help orient you to the process. Data drives decision-making, so this is an important tool to employ as you think about building your blog and growing your digital footprint.

Monetizing Your Blog

There is one more key area we’d like to cover today. Nowadays, blogging has become a big business. While some people are looking to start a blog for the sheer fun of it, others are looking to build a robust online business. While this can be challenging, it’s possible. All it takes is dedication, perseverance, and a little bit of elbow grease to make this dream a reality.

So, how do you make money blogging? While we talked briefly about how online courses can be a great way to grow your business and earn some extra income, we did not yet have an opportunity to explore some of the other ways high-earning bloggers generate income. Here are five additional avenues to explore if you are looking to earn cash with your blog.

Opportunity #1: Books and eBooks

Many great and well-known authors started as bloggers. Blogging can be a great way to hone and develop your writing skills. Over time, you may have an opportunity to turn your blogging into book writing.

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You never know who is going to be looking at your content or interacting with your page. Many well-respected and published writers were discovered via their blogs. Take Mark Manson, for instance. In 2015, he built a blog called, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” As his following grew over time, he landed a publishing deal with Harper Collins and has sold more than three million copies of his book in the United States.

If you’ve never thought of yourself as a good writer, don’t give up! When you start blogging, you may not feel too confident in your writing skills. But this should not discourage you. If you keep it up, who knows where your blog can take you. Perhaps you will be the next Mark Manson!

Opportunity #2: Speaking Engagements

Another way to make money blogging is through speaking engagements. As your blog grows and you establish a strong network of followers, you may be surprised by the number of doors that open. Bloggers who establish themselves as leaders in their niche are often invited to speak at conferences and other public events. Some of these events can pay upwards of a few thousand dollars for a few hours of your time.

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Not only does this provide you an opportunity to lend your expertise to others in the field, but it also allows you to earn substantial income for a relatively short amount of time. These engagements can also connect with you other professionals in the field. You never know what kind of job prospects or opportunities will arise as a result of these relationships.

Opportunity #3: Consulting and Coaching

You can also earn money by offering to coach and consult through your blog. When you become known as a leader in your field, people want to learn from you. They want to understand your process and follow in your footsteps so that they, too, can become successful bloggers and reap the same benefits.

The nice thing about consulting is that you are selling your knowledge, experience, and skills. You get to name your price based on the value you think you bring to the table. Some consultants charge upwards of $1,000 per hour. They also work when they want and how often they want. Since they dictate what their schedule looks like, they have a lot of freedom and flexibility to spend time with their loved ones or pursue other hobbies they enjoy. Your blog can provide a pathway to a lucrative consulting or coaching gig.

Opportunity #4: Freelancing

There is a difference between consulting and freelancing. With consulting, you guide individuals and companies. With freelancing, you do the service or job for them and charge a fee.

If you are really good or well versed in something, you can use your blog as a platform to sell your services. Customers can connect with you on your blog and hire you to perform odd jobs. Freelancing can be a great way to earn some extra income.

Some bloggers use their blogs to source clients and freelance in a full-time capacity. They determine their hours and get paid well for the work they do.

Opportunity #5: Affiliate Marketing

We saved this one for last because there is a lot to talk about concerning this topic. Affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn passive income with your blog. While it is not that complicated, there are a few key concepts you’ll want to understand before you engage in this type of opportunity.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Let’s start by defining “affiliate marketing.” You’ve likely heard this term used before but may not know what it means or how it works. It’s a popular concept that is often encouraged in the blogging world.

Affiliate marketing involves promoting certain services or products on your blog. Often, you will partner with an affiliate program. This program will be linked to a merchant that will provide you with links that you can embed within your content and share on your blog. In a nutshell, you can earn commissions when readers click on these links and purchase items from the affiliate site.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

When an affiliate partner provides you with these links, you will embed them into your content. You can add some verbiage to draw your readers’ eyes to the link and encourage them to click on it. Once they click the link, they will be directed to the merchant site.

When they purchase an item or service from this site, you earn a commission. Affiliate programs are all structured a bit differently so different program partners offer various commission structures and perks. Some will pay you a commission just by getting someone to click on the link. They don’t even have to buy anything from the company site for you to earn money. The referral is enough on its own.

It’s best to illustrate this with an example. There are many different types of affiliate programs. Let’s consider a food affiliate like Hello Fresh. This is a company that offers food delivery services. Fresh, high-quality, ingredients are shipped to your door. All you must do is take them out of the box, put all the ingredients together, and cook as instructed. While the services can be costly, it’s a great option for those who are looking for quick, easy, and healthy meal solutions.

If a blogger were to partner with Hello Fresh, the company would provide them with links to place in their content on their blog. When readers click on these links, they’ll be directed to the Hello Fresh site. If they purchase a meal plan from the company, the blogger will earn a commission based upon the partnership agreement.

Some affiliate programs offer continued commission earnings over an extended period. Others cap the commissions or expire the links. There are many different types of affiliate programs to choose from based on your niche. If you write about food and recipes, you may want to check out some of the food affiliate programs. If your audience is interested in digital security, for instance, you may want to research VPN affiliate programs. The options are endless.

What are the Advantages of Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing offers bloggers several advantages. Here are a few of the most common ones.

Pro #1: Easy to Execute

One of the advantages of affiliate marketing is that it is easy to execute. You are already creating and customizing content for your audience, so there is not much you have to do differently concerning your writing.

All you must do is embed a few links into your text. You can always modify the message a bit to draw your reader’s attention to the links, but your day-to-day workflow remains the same.

The real work falls on the shoulders of the affiliate partner. They are the ones who have to develop, support, and fulfill any orders that may come through as a result of your collaboration. The company is also the one to facilitate payment and do any accounting tasks that are associated with the partnership.

Pro #2: Low Risk

Often, these affiliate programs are free to join. You do not have to invest any money upfront to participate in this kind of partnership. This can make it a no-brainer with regards to earning extra income via your blog. All you have to do is set up your content as you normally would, embed the links, and allow the rest to unfold.

Pro #3: The Ability to Scale

Affiliate marketing offers you an opportunity to scale up pretty quickly. You can start small by partnering with just a few programs of choice and grow from there.

You can increase your program count over time based on your level of comfort and your desire to earn more. Affiliate marketing affords you the freedom and flexibility to earn money on your own time. This pursuit can be as big or as little as you want it to be.

An important thing to note, however, is that you want to be conscientious of the types of affiliate programs you are promoting. It is critical to push products that you use and trust. You do not want to encourage your readers to invest in items or services that you, yourself, do not believe in or use. This could cause you to lose credibility on your blog and damage the relationship you have with your followers.

What are the Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing?

We presented quite a few advantages to affiliate marketing and that list is by no means exhaustive. While affiliate marketing can be quite lucrative, there are things you want to be aware of before you embark on this journey. As with anything, there are some downsides to affiliate marketing, too. Here are a few of the most common ones.

Con #1: It Takes Time

While there is relatively little lift with affiliate marketing, it takes a great deal of time and patience to earn a substantial income. If you are looking for a get-rich-quick type of scheme, you best look elsewhere because you are not going to find it here.

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It takes a lot of time to research the products and services you wish to promote. Again, you’ve likely spent a lot of time building your following and establishing your credibility as a blogger. The last thing you want to do is ruin your reputation by pushing products and services that are not in alignment with who you are and what you stand for.

It also takes a lot of time to curate content. You have to be intentional with your messaging. It pays to explore different channels for sharing information, too. Testing out different pathways and generating leads takes time.

Con #2: It is Commission Based

Earning a commission can certainly be lucrative depending on the program and partnership. However, the income is never guaranteed, and it can be relatively inconsistent.

Depending on the traffic to your site and the number of people who click on your affiliate links, you can have some months where you earn a generous commission and other months where you don’t. It all depends, and there are a lot of variables that come into play.

If you are looking to use this as a means of attaining a livable wage, you may want to think about having a few backup plans or additional streams of income. While affiliate marketing can certainly be a lucrative way of earning passive income, it should not be the end-all to your earning strategy.

Con #3: You do Not Have Control Over the Program

You may have control over the content you create, but you do not have control over how the affiliate program is run. If there are certain things the company wants you to do per your agreement, you must comply.

With so many others vying for the same opportunities, you also need to think of ways to differentiate yourself from the rest. This is an ongoing process and one that requires a great deal of time and attention. You are often in the process of reinventing yourself and your content to secure engagement between your readers and your affiliate partners.

How Do Affiliates Get Paid?

Now that we’ve discussed some of the most common advantages and disadvantages associated with affiliate marketing, let’s talk a bit more about how affiliates get paid. It’s common knowledge that affiliates can earn a generous income through these partnerships, but how is money made? What do the commissions look like?

At a high level, there are five common ways affiliates get paid in these programs. We’ll take a closer look at each of them now.

#1 – Pay Per Sale

This is one of the most common ways affiliates get paid. When a reader clicks on an affiliate link that has been added to your blog, they are directed to the company site. If they purchase an item from the merchant, you get paid. The merchant tracks the data from this transaction and will issue you a commission payment based on your partnership agreement.

#2 – Pay Per Action

Pay per action is another common way affiliates can earn income from these programs. There are a lot of affiliate programs that use this commission model because it can apply to a lot of different things. For instance, if a reader clicks on the link in your blog and is connected to the merchant site, they may sign up for a newsletter that generates a commission for you. Even though they did not purchase an item, per se, they acted and interacted with the site in a way that was rewarding to you.

#3 – Pay Per Install

This commission model is a bit different from the rest. Rather than being paid for a purchase or for an interaction on a merchant site, the affiliate is paid for programs and apps that are downloaded by users. So, if a person visits your blog and clicks to download an app, such as Facebook, for instance, you will be awarded a commission for this installation. In this case, the goal of the content on your blog would be to drive readers to download certain apps to their phones or tablets.

#4 – Pay Per Lead

This is one of the most common ways affiliates get paid and can be a great way for beginners to get their feet wet with affiliate marketing. In this model, affiliates are paid anytime a reader signs up for something on a merchant site. This can be a newsletter, a contest, sweepstakes, or anything of this nature. When they register, you earn a commission. Again, this can be a great opportunity for first-time bloggers because you don’t need to sell a product or service to earn a commission check.

#5 – Pay Per Click

This commission model is rare, though it does exist. With a pay-per-click model, you earn money every time a reader clicks on your affiliate link. They do not need to sign up for anything or purchase anything from the merchant site. All they need to do is click on the link and you earn a commission check. This can be a lucrative commission model but, as mentioned, it is a rarity these days.

Tips for Successful Affiliate Marketing

After carefully considering all of the ways your blog can help you generate income, maybe you’ve decided that affiliate marketing is the way you want to go. If this is the path you wish to pursue, here are some tips and tricks to help you get started and ensure a successful journey.

Tip #1: Get Personal

There are a lot of reasons why a person might start a blog. It provides a platform for sharing ideas, thoughts, feelings, and aspirations. It can be a great place to promote products or services that you believe in and that you hope others test out. A blog can also help open up a conversation with people all over the world and create a safe space for honest dialogue.

Regardless of why you choose to start a blog, one thing holds true – you need to be willing to get personal with your writing. People appreciate transparency, honesty, and vulnerability. That’s how you will connect with others and grow a strong following.

With affiliate marketing, you must be willing to get personal. People don’t want to purchase products or services without knowing why they are important to you. When you are open and authentic, people can tell, and they are more likely to trust you and follow your lead.

Tip #2: Talk to an Expert

Of course, when you use a product, you become a product expert over time. However, if you wish to learn more, you can always solicit the advice of an expert to deepen your knowledge.

This will help you to better understand the item you are wishing to promote. The more you know, the more you can share with your audience. The more information you can share with your audience, the more they are going to trust your recommendations.

Tip #3: Create a Tutorial

In addition to your writing, this can be a fun way of engaging your readers and promoting a product. A tutorial is often a short video that talks about a product. It might cover what the product is, how it is used, and how it can help solve a problem. Typically, these videos are no longer than a few minutes in length.

A tutorial provides you an opportunity to showcase your product knowledge and share your personal story of how a certain product or service has changed your life.

Again, people appreciate personal stories and are much more likely to purchase something once they trust you and understand your experience with it.

Tip #4: Offer an Incentive

If you are just getting started with affiliate marketing, it can be helpful to offer a bonus or an incentive to your readers. It encourages them to click on the link and engage with the merchant site.

For example, you may offer readers a free copy of an eBook if they purchase from the affiliate program site. Another idea is to offer readers a discount code on a product or service you offer if they engage with your affiliate partner.

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There are a lot of ways to incentivize this process without breaking the bank. All it takes is a little time and creativity to come up with fun ways to increase audience engagement and interaction to ensure a successful affiliate program partnership and uncapped commission potential.

Tip #5: Keep it Legal

One of the most important things to remember when you opt in to an affiliate marketing program is that you must disclose to your readers that you are participating in such a partnership. You need to be upfront about the fact that your post contains affiliate links.

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You can always consult the guidance of an attorney to help you frame the language on your blog site. As long as the verbiage is there, you are doing what you can to abide by the legal aspect of the partnership. Your readers will appreciate the transparency, as well.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve entertained the idea of starting a blog, you are not alone. In the United States, there are more than 30 million bloggers. Worldwide, there are over 600 million blogs in existence and more than 5700 blog posts being published every minute!

Blogging has always been an enjoyable hobby, but in recent years, it has also become a big business. Those numbers continue to grow each day as more and more people invest the time and energy needed to launch blogs.

While most people pursue blogging as a hobby or something they can do on the side, they fail to realize that blogging can be life changing. You may not know it yet, but when you start a blog, you embark on a journey. This journey can lead you down so many paths you never knew existed and it can open your eyes to things you never would have otherwise considered.

On this journey, you will become a stronger writer. Not only will your writing skills improve, but you’ll develop basic communication and business skills that can serve you in other areas of your personal or professional life. You will learn how to craft messages that are concise, yet engaging. As you develop, you’ll uncover tips and tricks that will help you to create content that drives engagement and that allows you to promote products and services and earn a commission doing so.

Through your blog, you will also connect with others. This is one of the most beautiful and satisfying aspects of blogging. You’ll establish a close following of like-minded folks from around the world. These are connections who will inspire, encourage, and motivate you every day. You will learn from them just as much as they will learn from you. We all have a fundamental need to feel connected to others. Blogging can provide a pathway to cultivate these connections.

In addition to building strong relationships with people through your blog, you will have the ability to help others. Your blog provides you with a platform to share information, resources, products, and services that can make a real difference in people’s lives. If people are seeking answers to questions, your content can help address their needs. If they are looking to learn a new skill, your blog may be able to help them achieve this goal. Not only can you help people, but you have an opportunity to generate income by providing that guidance and that support to others. It’s a win-win situation all around.

There are so many advantages to starting a blog. Of course, some downsides need to be considered, but for the most part, blogging can be a great pursuit and a worthwhile adventure. Many people do it and find great enjoyment in it. Some do it strictly because it provides a pathway for them to channel their passions and hone in on their writing. Others do it intending to build a lucrative business. Whatever your motivation might be, getting started is often half the battle.

In this article, we covered a lot of information related to blogging. As a quick recap, we talked about what a blog is and how it works. We explored some of the most common advantages and disadvantages and discussed how to get started. We also broke down the parts of a blog post, discussed some of the most popular blogging platforms, and dissected the process of writing and publishing high-quality content.

We know there is a lot of information out there and it can be difficult to organize and wrap your head around all the resources, tips, tricks, and tools that are available to you as you get started. That’s why we hope this guide is helpful. We know the process can feel cumbersome and overwhelming, especially as you begin. However, it doesn’t need to be. If you take your time, do your research, and create a plan for yourself, you can execute with ease.

Though there are quite a few bloggers out there and the numbers continue to grow every day, do not let that discourage you. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the process of getting started that we forget to start. If this is something you wish to do, we encourage you to pursue it, have fun, and be open to wherever your journey takes you!

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