How to Start a Blog in any Niche and Make Money Online

START A BLOG
THIS IS A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE IF YOU WANT TO LEARN HOW TO START A BLOG AND MAKE MONEY!
Want to start your own blog and make money instantly?
I know the answer will be yes.
But can you really create a blog and earn money if you don't know anything about blogging and not even sure how to start a blog? 
In this step by step, in-depth guide, I will share everything you need to know about blogging as a beginner. I will explain all the basic tactics and strategies I followed when I started my blogging journey.

Who is this post for?

This is a post for anyone who wants to start a blog and make money online. So if you are anyone who falls into one of these below categories, this guide is you.
  • Tired of your 9-5 corporate life and your feeling trapped
  • Create a second stream of income besides your regular job
  • Want to live life on your own terms
  • Want the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world
  • and many more..

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THIS GUIDE

I have written this step-by-step in a way that will be helpful for anyone. Be it a food blog, affiliate niche site, mommy blog or travel blog. You will find every step that you need to set up your own blog and get started.
This is not only an article. It comes with actionable strategies as well. At the end of each step or section, I have suggested actionable plans that you should follow. So, even if you have no prior experience, you can do it all by yourself.
start a Blog

Why is this lengthy Post?

Believe me or not, but this post has over 14000 words....and there is a reason behind it.
I started blogging as a newbie. I had no prior knowledge and experience on how to start a blog. I spent a significant amount of time to read and understand how this works.
One thing which I noticed that there is not a single one-stop resource, which says it all. So I had to read multiple articles, posts, and courses to make sense of everything and connect all the pieces.
That's why I decided to write this one single post where you have it all. This article will be your one-stop guide in your blogging journey and help you to get started.
I will update this article regularly and add more information wherever I see a scope of improvement. I suggest you to bookmark this page and keep coming back to see the latest updates.

Some Common Myths about Blogging (FAQ)

Blogging is Expensive

Not at all! You can start a blog just even with as little as $5 per month. This will be like the cost of two Lattes you would be paying to your favourite coffee shop per month.

Blogging Requires a lot of Technical Knowledge

Again not true. Throughout your blogging journey, you will be familiar with a lot of blogging tools and software. These software are either drag and drop or require one-time installation. So these are no brainers at all. Even if you need technical support from time to time, there are many tutorials, videos, or dedicated support team available online to help you further.

Strong English Writing Knowledge is required

You are not alone. This is one of the most common beliefs or myths every newbie has. But in reality, people don't care about this. All you need is your clear thought on a subject presented with reliability and honesty.
Let me tell you a secret! No matter what you think, people who are reading your blogs do not necessarily have a Degree in English from Oxford or Cambridge.

Growing a Blog Takes a Lifetime

It is true. But that doesn't mean you will be spending your whole life growing it further.
When you are building a blog from scratch, it will take its time to grow initially. Based on how much effort you are putting, it might take a year or two to see the results you were looking for.
Once you see the initial results, the growth will be exponential.
Remember, Rome was not built in a day, and here we are talking about something that will generate a sustainable, regular income for you in the long term.

Benefits of Starting a Blog

Blogging is perhaps the only income opportunity that requires a minimum investment. I am talking about $5 per month.... and the earning potential is unlimited.
I started blogging to make some additional income on top of my day job. But there are bloggers all around the world who are making even $100000 per month just from blogging....yes! You read it right.
Let's take a look at some of the benefits of starting your own blog:
  • Unlimited income potential
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Gaining your online presence
  • Sharing your knowledge with the world in a meaningful way
  • Building a network with likeminded people

Who am I and why am I writing this Guide?

First of all, let me start by saying that I am not a yet full-time blogger, nor am I some guru or SEO expert who will claim that this guide will make you money overnight, unlike many websites and guides! 
If anyone told you that you could earn money instantly by setting up a blog and posting some random articles, that's not going to happen!. It didn't happen to experts; it didn't happen to me and not going to happen to you either!
Creating a Blog might not take much time but earning money from it takes time and needs serious dedication towards it.
But it is possible, even if you are a newbie with no knowledge, just like I was when I started!

How? That's what this article is all about.

How to start a Successful Blog and Make Money


HOW TO START A BLOG AND MAKE MONEY


Step 1: What is a Niche? How to find a Profitable Niche?

What should you write about in your Blog? 

The short and one line answer for this is that Niche is the topic or subject of your blog.

Let me give you an example:
You like watching movies and web series. You want suggestions on what show you must watch. You did a quick Google search and landed on a website where you got the Top 10 Movie List on Netflix...Why? ...Because the topic of that website is about movies and web series.
Let me give you another example:
You want to learn how to make money online....and you are reading this blog! Why? Because that's what I write about here and making money online is my Niche.
So selecting a niche is the first step to create a blog!..which brings to the second question..

How do you find a Profitable Niche for your blog?

Finding a niche is easy. You can think of any topic and start writing articles on it.
However, this is not the best thing to do if you want to start earning quickly from it. You need a profitable niche!
Let me explain!
You have a blog where you post cute dog photos or cat videos, which is good. People will come to see these pics, like your photos or videos and may even share a few them on Facebook or Instagram.
But will that make you any money?
Probably Not! Nobody will spend money to download a cute dog photo or download cat videos!
But, the chances are there that many of the visitors who are coming to your websites have their own pets. what if you write something helpful that will help those visitors? For example, Best Dog Dry Foods or Best Dog Collars.
Not only you are writing an article you are answering a question people are asking or looking for a solution. People love reading this article and share it and in most of the cases they will even buy the products that you are recommending.
So in a nutshell, for this example, the best niche or topic of your website is not dog or cat videos, rather dog care.
How to start writing on a niche?
How to start writing an engaging article when you are just stating? This is a question that everyone struggles with at the beginning. I wasn't an exception either.
So here is my advice to you.

You don't need to be an expert on a topic to start writing helpful topics. There is plenty of information available. All you have to do it read them, get an idea and write it in your own way. Any article which is well researched, which values the readers, will be liked by them in the long run.

Let me explain the example of 10 Best Dog Dry Foods, which I shared earlier.

Let's say you want to write about the same topic, but you don't have much knowledge about it. So how will you do it?
You will read about it online from the different sources; let's say 5 or 10 top websites who have written about it and get the idea on how to select the best dog food, how to identify best dog foods, what makes them best, and so on. Collect as much information as possible and write about it in your language.
This is no secret. Every successful blogger follows this same process.You find it difficult at the beginning. But over the period of time you will master it for sure.
But, don't get me wrong when I say study 5 to 10 websites and write about it in your own article. The purpose here is to use them as a reference and write articles on your own based on your understanding.
Do not copy and paste those articles in your blog as it is. Why?
Not only will this be a copyright violation, but this will also harm your website more than you imagine. Search Engines like Google, Bing are pretty smart in figuring out such practices, and they can penalize your websites for this!
What will be the best niche for me to start my blog?
To be honest, no one can figure this out for you. You have to decide that yourself based on what you are passionate about or hobbies or in which area you have more knowledge.
Okay, before I list down the niches that make most money let me tell you this is not a complete list. Rather, these are some of the niches where I have found many successful bloggers making up to six-figure income.
The fact is, making money is possible in any niche nowadays, the only difference is that some of the niches will make you money in a shorter period, whereas some of them will take time.
Let's check the list:
Travel:If you like traveling or travel a lot of places all around the world, you can share your experiences and earn money from it.
People do a lot of research online nowadays before booking for a trip. Be it a family vacation or honeymoon destination, and it all starts with a solid planning.
Share your travel experience with others...Been to Paris or Rome Recently? How did you book your flight tickets? From Which Websites? Which Websites give the best offer? What is the best airline? Best flight time? Which Credit Cards provide the best offer?
Stayed in a Hotel? Or in an apartment? Which Hotel? Review your hotel experience. How did you book the hotel? Is it near the main tourist attractions? Do they include free breakfast? What are amenities they provided? How are the staffs? Was it neat and clean?
What are the main tourist attractions? How did you take a tour of the city? Did you hire a guide or rent a car? What are the best places to see in 1 or 2 days?
People search for this kind of information all the time. All you have to do is share your experience, give your recommendations, and you can earn money.
Food:The food blog is another profitable niche topic which you can focus on. However, their income is mostly limited to advertising revenue than affiliate sales.
If you are passionate about cooking, you can attract a huge number of traffics by sharing your recipes on social sites like Pinterest, Twitter, and others. Apart from this, many food bloggers also share their reviews on Kitchen utensils and gadgets like best microwaves, chimneys, dishwashers, which earn them a good amount of affiliate income.
Fashion and Beauty:Fashion and Beauty is another interesting niche that you can consider, especially for females. Apart from sharing fashion tips and the latest trends, this particular niche allows you to become an influencer on Instagram or Youtube Channels.
Influencers are often approached by different fashion and cosmetics brands to promote their products. Whenever the big brands launch a new product, they approach these influencers to try and review the products on their social media channels in exchange for money. So as an influencer, you can try and keep the product for free and also earn money for your reviews.
Though it takes time to recognize as an influencer initially, once you gain popularity, you will get more such offers from the recognized brands.
Finance: I am a big fan of this niche, as it gives me a lot of money-saving ideas.
It is another profitable niche that has good earning potential. Many successful bloggers teach people how to manage their finance and budget more efficiently. Be it an investment idea, money-saving, or even credit card spending, you can show people how they can do it better.
Health and Fitness: Health and Nutrition is a very wide niche where you can make a lot of money. You can share health and fitness tips and earn money by creating fitness courses if you have knowledge in this area. You can also promote stuff like health supplements, exercise, and gym products to earn affiliate income.
Make Money Online: Just like this blog, many blogs teach people how to make money online. You can create your make money by creating your own online and digital marketing course.
You can teach people how to create a new blog or teach them about affiliate marketing. If you don't have your own course, you can also suggest them best affiliate marketing courses your readers can join. Whenever people join these courses using your affiliate links, you will earn affiliate income from it.
Parenting: New Moms and Dads often look for parenting advice and tips from experienced parents. Over the last few years, this particular niche has become very popular. You can leverage this knowledge and earn money if you have a lot of expertise in this area. Be it your baby sleeping, baby proofing, or other parenting guides, you can share your valuable tips.
Another profitable area in this niche is the affiliate marketing sale. Baby products are sold online, like hotcakes. Parents often turn into these websites looking for recommendations like best baby strollers, best baby gates, and so many things. All you need to do is write a detailed review and promote the best products with your affiliate links.
As I said before these are only a few niche topics I have mentioned here. There are hundreds of other niches where people are making money like crazy. All you need to figure out your niche and start writing. 

Niche Size;How broad the Niche Should be?

If you are starting this affiliate marketing as a beginner, select a specific or micro-niche product instead of going for a broad niche.
Let me give you an example:

Let's say you want to create a website where you want to write about shoes. Now shoe itself is a vast topic where you will face a fierce competition as there are so many famous and established websites out there who are hard to compete with.
What should you do?

Instead of building your website on such broad topic, narrow it down...ask yourself...what type of shoe? Sports, Casual or Office?
Narrow it down a bit more...

If you have selected sports shoes...ask yourself "What type of sports shoes"...This process should go on until you find a very micro niche to write about.

In this particular example, running shoes can be a perfect micro-niche.

I always recommend this approach to the beginners as it helps them to establish their websites quickly and target a lot of potential customers, which in this case is people looking for running shoes.

Action Plan for Step 1

  • Come up with your own Micro Niche Ideas: Come up with a list of micro-niche ideas. Keep in mind that the focus of your blog should be on solving other's problems.
  • Finalize Your Niche: Finalize your ultimate niche. Now you have to start building your website based on this niche.
  • Start Researching more on your selected Niche: Do your content plan. Think about what you are going to write on your blog. Check what the problems people are facing in your niche and start addressing those through your article. I have explained more about it in Step 3.

Step 2: Setting Up a Blog

What is Blog? What is WordPress? How to Set up a blog on a Hosting Platform?

Now that you have decided your niche, it's time to create your blog.

What is a Blog?

A blog is your personal website, where you will write content related to your niche. As a blog owner and writer, your aim should be to write articles regularly in a way that people will find useful.
Over a period of time, this will turn your visitors into loyal customers or clients. You can recommend them products and earn a commission when they make a purchase.

Is creating a Blog Necessary?

By far, setting up a blog is the easiest and cost effective way to write and promote your content. In the long run, your blog will be your brand and help you to generate passive affiliate income.

How Long will it take before you earn Money?

While there is no definite timeline for this, but I can assure you it is not going to happen anytime soon. In fact, I can bet on this.
I have seen people earning money within three months as well, but these are extremely rare cases.
I don't want to discourage you in any way, but the truth blogging is not a get quick rich scheme, neither there is any trick to become successful quickly.
I have seen many friends starting a blog with the hope that they will make money soon. But within a year, they just gave up because they didn't get the result they expected.
Why am I telling you this?
To make you understand that blogging as a business takes time. So for the first few months, you will probably not see any money coming. In my initial few months of blogging, I was:
  • confused about what theme to use, what plugin to install
  • Demotivated as I was not getting significant traffic to my website that I expected when I jumped in the blogging.
  • All these will happen to you too!

    My Suggestion for you: If you are serious about earning money from Blogging, be serious from the Day 1.Give yourself a time of 12-18 months, do the hard work to build your blog  and you will definitely see the change. If you think you have what it takes, keep reading

    Select the Right domain

    A domain name is just the name of your website. People will visit your blog by typing the domain name on the browser. For example, when you want to check Facebook, you search Facebook.com- which is a domain name.
    Choosing the right domain is very important. The domain name should give an idea about your blog topic or niche. An ideal domain name should be:
  • Short: Make it easy to remember
  • Simple: Keep it simple and go for easy spelling
  • Catchy: So that it can go viral 
  • Relatable: Something which describes your blog niche
  • For example, if you want to create a blog for the Running Shoes (an example which I mentioned above), then a good website name could be: RunningShoes.comBestRunningShoes.com or RunningShoesExpert.com
    When choosing a domain, always try to go for a .com domain name, as this is the most used domain extensions around the world.
    Sometimes you might also not get the domain name available that you want to register because it is no longer available or someone else has already booked it.
    What to do in such cases?
    You can try the following:
  • Try to use other words which will go with the original domain name that you thought (example: Bestrunningshoes.com or RunningShoesExpert.com or TheRunningShoesGuide.com)
  • Make a list of closely related words see which one will go best as an alternative
  • Below is a free tool by Bluehost, where you can check if your favourite domain is available. See for yourself.
    Once you find your domain name available, it is time to register the domain name.
    The next step is to choose a blogging platform.

    What is a blogging platform? How to select a Blogging Platform?

    A blogging platform is an online place where you will publish your content and make it available for people. Using a blogging platform, you can create posts and manage everything on your website.
    There are many blogging platforms available ( both free and paid); each has its own set of features. Here is a list of some of the most popular blogging platforms:
  • Blogger.com (a free blogging platform by Google)
  • WordPress.com (free)
  • WordPress.org (which gives you the flexibility to connect with your desired web host)
  • Wix
  • Medium
  • SquareSpace
  • Weebly
  • If you want to create a blog just as a hobby to share your content with friends, you can use a free version of any blogging platform. But, If you want to make money from your blog, you must go for a paid version of the blogging platform.
    Free blogging platforms have their own limitations, which are as follows:
  • Limited customizing options: Free blogging platforms don't allow you to make much changes. So you won't be able to give the design and look that you want.
  • Monetization: The scope of monetization is very limited in free platforms. Most of these blogging platforms run their own ad on the free platforms and impose restrictions. Further, most of the affiliate programs will not approve promoting their products on the free platforms.
  • Limited Support: The support option is minimal, and the response time is very high. If you are stuck with any technical problem, either you have to wait for a longer time or figure out yourself.
  • Domain name doesn't look professional: You can not create or link your own website in the free blogging platform. For example, if you create a website with Blogger.com, your website address will be something like this : runningshoes.blogspot.com. This doesn't look professional at all. Ask yourself, as a customer which website you would prefer more? Amazon.com or Amazon.blogspot.com?
  • If you are serious about making money from your blog, you have to host your website on self-hosted a web server. Self-hosted servers will give you the flexibility to make any design changes or customization in your blog.

    How to Set Up a Blog with WordPress?

    WordPress.org is the most popular blogging platform in the world. Around 36-40% of all the websites are built on WordPress. This includes some of the popular websites like TechCrunch, BBC America,Bloomberg Professional, Sony Music, MTV news, and others.
    I am a big fan of WordPress.org, and I have built all of my websites using WordPress. WordPress gives me the flexibility to design my website the way I want.

    Select a Hosting Service

    WordPress.Org is free, but to use it, you have to connect it to a self-hosted server.
    A hosting service is a storage place of your website data. The hosting service providers securely store all your website data.
    Hosting services comes at a price, but it is a necessary price that you have to invest if you are serious about making money.
    A typical web hosting plan starts from $3.95 per month, and it can go higher based on the different features you are opting for. You can get more discounts if you are buying a one year and two-year plan and make the payment upfront.
    There are many hosting services available in the market. But as a beginner, I would recommend you using the Bluehost for your first blog. They are the most popular hosting service provider in the market.I did a lot of research on the best hosting services before selecting Bluehost for my first blog, and I loved it instantly.

    More Reasons to Select Bluehost

  • Bluehost is considered to be the Best Hosting Service Provider in the market for WordPress Blogs and Websites.
  • The plan starts from $3.95 per month- affordable if you are starting as a beginner and have a limited budget.
  • Free domain if you are buying a 12-month plan. You can save almost $20 per month on domain registration that you have to pay otherwise.
  • Select Your Hosting Plan

    Click here to check the compete Bluehost Plan and get started. If you go for 3 years monthly plan, it will be much cheaper than a single year plan.
    Once you are inside, click on the Get Started button.
    Bluehost How to Get Started
    This will bring you to the pricing plan section. You can start with the Basic Plan. The Basic Plan is more than sufficient when you are starting with a new blog. You can always upgrade to a different plan later if required.
    Bluehost Plan
    In the next section, you have to select a domain name for your website or blog. Here you will need to give the domain that you have decided for your blog in the system. If you are still undecided with your domain name, select the option "I'll create my domain later."
    Bluehost Domain Name

    Already own a Domain Name outside Bluehost?

    If you are not going ahead with 36 months plan, you will not get a free domain. You have to buy it separately within Bluehost or from another Domain registrar like Godaddy. 

    If you already have a domain purchased, you can use the option "Already Own a Domain" and move to the next step.

    Domain Privacy

    No matter wherever you are buying the domain form, make sure to opt for the "Domain Privacy". Whenever you are purchasing a domain, you have to give your complete address and contact information. This information is publicly available, and anyone can see that using websites like Whois info

    Domain Privacy

    Domain Privacy option will hide your address and contact information so that it doesn't become public, and you can maintain your privacy.

    Bluehost Account Details

    In the next screen, you have to complete your Account Details and Payments. Once this is done, your account is ready.

    Bluehost Complete Payment

    Setting up WordPress on Your Bluehost Account

    Now that your Bluehost Account is ready, you can install WordPress and get started.

    Install WordPress

    Once you install the WordPress, you will be given a username and password to access your WordPress Dashboard.

    Install WordPress

    Inside WordPress: What You need to Know?

    WordPress Dashboard is the area from where you will control your entire blog and website. So you must make yourself familiar with all the sections and menus of WordPress.

    WordPress Dashboard

    This section will give you a complete overview of all the menus of WordPress.

    Post: Whenever you write a new article, you will have to come to this section. Using this section, you can create new posts, view, and make changes to your existing posts. As a blog owner and writer, you will be using this section more often than any other section.

    Media: In this section, you will upload all the images and videos that you will use in articles. You can also upload documents, PDFs here.

    Pages: As the name suggests, here you will create different pages that will give your visitors more information about your website. This includes About You, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, Contact Information, Terms and Condition Pages, etc.

    Many of these pages are mandatory, and you must have it on your website for legal obligations. I will share more about this later in this guide.

    Comments: Your readers will leave a lot of comments on your articles and share their opinions or thoughts. Using the comments section, you can review and moderate these comments.

    The comments can be just compliments from the users or questions that they want to ask you. As a blogger, it should be your responsibility to respond to those comments and increase engagements.

    Another reason why comments sections are essential is that people leave a lot of irrelevant spam comments. The comment section gives you the option to moderate and get rid of those comments.

    Appearance: You will control your blog look and layout using the appearance section. How your blog looks like will depend on what changes you are making in the appearance section. The Appearance section will give you the option to select themes, create menus and widgets, and do a lot of other customization.
    Keep reading as I will share more about this later.

    Plugins:  Plugins are software or tools that can add many new features and functionality to your website. For example, if you are looking for a simple feature like translating your article into multiple languages, plugins can do it for you.

    Some of these plugins are essential, and it must be added to your blog. I will share a list of those plugins later in this guide.

    Users: If multiple people are working for your blog then you can manage them using the user section.
    You can create and add multiple users by creating user profiles. A user profile contains a user name, email address, title, and password. You can also assign a role to the users such as Editor, Administrator, Writer, etc.

    Each of these roles will have their own access restrictions. For example, if your role is an administrator, you will see all the options that I have just explained above, such as Comments, Plugins, Appearance, etc. As a Writer, you might not see all those options or can not make any such changes.

    By default, WordPress creates a user id by the name "admin" and give you an unrestricted role. This is the most common user id in WordPress, so I suggest you change it immediately to something else (create a new profile/user with administrator role) to prevent it from the hackers.

    Tools: Tools  section will allow you to export or import your blog data from other sources and vice versa. This will be required if you want to take your WordPress blog content to another platform and import your old or free blog data to WordPress.

    If you are new to this whole blogging thing, you will not need to worry about this section.

    Settings: WordPress Settings in another critical section in which you should familiarize yourself before anything. This section has a huge impact on many things of your blog. So I recommend you spend some time in understanding this.

    There are two subsections within settings, which are super important. I will explain them one by one.

    General Settings: General Settings will have all the basic data of your websites such as website Name, Description and others.

    WordPress Settings

    Site Title: This will be the name of your website. For example, for my website, this is Smart Affiliate Strategies. Anyone coming to my website will see this name.

    Tagline: A brief description or blurb which describes your website. This is optional and it's completely fine if you don't want to do it.

    WordPress URL and Site Address URL: You don't need to make any changes here.

    Email Address: This is the Primary Email address of your website through which you registered your blog. If you want, you can add additional users just by going to the users section I mentioned above.

    The next important section is the Permalink.

    Permalink: A permalink is a permanent URL of each blog post.As a blog owner, your objective should be to make it as user-friendly as possible for two reasons:

  • User-Friendly URLs make it easier for your readers to remember them
  • Search Engines like Google, Bing will favour it more.
  • WordPress Permalinks

    What is the best Permalink Structure?

    As you can see above, WordPress gives many permalink structure options such as Plan, Day and Name, Month and Name, and so on. But the best option which you should select is the "post name." This gives your URL a better look, search engines like Google, Bing can also easily understand what your article is all about. This is one of the key ranking factors in Google.

    Why should you Change Your Permalink before posting your First Article?

    First of all, this is a one-time activity. So once this set, you don't have come back to Permalink Section and change it every time.

    Make sure you set your permalink by the "post name" before post your first article. This is a crucial step because once you post the article with a different permalink (e.g date and time) and later come back to change the permalink, all your article permalinks will be changed.

    So if those articles were already indexed and ranked by Google, Google would no longer find them by their URL. This will harm your blog from the SEO perspective.

    Choose a Theme for Your Blog

    There are so many themes, both paid and free available in the market. When you are staring, it is entirely ok to start with a free theme. However, free themes give you limited customization options and support. But as a beginner, you don't need to worry about it much.

    There are so many themes, both paid and free available in the market. When you are staring, it is entirely ok to start with a free theme. However, free themes give you limited customization options and support. But as a beginner, you don't need to worry about it much.
    Once your blog gains some popularity, you can pick a premium theme and customize it further.

    WordPress Themes

    Click on the Appearance Section from the left panel and come to the Themes Section. You will see the button "New". Click this and you see hundreds of beautiful free themes. Just pick one as per your choice and you are good to go.

    Things to Remember when Buying a Paid Theme

    When I started blogging, I spent so much time on selecting a theme and I know you will probably do this same. But as a beginner, it won't matter much. No one will care about how your blog looks, what colour you are using etc...all that matters is the content.

    However, being that said, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you are selecting a theme, especially if you are buying a paid theme.

    • User Friendliness: As a blow owner, you should always focus on buying a theme which simple, easy to use, and clean i,e without so much flashy and unnecessary features. Your blog readers should be able to navigate between posts, categories, and, most importantly, engage with the contents. The social sharing icons and comments section are the best options for doing this. Social Sharing Option is a must so that the readers can share it further in social media sites.
    • SEO Friendly: This is a very critical factor. Your Theme must be properly customized for search engines. Things should not be unnecessarily complex, so that search engines find it difficult to crawl your website. 
    • Responsive: People nowadays are using mobiles and tablets more than they are using computers. Search Engines know this well, and that is they are giving more values to mobile-friendly themes. Make sure that the theme you are using a responsive. A responsive theme works well for any kind of device mobile, laptops or tablets. The best thing about the responsive theme is you don't have to do anything on your own, the theme itself will take care of the necessary settings.
    • Support: A theme runs on complex codes. If something goes wrong, you will be in a problem if you don't know how to resolve it yourself. This is where a support team comes to your rescue.

    I am using Thrive Theme Builder  for my blog. The theme has many built-in features like multiple layouts, mobile responsive pages, custom page templates, and lots of other features.

    Customizing Your Theme

    Once you install your theme, you can customize it further and set the color, font, layouts etc.

    Click on the Customize button below the theme you have installed. You can also find the Customize tab on the left, under Appearance.

    Different themes have different custom settings, but more or less this is the place where you can make all the design changes.

    Post, Pages and Categories

    There are a couple of more things that you need to know before you start writing an article. These are posts, pages, tags and categories.

    Posts: Posts are nothing but the article or content you will be writing on your blog. The article will be posted immediately with the author's name , date, and other info whenever you write and hit the publish icon.

    Categories: Categories are how you like to divide your articles into multiple sections. For example, in this blog, I have set my categories as Blogging, Reviews, Affiliate Marketing Resources etc.You can create categories as per your own need. If you don't create or select any category, the default category will be uncategorized.

    Tags: Tags describe your blog post. For example, if you consider this particular post I have written, the tags I could use are Make money online, blogging, WordPress etc. The use of tag is optional and you can leave it if you want.

    Pages: I have already mentioned about pages earlier. Now let's know in details what are some of the basic pages you must have on your blog and why?

    To create a new page just head into the section called "pages" and select "add new" . Give a name to your page and start writing.

    Create New Page

    Once you finish writing, review it and hit the publish button. It will be live immediately for the world to read. You can always come back and make changes as well whenever required.

    Okay...let's start with the most important pages that you must have.

    About You Page

    The About page will give your readers an idea about your blog and what benefit they will get by reading your blog. 

    You should tell your readers how you can help them and what they should do to get the most out of your blog.

    How to write an Engaging About page for your blog:

    An ideal about you page should have the following points: 

    • Who are you and what is your blog for?

    It would help if you mentioned about you and what you write in this blog in a way, so people are convinced that they are in the right place. People love stories they can relate to. So you can start by sharing your blogging journey, your success, and failures. 

    • Why should they read your blog?

    You need to make sure you tell your readers how you are going to help 

    Offer them your help. Tell them that they are not alone, and they are going to help to get started. The journey of blogging has its challenges. Guide them on how to overcome them and move ahead.

    • What should they do Next?

    Build a connection with your readers. Once they finish reading you "about you" page, ask them for their participation. Invite them to join your newsletter subscription, request them to join your Facebook Group etc. You can also tell them how and where they should start. Assure them that you will be there to help.

    Privacy Policy

    Privacy Policy is your official communication to your blog readers and visitors how you will collect, use, disclose, and manage your readers' data.

    As a blog owner, it is your responsibility to respect your readers' privacy and make sure you are not doing anything without reader's consent.

    A privacy policy is a legal requirement and you must have it declared on your website if you collect personal information (such as name, email) from your website visitors.

    How to Create a Privacy Policy for your Blog

    Setting up a Privacy Policy Page is easy. WordPress has a dedicated section where you can set up a Privacy Policy page. Got to section Settings > Privacy and click on Create A New Page mentioning your privacy policy.

    Privacy Policy of WordPress Blog

    If you don't know what to write in the Privacy Policy, don't worry. There is a helpful guide within the section which will explain what you need to write your Privacy Policy page.

    Terms and Conditions

    In Terms and Condition Page, you need to explain in details what you and your readers should expect from each other, and by reading your blog, they are accepting your terms and conditions.

    This is another must-have page you should be having on your blog. This will safeguard  you against  any responsibility or liability against any misuse or misinterpretation.

    It's also a good place to inform people how to monetize your blog (advertising, affiliate commission, etc.) so that they know that whenever they are clicking any link, you might earn some money. Sites like Amazon made it mandatory to declare affiliate disclosure at the end of each article if you are promoting Amazon affiliate links.

    You can also mention clearly that your own copyright protects all your works and no one should copy them without your consent.

    Disclaimer

    A blog disclaimer is a declaration from your website that all the articles that you have posted is based on your research and personal opinion. 
    Your reader should keep this in mind and should not take any decision based on your sole recommendation.

    A blog disclaimer clearly mentions that you should not be held responsible in any way for publishing your opinion.

    Blog Disclaimer is very important, and it keeps you away from legal trouble. As a blogger, you must customize the disclaimer information according to your niche.

    How to create Menu and Navigation

    The menu is one of the easiest ways to let your readers navigate through your content.

    Every blog must have at least two menus: one at the header and one at the footer section of your blog.

    Keep the menu as simple as possible, and make sure people find it easy to navigate. Creating a Menu is easy. Once you post a few pages and articles, you can create a menu using them.

    WordPress Menu

    To create a menu, go to Appearance > Menus and you can create it by adding posts, pages or categories categories

    Action Plan for Step 2

    • Select Your Domain Name: Come up with a domain name which is simple, easy to remember and relates to your niche.
    • Choose Your Hosting Plan: Get your blog hosted on self-hosting blogging platform. Bluehost is a great hosting service provider and officially recognized by WordPress.
    • Get Yourself Familiar with WordPress: Login to your WordPress dashboard and explore all the options inside it.
    • Customize your WordPress : Start with selecting a theme. As a beginner, you can always start with a free theme. Make sure your theme is responsive so that it can be accessed from any device.
    • Set up Your Mandatory Pages: Make sure that all your legal pages like About, Terms and conditions, Affiliate closure is set up. This should be the first thing you should before writing any post.

    Step 3: Writing Articles for Your Blog

    How to write engaging articles that people will love reading?

    Good Job!.... Now your blog is ready and waiting for you to write your first article!

    So far, things have been fun. You have learned so many new things, customized your blog, gave it the design you want.

    Now it's time to get more serious; you are doing this for money after all.

    So what do you need for that? Content...a lot of meaningful and helpful articles and get more and more visitors to your blog.

    What are You writing in Your Blog?

    Writing any random article is not going to help you anyway if you are in it for money. When I say writing meaningful and helpful items, It means you will need to know your audience and understand what they love to read and share. Be it any niche, your audience would always want to read in-depth articles that are worth their time.

    But how will you write such article? Keep reading to know about it!

    How to Find Topics for Your Blog?

    Once you know who your audience is, the next question would be what to write for them.How will you get the idea of the perfect article topic?

    You can do this in two ways:

    • Grab a pen and paper and do a little brainstorming. Think of all the possible article topics and write them down. This is a continuous process that you have to do at a regular interval. Over time, you will master this and easily figure out which of these ideas will make your final list.
    • Try to find out what is the current hot topic that people are reading like crazy and start writing on those topics.

    But how are you going to do that? There are many resources which can help you do that...Let's check them out.

    #Quora

    Let's start with Quora first. Quora is one of my favourite online communities which I use for idea generation.

    Search with any topic and you will find a lot of questions people are asking. People generally ask a lot of questions on Quora, which they do not find an answer on Google, or they are looking for more opinion public.

    Quora

    You can use these questions for idea generation and write articles. Read what other people have answered and use them as a reference to write your own articles.

    #Reddit

    Another such website that you can use is Reddit. Reddit is one of the most popular social bookmarking sites around the world, with billions of active community members.

    Running Shoes

    Reddit has many subsections (called Subreddits) dedicated to a specific topics. You can try searching the Subreddit related to your niche and look for content ideas.

    #Answer the Public

    Answer The Public is a fantastic website that gathers search queries from search engines like Google and Bing on any topic and visualizes these questions in an image known as a search cloud.

    Answer the public

    You can type in any topic or keyword in it, and it will generate a list of all the questions people are asking for that keyword. You can download the results in a .csv file as well.

    #Ubersuggest

    Ubersuggest is a free keyword research (they have a premium version as well) tool by Neil Patel, which you can use to get keyword ideas. This is an excellent tool to start with when you are starting as a beginner.

    In Ubersuggest, you have to type the keywords you want to search for, and it will show various metrics associated with the keyword such as Keyword VolumeKeyword Difficulties, etc.

    UberSuggest

    Let me explain a bit more about what they mean and how you can use this information.I would suggest you to focus only on two things at this moment.

    Ubersuggest 2
  • Search Volume: The number of people searching for that keyword per month. The ideal start would be something with lower volumes, which is around 250-500 months and has low competition. Once your blog starts getting more traffic, you can gradually target high volume keywords.
  • SEO Difficulty: SEO Difficulty tells you how difficult a keyword on a scale of 1-100. The lower the number is, the easier it will be to rank in Google. For example, 5 will be super easy to rank for, whereas 60 will be difficult to rank.
    When you are just starting, always go for low difficulty keyword.
  • Ubersuggest also gives you a list of other alternate keywords that you might be worth considering. It also shows you which blog post and website got the most shares in the social networking websites for that keyword.

    Ubersuggest Keyword Ideas

    #Buzzsumo

    BuzzSumo is another amazing website that shows you which topics have received the most social shares.

    Buzzsumo1

    Create a free account in BuzzSumo and you can do a few free searches per month.

    This will help you to brainstorm some topic ideas for your niche. For example, if you type "best running shoes" You will get results like this:

    Buzzsumo

    In free account, you can only see the top 10 pages with most social shares. This will show you which particular topic and websites do well for a particular topic.

    #Pinterest

    Pinterest is a visual search engine that is my most favourite tool for content ideas. Pinterest gives you the idea of which contents are more popular.

    Pinterest

    For example, if I type "running shoes" it will show a lot of pins related to those keywords.

    Pinterest 1

    Pinterest also helps you to bring a lot of visitors to your website. This is very helpful, especially when you are just starting with your blog and don't have much organic traffic.

    #Google and Bing

    Last but not the least is the search engines like Google and Bing.

    Use Google and Bing to find out a keyword and what are the top websites for that keyword. Study these websites carefully, read what they have written.

    No one is perfect when it comes to content. For example, if Website A has written a section of an article well, Website B has completely messed up that section, instead, they did better in some other section.

    Got the idea?

    Try this approach. Analyze all the websites on the first page of Google. They are showing on the first page for a reason- i.e they are the best. Create your own epic version of the same topic by combining all the articles from different websites.

    You will find more about Google and Bing in Step 5 where I have explained about SEO 

    Organize Your Article Ideas

    Once you have enough ideas on how to find out blog topics, it's time to write down these ideas and organize it further. I use Google Sheet, which is similar to Microsoft Excel, but it is on the cloud version

    Google Sheet
  • Explore topics: List down all the topics from the different sources that I have explained above and start researching more. Think about what the things you can write to more values to the users.
  • Categorize Your Ideas:  Try to group your ideas in multiple categories. It will help you organize your ideas better. For example, I have categorized my ideas into different categories like SEO, Blogging, Affiliate Marketing etc
  • Come up with Your Article Schedule: Prepare your calendar and decide how frequently you will publish articles on your website
  • Write Your First Post

    Now it's time to put your ideas into action.

    To create a new post, go to your WordPress Dashboard and click on the post section. You will see the option to create a new post there.

    New Post

    Once you click the new button, you will see a new window like above where you have to give a title for your post.

    You will also see the option "Save Draft" on the right side of the window.

    New Post Save Draft

    You need to remember two things at the time of writing an article.

    • Change the Permalink immediately. The default permalink(URL) of your blog will be set from the Post title. For example, if your post title is "This is an awesome article", the default article that the WordPress will set will be " yourwebsite.com/This-is-an-awesome-article" (I have assumed your website name is yourwebsite.com).

    Google prefers the URL name to be short and meaningful. So, in this case, the ideal permalink should be something link "yourwebsite.com/awesome-article"

    • Save your draft at regular intervals so that you don't lose any content if there is a sudden internet connectivity issue.

    How Should You Structure Your Article?- The Secret of Writing an article

    First of all, the style of writing a blog should be as informal as possible. Try to write articles in a way like you are giving friendly advice to your friends and families.

    The articles must be appealing, compelling, and easy to read an understand.

    As I mentioned earlier, The objective of your article should be to solve your readers' problems in your niche. For this, you need to write quality content that is thoroughly researched and in-depth.

    Let me explain what makes a perfect article stand apart from an ordinary article:

  • Headline that creates curiosity: Headline is one of the most critical elements of your post. Why? Because it will decide whether people will be interested in reading your article.
  • Do you know you have only 2.6 seconds to win over a reader? Yes, that's the time people spend to decide to read an article or not.

    So you need to ensure that you write the most catchy headline to grab the readers' attention.

    Here are the few tricks which you should do to make a headline interesting and eye-catching:

    Use odd numbers for your article headline. Headlines with odd numbers often get more clicks than the other headline

    #Try using questions in your headline

    #Create curiosity in the mind of your visitors with your headlines

    Buzzfeed

    To get more headline ideas, take a look at the Website Buzzfeed to see how they use headlines for their article. Almost all their articles have odd numbers and catchy phrases, which creates interest in a reader, and they click it naturally.

    You can also use the free headline analyzer tool from CoSchedule to analyze your headline. If you have come up with a headline in mind but not sure about it, just put it in the headline tool. It will analyze your headline and give you a score between 0 to 100. More the score, the better the headline.

    • Relevant Images that describe your article:Images help readers understand your content better. Make sure to use as many related pictures as possible wherever required.
    • A solid introduction: Give an overview of your article in the introduction. The first two sentences of your article should tell what it is all about. A solid introduction creates an impression in the readers' minds and they are convinced to read more.
    • Easy to understand article layout: WordPress gives you multiple headings, subheadings and bullet options to write your articles in a better way. Use them wisely. Write your articles in small paragraphs. Use sub-headings, bullet options wherever required.

    Lengthy paragraphs make articles impossible to read, and this is a huge turn-off for readers. Divide your content into small paragraphs of 2 to 3 sentences at max. This is very important from the SEO perspective as well.

    • Conclusion: A powerful conclusion makes a significant impact on the article overall. Not only it summaries your entire article, but it also serves two essential purposes.

    #It creates a connection with your readers

    #It creates a call for action or suggests to your readers what to do next

    Many bloggers miss this part and completely ignore this. But a powerful conclusion makes a difference between an ordinary and epic post.

    How many posts should you write as a beginner?

    Try to create at least 3-4 posts per category in the beginning and then add more contents at regular intervals.

    The idea is to have a handful number of contents to keep your reader engaged and let them know you are not new in this.

    Having a good number of articles have a few more advantages.

    • You can promote more content and bring more traffic to your websites from social media.
    • You can apply different monetization and affiliate programs to start earning revenue at the earliest.

    How Long your article should be?

    Search Engines like long and in-depth articles and rank them better in the search engine. But that doesn't mean you will keep on writing pages after pages even if it is not always required.

    Let me explain further.

    Your article length should be based on the topic of what you are writing. If you are writing an article on how to download your airline tickets from Gmail (probably a very random and stupid example ), you won't need to write a lengthy article; a mere 500 words will be more than enough to explain the process.

    Your article length should be based on the topic of what you are writing. If you are writing an article on how to download your airline tickets from Gmail (probably a very random and stupid example ), you won't need to write a lengthy article; a mere 500 words will be more than enough to explain the process.

    But if you are writing an article on the topic "10 Best Websites to check for Cheap Air Tickets", you have to go for more words. You will need to explain why you chose these sites, their features, and the offers they are giving and all. So you might have to write over 1000, even 1500 words to explain everything.

    Understand your topic and focus more on quality than quantity.

    Action Plan for Step 3

    • Know Your Audience: Understand who you are writing for. Understand your readers and plan your conent accordingly.
    • Research Your Content: Go through websites like Quora, Buzzsumo etc to find out what people are asking in your niche and try to resolve their queries through your articles.
    • Write Eye Catching Headline: A solid headline is a must to create impression. Make it as interesting as possible to create interest on readers' mind. 
    • Structure Your Content : A good article should have a solid introduction, overall content divided in multiple paragraphs, heading and sub-heading and a conclusion with all the key points of the article.
    • Value Quality over Quantity: Do not write hundreds of random articles. At the end, quality articles always matter over quantity.

    Step 4: Getting Website Traffic

    How to bring visitors to your website?

    Ok..so you have published a few articles in your blog so far! That's great going.

    Now comes the most challenging part. Bringing people to your website and make them read. Remember one thing; if you are doing this for money, traffic is a must. More the traffic more will be your chance to earn money from that.

    I am not going to lie to you. As a beginner, you will find a lot of difficulties in getting visitors to your blog. I was in your place also. I have even seen many people quit blogging due to this particular reason.

    The truth is, new bloggers often set very high expectations from their blog. They start to believe once you post a few articles, some magic will happen, and they will see hundreds of people reading those articles every day.

    This is far from reality.

    The truth is you have to put a lot of effort at the beginning to bring traffics. Initially, your traffic will be mostly from social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Once you gain some popularity, you will gradually see organic traffics from Google and other search engines as well.

    How to Get Visitors to your New Blog?

    Like I mentioned earlier, the best way to start is social media traffics. Let me explain how you can set up your social media pages for your blog.

    Facebook

    Facebook is perhaps the most popular social media network in the world. Most of us have an account on Facebook nowadays. So this would be the best place to share your content and traffic.

    Using Facebook to promote your content has two advantages:

  • If you share your content with your Facebook friends, they are likely to click the article link and visit your blog to read more about it.
  • You can use your official Facebook page for your blog and share your articles as well. 
  • To create a Facebook Page, click on the Page Icon on the left panel from your Facebook Profile.

    Facebook Page

    To create a Facebook Page, click on the Page Icon on the left panel from your Facebook Profile.

    Facebook Page 1

    Youtube

    YouTube doesn't need any introduction. It is the most popular video-sharing platform in the world from Google.

    Create a YouTube channel and start uploading your articles as videos. How? Take the following example.

    If you have a food or cooking related blog, you can create YouTube videos and start sharing delicious recipes. Now, if you are not very comfortable showing up in front of a camera or like to maintain your privacy, I can understand as well.

    You don't have to! Instead, create a video that will show only the ingredients, cooking, and utensils, and appliances that you have used. You can use your voice in the background or use text to explain in the video. To customize it better, you can also add a piece of soothing music in the background.

    Add your blog link in the video description and asks your reader to follow your blog for more such recipes. See this example below:

    Twitter

    Twitter is another microblogging platform that you can use to share your content. You can create a Twitter Channel for your website and start sharing your articles with your targeted audience.

    Instagram

    Instagram is a popular photo and video-sharing social networking service. You can't share your articles directly on Instagram, because it doesn't allow you to post links, but you can use it for overall website promotion.

    Instagram 1

    Photo Source:recipesfromapantry

    You can mention your website's main link on your Instagram Bio to draw visitors to your website. You can also keep on updating this link with your latest article link.

    Here's is how you do it..

    Instagram 2

    Photo Source:recipesfromapantry

    For example, If you have a Food Instagram account and post your latest recipe photo, Use the photo description ask your visitor to read more about it by clicking your profile bio.

    Pinterest

    I saved the best one for the last. When it comes to sharing your content, Pinterest is my number 1 tool.

    You can drive a crazy amount of traffic to your website with Pinterest. With Pinterest, you can create a different category-specific board and start posting your content.

    For example, for this blog, I have multiple boards in my Earning Nine to Five Pinterest Account. These are Blogging Tips, Affiliate Marketing Tips, SEO, Email Marketing, etc. Whenever I create an article related to these topics, I post them on their respective boards.In Pinterest term, these are called pins.

    Pinterest 4

    Pins are high-quality images or videos which describe your articles or content. A Pinterest pin usually has an image, a description, and a blog name at the bottom of the page. In the backend, an article link is embedded to that pin. Whenever a user clicks on a pin, it will take him to that particular article.

    How to create social media kit for your articles?

    Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have their image dimensions.
    For example, Facebook and Twitter use wide images for their covers, but rectangle images for the posts.
    <