How to Start a Blog and Make Money

April 16th, 2024
How to start a blog and make money

Want to start a blog and make money? With the right tools, it can be easy and fun. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful blog that showcases your unique voice and has the potential to make money.

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How to start a successful blog

Starting a blog is one of the easiest ways to establish an online presence. They are great places to showcase authority on a topic, document a learning process, and share useful information. 

Blogs are also useful tools for companies to share more about what they’re doing and drive traffic to their website with engaging content. Whether personal or professional, creating a blog allows you to achieve goals that are different from those of a conventional website or online store.

When thinking about how to create a successful blog, there are a few key pieces of groundwork that need to be established first to set yourself up for success.

1. Define your blog topic 

If you have a specific business or hobby you’d like to write about, then you don’t have to think much further when it comes to deciding on the topic. However, if you want to create a blog to make money by recommending products or advertising, you may want to spend more time identifying and outlining what your blog is going to be about before you start.

When deciding on a topic, it’s important to identify a specific topic, or niche, that will be easy to write relevant content about but that doesn’t already have a lot of competition.

For example, there are millions of travel blogs out there, so you’ll need to think about how you can niche yours down to make it stand out in the crowd. However, keep in mind that if a topic is too specific, there might not be a big enough audience to reach your monetization goals.

A good niche is usually one that has little or no competition, yet has a reasonable search volume and audience size. You can see how much competition a niche has by doing internet searches and analyzing the first results. You can also use tools like Google Trends to see the interest over time. 

Take a look at our “What to write in a blog” article if you need some ideas for where to start.

2. Select a hosting site

Every blog, online store, or website needs hosting in order to function. Hosting is the place where the files that are part of your blog (eg. texts, photos, videos, etc.) are located. It is usually a folder on an online server.

When you create a blog (or any online project) there are 2 ways to do it. You can hire the hosting and the domain and “install” a content manager compatible with your hosting separately. Or use an online website builder that includes everything in one place (Hosting, Domain, and CMS)

If you decide to hire each element on your own, you will have all the freedom possible to customize it, but you will also be responsible for its technical functioning. Often you will have to enter the code to customize and keep your blog running so this solution is best suited for people with technical knowledge or time to learn it.

3. Choose a blogging platform

A website builder is the software that allows you to create a blog and upload new content without having to program each page from scratch.

By using an online website builder you have fewer possibilities to customize each element. However, you will save a lot of time when creating and maintaining the blog. This time can then be invested in the elements that are essential for success, such as good content and promotion.

Whether you choose to do everything yourself or use an online website builder, the domain and its content will always be yours and you can take it somewhere else whenever you want.

In this guide, we will show you how to create a blog in the Webnode website builder. It is the best solution for beginners and people who want to focus mostly on the content.

4. Pick a blog name

If you already have a website or online store, it is recommended to include the blog under the domain name that you’re already using. This way, the visits and links you receive through the blog will add value to the whole website. In addition, by publishing new content regularly, search engines will check your website more often.

The best way to add a blog to your website is to do it through a folder. For example www.mywebsite.com/blog. Some providers offer the possibility of creating it in a subdomain (blog.mywebsite.com). Although, in theory, there is no difference between using a subdomain or folder, there is a lot of documentation on blogs that have seen considerable improvements in SEO by moving from a subdomain to a folder.

If the objective of your blog is not to support an existing website and you want to earn money with advertising or product recommendations, you will have to get a domain name.

It is recommended that your domain name is short, easy to remember, and connected to your theme. Domain names containing popular wording or phrases are likely already taken so you may have to get a bit creative to find the perfect name. 

When you register with Webnode, your blog is hosted under a subdomain of the type https://mywww.webnode.com/blog/. This subdomain is free without any time limit and is a good way to experience having your own blog before investing any money into it.

However, it is advisable to get your own domain name. In addition to the advantage in terms of SEO, it will also improve the credibility. In a nutshell, investing in your own domain brings more visitors and helps to gain their trust.

5. Customize your blog’s design

The design is a key part to consider when you think about how to build a blog. It isn’t just about looking pretty – it should help users easily read and navigate the content. 

Before you create your own blog, you probably already have some idea of how it should look. Maybe you have even visited other blogs for inspiration. With these ideas in mind, you can either build your design from scratch or use a customizable template to get the look you want.

Webnode has a number of blog website templates that can easily be customized and adapted to meet your needs. Each template comes with predefined content to give you an idea of how to structure the blog and each page style. However, you can make it your own by adjusting the color palette, text font, and other visual elements.

The main thing to remember is that the content should be easy to read. Also, don’t forget to check your design from a cell phone as a significant amount of your visitors will likely read your content from their mobile devices. 

One of the great advantages of using Webnode is that all of its templates will automatically adapt to any screen size so your readers will have no trouble reading from any device.

6. Organize your blog structure

We recommend planning the structure before you start writing. The main objectives in terms of structure are to:

  • Facilitate navigation
  • Encourage the discovery of other items
  • Direct your visitor to the page or online store where they can make a purchase (if your goal is to sell products or services)

Try to keep the structure as horizontal and simple as possible. Make a small list of articles related to the blog’s overarching topic and group them by categories. There should be a maximum of 4 to 6 categories. This number will allow your visitors to easily find the content that interests them without being overwhelmed.

To create categories on a Webnode blog, simply create a new “blog page” and add the corresponding articles to the new category.

If your blog is not part of a bigger website or online store, make sure to also include pages with contact details and information about you.

Blog category in Webnode

7. Create a high-quality blog content

The quality of your content is one of the most important factors to consider when thinking about how to create a successful blog. Writing SEO-friendly posts that answer important questions, provide vital information or an interesting perspective on a specific topic. Readers will keep coming back to your blog and you’ll make it easier for search engines to discover your content.

One of the most important factors for creating high-quality content is to have a clear content plan. This doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, but you should at least have a list of SEO-friendly topic ideas that fit into your niche. This will help you stay on track with consistently posting content and also provide inspiration when you’re not sure what to write about.

If you have a company or affiliate sales blog, you can use this content plan to prioritize the most relevant content that aligns with your bigger goals. For example, producing content closely related to the products you sell or tied to a big company announcement.

While the quality of the written content in your posts is essential, multimedia content such as images, infographics, and videos can help captivate your audience. Don’t forget to include these elements to help support the story you’re trying to tell with the content.

8. Promote your blog and build an audience

You may have the best content in the world but you won’t see any benefit from it if no one sees your posts. That’s why promotion is an essential part of creating a successful blog.

There are many ways to approach this. Which method you choose to use will depend on factors such as your goals, your audience, and your resources.

The easiest way to start is to promote your content to your own audience:

  • Share the article on your social networks: You can do this multiple times during the first days after publishing the article. However, be sure to mix up the content of the social media posts so you’re not repeating yourself. If the content is evergreen, you can also share it again in the future.
  • Link your blog to social networks and include buttons to share your articles without leaving your blog. You can also display Facebook comments on your blog posts, a good way to help generate conversation and avoid the typical spam of other commenting systems. You can achieve this easily in Webnode from the settings window.
How to add social buttons and FB comments to your blog posts
  • Build an email list: An email list is one of the most powerful tools in your promotion arsenal. Even if you’re just starting out, it’s important to start building this as soon as possible. If you have a client list, that’s a great place to start. And you can also add a form to your blog where interested people can sign up. When you publish a post, share it with your email list. Webnode allows you to create your own list very easily with the “newsletter registration” form.
Newsletter registration form

Newsletter registration form

  • Link to your new article in other related articles: This will help you get visits from those articles and help Google discover your new article quickly. 

While promoting to your own audience is a great place to start, it might not be enough to position your article in the search engines. Here are a few strategies to help your content reach even more people:

  • Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn Ads: If you have invested several hours in writing content and it has commercial value, it might be worth also investing a small budget to promote your article through social media ads to reach a wider audience.
  • Share your article in online communities (Quora, Facebook groups, Reddit, specialized forums, etc.): In the same way that you use different online communities to find more information about issues that concern our audience. You can also use these networks to offer your answer to those questions. However, it is not simply a matter of placing a link to your article. Be active in the communities you choose, help people, and share your articles when relevant.
  • Public relations and influencers: Connecting with other bloggers and influencers is a great way to amplify your content. If your content is relevant to their audience, you can ask them to share it with them by promoting it on social media or adding a link to their blog. Remember, this approach is about relationships so if they agree to share your content with their audience, it is a best practice to offer to share their content with your audience in return.

Following these steps, your article will continue to receive traffic continuously over time, even when you stop actively promoting it. 

How to find blog ideas to write about

When you make your blog, you’ll first need to understand what type of content you want to include. For example, a blog designed to document a learning process will most likely feature articles based on your personal experience – what you have done; what you have seen; or what you have lived.

On the contrary, if you have a professional or company blog, the vast majority of posts will focus on defining or explaining the solution to a problem or relevant topics in your industry.

For this second case, the easiest way to find topics to write about is to put yourself in the shoes of the audience you want to reach and answer the questions or problems they have. There are many ways to do this.

Brainstorming to use your knowledge of the market

Put yourself in your ideal reader’s shoes and write down all the questions they may have. If you have contact with customers already, there are bound to be some frequently asked questions. Creating content that answers their questions will be your ideal starting point.

News and developments in your sector

If you attend conferences or fairs in your sector, these are a fantastic source of ideas to write about. Take note of the more controversial topics or presentation titles and write about them from the consumer’s point of view.

Online communities

There are many places on the Internet where your audience raises and answers questions. For example, Facebook or LinkedIn groups, specialized forums, Quora, Reddit, etc. are all great places to learn more about what information your audience is looking for.

These communities usually have a search bar. Search for a generic term related to your market and write down the most repeated questions that come up (and that you can answer) in your content plan. Visit these communities frequently to stay up to date on trending topics.

Youtube

People consume content differently and while video is becoming an increasingly popular medium, there are still many people who prefer written content to video. Whether you have a fashion blog or a kitchen furniture company, you can find plenty of related videos on YouTube.

Search and see what videos are made on your topic. Choose the videos with the most views and use them as inspiration for your article. However, be sure not to make your content unique and not copy anyone else’s work.

Related search terms

Search engines often show related terms. Sometimes they also show “user questions”. Tools such as answerthepublic.com use this information to give you a list of perfect questions that can help inspire your ideas.

There are also many tools that can show you how often people are searching for a particular topic or keyword. The best-known ones like Moz, Semrush, or Ahrefs are paid (or have limited free versions available). However, there are tools like Keyword Generator or Keyword Surfer that can help you get this information for free.

Competition

Check out your competitors’ blogs and see what topics they address in their content. Are you able to cover the same topic in a unique way, from another point of view, or with another format? There is nothing wrong with being inspired by the competition as long as you don’t directly copy their content.

Also, pay attention to the competitor’s social media ads. If they are putting a budget behind a article to promote it further, it’s likely that this piece of content is already doing well and they’re looking to amplify it. That signals that there is a demand for the topic so it might be worthwhile to create your own post on the topic as well.

Search trends

Tools like Google Trends show topics whose interest is growing. Start with a generic term that describes your business and review the related topics and queries. This may provide some additional inspiration for relevant blog post ideas.

Most successful previous articles

If your blog has been up and running for a while, check what kind of articles receive the most visits and create new articles from different points of view on similar topics or using the same format.

How much does it cost to start a blog?

How much it costs to start a blog can vary greatly depending on which platform you use and what features and functionalities you need. Webnode’s paid plans range from as low as $4.50 per month up to $22.90 per month depending on the features included in the plan. 

How to make a blog for free

It’s also possible to create a blog for free using Webnode. This is a great option if you’re just starting to make your own blog as it gives you the freedom to see if blogging is a good fit before investing money into it. All you have to do is register and then select one of Webnode’s professionally designed templates to get started.

How to make money with a blog

With enough perseverance and planning it is possible to earn some money with your blog, however, you must keep in mind that it is not something that happens overnight. Making money on the Internet requires time and effort.

There are several different approaches you can take when it comes to how to make money from a blog.

Advertising

The main Internet portals have “display” advertising networks that any website can join. When you do so, you “rent” a space on your blog to the network where banner ads will be shown.

When your ads are shown a certain number of times or when someone clicks on a banner, you will receive the compensation agreed upon with the advertising network. This way of earning money works well for blogs that receive a lot of visitors.

Webnode works with the Google advertising network called AdSense. To participate in this network, all you have to do is register on their website and place a piece of code on your blog.

How to connect AdSense to Webnode website or blog

It is important to find a balance between the number of ads and their economic benefits. If you have too many ads on your website, you are likely to lose visitors as this can impact the usability of the site or make it look spammy. Your blog might even be penalized by Google for having too many ads.

Affiliate programs

Many companies have affiliate programs to help them increase sales through referral traffic. 

When you sign up to an affiliate program, you will be given trackable links to use in your content. You will receive a commission every time someone uses your blog link to buy the product you recommend.

Using affiliate links is a great option to consider when thinking about how to make money with a blog – especially if you have a small audience. You don’t need a large volume of traffic to make money. You just have to find a way to reach an audience relevant to that product. 

If your blog is focused on a very specific niche and the product you’re recommending is a good fit, it will likely be easy for you to generate some sales using affiliate links. High-ticket products can also generate a good amount of commission even with a small number of sales.

It’s important (and sometimes required) that you let your audience know if you’re using affiliate links. In general, people won’t care if you earn a commission for recommending a product but you will need to disclose this information.

Amazon Associates and Share-A-Sale are popular affiliate networks, but there are many options to choose from. Many companies have an affiliate program set up so if there’s a brand you love and want to promote, don’t be afraid to reach out and see if they have an affiliate program.

If the goal of your blog is to make money through affiliate programs, it’s a good idea to do an analysis of the different existing affiliate programs and the commissions they pay.

Tip: Webnode also has its own affiliate program – sign up and earn $100 for every Premium user you generate with your blog.

Sponsored content and paid reviews

Sponsored content and paid reviews are other great ways for how to make money with a blog. Once your blog starts to gain traction, you may receive requests from companies to feature their products or services. 

In addition to using their affiliate program, you can also charge a flat-rate fee to promote their products or services. This can be done through sponsored content, which is a promotional feature article written about a particular company or product. With this option, the company may want to review the content before it is posted to ensure that it’s accurate.

Another option is to do paid reviews of a product or service. These can either be stand-alone reviews or inclusion in product roundups. Sometimes, companies may offer to send you product samples rather than playing a flat-fee for this type of promotion.

Paid guest blog posts

If you have a successful blog, you may also receive requests from other writers to publish guest posts. This means publishing an article written by another company or blogger. This is a popular tactic for companies who are looking to improve their SEO by including a link on your blog back to their website.

Paid guest posts can be a win-win situation as you not only make money by including the post on your blog, but you also get content to use without having to invest the time in writing it. 

However, if you accept this type of collaboration, make sure you have strict guidelines about the type and quality of content you are willing to post. Just like the articles you write, guest posts should be original and useful to your audience. The best way to do this is to not commit to publishing the content until you have seen it.

As with affiliate programs, it is necessary to clearly mark guest posts, sponsored content, and paid reviews. If you don’t do this, Google and other search engines may penalize you in the search engines.

Premium membership

Offering a premium membership subscription is a great way to build monthly recurring revenue. This is one of the most stable and predictable ways to make money with your blog. 

With this model, you’ll keep some content gated so that only members are able to access these posts. The key to success with a premium blog membership is to make sure that the premium posts provide enough value that people are willing to pay to read them.

Selling digital content

You can also use your blog to sell digital content that you’ve produced such as webinars, courses, or e-books. With this tactic, your posts should introduce the topic and guide the reader to the paid resources to learn more.

However, don’t fall into the trap of providing surface level content for free and then asking your readers to pay for anything of substance. They will likely get fed up with this quickly. Be sure that your free content is designed to provide enough value and build trust so that paying to learn more from you is a no-brainer.

Conclusion

Embarking on the journey of creating your own blog is an opportunity to share your passions and connect with a global audience. It also has the potential to become a profitable income stream.

However, you have to maintain a balance between promotion and the usefulness of your content if you want to have a successful blog. Always think about the value you bring to your readers first and foremost when considering how to start a blog and make money.

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