How to Start a Blog You Can Grow Into a Business
Did you know? Blogs can make money.
HuffPost makes $500 million annually. Ariana Huffington began this journey as a small blog with political feedback. But over time, the platform developed into a complete source of authentic news, information of sorts, and updates. The journey from 0 to over 500 million per year took her six years.
Similarly, Moz makes $44.9 million annually. And Mashable makes $30 million per year.
If we narrow down our scope of analysis here and consider individual bloggers, they earn anywhere between $10 – $10,000 per month on average.
Bear in mind people with low income usually make less. But those with higher income have greater time and material to invest in their blogs, and so, they make more money.
It’s all about how much time and effort you invest in it.
Now, that’s too vague of advice on how to start a blog you can grow into a business. We know.
So, let us get into the details.
What is a Blog?
First, let’s clarify one thing: what is a blog?
A blog is a piece of written content that talks about a specific subject. Now, you might question: isn’t it the same as an article? Well, no!
An article has a formal or semi-formal tone. It’s more of an informative piece of content. It doesn’t include any personal opinions and it’s often backed by credible sources. It’s usually longer than 300 words, and it may include keywords. Articles usually get published in print media. But you might find some online as well.
In comparison to this, a blog includes personal opinions and experiences. It should be very relatable for the audience. It’s usually shorter. And since you’re writing to reach out to your relevant audience and for making money, you should include keywords in this.
Also, the tone of a blog is conversational and engaging. It may use slang.
Can you start a blog?
You now know what a blog is. But let us guess the second big worry hovering over your head right now: can I do this? Am I eligible to do this?
Well, of course, you are.
It’s a very common misconception that only writers (by profession) are eligible to write a blog. But no, that’s not the truth!
Blogs are for industry experts. If you know what you’re doing and you know that you’re doing it too well – you’re eligible for owning, writing, and maintaining a blog.
For example, if you’re a graphic designer and you think you do your job exceptionally. If you think you’ve got loads of industry experience and knowledge to share with others, that’s it. You’re all set to begin your blog.
Having good writing skills can indeed help you communicate your say even better. But even if you can’t, there’s a 101 percent chance that you’ll put out quality content that your target audience (relevant to your industry) will consume gratefully.
If you’re too hesitant with your writing skills, you can always reach out to a writer or editor. Hire someone on a freelance or contractual basis to help out with the writing work. Note that this would be an investment that you’re making here.
Along the same lines, writers can begin with a blog too. It could be about writing or their hobbies.
Types of Blog
It’s time to explore types of blogs.
Technically, there are four types of blogs. These include:
- Personal Blogs
- Business Blogs
- Affiliate Blogs
- Niche Blogs
Personal blogs are what the name suggests. People narrate and share their lives and experiences via these types of blogs. They share valuable information about various topics.
Business blogs aim to address the queries and concerns of their existing clientele. It also aims to expand the clientele by promoting the business and spreading the word about its mission and vision. Business blogs strategically increase their reach using SEO.
Niche blogs target specific topics like food blogs, automotive blogs, political blogs, etc. Affiliate blogs, on the other hand, are commission-based blogs. We’ll discuss more under the monetization section of this post.
It’s essential to know the types of blogs so that you begin with a type that has a promising scope of growth for you.
Step by Step Guide: How to Start a Blog?
Great! You’re well aware of blog basics by now.
Here’s how you can begin with your blog:
#1. Pick Your Niche
First, pick a niche. Some of the best practices of choosing a niche include:
- Be as specific as possible.
- Narrow down your niche to a certain location, age, or gender if possible.
- Opt for something you’re passionate about or possess great industry knowledge about.
- Choose a niche with fewer competitors.
Once you have your niche in mind, research the competitors. It’s best if there are no competitors as of now. It gives you massive room for planned organic growth. But if there are competitors, do your keyword research and study their work to figure out how you can outdo their performance.
The best way to overcome your competitors is to share more valuable information and use a unique tone and voice. Figure out their weaknesses and convert them into your strengths.
For example, if they fail to back their content with examples, that’s exactly what you’re going to do, i.e., provide examples.
#2. Choose a Domain & Blogging Platform
Next, you’re ready to jump into action. Choose a name for your blog.
If you’re beginning a blog with two goals in mind, i.e.;
- Personal Branding
- Building a business
- You should go with your initials.
But if you’re starting a blog with the sole intent of building a business, do not opt for your name as the domain name. Or your nickname. Or the name of your character.
Instead, consider something industry relevant (preferably something that comprises a keyword). Other things that are a must for your domain name:
- It should be catchy.
- It should be easy to type.
- It should be easy to memorize, pronounce, and recognize.
Note that it can take you weeks to finalize this one tiny bit of your business! It’s your identity, after all!
As for the blogging platform, you can choose any from these best free blogging sites:
- Hubspot CMS
Before you choose, check out the themes offered by the platform. The themes determine the overall look and feel of your website. If it’s easy to navigate, your audience is likely to have a better user experience.
Similarly, you’ll have to choose hosting services, e.g., Bluehost. The host keeps your website connected to the world. It keeps your website live and accessible for all. You’ll have to pay monthly or annual charges for this service. Again, this is another investment that you’ll be making.
#3. Monetize Your Blog
Now, here comes the part that intrigues you: money-making.
Once you’ve chosen your blog name, domain, hosting company, blogging platform, and theme, it’s time to begin posting content. When you’re putting out valuable content consistently, you’ll develop an audience that reads your content. You’ll have traffic on your website.
When you have a significant amount of traffic on your website, it’s time to determine your monetization method. Although you can do this at the very beginning, we recommend doing so at this stage. That’s because at this point your blog’s potential will be transparent to you.
Ways to Monetize my Blog
Some of the possible ways of monetizing blogs include:
- Google Adsense
- Selling Products
- Selling Services
- Affiliate Marketing
- Paid Promotions and Subscriptions
Google Adsense refers to those annoying ads you see on websites. Sometimes these ads can be useful and sometimes super annoying from a site visitor’s perspective. But for a website owner, these ads are a means of making money. You will have to get your website approved by Google for Adsense. Once approved your page views and ad clicked ads will generate money.
In comparison to the ads, products and services serve as a quicker way of making money. Figure the products and services relevant to your audience. Promote and sell them via your content. You can even sell digital products similarly.
Affiliate marketing is a means of selling another company’s or individual’s products and services via your blog. For every sale that you bring to them, you will receive a commission. It is one of the best ways of monetizing a blog. Dropshipping refers to a similar marketing method. You don’t have to keep the products you sell in stock.
You can also create a members-only section, wherein you can release premium information or knowledge for those who pay you.
Although starting with a blog might sound like an easy job, the truth is it’s a demanding job. It’s easy to write stuff. But it’s difficult to write valuable stuff.
The monetization part is easy! We’ve provided you with the leads. Work on improving the value of your content, choose a means of monetization, and there you go! Just be patient and consistent. Good luck!
About the Author!
Shawn Mack is an experienced content writer who offers ghostwriting, copy-writing, and blogging services. His educational background in the business and technical field has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He is also fond of writing interesting articles on technology & digital marketing-related topics. He occasionally writes for The Pro Linkers.