Complete Guide to Becoming a Blogger and Growing your Blog

For many people, blogging is a passion and something that they enjoy doing. Many bloggers don’t see their blogs as work, even though they have taken up blogging as a full-time career and a means of bringing in income. Even after years of blogging, many blog owners say that they still enjoy it and aren’t close to getting bored of their hobby any time soon.

However, in order to be able to live a regular life, it takes money – which is why if blogging doesn’t bring a decent income in, it’s just a part-time hobby and can never be used to finance your lifestyle. However many bloggers are making this sacrifice in order to ensure that they don’t miss out on the opportunities that blogging could hold for them in the future. In this guide, we’ve put together a set of complete steps to help you get started blogging and making money from it. It’s a handy guide for newbies who’re just starting out in the world of blogging and want to learn the art of using a blog to bring in an income. However it’s great to keep in mind that blogging isn’t for everyone, and there are other ways to make money online that may be more suited to you if you find that blogging isn’t ideal. However if you’re enthusiastic about blogging and eager to learn something new, this post is aimed at you.

Starting a Blog that Makes Money

In all honesty, the only real skill that you will need in order to start a successful blog is writing. If you are able to express yourself through writing and produce content that is valuable to your readers, you can easily become a blogger. There are some technical requirements which you can always meet by hiring different professionals, and although there may be an initial investment, this will be definitely worth it in the long run.

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Choosing a Niche/Topic

The first thing that you will need to do when starting a blog is choose the niche or topic that your content will be centred around. Although you might be a jack of all trades and know a lot of information about a multitude of different topics, multi-topic blogs tend to be less fruitful and attract less readers than those which focus on a specific topic or niche. People prefer to subscribe to a blog which has authority in a particular topic.

When it comes to a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) point of view, blogs which are centred around a specific topic always tend to rank higher, providing that they have good content and good SEO practices. In general, search engines do prefer blogs and websites that focus on one topic or niche.

Now, the question is, how do you find and choose a niche or topic for your blog? For some new bloggers, this is obvious – they want to blog about something that they are passionate or very knowledgeable about. For others, the question of which niche or topic to choose is a little trickier. However, the best way to go about choosing a topic is to find something that you know a lot about. Blogging about something that you’re clued up on will always be easier and more enjoyable than blogging about something you’re only just learning about.

A good idea is to pick a topic that you already read a lot about and have a keen interest in. If you are new to blogging, one great way to choose a topic or niche is to take a pen and paper and write down a list of subjects that you’re knowledgeable about and would enjoy writing about for others. Try to write a list of post ideas for the different subjects that you have listed. Once complete, you should have a good idea of the topic that you’d prefer to blog about.

Picking a topic that you are passionate about is one of the most important steps to take before starting a blog. This will ensure that you will not burn out or lose interest when your blog goes live, and you’ll be more likely to want to continue producing content and blogging, which in return will reap more income for you. Many newbie blogs die quickly due to a lack of interest and passion, especially if the blogger has chosen a subject that they don’t have a keen interest in and love for. Pick a topic that you love talking, writing and reading about to ensure that your blog will be successful.

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Blogging Platforms

The next thing that you will need to do is choose a platform for your blog. There are a number of different blogging platforms out there, and people have a range of different opinions about each one. The truth is, however, different platforms meet the needs of different people, which is why it’s important that you choose one that you think will work well for you.

Many top bloggers start their blogs on sites such as BlogSpot or WordPress, platforms which are designed with bloggers in mind and will help you get your blog off to the best start. It’s a good idea to start blogging on one of these platforms for at least the first month, and you can always change to a different platform later if you find that it’s not for you. Most good blogging platforms will offer a free version, which is good to take advantage of if you’re still deciding which platform to use and want to get a taste for using it before you make a final decision.

Once you’ve crossed the testing period and are ready to do something more meaningful, it’s a good idea to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog. You will be installing WordPress on your own hosting and getting a domain name, which is essential to the success of your blog.

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Domain Names

The name which you choose for your blog is really important, and is one of the most crucial factors for your blog’s success. A domain name is the website name that a visitor will use to open a blog, for example myblog.com.

When you start a free blog on a platform such as BlogSpot or WordPress, you will be given a free domain name such as name.wordpress.com. Although you can carry on using this name, it looks less professional and also hinders your chances of getting to the top spot in search engine rankings.

It’s a good idea to get a custom domain name, which should cost you around $15 depending on the name that you choose. Some cost more than others, so it might be a good idea to play around with different domain names to choose the one that is catchy but also good value for money. Once you’ve tested different blogging platforms and learned the basic role of blogging, it’s essential to invest in your own custom domain name in order to make some money from your blog.

Choosing a good domain name for your blog can often be a little tricky. As general rules, you should only opt for .com domain extensions, or use .uk or other country based extensions if you are specifically targeting traffic from a certain country. However, using a .com extension means that your site is relevant worldwide. Your domain name should be easily pronounced as well as easy to type. It shouldn’t confuse the reader, so make sure that it’s relevant to your blog. In order to make sure that your blog is visited more often, it’s a good idea to choose a simple domain name that is memorable.

If you’re planning to create a blog that has the sole purpose of making money, you should take SEO into consideration when choosing a domain name. Pick a keyword-rich domain name, with your main topic as the first name followed by a suffix such as guide or resource, for example. There are a number of online tools and solutions which can help you choose a good domain name.

It’s also a good idea to consider the don’ts when choosing a domain name. Avoid using your personal name as your domain name as this will make your blog look less professional, and keep your domain name at a maximum of around twelve characters. Domain extensions such as .info, .net and so on tend to rank badly in search engine results, so it’s also wise to steer clear of these options.

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Web Hosting

Once you have crossed the infant stage of blogging on a free blogging platform such as BlogSpot or WordPress, it is time to consider moving on to a self-hosted platform. By a self-hosted platform, you will be installing your blog on your own server. By doing this, you will be responsible for all of your actions and will also have more control over your blog.

For those just starting out with self-hosting, Bluehost is a great place to start. You can get a hosting package from Bluehost and install WordPress. Bluehost offers a free domain along with quality web hosting for around $4.95 per month, an affordable price for bloggers just starting out.

If you are serious about making money from blogging, it is essential that you get to know the WordPress platform and learn how to use it effectively. There are a number of tutorials online which you could use in order to do this.

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Setting Up Your Blog

When setting up your blog, there are a number of different steps that you’ll need to take. Setting up the perfect blog may be tricky, and you shouldn’t expect to get it just right the first time. However, as you learn more about blogging and take the time to manage your blog, you will acquire skills for setting up a great blog over time.

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Planning Your Content

Before you set about writing and publishing your first blog post, it’s essential that you make a content strategy. For example, if you are picking a niche, you should think about basic questions that people will have regarding that niche in order to create your content titles. Keyword researching etc. is vital, however it’s also important that you plan your content from a user point of view.

A good way in which to plan your content is to create a spreadsheet in order to note down all of your ideas. It’s also a good idea to search online for questions related to your niche or topic, and discover which are the most commonly asked – you’ll want to provide answers for the questions that users are asking regularly. Mind mapping tools can also help by giving you a visual appearance of your content ideas.

Remember, that planning your content is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to creating the perfect blog. Content planning helps you to stay focused with time, and keeps the content coming in as you’ll know what you should be writing about next. Don’t just plan your content when first starting out – plan it continually as you run your blog.

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The Design of Your Blog

The design which you choose for you blog is also a very important factor which can contribute to a number of vital things such as the number of visitors that you have and how much money that you make from your blog. If you are using WordPress, there are a number of fantastic free and premium themes out there. When first starting out, you might want to use a free theme, however when you become more serious about your blog and start wanting to make money, it’s recommended that you purchase a premium theme.

Premium themes are well worth the money, as you will have a starter guide and extensive support included. You’ll also have a quality design for your blog, and many themes also include a range of awesome features for customisation, online stores, or even an online community in order to get your users involved. There are thousands of premium WordPress themes out there, and it’s up to you whether you go for a multipurpose theme or a theme that’s designed to fit in with the niche of your blog. Many premium themes also come with responsive layouts, and it’s crucial that you choose this to ensure that your blog looks good on all devices.

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WordPress Plugins

There is an extensive range of WordPress plugins available, and choosing which ones to use for your blog can be confusing if you’re not sure. When it comes to choosing plugins, you should choose wisely for a number of different features. It’s essential that you have plugins for SEO, security, website cache, spam comments, and social sharing at the very least.

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Important Pages on Your Blog

Your page should have a number of important pages included from day one. You should have an About page to let your readers know about you and your blog, a contents page so that readers can easily find what it is that they are looking for, a contact page in order for visitors to get in touch with you, a comment policy for your blog, and a privacy policy page detailing privacy information for your blog.

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Blog Branding

Since people prefer to associate themselves with a brand, it is important that bloggers looking to make money from their blog have a brand from the very start. Branding a blog is not difficult, and by choosing a niche and picking a good looking design you have already done 50% of the branding. In addition to this, you should also create a logo for your blog. If you don’t think that this is something that you’ll be able to do by yourself, you can easily get a freelancer to create a logo for you, or hold a logo contest on a freelance design forum.

Once you have chosen your design and logo, you should also go about creating social media pages for your blog on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Depending on the subject of your blog, you may also want to create an account on sites such as Instagram and Pinterest as well in order to reach more readers. Keep your brand design on each of these pages in order to achieve continuity.

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Writing Your First Content

Once you have your blog set up and ready to go, the real challenge of writing your first content begins. You will need to write content that is of excellent quality and also useful to your readers, which is why you should follow best blogging practice tips in order to ensure that you don’t make any rookie mistakes.

When you are writing your content, it may help to imagine that there is a person sitting next to you who does not have any knowledge regarding the topic that you are writing about. You should aim to write your content in such a way that it is informational enough to cover all of the basic aspects to this imaginary guy. You don’t have to go crazy with the details, but there should be enough.

It’s also a good idea to write in the first-person tone, as this is more personal to the people who will be reading your blog. For example, use I instead of you. If your readers can gain a personal connection from reading your content, they are more likely to come back for more.

If using images, it’s important that you comply with copyright law. Either use stock photographs, or take your own photos – but never take and use images from Google Search directly, unless you have the permission of the image owner.

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Making Money from Your Blog

Now that your blog is set up and you’re ready to publish your first content, it’s time to think about getting serious when it comes to making an income from it. Perhaps the most convenient way to monetize your blog is through the use of Google AdSense, which places ads on your blog which you can be paid for through Pay Per Click (PPC).

However, there are also a number of other options for making money from your blog which you may like to consider. Selling advertising space directly to advertisers is also a common way in which many bloggers make an income, however keep in mind that advertisers will only buy space if they think that the investment will be worth it, which is why you may have had to really establish your blog and gained a high number of traffic before they will be willing to buy.

If you are an authority in your topic field and your readers love your informational and useful content, you could also make money from your blog by writing a downloadable eBook for users who’d like even more information to buy. You can do this no matter what the niche or topic of your blog, and it works especially well as once you’ve set up the link, there is no need to go back to it – just watch the money come in as people make purchases.

You might also want to set up an online store in order to bring more money in from your blog. This is a tactic used by many arts and crafts bloggers, who like to sell their handmade wares as well as blog about how they made them. However, you can use this on almost any blog of any topic or niche. If you build up a loyal fan base, you could even sell blog merchandise sporting your logo.

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Search Engine Optimization

Last but not least, it’s important that you ensure that your blog is optimized for search engines. SEO is an advanced topic and is hard to cover in short. SEO helps you to drive targeted traffic from an organic search, and has three core parts – On page SEO, On Site SEO, and Off Site SEO. You should learn about writing keyword-targeted content and SEO best practices in order to ensure that your blog ranks high in search engine results.

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