If you know you want to monetize your blog or website, it’s important to make a plan for it being successful. Some bloggers get lucky and have a viral post that catapults their site to success, but the majority of successful bloggers will tell you that ‘making it’ is a combination of creating good content people want + SEO and social media strategies for sharing that content + consistency + time.
Here are the steps you should take to set your new blog up for monetary success. Following these steps mean that you take your new venture seriously – it’s not just going to be a hobby blog, but you will set it up professionally so it can grow accordingly.
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Choose a Niche That Will Be Successful
There’s a common phrase used by a lot of bloggers, “the riches are in the niches”. It’s easier to be successful quickly with a blog that has a very specific niche. This website is not one of those – it’s a multi-topic lifestyle blog! But it’s taken longer to grow. We’ve grown other niche sites much faster.
Niches that tend to perform well are beauty, fashion, fitness, personal finance, technology, and gaming.
Niches that are saturated don’t tend to make as much money for new bloggers unless they have a very specific angle. Saturated niches include food, mommy blogs, and how to make money online. You can make a lot of money in these areas, but you need to offer great content and have a strategy for how you will differentiate yourself in those markets.
Choose an Appropriate Blog Name
When naming your blog you want to keep it simple and straightforward. Don’t go for some cutesy or unusual spelling – people will never know how to spell the name. If you want to be a guru or personality (if you are the face of the business), then go with your name as the domain name. If you want to sell the site eventually, obviously don’t name it after yourself.
Register Your Domain and Get Hosting
You need to pay for hosting – do not have a blogname.blogspot.com or blogname.squarespace.com free domain. It’s not professional and it looks like a hobby blog. We recommend signing up for a WordPress.org site and using Siteground for hosting and domain name registration. Siteground is excellent for sites that get up to 100,000 pageviews a month, after that, you’ll want to switch to another host – we recommend BigScoots.
Choose a Theme that Looks Professional
There are many free themes through WordPress and many will be perfectly serviceable for a new blog. Don’t spend too much time worrying about the look of your blog, as what you will want will likely change over time. However, if you launch with multiple pieces of content, we recommend you go for a magazine theme layout versus a blog scroll. Traditional blog scroll layouts tend to look more personal and old-school. Magazine theme layouts with multiple articles on the homepage give people more to click on and engage the reader.
Setup Your Social Media Accounts as Business Accounts
There is some debate about whether or not business accounts on Instagram get as much reach as personal accounts, but the ability to see follower analytics outweighs any potential reach issues. It’s essential to have a Pinterest business account with rich pins set-up, a Facebook business page (you can’t advertise without a business account), and an Instagram business account.
Register With Affiliate Programs
One of the easiest ways to make money blogging, before you qualify for big ad programs or can create a product to sell, is to share links to affiliate products. Affiliate programs will give you a percentage of the profits (usually somewhere between 1 to 5%) if someone purchases a product after clicking on the link to the product you’ve shared.
Affiliate money grows as you get more traffic, but when you’re starting out, it’s important to remember to explain why someone should click on the product link you’ve shared and why they’ll like the product. They’re more likely to click the link and purchase the product.
Set Up Your Pinterest Boards
After Pinterest went public, they made a series of algorithm changes that have rather drastically altered the way bloggers need to pin. Pinterest now prioritizes personal boards over group boards, which means you should create several boards for each topic you will blog about.
To set up your Pinterest boards – make sure they are keyworded specifically. “Best of” and “Things I Like” type of boards don’t do well anymore. Think specific like “Healthy Brunch Recipes” or “Weight Loss Meals” for your board titles. Make sure to fill in the description box and explain what the board is about, so people can find it when they’re searching.
If you do want to join a group board, request to join boards that have less than 100 contributors and that have a specific topic. Do not join or accept invitations to boards with titles like “Bloggers Pin All”, etc.
Write 30 to 50 Pieces of Content Before You Launch
We are sharing this advice with a caveat, the best time to start a blog was eight years ago, the next best time is today. So if this point means that you’ll never pull the trigger and start your blog, then ignore it. If you can stick to deadlines and give yourself a reasonable launch date, then by all means, launch with a bunch of content. Launching your site with several things posted will give people something to click around to and read and it will mean you’ll have more content to share on social channels right away. It’s a great way to go from 0 to 60 right away – which can be very fun and exciting to see lots of traffic coming in quickly!
Understand SEO from the Start
One of the best ways to ensure long-term, passive growth is to understand Search Engine Optimization and implement it from your first post onwards. Each blog post needs to be SEO optimized to give it a chance to rank higher on Google or other search engines. Essentially SEO for blogs boils down to telling search engines what your post is about and structuring the post so your readers and search engines think it’s high-quality content. Google is particular about rankings and wants to give users the best experience.
Google traffic takes about 6 months to establish. Before that most search engines will ignore your site – they want to make sure you are consistently posting quality content before they start ranking you. Do make sure to share your site map with search engines so they’ll regularly crawl your site and take note of new content.
We’ve spent the last four years learning about SEO and still have more to go, so we can’t pretend to be experts. Our largest sites get the majority of their traffic from Google, so it’s an extremely valuable tool to learn! Spend some time reading through these articles to give you an idea of what you’ll need to think about:
- Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
- The 10 Best Ways to Optimize Blog Posts for SEO
Grow with Pinterest Initially
While traffic from search engines might be your eventual goal, the fastest way to get traffic as a new blogger is through Pinterest. It’s the third-largest search engine – after Google and YouTube.
As mentioned previously, Pinterest has made some changes to how they want content creators to share their work on the platform. They are prioritizing fresh content and fresh pins. They want to see you adding new content to the platform, not just recycling old pins.
Plan to make several pins for each piece of content you create. Some of the big bloggers make up to 20 pins per post. The average serious blogger is probably making at least 3 to 5 pins per piece of content they create.
Pinterest has also said to share your content versus sharing lots of other bloggers’ content. There used to be the belief that when you were starting out you should pin 20% your own content and 80% other bloggers content. You still may want to share other bloggers’ content if you decide to use Tailwind Tribes, but you can focus almost exclusively on sharing your content.
Have more blogging questions? Let us know in the comments below?