If you want to learn how to start a blog and are tired of following fragments of information, this is the only guide you will need to learn how to start a blog.
Are you ready to get into it?
Since this is a long post, here is the table of contents.
Choosing Your Blog’s Niche
A thought pops into your head one day and you type into the search “how to start a blog”. There are plenty of search results but some of them are confusing as heck and you’ve probably seen some posts about choosing your niche.
I get it.
When I first started out I remember that I made a blog about the different things my family had done each day. This was long before people were making tons of money with YouTube and travel blogs. I had no idea how to make that business model work so it totally flopped.
When you are learning how to start a blog, the most important decisions are made BEFORE you actually start blogging.
One of those important decisions is choosing your niche.
For the newbies, let me talk to you a little bit about niching down.
How to Start a Blog – Why Have a Niche Blog?
Why have a niche blog? Why not blog about whatever comes to your mind? Well, I suppose you could do that and there are some people that have been successful with this.
The only problem with blogging about everything comes back down to the whole thing about…
…”talk to everyone and you’re talking to no one.” and “you can’t please everyone.”
When you niche down, you know exactly who you are talking to and how to talk to that audience. You also find it easier to create content that is going to keep the audience coming back.
If you want to blog about other things, start another blog that is on the other topic.
Now that you understand why it is important to have a niche blog, how do you decide what to write about? Which niche should you blog be about?
Don’t let all of these questions confuse you. Get the answers to them.
Important Factors for Choosing Your Niche
When you are thinking about choosing your niche as you are learning how to start a blog, you may have read that you need to blog about something you are passionate about.
Let me tell you that this could be a good piece of advice or it could be the kiss of death to your blog. What do I mean?
If you are passionate about health and wellness or helping people have clear skin, it might be a good piece of advice. On the other hand, if you are passionate about learning how to play the kazoo under water – not so much.
Your blog is not about you. At least, it isn’t if you are trying to make money with your blog.
Your blog is about providing information or entertainment that your readers want.
If you are blogging for you then don’t expect to make any money. Hey – I’m just being honest with you. Want to argue? How is it working for you so far?
Here are some niches that I know are “money niches” and have plenty of traffic available:
- How to Make Money
- Personal Finance
- Health & Wellness
- Starting a Home Business
- Beauty & Fashion
- Women’s Lifestyle
- Acid Reflux
- Affiliate Marketing
Want the 100 more money making niches? Enter your info below and I’ll give you all 110.
Can you guess what all of these niches have in common?
Yes, you in the back.
They are all niches that people want their problem solved right away. They aren’t going to procrastinate on their purchase.
While you are still going to need a sales funnel (or refer to people that have awesome sales funnels), if you are marketing to the right people, it is going to be much easier to make money.
Another thing to think about when you have chosen one of the “money niches” is that there is a lot of traffic so you have more opportunities to get in front of people since more people are looking for a solution.
Choosing Your Niche – You’ve got to stick with it.
If you do a couple of blog posts and are upset that you aren’t making money, that isn’t a surprise to me. You might even write 20 blog posts and see no money in your account.
True, you could be one of the stories that people make thousands of dollars in their first month. If so – great! I was not one of those stories and neither are most people. lol
Either way… REMEMBER:
- Niche with money.
- Niche that has a lot of people searching.
- It doesn’t have to be something you’re passionate about.
- You don’t have to already know about your niche.
To speak to point number four, there is no reason you have to already know about your niche. You can research the content, put your own spin on it, make it bigger, make it better and you’re in business. Before long, you’ll be an expert. lol
Everyone has to learn some way, right?
How to Plan Your Blog Content
When you are learning about how to start a blog, planning your blog content is extremely important. Winging your content may work to some extent, but it isn’t going to give you the best results.
Why Is Planning Your Blog Content Important?
If you aren’t a structured person, you might find it challenging when you come to the planning your blog content part of your blog. Understanding why it is important might help light a fire under you.
- Site Structure is important for search engine optimization as well as for user experience. When your site is easy to navigate, users are going to be more likely to view more than one page at a time which shows the search engines your website is helpful. This can help you with SEO.
- Combating writer’s block. When you know what you are going to write about for a month, two months, or as far as you can plan out, you do not have to use as much of your creative energy on a regular basis. This way you will be able to focus in on other aspects of your business or blog that you need to work on.
These two main reasons are enough for anyone to take time planning even if you are someone that does not love to worry about the details.
Setting Goals for Your Blog
If you don’t know where you want to go, how are you ever going to get there?
Whether you are taking a road trip or you are creating a blog, this is something to think about.
You need to have goals for how much content you want to have on your website, how many email subscribers you want to get on a monthly, weekly, daily basis and anything else you want to track. Having these goals helps with each decision that you make. If you don’t have goals, it can get very confusing with what you are supposed to do.
Content That is Evergreen & Potentially Viral
When you do this, you could have traffic coming from a blog that you wrote five years ago because it is still relevant today.
When it comes to the virality of a post, this can get really exciting. If thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people share, repin, post your content, you could get a massive amount of traffic.
The best way to know if you are going to be writing about a viral topic is to see what topic in your niche has already gone viral. When you mix this is all the other tips on what to write about as well as the keyword research we will talk about in the next post in this series, you are armed and dangerous with some amazing information.
In the next section, we are going to talk more about keyword research and why it is important to you, but you need to remember that keyword research is going to be a big part of your content strategy and planning your blog content.
You want to write a blog that people are looking for your content. One of the ways to make sure people are looking for your content is to look at the keyword information that can be found in the Google Keyword Planner which is a free tool from Google Adwords.
Here’s another great tool you can use.
I am going to assume that you are using WordPress as your platform (self-hosted WordPress that is).
If you are using WordPress, you are going to have a menu section you need to have planned out, categories, your permalinks (you want to set this for the post name without dates in the link or anything else fancy), posts, pages, about page, legal pages.
Having all the above pages planned out before you get your website set up is going to help you get through the creation process much faster, but if you already have your blog set up, don’t feel bad. You can still plan out your content in a way that is going to give you the same benefits as if you did not have anything set up on your site yet.
Here are some things to remember when you are planning your content.
- Always have a link back to your home page in the main menu.
- Create an about us page so everyone knows WHY they should listen to what you are blogging about.
- Never forget your legal pages since this protects you and allows the people that come to your site to understand how you operate. It can also help in some search engines since it makes your site compliant with various laws.
- Allows “breadcrumbs” to be displayed will help your users have more places where they can view more specific and broader topics on your blog.
Planning your blog content is a blog part of making sure your content marketing strategy doesn’t flop. If you do not plan your blog content or you make any other blogging mistakes, it isn’t going to be the end of the world. What it can do is set you back in your progress.
Once you have a basic idea of the content you want to have on your website, you want to go into more in-depth keyword research so you can see which keywords are going to be most likely to bring more traffic to your website. Learn all the SEO techniques that are working right now so you can have the best results.
Once you have finished planning your blog content and know what keywords you are going to use, it is time to get into action so that you can start seeing more traffic on your website.
Over the years, there have been a lot of changes with what people understood as good practices for domain names. Whether you are an affiliate marketer, a traditional business owner or simply want to have a blog, almost everyone wants to rank in the search engines (especially Google). Why? TRAFFIC.
Did you know that your domain name can actually hurt your rankings in Google?
If you purchase a domain name that has a bad history you may have “spam signals” and your domain may have even been deindexed from Google.
What do you do if you bought a domain and this has happened to it?
If you don’t, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle. There is no reason to make things more difficult than they are.
How can you tell if your domain has been deindexed or has spam signals?
You can use tools like SEranking or SEMrush. You can also use the Wayback Machine to see what this domain looked like before you bought it (if anyone ever used it.)
Should You Put a Keyword In Your Domain Name?
“Back in the day” a big ranking factor for Google was having an exact match domain (EMD) meaning if you were trying to rank for “blueberry muffin mix” if your domain name was blueberrymuffinmix.com, you got points for having that domain. You can see how this could be abused, right?
While there may still be some positive “points” for choosing an exact match domain name, it isn’t worth enough if you have a brand you can use for the domain name instead or even your name.
If you don’t have a brand name yet, you may want to create one.
Instead of trying to game the system with EMDs, it is much better to have a domain that people are going to be able to remember so they can come back and visit your site from memory.
Check out our infographic below to see the 5 best tips for choosing your domain name.
What You Should NOT Choose for a Domain Name
You might have a company name or a catchy name, but it is not available. You could be tempted to put a number or a dash in your domain. This is not the best practice for a domain name. While it is not the kiss of death, it is not going to give you the best results.
If you MUST have a domain name, you might find that the domain name is for sale. Oftentimes domain names will go for a premium.
There are some domain names that have sold for millions of dollars. Take MM.com which sold for 1.2 million or maybe Power.com which also sold for 1.2 million. Hopefully, your domain name isn’t going to cost a cool million.
Remember when you are choosing your domain that this is going to be a long-term commitment. Don’t expect to do anything for a short time and see success.
It has been shown one of the SEO factors Google is looking at is the number of years a domain is registered. If you can register your domain for 5 years then go for it because that shows Google you are unlikely to be a spammer that is only using the domain for a little bit to get some link juice and help with your SEO.
Link juice basically means “juice” or credit you get for being linked to from a certain website.
If you don’t want to deal with link juice, you might want to look into marketing and getting traffic from Pinterest instead.
When you are choosing your domain name, you may also want to ask some of your friends and family for suggestions. If you have customers already, you can also ask your customers for their opinions. Getting feedback is always a smart idea.
Don’t delay your project too much with this decision making process for choosing your domain name. Get it figured out and get moving.
Keyword Research for Your Blog
Keyword research is another very important part of the process when you are starting your blog. What is a keyword?
A keyword is “blog” but a keyword phrase is “how to start a blog”.
We truly want to rank for keyword phrases over keywords for a couple of reasons.
- Keywords are too broad and our users most likely aren’t looking for exactly what we are blogging about and they are likely to keep searching around and refining their search.
- It’s hella hard to rank for a keyword these days. There is so much competition out there that I’m not even going to go there. If I “accidentally” rank for a keyword like “blog”, sure, I will take it.
<<There may be affiliate links in this post which means if you make a purchase, I would receive a small commission at no extra cost to you and I would only blog about stuff I actually believe in.>>
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is when you research what keywords aka terms people use to search in different places such as Google, Bing, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. so that you can put your content in front of those people.
If you have ever searched Google, you have come across websites that have done keyword research and optimized their content for those keywords so that you would find their website or blog and read it.
When you are doing keyword research, you might get overwhelmed with how many keywords that you find but its better to have a lot of data than too little data. Gather it all and you can sort out the keyword research data later.
How to Do Keyword Research
The good news is that you already know what niche your blog is going to be in because we’ve gone over this earlier. The reason this is important is that you are going to need to put together a list of your most important topics for your blog.
At this point, you can keep them very general and we will narrow them down as we work through the process.
Think of these topics as folders in a filing cabinet. We will then fill the folders with relevant keywords for each of these topics.
When you are doing your keyword research, you shouldn’t think of things from only your perspective. You need to back up a little bit and think about where people are in the process of information discovery.
You want to be able to start at the beginning and walk them through the process. You should have a goal of bringing them to your site, but also capturing their email so you can further serve them with more information. More about email marketing later.
Let’s say that you are a food blogger. You might have folders that are things like “grilled food” “organic food” “vegetarian” etc. Inside those folders are your keywords and we will think of them as files. You might have a keyword phrase like “grilled chicken with steamed broccoli” or “organic recipes for moms on the go”.
Once you have put together a list of keywords and keyphrases you have come up with after you’ve done your keyword research, you need to see if they are the right keywords for you to target.
Before you start the process of examining your keywords from the keyword research process, you can find even more keywords by looking at related keywords that come up on Google or Pinterest.
As you can see in this example, when I type in keyword research on Pinterest, they give me other recommendations which means a lot of people that search for keyword research also find the other words helpful for their searching. Here are some good keywords “keyword research tools”, “keyword research tips” and “how to use keyword research”.
Now take these related terms on Google search.
More great keywords we get right from Google related search terms. Here we see “keyword research tips” has come up again but as also see another good term “how to do keyword research”.
Google Keyword Planner is not as great of a resource as it used to be. “Back in the day” GKP used to show exactly how many searches each of the keyword phrases got on a monthly basis but now that kind of information is only open to people that have a minimum spend on AdWords. It’s a good place to get ideas though.
Other blogs are a great place to figure out keywords. If you see a lot of other bloggers blogging about it, that is most likely because there is a lot of traffic there.
Don’t try to be unique. There are generally the same problems out there over and over again. Let’s take our boat detailing company, if we would have come on the scene and tried to solve the problem in another way (other than cleaning the boat), how confused and NOT interested do you think our clients would have been?
Check the Competition
When you are doing keyword research, you ALWAYS need to check who is ranking for what and where they are ranking. If you don’t check the competition, you could be up against some giants and unable to rank but if you tweak it enough and go after the right keyword (because you did proper keyword research), you are likely to rank your website accordingly.
Note: Once you start getting some authority, go ahead and go against the giants. Everyone had to start somewhere and if you deserve the top spot, go get it.
If you want to see rankings in the search engines the fastest way possible, you will usually be able to do this using long tail keywords.
Long tail keyword example: Search engine optimization for local businesses
While long tail keywords aren’t going to have as many searches as shorter keywords, they usually have less competition.
You should work on ranking for keywords that your competition is working on ranking for but you should also find keywords they might be ignoring. It doesn’t take much buyer traffic to get results.
Once you have your keywords after finishing your keyword research, you need to work on your search engine optimization which will help with your first page rankings.
Creating Content for Your Blog
One of the very important parts of starting your blog is your blog content. You’ve already done your keyword research and gotten your domain, but now it is time to get your blog going with content.
Creating Your Blog Content Explained
What kind of content should you create?
There are plenty of types of content that can be made for your blog.
Some bloggers are really video bloggers and take their youtube videos and paste the code onto their site and they do not write any articles or at least not much.
Other bloggers do podcasts and post them on their blog.
Most bloggers write articles (and hopefully helpful articles) on their website so people are able to find them through search engine optimization (SEO).
There are a couple of things you need to think about when it comes to creating blog content.
- How do you readers like to consume content?
- What form of content are you likely to be consistent with?
Let’s say that you determine that your audience likes to consume content in the form of videos, but you hate to be on video. While you know what your audience will like best, if you hate doing video, it is unlikely you are going to make enough content to satisfy your audience.
It would be better to give your audience a blog post if you are going to be consistent instead of sporadic videos.
How long should your content be?
If you have opted to go with writing blog articles then you need to figure out how long your content is going to be. You might have a problem pushing out 500-word articles and now you see experts saying that you should make your blog content as long as possible.
How do you write a blog post that is 1,000 words, 1,500 words or even 2,000 words long?
Writing Hack: Not being able to write a long article is most likely a block in your mind. You can get around this by breaking up your article and pretending you are writing 4 500-word articles and then you combine them for a 2,000-word article.
What are the benefits of writing long blog posts when creating blog content?
- Longer blog posts are generally more helpful since they have more detail and thought put into them.
- Longer blog posts mean you have more content for Google to “crawl” so you be able to rank for more keywords since there are likely to be more keywords in a longer post.
- When you have a post with a lot of great information in it, people are likely to save it and come back later. These are good signals to places like Pinterest and Google and they are more likely to show your content again.
The most important thing you can remember when you are creating blog content is that you need to think about your reader and give them what they want. Your blog isn’t about you or at least it shouldn’t be if you want to make money from it.
How do you know what your readers want to read?
Write about what people want to read, great. Wait. How do you do that? How do you know what people want to read on your blog?
You need to figure out who your audience is. Who is your blog helping?
In my case, with this blog, I am helping people that want to live a better, fuller life. I help them do this through learning how to develop themselves and also how to earn more money.
Let’s face it, we can be very “developed” and still very broke. There isn’t a lot of money in reading personal development books.
When I am writing my content, I think about having a conversation with someone. I am breaking it down just as if we were sitting across from each other and I am explaining every detail so they would be able to take action after our conversation.
If you write blog posts that are big ideas that no one can implement, your success is going to be limited.
Some people try to give people only half of the story and then expect them to buy products and other things from them to get the rest of the answer. This rarely works because it doesn’t create a lot of trust.
If you are going to try this strategy, it is best to help them solve a small problem and then give them a product to solve the next step. This way, they know that you are helpful, they know you know what you are talking about, they know you are trustworthy and this is a winning combination.
How long should you wait for results?
This is a more difficult question since results can vary so much. The way I have always approached things is to go full speed ahead and course correct as needed.
I never gave myself a time limit.
If you are not successful within 3 years, you need to pack it up and go home because you suck!
While you might feel like you suck, the truth is that you are 3 years closer to your goal than you were when you started.
Do you know that it was 3 years before I started making serious bank with affiliate marketing? It was not easy. It was not fun and we ate a lot of noodles.
When I was able to hit the stage where I was generating hundreds of dollars a day (my biggest day so far is a little over $400 in a day) it was worth all the pain (and noodles) bahahah.
I personally believe that if your dream is your ultimate dream, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. It takes however long it takes.
If you take away anything from this post, it is the good old “plan your work and work your plan”. It still rings true today and it rings very true with blogging.
Be consistent and persistent and always enhance your blog content. Find new ways to communicate and up your skills so you can offer your readers the highest quality of content possible.
What was your biggest takeaway from this post?I’d love to hear from you in the comments 🙂
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