The Ultimate Guide – Start A Profitable Blog
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, then you might have seen that you can make money from your online presence too. And that’s completely possible! But where do you start? How do you start a profitable blog?
I’m going to show you how to create a blog that’s simply primed to make you an income and help you reach your dreams of running your own online biz! It’s all about the foundation, and the way you start your blog, that will catapult you into online success.
We’re going to start from the beginning, and work through everything you need to do to start a profitable blog today!
*This post may contain affiliate links. It means if you purchase using them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Please see my disclosure policy for more info.*
Post updated in January 2018.
Where To Begin – Choosing A Niche
The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to write about. This is called your niche, and it’s basically the topic of your blog. There are so many to choose from, and it’s completely your call. I’ve got a few bits of advice for you when it comes to deciding on your blog niche:
- Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about, and can see yourself writing about in a years time, in three years time, and beyond.
- Think about making it something relatively specific. For example with my blog, I write about blogging, social media, and entrepreneurship for those wanting to work from home and have their own freedom. Pick something that you care about and that you know people will be interested in.
- Think about whether you will be able to give value, and help people with your niche. Are you going to be able to provide tutorials, guides, and other useful info and experience in regards to the topic? If the answer’s no, then you might need to keep thinking
- Make sure it’s not too specific – enough people need to be interested in the topic to make sure that you get enough readers each month to actually make the blog profitable
Deciding on your niche is very important. Take the time now, and ensure that you’re completely ready to go all in on your chosen topic.
Deciding On A Name For Your Blog
Once you’ve got an idea of what you want to write about, you will need to come up with a name for your website. This is quite important because it’s no easy task to change this once you’re months down the line. Your domain is the words before .com in your URL.
There are a few different ways you can go with this.
Personally I decided to use my name, and an abbreviation of my blog name, All In My Head. I use this for all my related social media accounts too! I liked the idea of using my name, although when I get married I will no longer be a Jacques, so I didn’t think it fully through did I?! It is in my mind to change my domain name at some point in the future, [which is why I’m urging you to choose yours really carefully – hindsight is a bittersweet thing!].
Using your name is quite a classic thing to call your domain, and people often do this. It does also mean that you’re not hemmed in by any kind of topic if you do decide for a complete overhaul months down the line.
You can also choose something that relates to your blog topic. This can be great if you know you’re always going to be writing about something specific. It can help encourage people to click-through to your site, because they know what they will be getting.
Choosing Your Platform
Once you’ve decided on your blog name and topic, it’s time to decide where you are going to build your site. I definitely recommend either WordPress or Blogger.
I started off with Blogger, and then moved across to WordPress once I knew I was in blogging for the long haul. It’s completely up to you, and what you think you’ll prefer.
I love WordPress because you have plugins available which are basically extensions to your site. They add all kinds of functionality without having to code anything. We’ll look at the perfect plugins to choose to begin with a little later in the guide.
WordPress is also super easy to use. When I first started blogging, I didn’t really have any tech experience, and certainly didn’t know anything about programming and coding. WP takes all the stress out of creating content, because it’s been created to be so user-friendly.
Within a day or two you will be able to customise your site, create posts and pages, and download super useful plugins, even if you have no prior web design experience!
Making The Choice – Hosted Sites vs Self-Hosted Sites
Once you’ve decided what platform you’re going to use, you need to decide whether you’re going to self-host your blog. This means paying for a third-party to host your blog, so that you are running your blog entirely by yourself.
This is the difference between wordpress.com, and wordpress.org.
WordPress.org is the self-hosting version of the platform. Personally, I feel that if you’re looking to create a profitable blog that is going to earn you an income, then you need to go self-hosted. It just looks so much more professional, and you have full control over what happens with your site now and always.
Hosted means another site provides the service for running your blog, such as Blogger or WordPress.com. They own your site and you have less control over the functionality of your site. The host also owns your website, which tends to mean you can’t earn hardly any money from it, or sell it if you so desired!
Self-hosted means that you pay for a service provider to host your site for you. They provide the functionality, and you have a lot more control over what your site is able to do. Not only that, but you actually own your site, and can make money from it. You have to pay to be self-hosted, because you have a company who provide the hosting service for you.
Self-hosting costs money, and so if you are just writing for the fun of it, then I wouldn’t advise spending too much of your hard-earned money on it! However if you’re here, then it’s likely because you want to create a profitable blog and so I would definitely recommend going self-hosted.
Choosing A Hosting Service
There are lots of different providers out there. You might have heard of a few, such as SiteGround and HostGator. There are so many out there, and it depends on personal opinion. Do your research and see what works for you.
Personally, I use SiteGround. I decided to change over from Bluehost to SiteGround because I kept having trouble with my SSL certificate and Bluehost just couldn’t solve it. I’d also heard A LOT that SiteGround are quicker and better at handling higher traffic flows.
As things have been growing with AIMH, I decided to finally make the switch… and honestly? I’ve been so much happier! My blog loads sooo much quicker, and there’s no problems with their free SSL certificate.
It was super cheap too! Their basic packages start as low as £2.75 a month, which is just brilliant.
Click this link to get set up with SiteGround >> Go Self-hosted Today!
It’s really simple – just choose a package that works best for you. I would suggest you pick the basic option to begin with. If your blog takes off and you want to upgrade the service it’s easy to do it. It saves you money in the meantime, although it’s entirely up to you!
You have 24/7 help from SiteGround which makes them a great choice – you might need technical support at any time, and knowing you can jump on their live chat makes things less worrying. They have so many different support documents, and you can always get in touch if you’re struggling.
Another great feature of SiteGround is their one-click install of WordPress, which takes all the hassle out of getting everything set up on your computer!
You can also log a support ticket and get your domain transferred over completely free – it’s what I did, and even though the old SSL certificate from Bluehost was causing them issues, they were nothing but helpful and made it so simple for me to sort things my end.
I wanted to be fully transparent with you about the reasons why I changed, and give you my honest opinion. I truly believe being honest on my blog is so important, and I always give you the absolute truth.
How To Set Up Your Blog + Prime It For Business!
There are a few things you will need on your blog to make sure that’s ready for making an income. Make sure you get these set up before you start thinking about content:
- Choose a theme that looks professional and does everything you want it to do – pay for a premium one from somewhere like the Creative Market
- Set up your navigation bar – see next header for choosing your categories
- Create your most useful pages – about me, contact me, disclosure policy and perhaps a work with you page for brands to find out what you offer
- Decide on your branding – choose on two or three colours, and two or three fonts that you will use on all of your customisation, graphics, and social media profiles
Choose Your Categories
As we mentioned when you chose your niche, it’s really important to have a pretty narrow idea of what your blog is going to be about. Have a serious brainstorm on the topics that you want to write about. Write your main niche in the middle of a sheet of paper, and then write down anything and everything that you can think of that relates to that niche. Don’t over think things – just get it all down on paper.
Once you’ve done this you can then think about how you’re going to decide your blog categories. Do a lot of the points you wrote down fit into certain boxes? Can you create some kind of structure from your notes?
Use these to decide on your categories for your navigation bar.
Download Useful Plugins To Help Grow Your Blog + Improve User Experience
As I mentioned previously, plugins are an amazing feature of WordPress. There are literally thousands of them, and they can do pretty much anything you can imagine.
These are some of the best ones you should download before you go ahead and start writing.
Yoast SEO – a plugin that helps you with search engine optimisation, amongst other things
Editorial Calendar – this one gives you a calendar under the posts drop-down menu, which is amazing for organising posts into your schedule! I always know I’ve got my schedule full, and I never forget a post.
Social Warfare – I just use the free version of this plugin at the moment, but I love that it brings up the social shares bar to help encourage readers to share. All you’ve got to do is click one of the buttons to share the post on your chosen social media platform. The plugin makes it really obvious and easy to do so, and your readers can also see how often it’s already been shared; social proof helps increase shares!
Jetpack Pro – I do use the premium version of this plugin, because it really is worth it. You get a great stats screen which shows you which pages have been viewed that day, and how many times, plus any clicks you’ve had on external links. It also gives you security for your blog in the form of VaultPress – which scans your site for viruses and errors. You can check out Jetpack Pro here [it’s around £8 per month].
How To Write Content That Will Help You Turn Your Blog Into A Profitable Biz
Now that your blog is set up and ready to go, it’s time to create content that your readers will soak up and in turn, turn your blog into a successful business.
Your content is the most important thing when it comes to your biz. It’s what brings in your readers, makes them see what an expert you are, and grows their interest in what you’ve got to offer. You need to create posts that answer your readers’ questions, and give them solutions to their problems.
This is where you need to create in-depth guides, tutorials, how-tos and lists around your topic, that provide your audience with value they can’t find elsewhere. This is how you will end up becoming a coveted blogger that makes money from their work.
Here’s my top tips on creating killer content:
- Choose a keyword, or a couple of words, that you are going to focus on within your post – this is part of SEO or search engine optimisation; the practice of editing your content to help it appear higher in search engine results
- Make it lengthy and in-depth, at least 1000 words
- Write a great title, something that shows your potential audience exactly what they’re going to get from reading your post
- Add images, infographics, screenshots, videos and gifs to make your content stand out, be more interactive, and more shareable
- Use headers to break up your text, and help people get through your content. People are skimmers and will use your headers to find the info they’re looking for
- Don’t use too much jargon – keep it personable and relatable. Use your own voice and write how you would talk to people
Implement Money Making Methods Into Your Blog
Now that you have a functioning blog that is growing in size, it’s time to start adding in some methods to make money. After all, you’re running a business, and for it to be profitable, you need some strategies to do this.
There are many different ways that you can earn money from a blog, no matter your niche. These are some of the most common ones. It’s always best to start with one, and become a pro at that before trying another one!
Using ads to make money from your blog is difficult to begin with – it requires a lot of traffic coming to your site before you’ll see any serious income.
Ads often take away from your site’s appearance too, so use them carefully.
I use Adsense for my ads – and I only use them sparingly. I have one in my sidebar, and then a couple on my most popular posts and that’s it. They don’t earn me a huge amount of money, but it’s something I wanted to dabble in and try out for my self.
Basically getting paid for creating content for brands, discussing their product or service on your blog. This can be quite lucrative, especially when you have a big following and high traffic on your blog. Brands love influential bloggers to promote their content because they have an audience that trusts them, and this is great for promoting products and services!
This is the best way to start making money from your blog, as you can do it no matter how many people you have coming to your blog.
Affiliate marketing is quite simple, although it might sound confusing. To begin, you need to sign up with affiliate marketing networks, or apply for programs for certain products or services. You will then get links that are tracked by the program, and you earn commission from purchases people make after they click those links.
Some programs are better than others – they give you better tools, and higher commissions, so it’s worth making sure that you’re happy with the deal.
It’s also really important to only promote products and services that you either love or use yourself, because your readers need to trust you. You need to be genuine to make it work.
Selling Your Own Products/Services
This is a great method of making money from your blog, because you have full control over the quality, the pricing, and the delivery of the product/service.
There are literally thousands of options when it comes to selling your own things – it could be courses, e-books, printable PDFs, and services such as consultancy, being a virtual assistant, or a social media manager.
Be creative and there are no limits to what you can do!
Put It All Together + Build A Successful Blog
Now that you have the tools to build a profitable blog, you need to work on bringing readers to your blog to grow your audience. There are lots of different ways to bring traffic to your blog. It’s best not to focus on just one method, and rather diversify your traffic sources.
Check out these resources for traffic building:
Enjoy Your Blogging Process!
Enjoy building your profitable blog and creating the biz of your dreams! The freedom and creativity are brilliant, and there’s nothing like creating your own business from the ground up. Start a profitable blog today and reap the rewards!
Comment below if you’ve got any questions!