In this post I am going to outline the exact plan you need to follow if you want to make money blogging. If you don’t know already blog is just a publishing platform that allows people to get their content out there quickly and easily. The concept is quite simple, you set up a blog and start creating content. Guys, there is a race for content right now. Whoever gets the most content out there will make more money..period!
Just about 2 years ago I would tell you to go into markets where the money is at, but now I am telling you to start blogging about whatever you are passionate about because every niche now CAN be monetized.
So first of all, think of a topic that you are knowledgeable about and that it’s something that make you happy. Check out this video from Gary Vaynerchuk.
It’s very important that you make sure you develop a business plan. Think about how your site might look in the future and what you want to offer. Then start small by creating a blog and growing it from there.
So how do you start a blog?
First of all, register a domain name that you think would be awesome for the site. Please make sure to grab a domain name that is brandable. For example, “make-money-online.com” is NOT brandable at all, but “Shoemoney.com” or “Affhelper.com” are brandable. Get it? I can’t stress this enough. It’s a very very important factor!
The only reason why you might register a domain name with keywords in it is if you are creating so called sniper sites and going for one or 2 main keywords. That method is used by a lot of affiliates who just want to get the low hanging fruit and rank for a product name that they are affiliating. It works, but you don’t want to make your income dependable on that. Trust me on this.
For your domain names use Namecheap.com. They offer a free whoisguard if you buy through them and their interface is very user friendly as well. I highly recommend them.
Once you have your domain name now is the time to get a hosting account. To start with I recommend that you use Hostgator. Their customer service is awesome and I have never had a problem with them before. Get yourself a reseller account first in case you want to add domain names later on. Once you blog starts growing and you receive lots of traffic then it’s time to move it to a dedicated server, but for now the reseller account will do.
So you got a domain name and hosting. Now we need to install the blog on your server. I highly recommend using WordPress.org for your blogging platform. It’s easy to set up, highly customizable, and has some powerful features.
Step 1 – Forwarding your domain name to your hosting account
When you login to your hosting account you should be able to find “name servers” for your server. With Hostgator you can find that in your WHM panel or just go to Hostgator homepage and ask them what are your nameservers through their Live Chat support.
Next, note them down and login to Namecheap.com (or your domain registrar) and go to your domain name settings. There should be an option to transfer name servers to webhost.
In Namecheap here is how it looks:
Then you just click that link and enter your name servers. Click save and that’s it. Within 12-24 hours it should start pointing to your webhosting. Sometimes it’s immediate as soon as you change them, but sometimes you might have to wait some time.
Our next step is installing WordPress.
Step 2 – Install WordPress
First go to wordpress.org and download the files. The installation is very easy and they have a very detailed instructions on how to do that. But let’s go over the process right here as well.
The first thing I recommend doing is creating MYSQL database on your server. With Hostgator it’s very easy to do. Just go to your C-panel and find the Mysql Database icon. Click that and then just create one. Next you will need to create a user and add that user to the database you just created with all privileges. Once you have done that make sure to save your DB name, username, and password cause you will need that to install WordPress.
If you still have problems with that get someone to do this for you. You can hire someone from Freelancer.com to install a WordPress blog for you for like $10-$20.
Anyway, once you got your DB created now go to WordPress and download the latest files.
Unzip the files and find the wp-config-sample.php file and rename it to wp-config.php. Next open it up with Notepad and fill in your DB details like db name, username, and password.
When you open it up it will look like this:
Ok once you have done that just save it and now it’s time to upload all your WP files to your server. I highly recommend installing WordPress in your main public_html folder for maximum SEO benefits.
To install it just point your browser to install.php. So if you uploaded it to the main public_html folder just go to http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/install.php
That’s it. You have now installed a blog on your server and you are ready to rock!
Now you need to make some very important changes right away. Login to your WordPress admin panel by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Then scroll down and under settings click on Permalinks. I highly recommend that you set your permalinks to /%postname%/ The are a few reasons for that. First your urls will be much shorter and look better. Second it seems like the shorter the url the better rankings you can get for it (but not always).
Under General settings you can edit the name of your blog and description, but now is the time to think about getting a good theme for your blog before you do anything else.
What I always recommend is Thesis theme. It’s very powerful and highly customizable. It’s also SEO optimized straight out of the box, so you will not need the extra plugins you would have to install with some other free themes. I suggest you take a look at it. If you decide to get it make sure to purchase the developers license so you can install it on all your WP sites.
Once you install Thesis your blog becomes SEO optimized and you can customize it however you want right from your Thesis Design Options area. They also have a great forum in case you need help with some stuff. There is a learning curve but once you get a hang of it it’s well worth it. This site runs on Thesis.
There are also many free WordPress themes out there. Just search Google for “Clean css free wordpress themes” and you will find some great looking ones I am sure.
Ok, once you got your theme installed now is the time to get some essential plugins.
Get these plugins installed:
– Akismet (Protects your blog from comments spam)
– Google XML sitemap plugin (Created a sitemap for you automatically when you post to your blog and pings Google when it’s updated)
– All In SEO plugin (Only if your theme isn’t SEO optimized. If you got Thesis you don’t need this)
– WP DB Backup (Backs up your WordPress database. Very important in case someone hacks your site etc.)
– Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (Displays links to related posts within your blog posts for better internal linking)
Those the most essential ones that every blog owner should have installed on their platform.
Now the next step is to customize the look of your new blog. You are going to need a header with some nice logo on it. You can hire someone from freelance sites to make you one. If you got Thesis theme it’s easy to insert the header but with free themes you might need some help with that. Just pay someone to set everything up. You will save yourself a lot of headache and frustration I guarantee you that
Remember to change your admin login details.
Ok that’s it for all the boring technical stuff. There are plenty of tutorials and resources out there if you want to go the free route. Now let’s talk about making the blog alive.
Step 3 – Content
Ok so now we need to put up come content. The truth is that if you don’t have any money to start with you will need to write your own content. It’s not going to be easy at the beginning because you are not going to make money right away. You need to start posting in your blog daily, seriously! Devote at least about 30 mins/day to work on your blog.
Here is a tip: You can sit down and prewrite 4-5 posts and schedule them to be posted in your blog each day automatically using the schedule option. This will free up some of your time and you could spend that 30 mins on marketing your blog instead of posting content.
You need to make sure to post quality content. Don’t use PLR articles, don’t spin articles, don’t copy and paste articles from article directories. If you do that you won’t get good search engine rankings. Google is pretty good at rating your content you post and hates duplicate pages.
If you got a budget to spend on your blog I highly recommend to hire a qualified writer who will do the content creation for you. Then you can’t just concentrate on building links, getting traffic, and monetization of your blog. This is a BUSINESS!
Content is everything. Without content your blog doesn’t exist, remember that. Like I said before, there is a race for content right now. The more quality content you put out the more money you can make, simple as that.
You should make at least 20 posts in your blog over 2-3 weeks period before you jump into link building and marketing. Content first!
I am sure you already decided what your blog is going to be about so make sure to post relevant content. For example if your blog is about mobile phones you are not going to post content about shoes or whatever
Once your blog has some initial content you will quickly notice that you can start adding categories to it. This will allow you to grow faster later on and get you more traffic from search engines.
Now that you have some posts made you need to get your site noticed by Google and other search engines (Yahoo,MSN). This leads us to another topic which is link building.
Step 4 – Link Building
This is also called off site search engine optimization. This is crucial part to your success, because the more links you have to your blog the higher search engine rankings you will get. Keep in mind that content is still more important. You can have tons of good content on your site and that will get you traffic even without backlinks. If you got no or duplicate content but tons of backlinks to your site, you will most likely get sandboxed or banned completely from Google if you spam your links all over the place. Get the point? Content is king.
There are lots of ways to get backlinks. The best way is to create so called linkbaits. Linkbait is just a page on your site that other people want to link to because it has something of value, controversial, or some useful web based tool. Linkbait can also be a something that you give away for free to others, but once they put it up on their site it has a link back to yours, for example free wordpress themes, other web based tools, plugins etc. You could hire a programmer to build you a useful web based tool that other webmasters might want to link to. This way you can build massive backlinks on autopilot from quality sites.
The worst method of building links to your site right now is reciprocal link exchanges. I highly suggest that you do NOT do that, because most people that engage in link exchanges drop out and lose their sites, then you end up linking to something that could have a negative impact on your site’s performance.
Here are a few other effective ways to get links:
Article marketing – Still works and I recommend that you distribute about 10-20 articles per month. Make them quality articles so they have a better chance of getting picked up by some authority sites.
Here are some article directories you can use to submit your articles to:
SubmitYourArticle.com – Now allows unlimited distribution plus they have their exclusive network of publishers
EzineArticles.com – Very popular and free directory
Articlesbase.com – They added the “nofollow” tag for their articles, but still worth submitting to since other sites scrape content from them
IdeaMarketers.com – Great directory that allows you to feature you article on their homepage to increase exposure of your content.
Article marketing is a great cost-effective way to get some quality links to your site for sure, but it can be very time consuming. I recommend outsourcing this completely.
Press Releases – This a also a great way to gain some search engine visibility. Well written press release combined with a good linkbait could do a lot of “damage” and get picked up by thousands of other bloggers and authority sites. Definitely use press releases to build links.
Here are some press release services that you can submit to:
When distributing a press release make sure to to make it a paid one to get as much exposure as possible.
Buying Links – This is very effective but costly. I don’t recommend using link brokers. You could contact the owner of the site you would like a link from and ask them if they can sell you a spot. Most of them sell links from their websites. Buying links could get you in trouble with Google as well so be careful. If you start buying high PR links to your site and you don’t have much traffic, or not enough content it will be obvious you are just trying to trick the search engines to get higher rankings. Don’t play with fire
Forum signatures – Believe it or not this works too. The links don’t have much weight but still effective. Just become a member of some high traffic forum and make a good anchor text link in your signature. Make sure the forum pages get indexed in Google.
Commenting on other blogs – This use to be much more effective but now with all the auto commenting tools the search engines caught up with this. Basically you find a blog post on someone else’s site with some PR and post a comment on there with your link. Check if they have “nofollow” tag. If they don’t it means search engine spiders will follow that link and count it towards your rankings. Most bloggers know if the comment was made just for the backlink and will remove it so don’t spam.
Directory Submission – This is also a good way to get some nice one way links to your blog. It takes time to submit your site to many directories but well worth it. You could outsource that as well. There are some directory submission services out there, but be very carefull buying from them, because some don’t deliver. It’s better to just submit your site manually to a handful of directories that actually count.
Here are some:
– Best Of The Web Blogs – Great directory with high PR. They offer free and paid inclusion. Highly recommended
– Bloggeries – Paid listings
– Dmoz – Great directory but very hard to get into to. I have heard many horror stories with this one.
– BlogCatalog – Nice directory where you can also submit your RSS feed
There are hundreds of small directories out there worth submiting to as well. You can easily do a search on Google for “top seo directories list” and find them.
Run an Affiliate Program – This is killer if you use your own custom affiliate script on the same domain name. Your affiliates will start driving traffic and get you links from all over the place
Social Bookmarking – Great if combined with linkbaits. If someone lands on your site and wants to bookmark it because it has something useful or great content, it might go viral and you might end up with thousands of links to your site literally overnight. Make sure you have social bookmarking buttons on all your pages! There are some good plugins out there for that.
As you can see there are lots of ways to get links to your blog. You should use all the methods listed above for maximum benefit.
Now let’s talk about getting traffic.
Step 5 – Get Traffic
Traffic usually goes together with your search engine rankings. The higher your rankings the more traffic you get. But did you know that the more traffic you get the higher your rankings too? A lot of people miss that factor. You see, if your site gets traffic that is not dependable on Google and lots of people are searching for your site through them, then it makes Google look bad if the user cannot find it. So you need some initial traffic to your site as well. There has to be some activity on your blog so it looks like it has valuable content.
There are lots of ways to get visitors to your site and here are some:
PPC (pay per click) – Obviously it costs some cash, but if you know how to monetize your blog then it might be worth it.
Article marketing – Articles can drive quite a bit of traffic to your sites if well written and target keyword phrases that people are actually searching for.
Press Releases – 1 good press release could get your thousands of visitors and links, but to achieve that you really need a great linkbait.
Email marketing – if you have your own list of subscribers, you can email them about stuff you post on your blog (works great)
Banner ads – you can purchase advertising from other high traffic sites. Most sites that get a big volume of unique visitors sell advertising space.
Media buys – If you got the budget to do it and a high converting offer with a backend system attached to it, you can do some amazing things by purchasing large media buys from contextual ad networks.
If your budget is low and you are just starting out with blogging I suggest to stick with article marketing, linkbaits, and press releases. Once you get some capital going then you can scale things up a notch
Step 6 – Monetization
In this part I am going quickly go over a few methods you can use to make money with your blog. You need to monetize it somehow in order to gain profits from it. The most common way to monetize a blog is Google Adsense program. Once you get approved and place their code on your blog, Google will display relevant ads and when your visitors click on them you get paid.
It’s also very important that you start building an email list. You should get an autoresponder such as Aweber and try to collect name and email adresses from your visitors. To do that you will need to offer something of value first. You could write a report, or develop some custom software to give away for free, but it has to be something that delivers a lot of value. Then once you have a decent amount of subscribers you can email them with offers that might help them with their business, or whatever they might have a problem with. You could also prewrite follow up emails so you can start earning automatic income. When someone optins to your list the autoresponder will automatically send out your follow up emails which is basically a hands free cash flow.
You could also monetize your blog with affiliate programs, selling your own products, services, and CPA offers. There are many great affiliate networks that you should be a member of. Some of the most popular ones are:
– CPA networks (Neverblue, AzoogleAds, Copeac, Clickboth, and many more)
What’s important is that you concentrate on providing good quality content over trying to just make money. If you have great content, you will get traffic. If you got traffic then you can monetize it. Content and traffic should be your first priority when it comes to making money with blogs.
Once your blog is earning decent steady income every month, you can flip it for some cash. There are sites like Flippa.com where you can list your sites for sale. If your blog is profitable you will always find a buyer. With the cash you get from the sale you can start a new bigger project
That’s it for this quick guide on how to make money blogging. It’s not as easy as some people say, but once you get a hang of it, it can produce a nice 5 or even 6 figure income. The key to success is persistence and patience.
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