It’s been more than 16 years now since I started blogging. Back then, it was to showcase my photography, and to practice a little writing. Through the years, I learned that blogging has an earning potential. While mine aren’t as lucrative as those earning 5-figures, I still earn, and for someone being at home it means a lot to have a source of income while caring for the kids.
There are many reasons why bloggers blog. As in my case, it’s a way to practice writing at first. Other writers’ blogs became a sort of portfolio of their writing skills. Some bloggers share their passion in what they do, be it cooking, driving sports race cars, playing video games like Kotaku, petcare like OfPetsAndCare, or make up and skincare as Josie Maia‘s. Still, other blogs function as an online business, complete with a team of managers.
Now, before you go to the technical settings of making a blog, you have to set some clear goals, have a strategic plan, and allot a budget in achieving those goals. Ah yes, you have to invest in blogging too.
Set Your Goals
As there are many reasons why bloggers blog, there are as many goals all different. And it changes as your blog progresses.
You can, for example, set goals that you would want to achieve for the first year of your blog being online and have some that you can achieve in a week, in 2 days, or for the long term, like in 5 years.
It is also a good habit to have a planning book, so you can write down and check off items.
Some examples of goals could be:
Publish an article 3 times a week.
Create social media accounts in connection to your blog.
Have your logo and colors set.
Brand your blog.
Make 500$ the first month.
Make 10,000 in 6 months.
You will then have to develop a strategy that aligns with your goals, but we’ll tackle that on a following post.
Check Laws and Regulations
Now that you have set goals, it is important that you have a look into the regulations, tax laws, registration, and exemptions regarding income from blogging in your area. Ask help from an accountant or the department in charge for either small business or freelancing activities. You might need to register yourself as a business-owner, or get a license to be able to operate.
Pick A Niche
Many blogging gurus say to niche down on your blog topic, that is, to write about a specific subject you are an expert in or passionate about. This gives you an authority to the subject, writing about what you like or know also comes easy. You can of course write about anything under the sun than a particular niche, but this may not be as profitable as those that are focused on a certain topic.
Here are specific niche examples: different kinds of facial masks, rock climbing shoes for women, Switch games for kids 10 years and younger, and organic skincare for sensitive skin.
Choose Your Domain Name
After deciding on your niche, it’s time to pick a domain name.
What is a domain name? A domain name is the web address of your site, and as it follows, also the name of your blog. Domain names are composed of 3 structures – it starts with the machine or host name (“www”), followed by the name of the website itself, and the TLD or top-level domain also called domain extension (like .com or . gov).
To pick a domain name, you have to follow the niche you selected. For example, if you want to blog about facial masks – bestfacialmasks.com both reflect your niche and the word that people might search along with it (best). Make sure that it is easy to remember.
Once you’ve decided on your domain name, look for a domain registrar and purchase it. We recommend namecheap.com for easy, reliable, and affordable domain names.
When I started blogging, I didn’t know this, thus, the domain name of this blog is gmirage.com – g for my name’s initial and mirage, which is one of my favorite words.
Select The Best Web Host
Note: this is for those who wish to build their blogs on WordPress.org.
What is a web host? Simply put, a web host leases space on their gargantuan servers to have your files stored so that your website will run 24/7.
There are many web hosts around, priced and packaged differently but can be upgraded on certain conditions. You have to carefully choose a web host like it’s an investment as most of your blog will be.
It is best to ask other bloggers about hosting, as many might have experiences with different hosts, you can compare and get pointers from them.
Here’s some I’ve used through the years.
Setup and Choose a Theme
Some hosting will help you setup your blog for free, that includes installing WordPress, a theme, and set your login and password. With other hosting, you can do these steps easily, following a tutorial they would provide.
If you decide to do it yourself, choose a theme that’s lightweight to make your blog load fast.
According to Cambridge Dictionary, branding is “the act of giving a company a particular design or symbol in order to advertise its products and services.” This is in totality the visual identity of a business or company. However, given how online marketing has evolved, branding may be well defined as the process of identifying, creating, and managing the audience’s perception of a brand (business).
Creating a logo, setting colors of your blog site and said logo, and other identifiers that people will remember your blog for is part of branding.
WordPress has made it easier to customize the theme, a feature that was not available in the early blogging years. You can simply change the colors and other functionalities and see it real-time to be easier for you to decide if you’d want the changes.
There are certain pages that you need to include in your blog, ones that would identify you as the blogger, and some legal pages that the law requires. Pages are static and mostly informs your readers about what the blog is about.
About Page – introduce yourself, your team, and your blog here, include your mission or what you want to achieve for your blog, and what readers should expect in it
Contact Page – A contact page allows readers, or advertisers to quickly and easily send you a message. You can put links to your social media accounts so they will know where else to reach you. You can put your email here as well (if your willing to be spammed lol).
Disclaimer Page – This page informs the readers that you get money from certain affiliates, or ad placements.
Advertise Page – This page informs potential advertisers that you can run their ad on your blog, whether as a banner or sidebar ad.
You can also include a page for your shop, if you are selling digital or physical products.
Menus make navigating your blog easy. Most CMS (content management systems – WordPress, Blogger, Wix, Squarespace) contain menus that lead to your pages by default. You can make use of those and just edit out according to purpose.
Install Analytics and Plugins
It is recommended to install Google analytics early on in your blog. This and other plugins that will make your blog secure, fast, and on top of search engines.
You’ve probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and that’s just one of the many things you need to learn when you start your blog. Analytics will monitor what your audience behavior, so you can make use of the data to plan what you need to do next.
Plugins are add-on extensions that adds function to your website. These are not integrated into your CMS because people use websites differently. For ease, developers made it so that you can just install what you need.
Create Social Media Accounts and Bring Traffic
Before you launch your blog, have some ready made post and schedule them accordingly. Create social media accounts in relation to your brand. Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube if needed, and TikTok are the most that can help get you traffic to your blog. And these platforms can be monetized too.
Share your post on your social media accounts for your audience to know that you published a new article.
As mentioned, to create a blog that makes money, you also have to invest. A breakdown of what you would spend on:
Computer/Laptop (no need if you already have one to use)
License / Registration
Theme (there are awesome ones that are free)
Plugins (there are free ones)
Photos (you can use your own though)
Courses (to further your knowledge about other blogging aspects)
Our estimates would be (for a year) anywhere around 100$ (having a computer/laptop to use already) to 1300$ – depending on your goals and needs.
I’ve been often asked if it really is possible to earn money from blogs, and yes, it is. You can create a blog that makes money, or generate passive income, but you have to put some work into it and invest a little. We’ll tackle how to strategize to reach your goals, how to write a copy that search engine loves, and how to bring in traffic next time.