S O F T W A R E S P I C E

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Blogging is a method to create and build an online profile that helps people in your niche. Honestly I didn’t copy or modified this term because it is very simple to understand. Starting a business blog is a low cost entrepreneurship and in this exclusive guide, we’ll learn how to start a successful blog and make money in 2020. If blogging is successful, it can change your 9-5 in to a laptop lifestyle. Most of the people just write blogs as a hobby on popular blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger and Weebly. Because these platforms are free so people just write for some months or a year and they leave it ever.

I always had a passion and love for blogging since 2011, just two years after I started my career. So I just started as a fun on Blogspot then and now Blogger.com but couldn’t work much on it due to my full time job and eventually left it. But now I am fully focused to turn Blogging as a career and not at all as hobby. So far, I’ve been a lot of new stuff literally on daily bases. That’s why I’ve created this page so I can share the tools and tips that can turn you and me into a successful blogger.

Let’s dive in!

1. How to Start a Successful Blog in 2020?

Before we go a bit deeper, we must know what is a blog? A blog is your personal website where you share your knowledge with people. This is very general definition of a blog. There are now over 1.5 Billion Websites on the internet today and among these websites, there are 500 Million Blogs & somewhere it says 600 Millions. Anyways, a blog can never be a static website, it requires content update on regular bases. If you don’t update, your blogging stats will go down. This includes fresh and updated content with latest stats in the form of web pages called as blog posts. That fresh content actually keeps your readers engaged and as a result the traffic on your blog grows.

To start a money making blog in 2020 has become a huge trend on the internet. But saying with a sad heart, about 70% of the bloggers don’t even make a single penny. Why? It’s because most of the bloggers write a blog to improve their writing skills. They write a blog to have some samples of their written posts to show in order to get a good content writer job. Or they just write to gain some practical knowledge or to learn some tools. That proves:

how to start a successful blog

70% of the bloggers don’t earn from their blog 🙁

And the reason is not everyone is blogging to turn it in to a business opportunity. That is why I want you to focus to launch a blog as a full time opportunity. In my recent months studying different blogs I’ve seen those guys quitting their 9-5 jobs and taking blogging as a serious career. Some of them are now making $1000/day and even more, just from their blog, would you believe? To get such awesome results, it needs effort, dedication and consistency and perfect blogging strategies. Therefore, if you are ready, let’s move on.

So what is Blogging?

Simply writing informational, how to or other posts related to your niche is called blogging. Blogging is a never ending process, you have to update it on regular basis. People ask via comments on your posts, answering them is a part of blogging. It helps in link building and growing your audience and to be honest, that process takes time. Therefore a successful blogger is highly patient and a consistent person. The successful blogs that I’ve seen in the recent years are 9 or 10 years old. So you can guess their commitment but the story does not end here. The income stats of such bloggers are mouthwatering, hence blogging is not a one night get rich scheme, it needs your dedication.

Don’t be a Hobby Blogger Please!

I am sorry if it offended you but I am here to prepare your mind for a blog that is just like a business startup. A hobby blogger just writes a blog not being passionate about it. Because it is just some sort of enjoyment or a time passing activity. A hobby blogger neither promote anything nor he sells any stuff online. He is limited to only express his personal opinions.

Blogging as a Business

Blogging as a Business is way different therefore a business blogger always finds ways to promote his blog to increase the earnings. There are a number of ways to earn from the blog and we’ll breakdown them in this post. That is the major scope of this page to monetize our whole blog and it’s each post. It can be putting ads videos and promoting affiliate products to earn commission. So please stick with this business and sky will be the limit.

2. What is a Niche & how to choose one for the blog?

Niche in simple words is the area where you focus to write. Selecting a niche is ultimately the first step to start a successful blog. Your niche should be an area where you are confident to write a lot of stuff without any hazards. Therefore it plays an integral part in your blogging success because you’ll enough experience and data to share with people. Everybody has an interest in a specific market, people search on google accordingly. Hence google algorithm brings up the most relevant and updated content for its users that they are looking for.

Niche Ideas

There are a number of ideas you can get to start a successful blog, among these are some popular blogging ideas:

  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Reviews
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • SEO
  • Cloud tutorials
  • Fashion
  • Sports
  • Gaming
  • Yoga
  • Fitness
  • Weight Loss
  • Makeup
  • Make money online
  • Web designing
  • Coding
  • Entrepreneurshi
  • Student blogging
  • iPhone and Android
  • Tech blogs
  • App development
  • Video, Graphics
  • Social Networking

And there are many more. My blog is a little mix of reviews, affiliate marketing and earning money online. Because millions of people are looking for ways to make money online and it’s one of the most search keywords in search engines. Though there is much competition in this niche and it is a major coup to get prestigious results. But I am trying to implement the best strategies to get such results.

How to select a Niche for your blog?

So I’ve just mentioned some ideas about the niche you can select for your blog. May be you are interested in any one of these niches and have a prior knowledge.

Let’s take SEO as an Example

So let’s suppose you are interested to start a successful blog on SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a great niche and it is the requirement of everybody. Because it is SEO that brings up our site in search engine rankings and every website owners wants it at the top on on the first page. Just search for SEO in Google’s free keyword planning tool Google Keyword Planner, you can see a million searches/month. Though it is a very generic keyword and has a huge competition. Rest of the highly organic keywords have searches in 100K/month thresholds as well.

Let’s go more deeper into it, now I will check what most of the people are looking for? For this purpose I have used the Top 10 free keyword research and planning tools.

These are free tool for beginners to find and research keywords. Search for SEO in each tool, copy the keywords and do some analysis. You see most of the people are looking for SEO tools, Google tools for SEO like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, SEO plugins for WordPress, SEO rankings, SEO optimization and more. The list is huge but I’ve shortlisted very few.

Now gather this data of your niche and start planning, categorize each SEO domain and make a rough sketch. It is just a general planning of the blog to build pages and posts. So that is how we can select a niche for our blog. Health, fitness, make money online, digital courses, finance, tech product reviews are the evergreen niches with best market value.

3. Choose a Domain

The most widely used TLDs [Top Level Domains] are .COM domains. Why? See the below snap and you’ll get the answer.

domain name suggestions
Source: www.statista.com

So 48% of the domains in the internet are .com domains. That number makes them the largest and that is probably the reason Google also loves .com domains. Now there are other popular extensions available and the domain name providers offer those domain names at highly affordable prices. Like .IO, .Net, .ORG, .US, .RU are now getting famous. But the fact is.COM domains are also considered as best domains from SEO point of view. That means search engines prefer .COM domains. Therefore I would suggest to go with a .COM. Try to choose a domain name that reflects the topic of your niche.

Choosing a domain name with Hyphen is not recommended

Most of the people suggest to have a domain name with your own name. Well in my opinion, this is more likely to build yourself as a brand and that totally depends on your choice. My favorite host Bluehost offers a free domain with hosting.

4. Choose the Best Host

I have mentioned 6 Major Checklists before we choose a host for our blog. So make sure to choose a host that provides high performance, security, low costs and 99.9% uptime guarantee.

Check out the Best Web Hosting for Small Business

I personally recommend Bluehost because it’s one of the best hosting providers on the internet. Bluehost’s performance, uptime and support are excellent and it gives away a free domain with a free SSL certificate. Read Bluehost full reviews.

Bluehost is at the top and officially recommended by wordpress.org. There are 4 shared hosting plans and the basic plan at $3.95/month comes with all solutions for a blogging as a business startup.

best shared hosting for startup blog

Bluehost has a 1-click WordPress install, you can see my full Bluehost review to sign up and get started with your blogging journey.

5. WordPress, Best Platform to launch a Blog

WordPress is very popular and the best platform to start a successful blog and make money. 35.3% of all websites on the internet use WordPress including the top brands like Sony Music, BBC America and The New Yorker. Why I like WordPress because a person with a little technical background can build up a blog on his own. Hosting providers like Bluehost offer a lot of free themes and free website builders or drag & drop builders. Furthermore, my blog is also in WordPress & I am managing it myself, though I’ve never worked on it before. That’s how easy WordPress is to begin with and a perfect content management system for blogging as a business career.

See How to Install WordPress on Bluehost

See WordPress Beginner’s Guide

People love WordPress because there are hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes and around 55 thousand plugins. Whenever you want a tweak in your theme or an update, there will be plugin to do that for you. And believe me, it’s just a single click to install a plugin and activate it.

WordPress Theme: How to select it?

Well that is a very choosy process and everybody like me gets confused to choose one for his blog. But don’t worry, I’ll solve this problem for you with the following tips:

  • Make sure the theme is Mobile Friendly, it is highly recommended
  • Check for it’s compatibility with the WordPress version you installed
  • Should be fully responsible and customizable
  • Highly optimized for SEO
  • A feature rich theme is used by large companies, choose a simple theme
  • Make sure to check the font & color of the theme
  • I would suggest to go with a premium theme for a professional blog
WordPress Premium Themes

These are the best, highly responsive and optimized themes to choose from:

  • Elegant Themes
  • Theme Forest
  • Studio Press
  • Themeisle
  • Themify
  • Thrive Themes
WordPress Plugins for the Blog

There are more than 50K plugins built for WordPress. But installing too much plugins that are not relevant to your site can make it heavy and slow. If a site is heavy, alternatively it will slowly load and search engines do not rank slow sites. Therefore, we should only choose those plugins that are beneficial for our site.

Read: Top 20 Best WordPress Plugins

Yes, it is necessary to check the latest update of the plugin and it is very easy to check. Let’s say if I want to install Yoast SEO plugin but before that I want to know more info about the plugin, simply search the plugin in google.

best seo plugin for wordpress

Did you check the ratings and votes, that means the plugin is loved by millions. Click on that link and it will take you to the Official WordPress site where you can see the more detailed information about the plugin.

add wordpress seo plugin

So we can see the plugin was updated a week ago and have 5+ million active installations. I got impressed the very first day and honestly I don’t have any other SEO plugin except Yoast. That shows the trust of the people on this plugin, also it is supported in 42 languages, just wow!

So that’s how you should check the general features and information about the plugin before installing it. If a plugin is not being maintained anymore and the last updates is months or years ago. I would not recommend to install it but to look for it’s alternative.

See How to Install a WordPress Plugin

Yoast the Best WordPress SEO Plugin

Here is the list of must installed plugins:

So install these plugins before the launch of your blog. There may be some additional plugins like One Click Demo Import recommended by your theme provider. So if there are any problems in launching the blog, check with the theme support for assistance.

Our Progress so far

So what did we cover so far?

  • Well we generally learnt about a blog and blogging as a business concept
  • Studied a little bit about a blog’s niche and how to select it
  • Domain selection and importance of .COM domains
  • High performance host recommendation
  • WordPress as our blog content management system
  • Ideal themes for the blog
  • Suitable plugins to install before launch
Buckle up & let’s move ahead!

Technically we should be here, our WordPress is installed on the main domain. If you didn’t install it, see the easy and complete installation guide on Bluehost.

blogging as a business wordpress dashboard

6. Create a Blog Menu

You might have seen the most highlighted pages at the top of every blog. It is called a menu and it should be created first. A menu contains the most important pages of your blog like:

  • Home or Start Here
  • Blog
  • My Story
  • About
  • Top 10
  • Launch a Blog

These are just examples. Let’s discuss each one.

Home, Start Here

Your home page should have the core tag line to illustrate what your blog is about. Add some milestones you’ve achieved earlier, have email optin to get monthly readers. Once your blog runs with a traffic growth, share the traffic stats on the main page. Also most of the popular blogs share their free resources like PDF books or guides after you opt in.

Blog

This page shows the blog posts in different categories. Make sure to add it on the main menu. It will list all the blog posts you have written.

My Story

This is a very interesting page and should be there. Everyone would love to read your story once your blog is a success. Add the efforts and hardships you faced during the launch and success of your blog, it will attract huge audience.

About

The about page contains the information about your blog, any address or other information that you would like to share.

Top 10

Recommend the best resources to your readers like web host, plugins, themes, softwares or any other tools.

Start a Blog

Document every step during the launch of your blog and share the process, tips and knowledge you got in that page.

Note: These are just example pages,you need to create different pages according to your blog.

7. Start Building Pages & Posts

That means building content and here your patience exam begins. You need to write at least 10 blog posts in the beginning and the menu pages that I mentioned above. Here are some tips that should follow while writing blog posts.

Blog posts that get the most organic traffic contain words between 2,250 and 2,500 [Hubspot]

Source: Hubspot

Very long ago, I heard from my friend who was doing an SEO job that time.

“An image speaks a thousand words.”

Therefore, it’s really important to add optimized images in the posts. You should rename images with names that associate with your focus keyword. Add categories first and organize the posts accordingly and write 3-4 posts in each category. All pages and posts should be complete before you launch the blog and never stop writing the content. More quality content will lead your website to rank on the first page of search engines.

8. Search Engine Optimization

Earning money through blogging is all about SEO.

How?

Let me prove it.

SEO brings the site at the top in search engines, if your site does not appear in search engines against the organic keywords, it means no traffic and no money. Whatever the earning mechanisms you follow, high traffic will convert the content into cash. That is why it is extremely important to carry out optimization all the time.

There are 2 types of search engine optimization.

  1. On Page Optimization
  2. Off Page Optimization
On Page Optimization

On Page optimization belongs to the content you write on the blog. It includes internal and external links, optimized images, words count in the post, headings, keywords, title, focus keyword density and link URLs. 

Yoast SEO is the best SEO plugin for WordPress

I have installed and using Yoast SEO for on page optimization. That does not mean the plugin optimizes the content for SEO but it only guides and instructs you. There is a Red, Orange and Green dot at the top of each post or page. When you follow all the instructions and write accordingly, the dot turns green. Some people like and recommend Rank Math SEO but it’s totally your choice, I just like Yoast.

wordpress seo best plugin
Off Page Optimization

It is very tough and requires a lot of hard word and time. Off page optimization generally includes:

  • Guest Blogging
  • Link Building
  • Social Media
  • Domain Authority
on page vs off page optimization
Source: www.wordstream.com

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging or guest posting is a method to write guest posts for other websites with large volume of traffic within the same niche. In guest blogging, you’ll need to find such websites that allow guest posting. After your post is approved, pitch some related links of your blog to get traffic. This is time consuming but the best method to get traffic and back links.

Link Building

It is one of the hardest and the most toughest part in SEO. It is the process to get hyper links from other websites to your own blog. So it can take months to get fewer hyperlinks via using the following techniques:

  • Forum posts
  • Create content that matches
  • Blog comments
  • Build relationship with website owners
  • Pitching your site’s most relevant links (3-4 links)

Social Media

Though in the beginning you might not get huge traffic from social media but it is a great way to build your audience. I was just going through a blog group on Facebook and a guy commented his blog was getting 100K sessions per month just from Pinterest. So we should not ignore the importance of social media. Therefore, create a Facebook page, a Twitter page, a Reddit & Pinterest communities. Keep sharing the post links on all platforms and invite new people to your pages. Getting some traffic is better than getting nothing. You can use SimilarWeb to check out all the traffic of any website as I checked the following stats of a random site.

traffic from social media

9. Blog Monetization

As I have stated in the beginning, the core purpose of our blog is to monetize it. This guide is all about how to start a successful blog and make money and turning it into a passive income source. But just aware off the fact that blog monetization needs to have traffic first.

It is the traffic that will convert our content into cash, period!

So once your blog is getting traffic, it needs to be monetized to earn money. There are a couple of ways to turn our blog into an earning machine. The popular methods are:

  1. Advertisement [Banner Ads]
  2. Affiliate Marketing [Become an affiliate marketer]
  3. Become a Consultant [Like SEO consultant]
  4. Sell Ebooks, digital courses [Ebooks, courses relevant to your niche]
  5. Start coaching [Guide people via coaching calls]
  6. Start your Podcast [Start hosting your podcasts]

These are some of the best methods to monetize your blog and start getting revenues. In the beginning I would suggest to start with Google Ads to cover up the hosting and other expenses. Then start affiliate marketing by joining the best affiliate programs to earn commissions. There are affiliate programs for Ebooks and courses that pay commissions on selling the digital products and it is the guaranteed way to earn money. That’s what is blogging as a business, so stick to it no matter what.

10. Time to Wrap it Up

Though I didn’t go very deep into each point and just highlighted the important key factors of to start a successful blog and make money off it. Remember that you are blogging to make money, rest if it’s your hobby, you will go not that long in this business. Because the hobby bloggers just stay for a period of 6 months or a little more. But we are talking about our online business here, therefore, it needs focus, time, consistency and dedication.

First find a niche that you are interested in, get a free domain and hosting of your choice, though I recommended Bluehost. Then install WordPress and create a menu and some pages and around 10 highlighted posts. Start optimizing the content and once there is traffic on the blog, monetize it to build your blogging passion into a business.

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