Tempting, isn’t it ?
Starting a blog to make money. Working whenever and wherever you want, pulling in some income sharing what you know.
How great would that be ?
You want to get your feet wet in this whole blogging thing so you read a ton of online information, soaking up all you can on how to blog for money.
You read how some people make a lot of money: $20,000.00, $40,000.00, and even $60,000.00 a month. Their income reports can’t be wrong and you want IN.
And with the influx of articles and blog posts spelling out how easy it is to do, you whisper to yourself “Dang! I can do that.”.
The idea is simple:
1) Figure out what to blog about
2) Pick a domain name
3) Host your blog
4) Get it all set-up
5) Watch the money roll in
You can’t lose, right?
But something fundamental is missing. Something all those blog posts and income reports aren’t telling us. So, as a wary seeker of ways to make money online, I want to tell you what that missing element is and help you realize what your expectations should be.
First, though, I want to recap a few things.
Start A Blog. Make Money. Possible???
The Basics To Starting A Blog
I’m going to assume you’ve read some of the “make money blogging” articles and you have a niche/idea for a blog in mind so I’ll skip that part. But I do want to go over some of the basics just to jog your memory.
An easy to navigate blog is essential. Simplicity is always better, especially when you’re starting out. That said, I recommend using WordPress as the platform for running your blog. It’s easy to use and you don’t need to know any coding IF you use the WordPress install option when you buy your web host (I’ll talk about that in a minute). When I started my very first blog I found WordPress difficult to set up – I did not use the WordPress install when I got my web host account, I set it up manually and it was a bit tricky.
To make it all pretty, WordPress has thousands of free blog themes you can browse, install (with the simple click-to-install process) and have fun customizing.
You need a domain name; one ending with .com is the most common. Think of a name that represents your idea or company. For this blog, I choose TheWaryWorker.com because it lets people know who I am and what I do: I warily seek out work from home jobs that I share with my readers. I guarantee you’ll spend a lot of time wearing your thinking cap and you’ll come up with a list of several possibilities. Pick the one that you think is best.
Once you have a great domain name in mind, you need to buy it. Domain names are pretty inexpensive and I suggest buying one through GoDaddy.com. As of this writing, they are as cheap as $2.99 To simplify things, you can roll the purchase of a domain name into the cost of a hosting plan. More on that in a minute.
The Web Host
Which brings us to the next step: buying a hosting plan (aka web host). A hosting plan is where your blog lives within the world wide web. The general idea is to pick a web host that has been around for several years and has a few different plans so you can increase your bandwidth as your blog grows.
Remember earlier when I suggested using a web host to set up WordPress ? This is what you need to read for that. Getting a hosting plan can be a confusing and intimidating process but host companies have made it really simple for us non-techies. With simple one-click set-ups, it’s pretty hard to go wrong and you can buy your domain name, select a hosting plan, and set up your blog on WordPress all in one place.
When it comes to selecting a web host, it really doesn’t matter for the new blogger. Among the most reputable hosting companies, the options and price points are very similar.
Here are the four web hosts I have researched and trust:
#1 InMotion Web Hosting
I recommend using InMotion Hosting because they offer a few host plans for new bloggers. I have been using them for over a year and have had absolutely no problems. Their WordPress web hosting is currently $5.99 a month for the beginner plan and you can host up to 2 websites or blogs. What I like best about InMotion is the fact they have data centers on the West and East coasts of the USA with a 99.9% uptime, ensuring your blog is always up and running. The set-up process is quick and easy with free WordPress set-up. A very smooth transaction.
To get started with InMotion, go to their homepage (http://www.inmotionhosting.com/) and hover on the WEB HOSTING option in the menu. Then click on WORDPRESS HOSTING
From there, you can select your hosting plan – I recommend the Launch plan for new bloggers. After you select the hosting timeframe (12 months or 24 months) you can buy a domain name (if you haven’t already done so through GoDaddy) and then select to have your blog automatically set-up on WordPress.
When all’s done, you’ll get an email from InMotion telling you what your next steps are.
GoDaddy’s process is pretty simple but they like to up-sell. You can buy a domain name and then automatically set it up on the WordPress platform via one of the hosting options.
From the Go Daddy homepage, click the Hosting option, then WordPress Hosting. CLick the Get Started button to see the plans available. If going with Go Daddy, I recommend new bloggers buy the Basic plan. You can upgrade later if necessary.
The rest of the set-up is simple…a few clicks to indicate the length of time you want to buy the hosting service, the option to purchase a domain name, and the auto-set-up onto WordPress.
#3 Bluehost Web Hosting
Bluehost has a Basic plan currently starting at $3.45 month (excludes cost of domain name). This hosting company has been around for many years and is very popular for WordPress users. From the homepage, select the big green “get started now” button and you’re on your way.
#4 Site Ground
SiteGround is an inexpensive web host with 24/7 customer service and a bunch of add-ons for your blog. Like all the others I’ve mentioned, you can register your domain name and set it up on wordpress with a few simple clicks.
From the Sight Ground home page, hover on WordPress Services in the menu and then click the WordPress Hosting option. Then you want to click the Choose Plan button, which will take you to the three hosting options. I recommend the Start Up plan for new bloggers. You can switch to a new plan later if you need more hosting “space”
Just like all the other web hosting companies, Site Ground walks you through the process and they will get it all ready on WordPress for you.
What It Really Takes to Start A Blog To Make Money
So now that you have all the technical bones taken care of, I want to get into the real nitty-gritty of starting a blog to make money.
What They’re Not Telling Us
First of all, don’t think you’ll be making passive income with a blog. Why? Because passive income is money that comes in on a regular basis with little effort. In the beginning, a blog is not a source of passive income. Expect to work at least 30 hours a week brainstorming ideas, writing and re-writing your articles, editing images and doing research. This is a never ending process so saying your blog is a passive way to make money is plain wrong.
Second, Quit telling yourself you just want to make a few extra bucks each month sharing what you know. If this is your goal, don’t start a blog. The time investment is too great. If you’re going to work as hard as you will, then striving for only a few bucks is plain silly.
Third, when you think you know everything about running a blog, think again. Changes are always happening with the search engines, social networks, and advertising options. You have to keep learning and trying new things.
Lastly on this point, it is possible to make a lot of money blogging. It’s also possible to fail and lose just about everything. Blogging requires time, skill, knowledge, and discipline. Things that a lot of people can’t muster.
You Need To Fill Your Blogging Toolbox
Now that you have your expectations in line and you still want to start blogging, there are some tools that will come in handy. Tools that will make your blogging life a bit easier.
Once you have an image or two, you probably need to make some edits. The two online photo editors I use ALL THE TIME are Pixlr and Canva. And They’re free ! I really like Canva for making images that can be used on social media (when you get to that point, more on that later).
The only tool you need to make your new blog search engine ready is the Yoast SEO plugin that you install via WordPress. This plugin works with your posts and gives you clues on how to improve your writing for your readers and the search engines.
Don’t lose your hard work! You need to back-up your blog on a regular basis. To do this, I recommend installing the BackWPup Plugin. via WordPress, which can be backed up to your host server or to a Dropbox.
Skip What They Told You…For Now
Not so social
You don’t need to be on all the social networks. At least not yet. Don’t get sucked into thinking you need to make your presence known on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and zillion other different platforms. As a new blogger, you need to focus on building your blog first. Forget about all the social networks entirely or select only one so you don’t spread yourself too thin. As your blog grows so can your social presence.
Opt-ins are out
An opt-in newsletter or email list isn’t essential when you’re first starting out. Yes, it’s a way to gather your reader’s email addresses so you can stay in touch and encourage them to come back to your blog. But don’t worry about it yet. Build your blog instead.
Write ’til your fingers fall off ?
You don’t have to write every day. Not even every other day. Write whenever you feel inspired – this will ensure a better blog post. The “build it and they will come” attitude is useless when it comes to blogging.
What’s this thing called SEO?
Have you heard of SEO (search engine optimization) ? If so, forget what you’ve heard. None of that stuff matters any more. How Google ranks blogs and websites is so complex that trying to figure out what to do to be on top is pointless. What you need is for the leaders in your niche (aka the big dogs) to like either a specific post of yours or your entire blog in general. How do you get their attention? Listen to what your readers want and write solutions. The leaders will eventually find you.
Don’t obsess over your statistics. Using Google Analytics and Google Search Console are necessary for figuring out how people find your blog and which issues need to be addressed but you don’t need to check your stats every day. As your site grows, these tools will prove invaluable but they offer little information at first.
What About Traffic?
Traffic. The route to your success. The visitors to your blog. Before you make money blogging you have to get traffic.
And let me tell you, this is so frickin’ HARD to do.
But you can let traffic find you by writing useful content that builds trust. Present your content in a way that is not the same-old, same-old stuff. Let traffic come to your blog naturally.
Citing a few good resources in some of your articles will eventually get the attention of those resources and potentially result in some traffic for you.
As you write your blog articles, keywords will naturally flow. The ever-evolving search engines will pick-up your blog posts and present them in the search results. This won’t happen overnight and chances of your post being listed within the first few pages of Google for any form of keyword is pretty low.
Let your blog speak for itself. As you become an expert in your niche, you will gain more and more trust. This can take a few years to accomplish, giving the phrase “patience is a virtue” a long-term meaning.
The Make Money Part
A lot of other bloggers like to write about their monthly earnings; how much they’ve earned and from what source. Some say they make more than $50,000.00 a month but my skeptical mind wonders how attainable and accurate those earnings are.
Are they talking net or gross income?
Turns out, the blogs that claim they make a ton of money took at least four years of HARD work to become high earners. And as those blogs grew so did the management responsibilities. Hiring writing freelancers, paying for a premium blog design, paying for advertising and marketing, and – most time consuming – figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
You see, I’m not going to sit here and tell you how easy it is to make money with a blog because it isn’t. Not at all. But it can be done. It will take a long time of sweat equity first.
Now that you know what to expect, ask yourself if it’s right for you.
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