Business Ideas

9 Effective Steps to Start Blogging and Make Money

Blogging has become a simple but effective online business model with which a good number of people have become financially free and influencial.  And for many people, having a blog is the first step towards starting a lucrative media career.

Here in Nigeria blogging has produced many millionaires. Talk of the likes of Linda Ikeji, Makinde Azeez, Jide Ogunsanya, Uche Pedro, Japhet Omojuwa, and so many others. Blogging is one activity that can easily be scaled to incorporate other business strategies.  

What A Blog Is

Most people are not able to differentiate a blog from a website, yet as similar as they may seem, they are different. 

A blog is basically a platform for creating and disseminating content on a continuing basis. A blog is always likely to be maintained by an individual who uses it as a tool to inform, educate, interact and share ideas on a specific subject area in which he is knowledgeable and in so doing build and cultivate the trust of his readers.

We can identify a blog by its characteristics: it is regularly updated, dynamic, largely informal, interactive and informational.  In contrast, a website is largely formal, static and transactional.  It is used by companies to showcase their products and services.  Due to the increasing need for interactivity, businesses nowadays incorporate blogs into their websites to promote customer engagement and enhance marketing and sales.

Who Can Set Up a Blog

Anybody can set up a blog. If you have just a faint knowledge of the use of the computer you can set up your blog by yourself without engaging the experts.  But if you are a novice, you may have to engage someone who understands the process to set up one for you.

This post is in two segments.  The first part discusses how to set up a blog giving you a step by step guide to setting up your blog and get it running.  In the second segment, I discuss how to monetize your blog.  Some of the strategies I discuss here are what I use to make money from this blog.

How to Set Up A Blog

You can set up a blog in very few simple steps:

#1.  Decide on a subject of interest

Blogs can be set up to focus on different facets of human endeavour be it entertainment, fashion, culture, relationship, business, finance, entrepreneurship, information technology, education, music, photography, name it.  There are as many blogs as there are human interests. 

Thus, the first step toward starting a successful blogging business is to identify and choose a niche.  In choosing a niche, it is important that you settle for a subject matter that you understand very well, can write about and can easily establish yourself as an authority.  Also look out for a subject matter that has many subthemes, this way you will have plenty of topics to write on.  A niche blog that makes you money is one that has high search volume but with low competition – a subject matter that a lot of people are searching for information on.

When blogging was at its nascent stage of development in Nigeria, gossip, entertainment, and general interest blog was the in-thing.  Today it has become so competitive that you will need a heavy advertising budget and investment in technology to survive in that space.

#2.     Choose a name

After you have decided on the theme of your blog, the next thing you should do is to choose a name by which your blog is to be identified.  This is your domain name and is basically the website address through which people can recognize and access your site.  Another word for it is URL.

It's vital to settle on a name that is unique, easily memorizable and in sync with the subject matter of your blog.  This is necessary to make your blog easily picked by search engines.  When you have decided on what to name your blog, you want to be certain that the name is available for your use.  Proceed to Godaddy or other domain name registrars and do a search. If the name is not available, keep tinkering with your choices until you get one that is available, then proceed to step 3.

#3.     Register your domain name

After confirming the availability of your choice of name, the next thing you do is to register that domain name.  You can register your domain name through the many domain name registrars available, like Godaddy and Namecheap.  There are also Nigerian based domain registration services providers that have created good reputations for themselves.  One of the advantages of registering your domain name with a Nigerian domain service is the ease of payment it provides because you pay in Naira.  You are also able to get the .ng brand or .com.ng which easily shows you are a Nigerian based business.

#4      Host Your Domain

After registering your domain name, the next step is to get a hosting service. A web host stores all the files, pictures and content on your blog and makes them accessible to the public. An important factor for consideration when choosing a web host are uptime, speed, support, load time, cost.  When it comes to blogs, Bluehost has a reputation as the most popular and price friendly hosting services.  It is perhaps, the only hosting service that has an official recommendation by WordPress.  This blog is on Bluehost.

#5      Select a Blogging Platform

The next thing you do after buying a hosting service is to install blogging software to bring your blog to life.  A blogging platform is what enables you to bring your blog to life. There are a lot of them but the most popular are WordPress and Blogger.  Both are free to use including themes, layouts, and add-ons but WordPress provide more freedom and customization, hence many blogs including this one runs on WordPress.  There are over 72 million active users of WordPress globally.

These platforms also provide the opportunity of hosting blogs on their domain and these are absolutely free. If you decide to take that route you need not register a domain name nor host your blog on any of the paid hosting services.  Your blog address will be like this: yourchosenname.Worpress.com, or yourchosenname.blogger.com depending on which service you are using.

The issue with using a free hosted blog is that you have no control whatsoever over your blog and there are limited customization features; your blog address will be long and you may not be able to do serious business with it.

Self-hosting your blog will cost you some money but gives you a lot of advantage and freedom to build your blog to your taste.  I advise that if you hope to make some money with your blog (I expect that’s why you are reading this post), get a self-hosted domain.

#6      Design Your Blog

With the installation of a blogging platform, such as WordPress, you are now set to design your blog.  You do this by choosing your themes, creating your pages, installing plug-ins and optimizing your blog for search engines.  You can choose from so many free themes and plugins available on WordPress or buy premium themes to use advanced features. The themes give your blog the look and feel while plug-ins enhance its functionality.

#7      Start writing and posting information

Having completed the design and customization, your blog is completely set up and you are ready to start writing and posting content.  

It is time to start blogging!

Write content that is relevant to your subject and capable of attracting readership.  If you write well-researched articles that are unique and original you will begin to receive organic visits within a short period of time as the search engines will easily pick quality content than contents that are copy pasted. Writing original and quality content also helps establish you as an authority in your subject and will enhance your chances of monetizing your blog.

Develop a content posting schedule.  This will ensure that you post regularly to your site and the more content you post the more the search engines recognize your blog. How regular you update your blog depends on you.  You could post daily, weekly or bi-weekly.  Whatever your content strategy is, keep to it. 

#8      Grow your blog

Your blog is up, you are posting content.  It is time you took deliberate steps to make your blog successful.  The success of your blog could be measured by its prominence on the internet, the traffic (or the number of daily visitors or readers of your content), and finally how much you are able to make from the blog.  Growing your blog is a determinant of your ability to monetize it. 

Some of the factors that will aid your blog growth include content quality, how well your content is search engine optimized and how well you promote your content. To promote your content, you can use the social media platforms like facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, etcetera.

#9      Monetize

Putting strategies in place to make money with your blog is called monetization. If you have successfully created your blog, post quality content, optimize your site and content for the search engines, grow your blog to have a followership of loyal readers, then the time has come to start making money from it. Monetizing your blog is an ongoing process that can be scaled as you progress and gain experience in your blogging business. 

Now, How to Make Money With Your Blog

There are many different ways to monetize your blog or make money with; I share a few of the most common strategies below:

Google Adsense.

For most bloggers, Google Adsense provides the easiest route to monetizing their blogs.   This blog utilizes Google Adsense as part of its monetization strategy.

Google AdSense is the most popular ad network programme where Google publishes its advertising partner’s adverts on approved websites and share revenue with the publishers.  Google will display these ads on your page and once a visitor clicks on the ad, you get a fraction of the ad revenue.

The challenge for you here, however, is in getting your blog approved for Google Adsense because there are strict conditions that publishing partners must meet to join the network.  Moreover, to make reasonable money from Google Adsense or other similar Ad networks for that matter, your blog must be attracting a reasonable amount of traffic.  High traffic blogs and websites earn good money from Google Adsense. 

There are other ad networks available on the web such as Revenue Hits, MediaNet, Chikita, Propeller Ad Media, info links amongst many others but Adsense offers the most opportunity so much that these other networks are described simply as alternatives.

Sell Ad Spaces

Many bloggers also sell ad spaces to business organizations and individuals who need exposure.  If you have grown your blog to command some level of popularity in your niche, you can start to sell ad spaces to organizations relevant to your audience.  Before you prospect for display ads make sure that your blog is fairly popular.  One way of checking how popular your blog is; is through the Alexa ranking. 

Alexa is owned by Amazon.  It uses some proprietary analytical tool to provide a global and geographical ranking of websites based on traffic and page views and some other parameters.  The better your ranking the brighter your chances of attracting adverts.

Affiliate Marketing

This is another good way of making money with your blog.  Indeed there are bloggers who use this single strategy to make tons of money online.  Affiliate marketing requires that you identify a product or service that is relevant to your audience, sign up as an affiliate of the producers of the product or service and use your platform to promote the product or service to your audience. 

Any sale recorded through your affiliate link will earn you a commission.  There are links in this post and other posts on this blog that are affiliate links. If you click those links they will take you to the merchant website and if you buy the product or service, I get paid a commission.

Some Affiliate programs pay as much as 50% commission while others pay as little as 10%.  Some of the places you can sign up with good affiliate programs include Amazon, JVZoo and so many more.  For Nigerian based programs, Jumia and Konga offer good opportunities.

Sell Products and Services

Another profitable strategy to make money with your blog is to sell your own products.  These products can either be physical products or digital products such as eBooks, software, app, and courses. There are bloggers I know who use their sites to launch mini importation business and today are doing so on a large scale.

Dedicate a page as your online store using the woocommerce plug-in and promote your products. An effective way to sell to your audience is to build a list of subscribers through your blog, interact regularly with them through quality and relevant information and then sell your product. 

Sell products that are relevant to your kind of audience.  You will not be taken seriously if your blog is about how to maintain high-end mobile phones and you are promoting viagra or other sexual enhancement products to your audience. This is why it is important that you choose a niche that can easily be monetized.

You can also sell your services or skills through your blog. For instance, if you are a teacher and run a blog about good schools in Nigeria, you could use it as a platform to sell your coaching classes which can be organized either offline or online.  I use this blog to sell consulting services in the area of business plan writing.  You can check the engage us page to see other services that I render.

Publish and sell information products

People are always looking for how-to guides and other kinds of information to improve their income, health, relationship, etc.  Look for information that your audience might be interested in, write a comprehensive guide, package it in form of an eBook or video and sell to them.  This has become a sure money making strategy for bloggers. For so many bloggers information products are money spinners and effective business strategies that cannot be equaled by other monetization methods.

Sponsored Posts

When you have a loyal followership and good amount of traffic, you can begin to make money through sponsored posts.  Business organizations in your niche will want you to promote their products or services through reviews and what in the print media is called advertorials.  They will either write material for you to publish on your blog for a specified period of time or you write for them and publish in like manner.  You charge for such services.  Very popular blogs make a good chunk of money through sponsored posts and product reviews.

Last Words

Yes, blogging can be a very rewarding and viable way of making money online.  Indeed, a lot of bloggers have become very successful millionaires and many more are being added to the list.  But it is not as easy as it may sound. Blogging is a serious business that takes a lot of time to mature.  Like most serious businesses, it requires hard work and patience for you to make money.  It may take from a couple of months to a couple of years before you earn your first dollar. So if you are one with the get rich quick type, please do not consider blogging as an avenue to wealth creation.

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