How a start a blog [Ultimate Guide]
How a start a blog [Ultimate Guide]

How to start a blog that makes money in 2020 [Ultimate Guide]

In this complete guide, I’m going to teach you how to start a blog in 2020. We will begin with the mindset you should have as a successful blogger, how to pick a lucrative niche, how to technically set up the blog (WordPress, theme, plugins, pages), how to write awesome content, how to promote it to get readers and how to monetize it properly.

It’s no wonder that close to 1% of American adults make at least a portion of their living by blogging. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about 2 million people profit from blogging each year in America. Of those, about a quarter (452,000 people) use blogging as their primary source of income.

If you want to become a successful blogger, this information is both uplifting and depressing. It is possible to make money blogging; lots of people are already doing it.

But like with other creative professions like actors and musicians, the people who don’t make enough to quit their day job far outnumber famous celebrities earning millions of dollars.

I won’t lie and say it’s easy making your living as a blogger, but it is true that anyone can do it, provided you have a subject you’re passionate about and the dedication to write about it long-term.

I’ve created, maintained and sold over 40 blogs so far and I’m ready to give you the exact recipe that will guide you to create a blog that will make you profit in several months.

1. Before Starting Your Blog – Your mindset

1.1 Be Driven By Passion, Not Money

It’s crucial to have a financial plan laid out, but it should never be your project’s main motivator. In fact, many blog owners are making money today because of the deep, admirable love they felt for the community’s subject matter.

You’ll hear about overnight successes in the blogging world, but what that most often means is that everybody on the internet realized the blog was there overnight.

Most likely, that blogger has been going strong, writing content and working on building an audience, for years. For some of that time, the blogger was probably making little to no money.

1.2 Be Ready to Work Your Butt Off

I won’t lie or sugarcoat it: Managing a blog is tough.

In my opinion, it is best to hit the ground running by:

  1. Inviting you to participate: You have more connections than you realize. Just look into your Facebook profile, or politely ask your friends to help out. Offer an incentive, if you must.
  2. Hiring someone or ask for volunteers: If you have little to no money, places like Craigslist allow you to place unpaid gig listings.
  3. Staying active: Getting the blog off the ground also means being there to answer questions and starting new topics every day, especially toward the beginning. So for an hour or two every day, check your blog and answer questions from members, delete spam and post interesting content or ask questions that encourage your members to engage.

Now let’s officially look at how to start a blog and make money.

More on your blogging mindset:

2. How to find your niche

A blog that has a clear identity is more likely to be successful than one with a broad focus. A personal blog is about you while a professional blog is about the topic. You can and should be personable and share your story, but only as it relates to the topic at hand.

Before you start doing anything else to start your blog, you should figure out your topic. Your niche will impact the domain name you choose, the design of your page, and your ideal posting schedule to appeal to the most readers in your area.

2.1 Research the market

Picking the right market for a new blog can be tricky. You want to find a topic that is popular enough to attract interest and earn money, but one that hasn’t already been oversaturated with bloggers giving their opinions.

Finding a new perspective on a topic, something that people aren’t already blogging about gives you the best chance of making it in the business long-term—if it’s a field where interest exists, and the reason there are no bloggers on the topic isn’t that no one wants to read about it. The only way to know is by researching the field.

Keep in mind that you should choose a niche that you are familiar with or passionate about. It will be funny if you will receive questions from your readers and you will not know the answer and you will have to search Google every day.

Also if it is something that you’re not passionate you will later become less and less involved in your blog, which will drive people away.

Thankfully, researching a niche has become easier over the years thanks to the vast amount of online communities available.

Here are the ones I recommend most:

Places to get niche ideas

  • Reddit: Browse through the thousands of subreddits and see how many years they have existed for, how many subscribers they have, and pay attention to their level of interaction. Just about any subject has a loyal following, but you must also keep in mind the financial viability of your chosen niche.
  • Facebook and Linkedin Groups – When you decide on a niche check associated Facebook and Linkedin groups about that niche and see if there are active discussions and people interested to get more information, to acquire products. The 2nd most bad thing after going into a very competitive niche is to go into a niche without buyers.
  • Quora, Yahoo Answers, and Similar: Look into new, trending, and all-time popular questions on these websites. What questions keep consistently popping up? Why? What do you think you can offer to your members if you were to start a blog based on said topic?
  • Google trends: Set up email alerts pertaining to your chosen topic on Google trends. You can turn virtually any trend into a forum topic by asking questions about it. This is a goldmine. You can use Google Alerts to set up notices for your niche.
  • Browse similar blogs: What subjects are they covering? What are they missing? How are those members treated there? Can you bring something new to the table, or at least improve upon their existing methods? You should not try to simply mirror an existing forum unless you have a lot of money and time to overcome it. Otherwise, is going to be a lost battle from the beginning.
  • Competitive intelligence tools: Using tools like SEMrush, iSpionage and SpyFu help you find blogging opportunities by investigating blogs and websites online. So before actually starting a blog check how others are doing it and mimic their success.

Keyword Research Complete Guide
Keyword Research Complete Guide

The larger the interest in a given topic, the smaller the percentage of the total market share you need to capture to be successful, and the more specialized your niche will be to provide a new voice.

The best niche for a new blog in 2020 isn’t necessarily the one with the biggest following or the one that’s the most unique; the best niche is the one that allows you to be a new voice for a community that will be able to support you.

You shouldn’t assume what kind of activity exists on a given blog topic before you start doing your research. Some topics might seem like they’d be immensely popular but turn out to be relatively rare once you’ve done your research, making them perfect potential niches for you.

Conversely, you might think you’re the only one interested in a given idea, only to find the blogosphere already overrun with people scribbling on your esoteric niche. Take notes as you do your research to kill two birds with one stone.

2.2 Why you?

The blog itself is not the product you’re selling to the consumer. The blog page is more like a storefront. The products that are up for sale are your ideas and expertise, as conveyed through your posts.

To attract readers to your blog, you need to give them a reason to listen to what you, specifically, have to say about a given topic. Why would someone want to read your blog instead of the ones already established?

Before you make your final decision on which niche to delve into, ask yourself that simple question: why me? You should be able to provide a one-sentence answer that would make someone interested in reading what you have to say.

2.3 Logistics

If your blog fits naturally into your daily schedule and lifestyle, it’ll be easier for you to put in the effort of maintaining it, and you’ll be less likely to feel overwhelmed or give up due to burn-out.

Make sure that the research, writing, and marketing you’ll need to do in your chosen niche is realistic for your life before you settle on a topic. If you want to write about the local music scene, you’ll have to make a point of going to a lot of shows—maybe not the best idea if you have to wake up early every day for work.

If you want to write a financial blog, you need to be able to keep up with market trends and deliver timely advice to your readers who are counting on you to guide them through a quickly changing landscape.

The niche you choose will also have an impact on how you earn profit from your blog. If you’re writing in a larger niche, your ratio of fly-by traffic to repeat readers might be higher. You’ll get a lot of page views that would appeal to advertisers, but may have a harder time selling products.

Conversely, a blog in a small niche that has a loyal core of followers might not get as much traffic, but the per-visitor profit could be higher because those visitors buy products and services, whether they’re original to you or sold by an affiliate.

More on how to find your niche:

3. Technical stuff

It can be tempting when you first start your blog to put it on a free site like blogger.com or wordpress.com. After all, it’s still a blog available on the internet, so why pay more than you have to set up?

Free blog services are fine if you’re a hobbyist, but they have major disadvantages that can make your life much harder as a professional blogger.

Free sites, in general, don’t rank as well in search engines as paid domain names. They also don’t give you as much control over your design, making the page look unoriginal and less professional. Some free services also run their own ads on your website, limiting your chances of making ad income.

3.1 Domain name

A domain name is your address on the internet. A new domain name can be claimed through a variety of different online services. It’s not expensive to register a new domain name—doing it with GoDaddy or NameCheap can cost you as little as $10 a year, and other services offer domain registration in the $20 to $40 range. Some domain names are more expensive than others.

Register a domain through NameCheap
Register a domain through NameCheap

If possible, your domain name should match the name of your blog. It doesn’t have to; once you own your domain name, you can put whatever you want on that site. Matching the web address to the blog name, though, will give you more name and brand recognition and make it easier for readers to find you.

Two and three word combinations are less likely to have been used already. With a little creativity, you can find an open domain name that relates to your niche and is more quirky and memorable.

Instead of purchasing a new domain name you could check domain marketplaces like Godaddy Auctions and purchase aged domains that already have some SEO power attached. Make sure you do your due diligence and the domain you acquire was not involved in shady tactics.

How to Make Money With Aged Domains
How to Make Money With Aged Domains
Action: Research potential domain names for your blog and register one using NameCheap, GoDaddy, BlueHost or your favorite domain registrar.

3.2 Hosting

Once your blog has a domain name it has an address, but it doesn’t yet have a home. The files associated with your site will need to be hosted on a server so that your viewers can access them.

There are many hosting sites out there. Many places that register domains also offer hosting services, which is convenient, though you should make sure the site has the services you need before signing up. Blue Host is a common hosting site for WordPress bloggers who are transitioning to a self-sufficient site.

The most important thing to consider is how much web traffic volume you can have on a particular hosting site. Bandwidth limits won’t matter when you’re first starting your blog, but if you hope to grow your traffic quickly, you shouldn’t set yourself up for failure by choosing a server that’s too small. A lot of hosting sites offer different tiers of packages at different rates depending on your traffic needs and make it easy to upgrade down the line.

When you’re first starting out, the cheapest option is often a shared hosting account. Prices can start as low as $3-$5 per month. Sites that offer this option include iPage, eHost, and In Motion Hosting. Research the hosting site before you sign up. Are they reliable, or do you see users complaining about their service? You can also check around with other bloggers and see what hosting sites they use.

Another path you can go is to start with a managed hosting service. Check our article How to choose the best-managed WordPress hosting.

How to choose the Best Managed WordPress Hosting
How to choose the Best Managed WordPress Hosting
Action: Get a hosting account for your blog on DigitalOceanNameCheap, GoDaddy, Blue Host ,SiteGround or your other favorite hosting company.

3.3 Site builders and CMS

You’ve got a domain name and a host where the files associated with it can live. Now all you have to do is make your blog and transfer it to the host—and if you’re not a technically-minded person, this can be very intimidating.

A Content Management System (CMS) is a piece of software you install directly on your web host (not your computer) that streamlines the addition of necessary site features like tags and categories for pages, search and archive functions, or forums and comment sections.

There are several blogger-specific CMS programs, many of which you can use for free. WordPress is the most common.

I know what you’re thinking—isn’t WordPress one of those free blogging sites?

It can be (WordPress offers free blog hosting), but you can also download it as software and install it on your domain. It’s certainly not the only product on the market, though; take your time and carefully consider what features you’ll ideally need. 

Blog Software Usage Statistics 2019
Blog Software Usage Statistics 2019
Action: Download WordPress, install it on your blog and test if its the right blogging software for you.

3.4 The importance of  a WordPress Theme

The layout and design of your blog will give your reader their first impression of you. On the practical side of things, you want to make sure it’s both easy to navigate and easy to read. Important posts should have a prominent place on the page, and the colour scheme shouldn’t interfere with the legibility of your writing.

A pre-made template or theme like those available on WordPress can be a good place to start when you’re designing your blog, but you should customize at least a few elements of it to help it stand out from the thousands of others that use that same layout.

Best WordPress theme 2017
10 Tips To Choose the Best WordPress Theme

Layout and colour choices have some role in this; if you run a photography blog, you should choose a format that emphasizes images, for example. Consider specialized features. A financial blog might find it helpful to install a live tracker of the stock exchange on their front page; a sports blogger might have a ticker of scores and match results.

Top 10 WordPress Themes according to BuilthWith
Top 10 WordPress Themes according to BuiltWith

According to BuiltWith, the most popular WordPress themes are Divi from Elegant Themes, Twenty Seventeen that comes packed with WordPress, Avada, Genesis FrameWork from StudioPress, Enfold, BeTheme etc. Here on Monetize.info, we use a pretty customized version of Shaifa theme.

Install a Free Theme from WordPress Repository
Install a Free Theme from WordPress Repository
Action: Install a free theme from WordPress repository or a paid theme and tweak it to match your expectations.

3.5 WordPress Plugins

If you’re using WordPress as the CMS for your blog, plugins let you add all sorts of features, like email capture, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Google Analytics, ways to optimize your images, increasing page load speeds and more.

The only problem is that, like themes, there are literally thousands of them to choose from. And if you add too many (or poorly built ones) to your blog, it can weigh your site down and make it run slowly.

These are the 10 must-have plugins to install right on day one when you start a blog.

  1. Yoast SEO, SEOPress – One of the best plugin that will help you make your posts SEO friendly. The more people that can find your content, the better your blog will do. Yoast helps you to optimize your blog post titles, descriptions, content length and other elements across your entire blog so that you can be found easier by search engines.
  2. OptinMonster. If you’re building an email list of readers, OptinMonster has a suite of tools to help you convert more readers into email subscribers
  3. WPForms, GravityForms, or Contact Form 7. You’ll want your readers to be able to get in touch with you easily. WPForms lets you drag & drop contact forms onto pages so you can do this easily.
  4. Sumo. Social shares, email captures, and more. Pretty much a no-brainer if you want to build and grow your blog.
  5. MonsterInsights. This is probably the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. Connect MonsterInsights to your Google Analytics account (you can sign up for a free Google Analytics account right here) to find out who’s coming to your site, how long they’re sticking around, and what your most popular blog posts are.
  6. BackupBuddy. Again, sometimes things go wrong. It’s always smart to have a backup of all your hard work.
  7. WPRocket, W3 Total Cache. Faster websites rank better in Google and give your readers a better experience. W3 Total Cache reduces your file sizes so that your blog loads faster for everyone.
  8. MaxCDN. Speaking of speed, MaxCDN makes images and other static elements of your blog load faster as well.
  9. MemberPress. If you want to build a gated community around your blog content, there’s nothing easier than using MemberPress. You can create a subscription, restrict content, and set up payment options.
  10. Insert Headers and Footers. Sometimes to edit your theme you’ll have to add code snippets to your header or footer. This plugin lets you add small snippets of code easily.
Action: Install plugins from WordPress repository according to your needs. Don’t get too excited and install only the necessary ones so you will not get in the end a slow website.

3.6 Logo and other graphic elements

A great way to clarify your brand is to design a logo that reflects both your niche and your personality. You can do this yourself if you’re artistic, but for many people, it’s worth the financial investment to hire a freelancer to design the logo for you. The logo will come to represent your brand in most readers’ minds, and the initial investment you make hiring a designer will be repaid many times over by the boost to your brand recognition.

Though this is most important with your logo, it can also be true of other aspects of your blog design. If you want customized images or a unique layout format but don’t have the design or coding background to make them competently yourself, don’t be afraid to look for a freelancer to complete the work for you.

In the article below check the best 10 freelance websites where you can outsource your design project. A well-designed site will be more likely to attract visitors and will ultimately be worth the initial financial investment.

Best 10 Outsource Websites to Hire and get hired
Best 10 Outsource Websites to Hire and get hired

3.7 Must have pages

Ok, so now you have an empty blog up and running. Before creating content and launching there are several pages you need to create:

  • About usTell your audience about you, your experience and your journey. It’s a great way to connect with your readers.
  • ContactGive your readers a way to get in touch with you. Here you should add a contact form and list your email address, phone number if you want and your social media profiles.
  • DisclaimerIf you plan to make money with your blog you need to disclose it to your members.
  • Privacy PolicyInform your visitors what data you store about them and how you intend to use them.
  • Terms and ConditionsStay out of trouble by writing a terms and conditions page.
  • Write for us / Contributors. If you plan to accept guest posts on your blog set up a dedicated page with all the necessary details.
  • AdvertiseWhen you will have a solid readership you could sell advertising spaces, mentions, sponsored articles etc. List all your conditions on a dedicated page so advertisers can find and order from you.

4. How to Make Your Blog Secure

As WordPress is powering over 30% of total websites today it makes it a sure target for hackers and script kiddies. (those that use programs created by others to do damage). That’s because when a hacker identifies a vulnerability has millions of websites at his disposal to attack.

Here are several reasons for hackers to attack your blog:

  1. Steal your member information (contacts, members, payment details etc)
  2. Insert malicious code (viruses) to infect your visitors
  3. Insert backlinks or generated pages to increase SEO rankings
  4. It’s hired by a competitor to damage your brand and SEO rankings
  5. Sending SPAM using your hosting account (You could get your IP blacklisted)
  6. Sending DDOS attacks using botnets (millions of infected websites and computers)

Now that I’ve shown your blog is a possible target I’m sure you understand that you need to prevent this from happening and secure your WordPress blog. We have an article that covers the most important ways to secure your WordPress site.

Ways to Secure Your WordPress Site
Ways to Secure Your WordPress Site

Besides using a strong password and not logging on your admin panel from unsecured wi-fi hotspots you need to rename your admin directory path, install a plugin like Wordfence which enables protection against brute force attacks (scripts that try millions of passwords till it finds the correct one).

Also, install an SSL certificate because besides security it will improve your SEO rankings as well.

More on WordPress security:

5. How to do planning and goals setup

When someone’s getting ready to start a brick-and-mortar small business, he or she are often advised to come up with a business plan before he or she even find funding or look for a location. Because of the amounts of money involved, investors want to know that the owner has thought about every aspect of their business—and most importantly, has planned out how it will make money and grow—before they are willing to back the concept.

While you don’t need to hustle for investors when you’re starting a blog, a bit of goal-oriented planning is still the best way to make your blog a profitable venture instead of just a hobby and time-sink.

Remember that overnight successes are very rare, not just in blogging but in every area of life. The work you put in at the beginning of the process may not begin to generate returns until a year or more has passed. If you’re not ready to play the long game, you’re likely to give up too soon and never see your blog reach its full potential.

You won’t need to invest much money in starting a blog, but you will need to commit your time consistently enough to be seen as dependable by your readers. Schedule yourself at least an hour to work on your blog every day. Commit to it as much as you would shift at your place of employment. If you don’t treat your blog like it’s important, you can’t expect the readers to feel any different.

5.1 Setting realistic goals

Everybody would love to be making a six-figure income from home talking about one of your passions. That’s not an unrealistic goal in the long-term. The problem is that a lot of people think they’ll start a blog and within a few months make enough to retire. When they don’t achieve this pinnacle of success right away, they get discouraged and give up.

Setting realistic goals doesn’t mean you can’t dream big. It instead means breaking those big dreams down into pieces and figuring out what short-term steps you can take to achieve long-term success.

Once you’ve thought about your long-term goals, do some research on other blogs in your niche. Start by looking at the most successful and most popular ones. How many page views and comments do most of them get?

How often do they post? How many followers do they have on Facebook and Twitter—and how long has it taken them to get to this point? If the top blog in your niche has 3,000 followers, setting a goal of 5,000 followers in your first six months would most likely only set yourself up to fail.

Set smaller milestones. If you want 1,000 subscribers, you first have to get 100 subscribers. Then you can go for 500, and so on, giving you benchmarks of achievement to hit along the way.

5.2 Play to your audience

Imagine your ideal reader. Think about how they spend their time. Are they single, or do they have a family? Where do they live? What are their values? Tailoring your brand to your audience can help give you a better focus on your first few posts and help you to establish your identity more quickly.

Of course, you shouldn’t take this too far, either. Don’t pretend to be a new person just to attract more readers. You’re not changing your personality, just identifying which aspects of it will be the most appealing to your target reader. Consider it this way: when you’re at work, you probably dress differently, have a different bearing, and use a different vocabulary than when you’re hanging out with your buddies at the bar or watching TV with the kids at home.

If you’re having trouble thinking of what you want your brand to be, some old-fashioned brainstorming may just do the trick. Get out a blank piece of paper and a pen. Write “I want my blog to be…” large at the top of the paper, then write down whatever words come to mind. Link these words together into concepts and sentences, rearranging and connecting them until you feel like you’ve gotten to the heart of what you’re trying to represent.

You’ve probably heard the term “elevator pitch,” a description of your product or idea that could be conveyed in the time it takes to ride in an elevator—about thirty seconds if you want to put a number on it.

Before you start blogging, you should be able to give an elevator pitch of your brand and topic. Once you can do that, you should have a clear enough concept of your brand to stay consistent through your early posts.

5.3 Scheduling your posts

There are two levels to consider here, and you should sketch out a plan for both before you start writing your content. There’s the week-by-week scheduling of when you want your posts to come out, and there’s the monthly and yearly scheduling of points or events you want to hit.

A lot of bloggers just post when the spirit strikes them. They might have four posts in three days and then a two-week gap until the next one. That’s fine if you’re a hobbyist or if the blog isn’t your primary income stream, but to make your blog profitable, it’s better to keep a regular schedule on which your readers can depend. Exactly when you post will depend on your niche.

News-based blogs may need to be updated daily to feel current. For less time-sensitive topics, you could choose select days of the week. As always, consider your target audience. A business blog might want to have a post in their subscriber’s inboxes every weekday morning; e-mails sent over the weekend would be less likely to be viewed.

A blog about nightlife in the city might want to put out a big post on Thursday when subscribers are making plans for the weekend. Whatever your niche, a weekly schedule lets your readers know when they should expect to hear from you and will more effectively build a strong subscriber base.

The yearly scheduling will be more useful for managing your content and identifying the times’ interest in your niche will be highest. Some of these things will be universal—any blogger who sells products should make note of the Christmas shopping season on their yearly calendar—but many will be more individual to your niche

A gardening blog might want to time a new product release to correspond with late winter or early spring when lots of readers will be planning their gardens.

A parenting blog could have special content for back to school season. By writing it all out, you can more clearly see what points in the year you want to build toward and where you might have a harder time coming up with content, allowing you to plan accordingly.

5.4 Collaborate with other bloggers

Collaboration with another blogger can be an easy way to keep the site running smoothly while at the same time spreading out the pressure and the workload involved in maintaining it. It lets each of you take time off when you need to, and can also help to add more perspectives to the blog’s content, expanding its appeal. Just make sure you choose your collaborating partners carefully.

It should be someone you get along with, but also someone you can count on to do their fair share of the work. Ultimately, the goal is for this to be a profitable business venture, and you should make sure from the outset that everyone involved is on the same page and committed to that cause.

Even if the person is a family member or close friend, it’s a good idea to write up and sign an agreement together just to make sure the expectations are clear.

6. How to create quality content

You’ve likely heard before that “content is king,” and it’s true. Quality content is what will build your following and bring opportunities for profit and expansion.

6.1 How to write quality posts

You want the posts on your blog to provide value to your reader and to be interesting to read. It should also be professional and free of distracting errors. Readers will usually forgive the errant typo or verb disagreement, but it’ll be harder to convince your reader to trust you if you consistently have issues with English mechanics.

The spelling and grammar checker on your word processor will catch most errors; even if you’re confident in your writing ability, run it on every post before it goes up to eliminate silly typos and errors. If you know, spelling and grammar are tough for you, get a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. Give it a read then keeps it at the desk where you’ll be working, to consult when needed.

The ideal length of a typical blog post is around 900-1500 words. It should have a headline that makes the reader want to click on it (though be wary of “clickbait” style titles that are intentionally misleading). The content should have a logical flow, with major ideas clearly highlighted in bulleted lists or separated paragraphs.

When you first start your blog, all of the posts you put up should be directly related to your niche. You want to convey your brand from the start, so readers know what to expect from you. You also want to demonstrate your knowledge about the field you’re writing in—to establish your expertise with the topic and show readers why they should care about your opinions.

Your first 10-15 posts should be directly related to your niche. Some very successful bloggers do occasionally go off-topic, but that should wait until you’ve established your identity.

6.2 Core content

Blogging expert Yaro Starak talks about something called a “pillar article” in his advice columns. Chris Garret calls it “flagship content,” while Brian Clark calls it “cornerstone content.” All of these experts are describing the same basic thing: the articles that give your reader a clear conception of your niche and your opinions about it.

Cornerstone Blog Articles
Cornerstone Blog Articles

Core content articles should be on the long side—around 1200-3,000 words, depending on the format. These posts should not be time-dependent; a reader who sees the post a year from now should still find it to be relevant. These posts are the most likely to receive backlinks from other websites and ideally will continue to bring in new readers long after you initially post them.

So they don’t get buried in your archives, it’s a good idea to list these posts in a separate area, whether that’s a drop-down menu or links in a sidebar—this lets new readers easily access the most useful content. You can also reference these articles yourself in future posts to help new readers find and read them.

The more of these core content posts you include on your blog, the better. Five is a good minimum, and you should include at least three in your first ten posts.

The ultimate goal of any good core content post is to teach your readers something, whether it’s a skill related to your niche, an explanation of a concept, or an opinion piece that will help them see your niche in a new way.

If you’re not sure what kind of article to write, some core content options are listed below and might help give you an idea of where to start.

  • Glossary pages are lists of terms related to your niche that you define for the reader in your own words. Glossary pages are often a useful tool if your niche is related to technology, finance, law, or any other field that has very specific or esoteric terminology. They’re also a great format for getting backlinks because other blogs might reference your page if they don’t have glossary pages of their own.
  • Step-by-step how-to articles teach your reader how to do a task or make a product, often with pictures at key steps. Recipe posts on cooking blogs fit into this category and are probably the most familiar example, but this article style applies to almost any niche. Think of something in your industry that you know how to do and your readers might not—the key thing here is sharing your knowledge of something with which you’re experienced.
  • List articles are excellent core content because people love to read and share them, and they can be good for stirring up a conversation in your comment section. They can take a few forms. Advice lists give readers tips on how to accomplish tasks (“4 ways to get better sleep” or “5 things to do before you get a mortgage”). Ranked lists are ideal for pop culture or product-based blogs, which can also link to products sold by an affiliate to increase the article’s profitability. Informative lists share knowledge with the reader (“most under-rated horror movies” or “surprise benefits of green tea”) and can be useful in any niche.
  • Opinion pieces and editorials are most often seen in political and social commentary blogs and can be especially useful for stirring up controversy in your comments section. These pieces should start with a clear thesis statement, whether that’s a theory, an opinion, or an argument. Back up your argument with well-presented arguments and make sure the thought is unique—remember, you want to add new value to your industry, not rehash the same ideas presented elsewhere. Also, make sure your opinion reinforces your established brand.

6.3 Finding your voice

Many people make the mistake of wanting to present a perfect image of themselves to their readers. While you do want to present yourself as someone the reader can trust, you also want to show them that you’re a real person.

There are thousands of blogs out there about every topic imaginable, and ultimately your personality and opinions are what will make your blog the one readers want to read.

Be willing to share your failures, challenges, and struggles. It will make you more relatable, and the reader will ultimately trust you more if they know you’re the kind of person who can admit to your mistakes.

A good blog post should have the tone of a conversation between friends. If you’re not sure just how to do this, there are a couple of tricks you could try. Try imagining that you’re talking to a person in your life, like a sibling or a friend, when you write your posts. How would you explain concepts in your field so that your sister can understand them? Use the same language when you’re writing that you’d use out loud in friendly conversation.

6.4 Consistency and trust

One of the most important things is to build the reader’s trust. Make sure your content is always factual and original. If you make a habit of parroting or even outright copying someone else, your blog is adding no new value to your reader’s life. Your opinions should be yours, and you should be prepared to stand by them. If your readers feel like you’re reliable, they’ll be more likely to give you their loyal readership.

You can also be dependable for your reader by posting on a regular schedule and not missing posts when you can help it. Some bloggers post daily; others post on select days of the week. Twice a week is a good frequency when you’re just starting out. You’re posting often enough to give people a reason to keep coming back, but you still have time for the other aspects of your blog, like finding advertisers and communicating with your readers, without making you feel overwhelmed.

7.How to grow your blog

Having an established readership is the best way to attract attention from advertisers. The broader your audience, the more likely you will be to get ad clicks or to sell products that either you or your affiliates have up for sale on their site.

The exact size of your target audience will likely depend a lot on your niche. Blogs in more specialized niches will tend to have a smaller but more dedicated following than those in fields that generate a lot of popular interest.

In truth, while the niche you’ve chosen can help you to guess what your target audience might look like, you won’t really know your readership until you have them.

Most blogging interfaces will give you fairly detailed statistics on how often your pages are viewed, and how many of those page views are “unique” (meaning visits from a different guest) or how many are repeat visits. Check on these statistics periodically.

  • What style of the post seems to get the most views?
  • Do your readers like posts that are image-heavy or text-heavy?
  • How long are your most-viewed posts?

Using this information can help you to refine future content, tailoring it to what your audience wants. The more value your reader gets from your posts, the more likely they’ll be to link to them and share them with other people, and the better chance you have of increasing your subscriber base.

7.1 Have a conversation with your readers

We talked about a conversational tone in chapter 5, and that’s certainly important, but it’s equally crucial to engage your readers in actual conversation. Always respond to any comments left on your blog posts, so your readers know that you’re listening and interested in what they have to say.

You can also engage them in conversation on other social media formats. Set up Twitter and Facebook pages for your blog that are separate from any personal social media accounts you have. Make sure you’re as active on those accounts as you are on your blog page, and just like with blog comments, make sure to respond to any Tweets or Facebook comments from your followers just like you would on the blog.

Posting regularly and replying to comments helps cement that views in readers’ minds of you as being someone they can rely on and want to spend their time reading. One-off visitors can be useful, but cultivating a base of loyal readers is the best way to increase your subscription and page view numbers, and ultimately the best way to increase your profits.

Interactive content can also help engage your readers. The easiest way to do this is to post polls or surveys occasionally as part of your posts. If you run a fashion blog and post about the best-dressed celebrities on the red carpet at an awards show, you can ask the readers who they thought was the best dressed after you post your opinions.

These can be fun ways to start the conversation and include the readers in your process. If you have the chance to do an interview with someone in your field, you could invite the readers to post questions. Giveaways and contests are also a great way to involve your readership and build the loyalty up into a community.

7.2 Entice subscribers

When it comes to readership groups, your subscribers are far more important than your Twitter followers or your Facebook likes. That is your core group of readers who will hear from you directly When you create a post or send out an e-mail blast, and the people who are going to be most likely to spend their money on your products, and the group you can count on for views of your most recent posts. Especially when you’re first starting out, growing your subscriber list should be one of your top priorities.

How to convert visitors into future buyers
How to convert visitors into future buyers

One easy way to increase your subscribers is to offer an incentive to people who sign up. Blogging professionals call this “improving your value” in a potential subscriber’s eyes; cynics would call this “bribing people.” Whatever you call it, it’s a proven, effective way to increase subscriptions. The key is to offer an incentive that gives real value to subscribers without cutting into your profit margin.

An exclusive whitepaper or resource can make a great sign-up incentive because it’s something you only have to create one that still gives readers long-term value. If you sell products or services on your site, you could offer a discount to subscribers, either as a one-time coupon or a lower “subscriber rate.” Discounts can build both customer loyalty and your bottom line. Someone who wouldn’t have looked at your store before might do so if he’s got a coupon.

Make it easy for people to subscribe to your site. Pop-up subscription invitations are the current trend. Some readers will find them annoying, and some ad-blocking software will prevent them from opening, but they also can be effective at letting readers know you have a mailing list.

If you’d rather put a link on your site, make sure it’s easy to find and clearly visible to most visitors—don’t hide it in a menu or at the bottom of the page. A new visitor shouldn’t have to search for a way to get updates when you post.

10 Best WordPress Mailing List Plugins for Getting More Subscribers
10 Best WordPress Mailing List Plugins for Getting More Subscribers

8. How to do networking and community

Even if you write in a relatively limited niche, chances are there will be at least a few other bloggers out there writing about your topic.

There are three ways you can approach the existence of the community. You can ignore them and not concern yourself with what others are writing. You can take a passive interest, following them to keep up with what they’re saying but not interacting with their site.

You don’t have to limit yourself to interacting with bloggers in your field. Become an active reader and follower of any blogs you enjoy, even if they’re not necessarily related to your own. At the very least, other readers who find your comments to be insightful might check out your blog and find it interesting.

Making friends with other bloggers and website owners can help you generate more traffic by getting your name out in more places. The more a blog post is linked to and visited, the more it will show up in Google searches, which in turn will bring you even more traffic.

Remember that whenever you’re posting a comment on someone else’s blog, the comment should be primarily about them, and very minimally (or not at all) about you.

Link back to your own blog only if it’s legitimately relevant to the topic of the post. Spamming people’s comment sections with advertisements for your blog will not make you any friends, and will not land you as many readers in the long-term as if you become known for leaving witty, insightful, or helpful comments.

Remember that everything you do online relate to your blog is a reflection of your brand. A spirited debate in a comment section can get attention from potential readers, but always be respectful of other bloggers, even when you disagree.

9.How to get traffic to your blog

You don’t need a massive advertising budget to raise your blog’s traffic upwards of 10,000 views a month and to get recognized within your niche.

How can you entice even more people to your page?

9.1 SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The idea of SEO is that by using keywords in the course of your posts, you get higher rankings on results lists when users search for those terms, meaning you’ll get more visitors to your site.

10 Most Complete Free SEO Guides
10 Most Complete Free SEO Guides

If you are writing good content that’s strongly related to your niche topic, your posts will naturally be very keyword-dense without you putting in any special effort. An over-emphasis on keyword density can make your posts feel repetitive or stilted. Putting way too many keywords in your posts also makes you look like a spammer (called “keyword stuffing”) and makes search engine spiders ignore you if you’re guilty of it.

The most important places to emphasize keywords in your posts are in the page header and the title tag. When you’re naming your pages, make them search engine in a friendly way by giving them names that clearly express what the page is about rather than an in-house classification system.

Keep the content itself focused on the idea and don’t worry so much about getting terms shoved in there—if it’s on the topic to your niche, it will come up in search results naturally.

A better way to optimize your search engine ranking is to link back to your own previous articles. The more links a page has to it, the more likely it is to show up higher on the search result list. Just like with the keywords, don’t over-do it. Reference past posts when it’s logical to do so, not just for the sake of SEO.

A plugin that will help you with everything related to OnSite SEO is Yoast Seo and we recommend it in section 2 of this article.

Links still play an important role in SEO and you should spend time acquiring quality backlinks. One of the tactics is to use a guest posting tool like Outreach.Buzz and find sites where you can guest post.

How Guest Blogging can Boost SEO
How Guest Blogging can Boost SEO

9.2 Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or Pinterest are certainly good places to start. Don’t limit your marketing to asking your friends and family to like your blog. Facebook ads are very inexpensive and can be targeted to ideal readers or groups. Follow other bloggers in your niche on Twitter.

You may get a follow back, and even if not, they could have interesting things to say. It’s advice that bears repeating: joining the conversation in your community is one of the best ways you can let people know you exist.

Social Media Guides We Recommend:

Facebook Page Marketing Guide
Facebook Page Marketing Guide
Twitter Marketing Guide
Twitter Marketing Guide
Instagram Marketing Guide
Instagram Marketing Guide
Linkedin Pulse Traffic
Linkedin Pulse Traffic
How to create an authoritative YouTube channel
How to create an authoritative YouTube channel
Top 12 Social Media Automation Tools
Top 12 Social Media Automation Tools

9.3 Outreach people from your niche.

I’ve got a lot of success in promoting my blog by outreaching members from my niche. Create a list of people that are active and email them. Create a nice message explaining what your blog is about, what are your plans and invite them to signup and become active readers.

If you need help on how to outreach people from your niche check our article on Expert Roundup Creation Guide.

9.4 Team up with small businesses

I already mentioned getting direct ad revenue from small businesses, but you can also form more symbiotic relationships with small businesses to help both of you expand your brands. Writing reviews of their products that are then shared on their site will bring more links and traffic back to you at the same time it helps them to sell their products.

Remember that most small business owners are just like you—they’re trying to get as much exposure as possible without having to spend a ton of extra money.

9.5 Sponsor or host events

If you run a blog about biking, you could become a sponsor for a local bike race. If you run a blog about pop culture, you could host an Oscar viewing party at a local bar or restaurant and live Tweet or chat with your followers.

We tend not to think about in-person events as being useful for a blogger because our target audience is online and can come from any corner of the globe, but don’t forget that your area is full of potential readers, even if your niche isn’t specifically devoted to your town.

If you can’t afford to sponsor or host a local event or your audience is international you may create an expert roundup with bloggers in your niche. Just like the ones we did here on Monetize.info:

Seo Experts Roundup 2017
Seo Experts Roundup 2017
Social Media Marketing Tips
Social Media Marketing Tips

9.6 Add your blog in your email signature

Don’t forget to add your blog in your email signature so the people you interact with will find out about your blog. Just make sure you don’t write something too blatant like Read my Blog or something as most blog admins do not allow forum promotion – they don’t like to lose their members to a competitor.

Email Signature Promote Blog
Email Signature Promote Blog

9.7 Be charitable

It feels good to give back—and from a branding perspective, it’s a great reputation boost and a chance to gain visibility while doing something good. Charity doesn’t have to mean giving money to someone, either—in fact, the best opportunities involve donating your time or blog space to a cause.

A fitness blogger might ask readers to sponsor them in a cancer walk, for example, while a financial blogger might put on a series of free workshops for people in a local library or community centre to help them better maintain their financial health. Giving back to your readers and the community can establish your name and your brand in the minds of new potential fans.

10. How to make money from your blog

Most people who set out wanting to write a blog to make money—rather than those who start as hobbyists and grow into businesses—do so imagining they’ll make all their money through advertising. Just write a few posts, toss some banner ads on there, and you’ve got yourself a cash cow. Right?

How much traffic should you have before monetizing your blog
How much traffic should you have before monetizing your blog

Well, not quite. The major thing you need to make money from advertising is a lot of traffic, and for a fledgling blog with just a handful of page views per day, you’re not going to find too many people who want to pay you money for space on your site.

A good rule of thumb is to get at least 10,000 page views per month (that’s between 300 and 400 views a day) before you go out looking for advertisers.

Larger ad networks and companies may want sites to show 20,000 or even 100,000 views per month before they’ll be interested in securing advertising space. While the exact numbers advertisers are looking for will depend on your niche, 10,000 views a month is a good baseline goal to set for yourself if you’d like advertising to serve as one of your revenue streams.

10.1 Google AdSense

The largest ad network for blogs and other websites currently on the internet is Google AdSense. It’s the one that many new bloggers turn to because it has an open acceptance policy in regards to different niches and traffic levels. A slower blog will make less money than a high-traffic site, of course, and there are some ad formats that are only available to people with higher viewership counts.

AdSense is easy to use compared to most ad networks. The flip side of this ease, of course, is that Google takes a cut of the advertiser’s money as a commission for providing the ad service—about 32% of what the advertiser pays per click goes straight to Google.

The exact amount that you can make using Google AdSense varies depending on what size and style of ad you use, what niche your blog is in, and how much traffic you get.

Since they’re working on commission, they have a pretty good incentive to pick the style and content that’s going to make you the most money, but ultimately it’s up to Google who advertises on your site and using what format. You control the size and placement of the ad, but that’s about it.

Because it’s so easy to use (and generates a lot of income in the right circumstances) Google AdSense is often the way to go if you have around 10,000 page views per month and are just starting to work with advertising as an income stream.

10.2 Other advertising networks

There are a plethora of different ad networks available for bloggers, most of which will ask for higher minimum traffic than Google AdSense. Some are highly selective (Revcontent is known for being hard to join and rejects 98% of applicants). There are some that don’t require a minimum traffic number to use, making them most useful for new bloggers.

Among these are BidVertiser, Clicksor, and BlogAds. Do some research before signing up with a new ad network. Check out sites that use it to see how it shows up on their pages, and if you can talk to other bloggers about their experience with the site, that’s even better.

Keep in mind that the more exclusive ad networks have limited access for a reason. Their advertisers are likely to pay more money in exchange for a guarantee of higher viewership. As your traffic grows, considering larger ad networks could be a good way to increase your profit.

10.3 Direct advertisers

Ad networks run on a middle-man profit model. They do the work of finding advertisers and arranging payment, and in exchange, they take a percentage of the money for themselves.

Communicating directly with an advertiser means you get to keep all of the money, but it also means you have to deal directly with the companies and negotiate rates and terms.

Direct advertisers are typically a late-stage addition to a blogger’s income streams because most direct advertisers will want to see higher traffic numbers than ad networks before committing. It also requires you to be a bit more business savvy than signing up for an ad network.

While direct ads tend to be employed by established blogs, don’t rule the idea out if a potential opportunity comes along.

10.4 Affiliate income

Affiliate income is when you earn a commission by promoting someone else’s products on your site. It’s similar to advertising in that it’s a passive income stream, and you don’t have to produce goods or services, but unlike advertising, you only get the income if your affiliate makes a sale.

Though high-traffic websites are more likely to earn money through an affiliate program, affiliate income can be more profitable for a blog as it’s building traffic than advertising income because it doesn’t rely strictly on site-view numbers.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners [Complete Guide]
Affiliate Marketing for Beginners [Complete Guide]
Amazon’s affiliate program is the best-known and is likely the best place to start. It’s easy to sign up for, and the site has such a vast array of products for sale that you’re very likely to find something that relates to your niche. Though you can treat affiliate links like advertising and make them a passive element of your page, affiliate products are more likely to sell if you review them or promote them with an actual post.

Though you don’t get to control who advertises on your site through an ad network, you do get to control which products you promote through an affiliate program. You should only endorse products that you believe will be useful to your readers if you want to maintain their trust and loyalty. You should also make sure that the product connects logically to your chosen niche.

10.5 Membership sites

A paid section of your site can be an excellent way to provide more value to your readers while expanding your income streams and may be useful for a blog in a smaller niche, whose readership is of the small, dedicated variety.

The caveat to this is that you want to make sure that a paid membership site is truly providing a significant increase in value over your free content, or you’ll risk leaving your most dedicated readers feeling ripped off.

There are many kinds of member-only sites. Forums and directories are popular formats. While a member’s only site doesn’t require you to make any physical products, it will also require more complex coding than your typical blog page.

Unless you’ve got a background in programming or development, you may need to hire someone to help you set it up. Make sure to plan enough time and money to outsource these projects when you’re considering whether or not to try them.

10.6 Ebooks

The most successful eBooks come from bloggers whose brand is based on expertise. You can either release the eBook as a PDF directly from your site or through a retailer like Amazon for almost no financial investment. It is a time investment to release an eBook.

You want to make sure it contains new material that’s not just a re-hash of the information readers can get on your blog for free. An effective eBook topic might be an in-depth analysis of a trend in your field or a comprehensive how-to solution of a common problem.

Income from an eBook tends to reach its highest levels shortly after its initial release. Referencing the book in your future posts or running a promotion could cause spikes in sales, but if you’re marketing the book, right the bulk of your subscribers will buy it right off the bat if they’re going to. Subsequent spikes in sales tend to be from new readers who have come to you since the initial release.

10.7 Online courses

Online courses can take many forms for a blogger. The easiest way to make a course is to write it as a series of PDF documents that your reader purchases and studies on their own—very much like an eBook, but with exercises and extra resources designed specifically to educate the reader.

Recording media to accompany the course can make it feel more personal and gives the course more value. Whether you do it as an audio file or a video, people who buy the class will benefit from hearing you explain the concepts out loud. Video can be especially helpful for physical or visual niches, like fitness or design, were demonstrating the concept can be easier than explaining it.

The most time-intensive course style is to meet with the students in real-time through a chat room or online education portal. Real-time courses may be the best format for more advanced concepts, where the readers might have a lot of questions that are hard to answer in a book, or for workshop-style courses, designed to help the readers learned from each other as well as from you. The disadvantage of this style of class is that it requires people to be available at a specific time to attend, which may limit interest and attendance.

10.8 Workshops and seminars

The possibilities for monetizing your blog are truly endless, and while some techniques have proven effective for others, no list of income streams can be truly comprehensive. Don’t rule something out just because you don’t see anyone else talking about it, but if you’re looking for ways to expand your profits from your blogs, consider one of the following options.

10.9 Selling sponsored posts

Companies are interested to place advertorials on your blog especially if you have enough traffic and appealing SEO metrics. There isn’t a fixed price on how much you should ask for adding a sponsored post however you should keep in mind that you can’t place too many of those without hitting your readership. I suggest you have at least 4-5 non-promotional posts for each sponsored post you add to your blog.

Add your Blog to Outreach.Buzz
Add your Blog to Outreach.Buzz

There are several marketplaces where you can list your blog to post sponsored articles but I recommend Outreach.Buzz as is Google-friendly and you don’t risk to be penalized.

11 How to sell your blog

If you decided to sell your blog there are several places where you can do it. Besides the usual marketplaces, I suggest you first to contact companies or competitors from your niche, especially if your niche is not so popular like digital marketing or forex. That’s because these companies know the value of your blog and how to monetize it properly so they will usually pay more.

Where to sell your blog

  • Flippa.com – This is one of the busiest marketplaces that covers buying and selling: websites, domains, and mobile apps. If you check the auctions you can get a pretty good picture on how much your community can be sold for.
  • DigitalPoint Marketplace – Another quite popular marketplace for websites but with fewer offers than Flippa. I found that the quality of websites for sale listed on DP is usually lower than on Flippa.
  • Flipping Enterprises – FE International offers comprehensive exit planning services as well as direct access to an established network of pre-qualified international investors to drive demand to your business and maximize value for your company. Thomas Smale participated in our SEO Expert Roundup.
  • TopGold Forum Marketplace – Not so busy place but still you can list your website there and get offers.
  • eBay Websites for sale – On eBay, you can sell everything including websites.
How to evaluate and sell your blog
How to evaluate and sell your blog

Check also our article on how to sell your blog. There are many tips that will help you in selling your blog.

12. Conclusions

Ok, now you have everything you need to start a blog in 2020. I’ve detailed every step along the ride.

As I’ve said I’ve created over 40 blogs till now and I’m happy to answer and help you succeed.

Do you have a blog or do you want to set up one?

Let me know in the comments form below.

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About Daniel S.

Daniel is the founder of MediaDigi.com digital agency and digital marketing manager here at Monetize.info. For over 14 years he has helped hundreds of customers to establish a presence online and win the digital race.


  1. Hi that’s a great post honestly I didn’t read it entirely I just wrapped up. I need a suggestion I’m starting my personal blog so, I’m not sure what I should post on it. How and what about I write on my blog. I’m a student pursuing q degree in computer science. So I thought writing about my class work and share with my friends.

    Along with I also wanted to write about blogging and SEO but is it good idea to post such stuff on my blog.

    If not. Will I get any suggestions from.
    Thank You

    • Thank you for your nice words Prawin. This guide was created so anytime in your blog creation process to come back and read what you should do. No need to read it entirely from the beginning 🙂
      Before starting your blog you should think what you want to achieve from it? Want to get a job? Want to share the knowledge you get? Want to build your portfolio or you simply want to share things with your friends?!

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  4. Not good, I’m a complete looser. I think I lost discipline in my life and don’t how to face it. And how to recover from this lose.

    I’m trying to do but I’m losing interest in everything. Had no one to say or guide.

  5. this is a test comment

  6. Hello Prawin,

    What happened mate? We all loose it at some point. Let me know if you need some guidance to put you back on track. I would love to do it.. As others did it with me some years ago when I was at a crossing path point.

  7. Hi,

    Thanks for such a detailed article about starting a blog a blog and making money out of it. Hope, you will have to change the featured image. Anyways, I did come across your recent post about starting a forum as well. And, I could see more articles on content curation, keyword research guides for 2020. Hats-off to your efforts putting in advance.

  8. Hi Daniel,

    Nice blog post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this guide. I like your style of writing. You did not sugarcoat things about blogger. I appreciate the fact that you have explained everything about blogging in simple and straight forward way. I am sure this guide will help many people take up blogging as their career in 2020.

  9. These are the perfect tips to start a blog and make money through blog.

  10. Thank you for your nice words, Aria. That’s right the featured image needs to be changed. Thanks for pointing that out. I’m glad you find our guides valuable.

  11. This article is very helpful for my business. Thanks for sharing this informative article.

  12. What is the role of backlinks and how much important they are for SEO of blogs and websites? Can we rank our blog posts without creating backlinks?

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