Blogging is one of the best ways to earn money online and build a passive income stream.
I started my blogging journey back in 2006 during my sopohmore year of college as a way to talk about stocks.
Now, I’m still earning money with my blogs while I live anywhere in the qorld using only ab internet connection.
As the global COVID-19 pandemic tooo over the world in 2020, I felt grateful to still make money from my websites while many people around me lost their jobs.
Blogging is a real business and I’ll show you how to build a profitable blog in just a few easy steps.
1. Pick a Topic or Niche
Choosing a topic for your blog is the first and most important step that will make or break your blog’s success. You should pick a topic that you enjoy writing about and have prior knowledge if you plan to write the majority of the content in the beginning of your blog’s life by youself.
Of course, you can always outsource content creation as well if you have a budget too. Perhaps you found a great niche but don’t have time to study up and become an expert.
2. Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is the web address of your blog. It’s the brand of your business so be sure to get it right the first time. A good domain is easy to spell, passes the radio test, and easy to remember.
I prefer buying the .com although there are many other TLD extensions out there as well. Here are some tips for choosing a good domain name:
- Size matters: Keep it short and under 12 characters if possible.
- Use english words (or words in your native language)
- 2 word brands are some of the best domain out there (Ex. Godaddy, Facebook, etc)
- Avoid hypens or underscores
3. Get Managed WordPress Blog Hosting
Blog hosting is where your blog lives on the internet. I use WordPress for all of my blogs so I recommend choosing a high quality managed WordPress hosting provider to make you life ten times easier.
I recommend WordPress because it’s free to use, open source, and highly scalable. You can grow your blog to millions of pageviews and visitors without needing to switch to a different content management system (CMS).
When you first start out, you may be tempted by cheap shared web hosting or a free blogging platform.
Those are fine for small personal blogs but can cause problems if/when your blog grows and becomes more popular.
You reap what you sow. Do you really think your blog will become a massive success if you invest $5 per month in cheap hosting?
Treat your blog like a real business and purchase the best managed WordPress hosting to get the job done properly.
I use Managed WordPress Hosting with Rocket.net to power TarikPierce.com and all of my other blogs.
Their customer service is great plus they offer free WordPress blog migrations, free Cloudfare Enterprise CDN access, and automatic blog caching (no caching plugins needed).
Switching to Rocket.net helped me focus on creating content and driving traffic rather than dealing with annoying tech issues.
You can sign up for their free $1 trial to start your blog today!
4. Install WordPress
Once you log into your web hosting, you need to install WordPress on your domain so you can start building your blog’s foundation. Most web hosts offer fast 1-click WordPress installations or the option to setup WordPress via Cpanel.
5. Choose a Theme
A theme is like your blog’s outfit. It gives your blog a unique look and feel. Choosing a theme isn’t super important when you are getting started but you want a good fast loading theme to improve your Core Web Vital scores. High Core Web Vitals scores will increase the chances of your blog becoming a success before you get started.
Finding the best theme depends heavily on your niche. For example, I lean towards fast, minimalistic themes in niches such as web development, affiliate marketing, or SEO. This is because my visitors are tech savvy and don’t care about extra bells and whistles. They are looking for useful content to help grow their businesses. A fast loading theme is more important than a fancy design.
On the other hand, I would pick a better looking theme for visual niches such as travel, cooking, fashion, and celebrity news. These topics feature a lot of images to visitors so choosing a visual theme is equally important.
You can choose from thousands of free WordPress themes or purchase a premium theme for your blog.
My favorite WordPress Themes are:
6. Install WordPress Plugins
Don’t go crazy and install too many WordPress plugins. They can really slow down your blog.
Start off with a key basic ones then go from there. Before I add any plugins, I always ask myself: Does this help my visitor find what they are looking for?
Here are my recommended plugins for a fresh WordPress installation:
- Akismet: Block blog spammers
- SEO Framework: Lightweight SEO plugin alternative to Yoast and RankMath
7. Setup Blog Structure
Your blog’s site structure is important to setup properly in the beginning to make it easy for visitors to browse your site.
Here’s how I setup my blog site structure when I launch a new site”
- Create a few categories that describe the topics on your blog.
- Create your About and Contact Pages
- Customize the homepage (WordPress shows latest posts on your homepage by default)
- Create a logo using Canva or buy a logo on Fiverr
8. Configure Google Search Console
Google Search Console (aka GSC) is how Google crawls your blog to send you free organic search traffic. Depending your niche, you may get as much as 90% of your traffic from search engines.
Go to GSC and add select “Add Property” from the upper land hand menu.
Choose the “domain” prefix and enter your blog URL.
You can automatically verify your website if you host your domain on Godaddy or do the manual process of uploading HTML code to your blog.
Once your blog domain is connected, configure your XML sitemap so Googlebot can crawl your site. I use SEO Framework’s XML sitemap generator or you can just use Google XML sitemap if you don’t like using an SEO plugin.
This is a really important step to help get free organic traffic.
9. Perform Keyword Research
Keyword research helps you figure out what topics to write about on your blog. You need to know what people are searching for in Google, Yahoo!, and Bing so you can create content that people want to read.
I use the following tools for performing keyword research:
Google Autocomplete is my default method for finding keywords & topics to blog about.
Just start typing words in Google and it will show you what people are searching for.
I’ll write a complete guide on keyword research and review these tools in a future article. Check them out and play around with them until you get the hang of it!
10. Analyze Competitors
Identify some competitor blogs on your topic and use Ahrefs or SEMrush to perform a competitor analysis. Start off with their top pages and see which keywords they are ranking for.
You can create a blog post on the same topic to drive more targetted traffic to your site.
11. Write Content
Creating content is the lifeblood of your blog. You don’t have to churn out 1,000+ word articles either. Some blogs will only require uploading high quality photos or funny videos to succeed. It all depends on your niche.
Experiment with different types of content to see what works best. Here some of the content formats I use on most of my blogs:
- Information How to content (like this blog post you’re reading)
- Vs Comparison posts
- _ Alternatives
- Best of Posts
You want to go deep into a topic and create several different blog posts around a sub topic. Not only is this great for visitors but it helps Google understand your blog and send you more traffic.
12. Pick a Posting Schedule
Choosing a posting schedule is crucial to your blog’s success. I aim to update my blogs at least 1 time per month. It really depends on your niche. If you are writing about breaking news or the latest celebrities then daily updates is your best option.
Less popular niches only require weekly updates. Personal blogs about your life may only need 1 post per month to keep readers happy.
Experiment with post frequency and see what your visitors like the most. In general, more blog posts is better than fewer.
13. Share Blog Posts on Social Media
Sharing your blog posts on social media can drive a lot of traffic. Facebook and Reddit send bulk of the traffic to my blogs nowadays. Remember to choose a featured image for your blog post so it will show up on social media sites.
Test this yourself to make sure your titles and images show correctly. Depending on your blog theme, you may need to install Open graphs to show this information properly.
14. Study Analytics to See What’s Working
Check your blog analytics regularly to see what types of content your visitors like.
Scale Your Blog (Optional)
If you run a small personal blog then don’t worry about this step.
If you want to take your blog to the next level then think about ways to scale content production and boost your traffic.
You can experiment with:
- Hiring freelance writers or content creators to increase your posting frequency
- Buy ads on Facebook, Pinterest, or Google Adwords to send more traffic
- Cover more topics and create a more in-depth resource
- Translate your blog into different languages to reach more foreign visitors
There are many ways to scale your blog quickly and that’s for another post!
That’s it! Hopefully you found this guide helpful.
Tarik Pierce is a 15 year WordPress veteran. He writes about blogging, SEO, and personal finance.