Congrats on finding this ultimate guide on how to start a blog…

It’s not those basic ones you see on the first page of Google.

It’s long. It’s comprehensive. It’s everything you’ve been searching for.

Others charge for it…

But I’m giving it away for FREE.

Anyway…

You made the right choice to start a blog.

It’s your content hub that consistently generates leads and cash for your creator business.

But I also know full well how overwhelming it can be.

How do I know?

Because I went from ZERO to earning my first 4-figures blogging in 5 months…

All WHILE having a full-time job.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s my story featured on Buffer.

So, I know exactly what you’re stressing over and what it takes to earn your first dollar REALISTICALLY.

No fluff.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Choose a blog niche, even if you want to talk about many things
  • Pick the right tools from the beginning so you don’t waste time and money swapping
  • Setup a blog the right way
  • Optimize your blog for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Write your first blog post
  • Promote and monetize it

This is my exact blueprint on how to start a blog.

Let’s go.

Skip to the steps.

What Is a Blog?

A blog is a type of website where individuals or companies can regularly publish content. This content is typically arranged in order with the recent post displayed at the top of the page.

The term “blog” originated from combining “web” and “log. “

It initially referred to diaries where people could share their personal lives on the internet…

But it has since evolved to cover a range of topics, including:

  • Experiences
  • Opinions
  • News updates
  • Reviews
  • Instructional guides

They also often contain multimedia elements such as images, videos and audio files.

And in my opinion…

It’s where all your content should live.

Why Start a Blog?

Starting a blog is no longer about sharing your thoughts or hobbies.

It’s an inbound content marketing channel for creators to:

  • Build personal brands
  • Generate leads and conversions
  • Monetization opportunities
  • Learn website management
  • Increase legitimacy

Let’s dive deeper into the reasons why you should start a blog.

1. Building Your Personal Brand

Your blog can be more than just posts.

It becomes a platform where you display your expertise and passion related to your niche.

You’re no longer another name on the internet…

It’s about becoming an authority figure that readers trust.

And this credibility extends way beyond blogging.

Potential clients, other creators or employers view it as proof of competence when assessing whether they should work with you.

2. Generate Leads and Conversions

You strategically create content that targets commercial intent keywords through the marketing funnel…

Educate your readers on why you can solve their problems.

Then, add specific call-to-actions throughout.

And if your blog posts are SEO-optimized…

This will serve as an endless source of leads and conversions.

Why do you think all major companies start a blog?

Because it works.

3. Monetization Opportunities

If you’re claiming to start a blog because of “passion” or fun…

I’m sorry, I don’t believe you.

You didn’t search for this guide because you wanted to dedicate a huge chunk of time for fun.

You want to make MONEY from your skills and knowledge.

And a blog isn’t limited to only providing information…

It’s a business.

It opens up monetization opportunities like:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Sponsored posts
  • Display ads
  • Selling digital products

4. Learn Website Management

Starting a blog provides hands-on experience with website management that you can’t get anywhere else.

The best way to learn a skill is?

Practicing it…

You’ll learn about:

  • Hosting
  • Domain management
  • SEO
  • HTML, CSS and Javascript (optional, but you will be exposed to it)

5. Increase Legitimacy

A well-maintained blog can enhance the credibility of your creator business.

It shows:

  • Commitment
  • Expertise
  • Professionalism

We aim to run our creator businesses like companies…

All companies have websites or blogs.

This will drastically help when you start reaching out for collaborations.

Nothing screams “lazy” than simply having social media profiles.

That’s one of the biggest differences between an influencer and a creatorpreneur.

One wants to be famous, while the other wants a profitable business.

check out more pros and cons of blogging.

Ready to start a blog?

Follow these steps to succeed.

Step 1: Find a Blogging Niche

Before you even write a SINGLE word…

You need to find a blog niche.

Note: A niche can involve multiple topics, not just one. It’s a broad umbrella that houses multiple related topics.

If your niche is SEO, topics can involve keyword research, linking building and content SEO. 

If it’s AI tools, then your topics can include AI video generators, or AI copywriting software.

You might ask, “But Brendan, I have many interests… So, can I combine multiple niches in my blog?”

The short answer is yes.

It’s your blog…

You’re free to talk about as many niches as you want.

That’s also called an authority blog or site.

Websites like Forbes and CNET do exactly this.

They cover finance, health, tech, lifestyle and whatever you can think of…

But if you want to make money blogging faster…

You should narrow it down.

Why?

Because they have two things you don’t:

  • Domain authority (more on that later)
  • Money

I strongly suggest you don’t combine multiple niches when starting.

You’ll be biting off more than you can chew…

Cover a niche entirely before you move on to the next.

Note: Covering a niche “entirely” is vague, I know. But there isn’t an official benchmark or metric to tell you when you’ve done that. You’ll get a rough idea when Google starts ranking you for most of the keywords in that niche and when your website traffic goes up.

Benefits of Finding a Blogging Niche

Focusing on a blogging niche has several benefits:

  • Drives more traffic: Google loves to promote blogs that demonstrate authority. Focusing on a single niche makes it easier to appear like an expert, boost your ranking, and get more visibility.
  • Target specific audiences: Honing in on a niche can attract attention from an audience interested in that subject. This draws in organic traffic from individuals actively searching for information on it. That’s the whole point of blogging.
  • Lesser competition: If you tried to start a blog on finance today, I’m sorry, but you’ll be wasting your time. It’s too broad and competitive. 
  • Gain topical authority faster: The more time you spend creating content on a specific topic, the faster Google and readers see you as an authority. Assuming it’s good.
  • Makes branding easier: Promoting a product or service to a niche audience is easier than selling to “everybody.” It’s also easier to gain traction and earn more money.

Now you know WHY you need a niche…

How To Find a Blogging Niche?

Here’s what to consider when picking a niche when you start a blog…

Passions and Genuine Interests

Blogs demand regular creation of content. It requires hard work and long-term commitment.

“I want a niche that will generate more money. I will make it successful.”

Sounds familiar?

Yes, hard work combined with the right strategies might increase your chances of succeeding. 

But here’s the thing. 

Picking a blog niche you’re not interested in is not sustainable. You’ll get tired and frustrated eventually.

If you want to pull through, even when it’s hard…

Choose a niche you’re excited to work on every day.

If you love what you do, overcoming challenges and keeping going is easier.

Sub-Niches With Low Competition

Some niches are just too crowded, and it’s difficult to stand out.

The good news is…

You don’t need to compete with popular bloggers in a broad niche. 

Instead, choose a sub-niche.

For example, instead of discussing makeup in general…

You can focus on makeup for black women.

So, how do you find a topic with low competition?

This is where keyword research and competitive analysis come into play. 

If you’re new to SEO and keyword research, don’t worry.

I’ll discuss this in detail in a later section.

Topic of Expertise

Are you a seasoned traveler? An experienced web developer?

Or have you spent 10,000 hours cataloging every Barbie doll ever?

Whatever it is…

You can blog about it.

Being an expert in a niche lends your blog some credibility.

It’s also much easier to create (and rank) content when you already know what you’re talking about.

Relevance and Future-Proof

Let’s say you found a good niche.

But is it relevant? And will it be relevant tomorrow?

You won’t have an audience if there’s no demand for the topics you want to talk about. 

The two keys to growing your blogging business…

Choose a niche with long-term relevance and on an upward trend.

Use Google Trends to see how interest in your chosen topics has changed.

For example.

The trend for “AI tools” is clearly going upwards, which makes it a viable niche to get into.

It will likely be around for decades as it’s the next digital frontier.

Google Trends Up Trend ExamplePin

But look what happened to fidget spinners…

Google Trends Down Trend ExamplePin

It’s probably not wise to start blogging about it.

One drawback of using Google Trends is that you need to know what to search for.

Now you’re in a pickle.

I use Exploding Topics to discover trends even before they pop.

Exploding Topics Trend Database ExaplePin

You don’t need to know what topics to search for…

It tells you automatically.

That’s how I get ahead of the curve.

Monetizability

New bloggers commonly struggle to monetize their blogs. 

If you’re doing it as a passion project, you don’t have to worry about it.

But if you want to earn an income and keep your blog going…

Your niche needs to be desirable to advertisers and consumers.

Fortunately, most niches have affiliate marketing opportunities.

For example, if you’re blogging about technology, you can earn money by promoting software tools.

There’s always the option to serve ads directly on your blogs.

I’ll get into how you can monetize your blog later.

Step 2: Choose a Blogging Platform

Next, you’re gonna need a blogging platform.

But what the heck is it?

It’s the software you need to build and design your website.

If this is your first time ever hearing about it, you might still think we are in the 20th century…

But websites don’t need to be hand-coded by web developers anymore.

It’s so damn easy now, even for non-technical users.

All you need to do is drag and drop.

That might be an oversimplification… but it’s basically that…

But before you sign up to any platforms (or pay a premium one)…

Consider these factors:

  • Customization: Some platforms offer flexibility and high customization. That means you have the freedom to modify every aspect of your blog. 
  • Ease-of-use: If you don’t have coding experience, it’s best to choose a platform with a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop editor. But this might also mean fewer customization options.
  • Price: Most free platforms might limit your opportunities to monetize your blog. But if you choose paid platforms, you have full control over monetizing them.
  • Ownership: I highly recommend choosing a platform that gives you full ownership. The best example is WordPress.
  • Scalability: This is self-explanatory – expect your blog to grow over time. 
  • Community support: Community support can help you troubleshoot technical issues, learn best practices, and explore other integrations for your blog. The larger the community, the better.
  • Integration: You might want to add extra features in the near future. So consider a blogging platform that supports many third-party apps or plugins.

I’ve summarized the pros and cons of some of the most popular blogging platforms below.

1. WordPress.org

WordPress Org Homepage How To Start a BlogPin

Technically… WordPress.org isn’t a website builder. It’s an open-source content management system or a CMS.

Over 810 million websites use it as of 2023, representing 43% of all sites…

Nobody uses it in isolation but with a third-party WordPress theme and web hosting.

In combination…

That produces one of the most popular blogging platforms on the internet.

It’s also my top overall pick for the best website builders for affiliate marketing

Which I recommend because affiliate marketing is one of the best monetization models when starting a new blog.

More on that later…

Note: Don’t confuse this with the .com version. WordPress.org is a free, open-source web publishing software project that allows you to download the WordPress software and host it on your own web server. WordPress.com is a hosted blogging service run by a company called Automattic that provides a platform where you can create a website or blog without the need for separate hosting.

Pros:

  • Get full control over every aspect of your blog
  • Provides a wide range of third-party plugins
  • Receive support from a large open community
  • Use the platform for free

Cons:

  • Might be challenging to set up for beginners
  • Requires separate purchases for a domain name and hosting

2. Blogger

Blogger Homepage How To Start a BlogPin

Blogger is a blogging platform founded back in 1999 by Pyra Labs but was acquired by Google in 2023.

It provides a simple solution for creating and managing blogs with just your Gmail account.

Some of its features include customizable plates, social media sharing features, and seamless integration with Google services.

Pros:

  • Offers free hosting
  • Easy to set up and maintain
  • Integrates seamlessly with other Google services

Cons:

  • You have less control over your content
  • Has extremely limited customization options for blogging

3. Wix

Wix Homepage How to Start a BlogPin

Wix is widely known for its drag-and-drop editor.

It allows beginners to create visually appealing websites without coding knowledge.

You can also sell products with the in-built E-commerce features.

I find it one of the easiest platforms to use if you’re just starting out in the blogging business.

It falls right smack in the middle of DIY and a 100% managed service.

Pros:

  • Facilitates easy web designing with a visual editor
  • Get a professionally designed website immediately with its templates
  • Ensures your blog is mobile-responsive automatically
  • Provides secure hosting

Cons:

  • Has limited scalability options
  • Can’t easily migrate your website in the future

4. Medium

Medium Homepage How To Start a BlogPin

Medium is a popular blogging platform to share your articles with a community.

Just create an account, write and publish…

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

It’s basically a social media site for long-form article writers.

You can also leverage Medium’s existing network of readers to get discovered.

Articles are indexed on Google, so you can still optimize them for SEO.

It’s great if you only want to write and lock your content behind a paywall to earn money.

But nothing else.

WordPress is DIY, while Medium is on the opposite end of that spectrum.

Pros:

  • One of the easiest ways to start a blog
  • Increased discoverability
  • Doesn’t require hosting or technical maintenance
  • Dedicated customer support

Cons:

  • No ownership of content
  • Can’t create custom pages
  • Extremely limited monetization options and customizability
  • No plugins or integrations

5. Ghost

Ghost Homepage How To Start a BlogPin

Ghost is a modern blogging platform designed for simplicity, speed, and distraction-free writing experience.

I’ll admit the user experience is excellent…

One of the best.

It comes with built-SEO features, integrations with popular tools, and a few decent themes.

You can even launch a paid newsletter, manage members and access analytics within the platform.

It’s also completely free if you are willing to host it yourself…

But there are paid plans if you want them to do it for you.

It’s also an open-source blogging platform, but it can’t match WordPress’s extreme flexibility.

Although it does beat both Wix and Medium regarding blogging and SEO.

Pros:

  • Zero worry about technicalities on the paid plans
  • Offers extensive customization options (coding knowledge is required)
  • Provides fast page loading times and efficient handling of traffic
  • Can build custom integrations

Cons:

  • Requires technical knowledge to customize
  • Higher-tier plans are not worth it if you don’t reach a certain level of members
  • Limited third-party plugins and native integrations

Step 3: Choose a Blog Name and Domain

Your domain name is your address on the internet.

It’s how your audience finds you.

It can also be an IP address, but I doubt anyone wants to remember a bunch of numbers.

Which are you more likely to remember?

  • 142.250.64.68 or…
  • www.google.com

It’s the first thing your audience will notice…

So, make it catchy and memorable.

It should also be relevant to your chosen niche. 

If your niche is about travel, you might go for blog names like:

  • Wanderlustexplorer.com
  • Thehappytraveler.com

Or you’re trying to build a personal brand like me…

Use your name.

Check out this free domain name generator by Namecheap if you’re struggling to find one.

Once decided, you can purchase one from a domain registrar like:

Note: You can also buy your domain name from a web hosting provider (explained in the next section).

I’ll use Google domains for this guide, but you can choose whichever is cheapest.

Step 4: Pick a Blog Hosting Provider

A website is basically just a bunch of folders and files.

That all has to live somewhere, right?

They could all be on your desktop, technically your local server…

But nobody else can view your site besides you.

That’s what blog hosting is.

It provides rented, offshore server space and infrastructure to make your website accessible on the Internet in addition to other services like:

  • Domain services: Most hosting providers also offer domain registration services. It’s usually a package deal.
  • Email accounts: Get a custom business email like  “[email protected]”.
  • Security: Measures like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for secure data transfer, firewalls, and regular backups.
  • Database support: Access to databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL. Essential for many types of websites.
  • Bandwidth: The amount of data your website can transfer to its users. 

How To Choose a Web Host

I won’t bore you with the details because I’ve already researched.

Here are my criteria when picking a web hosting service:

  • Speed: Websites with slow loading times can frustrate visitors and hurt your search ranking. So be sure to make this factor your top priority.
  • Scalability: It must handle high traffic as you grow your blog.
  • Reliability and uptime: You don’t want your site suddenly to drop. You’ll lose visitors, credibility and money.
  • Customer support: You’re going to encounter issues along the way. Hosting companies with great customer service will help you resolve these issues quickly. Some even go beyond the scope of their product and service.
  • Security features: They must provide SSL certificates (the small lock icon in the browser search bar) and regular backups.

What Is the Best Web Host?

Monetizing through affiliate marketing is most likely the route you will take when starting a blog (more on that later).

So rather than giving you generic hosting providers…

I’ve shortlisted the best web hosting for affiliate marketers that is scalable, reliable and secure.

Here are some of my recommendations:

Step 5: Set Up Your Blog

Now, it’s time to get your blog online.

I’ll use WordPress to demonstrate the setup because it’s what I use and the most complicated.

If you can get through this…

The rest will be child’s play.

In this section, you’ll learn how to:

  1. Install WordPress
  2. Install mandatory plugins
  3. Set up Google Search Console
  4. Set up Google Analytics
  5. Set up Business Email

1. Install WordPress

Once you’ve got your domain name and hosting, the next step is to install your blogging platform. 

And there are different ways to do this, depending on your chosen platform.

But I’ll be using WPX for this example as it’s what I started with.

Here are the steps you need to follow…

Create and log into your WPX account.

On the dashboard, go to “My Services” → “WordPress Hosting.”

You should be able to see your hosting plans.

Click WordPress Hosting on WPXPin
Source: WPX

Click “Manage service.”

Click Manage Service on WPXPin
Source: WPX

On the Hosting Panel, click “Manage Websites” on the left.

This is where you can view and manage all your websites.

Then, click “Manage WP” beside your domain name.

Click Manage WP on WPXPin
Source: WPX

Note: Ensure you also install the FREE SSL certificate. Click the green “SSL” button and follow the on-screen instructions. It’s an encryption protocol that secures data between browsers and servers. It also gives the lock symbol next to every URL in the search bar. It’s non-negotiable by Google to protect users on your site.

You should see a pop-up window.

Click ‘“Install WordPress on website” to start the installation process.

This will lead you to another pop-up window.

Click Install WordPress on Website on WPXPin
Source: WPX

Fill in all the necessary information as shown below.

Make sure to save your password.

Pro Tip: Store it offline. Don’t keep it on the cloud.

Fill WordPress Website Information on WPXPin
Source: WPX

At the bottom of the window, check the “Install W3 Total Cache plugin for better performance.”

I highly recommend this for faster load times and better user experience.

Click “Install WordPress.”

Click Install WordPress on WPXPin
Source: WPX

Note: If you prefer manual installation, you can check out this step-by-step WordPress.org tutorial

You should be able to access your WordPress dashboard by clicking your website in the WPX dashboard or heading to “www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin.”

Simply enter your admin user and password when prompted.

2. Install Mandatory Plugins

Plugins help expand WordPress’s functionality and add custom features without touching a single line of code.

(unless you want to and can…)

There are thousands of plugins out there…

But you don’t need to install everything.

I suggest you start with plugins that assist you in several important tasks like:

  • Optimizing your site for technical SEO
  • Handling spam comments
  • Creating forms for email signups
  • Providing security and deterring external threats

Plugins are available in both free and premium versions. 

Some of the best free plugins I highly recommend are:

  • RankMath: SEO-optimize your entire site without touching code (premium features are way better, though)
  • WP Super Cache: Improves page speed
  • Contact Form 7: Create beautiful forms to collect visitor information
  • Jetpack: Enhances the security, performance, and management of your website
  • Akismet Anti-Spam: Helps prevent spam in your blog comments
  • WPCode Lite: Customizes your website with conditional logic, scripts, and code snippets

You can also go for the premium plugins if you have the extra budget.

These plugins are generally more reliable.

They also have better support and advanced features you will not find in free versions.

Some of the must-have premium plugins are:

  • WPRocket: Outperforms W3 total cache and has more advanced features like page caching, cache preloading, browser caching and lazy-loading images
  • ShortPixel: Optimizes your images for faster loading times
  • WordFence: Provides comprehensive security features to protect your blog from threats.
  • ConvertKit: Grow your newsletter, create amazing forms and set up email automation (the plugin is free, but you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription for this email marketing platform)
  • Pretty Links: Shorten affiliate links to look nicer when shared on your social media accounts or email.

So, how do you install these plugins?

Installing a plugin in WordPress is a straightforward process.

Here’s what you need to do…

Click “Plugins” → “Add New” on the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard.

Click Add New Plugin WordPressPin

Next, you can either download your plugin from a third-party source.

Then, upload the plugin’s .zip file by clicking “Upload Plugin” → “Choose File.”

Upload WordPress PluginPin

Or search for it in the WordPress plugin directory and click “Install Now.”

Search For WordPress PluginPin

Note: Some plugins won’t be listed in the directory. You’ll need to download it from the respective websites.

Once the installation is finished, click “Activate Plugin.”

3. Set Up Google Search Console (GSC)

Most beginners won’t bother setting up Google Search Console (GSC) when they start a blog…

But you’re not going to make that mistake.

It’s one of the best FREE SEO tools to monitor and manage the performance of your blog in Google search results.

Specific metrics and features include:

  • Total clicks
  • Total impressions
  • Average click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Average position
  • Core web vitals
  • Sitemaps
  • Indexing status

Setting it up is relatively easy.

(I still can’t believe many skip this…)

Follow these steps to connect your website to GSC:

Go to Google Search Console and click “Start Now.”

Google Search Console Homepage How to Start a BlogPin

Enter your website URL in the “Domain” section on the left. Then, click “Continue.”

Enter Website URL Google Search ConsolePin

Copy the TXT record into your clipboard.

Copy TXT Record to ClipboardPin

Access your DNS records by logging into the domain registrar website you signed up for.

In my case, it’s Google domains.

You can create custom DNS records no matter which service you choose.

Change the type to TXT and paste the TXT record into “Data.”

Note: Other domain registrars may label it as “Value.”

You can usually leave the “Host” field blank as it’s understood you are referring to the root domain.

For example: yourwebsite.com

Else, you can enter the “@” symbol.

The TTL value can also be left alone. The default is fine.

Click “Save” once you’re done.

Enter DNS Record Details in Google DomainsPin

Back to your Google Search Console dashboard, click “Verify.

You’ll see a confirmation message if successful.

Note: The DNS records may take a while to populate, so don’t panic if it doesn’t work immediately.

4. Set Up Google Analytics

Google Analytics is another free analytics tool that tracks the behavior of your website’s visitors.

It helps you:

  • Know which pages are popular
  • Track website traffic
  • Identify how long visitors stay on your blog
  • Find out which pages have high bounce rates

You need to use it. Period.

Else, you’re driving blind.

Here’s how to set up Google Analytics when you start a blog. 

Go to Google Analytics. Click “Get started today.

Google Analytics Homepage How To Start a BlogPin

You will be asked to log in to your Google account. So go ahead and sign in.

Click the “Start measuring.”

Enter the account name. Your website URL is fine.

Ensure all the boxes for “Account Data Sharing Settings” are clicked, as shown below.

Then, click “Next.”

Enter Website Details and Check Data Sharing Google AnalyticsPin

Enter your website’s name in the “Property name” field.

Choose your time zone and currency.

Then, click “Next.”

Create a Property Google AnalyticsPin

Provide your business details.

Describe Business Google AnalyticsPin

Choose your business objectives. Pick anything.

Choose Business Objectives Google AnalyticsPin

I know you won’t read it so just accept Google Analytics Terms of Service Agreement…

Accept Google Analytics Terms of Service AgreementPin

Note: I’m a responsible creator. So I’d like to officially say PLEASE READ IT.

You will be presented with options on the data collection source.

Choose “Web.”

Choose Web Platform In Google AnalyticsPin

Enter your website’s URL and stream name. Then, click the “Create stream.”

Click “View tag instruction” on the alert bar at the top.

Click View Tag Instruction Google AnalyticsPin

This will show you the steps to add your Google Analytics tracking code to your blog.

Copy your Google tag to your clipboard.

Copy Google Tag To ClipboardPin

Go back to your WordPress dashboard. 

Install Google Analytics into your WordPress blog.

There are many ways to do this.

The easiest way is to use the WPCode Lite plugin. 

WPcode Page WordPress Plugin IibraryPin

Once the plugin is installed and activated…

Go to “Code Snippets” → “Header & Footer” on the left-hand side of the dashboard.

Then, paste your Google Analytics tracking code into the “Header” section.

Paste Google Analytics Tracking Code in WPcodePin

Save the changes.

And you’re done.

Note: DON’T TOUCH your website’s theme files and add the code manually if you have no experience. It can mess up your entire site. I learned that the hard way.

Every interaction on your blog moving forward will be recorded in Google Analytics.

5. Set Up Business Email

Creating a custom business email is essential for branding and increasing your blog’s legitimacy.

Imagine receiving a collaboration request from “[email protected]”…

I receive multiple a week, and they tend to be ignored.

You will also be taken more seriously when you start link-building.

Your website host or DNS provider may offer custom business emails as part of their packages…

But I strongly suggest signing up for a Google Workspace account to make your life easier.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Familiarity: You likely already have a free Gmail account, so you won’t waste time figuring out how to use their custom email dashboards.
  • Integration: It integrates seamlessly with other Google products like Google Drive, Google Calendar, and Google Meet. You can have all your collaboration tools in one place.
  • Security: Offers robust security features and spam protection. This ensures the safety of your business emails and data. You’re also unlikely to have deliverability issues compared to other providers.
  • Support: Access 24/7 customer support so you can get help whenever needed.

Step 6: Design Your Blog

Now, to the fun part…

Blog design.

It’s time to make your blog look pretty and professional.

Before we proceed, remember that your blog should reflect your style or branding.

Choose your font style, color palette, and logo.

Hire a designer to do it for you. 

1. Choose a Blog Theme 

WordPress has tons of free themes, but most are ugly and lack functionality.

I recommend Kadence.

Kadence WP Homepage How To Start a BlogPin

Mine is made with their pro version, which has way more advanced features…

But you can start a blog with their free theme.

It has all the essentials you need for now.

To install Kadence, go to “Plugins” → “Add New.”

Then search for “Starter Templates by Kadence WP” and click “Install Now.”

Install Kadence Starter TemplatesPin

Once the installation is complete…

Click “Activate.”  

You must also install “Kadence Theme” and “Kadence Blocks.”

Install Kadence Theme WordPressPin

Use the same step above…

Or download the zip file and upload it manually.

Upload Kadence Blocks PluginPin

When you’re done…

You can choose a template or manually set it up from scratch.

But to make it simple…

I’ll be using a template for this guide.

Go to “Appearance” → “Starter Templates.”

Explore Kadence Starter TemplatesPin

Browse from their massive library of ready-made sites.

They have a template for any blog you can think of.

Click any to initiate a demo.

You can explore it like a live site and interact with all the elements.

Once you’re happy with your choice…

You can either import a single page or the full site.

Import Kadence TemplatePin

2. Customize Your Blog Appearance

Using a template is obviously not going to reflect your brand.

There are many ways to customize the layout of the Kadence blog theme…

But the easiest way is going to “Appearance” → “Customize.”

Click Customize on WordPress Appearance TabPin

This is called the live customizer.

WordPress Live CustomizerPin

There are a ton of options to tweak…

From colors to custom CSS code.

Note: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the programming language for styling web pages. You can fine-tune colors, fonts, and layouts that aren’t possible through themes. Only touch this if you know what you’re doing.

Any changes can be previewed immediately on the right.

You can also view it in different screen sizes like:

  • Desktop
  • Tablet
  • Mobile

All the layouts are also responsive.

Meaning…

Whatever customizations you make on desktop will be optimized for other devices without lifting a finger.

And don’t worry about messing things up…

Changes won’t be implemented until you click “Publish.”

So play around.

3. Create Your Core Pages

There are a few mandatory pages needed when you start a blog.

These include:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Blog archive
  • Privacy policy, Disclaimer and Terms of use/Terms of conditions/Terms of Service

You don’t need to make them look fancy for now.

Keep them simple. 

More importantly…

They’re essential pages that send positive signals to both Google and visitors, informing them you’re a legitimate site.

Ensure they’re found easily in the header and footer across ALL pages.

Go to “Pages” → “Add New” to create any page.

Add New WordPress Page Pin

Let’s go over why each page is necessary and what to include in them.

I’ll also show you examples from my site.

Homepage

The homepage is your hub.

It’s arguably the most important page as:

  • It funnels users to contact you or convert in some way
  • It’s the main gateway to your content for new visitors
  • Sets the theme and tone for your blog
  • Gets the most backlinks

Let’s break down the elements of a good home page…

And it’s simpler than you think.

Hero Section

This is the first thing people will see when they land on your site.

It sums up everything you have to offer in as few words as possible…

Who you are. What you do. How you can help.

So make it eye-catching and compelling.

Here’s what you should include:

  • A striking tagline that sums up your blog in a few words
  • A high-resolution photo of yourself
  • A single Call-To-Action (CTA) to your main conversion item
Blog Home Page Hero Section ExamplePin

That’s it.

You may or may not have anything to include here…

But mention the top reputable publications you have been featured in.

Blog Home Page Featured Section ExamplePin

This adds a ton of social proof and credibility when starting…

And helps with getting traction.

Please don’t lie.

Only feature brands you have done work for or collaborated with.

Who You Are Section

It’s a good idea to tell new visitors who is behind the site.

You should feature a casual photo of yourself to show some personality.

Blog Home Page Who You Are Section ExamplePin

But if you intend to maintain your anonymity (not recommended)…

Talk more about your site’s value and mission in the copy to show authenticity.

There should also be a link to your full About page (more on that later) at the end.

Latest Posts Section

Here’s a simple navigation section to showcase all your latest posts.

It showcases:

  • Your authority on your main topics
  • Your website activity

You can easily insert this using the Kadence “Post Grid/Carousel” block…

But you’ll need the Kadence Blocks Pro add-on.

It’s not absolutely necessary but highly recommended for a better user experience.

That’s how you get it to look like mine.

Blog Home Page Latest Posts Section ExamplePin
Social Proof Section (Optional)

Just like the featured section…

I know you’re not gonna have much here at the start.

So here’s what to do.

Get testimonials from past:

  • Collaborations
  • Employers
  • Colleagues
  • Clients

Anyone who can vouch for your expertise and knowledge on the topics you are covering will do just fine in the beginning.

Or if you already have some reviews from another platform…

You can import them into the tool I’m using called Senja.

That’s how to create these beautiful testimonial walls.

Blog Home Page Social Proof Section ExamplePin
Final CTA Section

This will be your final section before the footer.

Blog Home Page Final CTA Section ExamplePin

It’s your last chance to catch any potential customers just before they leave.

The majority of the time, this is going to be your newsletter opt-in form (more on that later).

But it can also be a:

  • Product page
  • Service page
  • Lead magnet
  • Webinar

About Page

This is where you’re going to tell your story.

But other than that…

This page should also answer visitor questions like:

  • Are you legit?
  • What credentials do you have?
  • Why should I trust you?
  • Who is in your team? (If you have one)
  • What are your editorial guidelines?

Be personal. Honest. Engaging.

Link them to other relevant pages on your site or best content (when you start writing).

End off with your contact details or a link to your contact page.

Contact Page

This page is as simple as it gets…

Blog Contact Page ExamplePin

All you really need are:

  • Email address
  • Business address (you can use your home or virtual address)
  • Contact form (optional)
  • Links to your social media accounts

Use the Kadence “Form Block” if you want the contact form.

It’s completely FREE. No add-on is required.

Also, add a friendly and informative message telling visitors what they should contact you for.

Blog Archive

The “Blog Archive” or “Blog Roll” is where all your blog posts are displayed chronologically.

It’s usually just called the “Blog” page.

The functionality is automatically created within WordPress.

But you must create a separate page and assign it as the “Posts” page in the settings.

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Publish a new page and name it “Blog.”
  2. Go to “Settings” → “Reading” on the WordPress menu
  3. Set “Post page” to “Blog”
Set WordPress Post Page To Blog PagePin

Note: You won’t be able to customize the blog page if you choose this method. You’ll need the “Hooked Elements” feature only available with the Kadence Theme Pro add-on.

Alternatively…

You can choose not to assign the post page to the blog and customize it as a regular page.

The easiest way is to use the Kadence “Posts” block to fetch all your recent articles.

Then use the other blocks to build the page.

Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, and Terms

I’ve grouped these pages under the same section as they’re all:

  • Ensure compliance with legal requirements
  • Establish trust and credibility
  • Send positive ranking signals to Google

Here’s a breakdown of what each page does:

  • Privacy policy: Outlines how you handle user data, including collection, usage, storage, and protection. It protects your users’ privacy rights and ensures compliance with data protection laws.
  • Disclaimer: Informs readers about the limitations of your content, any potential conflicts of interest, and the fact that your content is for informational purposes only. It sets clear expectations for your readers and helps protect you from potential legal issues.
  • Terms of Service: Sets forth the rules and guidelines for using your website. This includes copyright information, user conduct, and liability limitations. It protects your website rights and help manage user behavior on your site. There’s no legal difference between Terms of Service, Terms of Use, and Terms and Conditions. They’re interchangeable.

privacypolicyonline.com is a free tool to get the content for all 3 pages.

Note: This is enough to cover the basics. But it’s unclear if they work with actual lawyers or legal professionals.

You’re unlikely to face any legal problems at this stage unless you’re trying to intentionally break the rules.

But once your blog and income grows…

You’ll encounter country-specific data protection laws like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

At that point…

I strongly recommend you seek legal advice.

Because I’m in no position to provide that as I’m not a lawyer.

Alternatively.

If you want to play it safe…

I use a paid tool called Termly that does ensure that policies are vetted by lawyers and legal experts.

Once you’ve gotten the content…

Copy paste it into new pages and publish.

Note: Ensure multi-word page keywords in the URL are separated by dashes, without symbols or numbers. For example: https://www.yourwebsite.com/privacy-policy.

That’s all for the disclaimer and terms of use…

But there’s one more step for the privacy policy page.

You must assign it as the official privacy policy in the WordPress settings.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to “Settings” → “Privacy” on the WordPress menu
  2. Select “Privacy Policy” from the dropdown and click “Use This Page”
  3. Create the privacy policy page directly in this tab (alternative step).
Set WordPress Privacy Page to Privacy Policy PagePin

This will automatically direct users to the login and registration pages should you enable user accounts.

4. Build Your Site Structure

Every website that ranks has some form of organized architecture for its content.

This enhances both user experience (UI) and SEO…

The most common website structure is a hierarchical structure.

Homepage → Main Topics → Sub Topics

Can you imagine if it looked like this?

Arngren Bad Website Structure ExamplePin

Pages and Posts

I’ve only mentioned pages until now…

However, there are two main content types in WordPress used to organize content.

Pages and posts.

Note: Most other CMS have similar setups.

  • Pages are usually static content like the core pages above that don’t change often. They can be arranged as parent and child pages.
  • Posts are usually timely content like blog posts and news entries that may require updates frequently. These are organized using categories and tags.

We can use these two types to create the site architecture using two main methods…

Hard and soft silos. 

Hard Silos and Soft Silos

As the name implies…

Silos are organizational structures that improve SEO and reader experience by grouping related content together.

Hard Silos

Hard silos are created using predominantly pages with a post at the bottom…

And it’s usually built into the URL and directory structure.

For example… if you have a fitness blog…

A hard silo might look like this:

Exercises → Body Part → Chest  → Best Chest Exercises

The URL structure of the article will be:

yourwebsite.com/exercies/body-part/chest/best-chest-exercises

The format is great for a few reasons:

  • Simpler to manage because you know where each blog post is
  • Each sub-page is a hub that has the potential to rank
  • Makes it easier for Google to crawl and understand

BUT.

There’s no flexibility.

You can’t easily insert other hubs in between.

Say you wanted to create another hub categorization for beginner, intermediate and advanced chest exercises…

Exercises → Body Part → Chest  → Level → Beginner → Best Chest Exercises

If you changed it to this URL structure:

yourwebsite.com/exercies/body-part/chest/level/beginner/best-chest-exercises

You’re going to get a bunch of 404 errors and other technical SEO issues that you wouldn’t want to deal with.

Note: Avoid changing your URL structure once the page goes live.

You’ll need a ton of pre-planning if you’re going with this method.

Soft Silos

Alternatively… a soft silo is created by interlinking pages and posts.

It looks way simpler:

yourwebsite.com/best-chest-exercises

The prior pages are created individually and organized by manually placing internal links.

This method allows you to move content freely without being restricted and facing little SEO penalties.

So why wouldn’t you use this instead of a hard silo?

Because it’s a nightmare to track.

If you want to go with this method…

Ensure you record everything down.

I prefer using a tool like Notion because you can use nested pages and a block-base system that mimics an actual website.

Step 7: Write Your First Blog Post

Now that you have built a solid skeleton for your blog.

It’s time to give it some “meat.”

A.K.A writing your first blog post.

Not many talk about this enough…

All blog content needs to be written with SEO content principles in mind.

You are not writing diary entries to document your lifestyle.

The only goal should be to rank on Google.

Here’s how to do it the right way:

  1. Start with keyword research
  2. Create a blog post outline
  3. Write using copywriting principles
  4. Insert rich media
  5. Optimize for SEO
  6. Use a blog post checklist
  7. Publish your content

1. Start With Keyword Research

Keyword research will always be the first step before you write a single word.

But it can also be an overwhelming process… especially for a first-time blogger.

I won’t get into advanced keyword research strategies because that’s a whole different topic.

Here’s an overview…

Use Keyword Research Tools

Begin by identifying a few seed keywords related to your niche using keyword research tools.

These are short-tail keywords between 1-2 words that tend to have high search volumes but are extremely competitive.

The goal is not to rank for these…

But to get more long-tail keyword ideas that have decent volume and low competition.

Keywords are also categorized into 4 main buckets:

  • Informational: Searching for Information and solutions to answers. Often starts with “how to,” “what is,” “why,” “tips,” and “ideas.”
  • Commercial: Looking to make a purchase soon but requires more research. Often include terms like “review,” “best,” “top,” “comparison,” or “vs.”
  • Transactional: Having a strong intent to buy now. Has “buy,” “discount,” “deal,” “order,” and “price.”
  • Navigational: Trying to find specific pages. Includes “Apple support,” “X login,” and “Google Search Essentials.”

You’ll only need to focus on informational and commercial keywords.

If you’re in the fishing niche.

Examples of seed keywords could include:

  • Fishing rods
  • Fishing gear
  • Freshwater fishing
  • Saltwater fishing
  • Fishing boats

Enter these into a keyword research tool like Semrush…

Note: Semrush is a paid tool. Free options include Ubersuggest, AnswerThePublic, Google related searches, Google people also ask, etc. Free tools often give limited daily searches or trial periods. Volume and difficulty data aren’t always available either.

And filter according to search volume (>100 monthly searches) and keyword difficulty (Very easy).

Fishing Rods Semrush Keyword Magic ToolPin

You’ll see many relatively easy opportunities to write articles about.

Pro Tip: Zero-volume keywords might have hidden search volume that these tools don’t show. Write them if it’s low-effort and benefits your readers.

You can even search forums like Quora and Reddit for keywords.

Identify Search Intent

Search intent is basically asking if you understand what type of article a searcher wants to read.

If someone is searching for “best dog food”…

That person likely wants a roundup review of the top dog food products to buy.

Not a step-by-step guide to preparing the best food for dogs.

Case and point.

Best Dog Food Google Search ResultsPin

Pro Tip: Always Google the keyword to check the search intent. 

Messing this up will almost guarantee your article will never rank.

Prioritize Keywords

After you’ve compiled a list of keywords…

It’s time to find out which are the lowest-hanging fruit.

Start by grouping related keywords with the same search intent using a keyword clustering tool.

Keyword clustering helps prevent cannibalization and duplicate content by telling you which ones can be in the same article.

For example…

How to make apple” and “How to prepare apple pie” are 2 different long-tail keywords…

But mean the same thing.

They’re just variations.

You’ll find the same articles ranking on page one…

So it doesn’t make sense to write separate articles.

This can be done manually by viewing the search engine results page (SERP) for each keyword.

If the same articles appear on pages 1-2…

They can likely be in one article.

Otherwise, it should be separate.

But this method is extremely time-consuming.

Whichever method you choose…

You should complete this step by performing a KOB analysis.

2. Create a Blog Post Outline

After the keyword research process…

You should start building the outline for your blog post.

And my process always begins with researching the outlines from the top articles on Google search results.

Why?

Because that’s literally Google telling you what is the BEST content that satisfies a user’s search intent.

These include items like:

  • Headers: What headers (H1s, H2s, H3s, etc.) to include 
  • Header order: This tells you the time to value, which is how quickly the article answers the search intent. Do you place certain headers earlier in the article?
  • Word count: It’s not a major ranking factor, but it tells how comprehensive your article needs to be.
  • Section word count: Some sections require more depth than others.
  • Secondary keywords: Which other keywords you missed in Step 1 that should be included?
  • Meta description: This is also not a high priority, but it helps you craft yours and increase CTR.
  • FAQs: Another set of potential keywords that you couldn’t find in Step 1. Top articles rank higher because they answered the query better. So take those and give a better answer.

You can do this manually, but I use tools like SurferSEO to automate the entire process and save time.

If it’s too pricey for you…

NeuronWriter is an excellent alternative.

But Brendan… Isn’t that just copying?

It is if that’s all you do…

The golden rule is to ALWAYS provide more value than the top articles.

Use their outlines as a base but strive to:

  • Answer more unique questions
  • Add more updated statistics and facts
  • Reducing time to value

And no matter if you are writing the article yourself or via a freelance writer…

You should put all the information you gathered in an SEO content brief.

This will be your definitive source of information for every single article.

It also helps:

  • Increase ranking potential
  • Reduce production time
  • Improve consistency

I know in the beginning you’ll be tempted to wing it…

But trust me, don’t do it.

You’ll end up wasting more time.

It’s not worth the convenience of not preparing one.

3. Write Using Copywriting Principles

The only goal of starting a creator business with a blog is to MAKE MONEY with words.

It will always be to either promote or sell a product/service.

This is why you must become a copywriter.

You need to learn how to persuade and engage your audience.

Which brings me to another point.

By combining the best of two domains (SEO and copywriting)…

You must also be a master at SEO copywriting.

If not…

There’s no difference between writing a blog post and a journal entry in your notebook.

Nobody else but you will see or do anything with it.

Here are some writing tips:

  • Understand your audience: You should know the language, tone and jargon your audience best responds to. 
  • Use keywords naturally: Write like chatting with a friend. Use them naturally in your title, headings, and content body. Don’t over-optimize at this stage.
  • Use AI sparingly: You can use AI writing software to help you create a good draft and fill up some sections. But always edit and add unique value not found elsewhere.  
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs: Breaking text up improves readability and helps retain engagement.

I’ve also created an SEO copywriting checklist to ensure you’ve got all the boxes checked in this step.

Pro Tip: Don’t write your first draft in WordPress or the CMS you chose. Do it in Google Docs or in the editor of an SEO content optimization tool. This is better for collaboration, version control, and security.

4. Insert Rich Media

Images, videos, and audio clips are as important as the text.

They help boost your visibility and engagement by:

  • Signalling content depth to search engines
  • Encouraging social media sharing
  • Breaking up large walls of text
  • Appearing across more search results
  • Earn rich snippets
  • Increase backlinks

But one mistake newbies make is simply curating these from the web.

ALWAYS use original content when possible…

And credit sources if you must insert others.

Here are a few tips:

  • Choose the right format for your images: I recommend images in WebP format because they are smaller (which means faster loading times) and supported by major web browsers. 
  • Compress your images before loading: Use a WordPress plugin like ShortPixel.
  • Add appropriate alt tags to your images: Allows for indexing and helping the visually impaired.
  • Use AI generators: Use AI image generators like Jasper Art to get royalty-free images. Transcript your blog post with Descript and their Overdub feature to use your own voice. Upload it as an audio clip.
  • Add videos: Film a YouTube video and embed it. If you don’t have one, you can use another creator’s but credit them.

5. Optimize for SEO

You would have performed some basic optimizations in the previous steps…

But now it’s time to dive deep into optimizing your blog posts for publishing.

These steps focused on fine-tuning as many elements in your content for both search engines and readers.

Here are some SEO optimization tips:

  • Optimize the title tag: The blog title is the first thing people see on the SERPs. Include the main keyword once, use odd numbers (e.g., “7 Best AI Tools to Boost Productivity”), and invoke emotion with powerful words.
  • Optimize the meta description: This is a summary of your blog post that appears in search results. Keep it under 160 characters and include the main keyword or a variation.
  • Optimize the URL: For example, “yourwebsite.com/best-ai-detector.” Keep it short and include the main keyword. Separate with only dashes “-” if it’s longer than two words.
  • Internal and external links: Links give context about your site’s structure and establish its credibility. Internal links connect your content and improve site navigation. External links signal the value and authority of your content to search engines.
  • Use AI SEO tools: Employ the help of AI SEO tools to automatically insert semantic keywords, suggest ideal word count, generate FAQs, suggest internal links and more.
  • Optimize for featured snippets: These are those handpicked results that appear at the top of organic Google searches. The best way is to reference the current snippet and make it better.
  • Add alt text to images: I know many don’t do this because they’re lazy. However, adding alt text to images helps rank images in Google Search and provides a better experience for visually impaired readers.

These are just the tip of the iceberg.

Check out my complete SEO content optimization guide for more.

6. Use a Blog Post Checklist

After optimizing your article…

Don’t publish yet.

Have a final check with my blog post blog post checklist to ensure you’ve implemented all the best practices.

I’ve written over 100 articles as of August 2023…

And I still miss out on certain items.

So, do yourself a favor by having a final check.

This will also be extremely useful to maintain quality with freelance writers.

7. Publish Your Content

It’s time to publish your first post!

I’ll show you how to do it in WordPress, but every other CMS is pretty much the same.

Here’s how to do it.

Begin by removing all the images from the word editor you used to write the article.

Hopefully, you’ve followed the SEO optimization guide above, and all files have descriptive names.

Now, copy the entire article.

To create a new blog post…

Go to your WordPress dashboard, go to “Posts” → “Add New.”

Or click the “+” at the top.

Add Post on WordPressPin

This will open up a large editing area called the Gutenberg editor.

WordPress Gutenberg Editor Blank CanvasPin

Note: Yours will look slightly different from mine because I have a bunch of plugins and custom settings.

Paste your post in it.

Paste Blog Post in WordPressPin

Insert all the images or videos into your content.

Click the blue “+” button or type /image (Adv) in the editor to add a Kadence advanced image block.

Insert Kadence Advanced Image BlockPin

Upload your images from your computer and insert them in their respective sections of the article.

You’re almost done.

Go to the right and click the “Post” tab.

Click “URL” under the summary and set the permalink to the main keyword.

Customize Post PermalinkPin

Note: Ensure it’s separated by ONLY dashes “-” if it’s longer than 2 words. Triple check as you can’t change this once you publish.

Select the author next.

It should be you by default.

Select AuthorPin

Scroll down and select the appropriate post category.

Select Post CategoryPin

Click “Add New Category” if you haven’t already made one.

Note: One blog post, one category. No more, or else it will cause duplicate content.

You can ignore tags at this stage.

Finally, add a featured image.

Add Featured ImagePin

Now, preview your post and check if everything looks good.

If you’re happy.

PUBLISH!

Step 8: Create an Editorial Calendar

Now that you have your first blog post live…

This is not the time to relax.

Remember all the keywords from step 7?

They need to be written ASAP.

Get into the habit of planning your content by creating an editorial calendar.

Aside from the usual reasons like:

  • Consistency
  • Accountability
  • Productivity

Having one also helps you:

  • Facilitate content repurposing: Refer to old blog posts and prepare upcoming ones in different formats for various platforms.
  • Onboard employees easily: New writers and editors understand the current content pipeline at a glance.
  • Improves visual clarity: It’s easier to have an overview of your entire content plan in one glance.

A good planner should have key properties like:

  • Main keyword
  • Publishing date
  • Status
  • Live URL
  • Link to content brief
  • Topic

You can easily create one with a spreadsheet tool like Google Sheets or Excel…

But I prefer using Notion for it’s:

  • Flexibility
  • Collaboration features
  • Related databases
Brendan Aw Editorial Calendar NotionPin

It allows you to set up more useful relational properties between not only your blog content…

But for other platforms as well.

Step 9: Promote Your Blog

Relying solely on Google to show your content in the search results isn’t wise.

SEO is a marathon, and it might take a while before you rank.

It might be weeks or even months.

But rather than waiting…

Taking the initiative to perform some active promotion will help you get some initial traction.

Here are some ways to do it:

  • Share on social media: Share your content on your social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Pinterest.
  • Writing guest posts: Find other popular websites in your niche and write for them. It’s a win-win. They get great content, and you get a backlink to your articles.
  • Create a newsletter: Start a newsletter and collect emails. New subscribers won’t necessarily know about all the content on your blog. Direct more traffic to other posts by sending them weekly roundups.
  • Engage in online communities: Provide value by answering questions or sharing your processes in online communities like Facebook groups, Reddit, Quora and Yahoo Answers. Insert links to your blog when relevant.
  • Use paid advertising: I don’t recommend this when starting, as you are on a low budget and lack additional content. But it’s a quick way to boost your reach and potentially drive more traffic to your blog.
  • Repurpose into other content formats: Extract short snippets from your posts and contextualize them for other platforms. Or use a blog post as a transcript for a YouTube video and a podcast episode. Drop links back to your blog in the captions, comments or content.

Step 10: Make Money Blogging

We’ve come to the part where you’re the most excited for…

Ways to make money from your blog.

Many think that monetization should come after you’ve built some traction…

Wrong.

If making was is your goal…

You should be setting up the infrastructure on day one.

Here are the best ways to monetize a blog:

  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Display ads
  3. Digital products
  4. Sponsored posts
  5. Paid subscriptions
  6. Consulting services

1. Affiliate Marketing

Starting affiliate marketing is one of the best and easiest ways to make money as a blogger.

It involves recommending products or services…

And you get a commission for every sale made through your affiliate links.

Some might be percentage-based. Others are a fixed fee.

It doesn’t get any more passive than this.

Here’s a snapshot of my monthly earnings from ONE of my affiliate dashboards.

Brendan Aw Affiliate Dashboard ExamplePin

You can start by joining affiliate networks or individual programs.

The most common being Amazon Associates.

You must start driving traffic to your blog posts before seeing any affiliate income.

So, expect the first few months to be slow.

But it will pick up if you are consistent.

2. Display Ads

These are those ads you see while reading other blog posts.

Common placements are:

  • In-content
  • Sidebar
  • Video popups
  • In-feed
  • Header and footer

Here’s an example on Forbes.

Forbes Display Ads ExamplePin

You’re basically selling blog real estate to advertisers…

And you usually earn each time a visitor sees (impressions) or clicks on the ads.

Some of the top ad networks include Mediavine and Ezoic.

Note: These premium networks have minimum traffic requirements before you can ap

Google AdSense is another common network with no traffic requirements…

But it has one of the lowest commissions.

I recommend not monetizing with ads immediately, as it disrupts your readers’ experience.

You can consider going down this route when your blog reaches 20,000 to 50,000 monthly sessions on Google Analytics.

3. Digital Products

This is where you’ll start to feel like a legit creatorpreneur…

Because you’ll be selling digital products.

But why digital?

Because they’re infinitely scalable and cost nothing to make.

Create them once and sell them repeatedly without any additional costs…

These can include:

  • eBooks
  • Online courses
  • Templates
  • Presets
  • Printables

And the best part?

You set the price and pocket 100% of the profits.

Create something in your niche that you’ve personally used to solve a nagging problem…

Because it’s likely what your audience needs, too.

Then start selling it on your site…

You can use an E-commerce plugin called WooCommerce on WordPress.

Other platforms either also have plugins or built-in features for selling products.

And promote it in your:

  • Blog posts
  • Newsletter issues
  • Social media posts

There is no upfront cash investment for this method…

But it takes a ton of work.

4. Sponsored Posts

Once you rank articles on Google, get decent traffic or have a high domain rating…

Brands may sometimes reach out to you for sponsorship.

These can include:

  • Product insertions
  • Link insertions
  • Paid guest posts
  • Paid reviews

Here’s a screenshot of one of my invoices for a product insertion.

Brendan Aw Sponsorship Payment ExamplePin

It’s another highly lucrative revenue stream that only gets better as you grow.

Payment models could either be recurring or lump sum.

Except for link insertions, which pass link equity to other sites…

It’s no different for sponsorships on other platforms.

Brands and companies want to get more exposure via your channels…

And they get way more targeted traffic from your audience because you are a credible source.

5. Paid Subscriptions

This model involves offering your audience:

  • Exclusive content
  • Resources
  • Benefits

You can usually charge a monthly or yearly fee.

Think of it as a VIP club for your most dedicated readers.

Here’s an example of howthefxck.com offering paid subscriptions to access unique SEO case studies of massive companies.

Howthefxck Premium Paid SubscriptionsPin

I interviewed Ben Goodey, the founder.

But there’s one condition if you’re going down this route…

The content behind this paywall must be AMAZING and UNIQUE.

Don’t catfish your readers into paying when the information could have been found elsewhere for free.

6. Consulting Services

Consulting services are one of the best monetization methods for your blog…

Because of the effort-to-profit ratio.

Depending on your professional experience…

You can charge anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per hour.

Whether on a full-fledged website built on WordPress or a free platform like Medium…

Your blog content serves to attract inbound leads through your expertise.

Pro Tip: Show testimonials using Senja to leverage social proof and convince your audience to book a call.

More blog posts → More traffic to consultation offers → More paid consulting calls

But, this method is not scalable because the bottleneck is you…

And it can’t be automated.

How To Start a Blog (FAQs)

How Do Bloggers Get Paid?

Bloggers earn money in different ways. This includes paid ads, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and selling digital products or services.

Is Blogging Still Profitable in 2023?

Yes, blogging is still profitable in 2023. I’m living proof.

You’ll gain traffic if you select the right niche, create useful SEO-optimized content and build high-quality backlinks consistently over a few months.

Then, start to monetize through affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, or selling products/services directly from your site.

There’s no reason why you can’t make money.

How Many Articles Do I Need To Start a Blog?

You can launch a blog with just one post.

However, having around five to ten quality articles on the same topic ready at launch gives readers more content to engage with and increases the chances of return visits.

It also allows you to internally link them together to give search engines more context.

How Can I Get My Blog Online?

Once you’ve chosen a name for your blog, you’ll need to purchase a domain name and set up a hosting account. After that, you’ll need to install WordPress on your host. WordPress is a great platform for beginners because it’s easy to use and flexible. Furthermore, most web hosts have a one-click WordPress installation feature, which makes the process even easier.

How Do I Choose Profitable Blog Topics?

You must perform keyword research to find out which blog topics are profitable.

Low-competition and high-volume commercial keywords that begin with “Best” are usually the most profitable.

After validating those keywords, also check for affiliate programs with high commissions.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

The length of a blog post can differ depending on the topic and what’s already ranking on Google.

A good benchmark would be between 1,000 and 2,000 words to balance depth and readability.

However, your goal should be to satisfy your audience’s search intent rather than aiming for a specific word count.

How Can I Start a Blog for Free?

Most platforms will allow you to start blogging for free.

However, these typically come with limited features and customization options.

You can also perform keyword research for free using methods like:

• Google Trends
Ahrefs free keyword generator
• Ubersuggest
• Semrush free trial
• People also asked
• Researching forums

How Long Does It Take To Make $100 Blogging?

It depends on your niche, time commitment, and monetization methods.

I took two months to earn my first $100 from affiliate marketing alone and dedicated about two to four hours daily.

Can You Make $1000 a Month Blogging?

Yes, you can definitely make $1,000 a month blogging.

I started my blog at the end of December 2022 and hit my figure 4-figure month in May 2023.

Most of the earnings came from affiliate commissions and sponsorships.

Your progress might vary depending on niche selection, competition and availability of affiliate programs.

To Sum Up

Alright, that’s a wrap!

I’ve taught you everything to start your blog. 

It’s the mission-critical step to launching your creator business.

It’s about:

  • Housing your content on a platform you own
  • Leveraging SEO to attract high search intent traffic
  • Repurposing your blog articles into short-form content for distribution

So, if you want to start a blog in 2023…

There’s no better time than now.

P.S. One more thing before you forget…

Join my newsletter, The Raw Baw

I share insider tips on building my creator business with actionable tips to grow yours in 5 mins or less.

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Article by

Brendan Aw

Brendan founded brendanaw.com™ to help others start and grow a creator business. He brings over 6 years of executive marketing experience from startups in E-commerce, NFTs, Crypto, Fintech, E-sports and Agencies. Now, he’s growing his family’s 7-figure luxury lighting business in Cambodia and his creator platform. Brendan received his Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Accounting and Finance from the University of New South Wales. He also has a background in Data Science.

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