When you search for “how to make money blogging” keyword on Google, you will find a gazillion number of articles. There are a lot of bloggers giving you advice about how to build a great blog from scratch. But most of the advice is useless.
90% of them suggest, try affiliate marketing, AdSense, sell ads etc. That’s not how you really build a successful blog. To really make money from your blog, you need a strategy.
You need to follow certain steps to launch a better blog and this article covers 6 vital steps you need to take to launch a blog that makes money in 2017 and beyond. Are you ready to discover? Let’s get into the details.
How to launch a profitable blog from scratch?
Step 1: Brainstorm different monetization methods
Few websites use Google AdSense ads to make money while few other sites use affiliate marketing. There are a TON of ways to monetize a website.
It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, you can find multiple ways to make money from your website audience. So before even starting your blog or website, identify different ways to monetize your site so it becomes easier for you to how to treat your audience.
To find the perfect monetization model for your site, first ask yourself questions like
- Who’s my target audience?
- Where they usually hang out online
- What problems do they have?
- Which products or services they might buy to solve their problems
By knowing answers to the above questions, you can easily figure out which monetization platform you can use (either selling online products, promoting affiliate products, offering services or using platforms like AdSense etc) to make money from your blogging efforts.
Also create a sales funnel for your blog or website.
A sales funnel is what turns normal blog visitors into email subscribers into buyers. Here’s what it generally looks like.
As you can see the sales funnels usually follow the tactic called AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action). If you can use your content to create awareness and email list to get people interested in your stuff, you can easily make sales from your sites.
That being said, here are few tips to convert normal visitors into customers.
- Use landing pages. Offer a free guide or video for free to collect emails from your blog visitors.
- Create an email series to nurture your email subscribers and educate them about your products or services instead of hard pitching.
- Once you have enough bond with your subscribers, you can start recommending your products or services to make money.
- If you are using other platforms like AdSense or selling banner ads, make sure to focus on creating keyword rich content to drive more traffic from search engines. The more search traffic you get that more income you can make from ads.
Step 2: Create a content strategy
Content is the first step to building a profitable blog. Observe any top in any industry and you will notice that their content is top notch. Great content is the only way to build thriving audience around your blog or website.
So it’s extremely crucial for you to lay out a solid content marketing strategy that helps you build backlinks, social shares, traffic and sales. If you are wondering how to develop a content strategy for your blog, here are few incredible tips for you.
- Do keyword research before writing any post. Come up with a list of keyword ideas that you can use to grow your traffic and sales.
- While coming up with ideas for your blog posts, always ask “what’s my target audience are searching for on Google”. That way you can come up with great ideas that suit your target audience wants and needs.
- Use tools like Buzzsumo to find the most popular content in your industry. It helps you find content that got more shares and backlinks in your industry so you can come up with winning post ideas for your future blog posts.
- While writing content, research A LOT. Spend more time in doing the research and your content quality also improves. Outline the post with subheadings and it becomes easier for you to fill them up.
- Analyze how other bloggers are crafting their content. Find out their content frequency and length. If they are getting better results with in-depth content, try the same. It takes time to create detailed content but it can generate you more traffic, social shares and links in the long run.
Step 3: Analyze your competitor’s
Competitor analysis is extremely important. You must know what’s working in your industry before launching a blog in any niche. Without knowing your competition, it’s hard to see a rapid growth in your online business.
So how can analyze your competitors?
You can use tools like SEMrush to estimate their website traffic, find their backlink sources and know their best performing keywords. Or you can simply use free tools like Buzzsumo to know their popular content.
Once you analyze your competitor’s keywords, traffic and content – you will get a better idea on what works and what doesn’t work in your niche. That’s what you need to build a successful blog from scratch.
Here are few things you need to remember while analysing your competitor’s.
- Find out their current content strategy. Analyze how many posts they are publishing a week along with their content length. Know more about their SEO strategies. Are they doing keyword research? Are they promoting other products while writing content? Make a detailed notes and start implementing them while creating content for your own blog.
- Figure out how your competitors are promoting their content and products. Are they using email marketing, SEO or social media?
- Find out if there are gaps to fill in your competition. If all your competitors are doing textual format of content creation, think about doing video content or podcasts. Try to create a unique selling point for your own blog if you want to stay unique from the beginning.
- Last but not least: find out from where your competitors are getting backlinks to their sites. You can use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs to do backlink analysis. Try to connect with those bloggers if you want to attract quality links for your own site too. Remember that, backlinks play a vital role in SEO.
Step 4: Your website appearance, speed, rankings play a HUGE role
Web design is the king in 2016. If your blog’s design is not unique or compelling, you can’t give a long lasting impression to your first time website visitors.
The key here is to spend time and money on making your design appealing. Make sure you are using a clean sidebar, widgets and logos. Always give top priority to your font size and style.
As a rule of thumb, keep your font size between 14 to 16 px so it becomes easier for your audience to read your content. Also focus on your website speed. Your web hosting service plays a crucial role. Make sure to use a reliable and affordable hosting that gives better experience to your users.
According to Hubspot research, website navigation plays a crucial role. See the image below.
If your site is not mobile responsive yet, use free plugins like WPTouch. It quickly make your site mobile friendly and you will be bringing more traffic and sales from mobile visitors. Make a note that, Google penalizes the sites that are not responsive.
If you are on a budget, you can give an appealing look to your blog’s design by using theme frameworks like Genesis, Elegant themes etc. They are really affordable and you can make your design unique by making small tweaks to your design elements such as header, footer, sidebar etc.
Step 5: Offer services from day 1
Did you know the fastest way to make money online? It’s offering services. Freelance writing, coding, SEO services – these are all great for quickly making money from your own sites. Just make sure to have a dedicated landing page for offering your services.
Also use testimonials from your clients and showcase any links or videos if you’ve offered your services for big clients. Social proof can really help you get more clients from your own blog.
Here are few things to remember while offering services.
- I know monetising a site is hard. Use landing pages. Show social proof. Offer your services in various pricing packages. All these things convert your visitors into your customers really quickly.
- Build a portfolio. If you want better results, offer your services free for big companies or product developers. That way you can build some reputation.
- Make it for people to contact you. Analyze how others are using their services page to get more leads and customers.
- Build an email list. Use it to educate your audience about the products and services you promote. You can make more sales by adding value.
Step 6: Don’t ignore SEO
Search engine traffic is the king of all traffic sources. Ignore SEO at your own risk. Learn to implement simple SEO basics like keyword research, backlink analysis, site audit and they can save you a lot of bucks and time in the long run.
Observe any top blog in any industry and they get majority of their visitors from search engines like Google. You don’t need an authority site to get massive traffic from Google but you do need to implement certain SEO strategies from day 1 to boost your traffic and sales.
That being said, here are few essential and easy SEO tips you should implement.
- Always do keyword research. Find long tail keywords that fit into your content strategy. Instead of keyword stuffing, use relevant keywords while creating content. This can alone help you get better rankings for most of the keywords.
- Keep an eye on Google latest updates. You can check out Moz updates to know whether there are any fresh updates released by Google. If you see a sudden traffic drop in your sites, make sure to do a site audit to find and fix your website SEO related issues.
- Whenever you write a new post, make sure you are adding links to other relevant sources. Let other bloggers to know you’ve linked to them. Sooner or later you will also start getting links from others.
- Use an SEO friendly plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast. It’s free and extremely easy to optimize your posts for search engines.
Final thoughts on launching a profitable blog
Most people think WordPress is a search friendly platform. Yes, it’s true but using WordPress platform alone won’t help you in getting better rankings in Google. You have to do keyword research, optimize your posts and offer specific services to build a blog that makes money.
Also make sure to spend your time to creating a solid content strategy that helps you build loyal readership around your blogs. Be patient and analyze your competitor’s to see growth.
So what are your thoughts? Do you have any more questions? Do let me know if you’ve any more tips to launch a profitable blog in 2017 and beyond.