The journey of making money with a blog is a lot like the movie “The Wizard of Oz”.
Dorothy found herself in the amazing land of Oz (The Internet), but she also needed to find her way to see the Wizard (Profitability) so he could help her get back home.
Before finding the Wizard, Dorothy first needed to know where to look. Fortunately she landed in the right place when she got to Oz and the munchkins told her all she needed to know, which was to ‘follow the yellow brick road'.
With Toto (WordPress) along her side, she set out to find the Wizard. Of course there was a lot of distractions and obstacles along the way, such as running into the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion (Blogging Authorities and Friends in the Industry). There were even run in's with the Wicked Witch and her scary army (Google Penalties and Black Hat Methods).
Dorothy eventually did find her way back home and did get to see the Wizard, but it was quite a journey along the way. Dorothy made the best of her new friends, followed the rules and stayed on the Yellow Brick Road till she finally found the Wizard… and everyone lived happily ever after!
Now It's Time to Follow Your Yellow Brick Road…
Originally I was going to start off this post with a boring talk about how anyone can make money with a blog as long as they choose the right niche, create content and stay focused. However, I started to think about a movie that almost everyone is familiar with and could also provide a visual of the core values here as well.
If someone offered you a path to find success with making money online with a blog, would you take it? Of course you would! (though many won't)
In the case of the Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, it wasn't easy… and I won't tell you that making money online with a blog is easy either — but if you follow the proven path I have for you below, and the same tactics that have worked for thousands of other bloggers, there's no reason why you shouldn't see the same success in one form or another.
9 Steps to Creating a Profitable Blog from Scratch
For the sake of time and sparing those who already are advanced with blogging, you can see a very detailed version of this process on my 2,494 word How to Make Money Blogging Guide at Blogging.org.
Let's get started.
Research Your Potential Blog Topic Before Hand
When starting a blog for the first time, many people will register the first domain that pops into their mind and just start creating content. This is where most blogs start off in the wrong direction before they even get started. If you want to build a profitable business, you need to create your blog with a business plan!
Take the time to study your potential niche topic, market, competition, monetization options and how you will stand out from the crowd — in short, why should people visit your blog over the other 100+ million blogs that are already out there?
Look at Your Niche… then Niche Down Again
Once you've found a solid niche for your blog, it's time to go back to the drawing board. Niche down again!
By niching down as much as you possibly can, you are making it easier for you to be the authority within that niche and you will also know exactly what type of content you need to create to cater to your audience.
Create an Editorial Calendar to Prepare Your Writing Path
Blogs are all about content creation… but creating as much content as you can isn't the answer. Instead you need to create quality content that provides values, gives your audience what they are looking for and also gives them a call to action in the process.
Before starting your blog, make sure you have enough quality content ideas for the life of your blog. If you have trouble coming up with more then 20+ article topics, you will need to make sure these are very high quality 2,000 word articles that you can heavily promote to dominate your niche with.
Going Live with Your Site – Domain & Web Hosting Options
You put in the time and effort to find your niche and also wrote out your potential blog post titles — now it's time to start bringing everything together with a killer domain name and web hosting.
Don't wreck your brain trying to come up with an amazing domain name (as most are already taken). Follow these simple key points and you'll be good to go.
- Stick with .org, .net or .org
- Don't use any words that are hard to spell
- Stay away from numbers and dashes
- Choose a domain name that explains what your site is about
By following these simple guidelines, you will already have your site on the right path for better branding and authority down the road.
In terms of hosting… don't go nuts. Any hosting plans from sites like HostGator, SiteGround or BlueHost would be fine.
WordPress is Your Platform — Appreciate & Understand It
WordPress is the best content management system out there for creating a blog. Don't bother looking at the other options out there… just use it.
Don't just use it… eat, sleep and breathe it. The better you understand WordPress, the better your content and site will look and feel.
It's extremely easy to use and most web hosts have 1 click installation already built it when you setup your hosting.
Only Create Content that Provides Value and Builds Your Brand
Everyone says content is king, which is true… but it still needs to be done right.
Create content that your audience will find value in, will help you rank in the search results and also help better monetize your site in the long run.
Try not to create or spin articles together that have already been created a thousand times before… unless you can do it that much better.
Also look at your competition to see how they are creating content… then create your's better by including infographics, videos, tutorials and guides.
Content is King!… but content promotion is also required. Once you have some content on your site, focus on guest blogging to build high quality links to your site.
Create a Social Media Following
There are over 2 billion people on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You and your site should be too!
Create a separate account for both yourself and your sites, then add social sharing buttons, with a tool like Social Warfare, to all of your pages as well.
Build a Mailing List to Grow Your Following
Here's a sad fact for you… over 70% of the people that come to your site for the first time will never come back again.
The best way to grow your audience and keep your visitors for life is by getting people to join your mailing list.
Don't just throw a subscribe form on your site and hope for the best — it won't work. Instead you should give away something for free (like an ebook or resources guide) in exchange for people giving up their email. You can also setup popup subscribe forms to heavily increase your sign up numbers. You can see live examples of how top bloggers are exploding their mailing lists here.
Check out this quick video from Ms. Ileane to see how you can Quickly Grow Your Email List with LeadPages
You've studied your niche, created awesome content, have social exposure and even a mailing list with hundreds if not thousands of subscribers… now it's time to bring your monetization efforts to a whole new level by creating your own products and services.
Study what people are coming to your site for in the first place and what you could offer them as a premium service. A quick idea is to simply package up your best content in a simple PDF guide that you could sell for $29-$79.
The relationships, loyalty and authority is already in place — now it's time to bring it to that next level!
How to Make Money Blogging Infographic
We've covered a lot of content in this yellow brick road to blogging success. To make the points we discussed even easier and more memorable, we've also created an infographic that walks you through the process as well.
The important thing to remember is that no matter what niche or industry you are going to create a blog in, the path is still the same.
As they say in the movie…
Follow, follow, follow, follow… follow the yellow brick road!