How to Start a Blog - The Ultimate Guide

January 23rd, 2015

What is blogging?

A frequent question to people who are unfamiliar with blogging is; how does it differ to having a website?

A blog is like an online journal, but you don’t necessarily have to write about how your day went or what you had for lunch. People use blogs to develop an influence in their industry or grow a fan base for anything they are doing.

Unlike having a website, people can subscribe to a blog. This means with the right amount of effort, you can build an online fan base and email list fast!

The beauty of blogging is the fact that anyone can do it and this guide will walk you through just how to start a blog.

 

How is blogging going to help me?

Blogging has caught the internet by storm. Wordpress, a popular blogging platform, has reported that there are 409 million people reading around 18 billion pages each month!

 With blogs on literally every subject you can imagine, it’s the chosen online communication method for anyone who’s trying to make their mark.

 

Blogging drives traffic to your website

No matter what it is you are doing, you will have an audience you are trying to reach. Someone will want to read your blog, you just need to find them and get them to it.


According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online searches start with a search engine. People like to search online for their favourite things and you need to be there if you want to get them to your blog.

With a little consideration to what people would type to find your posts, we call this SEO, you can reach all the people you desire with ease.

Marcus Sheridan owned a pool company that was hit hard by the 2008 recession. Marcus saw an opportunity to get into the online market where other pool companies hadn’t yet reached. To do this he decided to use blogging to answer people’s questions about pools online. Today River Pools gets the most traffic than any other pool company in the world.

 

Blogging gives you influence

If you’re promoting a product, fundraising or selling tickets to an event, you always have to show people why you are worth buying from or spending money in or volunteering for? Why you versus someone else doing the same thing? What makes you different?

Well blogging helps to simplify this by giving people the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.

And the best bit about this? You never have to explain it twice, once it’s online, it will stay online. You can even provide a platform for people to follow your journey and keep them buying from you again and again.

 

Blogging helps sell

A call-to-action (or CTA) is where you ask your audience to do something. It helps you generate sales by providing a quick and easy route for your audience to buy from you.

 Think about it like this: John the baker starts a blog to promote organic bread. He writes recipes for food that fits well with his home cooked wonders and he ends up drawing in an audience of readers who are enthusiastic about freshly made, organic bread.

In writing a blog post about his bestselling olive loaf paired with a local wine sellers wine, he mentions the seller by linking to their website and at the end provides a link for people to order the olive loaf online.

The wine seller sees John’s blog post and shares it on his social media channels, promoting the post and attracting more readers.

Soon John sees the online sales of his olive loaf sky rocket and when talking to his wine seller friend, find out that he too increased the sales of his wine.

This sounds like a dream come true but with the right amount of effort it can happen to you, just like it has with many other businesses.

 

Ok, what do I need to get started? – Your blogging starter kit.

The first thing anyone needs before getting started on a project is a plan. And the best way to start with a plan is to start with what you want to achieve. Do you want to sell tickets to an event? Get more customer through the door? Or are you looking to fundraise for a charity?

Knowing what you want to achieve will help you choose the right tools and equipment to make your work easier and more productive.

In this chapter we will go through some of the tools and resources you will need before getting started. This is your blogging starter kit.

 

Equipment

To get started you will need a few things first.

Computer

Of course every blogger will need a computer. Not just for word docs but also for design, research and promotion. This will be where you spend the majority of your time so a laptop would be better for mobility.

Google Chrome

My favourite browser is Google Chrome because of how many extensions it offers. Many of the tools and resources discussed below have Google Chrome extensions to help you increase productivity.

Smart Phone/Tablet

Either of these will also help keep you informed on the go.

Social Media

Social media helps you to build a fan base for your blog, promote your blog, recycle your blog and collaborate on your blog. Social media and blogging work hand in hand and need just as much time and energy spent on each other.

 

Hosting

You can’t set up a blog unless you start with a hosting service. To make your website accessible via the World Wide Web you need to pay a small monthly fee, this is the most expensive side to blogging.

 

Why Free Blogging Sucks!

Whatever reason you have for wanting to set up a blog, you should always run it like you are trying to make a profit. The opportunities in blogging are huge and you can leverage these opportunities by looking at your blog like a business.

Blogging for free provides no income opportunity and you will actually spend money on hosting, platforms and marketing. If you run your blog like a business you will quickly find that these expenses pay for themselves.

Free blogging platforms like Medium which I mention later on are great but you can’t customize the look and feel of your blog and you also become privy to a lot of terms and conditions which will essentially state that the content you create is not yours.

Working on paid platforms like Wordpress provide a much more effective way to create and run a blog and make money out of it.

Here’s a few platforms I recommend.

 

Bluehost

 

The great thing about Bluehost is that they have a service for Wordpress blogging and make it quick and easy to set up and maintain. From start to finish, you can have Wordpress installed and ready to go in half an hour.

 

Webhostinghub

 

Webhostinghub has a variety of offerings but the Nitro plan is most suited for bloggers. It also offers easy Wordpress installation. Simply choose the auto-install Wordpress option during your set-up and the work is done for you.

 

Greengeeks

 

Greengeeks offers good value for money with SEO and marketing tools that add to the package. It easily integrates with Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla.

Among the reasons mentioned above, these platforms are recommended for their reliability, security and customer service. When choosing someone to handle your domain and website hosting you should always choose carefully, making sure the company you choose has your interests at heart.

Consider these things when looking for your provider:

  1. What security measures have they got in play?
  2. Can you get hold of someone easily when you call?
  3. Is there added features for someone who is looking to be a business or enterprise customer?
  4. Does your chosen provider care about their carbon footprint?

 

Blogging Platforms

Now that you have a hosting service you need to think about the platform you will build and design your blog. My favourite here is Wordpress which is highly recommended by some of the top bloggers out there.

 

Wordpress

Everyday Wordpress sees 50,000 new sites go up. The platform is so popular because it’s free, easy to use and comes with millions of templates available online to make your blog look great.

As one of the most popular platforms there is a huge amount of outside developers who work on making the platform better.

Wordpress plugins are extensions that come free or for a price. Similar to an app on your smartphone you can use plugins to integrate with other platforms, provide new cool features like a shopping cart or just make your blog easily shareable by adding social plugins.

You can search Wordpress for a wealth of plugins. Make sure when searching to read the reviews carefully. The Wordpress community is always very helpful.

Plugins can also conflict with one another so if you start installing too many you might start encountering problems. The best advice here is to install one at a time and if you encounter a problem with one delete it and try to find another plugin.

Alternatively if you have user issues with plugins you can consult web developers to edit the code and make the plugins work better for you. You can find web developers on a number of websites including Peopleperhour.

Wordpress comes with a tablet and smartphone App to help you work on your blog on the go and it offers a really awesome support system through forums and email. Wordpress is also search engine friendly for Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.

We describe how to start a blog and set up a Wordpress account in more detail, skip to that chapter here.

 

Google Blogger

If you have a Gmail email you can quickly set up a Blogger account and start blogging right away. The problems with Blogger is that it is not very great on the design side and does not provide the wealth of beautiful themes, additional plugins and widgets that come with Wordpress.

 

Medium

Medium is a completely free platform that simplifies blogging. The one downside to Medium is that you cannot create your own visual look, what you see is that you get and all bloggers profiles look the same which means you have to rely on your content to make you popular. You also don’t get your own domain and sadly that means that you will also have to work harder if you want to direct people to your own website.

The cool thing about Medium is that it’s really a place where you can become a thought leader. It also links to your social accounts making it easier to promote your content.

This is very similar to LinkedIn publisher but much broader in the range of topics.

 

Tumblr

Tumblr offers a different side to blogging based mostly around images and videos. It already boasts 216.2 million blogs.

If you’re in the business of events, products, visual merchandising, design, graphics or art this may be the platform to show off your work.

 

Podbean

Blogging doesn’t just have to be about words, you can now create audio blogs in the form of podcasts. Some podcasts include music programs, event coverage, interviews with expert discussions.

You need a mic to start podcasting and a bit of knowledge about audio and editing but this can be a fun platform to start on and Podbean is my favourite tool for this.

 

 

Tools

These tools are all free and will help you grow your blog fast. All of these may not be suitable to you but I would recommend you try them and experiment until you find a combination of tools that works for you.

 

Influencer Tools

Finding influencers is an important part of building your blog, if you want to know more about promoting your blog skip over to that chapter here. Influencers may not be your biggest fans but they have huge audiences themselves. When they get a hold of your blog and share it with their audience it can really help boost your web presence and get you going viral fast.

Let’s go back to the example of John and his bakery. John has Twitter and uses it to promote his blog and share other news and resources about fresh and organic baking.

A well-known brand baking yeast brand discovers his bakery on Twitter, follows him and shares his blog post about the benefits of organic yeast to their 1.5M followers. Of these followers he gets 2K retweets and 200 visits to his blog post.

That’s pretty impressive right?

 

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is the search engine for Twitter influence. You can search for top articles in a category or top authors in a category. The tool also lets you search by companies or journalists if you are thinking about getting your content featured in publications.

 

Idea Tools

When getting started it’s sometimes difficult to think of topics to write about. Often you will feel like there isn’t much to say. With these tools you can quickly and easily generate blog titles and topics for you to write about.

 

Portent’s Blog Content Idea Generator

Portent’s blog content idea generator is a quick and easy way to get great blog titles from your topics.

 

Hubspots Blog Topic Generator

Hubspot has created a great blog topic generator by asking you to fill in just three nouns about your chosen topic.

When typing in baking, bread and organic here’s what I received:

 

Social Trends

Using social media trends can help you see the topics that are currently most popular in your location or in the world and on each platform.

By going to the ‘Discover’ section on your Twitter you will find a list of trending hashtags.

On Facebook you can search for trending topics and Google Plus has a ‘What’s Hot’ page. LinkedIn has something called ‘Pulse’ and you can search Pinterest for ‘Popular’.

 

Productivity Tools

Blogging can be hard work if you don’t stay organized. We recommend using these tools to help keep your day to day activity organized and stay in check with your ideas. Most of these tools come with a smartphone app and a Google Chrome extension.

 

Trello

Trello allows you to manage projects by using boards. Each board has a workflow that you can assign tasks and attach files to as well as categorize and assign due dates. If that isn’t handy then I don’t know what is!

 

Google Calendar

Google calendar is a great place to organize and plan your blog content. It gives you a good view of your year so you can foresee seasonal content and plan promotional content too.

 

Dropbox

Dropbox is my favourite tool for online file storage. View your files from any location and on any device with this great storage platform. You get a good amount of free data but there is always potential to pay for a premium subscription or earn free space if you need it.

 

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is the mother of all social media dashboards. It holds together all of your accounts, monitors them and allows you to schedule and post content. There is also a pro version which gives you more features in analytics and user management.

If you’re looking for something that will help to promote and distribute your blog, this is it. After publishing a blog you can promote it on all your social channels with a click and even schedule it to be recycled again tomorrow and the day after that.

 

Image Tools

Using images in your content is important. Firstly it is the bait that captures people in and gets them reading, secondly it keeps people on your page longer because there is something to look at and variety in your post. If you want to know more about images you can head over to that chapter here.

 

Death to the Stock Photo

Get free stock free photos straight to your inbox each month with Death to Stock Photos.

 

iStock

iStock is a paid image service owned by Getty images. You can choose from subscription packages between £20 to £195 a month or pay-as-you-go in hundreds of categories.

 

Canva

Canva is one of my favourite image tools because of its ease of use and the fact that it caters for a wide variety of graphics.

 

Picresize

Whatever images you decide to use in your blog you will need to resize them to keep them small and web ready. Most images come large and high resolution meaning they are large and take a long time to load when on screen.

 

 

Resources

Blogging is a skill like any other and the more you blog the better you will find you get. Subscribe to your own blogs and see how others are using this platform too. It’s a great way to improve your skills.

Below are a few resources about blogging that will help you keep up to date with the latest strategies and tips on better writing.

 

Content Marketing Institute

The Content Marketing Institute is packed with helpful tips on making your blog a success. Blogging is a form of Content Marketing but if you search their blog and resources section for Blogging you can find helpful tips and advice to get you started.

 

Copyblogger

Copyblogger is all about better blogging. Sign up for the email updates and learn how to create top quality content.

 

Ilove2blog4you

The helpful tips and advice in the Ilove2blog4you covers everything from finding guest bloggers to writing and publishing the perfect post.

 

How do I set up a Wordpress account?

Now you have all the tools and resources you need to get the most out of your blog it’s time to look at how to start a blog and setting up your first one. Because we can’t look at every platform we have chosen to work on the premise that you have chosen to host your blog on Webhostinghub and install Wordpress.

Using Webhostinghub find the Wordpress blogging package and click on set up. Now it’s time to choose the domain name of your blog. If you can’t get the exact name you’re looking for then try to think outside the box.

Here’s some tips:

  1. Make sure your domain name is easy to type.
  2. Keep it short and easy to remember.
  3. Use words that are relevant to your industry or sector, words that your customers use and type into Google regularly.
  4. Avoid anything difficult like numbers and hyphens.
  5. Search the name into Google yourself and see what happens, who’s your competition?

Once you get taken through set up there will be an auto-install Wordpress option on your webhostinghub dashboard, make sure to click it to install Wordpress.

When you click on install you get taken to a dashboard that shows your website’s features and current installations (if any). You will see another INSTALL button. Click on this.

You will then get taken to a settings area that lets you configure your Wordpress settings. Pay close attention to your password and make sure to confront the webhostinghub guide if there are any terms you don’t understand. Click on INSTALL at the bottom of the screen.

To login to the backend (part of your website that only you can see) of your website visit yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Type in your username and password which you would have configured in the step above and you will come to your Wordpress dashboard. It will look something like this:

Well done you have installed Wordpress and you are ready to start creating your blog!

 

Start with your user profile and settings

The first thing to do before you start designing your blog look and feel is set up your profile. Go to ‘Users’ in your Wordpress dashboard and click on ‘My Profile’.

Include links to all of your social media and any contact details or images you have.

Underneath ‘Settings’ and ‘General Settings’ you can edit the format you want you blog posts to appear as well as place your logo.

 

Pack a punch with your about me page

The about me page of your blog is in the ‘Posts’ section of your Wordpress dashboard. It’s a very important part of your blog because it’s your introduction. Like any social event you need to introduce yourself and tell people who you are. The about me section is like your party introduction but online.

When thinking about how to write your about me section you need to think about who you are and what you are trying to communicate to your audience.

Remember that you are telling your story so you need to think about it objectively and draw people in with your values and vision. Tell them what makes you different.

If you want some extra tips on writing like a pro then head over to the chapter here.

 

Create the look and feel of your blog

Just as your about me is important to tell the story of who you are, so is your design. The look and feel of your blog should appeal to the people who you want to attract, think about the colours, what typography you want, how large the images should be and where you should include links to other places on your blog.

Do a little research on other blogs doing similar things to you. One way you can do this is type into Google ‘Top blogs in X’. The X being your industry or chosen topic.

With a vision in mind it’s time to see what Wordpress has to offer. In your dashboard go to ‘Appearance’ and choose ‘Themes’.

Your theme is the backbone of your blogs design and you have plenty to choose from so take your time with the search. Alternatively you can purchase beautiful Wordpress themes from websites such as Themeforest.

 

Don’t start without a plan

Once you have set up your Wordpress account and written your about me section and chosen your theme, it’s time to start planning your content.

Think about what you’re going to write as if you had to turn your story into a magazine. Like a magazine you will have sections covering different sides to your story and you may have other people feature in the magazine as guest authors or interviews.

 

Categories and Tags

Many blogging platforms come with a feature where you can categorize each blog post and add tags. This helps your readers navigate through your content using themes and find you online.

When setting up his bakery blog, John decided to create a category for latest bakery news, recipes and organic eating. When writing a blog post about his newest bread paired with carrot and coriander soup he uses the tags organic bread and carrot and coriander soup, so that people searching for these word combinations are more likely to find his article.

 

Types of Content

When thinking about categories you should also consider the different types of content you will feature. There’s a lot of different kinds of content from reviews, interviews, thought provoking, instructional, video, sound, images, surveys and more.

You should be looking to provide a variety in your day to day plan. How much do you want to blog each week? Break this up into how many posts for each category and how many different types of content so that you have a plan for how often you will publish each kind.

This image from visual.ly really helps to identify where your types of content sit on the scale and how they help to achieve your goals and objectives.

 

Editorial Calendar

Now it’s time to plan your titles into an editorial calendar. Use Google Calendar and Trello to plan your content and workflow. When do you need to write your first post by?

Using Google Calendar you can give each of your types of content a different colour so you can keep track. Use an editorial calendar to track your content so that you can analyse your results.

With the use of an editorial calendar you can also become more organized with the sharing and publishing of your content. If you were using Hootsuite which I mention earlier in this guide, you could manage the sharing of content by installing the Hootsuite chrome extensions and quickly sharing your content on all your channels.

 

How to write like a pro

The art of writing only gets better as you track your previous success and grow. Here’s some tips to making your writing look like something that came out of the New York Times.

1. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience

Think as if you were your audience and write for them. Use language they would use, cutting out jargon and appeal to their needs and wants.

2. Provide evidence

Even when writing an opinion piece like a review you are backing your opinion up with your observations and use, you may have even decided to quote other reviews that have similar or opposing opinions than yours so that you can compare and contrast.

If you want to position yourself as an expert or a source of knowledge than you need to give people a reason to trust you. Use facts and link to other resources.

3. Spell check

It sounds simple enough but not enough people are doing it. Double check words that are commonly misspelt and variations of words like to, two and too. Do you know the difference?

I recommend writing your blog in word first so that you have a better spell check. Also consider variations in spelling among UK and US versions of English. Where is your audience?

4. Stand the test of time

Never publish your post straight after you write it. Read it again a few hours later and then sleep on it and read it again the next day. You’ll be surprised at what you will spot when you’ve had a chance to sit back on it.

 

Writing your first post

If you’ve followed this guide this far, the hardest part is out of the way. Now you know how to start a blog, have a plan, calendar and a look and feel to your blog it’s time to start writing.

You probably want your first post to be a kind of introduction to who you are and what your blog is going to be about. Get your first blog post written up in a word document and then head over to your dashboard to ‘Posts’ and click on ‘Add New’.

Your screen will look something like this. At the top there is a section where you can write the title of your post and the blank box in the middle is where you will write the rest of the post.

Just underneath the title section you will see an ‘Add Media’ button where you can include a video, sound clip or image to your blog post. Underneath this is your formatting options such as bold, italic and bullet or numbered lists.

You can also format your font type by clicking over paragraph and changing to heading 1, heading 2 and so on.

On the right hand side bar you can see a place to save as a draft and schedule your content for publishing in the future (make sure your time and date settings are set correctly when doing this, head over to the settings instructions here). Underneath this you have your categories, if you haven’t started yet you can create your first category here. Tag options are underneath this.

Right at the bottom you can set the featured image for your post which will appear on the blog main page.

 

How to use images

As soon as someone takes an image they automatically own a copyright. You can always assume that unless an image is in the public domain then someone will own the copyright and this will restrict you from using it.

My advice in this area is looking for copyright free image websites (my recommended free image websites can be found here) or purchasing an iStock license to get a monthly subscription limit for image downloads.

 

Searching Google

You can find copyright free images on Google Search. Just click on ‘Search Tools’ and click on ‘Labelled for reuse with modification’ this is the freest right an image can have so you can do with the image as you wish.  

 

Top Wordpress Plugins

Plugins help you add extra components to your blog or allow you to connect additional services. Here are the top plugins downloaded by users of Wordpress in 2014.

There are two ways to install a plugin on Wordpress. The first is by going to ‘Plugins’ on your dashboard, searching for the one you like and installing it straight in.

The second is that you can find the plugin online, download the .zip file and upload this to Wordpress. You can find the upload section by going to ‘Plugins’ on your dashboard and clicking on ‘Add New’ then finding the upload button. A screen shot has been provided below:

1. Wordpress SEO by Yoast

Write content that is more likely to be found in the search engines by using Wordpress SEO by Yoast. When you install this plugin you will see a new section when you are creating a new post.

2. Contact Form 7

With Contact Form 7 you can create and manage multiple contact forms easily, great for when you are trying to collect contact information or build enquiries.

3. Nextgen Gallery

Nextgen Gallery is the most popular gallery plugin on Wordpress. You can use it for displaying collections of art, fashion, recipes or instructional posts.

4. Disqus Comment System

With Disqus you replace the Wordpress comment system with something more advanced and able to link to social media. This means people can comment on your blog and share much easier and you can manage the comments better too and prevent spam.

5. Better WP Security

While attacks on blogs are on the rise it’s important to keep your site secure (find out more about better site security by clicking here). Better WP Security is the most popular safeguard plugin on Wordpress.

6. Facebook Like Box Widget

With Facebook Like Box Widget you can create a custom sidebar on your blog homepage showing your latest Facebook posts and encouraging people to like your page. Once installed go to ‘Appearance’ and ‘Widgets’. You’ll see Facebook Like Box on the side, simply drag and drop it into the Sidebar, edit the settings and presto!

7. Floating Social Bar

As social media is a part of your blogging arsenal (my recommended tools for getting started are listed here) you should be trying to increase the amount of likes and comments on your social channels as you promote your blog. Use Floating Social Bar to create social links on the side of your blog page.

8. Zemanta

Zemanta keeps your readers coming back for more by recommending related content. It uses your categories and tags which is another reason it’s so important to plan them and assign posts to them.

9. Google XML Sitemaps

Help search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo index your website better by downloading Google XML Sitemaps.

10. Google Analytics

Track the success of your website straight from Wordpress with the Google Analytics plugin.

 

How do I get people to read my blog?

Just because you’ve written a few posts you shouldn’t be expecting readership numbers in the hundreds already. It takes time to create raving fans but there a few techniques that the best bloggers are using.

You’ve already given thought to your audience, how you want to talk to them and what you plan on saying. You have also given thought to how you’re blog looks and feels. The following tips show how you can take the ground work you have just done and use it to get people excited about your blog.

Knock em out with your design

The purpose of your design is to lead people easily from where they land to the actions you want them to complete. If the aim of your blog is increasing your email list so that you can send product information then you want to make subscribing the easiest thing to do.

Here’s a few helpful design tips to keep your blog looking and feeling good.

1. Hello Bar

Download Hello Bar and create an attractive email subscriber form that you can customize for the top of your blog. It even allows you to track how many subscriptions per view and you can create two different designs to test which one works better.

If you are also hoping to combine your blogging with email marketing efforts then you should also consider the Mailchimp and Aweber Wordpress Plugins to help you manage your efforts more proficiently.

2. Colours and fonts

Stick to only two-three colours and fonts for your blog look and feel. Too many will overcomplicate the look of your blog and confuse people on the page.

3. Use Adobe Kuler

Adobe Kuler lets you pick perfectly matching colour combinations using the colour wheel.

4. Use CTAs that stand out

Your call to action’s (CTA’s) (more on CTA’s can be found here in the Blogging helps sell section) should be prominent and appear in contrast to other design elements.

 

Distribute your blog to the masses

When you open a shop you don’t expect people to start flooding in immediately, you start by advertising and building links. Blogging is no different, think of your blog like the front of your shop, you want people to come so you have to find your audience and tell them about you.

You can use social media to find your audience and serve up your content in style. The first thing you need to do is find a community of people who are interested in what you have to offer.

In the John the baker example, John might find communities of foodies who are all about eating healthy. He finds a group of people on Twitter who use the hashtag #EatGood and starts sharing his blog using the same hashtag. People in the group get a hold of his posts and reshare it to their communities. Pretty good right?

Don’t forget to recycle, a lot of your content won’t be time or season sensitive so you should consider the value of sharing it again next week, or next month or even next year. If you notice a blog is popular then make sure everyone gets a chance to read it. Try not to over-do it though!

Make sure your readers can easily share your content too, this is how you make it go viral. If I can’t tell someone about that fantastic food recipe I read or share a review to help my friend make a purchasing decision then how will it gain popularity? I mentioned the power of Hootsuite when it comes to sharing and distributing your content earlier in this guide.

 

Shout it to the rooftops

Remember we talked about influencers and the use of Buzzsumo, here’s where it gets handy.

It’s great when someone shares your content but what if they shared it to millions of people, the more people that see your content, the more will share it and the more viral you will make it.

So the aim of the game is finding someone with millions of followers who you can build a relationship with online and they will share your content. If you can find someone like this you have the formula for success. Buzzsumo can help you find people to target on Twitter. Just get to know them and start talking to them and sharing your content with them.

You will be surprised by how helpful they are.

 

How can I make money blogging?

If you want a blog that will make you money then you have to get real. Not everyone can get rich blogging.

But it has happened before, Darren Rowse for example made six figures from blogging. You can read his story here.

There are a few income streams that come from blogging and I will introduce those to you here. In terms of strategy, everything mentioned in the chapters on writing like a pro alongside a keen eye to track your success and work on a strategy.

 

PPC Campaigns

With Google Adwords you can draw people into your content using keywords with the aim that they will land on a page with a contact form, purchase something or sign up to something.

If you pay for each click through you will have to work our your return on investment (ROI) by subtracting the amount of people who do not subscribe or buy and working out the cost per acquisition (CPA)

 

Affiliate Marketing

If your blog appeals to someone selling a product or service they may want to use your blog as a platform to advertize this.

Remember when John the baker wrote a post that included a wine matching from his wine seller friend? Well imagine that a major UK wine seller reads his post and decided that they would pay him a regular monthly fee for including and pairing his recipes with his wines. That’s affiliate marketing.

Amazon has a great affiliate program that might work for you. You make money for each and every sale of a product that comes from your blog.

Remember the power of your content will be important in affiliate marketing, you will have to write blogs posts that sell products and this might mean you are restricted.

 

Banner Advertising

With Google Adsense you can also have other people advertize their products in a similar way to affiliate marketing but instead of making a percentage of each product you sell, you charge for the size of banner ad they get and then length of time that it stays on your blog.

Darren Rowse made 35% of his income blogging through banner advertising.

 

Sell Your Blog

If your blog becomes successful there is always the option to sell it! Yes sell it. There’s a tonne of people out there looking to take on an already built blog instead of start from fresh. If your blog is already making money then you are practically selling your own profitable business and you could be in to make a lot of money from the sell.

A website like flippa.com is the eBay of online bloggers and some websites have made tens of thousands of dollars!

 

How do I keep my blog secure?

I’ve already discussed a valuable plugin for keeping your blog secure. This chapter goes through a few more tips to make sure you don’t have to worry about your blog ever again!

Hacking is becoming more and more prevalent and there is nothing worse than being hacked, the consequences can be outrageous. The Burger King Twitter account was hacked in February 2013 and this is just one example of the many large companies that have dealt with this kind of thing. The lesson for these companies is increasing security and better password safety.

Passwords

Get serious with your passwords, your name or your birthday is just not going to cut it. Use a combination of two random words as their letters and numbers. Keep the password safe from anyone.

If you want someone else to login to your Wordpress dashboard, say you hire a developer and you want them to change some code to your design template, you can create their own user profile in the ‘Users’ section under ‘Invite New’. They can create their own password and login that way. You can even give them limited accessibility so that they cannot access every part of your dashboard.

Updates

Wordpress will continually release updates that you should always install. Each update comes with better security for your blog.

SPAM

Opening up your blog to comments comes with a downside, you will get a large amount of people using blog comments to try and build links to their website. This is SPAM and some is more obvious than others.

Download the AKISMET plugin and be surprised by how many SPAM comments are filtered.

Add a CAPTCHA to your login

You know that thing that asks you to write down the letters you see before logging in?

This helps to filter out the humans from the robots. Visit this page with advice on adding a CAPTCHA.

Backup your blog

In case of emergency always have a backup of your information. The great things is that Wordpress already has a plugin that does just that. Download the Backup Wordpress plugin here.

Well you’ve reached the end of this How to start a blog guide and now it’s time to keep up the great work you have already done. Please feel free to post a question, add tips and tell us what you think about blogging!