The easiest way to make money online is to start a niche blog. Some would argue that building out an affiliate site is better. Some swear by e-commerce and some think that you need to actual offer a product or service to churn out a living. But that’s simply not true.
The truth is that most individuals who make a living online do so via their blog. There are literally millions of bloggers out there who make anything from £1 per month to millions. The scale is endless and with the right mindset, a basic understanding of the fundamentals of blogging and by arming yourself with the knowledge to promote and monetize your blog – you too could join the masses.
Today we’re going to look at some of the key considerations that factor in to starting your own blog. Sure, you could blog for the fun of it and pretty much disregard the majority of this list. But for now I’m going to assume you’d rather profit from your efforts :)
So let’s take a look.
Finding a Niche
If you’ve made the decision to start a blog then I’m going to assume you have at least some idea as to what the overall subject will be. In terms of making money, at this stage you need to ask yourself, is there anyone offering products and services in this niche? If there isn’t and making money online is your sole intention then I’d suggest you have a rethink. You typically cannot make money from a blog if nobody is looking to advertise products or services in the niche. That’s just a fundamental rule.
Typical niches include finance as you have companies offering loans and mortgages or travel as you’ve got flights, hotels, holidays and so on. Alternatively you could go with technology as companies are always looking to sell the latest gadget. You get the picture. Any niche that has lots of interest, lots of people selling products in it and that you have at least some interest in would be ideal. There is nothing worse than trying to write informative blog posts on subjects you know absolutely nothing about and have no real interest in.
Secondly, it has to be a niche with traffic. Traffic/visitors are an absolute necessity if you want to make money. You might think you’ve stumbled across a true niche with not many existing bloggers putting up competition but great products and services for sale. That would normally be great but people have to be actually looking for those products and services in the first place. So you need a balance.
Find a niche product/service/subject that has lots of people searching for it. Lots of people selling it but not many people blogging about it should be considered the holy grail of niche identification.
Branding, Domain Names and Web Hosting
You typically have two choices when it comes to choosing a name, brand and domain name for your blog. You can go with something completely made up or you can choose something that clearly identifies the niche the blog lies in.
Highly relevant, topical domain names often work best for niche blog as it shows the reader immediately what your blogs subject is. This can lead to an increase click through rate from pages appearing in Google’s results and can also pass relevancy metrics in terms of SEO.
All you then need to do is decide which domain extension to use. Typically, if you’re appealing to a global audience you should always go with a .com. Whilst there are lots of new top level domain extensions on the market, they don’t have the trust associated with them (yet) in comparison to .com. Alternatively if your blog is solely appealing to a specific geographic location such as the UK then you could opt for a .co.uk domain name.
Don’t be forced into using a “lesser” extension solely because the .com version of the name you desire is taken. In my opinion it’s best to choose an alternative name that is available in .com. Even if you have to add words to it such as “blog”. You may also want to check if the related social handles are available to match. You can see what domains are available via our very own domain name offerings here.
When it comes to the hosting of your domain name, you need look no further than our offerings here at HostPresto. All of our packages come with a one click install of the ever-popular blogging platform Wordpress which means you can be up and running within a matter of minutes – at the click of a button.
Design / Themes
The look and feel of your blog is going to play a big part in the level of success it enjoys. Poor looking blogs from a visual standpoint, regardless of content quality tend not to fair well. You should make sure that in order to give your blog the best chance of success that you’re using a premium Wordpress theme. I put together a list of options a few days ago which you can find here.
You will find that some themes work better than others depending on your niche. Finance blogs for example tend to have a more professional approach, lots of whitespace and so on where as a travel blog would require lots of elements containing stock photography and such.
With that said, all of the top premium themes on the market are highly customisable and have lots of page layouts to choose from. So regardless which one you choose or which niche you’re operating in, with a bit of time and effort you’ll be able to put together something visually appealing.
You’ve probably heard the saying that “content is king” and in the blogosphere this couldn’t be more true. It’s your content that is going to drive traffic, grow your readership and ultimately make you the money. It should be your primary concern.
Whilst it may be tempting to just dive right in and write about whatever is on your mind (within the niche), you need to be a bit more sensible. You need to write about things that you envisage people will want to read/find useful and you also need to write on subjects that have the potential to yield the sort of traffic that can generate revenue.
Again taking a finance blog for an example. If you were putting together a post on loan types, definitions and such and that page started ranking for loan related phrases. There is a high chance that a percentage of your visitors would click through to one of your advertisers and make use of the product or service offered. If however, you’re talking about how much you spent on your weekly shopping at Tesco - your traffic and subsequent monetization options are going to be limited.
Now I am in no way saying you have to write content solely to generate traffic. Of course not. That would put off your readers massively. I’m just saying that if you can find a balance between creating a post that people want to read and also one that has the ability to generate “money making” traffic then you’re onto a winner.
Growing Your Readership
Growing your readership is one of the biggest challenges you will face as a new niche blogger. It’s a tough task, but perfectly doable if you know where to start.
Below we’re going to run through a few options available to new bloggers with absolutely zero cost associated :-
They say the best content promotes itself and this is certainly true to some extent. If your content is good enough and you take note of the points made above, it will get found, it will get read and providing it’s engaging it will get shared to others. I can’t stress enough that your content is of paramount importance and is truly the key to your success.
Any blogger should have a presence for his/her blog on all of the social networks. I’m talking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – the whole lot. Posting links to your new content with the relevant hashtags will yield instant traffic. For example, if you’re writing a post such as this about starting a niche blog online in order to make money, putting it out on social media with the hashtag #MakeMoney or #MakeMoneyOnline is most definitely going to yield traffic.
Contacting other bloggers as covered here is another sure fire way to get eyes on your blog. Blogs need content, frequently and like-minded bloggers are always on the look out for guest posts by genuine niche authors to place on their own blogs. In return, you’d get a mention and/or link back to your own blog. And what better way to get your own blog off the ground by promoting it on blog in the same niche.
Once you have your blog up and running and are getting a significant amount of traffic, you’re going to want to look at how to actually make money from it. Whilst there are lots of options on the table if you have highly relevant niche traffic, we’re going to look at the main three.
Banner / Contextual Ads
This is the traditional go to method for monetization of a blog. Networks such as Google AdSense and Media.net provide you with cut and paste blocks of ad code which you can paste into various parts of your website. These networks typically pay for each click the given advert receives – regardless if the user goes on to actually buy the product or service being advertised.
Clicks are typically low value and you’ll require significant volume in order to generate a significant income but when used in conjuction with other advertising methods they can work wonders. You’ll typically be paid a total amount for all your generated clicks within a given period – usually monthly.
Selling posts advertising other peoples products and services on your blog can also be a great income spinner. Especially if you’re in charge of writing the content and can turn it into a traffic generator in its own right.
The money you can earn from this approach will solely depend on your traffic and the quality of your blog. You should do some research in your own sector by contacting competitors to see what the going rate is for this type of service.
One of the most popular methods for generating a living with a niche blog is affiliate marketing. Unlike the likes of AdSense where you’re paid for each click regardless, with affiliate marketing you’re only paid if your visitor results in a sale.
This might sound odd as who would give up being paid for every click in return for just being paid when someone buys something but it’s all about the revenue. Whilst you may earn around 5p per click via AdSense, you would typically earn 10-15% of a product sale price via affiliate marketing. As to what would work best for you, well, that would depend on your traffic.
If you’re running a technology blog and you posted a review of the latest Macbook Pro for example. Earning 10% of a £2,000 laptop sale is good money. If you had AdSense on the same page you may only earn a few pounds at best. Likewise if you were aware that the traffic a given page was receiving would not result in a sale of any kind, randomly advertising products and services on a pay per click basis may well work in your favour. It all depends on your content and the resulting traffic.
Maintaining Your Blog
In truth, once you’re up and running you don’t need to do a great deal other than post content. As said above, if your content is good enough most of the marketing side will take care of itself. You just need to make sure you’re posting content, as per the guidelines above and regularly.
Alternatively you could also accept guest posts yourself from other bloggers who are not directly competing with you. This is a great way to keep your blog fresh, your readers interested and form important relationships with like-minded individuals.
There are also lots of plugins on the market for the likes of Wordpress which allow you to automatically post to the social networks each time you add a new post. You just need to set your relevant hashtags. There are even plugins out there which will send posts to your socials at random over certain periods so you can make sure you’re always active across the networks.
Making your blog a success, particularly if you’re inexperienced in doing so requires a lot of perseverance. Nobody became a success overnight. Growing a readership and building out your blog in its own right takes a lot of time and effort. You just need to have faith that it will come good in the end and your efforts will be rewarded.
Getting started, like with any project, is the hardest part. Once you’re up and running, as outlined above, maintaining your blog on going is not such a mammoth task. But it does need to be maintained. Don’t be tempted to throw the towel in after writing post after post for a month and seeing no traffic/growth earnings. Things take time to happen but they do happen providing your content and overall blog is of a good enough standard. Following the steps above will help to ensure this does indeed happen.