February 1, 2016

How To Start A Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide – Part 5

Step 15: Create A Monetization Strategy

There are a few different things you can do to make money from your blog. Because you are just starting out, the following two monetization strategies are most important.

1. Email Marketing

The biggest thing you need to start doing now is to create an email list. An email list is a collection of emails from people who are interested in your blog and want to hear more from you. If you’ve ever signed up to hear more about someone’s blog, then you are on their email list. It is the best way to stay connected with readers and build trust, which will help you with whatever goals you have in the future.

For instance, if you are blogging to make money, then having people who have talked to you and trust you will help you convert them into sales. People don’t trust some random person on the Internet, but they will trust someone who they feel they know, and that’s where email marketing comes in.

Also, if you don’t capture reader’s emails, then you may never see them again. They may stop on your site, have some interest, click off, and forget about you as they go about their busy lives. With emails, you can remind them that you are around and regain their interest time and time again.

Because you are learning how to start a blog, and probably don’t have a ton of subscribers, this won’t cost anything for right now. You can sign up to MailChimp.com and use the service for free until you hit 2,000 subscribers! And, you can send out 12,000 emails a month for free! It is extremely user-friendly to create a list for your blog, build a subscription box, and collect emails. (Note: You may want to download a plugin that creates pretty opt-in boxes, such as ‘Optin Forms’.)

The main rules of sending out emails to a list include:

– Offer value that you don’t offer on your blog, such as free reports on a subject of interest.
– Don’t send out too often or people will get annoyed. The general rule is 1 to 2 emails a week.
– Put blog updates in your email with a link to the new post so that people can come take a look on your blog.
– Make it more about content than making money. The goal is to build trust that will help you earn money with a few emails.

2. Reviews

In step 14 we talked about having reviews as part of your content strategy. Well, here’s another good reason to have them. They can earn you money for a long time to come!

Here’s a little secret. The people with the biggest email lists can often make the biggest money. When a launch comes out for a product, and they have the potential to earn huge commissions as an affiliate for the product, all they have to do is email their list about the product and watch the sales roll in. However, not everyone on their list automatically goes and buys the product. Some people want to learn more about it, so they look for reviews online. If you have a good review about the product, they may be convinced to buy it and click through your affiliate link instead of the person who sent them the email, which means you get credited for the sale.

I know this firsthand because I have reviews on some big products that earn incredible amounts of money when the product has an affiliate contest, not just from my list, but from my reviews as well.

The trick – as I said with the content strategy, is to get an actual copy of the product and then give a real review. If you like it, great! Point out the great things about it. It will promote trust from your readers, even if they just came to your site for the first time. Most people have a built-in spam detector and can see that your review is not spam. If you don’t like it, great! You can warn people how unhelpful the product is, gain their trust, and get them to come back to you for another review on a product that doesn’t suck.

Once your blog builds up some steam, you can use other monetization strategies, such as:

– Ads for products you are an affiliate for, including Amazon.
– Google AdSense, which earns you some money every time someone clicks on the ad.
– Selling merchandise.

But, for now, focus on collecting emails and writing some killer reviews on products that will still be relevant years from now. The effort will pay off big time!

Step 16: Focus On Traffic Generation

You want people to read your blog, right? Then you need traffic! Unfortunately, even though it seems like there are millions of people on the Internet (and there are), you won’t get traffic to your blog unless you put yourself out there.

Thanks to the content creation strategy you built in step 14, you are going to be creating content that resonates with potential readers, which will help you pull in interest to your blogs through various avenues. And, eventually, it will get picked up in the search engines and you will get some easy traffic from people looking for what you are writing about. But, there are other things you can do.

1. Social Media

You should get on social media if you want traffic. That’s where people hang out and learn about new articles and ideas that they want to check out. If you are aren’t there, then how can they find you?

Do not spread yourself too thin, though. It’s better to get on a social site where people you will resonate will be. For instance, if you are starting a food blog, then Pinterest is your go-to site. Or, if you are starting a blog that is ranting, then Facebook may work better for you. Twitter is pretty safe for all bloggers to get on.

Pick a platform, sign up, put your new blog’s address into your profile along with your information, and start building relationships. Just like email marketing, you need to build relationships with the people who follow you in order to build trust. Then, when you share an article of yours, people will be more willing to click through and read it and share it for more traffic to your site.

You can also use a service to get shares, such as http://viralcontentbuzz.com. It is a place where you can work with other bloggers to share each other’s content, and with more shares, you can get more traffic.

2. Interact With Comments

If you have comments on your blog, then that is a cheap and easy way to build traffic. Other bloggers want to leave comments with a link back to their site so that you know who they are. It helps you build relationships with other bloggers. And, readers will enjoy being able to interact with you on a post and come back to your blog when you reply to them through the comment section.

Interacting in the comment section on other people’s blogs will help you make your presence and get interested people to click back to you and read your blog. Make sure you read the post before you comment so that you can leave a thoughtful and interesting comment that earns you some clicks back to your site.

3. Write Guest Posts

Lastly, write some guest posts on other people’s blogs, especially popular blogs in your niche. You will be able to link back to your blog either in your profile or in a bio at the end of the article, and that will help you get traffic back to your blog. You must write something of value, though. Don’t think about it as a way to get traffic. Think about it as a way to earn people’s respect and curiosity and become an authority figure in your niche.

Step 17: Structure Your Posts For The Best Results

This step-by-step guide on how to start a blog should have you set up and ready to go! So, you should be ready to start writing your first post and putting forward the strategies you’ve learned to build your blog up and have success. But, before you write your first blog post, there are a few things you need to think about.

1. The Length Of Post Matters

I once had a friend (non-blogger) complain that recipe posts are too long. “Why can’t they just give me the recipe? Why do they have to blab on and on and on?” The answer is simple. If they just put the recipe in, then they wouldn’t get much love from the search engines, and they wouldn’t be building a relationship with their readers. Short posts don’t offer much in value, and longer posts always do better at getting ranked in the search engines as well as shared by readers.

According to Quick Sprout, content that exceeds 2,000 words does the best on every level. They get ranked higher in the search engines, probably because they have more room for keywords and make it clearer what the post is about. They get more backlinks, which simply means that people link to your post through their blogs, forum topics, comments sections, and anywhere else they feel fit to talk about your post. Backlinks are good for telling the search engines that your posts are worth linking too, which means they must be good! Lastly, they get more shares. According to Quick Sprout, articles that are 1500+ words get shared the most on Twitter and LinkedIn, while Facebook gets the most shares on posts that are 1000-1499 words, with 1500+ coming in a close second.

2. Use Keywords

A long time ago, you could shove a bunch of keywords into your article and win at the search engine game. Now, the search engines are smarter and they are looking for more natural content. But, you still need to tell them what your article is about so they can rank it appropriately, which is why keywords are important.

Therefore, if you are writing a blog post about vegan cooking, make sure you use the keyword ‘vegan cooking’ in your post a few times. Your Yoast SEO plugin will help you to make sure you put it in enough times, and not too much, so make sure you check out what is says at the bottom of your post in your plugin app before you publish it.

Also, use related keywords to your main keyword. These are called LSI keywords, which stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. They are closely related to your main keyword and may be used by people in the search engine to find exactly what you are talking about.

For example, ‘vegan recipes’ is a LSI keyword to ‘vegan cooking’ because the reader will probably be interested in both topics despite which keyword they type in. And, if you are talking about apples on your blog, you want to make it clear that you are talking about fruit, not the brand ‘Apple’. Therefore, adding in keywords such as fruit, vegan, or recipe will help make it clear what your article is about.

Natural writing will help you put in LSI keywords without thinking about. Pretend like you are talking to a friend and giving them information about the topic, and you will naturally use related keywords.

3. Post Title

Your post title is what draws readers in. If it is too boring, then people won’t read past it. So, you have to make it count. Some things to remember while creating your title include:

– The keyword should be in it to give a clear idea of what the article is about.

– It shouldn’t be longer than 60 characters for search engines because that’s all that search engines show! (You can put a longer one on the article for your readers and a shorter one that is 60 characters or less in the Yoast SEO plugin for the search engine.)

– Numbers work great to get people interested. (Top 10, 15 Reasons, 20 Tips, etc.)

– Use powerful words that strike emotion if you can, such as ‘hate’ or ‘awesome’ or ‘healthy’.

4. Add Fun And Interactive Elements Into Your Post

If you want to engage your readers, then add more than just text. Pictures, polls, videos, infographics, and quotes are all great ways to engage your readers and keep them scrolling down the article. And, they encourage sharing! People are willing to share pictures, quotes, and infographics more than just text.

You can also add related posts at the bottom of your post to promote more engagement with your articles. The ‘Related Posts’ plugin works well here if you don’t have a related post option on your theme.

5. Add Relevant Links

Don’t be scared of linking out of your blog. If you provide relevant links, then you are helping your readers to learn more, which helps build trust with you. Linking to sources that give expanded information on a point you make or linking to sources that back up the point you are making is a great way to help your reputation with readers and with the search engines.

Step 18: Track Your Blog’s Success

In step 12, we talked about adding the Google Analytics by Yoast plugin. By creating a Google Analytics account and plugging the code you get into that plugin, you can keep track of what is happening on your site. You can see where people are coming from, how old your audience is, how engaged they are, where your traffic is coming from, how your returning visitors are interacting with your site, and much more. It may feel overwhelming at first, but the more you use the tool, the more you will appreciate it.

This is a HUGE topic, so I’m not going to explain everything in this guide. You can find a complete beginners guide to help you get started with Google Analytics at https://moz.com/blog/absolute-beginners-guide-to-google-analytics. (Take note of how she sets up her post with pictures and relevant links!)

Step 19: Educate Yourself

While this is a guide on how to start your blog off on the best foot possible, there will be other things that you will need to learn and implement as you go along, such as affiliate marketing, product creation, outsourcing, and working with other bloggers. Make educating yourself about blogging a priority. The more you know, the more successful you will be.

You can follow popular blogging-focused blogs, such as hubspot.com, copyblogger.com, and problogger.com, and if you do, I guarantee that you will learn some new and helpful things from them to boost your blog with readers and search engines, and create more success for yourself as a blogger.

Step 20: Start Blogging!

Now, go out there and start blogging! You are starting off on a better foot than most bloggers start off on, and your chances of finding success, no matter what your goals are, is much higher. Remember, building a successful blog takes time and commitment, but the work you put into it will pay off in the end.

Missed out the first part of How to Start A Blog? View it below!

How To Start A Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide – Part 1

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