For years now, you’ve probably heard whisperings of people making hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars per year from blogging. Maybe you even looked up some articles in the past, but it all seemed so complicated you gave up and dove back into the more entertaining side of the internet.
However, with each passing year, it’s becoming more and more clear to you that remote working is the way of the future. And blogging offers the opportunity to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and work without a salary cap.
If this has been your line of thinking lately, you’re 100% on the money. However, it’s also true that setting up your blog will take a lot of work upfront, and there’s no set timeline for when you’ll start making a certain amount of money per month. But if you set your blog up well, there’s no reason you can’t join the multitude of people earning a living online.
The first step to starting a blog: finding your niche
Before you do anything else, you need to brainstorm possible niches for your blog. If you’re planning on making this your main source of income, then it needs to be something you’re going to be happy to focus on every day for the foreseeable future. Mine your hobbies and work experience for viable topics, and at this stage, don’t discount anything. You can make just as much money from blogs focussed on conspiracy theories or quilting as you can from ones centered around legal or financial advice.
Once you have a list of potential blog niches lined up, it’s time to get practical. Though all blogs have the potential for monetization, some niches are going to give you higher returns than others. To determine which of your ideas to go with, you need to consider three things:
- The budget and spending habits of your blog’s target market
- How big of a player you are in the industry
- The market demand for this niche
Working from your list, you need to consider your knowledge and experience and hit up your favorite search engine to do some research and find an option that ranks well with all three. You may find that fitness blogs are in high demand with an audience that’s willing to spend big, but if you have no professional qualifications and only a casual interest in the field, you’re unlikely to stand out against the competition.
Perhaps you’ve got years of experience building Magic: The Gathering decks, but there’s just not a big enough market demand for such a niche blog. However, your knowledge of coding is in high demand, you have plenty of industry contacts from your years working in IT, and the field is attracting a diverse audience of professionals who have money to spend.
Each of your chosen topics will have its own set of benefits and weaknesses, but there should be at least one on the list that satisfies all three of the above criteria. Identify it, and you’ve found your niche.
Step two: how to choose your blogging platform
While there are many free blogging platforms out there, they tend to be restrictive for those looking to monetize their blogs. In exchange for a free platform, you usually end up hosting ads for them instead of having the freedom to set up your site with your own advertising choices.
All things considered, your best bet is to skip right past the free platforms and go for self-hosting. This will get you your own domain name and complete control over what is and isn’t displayed on your website.
The best options to consider include:
Each of these offers a slightly different user experience, and what feels intuitive for one person may feel clunky and annoying to someone else. So, it’s best to take a look at each of these web hosting services and choose the one that feels most comfortable to you.
Once you’ve selected a web hosting platform and chosen the package that best suits your budget and needs, it’s time to choose your domain name. Keep it as clear and simple as possible – though you want it to be attention-grabbing, the most important thing is that it clearly communicates to potential readers what your blog is all about.
When naming your blog, be sure to check how the words look when they’re all squished together into a domain name. Without the spaces between words, you can end up sending a mixed message, and the results can sometimes be disastrous. Take it from the owners of whorepresents.com and gotahoe.com – you must double-check your domain name before purchasing it!
Where to next?
With the basics all set up, it’s time to get creative. Since the next steps are all quite expansive, we’ve broken them down into their own how-to guides. Click the links below to navigate to each one: