Blogging used to be something that teenagers did in their bedrooms. So how did it evolve into one of the best ways to make money from home through multiple income streams. And how can a successful blog also help you make money on YouTube, and fast-track your other social channels?
The answer is in the way we digest content, and the way that Google serves it to us. Previously, the biggest, most powerful sites owned the traffic. Google didn’t reward relevance as successfully as it does today. We also didn’t have multiple digital advertising platforms at our fingertips to promote our own content.
That was then. This is now.
Google has evolved so rapidly that it serves the very best content for every search query. That gives us all a chance to rank for high-value, high-revenue keywords, simply by answering the question and search intent better than anyone else.
Google even has a suite of free tools to help you improve your content and rankings.
Once you rank for any keyword, you have plenty of changes to make money from it through targeted advertising, affiliate links, consultancy and even selling your own individual products.
Today, I’m going to show you how you can make a blog in a day that has the potential to earn you at least $5000 a month.
Step 1. Ignore all the advice you’ve already heard
I’ve read a ton on the internet about choosing a niche that you love, writing about your passions, doing what inspires you etc.
I’m not saying this is all wrong, but most of it is.
Most people with this advice have had blogs running since the early 2000s, where links were far easier to obtain and the competition was far less fierce.
The good news is that there is still a roadmap to making an incredibly profitable blog today. But you need to go about it differently than you would have done 10+ years ago.
If you’re serious about making money through an online business you need to flip your perspective.
Stop worrying so much about what YOU want and what YOU think and start focusing on your readers. The first step to doing this is to pick a niche that has money making potential.
This means that you need to pick something preferably in a profitable sector, but at the very least it has to have decent enough search volume.
You can write 100 incredible 10,000 word guides about your subject. But if nobody is searching for it, you still won’t get any traffic.
It’s obviously a huge advantage if you love your subject so much that you can’t stop writing about it. But don’t forget, creating a successful blog isn’t just about writing.
It’s about SEO, outreach, strategy.
You might LOVE the business and outreach side of things even more than the writing. If you are to treat your blog as a business, you might even decide to get lots of help with the writing side to scale as soon as possible.
The most important thing initially is that there is a market. Because nothing will cause you to lose interest quicker than putting your heart and soul into something that gets no visitors and makes no money.
There are 3 questions you should ask:
1. Would I read and learn about this subject?
If your subject requires a depth of learning and understanding, that’s a really great start.
Your topic should be so intersting that you want to devour everything you can on the subject.
I personally find SEO enjoyable to read and learn about, because there is SO MUCH to know. It goes so deep, and is constantly changing due to shifts in Google’s algorithm.
This makes it a great subject for many people’s blogs because it’s super specific so belongs in its own niche, but the amount of content that can be written is almost endless.
Your subject might be in an entirely different niche, like interior design, or health and fitness. But the theory still applies.
Ask yourself of your blogging subject: ‘Would I read long, detailed guides about this?’
If the answer is yes, you’re off to a good start.
2. Have I got a unique perspective on this subject?
No subject is truly unique. And if it is, then the will be hardly anyone searching for it.
What is unique is the spin you can put on your subject.
Can you write on it with more humour than your competitors. Is you communication style more engaging. Can you make it more personal to your audience?
Most importantly, you need to be able to write consistently on your subject (which is where picking a subject with an infinite amount of content comes in).
3. Are others interested in my blog’s subject?
The good news here is that you’d have to pick a pretty specific niche for there to be a lack of search traffic.
But this is so important to starting your blog that it’s crucial that you check.
I did a Google search for ‘Drone software’
As you can see, there are plenty of results.
In fact, that’s so many that I would wonder if my subject could be even more specific.
Try different terms out. The key thing is to check that there is plenty of interest in your subject. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of sites that come up in the results. Around 95% of them are incredibly easy to outrank without much effort.
Once you have picked your niche, it’s time to get started.
Step 2: Name your blog and get web hosting
In this section you’ll need to do three things.
- Name your blog
- Buy a domain
- Start hosting
Steps 2 and 3 can often be with the same provider, but they don’t necessarily have to be.
1. Naming considerations for your blog
This is both a fun and simple step.
Your name is your brand, which you’ll be spending time and effort into building.
You will want something catchy, but memorable.
My blog name is my own name. My niche is to give people advice about how to make money online using my digital knowledge, so I added the word digital.
This also helps when it comes to SEO, because having a key term in your URL will make you more likely to rank for that term. Look at the image below.
This is a search query on Ahrefs, a keyword research tool. I have searched for the term social media, which is one of the most competitive keywords on the planet. These results are in the 28-33. I’ve highlighted the Domain Authority column which is a metric that goes from 1-100. You would expect such a generic word like social media to be dominated by sites in the 80s and 90s, which they are.
But you can also see that there is one anomaly, which has a domain authority of 60.
You’ll also see that this is the only site with social media in its original domain name, all the others have it in the slug of their URL.
This is because the name still does carry some weight on google rankings.
This is worth considering when you come to naming your blog.
2. Make a naming decision: personal brand vs business brand
You don’t want to spend too long making these kind of decisions, but it’s important to understand the distinction.
I’ve named my blog after myself because in my field I believe it builds trust and transparency.
It makes it easier to land consulting gigs, because it’s simpler for people to buy off a personal brand and name, knowing that I will be the one advising them. This is ideal for a small business.
However, there could be issues when it comes to scaling. In the SEO sector, Brian Dean has a site called Backlinko. It’s all his own brand and thoughts, but has a business name.
This might mean that he would find it easier to sell it, or even remove himself from his brand without losing too much.
It’s up to you.
3. Buy a domain name
You need to buy a domain name.
Hopefully your name will be original enough that it’s still up for grabs. If you can’t get the .com, you might want to consider a .co, .net, .org.
If it’s not free then you might need to tweak your name idea slightly.
Your domain won’t cost much. Usually around $15 a year.
You can buy it quickly and easily from some of the following domain name registers.
4. Get a web host
Hosting is different from buying a domain. However many companies allow you to do both at once, hence the confusion.
Web hosting enables your blog to be accessed from anywhere through the internet.
Your blog can’t be seen without hosting.
Your blog would have no address to be found without a domain name.
There is more to take into account when it comes to picking a web host.
Ideally you want a host that gives you fast page loading speed. You also want your host to have good tech support in case there are any issues, and you want it to be cost effective.
There are also different pricing plans you can get on. Some are a flat monthly or annual fee. Others increase in cost as your site visitors increase, which can help you scale easier.
Prices generally range from $3 – $500 per month.
As a beginner you can easily start with Bluehost who are a very popular option and extremely cost effective. Through my link you can start one today for as little as $3.
The Bluehost offer includes everything you need to get started.
As you can see from the screenshot above, Bluehost includes:
- A free domain for a year
- An SSL certificate which is site security
- 24/7 tech support
- 1-click WordPress installation
- Hassle-free hosting
Plus, I’ve negotiated a special deal for readers of this site which is even cheaper than the one in the screenshot above. To take advantage click here to get the DMD Bluehost plan.
Here’s a summary of tips
- Think about a keyword in your name for SEO purposes
- Make the decision about personal brand vs business brand
- Keep it simple with just words, not numbers
- Choose a domain platform
- OR just use this special Bluehost link and get hosting and your domain included
- If you’re a big company and want a dedicated server with maximum site speed and cost is less of an issue, use WP Engine.
Step 3. Install WordPress – the best blogging software
You’ll need blogging software to start your blog.
The best is WordPress. It’s the software that most websites are built on because there are so many plugins developed for it.
You don’t need to be a genius to install WordPress. With Bluehost you can do it with just one click. If you contact their support then they’ll do it for you.
Once you’ve installed WordPress and logged in to your WordPress account, you’ll have a Bluehost tab in the top left corner.
Then, it’s time to add a theme, which will tailor how your blog looks.
A theme is a set of rules that govern all the settings of your blog, including the fonts, headings, menus, layout and more.
Step 4. Choose a WordPress theme
WordPress designs are called themes.
Before you do anything, your default blog will look like this.
1. Choosing your WordPress theme
You can choose your theme from a number of sites.
The two recommend are Themeisle and Elegant Themes.
Themeisle looks like this:
Themeisle simple to navigate and you can find a whole range of excellent starter and established theme options.
You can opt for either a free or paid theme.
Themeisle also offer great tech support, just in case you run into any difficulties.
The other site I’ve used in the past is Elegant themes.
Elegant themes offer Divi, which is one of the most popular modular page builders out there.
It’s easily customisable and extremely flexible, so you can tailor your visual look and feel very quickly and easily.
Practically anything is possible with the Divi theme.
2. Installing your theme
Once you’ve chosen a theme, you need to install it.
First, you need to log into your WordPress admin by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
The WordPress dashboard looks like this.
Go down to Appearance and click on themes.
The Twenty Year themes are WordPress default.
From here you can either browse and select a free them, or, as we’ve already mentioned, you can install one you’ve purchased from Themeisle, Elegant Themes or another provider.
3. Customizing your WordPress Theme
To customize and optimize your WordPress theme, use the menu on the left and go to
Appearance > customize
It will look like this.
Once you’ve clicked ‘Customize’ you’ll be able to edit all of the areas of your website.
There is an almost endless amount of customization you can do from here, but the main elements are the site identity, the menus and the theme options.
It’s important to edit your theme options as it allows you to customize your posts settings.
You’ll be producing a lot of content, so it’s important you’re happy with how your posts and the default information they include.
Step 5: Add your WordPress plugins
Your WordPress plugins are pieces of software that add extra functionality to your site.
One of the best reasons for starting your blog on WordPress is that there are hundreds of thousands of useful plugins that are built by third-party developers.
You can find a WordPress plugin for practically anything.
Let’s think of some of the areas you might like to install a plugin for:
- Increasing your site speed
- Allowing people to easily share your content on social
- Your search engine optimization
- Making your images smaller
- Automatically adding a table of contents to each page
- Making backups of your site
Great news, there are free plugins for all of this and many more.
To install a plugin, go to the side menu and click plugins. You’ll find it just below appearance.
Go to Add New and you can search for the types of plugin you want to add.
The plugins that I highly recommend are:
- Autoptimize – which helps you speed up you page by adjusting the loading of elements
- Yoast SEO – which guides you through the steps to make your posts search engine friendly
- Easy table of contents – which creates a table of contents automatically out of the H2 tags
- Mashshare Share Buttons – for easy social media sharing
- UpdraftPlus – for backups and restoring incase something goes wrong!
All of the above plugins are free. You can upgrade some of them for more features.
Step 6: Planning your content
Back in the day, planning your content used to be as simple as opening the blog editor and starting to write.
However, I need to be really firm on this point.
Today you need a keyword planner if you have any real aspirations of getting decent traffic onto your blog, and making money fast.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t write about what you love.
It just means that you need to be very strategic about how you frame your content. The best way is to know which keywords have a high search volume in your niche and targeting the ones that have good volume, and also aren’t listed as too hard to rank for.
There are several tools and websites to help you rank higher, including Google’s free tools.
However, I highly recommend a dedicated keyword planner as the functionality, insight is so much better. It will save you infinite amounts of time, and really could be the difference between success and failure.
1. Use a keyword tool to help plan your content.
For the Keyword planner, I highly recommend Ahrefs.
- They have the biggest, most detailed internet crawler after Google.
- Ahrefs allows you to research keywords and conduct a site audit
- You can also use it to find broken links and gain insights about your competition.
Without the keyword insight you really are stumbling around in the dark.
The two main pieces of information you can gain from Ahrefs are:
- The search volume (to help you decide on keywords to use)
- A difficulty metric (which will help you see if you have any chance of ranking for specific keywords).
Before we go deeper into this areas I need to make one thing clear.
Each blog post should target ONE keyword. Your entire aim with each post will be to rank as high as possible for a keyword. As a happy accident, you may rank for tens or even hundreds of smaller keywords, but you’ll be basing your SEO efforts for each piece around the single keyword you select.
2. Start your keyword research
Here’s how to use your keyword planner.
Create an account with Ahrefs.
If you don’t want to pay right away then that is not a problem. You can select a 7 day trial for just $7.
This is more than enough time to decide whether to continue with the plan.
Once you have logged in, go to the Keyword explorer and enter your search term.
As an example, I’ve used ‘drones’.
The below screenshot is from my Ahrefs search for drones.
My hunch says that this is in the technology space and is a fast-growing market.
However, it’s always best to check the keyword traffic.
It lists that there are 65,000 searches for drones on Google each month. This is more than enough.
*Yeah! Concept proved. There is a market for Drones!*
However, they keyword planner also tells us that this is an extremely competitive market.
If I scroll down in my keyword planner, it shows me the websites that dominate the top 10 of the rankings.
I’ve highlighted the column that is most crucial.
The DR column means Domain Ranking (also known as Domain Authority).
It goes from 1-100 and is based on the strength of your site’s link profile.
If you have lots and lots of high-authority sites linking to you then your number will be higher.
Here’s what Domain Authority means, as described by Moz.
Google tends to favour high Domain Authority sites as it offers social proof around that website’s content. I.e If a site has lots of inbound links, Google assumes the content is likely to be better than a site with zero inbound links.
This is why it’s crucial that to start a money-making blog, you focus on building your Domain Ranking.
For this particular search term, you can see the rankings of the sites in the top 10 are all in the 80s and 90s.
This means that as a new blog, you’re unlikely to be able to appear near the tip of the search queries for a term like ‘Drones’.
However, if you are more specific with your keyword term, you have a much better chance.
On the same interface, the Ahrefs dashboard will show you related terms. And give you search volume for these terms too.
The most specific of these seems to be ‘How to stop drones from flying over your house’.
Now, the search volume is only 400 (in the US) so it isn’t huge.
However, if you click on that term you can see the sites who rank for it.
As you’d expect, most of the sites are still in the 80s. However, I have circled two examples of sites that are in their early 30s.
*There is hope!!*
Building your own site into the 30s in a relatively short amount of time isn’t out of the question.
But, you could potentially outrank these sites just by producing an incredible piece of content. Click on your competitors and check out the page they are ranking for.
Then do the following:
- Make your page better!
- Include more images and videos
- Make your paragraphs punchier
- Use alt text on your images
- Optimize around your keyword
- Use helpful examples
- Include lots of inbound and outbound links
- Write in more depth
You get the picture.
While Domain Ranking is a factor, is is just one factor. If you have a far better piece of content than your competition then you can hope to outrank their page eventually.
Unfortunately in this example, the term we are trying to rank for only has 400 searches a month.
This is why a keyword tool is so valuable. You need to research BOTH keyword volume and keyword difficulty.
Using your keyword planner, you can do plenty of trial and error.
As a beginner, your aim is to find keywords related to your niche with a monthly search volume of around 2,000-8,000.
Ideally, your competition will have a DR of <30.
Your aim is to find a keyword volume of around 5,000, with your competition’s DR between 10-20.
These are the keywords you should target.
3. Install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin
Next, it’s time to take your keyword research and apply it to your blog.
This may seem overwhelming, but this is actually the easy part.
WordPress makes it incredibly easy to optimize the technical SEO part of your blog.
And, what better way is there than through relatable and informative conversation?
First, make sure you have Yoast SEO plugin installed, which I mentioned earlier in this piece.
If you search for Yoast SEO in the plugins search bar you’ll see the result instantly.
It has 5-star review based on over 27k reviews, and 5+ million downloads!
You can upgrade with Yoast Premium in time, but as a beginner the free version is fine.
Install and activate Yoast SEO.
The default settings will be set to ‘on’. Go to the features tab and ensure that all the settings are ‘on.
Yoast does so much for your SEO, including analysis, readability and even your XML sitemaps, which tell google how to crawl your content so you get faster indexing.
If you want to see your sitemap, scroll down to XML sitemaps and click in the question mark icon.
However, the main benefit of Yoast SEO is the SEO analysis.
4. Optimize your blog’s keywords and other SEO practices
Once you have Yoast up and running, it will give you a series of steps to fulfil at the bottom of each blog post.
These include adding a focus keyword, ensuring that the keyword appears in your title, and writing a meta description.
Here’s an example from one of my posts.
As you can see, my keyword appears in the title, and in my URL, which is important.
I have also included most of my keyword in the meta description.
When you click ‘edit snippet’ the plugin will make sure you write the correct number of words.
Next is to scroll down and look at the SEO analysis for your article. Remember, my keyword is: ‘How to optimize for voice search’.
This visual shows an article I have already optimized. Before I had taken all the steps, the green dots were either red or orange.
Many of the steps are minor, like getting your title the right length, or using your keyphrase in the introduction, but they all help. Make sure you fill in alt tags for your images, and you’re writing in substantial detail on a subject.
Again, producing an incredible piece of content will take care of a lot of these steps for you.
Step 6. Structure your content
So far, you’ve already picked your niche and decided on your keywords. Now it’s time to structure your article in a way that’s interesting for your audience.
We’ve talked about technical SEO, but this is far more important because even if you get every other step right, if your content isn’t up to standard then you’ll struggle to make an impact.
1. Pick a purpose for your article
Using this website as an example, I generally break my articles down into three sections:
- Why articles explore a subject in detail. i.e. ‘Why Artificial Intelligence will changing the world or work.’
- How articles teach a reader how to do something. For example, ‘How to optimize for voice search‘.
- Best articles are generally product reviews or tech reviews. For example, ‘Best social media management tools‘.
Once you’ve figured out the purpose of your piece, it’s time to work on the flow.
2. Plan your beginning, middle and end
Here’s an example flow for a blog with the title: Why Voice Search is the Future.
What’s clear from this flow is the beginning, middle, and end.
- The beginning outlines what voice search is.
- The middle matches the reader intent ‘Why voice search is the future’
- And the end summarises your article.
3. Make sure you match reader intent
To rank high in Google, your article will need to match the searcher’s intent.
The closer you match this, the more likely your visitor is to stay on your article.
This is called the bounce rate.
If more people stay on your article once they’ve clicked it, then your bounce rate will be lower.
If your bounce rate is lower then Google assumes that your content is a good match for the keyphrase you’re ranking for. This means that you’re likely to move higher in the rankings.
If your bounce rate is really high, Google is likely to punish you in the rankings because it’ll assume your content isn’t very good.
What is a good bounce rate?
The way that you achieve a low bounce rate is to match user intent.
If the article headline was:
- 27 ways to SEO your website
But the article was about pet food, you would not be matching the intent of your users.
Therefore people would immediately leave your blog and you’d drop down the rankings.
If, however, your article was a detailed guide how to SEO your website, you’d be closely matching the user intent, so you’d be more likely to have a low bounce rate.
This will send you up the rankings.
One way to match user intent is to put yourself in the shoes of the person searching.
If, for example, your article is about the best podcast software, then you would want to get straight to the point.
Your reader would be unlikely to want a lengthy introduction like ‘What is a podcast?‘, because anyone searching for this query would likely already know.
Key tip: ask yourself what your reader wants to quickly discover when they click your article. Then deliver that for them.
Step 7: Start writing your content
WordPress uses editor, similar to word or google docs.
Click on Posts in your sidebar menu.
To start a new post, click Add New
When writing your content, it’s crucial to remember that you need to produce amazing quality.
That’s the only way to rank high on Google, get more backlinks and shares for your content.
What do we mean by high quality?
High quality content matches the user intent perfectly.
Another great way to support your ideas is through data. You can reference studies from reputable sources, or even create your own survey with supporting infographics.
In 2020, Google is looking for the best quality and has no shortage of articles to choose from, so you need to make yours special.
Beware of quantity over quality
Knowing that Google rewards in-depth, extensive articles, plenty of site owners are turning to word-spinning tools to help drive traffic by copying other people’s material.
Not only is this unethical, but it can also get you banned and delisted by Google.
If you do need help with your language, or are writing in a second language, then there are tools that can provide some assistance. Paraphrasing tools should only be used in the same way as a thesaurus, to help you with ideas for words, or phrases. Or to help you identify semantically similar words.
The real key is to focus on producing high-quality, original content.
Step 8. Start monetizing your blog
There are five main ways to start monetizing a blog. Some are much quicker than others.
Here are those five ways:
- As a consultant
- Through affiliate marketing
- Sell your own digital product
- Create a subscription model
- Add advertising, such as Google Adsense.
Let’s start with the fastest.
1. What is the fastest way to make money with a blog?
The fastest way to monetize a new blog is through consultancy.
That’s because you technically only need a handful of visitors to monetize a consultancy blog.
For example, if you had a blog about nutrition advice and you wrote an incredible in-depth, niche article about the best nutrition to recover from an injury, then if the right person stumbled across it early on and your skillset matched their need, then you could start making money straight away as a consultant.
Most new blogs get next to no traffic before Google has properly crawled and ranked their articles.
However, there are much more instant ways to get traffic, like Google Adwords, or guest blogging and linking back to your article from a piece on a more established website.
So it stands to reason that the fastest way to make money from your blog is from consultancy.
You could technically make money as a consultant from the first visitor on your site.
To start off with the consultancy route, you need to make sure that you maximize every possible chance to convert any visitors you do get.
I recommend a digital tool called Leadpages for this.
It allows you to install popups at the right time, including when your visitor is about to leave.
This pop-up should make your consultancy point clear, or drive people to subscribe to your piece.
Here’s an example of an exit intent pop-up from renowned marketer, Neil Patel.
As the cursor moves to the top right of the screen to exit the site, a more tempting hook pops up to drive another action.
Your offering should be clear and your contact information should be easy to find.
Try placing key information on the side bar, as well as at the bottom of each post.