Tips for Writing Great Blog Posts

Do you blog? Feel like you’re trying to reinvent the wheel time and again?

Looking for some ideas to simplify your content creation process?

What follows are  tips, from A-Z, to help you create optimal blog posts every time you sit down to write.

1: Anatomically Correct

A blog post contains several areas that require our attention and care. There are six parts of the anatomy of a lead-generating blog post:

  • Eye-catching title
  • In-text links to landing pages
  • Sidebar/banner calls to action
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Call to action at the bottom
  • Relevancy—making sure the post is relevant from top to bottom

2: Blogging Platform

By knowing the ins and outs of your blogging platform, you’ll ensure that your posts look as good as they can. Take the time to master the visual editor (or raw HTML, if you prefer) so that you know how to format a post, insert an image and embed a video or podcast.

Whether you’re working in platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr or Posterous, it’s good to stay up to date on the features and new versions.

If you’re not comfortable with the more technical aspects of blogging, try to find someone who can be a resource for you to answer questions as they arise..

3: Categories

Whether your new blog post is a stand-alone article or part of a series you’re writing, it should fit into your blog categories as well as your overall corporate content strategy. Meaning that you want to stay on topic and have your posts fit into the categories you’ve established.

For example, HubSpot has nine categories on their blog. Posts are written to fit in with each of these categories. Writing about category topics such as analytics, blogging, email marketing, HubSpot TV, etc., allows both readers and writers to stay focused on what they can expect to see on HubSpot’s blog.

When you choose your categories, ask yourself, do they make sense, and do they fit into the objectives of my business? Having clearly defined blog categories will help you continue generating meaningful content and topics for your blog.

4: Description

Most search engines will use a maximum of 160 characters for your post description on their results pages. If you don’t create a meta-description (defined as a “…concise summary of your page’s content”), a search engine will often take the first 160 characters it finds on your page instead.

Note too, that when you create a meta-description that is fewer than 160 characters, you’ll see the full description in the search engine. Otherwise it will be cut off.

An example of a meta-description created within the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin in WordPress.

5: Editorial Calendar

Bloggers find editorial calendars helpful for scheduling and organizing topics for posts. Some people use their calendars to track more elaborate details.

Using specific tabs in a spreadsheet to track info for each post such as: post date, author, tentative title, keywords, categories, tags, call to action and status. She says “By tracking more than topic and date it will help to make sure the key elements you need for SEO, digital optimization and conversion are accounted for.”

6: Fine-Tune and Revise

Like other forms of writing, a blog post is rarely completed in one draft. Many writers find it helpful to take a post through several revisions and fine-tune the post as you go along. Check grammar, spelling and punctuation, and make certain that all of your links are working.

7: Guidelines for Writing for Search Engines

By following a few tips and best practices, you can increase the chance that your blog post will be found by search engines—by Google in particular.

The State University of New York at Plattsburgh offers these helpful writing tips:

  • Google likes text
  • Google likes formatting
  • Google likes freshness
  • Google likes accessibility
  • Google likes outbound hyperlinks
  • Googlebot isn’t psychic, so remember to link your pages
  • Google likes you to tell it where you are
  • Google likes experts

8: Headings

Joost de Valk offers some good suggestions regarding blog headings. He writes, “The heading structure of your pages is one of the very important aspects of on-page SEO. It defines which parts of your content are important, and how they’re interconnected. Because they have different goals, a single post needs another heading structure than your blog’s homepage or your category archives.”

He offers five basic principles about heading structure:

  • The most important heading on the page should be the H1
  • There is usually only one H1 on any page
  • Subheadings should be H2s, sub-subheadings should be H3s, etc.
  • Each heading should contain valuable keywords; if not, it’s a wasted heading
  • For longer pieces of content, a heading is what helps a reader skip to the parts that he/she finds interesting

9: Images

Blog posts are made up of more than words and headings.

Judy Dunn recommends five ways the right photo can increase readership and blog views:

  • Convey the overall feeling or emotion of your post
  • Illustrate a metaphor or analogy that is part of your main idea
  • Evoke surprise or curiosity
  • Complement your headline
  • Make your reader smile

Judy points out too that readers are visual learners and images can help people take in and retain information better.

10: Journalistic Approach

Bloggers can learn a lot from traditional journalists and the ways that they approach their news stories.

Mickie Kennedy offers five things that bloggers can learn from journalists:

  • Get your facts straight
  • Trust has to be earned
  • Give credit to your sources
  • The inverted pyramid works (basic overview in first paragraph and then delve into more details in subsequent paragraphs)

Editing and proofreading are essential

11: Killer SEO and Blog Design

Cyrus Shepard makes an important case for having a beautiful blog. He says, “…the overall design of your site is the first thing visitors see and it significantly influences bounce rate, page views and conversions.”

Cyrus suggests that certain elements on the page will add to a blog’s success:

  • Search box
  • RSS feed
  • Breadcrumbs (helping users navigate),
  • Flat site architecture by minimizing the number of clicks it takes to reach your content
  • Images
  • Keep your best content above the fold
  • Link to your best content
  • Don’t overdo links
  • Watch ad space
  • Encourage comments
  • Add sharing buttons
  • Test the blog for speed
  • Check your blog in different browsers
  • Pick a powerhouse blogging platform (e.g., WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr)

For a resource that will help remind you of these killer SEO suggestions, check out Cyrus’ infographic, Blog Design for Killer Search Engine Optimization.

12: Lists

Lists have become a very popular type of blog post.

Nate Riggs offers three types for bloggers to consider: brief, detailed and hybrid lists.

The brief list has little description but can entice readers to bookmark the post to use the list as a resource down the road or to share it across their own networks.

In a detailed list, each bullet is a complete thought and serves as a good way to communicate complex information.

The hybrid list combines the elements of short and detailed lists, often with descriptive narratives or explanations in paragraphs between the actual lists.

Nate’s post has a lot of useful information about lists as a powerful content marketing tactic and is a good example of a hybrid list.

13: Metrics for Blogging

Magdalena Georgieva identifies five metrics to keep an eye on to know how your blogging is going: visitors, leads, subscribers, inbound links and social media shares.

As Magdalena says, “Measure the performance of your business blog regularly toidentify weaknesses in the content you’re producing, what topics your audience truly cares about, and what blogging tactics work for you.”

When you find topics and approaches that work particularly well, try to replicate those efforts and be willing to let go of features that aren’t performing well. Magdalena recommends looking at your five most successful blog posts and asking, “What do they have in common?”

14: Names, Titles and Bio

Not only are readers interested in the content in your blog post, they also want to know who wrote the post and their role at your organization.

Sometimes you’ll come across a thoroughly researched and well-written post only to find an attribution of “admin.” Even if the blog is only written by you and you’re the administrator of the blog, be sure to include your name, title and a way for readers to contact you.

15: Original vs. Curated Content

The type of post you write can contain completely original content or can consist of content that you’ve curated.

Pamela Seiple addresses the issue of curated content and makes an important point when she says, “There’s a misconception among marketers that curated content is lazy and unoriginal, but we think it’s the complete opposite. It takes time and careful evaluation to create quality curated content and the result is oftentimes a very valuable piece of content that helps people seeking information on a given topic to cut through the clutter on the web and save time.”

16: Publish and Promote

Kristi Hines speaks about the publishing and promoting stages of creating a successful blog post. Kristi says that one thing you want to do during the publishing stage is to ensure that your post has some kind of call to action. “Think about what you want people to do once they’ve read the post….”

Promoting a blog post can involve a fair amount of thought and strategy, as you’ll see from Kristi’s approach. She has a different plan in place for “averagely awesome posts, awesome posts and killer awesome posts.”

What differs for the three types of posts is how many social networks she shares the posts with, whether she includes the post in her writing portfolio and whether it’s included in her custom RSS feed or utilizes blog commenting promotion and direct messaging partners in social media to see if they’ll help spread the word.

Kristi describes promotion as taking from a few minutes to a few hours, and recommends taking the time to build a good foundation before you expect to execute a successful blog promotion.

17: Questions

What are you going to write about post after post, week after week, year after year? Sometimes thinking about content for your blog can seem daunting.

Lee Odden offers a great piece of advice: “One particularly effective way to get content ideas for blogging comes from reviewing web analytics for the kinds of questions people type into search engines like Google or Bing that deliver visitors.”

In one example, Lee said that he noticed that numerous visitors each month were typing in the question “What does a community manger do?” and search engines were sending them to one of his posts about that topic. He used it as an opportunity toexplore other related questions about social community managers and providing content in the form of answers.

What questions are your web visitors asking before they arrive on your pages? How can you maximize your content to answer readers’ questions?

18: Research

Well-researched blog posts can differentiate your content from your competitors’. Being known as a go-to source in your industry will help make your blog stand out. Where do you go to research posts?

I find that utilizing a variety of sources helps me gather the information I’m seeking.

For example, while I can often find a lot of useful content via web-based searches, sometimes there’s nothing like a visit to the library or a bookstore where I often will discover a helpful book on the shelf that I wouldn’t have known existed if I hadn’t been standing there physically eyeballing them.

Oli Gardner makes a good case for using social media research for your blog posts. He suggests ten social media research strategies:

  • StumbleUpon
  • Infographics
  • Twitter real-time searches
  • Facebook events
  • Experts who are using LinkedIn
  • Uncovering quotes with Delicious
  • Letting users tell you within the comments section of your blog and others
  • Creating roundup mega-lists with Delicious and StumbleUpon
  • Apps on Facebook
  • Delicious and Google Marketplace
  • YouTube and the UrbanDictionary

19: Stand Out

When you’ve been blogging in a competitive marketplace for a while, chances are good that you’ll see other bloggers writing on topics similar to yours. It doesn’t mean that you have to stay away from the topic completely; rather you can use it as an opportunity to see what worked and didn’t work in their post and write yours in a way that will help you to stand out in the topic area.

By reading the comments on similar blog posts, you will get a great view of what questions and thoughts people had after reading the post and you can take a slightly different angle by making sure you cover those areas in your article.

20: Title

How important is the title of your blog post? Simply put, very important!

Brian Clark writes that the title is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader.

He says, “Without a headline or post title that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.

But a headline can do more than simply grab attention. A great headline can alsocommunicate a full message to its intended audience, and it absolutely must lure the reader into your body text.”

21: User-Centered Content

Possibly one of the worst mistakes a blog post can make is missing the mark of its readers, forgetting who they are and their needs and interests.

Georgy Cohen goes as far as to say that content can serve as customer service and that to be helpful, content should be user-focused (asking what our users’ problems and priorities are), communicated clearly and presented in succinct language.

22: Valuable Content

In the perfect blogging world, creating valuable content would be at the top of every blogger’s list for their post objectives.

While our definitions about valuable content may vary, Ahava Leibtag has created a very helpful step-by-step checklist that reminds us to ask five questions:

  • Can the user find the content
  • Can the user read the content
  • Can the user understand the content
  • Will the user want to take action
  • Will the user share the content

She suggests:

  • Findable content includes: an H1 tag; at least two H2 tags; metadata including title, descriptors and keywords; links to other related content; alt tags for images.
  • Readable content includes: an inverted-pyramid writing style, chunking, bullets, numbered lists, following the style guide.
  • Understandable content includes: an appropriate content type (text, video), indication that you considered the users’ persona, context, respect for the users’ reading level, articulating an old idea in a new way.
  • Actionable content includes: a call to action, a place to comment, an invitation to share, links to related content, a direct summary of what to do.
  • Shareable content includes: something to provoke an emotional response, a reason to share, a request to share, an easy way to share, personalization.

23: Word Count

How many words should you have in your blog post? Some blogs have set parameters for optimal length and put a value on whether a post is short or long.

Corey Eridon has an interesting perspective on word count and suggests that focusing on blog word count might not be as important as you think it is. “Some topics take 100 words to explain, some take 1,000, and that’s okay.”

Corey suggests that writers focus instead on whether posts are optimized for mobile, use effective formatting, communicate in a clear manner and that outlining the points you want to cover may ultimately be a better use of your time and energy.

If you’re restricted to shorter posts by the parameters set up in advance for your blog, then you could also follow Corey’s advice to link to longer-form content you’ve developed around the topic.

Bottom line: Don’t let the quantity of words dictate the quality of your post.

24: Excerpt

On the heels of our discussion about blog word count, a shorter blog post can also be an excerpt or summary of what readers will find in your longer-form content—e.g., eBook or white paper—but it needn’t be restricted to words.

You can also use an excerpt of the transcript or a brief description to demonstratewhat information the users will learn if they watch your video or listen to your podcast.

25: Your Story

Readers like to get to know how writers tick and often appreciate hearing a few personal details and insights from the person who has taken them on a journey through a post. While business blogs shouldn’t be thought of as personal journal entries, you can tell your readers a little bit about how you operate.

In the description of “research” above, I also shared how research is one of my favorite parts of blogging and how I enjoy researching both online and offline by doing the footwork of visiting libraries and bookstores in search of materials.

What parts of yourself are you willing and able to share with your readers?

26: Zone for Writing

Ideas for blog posts come at all times—when you’re driving in your car, sitting at your desk, and yes, even in the middle of the night!

Chances are good though that the actual writing of the post will happen in multiple drafts and revisions, and depending on how you work, it may take place over a period of days.

What can be helpful is to create a time and place where you can get into the zone for writing and allow yourself to go with it, with as few interruptions as possible.

What do you think? How do you keep your blog posts consistent and dynamic? What tips would you add? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.


How to Start a Blog – 15 Steps to Successful Blogging

Step 1: Understand Blogging and Determine your Purpose/Goals for it

Get to know more about blogging. What it’s about, pros and cons. And decide if it’s right for you. When you decide it is, determine your purpose or goal for it. Why do you want to start a blog? Do you simply want to use the blog as a means to connect and share ideas with friends and family? (Personal blog).

Or do you just want to express yourself on a topic or trends without any hope of making money from it?. Better still, do you want to do blogging for money? That is to provide information on a topic and then make money from the blog through advertisements, product recommendations and selling your own products. If that is the case, will it be your primary income source or just a means of extra income?.

Or do you want to blog because you want to use it as a marketing tool to promote an existing website, business (online/offline), product/services?.

It is important you make your purpose or goal very clear before taking the plunge, because it will affect every decision you make from this point onward about the site. Decisions like whether or not to host your own blog or use free service. What blog software to use and so on.

Helpful Articles

Blogging for Dummies and Beginners – What Blogging involves and Starting Successful Blog

Meaning of Blogging : Vary Definitions of a Blog

The Benefits of Blogging and it Advantages to You and Your Business

Blogging as a Career – Guide to Career Blogging

Blogging Dangers : Dangers and Disadvantages and How to Eliminate them

Are Blog Benefits More than Website Advantages?

Reasons for Blogging – Identify your Reasons and stay above Competitors

Free Blog Sites, Should you use them? The Pros and Cons

It’s a good thing at this stage to familiarize yourself with some common Blogging terms

Step 2: Brainstorm for a Topic

When you are sure of the purpose and goal for the blog you want to start, naturally that will give you some ideas on the topic you want to write on for it.

Helpful Article
Blogging Ideas : Some Ideas to help you Pick Profitable Topic

Step 3: Effective Keyword Research

If you want to make money blogging through free search traffic, then a very detailed keyword research is extremely important before settling for a site topic. In the article from the above step I suggested you list out 3 possible topics you’ll like to blog about. Each of the topics should be broad enough to form your overall theme for the site.

Comparing three topics helps you to find the best topic for your blog. Best being a topic you’re passionate about, with good amount of monthly searches, no extreme competition and best of all, a topic that can be monetized endlessly!.

This step of successful blogging is tedious, especially if you are using a free keyword research tool where some of the data you get are not completely accurate. But whatever it takes, make sure you get this step right as it is extremely essential to the overall success of your blog.

You don’t want to start your site and spend time writing and publishing content only to realize no one searches for information on it online, in which case all your effort become useless. Or start blog and in no time get stuck for topics to write about because the topic of your blog lacks depth.

Or realize later that you have targeted a topic that has extreme competition and impossible for you to win it at the search engines. Neither do you want to sweat to build a good amount of traffic to your site, only to realize your topic can not be monetized or is very poor with profitable monetization options.

Keyword research helps you get all the necessary data and make an informed decision. So whatever you do, don’t rush this step because it’s one of the steps that will determine whether you make pennies or thousands of dollars from blogging.

I would also advice you invest some money to buy a good keyword research tool instead of using a free one, any amount you invest here is always worth it at the end.

Helpful Articles
Effective Keyword Research – How to Do Basic Keyword Research, Step by Step Guide

Effective Keyword Research – Planning to Blog for Profit

Step 4: Choose Blogging Software

I have discussed the commonly used softwares in the article blog software review and also gave tips on the best one for you to use and why. I ran practical tutorials on the three most commonly used blog platforms. They are, blogger (also called Blogspot) and .

Read about both WordPress blogs and how to get the most of them in detail in the article WordPress Tutorial or read in detail about how to create a professional Blogspot blog in the article on Google Blogger

Step 5: Decide on and Buy a Domain name

Helpful Articles

How to Choose Domain Name – What is domain name, Ideas, Tips for choosing SEO domain name and how to Register Godaddy Domain name

Forwarding Domain Names – How to Forward Godaddy Domain name to a Different Web Address

Step 6: Choose Hosting Service for your Domain

What makes a good web host service and what should influence your choice? See the article Best Hosting – Factors for Determining Best Host and Web Hosting Service

Step 7: Install your WordPress blog

After buying a web hosting plan, how do you install your WordPress blog? The article How to Install WordPress on Hostgator, Godaddy Hosting Account and Using an FTP client

Step 8: Choose a Theme or Template

Do not go crazy about themes. A simple search engine friendly theme would do. Though the kind of theme you use will depend on what your site would be about. The rule is to let your primary focus on decisions relating to your blog be to please your readers and the search engines.

Having said this, it is good for branding to use a professional template, a site’s look and feel is very important. Not flashing of course, but if possible a unique template with good navigations.

Read Free Blogger Template : The Best Template for Easy Useful Hacks

Or For Professional Best WordPress Templates and Themes for WordPress think KISS

Step 9: Upload necessary Plug-ins

There are plug-ins that really make your blog appear and display better. Plug-ins help you to better present your content in a way that makes your readers and search engines happy. Helps you track your blog’s performance e.t.c.

Upload only the necessary plug-ins you need. Too many plug-ins can make your site load time become slow. And when your site takes time to load, you will lose not only readers but your search engine page rank could be affected. Note that you can only upload plug-ins if you use the self hosted WordPress.

See a detailed list of most important plug-ins you need for WordPress in the article Best WordPress plug-ins

Step 10: Write your About Page

One of the most viewed pages on a site is the ‘About page’. When visitors get to your site, most of them always want to first read your About me page to see who is behind the site and why they should listen to you. It’s a good place to build trust. Never write an About me page without adding a photo of you.

Tell the reader only what they need to hear. It’s not a place to start bragging, but do add relevant information that will present you as an expert in your field.

Step 11: Write content and more content

Have you heard the word “Content is KING”? That’s so true. Your focus on this step is to write 20 pages of valuable content. Some bloggers will tell you to publish a page and start promotion. But this is not the best way to go.

All the promotion effort you will be putting in when you have just a page of content is a waste of time. Reasons being that no directory or site will be willing to link to a site with just a one page content. The only way you can create a link back with a one page site is through article submission and forum marketing.

But this is also wasting your time because when readers eventually visit your site, they will leave if they don’t find much content to peruse. And some may never come back. So it’s almost a fruitless effort and you give a wrong first impression of your new blog.

If you can’t wait till you write 20 pages, start with at least 10. That way directory networks will likely accept your submission and when you generate traffic, there will be some pages for them to peruse when they visit your blog.

I didn’t start promotion and link building for this site until I had 30+ pages and when I did start I saw result immediately.

The article How to write a blog that Impresses Readers and Search Engines tells you all you need to know to create and publish professionally on your site.

Step 12: Build Backlinks

Link building (link from other sites to your site) is a very critical step to the success of your blog. The search engines treat a link to your site as a vote for it. So naturally the more links you build, the more your site appeals to the search engines. And the more it appeals to them, the higher your chances of getting ranked high for the keywords your site is targeting.

Link building is a gradual and continuous process. You don’t build some links and then stop. As long as your site exists, you keep adding more links. As time goes on though, your link building efforts will reduce. If you provide really valuable content that over-delivers without asking lots of content publishers who want to give their readers the best will direct them to your site with a link. 

Your link building efforts will be targeted to the following areas: 

Submit your site to some general directories and blog directories. 

Ask for links from related sites. 

Link out to other sites (out-bound linking) when necessary. 

Find details on how to properly build links in the article Building Backlinks : Understanding Backlinking and How to Create High Quality Keyword Backlinks and note the points on the next step because they work for both traffic generation and link building.

Step 13: Build Traffic! and more Links

Ways to Build One-way Links and drive tremendous Traffic to your Blog

  • Submit articles to article directories.
  • Maximize the use of web 2.0 sites (social bookmarking and networking sites).
  • Leverage on the power of RSS (Really Simple Syndication).
  • Participate in major blog directories like Blogcatalog.
  • Make guest posts on popular related sites.
  • Find related sites and leave valuable comments.
  • Ask your readers to review your site.
  • Sign up and participate in related forums.
  • Build a mailing list and send out newsletters.

Advanced Traffic Building methods 

Buy reviews from other sites. 

Use Adwords. 

Advert on other sites. 

Read How to Increase Blog Traffic : Effective Promotion Strategies

Step 14: Write Content, Content and more Content

Never forget that this is your primary task as a blogger. When you get stuck, confused, just write more content. You can never go wrong doing that. Traffic will eventually come as long as you pick the right keywords and use them well within your blog and posts, whether you chase it or not.

When you provide really valuable content, even if you have few visitors, those few visitors will promote your blog for you with word of mouth or in-context links without you asking them to. So it’s all about the value of the content you offer on your site. The Boss always says: let your content “Over-Deliver”.

A content that over-delivers easily get one-way back links (people linking to you without you linking back) from related sites even without asking for it. Readers promote you effortlessly. People want to partner with you mwhen you have good number of traffic that only valuable content can preserve. That’s how the game is played. It’s as simple as that.

Step 15: Monetize and Monetize more

If you have read the article on effective keyword research, then you would have already planned for this step from the beginning. So just implement as many as your niche allows. Remember multiple income screams wins. 

Monetization is on the last step here for building a successful blog because that is how the steps works or should work. Most bloggers especially beginners, start with this step. I know I did, until I knew better. 

Monetization comes last simply because it makes no sense to monetize when you have no traffic yet. When you monetize a site with zero traffic, you wouldn’t get any click to your money generating sources and that can distract and discourage you. 

I remember I used to check my Adsense account almost everyday to see how much I had made. But it was always showing $0.00 because I had no traffic. Instead of concentrating on providing content, I got discouraged every now and then because I expected to be making money with zero traffic!

Helpful Articles

Earn Money Blogging – Planning for Monetization 

Google Adsense Tips For Dummies And Beginners 

Affiliate Marketing Basics – Introduction To Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

This page has held nothing back in the steps involved in how to start a blog and see it to success. If it occur to me that I did in future, I will update the page. 

Starting a blog site and making money from it takes time and a lot of effort. If you follow these steps well and even expand on them on your own, you will do well in blogging in time.

I wish you well in all your endeavors. If you are yet to join the Beginners Blogging Guide newsletter, please sign up below.

Read more: How to Start a Blog and Make Money Blogging – Step by Step Guide 
Under Creative Commons License:

Next Steps: What to do RIGHT NOW – Today… (It’s Easy, Stay With Us Here)

OK, so we’ve been through the basics, it’s time for action. If you’re going to do something, there is only “now”. Later and someday never come. So let’s do it together! Yes, today.

1.) Choose your niche.

2.) Get a cheap, reliable web host. Regardless of your niche (topic), this is one thing you’ll need before you start.

And that little $5 commitment may actually help you get going! This is the ONLY web host we recommend if you’re just getting started – the one we recommend to our own friends and family.

Our recommended web host even comes with 1-click installation of WordPress, our favorite easy to use publishing platform: the one we use for all our sites. So you can now check this item off your list, and move up to step 2.

3.) Write your first post.

Don’t agonize over it, just do it! Start small, and keep going. Here’s some step by step help for you –
How To Write Your First Blog Post (Video)

Tip: Don’t forget to use Coupon Code BLOGSUCCESS when you sign up with HostGator – and your 1st month is just $0.01! That means you can start a blog today for just $0.01. Now you’ve really got no excuse to delay, so take a few minutes and do it now before you get busy and forget!

P.S. There’s only one web host we recommend to our friends and family. Find out which one here…


Read These Related Articles…

How To Start a Blog and Make Money Online – in 10 Easy Steps

Are you curious about how to make money online? Think that starting a blog is the way to go?

Great! Starting a blog can be a solid way to make long-term income – just for doing some writing on stuff you actually like and care about. But there’s a little more to it than that AND it may not be for everyone. This is not a get rich quick or plug and play business. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is not the place for you.

Yes, you can make a lot of money online but, like other traditional businesses, it’s not guaranteed. Anyone who tells you otherwise, is not being truthful.

Our goal is to help people who are really serious about building a real online business – because you can make a little, or a lot of money. That all depends on you…

Here’s the big difference between making money online and going to a job every day. If you do it right, the work you do today, this week, and this year – will continue making money for years to come. It’s an investment rather than trading your time for money.

So how does this work? Search engines find and cache the articles that you write, and over time each post is “worth more” to the search engines. That means you’ll get more web site traffic with every passing month as your site gains credibility. This does not happen overnight. It takes persistence and even some hard work – but you can do it if you’re serious and committed…

We did it (Dan and I both walked away from our corporate jobs and now do this full time), and so can you. The good news is that you get to take advantage of what we’ve learned over the last several years and avoid the sand traps that we had to dig our way out of.

So let’s get started – RIGHT NOW!

Here are 10 EASY steps we’ll take together to help you start a blog and make money online.

Decide to start today

TODAY. No, not tomorrow, not next week, and not next month. Tomorrow always feels “safe” because you’re not having to make a decision. The power of today is that you make that commitment to yourself. And that is the first step to success.

This step is the most critical one, and it’s where most people get stuck. Don’t dream about doing something. Just get up and do it.

“The best way to live the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams Today, in every little way that you possibly can.”  – Mike Dooley, Inspirational Quotes from Today Is That Day

Step #1 – Choose the right niche – What your blog is about…

Choosing the right niche for your blog is perhaps the most important choice you can make BEFORE you actually start writing. Choose the wrong niche, and it’s very unlikely you’ll ever succeed.

Some questions to help you choose the right niche

  • The most important question you have to ask yourself is this: What are you passionate about?
    It’ll be very hard for you to write regularly and authoritatively and be a go-to industry expert on a topic you don’t really care about. Passion tends to make the difference between amazing success and quiet failure.
  • Do you intend to make money with this blog? Would you like it to be your primary income source?
    This makes a big difference. If so, you’ll have to choose a nice that is not overly crowded. Regardless of the crowding, you’ll need to research your niche thoroughly and develop your own value proposition.

Research your niche and learn the landscape

Find the popular websites in your niche, study them closely, and visit them regularly.

Get to know the authors and regular contributors. Comment on their posts regularly so they can get to know you too.

Find the right keywords to target with your blog

Once you choose your niche, it’s crucial to find the right keywords to target. This is a delicate balance between finding keywords that get enough search traffic and keywords that don’t have too much competition.

Don’t wait until your site starts getting popular to figure out which keywords to target, or you’ll waste a lot of time and effort and end up starting from scratch.

While you can do a lot of research the manual, old-fashioned, and time-consuming way, we recommend you use a keyword research tool to find your keywords quickly and accurately.

For more details on choosing your niche, check out “How to Start a Blog – Step 1: Pick Your Niche”.

Step #2 – Get a web hosting account

Your host should be reliable, responsive if you have questions, and inexpensive. $7 per month is reasonable for a reliable host; less than that and the service tends to go down a lot.

Many people try to save those few dollars and start a blog with a free platform like But we strongly advise against it. It’s virtually impossible to get free search engine traffic to those free blogs, and support is completely nonexistent. Oh, and if your blog disappears overnight (as we had happen once on, there’s nobody to call and ask for help. Your work is all lost. You’ll also have a hard time moving away when your blog takes off. And you’ll lose all the search engine value that you’ve built up.

Take this seriously and go with a proper web host that actually has competent support people available to help you. Spending $7/month for a proper web host will also help you realize that you’re serious about your goal.

We highly recommend HostGator when your just getting started.

HostGator is great because it JUST WORKS, they offer a lot of great features, and (unlike most other quality web hosts) you can sign up for an inexpensive monthly plan, and pay month by month. Most of the other guys advertise a really cheap rate, but you only get that if you pay 1-3 years up front.

The fact Hostgator’s email support team replies to my issues in literally minutes is awesome, but that’s not the only reason we recommend HostGator. Check out all of the reasons we love them in our web hosting review of HostGator, and then go set up your own account with them today.

Are there other good web hosts? Sure, but HostGator is the only web host that we recommend to our own friends and family when they ask…

If you’re just starting out – or you’re looking to keep your costs as low as possible while working with a solid, reliable web host, do yourself a favor and get started with HostGator.

Don’t forget to check out our web hosting review of HostGator, and give it a try yourself; we’re glad we did.

Tip: Don’t forget to use Coupon Code BLOGSUCCESS when you sign up with HostGator – and your 1st month is just $0.01! That means you can start a blog today for just $0.01. Now you’ve really got no excuse to delay, so take a few minutes and do it before you get busy and forget!

For more information on web hosting, read “How to Start a Blog – Step 2: Get a Web Hosting Account for your Blog”.

Step #3 – Install WordPress

After you choose a reliable web host, you’re ready to install your blogging software. The most flexible choice available today is WordPress. It’s also free, and easy to set up and maintain.

Yes, this is a little more involved than setting up a free account somewhere, but it’ll be well worth the effort when you get more web site traffic in a month then you would have gotten in a year on a

For more information and step by step details on how to install WordPress, check out “How to Start a Blog – Step 3: Install WordPress to Run your Blog”.

Step #4 – Make a great first impression with a great theme

First impressions always matter. On the web, that’s even more important. A web visitor’s first impression about your site determines if he clicks away in the first 5 seconds, if he stays on to read what you have to say, and if he will ever come back again.

So it’s very important to put your best foot forward. Make your site interesting, distinctive, and engaging to your readers by using a great “theme”. WordPress themes are basically website designs that you can just download and enable for your WordPress account.

Start with a free theme and when you have the resources, consider having a custom theme made to enhance your brand even further.

For more information and how to find great free themes for your blog, make sure to read “How to Start a Blog – Step 4: Make a Great First Impression with a Great Theme for your Blog”

Step #5 – Configure WordPress and its plugins to get the most search engine traffic

What good is a blog if nobody is visiting? One of the great advantages of WordPress is the vast array of options to make your blog very yummy to the search engines. This is all about understanding what Google wants and giving it to them in the way they want it. Simple.

The most powerful SEO trick of all: “work with Google to give them what they want instead of trying to trick them”.

For our list of must have plugins and brain-dead simple SEO tips, check out “How to Start a Blog – Step 5: Install These WordPress Plugins to Get the Most Search Engine Traffic”

Step #6 – Make your blog welcoming and engaging to every reader

To make your visitors stick around and come back for more – day after day – use the power of WordPress and make your blog fun, engaging, and interactive.

Use polls to get readers involved and ask their opinion. Feature the latest posts and comments. Show off your most popular articles. Get readers truly involved by getting them to comment on your posts.

To discover a few simple ways to get your readers coming back, again and again, check out “How to Start a Blog – Step 6: Engage Your Readers”

Step #7 – Write your first post

OK, at this point you’ve chosen THE best niche for you, you’ve become very familiar with that niche and it’s most popular sites, and you’re basically what could be considered an “authority” on your topic.

So now is the time for that all important first post

Off the top of your head, make a quick list of all the issues in your niche that people care about. What problems do they have, what questions do they have? What keeps them up at night?

Now pick ANY one of these and write a quick article on it. This “article” can be just a simple Top 10 list, with a supporting sentence of two for each bullet. That’s it!

Get feedback

Get this first article out there and see what people think. Email it to your family and friends, and ask them to help you make it better.

All the planning in the world is no substitute for Action. It’s time to go forth and do those good and powerful things.

For detailed steps on how to get started writing great content, read “How to Start a Blog – Step 7: Write your First Post”.

Step #8 – Set up your RSS feed

Not long ago, RSS was the domain of the super-geeky. But today, millions of mainstream internet users are subscribing to RSS vibes every day.

Get set up with full-blown RSS support by setting up a free account with FeedBurner. They’ll pull a feed from your blog, make it pretty so everyone can actually read it, and they’ll even give you accurate stats on your readers. Yes, it is nice to know if anyone is actually subscribed to your feed.

WordPress also has a simple plugin that you can enable to support your shiny new FeedBurner RSS feed service.

For more information on RSS, check out “How to Start a Blog – Step 8: Set up Your RSS Feed“.

Step #9 – Register your new blog with the top directories

Once you have a few posts out there, it’s time to start getting the word out. Search engines want to see links coming back to your site. Those links show that people other than just you consider your site to be important.

Well, at first you have no links. So you have to start somewhere. One of the best places to start is the endless list of web site directories and now blog directories which are just begging to give you a free link.

Here are a few to get you started: BlogCatalogDMOZ and the Yahoo Directory. DMOZ and Yahoo Directory are very important, but your submission to them is considered just a “suggestion”, and you may never hear back or get included.

Blog Catalog has turned into a social community of bloggers, which makes it significantly more valuable than a regular blog directory, largely because of the relationships you can forge there.

For more information on blog directories, read “How to Start a Blog – Step 9: Register your Blog with Every Top Website and Blog Directory”.

Step #10 – Promote! Social Media, Internet Press Releases, Article Marketing, and more

If you don’t tell people about your new site, they’ll never know about it! Stop hoping someone will accidentally stumble upon your site. Take matters into your own hands and get the word out there!

It’s never been this easy to promote a brand new site, and to explosively grow your traffic and readership.

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, and more

Did you just publish a great article on your site? Let people know! Social media is a great way to share your stories with others who WANT to know about it.

Share your great article on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and StumbleUpon. But tread with caution. Don’t “spam” these sites with everything you write.

To be truly successful, it’s VERY important to follow the rules and participate in these communities.

There are even some great tools like to automate the process and submit your stories to tens of social media sites! This means you save countless hours AND actually get your story out to dozens of sites instead of just one. But again, you can’t just spam these communities, it’s crucial to build a presence and participate as a real person.

Article Marketing – Establish yourself as an expert by publishing your articles

Time to get more visibility for your hard work. Article directories take your articles and provide them to the countless webmasters and eZine publishers that need what you have: good, useful, and informative content.

You’ve already spent the time and written excellent articles… Now it’s time to publish those articles on the top 10 article directories and get lots more readers coming to your website.

For more information on the best ways to promote your blog, check out “How to Start a Blog – Step 10: Promote! Social Media, Internet Press Releases, Article Marketing”.

Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually’, just do it and correct course along the way.” – Tim Ferriss, Inspirational Quotes from Today Is That Day