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.
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.
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.
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 WordPress.org, blogger (also called Blogspot) and WordPress.com .
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
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.
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 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
Buy reviews from other sites.
Advert on other sites.
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.
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!
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.