How to Make Money with a Blog for Beginners (2021 Guide)

How to Make Money with a Blog for Beginners (2021 Guide)

A single search on “how to start a blog and make money as a beginner” on Google brings a load of results on the SERPs page.

The truth is, there are a lot of overwhelming guides on starting a blog that actually makes money.

I guess that you’ve read a couple of these guides before but still don’t feel fully-ready or capable of building a successful blog.

I know how that feels. I have been there before.

I read countless guides before finally feeling ready.

So my promise to you is that this guide will be the very last you’ll read about starting a money-making blog.

Here’s why:

Blogging changed my life.

Yes, you read that right. Starting a blog is the best decision I have ever made.

I started this blog in 2018 and it has since then been my full-time career. I have recorded lots of wins, failures, and occasional thoughts of quitting.

While I saved up $50 to start this blog (it was this bad), I now earn a full-time income blogging. Owning three (3) blogs in various niches.

Besides making a full-time income, I have made countless friends by starting a blog and monetizing it.

I have been featured in top marketing publications. But the best part is, I am my own BOSS.

So if you’re still doubting if starting a blog is a good decision, then you already know my answer:

Blogging is still very lucrative.

In this guide, I will:

  • Teach you how to set up a blog for beginners
  • Simplify the process of starting a blog for beginners to your first dollar
  • Highlight the mistakes I made while starting my blog and lessons learned in building successful blogs

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Choose a Blog Niche

Choose a niche blogging

The first step to starting a blog is choosing your blog niche.

A blog niche is a topic you will be discussing on your blog. It could be anything from weight loss, health, marketing, to pet care niche.

As simple as this step might appear, a lot of beginners find it difficult to niche down and focus. You start a blog on a niche and three months in, you feel the need to change your niche.

It’s an experience a lot of us have faced.

There are two popular and conflicting advice on choosing a niche:

  • Choose a niche you are passionate about
  • Choose a profitable niche

The first popular advice is to choose a niche you are passionate about. The idea is to find a topic that interests you and start a blog in that niche.

But here’s the thing, this advice has led a lot of beginners astray in the blogging space.

Sometimes, your interest might not be profitable.

Yes, not all niches are profitable.

Speaking of the second advice, you start a blog based on the earning potential of the niche. A niche is profitable if there are products in that niche or the audiences are paying customers willing to spend.

The setback here is that starting a blog in a profitable niche that you are not passionate about can lead to writers’ block and get you fed up.

So, what’s the ideal path or best advice to choose a winning niche?

Great you asked.

Winning Niche – Profitable plus Passion

My approach to finding a winning blogging niche is to pick a niche you’re passionate about and at the same time, it’s profitable.

By choosing a niche you’re interested in and at the same time it’s profitable, you can break the ice faster.

Choosing blogging niche

Looking for some ideas for a profitable blog niche? Here are some popular blogs you might be familiar with.

  • Tech niche – Mashable, TechCrunch, and Wired
  • Marketing Niche – HubSpot blog, CoSchedule blog, Copyblogger, and Neil Patel
  • Business blog- Bplans blog, Businessinsider, Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc.

And you can narrow your blog niche down like the below examples:

  • Saas marketing
  • Ecommerce niche
  • Content marketing

Another common piece of advice when selecting a niche is to go for a less competitive niche. For this, I am not in support of it.

Healthy competition shows that the niche is lucrative.

Instead of thinking of competition as a metric to avoid a niche, consider it as a pointer of profitability.

Step 2: Pick a Blog (and Domain) Name

Once you’re done picking a niche, you need to pick a domain (and blog) name for which you’ll settle down.

As its name implies, your blog name is the name of your blog. For instance, KhrisDigital is the name of my blog.

There are two major practices in picking a blog name for your blog.

The first is choosing a brandable name and the second is picking a keyword-rich domain name.

  • Choose Keyword Rich Name

Choosing a keyword-rich domain name is an old strategy that helps you rank easily on Google. You choose a domain name that has your main keyword in it.

Some examples of keyword-rich domain names are ContentMarketingInstitute.com, bloggingbasics101, theblogstarter, bloggingwizard, Marketingtoolreviews, etc.

By choosing a domain containing your keyword, it gives you an added advantage to rank for that keyword, all things being equal.

However, there are downsides to going this way.

The major one being that it makes it difficult to widen the niche later on in the future.

Plus, it’s difficult to brand such domain names.

  • Choose a Brandable Name

Brandable domain names are still the best kind of names to go with. A brandable domain name makes your blog sound professional.

Examples of brandable domain names are Gizmodo, Mashable, KhrisDigital, TorchBankz, etc.

Another approach to this is to get a brandable domain name that relates to your niche. Some examples are BlogTyrant, WpBeginner, SmartBlogger, CopyBlogger, etc.

These domain names contain a seed keyword that lets you know their niche but at the same time are brandable.

Going for a domain name that contains a seed keyword and at the same time is brandable is a winning approach.

How to Find a Domain Name

Brainstorming an interesting domain name is quite easy but the problem is that most of your guesses might already be taken.

Brandable or keyword-rich, It’s quite rare to find interesting names that have not been taken already.

Any domain name you easily brainstormed, you can bet it already has an owner.

So, how do you go about this?

Use Instant Domain Search: InstantDomainSearch is a tool that helps you find domain names that have not been taken.

While you start plugging in your seed word, you’ll find other matches that have not been taken.

Once you find a domain name you are willing to go with, note it down.

You’ll get that domain name on your preferred web hosting service.

As for me, I prefer Bluehost.

This is because Bluehost offers a free domain name irrespective of the hosting plan you buy from them. And that saves you some dollars.

Step 3: Get your Web Hosting

A web host is what keeps your website live. It’s where you store your files on the internet and make them accessible. You need a web host provider.

There are a lot of web hosting companies in the industry to choose from.

And that’s why this is a crucial step in starting your blog. The hosting company you go for matters a lot.

You need a web hosting company that gives you enough bandwidth, 24/7/365 days uptime, fast speed, etc.

As a beginner, this can be a difficult decision to make. That said, the hosting company I use (on smaller sites) and also advise other bloggers to use is BlueHost.

And here’s why:

  • Easy to Use
  • Free domain for a year
  • Unlimited domain hosting
  • Allows you to easily upgrade your plan
  • Top-notch service
  • 99% uptime
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free worldwide CDN
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Good customer support
  • One-click WordPress installation

Here are the steps to get started.

Step #1: Visit Bluehost.com

The first step to getting your hosting with Bluehost is to visit their website.

Then click on “Get Started” as highlighted in the image below:

Step #2. Choose a Plan

The next thing is to pick a plan among the pricing plans offered by Bluehost.

Bluehost offers four plans; Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro.

Either of these plans is good. However, I recommend Choice Plus which is the same price as the Plus plan but offers better features.

The Choice Plus plan offers domain privacy that hides your information from the public.

To choose any of the plans, click on “SELECT” as highlighted in the image above.

Step #3. Enter a Domain Name

Upon selecting a hosting plan, you’ll be directed to a page to enter a domain name.

You can either create a new domain or enter a domain name you already have.

And this is why I suggest not buying your domain name from another registrar. Bluehost gives you a free domain name for a year.

For the domain name you found earlier, you need to enter it into the box highlighted below:

The red highlighted box is where you enter a new domain you want to buy.

While the box on the right is to enter a domain name you already own.

But as a beginner, I believe you don’t have any domain name yet. So, you need to create a new domain name.

And by clicking the “Next” button, you are taken to the account page. At the top of the page, you’ll discover if your chosen domain name is available or not.

If you have gone through STEP 2 and found yourself an available domain name, you won’t face any delay here.

But if you didn’t do prior research before selecting a domain name, you might end up entering an unavailable domain name.

And when that happens, you get the below message:

But with proper research using either Whois.net or InstantDomainSearch before heading to Bluehost, you’ll be able to avoid this.

Step #4: Create a Bluehost Account

After selecting an available domain, you’ll need to create a Bluehost account. Creating an account is quite easy.

You can either create an account by using the Gmail single sign-on option or fill in the account information manually as seen below.

Step #5. Choose Package

Bluehost hosting plans are in different packages (12 months, 24 months, and 36 months). You have to choose between these three plans.

Going for the 36 months plan gives you the best possible deal for Bluehost. It’s a good plan to go for.

In the Package Extras, you should tick the “Microsoft 365 Mailbox 30 Day Free Trial” This allows you to create a professional email with your domain name.

You’ll be able to create an email like firstname@ khrisdigital.com which would make you look professional when reaching out to others.

If you go with the Choice Plus plan, the Domain privacy comes free.

However, if you chose the Basic or Plus plan, I strongly advise adding this to your package.

Step #6. Enter Payment Information

After adding the necessary add-ons, the next thing is to add your payment information from where you’ll be billed.

Then tick the box highlighted below and submit. Congratulations. You’ve taken the biggest step in becoming a blogger.

Step #7. Create a Password

bluehost password

Immediately after the purchase, you will get an email to create a password for your login. While you can auto-generate the password, use a strong password you can remember.

bluehost registration success

Login to your Bluehost Account

With the newly created password and your domain name, you’ll log in to your Bluehost account.

bluehost login

From there we’ll continue with the installation of WordPress.

Step 4: Install WordPress and Set-Up

Yeah, we are almost done with the technical aspect of setting up a blog.

The last technical phase is the installment of WordPress.

WordPress is a blogging platform (CMS) that allows you to create, write, and manage your blog. It’s the framework for your blog and where you get to update your blog.

While there are several blogging platforms, WordPress supersedes them all.

Here are some statistics for you:

  • WordPress powers 60% of the blogs on the internet
  • WordPress.org offers over 50,000 plugins
  • WordPress has a very strong community
  • Over 400 million people visit WordPress sites each month

Besides, most of the popular blogs you know were built with WordPress.

This site is built with WordPress.org. Other great blogs like TechCrunch, Neil Patel, WpBeginner, SmartBlogger, Copyblogger, etc were built with WordPress.

After creating your password and logging into your account, Bluehost will prompt you to choose a theme.

bluehost wordpress themes

Select any of the themes offered and continue with the installation and you can also skip this and continue with the installation. Either works.

You don’t have to waste your time on this stage as you can always change your theme when done with setting up the blog.

Once you’re done choosing a theme or skipping this stage, Bluehost automatically starts installing WordPress.

bluehost installation

Immediately after, you’ll be redirected to a page similar to what you see below:

bluehost start building

Click “Start Building” to start building your WordPress site. For instance, you’ll have to choose the type of site you are building.

You have two options Business and Personal.

Since you are just starting, click Personal. KhrisDigital is a personal blog. Either Business or Personal, it changes nothing.

Thereafter, you’ll have to add a site title, site description. Your site title and description also help your blog SEO. But you don’t have to be overwhelmed at this stage. Just like every other detail, you can always change them.

You can change your site title and description.

For now, you can add something you feel describes your blog topic.

For instance, here’s what my site title looks like Khrisdigital: Help You Serve, Impact & Make More Online

It explains what my blog is all about.

It doesn’t have to be very tricky. You can check out some of your competitors or blogs in your niche and learn from them.

But as said earlier on, don’t overthink it. Add a simple site title and description. Later on, you can come back to change it.

Step 5: Choose a Beginner Friendly WordPress Theme

If you skip the stage of selecting a WordPress theme or you select any of the themes presented before, it’s time to select a better WordPress theme.

While I’m an advocate of choosing a simple theme and getting down to the real work of growing and making money from your blog, I believe you should still pick a good theme.

When I started this blog, I started with OceanWp which I used for two years.

Only recently did I make a change to a custom theme.

My point is, as a beginner, you can start with a free WordPress theme and grow your blog from there. Astra themes, Elegant themes are good.

You can also use OceanWP. It’s a good theme to start with.

You can find these free themes on your WordPress dashboard. Let’s get into that.

How to Install WordPress Themes

First, you need to login to your WordPress admin dashboard. If you aren’t there yet, then visit:

yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.

Right from your WordPress dashboard, click Appearance > Themes.

You should have something similar to what I have below:

wordpress themes

From here, you’ll click “Add New” to install a new WordPress theme from the stock of free themes offered by WordPress.

You can search for a theme using the box and select a theme.

The next thing is to install the theme into your WordPress.

Note that installing doesn’t activate the theme on your blog. You still need to activate the theme. Given the fact that this is a new blog, you can go ahead to activate the theme.

activate wordpress themes

As you can see above, click Activate to activate the theme into your blog.

However, if you want to invest in a premium theme to give your blog a professional and polished look, the process is quite different.

You can get a premium theme from Elegant Themes, GeneratePress, or any of these premium theme providers.

You can get a premium for as small as $100 and it could be more than that.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, I recommend OceanWp, as this is what I started with. Besides, OceanWp is SEO optimized for Google. Fast as well.

While there are WordPress page builders like Elementor Pro that help you unlock hundreds of themes, I don’t advise beginners to start with that.

However, if you are a techy person, you can consider using it to build a custom design. But I repeat, don’t overthink the design phase.

I started with something simple like OceanWp and that helped me concentrate on the essential things.

Installing a Premium Theme

The process for installing a premium or paid theme is a little different to choose from WordPress stock themes.

For premium themes, you should have the zip folder on your computer when you buy the theme.

What you need to do is upload the theme. You’ll find the upload button after clicking the “Add New” button.

Once you click, you should find a section to upload your zip folder as you see below:

Click Browse and select the file you want to upload. Once selected, install the theme and activate.

Customizing your Theme

Either you are using a free WordPress theme or not, you’ll need to customize the theme to fit your blog.

While there are a few things to customize, you can familiarize yourself with the customization interface to better understand how WordPress customization works.

From the customizer, you can change the site title, add a tagline, change colors, add header images, homepage settings, and many others.

Step 6: Install WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins are an essential part of managing a successful blog. Plugins give you added functionalities without having to code.

So right here I will give you a breakdown of the essential WordPress plugins I use and their functions.

Now that your WordPress blog is set up and you have added themes, these plugins will help you get more out of WordPress.

  • WP Rocket

WP Rocket is a plugin that helps you speed up your WordPress site. As you do know, site speed is an essential part of SEO.

If you want to provide a good user experience and at the same time increase the time people spend on your site, you need to boost your site speed and that’s what WP Rocket offers.

  • Rank Math Plugin / Yoast SEO

SEO is very important if you want to grow your blog and make money from it. SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization.

These are practices that help you appear on the Google results page when people are searching for topics related to your site topics.

As a beginner, you might have heard of SEO before. That said, the added advantage of WordPress is the abundance of tools to optimize your blog for search engines.

There are two popular SEO plugins, Yoast SEO and Rank Math Plugin. You can’t use the two together. You have to pick either of the two.

I presently make use of Yoast SEO on my blog. But I also use the Rank Math plugin and I have heard a good number of things about it.

Which should you use? Use Rank Math Plugin.

  • WPForms

Wpforms is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create forms to collect information from your readers.

With WpForms you can create contact forms on your website. Luckily, there’s a free plan to get started with.

But with the paid plan, you can create payment forms, registration forms, surveys, and unlock over 100 templates.

  • JetPack

I use the JetPack plugin to prevent brute attacks and secure my WordPress site. JetPack is a plugin that helps you control attacks on your website

JetPack also monitors downtime, site stats, activity log, and many others. There are different pricing plans offering backup, scan, anti-spam, and lots more. Luckily, it has a free plan.

  • Easy Table of Content

It’s essential to create a table of content for long content. And that’s where this plugin comes in.

Easy Table of Contents makes it very easy to insert a table of content within your blog post. You should also install this plugin in your WordPress plugin.

  • ThirstyAffiliates

When it comes to making money from blogging, affiliate marketing is one of the best. I monetize this blog with affiliate programs.

I use ThirstyAffiliates to clone my affiliate link and make it look more professional.

For instance, an affiliate referral code looks like this:

https://10xsecrets.com/masterclass?cf_affiliate_id=1311223&affiliate_id=1311223

Cloned link using ThirstyAffiliates:

https://khrisdigital.com/recommends/10xsecrets/

  • WooCommerce

If you have plans to sell something via your WordPress blog, then you need a WooCommerce plugin. It makes it possible to add product listings and also collect payments from buyers.

Either you plan to sell a physical product or a digital product, WooCommerce supports it. You should install this plugin if you have plans to sell products.

Well, you can always install it later on whenever you need it.

  • MaxButtons

There are times when you need to add a button within a page or a post. MaxButtons is the plugin that makes that possible.

You might have seen some buttons within my post, they are created with MaxButtons. I use this to create buttons for my affiliate links within my posts.

You can also use it to create a “Buy” button for your product or affiliate products.

  • Elementor

Elementor is a page builder that provides a drag and drop interface for building pages on your website.

This Elementor plugin is free but offers limited features. If you need more functions, you need to get the Elementor Pro which is the premium version.

You should install this free plugin first and try it out to make beautiful pages. I use Elementor Pro to design some of my pages.

For instance, if you plan to offer a service on your blog, Elementor Pro has got you covered.

You can easily get well-customized homepages thanks to the numerous templates to choose from.

Step 7: Basic WordPress Settings

Here are some basic settings you can do in a few minutes.

Configure WordPress URL

First, you can choose your default WordPress URL. You can do that directly from your WordPress dashboard.

Once in the dashboard, navigate to Settings > General.

Ensure your site address and WordPress URL are both “HTTPS”, not “HTTP”. You can also add “WWW” to your URL which is immediately after the double slash “//”.

Configure WordPress Permalink

Your WordPress permalink can be an added SEO advantage if configured well.

A permalink is the URL structure that your blog posts will follow. Here are the different permalink structures offered by WordPress:

  • Plain – https://yourdomain.com/?p=123
  • Day and name – https://yourdomain.com/2020/12/08/sample-post/
  • Month and Name – https://yourdomain.com/2020/12/sample-post/
  • Numeric – https://yourdomain.com/archives/123
  • Post Name – https://yourdomain.com/sample-post/

So by now, you should have a clear idea of WordPress permalink. Besides the aforementioned, WordPress allows you to create a custom permalink.

What you need to do is to choose the “Post Name” permalink structure. It has been proven to be the best structure SEO-wise.

Step 8: Create Essential Pages

Great, you have successfully created your blog and done with the technical part of starting a blog. It’s time to create essential pages.

For a standard blog, there are some necessary pages you need to create. To start with, you need to create an “About Page”, “Contact page”, “Privacy Policy”, etc.

The About page is where you share your personal story. It’s one of the most important pages your blog must-have.

There are different approaches in writing an About page but what I find fascinating the most is showing proof and credibility through your story.

For instance, my about page doesn’t just talk about my story but correlates to what my readers are interested in; making money online.

khris digital about us page

My about page also reaffirms newbies willing to make money online that it’s possible. It talks about my story from zero to a successful blog.

You can check it out here.

Don’t sound boring when crafting your story. Be fun and creative.

Another essential page is your contact page. There’s no formula for creating a contact page, it depends on you.

If you plan to offer services at first, you would want to create a contact page that makes it easier for potential clients to contact you (that is, include a professional email, skype alongside a contact form).

You can check out other sites in your niche for inspiration.

Finally, if you are offering a service, create a Hire page for your service.

When creating your hire page, you need to write a good copy.

source: GurusCoach

Your hire page must show your credibility and past works (or link to your portfolio). Plus, you should also have your contact details on the page to make it easier for potential clients to contact you.

Step 9: Create Pillar Content

We are very close.

Now that you have the essential pages set up on your blog, it’s time to work on content. Pillar content.

Pillar content as its name implies is long-form content (blog posts) that covers major topics in your niche or micro-niche.

Pillar content can be as lengthy as 5000 words or even more. And it could be less. What you need to put in mind is that these are the foundational content pieces.

They set the floor.

With this content, you can start promoting your blog through social media and other marketing strategies.

But as a newbie, content creation can be overwhelming especially if you don’t have previous experience in writing. Anyway, I have two good news for you.

Learning how to write isn’t hard at all. Start by reading more and more blog posts in your chosen niche and digest the way they are written.

A few tips I have for you on writing blog posts are:

  • Write in a conversational style (that is, use “You” “I” more)
  • Make it simple and easy to understand
  • Don’t repeat it twice. Let every line have a unique value to offer.
  • Read more and write more
  • Plan your content before writing

There’s no magic in writing. Find your unique voice and keep writing.

But if you are not interested in going through the stress of writing your content yourself, another good news for you; outsource your content writing.

That’s it. While I don’t advise beginners to outsource their content, if you have some money to invest, that’s okay.

Here are some tips for you when hiring a writer:

  • Ask your writers for previous samples or content written
  • Choose a niche writer over a general writer (it reduces the editing stress)
  • Start with a trial article to find a good fit
  • Choose a writer with experience in SEO
  • Always review each article sent to you
  • Compensate your writers well (very important)

Step 10: Develop a Content Strategy

This is the most neglected step in starting a successful blog and also where a lot of beginner bloggers make mistakes.

Growing a successful blog without a content strategy is the same as throwing your money into thin air with the hope of generating returns.

Blogging doesn’t work that way. You need a content strategy.

Your content strategy is a plan containing your strategy for creating content and distributing it.

Here are some steps to take to create an effective content strategy:

  • Define your Goal

I’m not referring to your income target or traffic goal. Your goal should be targeted towards the process.

For instance, if you have plans to monetize your site with affiliate marketing, then that’s part of the goal.

Here’s what your content strategy goal should solve:

  • Build Authority and Brand Awareness
  • Generate Affiliate Income
  • Act as Link-magnet (content that receives links more)

As mentioned above, your content strategy goal isn’t just to generate income. Your content strategy should focus on building awareness, authority, and establishing you as an expert. It should also be link-attracting.

  • Perform Extensive Keyword Research

Another step in creating a content strategy is carrying out extensive keyword research.

You need to research low competitive keywords to target and create content around. It’s advisable to create and compile lots of low competitive keywords before setting out so that you can easily get it out of the way.

As a beginner, you start by using free keyword research tools like Ubersuggest, AnswerThePublic, KeywordTool.io, and Keywords Everywhere.

Once you got the Keyword Everywhere browser installed, you can see the search volumes, CPC, and competition of your target keywords.

This is a pretty nice starting point if you’re on a budget.

Some premium keyword research tools to use are, KwFinder, SemRush, and Ahrefs.

  • Create an Editorial Calendar

With the golden keywords, create an editorial calendar with it.

An editorial calendar is essential if you want to scale at the pace of a startup.

An editorial calendar is a plan containing scheduled and planned content for the future. It’s advisable to plan and schedule about a month or two months of content ahead.

Besides, you can create an editorial calendar for six months ahead. However, you should be able to gauge based on the type of content you are producing.

If you’re in a timely niche where content easily gets outdated with time, you should put a limit on the number of weeks you plan your content for.

For planning your content, there are several content calendar tools. But I advise you to use Google Sheets as a beginner.

It’s free and you don’t ever have to pay. However, you’ll need to customize it to fit your business.

  • Periodic Content Audits

As you start blogging, you will need to carry out periodic content audits to find content gaps your blog is missing out on.

For this, Google Search Console comes in handy. Google Search Console is a webmaster tool owned by Google that allows Webmasters (site owners) to track their site appearance on Google.

From Google Search Console you can see the keywords you are ranking for and keywords that you aren’t ranking high for.

For content you aren’t ranking high for, you re-optimize your content to gain more rank.

Step 11: SEO and Link Building

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. It’s the nitty-gritty of how you rank your content on search engines (which Google is among).

So far, SEO is the best source of traffic for blogs. Over 90% of my blog traffic comes free from search engines. It’s by far the best source of free traffic.

However, I must be realistic with you that ranking high on search engines (Google especially) is difficult.

Besides the fact that there are numerous things to do to rank high for your keywords in your niche, it also takes time. And that’s why building a successful blog is a long-term goal.

On average, it takes about 6 months to start seeing considerable and tangible traffic from Google if done well. And it could be less than that if you put in the effort.

When it comes to SEO, two things beat the rest:

  • Content
  • Links

You need to keep creating optimized content on your blog. Your content must be optimized for a keyword. And you also need to keep building high-quality links to your blog.

While I have discussed content in the previous section, let’s do a quick overview of my strategy for link building.

I build links via:

  • Guest Posting
  • HARO

These are two major ways I build links to my site. As a beginner, I advise you to start by reaching out to blogs in your niche for a guest post.

Guest Posting

Writing guest posts on blogs not only lands you a link but helps you build connections with other bloggers in your niche at the same time.

Through guest posting, you also brand yourself as an authority in the industry.

To achieve this, you start by finding blogs and prospects to reach out to.

You need to find blogs closely related to your niche and start by forging a relationship with them via Twitter and also commenting on their blog.

Curate a list of prospects and their contact address in a Google sheet to be able to track the progress.

Use Hunter.io to find the contact address of your prospects. All you have to do is enter the domain name into Hunter.io and it will curate a list of valid email addresses attached to the domain.

hunter io

When reaching out to your prospects via email you need to also include some topic suggestions to make it clear and simple.

Here’s an email template you can make use of:

“Hi Jerry,

How are you?

I’m Khris, a content marketer and blogger at KhrisDigital where I share tips for marketers. I’m reaching out to pitch some content ideas for your blog {blog name}.

I have been featured on several blogs including NightWatch.io, JeffBullas, and many others.

Here are the content ideas I came up with:

{include three suggestions}

Also, here’s a link to my latest guest post on (blog name):

Let me know what you think.

I look forward to your response.

Best regards,

Khris”

Your guest post pitch will be different from what I have above because you probably don’t have any samples to share yet except your blog samples.

And this is why I recommend writing for blogs you can easily get featured first. You need just three excellent samples to be able to pitch authority blogs.

In general, here are my tips for a successful pitch:

  • Make your pitch personal. Address your target by their name. Don’t forget to spell their name correctly.
  • Suggest topics that haven’t been covered on their blog.
  • Edit your pitch to read nicely before sending
  • Do some homework on your target before writing your pitch.
  • As you keep writing pitches, you’ll find a working pitch that you can stick to.

HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

HARO is a platform that connects reporters with sources. Reporters are always looking for verified sources to contribute to their article and indirectly you get a link to your site (on most occasions).

I have built quite a handful of authority links by responding to HARO queries and providing value to reporters.

The way to get started is to sign up to HARO as a source and choose the category that best fits your niche.

Once you’re done and have verified your account, HARO will start sending you emails three times a day based on the category you chose.

Each email consists of a handful of HARO queries that you can provide a response to. Each HARO query has its own requirement for sources.

So you should check the requirement and see if you’re a fit for the query. If yes, go ahead and reply to the query with the best and least expected response.

Your response shouldn’t be what reporters can find with a few searches on Google. Your best guess is that someone already covered that.

So you want to be unique and at the same time provide value to the reporter.

Finally, if your pitch gets selected, the reporter will include it in his/her article and publish it with a link back to your site.

Most times the reporter might not notify you that your pitch got selected because they’re very busy people.

You should do yourself a favor by tracking the queries you reply to and the topic. Create a Google sheet where you include the name of the site in question, the name of the reporter, the title of the article, and your response.

So once in a while, you can do a Google search to find out if the article has been published and if yours was included.

Step 12: Decide on Monetization Strategies

make money blogging beginner

Monetization is one of the most neglected steps in running a successful blog. A lot of bloggers are good at generating traffic to their blog but very poor at monetizing their blog.

Just as you hustle to get traffic and build authority, you have to strategize to find the perfect monetization strategy and mix to maximize your earning potential.

There are several ways you can monetize your blog which include:

  • Offering freelance services
  • Consultancy services to businesses
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Google AdSense and several other advertising companies
  • Direct advertisement
  • Sales of eBooks and digital products
  • Physical products

I monetize my blog solely via affiliate marketing. You can also do the same or look for other monetization strategies that work well in your industry. It could be selling digital courses or running direct advertisements.

For affiliate marketing, here is a list of high paying affiliate programs.

Step 13: Scale Up

Congratulations! At this point, I believe you have earned your first dollar as a blogger. It’s time to scale up.

If your blog is consistently generating income and traffic, you need to scale up your content production and link acquisition strategy.

My strategy for this is to outsource. If you want to scale up your income fast you must be ready to re-invest your earnings.

Outsource your content production to scale up the amount of content published on your blog monthly.

With more content and more links, you can make more money and hit your target faster.

Another way of scaling up is to start another blog. And keep growing your blog portfolio. There’s no limit to what you can do if you learn to outsource.

Tools you Need to Start and Grow a Blog

Here’s a quick overview of the tools I use in running my blogs.

  • Bluehost

If you haven’t started your blog yet, Bluehost is the hosting company I recommend to bloggers.

BlueHost has been in the business for years and they have what it takes to support your journey of building a successful blog.

BlueHost is presently offering a discount for KhrisDigital readers. So, this is a great opportunity and time to grab the deal.

Get Started with BlueHost for just $2.65 per month.

GET STARTED WITH BLUEHOST

  • KwFinder

KwFinder is my go-to tool for finding low competitive keywords to target and create content around.

With KwFinder, you can find low competitive keywords that you can easily start ranking for. I recommend this tool over other keyword research tools.

  • Ahrefs

Ahrefs is my full SEO tool. I use Ahrefs for keyword research and for finding link opportunities.

As a beginner, Ahrefs is expensive.

So, you don’t have to. But once you start getting some revenue, it’s a nice tool to invest in.

Check below for other free SEO tools I recommend.

  • Google Sheets

I use Google Sheets to organize my content ideas and link opportunities. Instead of investing in a premium content calendar tool, I stick with Google Sheets.

Google Sheets is free and a good tool to organize your content ideas and also track your progress.

  • Google Docs

I use Google Docs for writing my content before moving it to my WordPress editor. Google Docs is also owned by Google and it’s free.

An added advantage is that Google Docs allows you and your team (freelancers) to collaborate on content creation.

You can add comments for your writers to see and implement and at the same time edit the content before moving it to the WordPress editor.

  • Grammarly

Grammarly is a writing tool that underlines grammar errors while suggesting corrections.

It has a free version and a chrome extension which you can use alongside Google Docs.

So once you’re done writing in Google Docs, you can edit your content using the chrome extension.

My favorite FREE SEO tools for beginners

  • KeywordTool.io
  • KeywordsEverywhere browser extension
  • AnswerThePublic
  • KeywordShitter
  • UbberSuggest

Stop Reading, Start Taking Actions

take action

You read that right. A large percentage of people are information lovers only a few are action takers.

Like I said in the beginning, this might not be the first guide on starting a blog that you have read. But you just kept consuming information without taking action.

For you, the last step to building a successful blog is to stop reading about starting a blog and start taking action.

  • Pick a niche
  • Visit Bluehost.com and get a hosting plan
  • Complete purchase and install WordPress
  • Login to your WordPress admin and do some basic settings as stated in the article
  • Create essential pages
  • Create your first post
  • Perform extensive keyword research and create a content strategy
  • Create an editorial calendar
  • Start building links to your site using guest posting
  • Monetize your blog
  • Scale.

Over to you

That’s the end on how to make money with a blog for beginners this year.

What do you find most challenging in starting a blog? Let me know in the comment section.

Khris Steven

My mission is to equip and arm you with the precise marketing tools, resources, strategies, and tactics to help you make IMPACT, SERVE more and (of course) EXPLODE your income so you can live life on your own terms.

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