Have you given any thought to starting a blog? If so, do you think about blogging just for the heck of it; as a way to pass time? Or do you think of blogging as a business; as a way to make additional money? Blogging can be fun, but most people want to make money from it as well.
Regardless, many people first start blogging just for the fun of it. Then, if the blog takes off in popularity, the blogger usually makes the decision to monetize the blog. Are you wondering if you have the skills or the talent to start a blog and keep it going?
I suspect you probably do. Let’s take a few minutes and see how it plays out… to see if starting any type of blog is something you want to pursue.
Start a Blog for Fun
If you’re starting out to have some fun with your blog, that’s great. But you still should set it up properly to allow for changes and expansion in the future. The first thing you should do is to buy your own domain name.
But, before you do that, give it some thought. By that I mean there’s a difference between a personal blog and a blog for fun or a hobby. If you’re starting a personal blog, where you talk about anything and everything that pops into your head, a good domain name might be your own name. Example: firstnamelastname.com
You just set up your blog and away you go.
If you have a hobby or interest you are passionate about and will focus your blog on that topic, then choose a domain name that reflects that subject or topic. Example: ilovemybeardeddragon.com or beardeddragonsrule.com
Yes, they’re silly… no one has ever accused me of coming up with the greatest ever titles or domain names. But don’t let the topic fool you. There is a ton of interest in all things “bearded dragons.”
The point here is to do a cursory Google search to see if there is an interest in or a market for your particular topic. You’ll need that information if you do decide to monetize your blog in the future.
Purchase your domain name
When you decide on a name, head on over to GoDaddy, or Namecheap, or any of the gazillion domain registrars and see if it’s available. If so, make the purchase.
Purchase web hosting
Now that you have a domain name, you need a home for it. Here you have lots of options. And, again, you need to think it through. Whether or not you do more with your blog, you still need a reliable, reputable web hosting service.
So do your research before you commit. The minimum plan available will probably suffice. Just make sure the service you choose is able to accommodate your needs if you do decide to expand your blog.
What I don’t ever recommend is to use a free service such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com. There’s nothing wrong with these free services; many bloggers use them. My concern is your blog won’t really be your blog.
You will be subject to the rules, regulations, and even the whims of the platform administrators. You could wake up one morning and find your blog disappeared due to some infraction of their rules.
Set up your blog
Now you need to go back to the domain registrar you purchased your domain from and change the nameservers to your newly purchased web hosting company. This will point to your blog address so folks can find you on the Internet.
Don’t panic. The web host will give you the information you need and your domain registrar will tell you exactly what you need to do. It’s really simple.
After you set the nameservers, go back to your web host, access your cPanel, locate the apps section, and install your WordPress blog. Again, it’s really simple and your web host will supply instructions if you’re new to this.
While these steps are relatively easy, you still have work to do before you start blogging. You need to access your WordPress dashboard; from there you choose a theme for your blog (determine how you want your blog to look) and go through the Settings.
Once you jump through all the WordPress hoops, you’ll be ready to start blogging.
Now let’s discuss some of the ways you can make money with blogging.
Start a Blog for Money
As you probably already know, the Internet abounds with blogs covering every topic and subject. That being said, you might be asking the question, can the average every-day person make money blogging? The answer is yes, absolutely.
As with any business, it requires work and commitment, but it is definitely something anyone can do. First and foremost, always remember that your blog is a business. If you think of it as such, you can find a way to make money with it.
The next step is to figure out how to monetize your blog. The good news is there’s really no mystery here. Just think about it for a minute. Whether online or in the real world, what do people sell? What do people purchase? The answer is simple.
People buy and sell products and services. You go to the grocery store to buy a product; you call a plumber to buy the service. The trick is to know which to focus on and where to find the product or service to sell.
Sign up with affiliate programs
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting and selling someone else’s product or service and earning a commission when someone purchases through your link. This is by far the easiest way to monetize your blog.
Affiliate sales can come from digital products like eBooks, services like website hosting, and tangible products. You can find products or services to sell as an affiliate in different ways.
If you want to sell digital products related to your chosen niche, your best bet is to check out the ClickBank Marketplace and peruse the products available to promote.
If you want to sell physical products related to your topic, look no further than the Amazon Associates affiliate program to get started. You need to have a blog set up before you’ll be approved as an Amazon Associate, so you need to build your blog first.
But you’re not limited to just becoming an Amazon Associate. You should also look into CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction) and ShareASale. Just make sure you read and understand the terms of service for these programs. As an affiliate, you have a responsibility to abide by their rules.
And let us not forget about the Google Adsense program. You’ll be able to display Google ads related to your topic. Again, as mentioned above, you need to be sure you understand Google’s terms. You don’t want your account banned for some silly mistake that could easily have been avoided.
Whether you choose to blog for fun or for profit, you should seriously consider incorporating Adsense as a revenue stream. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Sell your own products
Then, of course, you could create your own products to sell. Referring back to the example we used of starting a blog about your passion for bearded dragons, you could write a short report on the “Proper Care of Bearded Dragons” and sell that from your blog. People pay for information all day long.
If you write a complete, concise report with useful, actionable information about the care of your beloved pet, your customers will take notice. More importantly, they will begin to trust you, the information you provide, and the products you subsequently recommend.
Any product you create, be it digital or physical, you can sell from your blog. It just needs to be relevant to your blog. Otherwise you’re just confusing your audience and creating chaos. And that never ends well.
Sell your own services
If you possess a skill you could offer it as a service. You could create a blog around the service you perform then offer your services from your blog.
For example, if you’re a writer by profession, you could promote your service to other online business owners who need a constant supply of the written word to keep their own blogs and websites stocked with fresh content.
And it’s a well-established fact that everybody with a blog or website needs content!
Just about any service performed in the real world can be offered online and you could do it through your blog. From Accounting to Web Design; if there is a market for your service, you can promote it from your blog.
Offer advertising space to online marketers
And finally, if you have enough verifiable traffic to your blog, you could offer advertising space as a way to earn additional income. Advertising comes in many shapes and sizes.
If you decide to go this route, you need to make sure your design, or blog layout, is adequate for this purpose. An advertiser on your blog wants 2 things: assurance your blog receives enough traffic and his/her ad will be prominently displayed.
These are among the many ways you can monetize your blog, whether it’s a blog for fun or a blog for business.
Now you know starting a blog can be a worthwhile endeavor. You can indulge your passion and make some money at the same time. When you combine your passion with a healthy dose of commitment along with some planning, it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. You can have the best of both worlds.