Blogging is an integral part of the online world. Blogging ruled the world wide web when there was no Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram. Social media came later. Before social media, most people who came online would either be reading blogs or visiting a forum on their favorite topic. Many bloggers and website owners made a lot of money. Blogging became a big business. A lot of people also start blogging as a hobby. But as the title of this article is “Professional blogging for dummies”, we are not going to talk about hobby blogging here. We are going to discuss how to start a blog professionally with the goal of making money and then become successful.
Is blogging still a viable option to make money online?
Does blogging still work in 2022?
Many people nowadays say that blogging is dead. In a way, it sounds true, but in reality, it isn’t. So why do people say that blogging is dead?
In the last couple of years, youtube has grown really fast. More and more people are consuming video content on a daily basis. So some people think that websites don’t get many visits. But this is not true. If we look at the Google Search Statistics here, around 40,000 queries per second which means 3.5 Billion searches per day are being processed by Google. Most of those traffic goes to websites that are ranking on Google’s first page. So there’s no shortage of traffic if you can rank your blog on google or other search engines.
Another reason people think blogging is dead is because of the introduction of the “Featured Snippet” option on Google search for some keywords. After the introduction of this, people no longer need to click and visit the websites that are ranking because some information is displayed in the “Featured Snippet”. So, many sites have seen a decline in traffic from search engines such as Google.
So you must be thinking what’s the point of starting a blog or website if we don’t even get traffic from Google even after ranking in the first place, right? What if Google stops sending traffic altogether.
However, the reality is not that depressing. Google keeps bringing new tools to help website owners. One such tool is the Web Story plugin from Google. You can get thousands of visits to your site if you keep publishing web stories. For Google to send traffic to your web Stories, you don’t even have to rank on Google. It is also known as google “Discover”.
Another tool is Google’s Question Hub. If you search a topic on Question Hub, Google will show you queries that many people type on Google, but there’s rarely any content available for those search queries. You can write an article for any of these queries and then submit it. After that Google will start sending traffic to that particular article.
Professional Blogging for Dummies- First Step- Choose Your Niche
If you are thinking of blogging professionally, you have to choose a niche. You shouldn’t just write about anything. I would suggest you choose a topic that you are interested in and have some knowledge about. You don’t have to be an expert. You just need to know more than the people you are writing for, i.e your audience. And believe me, there are at least one or two topics that you know more about than a lot of other people.
Some profitable blog niches are
- Investing and Personal Finance
- Food and Recipes
- Self-help and personal development
- Digital Marketing or Internet marketing
- Make money online or Blogging
- Gaming News
- Social media
- Science and Technology
- Relationship(Parenting, Dating etc)
These are broad niches. You can go narrow. For example, Digital Marketing. It is a broad niche. But you can go narrow. For example, you can choose SEO, Social media marketing, or Content marketing(Any one). All these come under Digital marketing and are called sub-niches.
Second Step- Buy Domain and Hosting
After choosing a niche, it’s time to choose a name for your blog. It could be a brandable name or something related to your niche. Earlier people used to buy domains that contains keywords because it helped with SEO. For example, 10 years ago if you were to rank for a keyword(search term) called “best laptops”, you could buy the domain “www.bestlaptop.com”, which is an exact match domain. Exact match domains had a big impact on your SEO rankings. But nowadays, things have changed. Exact match domains have little impact on your SEO.
After choosing a domain name, you have to buy the domain. Go to Namecheap and check if the domain is available for purchase. If not available, search for another domain name. After buying your domain you need to buy hosting. I suggest WPX which provides faster hosting than many other hosting service providers. The speed of the website is one important ranking factor.
After that, you have to link your hosting with your domain.
Check out this video if you want to know how to point your domain’s Nameservers to WPX.
Third Step-Install WordPress
Now that you have your own hosting and domain name, you need to install a Content Management System(CMS). One of the most commonly used Content Management Systems is WordPress. It’s also pretty user-friendly. There are many other CMS out there too but WordPress is the most widely used one.
Fourth Step-Install theme
After installing WordPress, you need to install a theme.
Themes are used to change the appearance, i.e design and layout of the website. It is a customization tool. Without a theme, your website will not look attractive.
There are different types of themes. Some are premium and some are free. Some themes are general purpose and some are targeted to a specific niche. If you are just starting out and don’t want to spend any money on themes, you can use the free version of the theme called Astra. I personally use Astra on some of my sites.
Studiopress and Generatepress are two places where you could find a lot of premium themes.
Fifth Step-Upload logo
You need a logo for your site.
You don’t need to get scared. I am not talking about hiring a graphic designer. Trust me on this, you can design your own logo even if you don’t know about designing.
I do design my own logo by using a tool called Canva. There are already some really cool pre-built designs available. Just choose one and do a little bit of tweaking here and there, put your own brand name, and VOILA, your logo is ready.
Sixth Step-Install important plugins
Plugins are a type of software that could be added to your WordPress site to increase the functionality and features of the site.
Some common plugins you need to install on your blog are
Akismet Anti Spam
Yoast SEO or Rank Math or AllinOne Seo(Any one)
Elementor(It’s a page builder)
UpdraftPlus(For backup and restore in case your site crashes for some reason)
Google XML Sitemaps
Seventh Step-Topic and keyword research
To get traffic from search engines, keyword research is really important. Keywords are words that search engine users put to find information about a particular topic.
When you are just starting out, you need to go after keywords that have low competition or long-tail keywords. If you optimize your site for these keywords, it will be easier for your site to rank high rather than if you go after keywords that have high competition.
High competition keywords also have a large number of traffic i.e. large number of people searching using those terms. If you rank for those keywords, you will get a lot of traffic. But the problem is, a lot of bigger, older, and established sites are competing for those terms, So it’s almost impossible for a new site to rank for these keywords because newer sites have very low DR(Domain Rank).
Now, how do you find low competition keywords or long-tail keywords? For this, keyword research is required. There are plenty of keyword research tools that you can use to complete your keyword research.
First of all, there is the Google Keyword Planner tool, as we all know. Google Keyword Planner tool is awesome as you are getting all the info like average monthly search, directly from Google.
But the problem is Google Keyword Planner doesn’t show metrics like Domain Authority(DA), Page Authority(PA), and Keyword Difficulty. These metrics make the keyword research process a lot easier for newbies. That is why we need these paid keyword research tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, Majestic SEO, SpyFu, Moz, and SearchMetrics.
I am personally using Semrush right now. Semrush gives a one-month free subscription.
Here is a Youtube video that shows how to do keyword research using Semrush.
Eight Step-Write Content
After keyword research, you need to write content for your blog. You should have one main keyword and 5-6 secondary keywords which you can also include in your content. You might also include LSI keywords. To get LSI keywords, go to sites like Alsoasked or Answerthepublic.
A lot of people stress too much over the idea of writing original content. All the information is already available on Google. You just have to rewrite it in your own language.
If you want to create some truly unique content, content that is not even available on Google, you can use books. You will find a lot of in-depth information in books if you want to go deeper into a subject. Sometimes you don’t even have to buy the book, Amazon.com has an option called “Look Inside”, where you can read some parts of the book.
Youtube is another place where you can get a lot of content ideas and information. Just watch two or three videos on your topic and then write it down in your own language. Add your own unique angle to it.
To publish an article on your site, it needs to be plagiarism-free, which means it has to be unique. Otherwise, your website will face problems while ranking on Google.
So how do you find out if your article is unique or not?
Don’t worry. There are many tools where we can check out and see if our content is unique or not. The most widely used tool is
Although cheap, Copyscape is a paid tool. If you are looking for some free alternatives, you can check these out
Bringing traffic is one of the most important things if you want to start earning money from your blog. No traffic means no money. There are various ways to bring traffic to your blog. You can get traffic from
- Search Engine: One of the most well-known methods for websites to get traffic is from search engines such as Google or Bing. Once you rank for a certain keyword, you will start getting high-quality targeted traffic to your blog. But getting traffic from search engines takes time, from months to even years.
- Social Media: Earlier, when there were no social media, search engines like Google(or Yahoo) were the main method through which one can get traffic to their website. Nowadays, it is possible to bring a large amount of traffic to your blog just from social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit etc.
- Google Discover: Google Discover is a comparatively new feature by Google. For your articles to appear on Google Discover, you should install AMP for WordPress- Accelerated Mobile Pages plugin and Google Web Stories Plugin. After that, you need to publish Web Stories regularly.
- Guest post on other blogs: Guest posting on other similar blogs(Blogs in the same niche) is a great way to drive some quality traffic to your blog.
- By being active in online communities and forums of your niche.
Tenth Step-SEO and Link building
As I have mentioned above, Search Engines are one primary method of getting traffic to your site. SEO and link building is really important if you want to make money blogging. If you have done keyword research before writing content, you have already started doing SEO. Keyword research is part of SEO.
SEO can be divided into three parts.
On-Page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO.
- On-Page SEO: It means optimizing your page or blog post for the search engine. It includes optimizing the Title, Header tag, meta description, URL, image, and content.
- Off-page SEO: It is what you do outside your website to improve the ranking of your site on search engines. One of the most important components of Off-page SEO is Backlinks or Link building. Although Google says they don’t allow buying and selling of links, backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors. There are different types of backlinks. You should only go after high-quality backlinks. Nowadays, as Google has become a lot smarter, the quality of links matters more than the quantity. Along with backlinks, social media marketing is also one important factor in Off-page SEO, as search engines nowadays also look into social signals for ranking a site.
- Technical SEO: You can see technical SEO as a part of On-page SEO. It includes metrics such as page speed. Things such as Increasing website speed and making your site crawlable by search engines fall under technical SEO.
Final Step-Making money from your blog
As soon as your blog starts to get some traffic regularly, either from a search engine or social media, it’s time you start making some money. There are different methods through which you can make money from your blog. Some usual ways to earn money from your blog are
- Selling advertising Space(by putting ads on your site from various advertisers),
- Promoting affiliate products(Affiliate Marketing)
- Write sponsored post
- Sell your own online course
- Make money selling an Ebook