Starting your own blog doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, more and more people are starting blogs every day. It seems that just about every person or business has a blog these days.
The Five Steps:
1.Choose your preferred blogging platform
2.Choose whether you want to self-host and a paid domain, or get a free blog
3.Setting up a blog on your own domain (if you choose self-hosting and a custom domain)
4.Designing your blog
5.Useful resources for blogging
The 5 basic steps to make money blogging
Here are the five basic steps if you want to make money blogging. I’ll discuss them in more detail as we go, with an emphasis on #5.
Start your blog or website
Create valuable content
Grow your platform (and branch out)
Make money from your blog by choosing appropriate streams of income
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed as you read through, you’re normal! Don’t worry, I’ll give you some tips for starting at the end. Also, please note this post contains affiliate links.
Best Blogging Platforms
Blogger is one of the longest running free blogging platforms on the web. Sign in with your Google ID, and you can have a blog up and running in seconds, which can then be customised with new themes.
Free weblog publishing tool from Google, for sharing text, photos and video.
Blogger is an online service owned by Google that publishes single or multi-user blogs created entirely by the user. The service has quickly become the preferred choice of many novice bloggers and is one of the easiest methods of creating and publishing a blog for free.
Weebly is a website creation tool that includes free blogging templates. Weebly makes it surprisingly easy to create a high-quality website, blog or online store. Weebly is one of the most popular website builders available – mainly due to its superb flexibility and free for life plan. Its a tool developed to create eCommerce websites, blogs, portfolios, magazines, and non-profit websites. Another very important factor in Weebly’s popularity is its ease of use.
Pen.io is one of the only free blogging platforms you don't need a login for. Pen.io's approach is also rather different from its contemporaries. Unusually, it doesn't require a login instead, you define a URL for a post and set a password.
Images can be dragged into place, and you can create multi-page posts using a tag.
WordPress is a free blog-hosting site with roughly half the features of .org. The general idea here is less maintenance for you, but less control of the blog. Get a .wordpress domain name like “myblog.wordpress.com” or pay to use your own domain name. Need a niche? WordPress.com sees 150,000 posts published each day so you’ll surely find like-minded thinkers. Not a full company website but a loyal companion for one. Write posts, try a free theme, set up social media buttons and learn blogging at WordPress.com.
Wix is a cloub-based web development platform whose brand name stresses originality, simplicity and above all, free. For this reason the platform is popular among musicians, photographers, entrepreneurs and other small business owners who want a quick-fix website on a very low budget. The catch with Wix is the premium features, which of course cost money, which you’ll almost definitely need as you expand your website.
Joomla is an advanced CMS used by developers to publish some of the websites we visits each day. Written in PHP, it uses many of the same structures as a WordPress site does. For whatever reason, developers have flocked elsewhere, but Joomla remains one of the web’s oldest and savviest places to run a blog or website.
Typepad - Publish quickly and easily from your computer, mobile or even via email. If you can type you can blog with Typepad. Sell your products or services, run ads on your blog (or not) and join our effective affiliate program.
Tweak a theme with custom CSS. Use Theme Builder to easily build your own design. Or design your own template from the ground up. It’s up to you.
Medium.com - Founded in 2012 by Evan Williams (Twitter, Blogger) and Biz Stone (Twitter), this platform offers a distinct story-telling feel.
Webs.com - This is a great platform to use if you’re looking to create more of a professional environment for your readers. You can drag and drop elements around your site for the ultimate customized page.
How to make money with a blog
1) Google AdSense
Google AdSense is by far the best, most rewarding monetization resource for blogs, news sites and small, content-rich information sites.
Google AdSense, lets independent publishers, bloggers and news site owners to publish text-based, context-relevant ads next to the content on their sites. This is done automatically without you, the publisher, having to worry about anything else except putting small-sized code inside each of your web pages.
For every click on Google AdSense contextual ads, the publishing sites receives credit for a small amount of money, while Google keeps an undisclosed amount of the total advertising share.
Though many lament lack of relevance for the ads and little return for the increased info clutter on their pages - many silent publishers - probably the ones who consciously make less noise about this, are indeed making money on the web with this program.
What few understand, is that to make money with AdSense involves strategic work. Just placing the code on your pages isn't enough.
The focus of your site, the way the content is organized, the way web pages are coded, the titles you use and the color and position you select for placing your AdSense ads on your web pages all make a difference to the results you get. Significant.
What is important is that different rules apply to different types of pages and content. So no set of rules equally apply to all sites.
The key is for the publisher to keep questioning the integration of contextual, text-based ads by doing systematic, ongoing testing, experimentation and optimization.
For a focused blogger, this can mean from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month. For a dedicated publisher covering high-paying information areas, it is possible to get into the five-digit range without any major investments and with a relatively short time-to-market.
I am not talking about a blogger in the traditional sense, but rather to focused and very professional independent information resources like Search Engine Watch or paidContent, for example.
Google AdSense offers also the opportunity to monetize site searches while providing a powerful, lightning-fast search engine for your own site at no extra cost.
By providing search-relevant ads on your site's search results pages, Google AdSense adds another great opportunity to monetize premium service and access with relevant text-based information about products and services.
Other contextual advertising services:
BlogAds is an effective solution to make money online with your blog that allows you to take control of your advertisers and comparing your profit share with your online ad agency.
As the name clearly implies, BlogAds is an advertising service for blogs that offers a great opportunity for small, independent publishers, blogs and news sites to sell their ad space in a direct and useful way.
BlogAds keeps 30 percent of your net revenue and sends you the rest by PayPal or check as soon as you reach a predetermined amount.
For your advertisers BlogAds provides a great bonus in terms of speed and simplicity.
With BlogAds, the publisher has total control over which ads to accept and which ones to reject. Other self-serve ad platforms:
Crispads is an advertising network focused on blogs. Crispads allows publishers to place ads in blog entries so that they're included in their RSS / ATOM feeds to generate revenues for syndicated content.
grokAds - an advertising clearinghouse for both buyers and sellers which works with any type of site. The service offers quick and easy advertising to a specific market.
AdBrite - AdBrite also lets you select which kinds of ads you want to sell to your website visitors as well as setting the prices you want to charge.
3) Amazon Associates
TheAmazon Associates program lets independent online publishers make money online by advertising product inside Amazon's inventory as affiliate agents.
All it takes is adding a small, identifying code to the links that take your website visitors to a specific Amazon product page (books, DVDs, electronics, etc.).
If the visitors who clicked on your link buy an item - even if it's not the item you point to - you earn a small commission.
Though the amount of return with the Amazon Associates program is small, nonetheless it is another way to make money with your blog without adding clutter or not-relevant disruptive information to your valuable content.
References to relevant books add to the user experience as it helps those who want to search for more information on a topic to see immediate and hand-picked recommendations.
As a matter of fact, it is possible to earn as much as 10 percent per sale as an Amazon Associate.
Text links are controversial for some purists, but for those seeking a way to make money online without adding clutter and intrusive ads to their content it is an interesting opportunity to explore further.
Text links are an advertising market that brokers small, text-only links, which often don't need prominent placement (the payback is not on the clicks) on your site pages.
What the advertisers want is a link presence on your site to gain extra "authority" (like the Google PageRank indicator) in an artificial way. This is why you may have noticed many of these text links being placed at the bottom of content pages or in other non-premium positions.
The goal of text links is to increase a site's value in search engines. The good thing is that the independent publisher has more and more options from which to select. Also, the publisher can approve and accept text links that are complementary and relevant to the site's content.
Though many text links point to second-rate services and products (online casinos, poker, Viagra, etc.) - this marketplace is becoming more visible, therefore more advertisers of mainstream products and tools are popping up in numbers. Since you are the one accepting such advertising contracts, the selection of what you display is up to you. Other online text link agencies:
LinkAdage Auctions - Offers blog owners the chance to sell text links on their site at market value through a private online auction.
Selling sponsored space is another option for the independent publisher to make money online. While this was associated with prominent flashy banner ads, this is changing and expanding in many ways. In my view, the successful strategy is to use selected and relevant sponsors to introduce, give access or extend the value offered by premium content.
A relevant product or service can sponsor a news channel or RSS feed. Sponsors can also promote a rich section of additional related content to a standard article. Having a resourceful bibliography or annotated resources section in your next ebook or mini-guide is also fertile ground to effectively showcase relevant sponsors.
6) Related Reports
Another opportunity to make money blogging should see more in the near future is affiliate marketing of related research reports.
For sites that cover specific industry or niche topics, this is an opportunity to play an effective marketing role for research clearinghouses and large publishers of intelligence reports, analyst insider briefings, white papers and research findings.
These types of reports usually carry a higher price tag than normal ebooks and physical publications. The reason for the high price tag is because their content is focused on specific industries and topics and it has information that's hard to find elsewhere.
The technology that makes this possible is available from 21Publish (the blog hosting provider) in partnership with Market Research.
7) Affiliate Sales
As long as the affiliate products do not affect the publisher's credibility and provide pointers to useful, high-value products that the publisher fully endorses, affiliate sales are a rewarding monetization channel.
The commissions received for these sales vary depending on the product and the original vendor sales and marketing strategy. LinkShare and Commission Junction are two of the largest affiliate program brokers. Check out their catalogs to get a good idea of what products and commissions are available.
If you write and publish your own ebooks and other premium content publications, you may want to consider using an affiliate sales program to give your products greater reach and exposure.
My preferred provider for this is Share*It!, which offers full payment and an ecommerce infrastructure to online publishers while integrating a customizable affiliate program. You can set the commission and the products that you want your affiliates to manage.
Share*It! automatically takes care of payments and accountability of the transactions; it sends updates and timely sales reports both to you and to your registered resellers. The system even automatically creates content pages that the reseller can link to from her own site.
8) Paid Assignment
While many find this very controversial, more companies are using bloggers and independent sites to talk about, promote or cover specific products and issues.
A person can go to a company and become its official online blogger or take specific assignments for prominent sites and work for them, with or without credit, covering specific issues.
The important thing here is to be clear and upfront about it.
People are inflexible about paid assignments because they're afraid that the people they trusted and read without question before may now write articles because they are paid for it.
From my point of view, I say the following:
a) Question your sources, no matter how good they are and how fanatical you are about them.
b) Take that ham away from your eyes: there is no objectivity, outside of the transparency of the reporter, blogger or news reporter. Everyone is influenced in one way or another.
You don't need to take money from a customer to be influenced. What about all those journalists and bloggers who routinely receive free evaluations of gadgets and software that everyone else has to pay for? Doesn't that influence them? Invitations to press dinners? Product launches? Come on.
What counts, and what I think readers value the most, is being upfront, transparent and credible.
Assuming you have been, like everyone else, "exposed" to cover certain issues rather than others - what matters is how "transparent" you are about revealing your driving motives, interests and goals while writing on that topic.
Can you be influenced while remaining true to your opinions? I believe you can.
Making money per se is not a disreputable act, neither is getting paid to write about a certain topic: isn't this what newspapers command their editors to do?
What the critics of paid assignments have underestimated is the large demand out there for this. If the paid writers are transparent, accountable and professional with their assignment, then this is as legitimate as any other activity.
I guess you only need to decide if you are in it for the art or the part.
Marqui paid $800 to the bloggers who did the assignment. Each one was required to write four articles a month that at least mentions and links to Marqui.
Join a Publishing Network
If you are just starting up with your blog or small news site and need either more traffic, exposure or experience before you feel you can do any of the above on your own, then joining a group blog may work for you.
Kolabora, where I am always looking for additional contributors.
Working in a group blog can ease the pressure of having to post on a daily basis, gives you greater exposure in less time and exposes you and your ideas to an existing community of interested readers and other writers.