Do you want to make money online? A blog provides some of the simplest and most versatile online monetization opportunities.
To make the most of your blog, however, you’ll have to put a lot of effort and creativity in its development.
While you will have to complete a few basic steps when learning how to start a WordPress blog, it would still be important to have a preliminary strategy.
Every single decision you make will impact the future of your blog and its popularity.
When blogging with WordPress, you will need to choose the right domain and hosting, the right design template, content format and monetization opportunities.
If you’re clueless about how to start a WordPress blog, the following guide will take you through some of the biggest essentials.
What will your blog be about?
This is the first and probably the most important question you’ll need to ask yourself before moving on to any other consideration.
There are many general directions that have become quite popular in the blogging world – personal blogs, industry-oriented topics, how-to blogs, beauty and personal care, hobby blogs, etc.
When it comes to blogging with WordPress and making money, however, you can’t just rely on a general topic.
The more niche and specific your blog is, the easier you’ll find it to attract a targeted audience.
What Does It Take to Identify the Right Niche?
Think about the topics that interest you and that you have some knowledge in. After all, your blog niche should be something that you’re comfortable with.
Next, do some research about websites already established within the field.
As a beginner, it’s always best to pick niches that feature a large enough audience and limited competition.
Finding such a niche could be a very difficult task because of the sheer number of blogs out there today.
If you simply cannot find a niche that isn’t occupied, it may be a good idea to narrow down the topic a bit further.
There are a few other things you should take in consideration when choosing a blog niche.
How do you plan to monetize your blog?
Is affiliate marketing the main option you’ll be pursuing?
In such instances, you’ll have to join affiliate marketing networks like Clickbank and CJ Affiliate. By doing so, you’ll get a better idea about the number of advertisers in the respective field and its popularity.
A good topic should be evergreen. Don’t stick to something that’s popular today and gone tomorrow. If you do so, the window of opportunity for income generation will be pretty small.
Spend Some Time on Domain Name Selection
When learning how to start a WordPress blog, you will soon find out that even the small details matter.
The domain name you choose is one such detail.
A domain name is similar to a company name – it represents your brand in the online realm.
The best domain name should be catchy, memorable and descriptive enough of the blog’s main topic.
Your domain name will also affect your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, which is why you’ll need to do a bit of keyword research before picking.
A good domain name is also easy to type and it lacks hyphens or numbers.
Once again – check out the competition before opting for your domain name. You don’t want a website address that’s quite similar to what somebody else is already doing.
You can test out ideas and check domain availability via the websites of hosting service providers like Bluehost.
Pick Reliable Hosting
Speaking of hosting, it’s the next important consideration when setting up a WordPress blog.
Dozens of companies offer affordable hosting packages and if you don’t understand the technical terminology, you may fall for the most affordable offer out there.
Cheap, however, doesn’t mean reliable.
The bandwidth, uptime guarantee , hardware and infrastructure backing the service provision and the customer service are much more important.
Whether you’re a newbie or a more experienced blogger, we recommend Bluehost.
For more information about how Bluehost compares to other hosting service providers, check out this detailed comparison.
You can also sign up for Bluehost hosting today. The exclusive offer you’ll find here gives you access to a free domain, a website builder, one-click WordPress install and excellent customer support for just 2.95 dollars per month.
WordPress Set Up and Website Design
You have your domain and you have your hosting package. It’s now time to set up the blog itself.
Learning how to start a WordPress blog is fairly simple.
The platform offers a lot of convenience and various tools designed for the needs of people who don’t have technical knowledge.
Through your hosting control panel, you will need to install WordPress on the domain. When you do, you will get access to the WordPress control panel where you can start shaping up the blog.
The official WordPress beginners blog post will acquaint you with the key things you need to understand when setting up your blog.
One of the biggest essentials will be choosing the right theme.
The theme determines the design and the appearance of your blog.
WordPress offers an array of free design themes. You can explore the WordPress theme catalog or go to the blog’s WordPress dashboard, click on Appearance, Themes, Add New.
There, you will see a full list of the available possibilities. To install a theme, click on Install in the individual preview square.
Some themes have editing options you can access via the dashboard (look for a Theme Options button under Appearance).
Other themes will be customizable through the Customize button.
If you’re looking for ever more flexibility and control over the appearance of your website, you may want to opt for a so-called website builder.
Divi is an example of a website builder.
It is a visual page builder, which means you don’t have to be a developer in order to master the essentials.
Drag and drop element rearrangement is possible to organize the information on your blog in the most convenient way. You can also customize every single element appearing on the page (even if you can’t accomplish the goal through the use of the theme settings).
Are you still feeling somewhat clueless about setting up your blog?
We’ve got you covered.
Join our five-day blogging e-course to learn more about setting up a blog, creating content and making use of the best monetization opportunities right from the start.
A Few Tips for the Selection of the Right Design
Website or blog design isn’t supposed to be just pretty.
While aesthetics play a role, design is majorly important for ensuring a quality visitor experience.
You have to keep your primary goal in mind.
If you plan to launch a highly visual blog that features a ton of multimedia content, you need to select a design template that’s minimalist and that allows the videos or image galleries to stand out.
Blogs also feature a lot of text.
Reading on a screen isn’t the same as reading a book, hence the design template should make the page easy on the eyes.
Avoid black backgrounds and white text (reverse type) – these make reading incredibly difficult, especially if your blog features longer texts.
Choose fonts that are simple and clean. Sans serif typography is considered the best choice for online texts because it is clean rather than elaborate and decorative.
Good design templates may feature some decorative elements but these should be minimal and capable of enhancing the overall tone.
A beauty blog, for example, can feature a few details that are indicative of aesthetics and femininity.
If you have a biking blog, on the other hand, you’ll never pick a design template that will be suitable for a makeup or cosmetics procedure blog.
Try out the simplest, cleanest template you can find and if it’s missing some of the features you want for your blog, move on to something a bit more intricate.
Should You Pay for WordPress Blog Design?
In the very beginning, you will be clueless about the future of your blog. Hence, you may be reluctant to invest money in its development.
Because you aren’t 100 percent certain that your website is going to generate money, you may be unwilling to invest in it.
Occasionally, however, spending a bit on setting yourself up the right way can provide an excellent return on investment.
Free WordPress themes are a great choice, especially if you opt for a reputable developer.
A premium or paid WordPress theme, however, can provide a number of distinctive advantages.
Premium themes usually feature a more unique rather than generic design.
If you want to set up a WordPress blog that has its distinctive character and personality, a premium theme will be a better choice for you.
This is especially true for bloggers who are trying to succeed in a highly competitive niche.
A blog that looks like dozens of others will not attract a big number of potential readers, especially if some of the brands in the field are already well-established and popular.
In addition, a premium theme provides ongoing support and more frequent updates.
WordPress evolves all the time and developers have to modify themes and plugins on a regular basis in order to keep up and ensure compatibility.
Regular updates are of paramount importance for ensuring the quality and functionality of theme, as well as for boosting its security in a world of cybersecurity threats that are increasingly becoming more complex.
A premium theme will also be free from attribution links.
The attribution link is usually the one that appears in the footer and it mentions the company responsible for the development.
Premium themes do not require such a link and you can be 100 percent focused on your own branding.
Should you be opting for a premium theme?
The answer depends on your experience level and your goals.
When examining themes, you should pay attention to several key characteristics in order to compare their attributes.
The responsiveness, user experience, search engine optimization elements, customization possibilities and ease, security features and overall reputation of the developer are all important.
If you find a free theme that checks all of the boxes, you should definitely give it a try.
The one thing to remember is that the WordPress design can be changed effortlessly in the future.
Starting out with a free theme to test the idea is a viable option. Once your blog grows and you get a better idea about the needs of your audience, you can move on to a custom development.
Develop Your Content Strategy
Even if you have a beautiful design and you’ve set up an immaculate blog, your monetization efforts will fail in the absence of quality content.
The same applies to functionalities and engagement features especially tailored to the needs of your audience.
In this section, we’ll take a look at the ways to populate your WordPress blog and how to make the most of every single piece of blog content you publish.
Be Strategic and Consistent about Content Creation
Your content is the blog’s biggest asset.
Through content creation, you can establish your reputation in the field, get sufficient search engine traffic, establish your loyal audience and lay the foundations of long-term blog monetization.
Good content comes before the income.
You will need to invest creativity and effort in your blog before you can start expecting returns.
One of the biggest aspects to focus on when learning how to start a WordPress blog is how to be strategic about content creation.
The answer is simple – you have to do research.
Start by checking out the competition. Various tools can be used for the purpose of identifying the organic keywords competitors rank for, their most prominent pieces of content and audience demographics.
Such research will make it easier to determine the topics that will drive a targeted crowd to your pages and that will eventually result in monetization opportunities.
You will also need to use Google Analytics to track your content’s performance.
As you create more and more content, you’ll need to check the Analytics reports about the most popular pages, including the most popular website entry page.
Based on this information, you’ll know which pieces of content are doing the best among your website visitors and which ones have the highest SEO score.
Try to come up with a monthly content calendar on the basis of this information.
It’s a good idea to mix things up.
Good blogs feature an array of content types and formats.
A few of the possibilities to consider include how-to guides, listicles, opinion texts, case studies, video how-tos, infographics, image galleries, photo essays, interactive content like quizzes and surveys and podcasts among many others.
How to Publish WordPress Blog Posts
High quality blog posts are the heart and soul of your online presence.
To publish great blog posts, you’ll have to keep several essentials in mind.
Blogging with WordPress is simple and quite convenient. Still, you will have to do it a couple of times in order to get the hang of the process.
To create a new blog post, you can either enter the content directly in the WordPress content management system (CMS) or you can use a text-processing program (Word, OpenOffice, Google Documents) and paste the finished text into the CMS when you’re ready.
To get started, go to the dashboard, click on Posts and select Add New.
Your WordPress content editor will open up and you’ll see the fields for a title and for the creation of text or visual blocks.
The content you enter will be automatically saved periodically. Thus, you will not lose the content you have already written if something goes wrong.
Add your title and begin typing.
Keep the new blog post in the form of a draft.
This way, you will get to modify, format and edit the text until you’re 100 percent happy with it and consider the final outcome of your efforts ready for publishing.
In terms of formatting, there are several things you will need to do.
Break up the content into small paragraphs that are easy on the eyes of the reader and encourage scanning.
Ideally, you will have a sentence or two per paragraph (present one idea and when you’re done, move on to the next paragraph).
Sub-headings should be used to break down the content even further.
These tell the reader what each upcoming section is going to discuss. If people aren’t interested in the specific sub-topic, they can move on to the next section.
Proper formatting also makes use of bulleted and numbered lists.
When describing steps or presenting attributes, you should definitely rely on bulleted or numbered lists.
This is another formatting tool that simplifies the process of presenting complex information in the best possible way.
Finally, don’t forget to add images and videos to your content.
You can easily embed relevant YouTube videos in your blog posts.
Make use of this opportunity because visuals tend to increase engagement and they serve as an immediate anchor that the eye is drawn to.
To learn more about creating quality blog content in order to benefit from long-term monetization opportunities, join our free e-course.
How Long Should Your WordPress Blog Posts Be?
The next question pertaining to how to start a WordPress blog revolves around the length of your posts.
In the past, it didn’t really matter how long and complex the blog posts were, as long as the blog was properly populated.
Today, longer is definitely better.
There are several reasons why the length of the content matters and it affects the performance of your blog.
For a start, a brief blog post of about 500 to 700 words doesn’t allow you to take an in-depth look at a topic.
To establish your expertise and reputation in the respective field, you have to demonstrate your knowledge.
You certainly cannot present and support an original idea in 500 words.
In addition, the length of the content is one of the factors impacting the search engine ranking of blogs.
Statistics for 2018 suggest that the articles ranking on the first page of search results for the respective keyword had an average length of 1,900 words.
Keep in mind, however, that quality is much more important than length.
Don’t push yourself to create a 2,500-word piece because you believe this is the minimum for search engine success.
An article that’s full of redundancies and filler will affect the audience’s engagement with the content.
If the audience is not engaged, your search engine score will suffer.
You will have to strike the fine balance between an in-depth look at a certain topic and a text that provides quality information from start to finish.
Understand the fact that content can also take many forms today and perform well.
Infographics, image galleries and photo essays cannot meet the word count framework mentioned above.
Still, such types of blog content perform really well with audiences, they tend to be shared often on social media and they can have a great positive effect on search engine performance.
The best thing to do is to switch things up. Create longer, detailed looks at the main topics in the respective niche.
Provide your audience with diagrams, videos and shorter blog posts that highlight interesting details.
With time and experience, you’ll find it much easier to determine which types of content entice your audience the most.
Refrain from focusing solely on search engines and their algorithms.
Your audience should be your primary concern.
If you can make your audience happy and you get people coming back to the blog time and time again, chances are that you’ll also see good search engine optimization results.
Interactive Content and Functionality Planning
Setting up a WordPress blog that’s highly successful is also dependent on paying attention to the user experience.
The content has a serious impact but it’s not the only feature of the website that the audience will be paying attention to.
In the very beginning, you’ll probably feel lost in the plethora of interactive features WordPress has to offer.
Some of these can be accessed through the new WordPress visual editor called Gutenberg.
Through Gutenberg, you can add polls to your blog posts, embed videos, custom HTML blocks, audio, SlideShare presentations, Spotify playlists and much more.
Alternatively, you can opt for WordPress plugins in order to give your blog a little bit of oomph.
Those who don’t have a lot of blogging experience tend to overdo it with the interactive features and functionalities.
The trick here is to choose the elements that make the most sense alongside your content.
If you have a culinary blog, video embeds that provide additional details about ingredients or preparation techniques will make sense.
Blogs that support initiatives can feature Kickstarter buttons to simplify the process of getting donations to a project.
You don’t need everything but the kitchen sink featured on your blog pages.
Choose your plugins smartly – use the following guide to identify some of the best WordPress functionalities.
Interactivity is about enhancing the visitor’s experience and making the content more valuable.
Otherwise, you will be directing attention away from the elements of the blog that matter the most.
When you feel drawn to multiple plugins and add-ons, you’ll have to learn how to edit your choices.
Based on our experience, we can make the best blog setup recommendations in our five-day e-course. Fill out the form below to get started.
At this point, you’re probably getting impatient and you want to start monetizing.
Before you do that, you will have to take some time and build consistent traffic to your blog.
To earn more, you have to increase blog traffic.
Luckily, multiple strategies can be employed to accomplish the goal.
Create Quality Content on a Regular Basis
Quality content creation on a regular basis is the first prerequisite for traffic generation.
Your articles are the foundation of all your digital marketing efforts.
You need new content to share via social media and you also need pages that search engines can index.
Regular content updates will also affect your website’s performance by keeping loyal readers interested.
A person who has come to your blog once and who has liked the content will return for more.
If you don’t feature anything new that this reader will get to enjoy, chances are that they’re not going to come back.
Thus, content is needed to build your audience and to keep it coming back for more.
Just like in the case of article length, the frequency of updates shouldn’t come at the expense of a quality compromise.
Your editorial calendar will need to feature interesting new blog posts that the respective audience is going to enjoy.
There’s no universal formula when it comes to how often you should update your WordPress blog.
Publishing a new post at least once per week is great but if you have a sufficient number of interesting topics to cover, you should certainly create content even more often.
Get Active on Social Media
If you want to know how to start a WordPress blog that’s successful, you’ll also have to gain some experience with the marketing essentials.
Social media marketing is one such essential that can contribute to a quick traffic increase.
Take the following statistics in consideration if you’re hesitant.
HubSpot data for 2017 suggests that 76 percent of people use Facebook on a daily basis.
In the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has gone up 21 percent.
Nearly 80 percent of the millennial users who are active on Pinterest report that the social network is beneficial when they’re making purchasing decisions.
But that’s not all.
The number of social media users worldwide is 3.196 billion users – that’s a huge potential audience to reach quickly and rather cost-effectively.
Because of their prominence, such channels are increasingly being used to reach a targeted audience and to even provide high-quality customer service in the case of various international brands.
A good marketing strategy should be based on the use of multiple social media channels.
The reason is simple – each platform can be used to accomplish a specific marketing goal.
Facebook is ideal for the creation of a community.
Twitter is an excellent choice for direct more immediate traffic to your blog.
LinkedIn will enable you to reach professionals (if you’re a freelance writer, for example) and to even seek financing for your project.
Setting up your profiles is far from difficult or costly but you’ll need to do some management on a daily basis.
To drive traffic to your blog, you’ll have to post updates, interact with your audience and create a friendly environment and a sense of community.
Occasionally, paid ads on social networks like Facebook and Instagram can also be a good choice.
Paid advertising campaigns can help you drive highly targeted traffic to a specific part of the blog that you’d like to promote.
Guest Posting to Benefit from Well-Established Audiences
When you’re a newbie, you will have to consider opportunities for reaching large and already well-established audiences.
Guest posting and partnerships with other content creators can help you find your place in the respective niche fast.
In 2014, Matt Cutts from Google announced that guest posting is dead. Four years later, it’s still pretty much alive and kicking.
The strategy can be used to gain an immediate audience and to experience SEO benefits at the same time.
To benefit from this opportunity, however, you will have to do two things.
The first is to be highly selective about the guest content creation opportunities you choose.
The second is to create quality content that will present you in the best possible light and drive people to your blog to explore more.
When creating guest content, you are doing it for more than just getting a backlink.
You’re getting the exposure and you’re building your reputation.
Thus, the result doesn’t necessarily have to be immediate for you to experience the benefits.
Informing and adding value to the respective audience is the primary goal. If you accomplish this objective, you’ll eventually start seeing positive results in terms of maximizing your popularity.
To make the most of guest blogging, you will need to do the following.
Choose reputable, niche websites that discuss topics similar to the ones you plan to tackle on your WordPress blog.
Do some research and pitch content ideas that are original and interesting.
Spend as much time crafting guest content as you do on putting together your own blog posts.
Refrain from abusing anchor text. While this strategy did work at one time, Google has already changed its approach toward such types of link building efforts.
Refrain from pushing as many keywords as possible.
Write for a human audience, not for a search engine.
Do not mass produce a few articles that can be repurposed. The more tailored the text is to the needs of the audience, the better the results will be in terms of reputation establishment and growing your blog’s popularity.
If you need more assistance to pinpoint the best ways to grow your blog’s traffic, sign up for our free e-course by filling out the form below:
Considering the Best Blog Monetization Opportunities
It’s a good idea to let the traffic build before you research blog monetization opportunities.
If you want to know how to start a WordPress blog that generates consistently high income, we’ll let you in on a secret – you need a loyal audience.
Many of the best monetization opportunities will have you applying in order to start featuring ads or promo content.
CJ Affiliate is an example that has already been mentioned.
Each of the companies looking for affiliate marketers via the platform have the power to approve or deny blogs applying to their programs.
Unless your blog is well-established and it drives a sufficiently high traffic, chances are that you’ll be rejected.
Having a sufficient number of blog visitors will also be required to start monetizing.
The click through rate (CTR) of affiliate marketing tends to be pretty low. The number of people who go ahead to make the necessary purchase or opt in is going to be even lower.
Thus, you need thousands of views in order to monetize a few of those.
The very same principle applies to all other methods of setting up a WordPress blog and making money from it.
Traffic is incredibly important for passive income generation through a blog.
Whether you want to sell content, your own product, consultancy services or monetize through the placement of ads, you’ll need to have the promo content viewed by a large number of people.
Otherwise, you will be making peanuts through your efforts.
If you are serious about monetizing a WordPress blog, consider some investment in its reputation establishment.
You will have to do social media marketing and effective SEO. Paid campaigns to drive traffic to your site (via Google AdWords or Facebook ads, for example) will also make sense when you have a certain campaign that you’d like to grow quickly.
Once again, we’re going back to having a strategy.
You need a blog strategy before getting started and choosing a niche.
You need a thorough content strategy that will help you tailor your blog posts to a specific audience.
Coming up with a sound monetization strategy is also going to be important, unless blogging is just a hobby and you’re not that heavily interested in making large amounts of money.
There are dozens of blog monetization opportunities out there.
Some of them are much more exclusive and restrictive than others.
Begin with something a bit simpler and less demanding like Google Adsense, for example.
As your blog grows in popularity, you can explore alternatives bound to result in a much higher income. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Joining multiple affiliate networks and featuring dozens of links on every single page is simply going to turn your audience away.
Instead, focus on making your content informative and featuring promo content that makes sense in the context of the blog post you’ve just created.
With time, you will gain a lot more experience and you’ll find it easier to pinpoint the monetization options that have the best potential.
We believe these steps will help you complete your blog setup quickly and successfully.
We will also love to learn about your experience and the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in order to start your WordPress blog.
Give us the details in the comments below – your input could definitely aid someone who’s just getting started.
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