If you’re reading this, you probably want to start a monetized blog.
The first thing you should know is that while blogging can be lucrative, you will need to work hard and be very patient if you want to see results.
Few bloggers become an overnight success because one post went viral. Even those which appear to have risen to the top quickly have usually put in years of planning and investment.
Many people who have unrealistic expectations when they start their blog and then give up when they realize their lifestyle doesn’t quickly become glamorous.
Others lose steam after they keep churning out content, but their audience doesn’t increase. Again, this is where planning and investment have a major role to play.
If you want to increase your chances of success when you start a blog to make money, you need to ask yourself some important questions first.
Many people choose to start blogs about things they’re interested in. This is natural and it’s not necessarily a bad idea.
However, if you want to make money from your blog, you need to choose your niche carefully.
You don’t want to pick an area that too broad, but you don’t want to be so specific that your audience is almost non-existent.
Saying you’ll blog about cars or home décor is much too broad, but can you sustain a blog that’s only about throw cushions?
You need to put yourself in a position to offer something to readers that they won’t be able to get elsewhere. Maybe you want to focus on caring for vintage cars or do-it-yourself home décor.
Do your research to see what people are searching for in the niche your considering. If you can answer their questions with your blog, you’ll be off to a good start.
2. How Will You Offer Value?
Your blog is not about you. Even if you use it to share your experiences and opinions, it’s not strictly about you.
At least, not if you want to make money. You need to focus on your audience and what they need.
If they spend money with you, it will be because you have something they need, not because they think you deserve their money.
Think about the problems your audience has and how you can solve them. Answer their pressing questions.
Consider how your content with help readers to take action. Can they improve their lives in some way?
You may provide your audience with services, products, advice or links to other helpful resources.
Put them first and you won’t go wrong.
3. Why Do You Want to Start a Monetized Blog?
Obviously, you want to make money but why do you want to go the route of a blog? Do you want to establish yourself as an expert on a particular subject?
Are you trying to inspire or educate others? Do you want to provide actionable advice to a particular audience?
You may also want to start your blog as a portfolio to help you land clients for web design, copywriting, editing or other creative services.
It’s important to know your “why”. Your motives have implications for the way you craft your posts, the look of your site and even how you promote your posts.
If you are only focused on the money, you may find it very difficult to remain committed when the going gets tough. And blogging does get tough at times!
Having deeper reasons for blogging can help you to keep trying even when it seems like your audience isn’t growing fast enough or you aren’t making enough money.
4. How Will You Make Your Blog Stand Out?
You will have competition. No matter how much effort you put into choosing your niche, there’s content of all types competing for your audience’s attention.
There’s needs to be something unique to attract people to your blog and keep them there. It may be your use of words, photos, interactive graphics, or your unique cultural perspective.
You may be blogging about female entrepreneurship like many other people but if you become known for your humorous content, your content will stand out.
Think about how you will display your creativity before you launch your monetized blog.
Consider all your branding elements and not just your blog content.
Is the name of your blog easy to remember? Is your logo distinctive? How do you want people to feel after they’ve read one of your blog posts or watched your videos?
All these components work together to establish your brand.
5. Who is Your Target Audience?
You need to be clear about who your target audience is and what they will want from your blog.
If you launch a blog which reviews fine dining restaurants, you should be thinking about the needs of business people or high-income earners.
This has implications for your social media content and the products, services, and affiliates you will focus on.
Since you want to make money from your site, you need to ensure you are getting it in front of the people who will click your affiliate links or purchase your products and services.
While you can make changes to your blog as time goes on, it is best to do your research before you begin.
6. How Frequently Will You Post?
Many of the leading blogs and websites post once or multiple times per day. However, they are established businesses with teams of writers and editors.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably be on your own. If you try to post every day, your content may not be of the highest quality.
While consistency is important, you need to create a schedule which you can realistically meet.
Maybe you can only post once per week. That’s fine if your readers know you’ll have a new post every Friday.
Creating a content calendar which takes holidays or other special occasions into consideration can help you to plan content well in advance.
If you have some money to invest in your blog, consider hiring someone to help you with writing, SEO or creating graphics.
This will help you to increase the blog’s output without you extending yourself too much.
7. How Much Time Can You Spend Working on Your Blog?
Blogging is hard work. Not only do you need to write engaging posts, but you need to ensure they are search engine optimized and reader-friendly.
Graphics also need to be optimized if you really want your blog to rank. And this is probably the easiest part.
You also need to promote your blog consistently. This takes the most time and will be discussed a little later in this article.
Ask yourself and answer honestly: Do you have the time to do all this? You have to make a commitment to spend a period of time on your blog every day if you want a successful monetized blog.
If you only have a couple hours every day, make sure you sit down and really get some work done.
Blogging is time-consuming so you need to be realistic.
8. How Much Money Can You Spend?
You shouldn’t overlook the necessary financial commitments when you start a blog to make money.
You will need to buy a custom domain and a hosting service at the very minimum along with a premium theme.
That’s just to get your blog going. On a consistent basis, you will need graphics, photos, an email marketing service, social media automation tools and more.
Depending on what you want to do with your site, you may also need to hire someone who knows coding.
You can try to do everything to yourself so you don’t have to spend money, but do you have the time for that?
There’s nothing wrong with learning some new skills but think about whether you can set aside several hours to work on all these things.
Be honest about how much money you can afford to spend and start your blog within your budget. You can add features as time goes on.
9. What Type of Content Will You Post?
Many people think about blogs as just first-person accounts in the style of mommy blogs or some food blogs.
However, there are several types of posts you can create including listicles, Q&As, full-length feature articles, think pieces, and infographics.
Think about some of the topics you want to cover and how they can best be represented.
You can and should mix up your content, but you should know what types of content you’ll want to focus on.
Do you need to line up interviews with experts or attend events so you can write reviews? You’ll need to plan ahead for these.
Consider if you also intend to create podcasts or videos to augment your written content.
10. How Will You Make Money from That Content?
There are several ways to make money from blogging.
You shouldn’t rely on only one source of income and neither should you try every method at once.
Many people start blogs assuming they will make money from banner ads, typically Google Adsense.
However, there are several other ways to monetize a blog including affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, courses, membership groups, and e-books.
Try to come up with two or three monetization methods before you start your blog. You will likely make several changes throughout your blog’s lifespan.
11. How Much Do You Want to Make Each Month?
The answer to this question will affect many decisions you make about your blog.
Some people want to live off their website while others just want to be able to pay a bill or two each month.
If you fall into the latter category, you will still need to put in lots of work, but you don’t necessarily need to be as aggressive as someone who is looking to quit their 9-to-5.
Working with a target in mind will help to keep your expectations realistic and choose your monetization methods carefully.
12. How Will You Market Your Blog?
When you start a monetized blog, you need a constant stream of readers and you need to retain your first-time visitors. This means people need to know your blog exists and you need to promote it constantly.
You can post in Facebook groups, place links to your blog in your email signature, send out newsletters and of course, share your blog on social media platforms.
Guest posting on other blogs can also help to attract new readers.
The key thing is to match your marketing efforts to your target audience. You need to find out where they spend time online so you can concentrate on those spaces
Are your readers on Facebook or Instagram or are they more likely to open their emails than use social media?
If your target audience is specific, like ER nurses or web developers, you’ll benefit more from using targeted Facebook or Twitter ads.
Don’t waste time and money promoting your posts to a general audience which won’t be interested in your content.
There are many ways to promote a blog. You can’t do them all, but you need to try some of them, so you know what works best.
Do some research before you get started.
13. Do You Have the Resources You Need to Create a Successful Blog?
Bloggers don’t just write; they wear many hats. When you’re now starting out, you’ll probably be doing most things yourself.
This means taking photos, creating promotional graphics, posting to social media, building email lists, responding to messages, and more.
Then there are on-page and off-page SEO and tweaks to your blog’s design to consider.
Think about which of these skills you enjoy, which you’re good at and which you need help with.
Getting help may involve signing up for a course, watching a webinar or asking a friend to guide you.
However, you don’t need to have the best of everything to start a blog to make money. You may do some of your best work when you improvise and make do with what you have.
The important thing is to know which resources you have in abundance and which you need to seek out when you’re starting your blog.
Take stock of your skillset and plan accordingly. If you’re great at writing but not so good at networking and promoting, you know you’ll need help in this area.
There’s a lot of work involved if you want to start a monetized blog. However, it can be pay off if you have a sound strategy in place.