1. Find Your Niche. Before starting your blog, you first need to know why you are blogging in the first place — not only what you are going to be writing about, but also why. Many people start a blog so they can write what they are passionate about. Others start a blog so they can make money. The important thing to remember is that millions of new blogs are going live every month, says Johnson, so, you need to make sure your blog is different and actually provides value. Finding the perfect niche for your blog and targeting to an exact audience is one of the best ways to find success with a blog. Bear in mind that you don’t have to create something that is totally brand-spanking new, something completely innovative that has never been done before, in order to succeed. You simply need create something better than what is out there.
2. Understand Monetization Strategies. “It’s so important to cut down the focus of your blog while planning out your content creation and monetization strategy before getting started,” Johnson suggests. The monetization methods of your site are going to play a huge part in how you make money from your audience. You need to find your niche market, cater to your audience, grow your traffic and monetize in the process. A few monetization methods include:
- Google Adsense – On site advertising is one of the most common methods for monetizing a site. The easiest way to do this is by joining the Google Adsense program. All you need to do is place a line of code on your site and Google serves the banner ads. Your site then earns money everyone a visitor clicks on one of Google’s ads.
- Direct Ad Placements – If you have a popular site with a target audience, you can start selling your own advertising at a high premium rate. Advertising is usually sold on a monthly or CPM (cost per thousand) basis to advertisers directly.
- Affiliate Marketing – Informational and review sites do extremely well with affiliate marketing, which is the concept of getting paid a commission for referring a lead or sale to another site. With affiliate marketing you don’t need to create any products, hold inventory, process sales or even talk directly with customers.
- Product Creation – Many blogs start out as sources for information, but as they grow a following and brand loyalty, they also tend to create their own ebooks, courses and products to generate business.
- Services – If you are an expert in your niche and offer consulting and online teaches, services would be a great monetization method for your site.
3. Find Out Where You Stack Up. “In finding a winning concept for your blog and creating killer content that makes it stand out from the crowd, it’s also important for you to realize how other sites in the blogosphere are making money,” Johnson adds. This infographic-based article highlights some of the most successful blogs online today and how much money they are earning. It also breaks down the various different types of bloggers out there and the best monetization methods that they employ.
4. Find the Right Tools. Once your blog is up and running, it’s time for you to start working on your site visitors, increasing traffic and measuring your results. There are plenty of tools for bloggers to use to help them stay ahead of the curve, while also saving time in the process. “The best way to compete with the biggest bloggers in the world is to use the same tools they are using,” Johnson says. He recommends the tools featured in this comprehensive article cover everything from content ideas, keyword rankings, headline creators, competitor analysis and more. “At the end of the day, with hundreds of millions of blogs in the world, your success ultimately comes down to you.”
A version of this story appeared on the StartupCollective, a virtual mentorship program designed to help millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, which was launched by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).