Neil Patel Insight: How to Start a blog that Generates good income in 2020
Note: This article is a Neil Patel insight content, only few tweaks were added!
If you’re thinking of starting a blog, either this content found you or you found this content, you’re in the right place.
Today, i will explain to you every single step that you need to follow to create your blog, from growing it and monetizing it in less than an hour.
Let’s get straight to business and go over how to make your blog and teach you how to become a successful blogger.
Step !: What ideas do i want to put into it
If you really want to create a blog, you don’t need the biggest idea of all time, No! But your blog should be focused on something straightforward and specific.
Remember, no matter what idea you have, or no matter how unique you think it is, it is not new. it exists.
But if you have experience, you have a distinct voice, and you probably have a vibrabnt personality that will make others want to get to know more about you.
When it comes to deciding your blog’s niche, there are two key factors and questions to consider.
1. Do I enjoy learning about this particular topic?
If you don’t like the topics you write about, it will definitely show in your writing. you should not even start a blog if you don’t love what you want to blog about.
Whichever topic you choose to write about, you need to love it, and it should be an interesting drive. if not, you will run out of reasonable ideas very fast. Moreover, you won’t be able to consistently create content that will build your blog’s audience.
if you probably still not getting it right, think about what anyone close to you comes for when they seek advice. it might be fitness, software, relationship advice, or anything that you enjoy talking about.
2. Are there many others who are interested in the same things?
You might feel like the only twenty years old who’s obsessed with cooking. However, there are many others out there.
You can do a quick Google search and you will find over 81,800,000 results aimed at many others just like you.
You might be wondering if your idea is too weird or too broad. if you really want to start a to travel blog, stay away from generic keywords like “travel”. choose something more specific, like backpacking. why? because travel is a general keyword that gets you lost in the search crowd.
Step 2: Name your blog and get a good web hosting
This is a fun and most important step when you want to start your blog. Because your blog name is your identity and brand. and that is how you will be remembered. However, do not overthink it.
When you want to start a blog from scratch, you will need two major things.
The first thing is a domain name. Your blog’s name and address. For example, mine is tobioluwatoyin.com. Domain names cost roughly $10/year and if you do not find the right domain name, no worries you can still create your blog and change the name later.
And the second most important thing is web hosting. web hosting is a service that enables your blog to come live on the internet. without web hosting, your blog cannot be seen online. and without a domain name, your blog will not have an address. they can’t work without each other.
There are many web hosting companies you can choose to buy from. Prices ranges from $3 to $1k/month. It all depends on what you can afford and what quality you need for your blog.
If you are just starting a new blog, you can use Bluehost. They are known as the biggest and one of the most dependable hosting company and i have a deal where you can pay just $2.95/month and you will also get a free domain. I also get compensated for every signup, however, this does not add to your cost.
Do you want my honesty? here is it: you reeally dont need to have anything too fancy at the starting stage. once you are able to hit over 20,000 unique monthly visitor, you can consider upgrading, however bluehost can match up to your expectation. Click here to get the Tobi Oluwatoyin Bluehost special.
When choosing a name for your blog, you might want to consider these tips.
- Choose a .com domain over others. They’re memorable and easier to remember.
- Aim for just 2-3 words. Unfortunately, the majority, if not all single word domains are already taken.
- Try as much as possible to use a keyword that represents what your blog is about. This helps people quickly identify your blog’s niche and helps search engines distinguish what your blog is about.
- Avoid the use of numbers and hyphens. They are mostly difficult to remember.
- Go for something simple, niche-compactible, memorable and catchy.
- If it’s for personal brands, use your own name or a variation of it.
Step 3. Install WordPress – largest blogging software
it’s impossible to start a blog without blogging software. i built and run all of my blogs on WordPress because of its high user friendly. free and powerful interface.
If maybe you want to make a blog that is not on WordPress, you will find that it is more expensive as WordPress offers thousands of free plugins that allow us to modify our blog in a way we desire.
Don’t worry too much, even without a technical balance you can install WordPress in just fice clicks.
Here’s how to go about it.
Now, after you get your free domain and hosting account, you can log in and use your first click on the “Install WordPress” icon.
Select the “do it yourself” version and click on the “Install” button.
Your third click hits on the “Check Domain” button.
The last two clicks will be for acknowledging their terms of service and finalizing your installation.
And withing a few minutes, you’ll have a fully functional WordPress blog up and running. But do not forget that’s only the starting point.
In blogging world, WordPress designs are called themes or templates.
Out of the box, its normal your new blog will look something like this:
This is not a fancy display, but if you don’t mind it, it’s workable.
There are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. But, while looking for themes, it can be easy to get trapped in “Shiny Object Syndrome” and not walk away with anything.
If you don’t like the current theme, You can always swap out your theme any time, so don’t get too caught up with the current look.
After the steps above, you need to log into your WordPress admin dashboard. You can access this by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
This is where , you’ll need to enter your user credentials to access your dashboard.
In case you’re new to WordPress, the dashboard might look a little daunting at first, but you’ll be an expert with practice from time to time.
if you want to install a new theme, hover over the “Appearance” menu in the sidebar and click on “Themes.”
To search for flashier themes that will instantly make your eyes twinkle. Simply click the “Add New” button at the top to get access to thousands of free and premium WordPress themes.
What you want might be different from mine and fortunately, WordPress has a “Feature Filter” that lets you search for something that will fit your style.
Take your time depending on what you want. after you have applied the filters, you will see amazing themes that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars in design fees. Since I like you, it’s free to install😉
Step 5. Customize and optimize your WordPress blog
There are no limits to customizations that you can make on a WordPress blog. But we will stick with the essentials.
Wp themes are the foundation of your design and include the core functionalities a site needs to display. Luckily, WordPress also has plugins that can add to or extend the functionality of your blog in various circumstances.
For example, you can use WordPress plugins to add forums, contact forms or sliders. In most cases. while they might seem like basic features, they aren’t always available by default.
From here, Click the “Customize” button on your active theme.
Optimize Blog for Search Engine Traffic
Search engine optimization known to all as (SEO) is a multi-billion dollar industry.
SEO is the process of optimizing your blog to be found in search engin results for particular keywords and phrases.
I agree that a good part of my blogging success to being easily discoverable for relevant search terms has helped me build my network.
if you are probably new to SEO, then this will help you. Because, WordPress makes it very simple to optimize the technical aspects of your blog.
The widest aspect of your SEO effort will be to create engaging content for people. Either through videos, text, or images, your work as a blogger is to create a relationship with your visitors and readers. And the best way to achieve that is through relatable and informative conversations.
You can simply get started by downloading a wp plugin called Yoast SEO.
To install Yoast SEO, Hover over the plugins menu on the side and click “Add New.”
In the search bar, search for “Yoast SEO” and it will be the first result that comes up.
Once you Click the “Install Now” button. Then, the “Activate” button once the installation is complete.
Now you can access the plugin’s settings from the new SEO menu in the sidebar or by clicking the icon at the top.
From your wp dashboard, go to “Your Info” and set the foundations for your blog.
You must make sure that your website name and tagline are correct. Then, identify yourself as a company or person. Click the “Save Changes” button and we’ll move on to the next step.
The next thing, go to the “Webmaster Tools” tab and click “Google Search Console.” Google Search Console is a webmaster tool that allows you to submit your site to their search index and optimize visibility.
Sign into your Google account, whether that’s your Gmail or Drive account and once you’ve logged in, click the “Alternate methods” tab and select “HTML tag.”
You will see a new drop-down that appears with your search console meta code. Copy the alphanumeric string without the quotation marks.
Now, paste the meta code shown into the Google Search Console text box and click “Save Changes.”
Then finally, click the “Verify” button.
As you surf around in Google Webmaster Central, you will be able to gain lots of data-driven insight, such as keyword phrases you rank for, link errors on your blog and the ability to give Google a nudge when you publish a new post.
Now, you should go to the “General” tab and start the installation wizard.
Here, Yoast will take you through a series of 10 steps to quickly optimize your WordPress blog.
The first step is just a welcome screen which you can easily choose to skip.
In the second step, choose the environment that best suits your site. Most likely, you’ll choose the production environment, which means that it is a real website that you intend on driving traffic to.
And step 3 is the website type, choose blog and click next.
we can skip the next step since we already set this up before.
Now In step 5, you can add any social profiles that are associated with your blog. then click “Next” when complete.
Step 6 is about post visibility. The default settings are fine to use. Set your “Posts” and “Pages” to visible and “Media” to hidden.
Next, you will have to decide whether you will have multiple authors on your site or a solo blogger. If you choose to add another writer in the future, you can change these settings later.
And If you want to have Yoast SEO plugin pull in data from Google’s search console, step 8 is the place to do it. Click on the “Get Google Authorization Code” button.
At this stage, a new pop-up will appear where you can allow Yoast to access your search console data. Click the “Allow” button to confirm access.
second to last In step 9, you can verify your website name and choose a title separator.
Title separator is a symbol used to separate your blog post’s title and your website’s name in the meta title information and this is what searchers will see when finding your blog through a search query.
For example, if you found this post in Google, you might have saw “How to Start a Blog – Tobi Oluwatoyin.”
That symbol is just a matter of personal preference. hit the “Next” button when you’re ready to move on.
Here we are as the final step is no step at all. It is a congratulatory message confirming that you have successfully optimized your SEO settings for your budding WordPress blog.
One last Yoast SEO setting worth configuring is an XML sitemap. XML sitemap is a file that lists the URLs for your website as It helps Google and other search engines crawl your site for new posts and pages. Fortunately, Yoast has a built-in feature that automatically updates your sitemap, so you can click it and forget it.
Here In the “Features” tab, set the “Advanced settings pages” to “Enabled” and save the changes.
Here, a new group of menus will appear in the sidebar, under “SEO.” Select the “XML Sitemaps” menu.
Now select the “User Sitemap” tab and toggle “Author / user sitemap” to enabled. Don’t forget to save your changes.
You can now play around with these settings endlessly, but everything that we’ve set up to this point will get you started on the right track.
Time to Set up permaks:
Permalinks are best known as static hyperlinks that lead to a particular blog post or page. By default, WordPress sets your permalinks to yourdomain.com/postID.
Therefore, In no way is this sexy and it doesn’t help anyone understand what the page is about before viewing it.
The most simple fix is to set a permalink structure.
To do this, In the left sidebar, mouse-over “Settings” and choose “Permalinks.”
Right here, there are a few options to choose from. I use the “Post name” structure on my blog which uses keywords from my title to create a unique permalink.
You should save the settings after you’ve selected it. You’ll see this in action a bit later and If you’re still with me, you’ve purchased your domain and web hosting, installed a theme and optimized your website to be crawled and found by search engines.
Now, it’s time we get to the bread and butter of blogging. what are the things you’re going to write about in your blog?
That takes us to the next step.
Step 6. Brainstorm Amazingblog topics
On the technical aspect, your blog is now all set up and ready to go. When it comes to topic generation, the world is your oyster.
The largest part of your blog posts will come from personal experiences, passions, successes, failures and new learnings.
70% of bloggers use questions as search queries, like:
- What should I write about?
- What should i blog about?
- Should I start blogging?
Naturally, you should start off with some questions of your own because I use a series of questions and a systematic process to come up with my blog topic ideas.
There’s no need to worry, It’s not complicated and it won’t take too much time.
By following this process, you should be able to come up with about 50 working topics within a half hour of distraction-free time.
Pull out a pen and paper or open up your favorite word processing tool.
The goal of this exercise is to get 10 answers for each question. If you can think of more, note them all.
It’s time to look through the lens of your readers with these 5 questions.
1. “What excites, intrigues or stirs passion in my readers?”
- As a golfer, I get excited by hitting my driver farther. I’m fascinated by mental performance. I’m passionate about healthy living.
- As a new stay-at-home mom, I get excited by budget-friendly ideas for the family. I’m intrigued by sleep-training. I’m passionate about homeschooling.
- As an avid camper, I get excited about finding undervalued camping sites. I’m intrigued by survival tactics. I’m passionate about minimalist living.
2. “What are common challenges my readers go through?”
- Golfers might struggle with slicing the ball.
- Stay-at-home moms may find meal planning challenging.
- Campers might struggle with packing light.
3. “What character traits do my readers possess?
- Serious golfers have emotional stability.
- Moms are patient and have a sense of humor.
- Campers are adventurous and resourceful.
4. “What do your readers love about your niche?”
- Golfers love the challenge of perfection.
- Stay-at-home moms love being a part of their child’s mental, physical and emotional development.
- Campers love time away from the busy city life.
5. “What do your readers hate about your niche?”
- Golfers hate playing with partners who complain all day long.
- Stay-at-home moms hate being looked down on by others.
- Campers hate getting eaten alive.
You get the point. Now that you have about 50 answers, you can begin dissecting blog post ideas from each answer. The sky is the limit.
Here are a few examples you can extract from one answer in your list:
- Cure Your Slice: The Foolproof Guide To Hit The Fairway Every Time
- 3 Reasons Why You’re Slicing The Ball And One Stupid Simple Fix
- Never Slice Again: 9 Drills To Play Like The Pros
- 7 Training Aids For Dead Straight Ball Flight
- How To Shoot Even Par With A Nasty Slice.
Try to come up with a catchy headline that will draw your readers in and then throw them a one-two punch in the rest of your content.
Step 7. Write your first masterpiece
WordPress uses an intuitive editor, similar to your favorite word processing tools. New entries are created directly from your WordPress admin.
Click on “Posts” in the left sidebar.
This will populate a list of your blog entries in descending order. Since we’re working with a fresh install, you won’t see anything here.
To create a new entry, click the “Add New” button at the top or in the sidebar.
You’ll be brought to the editor and you can begin blogging.
Click the “Toolbar Toggle” icon to get a few more editing options to spruce up your posts. The new tools are especially useful when creating subheadings throughout your articles.
First things first. Add one of the titles that you developed in your brainstorming session in the title text box. Immediately after, WordPress will create a permalink based on the keywords used in your title.
You can start typing the body of your article in the large text area and write until you feel happy with your content.
You’ll want to add visual assets to your blog posts as well. Images help engage readers and can often illustrate concepts better than words.
To add new images, ensure that your text cursor is in the place where you want your image to appear. Click the “Add Media” button.
Now, drag and drop your image file into the media box.
After your image has uploaded, select your image and click the “Insert into post” button. You can format sizes and add hyperlinks to your images if you wish.
Your image will automatically insert into your post. Here’s what your post will look like.
After you’ve completed your article, you’ll need to make a few last minute optimizations using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Yoast has post specific settings that can be found immediately under the main text area.
The 4 main settings are “SEO title,”“slug,” “meta description” and “focus keyword.”
Completing these settings will generate a preview of what your post will look like when it is discovered in Google’s search engine results.
Create SEO titles that are attractive to click and meta descriptions that explain what your post is about.
The Yoast SEO plugin will provide real-time feedback, as you begin to optimize your title and description.
Aim for as many green lights as possible, but don’t stress if you’re unable to get a perfect score. If you can get 80% green lights, then you’re on the right track.
Finally, if your blog has thumbnails, you should set a featured image. Featured images are thumbnails that appear above each post.
You can set your featured image by clicking on “Set featured image” at the bottom of the right sidebar.
The media window will pop-up, and it’s just a matter of dragging and dropping your photo. Once the upload is complete, click the “Set featured image” button.
Before you publish your post, you can view what your blog post will look like by clicking the “preview” button at the top of the page.
Before you hit that publish button, you want to make sure that your entry looks and feels the way that you want it to.
Here’s a quick checklist to consider, before you hit the publish button:
- Speak in a conversational tone.
- Content flows naturally.
- Easy on the eyes with adequate white space.
- Use headings to separate sections.
- Bullet points and lists.
- Check for typos and grammatical errors.
If everything checks out, you’re ready to publish your first blog post.
Scroll to the top of the page and click the publish button to post immediately.
And, here’s what my final post looks like.
Congratulations. You’ve successfully set up a blog that looks great and is optimized for search engine traffic. Feels good right?
Step 8. Create an editorial calendar
One of the fatal mistakes I see bloggers make is to blog only when they “feel like it.”
They forget that new fans want more content and they fail to deliver.
Unforeseen circumstances will arise. You’ll let a new Netflix series take over the time that you could have spent blogging.
Life will continue to throw curveballs at you, whether you start blogging or not.
Consistency is undervalued and it needs to be something you prioritize.
I’ve written over a thousand articles and it’s not because I type 7,000 words per minute.
It’s because I follow an editorial calendar without compromise.
Schedules aren’t just for big publications like The New York Times and the Huffington Post. They’re for regular people like you and me.
Think about it like this.
If you have a doctor’s appointment in your calendar or even a lunch date with a friend, you’re going to honor it. Worst case scenario, you’ll reschedule for the next available time-slot.
Editorial calendars work in a similar fashion.
They make aggressive goals reachable in micro steps. They keep you organized. They streamline your social media and email marketing efforts.
And, you’ll be surprised at how an editorial calendar can even help you grow in character and integrity.
We are creatures of habit.
The better you keep your dates, the faster you’ll grow your audience.
So, how do you get started and how much will it cost?
Just open up a new Excel spreadsheet. If you have multiple writers, you can share the sheet using Google drive.
Start with four columns – Publishing Date, Title, Keyword and Notes.
Your needs might be different than mine, so feel free to add additional columns as needed. Common additions might include “Author,””Category” and “Persona.”
The simpler you keep it, the easier it will be to digest and follow.
Look through your calendar on your iPhone, Android or the one hanging on your fridge. How often can you post?
Monthly? Weekly? Daily?
Be conservative with your goals, because consistently missing deadlines can lead to quitting altogether.
Next, go through the answers that you came up with in your brainstorming session and add them under the “Title” column.
Your titles don’t need to be perfect yet. Throw in a working headline that you can spruce up before publishing.
Sometimes, the best headlines come after you’ve written your article. You’ll have a crystal clear picture of what your story is about and who it is for.
The “Keyword” column is intended for SEO purposes. If you’re targeting specific keyword phrases that you’d like to rank for, add those in there.
If nothing comes to mind, you can do some keyword research later on.
Finally, there’s the “Notes” column.
This section is a perfect place to write down brilliant ideas that come to mind. Notes also act as a great tool to stay focused on the topic at hand and tackle it coherently.
You should be able to write up a set of 25 blog post topics with deadlines that you’re confident about keeping.
That’s almost half a year’s worth of blog posts for a weekly writer.
Okay. You have the editorial, but you’re still missing the calendar.
Go to Google Calendars and set up a new calendar. You can do this by clicking the down arrow to the right of “My Calendars.”
Click “Create New Calendar” and add a name, description and time zone. You can share this calendar with other participants on your team.
If you don’t have team members, share it with your spouse or a good friend who is willing to keep you accountable to your goals.
After you’ve filled out the essential information, click “Create Calendar” and get acquainted with your new best friend.
Make sure that your calendar is selected in the left sidebar and change your schedule view to weekly.
Click on a time slot under a day and add your blog post title as the “Event Title.” I recommend that you set a notification for a couple of days before the publishing date.
If you only write whenever it’s convenient, you’re heading down a dangerous road.
You’ll eventually run out of ideas, lose motivation and forget about the drive you once had to start your own blog.
Editorial calendars are a quick fix for a blogger’s procrastination.
Step 9. Monetize your blog.
The last step is to monetize your blog. You may not have a desire to monetize your blog immediately. If that’s you, then it’s a good thing.
Hear me out.
Conventional styles of selling looked something like this:
- Think of an idea.
- Create a product.
- Try and sell the product.
- File for bankruptcy.
This method has been unsuccessful for so many individuals and businesses, because they didn’t build an audience before creating it.
They based market demand off “gut feelings.”
And, that’s why blogging is the perfect channel for monetization.
You can build an audience through various mediums, like your email newsletter, blog comments and social media channels.
Ask your audience
Blogging allows people into your life. If you think of your favorite bloggers, you might feel like you know them on a somewhat personal level.
Also, your market research becomes significantly easier. I ask questions at the end of my blog posts that generate hundreds of comments.
Alternatively, you can also send email blasts with a survey, using Google Forms, to gain valuable information on what your target audience wants.
By building a blog, you open doors to talk with potential customers. People who will give you honest feedback on what they want from you.
If 90% of your survey respondents tell you that they want a formal course on digital marketing, then what do you think they want?
A digital marketing course that they will pay for.
Make money with advertisements
If you don’t want to sell a physical product or service, you can do what other publishers are doing.
Sell advertising space.
Anyone can put an ad on their blog using Google Adsense. But, the real money comes from private sales of ad placements.
If you build a high traffic blog, you can make a full-time income selling ad spots on your website to large corporations. The only thing that you need to do is to add their banner and keep doing what you do best – write about your passion or expertise.
Sell physical products
Another avenue I explored is in the nutrition niche.
Mike and I built a blog from scratch and transformed it into a $100,000/month blog selling a private label fish oil supplement on Amazon.
Our success was mainly due to our blog. We published great content, understood our audience’s needs and directed them to our Amazon sales page.
The reason why monetizing is the last step in creating a profitable blog is because money shouldn’t be the driving factor in your early efforts.
As you build meaningful relationships and community, your audience will steer you in the right direction by sharing their needs.
If you want to make money blogging, then it will be your job to fulfill those needs.
Starting a blog is easy. Creating one that will be successful and make money requires hard work, dedication and grit.
But, the rewards far outweigh the risks.
Blogs are affordable and more accessible today than they have ever been before.
Like anything else in life, there will be obstacles that attempt to throw you off course. But, I encourage you to go forward with your passion and share it through your own blog.
Everything that you need to get started is here.
As you begin your blogging journey, remember that you’re speaking to humans.
Be you. Be adventurous. Be honest and transparent.
As you continue to consistently create great content, your tribe will flock to you, listen and respond.