How to start a profitable blog from scratch in 2021 (ultimate step by step for beginners)

Did you know there are people in these internet streets who make 5 figures, 6 figures and even 7 figures with their blog?! Blogging is still profitable (yup, even in 2021!) and yes, you can absolutely start a profitable blog from scratch today.

Disclaimer: Blogging is not a get rich, quick scheme. It requires hard work, consistency, patience, and strategy. Today, I’m sharing how you can not only launch a blog but make money with it too!

You ready?!

First, I have a confession… blogs don’t make money.

Nope, I didn’t make a typo there. Blogs don’t make money. Businesses do. So if your blog is not a business, it’s going to be pretty freakin’ hard to earn money with it.

Your blog should have a strategy as to how revenue will be earned (will you sell a product? Offer services? Cash in with affiliate links?) as well as a business plan (who is your target market?). So as you create this blog, think from a business aspect…. not a hobby aspect.

Hobbies are things we do simply for fun when we feel like it.
A business is something we are dedicated and committed to. We push through even when we don’t feel like it because we earn money with it or plan to in the near future.

Before you decide to start a profitable blog, truly commit to it. No half-stepping, luke-warm, sorta-kinda, so-so, maybes allowed.

This page may include affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I might earn a small commission if you decide to purchase something.
 

How to start a blog from scratch 2020

WATCH THE VIDEO: How to make money blogging

(podcast version available below)

 

 

STEP 1: How to figure out your blog niche

Gone all the days where you write your blog like a Dear Diary article. Blog posts should answer questions and provide valuable content to readers. If you want to start a profitable blog then you should know that blog posts shouldn’t be about you, they should be about the reader.

Just like this specific blog post is helping you solve a problem (ie: how to start a profitable blog!), your blog post should do the same (answer a question). So the first step to starting a profitable blog is figuring out what exactly you will blog about.

blog posts shouldn’t be about you, they should be about the reader

Pick a niche when it comes to your blog. A niche that solves problems and you know enough about to be able to write about consistently. I personally believe any niche where you solve a problem (and people are willing to pay for a solution) is profitable. So no, your niche doesn’t have to be popular but it should be profitable.

Popular blog niches:

    • Beauty
    • Travel
    • Fitness
    • Food
    • Finance
    • Fashion
    • Relationships
    • Career
    • Gaming
    • Politics
    • Home Decor
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Love & Relationships
    • Hair
    • Family & Home
    • Photography
    • Diets (Such as Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo)
    • Technology
    • Investing
    • Lifestyle Humor

If you don’t have a lot of experience in a niche, please stay away from it. Don’t start a blog in a niche simply because you’ve witnessed others’ success in it. You have to actually enjoy what you’re talking about.

 

STEP 2: How to come up with a blog name you won’t regret later

 

How to decide on a catchy blog name

In a beautiful world where the sun is always shining and the sky is never gray, I would say pick out a blog name and then buy a domain but these days it can feel like all the good domains are taken especially the first 50 in your head.

So picking a name can be a little tricky.

First, you want to think about what your blog is about as this can help you when deciding a name. For example, if your blog will be about beauty then you can incorporate the word “beauty” or “makeup” into the blog name.

Also, look up words in the thesaurus for catchy words that are similar.

I recommend also checking the word safety tool to ensure your words have no unintended meanings. For example, Therapist Smith in URL form is therapistsmith.com… which can also be confused as ‘The Rapist Smith'” … and I’m sure you definitely don’t want that.

Additionally, word generators such as panabee are great at showing domains that are available with your chosen blog name.

 

PIN IT!How to start a blog and make money

 

Deciding to use your real name as your blog name

I took the easy way out and named my blog after myself since I am a personal brand. My blog does have a niche but it’s lifestyle-focused (my life) so that’s why I decided to just go with my name.

Additionally, going with your name allows you the freedom to change your niche a little easier since my name is not aligned with a product or service.

 

STEP 3: Purchase your domain & hosting (aka website)

Now it’s time to commit!
You know what your profitable blog will be about and what it will be called so the next step is purchasing your domain and website so it’s now physical (as in physically on the internet… not physical where you can touch it!)

FYI: A domain and web hosting are different. Your domain is basically your website name. Your hosting is the service that houses your website. Think of it as a phone. Your phone is a domain. Your phone service is your web hosting. You need a domain and hosting for your blog. My recommendation is Bluehost.

Bluehost

Once you have your blog name, you can go to Bluehost and purchase domain and hosting for as low as $3.95!

There are a ton of blogging website domains and hosting but the great thing about Bluehost is you a free domain name for a year included (that’s your blog name such as “www.BreonnaQueen”), it’s affordable compare to other host and it’s great for beginners.

Simply click on get started when you go to Bluehost and decide which plan works best for you!



STEP 4: How to design a blog and make it look pretty

I highly recommend choosing WordPress for your blog. Google favors it (meaning you’re more likely to show up in google search results which means MORE traffic to your blog) and options are endless when it comes to choosing a look for your blog!

When deciding your blog appearance, think about how you want your overall blog to appear, what colors you will use, and what features you want.

How to choose a blog theme

A WordPress theme is a skin that you install on your WordPress blog that allows you to change the way your blog looks and behaves. Some are free and some are paid.

WordPress offers thousands of themes in their WordPress directory and some are free.

Sites like Themeforest and Creative market offer premium themes at a price. I highly recommend considering a premium theme as they tend to be designed better and easier to manage.

As a lifestyle blogger, it was important that my theme has a feature to include affiliate products at the bottom of a blog post. For you, it may be important that your blog has two columns.

One feature you will absolutely need when choosing a theme is that its responsive and mobile-friendly.
A lot of your traffic may come from mobile phones so it’s extremely important that your website is desktop friendly, mobile-friendly, and tablet friendly.

For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger then I recommend looking at WordPress themes that fit the appearance of your vision. Here’s a WordPress theme for lifestyle bloggers that is chic, feminine, and mobile-friendly:

Another option you have is elementor. It allows you to customize your current theme and/or create new pages from scratch that are easy to design yet look professional. I currently use elementor on top of my premium theme for a custom website that fits all of my needs.

Here’s a quick youtube guide for using elementor as a beginner

Essential Plugins

A plugin is a piece of software that allows you to change either the appearance or function of your WordPress website. There are thousands of plugins to fit your needs but there are a few I highly recommend you download for your website.

TOP PLUGINS

Yoast Plugin is one of the top downloaded plugins for a reason! Yoast helps your blog post be more search engine optimization (SEO) friendly. Why is this important?

Well the better the SEO, the more likely your website is to appear in google search. You want this as it increases the eyeballs on your content!

WP Smush this helps decrease your page speed by compressing your image size and making it load faster

Anti-spam Bee As a blogger, you will face spam comments. A lot of spam comments.
One of the best ways to combat spam comments is with an anti-spam plugin such as an antispam bee.

 

STEP 5: Create core pages

 

Add pages to your website menu

There are a few pages you want on your website menu including:
1. About page where you share a little about you and why you created the website
2. Contact page where readers and sponsors can contact you. Make sure to include your email
3. Blog page where you share either blog categories (like I do) or a general link to your overall blog.
4. Terms and conditions page to protect yourself and all legal aspects of your business.

 

STEP 6: Write some blog post

When it comes to writing a blog post, I recommend defining the key problem/issue you want to solve for your readers and starting there. If your blog is about fitness for pregnant women then perhaps your first blog can share why you should workout when pregnant.

When it comes to how to start a profitable blog, you want to make sure that the content you are writing aligns with your business strategy.

If you are a personal trainer, writing fitness blog post makes sense if you want to sell your services (or in the future a product that aligns).

Make sure the content you are writing solves your target market problems and fits within your niche.

Plan the content

Plan the type of content you want to ask. What are the common questions you receive? What is something you want to address? What is a common misconception?

When it comes to what to write, I always say start off with common questions you receive or would like to address.

Research the content

Once you have the content you want to write, it’s time to research and ensure you’re using the right search terms.

One way to research your question is typing it into google and see what pops up (and even if it pops up)

How to start a profitable blog from scratch step by step

What pops up? Are there any blog posts that don’t address what you want? What keywords are being used?

Create a blog post outline

You should have an intro, middle, and end to your blog post. You want to highlight key points to cover in the blog post. Your blog post should solve your reader’s problem. It should answer a question.

Create a compelling blog title

You want to create a title that makes viewers want to click on your blog post. It should say what the blog is apart but in a way that piques your reader’s curiosity.

I also recommend checking your blog title in <coschedule. They rate your blog post titles. Aim for scoring at least a 75.

Write content

You know what the blog post will be about, you know the main points you will cover and you have a great blog title.

Now it’s time to write the content! Creating killer content is how to start a profitable blog!

Add visuals

Photos and videos make the content better. I like stock photo websites such as Depositphotos to find great photos for my blog. I usually wait when they have their huge photo sale such as 50 photos for $49 and buy it!

Another great option is Envato elements which has over 2,200,000 assets including unlimited photos, videos, and even wordpress themes!


Absolutely, under no condition should you use photos you found on Google. These are copyrighted and you can get in a wholeeeeee lotta legal trouble that way!

Proofread with Grammerly

No matter how many times I proofread my articles, there are always a few errors.

I HIGHLY recommend downloading the Grammarly app if you’re a blogger as it will help you with spelling and grammar. They offer a free version that helps with smelling and common grammatical errors.

Schedule your blog post

I highly recommend having a content schedule and setting an exact day that blog post goes live. I recommend it be on the same day and time each week.

For example, my audience knows to look for a new blog post on Sundays as my blog post goes live every Sunday at noon. By having a set day and time, your readers know when to look forward to your content.

Inside my profitable passion bundle, I supply a FREE content schedule you can use for your blog!

 

STEP 7: Set-up google analytics

Anyone that takes their time and provides valuable blog content wants it to be viewed and read. Google Analytics is how you find out if people are viewing it, how long they’re viewing it and even where they found your content.

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that allows you to see a various number of metrics relating to your blog including website traffic. This is something you want to set up immediately (or at least before you launch your blog)!

Here’s a video sharing how to set-up google analytics for wordpress

When it comes to how to start a blog from scratch, you also want to make sure that you’re creating a blog that people actually will visit (and you have a way to confirm that!).

 

So this is how to start a profitable blog from scratch! In my next post, I’m sharing how to skyrocket your blog traffic!

 

 

Should I start a podcast, YouTube channel or blog?

So you’re ready to start being a content creator but perhaps you’re wondering which THING to actually create content on?

You’ve heard podcasting is hot.

You’ve heard YouTube was great.

Perhaps, you’re being told blogging is where it’s at.

So now you’re wondering… which medium should you start?

With so many options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed so I’m sharing some pros and cons to decide if you should start a podcast, YouTube channel, or blog right now.

 

Should You Blog, Podcast, or YouTube?

 

 

Watch the video version here: Start a podcast, YouTube channel, or blog?


When deciding which type of content is best for you there are a few factors you want to consider such as:

1. What fits BEST for you?

Do you have a way with words that moves people? Are you super animated with your actions and expressions? Do you love to talk? Certain qualities will align with certain mediums better.

2. Which interests you the most?

Does the thought of being on videos give you hives? If so, blogging or podcast may be better for you for obvious reasons.
Perhaps you enjoy listening to podcasts and do it frequently? Then podcasting may be a better route for you to take.
Think about which medium aligns with your interest but be careful not to confuse skills with interest. You may not be that skilled at creating videos BUT if being on video interest you then definitely look into it.

3. Which medium is best for the content you are creating?

What medium will work best for the content you are creating? For example, if you’re sharing interior decorating then blogging or videos may be a better medium since its visual. On the other hand, if you’re a comedian then starting a YouTube channel or podcast would probably be best since it focuses on the audio aspect.

Think about which medium will benefit your type of content the best.

Blogging

If anyone tells you that blogging is dead they are either seriously misinformed or trying to keep all the blogging-money to themselves.

Blogging is still profitable and a great medium to choose if you enjoy writing.

Unlike creating a podcast or recording a YouTube video, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on equipment such as a camera or microphone. The only expense you truly have to get your blog up and running is a web hosting domain. Check out my step by step guide to starting a profitable blog.

However, there are a lot of blogs so it does take time to build your blog up to where it’s making money and bringing in traffic.

Also, gone are the days of writing blog posts like a dear diary page. If you want to make money with your blog then you will need to create blog posts that are geared towards helping the reader.

Pros to blogging:

  • It’s a low-cost investment compared to YouTube and podcasting
  • You can update old blog post allowing you to create content that never expires
  • It’s profitable in a bunch of different ways
  • Can help establish you as an expert in a field

Cons to blogging

  • It’s time-consuming and can take a longer time to grow VS other mediums
  • Not as personal as YouTube or Podcasting where you can hear and/or see the individual which helps to build a better connection with your audience
  • It can take a while to make money from your blog
  • Can be difficult if writing does not come naturally to you

Should I start a podcast, YouTube channel or blog

 

YouTube & Video

You can create videos on practically any platform these days such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Linkedin, and you can even do live-streaming!

However, I’m going to focus on the biggest video platform (and the 2nd more visited website in the world) which is YouTube.

YouTube is a great medium because it allows your audience to SEE and HEAR you which means developing a connection with your audience is easier. However, it’s a double-edged sword since it can be either a HIT or MISS (and honestly, some people will enjoy your videos while others will not).

While YouTube can be more expensive than other mediums to tap into (if you want certain equipment) it can be also pretty profitable (even for smaller YouTubers) since the platform does pay its creators once they hit a certain number of subscribers and watch time. I, personally,  earn at least $1,000 month as a YouTuber each month. There is a learning curve to YouTube but it’s not nearly as much competition as blogging.

Pros to YouTube:

  • YouTube is free to use
  • YouTube pays its creators via AdSense once you hit a certain criterion
  • YouTube allows you to build a deeper connection with your audience since they can see and hear you
  • It’s profitable a bunch of different ways
  • Can help establish you as an expert in a field

Cons to YouTube:

  • You do not own YouTube meaning if YouTube wanted to take down your account, they have every right since the platform is not yours
  • There is a learning curve
  • Creating high-quality videos can be expensive when it comes to equipment (Camera, lights, microphone, etc)
  • Once you have uploaded a YouTube video, you cannot go back and edit it like a blog post meaning videos can become dated
  • Recording and editing can be a hassle

Despite the cons to YouTube, I can say first hand the benefits that having a YouTube channel has given me.

 

 

Podcast

Podcasting has become extremely popular in the past few years and it’s growing each year!

The great thing about a podcast is it can be as cheap or expensive as you want. You can create a podcast for absolutely free on platforms like anchor or choose to house it on your website and pay for a podcasting host.

If you want to secure sponsorships with your podcast, I highly recommend housing your podcast on your website as you do not owe any of your podcast housed on anchor. Additionally, podcasting equipment can be as minimum as a microphone or your phone that you record on.

Pros to podcasting:

  • It’s profitable a bunch of different ways
  • People listen to podcasts for a much longer percentage of time than they watch video content.
  • Can help establish you as an expert in a field
  • Podcasts can be listened to from just about anywhere (to watch a video… you have to actually watch it. To read a blog post, you have to actually read it but with podcasting, you can be driving, washing dishes and even working out!)

Cons to podcasting:

  • Can take time to grow your audience
  • You will have to market your podcast heavy especially if you do not have an established audience
  • Once you have uploaded a podcast episode, you cannot go back and edit it like a blog post meaning episodes can become dated
  • Editing can be a hassle

 

podcast VS BLOG VS YOUTUBE

You don’t have to choose

The thing is… there doesn’t have to be an either/or

Now I realize that you can spread yourself thin focusing on all three and if you’re focusing in many different areas at once, it’s hard to master one or expect any kind of growth… But you can actually do all the 3 or 2 if you’re strategic about it.

Podcast VS Blog

You can create a podcast and then use a transcription service to convert your speech into audio form.

Simply upload your podcast to Rev.com and they will provide you the written form of your podcast which you can turn into a podcast.

Click here to get $10 off transcribing your podcast

YouTube VS Blog

You can also use a transcription service to turn your YouTube video into a blog post.

Simply upload your YouTube video to rev.com, and they will turn your speech into written form. Click here to get $10 off transcribing your YouTube video

YouTube VS Podcast

Once you have recorded a YouTube video, separate out the video from the audio and turn the audio into an MP4 for your podcast. It’s super easy to do and can be done on most video editors including iMovie and Wondershare.

You can also pay people to turn your podcast into a blog post, turn your YouTube video into a blog, and/or turn your YouTube video into a podcast! I recommend sites like Fiverr where you can pay as low as $5 to get it done.

When it comes to deciding if you should launch a YouTube channel, podcast, or blog, I say choose what makes the MOST sense to you! As someone who has a YouTube channel, a blog, and a podcast. I, first, started off with YouTube. Once I mastered that then I moved onto blogging too. Now that I have a team, I also have a podcast.

All of this took time. I didn’t start off doing all 3 which allowed me to focus without becoming burnt out or overwhelmed. When it comes to if you should start a podcast, YouTube channel or blog, think about which medium you can be the most consistent on right now and which medium excites you the most. I think that’s the option you should ultimately choose.

Listen to the audio version here:

 

Pin to Pinterest: Start a podcast, YouTube channel or blog

youtube vs podcast

 

How to write an engaging blog post that people actually want to read

As a content creator, learning how to write a blog post is essential. Learning how to write an engaging blog post is crucial. If you want to grow your audience and make money blogging, you’ll need to ensure your content reaches, entertains, and converts readers.

7 tips to help you write an engaging blog post that people actually want to read

 

1. Research, Research, Research

Hold up. Before you start writing, it’s important that you do a little research. There are a few types you’ll want to do before you get going: competitive research, topic research, and SEO keyword research.

Competitive Research

Competitive research is like Instagram stalking. It’s mandatory. You’ve got to see what other people are posting to know what type of content you want to create.

Start with a simple Google search of your topic. Take a few minutes to check out the top-ranking pages (aka your competition) to see what type of content already exists.
What is the format of these blog posts?
Do they include infographics, videos, shopping guides, product reviews, etc.?
Seeing what other people are—and sometimes more importantly ​aren’t​—doing can help you find a unique angle.

 

Topic Research

It’s important to fully understand the topic so you can be what fancy SEO (search engine optimization) experts would call an ‘authoritative source.’ A.k.a you know your stuff… or at least you seem like you do.

Regardless of whether you’re an expert on the topic or a total newbie, it’s important to have accurate, up-to-date info. Try to reference (and link for good SEO juju) to reputable sources like academic, government, or professional organizations’ websites.

If you’re an affiliate marketer, you’ll also want to research the brand and product you are promoting. Bringing up unique features or selling points can make your review seem more legit. For example, you might explain how the key ingredient in an anti-aging cream works, or that the t-shirt you are recommending is made using fair-trade, organic cotton.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is an important part of making sure your blog post reaches your target audience and provides the information they were looking for. Here’s a tip: you can research the best SEO keyword for your blog post for using ​the plugin Google Keyword Planner.

 

2. Create Content People Actually Want to Read

A kick-ass blog post also needs to be original AF. Remember when your high school English teacher would lecture you on plagiarism. I’ll skip the lecture, and just say that the same advice applies here.

This may sound obvious, but you also want your content to be interesting. Don’t get so caught up in SEO rankings and pushing content out just for the sake of consistency that your content becomes ​blah​. Trust me, no one likes to read boring blog posts.

 

3. Make it Personal

Honesty and transparency are important in blogging, especially if you are an affiliate marketer. When recommending a product, it’s important to disclose that you’ll be receiving a portion of the sale.

Be honest with your readers. Tell them your true opinion of the product, regardless of how much you may be getting paid. Tell a personal story. Document using it. Do a before and after to show off the end results. The more personal you make your blog post, the more successful it will be.

From time to time, you may end up not liking a product you are being paid to promote. If you didn’t like a product and are unsure of what to do, reach out to the brand and discuss how you should handle the partnership moving forward. FYI, there is absolutely nothing wrong with not liking something, and you should never feel forced to continue promoting a product.

It is estimated that the average reader spends less than a minute reading a blog post.

4. Make it Pretty

It is estimated that the average reader spends less than a minute reading a blog post. Yikes! So what can you do to prevent readers from ghosting your post? Make it pretty. Adding shiny things increases the chances of catching and keeping your readers’ attention.
Here are a few ideas of what to add: photos, GIFs, graphics, videos, and pull quotes.

5. SEO Optimize

The next step in how to write a blog post is ensuring it’s SEO optimized to perfection. If you’re taking the time to write a blog post (and also researching how to write a blog post, props to you sis), it’s worth taking the time to ensure your content will actually be seen.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is essentially a fancy way of saying your content makes it to the first page of Google’s search results which in turn helps more people to see your content.

When it comes to how to write an engaging blog post, you want to ensure you are creating posts that can actually be discovered by your audience. By SEO optimizing your post, you are helping people find your blog through Google’s search engine.

6. Proofread, Edit & Spellcheck

There are no ifs, and’s or buts about it. You need to reread your blog post before it goes live. Typos, spelling, or grammatical errors and confusing sentences can have readers clicking the back button far too fast.

Once you’ve finished writing, run the blog post through spell check. Read it out loud to yourself. Have a friend look it over. Whatever helps you get the kinks out!

I HIGHLY recommend downloading the plugin Grammarly to help you when writing blog posts! It has saved me so much time finding spelling and grammatical errors!

 

7. Mobile Optimize That Baby!

Making your blog post mobile-optimized is more important than ever

In 2019, 53% of web traffic came from mobile devices, and that number is expected to be even higher in 2020. This means that making your blog post mobile-optimized is more important than ever. After uploading your post, double-check it on your smartphone or adjust the dimension of your browser window to make sure that everything still looks flawless.

So here are some tips for creating an engaging blog post that people actually want to read!

 

In my next blog post, I’m sharing ways  ways you can start making money through your blog working with brands!