How To Start A Blog in 2020 (and make moolah!)

how to start a blogLet me guess.  

You want to learn how to start a blog, but you don’t know the steps to get started. 

So you search through Pinterest for how-to-start-a-blog posts only to learn how to get hosting and pick a theme…then viola! Suddenly you’re a money making blogger! As if.

Since there aren’t many bloggers being transparent and sharing their secrets, I thought I’d write an informative guide on what you REALLY need to know on how to start a blog. 

So, if you have NO IDEA where to start and you want to learn how to start a blog, I’ve got your back!

I’ll walk you through how to start a blog step-by-step, so that you have everything you can start writing blog posts asap. Let’s dive in!

Setting Up the Tech

To kickstart your blogging journey, let’s dive into the technical side of blogging. This will put everything…and I mean everything…into motion. 

Choose a Domain Name

First things first, you need to choose a domain name for your blog. This will be your blog’s permanent address on the internet, so you want to be strategic about this. 

Here’s why your domain name is important:

  1. It’s your blog’s brand – Usually your domain name will be the same as your brand’s name, so think about your brand and the future business that you want to create. 
  2. It’s permanent – Once you’ve chosen a domain name, people can type in your domain name in their browser and access it from anywhere in the world.

Here’s the bottom line: Your domain name is your brand, so do some work on your brand strategy before committing to a domain name. 

How to Choose a Domain Name

The domain name that you choose for your blog will depend on branding and the vision you have for your blog. But, here’s a few guidelines that might help:

  • Keep it short and sweet – Don’t use hyphens, symbols or numbers and stick with .com if possible.
  • Make it hyper-relevant – Choosing a name that ties to your blog topic helps people to quickly understand what your blog is about. 
  • Make it memorable – There’s a few blogs I’ve loved reading but because I can’t remember them, I visit their website less.
  • Use your name if you’re a personal brand  – If you’re not sure what you’re going to talk about or sell yet, you can use your personal name. I did this because I knew that my blog would evolve and that I wanted to have courses with their own branding. 

Buy Blog Hosting

By purchasing blog hosting, you’re renting space on the internet to “host” your website. This means that you OWN your website and you can monetize it.

This is why when starting your blog, you need to have a budget for paying for self-hosting. Hosting can be anywhere between $4-$20 a month, so what you go with will depend on your budget. 

If I were to recommend a hosting company it would be Bluehost. Setting up everything with them is easy, so it’s perfect for those who are just starting out. 

Here are some more reasons why I recommend Bluehost:

  • They are the most affordable and dependable hosting company out there
  • They offer your domain name for free for the first year
  • They offer free WordPress installation 

How to purchase hosting with Bluehost:

  • Go to Bluehost
  • Select your hosting plan. 
  • Choose your domain.
  • Create an account. Connect your account with Google or create a new account. You’ll need these details to log into Bluehost.
  • Confirm your package and pay. 

You need to decide if you’re going to pay upfront for 12, 24, 36 or 60 months. 

If you experience any difficulties or if you’re transitioning to a self-hosted site, you can use their 24/7 live chat feature. Just go to the chat icon and you will have someone there to answer your question.

Pick a Blog Platform (I recommend WordPress) 

If you want to create a blog, then WordPress is your best bet. WordPress is a 15 years-in-the-making platform that is built for bloggers in mind. 

Why is WordPress the best platform to create a blog?

WordPress holds up to 29% of all of the websites on the world wide web. Yup! It has a big market share and it’s built in SEO functionality is the most robust in the market.

Here’s a few more benefits:

  • It’s intuitive – It’s easy to set up your site and  blog posts.
  • It’s highly customizable – Compared to other platforms, it’s super easy to change the layout and look of your website.
  • It has strong SEO functionality – WordPress has put years into building a platform with strong SEO powers – which means your content is more likely to be seen.

Yes. ALL of that.

For those reasons, I recommend going with WordPress. Just make sure it’s WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. 

Let me explain the difference! 

WordPress.com

  • This is the for-profit service that’s built on wordpress.org software
  • You don’t have full control over your website, so you don’t own your blog
  • You have restrictions on how you can monetize your site
  • You have limits on how you can customize your site

WordPress.org

  • This is the self-hosted version
  • You are in 100% control of your site, so you OWN everything
  • You have freedom over how you monetize your site
  • It’s easy to customize because you have access to themes and plugins

If you’re serious about starting a blog, I’d go with WordPress.org because you own your website and you 100% own everything. 

Choose a WordPress Theme

A WordPress theme is like the cherry on the top for your site. Not only does it capture your audience’s attention as soon as they jump to your website but it’s something that makes your audience stick around. 

Here’s a few places to get wordpress themes:

When I first started blogging I thought that a free theme would be sufficient, so I purchased a theme from the WordPress theme library. But when I realised that I wanted to start selling products and services, I knew that I had to take blogging seriously. That’s when I knew that I wanted to invest in a paid theme, so that I could get better design and features.

Plus, I wanted my website readers to enjoy going to my site, so they’d come back to read my blog posts.

So, I bought the Moment’s theme from Theme Forest and I had that for over a year. I loved my theme and the aesthetics of it but I struggled to customize it the way that I wanted it to look. (Yup, it took me a while to figure it out how to make my website look half decent). And it didn’t come with easy to follow instructions to set up my website the way it presents itself on the demo live page. Plus, I had to pay £40+ every 6 months to get support that I had to top up a few times.

Fast forward to today: I use a theme from Bluchic and I love it! I was able to create my website within a week and I was really happy with the email support that came with the theme. 

And I’ve had a few comments already from people saying that they enjoy the layout and style of my theme, so it was definitely worth the investment!

However, if you’re just getting started with blogging, there’s no problem going with a free theme and keeping your costs low until you’re more clear on your blog strategy and where you want to take it. 

How to Install a Theme

Once you’ve found a theme for your website, it’s relatively easy to install it. Here’s how to start: 

  • Go to Apperance > themes on WordPress
  • Click add new
  • If it’s a free theme, search for the name in the official wordpress theme library and click “install” and then “activate”
  • If it’s a premium theme, click upload theme and upload the zip file. 

how to start a blog

How to Customize a Theme

Bear in mind, if you purchase a premium theme and install it on WordPress it won’t look like the demo version straight away. You’ll need to customize the theme by making a few changes.

Some premium themes will come with detailed instructions on how to set up your theme so that it looks like the demo version. This is perfect, because then you have easy step-by-step instructions that you can follow. (Bluchic has a detailed guide for every theme with videos, so customizing your theme is stress free!)

But most places like Theme Forest have documentation that is more technical and less easy to understand, so just keep that in mind! 

Saying that, most themes have a customizer. With the customizer, you can edit your theme and see the changes on your website in real-time. 

To access this go to appearance > customize 

how to start a blog

Choose Plugins

Now that you’ve got a theme, you want to think about what functionality you’ll need for your blog. This will depend on the goals of your blog, like whether you’re going to have an online shop.

Here’s a list of plugins that I’d recommend: 

    • Yoast SEO – Doing SEO on your blog should be a non-negotiable if you want your content to be seen. This is a great plugin for showing you how well your SEO is doing.
    • Social Warfare – This will help you grow your blog traffic with the use of social sharing buttons. (I have this on the top and bottom of every blog post!)
    • Thrive Leads – You need an email list, period. And thrive Leads makes list-building easy and effective. I get half of my subscribers from my pop up, so I’d definitely recommend it! 
    • Elementor – A FREE page builder on your site that you can use to create your main pages. 
    • Wordfence – Securing your site is a must. 
    • WP Forms Lite – You’ll need a contact form on your site, so potential clients can get in touch with you. I use this on my blog and it works like a treat for getting client enquiries!
    • Woocommerce – Perfect if you’re going to have an online shop on your blog.
    • Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress – Essential for  viewing Google analytics reports and real-time statistics for your dashboard.

But, don’t go overboard with plugins or they will slow down the speed of your website. Choose plugins that are a necessity and aim for no more than 10-15 plugins.

How to Install Plugins

To install plugins:

  • Go to your WordPress dashboard > plugins > and click “add new”
  • If it’s a free plugin use the search bar to find the plugin and click “install” 
  • If it’s a premium plugin, click upload plugin and upload the zip file. 

how to start a blog

After you have installed the plugin, the “activate” button will appear. Click on that to activate the plugin and go to settings to set it up.

Google Analytics

Before you start writing your blog posts, sign up for Google Analytics, period. It measures all of your website stats – visitors, views, most popular pages and readers in real-time. 

Yes, ALL of that.

You need this to understand your blog audience but also if you want to do ads and sponsorships because it gives companies proof how many eyes are seeing your content on a regular basis.

Keep Your Blog Legal

If you want to make money blogging, then it’s likely you’re going to grow an email list, earn affiliate income and run ads. Because of this, I recommend that you get your mitts on a GDPR compliant Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions template. 

You can browse through Google to find free templates but I strongly recommend finding legally approved contracts to protect your blog. My absolute favourite legal templates are from The Contract Shop. (Yes, it’s an investment, but it’s key to protecting your blog and email list!)

how to start a blogBlog Design Style

Your blog design can evolve, but you want to have a consistent look and feel on every blog post. 

Here’s a few things you want to consider for your blog design:

  1. Brand colours. I suggest sticking to 2-3 brand colours that you use on your theme and Pinterest account.
  2. Design your logo. For your logo, it doesn’t need to be super fancy. In fact, it’s more versatile and professional when it’s simple. You can use a free font for your logo, or you can buy a premium font on Adobe, if you want to up-level your branding. 
  3. Choose fonts. Keep it simple and choose 2-3 fonts for your blog. I went to Adobe TypekitFonts to find fonts on my site, but then when I update my theme I was happy with the font, so I didn’t need to do a thing!

Blog Photography

Blog photography is a great way to stand out online. Most bloggers use stock photos on their blog, so if you can create your own on-brand photography, you’ll stand out in a sea of bloggers. 

I have a confession though. My blog lacks brand photography and I’d like to make this more of a focus in my business. But it’s something that I think is going to move the needle, especially on Pinterest because it’s a visual platform. Saying that, I do have personal branding photos from a photoshoot I had in Santorini, Greece. I loved the photos but since then my hair is brown, my brand has changed, so getting an updated photoshoot is on the agenda for 2020!

Here’s my tips on blog photography: 

Personal branding photoshoot

If you’re a personal brand, you need a personal branding photoshoot – especially if you’re going to be selling services. 

If you think about it, people need to be able to trust you before they start working with you. They need to have seen your face a few times and see you as an expert before they hand over the credit card. 

Why is a personal branding photoshoot important?

Here are some actual concrete reasons why personal branding is important:

  • Build, know like and trust – It’s important that people see the real you online and personal photos help you build, know like and trust with your audience.
  • Credibility – High quality photos show that you’re an expert and a leader in your niche. This makes people feel confident in you and your work and they’ll be more likely to be your products and services.
  • Quality – Having professional photos will make people think “wow, her photos are so professional, I wonder what her products and services are like”.

Here’s the bottom line. Even if you’re just getting started with blogging get a personal branding photoshoot, period. It’ll show that you’re a professional in your field and they will set the expectations for your work. 

How to make your photos look professional

If you’re getting started with brand photography for your blog, you don’t need fancy equipment. You can use your iphone and some epic presets to make your photos stand out. But if you want to level-up your photography, you can use a Canon camera. (I’m currently saving up for this camera as we speak!)

How to edit blog photos

If you want to stand out as a blogger, invest in Presets because they’ll give your brand a cohesive look. Presets are saved settings or conditions made in Adobe Lightroom that you can copy and paste to other photos. Ideally, you want to use the same preset for all of your photos, so that your photos are consistent.

Think about it. 

People notice photos, graphics and design before anything else. 

So having  stand out brand photography is the first thing you have to create a solid first impression with your audience. 

Bottom line: Don’t overlook the power of blog photography. This is something that I wish I focused on earlier. If it’s feasible, consider getting presets for your blog. They’ll make you stand out from other bloggers because you’ll have consistency and style.  

Here’s how to find presets: 

  • Sign up to Adobe Lightroom. 

It’s $10 a month but once you start making money from your blog, you’ll be glad you made the investment.

  • Research presets. 

I’d check out places like Etsy to find presets for your brand.

Export photos for the web

Before you upload your photos to your blog, you want to resize them. Otherwise the files will be huge and they’ll take up memory and slow down your site. Plus, if you upload files that are 4,000 pixels wide, they hurt your SEO. Who would have thought it?

Before you upload any photos, make sure you reduce the file. To do this, I use TinyPNG to reduce the size of my images. And I bookmark this in my bookmarks bar because I know I’m going to need it for every blog post I publish.

Labelling your images

Google can’t see your images, so it’s up to you to tell them what your images are about. 

Here’s how to label your images:

  1. Use keywords in the alt text– Instead of saving your image IMG7001png, you want to include the keyword of your image. So, something like “how to start a blog” is better. 
  2. Be as descriptive as you can – Your alt text ends up being your Pinterest’s caption, so aim to include as many descriptive keywords as possible. The more descriptive it is, the more likely you’re going to be seen in a Pinterest search.

how to start a blog

Free stock photos

If creating your own blog photography feels overwhelming, you can take the liberty of downloading free stock photos. 

If you do this, make sure you use photos that are not copyrighted. 

Here’s some of my favourite sites for stock photos:

  • Pexels
  • Unsplash
  • Pixabay
  • Wikicommons
  • Canva 

Paid stock photos 

When you’ve been blogging for a while, you can get paid stock photos. Premium stock photos tend to perform better on Pinterest too, so it’s worth the investment. 

Here’s a few places to go for getting premium stock photos:

  • Social curator
  • Haute stock
  • Ivory Mix
  • Styled stock society

how to start a blog

Laying the Foundation

Find your unique focus

My favourite part! Before you publish anything on your blog you need to know your unique focus. This is essential if you want to make money blogging, period. 

What is your unique focus?

Your unique focus is a combination of what you’re good at and who you serve. It’s the sweet spot of your skills, passions and experience. 

Why is a unique focus is important?

Knowing your unique focus gives you clarity on your own value and how you can use that to help others. 

Your blog isn’t a business. You’re social media isn’t a business. There just platforms. 

If you want to make money blogging, you need to be able to solve a problem. But this is going to be impossible if you don’t know your own value and what you want to offer people. 

How do you find your unique focus?

To find your unique focus, you need to do some soul searching on your own skills and passions. 

Here’s some questions to find your unique focus:

  • What topics are you most passionate about?
  • What comes naturally to you? 
  • What skills do you have experience in?
  • What do people usually ask you advice on?
  • What is the future dream business that you want to create?

Here’s the bottom line – You need to know your unique focus if you want to make money from your blog, period. You need to know what your skills are and how you can leverage these to help others. Don’t overlook this step.

Define your tribe

If you’ve found a focus for your blog, you’re ready to find your tribe. 

But most people struggle to define their tribe because they don’t know their unique focus. Can you see how that happens? So, know what you want to create first and then see if you can find an audience.

To find your tribe, you need to see how many people are interested in your topic. Luckily you don’t need to play the guessing game to work this out. 

There are some helpful tools that will show you how many people are searching for your topic on Google. 

KW Finder is a keyword tool to help you find out how popular your niche is. If lots of people are searching for this topic on Google, you know that this is a decent-sized audience to focus on. 

Here’s how to use KW Finder:

  • Go to KW Finder 
  • Create an account for a 10 day free trial
  • Think of the words that describe your niche and type them into the search bar

how to start a blogThen, you’ll see a bunch of results that shows you how many people are searching for that keyword per month. Ideally, you want to find keywords that have above 20,000 monthly searches. 

And if you have other topics that you want to write about on your blog, repeat the same steps for those keywords. 

How to start a blog

Content Creation

How to create quality content

Ok, we need to talk about the importance of creating quality content. 

Why content is important

If you want to grow a loyal and engaged audience, you need to commit to creating high quality content. The online space is noisy and it’s hard to grab people’s attention. But, if you create content that speaks directly to your dream customers’ hearts then people will stick around.

You want to create high-quality content that helps your ideal audience in some way. This means creating content that addresses their struggles, answers their questions and improves the quality of their life. 

Do this and you’re creating a solid foundation for a business.

How to create captivating content

1. Create for your dream customer

Before you start writing blog posts, you want to think about your target audience and the type of content they want to learn more about. 

If you’re unclear on how to understand your audience, here’s a few questions that might help.

  • What do they want to learn about? 
  • What are they struggling with?
  • What do they need to grow?
  • What are their mindset blocks?
  • What do they need to be more confident about to take the next step?

Keep in mind that this isn’t set in stone and it’s likely that your audience is likely to change overtime. So, it’s worth coming back to this exercise every 6 months, so that you can see whether your audience has changed

The key is to write content with your dream customer in mind, so that you’re addressing their struggles and adding value to their life. When you’re clear on this, you’ll feel less overwhelmed with content creation because you’ll know exactly what they want and need.

2. Lengthy and long written posts

Ideally, you want to create a lengthy and long-written form post on client attraction, such as the complete guide to client attraction. 

When I write blog posts I aim for a minimum of 1,800 words, so that I can get ranked for that keyword and be seen by more people.

3. Add media to support your content

You also want to add images, videos, audio or research to support your post, so that your content is highly valuable for the reader. 

4. Engaging headlines

Headlines make or break you as a blogger. 

You want to use headlines to “hook” your audience’s attention and give them a reason to read your blog post. 

Let’s say for example that you write about brand strategy and client attraction. Now, you want to think of blog post ideas that are going to attract an audience. 

Luckily, there’s some free tools that you can use to help you create mouth-watering blog titles. I like to use Coschedule Headline Analyser because it gives your blog title a score. You can also use Sumo’s Headline Formulas if you’re stuck.

But, if you’re just getting started with creating blog titles, usually “how to” posts or list posts are the most effective because people know the takeaway of the blog post. 

Here’s more ideas for titles:

  • # strategies to…
  • How to…
  • How I created…
  • The Step-by-step guide to…

How to plan your content

Now that you’re clear on your niche, you want to plan the content that you’re going to create for your audience. 

Let’s say for example that your niche is small business owners who are struggling with getting consistent clients. In this case, they need to learn about client attraction, so client attraction will be a main topic for your blog. Then, when it comes to writing posts, you can plan your content based on your blog categories.

Now…how do you plan content? There’s a few ways to do this:

  1. Look at the most viewed/shared blogs 
  2. Look at the popular blogs on Pinterest 
  3. Look at competitors most re-shared blog posts
  4. Look at keyword research to see what people are looking for and create content based on those keywords
  5. Spend 1 hour every 8 weeks planning your content 
  6. Create a specific day that you create your content, so that it’s scheduled in the calendar

Grow your blog traffic

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

To grow your blog traffic and increase your chance of being seen in search engines, you need to have an SEO strategy.

The majority of this lies with the keywords that you use in your content. Which means that you need to find the keywords that your ideal audience are typing in Google to find your content.

Luckily there are tools, such as KWFinder that will help you do this. I recommend spending a few hours every 8 weeks researching keywords, so that you have a higher chance of your content being seen in search engines. 

Here’s another 4 things you can do to improve your SEO ranking:

  1. Use keywords in your headline
  2. Label each photo with your keyword
  3. Add an SEO plugin, such as Yoast SEO to WordPress
  4. Comment your URL on popular blog posts that have a higher domain authority than yours 
  5. Guest blog on other sites and link back to useful articles on your website

Build an email list

Another way to grow your blog traffic is to build an engaged and loyal community of people on an email list. 

Blogging is the hand shake and email is the sales pitch

Blogging isn’t the end game.

Blogging is….”hey, check out this inspiring blog post”.…

Email is….”hey you might need this and I have this for you”. 

So, whilst blogging is the introduction, your email list is an invitation to dive deeper and become a true fan. 

Why is an email list important? 

Having an email list gives you a way to stay in touch with your loyal readers, to tell them about your latest post and best deals. 

I use my email list to nurture my audience, share inspiration and motivation that I don’t share on my blog post. So, by signing up to my email list I also give my community exclusive content and resources. 

Then, every 1 in 4 times I send out a newsletter I share best deals, limited time offers that I don’t share anywhere else. These might be ebooks, courses or other time-sensitive offers. 

Sign up to Flodesk

If you’re just getting started with email marketing and you’re looking for a platform that’s intuitive and easy to use, I’d recommend Flodesk. It’s so easy to create branded emails with Flodesk, which means that you won’t need to faff about with creating HTML templates. 

Most email marketing platforms will charge you based on how many email subscribers you have on your email list, but with Flodesk it’s $19 a month if you sign up for the beta price and this price won’t go up based on the amount of email subscribers you have. (Wow!) This is unheard of in the email marketing space, so this seems like a no-brainer! 

Here’s how to sign up to Flodesk:

  • Go to Flodesk here for the beta price.
  • Create an account with your name and email address. 
  • Create your newsletter template (You’re gonna love the design features!) 
  • Create your welcome email sequence and deliver your opt in freebie in the first email that you send. (See below for tips on creating an opt in freebie!)how to start a blog

How to build an email list

To incentivise people to sign up to your email list, you need to create an incentive to attract your ideal audience.

Typically, this a freebie such as a PDF, cheat sheet or audio that you offer your audience in exchange for their name and email address. 

Essentially it’s a free bribe that you offer so that you can build a relationship with your audience so that they’re more ready to buy from you when you talk about your digital products.

What topics will you talk about on your blog? Is it digital nomad trips? Write a 30 day guide on how to become a digital nomad. Or is it photography? Then, cook up an ebook with your best tips on taking photos with a DSLR camera.

I tend to offer a freebie for list building and email ideas, because that’s an audience that I’ve wanted to focus on growing. 

When I started list building I had dozens of freebies left, right and centre but I found it overwhelming to manage. If I were to start again, I’d recommend starting off with one freebie for one audience. 

Can you make money from this topic?

If you’re planning to make money from your blog, you want to choose a topic that you can monetise. So, could you create a product down the line, like an eBook, that people might want to purchase? Are other bloggers monetizing from this topic? 

If you answered yes to those questions, then you can create a freebie that is going to be aligned with that topic. 

For example, I have a Pinterest course that I want to sell. (I can’t wait BTW!). So, it’s likely that I’m going to create an informative guide on Pinterest as a freebie. Does that make sense?

Here’s the bottom line. Make sure you can make money from your topic and that your freebie is going to naturally flow to your product. 

I spent months creating different freebies and after a few months I cracked the list-building game and I was getting subscribers every day. 

Here are the keys to creating a freebie that works: 

  • Easy to digest
  • Highly actionable
  • Something your audience wants and needs
  • Creates quick wins
  • Specific and solves ONE problem

If you’re not sure on what type of freebie to create for your audience, here’s some questions that will help:

  • What does my ideal client need to believe or want in order to sign up to my list?
  • What one problem will my lead magnet solve for my ideal audience?
  • Which one quick win will my audience get?

Have a Pop Up Strategy

One way I’ve grown my audience this year is by adopting a pop up strategy. I started implementing this year and now I talk about pop ups all the time to people. 

Put a pop up on your website and use it to get your freebie in front of your audience.

I started promoting a generic opt in freebie and I was amazed by how many email subscribers I was getting. I was getting subscribers every day after implementing this and this was just a small tweak that I made to my website.

Here’s how to start: Sign up to a pop up provider, such as Optinmonster or Thrive Leads and design a lightbox pop up on your site. Then, sit back and watch the party grow!

how to start a blog

How to Make Money Blogging 

Solve a Problem

If you want to make money blogging, you need to be able to solve a problem for people. 

Think about who you’re trying to help and how you’re trying to help them. What are they struggling with? What questions do they keep asking you? What question comes up time and time again? 

Once you know what your audience is struggling with, you can create content to address their struggles. 

Bottom line. If you want fast cash from blogging, forget it. You need to add value and fulfil a need for people. To do this, you need to consistently create content, add value and more value, and in this process, you can begin to sell them things that will help them. These can be your own products and they can be affiliate products. 

Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate marketing is an incredible way to make money blogging. 

Most people think that affiliate marketing is a cheap way of monetising your audience. However, over the years many pro bloggers and content creators have used affiliate marketing to serve their community. 

When I first started blogging I was unsatisfied with my affiliate income but I learned the hard way that I needed to invest time in affiliate marketing to get it right. 

Affiliate marketing is not as simple as slapping a few links on your blog. You need to have a strategy. 

The keys to affiliate marketing are:

  • Having a “tools of the trade” page on your website where you promote tools that you use in your business.
  • Having no more than 2-3 affiliate links per blog post
  • Knowing how to drive traffic to affiliate links
  • Creating sales funnels that lead to affiliate links 
  • Knowing the process of launching to promote affiliate programs effectively 

If you want to take it up a level you can create a free video course to help your audience with one particular problem. Then, you can include affiliate links throughout your free course. 

Sell Services

A great way to monetize your blog that not many bloggers talk about is selling services. There’s a ton of services that you could offer but these are going to be based on your skills, passions and experiences. 

For my blog, I decided to niche down on email marketing, digital strategy and launch strategy for course creators. I created 3 key offers on my services page, so that when readers visit my site they know what I do, who I help and how I help people. 

In the future, I want to have a fully blown online course business, where most of my income comes from online courses, but to achieve that I know I’ll need to put in a lot of groundwork to build my email list and do Facebook advertising. 

In the meantime, I do 1:1 consulting to help people who are a couple of steps behind me. I get a lot of fulfilment from doing this and it gives me a lot of information about my dream customer and what they need. This is great for my business and my average customer value ranges from £500-£1,500. 

Why are services beneficial?

If you’re just starting out but you have plans of selling courses in the future, I’d recommend selling 1:1 services. It’s the quickest and most effective way to bring in a healthy income stream, whilst you’re building your audience and developing digital products. 

If you want to give this a go, I’d recommend creating a lineup of services to increase the chances of getting more customers and helping those who might be hesitant. 

Here’s how it works:

  • You offer your audience something for free, such as a free guide or masterclass to help them with a specific problem. 
  • Then, you invite them to learn more from you and offer them a lower priced offer or “intro offer”, such as a tripwire. (This might be an ebook, lesson or mini course). 
  • They purchase your tripwire offer and you pitch your “lead offer” as your next step, which might be a strategy session. 
  • And you can present your “bullseye offer”, which is likely to be your premium consulting or coaching service. 

By having different offers at various price points, you’ll have something to offer people based on where they’re at and how much money they’re willing to spend.

Sell Digital Products 

After you’ve been blogging for a while, you might want to start selling digital products. Having a blog is a great platform for an online shop! 

For me, it’s creating ebooks, email marketing kits, launch roadmaps and online courses. Like I said, I’m a consultant and I offer course creators consulting on email marketing, digital strategy and launch strategy. I love empowering others with knowledge and helping people create results in their businesses. 

So, for me, it made sense for me to sell digital products, so that I could help more people who might not be able to afford my services.  

This year I created an Email Marketing Toolkit to help course creators grow, nurture and sell to their email list. It includes email marketing templates to help them sell more online courses and win 1-1 clients. I also included a Black Friday creation campaign, so that people have a step-by-step plan to create a stellar campaign. (And once they know how to create a Black Friday campaign, they can use this to create a promotion for other times in the year!)

Maybe you could create an ebook, printable or planner to sell as part of your blog to make an additional income?

Related: 4 Steps To Create a Tripwire and Build Trust With Your Audience

how to start a blog

Power Up With Pinterest 

Let’s talk Pinterest! Pinterest is a beast in the blogging world and I regret not using Pinterest sooner.  

One of the biggest myths about Pinterest is that it’s just another social platform for women who want to pin decor and crafts. But Pinterest is more of a search engine than it is a social platform and it’s an underutilized powerhouse for driving traffic to your website. 

And for years bloggers and business owners have been using Pinterest to grow their blog traffic. 

Set up a Pinterest business account

If you’re serious about your blog, I’d recommend creating a Pinterest business account. This will give you analytics, so you can see which pins are performing the best. 

Here’s how to set up a business account:

Step 1) Sign up with your name and email address

Go to Pinterest.com and sign up with your name and best email address.

Step 2) Pick a username

Choose a username for your account, which is the closest to your business name. For example, I used pinterest.com/victoriahockaday because that’s my business name. But if you’re not a personal brand, then you can use the name of your business. 

Step 3) Convert to a business account

Convert your personal account to a business account by going to business.pinterest.com. Go to “login” and login with the details you used to sign up to Pinterest. 

Step 4) Claim your website

Follow the steps to claim your website. This is easy if you have Yoast SEO! All you need to do is go to the Pinterest confirmation box and copy and paste the HTML code. You can get detailed instructions on how to set this up on Pinterest’s help center.

Niche down your profile

Now that you know how to create a pinterest business account, you want to niche down your profile. When you create a Pinterest business account, it isn’t a library of pins for you. Instead, it’s a go-to library for your audience. 

This means that you want to niche down your profile, so that it’s clear who you are and what you’re going to be pinning.

For example, for my account I focus on creating content on email marketing and online courses. So, I added the keywords “email marketing” and “online courses” for my profile. I also created the following boards:

  • Email marketing tips and tricks
  • Online course creators
  • Pinterest marketing tips

Another important thing to point out with Pinterest is that you want to remove any boards that aren’t relevant to your ideal audience. So, if you have boards that have nothing to do with your niche, delete them or make them secret.

How to create share-worthy pins

I currently have 130,000 monthly views on my Pinterest, so I know a thing or two about how to create share-worthy pin!. When I first started experimenting with Pinterest I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But after 5-6 months of using Pinterest I could see from my analytics what pins were performing better. 

One of my pins on “email ideas” regularly gets a lot of saves, so I’ve worked out how to create shareable pins.

Here’s the keys to creating share-worthy pins:

  • Go for long-tailed keywords on Pinterest
  • Use large text, so your keywords stand out
  • Use on-brand colours on your pin designs 
  • Have an opt-in incentive on your pins
  • Include your URL in your pins
  • Include keywords in your title
  • Use high quality photos

How to grow your followers on Pinterest

  • Do not just pin your own photos
  • Pin daily to be viewed as an active pinner on Pinterest
  • Automate your pinning 
  • Add your latest pins to your sidebar
  • Join other group boards to get your content seen by more people
  • Remind followers on social that you have valuable content on Pinterest

Related: 22 Pinterest Tips to Skyrocket Blog Traffic

Leverage Automation

Probably one of the biggest things I learned about Pinterest was scheduling my content, so that Pinterest could see that I was an active and “high-quality pinner”. 

When you’re running a service-based business, you don’t have the time to manually pin on Pinterest every day. Luckily, you can use a scheduling tool, such as Tailwind to pin your posts ahead of time.

Tailwind is an approved partner of Pinterest and it allows you to schedule your pins for weeks in advance, so that you’re active on the platform. 

For example, I usually spend 1-2 hours per week adding my pins to Tailwind and pinning 150 pins for the week ahead. 

You can also discover high-quality content to pin from other content creators and bloggers in Tailwind Tribes. This is a feature that Tailwind offers to encourage people to share each others content, so that you can expand your reach.

For example, I’m part of two Tailwind Tribes in my industry of digital marketing and here’s an example of my content being shared in different Tribes. For Digital Marketing Tribe I’ve received 103 re-shares and 590k reach!

Here’s how to get started with Tailwind:

how to start a blog

  • Sign up to Tailwind – Sign up to a free trial with Tailwind and fill in your name and password.
  • Have a pinning routine – I’d recommend pinning 15-25 pins per day.
  • Reshare high quality content – Look for high-quality content and repin them to Tailwind Tribes.

how to start a blog

Blog Organisation 

How to Create Blog Ideas

Every 8 weeks I plan my blog posts, so that I know what I’m going to write about ahead of time. 

If I have an idea for a blog post I’ll write it down in my notebook and I’ll do some keyword research to see whether it’s worth writing about. If it’s a viable idea I’ll add it to my Trello board in the “blog ideas” column. Then, I’ll come back to my board when I’m scheduling my blog posts.

Create a Blog Schedule

If you’re serious about blogging and monetizing your blog, you need to be super organised. When I first started blogging, I didn’t have a clear blog strategy, so I wasn’t very organised.

But when I knew that wanted to sell products and services, I knew that I needed to build an audience and take blogging seriously. So, I started publishing blog posts more regularly and my readership tripled. 

At the moment, I’m focusing on creating core posts that are going to bring more traffic to my site and moving forward I’m going to publish at least two blog posts a week.

Most of my traffic comes from long posts on my blog, so I aim to write a super long post for every other blog that I publish.

If you’re just getting started with blogging, I’d recommend publishing a blog post every week.

Create a Content Calendar

Once you know what days of the week you’re going to publish your blog posts create a content calendar for your blog posts.

I use Trello for my blogging calendar because I can create a card for every blog post idea. Then what I do is I have a column for every step of the blogging process, such as “blog ideas”, “in progress”, “publish blog”, “promote on social media.”

how to start a blog

How to Start a Blog in 2020

There are many things you need to think about regarding how to start a blog, but there are some things that should be a non-negotiable. 

Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Have a unique focus – Make sure you choose a blog niche that you’re passionate about, so on the days when you don’t feel motivated you can still write content. 
  2. Have an end goal – Your blog isn’t the end game. What products or services are you going to sell? Will you do affiliate marketing? Can you create ebooks that people will buy?
  3. Make your blog legal – You need a policies page, period. You can purchase templates from the contracts shop to protect your blog.
  4. Stick to one social platform – It’s easier to get more traffic to your blog when you stick to one social platform. I’d recommend Pinterest without a shadow of a doubt.
  5. Keep ads to the minimum – There’s no problem with ads but they take your readers away from your site. By doing so you’re losing potential customers of your products and services. Your business is going to be more sustainable in the long-haul if you have a product line of products.

And that’s it for today! Pheww that was long!

Are you thinking about starting a blog? What questions do you have on how to start a blog? I would love to help if I can. 

Here’s more posts on blogging:

4 Blogging Tips and Tricks You Wish You Knew Sooner

How To Make Money Blogging (And what I wish I knew earlier!)

P.S Did you find this post useful? Do me a favour and save this pin to Pinterest. You’re the best 🙂

how to start a blog