Blogging, How To, Marketing, Money & Finance, Writing March 21st, 2009
Are you a writer? Would you like to make some good money writing about topics that interest you? Then starting a blog is something that I highly recommend. Because of my experience and success, I’ve had a couple friends and family members ask me how to set this up. I thought I would share it with everyone here for free. This is a Complete guide to starting a WordPress Blog and earning money from it. And as a bonus you can download a free checklist to keep you on track. Here are the topics that will be covered:
- Create Blog File
- Picking a Domain Name
- Sign Up with a Web Host:
- Point Domain to Web Host.
- Install WordPress
- Login to WordPress
- Install WordPress Theme
- Set Up Permalinks
- Install Plugins
- Set Up RSS with FeedBurner
- Set Up Google Analytics
- Making Money – Set Up Advertising
- Getting Traffic to Your Blog
- Learning More
- Can Someone Do This For Me? Yes!
What Is a Blog?
A blog is a website that has some automatic organizing features included in it. Your theme, the look and feel of your website, will be consistent on every page. Your readers will find navigating your website very easy if it is in the blog format. They can browse by category, tags, or date. And you can make money all while offering your content free to your readers. How?
How Blogs Make Money
Blogs make money through having advertisements on them and also by selling products or services. I will cover all of this in detail in Step 12 below. For now, know that if you are persistent in building your blog, your content, and your readership, over time you will have the potential to make good money. How much? Some people make very little and give up. Don’t do that! When starting out, you might only make a few dollars a month while you are building your readership. Over time you could quite easily earn an extra $1000 per month from advertising revenues. Some top bloggers make a full living off their blog earning 5 or 6 figure incomes. And their are the tippity top blogs that earn in the millions. Your income potential is only limited by your belief and the work you put in. Of course you will need to be persistent and stick with it even when it seems like things are going nowhere. Build your network of blogging friends over time and compare notes, ask for feedback and share learnings with each other. And, of course, continually provide great content for your readers and they will reward you with loyalty and referrals.
Complete Guide to Setting Up a WordPress Blog
There is a ton of information available on making money through blogging. This post will give you the steps for setting up a WordPress blog, customizing it, getting traffic to your blog, and how to make money from your blog. I promise to offer details where it is necessary and help make things simpler where there is already a lot of complexity and confusion. There are other blogging platforms out there, but none compares to WordPress. It is the most popular and the easiest to use. It is also free. (Your only costs will be domain registration – about $10/year and web hosting – about
$6.95 $5.95 $4.95/month.) I’ll guide you to getting the most important things done so you’ll get off to the right start. Then once your blog is up and running, you will have enough knowledge and experience to search the internet for information that will allow you to hone your blog even further. For now, this guide will be all you need. There are many steps, but with this post and the free WordPress Blog SetUp Checklist (free excel download), you can complete this quickly, in a day or two working full time, or you can spread it out over as much time as you need. The WordPress Blog SetUp Checklist will help you keep track of where you left off and a place to write down notes or questions to follow up on at a later time.
The Best Way to Use this Guide
Bookmark this page. Download the WordPress Blog SetUp Checklist (free excel document). Check off your progress and follow the steps one by one right online with this post.
The Steps to Setting Up a WordPress Blog, Building Traffic, and Earning Money
1. Create a BLOG FILE.
This is where you will keep all the usernames, passwords, affiliate codes, login URL’s, instructions and anything else relating to your blog so that you can reference them whenever you need to. There will be a lot of them, so start this right away and be diligent about putting every new item into it. The easiest way to do this is to create a text file or a Word document. This way you can just copy and paste the information into your BLOG FILE. When you need to find a particular item, just use the “Find” feature in your text file or Word document to search for the information you need. If you want you could use a notebook instead or any other method you like. For each item that you enter into your BLOG FILE, type a title of what the information is. (Example: “Web Host Username and Password”) This will make searching for the information easier in the future. I CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. Set up this simple file right away, keep it updated always and you’ll never be panicking for “what’s my password??!!!”
2. Choose a Domain Name.
This is the name of your blog (www.YourBlogName.com). I recommend using BlueHost for registering your domain name as well as using them for your webhost because registration is free if you use BlueHost for your hosting. So your first year you will only have the webhosting fee and no domain registration fee. (See Step #3)
When you sign up for your domain, it’s important to know that Google search engines give more favor to sites that have bought their domain for longer than 1 year. So if you have the option to sign up for more than one year, do so as this will be to your benefit: you will ultimately get more search traffic from Google.
When choosing a domain name think about how you want to brand your blog. You can choose a name related to your blog’s theme, you could choose to brand with your own name, or you can make up a name that sounds cool. Or you could do some combination of those. Usually “.com” is preferable to other extensions such as “.net” because it makes it easier for people to remember. Everyone thinks “.com” but if you can only get “.net” or some other extension with your favorite name that should be fine. (“.cc” or “.tv” or “.co” are other common extensions)
When it comes to picking a domain name I suggest brainstorming on paper first. Mindmaps are helpful for generating ideas. You can check on availability at BlueHost. You may need to modify some of the names you thought of. They will also make suggestions for you too.
So now you’re ready to move on to Step #3 now to both buy your domain name and purchase your webhost, which for both I recommend using BlueHost. If you want additional ideas for designing your domain name click here for more information on that topic.
3. Sign Up with a Web Host.
I recommend one of the following 2 webhosts depending on your needs. Choice #1 will suit 90% of new bloggers. Choice #2 is more expensive, but a good choice if you plan to have high traffic pretty quickly.
1. BlueHost Web Hosting
A web host is the company that will store all the files of your blog and serve them via the web to your readers. I recommend using BlueHost as your web host. They are the #1 on WordPress’s list of recommended web hosts. (I don’t think there’s a better recommendation than that.) Here’s some info about BlueHost:
$6.95 $5.95$4.95/month (at the time of this writing)
- Unlimited hosting storage space, unlimited file transfers, and unlimited domains. Also unlimited Email accounts.
- If you decide to register your domain with them, the first domain for the first year is FREE.
- $100 towards Google ads for promoting your blog.
- 24/7 US Based Support via phone, online LiveChat, and Support Forums
- 1-Click install of WordPress
- Fast, reliable, and safe. If you want the technical specs on this, click here.
- ANYTIME Money-Back Guarantee. It doesn’t get better than this guarantee. The name says it all.
They offer an excellent deal. Once you sign up, be sure to put all the info they send you into your BLOG FILE. There are others, but BlueHost is the best in terms of both price and quality. And it is super easy to sign up right online.
2. MediaTemple Web Hosting
This option costs more, but makes sense if you have plans for a website that may include heavy traffic early on or large spikes in traffic (visitors) to your website. If this is the case you might want to consider MediaTemple as your webhost. This is the webhost that I use for some of my sites that often experience large spikes in traffic. MediaTemple has a shared hosting “Grid-Service” that allows them to handle big traffic spikes without your site slowing down or crashing. When you get big spikes in traffic you want to be able to handle it or else you lose all that opportunity. They also offer dedicated servers if your site is going to be really big. MediaTemple‘s Grid-Service costs a little more than BlueHost ($20/month vs $5/month), but is totally worth it if you want to take advantage of big web traffic. Plus they have EXCELLENT customer service and One-Click installs for WordPress just like BlueHost.
4. Point Your Domain to Your Web Host.
Once you are signed up with your web host, you now need to tell your registrar (GoDaddy) to point your domain name to your web host. This way when people go to your new blog (www.YourDomainName.com) they are automatically sent to where your blog is, at your web host (BlueHost). This may sound scary, but it is simple as pie and only takes about 5 minutes. Sometimes this step is called “Modify DNS” where DNS= Domain Name Server. Only complete this set of steps if you bought your domain through GoDaddy.com separately from BlueHost. If you registered your domain with BlueHost in addition to hosting with them, you don’t have to do this step. Steps
- Open email from Web Host – BlueHost.
- Look for the “NameServers.” There will be two.
- Copy the first nameserver. It will look something like:
- GoDaddy.com and login using the user name and password they sent you in an email.
- Go to “Domains”
- Go to “My Domains”
- Click on your domain name (the name of your blog.)
- Click on NameServers
- Click on the “Custom Nameservers”
- Paste your first nameserver (that you copied) in the first nameserver box.
- Do the same thing with the second name server. (i.e. “ns2.bluehost.com)
- Click on OK.
Here is a screenshot of where you will type in your two nameservers: Now your domain name will be pointed to your web host. That’s it! It takes about 3-5 hours for the site to propagate over at your web host. And in rare cases it can take up to 24 hours. Once propagated you and everyone else will be able to see your site on the web. Even though you can’t see your site on the web yet, you can still work on getting your blog set up at your web host! So let’s move right onto Step #5!
5. Install WordPress.
This process is where you install all the WordPress code to your server at your web host (BlueHost). This is very easy too because BlueHost has a one click install! There are a few steps but most of the steps only take 3 seconds to do. It goes pretty fast. Don’t be intimidated if you see words you don’t recognize. It justs looks weird because you’ve never done it before, but don’t worry you can do it. Just follow the steps below. If you are a visual person, you can see these steps in a free online tutorial at BlueHost here:
Steps to Install WordPress on BlueHost:
- Go to your new blog website. (http://www.yourDomainNameHere.com)
- Click on “cpanel login.” If you don’t see this then go to “www.yourDomainNameHere.com/cpanel.”
- Type in your username and password that you chose when you bought the web hosting. Should be in your BLOG FILE.
- Scroll down to “Software/Services.”
- Click on “Simple Scripts.”
- Click on the WordPress Icon.
- Choose the latest version of WordPress. (The highest number is the latest.)
- Click “Install Now.”
- Select your domain name.
- Leave the “subfolder” box empty.
- Give your site a name. This is the name of your blog, i.e. “My Big Honkin Blog.” Usually the same name as your domain name.
- Enter a tagline – caption catchphrase. This would be like your branding, i.e. “The Place Where You Learn All About Ducks.” (You can modify this very easily later so don’t worry about it being perfect now.)
- Uncheck the check box next to “Generate Admin Login.” This way you can choose your own.
- Choose your Admin user name and password. This will be for logging into your WordPress Dashboard for writing your posts and setting up your blog. It is best if this is different from you cpanel user name and password.
- Leave “Automatically create a new database” checked.
- Check the legal agreement.
- Click “Complete.”
You’re done installing WordPress!The system is now installing all the WordPress code for you! It only takes a few minutes. You will receive a confirmation email from BlueHost (your web host) with the username and password you chose along with any other information you might need like support phone numbers etc. Copy and Paste the key parts of that email into your BLOG FILE. Give it the heading “WordPress Login Info” or something like that.
6. Login to Your WordPress Dashboard.
This will bring you to the place where you control almost everything about your blog including writing posts and customizing how your blog looks.
- To login go to: “YourDomainName.com/wp-admin” in your browser.
- Enter your WordPress Dashboard Login username and passsword that you just set up in Step#5.
If you don’t land at your dashboard, just give it a couple more minutes while your web host is installing WordPress to your site. When it is installed this is what you will see: In Step #14 I have links to multiple articles on getting started with using WordPress. In the meantime, lets continue with the next step which is setting up the look of your blog, called your Theme.
7. Install WordPress Theme.
Where to Find Free Themes
In this step you will choose the overall look of your blog. There are many free WordPress themes. The best place to search for one is at the WordPress Theme Viewer. All themes can be customized with different colors, fonts, font sizes, layouts and more. However, you should look for one that is pretty close to what you like unless you are comfortable changing the code in your theme. Below I list some premium themes that make customization easy if you don’t want to deal with changing code. (Even thought I can do the coding I find the premium themes to be well worth the cost.) Look for themes that are compatible with the latest version of WordPress that you just installed. You’ll be able to check on this at the theme view. You can also find themes by searching for “WordPress Themes” in Google or your favorite search engine. And of course in your WordPress dashboard you will be able to see lots of different themes available under “Appearance>>Themes.” The theme that I am using as of this writing is the “Genki Theme Fixed Width” by
Headway Theme is a very flexible theme. For me it was almost too flexible in terms of laying out the site, but that was me. I found that Catalyst Theme gave me more “bones” to start with, a framework, that made it easier for me to design my sites. You might like this one though if you want ultra flexbility, i.e. starting with a blank slate and building. Also it has probably improved since I was working with it a couple years ago.
The Thesis Theme is very very popular. It also comes with a control panel for customizing the look of your blog. When you click on the above icon to see more about the them you’ll be able to see many blogs that have used this theme to create spectacular looking sites. To do a lot of customization requires some coding type work, but they have a great library of videos that show you how to do just about anything you want with it.
There are many ways to configure this theme including several different layouts, all without touching a line of code! Unique Blog Designs is known for their beautiful, simple, and elegant web designs. Click here to see a very short video demonstration of how the theme looks and works. (Click on the “Learn More” button to see the video.) They are all excellent and all are highly recommended within the WordPress blogging community. But if you want to keep it simple, you can’t go wrong with the Catalyst Theme.
Steps to Install WordPress Theme
There are two ways to install a theme. 1. WordPress Dashboard Method Most of the free themes you can install right through your WordPress dashboard under “Appearance>>Themes>>Install Themes.” Just pick the one you want, “install” and then “activate” it. 2. FTP Method Some themes, especially premium themes, use this method. Don’t be scared. It’s easy if you just follow the steps. Also check to see if your theme has special installation instructions.
- Download the theme that you like the best. Look for the “Download” button on the website offering the theme. This will deliver a zipped folder to your computer. Choose “Save.” For now I would choose save to your Desktop. When you’re done you can move that folder to a designated “Blog” folder that you set up for all blog documents and files. You can download and install as many themes as you like. At the end of this process you’ll choose one to activate.
- Open the Zipped Folder and choose “Extract All Files.” This will then open a new folder with all the files unzipped and ready to use. (If you don’t have a zip program, here’s a reliable free one: WinZip.)
- Important: Check to see if there is an extra folder inside the Theme folder you downloaded. So the folder you unzipped might be “ABC Theme” and when you click on that folder to see the contents you see another folder called “ABC Theme.” (Yes, the same name. Or maybe different.) The bottom line is it is this inside folder that you will need to upload. If you click on the unzipped folder and you see files and and image folder etc, then it is the top level folder that you upload.
- UPDATE (FEB 4 2010): You can skip steps 5-20 sometimes by using the “Add New Themes” option under “Appearance” in your WordPress dashboard. Here are the instructions. (NOTE: You can still use FTP if this tool doesn’t work, which sometimes happens. In that case just go to steps 5-20 listed below starting with “Download FileZilla….)
- Click on “Add New Themes” under “Appearance” in your WordPress dashboard.
- Under “Install Themes” click on the link that says “Upload.”
- Click on “Browse” to find the zipped folder that contains all your theme files. (Don’t use the unzipped file.)
- Click on “Install Now.” Skip down now to Step 21 below to continue.
- Download FileZilla if you don’t already have an FTP application on your computer. Click on “Download Filezilla Client.” This application allows you to upload files to your blog, such as theme files, pictures, and plugins (which add functionality to your blog – we’ll get to that later.) This is quick, free, easy, and painless.
- Open FileZilla or whichever FTP application you have. (FireBug is another great option. It is a free add-on for FireFox browsers. It opens right in a browser tab eliminating the need to open another program, like you must do with FileZilla.)
- Click on File -> Site Manager.
- Click on New Site.
- In “Host” type “YourDomainName.com”
- In “ServerType” Choose FTP.
- In “User” type your WordPress FTP username. (from Step #3 – you will set this up with your webhost or they will send it to you.)
- In “Password” type your WordPress FTP password. (from Step #3)
- Click on “Connect”
- Under “Remote Site” expand your folders by clicking on the [+] sign. This will show you all your blog files that are on your BlueHost server.
- Double Click on “public_html”
- Double Click on “wp-content”
- Double Click on “themes.” Here you will see a couple of themes already loaded: “Classic” and “Default” which you are free to use if you like them.
- On “Local Site” search for the (unzipped) folder that holds all the theme files.
- Drag that theme folder to your “Remote Site” into the “Themes” folder. You will see a running log of all the files being transfered over to your site.
- Login to your WordPress Dashboard: “YourDomainName.com/wp-admin”
- Click on “Appearance” in the left hand navigation section. This brings you to “Themes”
- Click on the new theme you just uploaded. This will show you a preview of how your site will look.
- Click on “Activate” in the upper right hand corner of the preview box.
- Scroll to the top of the page and click on “Visit Site” to see how your site looks. (Bear in mind that you may not see it show up if you are still waiting for your nameservers to propagate.
- To customize: for Free Themes you’ll need to change code in “Appearance”->”Edit.” For Premium themes, follow their instructions to find the theme control panel within your WordPress Dashboard.
Congratulations! Your theme is set up! Troubleshooting tip: if the theme you uploaded doesn’t show up it may be because of step 3 above. Double check that again.
8. Set Up Permalinks.
This is a small little step that will make your posts more likely to show up in search results. You want this so that you will get more traffic. Here’s what you do:
- In WordPress Dashboard, click on “Settings” in the left hand navigation panel.
- Click on “Permalinks.”
- Click on “Day and name” option.
- Click “Save changes.”
That’s it. Takes less than 1 minute and it is well worth it! At this point, you could write your first post if you wanted to. If you want to wait until everything is in place then keep taking the next steps.
9. Install Plugins.
Plugins add functionality to your blog. The install is the same process as installing your theme (Step#7). You have two choices for installing.
- WordPress Dashboard Method
- FTP Method
WordPress Dashboard Method – just like installing a theme, go to “Plugins>>Add New.” Search for the one you want. Then choose “Install” and then “Activate.” Some plugins have additional setup options which are usually found under “Settings” in your dashboard after you have activated the plugin. FTP Method – You download, unzip, and then transfer the plugin files to your site via FTP (FileZilla) except this time you put them in the “Plugin” folder on your “remote site” not the “Theme” folder. The “Plugins” folder is inside the “wp-content” folder on your remote site. Have that folder open before you drag the plugins over. (See the exact steps below.) Once uploaded, go to “Plugins” in your WordPress Dashboard and click on “Activate” to enable each plugin. For each plugin, there may be additional instructions for usage that you will find on the page where you downloaded the plugin. Here are the plugins that I recommend installing. They are all free, as are most WordPress Plugins. The ones that are in Bold I recommend installing first. You can click on the link on each to get to the download page: Acurax Social Media Widget A Simple WordPress Plugin Which Allow You To Add Widget Which Links Social Media Icons to Your Social Media Profiles Twitter,Facebook,Pinterest,Youtube,Rss Feed,Linkedin,google plus. You can define icon style size for each widget.
Easy AdSense manages all aspects of AdSense: insert ads into posts and sidebar, and add a Google Search box. Easiest and most complete AdSense Plugin! If you are concerned with adherence to Google’s strict guidelines, you can try their pro version which ensures you won’t get kicked out of Adsense for something you missed: Easy Adsense Pro
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need aWordPress.com API keyto use it. You can review the spam it catches under “Comments.” To show off your Akismet stats just put
<?php akismet_counter(); ?>in your template. See also:WP Stats plugin. ByMatt Mullenweg.
Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog.
Originally authored bySteve Smith, this plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber. ByFeedBurner.
WP-ContactForm set up a contact form on your “Contact” page without having to give out your email address. WP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you. It can be implemented on a page or a post. It currently works with WordPress 2.0+ ByRyan Duff, Peter Westwood.
In the future you may want to add more plugins as you desire more functionality. If you find yourself wishing you could do something with your blog, chances are there is a plugin that exists that can add that functionality. Simply search [WordPress plugin "type of function you are looking for"] in Google or search WordPress.org for available plugins.
Sharebar Adds a dynamic bar with sharing icons (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that changes based on browser size and page location. More info and demo at: Sharebar Plugin Home. Read my review here of this social media share bar and other similar plugins.
The highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.
How to Install Plugins -FTP Method
- Download plugin and save to your computer.
- Open the zipped folder.
- Click “extract all files”
- Upload files or folder to “wp-content/plugins” on your “remote server” via FTP on FileZilla.
- In WordPress Dashboard, click on “Plugins”
- Click on “Activate” to enable each plugin.
- Follow any specific instructions on how to use each plugin.
10. Set Up Your RSS Feed with Feedburner
This will allow your readers to subscribe to your blog via a reader or via email for free. It will also allow you to monitor the growth of your subscribers! Steps:
- Sign up for free at FeedBurner.
- “Burn” your feed by typing in your feed URL (http://www.yourDomainName.com/feed). Feedburner will then give you a new RSS Feed URL that will allow you to track your subscribers. (Put this new feel URL into your BLOG FILE!)
- Enter your Feedburner RSS feed URL into the plugin called “FeedBurner FeedSmith” to enable tracking.
- Add “Email RSS Form” to your Blog with the next steps:
- In Feedburner click on your feed.
- Click “Publicize” tab.
- Click “Email Subscriptions”
- Copy code for the subscription form.
- Go back to WordPress Dashboard.
- Click on “Appearance”
- Click on “Widgets”
- Choose the sidebar where you want to put this mini-form.
- Click “add” on “Text” widget under “Available Widgets.”
- Drag the widget to the location you desire. (Usually at the top)
- Click “edit” on the Text Widget
- Paste the subscription form code in the main box. You can also give the Widget a title or leave it blank.
- Click “Done.”
- Click “Save changes”
Now you can go and visit your site to see how it looks. That is the basic process for adding any widget, so you might want to copy and paste these instructions into your BLOG FILE.
11. Set Up Google Analytics
This will allow you to monitor and analyze the traffic to your site. It’s very powerful and it’s FREE! Here are the steps:
- Go to Google.com/analytics. Sign up for free account.
- Copy the code they give you and paste it into the Google Analytics plugin you installed.
12. Making Money – Adding Advertising
There are several ways to make money. I will cover the 5 main ways here. They are:
- Contextual Ads
- Affiliate Ads
- Ad Networks
- Direct Ad Sales/Sponsorships
- Selling you own products/services
The best way to figure out what works best for your site is to test, measure the results, and then test other options to see if it is better or worse than a previous set up.
These are ads that display on your website that are related to the content of your site. The most popular is Google Adsense and is probably all you need. It is important to note that youshould be sure to follow Google’s rules closely because if you don’t you can find yourself kicked out of their program will no chance for appeal. (You need to actually read their rules and understand them.) Being banned from their program could be a really bad thing if a lot of your income comes from them. That is why a lot of super top bloggers look to find ways to diversify or replace that income over time so as not to be so dependent on an income source that could be taken away at a moment’s notice. I still recommend using these ads because they are easy to implement and as your blog traffic grows so will your income. Yahoo also has a program. To find others do a web search for “contextual ad program.”
How to Set Up Google Adsense on Your Blog
- Sign up with Google Adsense. It’s free.
- Create the ads you want with Adsense’s tool.
- Copy the code they give you.
- WordPress Dashboard ->Appearance->Widgets
- Add “Text” Widget to desired sidebar.
- Drag widget to desire location in sidebar.
- Click “edit” on widget.
- Paste in Adsense code. (like you did in Step#10- setting up your RSS)
- Leave title bar blank.
- Click “done.”
- Click “Save changes.”
- Check how the changes look on your site.
There’s a lot more that goes into doing Adsense right. You might want to check out either or both of these books which describe how to maximize your profit from Adsense: Epic Adsense – by Anh Gruenhagen. New kindle ebook released 2012 discusses how to choose topics that will dovetail with high paying Google ads being served on your site.
When you become an affiliate for a certain product or service you receive a “commission” whenever you refer a sale. Sales are referred by your readers clicking on a banner ad or a text link ad that takes them to the company’s website. Here’s an example. Let’s say your blog is about dogs. So readers who come to your site are interested in dogs, so you will probably do well by having a few key affiliate products that you advertise on your site. The quality of the affiliates ads you have on your site reflect on your website so it serves you well to choose high quality products and services. Once you find products and services that you think are good quality and that your readers would be interested you will seek to join their affiliate program. Most products and stores have an affiliate program. Once you join the program you may promote their product with a banner ad in your sidebar. You set this up similar to setting up Google Ads by inserting the affiliate code into a text widget. You can also promote affiliate products directly in your blog posts. This can be more effective because you can give a description and personal recommendation of the product. In this case you simply link to the product using your affiliate link. Just like Google Adsense, with affiliate programs the product or service provider does all the tracking of sales and will usually send you payments automatically and electronically. The other way to find affiliate programs that fit well with your site is to join an affiliate network and browse for products and services with which you can become an affiliate. Here are a few well known networks:
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
- myhelphub (many great writing products)
These are networks that work as a middleman. They secure the advertisers and you provide the advertising space. The way they come together is by placing their ad code in a sidebar text widget. When you sign up with any of these they will give you the code you need and instructions for placing it in your blog. They will keep track of all sales and they will usually pay you monthly either through ACH, PayPal, or a check.
Direct Ad Sales/Sponsorships
This setup is where you secure the advertisers or sponsors. You are responsible for setting your rates, invoicing and setting up the coding of the ads whether they are a text link or a banner ad. The coding is not hard at all. Here is the basic html code you would use: Text Ads HTML code:
<a href="Insert Link Here" >Anchor Text Here</a>
Banner Ads HTML code:
<a href="insert link here" ><img src="link for image here" ></a>
You simply put the code into a text widget in your sidebar or insert it into a post. And then keep track of payments. Here is a good article on how to set your advertising rates.
Banner Advertising Services
If you don’t want to keep track of your banner ads there is a great solution: Banner Advertising Services. There are two major options at this time: PassionFruitAds and Adproval. I use PassionFruitAds. They have a very nice service and don’t take too much off the top of your revenues.
Selling your own products/services
This is pretty self explanatory. You come up with the products and services that you want to sell personally. Then you design the text or banner advertising to go along with it. You place the promotion for your products and services into blog posts and/or into your sidebar with text widgets. You can also outsource the production of products that you’d like to sell and have them drop-shipped to your buyers so that you never have to handle inventory or shipping. One example is CafePress that will produce t-shirts, mugs, and other items with your artwork on them.
Advanced Techniques for Making Money
The Blog Mastermind Coaching Program. This is a step-by-step, weekly coaching program led by famous six-figure income blogger Yaro Starak. He has pages and pages of testimonials from his successful students. He teaches you how to set up and profit from your blog. If you want to fast-track making money from your blog, this is truly worth your consideration. “Blogging All the Way to the Bank” - this ebook teaches you some advanced techniques for growing your blog and making money. I learned some new and profitable tips from this book and definitely recommend it.
13. Getting Traffic to Your Blog
The number one rule is to create valuable content. This is really important. You want people to keep returning to your site. But, how do you get them there in the first place? Time and lots of effort. If you keep at it, using these suggestions below, you will grow your site. I’ll cover both online and offline strategies. Try them both. The easiest to start with are the online ones.
Offline Strategies to Get Blog Traffic
- Tell all your friends.
- Create flyers or business cards to give to everyone you meet.
- Write a press release.
- Do some interviews on TV, radio or in newspapers.
- Create a local access TV program where you present similar information that your blog presents and be sure to make your blog URL prominent on the show.
- Post flyers in places where your target audience frequents – also try libraries, the post office bulletin board, supermarkets, and community centers.
- Merchandise: bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc. You could look into CafePress.com.
Online Strategies to Get Blog Traffic
- Email all your contacts that might be interested and ask them to pass the info to their contacts that might be interested.
- Social Networking. Join the top social networking sites and grow your network of friends who are interested in your topic and who are willing to support your writing with votes on social network sites. I cover this in more detail in the next segment.
- Comment on other blogs. Every time you leave a comment you will get a link to your blog and people who read comments might come visit your site. Seek out blogs that are similar to your and have a large following which you can tell by the number of subscribers they have and the amount of comments the blog gets.
- Participate in blog carnivals. You can find out about them by searching online or you can check out BlogCarnival.com.
- SEO: Optimize your site for search engines. This practice is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. I’m convinced you could read about this for the rest of your life, but at some point you need just the basics so here is a good article by a trusted source on some basic SEO techniques. (The author also offers a free e-book on identifying the best keywords to use.)
- Create a contest for your readers that gets them to tell other people about your blog.
- Write guest posts at other blogs for exposure to new readers.
- Build links to your blog by commenting on blogs that have “dofollow” links which means that search engines will see those links. This helps you get more search engine traffic eventually.
- Write really good content. Write really good content. And write some more really good content.
- Brand your blog for success.
Here are a few other articles on getting traffic to your blog:
Social Networking Basics
There are so many social networking sites out there that it can become dizzying trying to figure out which ones are best given our limits on time. So I will give you some basic advice that should really benefit you while keeping it simple. Here are the basic and most popular sites you should consider joining:
I recommend starting out with Twitter, Pinterest , Facebook, and StumbleUpon. Make sure that you have social media buttons on your site to make it easy for readers to share your content. Read my review of some social media plugins that are helpful. Facebook: Use this to notify your circle of friends and family about your blog and keep them up to date on posts. You can create groups on Facebook of just people who are interested in your content. You could ask them to share it with their friends. Twitter: Use this network to find people who share your interests. You can share your ideas and blog post links and help promote new blogging friends here as well. Blogher: Use this to find other blogs and bloggers. You can learn what makes a good blog. You can comment on great blogs, and also make friends with people who would like to help support and promote your writing either on social networking sites or with links to your blog. This StumbleUpon: This can probably bring you the most traffic. Here’s what to do:
- Join. It’s free.
- Read about how to use this service for discovering new websites that interest you.
- Search for topics related to you blog or particular blog post.
- When search comes up, check out the profiles on the right hand side that list users who are interested in this topic.
- You can contact or each of these people.
- Craft a polite email that says you noticed that they are interested in “Topic X” and that you write content in that topic. Offer them a link to your site or blog post. Offer to review anything that they may want you to look at.
- Of the people who respond, ask if they would like to agree to support you and you support them on StumbleUpon.
- If so, add them as a friend, write a positive “review” of their profile on StumbleUpon, and ask for their email.
- Compile a list of emails of social networking friends who would like to support you.
- Over time email your list with new posts that you would like to share with them and ask for a review if they like it. Offer to review anything of theirs in return. Be sure to use the BCC feature on your email when sending to a whole list so that your social networking friends emails are kept private.
Over time as you gain more friends, you could see considerable traffic from StumbleUpon if a lot of people review your blog posts. Always be courteous, don’t pressure people, and offer to reciprocate support. Be sure to let people know that you don’t expect them to automatically vote for you, only if they like your content.
14. Learning More About Blogging, WordPress, and Making Money.
All these steps take time, but if you are persistent and write good content, you will have success. And once you have the basics down you’ll probably want to learn more. Don’t forget to download the free Blog Setup Checklist which will help you keep track of the blog set up process and a place to write down notes or questions to follow up on at a later time. (Clicking on the link will download the free excel checklist.) Here are some basic articles from WordPress.org on getting started with their blogging platform:
Here are a few highly recommended programs to check out: “Blogging All the Way to the Bank” - this ebook teaches you some advanced techniques for growing your blog and making money. I learned some new and profitable tips from this book recently that I am excited to implement soon. “Launch the *** Out of Your eBook” - for when you write your first ebook. This is an awesome book that will help you sell lots of copies of your book. I highly recommend it as do many others. “SEO Book Training Program” - This is a comprehensive training program for learning SEO. It comes highly recommended. They also offer many free and very valuable SEO tools plus some basic free training. There is a fee for the advanced training.
15. Can Someone Do This For Me? Yes!
(UPDATE: Dec 14, 2009) If after reading all the above information, you want someone else to do all the heavy lifting of setting up your wordpress blog for you including the web hosting, installing of wordpress, etc., then look no further than Page.ly. This is a new offering that I haven’t seen anywhere else! Everything is set up for you. There are dozens of super cool themes to choose from. The greatest part is that set up literally takes 2 minutes! And if you want read what others think of Pagely they have many testimonials praising their service. If I was starting all over again, I would be very tempted by this option! Combine this with The Blog Mastermind Coaching Program to get ramped up quickly on making money from your new blog. Blogging Extras Find out how to add a Favicon to your site. A favicon the little image that appears in the tab of your browser along with the title of the website.
Download Blog Setup Checklist
Here is the checklist again. Download it here: WordPress Blog SetUp Checklist (free excel document)
I hope you enjoy blogging as much as I do! And I wish you much success in making money from your writing. With practice of your writing craft and persistence in building traffic to your blog, you will definitely succeed! Disclosure: Life Learning Today receives compensation from some of the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. We do not accept compensation to review a product. We only include reviews of products that we find to be of the highest quality.
Please share your comments, thoughts, questions, and links to your new blog! Please come back and fill us in on your progress & success!