If you’re thinking about starting your own blog to start generating passive income, congratulations! You’re going to be doing something smart that can potentially change your life and help you earn money long after you stop working. However, starting a blog in 2022 can feel overwhelming, especially if you have little experience in website management or web design. This guide on how to start a blog will walk you through everything from picking the right domain name to monetizing your content with ads and affiliate marketing programs.
What do you want your blog to be about?
Creating and curating content on your own terms is not only immensely satisfying, but you can do it without needing all that much startup capital. Even better: Many types of blogs can generate passive income—earnings that are generated with little effort on your part. Building and monetizing a website requires two major components: creating good content and driving traffic to it (more on both later). By applying SEO tactics—writing posts targeted at search engines, developing links to your site, identifying keywords with high search volume—you’ll improve your rankings within search results, which means more people will be able to find you (and buy what you’re selling!). Read our full tutorial here.
Pick your niche
Many people choose blogging as their side hustle because they think it’s an easy way to make money. While creating a successful, revenue-generating site isn’t difficult, it does take time and commitment. When you first start out, don’t be lured into using shady tactics like buying thousands of fake followers or building low-quality sites designed only for ads. The long-term payoff is much more satisfying if you focus on creating quality content for your readers first. Plus, the Google has recently announced that it will penalize sites with high ad loads and fake traffic numbers , making it even more important to choose your niche wisely! To learn more about picking a niche , check out our post: How to Choose Your Niche.
Create an editorial calendar
Having an editorial calendar of your future posts is important when it comes to creating passive income from your site. It’s one thing to write one or two articles, but quite another to publish 20 on a regular basis. If you’re trying to start a personal brand, investing in quality content—and scheduling it accordingly—is essential. Of course, with thousands of other blogs out there publishing too, you’ll need more than just new content (like strategically placing affiliate links) if you want people visiting your page repeatedly. An editorial calendar will help ensure that all of your posts are giving maximum value and driving engagement at certain times throughout the year (or however often you choose).
Choose a platform
Your choice of platform plays an enormous role in how much passive income you can earn. If you’re using self-hosted WordPress, for example, you might be able to install one of many popular affiliate plugins and realize instant success—but if you choose Squarespace, that’s not so likely. The same goes for Apple News+ (if you’re on iOS) versus Flipboard (on Android). No matter what type of blogging service or app you choose, though, take time to understand its potential first. Will it actually make money? Does it have good customer service? Is it secure? Can I set up tracking on my own analytics dashboard? How does Google rank articles published via different platforms?
Come up with ways to monetize the blog
You can purchase your own domain and web hosting. For some bloggers, that’s enough; however, there are other factors you should consider. You’ll want to look at whether or not you want an online shop integrated into your site as well as if you’re looking for advertising opportunities. If you’re thinking about monetizing your site, it’s important to take these things into consideration because having too many choices can make things overwhelming and lead you to spend more time on figuring out what features are offered rather than actually focusing on creating content.
Figure out what software you need for blogging
Before you start, take some time to clarify your blogging goals. It can be helpful to ask yourself what you want out of blogging. What are your core values? What do you want readers to get out of reading your content? Knowing what’s important for you will help you build an audience that is truly interested in your niche and style. If it’s simply about making money or getting more clients, then there are lots of shortcuts available—paid advertising and sponsored posts, for example—that make starting a blog easier. However, if it’s really about having an impact on your community or industry, then those shortcuts won’t help.
Create accounts on social media platforms
The more potential fans you have, the more people you can reach and engage with. Since social media is one of your primary ways to get traffic, it’s important that you choose platforms wisely and make sure they align with your objectives. If you want exposure but don’t care much about money, your focus might be on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. If revenue is also important for you, consider going with Facebook and LinkedIn instead. Whatever path you choose, start building as soon as possible—or at least before launch day. Not all social media sites are created equal and time spent learning which ones work best will pay off once your content goes live.
Think about hosting options for your blog
Will you be using a free or paid platform? Do you plan on making money from your site and if so, how? These questions can help shape your decision when it comes to choosing hosting. For example, if you’re planning on monetizing your site with display ads, adsense might be a better option than WordPress. If starting up costs are important and you don’t want to pay for premium software that doesn’t fit into your budget, then check out one of our favorite starter themes. We also recommend checking out our list of best blogs by niche as it will give you an idea of what people are blogging about and make starting off even easier.
Set up Google Analytics and audience tracking tools
Once you’ve got a running website, it’s important to know what’s working and what isn’t. There are several free tools out there that can help you analyze your traffic and understand which content on your site resonates most with your audience. Without getting too technical here, Google Analytics is an easy way for beginners to check out how many visitors they have every day. For example, if I write an opinion piece arguing that millennials don’t deserve money because they’re lazy and entitled, my traffic will probably drop (lucky me). But tracking tools can tell me which posts are resonating and which aren’t, so I can revisit those topics later or avoid them altogether if they are too controversial or boring.