*This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Estimated reading time: 33 minutes
If you’re not already in the blogging world, you may not know how valuable and beneficial it can be to have a blog. It can be overwhelming to think about starting a blog, but with this guide, your specific path to blogging will be clear. One of the best things about blogging is that it’s entirely customizable to who you are, what you’re interested in, and what you want your blog to accomplish.
So you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or you’ve been blogging for while and you’re ready for the next step. You’ve come to the right place because I’ve created this ultimate guide to help you, in whatever stage you’re in, because trust me, I’ve been there before.
This is one of the posts I’ll update often, so make sure you bookmark it and come back in a later blogging stage if you’ve any more questions.
To begin with, you might wonder why you should blog? What should you blog about? How do you monetize your blog? How do you navigate social media? And maybe even how to optimize your blog and how to do the tech stuff. This ultimate guide to blogging covers it all!
Today, it seems like everything is about social media where the majority of content is photos or quick videos, but blogs are still very much present. While social media has its place and benefits of its own, a blog can be the perfect tool to show people who you are. By having a blog, you can link your social media accounts so that they are accessible through your website.
Now, before you ask what the difference between social media accounts and a blog is, it’s a matter of convenience. If you were interested in working with someone and you asked them to provide you with a way to learn more about them, would you prefer if they gave you one website to visit or several social media account names?
There are plenty of people who have long, complicated usernames for some of these platforms and it can be easy to confuse them among platforms or even with other users with similar handles.
Providing a single website can show someone who is interested in working with you all of your blog posts, but it’ll also give them the chance to venture onto your social media accounts if they so desire.
When you’re looking to set up a new blog, it can be beneficial to do some research and take a look at some other blogs to see what you like and dislike as a reader. It can also be beneficial to look into what other people experienced when they were setting up their own blogs, as everybody has relatively unique experiences and varying knowledge.
Once the research is done, it’s time to get to the fun part: finally creating it!
First, you’ll want to pick what your blog will be about, at least most of the time, and a catchy name for the blog. Ideally, you want something that niches down your blog to a specific audience. Take a look at what you’re passionate about and what you genuinely enjoy. When you find something, try to figure out which part of that topic you enjoy the most, or perhaps have the most knowledge about. Not only will this make it easier for you to keep up with your blog rather than seeing it as a chore, but it will also attract a specific audience that your blog speaks to directly.
Next, you’ll want to make sure that you’re looking into the right platform. You have two options here: a free blog or a self-hosted blog. The difference is pretty simple and self-explanatory. You can create your entire blog for free on a free blog platform. For example, wordpress.com and tumblr.com are both free blogs. A self-hosted blog, however, has a server of its own. Bloggers usually rent this space by paying a third-party company.
A free blog may be the better option for you if you’re just looking to do it for fun or for the moment, whereas a self-hosted blog is for the more serious bloggers that are looking to monetize with ease. There are many other factors to take into consideration when trying to decide between the two. One of the things you should keep in mind if you want to monetize your blog, that’s not possible on a ‘free blogging’ site.
Your third step will be registering your domain and setting up your blog through a web hosting service. There are quite a few web hosting services, so it’s important to do your research at this step as well before you go ahead and decide.
For your fourth step, you’ll have to make a few decisions on what functions you want your blog to have. This step involves a lot of adjusting your settings and working to make sure that you configure it to your liking.
For step number five, you’ll get to bring your creativity into play as you make your blog look the way that you want it to. This is where your personality can shine, and you can send a clear message right off the bat. Customizing your blog will not only provide you with somewhat of a brand, but it may also make a first impression on prospective clients.
I have written a very specific blog post on how to start a blog if you have zero technical experience.
Now that we’ve gone over how to bring people to your website, we have to make sure that the content that you are creating is quality content so that those visitors will have a reason to come back time and time again.
When writing content, it’s important to be original. There are plenty of people who are out in the world writing incredibly long articles and blog posts on the same topics, so it’s your job to write an article that will be a breath of fresh air. You want people to be able to differentiate you and your content from the rest, especially in such a populated area.
Although you want your content to be unique and original, you want to make sure that it’s still something that your visitors and readers will be able to read and comprehend. It’s not necessary to go above and beyond with complicated language in an attempt to make yourself seem smarter or more knowledgeable on the topic, especially not if it’s going to interfere with the clarity of the piece. This will also help with SEO, if Google can clearly understand your texts and blog, you’ll rank higher.
If you don’t know much about SEO right now, there are plenty of resources that you can look to in order to gain a better understanding of it, but it can be utilized in order to help people find their way to your website. When you incorporate SEO, it may help better your chances of being discovered in a simple one page google search, especially if your topic is niched down like we spoke about before.
I know I’m throwing a lot at you all at once, but I also have a trick that can help when you feel overwhelmed: Planning! Some people are avid planners and can’t imagine a day that they haven’t planned out, but there are also plenty of people who hate the idea of having to plan and everything that comes up.
However, I’m telling you that if you have a schedule of pre-planned content, it will make your life easier. Head over to how to create an editorial calendar for your blog.
Some people may use blogging and content marketing as if they are interchangeable, but they’re not. Content marketing is a rather large umbrella that covers a variety of aspects of marketing, as well as methods of marketing. Blogging, however, is just one of those methods. Make sure you read Getting Started With Content Marketing to learn all about it.
While there are a plethora of ways to perform content marketing, blogging is just one of the options. While marketing may seem simple from the surface, there are many moving parts, so it’s important to remember that this process will not be quick and easy when you start implementing marketing into your blog.
When you start to write strategic content, you’re getting more and more into blogging for content marketing. I have written a guide on how to write strategic content for your blog so make sure you don’t miss it!
To your content schedule you can add new content or repurposed old content. Now, I feel that we should discuss the underestimated value of old content. First, if the content did well in the first place, odds are that it did well for a reason. People like it when things resonate with them or tap into their emotions. If your work was able to elicit some emotion out of someone, odds are that it will be able to do the same thing again, even if it’s older content.
Another beautiful thing about old content is that it’s old! It’s already written, which means that you can rework the piece to reintroduce the old idea with new content, or you can ignore the idea of rewriting an old article and make new content out of the information. Not to mention that it can be rather humorous to look back at where you started and take a look at yourself now to see how far you’ve come.
Determine which types of content you want to create (with an editorial calendar strategy), and how you can repurpose your content. Repurposing your content is the best way to max your work, do the work once, share it in different formats to make something new.
Example: If you have a blog post, turn it into a podcast, multiple Pinterest pins, an audio blog post, a course or free email course etc.
Everybody is busy, and with the rise of ad blockers and the number of new blogs, it’s getting harder earning all your money as a blogger with ads (display or content).
So what’s next? I’ll talk about that very soon, but the key is: building a great following (I’d recommend not on social media!) and creating stuff just for them. And the great thing: ‘automations’ make it possible to create things once, and have it all send out automatically afterward… this is such a gain of time for other stuff!! I love it.
Another way to increase the traffic on your website, social media posts, and any other platforms, is to promote yourself. If you want to draw more traffic to your website, the way that you would go about this varies depending on which platform you are choosing to use as your podium.
For example, Tik Tok is primarily made up of short, digestible videos. That means that you’d have to use something similar to an elevator approach where you quickly grab someone’s attention and tell them why they should trust you enough to spend some of their time consuming your content.
Instagram has a similar video feature, but Instagram also gives you the ability to promote yourself using still photos which can come in handy if you decide to post about deals, sales, or services.
Unlike the last two, Facebook gives you the opportunity to write out long posts where you’ll have more time and characters to do your promoting. The internet is a very visual place, so even though the ability to write a lot is there, it may not be the best idea when you’re trying to promote your blog where there will already be a variety of pieces that could potentially be on the lengthier side.
Pinterest is similar to Tik Tok and Instagram in the sense that you can post quick videos or images in order to draw attention to your website, business, product, or service. There are advertisements on Pinterest constantly that adjust to what the viewer has pinned previously.
Let me explain: although I’ve never really worked at a PR firm, I do work with PR firms a lot since I’ve been blogging for so long. The thing I did was more PR/Communications/Marketing at a company.
So the answer? People need to know who you are and what you do. And that’s where PR jumps in. PR is the communications between an organization and its publics. Free publicity, is a part of PR. It’s how to get your business in the press, for free. Free publicity.
A lot of people underestimate the value of emails and how important they truly are, but emailing is a form of communication that has yet to go away. Almost every successful company has some form of email marketing platform. The ability to use other third-party tools to make the emails look the way that you like that’ll fit your company and the brand that you’ve built for yourself is extremely beneficial.
Using tools like ConvertKit can help spice up your emails just enough to make sure that they stand out in an otherwise boring inbox. Most people have an email address, making this an obvious necessity in your marketing plan.
I think we all know what a ‘newsletter’ is and you can easily get started for free with Mailchimp. You collect email addresses from people that give you permission to email them, and you send out a newsletter every now and then.
It’s important because it’s the only way to directly talk to people. On social media everyone is ‘shouting at each other at the same time’ and an email is personal, most people read their emails or at least, check their inbox regularly.
So, I suggest you start building your list.
And not just with Mailchimp, but with Convertkit because you can do so much more with them as a creator and they’re also free to get started with.
If you’re interest on how to set up your email marketing with Convertkit, setting up content upgrades (free downloads), planning out your newsletter and automations, head over to the Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing.
That being said, your blog is your podium where you can scream to the world about your product or service and start getting the word out. You’re not going to start off yelling to the whole world but whispering to a few friends or family members. Don’t get discouraged, consistency is key.
Using your blog, you can also provide frequent updates about any progress or changes that may be occurring with your business, for both those who are interested and as documentation for your future self to look back on with pride.
If you like reading income reports from other blogger’s you might know that the secret to earning money blogging is diversifying your income. Now there are multiple ways to earn money blogging and the sky’s the limit, but I recommend you check out the following ways.
I discovered not too long ago, maybe just 4 years ago that the secret to becoming a full-time blogger is to create a full-time income by using multiple monetization strategies.
How well they work often change, so prepare to be flexible regarding this. Don’t stick with things that don’t work, but keep an eye out by checking blogs that write about blogging (like mine, nonimay.com). Just like any other branch, it’s important to stay up to date with industry trends.
Right now, I’ll explain some of the ways that work now (update 2023). I’m not a big fan of the ways that promise you the gold now, because they often feel (and are) scammy. We’re in it for the long-run, and treat our blogs like businesses, so keep that in mind when doing your own research. I noticed that often the ones that take longer are more profitable after a few months or years and should not rely on other platforms (more on that later with an example).
Also, what might work for another blogger doesn’t work for you or your niche, and that’s ok. Just know that each of the strategies discussed, ARE working for a lot of bloggers, so that should give you the motivation not to give up as soon as you don’t see results now.
Click here to read more about diversifying your income as a blogger or read here about making money blogging with a small audience.
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money with your blog being that it is low risk and it’s inexpensive. In case you aren’t familiar with affiliate marketing beyond the fact that you’ve seen influencers do it, it’s essentially when you promote a company and then you make money based on the sales that are generated by your promotion. The amount that you’ll make per sale is usually a percentage of the product or service’s sale price, but sometimes a company will have a fixed amount predetermined.
Paid newsletters are another way that you can make money with your blog. By having paying customers receive your newsletter, you don’t have to worry about potentially affecting the authenticity of your newsletter with an ad or messaging from a sponsor. Being authentic and consistent is a huge plus for most customers as they want to have the comforting knowledge that when they come to you and consume your content, they’ll consistently like what they’re getting themselves into. With paid newsletters, there will be no interruptions, it’ll be a more intimate exchange between yourself and your customers.
Utilizing social media influence can be hit or miss when it comes to your blog. Some influencers choose to be more involved in political events and news that can be more controversial, but there are also influencers who stick to their niche and keep their other thoughts private. Personally, when I turned to social media for entertainment during the pandemic, I didn’t want to hear and see more about the pandemic, I wanted an escape from it.
Being faced with things that can be a downer can prove to be problematic in the future, as there is no right way to handle such sensitive issues. Regardless of what your niche is or what you’re influencing people about, it is important to keep in mind that people are very impressionable and it’s easy for them to forget that you are also a regular human being just like them. They may think that you have all the answers and when something you may have suggested doesn’t work out for them the same way that it worked out for you, you can face some backlash. It’s impossible to please everyone, but it’s still important to be careful when expressing your opinions online.
Have a look at Monetizing your Youtube channel. if you’re interested in becoming a Youtuber.
Participating in content collaborations with other creators can be a great opportunity for you both to draw more attention to yourselves and one another. If you have a closely related niche with another creator, working together on creating some content can help people discover a new creator that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about. Both parties in this situation stand to benefit from the exposure to a new group of people.
Advertising can take many different forms depending on what you’re willing to have on your website. A few of your options are pay-per-click advertisements, selling space on your blog for advertisements, and paid reviews. Depending on the company, some methods may be preferable to others, but again, at the end of the day, this is your platform, and the decisions are up to you.
Want to turn your influencer business, blog, website, shop or company into a successful press attention machine and a profitable business? Sign up for A media kit that sells.
If you want to learn more about pitching to companies and learning more about how companies pick their content creators, head over to my free 7-day email course, A Media Kit That Sells.
I don’t like gatekeeping so I must say, it’s a very good course (If I may say so haha). Make sure you sign-up and you’ll automatically receive a lesson in your inbox each day.
Want to turn your influencer business, blog, website, shop or company into a successful press attention machine and a profitable business? Sign up for A media kit that sells.
Learn how to successfully pitch to the right person and how to totally rock every e-mail! This free e-mail course shows you a step-by-step process to create not only an awesome product to pitch your own product, but also how to convert the first e-mails into brand collaborations, sales and press mentions!
Oh sure, let’s sip a coffee in Paris or go for a hike in Australia. And let’s not think about our business or blog ok? I do this all the time.
How you do this? Set up automation that will help you get more done in less time. Aka, run a passive business and enjoy life like you should.
During my most recent launch, I was SO happy I had a waterproof productivity system.
I don’t want to think about a thousand things during the day, I want to automate as much as possible and keep my mind empty, so I can focus on what matters most.
Especially when I’m exploring new cities and go out adventuring during hikes and creating the right automated systems is sooo important for this. Curious about my top automated hacks + apps?
It’s funny that I had to think long and hard about writing this lesson because everything is set up and I never think about it again haha.
This system takes up a few weeks or months to set up, but when you’re done, you will have so much freedom.
Batching your work is the best thing ever! When I do so, I always deliver better work, because you get so into it. I write longer (1000+ words) and more in-depth blog posts. My social media updates convert better because I get really in the groove.
As a blogger you will notice you do a lot of repetitive tasks, like writing, scheduling social media, keyword research etc. When you batch your tasks, you can stay in the ‘flow’ by doing that tasks for a couple of hours without breaks or doing other things.
So what I usually do, is plan a week off and divide the tasks per day, so on Monday I do keyword research + inbox zero, on Tuesday I write 10 blog posts, on Wednesday I plan my sponsored posts, plan my income (where does what come in? What’s the backup plan if I don’t reach my goals?) & admin, on Thursday I write my newsletters based on the blog posts I created on Tuesday and on Friday I schedule social media based on the content I created during the week. This way, I took 5 days ‘off’ from the normal day to day hectics, but I scheduled and created content for the next 2 months.
Time needed: 4 minutes.
Here’s how you can plan out your month by batching and planning:
– Ideas: Think of (strategic) blog topic and titles to write
– How are you bringing in the money? Write down your income streams + exact expected amount + date
– Plan the month and how much work you’d have to do to reach your monthly income goal. When will you work on what?
– Invest in Boardbooster, Tailwind, Planoly, Later and/or Buffer to schedule social media like a boss.
– Tailwind help you stay active on Pinterest, if you go for Boardbooster you can set up looping pins and automated added pins, so you can completely go offline and still be active. I schedule about 1500 pins a month via Tailwind – all I do every now and then is post pins to Tailwind, you can’t schedule that so it’s on my ‘daily’ list.
– Buffer can be used to schedule your Twitter. Facebook, G+ and whatever network you like in advance.
– I use Later + Planoly to schedule/auto post my Instagram posts. Usually I don’t automatically post the posts for my personal account but I do work in advance for my multiple business Instagram accounts. I schedule everything in and Planoly automatically posts the Instagram photos…. It’s really that easy.
I set up a Wunderlist daily notification with all the things I need to do in a day every day. This saves time because I don’t have to think about all the things I have to do every day or every week, they just pop up. I use Asana and the calendar function for my returning business tasks, editorial calendar, deadlines etc. Like Wunderlist, you can set up returning tasks. All you have to do is… open the sites or apps.
Do you know IFTTT? You can create ‘recipes’ to automate stuff (‘Connect the apps you love’). Like recipes for Facebook connected to Twitter and when you post a new blog post it automatically sends out a tweet or Facebook post.
SO IT AUTOMATICALLY BACKS UP ALL THE PHOTOS YOU TAKE. Probably one of my best hacks EVER!! I don’t use iCloud anymore and because of OneDrive’s ‘visual search,’ it’s just the best option if you’re using a lot of different devices and every now and then searches for photos. (I often search photos to pitch to brands to use for a campaign, I can easily search for ‘coffee’ and it will find all the photos I’ve ever taken of coffees. This way, I can earn money by using photos I’ve once taken but never used (I have a lot of those). I can give you a bonus of 0.5GB if you sign-up for OneDrive via my link. I use the influencer agency apps to pitch the photos and to get paid for photos in my camera roll 🙂
Automate the heck out of your emails. Create automatic replies for common questions.
Do you hate a cluttered inbox as much as me? Use Boomerang for Gmail (download Boomerang here for free)! With Boomerang you can ‘boomerang’ your emails back and forth to your inbox and another folder and have them automatically send back to your inbox again on a date you pick. How awesome? For me, that’s very useful with itineraries and invitations, but also for scheduling emails and find the clear mind space if you just need to see an empty inbox every now and then on Friday evening. Just have them automatically send back on Monday. They also have a big blue ‘pause’ button, that will hold emails into a secret folder so you can work on your inbox zero strategies without getting distracted by new emails. Another great Gmail ‘add-on’ is Bananatag, it shows you who opened your emails… perfect to keep track of who to send a follow-up.
I use Buffer. Oh man, at first, like for years haha I didn’t want to pay for Buffer. But recently I did and now it’s one of my best investments ever! I can schedule posts for about two weeks ahead in about an hour to 90 minutes. That means, TIME SAVERS! Ideal for traveling and to focus on my most important tasks on a daily basis. Seriously, I love it and I’d suggest everyone signs up immediately. There is a calendar version available (I need everything visual in a monthly calendar) and you can connect multiple accounts. Oh, and it’s only $10,-, so that’s probably worth less than an hour of work, but saves you maybe more than 6 every two weeks? They also have a free version available and you can schedule up to 10 posts at a time.
You and me, we all sit in the train, on the toilet and every now and then we have to wait. Why not make the most out of it? Because doing little tasks when you’re waiting, can actually save you a lot of time! For example, pitch to brands via the influencer agency apps. Or schedule your Buffer posts. Or write Instagram captions in Planoly. Edit your photos. Etc. etc.
I use Evernote, my iPad Mini, Notion, OneNote and GoodNotes. Did you know it’s possible to search in Evernote in scanned documents? I didn’t, until I recently found out haha, I swear, I used to dream about a function like that. And you know what I did? I scanned most of my papers into Evernote to enjoy the paperless life. And it’s awesome. It saves space, my office and house feel really minimalistic and it’s perfect when you travel. It saves time because I don’t have to search in various places anymore, I just search in Evernote and I find everything within seconds. And it’s super nice to have everything digitally because it’s accessible at all times. It’s so worth the $29 bucks a year to sign up for the Evernote premium plan to have all the extra possibilities.
And how much time I usually plan per task. You can always grab the ‘daily/weekly/monthly’ checklist and see what tasks you can do in advance to take off a few tasks of your daily + weekly schedule.
I think batching is ideal, once you’ve had one session, it’s smart to set up your connections and automation so that everything still goes out even when you’re not there.
Let me just start with the harsh truth: full time blogging isn’t about living a creative life. It’s a well known secret under professional bloggers that it’s 80% promoting and only 20% creating.
Bummer much? Yes. Because we all started to live that creative life. But I’ve created this challenge for you to take actionable daily steps towards a profitable blog so you can live that creative life after you’ve built your foundation. Because once you’re up to speed, you will have more and more freedom to do whatever you want, but you have to have your systems in place and a foundation first.
Personally I always knew what worked to run a profitable business, a skill I picked up from my marketing studies and curiosity, but I never implemented it.
I was overwhelmed, I needed an action plan. …. It took me years to get the hang of it and create a daily routine that helped me reach my goals while staying calm. That didn’t mean 80 hour work weeks. I only work a couple of hours a day on my blog (some days I just take off completely) and as long as your actions are the right actions, it’s super doable to build a profitable blog in a couple of hours a week. All you need to do is use your time as productive as possible on the right kind of growth tasks.
I couldn’t be happier because now I am living my dream and I love to help you live the same way, by creating this 21-day roadmap with actionable steps towards your dreams. Beat the overwhelm, let’s get started!
In my Blogging Wave course, there are 21 ‘assignments’ that have been specifically designed so that you can learn how to build a profitable blog. You will learn the basics of each assignment and how to overcome some of the problems associated with that marketing technique.
You will face your fears by doing every assignment, one a day, over the course of 21-days to strategically change the way you look at blogging.
Following this course in 21 consecutive days will almost guarantee some instant success in your stats. I will release a new week filled with assignments every week.
Each lesson is designed to inform you in about 15 minutes with some background information and knowledge, and to complete the assignment you will need approximately 60 – 180 minutes every day, depending on how far you are in your blog business right now and how much extra work you wanna put in.
Most of the time it’s just an introduction and the very first steps and strategies of a technique to raise some awareness on how things work ‘behind the scenes’ and I invite you to do some more research of your own if you’re particularly interested in a topic or strategy and ready for the next step. You can also follow one of my other courses where I dive a little bit deeper in the techniques and strategies though here. You can make the strategies as complex as you want as soon as you understand how they work, but often this comes with a price of more expensive and complex software, so I hand you all the techniques to go to that place, without spelling it out for you to not overwhelm you.
Most lessons are designed that they don’t cost you any money, so I will not invite you to take actionable step towards investing in expensive ads or products, however I do recommend you invest in these two programs (this and this – both under $30 a month (or free)) because I have designed this course so, that that’s all you need to complete every lesson successfully.
If you have limited time available you need automation in your blog business to some degree and that’s what they do. I also offer free options, but don’t explain how to use my strategies with the free tools, but there are ways to figure that out yourself because I think you have the time as they often say you either have time or you have money right? There are many more tools available that do the same or take off more time of your hands, and I will definitely recommend them, although, it’s not necessary to invest in those straight away but I will mention them in the lessons so if you are ready to invest, you can use them (they’re max $100 a month!).
Therefore, it’s fun to do this course more than once, to see which strategies you can automate and perfectionate by using different tools to take off time of your strategies.
Enroll here in Blogging Wave
Now we got the monetary investments out of the way, if you don’t feel like you can put in all the effort right now that this course deserves because you’re still in a 9 to 5, have a baby or other duties to fullfill, I invite you to follow the alternative plan I’ve created for anyone with limited time available. This way you’ll still learn but it takes a little bit longer.
Once you’ve completed the 21 practises, you can re-do your favorite or most effective practice as often as you want. With the ‘blogging day to day’ checklist from lesson 1 you’ll be reminded about some practises too. I suggest you pick one area to focus on for 30, 60 or 90 days, and map out the year like this. So for example, after completing this course, I’ll focus 60 days on building my products, the next 30 days I’ll focus on building my traffic and so on. I personally work like this and it keeps me focused and with this course you can focus even better because you don’t have to think about the strategies you have to come up with, just follow the assignments given!
As we previously went over, blogs and marketing both have an unimaginable number of moving parts to make the whole thing work together in a way that will benefit you most. Despite everything that we covered in this piece, there is a lot more to learn, and the best way to do that is to go out there and get started on your blog!