Blogging is an incredibly powerful way to earn money online. Even as a total beginner with no experience, you can start a blog and make $500 or more per month within your first year.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide everything you need to launch a profitable blog that generates passive income. You’ll learn how to:
- Choose the right blogging niche and topic
- Set up your blog with WordPress
- Create amazing content
- Promote your blog and make money with affiliate marketing, display ads and more
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a complete roadmap to going from 0 to $500 per month blogging as a beginner. Let’s get started!
How to Choose the Right Niche and Blog Topic
The first step to become a successful blogger is picking the right niche and blog topic.
Your niche is the subject matter that your entire blog will be centered around. The niche you choose can make or break your chances of making money with your blog.
Here are some tips for choosing a profitable blogging niche as a beginner:
Brainstorm Your Interests and Passions
The best niche is one you’re genuinely passionate about. Make a list of topics you love learning and talking about. This makes creating content much easier.
Do Keyword Research
Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to research keywords related to your interests. Look for low competition keywords with decent search volume. This ensures there’s demand.
Consider Existing Skills and Knowledge
Leveraging your current skills or education is a great way to establish authority faster. For example, an accountant could blog about taxes.
Evaluate the Competition
Use Alexa and SEMrush to analyze competitors in your chosen niche. Make sure it’s not too saturated and competitive. Look for gaps you can fill.
Check Affiliate and Ad Potential
Research affiliate programs and ad rates in your niche using Google and AffilateWindowss. Higher earnings potential means more money for your blog.
Pick a Narrow, Focused Topic
Broad niches like “fashion” or “tech” are hard to compete in as a beginner. Choose a focused sub-niche like “minimalist wardrobe tips” instead.
By spending time thoroughly researching your niche, you can maximize your chances of being successful. Don’t just blindly start a blog – do the legwork first.
How to Set Up Your Blog on WordPress
Once you’ve selected your winning niche and blog topic, it’s time to set up your blog. We highly recommend using WordPress, for several reasons:
- WordPress is 100% free and open source software
- Over 35% of all websites run on WordPress
- Easy drag and drop site building and customization
- Powerful SEO, blogging and monetization features
- Supports blog post images, multimedia and comments
- Huge theme and plugin ecosystem for every need
- Scales to handle tons of traffic as you grow
Let’s go through the simple step-by-step process to set up your WordPress blog:
1. Register Your Domain
First, you need to register a custom domain name for your blog. Avoid free subdomains like yoursite.wordpress.com.
Use a registrar like Bluehost, Godaddy or Namecheap. Pick a domain that matches your niche and is easy to remember.
2. Get Web Hosting
Web hosting stores your website files on a server. Without it, your blog won’t exist on the internet.
We recommend going with managed WordPress hosting like Bluehost or SiteGround for beginners. Stay away from cheap Shared hosting.
Managed WP hosting handles optimizations, security, updates and more so you can focus on content. Expect to pay $5 – $15 per month.
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3. Install WordPress
Now you’re ready to install WordPress on your domain with just a few clicks. Log into your hosting account and look for a “WordPress Install” option.
Follow the prompts to install WordPress. You’ll create a database, admin user and set your site title and tagline. That’s it!
4. Pick a Theme
Themes control the overall design and layout of your blog. WordPress has thousands of free and paid themes to choose from.
We recommend a fast, mobile-friendly theme like Astra or GeneratePress. Avoid bloated themes that slow your site down.
5. Install Plugins
Plugins add extra WordPress functionality. For a basic blog, you may want SEO, social sharing, contact form and security plugins.
Stick to essential plugins only. Too many can bog down your site and cause issues. Add them slowly over time instead.
And that’s it – your WordPress blog is now fully up and running! The initial setup should cost $100 or less for the first year.
Now it’s time to create amazing content and start making money.
Creating Killer Blog Content That Generates Traffic and Income
Content is king when it comes to blogging success. In order to consistently earn $500+ per month from your blog, you need to master creating awesome content.
Here’s how to research, plan, write, promote and optimize your blog content for maximum results:
1. Create an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar helps you plan and organize your content. This ensures you publish consistently.
Map out at least 3 months of blog topics, titles and publishing dates in a spreadsheet. Revisit and adjust it as needed.
2. Perform Competitor Research
Study what types of content works well for top blogs in your niche. Emulate their sucess while providing your own spin.
Use BuzzSumo to analyze their most shared content. See what resonates with readers and generates backlinks.
3. Write For People, Not Search Engines
While SEO is important, your #1 focus should be providing value for real humans. Write naturally with a conversational tone.
Aim to teach, entertain, inspire or help people. Answer questions and address pain points your niche has.
4. Follow Fundamental On-Page SEO
Make sure every post follows basic SEO best practices like:
- Including the keyword in the title, meta description, content, headers, URL, alt text and more
- Using keyword synonyms and related phrases throughout the post
- Adding relevant internal links to other articles on your blog
- Including outbound links to authority resources
- Optimizing page speed by reducing image file sizes
- Publishing longer, in-depth posts of 2,000+ words
This ensures your content gets indexed and ranks well in search.
5. Promote New Content
Actively promote every new blog post on social media, email newsletters, forums and anywhere your audience hangs out online.
Share snippets, quotes, key takeaways and links to the full piece to generate clicks. Run promotions and contests for your best content.
By mastering both promotion and on-page SEO, you’ll maximize traffic and income for every blog post.
6. Allow Comments and Dialogue
Comments build community and encourage return visits. Don’t disable them unless you’re getting overrun by spam.
Reply to every genuine comment, whether it’s positive or negative feedback. This helps establish loyalty and authority.
7. Update Older Content
Go back and update your popular posts every few months. Adding new data makes Google see it as fresh again, which boosts traffic.
Expand short posts into long-form guides with more sections. Turn single articles into multi-part series to get people coming back.
By continually refining and expanding your content over time, you make compounding returns on your initial efforts.
Making Money Blogging: 6 Proven Monetization Strategies
Once you have built traffic through great content, it’s time to start monetizing your blog. Here are 6 proven strategies to start earning $500+ per month:
1. Affiliate Marketing
Join affiliate programs like Amazon Associates, ShareASale, FlexOffers and more. Promote products related to your niche and earn a commission on each sale.
Focus on recommending genuinely helpful, relevant products in your content rather than pushing salesy pitches.
2. Display Advertising
Sign up for Google AdSense and Media.net to put display ads on your site. Advertisers pay you when visitors click or view them.
Place text and image ads in sidebars, headers, articles and popups. Don’t go overboard – keep your site user experience top priority.
3. Sponsored Posts and Reviews
Let brands pay you to create custom content promoting their products or services on your blog. Ensure all sponsored content is clearly labeled.
Negotiate rates of $50-$250+ depending on your niche and traffic levels. Don’t jump at the first low offer you get.
4. CPM Ad Networks
Use paid ad networks like Ezoic that pay per 1,000 impressions, also known as CPM. They use advanced algorithms to fill all your ad space at optimal rates.
Expect to earn $10-$20 RPM based on your niche, region and viewability. Set it and forget it.
5. Products and Merch
Sell digital or physical products like ebooks, courses, coaching and merch related to your niche. List them in your sidebar or header.
This requires more work but earns you 100% margins vs. the small commissions from affiliate links. Use print-on-demand services for merch.
6. Memberships and Subscription
Offer exclusive memberships that provide extra content, tools, data and more for a monthly/yearly fee. Use plugins like MemberPress.
Gated members-only content earns you recurring revenue as long as members remain subscribed. Provide ongoing value to keep them engaged.
By having multiple income streams, you make your blog resilient to issues with any single monetization method. Never rely on just AdSense alone!
Promoting Your Blog: Essential Marketing Tactics to Get Readers
Besides creating aweome content, you need to actively promote your blog to drive more visitors. This section covers key strategies for getting your content found:
Social Media Marketing
- Create business pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and any other networks popular in your niche
- Share your new articles, snippets and multimedia
- Engage with your audience by liking, commenting and posting consistently
- Run occasional paid ads on FB and IG to land more followers
- Join relevant Facebook groups and subreddits to participate in discussion
- Leverage targeted hashtags like #contentmarketing and #bloggingtips
- Research keywords and include them naturally in your content
- Get backlinks from authoritative sites in your industry
- Publish longer, deeply insightful articles 2000+ words long
- Optimize technical site speed elements like image compression
- Refresh old content and promote it again
- Guest post on bigger blogs in your niche to tap into their audience
- Offer a signup form and freebie like a checklist to build your list
- Send a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter with blog updates and valuable info
- Promote your newest, best content directly to email subscribers
- Segment your list by interests and send targeted emails
- Automate your email flows with a service like MailerLite
- Test Facebook, Bing, YouTube and Google ads to attract new visitors
- Make the ads relevant to your niche – highlight your expertise
- Drive traffic to targeted landing pages, not just your home page
- Retarget visitors who left your site by showing relevant ads across the web
By leveraging these marketing tactics, you’ll have multiple reader acquisition channels beyond hoping Google sends you search traffic.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Money With a Blog
If you’re a complete beginner looking to start a profitable blog, chances are you still have some questions about the strategy outlined in this guide.
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions:
How long does it take to make money from a blog?
It typically takes 4-6 months to start making money from a brand new blog. You need time to establish some baseline traffic and organic growth before adding monetization.
How much does it cost to start a blog?
You can start a blog for less than $100 your first year. Domain registration is $12 yearly, hosting is $5+ monthly, and a paid theme costs around $50 as a one-time fee.
Do you need to be a good writer to earn from a blog?
No, you don’t need to be a great writer. You just need to be able to create helpful, well-researched content in everyday language. Perfect grammar isn’t a must.
How many blog posts do you need to publish to make money?
We recommend starting with at least 2 blog posts per week. This generates sufficient traffic. You can scale up to 5x weekly posts as you grow.
How much traffic do you need to make $500 per month blogging?
To consistently earn $500 monthly, aim for 10,000+ active monthly visitors. At $50 RPM via ads and affiliates, 10K visitors brings $500 earnings.
Is it better to be broad or niche focused with a blog?
Being niche focused is better to stand out in your industry. Avoid overly broad topics where you’ll struggle to rank. Micro-niches work best.
As a beginner, the most important thing is to simply get started. You can tweak and optimize your blog’s direction once you have some traction.
And that’s a wrap! You now have a proven step-by-step blueprint for starting a profitable blog that earns you $500+ per month as a beginner.
The key steps are:
- Select a niche and blog topic with earning potential
- Set up your WordPress site with a custom domain and hosting
- Consistently create comprehensive, valuable content
- Promote your blog across social media, email, paid ads and SEO
- Add affiliate links, display ads, sponsored posts and other monetization streams
Blogging takes effort, but if you stick with it the rewards are well worth it. Building a successful site takes time, so have patience and keep publishing amazing content.
You now have everything you need to start your money-earning blog today. We can’t wait to see the awesome website you build and grow over time!
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