So, you want in on the action right? you haven’t missed the boat, don’t worry. In fact I’d say now is a prime time to start, as blogs are more popular as ever. I guess times kind of changed when mobile phones allowed users to browse the internet and allowing us to see it for all it’s beauty instead of that god awful WAP (who remembers that?).
The first step is to have a good think about what you’re going to do your blog/website about. I’d keep away from any topics you’re not passionate or knowledgeable. Also make sure that the niche you pick, you can make money from via affiliate programs or even Google Adsense.
I prefer affiliate programs as you make a fixed amount (CPA), which is usually quite high, compared to Google Adsense which tends to be pence or low £x’s. However, its a lot easier to get a click from Google Adsense than getting someone to part with their cash to purchase something. Both methods can work, but different approaches must be taken and considered when marketing.
There used to be a time when users would need to know the like of HML, PHP, CSS and then understand how a server is configured. Thats certainly not the case anymore, blogs can me run from platforms such as WordPress and installed directly from web hosting panels with one click. I remember the days when I actually had to upload WordPress via FTP and then configure it.
What Do You Need When Creating A Blog?
Okay, so I’m going to list the essentials you need, for your blog to be visible on the web.
The first thing you’re going to need before anything is a domain. A domain is the web address your site is accessed on e.g. PassiveIncomeBlog.uk. There are lots of extensions to choose from such as the ever popular .com, .net, .co.uk. However the choice is endless, even a .ninja exist.
I’d go as far and say the extension isn’t too important. People favour .com because most people will type a word in the address bar and follow it with a .com, in the hope the website exists. Also, if you have www.example.ninja – I’m going to guess people will automatically type .com.
However, country specific domains are also a good choice, especially when the .com is taken. You can in fact build a brand around any domain, look at bit.ly. Did you even know .ly existed before bit.ly? exactly…
Anyhow, you can pick domains up for next to nothing. Be careful though, a lot of sites advertise £0.99 domains, only to find out when you renew your domain the following year they want £20. You’ll be expected to pay around £5-6 a year, also take into account each extension has its own cost (some maybe more expensive than others).
Also, when choosing your name, try and either choose something related to your niche or something you can build a brand around e.g. Google, Yahoo etc…
You can register a domain at: https://namecheap.com
Next your going to need some hosting for your blog. This is basically where the WordPress files sit, and are accessed by your users. WordPress uses PHP, so you must ensure that any hosting package you choose supports PHP & MYSQL. A lot of hosting packages now have the option for 1 click installs, which require zero technical knowledge at all.
I’d highly recommend a hosting provider I use called Stable Host . They’re very reliable, and a high uptime. Which is especially good when you’re relying on it as a source of income. You don’t want your website down 50% of the time, which limits your profits to 50% of what it potentially should be, right?
As you’re just starting you also don’t want to pay over the odds for all bells and whistles, when at this point your not sure if it’s going to be a success or not? Stable Host offer hosting for $4.95, which is about £3.70 a month – not bad right?
All you have to do once you’ve purchased your hosting account is point your name servers to the Stable Host servers, and you’re good to go!
Once done, WordPress can be installed in one click from cPanel.
You should be up and running now, and you’re now ready to start adding posts and pages. However, you’ve probably noticed your site looks a bit vanilla (to say the very least).
Luckily, WordPress has probably on of the greatest range of themes available (both free and premium).
I’ll be honest, there are quite a few nice looking free themes out there, but they’re infrequently updated and do lack some of the premium features you may want to use further down the line.
If you’re in it for the long run, grab a [eafl id=”6615″ name=”Themeforest” text=”Theme Forest”] theme. They are paid for, but some of them cost as little as $29 USD. This includes support, regular updates, premium features such as SEO plus a kick ass theme.
Now for the fun part, adding the content. I say it’s fun, but for most the novelty wears off pretty quick and most blogs are left to rot after 2-4 weeks. This is why it’s so important to choose a niche you are interested in.
If you’re not a good writer like me, then thats fine as long as you have something to say that people are interested in.
If your content is fun, useful, informative and engaging then it will work. However, if it’s mundane, repetitive, regurgitated crap like a piece of homework you have no interest in then no one will read it, let a lone come back.
Regular updates are necessary, as no one wants to stumble across what seems to be a cool blog, only to find out the last post was 2012.
Providing fresh engaging content is hard, especially if you have a 9-5 job. You can end up hating the blog because you feel you have to write a blog post.
There are other options, such as paying for a freelance writer from the likes of fiverr.com. Funnily enough you can pay $10 for a 500 word article, and bulk buying can lower that price even more. Although, it’s important to remember quality over quantity.
Remember to consider SEO when writing your articles, do it naturally and don’t full into the trap of cramming in as many keywords as you possibly can. We’ve all seen this joke before:
How many SEO experts does it take to change a light bulb, lightbulb, light, bulb, lamp, lighting, switch, sex, xxx, hardcore
Unfortunately, content is probably the step that most people fail on. Yet it should be the easiest, as it’s the main reason why you should of decided to build your website or blog in the first place.
There are a wide range of WordPress plugins to choose from, and fortunately most of them are free. When I setup a blog, here are the ones that I’ll install:
Performance (one could argue that performance falls under the same category as SEO):
Unfortunately, a lot of these plugins do the same thing as the other or at least offer similar features. I tend to mix and match features to ensure I use the best possible setup for me.
- Above The Fold Optimization
- Disqus Conditional Load
- Speed Booster Pack
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Smush
- WP User Avatar
- Really Simple SSL (if you’re going to run it on SSL)
SSL Or Not?
SSL is not required to have a successful website, but having it enabled on your site just adds that extra level of trust. It shows you put care in to ensuring your users data is as safe as it can be.
Even Google loves SSL. Adding SSL to your site also gives a little bonus to your Google SERP ranging.
It’s worth adding for the cost of around £5 from https://namecheap.com. Remember, that this is a yearly fee as it needs to be renewed annually.
Installing it is relatively simple, and can be installed in a matter of a few clicks if you’re using Stable Host . Remember to install Really Simple SSL if you’re using SSL. This will redirect all HTTP request to HTTPS.