5 Easy Steps On How To Start A Blog And Make Money Online

There are many different ways on how to create a blog BUT there’s a major difference between starting a blog that makes few dollars a month and a site that creates a full-time income for you.

It all begins with the site structure and on-site SEO.

I’ll go through my 5 exact processes of setting up a blog and how I plan them for growth. It’s easy to follow and it doesn’t require much know-how.

How To Start A Blog And Make Money Online


What is a Niche Website?

“Niche website” is probably one of those phrases you’ve heard about and are wondering what exactly it means and how it can even be useful to you at all. You have probably also heard that it’s great to create a niche website as an online entrepreneur and you are asking yourself “what is a niche website?”

If you have just started an online business or have probably had it for a while but don’t know exactly how building a niche website can be an added benefit because you’re not even clear about what it is, then don’t pass, you should be reading this.

Niche websites are a very fascinating and sure way of getting just the audience you need to visit your site without putting you in the face of too much competition. But what exactly does the term mean? Let’s take a detailed look.

A niche website is a site that narrows itself down to specifics rather than spreading its wings out to broader topics. In other words, building niche websites is one which focuses on a specific audience using specific terms (usually called keywords) that people use when they go to search engines.

This means that in a larger audience of people with a common interest, a niche website ideas focuses on a particular, smaller group within that larger audience in order to meet the specific needs of that smaller group.

Take a group of people who are interested in travel, for example. If you want to create a niche website that focuses on what these people are interested in, you need to realize that travel means different things to different people and at different times.

For a broader group of people who are interested in travel, therefore, a website for just ‘travel’ will suffice. However, if you want to go deeper and create a niche website, you might want to consider creating something like ‘best summer camp destinations’.

An even more narrowed down title would be ‘best U.S. summer camp destinations for kids’. Hence, in the audience interested in travel, there is the smaller group interested in summer camp destinations and an even smaller group interested in summer camp destinations for kids.

To create niche website would require you to get specific like this, going beyond the broad topic of travel to the more specific need of a particular group.

The Goal of a Niche Website

The primary goal of a niche website is to ensure that visitors to the site have exactly the information they need and that their questions are answered. This saves the visitor the trouble of having to read a variety of things that do not exactly answer the questions he or she might have.

Here, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is enabled such that when the keywords of the site are typed on a search engine, the site containing the needed information appears quickly for visitors to have access.

How Is a Niche Website Beneficial to You?

A niche website, as already explained, usually has a specific focus and answers the exact question that a visitor might have. If you are looking to make money out of your website, a niche website makes it possible by the help of the keywords you choose.

As earlier said too, niche websites enable Search Engine Optimization. If you choose to use broader terms for your keywords, you can be almost sure that lots of visitors of will also be using those broader terms that are, there will be more searches.

However, you can also be sure that you will be facing a lot of competition, so much more than you want because there will be so many search engine results for a broader audience which means there are lesser chances for your site to get visits.

On the other hand, by a having a specific blog niche ideas saves you from too much competition which means that when the keywords you have used are typed in a search engine, your website will be the likely result since you have narrowed your keywords down to specifics.

Simply put, the most profitable niches will attract a lot of searches but there will also be a lot of competition while a more specific niche will attract fewer searches but you can also be sure of way lesser competition.

This means you can be almost sure that nearly everybody (even though they may not be a very large number) who types in your keywords will likely visit your website.

What you basically need to know is that people looking for broader terms are merely looking for simple information and may not be interested in getting the deeper details.

On the other hand, people searching for more specific terms actually want deeper details and know exactly what they want. If your site gives them that, then, of course, you can keep them and this puts you at a higher potential of earning a commission.

Basically, creating a website on the best niche markets with more specific focus will draw the attention of more serious visitors who actually need the information you are offering. This will put you in the face of much less competition and therefore increase your chances of earning passive income.


1. Deciding The Niche or Topic For My Blog

Tip:

  • Are there plenty of good keywords within the niche?
  • Is it profitable? Are there other sites in the niche that is earning a good income.
  • Check what is the CPC like
  • Check how competitive is it

There are many factors I considered when I did my niche selection:

But I start it all out by considering the things I am interested in, so I make a list of things that I am passionate about, the things I fear and the problems I am having at the moment.

In doing the list I try to keep it under 10 items. At this point, I don’t need to care if the niche is broad or targeted as I will be sorting it out in my next steps.

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income Blog, explains in his post Niche Site Duel 002 – Finding a Profitable Niche: My Process Revealed, the process he did on selecting his niche, here’s an excerpt of it;

  1. I came up with a list of 7 passions, 7 problems, and 7 fears, making sure to stay away from anything that deals with making money online. (Side note: I once won $1,024 on a Blazing 7s slot machine, so I consider 777 to be a lucky number of mine. Hey – nobody said superstition doesn’t play a role in internet marketing.)
  2. From that list of 21, I selected my top 10 potential markets.
  3. I did keyword research for each of those markets, hoping to find any related terms that fit my criteria, which I will share in detail below.
  4. If any related keywords stood out to me, I immediately checked to see if the domain name matching the keyword 100% was available. If the exact match was not 100% available, I moved on to another related term or another market.

You can read more about his process on that link above.

But for me, I did not spend much time selecting my niche because I already had an idea about the topics I want to tackle even before I bought RankXL Niche Site Course.

To me, this is the most important part of the process and can mean the difference between a site that makes money, and one that doesn’t.


Analyzing My Niche Through Keyword Research

Now it’s time to examine and determine if these niches are something that other people are interested in it too and what is the search traffic potential for each niche.

I come up with some seed keywords for my niche and look whether there are any related keyword terms that have high search volume, whether there are good keywords within the niche I selected with a big enough search volume that will make pursuing this profitable.

This gives us the best chance to rank our site for the biggest keywords in the niche, get every variation of the phrase, and get on the first page of Google and even to rank no. 1

First, go to KW Finder

This is the main tool I use for all my keyword research, and it’s what I’ll be using throughout this example.

I have been using Keyword Planner by Google before but ditch it after their update where they only show ranges of search volumes for keywords rather than the exact number.

KWFinder acts exactly like the Google Search Planner used to. KWFinder doesn’t need an in-depth tutorial. It’s really simple and just acts as a Google Keyword Planner did when it showed the exact data. Just add your keyword, location, and language, and you’re done.

 

 

On the left side of the screen, it will show you all the search volume data including CPC and difficulty.

And on the right side, it will tell you how easy it is to rank for your selected keyword, and even show you a list of the top 10 ranked sites for that keyword, their domain and page authority, and tell you how many links and shares each site has too.

KWFinder is free to use with some limits on the keyword analysis you can make, or you can get a year’s subscription for only $149 using their Basic Plan, and it should give you all the search volume data that you need.


2. Choosing A Domain Name

Tips:

  • Choose a .com domain as it inspires more trust and easier to remember. But if your site is specific to a country you can also use local TLD’s like .ph.
  • Your domain is short and easy to remember.
  • Choose a branded domain name as people trust branded domains than EMD’s (exact match domains) and EMD’s are not much of a ranking factor anymore.
  • It is broad enough for future growth
  • Avoid hyphens in the domain (i.e. my-domain.com)
  • Avoid more than 3 words in your domain (see skilled tip #2 above)
  • Don’t use trademarked names in your domain name (i.e. NIKEuser.com)

The first thing that you need to think about is what’s your site’s domain name is going to be and how it’s related to growth.

This is VERY IMPORTANT and which I did the wrong way before I got my hands on RankXL’s Niche Site Course.

Why does your site’s domain name be so important? Because it tells visitors what your site is about.

When I created my blogs before I used to get a domain name that has my main keyword in it, you know those keywordkeywordkeyword.com.

If I will be doing my old way of selecting a domain name, since my main keyword/topic for this website is about travel, it will be something like travel.com or something similar if that domain is already taken.

There is nothing wrong with that, but it limits me to talking about travel only. It will be weird if I talk non-related travel ideas here.

In choosing your sites domain name you must think first about your long term vision for your site.

Is your niche big? Can you expand your site into multiple categories and create a thousand pages for it?

If not, then your domain name SHOULDN’T be specific to that niche.

That’s one of the reasons Investopedia.com was named that way. So they can talk about different kinds of investing, even personal finance and not being tied into one type of investment only.

THEREFORE, I would NOT name my site something like “travel.com” because that pretty much limits me to ONLY talk about travel.

I hope it does make sense?

So what I did is think of a domain name where I can talk about different topics like my hobby photography and my love of nature.

That’s where I have come up with my domain name OutdoorPhotographySecrets.com.

Why is this so important?

I hope you know why already.

If you don’t, I haven’t done a good enough job explaining how an authority site works. It’s a site that is an ultimate resource for my selected niche.

That’s why I don’t want to limit my site’s growth by having a limited number of things I can talk about.

With this setup, I’ll be able to target new niches as categories and rank page for them so much faster than if I were to start a new site.

I will put much work to build up authority on my site. And I’m going to take advantage of its power, the ability to scale.

With this set up I’ll be able to target new niches like what I mention above as categories and rank page for them so much faster than if I will to start a new site and start the process all over again.

What does that mean for my site if nature turns into a category? I’ll still be going to target only photography in the beginning of the site. However, because my site is now about Photography, the homepage will be titled around Traveling, of course.

I’ll also be able to target that as its own keyword, and it should rank itself naturally in the long-run.

Then, nature will be turned into a category, and I’ll have the option to add the other niches in as additional categories in the future.

I don’t need to add everything at once if I don’t want to, but I will because one of my strategy for content creation aside from getting it from HireWriter, is ILT (Invest, Learn and Teach) and I want to teach what I am currently learning as I learn them.

Domain Selection Example

Now that I have done explaining the theory, let’s look back at how I find my domain name for my other site.

Because I want the site to be associated with travel I want the word “traveling” in the domain. The second word I will choose will be my branding word which is “photoblogger”.

I have used Shopify’s Business name generator in selecting my domain name:

 

If you already have some domain name ideas, you can quickly check if it’s available using the free tool, Instant Domain Search. If it’s red means someone else already owns that domain name if green means it is available.

 


3. Choosing A Hosting Company

For my new website, using a WordPress blog with a domain and hosting from my hosting company HostMonster.com.

Hosting companies house your site’s files and are responsible for loading the live version of your site to Internet users.

There are many other blogging platforms you could choose from when I started blogging I use Blogger (because of its free), there are also Typepad, Moveable Type, and Weebly.

However, WordPress is the most popular, and it is what I am using now to run all my websites. And it’s easy to use, with lots of FREE themes and plugins to choose from. (Update: I have transferred my high traffic site to WPXHosting)

Do note that there’s two type of WordPress the .com and .org. The .com is like Blogger where you can set up your blog for free.

You don’t need to pay for anything, and you can have a blog up and running in no time.

Though like blogger where your website ends with .blogspot.com, so this site would read skilledentrepreneur.blogspot.com which not only doesn’t look like you mean business and needless to say hard to remember, it also decreases its authority in the search engines.

The .org is where you can download WordPress to put on your own hosted domain.

There is an installation process that can hold some people back, which is why I recommend using a hosting service like HostMonster.com because you can get your domain and hosting cheap, and it only takes a simple click of one button to install WordPress on your site.


Let’s set up our website

1. How To Install WordPress on HostMonster.com

a. Log in to your Hostmonster account

b. Click C Panel

 

Click C Panel

c.Click on Install WordPress

Click on Install WordPress

 

d. Click on Install

Click on Install

 

e. Select a domain where you want to install WordPress

 Select a domain where you want to install WordPress

 

f. Tick the checkboxes then enter your preferred Site name, Admin Username and Admin Password then click Install Now

Tick the checkboxes then enter your preferred Site name, Admin Username and Admin Password then click Install Now

 

g. There you go, you have installed WordPress on your website

There you go, you have installed WordPress on your website


4. Installing Necessary Plugins

As far as plugins are concerned, I install the following plugins immediately after WordPress is loaded:

a. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is one of many SEO plugins out there for WordPress. In my opinion, it’s the best one. For one, it does everything I need it to do and I never have any bugs with it.

Secondly, it’s constantly updated and free of bugs and vulnerabilities.

Third, it’s one of the most widely used and documented plugins out there. I’ll go over how to set it up in the next section.

b. SumoMe

SumoMe is a free plugin that, once installed, gives you a bunch of free tools to grow your site’s traffic and email list.

c. Q2W3 Fixed Widget

It increases your sidebar CTR percentage a ton. This plugin allows you to make any widget “sticky” so it will follow you down the page as you scroll.

d. Display Widgets

Sometimes, you want to display a widget ad on some pages and hide them on others. This plugin does that for you with the click of a button.

All you need to do is set the widget settings to display/hide on specific pages.

e. W3 Total Cache

The plugin that increases your site speed a TON.

The difference is like night and day.

This is because this plugin creates separate Html files of your pages and loads that instead.

The result? Instant loading pages that are impossible to achieve through WordPress without it.

f. EWWW image optimizer

The EWWW Image Optimizer is a WordPress plugin that will automatically optimize your images as you upload them to your blog.

Thus, makes your pages load faster


5. Picking A Theme

Tip:

  • It should be simple
  • It should be mobile friendly
  • It should be SEO friendly
  • It looks good on every browser (Use Browsershots.org to check)

Right now, the look of the theme isn’t actually that important, since no one is going to visit my site until it’s on the first page of Google, which is my top priority.

But I have already bought and decided what theme I would use for my niche site/s and it is a theme called MH NewsDesk by MH Themes.


How To Make Money Online With Google AdSense?

I could never forget how excited I felt when I got approved by Google AdSense after being rejected for several times.

But, that couldn’t beat the feeling of seeing my income cross over the $200 dollar mark when I log in into my Google AdSense account and nervously waiting in line in a remittance center in Saudi Arabia to get my first ever payout through Western Union Quick Cash.

What is Google AdSense?

What is Google AdSense?AdSense is an advertising platform service by Google. It is easy to implement and the most convenient way to monetize your website’s traffic.

AdSense allows website publishers, like me, to monetize their sites by displaying targeted text, video or image advertisements on website pages and will earn them money with their website visitor’s impressions (CPM) or click one of the ads.

Webmaster’s can position the AdSense ads wherever they want on their website by modifying the HTML tags or by using a WordPress plugin like Ad Inserter which you can set to auto insert AdSense ads.

Or by using their quick insert option to insert the ads in any location you wish to.

When you make a search at Google.com you will see these ads displayed above the free/organic results and along the right side of the page on Google.com.

These are called Sponsored Results, and the advertisers are paying a certain amount of money per click (CPC) for these ads. It’s an auction-based system that allows advertisers to compete for/bid for those spots.

Whoever has the highest bid and most “quality” ad, gets the top spot and so forth.

Now, publishers or website owners can also earn a share of the revenue that Google earns from AdWords by displaying these same text or image ads on their site.

When someone clicks, you earn roughly 68% of the click and Google gets the rest.

It’s a great program and it’s the first way I use to monetize whenever I have a new site which helps me earn additional income from my websites. AdSense is an extremely simple way of making money online.

You insert your ad codes onto your website, and you start making money. You will not be needing to days, months, or even years building and refining your method of making money.

But, AdSense is NOT an overnight get-rich-quick opportunity.

Even though this may look easy and it is easy, you should not underestimate the amount of work you need to put into your sites. There’s no other way to earn online quite as passive as AdSense.

But no matter how passive it is, you always build and grow. Grow the income because the more you grow, the easier it becomes to grow more.


How Does AdSense Work?

The concept is actually really simple.

First, there are the advertisers, who advertise based on the keywords they choose.

Then Google AdSense spiders would then match these ads up with:

1. Those specific keywords that people type into Google and display them to the top and right of the search results

2. Websites that display Google AdSense ads.

It looks and really simple as it is, but there are other things happening behind the scenes.

Google AdSense sends out robots to crawl websites to find out what the website’s topic is all about. Like when you visit this site you will immediately know that it is about the lottery.

Then they match this keyword to the keyword the advertisers bid for and then their ads will show up on your site next to your article, you get paid when people click and sometimes just view the ad (usually it’s mostly clicked, though.)


How To Make Money From AdSense?

The earning potential of AdSense entirely depends on the content (what your website is about and the quality of those contents), where your traffic is coming from and the amount of targeted traffic your website/s is receiving and how well related the ads is to your content.

Some locations are more in demand by advertisers (like US traffic) and thus will generate more CPMs. Another criteria that will have a big effect on your earnings is the placement of ads, the size and type of ads you are using.

In my website/s, I put 2 big square ads in the content and 1 big rectangular ad in the sidebar.

Optimizing your website for ads will also give higher earnings for you as AdSense earnings are based on how many people click on the ads.

“Better ad optimization means more earnings.”

The earnings you will receive per click from the ads depends on the how much the advertiser bid for the particular ad.

Estimating how much you will earn based on your website’s traffic is hard to figure out. Only Google knows the answer for this and doesn’t let somebody else tell you otherwise because the ads cost at different prices and we could not have any no idea what advertisers are paying.

However, there are some niches that obviously pay more. You can have an idea of this niches when you are checking for keywords at keyword planner and there is a column for suggested bids.

The competitiveness of the keyword makes an advertiser more which equates more earning for you.

Below are some AdSense related terms that might be helpful for you.

RPM is the calculation of how much money you made per 1000 visitors.

It is calculated based on your traffic, CTR (click-through-rate), and CPC (cost per click).

Simply put if you are earning $5 from your website that means $5 for every 1000 visitors.

By knowing your RPM, you could make a rough estimate of how much you will earn based on your traffic. If you double your traffic from 1000 to 2000, that means you’re earning will double to $10.


How To Optimize AdSense Revenue And Earning?

1. Use image/text based ads

Use image text based adsBy using image/text-based ads for all of your websites, you open your ad slots to more advertisers and a larger inventory of ads.

As a result, you get a significant increase in CPC and CTR over time.

2. Use the maximum allowed 3 ad blocks on all your pages

This increases the number of available ad slots on your site, resulting in more advertisers bidding on locations on your site.

It is always preferable to put these 3 ads in your content area, but in your pages that have a shorter post and putting all 3 ads, there seems to much, just put one in your sidebar.

Over time, it increases your RPM significantly.

As you get more traffic on your website/s and impressions with your ads, you’ll start earning a small amount as well, even if AdSense work through a CPC model.

It might look small at first, but when your site is getting over a million hits per month, it can add up pretty nicely.

3. Use Red color scheme

 

Use Red color scheme

I read many tips on different websites saying that your ad should blend your website color scheme, lucky me, that my websites color scheme is black text with red links.

You can see it implemented on this site, where the color scheme is more of greenish but they prefer the red scheme for their ads, it always has a higher CTR.

Because it pops out more, and the most important than blending is that people see the ads.

4. Don’t block advertisers

 

Dont block advertisers

There is an option in your AdSense account to block certain advertisers, ad networks, and even categories of ads on your site.

AdSense is intelligent enough to know which ads your site’s visitor will be most interested in.
So you don’t need to block advertisers or change your settings. It results in a lower overall RPM for your site.

Remember that ad serving is more personalized now than ever before.

Don’t be too concerned about which ads are showing on your site.

5. Use big ad blocks

With regards to Google AdSense, bigger is better.

The only size that I use for my sites are

  • 336×280 large rectangle
  • 300×600 large skyscraper
  • 728 x 90 rectangular

Though my favorite to use is the 336×280 large rectangle.

6. Optimize your layout for maximum CTR

Ad layouts are the key to pulling the maximum revenue out of your AdSense sites. But I rarely see people have really optimized sites for AdSense. You can double your revenue just by optimizing your ads better.

So, instead of thinking about how you can increase your traffic from 1000 to 2000 visits per day to double your income, why not think of just increasing your CTR from 2% to 4%.

It’s much quicker, and income increases instantly.


My Go To Ad Layout

1. 336×280 ad right below the title

This is usually the best performing ad on my sites. Right under the title and wrap around by text on the right, is where I’ve found CTR to be the highest.

2. 336×280 ad, just before the end of the article

Just before the end of the article, I’ll have another big rectangle ad block.

3. 300×600 ad in the sidebar

Sidebar ads have very low CTR most of the time. But I’ve found this 300×600 ad block to perform very well. The 300×600 size is new to AdSense, and it’s awesome. It’s gigantic!

“Remember, bigger is always better.”

But for longer posts and high traffic pages, I’ll remove the sidebar ad, and place it somewhere in the middle of the content (around 5-6 paragraphs down).

This increases my revenue for my high traffic pages pretty nicely.


When Do I Add My Ads To My New Website?

For me, I add my ads as soon as I put up my first two pillar posts. There’s no right or wrong way. There’s no harm in adding them in from the beginning.

You can decide to wait until you’re getting 50-100 visits per day or after you posted 50 articles.

Either way is fine.

I prefer putting them in from the beginning so that I can start playing with layout ideas right away. I want to monetize the site right away so I add it in immediately. If you want to wait, that’s fine as well.


My AdSense Story

For the first year, I was only making a few dollars a month. Looking back at it now, I realized it is due to suffering from shiny object syndrome. I was always looking for the big payday, on how to make a website that would change my life quickly or that next big thing online programs.

Well, you heard the stories: the guys making 6 figures a month from their one website. Or the guy who built an app and made $10,000 a day. I wanted to be that guy too.

It wasn’t until 2 months ago when I come across RankXL Niche Site Course that I realized I am scattered everywhere. I was chasing the quick riches, and not really working effectively towards it.

Definitely, my strategies are not working. I finally decided to focus on one thing at a time, and I am not going to give up until I grew it into a full-time business (By the way, I define full-time income at PHP 100T/month, at least for now).

This brings me to my new strategy, I am now implementing the lessons from RankXL niche site course. On how to make a website/s that ranks for everything, drives millions of visitors per month, and grows into a sustainable, long-term business that makes 5-6 figures per month.

I will make a website that aims at becoming an authority in its niche.

I define an authority site as; “a site that is the ultimate resource on the topic, having better content than every other site currently ranking, and also make a website having a great design.”

“A great design isn’t absolutely necessary, but I want my sites to look really good. If I want it to be considered the best resource in its niche, I felt it should look better than the rest, too.”

That’s why I purchased a premium theme MH Magazine Theme by MH Themes when I make a website, and it is the theme this site is using.

I really like this theme because it is easy to use, easy to set up and gives me the ability to put a big rectangular ad in the header, without touching any code.

The strategy, which I will be using can be easily summarized like this:

1. Find a niche and build a site.
2. Get traffic.
3. Traffic clicks on ads strategically placed on the site.
4. Make money.

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