In this article…
- What Is a Blog?
- How to Create a Blog
- Purpose of a Blog
- Can You Get Paid to Blog?
- Search Engine Optimization
- Types of SEO
- Benefits of Blogging
- Drawbacks of Blogging
Blogs are not only enjoyable to manage, but they can generate significant revenue streams. Monetizing a blog takes a great deal of time and effort. However, it provides many additional benefits, especially for businesses. Discover what a blog is, its purpose, and ways to monetize in this complete guide.
What Is a Blog?
A blog or weblog is a website or collection of online articles or posts that provide information to users. Posts often display in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent information first. Some blogs are written in a diary-style while others follow strict guidelines using brand tone. They’re usually updated regularly and run by individuals, small agencies, or large media companies.
Image via Unsplash by Slava Keyzman
How to Create a Blog
Consider the following steps when creating a blog:
1. Select a Niche
If you’re starting from nothing more than an idea, consider a niche you’re interested in. For example, if you like writing prose, a blog with educational articles on writing, story formation, and creative development might be a good option. The next step is to conduct further research in that niche and identify its top keywords. Doing so helps guide content and allows you to craft interesting ideas around those keywords. Additionally, in this early development stage, consider various ideas for monetization.
2. Choose a Platform That Meets Your Needs
Choosing the appropriate platform for your new blog is one of the most important decisions to make in this process. WordPress is one of the most popular platforms on the internet for blogs. They even offer hosting options or allow you to choose a third party if you prefer. WordPress blogs are mostly free to create, but they do cost money to access some of their more advanced features. Other alternatives include:
3. Decide a Name For Your Blog
The domain name you choose is your blog and brand identity. For best results, choose a name that’s relevant to the content you create and easy to type and spell. Be as creative as you need and treat this similarly to deciding on a business name. With enough effort, a blog easily becomes a full-time business. Some platforms, such as WordPress, allow you to reserve domain names through them. However, there are third-party services for reserving domain names. Each service comes with its own subscription structure. Research your options and determine the best solution for your blog.
4. Find a Web Hosting Service
Finding a hosting service is another major decision you face in making a blog. The host you choose often has a direct impact on your blog’s overall performance and functionality. Additionally, if the hosting service goes down for whatever reason, so does your blog. Hosts ensure your site’s available and store some of your files for you. Many hosting services also offer domain name registrations, but choosing a third-party option is acceptable. Some of your options include:
5. Design Your Blog
The final step in this process is to design your blog. Coding and web design experience is unnecessary, but it can help. Many platforms provide themes you can choose from. They usually have a catalog of dozens of options, but you can find hundreds more online. Many themes come with their own unique functionality and design options, and it’s best to consider how they match with the concept of your blog. Most platforms provide free options, but you might have to pay for their best options. Third parties also require payment for their themes.
Purpose of a Blog
A blog’s purpose varies as the reasons for creating them are numerous. Some blogs act as personal journals while others share stories and provide entertainment. Most blogs are news sources covering many different topics. Blogs created for personal reasons, such as sharing interests, are often used as a recreational activity rather than a business. However, others are created for the sole purpose of monetization. It’s not uncommon for a single person to build their blog into a full media company with employees.
Can You Get Paid to Blog?
It takes time, but once you achieve steady traffic, you can monetize your blog through ads. They’re the most common type of blog monetization where you earn money for views and clicks of ads. You need a large amount of traffic to see income, however, as ads only deliver fractions of a cent per engagement. Other forms of monetization include:
Affiliate programs are cross-promotional opportunities between blogs and other businesses. For example, Amazon offers an affiliate program to bloggers where they provide links to niche items related to their blog content. Blog owners receive a percentage of sales on all clicks through to Amazon using affiliate links on their site. Affiliate programs often require blogs to fit certain specifications or to use their links in certain ways. Read all terms before engaging with an affiliate program.
Sponsorships are another great way to monetize your blog. There are many different ways to implement a sponsor, such as a sponsored post, ad-takeover, or another special event. Sponsorships build relationships with other businesses and open opportunities for other sponsors.
Many blog owners choose sponsored posts as their preferred method. For example, a pet care blog may write a sponsored post with a leading pet food brand. They either write an honest review or explain all of the benefits of the brand and provide links to their website. Details for monetization vary. For example, businesses may pay a flat rate to get access to the blog’s audience. Alternatively, they may offer a discount code to use in their online shop. In most cases, blog owners receive a portion of all sales made using the discount code.
Brand ambassador blogs are paid to represent companies or brands in a positive manner. Ambassadorships build awareness and improve online reputation. Agreements are often long-term and include multiple ad space options and sponsored posts. Leaning too heavily in the support of a single brand isn’t always a favored trait for users, however. Consider how your audience may respond before accepting any brand ambassadorship deals. Users are the real source of your income and making poor decisions could significantly impact your traffic.
Using a Blog to Support a Business
Some business owners add blogs to their company websites to increase brand awareness and earn passive income. A blog attracts more users and provides additional engagement opportunities for answering inquiries. When consumers encounter a problem in their daily life, they navigate to a search engine for answers instead of an online store. They’re looking for information rather than products. However, if your blog supplies them with the informative content they’re looking for, they might choose your products and services over the competition.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of using specialized techniques to rank higher in search. Using these techniques and practices encourages search engines to place your blog high in a search engine results page (SERP). Generally, the closer you get your site to the top of a SERP, the more traffic you bring to your blog. When considering the use of SEO, research these best practices:
- Crawler-accessible web pages
- Lengthy, informative content
- Keyword-optimized content
- Function, pleasing design, and user experience
- Complete metadata optimized for crawlers
Types of SEO
There are two major types of SEO to be aware of when creating your blog’s content:
On-page SEO refers to all best practices and techniques used on individual pages and posts throughout your blog used to improve SEO. Such efforts include proper and detailed metadata, precise URL structures, and more.
Off-page SEO refers to any practices, techniques, or strategies used to improve overall SEO site-wide. Some of the many off-page SEO practices for blogs include link building, content marketing, and promotion on social media.
Benefits of Blogging
The following list outlines some of the many benefits of blogging:
Freedom to Express Your Interests
Blogs have always been great places to express your interests, thoughts, and opinions. You can connect with people who have similar interests and easily build a community focused on a particular topic. For example, if you enjoy tabletop gaming, you could make a blog about your matches, review new games, and report on tournament results. Doing so garners interest in like-minded individuals. With proper search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you can funnel them all to your site.
If you’re an expert in a particular subject area, blogs act as the perfect platform to share your knowledge, research, or findings. Your collection of resources on your blog further educate others in the subject area, making you a go-to source. Being a known expert source drives even more traffic to your site. Higher traffic often builds backlinks and increases your blog’s domain authority.
Blogs require a great deal of writing. Their basic function is to supply users with multiple articles and resources. This makes your blog a great space to practice different forms of writing. For example, if you want your blog to use a specific tone, you can practice writing in different tones different terminologies until you find a fit. Bloggers often write multiple articles daily which provides plenty of writing practice.
Earn More Exposure
Businesses use blogs to increase consumer awareness and earn more exposure. It allows them to connect with potential customers who may only ever find them online. Cross-promoting your blog with your business is a great way to market, build relationships, network, and grow.
One of the most attractive factors of blogging is freedom and flexibility. With time and effort, blogging can become a full-time job, allowing writers to set their own hours and create content at their own pace. Blogging can even support a separate full-time job because you can write at all hours. Until you reach the point of working with other businesses or hiring employees, there are no deadlines. You create your own schedule.
Drawbacks of Blogging
The following list outlines some of the many drawbacks of blogging:
As mentioned many times previously, earning real results—including income—from a blog requires patience and hard work. Articles need to be at least 500 words to garner attention from search engines. In most cases, however, you need more than 1,000 words per article to provide rich and informative content. The larger your community, the more daily content you should create. Doing so satisfies readers and improves your site’s overall SEO.
Unless you find a host that takes care of technical issues for you, in many cases you resolve the issues on your own. If you’re not a web development expert, you may need to conduct additional research. For example, there may be times when your blog cannot be reached. In other circumstances, certain functionalities or third party applications within your site fail. If some of these things are critical to the performance and experience of your blog, resolve them swiftly. Finding technical solutions is not always easy.
Spam is a constant threat to websites. Spammers or bots post comments on your articles often with a link to a malicious site. Not only is this dangerous for your readers and user base, but it also discourages search engines from ranking your site. Keep watch over your comments, especially on new posts. Some website platforms provide their own plug-ins that monitor comments for you. They flag comments with links or those posted from questionable sources.
Monetization Takes Time
Blogs are not a great way to earn money fast. They take time and effort, both in SEO and general content creation. They also involve in-depth research and a willingness to implement new ideas. Communities often grow slowly, even with the best SEO techniques in use. Ads only generate moderate levels of revenue through traffic. You need thousands of users each day to see the smallest amounts of income.