It is not a secret anymore that people make money blogging. These folks create an SEO WordPress blog that makes money and they make serious money doing what they love most. Blogging.
If you are reading this post, you are aware of the fact and you desire to create a blog of your own to get your fair share of the internet’s pie.
What does it take to make money blogging?
To answer that question, I am going to show you how to create a professional WordPress blog/website that makes money.
Let us begin.
How to create an SEO WordPress blog that makes money: Step by step
1. Identify the niche / market gap / area of interest you want to blog about
It almost sounds cliché when someone tells you that you have to niche down when you want to start blogging. This is especially true considering that no idea is exclusively unique.
Many multipotetialites have succeeded in blogging without particularly niching. I prefer to treat them as outliers for two reasons:
- The wider the market you are serving, the stiffer the competition you have to contend with
- Their success my not automatically mean you will succeed too.
Niching will help you to narrow down on related topics and write high quality content that will make you an authority.
Moreover, it really helps if you have some level of interest in the topic you will be blogging about.
You do not need to think up the next revolutionary idea to create a successful blog. I know a guy who has a pretty awesome blog about beards. He must really love beards that guy.
Write about something that interests you
When you love the topic you are blogging about, people will see from your writing and they will identify with your voice and style. They will be looking forward to your posts.
There is a very high likelihood that there are people who are interested in the very topic you like.
If you want to confirm this, just go to google and type your subject in the search bar.
You will be amazed at the number of people who are searching for the same keyword.
When you are fully convinced that you will provide value and there is enough audience for your information, it is time to move to the next step
2. Getting your domain name and hosting it
Here, you will need to get a short and memorable name that has a keyword for your blog in it.
When you have thought for a good name for your blog, you need to do a domain name search to check its availability.
You can use the Bluehost’s domain name search tool below to check for the availability of your preferred domain name.
You can also use Namecheap to perform name search for your preferred domain.
Purchase the domain name you have chosen
The domain names usually go for an average of $10 per year. You can be lucky to find an expired domain with established backlinks and considerable domain strength.
This can give you some mileage because your blog will start with a considerable amount of traffic.
After securing your domain name, you now need to host it if you want people to see it online. I recommend Hostgator.
The prices vary from host to host and with different packages. It could be a cheap $3.95/month plan from Bluehost or a $1000/month VPS plan.
The choice is yours.
Since you are just starting out, you do not need an overly powerful server. You will not use most of the services and they will end up wasted. Start slow and add more resources as your needs increase.
After purchasing your hosting package, the hosting company will send some details to your email address. Use the details to log into your host’s client account.
3. Install WordPress and start building your blog
WordPress is one of the most popular open-source (free) Content Management System (CMS) in the world today. It is versatile, stylish, secure, and it has been built with the end-user and the search engines in mind.
You need WordPress if you are going to build a stylish, secure, and user-friendly website.
What makes WordPress even more interesting to use is the fact that, it is extremely user-friendly. You do not need any amount of technical knowledge to install WordPress.
Here are the steps to follow when installing WordPress
- Log into your cPanel account using the details that were sent to your email when you hosted your domain name.
- Click the “Install WordPress” icon and choose to do it yourself. You do not need to spend money to have someone else install it for you.
- Check the domain and ensure you type in the correct domain name you purchased in step two above. Leave the directory blank to install WordPress in the root Domain.
- Once your domain name is in place, acknowledge WordPress’ terms of service and finalize the installation.
You now have a sparkling new WordPress site with “Hello World” greeting in the front page.
4. You now need to customize your WordPress theme to make your blog unique
Themes make WordPress blogs to look the way they do. When you install WordPress, it comes with a default theme installed already.
You can leave the current theme or choose something that fits into your needs.
When I was just starting out in WordPress, I could not find the perfect theme for my blog.
The fanciest themes I found slowed my blog and devalued user experience as a result. This continued for a while until I was able to lay my hands on Genesis framework.
Things have never been the same again.
You need to be on the WordPress admin panel if you are going to customize the themes. Use the details you used while installing your WordPress to log in.
If you type yourdomain.com/admin, you will be able to access the login page to get to the admin dashboard.
Adding a new theme
If you do not like the current theme, point your mouse over the “Appearance” menu and select “Themes” from the sub-menu that comes up.
You will have an option to upload your own theme (in .zip format) or choose one out of the thousands of themes available in the WordPress directory.
If you are using a premium theme you bought from places like StudioPress or Thrive Themes, you will need to use the upload option. Usually, the vendor packages the theme in a “ready to upload” format.
Once you have the best theme that fits your needs, click on “Install”, then “Activate”.
5. Customizing the theme for optimal performance of the blog
To realize full functionality of a theme, you need to do several customizations. Usually, you would need to tweak the code to increase the functionality.
However, we are not going to touch a single code because we do not need to mess up our crispy blog.
We will use plugins to extend the functionality of our theme. We can use plugins to add carousels, extra widgets, format the blog layout, etc.
The very first thing you should do is to customize your site’s identity.
Polish your permalink structure
At this point, your blog is not yet ready for publishing. For instance, if you try to add a new post, you will realize that the url structure is not very polished.
You need to select the best structure that will enhance your search engine optimization scores. The best format should be yourdomain.com/post-heading-with-target-keywords.
6. Optimizing the blog for the search engines
Our main aim of creating this blog is to ensure that we dominate the search engines and get the lion’s share of traffic in our niche. This calls for creation of exceptional content that answers the reader’s questions.
We will rely on text, video, images, and even audio (podcasts) to create rich content that our readers will love. Our blog posts will address problems that the readers within our niche have. We expect these posts to rank on the first page of the search engine.
If we manage to achieve this, we will rely on the search engines to drive organic traffic to our blog. This will help us cut down marketing budget and improve our profits at the end of the day.
We will use Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast is versatile and helps with editing of posts to make them SEO ready.
We can also use it to verify our blog with Google Analytics. This is a big relief from having to manually add the code.
To add this plugin, hover the mouse over the “Plugins” menu and click on “Add new”.
When the plugins directory opens up, search for Yoast SEO by Yoast. Install and activate it.
After activation, click on Yoast settings to begin the optimization process.
The steps to follow when customizing Yoast settings for SEO proceeds as follows:
- After opening the Yoast setting menu, select the “General” tab and click on “Open the configuration wizard”. You will see two optimization options. Choose to configure yourself; don’t go for the customization service.
- Choose the first option (site with real traffic).
- Choose your website type. Tick the blog because you will be writing fresh content on a regular basis for your audience.
- On the next page, choose person and enter your name. If you are creating a blog for a company, choose company from the choices and enter the company’s name.
- Enter addresses of your social profiles.
- Choose how you want Google to see your files. You can make all of them visible or you can choose to hide media. It is preferable to hide media because it will give your media files some level of privacy. Your posts and pages should be visible.
- Choose if the blog will have a single author or multiple authors.
- Enter your blog url and reauthenticate with Google. Once you click on the button, Google will lead you through the process until you finish.
- Enter your website name and choose a title separator you like. Most people use a small dash or pipe (the vertical divider). This is the separator you see when the search engines yield your search results. It separates the blog title from the topic / page title.
You can sign up to receive Yoast newsletter.
- The next steps are Yoast marketing and tutorial videos. You can watch them or choose to click next until you finish the process. The videos will remain there even after you finish configuring the plugin. You can always come back and watch them.
- Close the wizard and save all the changes.
- Click on the “Features” tab and enable all the features listed under the tab.
- Up next, click on “Your info” tab and add personal information as appropriate.
- Click on the “Webmaster tools” and copy your analytics code from your webmaster account. If you do not have one, simply click on the hyperlinked “Google Search Console” text and you will be shown how to create yours. The Gmail address is required to access Google services.
- Under the “Security” tab, you can leave it disabled if you will be the sole publisher of your blog. Save all the settings.
The next post you write will be easy to optimize for the search engines having configured the Yoast SEO plugin.
Other plugins you should have
They will protect your blog from brute force and spam. You will also have light files, fast loading blog, and the options for social sharing.
7. Creating primary pages and navigation menu
Your blog needs the famous “About” page. Here, you will tell the reader that which your blog is all about.
Detail all the necessary information that the reader needs to know. Clearly state the mission of your blog and what you intend to achieve.
You should also have a “Hire me” or “Services” page if you are going to be offering any service.
The reader should clearly understand what you do and why he / she should consider hiring you over every other person offering the same service.
Put up a “Contact” page to make it easier for the reader to get to you should he / she feel the need. Make it easy for the reader to reach you.
You can also include links to your social profiles and directions to your physical address if any. It improves credibility.
Create your “Terms of Services” page and clearly outline your terms.
Create the menu
After creating the pages, you can now create a navigation menu and assign it appropriately. Point the mouse over the “Appearance” menu and click on the “Menus” button.
Click on “Create a new menu” on the menu bar and name your new menu. Click on “Pages” and check the radios for the pages you want to appear on the menu and and save all the settings.
8. Create content
It is now time to start writing content for your blog.
Since your blog is serving a particular niche, it will be easy to come up with topic ideas to write about.
To write focused content, you will need keywords to write the content that your readers will love to read. Luckily, I have made a post detailing how to get long tail keywords (super-specific phrases that your readers are actually using to search for information on the web).
Use the guide to come up with as many keywords as you possibly can.
Use this guide to write a magnetic headline for your article. Good headlines increase the shareability of web content.
Write your articles. Aim for longer pieces because Google loves longer articles.
Once you finish writing, edit your content. Hire a copy editor if you have to but ensure that you have copy that your reader will love.
You can choose to publish one article at a time, or you can write many articles at once and create an editorial calendar for them.
9. Publish your first post
Now that you have configured your blog and optimized it for the search engines, it is time to take it for a test ride with the first shiny post.
On the dashboard, hover the mouse over the “Posts” menu and click on “Add new” button. It will open an editor that you will use the format the post the way you like.
Copy-paste the post title into the “Title” box and content into the “body” section.
WordPress will automatically generate a permalink for you based on the article’s title. You can edit this. Make sure you like it before publishing because if you change it after indexing, you will have a 404 error for that particular post.
Add appropriate media like images through the editor. If you want to add image directly into a post, just place you cursor there and click on “Add Media” button on the menu bar.
To add a featured image, use the right hand side widget to upload the image of your choice. Make sure you add the keyword in the alt section of that image. The featured image should augment the topic.
Optimize the post to increase its indexability
Scroll down to the bottom of the editor and use Yoast’s suggestions on how to make the content more engaging and search engine friendly. Aim to score as many green lights as possible.
Add a meta description (the short description you usually see on the search engine results page (SERP) when you perform a search for any keyword). Ensure it is captivating and informative enough to convince the web user to click through to your blog post.
Add the primary keyword you used to write your article in the “Keyword” box under Yoast settings for the page under the post editor.
Tweak it until you feel satisfied with it. You can then publish the post and wait for the search engines to index it. You can also read my post on how to ping the web to increase indexing speed.
Continue posting on a regular basis and start hunting for guest posting opportunities on blogs within your industry.
10. Make money with your blog (passively and / or actively)
To make money with your blog as an active service provider, you will need to find your crowd first.
Look for people who are interested in the topics you are covering. Contact and pitch them how your service can help them improve their desired outcome.
Continue pitching until you have sufficient client base to sustain give you a constant flow of work. Keep doing what you are good at and keep improving your quality.
As the quality of your work increases, keep increasing the amount of money you charge. Work only with clients who are comfortable working with you.
12 ways to monetize your WordPress blog and start making money immediately
There are many ways to monetize your blog. Some of the most common ones include:
i. Sell your services
If you can recall, we created a “Hire me” page when we were setting up our blog. List your services and make it clear that that you are available for hire.
You can offer your expert services like article writing, SEO consultancy, transcription, voice over services, etc. Since your audience regards you as an expert, you can begin offering coaching services.
ii. Selling digital products
If you are going to use your blog to earn passive income, you have to be selling some product. You can sell eBooks, online classes, music, or training.
If you are a developer, you can create apps, programs, themes, and widgets, which you can sell on the digital market places or directly from your website.
Graphic designers can sell their graphics on blogs as well. You can create animations, motion pictures, infographics, logos, etc. and sell it to the audience.
iii. Affiliate marketing
You get a referral link that you put into your content and the network credits your account with a commission every time someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link.
iv. Drop shipping
You identify something in demand then look for a place where you can source for it cheaply. List it on your website at a markup cost; the difference is your income.
When someone orders from your website, you contact the original supplier to deliver the product to the final consumer. You do not have to handle any inventory.
When your blog has gained sufficient authority and substantial traffic, you can sell ad spots on your site to companies within your niche.
You will be able to charge premium rates since your blog is dealing with a razor-focused audience.
Join the Google Adsense program to display ads and be paid for the impressions and/or clicks.
You can also use BuySellAds WordPress plugin to manage direct ads you display on your blog.
vi. Create a members-only content
When you create special content for private members, you can charge subscription fees for them to access it. You can also create premium webinars that people pay to access.
To restrict your content, you can use a number of plugins to create forums on your blog to allow you stratify the audience in the manner you desire.
vii. Create a premium jobs submission board
Charge businesses to list their job submissions because you have a targeted audience that will deliver the value they desire. You can check out how Darren Rowse does it on ProBlogger or Carol Tice on Make A Living Writing.
You can also create a business directory where companies and businesses subscribe to be listed. Furthermore, you can let them publish their upcoming events at a fee.
viii. Sell physical products
When you have substantial traffic to your blog, you can use it to drive up sales of your physical products.
If you have a best-selling book on Amazon, you can hype it up on your blog and prepare people to pick up a copy from Amazon.
You can also create a successful T-shirt business for your blog. Pat Flyn does that successfully with his Serve First brand.
You can use your blog to promote any kind of physical business you are running. For instance, if you are running a blog in the beauty niche, you can use the blog to increase traffic to your salon/beauty parlour.
ix. Write sponsored posts
When you have an authoritative niche blog, you can charge business owners to write a post about them and / or their business on your blog. It gives them the desired exposure and drives traffic to their business.
Once you create a dedicated following on your blog, you can now pitch companies and get paid to write reviews about their products and services.
x. Ask for donations
You can also offer everything on you site for free and create a donations button. Those who appreciate your work will give back in form of a donation.
I have seen this in a number of stock photo websites.
xi. Make money flipping websites
You can specialize on flipping websites and make good money doing it.
Once you have finished creating the niche site, monetize it and get its metrics and then head over to Flippa and list your blog for sale. Repeat the process.
xii. Collect leads for email marketing
You need to start collecting emails on your blog from the very start. You can start using Mailchimp to collect leads on your blog (there is a plugin for integrating Mailchimp with WordPress).
When you have collected the leads, you can share amazing offers with them on a regular basis. When they make a purchase through your link, you will get an affiliate commission.
Wrapping it up
Making money online blogging has never been more interesting.
However, many people are always in a dilemma when it comes to creating a functional website. The monster in the room has always been the technicality of installing WordPress.
Some people have resorted to using the social media to make money online, which is absolutely fine. The only limitation to using social platform is the capacity to expand.
If you have your own branded website / blog, you are not restricted as to how your business will grow. You are not leaning your ladder to success on someone else’s wall. In case Facebook decides to fold up their business tomorrow, your blog will still be working and your income will not be affected.
This blog post has detailed everything you need to create an SEO WordPress blog that makes money from the very start.
Create your blog and let the hustle begin.
Always strive to deliver the best and be honest with your readers. They will love you and respect you for that.
Take the risk. Work hard on your dream and let us meet on the other side of success.