Do you have questions about blogging for beginners? Would you like to know what a blog really is, how it works and what you need to do to make money?
Do you think it might be something you want to do?
If yes, you’ve come to the right place.
Would you like to start a blog and earn money?
Starting a blog and using affiliate marketing to earn money was the best thing we ever did. We started traveling the world with our laptops over six years ago. We’ve made money a couple of different ways, but it was our blog that really helped us escape the traditional business world.
Starting our first blog wasn’t easy at first, but a little time and focus made all the difference. There is quite a bit of competition out there these days, but don’t worry.
There are easy-to-use tools available today to find and know your audience and be certain you can compete in your desired niche.
This post will answer the most important questions and explain the basics of how to start a blog along the way.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is a blog?
The standard definition of a blog is something like this:
A regularly updated website or web page, typically managed by an individual or small group, that is usually written in an informal or conversational style.
Boring, right? Well, that’s just the high-level view. A blog is only as good as the energy and spirit you put into it.
The more interesting truth is that blogging can be an incredibly fun and mentally challenging form of creative expression.
It’s taking your unique thoughts and your writing style and blending those two things together in the form of written (usually) expression.
Blog writing can be fun, exciting, mind-numbing, emotional, relaxed, or whatever you decide.
There is no requirement on how often you update your content. You can blog twice a week or you can blog once a month. It’s completely up to you.
You can probably guess having a clear understanding of your audience and blogging on a regular basis will be important if you are looking to make money from your blog.
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure for additional details.
What is a blog used for?
The real answer is… it’s all up to you!
At a very high level, blogs can be used for these and other purposes:
- Personal journals
- Hobbies and crafts
- Creative expression
- Sharing areas of interest
- Teaching people skills
- Coaching for life or business
- Promoting and selling products
- Promoting and selling services
- Promoting brands
Your blog can be whatever you want it to be. The broad categories shown above can be broken down into numerous topic areas.
Some categories are designed more for personal use or sharing ideas. Other blog categories of are designed to add value to an audience and make money.
Start your blog with a marketable niche
Large categories like those above can be broken down into smaller sections, for example:
Main category: How to play tennis
2nd level category: How to play tennis through pain
3rd level category: How to play tennis with arthritic knees
The audience for “How to play tennis” will be quite large and will have a lot of competition – likely too much to get into the first page on Google search any time soon.
You’ll find each of these blog post categories will shrink in size as you move down.
As you look further into the best way to start a blog, you will run into terms like head terms/keywords and long-tail keywords.
A head term usually has 2 or 3 search words and a lot of search activity and competition. Long tail keywords are like the 2nd and 3rd level categories outlined above.
The good news here is the people in these smaller “niche” categories will be more interested in the information you share. They will also use more specific keywords to search for you and your blog topics.
You’ll find they will be more motivated to purchase, especially if you have provided them enough good information to trust you and your recommendations.
Is it still possible to start a blog and make money online?
Blogging on the internet started out as a way to tell a personal story, share a hobby or skill or post travel adventures and photos.
Two things moved old-style blogging into a viable way to make money. Blogging exploded when people realized early on a blog could build affiliate and advertising income. Then Google search started treating blog post content the same way they do on static website pages in terms of keyword search.
There have been periods over the past 15 years when people have called blogging “old school” or even “dead.” Yet, the business of blogging has never been more active and the income it produces has never been higher.
Yes, there is competition out there. So, you need to be willing to put in the time, really understand your audience and provide them with value.
Starting a blog can make money even if you have just a little time and energy to spare each week.
What is the difference between a blog and a website?
Blogs are a type of website. Yep, it’s a pretty simple answer.
The only real difference between a blog and what most people call a website is that blogs are regularly updated with new content. This content is usually displayed with newer posts first.
Typical websites are mostly static in nature with content organized in pages. They are usually not updated very often.
A blog is more dynamic and generally updated on a regular basis.
A blog can be part of a larger website. Many businesses have started adding a blog section where they regularly create content to inform and educate their customers.
In simple terms, all blogs can be a website or part of a website. However, not all websites can be called blogs.
Should you start a blog or build a website?
As a beginner, you may be wondering whether you should start a blog or a website. To be honest, the answer to this question really depends on what your business goals are.
Many small businesses all over the world have traditional websites made up of static web pages and no blog. These websites are often made to simply create an informational web presence for a business, organization, or individual. Most smaller businesses use them the same way they do with a business card or brochure.
On the other hand, more and more businesses are realizing the potential of including a blog in their marketing strategy. They are adding a separate blog section to their traditional static websites and using it to stay current, talk about subjects their customers bring up and get more traffic from search engines.
Next, let’s go over some other important questions you probably have if you want to start a blog.
What should you blog about?
When you move forward to start a blog, determining the topics you will focus on will depend on your own goals.
Contrary to popular belief, blogs are not an online diary about your thoughts. If you want to make a business out of it, you need to run it like a business.
In this case, you should be looking to start a blog with these areas in mind:
- Be sure your topic doesn't have large retail/corporate competition so you can rank on Google search
- You have a topic you are personally interested in. You do not need to be an expert or passionate about the topic, but it can help.
- There is an audience interested in the topic. You can make money with just a couple of hundred people in your audience, though reaching 1,000 is a good mid-term target.
- You are confident there are good ways to monetize your content through affiliate marketing or advertising
Remember it can be whatever YOU want to make of it. You can start a blog covering whatever subjects your heart desires and/or what can make money over time.
What makes a good blog?
It’s the connection you create with your readers. You know them well enough to know their lifestyles, desires and problems. You use this information to develop blog posts that show you understand them and can help them.
A well-designed, money-making blog is one where you bond with those visiting and create a level of trust that can’t be easily broken.
It’s important to know a profitable blog does not necessarily need to be huge in size or require a great amount of customer involvement.
Some small blogs make TONS of money because of the deep connection with their audience. Some huge blogs make little or nothing because they don’t connect with readers.
The important WHY start a blog question.
It’s always a good idea to answer the “why” question before diving too deep into the “what” and “how” stuff.
- You can be simply motivated by the subject matter and want to share it with others with similar interests.
- You may be getting too close to retirement without enough funds or pensions to feel secure.
- You may have been laid off from your job – or fearful it could happen soon.
- You may have a great interest and/or passion for a topic and want to share it with the world – and make some money long the way.
- You’ve lost interest in your day-to-day job and want to change things up.
- You always felt you would be a good teacher and blogging can give you the chance to do so.
- Maybe it’s as simple as needing to get a new car or pay for your child’s college.
At the very least, your blog subject should be something you have an interest in so you don’t lose energy over time. It should have a potential audience and path toward earning an income if that is your objective.
The answer to the “why start a blog” question is as varied as there are human beings.
How you can start a blog and make money
You can make money in a variety of ways. Some methods will earn you more money and some can earn you money faster.
Some of the very basic ways to make money with a blog include:
- Affiliate marketing – connecting your audience with companies selling products or services.
(Click here to read our post on affiliate marketing – it is by far the best way to start making money with a blog.)
- Putting ads on your blog (Google AdSense and other opportunities)
- Recommending products in your articles (software, web hosting, productivity tools, etc.)
- Selling your own digital products (higher return but more time investment)
These are just the most used tools for making money from your blog. There are more opportunities, but we can explore them once you gain a little more knowledge. There is no question the best way to start is by using affiliate marketing.
Are you interested in how to start your blog successfully? This blog post will walk you through the process. You can get one up and running in less than an hour!