Starting a blog is not as simple as writing a few posts and hoping for the best.
Not if you’re in it to make money anyway.
You will need to be very persistent and patient before you can see any money coming in. A blog is definitely not a “get rich quick” scheme. It will, however, be very profitable once it’s recognized and that your audience looks up to you for their answers
Here are some of the steps you need to take when you start a “profitable website”.
Do your research properly before you start so that you are 100% certain that your idea of a blog is really profitable and has a demand for it. If you sell or promote something that nobody wants, obviously, you’re not to make any money.
Your niche should also be something that motivates you and that you know when you start what you will blog about.
When choosing a niche, you will want to talk about a subject that you are familiar with. It should ideally be an interest, a hobby or something you’re passionate about and have some kind of knowledge that you can share with people.
It could even be some health problem in your life that you want to share your experience with your audience, it doesn’t have to be something that you are super happy about.
A great niche is the key to your success in any affiliate marketing website. Try and find some subject that will be easy for you to find subjects (or posts) to write about and where there are a lot of customers that will make many and repeat purchases or inquiries, which will they create a buzz over.
You could also go for a niche were customer spends a lot of money on higher priced products and services.
Your main purpose is to find a niche where you know you will be able to find enough affiliate products to be able to monetize your website once you get traffic.
You should also check out other popular sites in your niche before you get started and do some reverse engineering. In other words, check and see what works and what doesn’t in your niche.
The main idea here is to be certain that you don’t waste time on a niche that will not be of any value to anyone and that 6 months down the road you realize that it wasn’t a good idea to start with.
Don’t focus on just the big profitable niches like Health & fitness or Dating & Romance if you don’t know too much about it. You will struggle to come up with content that people will care about, and you will be seen as an opportunist just trying to get them to give you their credit card number or click on your offers.
You need to find a good balance between monetizing your website and being motivated to push yourself hard enough to make money blogging about your chosen niche.
I tell you right now, it does not happen overnight and it’s not an easy task, but if you persevere and are consistent, you will succeed.
It’s just a matter of time and being patient enough not to quit.
If you don’t know where to start, or which niche to go with, I suggest that you take a look at Neil Patel’s list by following this link.
Make a plan, target your audience.
You’ll need a definite plan before starting a new website.
A lot of people working on their own seems to skip this step which is a huge mistake. .
A good solid plan will benefit you in the long run. You will attain your objectives much faster and efficiently.
The first thing you need to do is to identify your target your audience.
Who are you selling to? What are they looking for? How can you help them? How can you reach
them? Those are also the question you should ask yourself in order to define your target audience.
Once you have identified and defined your target audience, you should get to know them.
The ultimate goal of your target audience is conversion, right?
If you say that your target audience is everybody, you are not going to get anywhere and it’s going to be very difficult to identify them.
Start with assumptions.
Since you are still planning, you will have to make assumptions and educated guesses from your experience with your niche.
You will want to answer a few questions in order to target them. Questions like:
Who are they?
What do they want?
What are their problems?
What are needs not being met that you want to fulfill?
How can YOU help them and develop a long-term relationship with them with relevant content that will help them!
Also, analyse how similar Niche websites are attracting their audience.
Use Google analytics.
I am not going to go into details here, but Google Analytics has a lot of great custom information on demography and best converting traffic sources, content, keywords and a whole lot more. But only once your website is up and running of course.
You can find a collection of 12 Google analytics custom reports on this link from conversionxl.com.
Don’t overstress yourself over Google. I’m not saying to ignore them, they are the web’s largest search engine after all.
Your main effort is to concentrate on your target audience! Focus on their specific needs!
This is what Google is reactive to and how they think! All they (Google) want is for you to create value for your targeted audience.
Once you have identified all of the questions that your target audience is asking, make a list (keyword rich if possible) and transform every question into a potential blog post. Then start writing.
You want to build a genuine high-quality blog for them, not for you.
But do not make the mistake of stuffing your content with high traffic keywords.
That is NOT what Google is looking for and it so 2015. They will probably penalize you for it instead. Focus on your TOPIC!
Since their last update, the top Google search results for most keywords are not even the exact keywords that you have in your title.
If you take care of your customers, Google will take care of you!
Content content content
In order for your niche website to be able to rank at all, you will need good quality content, we’ve already established that.
But you will need a lot of good quality content. You will have to become an authority in order to be able to have your website rank high enough so that it’s considered good enough to help the person that is reading it!
It should have at least 40 to 50 articles or approximately 40,000 to 50,000 words at least before you start seeing some results.
So, this is not going to be done overnight. It takes dedication, persistence and a lot of writing.
Use the list that you have created in the previous step to get you going. Once you have exhausted all of the items on your list, rinse and repeat – go back to asking questions your audience wants to have answered, and create another list from those questions for your next posts and reviews.
Your quality content should have a wide variety of similar products review or analysis, not the slim part of a niche, but a varied place that people will come for more information as you grow.
Establish your brand
You should start by buying a domain name that will be brandable.
Don’t try to buy a domain name that is the copy of a keyword. The main reason for this is as you gain authority on your website, your brand will become recognized and people will be checking with you to get advice. Just take Amazon or Google for example!
Your brand will become a synonym for quality. Build or buy a logo around that “brand”. It can always be changed in the future but be certain that it represents what you want to accomplish with your niche right from the start.
Google love brands and consider them more trustworthy, and they focus a lot more on them now.
Try and make your site a place where your audience has a great, memorable experience and where they get reliable information.
Become a name that people will remember. (Again think Google, Amazon)
Get a reliable web host and a premium theme
There’s nothing worse than going on a website that is down. Getting a reliable web host is primary.
They are the best on the Internet when it comes to a learning platform, and the community is amazingly helpful.
Then, choose a theme that has a solid structure (assuming you are using WordPress – if you are not using WordPress I strongly suggest that you do) and that you won’t need to change it in the future.
Make sure you chose a theme that gives you the options that you want. This can be done with trial and error.
Don’t make it too fancy, what you are looking for is a lot of black on white with images to complement and some videos. All of this is very appealing to your audience.
Once you have chosen your theme and are satisfied with it, buying the premium version will most probably facilitate the structural part of your website.
Be ready to start an email list
Set up your website to collect emails right from the start. Email lists are VERY profitable and will become one of the biggest advantages in your online business. A lot of online marketers say that the thing they most regret is not starting to collect emails right away when they started.
You may want to start out without building a list to get a feel for the market and to test if you are in the right niche, but when you are ready to scale your business, you have to collect emails and build an email list.
You will need:
- 1-An email autoresponder (a system that delivers email automatically to the customer that has “opted-in” your list) like GetResponse, Aweber, MailChimp, Active Campaign, ConvertKit or any other of your choice. There are plenty of autoresponders out there and the choice is varied.
- 2-Control over what is delivered to your audience through your website, in other words, your opt-in form.
Things can get technical at this point and can cause some confusion.
What we are explaining today here is a brief picture of what you should consider.
Basically, you want to build a database of customers, send them offers, all at the same time which will be automated with your autoresponder, and get them to ultimately buy from you.
You should decide whether or not you’re going to use a “lead magnet” (an offer to your audience in exchange for their email) or not and create your capture message. You can also create campaigns, but we are getting way ahead of ourselves here.
My main message here is to get ready from the start and build your list as soon as you can. But building a list is NOT easy. It’s more of a marathon than a 100m dash.
Here is a good link to get detailed information on how to build an email list from scratch.
Traffic! If it was easy to get traffic, everybody that has an online business would be a billionaire.
If you publish a post and wait for people to find it, will not give you traffic!
Believe me, I have experienced this.
All it does is get you discouraged and think “this isn’t working, why bother anymore?” kind of thinking and end up procrastinating and your next post just stays there in the planning stage.
Again, by focusing on your audience’s needs you will get (in time) direct traffic through search engines.
Notice I said engines, yeah, there are other sources out there.
Google IS the biggest of them all of course with over 87% of all search queries worldwide being generated by them, so your main focus is to please the big one right?
But you could also get some traffic from the other ones like Duckduckgo, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
Here is a good list of the best search engines for 2018 by lifewire.com.
However, if you want consistent search engine traffic, you will have to play by Google’s rules. They have 87% of the market remember?
The best way to get a long-term relationship with your audience and get them to find you is to direct them to your website through their own search.
It is the biggest traffic source for the majority of successful websites.
Of course, there are many other ways that will bring you traffic:
A good email list (we already talked about this one), Targeting Long-Tail Keywords, social media engagement (Promoting your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, etc.), writing irresistible headlines and lot more other ways.
But your major source of traffic will be through search engines.
You will have a hard time monetizing your website if you don’t use SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
It will become your best friend. But it can also be your worst enemy if you don’t know what you are doing.
I suggest that you learn as much as you can about SEO.
There are thousands of websites that explain SEO in detail and the more you learn, the better you will become at optimizing your website and getting your posts to rank on high pages (preferably page 1) of the search engine.
These guys know their stuff, and they rank on the first page of Google for the search term SEO.
So, they REALLY know what they are doing.
Study this part thoroughly, it should be your priority when starting out. It still is mine and I’m still learning!
One thing for certain is you never know enough when it comes to SEO and Google is constantly changing its algorithm, so we need to keep up with it.
Join Affiliate Programs / Networks
You are in this online business to make money right!
Well in order to make money, you need an income source. Joining an Affiliate Programs is one of the best ways to monetize your website.
There are thousands and thousands of different affiliates out there just waiting for you to promote them on your website. It will bring your affiliate marketing to a whole new level.
Here are a few of the programs that you should consider joining when you are ready to do so. But don’t wait too long before joining, do it as soon as you have some content created and have something to share with your audience.
Shareasale: Find affiliate programs for your website in thousands of different categories. From Home and Garden to computer and electronics and everything in between. This site is a lot like ClickBank and the commission rates are very attractive for an affiliate marketer. Sing up is easy and instantaneous.
CJ affiliate (Formerly commission junction): One of the largest affiliate program online besides ClickBank. Millions of companies, brands, products, and services to choose from. This site is also easy to sign up and you get approved easily.
FlexOffers: This program has over 12,000 publishers and promotes a lot of big brands. Their approval is a bit slow stating that they should get back to you after they review your application within 2-3 business days.
Rakuten: This program promotes thousands of different products like Computers, Electronics, Apparel, Home, Sporting Goods, Toys, and Accessories. Fairly easy to use and they have nice tools for conversions and earnings on your own dashboard. Approval is also easy and instantaneous.
These are just a few of over a ton of affiliate marketing partners you can join to scale your business and make money online. Try them out and see what works and what doesn’t.
Focus on HELPING
I know I talked about this before, but I will say it again! Your focus should not be solely on keywords and traffic. You want to HELP. Even though I talk about traffic and SEO in my article, it really comes down to the basic of helping your customers.
You can frame your work around keywords and 5000-word posts, but the bottom line is that Google
is now more than ever interested in quality and helpful content.
OK, so what is Google looking for? It wants you to give your audience what they are looking for.
If you do this, it will find you and you increase your chances by a tenfold to get to the top of Google’s search results.
I’m not saying to forget about SEO, but don’t overstress yourself over it. If you give your audience what they are looking for, Google will send you traffic.
Also, like I said earlier throughout this article, you NEED to have a LOT of quality content before you even get noticed.
So, this should be your priority until you get noticed.
It has been proven time and time again, that those who persist in affiliate marketing are those who succeed.
I suggest that you roll up your sleeves, get yourself a good cup of coffee, and start writing. The more you put out there, the better results you will get.
Get training and a wonderful community support
I hope that this brief introduction has given you some perspective on what you should expect when starting a blog.
If I have persuaded you that you need help to start a profitable blog and would like to have expert help day in and day out and learn from the same place I have learned, may I suggest the best Affiliate Marketing University on the Internet!!
They specialize in training people on how to build an online business using affiliate marketing. When you become a FREE member, you get everything from website hosting to detailed courses to get your business to a very good start, without forgetting the very helpful community of over 100,000 active members that are always available, 24/7/365.