January 2023 update
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 need to be very persistent and patient before seeing any money coming in. A blog is definitely not a “get rich quick” scheme. It will be very profitable once recognized, and your audience looks up to you for their answers.
Here are some steps you need to take to start a profitable website.
Do your research correctly 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 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 you are super happy about.
A great niche is key to your success in any affiliate marketing website. Try and find some subjects 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 create a buzz over.
You could also go for a niche where customer spends a lot of money on higher-priced products and services.
Your primary 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 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 six months down the road, you realize that it wasn’t a good idea to start with.
Don’t focus on the big profitable niches like Health & fitness or Dating & Romance if you don’t know too much about them. You will struggle to create 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 you look at Neil Patel’s list by following this link.
Make a plan, and target your audience.
You’ll need a definite plan before starting a new website.
Many people working on their own seem 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 more efficiently.
The first thing you need to do is to identify your target audience.
Who are you selling to? What are they looking for? How can you help them? How can you reach them? You should also ask yourself those questions 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 will not get anywhere, and it will be very difficult to identify them.
Start with assumptions.
Since you are still planning, you must make assumptions and educated guesses from your experience with your niche.
You will want to answer a few questions 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, analyze how similar Niche websites are attracting their audience.
Use Google analytics.
I am not going to go into details here. Still, Google Analytics has a lot of excellent custom information on demography and is best at 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! They (Google) want you to create value for your targeted audience.
Once you have identified all the questions 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 is 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 ones you have in your title.
If you take care of your customers, Google will take care of you!
Let’s say, however, that you would instead use anything but Google.
We all know that the all-mighty Google watches our every move online, and some people don’t want that. They would instead not get involved than being watched all the time. Well, the good news is you do have a choice!
In this article from pixelprivacy.com, you will find alternatives to just about any of Google’s products, from Youtube to the search engines themselves and everything in between, like browsers, cloud storage, and maps.
If you want the best platform on the internet to start a website or an online business, click on the following link and get ready to be astonished!
Content content content
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 to have your website rank high enough so that it’s considered good enough to help the person 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 decent results.
So, this is not going to be done overnight. It takes dedication, persistence and a lot of writing.
Use the list you created in the previous step to get you going. Once you have exhausted all 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.
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 is that as you gain authority on your website, your brand will become recognized, and people will check with you to get advice. Just take Amazon or Google, for example; their name has nothing to do with what they do!
Your brand will become a synonym for quality. Build or buy a logo around that “brand.” It can be changed in the future, but be certain that it represents what you want to accomplish with your niche right from the start.
Google loves brands and considers them more trustworthy, and they focus a lot more on them now.
Try to make your site a place where your audience has a great, memorable experience and gets reliable information.
Become a name that people will remember. (Again, think Google and 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 with 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 choose a theme that gives you the options 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 most significant 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 without building a list to get a feel for the market and 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 the following:
- 1- An email autoresponder (a system that delivers email automatically to the customer that has “opted-in” to 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 buy from you ultimately.
You should decide whether or not you will use a “lead magnet” (an offer to your audience in exchange for their email) and create your capture message. You can also create campaigns, but we are getting ahead of ourselves here.
My main message is to get ready from the start and build your list as soon as possible. But building a list is NOT easy. It’s more of a marathon than a 100m dash.
Here is an excellent link to get detailed information on how to build an email list from scratch.
Traffic! If it were easy to get traffic, everybody with an online business would be a billionaire.
Publishing a post and waiting 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.
OF COURSE, Google IS the biggest of them all, 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 others like Duckduckgo, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
Here is a good list of the best search engines for 2018 by lifewire.com.
However, you must play by Google’s rules if you want consistent search engine traffic. 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 most significant traffic source for the majority of successful websites.
Of course, many other ways will bring you traffic:
A good email list (we already talked about this), Targeting Long-Tail Keywords, social media engagement (Promoting your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, etc.), writing irresistible headlines, and many more ways.
But your primary traffic source will be through search engines (SEO).
You will have difficulty monetizing your website if you don’t use SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
SEO 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.
Thousands of websites 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 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!
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, to make money, you need an income source. Joining 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 programs 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 computers and electronics and everything in between. This site is a lot like ClickBank, and the commission rates are very attractive for an affiliate marketer. Sign-up is easy and instantaneous.
CJ Affiliate (Formerly commission junction): One of the most extensive affiliate programs online besides ClickBank. Millions of companies, brands, products, and services to choose from. This site is easy to sign up for, and you get approved quickly.
FlexOffers: This program has over 12,000 publishers and promotes many 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. They are 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 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.
The easier way to find affiliate programs!
A platform has done the research for you, and you will have access to thousands of high-commission affiliate programs at your fingertips. You browse the list, and once you have found the affiliate program that suits you, you join it directly with a click of a button. You will be redirected to the proper network, and it’s just a matter of creating your link to the offer, and you are on your way. This is part of the platform I use daily to run my online business, and I will tell you about it at the end of this article.
Focus on HELPING
I have talked about this before, but I will repeat it! 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 basics 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 will increase your chances tenfold of getting 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, as 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 repeatedly that those who persist in affiliate marketing are those who succeed.
I suggest you roll up your sleeves, get a good cup of coffee, and start writing. The more you put out there, the better results you will get.
Get training and fantastic community support.
I hope this brief introduction has given you some perspective on what to 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 training on the Internet!!
They specialize in training people on how to build an online business using affiliate marketing. When you become a 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.
When starting an online business, you will need three essential and necessary elements:
Website(s), Education and Expert Training.
With Wealthy Affiliate, you will get all three and my personal support to guide you along the way.
And I will see you on the inside!