I started a new blog last year, and the blog was resulting in four figures monthly for me within 3 months of starting it.
I will be sharing how I did this in a series of blog posts on Zac’s blog (also check out Zac’s blogging successes), with examples and resources to make this series really practical.
Here are some interesting things about the blog I started:
- It started as challenge to myself on my blog to show my readers what is possible through blogging
- I started the blog in a different niche from my blog’s niche
- I maintained the blog under a pseudonym
- It was a “success” within 3 months of my starting it, according to my plans when I started it; my definition of success was for it to generate 4 figures monthly,
- I documented my progress publicly on my blog in a series of posts
What will be covered in this series?
- Part 1: How I Planned My Blog and Chose a Niche
- Part 2: How I Chose My Domain Name, Set Up My Blog, and Created Key Pages
- Part 3: My Process for Writing Key Posts that Drive Income
- Part 4: How I Market My Blog
Since today’s post will be kick-starting the series, I’ll start by going into how I planned my blog.
Why Plan Your Blog?
Most of us are used to viewing blogging as something really simple, and we feel there are really no life-changing decisions when blogging so there’s no need to plan. Why not avoid “procrastination” and just get started?!
How I realized the importance of planning a blog
I used to share the opinion that planning isn’t necessary when blogging but the blog I’m featuring in this series isn’t my first blog; I started my first blog carelessly, without any real plan on what to write about, and not only did I struggle to figure out the purpose of my blog for a very long time, it also took me a whole year to generate any real income from it.
Once I started to generate income from my first blog, I realized I could have shortcut the process if I was initially well-informed about what I am doing, and if I had planned everything before I started. My knowledge and experience with my first blog helped me plan my new blog. In retrospect, I’m glad I did.
When it comes to planning a blog, there are 3 things I believe are key, and that this article will be covering. They are:
- Choosing a niche
- Determining your blog’s purpose
- Deciding on a content and marketing plan for your blog
- Planning how to make money from my blog
The ultimate aim is to get results and the above 3 things must be taken seriously; they might evolve once you start your blog but it is important to start with them in mind.
How I Chose My Niche
When it comes to blogging, you can’t afford to be a jack of all trades.
There are hundreds of millions of blogs all over the world and thousands in almost any niche you can imagine; with so many blogs that specialize on topics they care about, and the increasingly limited time we have as human beings, readers can’t afford to read your blog if you’re a generalist.
I learned this the hard way with my first blog; I struggled for a long time and couldn’t build an audience when I was writing about everything. However, the moment I shifted gears to start talking about writing, especially the kind of writing that helps you get paid online, readers started paying attention and I started to build a real audience.
I wasn’t ready to make this mistake with my new blog so I decided to choose a niche and stick to it. This time, the niche I chose was the “guest blogging” niche, which can be classified under the content/inbound marketing niche, which can also be classified under the marketing niche.
If you carefully analyze how I chose my niche, you will notice how specific I was. Here are some tips when choosing your niche:
1. Make Sure it’s Something You Have Experience in: In my case, I have years of experience with guest blogging. I have written guest posts promoting my blog, and guest posts promoting my clients; I’ve written around a thousand guest posts over a span of 3 years, and I’ve written guest posts to get traffic, subscribers, backlinks, etc., so I know how guest blogging works inside out.
Your blog topic could be about your experience, what you studied in school, your hobby, or a subject you are passionate about. Just make sure you know enough about your subject to be able to blog about it.
2. Make it Specific: I needed to get results quickly, and this is a one man operation. I’m not a mega corporation with millions to invest, so I can’t afford to choose a niche too broad.
I could have gone with “marketing” or with “inbound/content marketing” but I went with “guest blogging” because it was more specific and I feel I could achieve success much sooner in that niche.
3. Make Sure it Has Potential: If there are a lot of businesses offering services relevant to your niche, it is a good sign it has potential. There are a lot of people offering guest blogging services, people doing case studies about it, and I’ve made money in the past doing it, so I know it has potential.
With these 3 things in place, you are well-equipped to succeed in a niche.
How I Determined My Blog’s Purpose
Since your blog can’t be about everything, it is important to also work on its niche; what will you discuss, and what will be the main aim of your blog? The more specific your blog is, the clearer its purpose.
Part of my blog’s purpose is to inform people about guest blogging and teach them how to get results doing it; this was automatically established when I chose my niche.
However, to take things to the next level and establish my blog’s purpose, I decided I wanted it to be different from other blogs that talk about guest blogging. I want the tips to be practical, informative and easy to use; as a result, it will be rare to see my blog focus on “10 tips to do this guest blogging, etc.” Of course, I could write about topics like these once in a while but the focus of my blog is on offering practical information like the ones below:
- The Ultimate List of Blogs that Accept Guest Posts
- Case Study: How I Used Guest Blogging to Increase My Search Traffic by 342.35% in One Year
- The Ultimate Guide to Building Backlinks with Guest Blogging
As you can see from the above 3 posts, which are the kind my blog focused on, the main aim of my blog is to provide useful information that readers can act on, not just another filler “tips” post.
How I Created a Content and Marketing Plan for My Blog
I knew my blog won’t succeed just because I have the perfect niche, and that I had to create a real plan for marketing it. This plan had to include how I approach content on the site as well as how I market it.
Here was my plan for my blog:
Blog content: 3 blog posts a week on average
Marketing: 20 guest posts monthly and regular activity on community sites like Quora
I was being unrealistic with these goals because I had another well-established blog that required my attention, I freelance for a living, and I had other plans, so I couldn’t commit to meeting the above goals without focusing on my new blog full-time; and I can’t afford to work on it full-time yet. However, having the above goals as my plan helped a lot.
I didn’t meet up with these goals but using it as a guide, my blog started to generate income soon. It has been making me an average of four figures monthly for at least 9 months now, and it now gets an average of 4,000 visitors monthly.
I also evolved some of my plan, like being active on Quora, when I didn’t see any results from doing them after sometime. So, instead, I changed my focus to only publishing posts on my blog and guest blogging on other blogs. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to do a lot of these to get results; with just 6 quality posts on my blog and around 5 guest posts published on other blogs, I had my first month where I made over $500 income as a result of the blog.
How I Planned to Make Money from My Blog
It is important to discuss this to put things in perspective. How I planned to make money from my blog is an important piece of the puzzle and it is something I needed to decide on before I started my blog.
Based on my experience, of 2 years, building my first blog, I had realized that one of the easiest and quickest ways to make money from my blog is by offering my services. I was a freelance writer; this time around, I decided to offer my services as a professional guest blogger, and occasionally a content marketer.
With this kind of plan to make money from my blog, I only needed to get a few clients every month and income will be consistent.
I did. I got my first client exactly 1 month and 10 days after I started my blog; when my blog hasn’t gotten up to 500 visitors; I still work with the client today, and I’ve made five figures working with him.
What I realized in the process is that, by offering my services, I don’t need thousands of monthly visitors to make money from my blog; with just hundreds of visitors monthly, I was getting clients consistently and soon started having four figure income months.
Watch Out for Part 2
This post is already very long so I have to stop here. In part two of this post, I will be talking about how I created my blog, chose my domain name, and how I went about creating key pages that influenced the success of my blog.
This article was written by Bamidele Onibalusi, who is a blogger, freelance writer, and founder of Writers in Charge, a popular blog for freelance writers.