How To Start A Blogging Business For Little Money That Gets The Click, Commission & Sale

 

How To Start A Blogging Business

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NOTE: This page is part of the Online Business Guide. To go through the Guide in order, go here: Start Online Business Guide

When you search for “how to start a blogging business” online, you usually get some watered-down instructions on getting a domain name, hosting and WordPress. Technically this IS all you need to start a blogging business… but definitely lacking if you want to make any money.

So, I’m going to do something novel.

I’m going to tell you what you really need to start a blogging business… and make money. This is what I wish someone would have told us before my wife and I got started. (It would have saved a lot of money, time and aggravation).

I’m not going to be dealing in theory here. I am going to show you EXACTLY how I build my blogging business infrastructure.

This page is detailed, so I suggest reading the page all the way through once, and then use the Table Of Contents to revisit specific sections later.


Overview Of How To Start A Blogging Business

I want us to be clear on what we are building here. We want to start a blogging BUSINESS. Emphasis on “business”.

The goal is to start a blogging business to make money.

When a lot of people think of “blogging”, they think of people online just writing about whatever pops in their head. Or, people who talk about a particular topic, but with little thought as to how to make money from their efforts.

There are many ways to monetize your blogging business. But the truth is, if you want to make the most money as fast as possible, there are only two methods you should concern yourself with:

  • Affiliate Marketing (Make commissions by recommending other people’s products and services).
  • Digital Products (Make sales by selling your own downloadable reports, bundles and courses or running a membership site).

Don’t be intimidated.

Even if you’ve never heard of affiliate marketing or thought about creating your own product, these are the two things you should do to make money from your blogging business. Trust me… this is where your focus wants to be.

On the rest of this page, I’ll go over what I personally use to run my online businesses. And since I focus on affiliate marketing and creating my own digital products, you are going to see exactly what you need.

There are some options on how you can put this all together based on your personal needs. But rest assured, I have trimmed the fat here. These are essentials.

At the end of this page, you’ll see a price breakdown on starting a blogging business so you can get an idea of what each option costs… so you can determine what is right for your budget.

Whichever option you choose, I’m sure you’ll agree starting a blogging business is WAY cheaper than any other money-making business venture.



Brainstorming Your Blogging Business
& Keyword Research

You are not going to pick a blogging business topic out of a hat. At least not if you want to make money. Therefore, brainstorming is the essential first step in starting a blogging business.

I would argue brainstorming and research is the most important step.

Believe me. You don’t want to brush past this part. I made this mistake in the past and it cost me a lot of time and money.

The fastest way to blogging business success is getting started right.

This is my strongest recommendation on the whole page. So, ignore it at your own risk.

Solo Build It! for WP

Anyone Can Build a Website.

Few Become Profitable Online Businesses.

What's the Difference?

The process I go through, and the tools I use to complete the process, are a large part of my blogging business success. Of course, a lot of it is actually doing the work. But this process makes sure all my hard work is focused on the right things.

OK, now you know your winning blogging business topic. It is time to put your infrastructure together.



Domain Name & Hosting Provider

Your domain name is the name of your website you decided on at the end of the brainstorming process. You’ll need to get one.

But the name of your website is just a name and you won’t be “online” until you attach it to a hosting provider.

Some hosting plans come with a free domain name for the first year. So, that is an option. For convenience sake, you can get your domain name and hosting at the same place.

If you look around online, there is a ton of information comparing one hosting company to another. But the truth is, they are pretty much the same.

As a matter of fact, there is one company that owns 84 web hosting companies.

 

word image 9

 

I have to admit, some hosting companies have so many different options to go through, it can become overwhelming very quickly.

My wife and I struggled with complex solutions early in our online business journey.  As a result, we always look for the simplest solution that does exactly what we need in everything we do.

Hosting is no different.  Here is the best we found for what we need, and highly recommend:

GreenGeeks EcoSite Pro Web Hosting

Lightning Fast, Secure and Eco-Friendly Web Hosting for WordPress

They deliver on everything I’m looking for in hosting, and more.

  • Lightning Fast, High Quality Web Hosting Platform
  • Optimized For WordPress (ease of use, speed, security and up time)
  • Affordable (excellent value for great hosting and excellent service)
  • Eco-friendly – which is a nice touch

I would recommend getting the Eco Site Pro Annually, Biennially or Triennially plan, as you get deep discounts off the monthly fee for the first year. (Plus, if you are dedicated to starting a profitable blogging business, the longer plans just make sense).

You’ll also get a domain name free for the first year… so one less thing to worry about.

So, don’t waste your time comparing hundreds of hosting services that are all pretty much the same.  And don’t get caught up with all the options and technical jumbo.  Get affordable, fast, secure and reliable hosting (that is also eco-friendly) and move forward.



The Best Blogging Platform When Starting A Blogging Business (WordPress)

A blogging platform is the site builder, content management and communication system that allows you to post your content on the Internet. Again, no need to research this to death because the most popular blogging platform works perfectly and is free.

My advice? You should use WordPress. As a matter of fact, over one-third of the world’s websites, even powerhouses like NBC, The New York Post and Sony, use WordPress.

This is really a no-brainer, but here are some reasons you should choose WordPress to run your blogging business:

  • WordPress is extremely user friendly – so perfect for beginners.
  • A gazillion themes (both free and paid) allow you to create a website with the look you want.
  • Plugins can increase functionality and make WordPress extremely flexible.
  • WordPress sites are mobile friendly (important for Google).
  • And last but certainly not least, WordPress sites rank highly with Google and other search engines.

So, hands-down, when you are starting a blogging business, you are going to want to use WordPress.

IMPORTANT: I am not talking about creating a free website at WordPress.com. You do not want to do this. I am talking about using the free software from WordPress.org and hosting your own site.

Most hosting providers (like GreenGeeks), now offer one-click WordPress install… so the step to installing WordPress to your hosting account is super simple.



Website Template For WordPress

The template you choose is what gives your website a specific look and feel. You’ll customize the template with colors, images, content, etc. to make the site uniquely your own. There are plenty of free and low cost options available.

Website templates can be very simple, extremely complex and everything in between. Unless you are building a blogging business that is very specific and needs complexity… I would stick to a simple and clean template.

Remember, you want your online business to be easy for visitors to navigate and find what they want AND easy for search engines to index. (If you followed my advice on brainstorming, you’ll already have a site structure Blueprint that accomplishes this).

Simple, easy to understand site structure for visitors and search engines lends itself perfectly to a simple and clean template.

If you are just starting out and strapped for cash, you can start with a free theme from WordPress.

Free Wordpress Themes

Free WordPress Themes.

Simple themes to get you started.

I personally like the Bard Template. This is what you are looking at here (lifelongfinancialsecurity.com) and on one of my other sites, Superstarcookoutmenus.com. There is a free version, but I upgraded to Bard Pro because it has some cool added features and was cheap.

Don’t get stuck on this step. My wife likes to look at templates for hours, literally hours. Your template should be clean and clear, lightweight and search engine friendly.

But the template you choose is less important than what you post on your site and following a proven blogging business plan.



Plugins For WordPress

WordPress plugins are little snippets of code that “plug in” to your self-hosted WordPress site. These plugins add to the functionality of the site or add new features altogether.

Basically, if you can think of something you want your WordPress site to do… there is probably a plugin to get it done.

Let’s go over some popular plugins you should be familiar with when starting a blogging business. (I’ll let you know which ones I think are essential, which ones are recommended but optional and which ones are optional but cool).


1. Elementor – WordPress Website Builder Plugin
(Optional but cool)

Elementor is an all-in-one solution for building dynamic websites quickly. With this plugin, you can control every aspect of your website design – without knowing any coding.

Using a visual editor, you can build your website by dragging-and-dropping each element to create beautiful web pages. Basically, if you want your website to look a certain way, Elementor can build it exactly how you want it to look.

And did I mention? NO CODING!

Create Any Webpage You Can Imagine

Create stunning landing pages, design a blog, customize your online store – everything is within reach!


2. ExactMetrics – Google Analytics Plugin
(Essential)

As a blogging business owner, you must track visitors and activity on your site. The best way to do this is with Google Analytics. And the best way to set up Google Analytics on WordPress is with the ExactMetrics plugin.

Simply install the ExactMetrics plugin and enable the features with a few clicks. No coding necessary.

Properly Setup Google Analytics on WordPress within Minutes

Improve your web strategy with detailed audience insights. Analyze, measure and improve your content marketing.

You can get started with the free version of ExactMetrics. But as your blogging business grows, you are going to want to upgrade to the Plus version. So, I recommend upgrading as soon as possible, or starting off with ExactMetrics Plus right from the start.


3. WP Rocket – Superior WordPress Performance Plugin
(Essential)

The speed of your website, how fast it loads and navigates, is very important for two reasons:

  • User experience: Your visitor does not want to wait for the page to load or while navigating through your website.
  • Search engines: Search engines take website speed into account when they rank sites, because they want to put sites with the best user experience at the top.

I’ve recommended hosting (GreenGeeks) that is optimized for running a WordPress site, so it is already going to be fast.  However, to ensure the fastest load times and navigation, it still is a good idea.  I would even say essential.

After all, we want to start a blogging business that both your visitor and search engines are going to love.  And speed if a big part of it.

WP Rocket: Make WordPress Load Fast In Just A Few Clicks

Recognized as the most powerful caching plugin by WordPress experts.


4. Rank Math SEO – Search Engine Optimization Plugin
(Essential)

One of the most important aspects of running a successful blogging business is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of your web traffic by optimizing your web content for search engines.

SEO helps search engines rank your keywords higher in the organic search engine results. This increases traffic to your blogging business, and can potentially put more money in your pocket.

Don’t get scared and think you need to learn to become an SEO expert. Just use the simple Rank Math plugin for WordPress and do what it tells you. Search Engine Optimization for your online business has never been easier.

Rank Math: WordPress SEO Made Easy

The Swiss Army Knife Of WordPress SEO I Like Better Than Yoast.

This plugin is free, and does more than a lot of paid SEO plugins out there.  A powerhouse in the SEO plugin arena is Yoast SEO.  I’ve tried both and like Rank Math much better.


5. OptinMonster – Lead Generation Plugin
(Optional but cool)

One of the most important parts of running a blogging business (a profitable one anyway), is to build a list. You need to be able to talk to visitors again that want to hear from you.

OptinMoster is a lead generation tool that helps you convert and monetize your website visitors. It helps generate more subscribers, leads and sales from the traffic you already have.

Basically, it is difficult to get people to find and visit your site the first time. Once they do find your site, you want to get as many of them on a list as you can so you can talk to them again. OptimMonster is an impressive tool to get this done.

While this tool is not absolutely necessary, it sure is cool and effective, and should be on every blogging business owner’s wish list.

#1 most powerful conversion optimization toolkit in the world

Instantly grow your email list, get more leads and increase sales.


6. Lasso – Affiliate Marketing Plugin
(Recommended but optional)

No matter what type of blogging business you are setting up, incorporating some type of affiliate marketing into your monetization plan is a smart move. That means dealing with affiliate links.

At very least, you’ll want to shorten them. (Affiliate links can sometimes be extremely long and unruly).

And in order to get the most out of your affiliate links, you’ll want to track them. Knowing which links are being clicked, and from where, can be very helpful. (Just so you know, you can track affiliate links with a paid version of ExactMetrics).

That is just scratching the surface on what you can do to improve your affiliate link performance. For example, you can make cool display boxes like this one...

The All-In-One WordPress Plugin For Affiliate Marketing
14 Day Free Trial

Manage all your links in one place, increase engagement with custom displays and make more money from affiliate marketing.


7. Contact Form 7 – Form Management Plugin
(Essential)

You are going to need a contact form for your blogging business. Contact Form 7 is the best free option. Enough said.

Best Free Contact Form Management

Create a contact form that works for your blogging business.


8. Shareaholic
(Essential)

I have to admit, I am not a big Social Media guy that likes to hang out on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. But that does not mean my visitors don’t use these platforms regularly. (My wife, for example, has her face in front of her phone all day keeping up with this stuff).

So, while I am not producing a lot of content for these platforms, that does not mean my visitors don’t want to use them and share my site on them. Therefore, I take a passive approach to social media, and simply post buttons on my site for visitors to use to easily share what they find on social sites.

Here is the free WordPress plugin I use.

Make It Easy To Share

Get your content in front of more eyeballs

OK, that is about all I have to say about plugins at this point. There are thousands more that can do just about everything imaginable. Plugins are one of the reasons I really like using WordPress to start your blogging business.

But I want to keep you focused on the basic setup. And looking back, you might believe what I’ve shared here is “too much”. However, keep in mind that not all these plugins are Essential.

Some you absolutely need. Others are recommended. And still others are just really cool tools that can help you succeed. Choose to use what makes sense to you.



Email Provider/Autoresponder

When you start a blogging business, you’ll want the ability to talk to your website visitors again through email. This means email marketing.

In the broadest sense, email marketing is when you build a list of potential customers or current customers so you can contact them again, build a relationship, make offers, etc.

And before you think email marketing is “old” and not effective, check this out. According to Smart Insights, email marketing is still the number one choice for marketers.

 

word image 10

 

Why is it the number 1 choice? Because it works, and works better than just about everything else.

So, you cannot ignore this. As a matter of fact, email marketing is a large part of what I rely on to run my blogging business.

Truth be told, I struggled with email marketing in the beginning. It took me a while to figure out what service to use, and how email marketing fit into my overall blogging business strategy. But I knew this was important, so I kept at it until I figured everything out.

So, which email service provider is the “best”? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. In the end, here are two services worth looking into.


1. Sendy – Self Hosted Email Newsletter Application

I like this option because there is a one-time payment for the software (instead of ongoing, monthly billing), and the emails are sent through Amazon Simple Email Service (SES).

So, once you get the application and set it up… the price per email sent is SUPER CHEAP. That is very attractive, because some email services can be very expensive.

My only complaint is you have to perform some technical setup to get it all to work (installing the application on your server, installing updates on your server, setting up Cron jobs, etc.). You get detailed instructions, but if you are not technically inclined, this can be challenging.

But did I tell you it is CHEAP to send emails once you get set up with Sendy and Amazon Web Services? That alone might be enough for you to give this option some serious consideration.

Send Newsletters, 100X Cheaper

Send authenticated bulk emails at an insanely low price without sacrificing deliverability

Taking everything into consideration, I decided to go a more traditional route.


2. MailerLite – Simple Email Marketing Solution

As I stated before, email marketing is a big part of my blogging business strategy. And no, that does not mean getting people on a list so I can bombard them with offer after offer. I hate SPAM just as much as the next person.

I use email to deliver PDF reports, take people through email courses, keep my subscribers informed, stay in touch with customers, etc. So, it is kind of a big deal for me to have a solution that does everything I want (but that isn’t expensive).

Obviously, I wanted a service that can do everything I needed:

  • Landing Pages (for signups)
  • Pop Ups (to increase signups)
  • Email Campaigns (for my newsletters and reports)
  • Automated Email Delivery (for my courses)

After checking out a large quantity of services, I decided on the simplest and least costly. The best thing is, I could get started for free, and only start paying as my email lists grew.



Digital Product Delivery

Creating your own digital products is a great way to monetize your blogging business.

Just think about it…

You spend some time ONCE to create a great product (or series of products). Then you sell them forever. And since it costs nothing in terms of “materials” to create these products, and there are no “shipping” costs… Each sale is practically ALL profit.

Creating and selling digital products is a great way to monetize your blogging business. And it can also help create authority and trustworthiness in your niche… which can produce more affiliate sales as well. So, I highly recommend creating your own digital products.

That being said, getting paid, delivery and protection can be challenging to piece together. But I finally found the perfect solution which I use to deliver ALL my free reports, paid products and even membership subscriptions.

Sell more digital products with SendOwl

Focus on creating more digital products and selling the ones you have… and let SendOwl take care of the rest.

SendOwl is the best solution I have found for delivering digital products and protecting them from theft.

I have made SendOwl the core of my money making activities. That is why I went through great lengths to make sure everything I use for my blogging business “fits” together. SendOwl integrates with other things I use to run my online business, making it the perfect solution.


SendOwl + MailerLite + PayPal

When my wife and I first started out, it was hard to get everything to fit together seamlessly. We would find a solution for one problem… but it wouldn’t work with the solution we found for another problem.

Here is how I use SendOwl:

  • Deliver a free report with SendOwl, and automatically put the person on a list to deliver an email course with MailerLite.
  • Send a downloadable paid product with SendOwl, be paid directly through PayPal and automatically put the person on a buyers list with MailerLite.
  • Sell a membership site subscription, get paid directly through PayPal, automatically register the person with a membership site software like S2Member and put the person on a subscribers list with MailerLite.

These are my main 3 activities that lead to subscribers, commissions and sales. And at the heart of each activity is SendOwl.

Here are two other ways I use SendOwl:

Affiliate Program: I love the ability to run my own affiliate program through SendOwl. People can promote my products and get commissions… which leads to lots more traffic and sales. (And since digital products are practically free to create, my profit margins are still great).

Coupons: SendOwl also allows you to create coupon codes. You can offer these to your subscribers, previous customers or let affiliates use these to promote your products. This is a great feature that leads to more sales.

Making SendOwl the center of my business and integrating it with PayPal and MailerLite was one of the smartest things we’ve ever done.



How To Start A Blogging Business (Costs)

I know this page on “how to start a blogging business” is long. But I told you in the beginning:

“I’m going to tell you what you really need to
start a blogging business… and make money.”

However, I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed at this point. Yes, it looks like a lot, but it really isn’t all that bad (especially because I am laying everything out for you). Imagine trying to put this all together on your own.

There are various ways to put all this together, some cheaper than others. So, to help you get started correctly, I’m going to provide a price breakdown of the Basic Option (cheapest) and the Premium Option (what I am currently using).

 

Brainstorming & Keyword Research

PRODUCT BASIC OPTION PREMIUM OPTION
Solo Build It! for WP $149 a year* $149 a year*

* Sometimes there are discounts.

 

Domain Name & Hosting

PRODUCT BASIC PREMIUM
GreenGeeks Domains $13.95 a year* $13.95 a year*
GreenGeeks Pro
Webhosting
$95.40 first year**
$179.40 a year afterward
$95.40 first year**
$179.40 a year afterward

* Free for first year, $13.95 a year for .com, other extensions have other prices.

** Price and discount depends on the length of the plan you choose.  This is for the 1 year plan.  2 and 3 year plans are even cheaper.

 

Website Building Platform

PRODUCT BASIC OPTION PREMIUM OPTION
WordPress Free Free

 

WordPress Themes

PRODUCT BASIC OPTION PREMIUM OPTION
Free WordPress Free
Bard Pro $29.99 one-time

 

WordPress Plugins

PRODUCT BASIC OPTION PREMIUM OPTION
ExactMetrics Free $99.50 a year
WP Rocket $49.00 One time payment $49.00 One time payment
Yoast SEO Free $89.00 One time payment
Lasso $190.00 a year
Contact Form 7 Free Free
Shareaholic Free Free

 

Email Provider / Autoresponder

PRODUCT BASIC OPTION PREMIUM OPTION
Sendy $59.00 one time + $1 per 10,000 emails
MailerLite $30 a month for 2501-5000 subscribers*
($360 a year)

*Get started for free. Payment depends on the number of subscribers. Unlimited emails.

 

Digital Product Delivery

PRODUCT BASIC OPTION PREMIUM OPTION
SendOwl $15 a month ($180 a year) $15 a month ($180 a year)

 

Now that I have outlined all the potential costs, let’s see how much it costs to start and run your blogging business.



Blogging Business Yearly Expenditures

PRODUCTS BASIC OPTION PREMIUM OPTION
Year 1 Startup $532.40 $1,241.89
Year 2 and beyond $522.35 $1,171.85

 

So, we are looking at around $500 a year on the low end to around $1,200 a year on the high end to get started with your blogging business. (These are just examples for comparison, and your costs are determined by what you decide to use and will probably fall somewhere in the middle).

No matter how you look at it, starting a blogging business with unlimited profit potential is CHEAP. Remember, we are creating a real online business that can make us a lifetime income and lead to life-changing wealth. And you can get started (the right way), from anywhere between $500 and $1,200.

Starting a blogging business is just smart…

  • Online business startup and operational costs are extremely low.
  • Since costs are low, you can become profitable very quickly.
  • And because profit margins (affiliate marketing and digital products) are so high, the income potential is huge.

Maybe you can see why I have dedicated myself to online businesses.

OK, let’s wrap this up.

I know this was long. But now you know how to start a blogging business the right way and even have an idea of how much it will cost.

So, what do you do now?

Go back and read this page again. But this time, click the links and check out each component of starting your blogging business in more detail. Write down which ones are essential to get started, which ones you’ll get at a later date and which ones you’ll pass on altogether.

Consider this page your cheat sheet on how to start a blogging business.

To Your Wealth,
Edward Lomax

P.S. Starting a blogging business to make money is only the first step.  Then you need to GROW your blogging business.

 

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