How To Start Blogging (So You Can Start Living)

If you’re ready to start blogging, you’re in the right place. The following blogging checklist will provide an overview of the process. These steps are based on my experience growing a profitable blog.

Where it makes sense, I included recommendations for helpful software, products and services. In full disclosure, if you click the links and make a purchase, I may receive compensation. If referrals aren’t cool, feel free to ignore the links.

To achieve blogging success, you’ll have to take a long term perspective. Most people start blogging, write a few articles and then give up. Don’t be like most people. To rise above the noise and grow traffic, you need to start blogging with the goal of publishing useful content (to serve your audience) for six months straight.

start blogging

How To Start Blogging

Here is a general overview of steps you can take to start and grow your blog. Keep in mind that some of these steps can be accomplished today, while other steps may take months. Regardless, the best time to start blogging is right now!

1. Pick Your Overarching Blog Topic: Many people choose a blog topic based on popular trends and not passion. Don’t do this. It may take you many months to grow your blog. And if you don’t love your topic, you won’t be able to fully serve your niche audience. To avoid burnout before you start, choose a blog topic you love.

2. Break Your Blog Topic Into Categories: Once you find your blog topic, your next step is to break your topic into smaller chunks. For example, filmmaking consists of screenwriting, producing, directing, marketing and distribution. By breaking your own niche topic into smaller categories, you will define a framework for your overarching topic. I recommend creating at least five categories.

3. Create 10 Articles For Each Category: After breaking your niche into smaller categories, create at least ten article ideas for each category. This simple exercise will allow you to come up with at least fifty article ideas. Fifty articles will provide you with two articles per week, for the next six months.

4. Choose Blog Platform: Many blogging networks allow you to post blog content for free. But if you’re serious about blogging, I suggest you forgo the free stuff in favor of a blog you own. To do this, you’ll need hosting and a domain name. One company I’ve used for years is Bluehost. The hosting packages usually include a domain.

5. Set Up Traffic Tools: One of the most comprehensive traffic tools is  called Google Analytics. The software is free, easy to install and allows you to monitor who’s coming to your website, how long they stay in where visitors exit.

6. Create Your Facebook Account: In order to provide community, at the very least you will want to set up a Facebook page that links to your blog. This page will allow you to interact and build relationships with your audience. Set up a Facebook page here.

7. Create A Twitter Account: One of the easiest ways to get visitors to your blog is to set up a twitter account. Once set up, you will be able to tweet about new articles on your website. In this sense, your twitter followers will click the link and visit your site. Set up a twitter account here.

8. Link Your Blog to Facebook and Twitter: The Internet is nothing more than a series of links. Your goal is to make it easy for someone to find your website. Once your Facebook page and Twitter account is established, you can then set up automatic updates on each page. Any time you publish a new article your Facebook fans and Twitter followers will know.

9. Set Up Email Opt-In: There is an expression Internet marketing that says your money is your list.  Many bloggers make the mistake of relying solely on social networks to manage their list. But as you know, social networks often go out of vogue. So you will want to set up a system whereby you can manage your own email list. Visit our friends at Aweber to get started.

10. Create Content: It will take search engines a few months to start taking you and your blog seriously. You goal during this time is to continually add content to your blog. You will find this very challenging at first. Keep going! Think of it like a game. If you can write 50 articles over the next two months, you will begin to gain traffic.

11. Sell Ad Space: As  your blog gains popularity, one of the easiest ways to make money is to sell ad space on your blog. With this model, more traffic increases the likelihood that someone will click on the ad. And since most ads are based on Pay-Per-Click, this can generate significant revenue. The downside of selling ad space is you may send targeted visitors away from your blog.

12. Create Affiliate Relationships: If you consistently produce great content, your efforts will result in a massive traffic and a robust mailing list. At this point, you may want to start referring your visitors to products and services that complement your niche. This is called affiliate marketing. One of the easiest places to find affiliate products is clickbank.

13. Create Your Own Products: One of the most profitable steps you can take involves leveraging and re-purposing your content to create your own information products and services. While this is a lot more time consuming than promoting affiliate products, the upside is higher profit margins and creative control.  Additionally, affiliates start working for you!

14. Increase Your Traffic: There are several ways to drive traffic to your website, including online and offline. You can choose to pay for advertising or look for ways to create free traffic. Some examples include press releases, pay-per-click, search engine optimization, banner ads, newsletters, advertising in magazines, guest posting on blogs and sharing ideas on social platforms.

15. Partner With Other Bloggers: Nothing can help you get noticed in the noise faster than a vote of confidence from a blogger already established in your niche. I suggest taking a moment to send an intro email to these folks and ask for an interview. Because you are thinking about ways to promote other bloggers, this will help you get on their radar.

Simply put, blogging involves setting up a site, capturing traffic, selling products and scaling up!

How to Use Email Marketing to To Accelerate Your Blogging Success

Here’s the deal-e-o. Despite all the hype out there, many bloggers DO NOT get results. It’s a sad fact, but true. Many bloggers spend months grinding out articles only to make a few dollars. And this is the sole reason (I think) why the internet is littered with millions of abandoned blogs.

If you’re not getting results with your blog, it is because you’re not focused on getting email subscribers. Unbeknownst to most, successful bloggers are also proficient in email marketing. So in our short time together, I am going to share a few email marketing tactics that can save you years of frustration.

The reason my popular filmmaking blog didn’t make money the first year was not for lack of traffic. It was because I didn’t know email marketing rules! (And I didn’t know what rules to follow.) Suffice it to say, had I not discovered email, I too may have given up on blogging. And I may have never known how awesome it is to sell stuff in my sleep.

email marketing

How to Use Email Marketing to To Accelerate Your Blogging Success

As a blogger, your primary goal is to add value to your readers. And one way you add value is by building a genuine, caring relationship with your audience. From day one, you will want to start collecting email addresses.

For this, I recommend using a reputable third-party email marketing service such as AweberIn full disclosure, Aweber does pay me to promote, but it is the company I utilize for my own blogging business. With Aweber, as soon as you sign up for one of their affordable accounts, you can create ways for readers to connect with you.

Email Marketing Rules
My Morning Inbox (Sometimes)

Step 1: Create The Ethical Bribe

If you’re anything like me, your email inbox is a twitter feed. It’s hard to read all the emails that come through. It is even harder to respond to any emails. . . Unless you immediately see the value. Your audience is the same.

Presenting value is one email marketing rule you must never violate. This is why it is vitally important that you establish your value from the very beginning. One easy way to create value is by offering something called an ethical bribe.

An ethical bribe is something of tremendous value that you offer in exchange for an email address. For example, the day after I started this blog, I set up my own ethical bribe. Here’s the link.

If you just clicked that link, you were redirected through a series of baby steps that resulted in an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Assuming you clicked, you received my blogging checklist as well as some awesome blogging tips like this one!

While I am obviously utilizing this list-building example to create a more meaningful relationship with you… Take the next few minutes to set up exactly what I did here.

Here are three steps to building a blog business:

  1. Set up a blog via my Bluehost affiliate link.
  2. Sign up for an account via my Aweber affiliate link.
  3. Add your Aweber links to your blog.

(If any of this is confusing, get on my mailing list for up-to-date blogging tips.)

Why you let a 3rd party manage your email marketing.

Whenever I give talks, invariably someone will ask me why they should utilize a 3rd party email provider instead of their own email account. While there are tons of professional reasons why you would never send commercial email from your personal account – One major reason for utilizing Aweber is due to some email marketing rules (also known as Spam laws.)

While I am not a lawyer and can’t offer any legal advice, there are email marketing rules and spam laws set up to protect people from jerks. Utilizing a 3rd party email service provider helps you abide by these rules. They do this by insisting that you:

  1. Use a double opt-in sign up. (Person opts in and then gets an email saying: Are you sure?)
  2. Emails sent from these providers include a way for subscribers to unsubscribe.

Why I Think Email Marketing Rules

The biggest reason I love email marketing is because it allows me to automate my business. This is done by setting up an email sequence and putting the emails on an auto-responder.

Aweber provides the following video to explain auto-responders:

Try AWeber’s Autoresponders for Free

As soon as a visitor opts-in to your list, their contact information is added to your database and managed for you, automatically! These subscribers are now part of your “list,” and you can email them with updates, deals and other valuable information. Again, if any of this is confusing, download my blogging checklist and get on my mailing list for up-to-date blogging tips.

How To Grow A Profitable Blog Working Your Day Job

If you want to grow a profitable blog while working your day job (so you can eventually quit) you’re not alone. A quick Google search on the subject reveals a gazillion training courses promising that four hours is all you need to free up your life. But you and I know this is BS. But yet still buy the courses.

If you think about it, the reason you aren’t yet a full time blogger (or internet marketer) is because you are bound by negative beliefs. Think about it. From a young age you have been conditioned to seek the approval of family and friends. Can I do this? Can I do that?  Is this a good idea? What should I do?

Your ongoing need for outside approval has spilled into your professional life. Instead of growing your own profitable blog (or writing your own book), you feel an intense responsibility to get a good paying job, create a family and buy a home. You do this because this is what people do.

Even though you have the talent, interest and desire to grow an profitable blog, you still have an intense desire to find and keep a job. Heck, if you’re like most budding bloggers, you probably make a few internet sales each week. Then you drive to work and suffer though nine or ten hours of feeling like a caged animal.

Why do you do this? Why do you keep a job when you obviously have the capacity to make money to free yourself to continually grow your own profitable blog?

It is because you don’t yet fully believe in yourself enough to take the plunge. You don’t believe your blog will survive. You don’t have enough gumption to quit the dead-end job and live life on your own terms.

It’s true. You are doing okay at work. And you are on your way to making a modest amount of passive income through your blog. But you are also miserable. You spend each day eager to get out of the office – just so you can rush home and work on your own blog.

But by the time you get home, you’re too damn tired to do anything.

profitable blog

How To Grow A Profitable Blog Working Your Day Job

One thing is certain. Asking for permission to live your life is a loser’s game. Asking permission makes you feel like a little kid. Asking permission makes you feel like someone else has power over your life. And without venturing too far into hyperbole, asking permission makes you feel like a slave.

The powerful never ask permission to create their world.

I learned this lesson the hard way. I learned this lesson after many years spent living in quiet desperation. And I officially learned this lesson when I started hanging out with successful people.

I know you’ve probably heard this voodoo stuff before. So I’ll spare you the eye-rolling nuggets of wisdom. But I will tell you that all the stuff they say about having a network is true. You really do become the people you spend the most time with. And your network becomes your net-worth!

When powerful people want to accomplish something, they do it.

So if you want to be powerful, you need to stop asking permission and go after everything you want. Powerful people never ask: “Do you think I can grow a profitable blog?”

The powerful say:

“I’m saving every penny. When I reach 20K, I am going to quit my job and start my own blog.”

Does that mean that you should be reckless? No. Not at all. What I am saying is, you need a prudent plan of action. You need to ask, and then answer some serious questions:

  1. What do I want in life?
  2. How much will it cost?
  3. What small step can I take today?

Since I live in Los Angles, maintaining a reasonable lifestyle is expensive. As a result, my desired baseline is set at $10,000 per month. If I can maintain 10K, I’m doing okay. Depending on where you live, this number may be much lower. And that’s a good thing.

When growing a profitable blog, small steps add up.

One more guest post…

One more blog article…

All of these tasks become a solid foundation for your future blog business. But nothing will happen overnight. In fact, you will likely not see any results for weeks or even years. But one thing is certain. If you do NOTHING, you’ll never get there.

Throughout this blog, I’m going to provide you with experience from the front lines and provide you with success secrets I wish someone shared with me a decade ago. I believe growing a profitable blog is possible for anybody smart enough to read this article.

If your definition of success is personal freedom, then there is only one course of action: You need to start today. Your objective is to start small, build your experience and create an internet following. Once you have a following, you can write your own ticket. And if you like this stuff, download my blogging checklist.

How to Pick a Blog Topic Your Audience Will Love

A few years ago, I was between jobs and worried about my future. I picked a blog topic and started writing. Over time my blog grew to a point where it paid for all my bills.

It wasn’t easy. And before I share my blogging secrets, it is important that we get a few things straight. Blogging success is going to require that you remain dedicated, passionate and constant.

This starts with finding your WHY. Why do you want to blog? What do you hope to achieve? Once you figure out WHY you’re blogging, you can focus on picking a blog topic your audience will love.

blog-topic

How to Pick a Blog Topic Your Audience Will Love

There are millions of blogs. And many of them do not make money. One of the biggest reasons bloggers fail is because they pick an unpopular blog topic. So the first thing you need to do is pick a blog topic people actually care about.

I originally started my blog to help people in the indie film community get movies made, seen and selling. I started with that topic because I had made some movies and knew the challenges. And I also knew there was an audience.

To choose your blog topic, you will need to answer the following questions:

  1. What is your preferred blog topic?
  2. Who is your intended target audience for your blog topic?
  3. Does a trade show exist for your blog topic?

Answering these questions will force you to sharpen your concept. And if a trade show exists for your blog topic, odds are good you’ve tapped into a profitable audience.

The other thing you can do (and this is a little more nerdy) is to find out how many people are searching for your topic online. The Google Keyword Planner provides a great tool for this. Follow this link and log into the Keyword planner with your Google account.

Google_keyword_planner

Once you’re logged in, your next step is to search for new keyword and ad group ideas.

Google_keyword_planner_2From there you will be able to enter keywords related to your topic. In this example, I used the keywords “how to make money online.”

Google_keyword_planner_3

Google will then provide detail on the amount of monthly searches. And while it might be pretty exciting to choose a popular topic, this also indicates that there are many competitors. So you will need to decide if competing is worth it.

Google_keyword_planner_4Hopefully these tips will help you pick a blog topic your audience will love. If you enjoyed this blog article, you’ll love my blogging checklist!

How to Start A Blog — The Ultimate Guide

If you’re wondering how to how to start a blog, you’re not alone. Long before I started blogging, everything about publishing words on the web seemed like a distant concept, reserved for the technically savvy.

I had no idea how to start a blog, let alone make money blogging. Just like you, I started reading all sorts of websites, where I picked up a few tips.

When I decided to start a blog, it wasn’t pretty. And because I went into blogging without a solid plan, my initial focus was all over the place. (I want to help you avoid these mistakes when you start a blog.)

Like most things in life, you get better with experience. And when if you want to learn how to make money blogging, this is the rule.

So as a very rough game-plan, you will have to write at least a dozen articles before you develop your flow. You will have to write at least fifty articles before Google starts sending you traffic. And you will have to keep on writing if you plan to make money.

All of this gets easier if you remember one key point. The best blog articles solve problems. So if you want to know how to make money blogging, you should always answer this question: “What problems do you hope to solve?”

start a blog

How to Start A Blog — The Ultimate Guide

Defining your niche is an essential first step when figuring out how to make money blogging. After that, the real challenge is creating content that will serve your audience for the long haul. Here are 15 steps on how to start a blog:

1. Pick Your Niche Topic: Many people start a blog to chase overnight riches. Don’t do this. While it is important to set high business expectations, it is important to view your blogging business with a long term perspective. So when you start a blog, realize it may take you months to figure out how to make money blogging. So to grow your blogging business, you must first focus on a topic that you are passionate about.

2. Break Your Topic Into Smaller Categories: Once you find your niche, your next step is to break your topic into smaller chunks. For example, when I started my filmmaking blog, I broke the topic into smaller categories, consisting of writing, producing, directing, marketing and distribution. By breaking your own niche topic into smaller categories, you will define a framework for your topic. When you start a blog, take a moment to create at least five main categories.

3. Create 10 Articles For Each Category: After breaking your niche into smaller categories, create at least ten article ideas for each category. This simple exercise will allow you to start a blog with at least fifty article ideas. And as a new blogger, you must discipline yourself to write a new article, record a new audio and make a new video at least once a week. Fifty article ideas will get you close to one year’s worth of content.

4. Choose Blog Platform: Your next step is to decide which kind of blog platform you want to set up. When you start a blog, there are two ways to do this. Firstly, you can utilize a blogging network, like www.Tumblr.com or www.WordPress.com or you can choose to host your own blog. If you really want to figure out how to make money blogging, I suggest you forgo the blogging networks and host your own blog via www.wordpress.org

5. Set Up Traffic Tools: One of the most comprehensive traffic tools is called Google Analytics. The software is free, easy to install and allows you to monitor who’s coming to your website, how long they stay in where visitors exit. You will want to start tracking your site traffic as soon as you start a blog.

6. Create Your Facebook Page: In order to provide community, at the very least you will want to set up a Facebook page that links to your blog. This page will allow you to interact and build relationships with your audience. To set up a Facebook page, click this link and follow the instructions.

7. Create A Twitter Account: When you start a blog, every visit counts. One of the easiest ways to get visitors on your website is to set up a twitter account. Once set up, you will be able to tweet about any new articles on your website. Your twitter followers will click the link and visit your site. Set up twitter.

8. Link Your Blog to Facebook and Twitter: The Internet is nothing more than a series of links. Your goal is to make it easy for someone to find your website. Once your Facebook page and Twitter account is established, you can then set up an easy way for your readers to share your updates. In this regard, any time you publish a new article your Facebook fans and Twitter followers will know.

9. Set Up Email Opt-In: There is an expression Internet marketing that says your money is your list. When you start a blog, one common mistake is relying solely on social networks to engage your audience. But as you know, social networks often go out of vogue. So you will want to set up a system whereby you can manage your own email list. Visit our friends at Aweber to get started.

10. Create Content: It will take search engines a few months to start taking you and your blog seriously. So when you start a blog, your primary goal is to continually add content to your blog. You will find this very challenging at first. Keep going! Think of it like a game. Write 50 articles over the next two months, you will begin to gain traffic.

11. Sell Ad Space: After you start a blog, you will start thinking about ways to make money. So as your blog gains popularity, one of the easiest ways to generate income is to sell ad space on your blog. With this model, more traffic increases the likelihood that someone will click on an ad. And since most ads are based on Pay-Per-Click, this can generate significant revenue. The downside of selling ad space is you may send targeted visitors away from your blog.

12. Create Affiliate Relationships: If you produce great content, your efforts will result in a massive traffic and a robust mailing list. You may want to start referring your visitors to products and services that complement your niche. This is called affiliate marketing. One of the easiest places to find affiliate products is clickbank.

13. Create Your Own Products: One of the most profitable steps you can take involves leveraging and re-purposing your content to create your own information products and services. While more time consuming than promoting affiliate products, the upside is higher margins and creative control. And affiliates start working for you!

14. Increase Your Traffic: There are several ways to drive traffic to your website, including online and offline. You can choose to pay for advertising or look for ways to create free traffic. Some examples include press releases, pay-per-click, search engine optimization, banner ads, newsletters, advertising in magazines, guest posting on blogs and sharing ideas on social platforms.

15. Partner With Other Bloggers: Nothing can help you get noticed in the noise faster than a vote of confidence from a blogger already established in your niche. I suggest taking a moment to send an intro email to these folks and ask for an interview. Think about ways to promote other bloggers. This will help you get on their radar.

Simply put, finding ways on how to make money blogging consists of a few basic steps. You will need to set up a site, capture traffic, sell products and then scale up! If you want to find out more about how to start a blog, you might enjoy my free blogging eCourse.

The Great Blogging Paradox

When I started blogging, my goal was to pay all bills and travel at will. I also planned to share all my blogging successes with you. What I didn’t anticipate was just how much blog notoriety can distract you from your goals. And this is the great blogging paradox.

My blog gave me credibility. And the credibility helped me land lucrative consulting gigs. And as a result, when I compare my blog income (which is a few thousand dollars per month) to my consulting income, I still make more money consulting. This is frustrating!

blogging paradox

The Great Blogging Paradox

If the aggregate of both your blog and consulting (or day job) income is hard to ignore, you’re stuck in the blogging paradox. You end up working longer hours to achieve both blog and consulting success. And this is not sustainable.

To break free from the “day job” you need to get super serious about your blogging goals. When I started out, making $5 dollars a day was the goal. Now I’m aiming to make at least $500 dollars per day. I imagine your goal falls somewhere in the middle.

To break free of this blogging paradox, you need to increase your numbers (while keeping things simple). Here are some numbers to focus on:

1. Increase email subscribers: Despite what the latest and greatest blogging trends will have you believe, focusing on getting email subscribers is the primary goal of your blog. Focus on increasing email subscribers and the sales will follow.

2. Find the value per email subscriber: You can roughly find the value of each email subscriber by dividing your monthly revenue by your monthly subscribers. With my blog, each subscriber is worth $2.40. This number is considered low by most internet marketing standards. But theoretically, it means I can spend up to $2.39 to acquire a subscriber and still be profitable.

3. Get more organic email subscribers: Aside from being free, organic subscribers are often the most engaged (and the most ready to buy). So you need to figure out how to get more. Since a lot of people find my blog through my daily article posts on Facebook, I started sharing more articles each day. This sounds obvious, but it has already increased my organic subscriber rate.

Again, my goal is to create at least $500 dollars per day in blogging revenue by the end of this year. If you are interested in following my journey, you may want to download my blogging checklist.