So you’ve decided you want to make a business out of blogging. Perhaps you’ve been blogging for fun for a while and want to take it to the next level. Or maybe you are a brand new blogger, itching to get started. Either way, you’ll have some decisions to make before you can really start earning.
Six Decisions To Make When You Want to Blog for Money
1. What is Your Message?
You’ve probably got a topic in mind, and perhaps some post ideas. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about your overarching message. What do you want people to get from your blog? That’s a little different than asking what your blog is about. Your message is a more general statement about the purpose of your blog.
For my blog, the message is that you can create a simple + natural lifestyle that works best for YOU through small, doable steps that make sense for your unique situation. My blog is about “simple + natural living, one crumb at a time.” My blog’s broad topics are life (wellness, budget, wardrobe, work, and family), home (cleaning, decorating, gardening, organizing), food (cooking, meal planning, food shopping, and kitchen tips), and creativity (DIY, crafts, and printables).
As you can see, lots of things relating to your brand and content will stem from your message. Your blog name, your domain, your categories and subcategories will all come from your overarching message. Even your logo, site colors, images, and fonts will be inspired by your message. So it’s something you’ll need to give lots of thought and consideration to. Don’t rush it.
2. Which Platform Will You Use?
Your platform is the content management system of your blog. That’s a fancy way of saying that it is the software that allows you to create, edit, and manage your blog content. Your platform is where all the fun and pretty stuff happens. It’s where you’ll create your blog’s look and layout, where you’ll create pages, and where you’ll write your posts.
If you are already blogging, you may stick with the platform you have already been using. But then again, you may not. Wordpress is hugely popular. But to make things a little confusing, there are a couple of WordPress options: Wordpress.com and WordPress.org. Wordpress.com is the version that comes with hosting provided by WordPress and WordPress.org does not (you need to hire a hosting provider separately). Wordpress is a great platform and very user friendly, but it’s not the only option. Do some research before deciding.
Something to keep in mind if you plan to make money via your blog is that you have much more control over how you do that if you have your own hosting rather than choose a platform that comes with hosting included. Often (but not always), there are restrictions on advertising and selling with those hosting-included options.
I use WordPress.org. My reason? I’m a DIYer when it comes to the back-end of my blog. Wordpress is so widely used that it is super easy to find help and tutorials on how to do just about anything. Also, it is pretty easy to customize your site using WordPress.org.
3. Which Web Host Will You Hire?
Your web host is who will actually provide the storage for your site out on the internet so that others can view it. Think of it like this: your platform is like a program you use on your computer (Microsoft Word, for example) and your web host is like your computer’s hard drive (only it is viewable by anyone with an internet connection). Usually, your web host will be separate from your platform. And it is totally up to you who you hire.
After asking around a bit, and hearing what other bloggers had to say about their web hosts, I chose to go with Bluehost. Their price and services were right for me and I’ve not had any problems at all in the year I’ve used them. Bluehost offers a range of hosting and domain management packages to fit any level of need and budget.
4. Will You Hire a Designer or will you DIY?
As I mentioned, I’m a DIYer. But it’s not for everyone. If you have no desire to design your blog yourself, hiring a designer might be for you. Check out your options though, because doing the design work might not be as hard as you think.
If you decide to do it yourself, you’ll need to find a theme that best fits with what you want to do with your blog. My blog layout is pretty simple, so I chose to use a free theme from WordPress. But I’ve got some ideas for a site redesign sometime this year that will require a bit more customization and may require a more flexible theme. Those are available at a (usually pretty affordable) price.
5. How Will You Get Awesome?
If you’re ready to start making money blogging, you probably already know some basics. But here’s the thing: you can’t ever stop learning and improving if you really want to make this a business. So how will you do that?
There are plenty of blogs about blogging, books about blogging, videos about blogging, and courses about blogging to choose from. Start with what you can access for free. Read, watch, and listen to everything you can get your hands on. If you have a little money in your budget, buy a book or sign up for an eCourse.
Don’t be afraid to really invest in learning and improving. I hesitated for a long time because I wanted to make money before spending money. But I finally bit the bullet and signed up for an awesome eCourse that changed everything. My pageviews soared within a month of implementing what I was learning.
6. How Will You Earn Money?
There are so many ways you can earn money from blogging. When I first started, I thought the only way was to sell ad space on your site. But there are many others. This is something that can (and should) change over time, but starting out from the beginning with ideas on how you’ll earn money will help you make plans for your blog.
Some of the simplest and most basic ways of earning money are advertisements and affiliate links. These are usually pretty low effort on the blogger’s part. But you may also want to create and sell products and services, which can not only be more lucrative (if done well) but also more rewarding on a personal level. While creating products and providing services takes significantly more time, if you believe in your blog’s message, creating and selling products that align with and support your message will be a labor of love.
This is not the time to limit yourself to what you think is possible or within the you current capabilities. If you have something you really want to teach people, don’t rule out creating and selling an eCourse just because you have no idea how to do that. If you have a really powerful story to share, don’t rule out a traditionally published book just because you don’t have the first clue on how to make that happen. Everyone starts somewhere.
Blogging has been a wonderfully rewarding experience for me, and I hope it will be the same for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or ask in the comments below!