How to start a blog 2019

So in my short time blogging I have learnt a few things and I want to help you learn how to make money blogging so here is my piece on things i have learnt for how to make money blogging.

Create your blog

So we start with your website – There are a few options usually WordPress.org or wordpress.com, you can pick Wix or Blogger or even blogspace. Any of these would be okay. If you want to do it self hosted pick wordpress.org – You download and upload the templates and theme to your own hosting, there are quite a few hosting companies that are super easy to use for hosting your wordpress.org blog. I chose to use WordPress.com because it was easier to make my website in about 20 minutes, pick a theme, pay £36 to upgrade so I could have my own free domain and that was the price for a year. Then I just started writing, scheduling a few blog posts for the next few days. There are a few other options on WordPress.com including ones that cost £240 for the year but include a whole range of plugins and themes so you can upscale your business and website and include what you need. I am on this plan now but the £36 was great for the first year.

My main tip is to find inspiration and then write about that, don’t pressure yourself to write something everyday because you will get stressed out and not enjoy blogging anymore. Also think about your audience, what niche will you be in and then start thinking about what to write about. I am writing about lifestyle, parenting, travel and business because all that interests me and I have a lot to say on each subject. I love writing about things and I am passionate so it is easy to come up with ideas for posts.

Scheduling

This is a big thing and to get ahead of the game I would suggest writing something and then scheduling, you can pick say a Saturday to have your posts published and then once you have written a few and have them ready for a few months in advance fill in the other days. With posts you need to go for quality over quantity, although google likes lengthy posts with lots of information for the reader you need to focus on what you are writing about. So aim for around 1000 words per post, give it a catchy title to get the reader engaged. Make sure it is something that will inform, help or give knowledge to people or just sharing your feelings that other bloggers may have felt sometimes to get them through it with words of encouragement – Just suit your niche and write.

After your blog post is published

The hard work doesn’t stop when your post is published, imagine you are opening a shop in a back street and you are selling a gorgeous handbag that is decorated with diamonds and is beautiful but no one passes the shop, you don’t tell anyone about the shop how are they supposed to find it? This is where your advertising and marketing efforts come in. Think about where your niche are likely to be hanging out – If they are parents then they will be on sites like Netmums, many facebook groups are related to parents. If they are focused on money and business then LinkedIn might be a great place to post. Find your niche, find where your readers are and get your posts there, I appreciate some sites might not let you post links but then if you come across as a guidance on that subject, you post and help and encourage you can direct people to your site that way.

Then you have social media. Lets get the post link published on your Facebook page with a few words, then on your twitter with a few words. There are other sites where you can add your blogs such as the netmums bloggers community and mumsnet community. There are many engagement groups where others will share your posts and help you generate traffic to your posts but you need to get out there. One of the other sites you can use and I would suggest each blog post on your website has a PIN underneath it and a pinterest plug in so that when people are visiting and they think your post is helpful they can pin it to their boards. Essentially the more boards you have the PIN on and the more it is seen by your audience the more chance of people clicking through.

SEO – This is a big one and can be a mammoth task in itself however if you have a really good post that many others don’t write about or you have some good advice your tagrte market is searching for you can try to rank in Google and Bing for those search terms. So if people are searching for Best ballet schools in Leeds and you have reviewed 10 on your blog then you can try and rank for the term ‘ballet schools leeds review’ – To do this you need to make sure your Meta tags and keywords are tip top on your site, you need to use the words Ballet schools Leeds in your title ideally as this is the bit that shows on the top line of google, then you need to create a meta description. The next thing is to build links to that page from other websites with your URL linked on their page – So if you guest post on another website talking about something relevant like after school clubs and ideas for kids then use the words ballet schools leeds and make those words clickable to go to that page on your website, this is called backlinks and they help google know what your website pages are about. There are websites out there that help you see what people are searching for in the search engines so you can tailor your content on your website to what people are searching for but many of the good keywords with thousands of searches have too high a competition to rank for, however you can always give it a try.

Social Media

Pinterest – I tried Tailwind in the month of November as you get 100 free PINS to try it and see if it is any good. I did schedule all PINS, I joined 5 tribes and I posted to each one with descriptions on my pins linking to that page of my website and while I found my views and impressions increased on Pinterest that didn’t translate into people clicking on my website which ultimately is the point of creating PINS. So I think I will stick with my niche boards, invite contributors and keep making PINS relevant to my website and pinning them but also try and find more boards with more views on to try and get my PINS in front of a larger audience so that they have more opportunities to be linked on and hopefully more views on my website. I do like the idea of Pinterest though and have had many people say they get lots of traffic from them, especially from Rich and Viral Pins. So find some group boards to join, there is a directory somewhere on Facebook and post your PINS to the niches and make sure they are linked to relevant pages in your website. I guess for most it will be trial and error to see what people are clicking through to and see what people are searching Pinterest for but once you have an idea you can create a few pins for each blog post and rotate them each month to see which ones do the best and then you know which layout of PIN works best for you to get traffic.

I have found with Pinterest that I created some good boards for each topic, so home schooling board and then home ideas board because they are good topics and they get a lot of traffic. Then once my boards are created I create PINS for that board based on blog posts I have made on my website. So if I had a post about designing my kitchen and a grey theme for example I would include lots of images in my post and at the bottom of my blogpost put a PIN with call to action text, something like ‘How to create an amazing Grey kitchen’ so that people who want to do that can click through from Pinterest to your blog to get inspiration. The call to action is important because otherwise where is the incentive for them to click through. If you just post a picture on Pinterest with no words then yes people may look at it but it won’t drive traffic to your website. Think of when you look for something, what makes you click? I might click on something that says ’10 easy ways to make money’, but if they just had a picture of a pile of money with no text I am not going to click through. Also don’t just post your own PINs to your boards, invite contributors, repin other pins that are relevant to your boards, try and add around 30 per day. Pinterest actually makes this easy for you from the home page. It is a long term strategy I think and the more you put in the more you get back from Pinterest, so keep Pinning and remember to make a few different PINS for each blog post.

RICH PINS – I have also recently come across Rich Pins, these add more information on your PIN, encourage more people to follow you and don’t involve much work – You just need to have a business Pinterest, validate your URL to show you have put Meta Tags in and then create your Rich Pins for article URLS in your website. https://developers.pinterest.com/tools/url-debugger/   – Check this link to validate your website for Rich Pins.

Instagram – There are many ways to build your Instagram and stay consistent. These include putting out good content so a mix of videos and pictures and try and post around 3 a day to stay relevant and posting fresh content. Many of the top accounts I have seen all use presets to make sure all their content has the same colour themes and consistency across it, I am not sure how that pushes people interacting however their Instagrams sure do look pretty. To help with your following and growth why not follow people in a similar niche, comment and engaging on their pictures and videos. Once you hit a plateau maybe work with some brands to offer giveaways to grow your following and also help the brand provide some promotion for their products.

Twitter – The engagement for bloggers is great on Twitter, once you follow some other bloggers and retweeting accounts, follow PR companies for new opportunities and make sure you post your new blog posts on Twitter and tag them with the hashtag and the retweet and share accounts so they can share them with your followers, with a catchy title they may just click and read it.

YouTube – Speaking to others there are quite a few programmes to edit videos such as iMovie and others. It is also recommend to give each of your videos it’s own cover photo to encourage people to click the links, make the image pop out to want the viewers to watch it. Also make sure you have a catchy title and relevant hashtags. If I am doing a video of a product and also writing a review, I will copy the video URL from youtube into my blog post to help encourage people to click and view. I also create playlists of my similar content so hopefully when people are watching similar things they can come across my content. I suppose you could also add other peoples videos to the playlist just like you do with boards on Pinterest.

Creating Designs

Canva is the best for creating all your graphics. It is a free site and it even gives you templates. You can buy any Icons or pictures that you need or upload your own images to create your designs. I used it for all my pinterest pins, my youtube and also facebook and twitter covers because it was so simple and when your starting up you need to spend as little as possible. The great thing about Canva is you can spend ages, probably a day creating all different graphics for the different social medias and also for the PINS for your blog posts and then get them uploaded. You can create free graphics here Canva – Create your graphics

DA / The Numbers

When I first started and saw some opportunities they were all asking for DA and a certain number of followers on social media and a percentage of engagement for some. So I joined Social Bluebook as advised so I could see my engagement and also my followings for each site – It does get addictive seeing your numbers grow I must be honest. Within the first 6 months I grew from DA0 to DA23 this was simply from linking to sites in a relevant niche. These link up posts are helpful for that, guest posting opportunities on other peoples blogs and letting them guest post on yours is another idea, you can also commenting on other peoples blogs to increase your backlinks from relevant sites as this will grow your links into your site. The other thing that will mainly help is relevant, quality long posts because google likes regular content and sites that are regularly updated. In the first 2 months I posted every single day and it seemed to help massively.

Guest Posts / Linkies 

Guest posting, commenting on blogs and responding to people commenting on my blog has also helped increase my engagement and DA. If you give guest post opportunities on your website with a link back to the bloggers website they usually tweet and share the post on their socials medias too so as well as driving traffic, helping them grow DA and networking there are other benefits to offering and accepting guest post opportunities. If you search guest posting on Twitter you will see a number of opportunities to get involved with other bloggers. Linky posts is something I haven’t been all that involved in however the idea is usually one person starts it with quite a few questions and then they tag 5 other bloggers or something and then they post the questions and tag others, this helps build back links for DA and also helps network and link bloggers so also a good idea and it gives you some content for your blog. Win win! There are also the type of linky posts where it will have a theme say Competitions and then you post on that page with your URL for a competition thread of something, so it is easy to find blogs on the same topic in one page.

Making Money

Product Reviews – You need to be on PR lists and in front of outreach people for brands to make sure you get the latest products for review so look for opportunities. If you search in Facebook for blogging opportunities and search #prrequest #bloggerswanted #journorequest you will usually find a few PR people looking for bloggers and influencers to try out products, to review things and create blog posts and post on socials in return for trying out the products.

Advertising – You can sell ad space on your account, if people are visiting your website and the adverts are relevant you can add them to your website and you can decide whether you want to charge per month, per year or per click through with commission. There are some restrictions with this though if you don’t own the hosting and domain so do check before you start making money. Usually your site bar is a good place to offer advertising as many visitors to your site will see it.

Affiliate Links – Amazon affiliate links is a programme that you can sign up to. Affiliate links are where you link to something through words or a picture on your site and if someone clicks and purchases you get either a share of the sale or commission. These do have terms and conditions so make sure you take a read of those but can be ideal for generating a little cash and monetising your site.

Influence.co – I joined this site and do get regular emails about what is available to apply for, there hasn’t been anything yet but I do feel there are quite a few opportunities available so well worth signing up.

Get Blogged – This is another site where you can add your details. They have opportunities usually for anyone over DA5 and they do offer paid blog post opportunities so a nice site to join, they do have a referral link where you can earn extra points if you wanted to increase your points. They do seem to post a lot of opportunities through a variety of things and the pay seems okay so one to recommend.

Bloggers Required – They do have an email subscription where you sign up and receive emails on all the latest opportunities and there do seem to be quite a few. You do have to pitch to some though and if it is a No you don’t hear back. I have only applied for 2 things as I haven’t felt passionate enough about the other things to want to put the effort into a pitch as there are so many bloggers it would appear on the site I just feel I wouldn’t get them anyway but still worthwhile getting the email to see new opportunities.

LinkMonster – This is another website, started around November 2018 where you can add your details for opportunities. It is obviously still in the early stages but they have a few clients involved and the people behind it are always on hand to help you out if your struggling. You can set your own prices.

Social Trend – I signed up with these guys and do get emails about opportunities, they have some great things available. I would just say to remember the value of what you are getting and what you are being asked to do and don’t overstretch yourself. Don’t be afraid to believe your worth.

Twitter – Twitter feature a number of opportunities on #prrequest #bloggerswanted #bloggersrequired and also #journorequest for you to get involved and get working with brands and to be added to their contact lists for future opportunities. Search these hashtags on a weekly basis and see if there are any opportunities relevant to you and then contact the PR people. You can also add me on twitter as I do try and share opportunities when I come across them Hemingwaysisters Twitter

LinkedIn – Not one I have fully used to be honest however if your a professional and wanting to reach the PR companies and people involved for the brand they are likely to be on linked on so you can engage with the on Linked In and possibly ask if they work with bloggers and again see if you can send some details or get on their lists.

Media Kit – Have you got a media kit? Are you sending it to brands to pitch for you working for them? If not why not? If you want to make money and work with brands then get a media kit. This is a one or 2 page document with a nice photo of you, information about you, your social media followers, their demographics and information, what your blog link is and how many subscribers and then possibly brands you have worked with before. Once you have this compile a list of brands you like and contact their PR departments for blogger outreach information to see if you can be added to their lists for future opportunities or if you want something specific pitch. The pitch needs to be clear and say what you want from the brand and what you can offer them in exchange and what you expect to receive out of it, but essentially you need to sell yourself to the brand as I imagine they get quite a few pitches and you need to stand out.

There are a few other sides and opportunities out there, however some I have come across where you are just given a discount to use in their store, which is fine if you shop their anyway as you can save money but if you don’t shop there and just receive a discount then I just feel like that is a customer so I have stayed away from them opportunities. I also signed up to a site but they wanted people to pay postage to receive products and some of the postage prices seemed to be including the cost price and then other opportunities where they were asking too much for a free product that wasn’t worth that much so just remember your worth and stick to your guns and don’t take on too much as it does take time to review products, take videos, pictures and then do everything else you need to do daily.

Networking

Blogon – I had only been blogging for about 3 weeks when I went to this event not knowing what to expect. I turned up and was in this room with loads of other bloggers, most friendly and loved having a chat. We had a put on breakfast for us, then we could explore the various floors of the hotel with lots of competitions available, a chance to learn from the experts. There was a PR guru teaching us how we as bloggers can work with brands, then there was a photography session and also a brand den which featured a variety of brands you could pitch yourself to, exchange contact details with and speak to about potentially working with later on. Through this event I got added to so many PR lists, I built up lots of contacts and managed to work with some cool brands on some great products. I appreciate I wasn’t right for some brands as I didn’t have the following but I am engaging and I always email the PR company / Brand with the blog posts, videos and social media links I have done for them as I feel it is important to build that working relationship. I would highly recommend this event, they do 3 per year and the people there are so friendly and helpful. I am glad I went when I was new as I feel it opened my eyes up to a lot of it and I seemed to get more opportunities and contacts this way. There next event is 4th May so check it out on google.

Twitter Events – You just need to type the word blog or bloggers into Twitter and a variety of retweet and blogging accounts will come up, like all these because these help engage your social and get you out there, most of them retweet your tweets and a lot of them have twitter events to connect you with other relevant bloggers to help you engage. Don’t see other bloggers as your competition, there is a market for everyone and many of the link posts are all so websites can link to each other and grow backlinks. Also check out #bloggerswanted hashtag on twitter as many bloggers and sites are looking for guest posts that you can post on their site to help you build your backlinks which are good for SEO.

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96 thoughts on “How to start a blog 2019

  1. I love this post!! This is the first one I have come across that goes into depth and covers all areas and is really useful for me as I am starting out for 2019! Thank you 🙂

    Like

  2. wow what a great informative post! i have been blogging since 2012 but i still consider myself a bit of a newbie. i don’t really blog with the intention of making it into a full time job as i love my actual job but there are lots of great tips in here! ill be sure to pass this along to any new bloggers i meet!

    Like

  3. Wow, so much useful information!

    I’m happy to have found your blog 😀 Thanks for sharing the link on twitter.

    I’m trying to get more of my posts scheduled, but it’s a struggle at the start.

    Like

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