5 Things You MUST Know BEFORE Starting a Blog
There are 5 crucial factors you need to be aware of BEFORE starting a blog. If you skip these steps, you will hardly ever get to the profitable part of blogging.
So before proceeding to set up your blog, please read the following information carefully. Even if you are extremely anxious to see your future blog live right now.
Do this to control anxiety: think that taking a few days to reflect on these 5 things you need to know before starting a blog will give you the advantage, in the future, of making your blog a source of passive income in a much shorter period.
Remember: those who plan save time, money, and walk the right path to success.
This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase through our links, we get a commission at no additional cost to you. Read full disclosure here.
If you want to start a blog that makes money but have no previous experience blogging and no coding skills, check out this step-by-step guide to easily get started today!
5 Essential Things You Need To Know BEFORE Starting A Blog
I started my first blog in 2016. At the time, I didn’t have any blogging experience and I was working as a freelance writer. So I didn’t have a lot of time to work on my blog, just an hour or two a day.
Precisely because my time was limited, I didn’t want to waste the precious hours I had to work on my blog with planning. I thought the best thing I could do was simply write and post as many SEO-optimized articles as possible. So the money would come in one way or another.
I was wrong.
Planning is not wasting time. It’s saving time — and money.
It took me 18 months for my blog to become profitable enough for me to quit freelance writing and make a living as a full-time blogger.
Around months 23 and 24, I reached one of my goals: to make $5,000 a month after taxes.
When I started my second blog in 2018, I reached the same goal in the same year. That was half the time!
And how did I manage to do this? It’s quite simple. I put into practice the things I had already suffered the consequences of ignoring. That is, the following 5 crucial things a blogger should know before starting a blog. Otherwise, you only have a blog that does not generate any profit.
So here’s what you need to know:
#1 Have A Clear Idea Of Your Target Audience Before Starting A Blog
It is extremely irresponsible to simply start a blog without any direction if you want to make money from it.
You can’t simply go writing about all the random stuff that pops up in your head and expect it will make you rich or something.
To succeed, you need to know where you will be stepping in. And what is the profit potential in your chosen niche. But it’s important to learn it before starting a blog, as it will be a lot harder to figure out later and fix the wrong choices that you will surely make.
After a year of effort writing blog posts, you won’t want to find out that you’ve chosen a niche whose audience is too small and doesn’t have the potential to generate satisfactory profit for you to be a full-time blogger.
Besides, without a clear vision of your niche, you won’t be able to plan your posting schedule. This will slow down your blog’s growth as you will waste precious hours of content creation wondering what you should be writing about.
Not to mention that not having a clear idea of your niche can make you waste time writing about random stuff that will attract an audience that doesn’t convert well (a.k.a. doesn’t help you to make money).
You may find it’s okay to figure it out along the way. But be aware that it will inevitably delay (possibly years of delay!) the moment when you start making good money.
These are the key factors you need to consider when picking a niche (and you need to do it before starting a blog so you’ll start on the right path):
- What is your familiarity with the niche? Do you know the subject well enough to have content to write about it in the long run?
Some people pick niches they are not aware of and decide to do extensive research on what they are going to write before writing each post. However, this can make the writing time unnecessarily lengthy. Also, this way it’s easy to end up plagiarizing even if you don’t want to.
So the most reliable option is to find a middle ground. In other words, don’t choose to write about your hobbies and passions if they have no profit potential, but also don’t choose a niche you have zero familiarity with just because it’s profitable.
Also, take into account that a very small niche may not have enough audience, but a very large niche probably already has a lot of competition.
Related: How to Blog As a Non-Writer and Make Good Money (5 Tips)
- What types of needs or problems does that audience have and how can you help solve them?
It’s easier to make money blogging by helping to solve people’s problems than trying to make them buy something they don’t need.
This is also the most ethical thing to do, honestly. You help someone then something good happens to you in return. This way everyone wins.
And I’m not talking about superstition! This is just simple and plain logic: the more relevant information you provide on your blog to help people solve their problems, the more time they will spend on your website. And the more likely they will become to purchase one of the products you sell or recommend.
Quality content conveys credibility, that’s all.
But how can you know what problems people are struggling with if you don’t have access to which Google searches they do?
Actually, getting access to this data is not hard at all! Have you ever heard about KWFinder by Mangools?
If not, let me explain: KWFinder is a keyword research tool that has the exact search volumes and the most accurate keyword difficulty.
With a tool like KWFinder, you have access to what searches people are doing on Google, how many of the same searches are being done per month and how many sites are already targeting these searches, so you know what are your chances of getting on the first pages of Google as responses to such searches.
The only thing you need is to have a rough idea of which blog niche and audience you are interested in. Then you type any keyword related to this niche/audience in the search field of KWFinder. The tool will then show you all the data related to that keyword. But not only that: KWFinder will also recommend similar keywords, including long-tail keywords (keywords containing two words or more), but that have low SEO difficulty and high search volume.
This way you’ll have data on your side letting you know there’s a sizable audience for your blog ideas. Not to mention a low level of competition for that audience!
Here, before starting a blog, give the KWFinder keyword research tool a try. So you will know that you are indeed choosing a niche with the greatest chances of being profitable. If there are problems to be solved and questions to be answered, there are profit opportunities! Check the box below:
Also, KWFinder has a 10-day FREE trial with no credit card needed! So definitely go check their amazing, must-have tool for bloggers!
Read More: 7 Fatal Signs You’ve Picked the Wrong Blog Niche (and What to Do Next)
#2 Learn How You’re Gonna Make Money Before Starting A Blog
First things first: How do bloggers make money, to begin with?
Many new bloggers start a blog aiming to join an Ad Network (we’re going to talk about Ad Networks next). The problem is that any Ad Network that accepts your website before it has at least 10,000 pageviews per month will pay you at most around $15 per month, as is the case with Google Adsense.
With Affiliate Marketing, however, you can make 50x this amount with just a few sales depending on your niche. That’s why I advise beginner bloggers to start with affiliate marketing from the very beginning. Actually, beginners should start learning about affiliate marketing even before starting a profitable blog.
Also, the profit potential of affiliate marketing must be taken into account when choosing a blog niche.
On This Topic: Can Beginners Make Money with Affiliate Marketing? (If so, How Much?)
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
It’s not complicated at all. There are thousands of companies selling products, courses and services in the most varied areas you could possibly imagine (not coloring here, it’s true!) offering affiliate programs.
In some cases, affiliate links are provided directly by the company that sells the product or service you will advertise.
The biggest and most diverse opportunities are often offered by third-party companies such as Share A Sale or CJ Affiliate, representing many other companies.
Usually, the information required when you apply is your name, how you intend to advertise the products/services (through a blog, social media, email marketing, etc) and your email.
Note: While not all companies require you to have an email @ your domain to apply to their affiliate program, it is ideal that you ALWAYS use a professional email address @ your domain as this confers credibility, shows you are committed to your website and drastically INCREASES your chances of being accepted by the company.
This is one of the reasons I recommend new bloggers to sign up for DreamHost’s Shared Unlimited (Unlimited NOT Starter!) plan, as they offer a COMPLETE package containing all the basic needs to set up a fast, secure and professional website, including unlimited emails @ your domain for just $35.40 in your first year, with no hidden fees!
Most web hosting services will charge you separately for an email @ your domain, which makes DreamHost a great deal!
DreamHost is the web hosting company I started my first blog with, in 2016, and I’m still their customer to this day, as they provide excellent service and always respond quickly when I need their help.
More On This Topic: 7 Best Hacks to Always Get Accepted by Affiliate Networks
How much do affiliate programs pay their partners?
It varies drastically from niche to niche but, usually, affiliates tend to earn around 10%-30% of the affiliate sale made.
However, there are affiliate programs that pay generous commissions. So, in some cases, making a measly 10 sales a month through your affiliate links may already be enough for you to make $1000 a month!
There is no magic here, just basic math!
Of course, as I mentioned above, it all depends on how profitable your niche is.
Another interesting take is that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of pageviews a month to make enough affiliate sales to make a living as a blogger.
That’s why affiliate marketing is so advantageous for beginners since anyone who visits your website is a potential customer.
But always keep in mind that the more helpful your content, the more chances of conversion you have.
And before we jump to the next topic, one more cool piece of information: affiliate programs have cookies that usually last from 15 days to 60 days! This means that you will receive your commission even if the potential customer who clicks on your link decides to make the purchase only days, even weeks, later!
Displaying ads is the most popular method of making money blogging. But I put it in second place as this is not the best method for those who are just starting out.
As I said early, Google Adsense is how most beginner bloggers earn their first bucks, since Google Adsense tends to accept new blogs whose monthly visits are still very low.
However, keep in mind that Adsense will pay around $1-$1.5 on average for every 1000 pageviews (it’s called Rate Per Mille, or just RPM), depending on which countries your website visitors are from.
Meaning you will get, on average, around $10-$15 when you get 10,000 monthly pageviews a month. 😐
Again, that’s why I say that beginners should focus on affiliate marketing first.
Also, Ad Networks can slow down your website and compromise your users’ experiences. And a good user experience should be a top priority because it’s essential for SEO.
However, once you reach 50,000 sessions per month, you can try Mediavine, which is an Ad Network that pays, on average, between $10 and $30 per 1000 pageviews.
Sponsored Posts & Ads
Let’s say you have a blog about book reviews (I had one and, if you’re interested, you can check how I managed to sell it for a 5-figure value after 2 years) and your audience consists completely of bookworms that actually read and value your opinions about literature.
The thing is, your audience (and no, it doesn’t have to be thousands of people) is valuable to publishers and independent authors!
You can establish a network of valuable people for your niche by following publishers and authors on social media, and then contacting them directly.
Don’t be afraid and hear “no” for an answer. Success comes with just one “yes” among many “no’s.”
Also set up a “Contact” page on your blog informing that you are interested in direct partnerships, so potential customers do not shy away from asking.
You can even delimit your value per sponsored post or decide to agree with the client’s proposal.
However, my honest advice is that, even if you’re a new blogger with a small following, you shouldn’t accept sponsored posts for less than $70.
And, believe me, you’re going to get funny proposals, you know, like $15…
Anyway, I cited the bookworm niche as an example because I’ve been in this niche. However, whichever niche you choose, there will likely be a product or service for you to market to your readers. But if not, RUNAWAY from this niche asap, because it’s a huge red flag!
Selling your services
If you have some talent, some training, have some technique developed that can make life easier for other people in some way, or even if you have a life experience that can teach or give moral support to people who are in situations similar to those you’ve been — you bet there are people interested in learning from you and listening to your experience.
Creating and selling your own products
Blogging is a great way to attract customers to buy products! Did you know that businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t? With active blogs, you can capture the attention of potential customers, which is difficult to do simply by rubbing a product in their face with Facebook Ads.
You can sell digital products such as ebooks, online courses, or use your blog to promote your Etsy shop. You can even sell apparel, home decor items or stationery with a POD (Print On Demand) platform without having to stock up.
I have a very informative and explanatory article on how POD works here.
Adding a Paywall to your posts
A paywall is a wall that you place on your website usually from the second paragraph of an article. For the reader to continue reading the article, they must pay a fee.
Selling paid memberships/subscriptions
You can sell monthly, bi-monthly or yearly subscriptions to give your readers access to pro content on your website. This premium content can be all articles that are protected by a Paywall, a Podcast, or an area for your readers to chat with each other about your blog content or ask you questions. You can even provide freebies to those who pay for annual memberships such as discounts, mugs, t-shirts or stickers.
If you are interested in launching a Podcast, paid memberships are the best way to monetize it, as you won’t need thousands of listeners to earn a substantial income, as is the case with Ads.
Some extremely useful and creative platforms like Supercast allow you to easily create a Podcast with a paid membership. They have an integration with Stripe to make it easy to receive monthly payments from your listeners, as well as integration with WordPress and other platforms so you can easily integrate your Podcast to your blog.
With Supercast your listeners can listen to your Podcast on their favorite streaming platforms and you are protected that no one will illegally download your work. And best of all: the only thing you pay to use Supercast is a fee that is deducted from the payment your customers pay you. That is, they only get paid when YOU get paid.
So, how do you intend to monetize your blog?
Before starting a blog, take some time to reflect on how you intend to monetize it. And remember that diversifying your strategies is the key to keeping you and your business safe!
With organization, patience and planning, you can monetize your blog in diverse ways — which you should, by the way.
#3 Before Starting A Blog You Must Know That’s Easy To Commit Mistakes That Will Make You Want To Give Up
You better know before starting a blog that you will make mistakes. From silly, almost inoffensive mistakes to fatal mistakes that might crash your site completely. It can happen, unfortunately.
And this is when many bloggers just give up. After all, seeing your blog crashing is painful, as it means that all your dreams and expectations for that project will not be fulfilled. But is this the truth?
No, it isn’t. Not if you’ve prepared beforehand and performed full backups on your site. So you can restore it just as it was before.
But what if you don’t have any backup of your site?
Well, if you haven’t protected yourself beforehand then you will have to take responsibility and bear the consequences, which means building your entire site over from scratch. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. I know this sounds scary and radical, but this is better than giving up.
That’s why I keep repeating that before starting a blog, you need to know that blogging involves committing a lot of mistakes before getting it right.
So, if you give up just because you committed a mistake, even if it was a fatal one, you’ll never get to the good — and profitable — part of blogging.
Do you know why becoming a full-time blogger is so accessible and achievable? It’s because you can ALWAYS start all over again. Even if you don’t have any experience and get it all wrong in the very beginning. Even if you tried once but failed. Because the investment value to start is pretty low!
I have yet to hear about a business as profitable as blogging that anyone can start at their home desk for under $100!
So, if something happened and you’ve lost your site but you’re still committed to building a profitable blog, you have only one choice: lift your chin up and start again. Giving up is not an option for those committed to succeeding.
Silly mistakes may also make a new blogger want to give up
Many beginner bloggers waste a lot of time making mistakes that could be easily avoided or quickly fixed. But they don’t know it. They don’t recognize the mistakes they’re making for lacking experience. So they attribute their failure and frustration to the fact that “blogging is a SCAM”. Then they give up instead of finding a solution to make it work.
Because there is a solution! When it comes to blogging, there is always a solution!
So, no matter how unsuccessful your first blog was. If you are committed to changing your life by making a blog profitable, then you will study as much as you can. You will lose hours of sleep. You will find out where you got that wrong and you’re going to start another blog from scratch in a more profitable niche. But most importantly: you’re going to do it right next time!
#4 You Need To Avoid Misleading Information BEFORE Starting A Blog
Misleading information will hold you back and make you lose money. Not to mention ruin your chances of success, as it will guide your new blog down the wrong path.
My blood boils every time I see a successful blogger posting their super amazing income report, saying “I’ll show you exactly how I created a blog that earns $40,000 a month” but then… The person comes with a tutorial on how to buy a domain name and host your blog. And nothing else. Not a single relevant information about what you have to do to make money once you have your blog hosted. 😐
If you are a complete beginner, you may not understand my frustration. But not so long ago, I was where you are now. I was enchanted by articles like the one I quoted above. I bought my domain and hosted my blog. Then I found myself completely lost on how to get traffic, monetize my blog and solve all the common technical issues I wasn’t even alerted of.
For a year and a half, I had to fend for myself. I had to wake up earlier every morning to figure out how to get people to come read my blog. But not just any people: the target audience of my monetization strategy.
Of course, no one must share their knowledge with strangers. But why willingly say “I’ll show you exactly how I did it” if it’s not true?
The thing is, before starting a blog, you need to know that just hosting your blog won’t get you a $10,000 paycheck next month. You need to work hard to make it happen.
Just as creating an Instagram account doesn’t mean that tomorrow you’ll have 500k followers and automatically become an influencer that charges $1000 for a single sponsored post. Get it?
Related: Bloggers and Influencers: Differences, Profitability & The Best Choice In 2022
The thing is, multiple tasks need to be done properly to make a blog profitable. Tasks that go far, far beyond buying a domain name and installing WordPress.
So, every time you land on some popular blogger’s article that promises to show you exactly how they made $40,000 in one month, be sure that this article contains specific information on the blogger’s monetization strategy.
Runaway from articles that promise to show you how some blogger made a fortune in a month, but that only teaches you how to sign up for a hosting service!
This is one of the lowest points of the blogger community. So keep your distance and realistically prepare yourself by learning the fundamentals every new blogger should know before starting a blog. Don’t go starting a blog right away not even knowing where you’re going to step in.
However, if what you’re looking for is a specific tutorial on how to sign up for a web hosting service and how to set up your WordPress website, it’s okay if that’s the only information in the article or video. In this case, it’s not misleading or click-baiting.
#5 Patience Is A HUGE Must
Before starting a blog you need to ask yourself how patient you are in general. If you are not a very patient person in general, you will need to start working on this.
Blogging is a long-term commitment that requires a lot of patience, consistency, focus, study, constant improvement and organization to balance your other daily responsibilities with a commitment to turning your blog into a full-time job.
So, don’t decide to start a blog because you think it’s quick and easy money.
Start a blog because you recognize how much making $5,000-$10,000 a month will improve your overall quality of life. But not only that — respect the fact that being able to earn that much money every month is something amazing, so it’s worth working hard to get.
Remember this in difficult times, when you have to be patient.
Now that you know the 5 crucial factors that every new blogger needs to know before starting a blog, you are already on the road to success.
You will make mistakes, yes, just like every now-successful blogger did when starting out, but it won’t stop you. You will be alert to avoid misleading information and will be patient, as you know now that blogging takes some time (but not that much time when you get prepared efficiently before starting a blog).
What’s left for you is to define your monetization strategy according to your profitable blog niche of choice. And don’t forget to use the KWFinder keyword research tool to search for low SEO competition & high volume search keywords. So you’ll be protected by data when choosing the right blog topics!
If you want to start a blog that makes money but have no previous experience blogging and no coding skills, check out this step-by-step guide to easily get started today!
- How Long Does It Take to Make Money Blogging ($500-$1000 Monthly Blogging)
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