Warning: This post could change everything for you.
A couple of weeks ago, Ben and I finally got around to starting our first Facebook group specifically designed for bloggers and content marketers. So far it’s been wonderful; we’ve “met” tons of other bloggers who are looking to replace their full time income online, and we’ve been able to share some pretty helpful tips and tricks.
I’m glad we did this.
A few days ago I asked a question in the group which really opened my eyes:
I learned two things from the answers:
- We have really ambitious people in this group, and I love everything about that.
- Most members either
- Haven’t yet started their blogs but are excited about the possibilities, or
- HAVE started, but haven’t yet cracked their first $1K month
I realized that when I write income reports like this ($10k+) or this ($7k+), it doesn’t do much for people at $0 besides maybe inspire them. And while it feels great to motivate people and show them what’s possible, I want to truly help our readers.
I want to give real, actionable help.
Which is why I’m writing this monster of an article today.
The $1K Blueprint: How to Get Your First $1,000 Month Blogging
If you commit to following every single step in this article, you absolutely should be making money with your blog within a matter of months.
This isn’t another generic “how to start a blog” article (although we do have one of those if you need help getting set up).
That being said, this is a ton of work.
The first $1,000 you make online is probably going to be the most difficult money you’ve ever earned in your life.
There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s easier to make $1,000 flipping burgers (I’ve done both).
BUT, once you hit that $1K mark, the sky is the limit.
You’ll be surprised how quickly your blog can grow and your life can change once you get past the initial hurdle of profitability. You just have to stick with it to get to that point.
If you want to escape your 9 to 5 and make a full time income from home (and eventually more than a full time income), blogging is one way to accomplish that.
Note: This is a really long article, so I suggest you bookmark it so you can come back later. You can’t get it all done in a day, unfortunately 😉
So here we go, the $1K Blueprint:
Step 1: Decide what you want your blog to be about
The biggest mental roadblock I see out there: people thinking they need to come up with something 100% unique that has not been written about yet.
Or worse, thinking that you can only write about something you have a raging PASSION for.
Here’s something for you: I’m not “passionate” about the subject areas of our two blogs (personal finance and blogging/business). Sure, I really enjoy both topics, but it’s not like I have a primal calling to write about them. I just enjoy both things, and that’s enough to keep me going.
And yes, there are a million other blogs out there that already cover what Ben and I write about. The internet is a really big place, but I can promise you there is room for all of us.
So what should you write about?
If you want to make money from your blog, you need to treat every decision you make like a business decision. When it comes to deciding what to blog about, that means using some common sense:
Here are some things to consider:
-Obviously you want to write about something that interests you. Otherwise you’ll fizzle out after a while.
-Find something that other people are interested in too. If you choose to write about Himalayan basket weaving for men… you won’t have a lot of readers, and you’ll have a hard time earning any income. Try to find something that combines your interests with things other people also care about. For my main blog, I write about money advice. I’m a personal finance nerd but fortunately there are people online looking for that type of information too.
-You DON’T have to be a world class expert on your topic. You just need to know a little more about your topic than your readers.
Have a question about whether a particular niche has a good income potential? Post your question in the group and you’ll get tons of helpful feedback.
Step 2: Set up your blog, if you haven’t already
You’ve probably heard of WordPress before, but may be wondering what the heck it even is.
Think of WordPress as the backbone of your blog. It’s the easiest to use (and most powerful) content management system (or CMS) in the world. WordPress is what makes it possible for regular people like me and you to actually build and run a website without being a computer coder.
In fact, you don’t need any coding knowledge whatsoever to get started with WordPress. That’s part of why they are the best.
Ok, so you have two main options for starting your blog: “Self-Hosted” on WordPress or “Free WordPress”
Why is self-hosting with WordPress the best way to go?
Even though you have to pay for your own web hosting out of pocket, going this route allows you MUCH more flexibility in terms of site design and usability. And don’t worry, hosting is really inexpensive, especially if you take advantage of our 60% off coupon code with Hostgator (BTOP60). Depending on your hosting plan, it shouldn’t end up costing you more than a few dollars a month.
With the free version of WordPress, you don’t really have that much freedom to make changes to your site. Plus, WordPress actually OWNS your site if you use the free version (meaning, your site is technically not even yours). With the free version of WordPress, your website link even looks unprofessional; instead of a .com ending, your site will look like “yourwebsite.wordpress.com”.
I can’t think of even one successful blogger (in terms of income) that is using the free version of WordPress.
If you take your blog even remotely seriously (and want others to the same) self-hosting is what you need to do.
Here’s how to get set up with a self hosted WordPress blog
Choose Your Hosting Plan
Go to HostGator’s home page and select “Get Started Now”. This will bring you to a page that gives you 3 different packages. I recommend starting off with the Hatchling Plan:
If you are just starting out, the Hatchling Plan is all you need. First rule of business: don’t over complicate things and end up overspending!
Choose Your Domain Name
Once you hit the Sign Up Now button, you’ll be directed to the order form. The first item on the list is the most important one: your domain name! This is the one and only name for your website, so give this some thought.
It can be tricky coming up with a name that isn’t already claimed.
Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name
- Stick to just .com endings. Don’t bother using .biz, .info, .org, or any other endings.
- Make your domain name simple and easy to remember.
- Leave out numbers and dashes and anything else other than letters.
Enter Your Hosting Plan Information
This step just confirms what you chose in Step 1 (Hatchling Plan). If you want to change plans, though, you can do it here.
You’ll also set up your HostGator username, which is what you’ll use to access the back end of your site.
Enter Your Billing Information
Another straightforward step. If you can’t figure this part out, maybe this whole online biz thing isn’t for you 😉
Choose Add-ons That You Want
I recommend all of them, however, you can probably get away with adding them later (the cost starts to quickly rise).
If money’s tight, you can forego these things. If I had to choose just one add-on, I would choose the site backup option. Losing all your hard work is a buzz kill that I would not wish on even my worst enemy.
Enter Your Coupon Code
We’ve got you covered: use the coupon code BTOP60 for 60% off your order. We’ve partnered up with them to give our readers this exclusive deal not offered on their regular site.
This discount is merely a promo rate and not likely to last long! All the more reason to get started right now.
Review Order Details and Submit!
Once you’ve completed all the steps above, go through and make sure everything is the way you want it. I won’t include a screenshot since everyone’s checkout page will look slightly different based on their choices.
You’ll also notice that there are a few other free perks: 24/7/365 Phone, LiveChat, and Email Support AND a 45 Day Money Back Guarantee if you decide blogging isn’t for you. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
Once you’re all set, go ahead and hit Checkout and let’s get rolling!
Now it’s time to install WordPress on your site (don’t worry, it’s easy!).
To get started:
Go to HostGator’s Billing Login page:
Use the email address you signed up with and the password included in your order confirmation email.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll see a bunch of tabs on the top. Click on the Hosting tab.
Once that loads up, you should see an option below under “Special Offers” that says Get Started with WordPress Today. Click it:
That will bring you to a “QuickInstall” page, shown below.
Make sure your domain name is chosen in the “Application URL” section. Be sure to leave the box after the slash blank.
Then, check the “Enable Auto Upgrades” box. Enter your “Admin Email”, your “Blog Title” can just be your domain name (with spaces), then enter whatever you want your admin username to be.
Pro tip: Never make it “admin”! You WILL get hacked if that happens. Make your Admin User something unique. Lastly, fill in your first and last name, then click the “Install Now” button.
Finish WordPress Install and Log Into WordPress!
Once WordPress is finished installing, you’ll get a confirmation message giving you info for where to access your WordPress login, your username, and a randomly generated password to sign in.
Your WordPress page can be found at http://yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin/ – go to that URL and sign in.
And that’s it! You’re all set up and ready to go with your new domain.
Make yourself at home
You are probably going to want to spruce up your blog a bit with a fresh “theme”, aka design. Genesis is a popular provider of professional, low cost themes for bloggers. WordPress also has several free themes you can choose from. Go to “Appearance” on the left side of the WordPress dashboard and click on “Themes,” then pick whichever one you think looks best!
Step 3: Write Your First Blog Posts
At this point, you should have honed in a niche you feel comfortable writing about, and you should have your blog set up.
If you skipped to this section and haven’t done the first two steps, please go back and do them. You need to make this happen and stop just reading about it.
Ok, so now it’s time to write some epic blog posts.
If you have the end goal of earning income from your blog, you need to be strategic in the type of content you write and how you write it.
Here is a basic framework you can and should use for planning out your content, at least to start. The main goal here is to get you in the habit of writing articles that you know people will want to read… you don’t want to waste time writing to an audience of 0.
Simple as that.
Why is this strategy so effective?
Because the leaders in whatever niche you are blogging about are already making money. And probably a lot of it.
They have cracked the code, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to emulate their success.
That being said, be cool. Don’t outright copy them.
How to structure your blog posts so people read them
Repeat after me:
I will not use walls of text.
I will NOT use walls of text.
I WILL NOT use walls of text.
Using massive walls of text is the quickest way to kill a blog post.
The way we were taught in school to write is NOT how you want to write for your blog. Big paragraphs, pages and pages of SOLID TEXT, etc, are not going to make readers want to stick around.
See what I mean:
So, no long paragraphs. But what about structure? Do you write blog posts like an essay?
Yes and no.
The key here, again, is to break up your articles into bite size chunks. Here’s a template you can steal:
Write enough posts to fill up your theme’s homepage (so it doesn’t look empty). Then, it’s onto the next step.
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