How to Start a Blog From Scratch Course Day Three
We are on DAY THREE! Halfway there.
Take a minute and pat yourself on the back. You are through the two biggest fundamental hurdles of blogging. You have started a Blog, and Set Up Your Theme. Now you’re ready to start blogging. Wait, but how? Well, today we’re going to focus on deciding what to write, how often to write it, and how you can make money from it. Grab that warm beverage and settle in. This task can take as little as 30 minutes, or as much time as you want. Here’s the outline.
- What to Write About
- Tips for Writing for readers and profit
- Your Content Calendar
- Where the Money Comes From
This is a think-y day. THINKY! So grab a blank notebook, or print out our 100 blog ideas pdf to get started.
Starting a Blog | Choosing Topics for your Blog
Writing Blog posts is all about creating content that people want to read and share. Good blog posts include links to products or other information that would be helpful to the reader. And they often include photos, lists, ideas, etc.
- What are you hoping to share with this blog? Recipes, DIY tips, Travel itineraries, reviews of your favorite things? Pick a topic to start with.
Pro Tip Detour: Head to Pinterest and type your topic into the search bar at the top. What are people writing about this topic? Write down the pin titles you come across that feel good to you. You can do this with any topic you want to write about.
Keep in mind that chances are your topic has seasonal options too. What does that mean? Well if you’re doing recipes, DIY, travel, or even finance. All will have different blog post topics for different seasons. Fall recipes, Christmas DIY, Summer Road Trips, Preparing for Tax Season.
Pick at least one main topic for your blog, and then everything can focus on and about that. As an example, our blog is focused on Disney Vacations. So, we include Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruises, Stuff to buy for vacation, etc. But we also write about Disney movie nights, Disney recipes, and Disney home décor. Because people who like Disney Vacations probably also like Disney things to do at home. Write a List of 100 Things to write about that support the main topic of your blog.
Starting a Blog | Things to Remember when Writing
Make sure your main topic for your blog has a lot of writing opportunities. What photos do you have to add to the post? You can head to canva.com, Unsplash, or Pixabay for royalty-free photos to use in your posts. If you’re doing a DIY, fashion, recipes, or travel, you will at one point want to invest in a good camera so you can share your own photos! Check out our photography equipment post for some ideas on basic photography equipment for bloggers. Or you can grab an Olympus Pen Camera for a travel and budget-friendly professional quality camera. Perfect for beginners. We use this camera for everything. And when you’re ready to upgrade, you just invest in a better lens. Not a whole new camera. Win. Win.
Starting a Blog | Keywords
What’s your keyword going to be for this post? No idea what we’re talking about here? Yeah, we hear that. You will hear everyone talk about SEO (search engine optimization) and why choosing good keywords is important. But really, you just have to choose which keywords work for what you’re writing about. Are you writing about the best blueberry muffins? Then your “keyword” for that post will be “best blueberry muffins”. This is a great keyword because chances are people will search this keyword. And hopefully, when they do, your post will pop up in the search.
How do you ensure your posts get found? Here are the keyword tips you need to know.
- You can use a site like ubersuggest to get a list of keywords that could work for your topic. You can also type your post topic into Google and Pinterest and see what words auto-populate in the search bar as you’re typing
- Use only one keyword per post and repeat it often throughout the post. Install the plugin on your wordpress.org site called Yoast SEO. This plugin will require you to identify your focus keyword and then let you know if you’re writing a post that matches it, or accidentally duplicating the keyword somewhere else on your site. Having your post content match the keyword you’ve chosen improves your chances of the post getting found.
- Install YOAST SEO
- In your wordpress.org account on the left-hand side, Go to “Plugins”
- Then select “Add New”
- Type in Yoast SEO in the search bar.
- Once found, click “Install.” Afterward you will see a box at the bottom of every new post you make where you can fill in your keyword info.
Starting a Blog | Categories and Tags
Once you have decided on a few blog posts to write about, what do they have in common? Should you create a category so all your recipe posts stay together? Or all your posts about Italy are in one place? Create categories on your blog in the blog dashboard.
- Go to Posts in the top left area of the sidebar
- Click Categories
- Add New Category
Later you can add these categories to a menu, so they can be easily found by your readers.
Starting a Blog | Building a Content Calendar
One of the biggest questions that new writers have is “How often do I need to write?” Frankly, it’s your blog, so you can write as much or as little as you want. If you’re starting a blog to build income then we recommend you write one post a week. This is fairly manageable and you can usually fit it into your life, even with a full-time day job. Writing once a week lets Google know you’re an active website with new content regularly. After you set up email and have email subscribers, your readers will have at least one post a week to look forward to.
If once a week feels impossible for you consider writing at least once every two weeks. Let us share though that both Google and Pinterest LOVE new content. And when that content is collected and focused on a website about the content it will get seen more.
Pro Tip Detour: We’ll tackle this in our social network task list tomorrow, but plan on “pinning” every single blog post you write to Pinterest. As a search engine, Pinterest is a great place to share your content and get it seen. We get about 30% of our blog traffic from Pinterest and you can too. We’d also recommend that you submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. This is super important.
If you’re ready to plan out your content calendar for the month, grab a calendar, and let’s get started.
- Are there any holidays in the month you’re planning that you could tie to your blog post ideas?
- What day will you plan to post something new each week?
- Will your readers need your blog post at a certain time?
i.e. If writing about summer travel, plan to write summer travel posts in April or May when people will be planning summer vacations. Are you pulling together links for a post on your favorite Christmas gifts? Make sure the post is on your calendar to be published sometime in late October or November when people are shopping and will need gift ideas.
Starting a Blog | How to Make Money Blogging
Making money from a blog is all about having multiple avenues where you could get revenue.
- Affiliate Links
- Sponsored Posts
- Guest Posts
- Ad Publishing
- Creating a Product
- Selling a Course
Here are a few things to consider for each option.
Affiliate Linking to Make Money
Making money from an affiliate link is easy. You simply sign up for an affiliate account with a company you like and plan to link to and then in your blog posts add your affiliate links as part of your blog post. When someone clicks on your link and buys something you then get paid a small commission. Good options for affiliate partners are as follows.
Amazon Associates: This affiliate is good especially if you’re going to be making gift guides, packing lists of what to buy, or home décor posts that may include things you can buy on amazon. Blog posts that do book, movie, music, and game reviews will also have a lot to link to on Amazon. And if you’re using your affiliate link, you will have good opportunities to make decent money. Learn about Amazon Associates.
Awin: Awin offers lots of companies, but we like the Etsy US program. Which again is a great place if you’re pulling together unique gift ideas, lists of favorite holiday décor, or craft items. Learn about Awin.
RewardStyle/ Shopstyle: If you’re writing about fashion, you can pull together products in these programs and add them to your blog post. So that people can buy your favorite fashion items through your post. Check out RewardStyle. Or ShopStyle.
Skimlinks: A super easy linking companion that is offered as a Google Chrome companion. Simply install Skimlinks on Chrome, and when you’re linking products in your posts, if that’s something you share, you can earn a commission from that link.
Should You Try For Sponsored Posts?
Once you have traffic and a following you can make requests with your favorite companies to sponsor your posts. Love Hershey’s chocolate? Write them and see if they can provide ingredients or pay you to write a s’mores post. In exchange, you would link to their website or more recent promotions they are trying to share. Companies usually look for 10k+ followers on social media and a blog with 50+ blog posts. So this is a task for later. You can start with affiliates within the next few weeks, with the tips below.
Getting Approved to be an Affiliate
While you may be anxious to jump in and make money, it’s important to have your content and few details in place first.
- At least 10 posts on your blog
- Your photo and bio in the sidebar of your blog ( You add this through the widget feature)
- An about page. You can make pages by going into your blog, Choosing a Page, clicking Add New
- A contact page. Your contact information can be in the footer of your blog and on your about page. It’s important to remember that when you write your email use (at) instead of the @ symbol and use (dot com) instead of .com. If your email is written as is, you have a great chance of being targeted by hackers and people emailing you with scam offers.
Google Adsense & Ad Publishers
You can master the curious world of Google Adsense and set google ads on your site. Or build enough traffic to get approved with an ad publisher, like Mediavine. The latter allows you to take a hands-off approach but usually requires about 25k+ visits a month to get approved. But don’t worry, you can drive lots and lots of traffic to your blog with Pinterest. Check out Pinterest Traffic Avalanche by Create and Go to learn all the details. This is the course we took that got us over 25k+ viewers, approved with Mediavine, and subsequently to over 100k views a month on our blog. It’s a MUST-DO Course if you’re serious about building traffic and making money.
Creating a Product
You can create a digital or physical product or even a service and use your blog to highlight why people need it and should buy it. If you’re writing a foodie-focused blog, maybe create a meal planner as a pdf file, recipe book, gluten-free guide, or anything that your readers may want to buy from you. If you’re writing a blog on finance, maybe sell 30-minute consultation that your readers can pay for and get expert advice. We sell apparel and accessories, and vacation planners that all add to our blog income. Check out what it takes to set up a storefront on Etsy or Shopify.
Selling a Course
Chances are whatever you have decided to write about is a passion project for you, and you know a lot about it. Why not teach someone what you know? Maybe you know how to do photography? Write content and build a class in Teachable or Udemy to sell. Maybe you’re focused on self-care and wellness. You can build a course with meal plans, meditations, affirmation lists, and so on.
And there you have it! You have can cross Blog Ideas and Money off your list! Because it’s done.
Tomorrow we dive into the sometimes-confusing world of Email Lists. But stay with us. Day 4 is ESSENTIAL to making your blog a success and email is one the easiest ways to start making money off your blog.
Return to How to Start a Blog Course Day Two
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