You heard about the term self-hosted blog and the fact that all the big-name bloggers are blogging on it. Now you must be thinking, what is a self-hosted blog anyways, and is there other types of blogs out there? As a new blogger, you should definitely know what it is and why you should care.
What is a self-hosted blog? A self-hosted blog is when you host a blog website in your own web server. Today you don’t have to program a web server yourself, because you can rent this service from any of the web hosting services providers. Some of the popular self-hosted blogs are WordPress and Ghost.
You are hearing about this buzzword blog a lot lately, but why should you care? Is blogging actually worth your time or is it just some dumb fad? It would be foolish to pass on the idea entirely without inspecting it first, so today we’re going to find out if is it important to have a blog or not.
A blog is a form of digital automation that can amplify your message to a large number of people. You get to leave a digital trail of your work that brings you new opportunities.
But why is it important to have a blog? Because a blog allows you to showcase your expertise in the form of articles that will come up in Google search. Other than building authority, a blog is also a platform you own, can monetize, and sell.
Here’s an interesting problem, you want to start a blog, but you are not being able to decide on a single topic. You want to talk about your professional expertise, you want to share about your hobbies, you also want to talk about PIZZA!! Why not cover all the topics in your blog, since that would bring a variety of visitors?
Can I blog about more than one topic? No, you should only cover one central topic per blog if you want to grow it fast. Blogging about more than one topic makes your blog diluted and you will lose your reader’s interest. To grow your blog quickly, you should always blog about one topic per blog.
Having a single topic to cover in your blog cuts down the workload because now you know how many articles you want to write. When you blog for just a single topic, your readers will see you as an authority in that field, that is not possible when you are covering many different unrelated topics. Finally, Google favors a single topic blog for topical authority rather than a multi-topic one.
The one time when you can blog about more than one topic is when you have already covered the primary topic with enough blog posts and now it’s time to expand your niche. But in that situation, you will have to make sure the next topic is closely related to the first one.
Now that you have got a basic idea for why you would want to blog about one topic, let me give you a more in-depth analysis.
Having a single topic blog cuts down the workload
When you are blogging to build a passive income, you don’t want to make blogging your fulltime job. We need to write a specific amount of blog posts so for niche sites, that number is around 20-30 blog posts. By starting a blog on a single topic, you can easily reach that number.
And once you have written 30 quality blog posts on that topic, you will find that you have covered all the important topics of your niche. After that, it’s very easy to manage your blog, because all you have to do is to update these posts with new information and maybe post a new article every now and then.
Let’s see what happens when you have a multi-topic blog. You decided you want to talk about your professional experiences, your hobbies, and PIZZA!!
You start your blog by writing a few articles talking about all the topics. After a while, you notice you haven’t written enough about your hobby, so you start posting more about that.
Sometime later, you realized you have 20 posts about hobbies, 20 about your profession, and only six for pizza. You suddenly get the urgency to write fourteen more posts about your favorite food.
As a result, the year passes, but your blog never gets complete. And since your blog topic is all over the place, it’s really hard to pinpoint something specific. For this very reason, you won’t know what’s your strongest post that is giving you the most bang for the buck.
To save you from all the trouble, it’s better to have a laser-targeted focus for your blog. If you want to talk about pizza, then why not start a personal blog on the side?
Since you have a definite, yet a low number of posts to write, the side-effect of this approach is building topical authority.
Build authority fast by blogging about a single topic
Some of the single topics are actually too broad if you think about it. Your single topic could be pets, but that covers cats, dogs, horses, fish, birds, and the entire animal kingdom. You could focus on dogs, but even then there are too many dog breeds and too much to cover. We want to pick a specific niche where we could be the authority in the field.
You could be that guy who is an expert in pugs. You could be the goto girl when it comes to oriental necklaces. When you focus on a single topic, you can build an authority fast and this gigantically increases the chance of success.
This is how it works in the real world,
Someone will come to one of your blog articles following a search result.
If they like what they read, they will be interested to stick around and check out your other blog articles on the same topic. During this time, if your blog really helped the reader get the information they wanted, they will become your blog follower.
Now even if they didn’t bookmark your site or sign up for your mailing list, they will still make a mental bookmark for your blog. When the next time they think about the topic, they will come back to your blog and look for other articles about the same topic. As time goes on, this reader will become your true follower and you are going to become the goto guy/girl for them whenever they need info about the topic.
Since we already know, a single topic makes it easy to complete our blogs, you will have enough updated information to cater to all the needs of your target audience. Your audience will love your blog and do you know who else is gonna dig your blog? Google.
Google loves single topic blogs
Since you are blogging on a single topic, you will have an easy time climbing the search rankings of Google search.
Let me explain,
If a person is searching for “how often should I feed my cat?“
And there are two websites competing for it,
Site #1 is a large site about pets, they talk about cats, dogs, fish, and even horses. They have 1,000+ articles and one of the articles best matches this topic on how often you should feed your cat.
Site #2 is a niche blog that talks all about cat food: what to feed them, when the cat is hungry, the side effects of feeding the wrong food, etc. you get the idea! This site only has 20 articles but they all are super focused on feeding the feline companion.
Chances are, Google will love to rank the smaller site on top of the large site just because the smaller site has a much higher topical authority.
Google and other search engine do this because they like to understand the search intent of the user. This means if the person is concerned about feeding their cat, there is a high chance they actually have a cat and will have other questions about it. If Google can direct the searcher to the best website for this problem domain, it’s a win for them and the visitor.
Using a single-topic focus will easily help you get higher search rankings quickly.
At this point, it’s worth to mention, when it will be the right time to blog about more than one topic.
When can you blog about more than one topic?
Earlier, you learned that when building a blog as an online business, there is no point in diluting the blog with multiple topics. However, there is one situation you could benefit from blogging about more than one topic, and that’s when you are expanding your blog niche.
Let’s say you created a blog about training pug dogs. After working for months, you have written 30 blog articles and covered almost everything in your niche. The blog is also getting a steady amount of visitors every month and it’s growing. Now you can take your blog to the next level by targeting another topic.
You can target a new topic, but make sure it is highly related to your first one. When you are blogging about training pug dogs, you can cover a new topic like food for pug dogs, or competition training for pug dogs, you get the idea.
You may also expand your topic beyond pug dogs and target another breed like training a Doberman.
At this point, your audience consists of pug owners and it’s common for a dog owner to have multiple dogs of different breeds so they will benefit from the new information. This way you can expand to other dog species and maybe even target the entire dog training broad category. Using this process, you are growing your niche blog into an authority blog.
It’s okay to experiment, but don’t go so far away from your core topic to write about motorcycles when your blog is about dogs (unless you are writing about dogs riding motorbikes).
You should always blog about one topic when you are blogging to build a passive income. This will cut down your workload so you can build a helpful blog fast. Focusing on a single topic or niche is ideal to quickly build your topic authority; your readers and Google will love you for that. Finally, you can target a new related topic once you have fully covered the first topic but make sure it’s highly relevant to your blog theme.
Now that you know why you should blog about a single topic, here are the next steps:
Today we’re going to take some serious action. I am going to show you how to start a blog website and be online.
A blog website is the easiest online platform you can set up for your brand. When building online businesses, you need a place where you can post useful information and nurture your audience. Your blog is your own personal platform where there are no restrictions. Today I am going to help you set up your first blog website.
By following the steps of this article, you will have your very own blog website on the internet ready to be seen by the world like www.yourblog.com
I will share all the details about online blogging you should know
You will learn how to write and post your first blog post
After that, you will also learn how to set it up the right way and will have a guideline for posting your first article. This blog will enable you to build your own platform and start earning a passive income but most of all, it is going to be an asset you can sell in the future.
I have written this article from a beginner’s perspective. You may have a few questions about blogging before you start one so I have put everything any new blogger would want to learn.
I hope this article helps you make the right decisions.
What are we going to build?
We are going to build a blog website. A blog is a special type of website where you can post text-based content like this one you are reading in BlogKori. This is going to be a self-hosted blog powered by the WordPress platform. You won’t have to use any programming language or deal with complex server software to be able to publish online, and I will guide you through every step of the way.
At the end of this exercise, you will have your very own blog website like www.yourblog.com
Why is it important to have a blog anyway?
I outlined in this post that having your own platform is the best way to generate a passive income. When you are creating content and making money (like YouTube or Udemy), you should not be tied down to platforms owned by other corporations.
There are many ways you can build your own platform like an App, a membership site, or a mailing list but a blog website is the easiest of them to set up and maintain.
Having your own blog allows you to promote your services, affiliate offers, or run display advertising to make money online. Since you own your blog, you will have no restrictions on what you can monetize or not, and no one can ban you from your blog, unlike Instagram or YouTube.
The general plan is to publish relevant and useful content to your blog so that people who are searching for this content can come and get help. Some of these contents will have your product recommendation with your affiliate links, and some of them will run display advertising. You get to write & publish once and have it read by new people for years to come.
Since your blog stays online 24/7, it can serve your audience constantly, even when you are sleeping. This is the central idea of online-based passive income and with a blog, you are going to replace yourself with technology.
What are the best topics to blog about?
Some of the popular topics to blog about are the ones where people spend money. Topics like health, finance, relationship, and self-improvement are the broad categories that are at the top.
These broad topics have many sub-topics like fitness, weight loss, diet, etc. for the health niche; personal finance, mortgage, retirement planning, make money online, etc. for the finance niche; finding love, getting your ex back, pick up artist, etc. for the relationship niche are just to name a few.
In a nutshell, if people have problems and if they are willing to spend money on the solution, then that’s a good niche. Since we bloggers can add value to their lives by offering a good solution, we can make money serving that audience. This is also called being an influencer.
That being said, there are so many niches out there and anything can be a niche. If you can think of a niche, just do a Google search. If you find a few good blogs out there already covering it, then there is money to be made and it’s a good niche to get in.
You may already be serving a niche if you are a YouTube creator or a Udemy course instructor. Why not start a blog on the same niche as an extension of your current business plan? Are you a professional like an accountant? Then accounting for [group of people] can be your niche. If you are a fitness trainer, then fitness for [your target audience] is your niche.
If you are a doctor, software engineer, writer, or a truck driver, you can draw inspiration from your field to find a topic for your blog. You may also bring your hobbies to be the topic of your blog.
If done well, any topic will work and any niche can be turned into a profitable niche. So remember to pick a single niche!
Does a blog have to be about one topic?
Yes. If you want to succeed in the quickest amount of time, then you should blog about one topic only. If your blog is about oriental necklaces, then make it all about oriental necklaces. You might find that after writing five of six posts about this topic you are hitting a dead end and can’t find any new posts to write about. This is why you have to think and plan out your niche.
You are okay to cover other topics that are closely related to your primary topic. If you are blogging about necklaces, then you might also cover bracelets because they go together really well. But if your blog is about jewelry, then don’t suddenly start writing about children’s toys.
When making a blog, you have to keep your audience’s expectations in mind. If your visitor reads your blog about jewelry, then he/she will think your blog is a good place for that and think you are an expert on the topic. But if the next time they find a totally unrelated topic they don’t care about, they will think your blog is just a collection of unrelated topics and go away.
In order to build a sustainable long term asset, we are going to build this blog as an authority blog in that niche, and the first step to do this is to focus on a single topic. Once you have decided on your area of focus, it’s time to pick a good name for your blog.
How to come up with a name for your blog?
The best way to name your blog is to put the topic name and add a modifier like [topic]spot, [topic]guide, or [topic]place. Put the primary keyword or main topic in the name with a prefix or suffix to come up with a unique name for your blog like PaleoClub, BaseballHub, DrMeatballs, CatPalace, WhyAloevera, you get the idea.
Look at my blog name, blogkori. It’s a combination of two words, blog, and kori. Blog means a blog website and kori means I am doing (in Bangla). My blog name means I am blogging. Since my blog is all about blogging, I have kept the word “blog” in the name. Similarly, you will add your primary blog topic so your visitors will instantly know what your blog is about.
But what if you don’t have the topic already?
You want to start a blog immediately but you haven’t figured out what you want to blog yet. Maybe you will settle on a topic six months down the road, so how to name your blog?
When you absolutely have no clue what you are going to blog, then you can use your own name as your blog name. Using your own name as the blog name is a common practice among bloggers and in that case, the person’s name becomes the brand of the blog. Some of the established blogs out there using their personal name as their blog name are Neil Patel, Marie Forleo, and Drew Binsky.
Now here comes the dilemma,
Do I have to use my full name on my blog?
It totally depends on what are your goals with your blog. If you are blogging as a hobby, then you can get away by blogging under a pseudonym. But since we are blogging for business, and people want to do business with a legitimate person, it’s a good thing to use your full name on your blog for building trust.
Using your full name can come up with certain privacy issues, so you can use your partial name for operating this online venture. Some bloggers have invented a new identity to run their blogs. This way they have separated their blog identity from their other profession.
When you use your full name in your blog, the blog will come up on Google search whenever someone searches for your blog. Now it’s up to you, do you want to get credit for your blog or not?
If you are an expert in a professional field, a coach, a Udemy instructor, or an Amazon author, then you will benefit from Google search when your blog is the same topic as your field. This will add credibility and flow both ways. When I started my blog, I wanted to be known for my blogging expertise so I have used my real name in my blog.
If you already have a YouTube channel or a brand, where you are not using your real name, you can easily use that name in your blog.
Once you have decided on your blog topic and what to name your blog, it’s time to take action and start your first blog website.
What will we need to start a blog website?
To go online with a blog website, we need these crucial things:
Content Management System CMS
An email address is no brainer, and you probably have one already. But for starting your new online journey I highly recommend you set up a fresh new email address to be used for all of your online business-related activities. This is so that you don’t get your personal email address exposed to various email marketing lists.
The moment you start your blog, you will start receiving lots of marketing emails trying to sell you various solutions. You will also be bombarded with spam blog comments and automated emails. So to save yourself, it’s always a good idea to register a fresh new email address to use for your blog.
A domain name is the DOT COM address of any website. For my site, the address is blogkori.com. Similarly, you will obtain a domain name for yourblog.com or yourbrand.com.
A domain name is a unique name and by using that anyone in the world can access your website. Your blog name becomes the domain name, so when you pick “Your Blog“, it will become yourblog.com.
Something to note about domain names:
A domain name costs $13 per year, you have to renew it every year. I have been renewing blogkori.com for 10 years now.
There are many domain extensions like .com, .net, .org, .co, .io but .com is the most popular of them all so always pick a .com
Most of the good .com domain names are already taken, so you have to be creative. Don’t pay thousands to choose the perfect domain.
Since a domain name is also the name of your blog and brand, you might find it hard to come up with a good domain name that is a DOT COM, but you should not worry about it.
My tip is that your domain name is not that important, your content is. Starting your online business is more important than starting with the perfect name.
In fact, many successful blogs are using an obscure domain name they registered in their early days like HongKiat tech blog, Labnol tech blog, or the Shout Me Loud internet marketing blog.
If you can’t figure out a name, why not register your own name as the domain name like JohnSmith.com? The important thing is you should start first and can always pick a better name six months down the road.
Your web hosting account is the physical data storage where all of your website files, content, and pictures will be stored. A web hosting solution will be responsible for storing files in disk, managing the database, and handling user requests. This is the one component that allows you to serve your customers 24/7 helping you make money while you are sleeping.
Web hosting comes in all shapes and sizes depending on the monthly active users they can handle. For a beginner-level blog website, you can start with a basic package. As your platform grows and you start to get thousands of monthly visitors, you can switch to an advanced hosting plan in the future.
The most common entry-level web hosting package is called a shared web hosting solution. Here you are going to rent a portion of a server computer that makes it easier for anyone to host online without having to run and maintain the server yourself. And the best part is, you get to rent a high performing web server for as low as $5 a month. This type of web hosting solution is ideal for starter websites and can easily handle a few hundred visitors per day.
Content Management System (CMS)
How much does blogging cost?
To have a self-hosted blog website, the monthly costs are as low as $6 per month. A domain name is $13 per year and a hosting account goes for around $3-5 bucks a month. With this nominal cost, you get to have your own domain name and valuable online platform you can make money from.
With my expert guideline, you are going to pay only the bare minimum and get the most out of your investment. Don’t consider it a cost, think of it as an investment towards building a solid online business. People spend thousands of dollars on building their websites, (I know because I am a freelance developer). But since we are going the DIY route, you won’t have to spend an arm or leg to have a blog. Here’s a basic rundown of the costs of blogging:
Domain name: $13/yr (free from Bluehost)
Web hosting account: $5/mo
WordPress CMS: Free
What is a self-hosted blog?
Blogs come in two flavors, a hosted platform like Tumblr, Medium or Blogspot, and the self-hosted version like WordPress and Ghost. A self-hosted blog means you host it yourself.
When you hear the phrase, self-hosted, you might think about running a server computer and messing up with programming code and databases. But worry not because nowadays, having such a blog is as simple as signing up for a Facebook or YouTube account. All the technical aspects of the past have been taken care of by the rockstar hosting companies.
Now you must be asking, why do I have to set up and get a paid service when I can set up a free blog from any other services?
This is because we are not blogging as a hobby, we are doing it for building an online business. A self-hosted blog website has no restrictions. You can easily run ads, promote affiliate products, and even sell the entire blog to someone else in the future.
This blog is flexible, meaning you can turn it into a membership site, a forum, or even a social network of your own.
Finally, a self-hosted blog is portable. If in the future you want to turn your little blog into a large application, you can easily do it without any restrictions. Free blogging providers, on the other hand, have total control over your blog and you won’t be able to transfer or sell it to someone.
Out of the many self-hosted blog solutions out there, WordPress is the number one choice and trusted by all the top bloggers. We are going to use the WordPress platform to build our blog. Even this blog, BlogKori is also built on this platform.
What are the benefits of using WordPress?
WordPress is a battle-tested content management system that lets you publish online without having to do any programming. It’s secure, easy to use, and has a large community of users. The best part of using WordPress is the vast array of custom plugins and themes you can use with it.
This all means you can easily turn your blog website into a membership site, e-commerce, or even a job board when you need it. Having thousands of themes can help you achieve a design you desire without being a designer yourself.
But the important thing we are interested in is the ease of use. WordPress user interface is simple and gives power to the non-techy folks.
A note about WordPress.com
When making a search for WordPress, you will notice there are two versions of the same thing, WordPress.org, and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is the CMS software we will use to build our own platform.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a free blogging platform for hobbyist bloggers. We don’t want to use the free WordPress.com service because in that platform we won’t own our site and won’t be able to monetize it or sell it in the future.
If you are starting a blog for the intention of starting an online business, then you should move forward with the .org version.
Now that we are all set, we can get started with the actual setup of starting a blog. The good thing is, when you sign up for a hosting account, it will handle the domain, hosting, and WordPress all at once. This means you will have just one account to manage your entire blog website.
There are many web hosting solutions out there but for this tutorial, we will be using Bluehost. They are user friendly and since we are going to use WordPress, Bluehost will be perfect because it is officially recommended by WordPress itself powering over 2 million websites (WordPress, 2020).
You will be presented with various hosting plans. Pick the basic plan because for the first blog you don’t need anything fancy.
Here enter the domain name you wish for your blog. Bluehost will offer you a free domain name when you sign up for a web hosting package.
Enter your billing details here
Now pick the payment term from the dropdown. I have selected a 12-month plan that saves me money, if you want to save even more you can pick 24 or 36-month term.
Uncheck all the extra offers, we’ll do just fine with the basic features,
Enter your payment detail (your credit card info)
Click Submit to make the payment and continue to your account creation page.
For my Bangladeshi readers, you can pay using the Payoneer card or can borrow someone’s international credit card or PayPal account.
Now create your account, this is going to be your web hosting control panel login information. Make sure you set up a strong password and write it down somewhere for safekeeping.
In a moment your account will be created and you will be prompted to log in
Enter your password to log in to your account. You will also receive the details via email
You will be prompted to create your website. Enter your site name and tagline below. Also, enable “Do you want a blog?”
Select the features you want for your new blog website and continue,
Now you will be presented to pick a theme for your blog,
When picking up a theme for your website, don’t spend too much time searching for the perfect design because we are going to change it in the future anyway.
I say you pick the one that you feel okay and continue.
This will install WordPress!
Now click on start building.
This is your WordPress dashboard and we are going to spend the majority of our time working here writing, publishing, and managing our website.
This dashboard is called the backend of your blog website.
This is your fresh new WordPress dashboard.
And this is how mine looks like:
You will notice that your site is in the Coming Soon state.
This means no-one in the world can use your website except yourself. We need to disable it and make the site public. This is because by this time no one knows or cares about your site. The sooner you make it available, the sooner Google will index it, and the sooner you can start building your platform.
Click on the Launch your site to make the site public to the world
View your website by clicking the site name on top or going to www.yourblog.com
You have started your own blog.
You can call it a day now because you have taken the first step towards building a sustainable online business that will provide you continuous results in the coming years.
Let me share more,
I started my blog, now what?
Starting a blog is just half the battle, you have to write content and make it successful. By following my plan you will write awesome content and enjoy doing it. And it’s not like you have to get a new job of writing blog posts forever, you are going to publish a set amount of blog posts and win from that. After all, we are blogging as a way to build passive income. We will work hard once and reap the rewards for years to come.
But before you start publishing content, it’s time to tweak a few settings in your blog to have peace of mind.
By the way, anytime you want to login to your WordPress backend, you should go to your Bluehost account and click on Log in to WordPress
Change timezone and email
The first thing you should do is to set up your site’s timezone and localization format. This way when you post on your blog, the time and dates will be consistent with your local time. You should also change your administrator email to the one you created for blog related matters.
In your WordPress dashboard, locate Settings.
The settings menu has a submenu. Open General submenu,
Now from the general settings page, change your administrator email to the one you opened for your blog.
So that all the spam and blog related emails lands on that specialized email account.
We are not done yet!
One the same page, scroll down to find the localization settings:
Change your timezone, date, and time format and when you are done, click Save Changes.
Disable comment spam
After you have set up your first blog, you will start receiving comment spam within the first 30 minutes. I know it’s crazy, so we gotta make sure we don’t tolerate that.
Go to Discussion menu from the Settings tab,
Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the post
Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts
This will stop getting useless link notification and also stop sending a notification to other blogs, speeding up your site.
Anyone posts a comment
A comment is held for moderation
This will disable the email notification for new comments/spam comments.
This will keep your blog clean and discourage comment spammers. If you don’t disable email notification, your email inbox will be filled with unwanted comment notifications.
Click on Save Changes at the bottom of the page,
You can log in to your blog every once in a while to check on the comments when you feel like.
Change your display name
At this moment your name is shown as Admin, we need to change this.
You will find the Users menu,
From the submenu, select Your Profile
Set your first name, last name that you want to publically use in your blog, and from the dropdown, set the preferred name you want to display alongside your blog posts,
Save the changes by clicking the Update Profile button,
WordPress uses the feature of plugins to add custom functionality. Think of plugins like extensions for your website. The default WordPress installation comes with just the barebone features for you to start publishing, but if you want to do more with it, you will need to use plugins.
There are many useful plugins you will come across in the future so I am not going to overwhelm you with all these boring details. It’s better to know about various plugins once you come across a specific need. For your new site, you need to protect the site from hackers by installing this plugin called WordFence.
Locate the Plugins menu in your dashboard,
From there, click on Add New submenu,
You will see the plugins page. It’s just like the app store of WordPress. Locate the search bar,
Type in wordfence in the search bar,
The page will change and you will see a list of plugins, the first one should be the one we are interested so click on Install Now button,
The install button will change into Installing icon, wait a few seconds until the button changes,
Once the button changes into blue Activate button, you will know the plugin has been installed into your blog and you have to enable it by clicking on the Activate button,
It will show up the sign-up button where you should enter the email where it will send security emails. Check their terms, select “No” you don’t want to join their mailing list and click Continue.
After you sign up, it Wordfence will prompt you to get their premium protection, say No Thanks because the basic protection will do just fine,
After you do this, you will be back to your WordPress dashboard.
Just installing and enabling basic options will be enough to protect your blog from unwanted hackers so you can have peace of mind.
Now that we are done with the essential settings, let’s move on!
Promoting your blog? Forget about it!
We are not going to promote the blog in any means; okay maybe you can tell a few friends just for the sake of it but that’s it. At this stage, there is no point in doing any external promotion since your blog is empty.
Some other bloggers will recommend you create a Twitter profile, Facebook page, and other social media profiles for your blog but that’s just a huge waste of time. We are going to spend 80% of our time writing quality blog articles and the rest of the 20% optimizing the blog to better serve and monetize the site.
We have to fully focus on the content creation side until we have a good amount of quality articles in the blog. So you can rest assured that you will not have to do any blog promotion in the early days of your blog (maybe six months).
Now you might be thinking if you don’t promote your blog, how on earth you would get visitors?
Answer: Google Search.
Yes, Google, the ultimate source for endless visitors who are actually interested in your blog topic. With quality blog articles, you will be able to gain organic search traffic without having to spend a dollar on advertising.
Just think about it, how you came across this blog? I am 100% sure that you first came to my blog by following a link in the Google search results.
I am going to teach you how exactly you can do the same for your blog, but before that, you need to focus on writing.
How should blogs be written?
Blog writing is not like writing for the press or for college. Blog articles are more like conversational pieces. Think of blogs like a letter you are writing to your friend. The more engaging and easy to follow the article, the better you will be able to keep your reader’s attention.
That being said, you should not forget about grammar and writing best practices. Make sure your articles are coherent and flow naturally.
You can start off by following the rule of the five-paragraph essay. An essay should have an opening paragraph outlining what you are going to cover. Then you will have three paragraphs supporting three important ideas of your essay topic. Finally, the last paragraph will draw a conclusion to your essay. Use this exact formula to write your blog articles.
Have an opening paragraph that oftentimes acts as a summary of your blog topic. Discuss each of your points with three or more paragraphs. Draw a conclusion using the last paragraph. In blogging, the conclusion also acts as a call to action or the next steps to you want the reader to take.
Other than these general tips, you should read your favorite blogs and see how they have structured their blog posts. The way I write my blog posts are inspired by countless other bloggers whom I read from regularly.
There is no universal rule of how a blog should be written, just make sure the information you are presenting is useful.
How long does it take to write a post?
It totally depends on your writing speed and the more you write the faster you can write it. For me, it takes roughly an hour to write the first draft of a blog post. You can easily start writing 500-word blog articles within an hour or two. A 500 words article is a good starting point to explain a single idea.
There are many different types of writing and each of them takes a different amount of time. There are creative writing that takes a lot of thought; conversational writing like this one that can be written at the speed of your thought and there is technical writing(for tutorials) that doesn’t take much effort on the writing side.
Depending on your type of writing and your expertise the time will vary but don’t think about it too much. Just keep track of how long it takes to write an acceptable quality article and use that as a benchmark. Overtime your speed and quality will increase. It’s possible that you already have a writing background, so you can bring that expertise over here.
Since we are blogging for business, think of writing as an investment, and don’t worry too much about the time it takes to write. The time you invest is going to be well worth it.
How do I write my first blog post?
You would write a blog post just like you write a Facebook status or an email. But since you are going to write for your own publication (your blog) you should put enough effort into writing and editing it.
You may have a couple of topics ready that you want to cover in your blog, so start with the one that interests you the most. Yes, you should only cover one topic per article.
If your blog is about traveling, write an article about your experience visiting a country, or if you have many different memories to share about that country, then divide them by cities or events. The idea is you should only cover one topic per blog post.
To start off, have your topic and outline all the points you want to cover. It’s a good idea to just do free writing and stop worrying about grammatical errors. Just keep writing and you will find your start.
Oftentimes we know what we want to say but don’t know how to write the opening paragraph. In that case, just ignore the opening paragraph for now and write the parts that interest you the most. Most of the time I want to write parts of the article but I still haven’t figured out how to write the other parts yet. So I just write the ones that I am most comfortable with and stop worrying about the rest.
When you are writing don’t worry about the length of the article, just keep writing. Don’t worry about writing 500, 1,000, or 2,000 words, just think about writing the next line and the paragraph. Just say to yourself, you are going to write one more paragraph, one more line and soon enough you will have some quality blog post.
In college, I had to come up with 500-word essays twice per week. It’s so tiring to come up with an article when you have not much knowledge of the topics. I followed the above method to just write one sentence, one paragraph at a time and soon I was finished writing the essay, meeting the word requirements.
It’s a good idea to write the blog post in a word document, format it, and then publish it in WordPress. I like to write the raw version of my articles in Google docs and then copy it over to the WordPress posting interface. After that, I do some formatting and hit publish.
If you are a non-native English speaker like me, then you can take some grammar lessons. The Grammarly browser extension helps a lot in checking for common spelling and grammar errors. Proofread your blog for any obvious spelling or grammar errors. If possible send it to a friend who’s English is better than yours and ask them to read and check for any mistakes.
Don’t worry about making it perfect, publish fast and you will improve over time.
Should I write a hello world, this is my first blog post type post?
There is no point in writing such posts because in the beginning nobody is reading and no-one really cares why you are blogging. The only time people will read this post is when your blog becomes popular and your fans want to dig deep and wants to read your first blog post.
Other than that, there is one benefit for writing a “Hello World” type post and that is to lose your blogging virginity. You can write anything in this post without being judged about it. Just write what comes into your mind, why did you start this blog and your motivations behind it; maybe even link back to this post if this article motivated you to start blogging.
Choose your own adventure
Now that you have your first blog, it’s time to work on it. You just laid the foundation towards building a successful passive income. This is just the beginning and I’m sure you will be making and flipping more blogs in your lifetime.
This is just the start and there are many things to do for building a successful blog website, so keep an eye out on this blog for my new articles.
Wish you all the best. Now I want you to take action:
Follow the instructions of this post and start your blog
Leave a comment in this article with your blog address
Write your first blog post and link back to this article if it motivated you to start
Summary: This article outlines various ways you can start building an online business that pays you even when you are not working. The methods I explained in this post are divided into short term, midterm, and long term. It will give you a big picture overview of why and how to build an online business.
I have known Craig for a while, but I have never seen him this upset.
I knew something was not right.
A few years ago I got to know Craig, he took one of my Udemy courses and sent me a personal message that somehow my course helped him save his job.
Since then we exchanged emails every now and then. I would tell him what the latest and greatest technologies I am working with and he would reveal bits and pieces about his happily married life, raising his little girl, and finding just enough time to spend together.
During the Corona outbreak, I got in touch with Craig quite a few times, wanting to know if he was doing well and being safe. His responses were positive until the last time I heard back from him.
Craig’s message felt a bit sad…
I asked him if he and his family were okay? Is it what I am thinking it is?
Craig assured me that it’s not the virus and his wife and daughter are safe staying indoors.
So I asked him again what else?
He told me he got laid off from his job, and he is not happy the way he was treated by his superiors.
Hearing this, I did what any good friend would do.
I tried to sympathize with him, telling him that it’s going to be okay, you will get over this tough time and all that.
Craig told me it was not about the money.
He had close to a year’s expenses saved in his bank account.
So if it is not about the virus and not about the finances, what are you upset about? I asked.
Is this about losing your job?
I am sure there are plenty of companies out there who will happily hire you.
After that, Craig wrote me a very lengthy email.
One by one Craig told me all the things he had done for his company.
All those long hours, reports, and meetings; going over the mile just to see his company succeed.
He maybe got off from his job at 6 but he was thinking about his company even when he was at home. He missed so many family gatherings, birthdays, and even his daughter’s school play because he was too busy in a meeting.
And after all these years of sacrifice…
He was never expecting that such a passionate worker like him would get fired on a Zoom video call along with hundreds of his colleagues.
He told me many more things in his long email but the summary is, he could never work with this passion ever in any other company in the future.
Craig’s heartfelt email was the motivation for me to write this article.
His experience is nothing new.
I am sure there are many of you out there sacrificing a lot for your jobs, but at the end of the day, you are just a number to these companies.
At the first sign of danger, these companies will DO NOT hesitate to cut you off.
And it’s not the first time this happened.
Every time there is an economic downtime (Recession of 2008), thousands like Craig gets fired.
Instead of giving the dedication to your employer, why don’t you give it to something you own?
It is high time you should look for ways to build your own business.
Online business is something you will own, can work from home, and will generate revenue for you while you get to spend quality time with your family.
During this time when you are staying at home, lay the foundation of your first internet-based business, and protect your income from any future financial disasters.
The internet-powered business explained
This is the story of my student Niloy. He is a freelancer just like me.
A while ago Niloy fell sick and had to admit to the hospital for five days.
Just like you, I also wanted to know what he was in for? But he insisted that his illness was not that important and just focus on the story.
So Niloy was in his hospital bed.
If you don’t know how it’s like, staying in the hospital is boring.
In the hospital, every hour feels like a year when there is nothing to do. Five days seemed like forever from his point of view.
Although Niloy was chilling, he could not fully rest because the idea of not being able to work and not earning money was constantly on the back of his mind.
To spend the time he was doing what we all do…
Browsing the internet on the cell phone, Facebooking, and Instagram scrolling.
When he was catching up with the latest memes, he got a new mail notification. DING!
He had just gotten the monthly payment for one of his websites he set up a few months back.
Excited, he opened his analytics to check on the sales.
What he saw would change his idea about work forever.
He saw that his website had sold a few items for the past few days while he was in the hospital.
Thrilled, he realized that the little website he had set up is still working on its own and earning him money.
From that day onwards, Niloy continued to build these online websites that would generate his money on autopilot.
He was very kind to share this info with me.
I got thrilled too when Niloy told me his story and the motivation behind working on his own online business rather than trading his time for money as a freelancer.
This is the true beauty of having an online business.
You could put some work once and get paid many times in the future.
Make money while sleeping, but how?
Online-based assets can generate an income even when you are sleeping. The power of the internet can make this a reality.
When you are sleeping at your bed, someone else on the other side of the world is awake and can access your digital offerings.
Not just that,
If your website is very popular, then hundreds or even thousands of customers can simultaneously purchase from your site without you having to be physically present to support each one of them.
Think about this,
You are reading this article on an internet site and where am I right now?
I’m maybe sleeping depending on the time zone or maybe doing something else but not with you at this very moment. I have set up my site in a way that it can fulfill your needs.
The world of the internet and computers have made it possible to be omnipresent and I will teach you how you can harness this power.
Are you ready?
Things to keep in mind
I have some good news and some bad news.
What do you want to hear first?
The good news is, it’s much easier to start than ever.
Even if you think you wasted all your years, you can still start today and become successful with proper planning and execution.
Today we have more helpful resources freely available at our fingertips that can be applicable to any situation.
Now, the bad news is…
You are not going to see an immediate result.
You won’t be able to replace your current income anytime soon, but it’s definitely a start in the right direction. The real income from your assets will come once they mature and when you have a bunch of winners.
So are you ready to learn some details?
Let me share a few of these online assets and a high-level overview of what we are going to do.
Established Platforms (Short Term)
These are well known established online platforms that offer users to make money from their content. Usually, these platforms work as a middleman between you (the content creator) and the consumer.
Often times these companies make money from either selling your content or running advertisements and they offer a revenue share option. I like these platforms because they already have a large customer base and they can handle all the technology and marketing for you.
All you have to do is to create content according to their specification and update them as you go.
These are some of the popular established platforms that came to my mind for building passive income in the short term:
YouTube is the biggest video platform in the world. It offers free video hosting and a chance to reach a wider audience. You can also start monetizing your videos and get paid for video views via Google Adsense. YouTube has its own ad platform and they will offer you a cut for the ad revenue you help them generate. Usually, YouTube pays between a dollar to ten dollars per 1,000 video views (depends on your niche and viewer demographic). This really scales well when you have a lot of videos getting lots of views.
Other than Adsense, YouTube creators also monetize their videos with sponsored deals, affiliate commissions, selling merchandising, Patreon donations, and fan subscriptions.
I like YouTube because it gives a chance to reach a wider audience for free of cost. You can work on a video once and get repeat views coming to that video for many years.
Minimum 1,000 channel subscribers
Minimum 4,000 total watch minutes
Certain restrictions for what kind of video topic can be monetized
The video should not use copyrighted content including music, clips, or even images
Udemy is a popular course marketplace where people go to learn a variety of topics. If you can think of the skill, you will definitely find a course in Udemy. This platform allows anyone who is willing to teach, set up an instructor profile, and start selling courses.
I like Udemy because the barrier for entry is relatively low and Udemy does all the platform maintenance and marketing.
They also offer various courses and free services for the instructor to get better at teaching. If you can teach a skill, you should definitely try out teaching at Udemy.
Udemy offers revenue sharing and they have a payment structure depending on where the student is coming from.
If you send a student directly from your website, you will earn 97% of the course fee. But if the student finds the course from Udemy search or from an advertiser, you will earn 50% or 25% of the course fee respectively.
Meet the audio and video quality standard
Videos need to be in high definition (HD)
Total course length should be a minimum of 30 minutes
Kindle is the largest publisher of digital books and they offer anyone to become an author to publish their work and make money. With Amazon’s platform, you can reach the global reader base of Kindle ebooks. Using the online interface you can submit your books and earn a revenue share for every ebook sales.
Why I like this platform so much is because, if you like to write novels or short stories, you can use this platform to jump-start your writer’s career. Books are not limited to fiction, they can be non-fiction too but I have found that Kindle users love to read stories from a variety of genres and usually pay between a buck to three dollars per ebook.
Other than the monetary gains you can also use this platform to build your authority as an expert in your field that is more important when you are going to build a brand online.
The ebook should be a word document formatted in a specific way
Why you should not solely depend on established platforms?
Established platforms like YouTube and Udemy are great for getting your foot in the door and get your first taste of passive income but you should not entirely depend on them. This is because when you use their platforms, you have to abide by their rules and you won’t own your content. These platforms are notorious for changing their terms and conditions overnight and cut down the revenue streams of content creators.
Finally, when you use these platforms, you won’t actually own your customers, they own them. So if you want to ultimately build a sustainable revenue stream for the mid to long run you have to look for other ways.
Your Own Platform (Mid Term)
Once you have earned some money from the short term methods, you should start working on your own platform as soon as you can. Your own platform can be a website, an app, or a mailing list.
Building a platform can be too expensive or technically challenging (app) but if you are a beginner you can easily start with a blog website.
With a blog website, you own your content and can directly interact with your customers. It costs just a nominal amount to set up and maintain the platform. Most of all, the technical side of setting up and running a blog website doesn’t require any coding skills. If you have ever used Facebook or Twitter then you can run a blog. With a blog you have the following revenue generation methods:
Affiliate marketing is a way to recommend other people’s products or services and earn a commission from each sale. Many online products have their own affiliate program where any web publisher can sign up and start promoting.
Why I like this opportunity so much is because we as humans love to recommend great products to our friends. By making these recommendations we don’t usually get paid anything, but affiliate marketing can make that happen.
When you sign up for an affiliate program, they will give you a unique tracking link. When you are recommending the product on the internet, make sure you share your unique link. Once someone makes a purchase using your unique link, you will be credited as the referer.
Let’s say the product costs $100 and the affiliate program pays you 50% of the product price. You will receive $50 for each time someone buys the product through your affiliate link.
With your own platform (your blog website) you are free to write recommendations and product reviews that include your affiliate links. You will then be able to reach a wider audience and automate the entire process.
With a manual recommendation, you can earn the commission only once (your friend buys it) but with your blog set up, you can earn every time someone comes across the review and uses your tracking link.
There are so many different kinds of affiliate programs out there and each of the programs operates differently. I have used affiliate marketing as a great source of revenue in my blog just by recommending the services I use on a daily basis. Bluehost web hosting, Divi WordPress theme, and GetResponse email marketing are just to name a few of the amazing programs I use. Even this article I am sharing with you has a few of these affiliate links. When you make a purchase following my recommendation, you won’t be charged extra but I may receive a percentage for being the affiliate. That’s a win-win for both of us!
A blog website for promoting the offers
PayPay or Payoneer (US Bank Transfer) payment method
Terms vary from affiliate to affiliate
While affiliate marketing requires you to write honest and updated recommendations that are trying to sell something, however, you can run display advertisings alongside your general web content.
Let’s say you are running a blog to share useful information and you are receiving a lot of visitors every day. Display advertising puts relevant ads in your pages and they pay for every 1,000 ad views or from ad clicks (similar to YouTube).
Google Adsense is one of the most popular display advertisement solutions out there and supports small blogs. You can create ad slots from Adsense and put the ad code inside your website. Google Adsense will manage the ads themselves and they will display the most appropriate ads depending on your website category and viewers.
Display ads are truly the set and forget type passive earning method so all you have to do is to make sure your blog is getting new visitors every day.
Your blog must have a number of good quality text content
Blog websites can be a fantastic digital asset that can be sold to other people. Once you have a blog website that is getting regular visitors and you have monetized it with affiliate links and display advertising, you can flip the site for a one time sum. Often times the sum is 20x or even 30x the value of its monthly revenue.
My student Niloy told me the story of selling his first niche website. He had a website that was earning him $150 per month in revenue.
He went on to sell his site and got a whopping $3,500 for the digital asset.
The great thing is, you don’t even need to spend five years to build and flip these kinds of sites. If you know what you are doing, you can start, earn, and flip a site for as soon as six months.
This is the beauty and the true potential of digital assets. You can build a site that earns you monthly revenue and then if you decide you can sell it for an instant payout.
And of course, this is not the limit of what can be done. If you really want to get to the next level, you have to go for the long game by building your own brand.
Your Brand, Your Audience (Long Term)
The previous step informs you to build your own platform (your own blog website) that is going to enable you to build your own brand and audience. With your own audience, you can sell your own products, keep a large cut, and get to serve them over and over again. However, in the beginning, you won’t have a large and loyal audience to sell to, and building a product really takes some time and investment. This is why I suggested you start your platform and sell “other people’s” products as an affiliate and grow your loyal userbase.
It may take a few years to finally find your mojo and a unique voice to fully delight your audience base.
So if you are just starting out, here’s an overview of what can be done when you will have your own audience.
Sell Your Own Product
You have your brand, you have your audience, now it’s time to create a product. A product can be a simple ebook, a video course, or even a tool/software. Rather than selling other people’s products as an affiliate, you will get to keep a large share of the income (sometimes 100%) of the product price.
When you sell to someone once and make them your loyal customer, you will get to sell to them again and again. You will have to find new ways to add value to their life that how you can help them achieve more.
The product can be any type even a physical book, but I am emphasizing on digital goods because you can make millions of copies of a digital item without any extra cost.
Your own product is the holy grail of making money online and with your own brand and audience, you can easily replace your job income, maybe even more.
If selling your own product brings you a one-time income, you can take it one step further by adding recurring revenue with membership websites.
A membership website offers continuous value to your audience. Instead of selling a product and getting paid once, you can get paid every month when you offer memberships to your users. A membership solution could be an inner circle, access to use a software tool, or an ongoing coaching/consultation.
The main thing is, you get to add recurring value to your customer base and for that, you earn recurring revenue.
A monthly subscription is the most popular payment plan for membership services. Think about how many other services you are subscribed to and paying monthly? Now think how many other customers they have and earning recurring revenue?
The good thing is, you can too build your own membership solution once you have your own audience and you don’t have to spend millions to have that kind of setup.
Sponsorship Deals, Joint Ventures
Once you have your own brand and audience, you can monetize them in a variety of ways. Sponsorship deals are when you become a partner of another popular brand and they pay you to become their ambassador. As a partner, you can earn a large signing bonus and you don’t have to deal with any of the technical setup, promotion, or customer support. You are giving that other brand access to your own customer base.
Joint ventures act like the same way, but in this deal, you are collaborating with another blogger with their own brand and audience. Oftentimes you can achieve great results by teaming up with other experts in your field.
There is so much potential when you start thinking about “your own” business rather than working for someone else. These were just the tip of the iceberg of the world of online business and I am sure that you are more intelligent than I am and you can think of more ways to generate revenue once you get the hang of it.
Where to go from here?
Now that you know what is possible, I suggest you Google search each of the methods mentioned in this article and get an overview of each of them. If possible take action right away and start working towards building your own home-based online business.
The internet is full of information and sometimes all this information can overwhelm anyone.
Be warned that there are make money online scams all over the internet so I suggest you not believe anyone who says you can make a life-changing amount of money by pushing a few buttons. An internet-based business is after all a business and it takes years to build your audience and a sustainable business model, so always use your gut feeling and be skeptical.
While you are researching on your own, you keep an eye out on my blog blogkori.com as I am going to publish supporting articles in the coming weeks.
I also started my passive income journey with you and I am going to be sharing my experiences and tips over here.
A note to my Bangladeshi readers
It is possible to earn a passive income from Bangladesh even if you are living in a village. All you need is a stable internet connection and electricity. Nowadays it’s much easier to build a business online and receive the money in your local bank account. There are a few more steps involved when working from BD, so I will try to do my best to keep my countries perspective in mind.
We just only scratched the surface in this post. Once you start laying the foundation for your online-based business, there will be more things to cover as you go. So keep an eye out on my blog as I will be posting more information detailing each of the money makers. Remember, it’s about taking action.