This article is dedicated to self-starting, curious creatives who want to start a profitable blog as a means of making a passive income in 2019.
AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through any of these links, I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
You don't need to have thousands of followers on Instagram, 500+ connects on Linkedin or even a proper headshot ready to start a profitable blog.
We’ve officially rung in the new year of 2019, and everyone’s talking about trending memes, social media influencers, infowars and headlines alike. Have you noticed the unspoken, consensual fear for a hypothetical AI takeover upon our digital era?
How can you make your mark in this hustle and bustling realm of the fast-advancing inter-web?
Forget your industry’s most successful competitors, what distinguishes you from the AI that they can now clone of you, from your own DNA? What makes you, you?
Regardless of what line of work or industry you may be in — there is a niche market in blogging for everybody. And I mean anybody.
Your consciousness, lived experiences, and thought process is enough.
Whether you’re a lawyer, real estate agent, elementary school custodian, aspiring fashion designer, or a freelance writer, like me — you've got stories to tell.
What are the biggest challenges you've found in your current career? Who motivates or inspires you when those challenges get you down? What are the top 5 hacks you've found to make your current lifestyle better than it was before?
And why not turn those stories into conversations to open up with others that think, live or look at life the way you do?
First, I want to share with you the key takeaway from this article because I know that's what you're here for.
The secret to creating a profitable blog lies in the following:
Authenticity = Purpose = Profit
If you want to succeed in life, you're going to have to get real about things.
If you're struggling, share the struggle. If you're succeeding, share your wins.
Most of my friends (even to this day) never knew that I ran a Tumblr blog from 2009-2013, waxing poetic under a pseudonym with thousands of subscribed readers, a few of which ultimately became my lifelong confidantes. Writing anonymously gave me the creative freedom and space to express my experiences as I encountered them. But it wasn't enough.
As ironic as it may seem, the internet loves reality as is.
I used to be extremely reserved about putting myself out there, so I was more than happy to streamline majority of my freelance income from ghostwriting for various publishers.
However, since expanding my freelance business model and starting a creative agency from scratch, I've found that you will find much greater success when people are able to attach a living, breathing human being behind the text.
One of my past project inquiries ended with, "by the way, found you through looking up 'Canterbury Tales'" because it was a part of my Author's bio. He found me through searching up one of my all-time greatest literary influences, and that was a huge turning point for me.
The client's brief "P.S." note taught me the importance of the impressions you are making along the way in your journey -- your reader may not know much about you in the beginning, but if you are consistent in the mission to show people who you are, who you could become, and the work that you can bring for them, your desired audience will recognize the earnest potential in that and genuinely believe in their connection with you that much sooner.
I'm here to give you my two cents having been a blogger myself as well as having ghostwritten thousands of blog articles for others. One of the most valuable things I've come to learn as a content creator is that you must come to terms with your work, lifestyle and identity as is in order to create a sustainable streamline of income for the lifestyle you ultimately desire.
Without further ado, this article will guide you through 10 easy steps to creating your own profitable blog.
Step 1. Brainstorm article ideas.
Begin the process of starting a blog by brainstorming any topics you would be happy to discuss at length about.
Use this time to tunnel in on the subjects that make you feel a certain type of way, because ultimately, you're trying to make your audience feel a certain type of way (when they're reading your blog). You feel me?
“How do I brainstorm for article ideas when I don't even have a blog to begin with?"
If you are completely new to blogging, first of all, welcome to the blogosphere!
You've got a blank canvas to work with and you're ecstatic about all of the things you could be talking about in your new blog.
Then, you start asking yourself, like...
What type of content should you be putting out there?
Answer: Read more blogs to find out.
What kind of questions should I be tackling in my blog posts?
Answer: find humancentric questions or problems and provide humanistic answers & solutions.
You should be taking notes whenever an interesting idea pops into mind. Perhaps you're...
- having a conversation with a friend on a topic that you’re passionate about, and you feel like you are making quite a sound argument for your case.
- watching a Netflix series or reading the latest New York Times Bestseller and realize there are lessons in there that inspire you to strike up a conversation about.
- interested in arguing against the latest fads or trends you see on social media.
Whatever your cause may be, mark down the cures because you can always use them for something else later.
A lot of people start researching into "the most profitable niche" or discover the benefits of blogging through "make money fast" formulas.
Having worked with hundreds of different blogs over the last 10 years, I'd argue that while the opportunities online are endless, there's no tried and true formula that's a one-size fit for all.
If you are given a choice between two things, pick a side and stick with it. Talk about it on your blog. If you had a bad day at work, write a how-to guide on how to make things better for next time.
PRO TIP: Write as if you're giving advice to yourself.
Assess the tone and voice of your writing and build from that.
Take authority and ownership of your emotions to unfold your own competitive advantage. Not to make things overly meta, but you want to express your most candid views on your topics in a way that will make others see you the way you wish to be seen.
The stronger of an opinion you have on a topic, the easier it will be for you to make your mark in that blog niche.
You’ll find much more success by placing yourself (early on) in a niche that you will authentically thrive in.
Step 2. Find the niche you belong to.
A lot of people tend to hastily research into "most profitable blogging niche" or discover the channel of blogging through "get rich quick online" formulas. Having worked with hundreds of different blogs over the last 10 years, I'd argue that while the opportunities online are endless, there's no tried and true formula that's a one-size fit for all.
Instead of trying to fit yourself into a niche you're unfamiliar with, just because others have found success from it...
Create your own success in a niche that serves you as you serve it.
This may seem like a jump for beginners, but you kind of want to work backwards here.
Stay with me, now. How do you find your niche? And will it be profitable?
Imagine yourself at a job interview. When the person sitting across from you asks, “Describe yourself briefly”, how would you answer?
Instead of getting into a panicked frenzy, trying to paint a calm & collected; prim & professional self-portrait to the hirer before you, rewire your brain to assume the question as, “what are you like deep down, and what do you stand for?”
In order to make money as a blogger, you must establish a consistent readership through quality content that clearly answers those questions for your audience.
How can you help others in the position that you are in, with the experiences you have gone through in life?
That is exactly who you are and where you actually stand in your niche market. There is your niche.
Be a problem-solver for the people (readers) you wish to serve.
Don’t know what questions are being asked, or what problems need resolving in your niche industry?
Do your keyword research.
Step 3. Decide on a distinctive blog & domain name.
Once you have an idea of the kind of niche you want to be working in, you’ll want to settle on a blog (and domain) name that is captivating and informative to potential visitors.
Key tips on coming up with a timeless and creative blog name:
- 3 syllables or less (for the most part) - so they don't forget you
- tells the reader what your blog is about - don't give everything away
- sets you apart from your competition -
Naturally, your domain name should represent the content you’ll be providing for your audience. However, sometimes overthinking this step can also cause you to lose focus of your blog’s direction entirely!
If you’re really stuck, I suggest you do what I did.
Make a name for yourself.
Using your name for your blog/website is a great way to make sure they remember who you are. Then, you're able to let the content on your web pages speak for itself, as in what you do and what you may offer for the reader.
Your full name, pen name, nickname — whatever makes you, you.
Go with that, and run with it.
Step 4. Sign up for a trusted domain/hosting provider & set up your blogging platform.
Now that you've decided on your blog's name, it's time to set up the domain and hosting services for your new blog.
I highly recommend you to go with a Self-hosted WordPress CMS (content management system) due to its flexibility. You also have free access to thousands of tutorials and guides across all channels (blogs; youtube; online courses) as you learn, because Wordpress is the leading blogging platform making up over 75,000,000 websites on the web, at large.
If you're not familiar with domain & hosting, let me catch you up real quick:
What is a domain name?
A domain name is your chosen website URL address – the link address which directs visitors to your blog.
For example, mine is:
What is Hosting?
When you pay a web hosting company, you are simply renting storage space on the internet — just like you would rent a physical store for your business. Your blog's home lies in the server of the web host you choose to go with.
If you're looking to set up your blog in 1 day or less - I'd highly recommend for you to choose BLUEHOST.COM
- The #1 recommended web hosting as recommended by WordPress.
Bluehost offers a free domain once you sign up for hosting.
Every package comes with an array of easy-to-use services you can set up in minutes, ensuring that your blog’s setup screams smooth sailing.
If you’re looking for a simple, secure and reliable domain and hosting plan, my top recommendation is to go with Bluehost.
Step 5. Have a signature logo ready to go.
A logo is super important to your blog because it's a snippet preview visual representation of what your content will be about.
One of the first things people tend to notice when browsing on any website is the logo.
It’s a visual representation of your work in a nutshell and truly functions as one of the core assets to your personal brand.
Logos should leave lasting impressions.
With that being said, I personally like to work fast and to work smart.
In essence, there are only two ways this could possibly go down:
- You are an artist or a designer and you have a clear idea of what you want your logo to be like.
If this is the case, then you’ve probably already started sketching out logo designs so you can skip to step #6 below.
Design it and go with it.
2. You have no idea about what to do for a logo but you know you need one ASAP:
If you’re like most beginner bloggers, you may not have any design or illustration skills under your belt.
Forget the whole shebang about finding “the” perfect logo.
Many beginning creative entrepreneurs spend hours, weeks or months trying to finesse a logo and ~branding image~ for themselves that they rapidly lose sight of the potential business growth they could be building in the meantime. Morale is dropped and the enthusiasm about getting things done begin to feel draining.
Focus on your content and move past this. Don’t put too much thought into it because you can always update your logo again later on.
Curating your content into a cohesive conversation for your blog is much more important.
I would save some time by purchasing a custom design from a trusted graphic design site to get the job done.
If you’re new to blogging with no design/illustration background, I would recommend going for the Bronze package on 99designs because of their 100% money-back guarantee and full copyright ownership options, and their business operation of designers working with you one on one to ensure you are delivered your logo exactly as you envision it.
You’ve also got Fiverr as a cost-friendly option. Fiverr is a freelance service platform where you choose from freelance creatives from all backgrounds and levels of expertise. Granted, you’ll have to spend some time sifting through the gig options available, but it’s a great place to start if you’re looking to have a logo designed ASAP (some designers offer logos delivered in less than 24 hours!).
Step 6. Choose the blog theme that screams ‘you’ at first sight.
We're assuming that you're going to go with a premade template to save time.
You can’t go wrong with visiting one of the biggest platforms on the internet for web themes & templates, Envato Market’s
Again, I recommend going with your creative intuition here. What stands out to you? Trust your gut instinct.
Step 7. Customize your blog theme — establish that first impression to your audience!
This is something I feel like a lot of blogs lack out there — aesthetic creativity from the heart.
Respect your brand and respect your audience.
Nobody likes to scroll through mountains and valleys of ads while trying to close pop-ups to get to your article’s content, and I do not believe in exclusivity when it comes to sharing personal knowledge with others.
Make sure your content is decorated with a nice theme to deliver quality work for your audience. You should always double-check the following elements to your blog theme.
Tweak them as you like to reflect your personal brand:
- Colour Palette
- Tone & Style
- Photography (Image Quality)
- Site Readability
(More on this in my article, “How to Customize Your Blog Theme to Fully Establish Your Personal Branding in 2019”).
Step 8. Create original content that resonates with your values and visions.
Your blog's mission is founded upon your creative intentions for the content you'll be publishing.
Remember your cause, your values and your visions for your blog any time you get stuck.
Naturally, content will come pouring out.
Side note: Recently, a study reported that all babies are born equal regardless of race or class, so long as adequate nutrition and health care is available. This validates my belief that everyone is born equal and that our circumstances wholly affect the kind of people we become through nurture.
To create original content, you want to thoroughly evaluate your interests, hobbies, curiosities and even fascinations in the interests of others.
Try to think of the things and topics in everyday life that you have a strong opinion about, because very often that is the niche which you will thrive in.
Step 9. Write and PROOFREAD your first blog post(s)!
There’s nothing more irritating than breaking through the vines of a search engine before finally choosing to come onto a website only to find terrible grammar or an overall lack of care for the content actually being delivered. It’s understandable.
But don’t be that blogger.
Bloggers and online business owners often have jam-packed schedules which cloud our brains with non-stop to-do things that we often overlook the tiniest mistakes when we hit “publish” on an article.
All good writers know that good writing is rewriting, and then editing, and then editing some more before you hit publish still feeling like it isn’t 110% ready yet. Grammarly helps keep an eye on your writing even when you overlook your mistakes
I use Grammarly because of its clean, sleek and smooth interface which follows your writing as you type. I’ve tried plenty of services (free and paid) out there before and Grammarly is one of my top tools for editing.
You’ve got enough on your plate already. Don’t let poor grammar or spelling errors ruin the great content you’re busting moves left and right to market to your readers!
Step 10. LAUNCH your blog (to the right audience).
I know the feeling - you're cleaning up the final polishing touches on your blog before it's big launch.
You're nervous. You're excited. You wonder what others will think.
From my experience, I will advise you to showcase your blog to people that will actually care.
At first, you'll believe everyone will care. It's your masterpiece after all.
The truth is, not everyone enjoys reading blogs. Not everyone enjoys reading in general.
That's why Youtube is killing it in the content marketing realm because video content sells. Ads sell.
Not everyone will care. And that's okay.
You want to establish your blog's tribe with members who are genuinely interested in your content. I’m talking about readers who will fundamentally learn something and be able to apply that knowledge from your articles.
Not only will that establish a responsive audience whose feedback will motivate you to work harder, you will also push out more content faster because you now have an anticipating audience.
Subsequently, having a consistent tribe of supporters will also provide you with the analytics data and reports you’ll need in order to narrow down and move forward with your blog’s topics of interests.
This is how you know exactly what type of content you must be producing to see success.
In this day and age, you want to be able to establish exactly who you are and what you can offer to your audience in a nutshell.
(More on this in my article, “I’ve Officially Launched My Blog! Now What?”)
Use your personal brand and life experience to find a niche you will authentically thrive in.
The best part about starting a blog? Even if you don’t really know ‘who you are’, or how you might get there —
Starting a blog will be a cathartic experience you may always have needed in order to see who you really are, objectively.
It's a way of coming to terms with who you are, what you know, and what you're genuinely interested in.
If nothing else, remember that…
Authenticity will always win.
It doesn’t matter how big your audience is right now — consistency and dedication will triumph, so long as you continue to work on improving your vision for the blog and staying in tune with the audience you are building for the long run.
Please share your experience below if you have tried out these 10 steps to create your own blog.
Thanks so much for tuning in!
I will see you over in the next article.
If you have any questions about this article or need a quick pointer in getting started on creating your blog, feel free to leave a comment or reach out for help at anytime.