There are a lot of moving pieces and parts you need to put in place if you want to start, grow and profit from a thriving and popular blog. Fortunately, putting these pieces into place isn’t hard… when you use this checklist! Here’s an overview of what you need to do start and grow a profitable blog…
Step 1: Pick a Topic
For this step, I’ll assume you already have an overall niche, and that you’ve done your market research to confirm that it’s a popular and profitable niche.
Now you need to do your market research to find out what your market wants. This includes finding out what types of content they’re buying (which is a sign of demand), as well as what types of content they’re consuming and searching for.
Here’s how to do it:
- Find out what they’re buying by searching marketplaces such as JVZoo.com, ClickBank.com and Amazon.com for your keywords. Take note of the bestsellers in your niche, and those products where there are multiple information products on the same topic.
- Use keyword tools to find out what topics your market is searching for in the search engines. You can use a tool like MarketSamurai.com or KeywordTracker.com.
- Utilize Google Trends to see what’s popular. Find out what topics show consistent interest over time or are actually growing in popularity.
- Check out what your competitors’ are writing about. Check their blogs, newsletters and social media pages. If multiple competitors are writing about a specific topic, that’s a sign that it’s in demand.
- Look for topics with a lot of interest on social media. This includes plenty of comments, likes and shares.
Step 2: Plan Your Monetization Strategy
Here’s the question to ask yourself: what do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
Do you want to:
- Promote your own products or services?
- Sell affiliate products or services?
- Sell advertising?
- Promote CPA offers?
- Build a list of leads?
- Build relationships with people?
- Build your brand or establish expertise in the niche?
- Get people to call you?
What you need to do is think carefully about your goals, and how you wish to monetize your blog. That’s because the way you lay out your blog and all the content you create will center around your monetization strategy.
For example, your overall goal may be to sell your own products or services. To do that, you can use your blog to generate leads and build your list. Then you can build relationships through good content, while promoting your offers. This overall goal is going to dictate the type of content you create, from information content to build relationships through promotional content to generate more sales.
Step 3: Prepare Your Site
The next step is to walk through the technical aspects of setting up your blog. This includes:
- Picking a relevant, memorable domain name.
- Purchasing the name through a reputable registrar.
- Securing web hosting through a different company.
- Changing your domain name servers to the information provided by your webhost.
- Installing a blogging platform such as WordPress.org.
- Changing your WordPress theme to better suit your business.
- Customizing your blog by including your blog name, logo, colors of your choice, how you’d like your site to appear to visitors.
- Adding plugins as needed (such as a contact form) to improve functionality.
- Choosing and setting up an autoresponder so you can collect leads.
- Creating your lead page and installing the opt-in form.
- Checking all pages, links and scripts to be sure everything is in good working order.
Step 4: Produce Content
Now you need to start creating content for your blog. Again, keep your monetization strategy and blogging goals in mind as you produce this content. Here are dos and don’ts for creating your blog content:
- Don’t get in a rut. Instead, produce a variety of content including articles, infographics, videos, audios, memes and more.
- Don’t guess at what your audience wants. Instead, find out for sure what they want by doing two things: 1) Do your market research upfront to find out what topics are popular and 2) Track your content to see what your audience responds to best.
- Do use attention-getting titles. These benefit-driven and/or curiosity-arousing titles will get you more click-throughs and reads.
- Do insert promos in your content. These can be soft sells, such as a link to a recommended product. Or you can do hard sells, such as a direct promotion (hard sell) for a product. Just be sure you do hard sells sparingly, so that your blog doesn’t look like one big advertisement.
- Do create engaging content. Write your content as if you were writing to a friend by telling stories, injecting humor sparingly, and using a conversational tone.
- Do format for easy readability. Use short sentences and short paragraphs to make your content easy to consume. Make good use of formatting features such as bulleted lists to break up long chunks of content.
Step 5: Promote Your Blog
Once you’re all set up, you can start promoting your blog.
- Guest blogging.
- Purchasing paid advertising.
- Engaging on social media.
- Producing viral content.
- Swapping ads and contents with marketing partners.
- Using email marketing to bring people back to your blog.
- Holding free webinars to attract targeted traffic.
- Optimizing your content for the search engines.
- Distributing useful videos on YouTube to attract traffic.
- Going offline to find traffic, such as by distributing press releases or sending flyers in product shipments.
Just be sure to test and track your ad campaigns to be sure you’re getting the maximum response and return on your investment of time and money.
If you’re just getting started setting up your blog, then the above checklist will come in really handy in making sure you set things up in the right away for maximum profits.
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