How To Start A New Blog That Generates Income In Under 3 Months
This is possible whether you're dedicating yourself to the blog full-time, or if you only have a couple of hours a day and some weekends to work on it. All you have to do when starting from scratch is to follow the step by step outline that follows, and you will have a successful blog that produces real revenue within just three months.
The hardest part about starting an online business is getting it off the ground.
When you're just beginning, you have no traffic, no following, no name recognition – all of which makes it really hard to get everything moving. And that's why a lot of people give up during this stage. But, if you persevere through it, and build a strong foundation for your business, it all becomes a lot smoother after that.
Once you have built things up and you start to see some forward motion, the momentum in your online business makes it a whole lot easier to keep things going and to grow.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the steps that you can take to conceptualize, create, launch, and develop an internet business that will bring you location, time, and money independence within just 16 weeks.
Step #1: Stop Gathering Information
From searching for 'ways to make money online' to 'how to start a blog' or whatever else your typing into Google – stop it.
This will only cause you to get distracted and you'll likely end up suffering from analysis paralysis and being unable to make decisions to move your business forward.
Besides, in this line of business, your first thought shouldn't be about how you can make money. Online business is all about building relationships, which means that your first thought should be focused on how you can provide your audience with value.
As long as you do that, the money side takes care of itself.
So don't focus exclusively on money, and don't get distracted by the many (many...) shiny objects out there when it comes to starting your online business. All you need is to follow this plan you're reading now and adopt a mindset of making yourself extremely valuable to your audience.
After all, money doesn't come as a result of some magic combination of marketing tricks that you do, it comes as a result of you making yourself indispensable to a group of people who need the solution you provide.
Which brings us to the second step:
Step #2: What Solution Do You Offer?
Think about the exact solution or outcome that you want to deliver. You could call it a transformation from your customer's 'before state' while they still have their problem, to their 'after state' when you've solved the problem for them.
This is vital and you should spend the necessary time on this step to ensure that you start your business on the right foot.
Remember, it's not just a blog you're building, it's a business. If you just start a blog that talks about 'stuff', you're not going to get anywhere.
A business provides solutions to problems that people have, and it's solutions that those people are willing to pay for. It's as simple as that.
So, prior to doing anything else, you must be very clear about the exact result or transformation that you will be creating for people.
I know many 'gurus' profess that it's all about passion, but without a solid plan, there's no way you're going to be able to create a business that produces revenue in just three months.
Instead, you'll just find yourself passionately going around in circles.
It's alright to take into account the strengths that you possess, and what you're good at, but you should also look for crossover with certain areas of demand for solutions to problems and then hone it down from there. Keep in mind that it's ALL about solution delivery.
This serves as an orientation point for everything else in your business, including your blog.
Step #3: Essential Tools For Getting Started
There are a lot of online tools that can help you start and grow a business, but since we're on a three-month time-frame, we're not going to spend time on a lot of fancy tools. All we need to do right now is to create a home base for our business by setting up the site.
Siteground offers an affordable basic hosting account. This web hosting service is considered one of the best in the industry with stellar support, which is great if you're just starting out as you will likely need some help along the way.
Thrive Themes offers a membership where you get full use of their complete suite of tools. They have conversion-focused themes, landing page creators, and opt-in form builders – basically everything you need to create a professional looking, high converting website, all for one affordable price.
When it comes to email hosting, you have a lot of great options. Check out this post which compares the 7 Top Email Marketing Services to make your choice. Any one of them will do very well. If you're having a hard time choosing, go with GetResponse. It's great for beginners.
Important Side Note:
I know that a lot of people are under the impression that you can make money online without ever investing a single dime into the business.
This is absolutely not true.
Well, maybe you could make (some) money
eventually (years down the road), but as we want an income from our blog in 90 days, I'd say it's well worth investing a little bit into it, wouldn't you?
If you don't invest in the right tools from the onset, then you'll probably spend the next three months reinventing the wheel and trying to learn how to do technical stuff that you've got no business doing...
Step #4: Craft A Few Pillar Posts Around Your Solution
Now that you know exactly what transformation you will be in the business of delivering, it's time to create a few posts around it.
These aren't just simple posts that you're going to slap together in five minutes. They have to be useful, well-written and packed full of value. Just as pillars hold a building up, these pillar posts are going to create the foundation for your blog content.
You don't need to create a lot of content in this three month period, just a few really great posts.
Keep your eye on the target – remember, you're not building a blog, you're building a business. You need to focus on the offer that you'll be making, but of course, your blog can't be empty at the same time.
So here is what you should do:
Outline all of the typical roadblocks and obstacles that people have to overcome when trying to achieve their transformation.
Now craft some content that is awesome, epic, outstanding, amazing, [Insert Own Superlative Here...]
Just 3 to 5 posts will do.
There's much more you need to focus on besides writing blog posts. These posts are ones that you will turn into major resources over time by circling back and updating them. Make sure that your posts are solid, full of useful information that isn't easy to find, and that they have great titles.
If you're not up to the challenge of writing the posts yourself, then you can easily outsource this part of the process to a skilled writer. After the posts are done, publish them to your blog, and you can move on to the exciting part: Building the funnel that's going to make you money.
Step #5: Build Your Email List
In this step, you're going to create a lead magnet to help you generate subscribers for your email list.
Your list is the most valuable asset that you can build for your business. It gives your business leverage to grow and allows you to direct attention at will.
Without list building as one of your main goals, those posts that you just published are basically useless.
To get started on your list building, you need to create lead magnets, one for each of your pillar posts. The lead magnets should be tightly related to the corresponding posts, and they should be positioned as the logical 'next step' that your audience should take after reading the post.
In fact, the simpler your lead magnets can be, the better they are likely to convert. People want quick solutions, and they want content that is easy to consume. There are some specific criteria to create a lead magnet with high-conversion, which I discuss in How To Plan, Create, and Deliver Effective Lead Magnets On Your Blog.
The best lead magnets are short and sweet, for example, templates, worksheets, checklists, and any other types of shortcuts that you can provide your readers with.
Inside each of your pillar posts, add opt-in forms for the relevant lead magnet that you created. You also need to create separate landing pages for each lead magnet. If you got the Thrive Membership, then you have access to everything you need to accomplish all this.
Here are the steps to follow:
Create separate lists inside your email service for each of your lead magnets.
For each one, create a basic email welcoming subscribers to your site. Tell them a bit about yourself and deliver the promised lead magnet.
Create an opt-in form (using Thrive Leads), specifically a 'Lead Short-code' that will allow you to place the opt-in form directly inside your blog post.
Hook the form up to the right mailing list, which is very easy to do when using Thrive Leads.
Step #6: Your Main Offer
Without something to sell, you don't have a business.
A lot of blog owners think having a blog is the same thing as having a business, but they are definitely NOT the same thing. And since we're on a tight schedule, we won't spend too much time crafting an offer at this time.
Three months isn't enough time to start creating some big online course or video tutorials. What you need to do is create an offer from thin air.
Two ways in which you can do that are:
By selling a service
By creating a pre-sale for a product that hasn't been created yet
You can either sell your time (offer consulting or a 'done for you' service) or you can get people to buy your product before you've even created it.
By using any of these methods, you will officially be in business even without the long process of creating an entire product first.
If you are starting from scratch, then it's probably best to sell services.
Use the landing page builder to create a simple page that describes your service and what you do. Focus it on your audience, and explain how you would solve their problems or remove their pain.
Don't make it all about you or your skills.
If your service is specific enough to price it at a flat rate, then you can include a simple Paypal button for your customers to pay for it. Don't worry about getting any of the fancy shopping carts or membership software just yet.
All that can come later.
If your service is more involved, you can use a form from Gravity Forms on the landing page and a call to action for visitors to ask for a strategy session or something similar.
As you can see, just by following these simple steps, you're already halfway to a successful and profitable business.
In the last step, we talked about the two ways of going into business without having to first create a product, namely either selling services or pre-selling a product that doesn't exist yet.
We discussed how you can get started selling a service, and now we are going to take a quick look at how you can get started with a pre-sale.
With regards to a pre-sale, the whole idea is to sell a particular product before you even start creating it.
Design a landing page which talks about the benefits of the intended product and a rough action plan. Never mislead your audience, but be upfront about the fact that they are securing spots on a program that has not been created yet.
An effective way of doing this is via 'live classes' that are delivered online.
It's easy to create the course in front of your audience via a webinar or something similar. The great thing about this method is that even if the course doesn't sell, you lose nothing.
You can adjust your offer, tweak and test different things and only create the product after you've found a winner.
This means that you will be creating a product to match the offer that converts well, as opposed to trying to convince your audience that they want a product that you have already created.
Step #7: Use Native Ads On Social Media
In the beginning, you cannot rely solely on your blog to attract people - especially not if you want to start making money in the shortest amount of time possible.
Your blog will eventually start to bring in visitors, but at the onset, it's going to be slow going.
The way around that problem is by using paid advertising. This gives you leverage when it comes to flowing traffic to your site, rather than just sitting and waiting for the great Google to show you some favor.
To be honest, these are way more options than you will need, and you'll probably be able to make it work with just Facebook.
Just be very careful when starting out as Facebook ads can prove to be a massive expense if they are not done the right way. Start with a small budget of about $5 to $10 a day, and use the tips below to help you run successful social ad campaigns.
The least expensive way to reach your audience is to:
Build likes on your Facebook page
In the beginning, you will probably find more success with such campaigns as opposed to sending people who don't know anything about you directly to a squeeze page.
Remember, trust is a big factor in whether or not someone does business with you, but at this point, your prospects neither know nor trust you yet.
Follow These Steps To Give Yourself The Best Chance Of Success With Your Social Ads:
Capture everyone who comes to your website by setting up a custom audience.
For each of your pillar posts, set up unique custom audiences to capture everyone who visits them.
Create a campaign for $5 or $10 per day to drive traffic to one of your pillar posts.
Invest about two-thirds of that into reaching brand new prospects.
This means that you have to put your posts in front of your new business's ideal customers. Remember that research you did at the beginning of this guide? All that information that you collected will come in handy to help you find your ideal audience where they hang out online.
The remainder of the ad budget you can put into retargeting ads, which will only be shown to those people who previously visited a particular post on your site but didn't opt in.
That ad can go directly to the lead magnet landing page that you created for that post. You have a better chance of getting people to opt-in the second time around because at least now they know who you are and what you're about.
Following the steps outlined above will increase your conversions significantly.
This is extremely important to do. After all, if you don't have an audience, you can't sit back and wait for them to find you. You must go out and find them, and paid native ads put you in the driver seat and let you reach the groups of people who are ideal customers for your business.
Step #8: Time For A Bit Of Guerilla Marketing
This type of marketing is an advertising strategy which focuses on unconventional and low-cost marketing tactics to yield the maximum exposure for products – and it's exactly what you need to do in the beginning so that you can learn as much as you can about your market, their wants and needs, and maybe even make some sales.
By now, you are at a phase of your 90-day plan where all the basics are in place.
You have published your pillar posts, created your lead magnets, crafted your offer, your email list is all hooked up, and you even have some traffic flowing in from your paid ads.
But, to take it one step further, you need to think a bit outside the box. Get out there, get your elbows dirty. Get more personal with people, have 1-on-1 conversations, and so on.
Some of the things that you might consider doing include:
Whenever someone opts-into your list, take the time to reach out to them to see if they would be willing to talk to you via Skype. The aim of the conversation would be to find out more about what they want or need, as well as what they are hoping to achieve.
As for those people who saw your offer page but did not act on it, ask each of them to give you feedback as to why that is so.
Find podcasts and shows in your niche. Reach out to the hosts and ask to be a guest on the show. This is easy to accomplish as these people are always looking for new material.
These are just a few examples, but the point here is to make the most of the people who find their way to your website.
Don't treat them like anonymous email contacts, or as pixels on your web traffic graphs but take the time to establish real human connections.
If you're going to have a successful online business in just three months, then you're going to have to be the most personable person on the Internet.
Remember, we're in the people business, and our focus is on building relationships with our prospects and customers. It's never just about making a sale – especially not in the beginning.
You first need to find out as much as you can about what your customers want and need so that you can deliver it to them.
This is a vital component of the Product-Market Fit discovery phase, and the data that you collect at this stage could result in you altering your lead magnets or even changing the actual nature of your original offer.
Step #9: Deliver The Promised Solution
Now it's time to give your customers what they want.
In this stage, you will be using paid traffic to test out a variety of elements. Now you can start to see your conversion rates, and you will also be learning a lot from the people that you're talking to.
You must assimilate all this information and turn it into actionable intel to help you make better business decisions and improve your offer to match what your prospects and customers are asking for.
At that point, all that's left is to simply deliver the product that they want.
Do your best to make it awesome and blow their minds with the amount of value that you pack into it. Make it your mission to help your customers achieve their desired result.
Sales are great, email subscribers are awesome, too. But none of it will last unless you are adding real value in the lives of your customers and prospects.
If you deliver effectively in this regard, then your business will grow in leaps and bounds. Your sales will increase and you will get more traffic leverage, which means that your organic traffic will explode and you will be less dependent on paid traffic – and your blog will continue to grow.
Which brings us to the next step:
Step #10: Focus On Expansion And Growth
You have just launched your online business, but there is one more thing to do.
This part of the process involves ensuring that your business will experience steady and continual growth. You need to find new ways of improving your delivery so that you can deliver better, deliver more, and at scale.
If you kicked off with a service offer, now is the time to find effective ways of systematizing things.
You could record everything you do and then create training for it.
In that simple process lies your opportunity to eventually create and launch a product that will help you either raise your prices or be able to phase yourself out of the service offers altogether.
No matter how well you do, in this business, it's important to never rest on your laurels or to act like you have 'arrived'. That is the quickest way to fail online because the minute you stop creating actively is the moment that your business begins to die.
So what's the solution? To simply Create, Create, and Create some more.
As entrepreneurs, most of our time needs to be spent in the creative mode. You need to be constantly creating what your customers want and need. Don't concentrate too much on the next task, or on the never-ending parade of things that you have to check off your list.
What you need to do now is to start looking beyond the 90-day deadline, and begin thinking about how you are going to expand your business (hopefully with the same enthusiasm that brought you to the three-month mark).
Now that you have come to the end of this mega post, the only thing left to say is good luck on your next 90 days.
The path ahead may seem a little complicated and daunting, but (as with everything else in your life that is worthwhile) all it takes is the right attitude and a little determination, and you will be rewarded with a successful and profitable online business in just a few short weeks.
After all, the step by step path outlined in this guide is one that countless other successful online marketers have traveled before. And if they could do it, you can too!
Get started right now and build your blog so that you can begin earning a real income online.
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Updated: Originally published October 14th 2018