I’m willing to bet that most bloggers and online entrepreneurs started their journey with a simple search in Google: ‘How to make money online’.
And although this search query brings up almost 5 billion results today, the truth is that there is a lot of contradictory advice out there, and this can lead to confusion, frustration, and overwhelm for those who are just getting started as online marketers.
But don’t worry, this post is different!
How is it different?
Well, it’s written by someone who was once in that very same position, but now I’m running a successful blog online. This means that I have a firm understanding of the journey from where most aspiring marketers are right now to where they want to be, with regards to building a successful online business.
So without further ado, here is my step-by-step plan beginners can use to get started building and growing a successful business online.
Step #1: Find a Profitable Niche
There are a lot of niches that you can choose from.
But a lot of people think that they need passion, expertise, and hard work to guarantee their success in whatever niche they choose. However, the brutal truth is that none of these things guarantee that you will be successful in your chosen niche.
For instance, you could be the world’s foremost authority on the subject of weaving baskets underwater, and you could wake up every single day with a strong passion to educate readers on the benefits of underwater basket weaving, and you could work till you drop following all the right strategies, tactics, and processes for building and growing a popular blog.
You’re not likely to make any money, and here’s why:
No one CARES about weaving baskets underwater!
And even if some people did care, they probably wouldn’t spend any MONEY on that.
Basically, this means that you have to find a niche that has a large audience of people willing to buy products and services within that niche.
If you can’t do that, nothing else you do will bring success. This is the most important prerequisite for whatever else you’re going to do.
In the case of PlanetBizOp, early on I noticed that bloggers purchase a lot of different products including:
- WordPress Hosting
- Landing Page Software
- Online Business Training
- Email Service Providers
- WordPress Themes
- And so on
In fact, there are many businesses with millions of dollars per year in revenue in just those categories, and it’s a rapidly growing space as the number of bloggers continues to increase.
The only problem? There is a LOT of competition.
I find that the ‘make money online’ niche is overrun with marketers intent on snagging their piece of the pie – many of whom have several years’ head start on even me!
So what’s the answer?
How do you compete if you are in the same situation that I’m in?
Here’s the answer:
Step #2: Enhance Your Content Skills
This is the only real way you will be able to compete with all those well-established websites in your niche. By leveling up your content skills, you’ll be able to position yourself as the go-to source for valuable information in your industry.
You have to know what type of content readers love in your chosen niche, then all you’d have to do is write exclusively about those particular topics. You’d also have to master frameworks that are proven to boost your content and make it more popular, such as how-to posts, list posts, and so on.
One thing you should aim for is to always ensure that whatever post you publish on your blog delivers a lot more value to your readers than any other piece of content currently published on that specific topic.
The truth is that only the best content can be king!
Look at it this way:
What do most bloggers do?
They sit down, think up some ideas of what to write, and jot down some of their thoughts. They do their best to not only be original and helpful but smart and entertaining too. For the most disciplined bloggers, they manage to stick with it for some months.
But this almost never works, and sooner or later, they become discouraged.
This approach fails because oftentimes what you as a blogger wants to say is NOT what readers want to hear. Also, you were not using content formats and frameworks that are proven to work.
The final reason is that the content likely won’t be the absolute best post available on the topic.
So if you are one of those bloggers who’ve been told up to now that all you have to do to succeed is to create and publish interesting stuff, it’s time to discover the real truth.
Great ideas, even when coupled with powerful words, just aren’t enough.
For your content to truly be successful, it has to be the best ever published on such topics that a lot of people are interested in discovering more about.
Which brings me to the three stages of content creation:
Find out what content is most popular in your niche and write about those topics exclusively.
Use proven frameworks like list posts and how-to posts to make your content even more popular.
Take a look at the top articles on that subject, and make sure yours is better than all of them!
Oh wait, I’ve already told you this.
But you know what, repetition is the mother of all learning. And this is so important it’s worth repeating (so don’t be surprised if you hear it again before the end of this article).
If you’re thinking that this sounds like a lot of work – you’re absolutely right, it is.
But the fact is, blogging isn’t any different from other disciplines. The more awesome and amazing you are at it, the easier it’s going to be for you to make loads of money.
If you want to be just like everyone else, you’re going to make the same amount of money they do, and the sad truth is that almost 90% of bloggers don’t make a full-time income from what they do (if they make any money at all).
But here’s the good news.
Yes, badass writing is essential to making money from your blog, but if you absolutely cannot do it yourself, then you can outsource that to a really good writer who will be able to capture your voice and personality and create great blog posts for you.
Step #3: Choose Your Traffic Sources
Getting traffic can be a bit confusing when you are a beginner, but it doesn’t have to be. There are so many sources of traffic to choose from, but you can actually be successful using just one.
Of course, I don’t recommend that you only use a single traffic source, you might find yourself in trouble if something happens and you are unable to tap into that source.
However, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the first source before introducing a second particularly if you have no prior experience in generating traffic for your blog.
Avoid paralyzing yourself with the sheer number of options available to you:
- Should I be focusing on optimizing my keywords?
- Should I grow my Facebook page?
- Should I leave comments on other blogs?
- Or maybe I should answer questions on Quora?
- What about creating videos for YouTube?
- I think I’ll start a podcast…
Don’t do that yourself!
There are countless traffic sources to choose from, but you want to choose the ones that will give you the best results with the least effort.
It’s important to note that according to statistics, almost 90% of the traffic which comes to written content is from either Facebook or Google. These are the two Goliaths that I would recommend you focus on.
But how do you get Google and Facebook to send you loads of traffic?
One option is to pay for it. (Both of them certainly like that.)
But, I’m guessing you are not willing (yet) to pay for traffic at this stage. You want it for free, am I right?
Well, you can get traffic for free. And in fact, that’s your second option.
You can learn about, and implement search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and create content that goes viral on Facebook.
Just keep in mind that both these approaches can take years of serious study to muster, but with the rights plan and consistent effort, you will be able to begin getting decent traffic numbers to your blog within just a few months.
So which option should you focus on?
Well, there are two things you should consider before making your choice. First of all, is your topic one that a lot of people (including your friends and family) talk about regularly on Facebook?
Topics like that include pets, parenting, health, self-improvement, saving money, and so on.
If you’re in that type of niche, then you can focus on the traffic source of getting your posts to go viral on Facebook.
However, if your topic is one where people actively search for information on Google, such as how-to information, products reviews, and specific questions that they might ask an expert, then you should focus on SEO.
For the majority of topics, you’re able to do both. But one will almost always be more dominant than the other and in such a case, you should focus more on whichever is dominant.
A good example is my niche.
I often find that things about writing, grammar, etc. often go viral on Facebook (I think it has something to do with the fact that most of us love criticizing friends and relatives about their awful English…).
However, hardly anyone talks to their friends and family about blogging topics such as WordPress plug-ins, blogging platforms, affiliate marketing, etc – although you will search for those topics on Google.
So as you can see, my niche is heavily dominated by Google search which is why I’m a lot more focused on SEO than most other traffic-generation methods.
Step #4: Use Pop-Ups to Grow Your Email List
Yes, yes, I know – they’re a little annoying!
However, they also extremely effective. But I’m not talking about having multiple pop-ups on the same page getting in the way of people trying to read. This will just make them feel hassled, and that sucks.
Just keep in mind that growing your list is a priority if you want to be successful as a blogger, and so you must find that sweet spot between getting effective results and not annoying your readers.
Remember, when visitors come to your site, the odds of them returning after they leave are almost nil. That’s why it’s super important to do your best to get their contact details before you lose them.
And considering the fact that you’ve created ‘the absolute best content online’ on that topic, it would be a sin not to try your best to get them to stay in contact. In this case, I think a little annoyance would be a very small price to pay, don’t you think?
Step #5: Start Monetizing Your Blog
There are so many different ways of monetizing your blog.
But when you’re just starting out, you don’t have your own products, and they are certain things that you need to learn before knowing the exact types of products that work with your particular audience.
Because of this, your best bet would be to use affiliate offers (unless you plan on offering services, in which case you can go ahead and do that because that will bring you the most income).
Here are some ways of monetizing your website:
- Selling freelance services
- Online courses or workshops
- Affiliate marketing
- Books and e-books
- Consulting, coaching, speaking
These are just a few examples of the ways you can make money with your blog, and there are lots more to choose from.
However, as with the traffic sources, you don’t have to jump into everything all at once. Just pick one thing, do that, and do it well. Then you can move on to the next thing.
By this point, you are operating in a very profitable niche, you have an email list, and a steady flow of traffic and the means to monetize your blog – what more could you want?
Use the tips outlined here to get started right away and begin making real money from your blog.
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Updated: Originally published June 26th 2019