How to make money with a blog for beginners.
Have you always thought about blogging and how bloggers make money from a blog? As a continuation of our recent Do It Yourself post on how students can make money on campus, we bring to you a step by step guide on how to make money as a student blogger.
Introduction To Blogging.
What is a blog all about? A blog (which is an abbreviated version of weblog or web log) simply refers to a regularly updated website or web page typically run by an individual or small group and mostly written in an informal or conversational style. It is a website consisting of entries (also called posts) appearing in reverse chronological order (I.e. most recent posts appearing first and then going backwards to older posts).
Blogging is the act of writing a post for a blog while a person who writes content for a blog is referred to as a blogger.
Difference between Website & Blog.
Whats Is The Difference Between A Blog And A Website? These days, a website and a blog are almost the same as they are built almost the same way, however the fundamental difference between them is that a website usually has a static homepage while the homepage of a blog periodically changes with contents (posts) arranged in reverse-chronological (latest to oldest) order.
Websites are usually used by organizations and corporate bodies to showcase their portfolio (e.g. JAMB official website, Forums, Social media networks, Ecommerce sites etc.) while Blogs are usually used by news agencies and bloggers (e.g. CNN.com, Vanguardngr.com, Techcrunch.com, goal.com, unn-edu.info etc). A website can also have a blog attached to it (e.g. University of Nigeria official website; www.unn.edu.ng).
How do you make money from a blog?
You must have heard about linda Ikeji, a popular Nigerian blogger who makes millions from her blog. You may have also met other bloggers including students who make tens and hundreds of thousand from blogging. However, the truth is, you will need a large number of people visiting your blog before you could start making reasonable money from it.
As soon as you have many visitors (traffic) to your blog, you can make money through the following;
- Advertising – Direct / Third Party: Direct Advertising involves you reaching out or getting requests directly from companies/business owners to promote their products on your blog while Third Party Advertising involves you signing up with Advertising agencies who serve as middlemen between you and advertisers. These Advertising agencies already have many business owners signed up to their services as advertisers which makes it easier for you as a publisher to get advert placements and get paid. Popular third party advertising services you could sign up to include; Google Adsense, Media.net, Content.ad, Infolinks, BuySellAds etc. The most popular and best paying among them is Google Adsense. Getting into the google adsense program can be tough these days but following their guidelines religiously will definitely get you an approved account. You can research more on that.
- Affiliate Links: Affiliate links are links to a business website you place on your blog (mostly under a text) which you make a commission from every time a reader clicks through to the site and pays for what they offer there. Most business websites including Ecommerce sites like Amazon, Konga etc. offer Affiliate programs. Be sure to research more on each of these sub topics here as we will only be giving you a quick guide.
- Selling Exclusive Contents in the Form of Newsletter: You can sell a write up/guide on any topic you are very knowledgeable about and which you are sure your readers will be willing to pay for. Example, one of the biggest challenge new bloggers have is how to get visitors to their blog, so one can write on “How To Drive Massive High Paying Traffic To Your New Blog” and deliver it to the mail box of only those who paid for it.
Please, only sell contents you are certain will add value to your readers.
- Sponsored Posts: Sponsored posts or promoted posts are like the normal posts you create on your blog to educate your audience but are created with a major intention of promoting a particular product or business. Sponsored posts are usually written by or on behalf of the business being promoted but may be edited by the publishing blogger to maintain your set standards before publication.
- Guest Blogging: When your blog becomes very popular and an authority in a particular niche, you will get several requests from other bloggers for guest blogging for exposure and backlinks. You can charge them certain amount of money for guest blogging opportunity on your blog.
- Brand Ambassador: Blogging is fast becoming part of mainstream media that bloggers are now signing endorsement deals and being made brand ambassadors. Nigerian bloggers like Noble Igwe of 360nobs.com, Ladun Liadi of ladunliadinews.com, Uche Pedro of BellaNaija.com etc. had been made ambassadors of various brands. You too can become a brand ambassador when your blog becomes very influential.
- Sell digital products: Ebooks, Video tutorials etc.
- Your Blog with good reputation can actually help you land a high paying job with corporate bodies among others.
Where is the best place to start a blog?
There are many blogging platforms out there which includes Blogger, Tumblr, Medium, Typepad, Wix, WordPress.com, WordPress.org etc. Google’s Blogger (blogspot) platform is the best for newbie bloggers trying to learn the in and outs of blogging without fear of breaking anything, it is also cheap/free to use since you won’t be paying anything to host a blog on Google’s blogger platform. However, if you are looking and ready to build a standard, well structured and search engine optimized blog that will fetch you money real quick, then you should move to the overall best blogging platform, WordPress (Self hosted).
Note that there are two different wordpress types, the less popular wordpress.com which is almost the same as Google’s blogger.com platform and the popular platform at wordpress.org. WordPress.org is referred to as self hosted because you are required to only download the software from the website then modify to your taste and upload to a hosting account you must have purchased. The platform at wordpress.org has limitless possibilities because it is extendable and also has a large community of volunteers maintaining it.
From here henceforth, we will be referring to the self hosted wordpress as we discuss further on blog and blogging.
How do you create a blog?
First of all let us talk about what you need to succeed in blogging.
– First and foremost is Patience. Blogging success doesn’t happen instantly, it takes a little time. To make sure you have that patience, you need to blog on something you have passion for, something you find joy in doing even when you are not yet making money from it.
– Secondly, you need to have a Promotional Strategy. Like we said earlier, you need to have people visiting your blog before you could make money from it. So learn how to drive traffic to your site.
– Have a good SEO strategy from Day 1. You need to do a lot of research on search engine optimization because a well optimized site will surely bring in massive traffic from search engines. Note that search engine (google) traffic pays better than social media traffic. Therefore as soon as your blog starts ranking on google for various keyword searches, your earning will increase significantly.
– Plan your Contents from Day 1. What topics and subtopics you will be writing on, what categories and tags you will have etc.
– Carefully Choose a Niche. Choose a particular Niche and blog on it. Check the following link for ideas; https://www.quicksprout.com/2016/08/31/top-35-blogging-ideas-that-are-guaranteed-to-be-popular/. Entertainment is a very popular niche but an almost saturated one as almost everyone now has an entertainment blog where they just do copy and paste. It is now very difficult for newbies to make it in the entertainment niche. Also, don’t be a jack of all trade. Established blogs can successfully blog on various niche but not newbies. You won’t even be approved for google adsense program when you blog on just about everything.
– Don’t Be a Copy and Paste Blogger. This is simple. When people visit your new blog and always see what they ‘ve already seen on bigger established blogs, they will stop visiting your blog. Too many lifting of contents also hurts your site’s SEO and Google won’t approve you for the adsense program when you have unoriginal posts on your blog.
– Choose Your Domain Name Carefully. Consider SEO, Readability, Branding, Long term goals etc. while choosing your domain name. If you don’t have much ideas, you can use Domain Name Generator Tools like www.leandomainsearch.com for suggestions. Be sure to register a top level domain (e.g. a .com) and not a subdomain like .blogspot.com.
– Learn from other’s mistake. Keep tabs with blogs in the same niche as yours. Carefully analyse and find out what they do, especially the successful ones and research how you can improve on that.
Now, to learn how to set up a self hosted wordpress blog, WpBeginner is a good place to start. Check out their step by step video tutorials on http://videos.wpbeginner.com/.
The major things you need to set up the blog includes;
- Domain Name: This will be the name of your blog and can be purchased from Godaddy, Namecheap or any of the many other ICANN approved domain name registrars. Godaddy can be very cheap for the first year of registration when a coupon is used but expensive during renewal in subsequent years, especially when using Addons like Private Registration but Namecheap, just as the name says, is really cheaper in the long run.
- Web Hosting: This is where your website live on the internet. It is therefore very important you choose a good webhosting company to avoid your site going offline at anytime.
Newbies may use any of the cheap Nigerian webhosts especially when Naira to Dollar exchange rates is very unstable. However, if you are looking for a 100% reliable webhost where you will get support instantly when you need it, you should go for foreign hosts. Here are some of the hosts we have used that you may consider; Hostgator – At a point we had a regular problem of our site being shut off for using too much Server resources. Bluehost – Now owned by the same company that owns Hostgator, InMotion, Siteground – Also had Resource usage issue as the site grew, Flywheel – This is where this blog is presently hosted. It is a scalable managed wordpress hosting platform where sudden traffic spikes does not shut off your site. Unn Info had been hosted on the cheap Tiny package for over 3 years and had never gone offline due to traffic spikes which we periodically have, especially during admission period.
We have moved our site to WpxHosting, another fast top notch web host with all the great features that Flywheel offers. Our moving from Flywheel isn’t because of any problem. With the significant increase in our website’s traffic, we had to upgrade our hosting account on Flywheel which lead to more cost but luckily we discovered another web host that could handle that high traffic and still cheaper than Flywheel.
We have now moved this site to a cloud based web hosting platform that is even cheaper but still in the league of WpxHosting. For just $10/month, you can have a managed cloud server quickly set up for you on CLOUDWAYS Managed Cloud Hosting Platform. Cloudways will help you set up and manage an optimized dedicated servers from any of Digital Ocean, Linode, Google Cloud, Amazon’s AWS etc. The choice will be yours. The selling point of cloud hosting which has made it popular since it was introduced to the web hosting market is that it makes use of multiple servers to balance load so even if one server fails, there are several others that kicks in to make sure everything is running smoothly. To sign up for an account on Cloudways, simply click here.
Update 1: Because of the many questions we have received via e-mail especially on the subject of cheap/reliable web host, we researched further and discovered the best web hosting provider we can comfortably recommend for bloggers with limited budgets. At
£14.99/yr, about ₦8000 per year [Update: Tsohost has reviewed their price up to £21.48/yr, about ₦10500 per year], UK based Tsohost is the cheapest reliable webhost you can find. Apart from their fast and responsive support (also available via instant chat on their website), their hosting plans has features that are just too wonderful for the price they offer it. For instance, the support for auto install and renew of free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. This is very important especially now that Google is trying to force every webmaster to serve their websites via HTTPS. Even if you have your blogs hosted elsewhere already, they offer free website migration services. You can also host more than one website on the same account. I have already had my personal and clients’ websites all moved to Tsohost for free. Also, now that the Central Bank of Nigeria has lifted the restriction on international transactions with Naira cards, you shouldn’t be worried about payment methods as most Nigerian banks’ ATM cards can be used for online international payments. Golden Tip: If you are reading this post at this moment and looking to get a new hosting account, you are in luck! You will get further 10% discount on the price stated above when you enter the following discount code during payment (tso10off007).
When your blog starts getting lots of traffic, fetching you much money and you could afford $15/month, you should then move to managed wordpress host like Flywheel with all the Tsohost features and much more for larger websites.
Update 2: We discovered an even cheaper webhost for beginners, Pair Networks, at $6/month. This webhost has better allowance than Tsohost for multiple blog hosting but support is not as responsive as Tsohost. Plus the interface can be a little tricky and old school. This wouldn’t be a problem for experienced webmasters and it’s definitely value for money, having all the features that Tsohost has. To sign up there, visit www.pair.com and use any of the following discount codes to get 20% discount during payment – pairref-rCx6S7Bi or pairref-rCx6S7Bi
To find out more about any of the services mentioned above, click on the links below;
So, there you have it. We hope to organize a seminar in Nsukka and Enugu soon where these things will be taught in details. Let us know if you will be interested in such seminars. Watch out for more interesting posts here on www.unn-edu.info.
Please, let us know your thoughts on this article by dropping your comments below and don’t forget to share with your friends.
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