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 a weblog) 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 back 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.
What 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’s 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, that 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 E-commerce 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. For example, one of the biggest challenge new bloggers have is how to get visitors to their blog, so one can write “How To Drive Massive High Paying Traffic To Your New Blog” and deliver it to the mailbox 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 authoritative in a particular niche, you will get several requests from other bloggers for guest blogging for exposure and backlinks. You can charge them a certain amount of money for guest blogging opportunities on your blog.
- Brand Ambassador: Blogging is fast becoming part of mainstream media 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 a 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 include 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 it to your taste and upload it 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.
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 earnings 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 trades. Established blogs can successfully blog on various niches but not newbies. You won’t even be approved for the 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 much lifting of content 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 many 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 others’ mistakes. Keep tabs with blogs in the same niche as yours. Carefully analyze 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 include;
- 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 lives on the internet. It is therefore very important you choose a good web hosting company to avoid your site going offline at any time.
Newbies may use any of the cheap Nigerian web hosts especially when Naira to Dollar exchange rates are very unstable. However, if you are looking for a 100% reliable web host 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 many server resources. Bluehost – now owned by the same company that owns Hostgator, InMotion, and Siteground – Also had Resource usage issues as the site grew, Flywheel – This is the first completely reliable web host that powered this blog. It is a scalable managed WordPress hosting platform where sudden traffic spikes do 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 the admission period.
We have moved our site to WpxHosting, another fast top-notch web host with all the great features that Flywheel offers. Our move 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 was still cheaper than Flywheel.
[28/4/2020]: 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 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 the load so even if one server fails, there are several others that kick in to make sure everything is running smoothly. To sign up for an account on Cloudways, simply click here.
Note: As a beginner blogger, you may choose to use one of the many Nigerian-based Web Hosting resellers that offer cheap hosting plans of N5,000 – N10,000 per annum. When your blog starts getting much traffic, fetching you some money and you could afford $10/month, you should then move to managed WordPress host like Cloudways, WpxHosting, and Flywheel.
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 detail. 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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