Anyone can blog; for me, it is the most natural thing, but initially, you might wonder what you will write about. So it would help if you started with a plan, follow my guidelines, and in no time at all, you will be writing like a pro-blogger and earning an income from it should you wish to. It is the perfect side hustle for those with mental health issues who need to express themselves and wish to earn a little bit of money.
How I Started
I have bipolar disorder, and sometimes I have hypomania episodes; it is a very creative time for me, and I have a constant flow of words and ideas. It sounds blissful for a writer, but the downside is I do not sleep, hardly eat and could become delusional. So I have to keep a close eye on it, or rather someone else does. But it was in one of these moments I began blogging.
I set up numerous blogs, far too many to handle when I was back to normal, and I spent a fortune buying domain names (a side effect of my bipolar). Now, I have just this blog, and I have monetised it with Google for a bit of pocket money; well, it helps my hosting. And this is how I started; I’ll guide you through what you need to do to get your own, from a free one to paid hosted blog.
It all depends on your budget and what you intend to happen with your blog.
A Free Blog – Good for the Hobby Blogger
There are plenty of websites out there offering a free website or blog. I prefer WordPress, and it is really adaptable, but I used the paid version. But the free still offers free themes and plugins so you can personalise it. It only requires a little bit of knowledge about websites to use, and no coding is involved.
If you have no idea about using a blog, then I suggest using the option from Wix; they use a system called drag and drop or WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). It is effortless to use, and you can have your first blog post up and running in five minutes. Everything you need is there, and you have a good range of templates to choose from and quite a few free apps which you can add to your blog.
You do not get your own domain name; it will be something like a WordPress/blog site or Wix/blogsite. All your hard work writing will benefit the host rather than you. As the traffic your blog may generate will, in effect, be going to the free website builder. This is why I use a paid domain, as I’m a little selfish, and I want all the attention.
You normally find you will have adverts placed on your website. Either advertising the hosting company itself or other forms of adverts, which you don’t earn any money from. If you own your own site, you can earn your own bit of money as I do.
These two options are ideal if you intend to post once or twice per week.
If you write a lot, consider the paid version.
Paid Website for The Serious Blogger
As I’ve said before, I use WordPress, and I host it through a company that provides a specialised WordPress service. Most hosts offer this type of service as many websites and stores are built using the WordPress platform. You can also use the paid version of Wix, but they are far more expensive. I pay £65 for hosting for one year; if I had gone for Wix, it would be double that, but if you are not techy in any way, then Wix will be best for you.
I’m only mildly techy so can just about get away with WordPress.
Choose your host; most will offer a free domain if you pay for yearly service, and make sure they give you a free SSL certificate. This is the security certificate for your website.
If you don’t have one some plugins won’t work.
I’ll provide a list at the bottom of this post so you can choose the free or paid options you would like.
Once you have bought your hosting and chosen a domain name, the host will probably install your WordPress site for you. If you have chosen Wix, you can use it instantly. The thing with Wix is you get what you pay for, and it is a very smooth system to use and operate, but I’m a penny-pincher, and price always overrides my brain. Even when I’m hypomanic, I will still go for the cheapest.
You may have lots of writing you want to get written but wait, just follow my plan for a little longer.
Before You Begin Writing
You need to sort out the settings on your blog first. On Wix, it is easy to do, most of it is automatic, but you need to add your details for the SEO part. In Wix, you can access it via your dashboard. If you are using WordPress, you need to go into settings, add the details you want, and then head off to plugins and install an SEO plugin.
I use All in one SEO, but Yoast is also a popular one.
Word or Pen and Paper
Choose your organiser of choice because you now need to work out a month’s worth of posts. If you are more free reign, then you can think of themes for each week. And then go with the flow during that time.
However if you are quite random like me, then a bit of organisation is required.
To make money from a blog, you need regular posting and ideally once or twice a day. You need people to subscribe to your newsletter, and if you want to advertise with Google, you need content on your site before you apply.
On your notepad or Word write down 20 ideas for articles on your theme; make sure you have researched your keywords as the search engines look for this. For example, this blog post you are reading is about blogging; therefore, my keywords for the article are in the title, a blogger; it is also in the first paragraph and spread out throughout the entire article.
You can find keywords using Google; as I typed in the word blog, suggestions came up underneath, and I chose one of these as my title. You can do the same and then add a bit extra to your title to make it unique.
This is called keyword research.
There are other tools and you can find them at the end of this article in the resources.
Once you have a list of your blog post ideas and keywords, you can add the titles and a brief outline to your blog in the draft section. I do this to keep my brain from having to flit around too much between Word or Libre Office and my blog. I use my blog as a notepad.
A draft will not be published until you hit the publish button.
Once you have added your outlines, do all the research you need for your first post. Then start writing it. Save as a draft and move onto the next one.
Once you have five and you have made sure they are edited and added to the correct category, you can add your tags and pictures. Hit publish.
Now repeat for the next five and so on.
I write quickly, but this may take you a month or so to do, but once you have 20 posts, you can start to add advertisements to your website.
There are as many ways to advertise as blog posts on this website. You have to decide what will be easiest for you. For me, Google is the easiest and their system is called Adsense, others use Amazon, and others use all manner of sites and are known as affiliates. The latter is where you link to or display adverts for a third party. I have some in the resources.
As an affiliate, you get paid for sign-ups or an action performed on the third parties website. For Google, it is when someone clicks on the advert. For Amazon, it is when someone buys from them.
You can find various affiliates by joining an affiliate network; I recommend Share A Sale and CJ, also known as Commission Junction. See links below.
Affiliates will only accept you if your site looks good and is populated with posts. They are quite picky, which is why many go for Google and Amazon.
Once you have decided on your advertising method, you need to think seriously about how you will market your blog.
This is the bit where I pay for marketing, as I have neither the patience nor the inclination to get out and search for links. So I use [AF] Fiverr and hire link builders, but if you do not have a budget for this, then the first thing you need to do is find places where you can submit your link, and if your blog is your side hustle, then you may find most of your time will be taken up by link building more than writing.
If you hire someone off of Fiverr, you can get numerous backlinks for less than £20, high-quality links for less than £50, and if you set a budget of £20 a month, you can leave more room for your writing.
If you want to be a blogger than your time should be spent writing.
But don’t think you need to write everything yourself. As other people may want to guest blog for you in return for a link back to their website. Guest blog posts add extra content to yourself. But don’t accept spammy type ones who make very little sense and are filled with keywords and are badly edited. You want quality, not just content for content’s sake.
You can also do the same when you come across a blog you like. Ask the owner if they accept guest blog posts.
Using social media is a real hit and miss affair; at the moment, it is a bit of a miss for me as I do not have enough followers. I’m not a fan of social media, but I’m on it as I need to be. My experience tells me you need over 1200 followers even to get several of them looking at your blog. At the time of writing, I have 650, and I get one person looking every time I post a link.
This is not a good return on investment of my time. But I’m pretty sure, judging by those I follow, that once I get my numbers into the thousands, things should change. But it takes time; I could pay someone to get me followers, but there is no guarantee they would be quality, and they could be spam accounts. So this part of marketing I prefer to do myself.
You can hire an expert to manage your social media channels, but I haven’t got the budget for that as they cost upwards of £50 per month.
Making The Most of It
Once you have followed all of this plan, you are officially a blogger; well, I tell a lie you were after your very first post. The best blogs are ones where it is passionate about a subject. I’ve tried setting them up just to earn money, but I lost interest so quickly that I wasted more money than what I earned. So make sure you love what you are writing, as it will make all the difference.
I wish you all the luck in the world with your new venture.
Check out what you need below, please be aware some of the links are affiliate links.
- [AF]Webhosting UK – I use this one
- [AF] Rank Math SEO – I use this one
- Yoast SEO – I used to use it until I discovered Rank Math
- Google Adsense – I use, see the top of page
- Amazon Affiliate – I don’t use
- [AF] Share A Sale – I use for affiliates
- CJ – I use for affiliates
- [AF] Fiverr – I use to hire link builders
- [AF] Semrush – I use for keyword research