How To Start A Profitable Blog From Scratch- A Beginner’s Guide

Kimberly Ann Jimenez,
Marketing Strategist & Founder

So you want to start a profitable blog?

Awesome move.

Whether you’re wanting to launch a lifestyle brand to generate side income, share your mom’s cooking recipes with the world or you’re looking to capture more leads and sales for your business, you’re in the right place.

I started my blog back in 2012 and though at first, I had no idea what I was doing, my blog opened up a myriad of opportunities I wouldn’t have enjoyed otherwise. Just to name a few, blogging actually landed me an amazing job as the head of the online marketing department for a large firm before I even graduated college, later, it helped me quit that job to launch my dream business because it helped me attract steady revenue clients and sales. 

Now I get to teach others how to grow their own brands online. It’s my dream business and I get to wake up every single day feeling fulfilled, excited and head-over-heels in love with the work we do as a company. I can’t wait to show you exactly how to get your own blog off the ground too. There’s so much information out there about starting a blog that can leave you feeling overwhelmed, confused or frustrated so I’m really excited to help you cut through the noise, gain clarity and learn everything you need to know to start your own blogging journey in this guide. I promise we’ll make the process simple, relatively easy and more importantly, fun! Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

  1. Why Blogging Is Your Secret Weapon
  2. What Should You Write About?
  3. What Makes A Blog Profitable?
  4. Selecting Your Domain
  5. Finding The Right Hosting Company
  6. How To Select Your Blogging Platform
  7. Branding & Designing Your New Blog

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RESOURCES MENTIONED

Clarity is everything when it comes to building a brand or a business.

So getting clear on why you’re even starting this blog, to begin with, is critical.

Because this guide will focus on starting a profitable blog (not just any website), it’s super important that you understand exactly how blogging will impact your brand or business even if you’re not exactly sure where you want to take it.

When you blog strategically you get to position your brand as an authority and unlock the power of discoverability. 

What do I mean by discoverability?

Getting found on the internet. 

Building an audience of readers and getting found by your future clients is incredibly important even if you’re not exactly sure what you want to do with your blog long term.

You see, when you consistently create content via your blog you are giving potential clients an excuse to come back to your website, engage with your brand and become a part of your community.

Not to mention that search engines will rank your blogs (if you follow modern SEO rules) which potentially exposes you to millions of readers that have the opportunity to discover you, subscribe to your brand and become an active part of your audience.

This is exactly why creating a blog is one of the essential steps I practically force our members to take inside our exclusive mentorship community, The Business Lounge in the ”Launch Stage” of our Success Path. To sum it up, a blog grounds your online presence and allows you to create a digital hub that keeps you top of mind, builds trust and helps you share all the things with your subscribers.  

WHAT SHOULD YOU WRITE ABOUT?

Ah, this is one of the most common questions I get asked when it comes to blogging. So let’s keep it simple. If you’re running a blog to promote your brand, organization or business you need to write about topics that your potential audience cares about. Take SokoGlam, an e-commerce Korean Beauty brand, for example. SokoGlam sells Korean Beauty products and constantly strive to educate their existing and future customers on the ins and outs of skincare, K-Beauty trends, and sought-after ingredients. By sharing free information about skincare, they stand out from the competition in the best possible way while promoting their products with engaging articles and videos that teach them to take care of their skin (and that comes back to them tenfold in terms of sales).

I’m hooked on their blog (which they call The Klog) and I know they have a viciously loyal fanbase that feels the same way. But what if you don’t have a brand, organization or business (yet)? What should you be writing about? Here are a few tips to help you get clear on your blog topics.

1. Make a list of topics you’re passionate about and well versed in.

 Remember that a blog requires a lot of consistency, so you want to make sure you can cover that topic from a wide variety of angles. Writing about a topic that you’re passionate about is key for obvious reasons. Whether you run a lifestyle blog like What Lola Likes or choose a niche topic like TutsPlus, blogging about a topic you actually care about it insanely important.

2. Remember that you’re building authority.

There’s no point in starting a blog where you critique the best food trucks in the world if you have zero interest in becoming the go-to food truck critic. Get clear on your overall vision.

3. Get over the fact that someone else is already writing about what you want to write.

Seldom is an idea absolutely, 100% unique. When you pick a topic to cover in your blog I can almost guarantee there will always be someone (or many someones) that are already established in that space. That’s okay. You bring something unique to the table that they don’t. Because we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, we all have individual and unique, God-given qualities. Allow yours to shine through in your own blog. Think about it – the reason professional sports networks, news outlets and radio stations host multiple commentators, and talk show hosts are because opinions are important. Each person brings their own unique perspective to the table and that’s intriguing, refreshing and captivating to an audience. 

WHAT MAKES A BLOG PROFITABLE? 

Regardless of whether you’re blogging for business or just as a side hustle, chances are that if you’re reading this article, you’re interested in turning your blog into a profit machine. #makethatmoneyboo I just launched a brand new, free masterclass where we dive in deeper into growing a profitable blog and I pull back the curtain of how I run my own multi-six-figure blog.

So if you want to take a closer look, get access to more resources and examples, I highly recommend enrolling in the free class. If you don’t get anything else from this blog post, hear me out on this one tip. If you want to build a blog that actually generates real revenue, you want to set yourself up for success right now. Again, profitability, like everything else, comes down to clarity and focus. 

How will you generate revenue? 

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Generating revenue by selling ads to other businesses, while tempting, is not a sustainable strategy. 

The most profitable blogs on the internet sell their own products, programs or services OR sell other people’s stuff through affiliate marketing. 

Get clear on your revenue strategy ASAP. If you’re selling your own products, this step is logical. You’ll be writing about topics your existing and potential clients actually care about and promoting our own stuff as a result. Take my own blog as an example.

Right now you’re reading this post about starting a blog. I’m writing it because it will build trust with you, the reader and eventually, I hope you’ll take our Bloggin’ For Business course and join our mastermind community, The Business Lounge. 

The more I share, educate and build trust with my audience, the more my revenue grows. But what if you don’t have your own products, programs or services? 

You have two awesome alternatives. Create something you can sell or promote someone’s else’s products, programs or services and earn a commission from those promotions.

Do your research and come up with a few ideas to monetize your blog. They don’t have to be polished or perfectly thought out either. Just start with something. 

Here are a few ways you can make money from your blog.

⦁ Create digital products such as eBooks, templates, images, cheat sheets or guides.

⦁ Design your own swag. Think apparel, gear and other physical products.

⦁ Offering coaching, masterminds or forums can be another awesome way to monetize.

⦁ Become an affiliate and market other people’s products. Just make sure they are products you use, believe in and will benefit your readers.

Now that you have a few ideas, do some research and find other blogs in your space you admire and can model.

How are they monetizing their content and more importantly, is their audience responding to that business model? 

IMPORTANT: Don’t wait until you are 100% clear on your monetization strategy to get started. I’d rather see you take action now and figure out the revenue later than have you get paralyzed by analysis. 

SELECTING A DOMAIN

If you’re not familiar with the tech jargon allow me to break it down for you. A domain name is a unique URL people can type into their browser to get to your blog.  There are a billion different possibilities and combinations to choose from, so how do you choose the perfect one for your blog? Here are a few tips that will come in handy.

  • Don’t get stuck in the .com extension world. There are loads of extensions to choose from including .co, .tech, .me, etc. You’ll find the perfect one for you super easily.
  • Should you use your name or a brand name? This one is easy. If you’re running a personal blog, use your name. Otherwise, name your blog after your company, brand or organization.
  • Keep it as short as possible so people don’t have to type an eternity to get to your blog.
  • Make it something people can easily remember. This one goes without saying, right?
  • Search Engine Optimization is your BFF. If you’re a brand or a business, try to use keywords that your audience is searching for.
  • Skip out on hyphens or other symbols people won’t remember or will make it harder for them to spell.Here’s my favorite tool to check if your domain name is available.

PRO TIP: If you can and there’s availability, purchase a few variations of your domain name. That way you can reserve those domain names and as your blog grows, redirect people to your blog. For example, my blog lives on my main website under kimberlyannjimenez.com but we also own a few other variations like kimannjimenez.com, kimberlyannjimenez.tv, kimjimenez.tv, etc.

FINDING THE RIGHT HOSTING COMPANY

There is a myriad of hosts and platforms where you can set up your blog. Personally, I recommend building a WordPress.org site that you can host on a server like HostGator, SiteGround or WPEngine. More on selecting the right platform in the next section. 😉 For now, make sure you’re selecting a host that can support your growth over time. It’s a huge tech headache to have to switch in the future, so make sure you’re thoroughly researching your options before making a final decision. The other perk of hosting your own site is that pricing can start as low as $3.99/mo which is an amazing price for a host. 

Here are some other things you should be looking out for when you select a hosting company to start your blog.

  • Superior prior support. No matter how well you set up your blog, the inevitable tech hurdle will come up. So it’s important that you go with a service that offers support you can trust. Chat and phone support is a must in my book.
  • Great customer reviews. Stalk your potential hosting company on the internet. Google their name, look for review sites and check out their social media pages. ⦁ Ask around. If you have friends who run blogs or are a part of Facebook community groups like ours, The Business Lounge Mastermind, ask for feedback and advice from fellow bloggers. 

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT BLOG PLATFORM

Listen up. When you first start a profitable blog you may be tempted to go with free platforms that allow you to host your site for free. Don’t do it. 

 

Invest a few dollars per month on a solid platform that won’t limit your growth and make you look legit. I can’t tell you what a turn off it is for readers to visit a blog that’s poorly formatted because it’s hosted on a free platform. We use WordPress and consistently recommend it above any and all other software tools. We have a full WordPress 101 Course available inside The Business Lounge where I walk you step-by-step through the process of setting up your site the right way. Despite starting my own blog on Tumblr and hosting Wix & Squarespace sites for other ventures, I highly discourage starting a blog on these paid platforms. They are incredibly expensive in comparison, and despite being super user-friendly they limit the features you can offer blog subscribers, especially if you’re planning on making real money from your blog. It’s one of the gripes I hear constantly from our members inside The Business Lounge who start their blogs and websites via services like Weebly, Wix or Squarespace because they constantly come across limitations when they start to grow and monetize their blogs. But here’s what I want to make clear.

Having the right tools can make your journey to blogging success a lot easier but tools are just that. They will never determine your success.

If starting your blog on one of these services will help you get started faster, do it.

BRANDING AND DESIGNING A BLOG 

Despite what you may have heard, having a visually appealing blog can make a huge difference both in the way your work is perceived but also on how subscribers enjoy your content.    Having a clean, well-designed blog with a color palette and font choice that doesn’t make your reader’s eyes sting will help your reader’s stick around longer and share your content. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bloggers try to get fancy by using handwritten fonts against a bright red background to publish their blogs. 

Don’t make that mistake. Use white backgrounds against black fonts and images, videos and GIFs that make your content more engaging and pleasurable to read. BTW, Google ranks content that contains what they call ”rich media”, so leveraging videos, images, PowerPoints, slideshows, etc. via your blog is a smart move. The good news is, you don’t have to be a maven at graphic design or video production to make your blog content more engaging for your audience and SEO friendly for the search engines.

Learn how to design graphics for your blog in five minutes with this tutorial.

We have an entire playlist of tutorial videos on DIY design and video creation over on our YouTube channel you follow and learn along with.

OVER TO YOU

So there you have it. A detailed guide on how to start a profitable blog from scratch even if you’re a beginner. I hope you’re ready to take the plunge and launch your blog ASAP.

Now it’s your turn.

What are some of the blogging tips you’ve learned along the way?

Your insight is incredibly valuable to our community so jump in the comments below and let us know.

xo, Kim

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