We currently live in a world where we cannot rely on only one income stream. A few decades ago, having a job was good enough and you could stay in that job your whole lifetime. Today, this is not possible anymore for various reasons. Especially when you want to have an impact through a social enterprise. Diversifying your income streams are of utmost importance. Below are 11 steps towards setting up a website such that your blogging creates income on a steady basis.
Set up your blog
1. Website hosting
Your first step is to find a reliable host for your website. Using a dedicated host like Bluehost is preferred over using a free website service like Weebly or WordPress.com. You will have a lot more flexibility with what you can do on your site, such as putting ads on your website. Choosing a good host is important for when your site starts to get a lot of traffic. The last thing you want to have is losing out on good publicity when a post goes viral, just because your site crashes due to the increase in traffic.
2. Choosing your domain name
It is critical to choose the right name for your website. Even though you might be tempted to spend an enormous amount of time on choosing that perfect name that is witty and clever, rather choose a simple name that is memorable. Let your website name say exactly what your blog is about while still leaving your options open to expand the topics on your blog. For example, if you are writing a cooking blog, choose a name that allows you to blog about any type of cooking, not just desserts or main meals.
3. Building your site
Now you are ready to start building your site. WordPress.org is still one of the most popular platforms and have a lot of support available. There are so many themes to choose from and plugins that can just about do anything for you. Be sure to setup up your site for optimal speed, as this is becoming more and more important for Google ranking criteria.
4. Sign up with Google Webmaster Tools (GWT)
This next step is important for your website to rank in Google searches. GWT is a great tool to optimize your pages and posts to be indexed and ranked by Google. I am not going to go into all the detail here, suffice it to say that this is a very important step. You can read more here.
Affiliates and advertising – where blogging creates income
This is a very exciting process to go through – during this step you will discover that your favorite bookstore offers an affiliate program. You will be able to market a product you firmly believe in. There are many affiliates and advertising programs available to you, I am only going to mention 4. Remember to add your disclaimer to your site to comply with FTC guidelines.
It would be easy to receive payments for your earnings if you had an account in every country that is hosting an affiliate program. But if you are going to sign up for international programs, you need a way to receive payment of those earnings as well.
Two very good solutions are Payoneer and PayPal. PayPal is a trusted way to do international transactions, and many institutions have subscribed to their service. Recently though, other platforms have become very popular for international payments, such as Payoneer. This platform allows you to receive payments via direct bank transfer by supplying you with bank details in many countries. It’s very easy to then withdraw that money to your local bank account. If you are going to apply for any international affiliate or advertising program, Payoneer is a very good option!
6. Popular affiliate sites
Three very popular affiliate programs are Amazon, FlexOffers and iTunes. Everyone knows Amazon and it is available in almost all countries, at least for digital content. They have a great new feature as well, where you can link all your Amazon affiliate accounts from different countries to your US affiliate account. FlexOffers has an extensive database of affiliate programs, including Barnes & Noble, TripAdvisor, etc. You need to sign up with FlexOffers, and then apply for specific affiliate programs in their database, but the process is very easy. With the iTunes program, you can earn on any music, app or book that you recommend on your blog. It is a great affiliate program to belong to.
7. Advertising Network
There are a couple of Online Advertising Networks, Google Adsense probably being the most popular. But don’t neglect some of the other networks that are just as great. Chitika is a great alternative to Adsense and also delivers contextual ads. Some other great alternatives are listed in this article.
8. Driving traffic
Ensuring that your site gets enough traffic can be overwhelming. It feels like that is something that you don’t really have a lot of control over. However, there are some great tools out there to help you drive traffic to your site. First of all, start building an email database. This will be the tool that will enable you to communicate with your most loyal followers on a regular basis. Sending out weekly updates on blog posts are one of the key drivers for traffic. In addition, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important for all your content. Educate yourself in this field and optimize your content accordingly.
One of the most powerful ways to drive traffic to your site is through social media. You have already been working on building up a network of potential followers for years, why not use that to your advantage? Set your blogging platform to automatically post to your social media platforms as you publish a blog post. Popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and StumbleUpon. Do your research for each of these platforms to learn how to use them optimally.
9. Write good, relevant content
Good content has always been important for a successful blog, and that is not going to change soon. Make sure you write regularly and you provide the reader with useful and relevant information. A good practice is to also go back to old posts (typically older than 6 months) and maintain them. This is a whole science on its own, make the effort and hone this skill.
10. Keep on going
Remind yourself continually why you are blogging. It’s going to take time before your blog reaches a stage where you have consistent high traffic levels and your blogging creates income. Don’t get discouraged if it feels like it’s taking forever to reach high levels of traffic. Keep on writing good and relevant content, follow the steps above and continually learn new skills. What works today is not necessarily going to work two years from now, so keep on learning.
This is an exciting journey, one that will bring you tremendous satisfaction. The most important aspect of a blog is that you keep on enjoying it and experience it as a delight and not a drain. Happy blogging!
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