I still remember it took me about 2 months to setup my first blog.
I was consumed.
Each day I was experimented with ideas and tools. I read a lot about setting up a blog, social media profiles and monetizing them all.
Initially I was excited but then enthusiasm started to wear of as I was unable to figure out what was wrong with my strategy.
I was doing everything by the book and created likeable, shareable content but still zing was missing from Zintinga.
It was only 5 months later that I made my first dollar with Zintinga. After that there was no looking back and my online earnings grew exponentially.
I learnt a lot by hit and trial and came to know of a few facts that I believe every aspiring blogger should know.
#1 Investing in a premium theme is the best decision you will
I started as a hobby blogger on blogspot.
As I started researching about SEO and content marketing to bring traffic to my site I realised many bloggers were blogging full time.
I didn't think twice !!
After getting a domain and a hosting account, moved my blog to WordPress.
Since I had a domain name now I realised that my website sounded more professional and serious. There are some wonderful free themes out there.
I used Hueman theme which I believe is one of the best free themes on wordpress.
But I wanted a specific feel and a flavour which I got when I bought a premium theme.
It was a one time investment and a good one.
Get a domain name and a hosting account.
If you plan to make money from your blog why delay the investment??
You will have freedom to put ads of any kind and experiment with the design as you will have complete ownership.
Although there many responsive and mobile friendly free themes available but don't shy away from buying a premium theme. It's a one time and the only investment you will have to make.
Your blog has the potential to pay your bills and rent and unlike any other business doesn't demand hefty investments.
An investment of $150-200 initially has potential to make thousands in the future.
#2 Adsense is not the only contextual ad network there are many
others and better options too
Here is a myth that needs to be busted. Almost every aspiring blogger applies for Google's adsense program and awaits the confirmation as his/her life depends on it.
I too applied and got an approval within two days. I was elated. as if Google had awarded me a money making machine.
I put ads on my blog and installed adsense app anxiously waiting to earn my first dollar.
To my disappointment I learnt that adsense is not a magic money making machine.
Adsense only works if you have a huge traffic (which you don't have since you are a beginner).
If you are thinking of building a blog earning thousands of dollars just with adsense ads you are mistaken.
Unless you are into click bait business like mashable or buzzfeed adsense is not going to make you rich.
I wanted to clear the air as many new bloggers think adsense as the only way to monetize a blog.
don't be disappointed if you didn't get an approval or your account has been revoked.
There are many other contextual ad networks like media.net,propeller ads which have better conversion algorithms and pay better.
They work just like adsense. There are many with threshold payments as low as $10 unlike adsense's $100.
Do your own research and find a ad network suitable for your needs.
There are many other better performing contextual ad networks. No need to be disappointed it adsense has rejected you.
I won't recommend any (not even adsense) because as a new blogger you want to attract traffic to your blog not send it away. Build a brand first and a lot more options will open up.
#3 Only way you are going to make real money is by selling your own
products or services
Yes it's true don't repeat my mistake.
Why do you want to sell space on your website only to earn cents per click when you can advertise your own services.
John Marrow from smartblogger who make more than $100,000 per month from the blog says.
Initially, we placed ads for our own products in each of the three spots, and we tracked all the sales resulting from someone clicking on the ad. I don’t remember the precise numbers, but we had something like $50,000 in product sales over 30 days. Not too shabby. Well, out of curiosity, I shopped around to see how much advertisers would pay for the same ad space. The absolute highest rates I could negotiate would’ve brought in only $5,000 per month per ad spot, totaling $15,000 per month — 70% less than we made selling our own products.
It being obvious you should concentrate on building a product or a service which will give you high return on investment.
A few examples which I found intresting are
Ammy from agirlandherblog a DIY blogger creates her own printables in the form of planners and binders.
Similarly other DIY bloggers sell printable art and renovation services for homes.
If you have a blog like mine where you are dispensing information you can sell your own courses. Affiliate marketeers like Neil Patel and John Chow have made hundred thousands selling courses online
Before starting a blog just give a thought to what product or service you will market in future.
Check income reports of any influential blogger and you will find that the bulk of their earnings come from products and services.
#4 Start your campaign from the day 1
I created facebook profile for my blog only after publishing my 20th post. Don't commit the same mistake. The sooner you start socializing the better it is.
Don't wait. Just one epic post will do.
Even the best of blogs have a bounce rate of more than 60%.
That means 60% of users view only a single page. Also building contacts from the day one will give you an edge over the competition.
You should start commenting on other's blog posts and interacting more with your fellow bloggers.
Many regard blogging a solo activity but it is not and requires you to socialize. You can sell your serives only if you win trust of your readers.
Follow the 80/20 rule. Spend 20% of your time creating intense high quality content and rest 80% on promoting it.
Go hard on marketing from the very first day. For people to reach to your blog you will have to reach out to them first.
#5 Know your Niche and own it
Try to be sure about your niche before you start a blog. To gain trust and build an authority you will have to rule your niche.
I started a blog on Indian history then gradually shifted and started blogging on content marketing and everything related to blogging.
I was lucky to register a domain name which didn't restrict me to any niche(Zintinga!!!) but things might not be same for you.
But the penalty i paid was that I had to give up on my fans and little authority that I had created through my blog.
With a new niche I was targeting a new set of readers and had to build a blog from ground Zero.
The sooner you know in the direction you will sail your boat in the faster you will reach the shore
These are the five things that I learnt the hard way.
If you have a few tips of your own, please feel free to comment below.