“You can start right where you stand and apply the habit of going the extra mile by rendering more service and better service than you are now being paid for.” Napoleon Hill
If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme, you are looking in the wrong place. You are not going to find that advice here. – Keep looking. If you are looking for How to Start a Blog – Enjoy.
But if you are tired of looking at site after site and talking head after talking head, let me have a few minutes of your time to show you a focused approach to getting your blog launched and into action.
What I am going to share with you is how the work I did in 2012 is still making me money. My full-time business at the time was selling real estate and lots of it.
The average real estate agent sells between three to four homes per year. During my peak years, I was selling 50 plus for over ten straight years.
This included during the housing crash of 2008. During this time, I had at a peak 26 different websites focused on various aspects of the real estate market.
Some were focused on buyers, some on sellers, some on particular locations. It was on the location sites that I started blogging.
One article that I wrote was about investing in real estate, and in the article, I included a link to an investment book on Amazon.
Someone visited that article on my website. They clicked the link on the post, and were taken to Amazon to look at the book.
They didn’t buy that specific book (I remember that no one ever did), but because they were on Amazon, they decided to order ALL of their textbooks for the upcoming semester.
I saw the report showing the payout of commissions to my account, and I was hooked.
My Affiliate Marketing journey had begun.
I launched a 27th site that was focused on promoting products for sale on Amazon and other companies in 2012. That one site has made me over $1,000 per month, every month, for the past 36 months.
You see, that site still pays me long after I had spent the commissions I earned selling real estate.
The power was in the Blog. Sharing information and content that readers find useful. Content that provides value to the readers and connects them with precisely what they are looking for.
It all started with the Blog. A collection of content.
I have developed two tools that I am sharing with you to help you on your journey.
The 4P Approach and the 33/66/77 system.
Let me first walk you through the 4P Approach that I use for every Affiliate Marketing venture I launch. The 4P’s are Planning, Platform, Performance, and Profits.
How to Start a Blog
So you have to ask yourself a question. What is it going to be in your life – which will win:
Content or Content?
Are you going to remain content with the status of your life, or are you looking to make a change?
I would imagine the answer is changing, or else you would not be reading a site like this.
So the key is Content. Producing value content that visitors want to read. The content they want to share with others. Content that gets them to take action.
If you are not dedicated to the generation of content, you will soon be back into the pattern of contentment in your life, accepting the status quo, hoping for a $.50 raise in your paycheck in the next 12 months.
But it is really not about the money. The foundation is based upon you sharing your passion and stories and reviews with others. You have to be able to answer the following question:
Why are you Writing a Blog?
Share your knowledge, expertise, and passion.
Make Money (In that order)
Blogging or YouTube
I am going to focus on Blogging, because of my success in the arena, and it also allows you to cover all three bases on the following list:
How to Make Money With Your Blog
- Advertising Revenue
- Affiliate Sales
- Sell Your Own Products
- (A list)
Advertising Revenue: When someone visits your blog, they see an ad that is displayed on the page, and the company that you allowed to place the ads on your site pays you for the exposure.
Affiliate Sales: When visitors on your site take your recommendations for the products or services that you are describing in your content and click a link to another site and end up purchasing that product, you get paid by the company that you sent the visitor to.
These companies are taking a part of their overall marketing budget and putting it towards affiliate marketing. They are encouraging you to promote their products and services.
This is what I was describing in the Amazon example that I described up above.
Sell Your Own Products: Either the eCommerce store or information products
All of these methods are enhanced by building an email list of contacts. When you have your own email list, you have the opportunity to notify your past visitors that you have created some new, exciting content every time you post or on a weekly or monthly basis. This will increase your traffic any time that you want, and most importantly, you will be in control of the traffic.
You can also use this list to send out your new product launches or share them with your contact news about other products or services that you are promoting as an affiliate.
What type of content should you be writing about?
Pick a topic or a subject and stick with it. As the new saying has been, “Stay in your Lane.”
No one likes to know it all – especially Google. Google and your readers will be more attracted to your site and more engaged (read more and spend more time on your website, and therefore be more likely to take your recommendation on a product you are an affiliate with) if your content is about a topic. This topic area is what you hear about when we mention the term niche.
You are looking for an area that you are going to be the go-to resource for.
Want to know about sports, you go to ESPN. In the magazine days, you picked up Sports Illustrated. Sure. USA Today or your local news channel or paper may have a sports section, but they usually only scratch the surface on a topic.
Nowadays, the segments are even further defined. There are websites for every sport and then websites that watch the people that watch the games and then another site that talks about the people that participate in the eSports version of that particular sport.
The key is finding this niche and sticking with it until the two audiences that you are writing content to learn to appreciate that you are the subject matter expert on that topic.
And yes, I did say two audiences.
When you are writing online for affiliate marketing or ad revenue, you will have to please your readers, but you will also have to make sure that Google is happy. It is a balance between the two. You can’t write content that your readers may enjoy and stop there.
If Google does not display your content as an option when someone searches and you don’t show up in the search results, then you don’t exist.
This is why you will see me talk about Search Engine Marketing on this site. It is Google’s World; we are just living in it.
So what are some ways that you can go about selecting a niche?
Before I start on this topic, I am going to give you a warning. STOP getting ready to get ready to get prepared.
Pick one and Get into Action!
The talking heads have enough information online about selecting your niche for affiliate marketing that you could binge-watch them back to back and take up months of your life.
And yes, I will add to that information as this site grows. But for now, it is apparent that you are looking for guidance, and Google decided this was the right place for you.
Pick an area or topic that you are passionate about.
But also make sure that others are interested in this topic as well. They were interested enough that they would visit your site and spend money on the subject and the products or services that you recommend.
I am using an example of my own articles on this site. Yes, I could write an entire blog with thousands of articles on ActiveCampaign. It could be done. Now would I get a constant flow of traffic, and could I monetize that traffic? The topic might be too narrow.
Yet if I expanded the topic to email marketing, then I would grow my audience. And a further expansion would occur when I expand to Affiliate Marketing with List Building and Email Marketing as subtopics. Now we are logical about our thinking and reasoning when it comes to niche selection.
If I expanded this to marketing, then my topic is far too broad, and my readers and Google will always wonder, what is this site really about. You are not creating a wiki; you are creating a blog.
Stop thinking that there is the Best Niche. It doesn’t exist.
Instead, think about what your niche is. Own it.
So here are some questions for you to help you select a niche and get into action:
What are you passionate about?
Do you care enough about this niche that you can see yourself spending time talking about and writing about it every single day?
Are there products or services that relate to your niche that people are purchasing?
Do the companies that sell these products offer an affiliate program?
A most important question, I am ready to just pick one and take action?
I know the answer is going to be a resounding YES, so let’s talk about how we are going to bring your niche to life via a blog.
Give your Voice a Platform (WordPress)
It is time to give you voice a platform, and the platform that is best for doing this is WordPress.
WordPress is a software system that works on a web server that is connected to a database. This database and the WordPress framework allow you to post articles of content and create pages of information for your prospective readers. It is the de facto go-to system when creating a blog. Yes, you can use other methods to Blog, yet experience has shown that you will end up spending more time on the software, and less time creating content.
On my Niche Blogs, I spend no more than 1-3 days setting up the WordPress Blog platform and no more than one checkup per month on the software.
Don’t over complicate things.
In order to have your blog discovered, we need a Domain name that tells the world that your site exists.
Select a Domain Name
Selecting a Domain name is a great opportunity to also develop your brand. When I select a domain name, I never just go to the domain name registrar and start typing in names to see what is available. I first brainstorm some ideas and phrases, and then I use a website called NameCheck.com to check not only if the domain name is available, but also if the same name is available on the main social media account, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. (One note regarding namecheck. Twitter has a 15 character limit on usernames, so you may see that namecheck says the name is available, but it is not on twitter. You will be getting a false positive.
Doing so, I secure my place with all of these networks. I have created a video to show you exactly how this is done. – https://youtu.be/7R13dn-V-vw
I also go ahead and create a Gmail account that matches the domain name and social media account so that I can manage it all in one place.
I believe in choices. The name of my Real Estate company is Choice Homes Team. Choices empower customers. So when I give you recommendations on products or services in the upcoming paragraphs, it is based upon that philosophy. Which one is best? That depends on you and your preferences and exactly what you are looking for. If we had a one-on-one coaching session, I would take the time to find out about your specific situation, and then make a recommendation.
As I have also made very clear in my Affiliate Policy, this is a site about affiliate marketing. The links on the website are probably affiliate links. When in doubt, assume it is an affiliate link, and it is included because it gets the job done, not just because I make a few bucks off of the link, which goes to pay for the creation and upkeep of this site.
When the talking heads online say this is precisely what you need to use, period, then they are making prescribing a treatment without knowing the diagnosis, and last I check that is called malpractice. (ok, I will remove my flip flops from the soapbox)
The products or services that are on this page are here because they work. They are provided as a courtesy because I have already done the research, and they fit the application in general. Again, don’t get hung up on hours and weeks and months of evaluation. Take Action!
Ok, here we go. Domain Name Registration:
NameCheap is a great option because they provide Free Personal Data Privacy, with a Free lifetime WhoisGuard privacy protection masking. This protects your privacy and cuts down on the number of calls or emails that you will get out of the blue offering web service. (You know the calls I am talking about, that need to urgently talk to you about your local Google listing? If you don’t, then go ahead and register a name without masking, and you will find out within hours.) Namecheap.com has a great tool called Beast Mode that allows you to enter keywords, and it will give you a list of Domain name suggestions based upon your input. – Step by Step Guide to NameCheap Domain Registration.
A cool service that allows you to type in two or more words, and it gives you back domain name suggestions that are actually available. You can also use Nameboy to register the domain name.
Now that you have a domain name selected, it is time to pick a hosting company where the WordPress software will live and work.
NameBoy tool ends up registering the domain through Domain.com. You can also go directly to Domain.com if you are looking to register with them.
Bluehost is known primarily as a hosting company, but you can also register your domain name with BlueHost.com. Bundling the Domain Name and Web Hosting will make set up easier.
Web hosting companies provide the equipment and infrastructure without you needing to buy a web server and host it in the basement. (Been there, done that, got the hat)
Here is a list of web hosting companies in no particular order. In the coming months, I will post reviews and how-to for each of these companies. For now, pick one and get started.
Which plan do you pick? For now, I would say to you that any shared, inexpensive place will work. I have a couple of sites on the lowest level at SiteGround, BlueHost, NameCheap, and WP Engine, and they all work just fine.
Every one of these companies will also help you with the domain name registration. Using the same registrar and hosting company will eliminate the need for the next step, as they will usually handle it for you as part of the site setup.
Installing the WordPress Software
All of the companies listed above have either a done for you WordPress installation or a wizard that walks you through the installation. This is another area where too many people get caught up in the process and use it as an excuse not to take action.
When your installation is completed, you will have three items to show for it.
The world’s ugliest WordPress site.
Don’t worry that is all about to change.
One more thing may need to be set up if it was not handled by your hosting company or during the setup wizard.
Pointing your Domain to the Right Site
Your web server and specific installation will be assigned an IP address and a set of name servers. In 20 years of working in the technology field, I have only once seen someone put the IP address from their website on their business card. It was kinda novel, but most people use a domain name.
To oversimplify, the registrar that you use will tell that world (every other domain server) that if you are looking for a domain name or web address, we know where it lives. They will then direct them to the name service that will have the actual connection between the domain name and the IP address. This lets the world know that www.whatever.com is actually hosted at a certain company on a certain server in a certain install.
This has to be set up one time.
Bringing your Blog to Life
It is time to start to bring your WordPress blog to life. But before we focus on the viewer side of the site, we have a couple of housekeeping items that we need to adjust and install to make sure that your site is reader-friendly and that Google can find the post that you start to generate.
Permalinks are the settings that control the URL that the search engine sees. Have you ever seen a site where each page includes numbers that look like a date? These sites have a different Permalink set up, or they used the default WordPress setting.
We want our post to have a URL that includes the word that we want Google to know that our site is about. These are called keywords, and changing the Permalink structure helps this. Take a look at the URL for this page. See how it is readable with no numbers in the URL. This is because I changed Permalinks. You want to do this before you start creating content so that Google categorizes your post and site correctly. You can change page names in the future, but it is an unnecessary hassle that can be avoided in this step.
Google Search Console
Speaking of Google. We want to tell Google that the next best thing to sliced bread is being created on our website. We do this by using a tool called the Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). This registration allows us to communicate with Google so that they are notified when we create new content so that their machine and spiders can crawl your site and make decisions about if they want to display your site or pages in their search results based upon their algorithm.
Search Console and the next tool are going to become invaluable in the future as we make fact-based decisions about new content based upon how our blog is performing.
Google Analytics is a system that tracks every visit to your site and every page views. We want this information about our site, and we need to ensure that this is setup.
We also need to set up a tool on our WordPress blog that assists us with Search Engine Optimization and also creates a sitemap that lists all of the pages and posts on our site for use with the Google Search Console.
This can be accomplished by using an add on to WordPress, called a plugin.
Here are the plugins you should install – Yoast or Rank Math.
Yoast has been around for years. It has a pro version upgrade available.
Rank Math is newer on the block, but it is rapidly gaining installations.
I have used both plugins on different sites.
Thrive Themes – Architect Builder—seamless integration with Thrive Leads.
Elegant Themes – Divi
– – Neve, Hestia, Zelle
– home of Genesis Framework
Envato – Themeco
Now that your WordPress Blog is set up and your theme is set, it is time to focus on the place that you will need to spend 90% of your time—creating content.
While you are following your passion and writing about what you know about and have researched and reviewed, you need to make sure that you are writing to both audiences.
Readers want good informative content.
Google wants this as well, but they also want Keywords. Not too many of them, but enough to give the algorithm an idea of what your post is about and what your page is about.
Once you have done your keyword research, to ensure that you stay on track, you should:
Develop a long term content strategy.
Pick a monetization strategy.
You are going to be creating as many posts as possible.
What is the difference between a page and a post? To me, a page is something that does not regularly update. Take, for example, the About Us page. Once you have created this page, it is rarely being updated.
This is different from a post. A post usually covers a specific topic. While what you write may never change, it is part of a greater “conversation” that you are holding with your readers.
WordPress makes it easier to organize this information for a post because they have a built-in category and tagging system. This system is not available for pages.
Your post can be about product reviews, comparisons, features, and benefits, How-to guides, overviews, trending topics. The list could go on.
Which brings me to my 33/66/77 System
Now for the reality check for Affiliate Marketing blogs. You have to take action for more than one day.
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, in the bestselling book The One Thing, gathered the research to show once and for all that it takes 66 days to form a habit.
- When we know something that needs to be done but isn’t currently getting done, we often say, “I just need more discipline.” Actually, we need the habit of doing it. And we need just enough discipline to build the habit. -Gary Keller
- The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it. -Gary Keller
- It takes an average of 66 days to acquire a new habit. -University College of London Study 2009
When I am coaching and consulting, I further break this creation of the habit period into three sections.
to Get Started (Quitting any sooner than this and you have to start over – you have to develop momentum.)
to Create a Habit (This includes a level of Accountability)
to Start Seeing Tangible Results (Like planting a seed in a garden, it may be exciting to see the first leaves and growth in the early days and weeks, but the crop needs time to grow.)
Make sure you have a PayPal account in good standing so that you are ready to receive your payments.
If you are committed to following the 33/66/77 System, you have a fighting chance to have Profitable results. Cut corners or lose interest, and you are setting yourself up for failure.
When would NOW be a good time to get started once and for all?