A Free Beginner’s Guide for Running a Successful Blog
If you have ever thought about quitting your 9 to 5 so that you can start your career as a travel blogger that gets to work from home, from your favorite coffee shop, or even from the beach; then you’ve probably read a ton of articles that promise to make you a 6-figure income in a year… Full Disclosure: This isn’t that kind of guide. This is a real-life guide from a professional content writer who makes a comfortable living writing blogs and copywriting for a living. If you’re ready to see how you can start to make money blogging then buckle up and check our free guide for running a successful blog.
For reference, this guide will cover the following:
What is blogging?
How do bloggers make money?
The benefits of blogging for business and marketing
How to set up a blog post
Types of blogs that make money
How to run a successful blog
How to find your first blogging customer
What kind of rates should I charge?
… and so much more.
To give a little background, I’m the lead content writer at K2 Analytics Inc., a digital marketing agency in Las Vegas that provides a multitude of marketing services to their clientele, one of which is high-quality, engaging, and creative content for everything from webcopy to blogs, emails, and just about any written content that adds value to our client’s businesses.
I’ve managed to make a living writing blogs, articles, content for websites, emails, and PPC Marketing. Being a full-time blogger has given me the financial means to fund a life worth living while providing me enough flexibility to create that most-elusive work-life balance. What more could you ask for!
Okay, enough about me, let’s get into it.
What Is Blogging?
Blogging in its simplest form is the act of keeping a weblog (shortened to “blog”). Blogs are platforms where writers can keep regular journal entries or post informational articles that their audience can use for reference when it comes to niche areas of interest. For example, a Las Vegas digital marketing blog like ours will be composed of “How To” articles that help our audience better understand all of the nuances that come with digital marketing from SEO to web design and UX. We use our blog to share information, tips, tricks, and more.
How Do Bloggers Make Money
As we mentioned there are two main kinds of blogs: personal blogs and business/marketing blogs. Naturally, this means that there are two clear paths that you can take as a would-be blogger. The first path is that of an affiliate marketer that starts their own blog and grows the blog steadily over time. This is similar to becoming a social media influencer in the sense that you partner with brands to help promote their products on your blog to your audience.
The other path is that of becoming a copywriter for a business that sells its own product or service. This could be your own business or it could be for a business that does its own in-house content marketing. This path works for any business of any size, even if the only thing you sell online is merch for your readers to buy.
The K2 Blog is a free online resource for anyone who wants to learn more about digital marketing from a business standpoint.
The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing
As you have probably deduced by now, there are plenty of benefits of blogging for business and marketing purposes. At K2 Analytics, nothing we do is without a clear purpose. We believe that if you put purpose before profits, then you will come out on the other side with a better product and as a result of it— the profits to show for it. That’s why when we recommend that you do some serious content marketing – like blogging – it’s because there are proven results that make it all worth it in the end.
- Establishes yourself as an authority in your industry
- Generates organic leads from SERPs like Google and Bing
- Creates trust between brands and audiences
- Can increase profits through affiliate links
All of which add value to just about every small business or large enterprise from small e-commerce websites that sell trinkets on Etsy to massive corporations that are household names. Being able to recognize the value that blogs add to businesses opens a door for you as an aspiring blogger because now you have a selling point to jump off of— but we will get into that when we talk about finding your first blogging customer.
How to Set up a Blog
Now that you know the what and the why, we can talk about the how. Starting a blog is really easy whether you already have a website or if you’re starting from scratch.
#1 Find a hosting platform for your blog
Many bloggers like to use blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress, and even Tumblr back in the day— but today, by far the most popular is WordPress. You can set up a free blog with free templates and get started in minutes. This is great for any writer looking for a place to start.
#2 Invest in a Quality Website and Web Design
That being said, once you decide to get serious about blogging, we recommend that you get your own website with a great domain name, beautiful mobile-friendly web design, and lock down the social media handles that accompany your domain name. This will make you more official and it will catapult you into the next tier up from hobbyist to professional.
Want to make money blogging? Treat your blog like a business from the get-go with high-quality web design and branding.
Once your site is up and running the only thing left to do is post and post often! Writers like myself like to tell ourselves to write every day.
It’s really the only way you’ll improve the quality of your writing and ultimately the quality of your blog.
How to Run a Successful Blog That Makes Money
Now that your blog is set up and you’ve set aside plenty of time to dedicate yourself to becoming the best blogger around, there are a few things that you should focus on that will help you bring you more success as a blogger.
Choose a Writing Niche and Become a Resource
The most common way that readers come across a website or a blog is by searching the internet for a question that they need to be answered whether it’s searching for industry-specific advice and answers like, “what is event marketing?” or “How To” articles that will walk them through a step-by-step process. This is where having a niche that you fill whether it be digital marketing, personal finance, or even beauty tips and tricks.
Whatever your specialty is, make sure that you have one and curate all of your content to cover that niche as best as possible. Have advice and information for beginners, intermediate, and advanced readers who will come back to you time and time again for your takes.
As you may have noticed, blogs are pretty casual spaces where even the most decorated and recognized authorities in their industries can talk to their audience without all of the jargon that would otherwise make learning about a subject difficult to consume and process. That’s why the most successful blogs that make the most money for bloggers are incredibly personal. They share stories about themselves, their background, their pets, projects that they are working on, etc.
People like doing business with people so simply be yourself and readers will respond to it. This will go a long way in nurturing a sense of trust between your audience and yourself and they will be more inclined to help promote your posts as well as promote your services and products.
Since the goal is to become an authority in your niche, you will need to post as often as possible so that your audience will know that they can count on your content to be there. Choose a day of the week or day of the month that you will publish content on and stick to it.
We recommend creating an editorial content calendar that will help you stay on track.
When you’re a blogger, your job relies heavily on how much traffic your website generates. The more views and readers that your blog gets, the more likely you are to generate leads, get clicks and conversions on your affiliate links, and increase ad revenue from your website.
The best way to do this is to partner with likeminded bloggers in your niche and guest post on each other’s blogs. Your audience will find their blog and their audience will find your blog. This method works incredibly well for generating new traffic on your blog which will translate into making more money from blogging than you would otherwise on your own.
How to Find Your First Blogging Customer
So let’s say that you’re a freelance writer and you’re looking for your first blogging client outside of your own blog. This is a great way to diversify the income that you get from blogging. Your website will generate revenue for yourself in due time, but you can also go out and find writing gigs that will help supplement your blogging income.
If you’ve followed all of the advice up until this point then you are already well on your way to finding your first blogging customer.
#1 Use Your Blog as a Jumping off Point
Let’s say that you’ve laid the groundwork and you are well on your way to presenting yourself as an authority in your industry as a writer and blogger. One way you can find clients is to reach out to other blogs and businesses in your niche and ask them if they need any help running their blog.
It can be as easy as “Hey I see that your blog hasn’t been posting lately. I specialize in writing about your field. Do you need help?”
#2 Search on Job Boards
There are a few other ways that you can look for writing clients. One way is by searching Job Boards like Upwork, Freelancer.com., and even Craigslist for writing gigs. Personally, these are a race to the bottom in terms of making money because you will likely get asked to write way too much for not enough compensation— that being said it’s a start.
If you don’t have a portfolio to show potential clients, this might be your best to rack up a few pieces of content that you can go to and show clients.
#3 Launch a PPC Campaign
On the other hand, if you have already set up a website where you blog from then you can employ better tactics to get better quality clients. We recommend using a combination of organic and paid methods like Pay Per Click marketing to promote your newly founded writing business.
Promote your services on social media through organic posts and posts that you can boost and promote. Social media marketing is an effective way to generate high-quality leads.
Additionally, investing some money in a Google Ads campaign will help you connect with leads who search for blogging services online. To learn more about how PPC ads can help you generate leads and increase conversion click here.
What Kind of Blogging Rates Should I Charge?
Finally, the million-dollar question, how much should a blogger be paid?
Honestly, that really depends on a variety of things so we’ll break down the most common ways that bloggers can get paid and what factors affect how much they can charge.
The two biggest factors that influence how much you will get paid as a blogger come down to experience and the difficulty of the project ( how long will this take you to do).
Obviously, if you are an experienced writer, you can justify charging higher rates. Additionally, if the blog is short and sweet to write you will probably not want to charge a premium for the work. Trying to balance these two factors is tough but ultimately it breaks down into one of these three formulas:
#1 Price Per Word (PPW)
Price Per Word is probably the most common pricing that you will come across as a writer. Everything will eventually come back to PPW even per project and hourly. To find this number simply divide the monetary total that you are being offered by the number of words that you deliver.
You will see people charge anywhere between 2 cents per word to 1 dollar per word. It really depends on your client’s budget and the quality of work that the client wants to be delivered.
As a writer, I would recommend that you start low so that you can find some steady work and come up in price as you gain more and more experience as a writer. You will know when 10 cents a word should become 25 cents per word and up to whatever your goal is. The beauty here is that you can set your rates to whatever you want to. This will help filter what kind of clients you have so use this responsibly.
#2 Per Project
When you charge per project you have more consistency than you would with PPW. In this formula, you charge a flat rate for an article or a set number of articles. This works best for bloggers who have a repeat client who just wants to make a single monthly payment for a set number of articles.
Finally, hourly works best as a metric for setting your rates if you want to know exactly how much money you make on average. This method is great for creating consistency for yourself as a writer if you are certain that you can finish a job in a certain amount of time.
We recommend taking the time to find out a numerical value for each of the three and keeping them on hand so that you can alternate between the three depending on what kind of freelance blogging work you get.