15 Steps To Become a Successful Blog for Free and Make Money Online


How to Start a Successful Blog for Free and Make Money Online

Please this is not the regular step by step guide to starting a blog. I am strictly focusing on starting a profitable, successful blog with respect to business principles. So I will shun some conventional wisdom and generic guidelines. If you are ready to learn, then let’s proceed.
1.  Why do want to start a blog?
So you want to start a successful blog? Have you ever asked yourself why you want to start a blog? You may think this is unnecessary but in reality; it might turn out to be the underlying line between success and failure. Why do you want to start a blog?
You must answer this question before even developing the idea for your blog. People start blogs for different reasons and this simple reason may be a determinant factor to your success or failure in blogging. The reason you start a blog will determine your mindset and approach towards blogging. If you start a blog simply for the money; you may never get it.
Linda Ikeji started her blog because she identified a need. She observed that Nigerians like gossip, and they like poke-nosing into other people’s affair; while ignoring their own problems. So she started her blog and now she is making money from it.
I started this StrategicBusinessTeam.com and MyTopBusinessideas.com to fill a need; I started this business blog to help entrepreneurs solve their intricate business challenges in return for a profit and this is the sole reason why I don’t consider myself a blogger or internet marketing expert. I am strictly an entrepreneur; I serve and solve other people’s problems in return for a profit, not wages or salary.
And because I am an entrepreneur, I have to think like one. This led me to work on developing my business or entrepreneurial skills. This blog is not a job, neither is it a hobby; it’s a business. But something I want you to note is this; I did not start this business blog solely for the profit; if I did, I would have sold it off a long time ago.
The primary reason why I started this blog was because of the leverage. Yes, I want to use this blog as leverage to greater heights in the future. The profits may be pouring in but the leverage is more important to me and I don’t mind sacrificing the profits to increase the leverage. Leveraging this blog can be done in several ways but I think that’s a topic for another day. Leverage is the reason I started this blog; what’s your own reason for starting a blog?
2. Develop your mindset
This is always the first point I stress whenever I am sharing information that challenges you or requires you to take action. Before ever venturing online to make money or earn a full living, you must first see yourself achieving it. You must believe it is possible and achievable regardless of your region or country; whether United States, U.K, Ghana or Nigeria. You must see blogging in Nigeria and making money online as a possibility; all I am saying in essence is that you must challenge your self doubt and laziness.
Ultimately, you must be prepared to leave your comfort zone. After challenging your self doubt, you must set a specific goal or target. What is your expectation online? It might be to make your first $100 or to become an expert in a niche. Whatever goal you set, make sure it is achievable.
3.  Find a Niche
You have probably found a tangible reason why you want to start a blog; the next thing will be to find your niche. Just as you find a market for your product or service; you also have to determine your niche online.
  • Who are the main targets of your blog?
Now what is a Niche? A Niche is simply a small group of people with a common interest. Examples of popular niches are:
  • Beauty
  • Food
  • Vegans
  • Angel investors
  • Dog owners
  • Football fans
  • Students
  • Teenagers
  • Sports Betting
  • Forex Traders
  • Weight Watchers
  • Pool
  • Arsenal Fans
  • Chelsea Fans
  • Man U Fans
  • Singles
  • Game lovers
  • Housewives
  • Nursing Mothers
  • Careers
  • Dating
  • Education
  • Marriage
  • Making Money and so on.
Therefore Niche blogs are going to be blogs related to different topics that a select group of people are interested in. The reason for this is because there may be a lot of people interested in a particular topic but don’t know where to go to get more information about that topic. That is where you come in; to provide the content they need and in return these visitors will buy products from you or click on your ads to generate a nice income for you.
Niche blogging is more powerful because you don’t have to compete with other competitors for the same crowd. Armed with the right knowledge, you can go into a niche and completely dominate. A good rule of thumb in niche blogging is that your niche must be a high paying, low competitive niche. If you can’t figure out a niche to target; then you have no business starting a blog. Without the customers; a business has no cause to exist, so also does a blog without a niche.
4.  Define the blog mission
What’s your blog’s mission? What do you aim to achieve with your blog? These two questions make the big difference between profitable, successful blogs and the average blogs. A blog mission may not be important to you if you are starting a personal blog; in this case, your personal mission will be your blog’s mission.
But if you are serious about building a successful business blog that will stand the test of time; if you want to start a profitable blog that will grow with or without your personal effort, then you should forge a mission statement for your blog.
5.  Set your goals and objectives
To build a profitable blog, you must set goals and objectives. You must have both short and long term goals for your blog; your goals will be the benchmark on which to judge your blog growth rate. You can use traffic, income or subscriber base as a yardstick to analyze your blog growth.
6.  Define your brand strategy
This is one of the most important factors most people overlook when starting a blog from scratch. Your brand strategy in the long run is going to determine the value of your blog, its relevance and its overall potential. Now how do you define your brand strategy?
It’s quite simple. Your brand strategy begins with you answering this question: Are you starting a personal blog or a business blog? Your personal blog is your personal brand; it’s a blog that reflects your life values and culture.
Now is StrategicBusinessTeam.com a business or personal blog? Well, it’s a business blog because it’s not attached to me; it’s a business blog because it has its own core value and culture. I can go on vacation for a year; yet this blog will keep growing geometrically because it has been programmed to run on auto pilot without me.
StrategicBusinessTeam .com has its own life to live and I have mine, same withMyTopBusinessideas.com. The worst thing with a personal blog is that it might live and die with you but a business blog lives on because it doesn’t depend on your personal influence to survive. Business blogs also hold more value than personal blogs. Asset transfer and sustained growth in a personal blog is quite difficult without retaining the founding blogger.
7.  Develop your overall strategy
Another essential factor that will affect your quest to start a profitable blog is your overall strategy. Your overall strategy should be one that you will stick to no matter the storm. It’s a proven strategy that almost guarantees success and every other strategy will be hinged on it.
One of the reasons I was able to build StrategicBusinessTeam.com to this level with no marketing or advertising budget was because I started it with the mindset of an entrepreneur. I started it on the same principle I use to build my offline businesses. I started it with an overall strategy; a strategy I have tested and proven in my offline businesses. What’s my overall strategy?
“My motto is concentration. First honesty; then industry and then concentration.” – Andrew Carnegie
“Concentrate your energy, your thoughts and your capital.” – Andrew Carnegie
Well, I have just told you my overall strategy. It’s CONCENTRATION. I don’t diversify my marketing effort; I concentrate them. I don’t try to do many things at once, I concentrate. I did not start a blog trying to generate multiple streams of income; I concentrated on one income stream first. I did not start 10, 20 or 50 blogs; i started one and i still own one.
I did not look for multiple traffic sources; I concentrated on one and that’s why this blog is effortlessly growing geometrically. You don’t need 100 blogs to make an impact, you just need one. So if you are going to build a profitable blog, then you must define your own overall strategy. Mine is concentration; what’s yours. Only you can decide that.
8. Join a community related to your niche
The third step to making money online in Nigeria by Blogging is to join a community related to your chosen niche. For instance, if you have researched and discovered that a niche exist for guitar players, all you have to do is join social networks and forum for guitar players. Joining this forum will help you see the problems or needs existing in the niche.
I am a member of several communities related to business, entrepreneurship and investing. These communities bring me closer to my targeted niche. Using these communities as leverage, I can have a sneak preview into the minds of entrepreneurs to know the challenges they are facing currently. When you address the problems of people and offer them a solution, you draw them closer to yourself and make them loyal readers of your blog.
9.  Build the blog system
This is where you build the structure that will host your blog; this is where you put up the necessary system that will house all your operations. Your blog system includes domain name registration, choosing your hosting platform; choosing a blog platform and setting up the blog. This process is similar to finding a location for your offline business, obtaining permits and buying your office equipment.
Now what is the best small business blogging platform? I don’t know. What I can advice is that you choose a blog platform you understand its technicalities. Seth Godin built a successful blog on Typepad, Dave Lucas built a blog on blogger; while Steve Pavlina built a profitable blog on WordPress. Success can be achieved on any platform, just make sure you understand its ins and outs.
10.  Define your operational tactics
Your operational tactics entails how you want to run your blog; your overall budget and the time you’ll allot to building the blog. When I started StrategicBusinessTeam.com from scratch; I was strapped for time because of my offline business commitment.
I also made a policy that I will run the blog on lean budget until it begins to fend for itself and pay its bills. Now, my blog is run full time by my team. That was my operational strategy and it worked for me because I planned it before even starting this blog.
You want to start a profitable blog? How often will you publish articles? How much time will you devote to you? How will you schedule your limited time to make sure every system is well taken care off?
This you must plan and sort out before even starting a blog. Most people have asked me why I disabled the comment module on this blog. Well, it’s an operation tactics that works inline with my overall strategy; concentration. I will rather concentrate my effort on writing quality content that yields result than waste my time moderating comments.
I have less time so I chose to concentrate my efforts on things that matters most. That doesn’t mean you should follow my steps; find an operational tactic that work best for you and stick to it.
11.  Define your income strategy
What is your income strategy? The root of this question boils down to why you want to start a blog. Are you building a blog for cash flow or capital gain? Are you building a blog to hold or flip? Are you building a blog for earned, passive or portfolio income? These are questions you must answer because they will determine how you generate revenue from your blog; they will determine your monetization strategy.
I have seen bloggers brag about how they make thousands of dollars from their blogs but most of them are only thriving on earned income; meaning they make money by keeping an online job. I will give an example; if you run a blog that directly generates $50/month but you earn $5,000 from by providing writing services, then you are still an employee working for a salary. If you stop writing, your income will drop because you are on earned income.
I have also seen bloggers who generate full revenue from their blogs without even having to run it. I consider these individuals true entrepreneurs. Even if they go on vacation for a year; their blog income will keep growing because it doesn’t depend on them.
This is what I call passive income and it’s what I’m concentrating on. There are two types of bloggers; those who build a business and those who build a job, which one do you want to be.
12.  Define your Monetization strategy
Is your blog going to generate income from selling advertisement, doing product endorsement, offering paid services, selling own products or selling affiliate products? This you must answer if you want to start a profitable blog from scratch. But it’s worthwhile you know that your monetization strategy depends on your desired income strategy and overall strategy.
13.  Outline your marketing tactics
To start a successful blog and grow it to a substantial size; marketing must be done. To build StrategicBusinessTeam.com from scratch to this level without any marketing budget; I had to devise a marketing strategy that will be executed in synergy with my overall strategy. My marketing strategy was “To provide valuable life changing content” and my overall strategy was “concentration.” I don’t try to do everything; I only concentrate on my core marketing strategy.
StrategicBusinessTeam.com don’t generate a dime of traffic from StumbleUpon; i just recently activated a Facebook fan page and it’s not too active on twitter. Over 80% of this blog’s traffic comes from search engines and word of mouth because these are the two marketing tactics we decided to concentrate on.
So find a marketing tactic you are strong at and concentrate on it. Concentrating on a particular marketing strategy doesn’t mean ignoring otherproven profitable marketing channels; it’s all about mastering a particular formula before moving on to another. It’s all about having a core marketing tactic and other complementing tactics.
14.  Define your exit strategy
This is where most people miss it out; they start a blog without an exit strategy and that’s why most blogs disappear after the founding blogger dies. Except you run a personal blog; it’s advisable you factor in an exit strategy in your blog’s plan. Are you going to sell your blog in the future or hold it?
My initial plan is to diversify this blog into a network of blogs; and grow it to the level where it won’t need me anymore. But that was in the past. My new plan now is to turn over all the operations and control of this blog to a holding company. I want to build a full fledged business around this single blog.
My exit strategy is to become a watchdog; not an active participant in the operations of this blog and with an exit strategy like this, this blog will continue to fulfill its mission even after my death. This is my blog exit strategy; what’s yours?
15.  Stick to the process
Starting a profitable blog and growing that blog is not an overnight affair; it’s a step by step process and this process will never be complete without challenges and setbacks. I have had my own share of setbacks with respect to blogging; ranging from technical challenges to human error to financial crisis.
These things are unpredictable but you have to face them and to face these unexpected challenges; you need persistence and focus. You must know what your ultimate goal is and you must be prepared to make sacrifices to achieve such goal; you must stick to the process.
As a final note, these are my thirteen step strategy to starting a profitable blog from scratch. These strategies are not all about blogging technicalities or knowing how to write amazing articles; they are about blogging business intelligence.

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