What It Takes to Start a Blog that Makes Money

When did you start blogging and how long it took to reach to where you are now?

Let me tell you when I started online… it was actually back in November 1999. You see, I dabbled with a ton of things: get paid to read email programs, surveys, affiliate products, ClickBank, eBooks, you name it.

In 2010 I got involved with blogging. I setup a free wordpress theme on my host and launched my 3-month IM coaching program. Made around $8k within a few short days, by taking advantage of my brand name (Simon Mkhize) and my most valuable asset (my 3,000+ subscribers list)

Do not believe the hype thinking that’s easy to make thousands like that without skills, or assets. It is the opposite.

Also read : 3 Steps To Become a Pro Blogger and Make Money from Blogging

What would you do differently if you had to start again? Why?

I would partner with skilled writers and professionals and launch niche blogs (in and outside IM). In fact I am doing this at the moment because I am too addicted on some keyword research tools I’ve stumbled upon recently. And I actually love to find little-known underserved industries.

You won’t believe how many niche blogs you can build in the health or wealth sector alone. Think of all the different types of diseases people get touch by. Think of the hundred ways people can make money – both offline and online – or invest their money.

There are industries with high traffic volume (e.g. people searching for specific solutions, products or information) and low to medium competition. What bothers me the most is the low quality of these sites. If it happens you stumble upon some top results you’ll notice most pages are nothing but “distinguished” money-sites. Serving their owners, and caring less if readers find what they’re looking for.

My aim with my blog network is to serve people and give them what they want, good, valid information, at two clicks away.

Also read: Stop struggling — 55 article ideas for ANY niche

What mistakes did you make in the beginning?

I love making mistakes. This is something that occurs naturally when trying to learn something new, right? I installed all kind of plugins and themes and broke the blog. It took me 3 full weeks, working day and night – reading and putting all pieces to the puzzle together – learning WordPress.

I know the basics and even some advanced stuff. I like wordpress blogging, and the biggest mistake I did was not starting sooner with my blog network and not finding the right partners.

Blogging is about writing, you either partner with someone who handles writing (constant writing is key, either daily or weekly, at least!) and know their stuff, and/or someone who loves promoting the blog (e.g. through blog commenting, forum marketing, guest posting, etc)

Also Read: 9 Steps To Become a Food Blog Successfully

What mistakes do you see others make?

Phew. Too many to count in a short interview! The biggest ones are:

1. Starting in blogging with no specific goal

Why do you want the blog? I know most people have one answer: to make some money. Good for you. But that’s not a goal. You don’t drive a car for the sake of driving the car, or just to go from point A to point B. You have specific goals when driving your car to certain destinations in order to get done things, right?

2. Starting to learn a new skill (blogging) without learning the terminology, or taking advice from beginners or fake “gurus”.

It’s like blind leading the blind.

I suggest them to study the pros, and don’t take for granted what you hear on forums or from people who don’t even own blogs.

3. Giving up too soon and not believing in what they’re starting out.

I have a quote I like that fits here: “Winners never lose, losers never win”. You either start to learn a skill that will pay off for many years to come, or don’t dabble with it at all, and do something else.

When I started wordpress blogging I remember I didn’t want just to try it, I made sure to learn the game: the terminology and the basics. I’ve read anything I could get my hands on: browsed through Google and found insider tips – what works and what doesn’t, straight from those who’ve been there, done it.

Plus, I’ve read interviews with pro bloggers and emailed them whenever I had questions, worries or challenges.

If you’re stuck, Google the challenge. If you’re not sure, ask the pros, not your friends. They are probably not bloggers.

How do you define a super affiliate blogger?

A super affiliate is someone who has built his brand name, and has a tribe or following (e.g. mailing list subscribers and/or incoming traffic/RSS readers) – the more, the better.

You know you are a super affiliate blogger not when you make $10k like the pros are doing, but when you have the status, credibility and brand recognition like they do. You cannot make money online if you are new and nobody knows you, at least not in the blogosphere.

You are a super affiliate when others know you and when you have a mailing list you can tap into for traffic, clicks and sales.

Also read: 8 Steps to Become a Successful Video Blog and Make Money

What is the key to your blogging success?

My brand name and my mailing lists and my skills (I am a copywriting addict and Jay Abraham marketing strategist fan)

But I would have not reached any blogging success if I had not had love for reading and learning from others. I think that most people don’t like to put in the time and effort to attain their goals and the majority of people I’ve known, or talked with are simply not as patient as I am.

In other words, if you know what you need to achieve, then get it. Do whatever it takes, legally and morally to reach your dream. The problem is that people think this is a solo game. Not really. Everything we do in life is with the support of others, and for others.

You are not alone in this game. You’re either playing in a “team” (you can form yourself or with the help of others) or you’re not in the business.

There’s no shortcut in this, you have to learn the inner game and the more you know, the better for you and those around you. Information is power, yes! But applied knowledge is the key. You can have the right information, but if you don’t understand it, and if you have no clue what to do with it, then you’ve waster your time.

Learn to find the right information from the right people and apply it ASAP.

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

What do you like the most: WordPress or Blogger? Why?

WordPress on your web host because you can control your blog, plugins and theme. With Blogger, you don’t own the blog, but Google controls it. Find a wordpress enabled host that lets you install your blog at the push of a button.

Trying to manually install your blog is a head ache and getting on the wordpress.com platform is free, but no ads/promotion allowed. This means you have to go with wordpress.org version, but do it from a host with fantastico or one-click install like the ones are available (e.g. DreamHost, HostGator, BlueHost, GoDaddy, etc)

Do you have any quick tips for newbie bloggers who want to start a blog that makes money?

Definitely! Start today. Invest your time and money wisely. Take it seriously. Learn from those who have been there, done it. Create your team, and don’t look back. You are on the path to great achievements – you just have to believe in your dream and get out there. Take what’s yours. You develop your skills and you are the only one shaping your destiny/future.

The best advice I can give to you (and everybody else): never control the uncontrollable (e.g. other people or outside events) – you only have the power to control yourself and direct your thoughts, and actions to reach your goals, or worst, let them to sabotage you and distract from your goals.

I think this is the challenge we are all facing nowadays and the one who controls itself can lead others to achieve their dreams, naturally (by example) and not by command – period.

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