How To Blog & Make Passive Income — Part 1

PRLog (Press Release)Mar 16, 2012
Niche blogging is a good way to make extra money on the side.  In fact, over time, it can turn into a full-time income if you pick the right niche market.  There are many tools that can help you select the most profitable niche markets which also have low competition.  However, unless you are a hardcore blogger, you’re going to want to pick a niche that is something you enjoy writing about.  Creating a professional looking blog is much easier than it sounds.  From here on out, we’ll discuss the main components of blogging for money and how you can get started earning extra income.

I want to divulge that you can make money blogging for free.  At the same time, many of the products and tools that are mentioned here do come with a cost, but will also start to pay for themselves within a matter of months.  Throughout this article, I will do my best to offer at least one free tool per step so that you can find a pathway to earn money from blogging without spending a dime.

***Please note that if you are mainly interested in the specific techniques that you can make money blogging, skip down to Step 8 where I go into further detail.  For those of you that are new to blogging, please continue reading.***

First of all, what the heck is a niche and how is it pronounced?  Well, I’ve heard it pronounce multiple ways, but most dictionaries include the pronunciations of “neesh” like geesh and “nitch” like hitch.  Pick one and roll with it or, if you prefer, stay non-committal and use both.    A niche is simply a very specific sub-market that is focused on a particular audience.  For example, take my blog fantasydraftstrategy.com which focuses on a very specific target market that I enjoy writing about.  The base market is fantasy sports.  The sub-market is fantasy sports drafts.  I went a little deeper for the sub-sub-market and chose to focus on fantasy draft strategy.

Step 1:  Some tools of the trade to select a target market niche are Google Adwords Keyword Search Tool, Market Samurai, and Long Tail Pro.  Google Adwords is completely free to use and does provide a slew of information to find out what keywords have high search results with low competition.  Market Samurai does offer a free seven day trial, but requires purchase to use beyond that time period.  However, the market research that this tool provides is the most complete and detailed that I’ve found on the web.  Lastly, is Long Tail Pro which you can buy for a one-time fee and hasn’t been around as long as Market Samurai, but appears to be a little easier to navigate for those not used to researching the niche blog market.

Step 2:  Please note that there is not a free option listed in this step and it is not a requirement in order to eventually make money blogging.  However, creating a official domain for your blog will give it credibility and make its appearance much more professional to visitors.  If you have no desire to have your own domain, then you can skip this step and not miss a beat.

While you are researching your possible niche markets, you want to also see if the domain name is still available in that exact phrase.  A domain is simply the website, like this one which is blogideas.co.  If the exact search term that you chose is not available, then I suggest you keep searching for one that is.  You can check to see what domains are open by searching for them at a website such as godaddy.com.  Just enter in the domain you are looking for and click enter.  If it is available, then great!  If not, then it will give you some alternative selections or you can continue your search on your own.  The nice thing about GoDaddy is that they offer .co domains which can be a great alternative to .com domains.  I have quite a few .co domains myself and believe they are very professional.

You should expect to pay anywhere from $2 up to $15 per year for ownership of a domain.  Of course, there are premium domains that sites such as GoDaddy auction off for hundreds or thousands of dollars, but I don’t feel that would be a wise use of money.  Choosing to purchase a domain will also involve hosting the domain.  You can do this through GoDaddy Hosting since you’re already buying your domain there.

However, I have always used Bluehost.com to host my blogs and I don’t have a bad word to say about them.  I love their live chat help system and the ease of use of their control panel.  Also, right now they are giving you one free domain if you sign up for hosting with them.  If you do buy your domain at GoDaddy and want to host it on Bluehost, it only takes a few minutes to point your domain towards Bluehost and they are happy to give you the step-by-step instructions.

Step 3:  Once you’ve selected your niche market, it is now time to set up your blog.  Whether or not you chose to include Step 2, you still need to set up an account on a blogging platform.  There are dozens and dozens of blog sites that allow you to create a blog for free.  A couple of the top sites are wordpress.com and blogger.com.  If you chose to skip step 2 which would provide you with your own domain, then you will have a domain that includes your blog host’s domain.  Let’s say that your niche blog is called “Example” and you opened your account on WordPress.  You’re domain would be www.example.wordpress.com.  If you bought the domain example.com, then your domain (or web address) would be www.example.com.

I personally have always used WordPress as the platform for my blogs.  It was the first platform I ever used and I’m very familiar with the layout, the features, plugins, and general feel of the site.  There are thousands and thousands of ways to customize your blog with WordPress with themes and plugins to make your site unlike any other out there.

Step 4:  Now that your blog is registered, it is time to start the customization process.  Now, there are hundreds, more like thousands, of templates that are available.  Many are free and many have an associated cost.  Picking out the theme that is right for you is definitely a trial and error process.  Aesthetics play a large role in repeat visitors and it is important to have a theme that looks well-designed, but also functions properly.  I’ve settled on the HeatMap Theme for all of my blogs.  The reason is that it’s main purpose is complete integration with Google Adsense which is how you will generate a significant portion of your site’s income.  There is a very basic version of this theme which can be found here.  I have sampled more themes than I can count and not to knock on most of the free ones, but they just aren’t built for AdSense.  If you want to create a blog just to blog, then many of the free themes will work perfectly for you.  However, if you want to make money, then you need a product that works right and comes with solid support and tutorials.  Continue reading the rest of this Niche Blogger’s Guide by visiting http://www.blogideas.co/money-blogging.

If you like what you’ve read, then please subscribe to my blog at http://www.blogideas.co and follow me on Twitter @thefreetaco.

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