Ready to separate fact from fiction? This guide on How to Blog Successfully will teach you everything you need to know about running a blog in 2020!
We’ll go over some rumours you may have heard before and uncover the facts in order to set you up for success this year.
Some questions (and corresponding myths!) about blogging that we’ll cover include:
- Is blogging dead? Or, are blogs still popular?
- How much does it cost to start a blog?
- How much does it cost to run a blog?
- Is blogging easy?
- Is blogging a business?
- Can you make money blogging?
- How much traffic does a blog need to make money?
- Do you need to be a good writer to blog?
- Where is the best place to start a blog?
Let’s get started!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I could make a small commission if you choose to make a purchase using them. This comes at no additional cost to you and all recommendations are based on my experience.
How to Blog Successfully in 2020
One of, if not, the most important steps in running a successful online business is planning.
But where do you even begin?
For this reason, I created the Pro Blogger Bundle which features blog post planners, a blog post ideas brainstorming worksheet, editorial calendars, and a bonus 31 day Instagram content planner.
Having your content pre-planned for the next month or even the year ahead will do wonders for your online business.
Have you ever sat down at your computer, opened up your site or a word document, and just stared at the flashing cursor? Planning your content will get you past this point!
Learning how to blog successfully requires strong organization skills and investing in the right tools and resources to help you grow – the most basic being a calendar.
Now, onto those blogging myths. Let’s work through them in this order:
- Blogging is dead
- Starting a blog is expensive
- Maintaining a blogging is expensive
- Blogging is easy
- Blogging is not a business
- You can’t make money blogging
- You need a ton of traffic to make money blogging
- You need to be a good writer to blog
Is Blogging Dead?
Absolutely NOT! And in fact, far from it!
1. New searches are made every single day
Google is the most visited website in the world.
But did you know that Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second?!
That’s wild, isn’t it?
This translates to 3.5 billion searches a day and is a reason you should set up Google Search Console (GSC) NOW if you haven’t done so already!
Among other incredible insights, GSC will help you understand what terms you appear for in Google search results in addition to what percentage of those viewing your links actually visit your site.
Interestingly, 15% of Google searches have also never been searched before!
That’s 525 million opportunities to rank for new long-tail keywords!
Need help figuring out what to write about? Try this list of 1,000+ popular ideas to blog about. I’ve already done the research in more than 20 popular blogging niches for you!
2. Plenty of people don’t want to watch videos!
While YouTube might be the most visited website in the United States – in fact, 73% of adults say they use the video-sharing platform in comparison to only 29% and 35% who use Pinterest and Instagram, respectively – some people want to learn at their own pace!
Isn’t it frustrating to start a video only to realize, ugh! This was clickbait!
Or maybe, you’re trying to learn how to do something through a tutorial but (1) the individual’s voice is hard to understand, (2) there is no verbal explanation, or (3) the pace is too fast or (4) too slow!
Blogs provide users the opportunity to go through content as quickly or as thoroughly as need be.
Being a full-time work at home mom means that I’m usually working alongside a napping toddler or one that has gone to bed for the evening! When I want to learn how to do something, I need it to be both quiet and efficient!
Time is precious, especially as a parent blogger with so much more on my plate.
It’s also nice to continue to be able to do research on your phone while waiting for an appointment to begin, for transit, etc! There are certain times where video just doesn’t work!
Blogging Tip #1: Brainstorm ideas for your blog and see where there’s a need for your expertise!
Bonus: Create an inspiration board on Pinterest that features the bloggers and/or businesses you admire most.
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How much does it cost to start a blog?
Blogging does not have to be expensive.
You can create a blog with Siteground for $3.95 a month – yep, that works out to 13 cents a day!
Starting a blog is one of the most reasonable investments you’ll ever make!
The StartUp Plan is a fantastic and affordable option for new bloggers and gives you everything you need to grow a successful blog including 10GB of Web Space and 10,000 visits monthly – that’s great room for growth!
To give you an idea, when I first started blogging, I would experience maybe 30 visits a month – and this is only because I was a pretty active Instagram content creator.
I host all of my blogs with Siteground and phone them whenever I have a technical question.
More than anything, blogging costs time!
But if you’re willing to put in the effort, learn constantly, and then apply your new skill set, you can achieve great things.
Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme, I’m not going to lie to you and pretend it is.
Building a six-figure blog takes hours, days, months, and years!
The technical stuff will frustrate you sometimes – and that’s why I always recommend Siteground. Other hosts don’t offer the same kind of on demand support or features they do!
Trust me, I tried both Wix and WordPress.com
But like any new job or experience, you’ll need to learn a bit.
However, there are ways to make things easier on yourself.
For example, if you don’t want to learn how to do any technical stuff at all, you can still create the site of your dreams by using plugins – which brings us to the next question!
How much does it cost to run a blog?
If your budget limits you to paying for web hosting, that’s okay!
We can stick to that 13 cents a day, or $3.95 a month price tag.
However, if you’re serious about blogging as a business, you should also consider investing in premium WordPress Themes and Plugins.
What is a WordPress Theme?
Simply put, a WordPress Theme is basically your website design.
Themes consist of templates and stylesheets that cover everything from fonts, layouts, and other more complicated features.
The easiest way to get started is by purchasing a premium WordPress theme.
Opting for a premium theme is one of the easiest ways to give off a professional appearance from the start. And the best part is, they start at $19 and are a one time fee!
Like buying your new favourite sweater, haha!
Over 19.5 million websites are powered by WordPress, so you can imagine how many times the free themes that come equipped with it have been used and seen by viewers – set yourself apart and opt for a beautiful premium theme!
What are WordPress plugins?
WordPress plugins are essentially apps that you can add to your blog for new features!
For example, a lot of fashion and lifestyle bloggers display Instagram feeds on their blogs. The best plugin for this is Instagram Feed Pro.
Instagram Feed Pro allows you to customize the way your Instagram feed appears from the size of images and the number of rows and columns showing, to how many photos are displayed, in addition to whether or not you want to show likes and comments.
There are plugins for plenty of other social media networks, for inserting meta tags and other codes that verify you are in fact the owner of your blog on major sites, and even plugins that increase your site’s speed.
There are both free and premium plugins available for WordPress sites.
The easiest way to understand plugins is by comparing them to the app’s on your mobile device.
However, unlike the apps on your phone, WordPress plugins aid in both user and owner experience!
In addition to Instagram Feed Pro, a few of the other premium plugins I use to manage my site include:
- Squirrly : for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keyword research
- Tasty Pins : to optimize my images for SEO and hide pins in my post
- WP Rocket : a caching and performance optimization plugin to improve site speed*
* Thanks to this plugin plus lightning fast hosting with Siteground, my site is fully loaded in 1.2 seconds – for reference, the average site takes 7 seconds to load and most users don’t want to hang around for any longer than 3 seconds, wow!
Use GTmetrix to test your site’s speed.
Blogging Tip #2: Create a budget for your blog – determine how much you want to invest in starting your blogging business and write a wish list of tools and resources.
They may not all fit into your budget now, but you’ll be able to invest more as you continue to grow!
Is blogging easy?
Time for a truth bomb.
No, no, and… no!
Blogging requires a lot of time and effort.
You can’t just fly by the seat of your pants and hope that random posts perform well.
Passive income is another blogging myth you may have come across.
The concept is simple – start a blog, add a few links, build authority, and then watch the money roll in.
But in reality, this isn’t the case.
Blogging requires a daily effort!
Whether it’s promoting your latest posts, products, or services through social media and Facebook ads, you need to monitor and nurture your business to ensure that it continues to grow.
If blogging were as simple as starting a website and watching the money roll in, I’m pretty sure everyone would be doing it!
Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme!
It requires a small financial investment and a lifelong investment of your time and effort!
You don’t need to work on it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but continuous maintenance and an eye on your analytics will help you grow your brand that much more quickly!
Blogging Tip #3: Download a free blogging planner or purchase a physical agenda.
Take a look at the month ahead and plan out days that you will work on your blog. Use the additional details or notes section to create a list of goals you want to achieve this month.
Is blogging a business?
It absolutely can be.
Online entrepreneurs often use a blog in two different ways: blogging as a business of its own and blogging for business!
Not sure what the difference is? Let me explain.
What is blogging as a business?
Running a blog as a business means using your site to generate income with blog specific monetization strategies.
For example, I run this site – Nikki Blogs – as a blogging business.
What is blogging for business?
Creating a blog for business means supplementing your business website with a blog!
Selling your own products or services on your site is the priority – you write blog posts as a means of sharing new and current information related to your industry, promotions, etc.
For example, Slivarich Productions Inc. is the name of our production company – we specialize in Vancouver film industry rentals as well as digital marketing services.
When I write a blog post here, it’s to promote our services based business.
Writing a blog for your business is an excellent strategy to help you rank in Google and other search engines – because more indexed pages means more chances of eyeballs on your links and/or products!
Every time you publish a blog post, you’re creating fresh new content for your site! And Google LOVES new content!
Blogs are good for business!
Blogging Tip #4: Treat your blog like a business and think like a six figure business owner!
Keep track of your to do list, goals, website analytics, and growth. If something isn’t working, make an adjustment!
Bonus: A/B Testing is a great strategy for your latest release.
Can you make money blogging?
But if you’re like me when I started out, you’re probably a bit skeptical!
When I tell people that I became a “social media influencer” by accident – I hate that term and prefer to call myself a content creator since it’s the photography and design elements that excite me not popularity *mini rant over* – I sometimes get eye rolls.
But as someone who used to collectively refer to social media as “Pin-stagram”, I can assure you that at one point, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!
My online adventure started with couponing and free product trials – ChickAdvisor, to be exact.
My sister introduced me to the platform when I was placed on mandatory bedrest during my pregnancy and forced to withdraw from the semester of my B-Sci.
I was seven months pregnant with fractured ribs and couldn’t leave the house – so, I had a lot of time on my hands.
Eventually, I was also selected for my first free product – and then again and again!
One of the requirements for receiving these full-sized free products was to post on social media… Seriously? This is insane! Why isn’t everyone doing this?!
And so, West Coast Mama was born! I created a blog to write about saving money, couponing, and product sampling for Vancouver moms.
But what I didn’t realize was that there was a separate opportunity to monetize my new blog as well.
Starting a blog that pays is hard work
When you’re brand new at this whole online business thing, blogging and social media can be overwhelming!
You have to learn the lingo, how to set up your site, how to write a blog post, and how to get people to read it among other things.
WordPress, Pinterest, and Instagram are completely separate entities – oh, and they’re constantly being updated! So, when you take a hiatus, you may have to learn a few new things – like I did after three months away from IG, yikes.
Making money with a blog is possible from day one but you need to do your research or invest in some sort of education.
Personally, I was frugal and never invested in any blogging courses but I did thousands of hours of research to get to where I am today.
I’ve read dozens of blog posts daily and use my Kindle Paperwhite to find amazing books on blogging, content marketing, and social media.
I actually bought my Kindle to declutter my home and downsize my physical book collection – going digital is such a space saver!
However, I didn’t realize how many incredible titles related to my blogging niche are on Kindle – including a few by well-known and respected digital marketing entrepreneurs like Neil Patel!
If you sign up for Kindle Unlimited, you can also read as many of the books that are available on this subscription as you want! Read three or 30!
First time subscribers can also take advantage of a FREE 30-day trial!
For me, this beat taking an expensive course that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars especially since we only had one income when I decided to pursue blogging full-time!
As another blogger once put it to me, you can take the fast expensive way or the slow frugal way.
So, take it from me, someone with:
Zero computer experience.
Zero social media experience.
Zero marketing experience!
Anyone can do this!
Money Saving Tip: Want to save even more money on a Kindle Unlimited subscription? Wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday or Amazon Prime Day!
You can save up to 40% off your subscription.
Amazon does also occasionally launch special promotions throughout the year as well – I once purchased a three month subscription for just 99 cents!
Keep your eyes peeled and sign up for a plan that fits your needs.
Do note that if, for example, you purchase a 12 month plan, you won’t be able to get a refund for 11 months if you change your mind later.
So, how do you make money blogging?
Effective planning, patience, and investing in the right tools from the start!
I spent hours researching blog posts in my niche plus the bloggers who dominate it – and all between my little girl’s nap and bed times!
Plan, plan, plan.
Even if you don’t check off every item on your to do list, make the effort to manage your time and prioritze responsibilities.
When I started, I was a sleep-deprived new mother who had no intention of going back to finish my second degree – there’s nothing like holding your newborn baby to change the way you look at life, is there?!
Making money with a blog is possible through:
- Affiliate marketing
- Displaying ads
- Offering services
- Selling digital products
- Doing sponsored posts
Try them all and see what works for you!
Blogging Tip #5: Investigate blog monetization methods to see what feels like a good fit. You can always change your mind later on!
How much traffic does a blog need to make money?
Looking for a magic number?
There’s no such thing!
Getting 10,000 page views a month is a lovely goal and could probably generate a moderate amount of ad revenue for you – but you’ll need to be able to keep readers on your page long enough to view and possibly even click on ads or sponsored links.
You don’t need a certain amount of blog traffic – you need to convert the right blog traffic.
Once I got serious about blogging, Tailwind for Pinterest was the first serious investment I made.
I knew my audience was on Pinterest based on the type of content circulating on the platform – to learn if yours is, conduct a bit of Pinterest specific keyword research.
I use Tailwind to:
- schedule pins to Pinterest so they’re posted at ideal times – when they have the best chance of getting views!
- share content to Tribes in order to boost Pinterest social shares – similar to Pinterest Group Boards but they’re moderated, so most members actually share one another’s content here 😛
So far, Tailwind has allowed me to:
- reach 116.2 million users
- have my pins re-shared 17.7k times
- have my pins repinning 15.8k times
I’ve also hit over 600,000 monthly viewers and it’s going up every day, wow!
Achieving this in just one year would have been difficult without Tailwind.
Starting a blog can be overwhelming – there’s courses, plugins, themes, and tools to choose from. So, what should you invest in first?
I chose to go all in on Tailwind because it’s not something you can find for free online – it’s a promotional tool.
I learned as I went by reading blog posts, signing up for newsletters, and taking whatever free courses were available – all while promoting my content at the same time!
It was the long and inexpensive way, but I didn’t have a lot of money to invest in expensive blogging courses then – my husband and I bought a fixer upper (the kitchen was unusable – neither the stove or dishwasher worked!) and needed to invest every penny we had in renovations.
Tailwind helped me get the right traffic to my blog from the beginning.
To make money blogging, you also need to have an ideal audience in mind.
So, who is your ideal audience?
How to find your target audience for blogging
Start as vague or as specific as need be.
For example, here’s my target audience:
I picture moms in their late 20’s and early 30’s, just like me – it helps if you resemble your audience because that makes you relatable to them.
This woman wants to grow and nurture her family while doing more to contribute than just busy work around the house and changing diapers!
She misses her exciting job and/or university lectures but can’t imagine being apart from her children.
This woman is determined. She’s going to have it all. She is fierce. She blogs.
I rebranded West Coast Mama to Nikki Blogs when I became fed up with people asking me when I’d go back to work and/or finish my second degree.
Blogging Tip #6: Write a business plan that answers the questions:
- Who is my ideal audience?
- Why do they love my brand?
- What am I providing?
- What makes my brand special?
- And how am I different than other similar brands?
* These questions may be more difficult to answer than they first appear! But once you have the answers, creating content becomes that much easier.
Do you need to be a good writer to blog?
But proper spelling and good grammar will help keep your audience engaged!
Like most people, I’m guilty of spelling mistakes too – see one of my top ranking Pinterest pins for evidence – how embarrassing!
Since then, I use Grammarly for Chrome and have also installed the app on my iMac – it’s amazing for both ESL and native English speakers alike.
What is Grammarly?
Grammarly checks for spelling mistakes as well as common and advanced writing issues like grammar, subject-verb agreement, irregular verb conjugations, article use, and modifier placement!
In our household, we speak three languages – English, Croatian, and Slovak!
So, after a long day of switching between languages, this app can feel like a Godsend – it probably doesn’t help that I often listen to Balkan hip hop while writing English blog posts 😉 but to each their own!
Bloggers are a very diverse group. We come from all ages and ethnicities.
But that’s what makes this career path so rewarding.
One of the most essential parts of blogging is using your own voice.
So, write your posts using a combination of conversational and presentation styles.
Remember tutorials from highschool and/or University? Imagine you’re a TA!
Blogging Tip #7: Install Grammarly to do your best in preventing embarrassing spelling errors and grammatical mistakes.
Be concise in your wording and tailor your language to fit your audience.
Where is the best place to start a blog?
As someone who’s used both Wix and WordPress.com, I can tell you that self-hosting your blog with WordPress.org on Siteground is the only way to go!
I didn’t start making real money until I made the switch. And upon launching my new blog, I made money from the start!
Self-hosting on Siteground is:
- allows you full control over design and add ons
- assures that you own your content – see WordPress.com’s TOS for more infomration
- allows you to monetize your site – in their less expensive plans, WordPress.com will display ads on your site but these ads don’t pay you! Opting for the more expensive premium plan that features WordAds also won’t change your life – I earned something like 6 cents during my 7 or so month run!
To learn how to start a blog from scratch, check out my six step tutorial here.
Blogging Tip #8: Before purchasing new hosting or extending your hosting agreement, do the research!
Determine what features you need and whether or not you’re comfortable with the conditions.
As intimidating as it may sound, self-hosting is always the best option for blogging as a business – and it’s far less difficult to set up than you think.
Go self-hosted from the beginning – don’t make the same mistake I did!
Congratulations on learning how to blog successfully!
In this post we learned that:
- Blogging isn’t dead and blogs are still popular
- Starting a blog costs as little as 13 cents a day / $3.95 a month with Siteground
- Managing your blog can cost as little as the price of your hosting
- Blogging isn’t easy
- Blogging can be used as a business and for business
- Your blogging income is correlated to your effort
- How much blog traffic you generate is less important than the quality of blog traffic you generate
- Siteground is the best place to start a blog – especially for its speed and exceptional customer service!
Ready to start your online business? Create a blog now in 6 easy steps.
We’ll cover everything from:
What kind of a blog do you dream of writing? How are you setting your blog up for success this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!