How to make a blog

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These tactics have worked great for us over the years and continue to deliver results!

[Welcome to Neil Patel readers! This post is one of the earliest on the blog and we still reference it regularly when promoting posts. They continue to help us grow our traffic at a rate that is still surprising to us. Enjoy!]

It’s tough to make a blog post go viral. There’s no secret sauce to make every post a hit. However, there are plenty of things you can do to increase your chances.

A great blog can be a huge asset to you – it feels great to make and can bring attention to what you’re doing. The problem is that if nobody sees your post it’s not useful to anybody besides you. There are tons of suggestions around the internet to drive traffic to your blog and most of them work to some extent. Most aren’t so effective. There’s really only one way to create a popular blog: creating great content that can change people’s lives for the better. It’s about putting yourself out there and making a connection. Corbett Barr says it best, “Write Epic Shit.” Content is indeed king but without a spark even the best content will lie dormant forever without anybody seeing it.

You live in an Epic Universe – make more Epic Stuff!

Before you post:

  1. Keyword optimize your post. Put your main topics into Google Keyword Tool and title the post based on the most popular search terms.
  2. Add pictures next to key items, it makes them carry more weight. Derek Halpbern of SocialTriggers has a GREAT post about using pictures in your posts.
  3. Re-read your post to check for errors. 

After you post use these to get in as many brains as possible:

  1. Submit to Digg
  2. Submit to Reddit
  3. Submit to StumbleUpon
  4. Post on Forums in niche
  5. Submit to Yahoo Buzz
  6. Submit to Delicious
  7. Post to Twitter
  8. Post to Facebook
  9. Post to Myspace. Myspace is dead, long live Myspace.
  10. Post to Google +
  11. Post to YouTube (if applicable)
  12. Submit to Technorati
  13. Post to Pinterest (if applicable)
  14. Post to LinkedIn
  15. Provide SEO keywords for images
  16. Directory submissions
  17. RSS directory submits
  18. Forum comments
  19. Relevant blog comments
  20. Social bookmarking
  21. Refer to posts on Yahoo! Answers
  22. Refer to posts on LinkedIn
  23. Refer to posts on Quora
  24. Press releases
  25. Link to our own past AND future blog posts
  26. Add to your email signature
  27. Add to your signature in forums
  28. Add to your next newsletter
  29. Request other bloggers to mention your post

Submit Your Post

Put it everywhere! … and make it good enough for them to care.

You don’t need to do all of these things every time but the more places your post goes the more eyes you’ll find. You will quickly see what is really working

Play with these ideas and let us know what you think. Do you have any other ways you like to get your content out into the world? Post below and let us know what works for you!

Check out our Complete Formula to Get your First 10,000 Website Visitors

The Hidden Pattern

There’s a pattern that some bloggers might think is hidden but it’s in plain sight to me.

It goes like this:

  1. Blogger starts a blog around a popular topic, let’s say organization
  2. The blog picks up traffic because people love organization
  3. The blog makes some ad money due to how much traffic it gets
  4. The blogger releases a Pinterest course explaining how they get so much traffic through Pinterest
  5. The Pinterest course makes them more money than the ads so now they create a blogging course
  6. Now their organizing blog isn’t so much organizing as it is how to make money blogging

What’s funny is that the blogging course the blogger creates doesn’t tell you to follow this path. Instead, the course gives you generic advice about finding a passion, writing for your audience, and taking your time with things.

The blogger gets more people to sign up for the Pinterest and Blogging courses so then they get to write a new income report with even more money which brings in more people and the cycle continues.

100s or 1000s of people end up taking a course that doesn’t help them with their blog because their blog isn’t teaching people how to make money.

The best way to make money with a blog is to pretend you make money with a blog and sell people on the idea that you can teach them how to make money blogging.

But don’t do that. It’s not ethical and you’re better than that.

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The next best way to make quit your job type of money is to find a topic that a lot of people love and then write kick ass content around that topic. From there you can go with ads, affiliate marketing, services, or your own products.

The key though is you need to have a topic that people are actively searching for and are willing to pay money to learn more about.

It’s great if you want to help people fight depression, but you aren’t going to make money with it.

For Thrive/Strive I found that yoga is a huge topic that people are passionate about. I’ve gotten 100s of thousands of pageviews to my posts on yoga.

That’s great! But it’s not.

Why?

I don’t have a yoga course. I don’t teach yoga.

Making money from yoga is pretty damn hard for me unless I start a yoga clothing line. Yoga is great for traffic but terrible for money, even if you’re using ads.

So what did I do? I switched over to writing more about the ketogenic diet. People are passionate about that as well so I created a membership site around keto and wrote a book and that’s how I make a healthy amount of money.

When you read income reports or look at blogging courses ask yourself if the blogger is telling you to do what they do. If they aren’t, then why not?

Why aren’t they saying:

You need to start a mom blog, get traffic, and then create a Pinterest course.

Maybe it’s because they don’t want to take a step back to see what they did themselves. Nobody proudly proclaims they make money teaching other people how to make money.

Yet, the bloggers earning 6 figures are doing exactly that. Do you think they really care that’s how they make their money?

If you could make $180,000 a year sitting at home or wherever and just writing some blog posts, would you do it or would you say you’d rather make $8,000 a year talking about parrots?

On the sign up page for the Billionaire Blog Club I tell people that they shouldn’t sign up if their blog doesn’t fall under one of the 7 niches. I don’t want to waste people’s time and give them the hope that what I teach will magically make any blog a money maker.

Sure, give me 2 years and some resources and I can make whatever blog you imagine one that can make money. But I’m not trying to do that.

I’m trying to build a lifestyle for myself and my family that will allow us to enjoy life.

You probably want to do the same.

So don’t worry about if other bloggers are lying about making money. Worry about if you’re lying to yourself about whether or not your blog can succeed.

Easiest Way to Make Money Blogging

There is a tried and true formula for making decent money with blogging and it’s hiding in plain sight.

Take a look at Chasing Foxes. The site does over a million pageviews a month. When you get that much traffic you can throw ads up on your site and make $10,000+ a month.

But you might be thinking that getting that much traffic isn’t easy.

Take a look at their blog.

Take a closer look at the content.

Now before I say the next thing let me first say that I respect what they’re doing. To me, the game is the game.

With that being said…

Their content isn’t good.

Their content isn’t special.

Each post is literally a list with each item linking to another blog post on another blog. Each list item has a short paragraph and that’s it.

It’s not a site where a strong brand is established. It’s not a site where you are going to remember the writing.

It’s merely a blog that finds popular topics, comes up with a list, and then publishes the list.

How do they get traffic? Join a ton of group boards on Pinterest and continue to pin your pins to them.

There is no reason why everyone else in the world can’t do the exact same thing.

They may say that they have a special formula for writing posts and it’s all about What’s In It For Me but the reality is, they are just finding popular content on other blogs and on Pinterest and putting it on their own site.

It’s not magic. It just follows the formula of hitting popular niches that people are interested in and getting the content in front of them.

Again, I’m not trying to disrespect what they are doing. Who wouldn’t want to make 5 figures a month on their blog? However, I don’t want you to think it’s a mystical art to all of this.

  • Find popular topics
  • Write list posts on those topics
  • Get those list posts in front of people and constantly promote
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That’s the easiest way to go about things.

Blogging isn’t easy because it takes time. If you have time then it becomes much easier once you get out of your own way.

I wish I could tell you that’s it’s super hard and you need to pay $1999 for my course but I can’t do that.

Currently, 4 of my blogs do over 100,000 pageviews a month and it’s not because I’m a super genius.

I just understand the formula for successful blogging and I stick with it.

Check out the other posts on this site to get a better understanding of my approach.

I'm just playing, I have no idea how many steps there are but believe me there are a lot.

In fact, one of the biggest reasons why many bloggers don't even get off the ground is because they suffer from analysis paralysis.

The other ones simply don't know what the next step is supposed to be.

That's why I created the 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp.

The idea behind it is that once you see the big picture of everything that you need to build a successful blog, it will become much easier to take the next step.

Stop wondering what it takes to build a blog that can help you quit your job or relieve some of the stress your family might be going through.

The free 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp is meant to give you an overview of successful blogging that nobody else can provide.

These are the things that I do over and over and over again with my blogs, not just my how to make money blog. All of them.

  • Personal Finance
  • Health and Fitness
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Women's Lifestyle
  • Working From Home
  • Survival
  • Homesteading
  • Parenting
  • Beauty and Fashion

My knowledge is coming from a place of diversity with the different blogs that I run so when I say you're going to learn things you won't find elsewhere, I mean it.

→ Start the Free 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp ←

How to make money blogging – 3 key success factors

Success

Before we talk about specific tactics you can use to make money from your blog, we need to consider 3 key success factors.

Have you chosen a profitable niche?

Choosing the right niche is essential.

If you don’t choose the right niche you will struggle to make your blog profitable.

For example; years ago I launched a site selling inflatable boats online. Not my best idea.

There were a few issues with this site but the worst was that I was selling a seasonal product. Summer is best for selling boats, so what about the other 9 months of the year?

Against the odds I did make some money but it averaged no more than two sales per year.

So how do you find a profitable niche?

It all starts with an idea, then you need to validate your idea with research.

There are plenty of tools to help you:

  • SEMrush – Use this tool to find out whether advertisers are spending a lot of money on advertising. The thinking is that if advertisers are spending money, there is clearly money to be made in that niche. It’s a paid tool but you can get some helpful info from the free version.
  • Google Search – Try searching for your niche and see if there are any advertisers. Google personalises search results so it’s worth de-personalizing them. This can be done by running your browser incognito. Alternatively this post at Moz.com offers some other effective methods.
  • Google Keyword Planner – This free tool will allow you to guesstimate the average cost per click in your niche. You can also get average search volumes for specific keywords. This is useful if you want to make money from Adsense (we’ll talk more about it in a moment) but it’s important to note that it won’t be all that accurate due to how Adsense is used for ad retargeting.
  • Affiliate platforms – Using affiliate platforms like CJ Affiliate (previously Commission Junction), Clickbank and Shareasale can be used to find out how much merchants are paying out to affiliates. You may need to sign up for an account to search and commissions can range from 5% to over 50% depending on the niche. We’ll talk about affiliate marketing in a moment.

Does your blog get enough targeted traffic?

Targeted traffic is important.

If your traffic isn’t targeted it won’t help you sell products, earn affiliate commissions or attract advertisers.

SEO and social media marketing come into play here.

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Both will do a great job at directing targeted traffic to your blog and will ultimately help you earn more money.

It’s worth noting that SEO traffic is generally more transactional in nature so people are more likely to part with money if you can help them solve a problem.

Social media traffic is less transactional generally but that’s no reason to forget social – a solid focus on social networks will allow you to increase your blog’s reach.

It’s easy to get side tracked and pursuing nothing but an increase in visitors/page views but that’s not always what matters.

The reason why most bloggers like Pat Flynn are making incredible amounts of money is not just because they get a lot of traffic but because they have a large following.

Pat Flynn Income

A community of people who genuinely value the information they share; that’s what you need to stay focused on.

Traffic generation resources

There’s a lot you need to know about SEO, I recommend reading this SEO for bloggers guide by Ashley Faulkes to get a handle on the important stuff.

You also need to promote every blog post effectively and keep focused on growing your audience. Check out the Blogging Wizard guide to blog promotion to find out how.

For more ideas on how to drive more traffic to your blog, this post by Jayson DeMers over on Forbes.com will help you.

Are you building an email list?

One of the key similarities between all of the top bloggers is that they are actively building their email list.

An email list is your greatest business asset.

It will help you create a community of followers, promote your latest blog post and sell products/services.

When someone subscribes to your email list, they are showing that they trust you and want to hear what you have to say.

Start building your email list early on, before you launch your blog if possible but the main thing is that you do.

For more details on exactly what to do, read this epic list building guide by Adam.

9. Make it easy to read

People don’t read web pages they scan. Make it easier for them to scan pages. Use large font; I would say that 12-pixel font is absolute minimum text size for the website. Dark text on light background. Bold text or bullet points for important items. New paragraphs every 4-5 lines, one idea per paragraph.

grammarly content writing tools

Grammarly is probably the best spelling and grammar checker around. Apart from being able to spot errors other grammar-checking apps can’t, it will also help you optimize your text and make it more readable. Make it a habit to run your text through Grammarly, as it will turn you into a better writer.

12. Use pictures and captions

Pictures help your post to stand out when shared on social media channels. People like images, they are easy to consume. Do not use unrelated images about happy people with laptops. There has to be a connection between the post and the image. If the connection is not clear, make it clear with the caption.

digital elite camp

The hotel we use for our global traffic and optimization event. Digital Elite Camp

This image will make people more interested in the event than just talking about content marketing, conversion optimization, and traffic generation.

18. Set goals and measure

If you want to get somewhere, you have to measure if you are moving in the right direction. It is said that people with clear goals have more success than the ones without. Write down what are you trying to accomplish. For example per month goals might be:

  • Leads
  • Revenue from web
  • Comments
  • Newsletter signups
  • Visits
  • Facebook likes
  • Twitter followers

You can read more about what to measure here: 48 Social Media KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

22. Passion

Write about things you really care about. If you don’t care about given topic, then find a new one.

I hope this post will help you to be a better blogger. If you know anyone who might benefit from this post, then please share it with friends on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

________________ Image credits: Lincolnian (Brian) – BUSY and VisualHunt

Social Media Marketing courseLearn how to market via Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Google and more advertising platforms! This must have course has a 4.7 rating out of 1,226 ratings with more than 12 thousand students enrolled.

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