Wondering how to be a successful blogger?
Yes, I know.
You are probably thinking if it’s still worth it to start a blog in 2020, right?
You must have seen the stats. As far back as 2013 we already had approximately 152 million blogs on the internet. Fast forward to today, according to 99Firms:
There are over 500 million blogs on the internet.
A new blog post is published every 0.5 seconds.
A quarter of all websites on the internet are blogs.
77% of internet users read blogs regularly.
45% of marketers say blogging is their most important content strategy.
The optimal length for a blog post is 2,250 – 2,500 words.
Only 2% of bloggers earn over $150k per year.
Approximately, 76.5 million of all blogs use WordPress.
66% of blog content is written in English.
64% of B2B marketers outsource their blog writing.
Now, there you have the stats.
These are more than enough to scare a coward away from wanting to start a blog and become a successful blogger.
But you are no coward. And that’s why I wrote this as a guide for you on how to become a successful blogger.
Now you may be wondering who exactly is a successful blogger. Well, I know success means different things to different people.
For me, I believe I become a blogging success the very moment I can help you (yes, I mean you) overcome that fear of failure and procrastination and help you start your blog the right way.
With that out of the way, let’s dive in.
In this article, I’m going to give you all the reasons not to read another blog post before making an informed decision on if you should start a blog or not.
I will be showing you a practical step-by-step guide on how to own a self-hosted WordPress blog all in less than an hour, even as a newbie.
The Good news is, you don’t have to know HTML, coding, graphic or web design to do this.
I don’t know any of these either. Yet, I personally set up this blog you are reading on without any external help.
Also, I wrote, edited and publish this article even though English is not my first language. All thanks to Grammarly, my free text editor.
I am not talking about a free hosted type of blog or website like average.blogspot.com or average.wordpress.com. I mean a real self-hosted blog or websites like impressive.com or incredible.com.
Well, I’m here to show you how to do the same because generosity is an incredible virtue to behold. The good thing is, it doesn’t harm. It rather replenishes.
So, you’d want to read every step of the way with full attention.
How to be a successful blogger (case studies)
The story of two VERY SUCCESSFUL bloggers seems to be the perfect answer to your curiosity. One of which I have the pleasure of working with for over 3 years now.
The Story of Jon Morrow – The life lessons of a guy who can’t move anything but his face
I would have loved to start telling you all the amazing things about Jon Morrow, but honestly, I can’t think of a better intro for Jon, than the one he wrote himself.
It’s not a joke.
The only parts of my body I can move are my eyes and lips. My hands, feet, arms, and legs, are almost totally paralyzed, managing the occasional twitch and nothing more.
And yet… I have an amazing life.
Using speech recognition technology, I’ve written articles read by more than 5 million people. I’ve also built several online magazines that have, shockingly, made me a millionaire.
“This can’t be real,” you say. “You did all this, and you can’t freaking move?”
Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true. I do it all from home, sitting in my wheelchair, speaking into a microphone.
I’ve traveled a good bit too. I’ve lived in San Diego, Miami, Austin, and even Mazatlan, Mexico. Here’s a photo of me living the good life south of the border.
I look totally miserable, don’t I? Poor baby.
Not to imply it’s been easy, mind you. During my 34 years, I’ve had pneumonia 16 times, recovered from more than 50 broken bones, and spent literally years of my life in hospitals and doctor’s offices.
But I’m still here. Not only have I survived my condition, but I’ve built a life most people only dream about.
That pretty much summarizes who Jon Morrow is and what he’d done.
Now, you are probably wondering how he did it?
It’s all by BLOGGING. That’s it.
Mr Morrow has learnt the art of writing and blogging and he’s getting well paid to use those to change the world, right from the comfort of his home.
And the good thing is – he’d only gotten started about a decade or so ago.
If you are wondering how well his articles do that make him live such a rich life.
Again, his words had been read by millions of people the world over. This intro is from his article published less than 3 years ago with 80,000 social shares.
And SmartBlogger.com, his blog currently makes him over $100K monthly.
Abdullahi Muhammed – from hawking cassava flour to becoming a Forbes contributor all from Sub-Saharan Africa
Abdullahi Muhammed is a writer, and the proud founder of OxygenMat, a content marketing company.
You may be thinking earlier, that, well – Jon Morrow was able to pull off all his success because he’s American.
Well, you are right.
But the question is, why is Abdullahi Muhammed equally successful?
Unlike Jon, he’s black, and a Nigerian who’s lived all his life right here in Nigeria.
What does Abdullahi have in common with Jon?
The simple answer is that they both treat their blogs as a business, and not a hobby.
He started his first blog back in 2011 when he was still a law student. And, a year or two into starting that blog, he was already making 6-figures (in Nigerian naira) each month.
Like he jokingly says in some of the times I’ve had the pleasure of spending some times with him – “those 6 figures were more than the average salary of a University professor in Nigeria”.
Before graduating from the University of Ilorin, he started a second blog because the first blog had reached a $1,500 plateau in monthly income.
According to him, nothing he did to increase his earnings made any significant difference.
He started his second blog in 2014, and by 2016, he’d built it up to 50,000 monthly visitors, $9K monthly income and eventually sold it for a whopping sum of $280K.
As we speak, he currently runs a multiple 6 figure content marketing business. And he’s also a contributor to top publications like Forbes, USAToday, Entrepreneur and a couple of others.
He is a Nigerian (1,000,000%. If there’s anything like that). And yet, he’s pulling in all these from Nigeria, a country, where adequate power supply and internet access is still a luxury.
If you need help with what to start your blog around, you should find one of his Forbes articles helpful. And if you’ve started and need help with where to get clients consistently, he has done the hard work for you here.
The moral of these two stories is that, if you are still asking yourself how to be a successful blogger or if starting a blog in 2020 is still worth, the answer is HELL YES!!!
Starting a blog can still help your long lost dreams become a reality.
That’s the reason I started this blog – to help you avoid all the mistakes I have made, help you silence all the self-limiting believes that are holding you back and connecting you with the right information and resources that will help you avoid the trial and error phase of starting any new venture (blogging, inclusive). And how to do all of these without going hungry.
In case you don’t know yet, I’m on a journey of financial, time and location freedom. From HOLY SHIT to AHAA!!!, I’ll be sharing everything.
I’m learning a lot, and so will you.
So, now that you know you should still start a blog because it can help you achieve your dream while making positive impacts in the lives of others. And you’ve trusted me to help you catalyze your blogging journey.
What is a blog? – Blog sites defined
According to Wikipedia; A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page
Now that you know what a blog is.
Blogging platforms – what is a blogging platform?
In a simple language, a blogging platform is a content management software (CMS) or service that help you get your content published and organized on your blog or website.
It’s that simple.
Now you are wondering on, right?
What is the difference between a blog and a website?
A blog is a form of a website that is updated quite frequently and regularly and the blog contents on the homepage are usually arranged in reverse chronological order so that the most recently published blog post appears at the top of the page.
A website, on the other hand, is site comprising of static web pages which are less frequently updated.
Put simply, a blog can be a website or part of a website but not all websites is a blog.
Sure that is clear?
Okay, let’s move on.
Types of blogging platforms (popular blogging sites)
There are well over 40 to 50+ known blogging platform today. But, we will be reviewing only the most popular one of them all (WordPress).
Why you need a self-hosted blog or website, and not BlogSpot or WordPress.com type
The question is this. Will you rather own your own house in a serene and preferred location of your town, built to your taste and standard, where you can choose to rare some pets, have a gateman at your beck and call?
Or even go more classic and modern by remotely controlling your gate?
Or you prefer to perch with a friend or relative and be offered some boring and discomforting corner of a room to always pass your night in?
Worst still is that several rules (Do’s and Don’ts) will almost always accompany such offers.
Rules like when and when not to watch the TV, open the freezer or even when to go to bed or when to wake up.
The sad news is your so-called friend or relative can just wake up one day and say he dislikes your presence and will prefer not having you around.
I’m sure you’ll prefer the former, rather than the later. Who wouldn’t be?
That is the clear analogy between a self-hosted WordPress blog or website and a free hosted blog or website on BlogSpot or WordPress.com and other free blogging platforms.
How will you feel, if one day, you wake up only to realise that Google or WordPress has deleted your blog? One which you have labored so hard for many years to build.
What would be your feeling?
If all you want is just an online diary, to document some personal and day-to-day activities which you so much want to share with the world, a free platform will be just fine.
You have my permission to close this page, sip some coffee and go create your free blog.
If, however, you wish to sit in the driver seat of your online businesses, activities, grow a sustainable passive income online, and take full control of your own destiny. What you need is a self-hosted WordPress blog.
The good thing is, it doesn’t cost much to start.
WordPress blog: The recommended and most popular blogging platform on the internet
WordPress is by no doubt the most popular blogging platform in the world. Currently, WordPress is powering about 27% – 30% of the websites in the world.
The reason for this is not far fetched. With self-hosted WordPress, the functionality and possibility of what you can do with your blog or website are limited by your imagination.
Just think of anything you’d like to do on your WordPress blog, and there’s a plugin for the job.
Going with this option cost a little upfront investment of about $100 or less. But it is well worth every penny and seconds put into it.
If you want to go this route, I cover exactly how in this guide.
Pros of a self-hosted WordPress Blog
It is free: The WordPress.org blogging software is free to use. It becomes free to install after getting yourself a custom domain name and a hosting account with a hosting company like Bluehost.
Custom domain name: With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can use a cool domain name on your hosting. E.g, my own domain name is PassiveIncomeCatalyst.com
Sounds cool, right? 🙂
It’s 100% yours: When you own and operate a self-hosted WordPress blog, you are in full control on everything from what you want to call your blog, how you want it to look, what and how you’d like to be publishing to where you’d like to have your site hosted.
If you have a blog or website and if, for certain reasons, your current host is not meeting all your hosting need, you should consider moving to Bluehost for a better hosting experience.
Custom email IDs: When you host with a reputable hosting company like Bluehost, they let you create custom email addresses for free (example; firstname.lastname@example.org). Other companies like Hostgator and Godaddy would charge for this.
No design and styling restrictions: You are not limited to making your blog only a certain number of ways. However you want your blog to look or feel, there are a theme and plugin to bring it to life.
It’s more profitable: A self-hosted WordPress blog offers you more monetization options. You can choose to monetize your blog however you pleased. And you can even choose to sell your blog for a good amount of money when it’s well known and doing well in recurring monthly revenue.
The abundance of free tutorials, blogs posts and courses: Hosting your blog on a self-hosted WordPress has its own learning curves. But the good thing is, there is a countless number of high-quality guides online. And most of them are even FREE. A good example is my FREE email blogging course for beginners.
Room for expansion: Most times, blogging ends up becoming a means to an end and not an end in itself.
What this means is that you could start a blog and even make good money. But along the line, your blog may be transformed into several streams of income. On the same blog, you could be making money from several affiliate offers, sell your ebooks, sell your own courses and also sell some consulting services.
Sounds cool, right?
Extra Features: On your self-hosted WordPress blog, you can easily add several other features that will increase your email list quickly, grow your subscriber base and increase your revenue.
Examples of such features are adding email opt-in boxes, exit-intent popovers, push notifications etc to strategic locations on your blog to increase email subscribers and sale conversion.
SEO benefits: From the launch of your blog to the design and structure, to how the content is written and laid out. You are in full control of the search optimisation of your blog.
When you do this long enough and you are confident you can replicate these optimisations over and over again, you’ve just gained another high-income skill that can be another stream of income. All you just need do is to package it as a service and sell it to other website and blog owners who are either too busy, too lazy or don’t know how to do it themselves.
No Hidden Fees: Operating a self-hosted blog does not come with hidden charges. All you’d need getting started is the cost of a domain (usually $12 – $15 and some host will give this for free when you buy a hosting account).
I’ll show you how you can get your branded domain for just $11 for 2 years. That is, you’ll be paying $11 to use your domain name for 2 years instead of $24 – $30
And even better, if you decide to host with Bluehost, the #1 official hosting recommendation by WordPress
Cons of a self-hosted WordPress Blog
Just like almost anything good has a bad side, WordPress.org is no exception. However, the pros undoubtedly outweigh the cons. Let’s evaluate the cons:
Paid hosting plan: There is a recurring annual web hosting expense that comes with owning and running a self-hosted WordPress blog. Depending on the hosting company and the level of traffic your blog receives a month, this cost can typically range between $48 – $200 per year.
In my own view, it is more than worth it to pay this annual fee when the opportunity offered in return allows you to launch a business that can start earning you a monthly income of a few hundred bucks or even 4-figures within your first year of starting out.
Responsible for updates: It is your sole responsibility to ensure your blog version of WordPress and all accompanying plugins are always up to date. This will greatly boost the functionality and security of your blog. Which will, in turn, boost your user experience (an indirect ranking signal used by Google)
Responsible for backups: If you have ever worked for hours on a Word document or similar programs, only to lose the whole file somewhere along the line, you’d know the importance of keeping a backup copy of all your important files (your blog inclusive). You don’t want to wake up one morning only to realise that your blog has been hacked or has just had a virus attack.
But sadly, this still happens to people on a daily basis. The only way I know to recover from this quickly is to have a backup file of your blog. That way, you can restore the file as soon as you’ve finished your home cleaning (in the case of a serious hacking or virus attack).
There’s a learning curve: In case you haven’t realised it yet. Blogging can be a hobby or a business, the choice is yours.
But, if you’ve ever had any hope of making meaningful and consistent income blogging, you’ve got to treat your blog like a business. And with every new business, there are new things and skills to learn. Blogging is no exception
In order to make the learning process easy and hassle-free, I have created this short, yet detailed email course for you. And the good thing is, it’s still free.
If you haven’t already, please, feel free to take the course in filling in your best email below
I know you are eager to ask.
How can I start my blog? (What do I need to start a blog?)
Let me take the whole thing, one step at a time.
To start and run a successful blog, you need:
#1. A custom domain name; This is your identity and address that people will locate you with, online. Which, usually cost somewhere around $15/ year or free when you buy a hosting package with some hosting companies.
Bluehost, the best web hosting company for beginners offers you a free domain name when you buy your hosting account.
I’ll explain why that is, and why it’s the best and cheapest option for you.
You may have heard of several web hosting companies giving their customers w free domain name. In all honesty, it’s not actually free in the true sense of the word.
I’ll give you a $12 for free and charge you for a branded email address like YourName@YourBlogName.com.
In my opinion, they are trying to rip you off. This is because, as your blog start to grow, you may start having the need for more of these emails. For instance YourEmployee@YourBlogName.com, Support@YourBlogName.com etc.
You’d pay for each of these emails to keep using them. And for each, you are talking of another $24 – $30 per year.
If you have 3 – 4 of these emails in use at a time, the cost can add up very quickly.
That is not the case with Bluehost, the web host I recommend. Instead, you can buy your domain name from wherever you like and host it with them. Or use the take the free domain name they offer you.
And you’d still enjoy the pleasure of having as much as 5 of these custom emails as you deem fit for your business. All for FREE.
Now you see why I said hosting with Bluehost will save you money?
If you, however, have a little more money to put into your blog, I recommend getting your domain name from 1 & 1. If their domain deal is still on as at the time you are reading this, you can pick your domain name for just $11 and that covers a period of 2 years (that will save you an extra $19).
#2. A hosting account; This is your virtual parcel of land where your website will be built and all its files stored.
#3. WordPress.org software; This is absolutely free and comes as an add-on you can instal on your custom domain when you buy a hosting account.
The hosting company I recommend is Bluehost. And assuming you are a complete beginner, continue reading to see the detailed steps to setting up a blog with Bluehost.
If you are on a very lean budget and still want to get a good hosting value for your money, I recommend signing up for their one year plan, choosing the “Basic” plan.
How to write a blog post
Before we start looking at how to write a blog post, it’s important to know what is a blog post is and how does it work.
That should help when it’s time to choose your blogging niche and how to come up with blog post ideas.
So, what is a blog post?
I define blog post as the occasional or frequent pieces of information or content published on a blog.
This could come in various forms or format, but the is write in a chatty or conversational manner so that you don’t bore your readers to death with your content.
Hey, don’t be scared thinking it’s a skill that will take another few months to learn. No, just write as if you are having a conversation with a friend. It’s that simple.
Have you noticed the tone of this write-up?
You wouldn’t have read this article thus far if it were one hell of a boring academic writing style.
So, don’t do that either. Still thinking when you should start your blog and start writing?
Writing a blog post is a little like driving; you can study the highway code (or read articles telling you how to write a blog post) for months, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing like getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road. Or something.
If you need a step-by-step guide to help you start writing the perfect blog post that converts, Jon Morrow’s blog has a detailed guide on that.
But since this is an ultimate guide, I’ll show you the basic steps to take in publishing your blog post.
Best time to publish a blog post
According to this study, we can learn that there is no one-time fit all when it comes to publishing a blog post. Your goal of the blog post will have to be taken into account before you determine what the best time to publish is, at any given time.
Now, over to you
Do you have a blog or are you planning on starting one soon? Which web host is currently using or which one are you planning to use?
What are your experiences with your current web host and how is your blog faring?
Consider sharing with us in the comment below.