Starting and maintaining a blog is a confusing, technical, and tiring process, with many factors to consider. In this guide, I’ll answer the question ‘how does blogging work?’
We’ll also discuss blogging statistics, monetization options, how to start a blog, how to write posts, and more.
Launching a blog is an exciting process, but it can also be highly daunting for beginners.
This guide should equip you with the skills and basic knowledge needed to launch a successful blog today.
Anyways, without further ado, let’s jump straight into the question of ‘how does blogging work?’
What is a Blog?
A blog is a form of writing and media that gets self-published online. It’s a way to voice your opinion, post articles like listicles, step-by-step guides, and express your creativity without any restraint.
For example, blogs are websites that get updated frequently and generally cover a specific niche, like finance or travel.
Anyone can create a blog, and you can post whatever you’d like on it.
Blogs are used primarily for making money, but they’re also a great way to build up a brand reputation, post personal stories, or create a community of like-minded individuals.
Blogs have been around since 1994 and are only growing in popularity, with over 570 million blogs in 2022.
If you want to start a free blog with limited capabilities, you could use Wix, Weebly, or Medium platforms.
To start a blog with unlimited capabilities, you should use WordPress.org. However, you need to purchase a domain name and web hosting to store your content on WordPress.org.
So basically, a blog is a form of online content that can make money, build a brand reputation, and create a community of like-minded people.
How Does Blogging Work?
Blogging works in many different ways, but I’ll explain it in the most basic term.
To start a blog, you first need to purchase a domain name (URL), web hosting (a server that hosts and shows your content to the internet), and choose a blogging platform (WordPress is my go-to).
After installing WordPress and your blog is live, you now need to style and customize it.
You can do this by installing a free or paid theme and installing free or premium plugins.
The theme is for your blog’s overall look, and plugins add extended functions and capabilities to your blog.
After you’ve customized these pages to your liking, you can now start publishing content.
Go to your WordPress Dashboard, hover on Posts, and click Add New. This is where you can write, edit, and publish posts for the world to see.
If you’re unsure how to structure SEO posts, I recommend installing the RankMath SEO plugin. It will inform you of basic SEO practices and is an excellent guide to follow.
You basically rinse and repeat the above steps to publishing new content, and you can customize your blog however much you’d like.
Over time, you’ll begin to grow traffic, and you can monetize through affiliate marketing, display advertising, products, and more.
Now you’ve learned how blogging works in the most basic form.
There is still so much more to it, which will be explained more thoroughly below.
How do Bloggers Get Paid?
Bloggers can get paid in various ways, and there’s no set answer for all niches.
Some bloggers make all their money through display advertising, whereas others make it entirely through paid courses or affiliate marketing.
Here are four different ways that bloggers can earn money:
- Display advertising: The ads you see on blogs. Most advertising networks pay in CPM (cost per 1000 pageviews/sessions). This means that if you have a CPM of $25 and you get 250K page views a month, you’ll earn $6250 from display advertising.
- Affiliate marketing: When a business will pay you for referring customers to purchase their products or services. It involves getting a tracked (affiliate) link and placing it wherever you’d like (articles, reviews, roundups). If someone clicks on the link and purchases the product, you’ll earn a commission, often ranging from 5% to 70% of the total purchase cost.
- Sell digital products: Another way to make money without many overheads is through selling digital products. You could sell eBooks, courses, templates, printables, and more.
- Sponsored posts: When a business will pay you to write a review about their product or service and promote it to your audience. This method is more for bloggers with an established audience base, as you’ll earn more money if you have high traffic and an extensive social media presence.
As you can see, bloggers can make money in lots of different ways. You can also make money through freelancing, coaching, paid memberships, donations, selling physical products, and more.
So, experiment with different methods, and see which ones work for your niche and which ones don’t.
How do beginner bloggers make money?
Beginner bloggers can make money through affiliate marketing, digital products, and freelancing.
I’ve excluded display advertising and sponsored posts because, as a beginner, you probably don’t have much traffic. Thus it’s not worth monetizing with these methods.
As a beginner blogger, I’d highly recommend providing freelancing services. You could become a freelance writer, website designer, social media manager, do data entry, and heaps more.
I say this because, in the beginning, you’re probably not getting a lot of traffic, so providing freelancing services can be a supplemental income while you’re still growing your blog.
Are Blogs Still Profitable?
Of course, blogs are still profitable in 2022, despite what you may think.
You can still make money blogging, but it may not be as easy as 10 – 20 years ago.
Much like any business, you need to be willing to invest time or money into making blogging work.
You can’t expect to make a full-time income without working full-time hours.
It also goes without saying that you most likely will not become successful after a few months, and it will take a long time before you start seeing impressive results.
Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you’re expecting to get-rich-quick, you should go down a different route.
According to Income School’s research, the average EPMP (earnings per 1000 pageviews) is $29.08. Meaning a blogger with 300,000 pageviews a month is earning $8724.
There are also bloggers who are capable of earning over six figures a month. These bloggers include Adam Enfroy, Pinch of Yum, Dollar Sprout, Timothy Sykes, and more.
Yes, you read that correctly. Bloggers are capable of making over $100,000 a month simply from their blogs. That’s higher than the average salary of a CEO in America.
So, yes, blogging is still profitable. You just have to be willing to put in the work and persevere for months/years.
How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps
Now that we’ve answered the question ‘how does blogging work?’ We’ll move on to how to start a blog in five easy steps.
Disclaimer: The article contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission on purchases at no cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.
1. Select a niche
A niche is the category of the blog you’re going to start. A niche could be a topic like finance, photography, lifestyle, art, fitness, and so many more.
There’s no limit on what niche you can choose. You do, however, want to write in a niche that does have an audience behind it; otherwise, you may never get pageviews.
Let’s break this down further.
A broad niche is like photography. Now, you can write about the overall niche of photography, but I recommended niching down further.
Instead of writing about the broad topic of photography, narrow it down into a category like landscape photography or street photography.
This principle applies across all niches. Instead of writing about fitness (a lot of competition), become a blog about fitness for women in their 50s.
Selecting a niche is a challenging process of starting a blog, but choose something that excites you, and something that you could write hundreds of posts on without getting bored.
2. Choose & buy a domain name
After you’ve selected a niche, your next step is to buy a domain name.
Domain names are the URL of your blog and encapsulate the identity and branding of your blog.
To select a domain name, follow these three steps:
- Research your competition: See what names your competitors have chosen for the selected niche. Don’t copy, but write down the words you like and try to come up with alternatives.
- Make it short and catchy: Try to aim for under 20 characters for your domain name. I also think two to three words is the sweet spot, and avoid dashes if you can.
- Use synonyms: Use a thesaurus to find synonyms for words you like, and mix and match until you find an available domain name.
To purchase a domain name, you can use a registrar like Domain, Namecheap, or GoDaddy. You can also get one for free with my web hosting deal below. 😊
3. Buy web hosting
After you’ve decided on a domain name, the next step is to buy web hosting for your blog.
Web hosting is the server where all of your blog files are stored and shown to visitors. Without web hosting, your blog won’t be live, and you can’t get into the backend of your dashboard.
Hostinger is an excellent web hosting option for beginners, and you can save up to 80% off through my link.
How to start a blog with Hostinger:
- Head over to Hostinger.com and click Get Started.
- Stay on “Web Hosting’ and choose whichever plan you’d like. I recommend the ‘Premium Shared Hosting’ plan ($2.59 a month).
- Select a period, 24 – 48 months are great options, but you can choose between one month or 12 months too.
- Enter your details and create the account.
- Choose whichever domain name you want.
The Premium Shared Hosting plan gives you a free domain name, SSL, CDN, 100GB storage, a free business email and is perfect for up to 25,000 pageviews a month.
4. Launch WordPress
Now that you’ve purchased Hostinger web hosting, the next step is to launch WordPress.
To do so, access your Hostinger control panel, locate the Auto Installer and open it, enter WordPress in the search box, and fill in your website details after clicking on the icon.
After you’ve filled in the website details, click Install.
Just like that, you’ve launched the WordPress dashboard and can now access the backend of your blog.
5. Install a theme & plugins
Now that you’ve gotten past most technical stuff, your next step is to customize your blog.
You can install a free or paid theme and start customizing your blog with plugins.
To install a theme, go to your WordPress dashboard, and on the left-hand side, hover on Appearance, click on Themes, and select Add New. You can install any free or paid theme you’d like.
To install plugins, hover on Plugins, and click Add New.
Plugins I recommend installing:
- Grow Social: A social sharing plugin that you can add to blog posts. It makes it super easy for your audience to share your posts to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and more.
- Site Kit by Google: Helps you connect your blog with Google Analytics, Search Console, and Adsense.
- RankMath SEO: Helps with structuring SEO-friendly blog posts and pages.
- Updraft Plus: A backup plugin that keeps your entire blog’s information backed up daily/weekly.
- WP Rocket: Speeds up your blog through caching and minification. Get 10% off through my link.
How to Write a Post
Now that we’ve established how to start a blog, I’ll teach you how to write an article.
Perform keyword research
Performing keyword research is vital for a blogger’s success. Keyword research informs you of keywords that you can write about, how many searches they get a month (from Google), and the difficulty of ranking (easy – very hard).
While these tools do have limits on daily searches, they are helpful to grasp keyword search volumes and SEO difficulties.
Head over to Ubersuggest and search up a broad term in your niche; for this example, I’ve chosen ‘smartwatch’ as my keyword.
In the keyword filters, I’ll change the Volume to at least 50 and the SEO Difficulty to under 30.
After choosing those settings, the keyword tool has spat out 112 ideas.
As you can see on the right-hand side, the SEO difficulty score is shown. 0 – 35 is considered easy, 36 – 69 is medium, and 70 – 100 is considered hard.
Next, I’ll click on Search Results to expand any keyword and display the top 10 pages ranking for the keyword.
For the keyword ‘best tactical smartwatch’, I can see it’s an easy keyword to rank. This is because five pages ranking in the top 10 have a domain authority score under 20.
That’s keyword research in its most basic form.
Structure your article
Next, we’ll have to structure the article. I prefer to create the shell of my article before I write, as it helps keep me focused and honed in on the topic.
Here’s an example of how I’d structure an article for the keyword I’ve found.
Heading: 9 Best Tactical Smartwatches to Buy in 2022
Introduction: 75 – 150 words. Keep it short but hook the readers.
H2: 1. Tactical Smartwatch
Paragraph: 100 – 150 words explaining the key features of the smartwatch.
H2: 2. Tactical Smartwatch
Paragraph: 100 – 150 words. Rinse and repeat for the remaining seven watches.
Conclusion: 100 – 200 words that wrap up your article and has links to related articles.
And just like that, you’ve structured your article, which will make it much easier for when you begin writing.
Now it’s time to start writing your post.
As I’ve said previously, I recommend installing the RankMath SEO plugin, as it will help you structure your posts for search engine optimization.
- Make your content skimmable: Don’t add large chunks of text. Try to keep paragraphs between one to three sentences long. This will make your article easier to read and will just generally look better.
- Don’t add fluff: As a blogger, you’re here to answer the audience’s specific questions. Don’t add fluff to bulk up your word count. Be short, concise, and answer their questions as quickly as possible.
- Write in the simplest way possible: You may think you need to write extraordinarily, but it’s often not the case. Just write in a simple and easy-to-read format that could be read by a 13-year-old or an 80-year-old with ease.
Is Blogging Easy?
After blogging for nine months, I can confidently say that blogging isn’t easy.
The disadvantage of blogging is that there’s a huge learning curve for beginners, and there’s also no guaranteed success.
I used to think that bloggers would write a post, publish it, and make exorbitant amounts of money for easy work. Man, I was wrong.
You have to learn how to provide value to an audience, write coherently, learn SEO, and customize a blog.
There’s no set pathway to success, and some may reach it in eight months, others may get it in two years, and some may never reach it.
You also have to be willing to adapt to numerous changes and learn as you go.
Blogging definitely isn’t for everyone, hence why 80% of all bloggers fail. It’s more complicated than most people might expect, and with lots of competition in all niches, it’s getting even harder.
Wrapping Up: How Does Blogging Work?
So that concludes the question ‘how does blogging work?’
While there’s never a straightforward answer to that question, I hope this article has answered some of your queries.
Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint, and I think it’s best learned by blogging itself.
I’m still learning about blogging nine months in, and I think I’m barely scraping the surface.
If you aren’t willing to adapt, learn, work hard, and persevere, I recommend going down a path opposite to blogging.
Do you now understand the question “how does blogging work”?