Start a blog that will drive your targeted customers!
Sounds Good? Let’s get started.
Who doesn’t like free things, especially when it comes to generating free customers to boost sales?
Well, in this article, I am going to explain how to start a blog that generates free digital customers to boost your sales.
Google earned $134.81 billion as of 2019 through its ads revenue. So, you can understand how difficult it is to rank on the search page for free.
You can’t directly rank your sales page for free on the search page, that’s the business model of google forcing you to pay them.
So the question is, how can you get your potential customers to your sales page?
Well, through your blog, and it’s free!
It doesn’t matter if you want to be a blogger, internet entrepreneur, or a local business owner, a blog can help you to boost your business online.
You can still start a blog from scratch to bring your potential customers, show them different offers using sales copy, and finally convert them into your paying customers.
If you already have a blog, then you can skip the first three steps. Otherwise, go through each step to start a blog successfully.
These 11 steps below will give you comprehensive details about blogging.
In 2020, blogging is not limited to the hobby anymore; it’s all about business.
So, to succeed through blogging, you will have to think like a CEO, not as a writer.
No doubt, quality content is the key to success in blogging, but what if you don’t write for the right audience. You will fail!
1) Niche to Start a Blog
If you are just starting the journey, then the niche selection is the first step to start a blog.
Everyone else talking about following your interest to start a blog, but I recommend you to build your interest in what the potential market needs.
There are more than 600 million blogs available on the internet. So just jumping into the industry to start a blog without a proper plan can cause your failures.
Select a blog niche that is big enough, but you should never go for a general niche like nutrition, business, news, and so on unless and until you have an investor.
Here are a few steps to select the right niche to start a blog.
a) Goal to Start a Blog:-
You will have to decide your goal from the start of your blogging journey. The goal should be crystal clear about what exactly the benefits you are looking for from your blog.
Your expectation from your blog would be anything like getting brand recognition, sales, free traffic, loyal customers, passive income, affiliate marketing, fame, or anything else.
But remember, you must set a goal that is realistic. Setting up a goal to achieve $100k, even 1 million dollar profits within a month just after launching your blog, doesn’t make any sense!
Once you decided your goal to start a blog, jump into the next step!
b) Research Your Niche:-
After deciding your goal, now it’s time to find your niche. Roughly pick some niche at least five in what you think you can dominate on.
Carefully think about those niches that how long you can produce content on each niche.
Most importantly, you should focus on how depth you can dive into each topic you choose to write regular content.
Research about the problems of each niche and how long you can sustain yourself with these problems.
Find if there is any topic gap that other top bloggers of that industry are just overlooked.
Put your niche on the SEMrush tool and research one by one to find the right one.
c) Research Your Competitors:-
Researching your competitors is a part of your niche research and the most crucial factor to see before jumping to start a blog.
Once you put your niche on the SEMrush tool, it will show up you the top keywords of that niche.
Put the highest volume keywords on google and then pick your top five competitors for each keyword. (You can also check SEMrush suggestions)
Now go to the SEMrush tool again and put one by one your competitors’ link on there. They will show up your competitors’ top keywords they are ranking for.
Get the ideas of how difficult it is to compete with your competitors.
Check a few things of your competitors like their domain authorities, their monthly visitors, their referring domains, their top-ranked pages, and more.
Once you did it right, jump to the next step.
d) Research the Potential Business:-
As I said, blogging is all about business in 2020. So that make sure how much business can be generated by being in your niche.
Most of the bloggers depend on google Adsense for their content monetization.
If your goal is brand recognition, then you will not have to care about it, but if you are targeting to generate sales or traffic, then you must care about it.
To see the market value of your niche, list the top keywords of that niche, and check one by one in the SEMrush tool to see the CPC cost of each keyword.
The higher Cost Per Click (CPC) shows the higher business potential of that particular niche.
Also, don’t forget to see if there are affiliate programs that offer affiliate commission for their tools in your niche.
I hope you went through the above steps and finally you have decided on what niche you should enter.
2) Blog Domain
The blog domain plays a vital role for a digital brand. After deciding your niche, it’s time to register your blog domain.
If you are targeting to create a digital brand as an agency, community, or a publication blog, then you must go with a proper domain to start a blog.
a) Niche Relevancy:-
A domain is an identity of a blog that represents the entire content of that blog.
So, to start a blog, you must choose a proper domain name that is relevant to your niche.
What if your niche is health-related, and you have chosen a domain name that is related to the business niche.
The effect of your wrong domain name will directly go to your visitors’ mind as well as a lousy signal will go to the search engine.
Find some words that can define your entire site and has at least 1k search volume per month. You can find the words using SEMrush!
b) Domain length:-
All the single-word domain names are already registered.
All you can do is either choose a unique custom name or add another short in length and descriptive in meaning word with your initial term.
The domain length limitation is 253 characters, but the standard domain names are below 15 characters.
You should follow the same while choosing the best domain name to start a blog successfully.
c) Domain readability:-
The custom domain name doesn’t mean that hard to read for the people. The domain name must be easy to read and easy to pronounce as well.
Most of the time, people refer a blog to others by word of mouth.
If someone fails to pronounce your domain name, then the chance will be higher to losing your potential customers.
d) Memorable domain:-
On average, 70% of internet users never come back to a blog after visiting once. Because most of the time, they can’t remember the blog name.
The blog name must be attached to the entire content of that blog.
Let suppose you are in the business niche, and the excellent example for a domain name is businessinsider.com.
It describes that the site is all about business.
Another example of the business site is forbes.com. Forbes is the last (surname) of Steve Forbes.
But, the meaning of Forbes is wealthy, so it describes itself in business.
e) Domain Registration:-
Once you decided a domain name, it’s time to verify your domain, and after this, register your domain name.
To do so, you can check any domain registrar, but I highly recommend you to check BlueHost, it is cheap and reliable.
Go to BlueHost and check your domain availability and register your domain.
Make sure your domain name short in length and descriptive in meaning, easy to pronounce, and easy to connect.
3) Hosting to Start a Blog
It’s time to host your entire blog in one place.
There are a lot of blog hosting providers available on the market that have different features according to their pricing.
I recommend you to host your blog on BlueHost. It’s easy to use, affordable in your budget with its great features.
Purchase a hosting plan from BlueHost, starting from only $2.95/month that includes unlimited traffic and free SSL certificates.
Set up your hosting account, control panel, and email account by following their instructions here.
If you have any problem to start a blog then reach out to me using my contact form, I would definitely help you out.
a) WordPress Installation:-
WordPress installation is as easy as a child play. BlueHost made it easy by providing multiple options for a WordPress installation.
You can install your WordPress using “Market Place,” or you can use “My Sites” to install WordPress on your hosting account.
If you already have purchased a plane on BlueHost, then simply follow their instructions here.
b) Blog Theme:-
A blog theme is the most crucial part of a successful blog. The code of the blog theme decides how well your blog will perform technically.
If you have enough budget to afford, then you can hire an expert to design, develop, and optimize your WordPress blog theme.
Simply hire an agency or a freelance developer from Fiverr for your blog theme.
Before hiring them, make sure they know how to write codes to deal with search engines.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a $1000 budget to design your blog from scratch. You can still start a blog using a well-optimized WordPress theme.
Envato marketplace offers tones of well-optimized minimal look WordPress themes.
All you need to do is visit the Envato marketplace and purchase your desired theme related to your niche.
Envato market place offers technical support that might help you to set up your WordPress theme.
4) Blog Set up
The structure of a blog is the key to success in terms of conversions and sales.
The blogs that have conversions rate more than others required some basic to advanced level set up.
Study says 69% of a website visitors spend most of their time to view left side content, and only 30% of visitors see the right side content.
Make sure your valuable content and your sales copy placed on the left side.
Some blog themes may have limitations to customize, but don’t worry, you can use the Elementor premium plugin to design your page according to your needs.
Try to put a call to action on above the fold like email opt-in form, buy now button, or anything else based on your niche.
If you want to build your personal brand just like me, then put your headshot on the left-side if possible otherwise put it on the top right side.
Put a popular post section on the right sidebar so that new visitors will have the ideas about content quality.
For the brand’s official blog, the front page of that blog must contain the content that describes what the brand is about.
Put all the essential page links to the footer section, and a newsletter form if possible.
5) Important WordPress Plugins
You can’t avoid using plugins once you decide to start a blog. But remember, the overuse of plugins will cause your site load slowly.
There are 50k+ plugins available on the wp plugins library, and to choose from them is overwhelming for a new business owner.
To free your hustle, I have found the top 7 useful plugins to start a blog successfully.
Plugins that must require to start a blog are listed below with short descriptions.
The most popular and best WordPress page building plugin is Elementor. It is easy to use page building plugin to set up and design the best content in your blog.
Elementor made it easy so that you will not require any coding skills. You can drag and drop widgets on your custom layout pages and posts to give it a custom looks.
Hustle is the best and free WordPress plugin that allows you great features for email collecting popups and inline content widgets.
You can also show different offers using hustle at any time anywhere on your blog.
The hustle is an open-source WordPress plugin so that you will never be locked for the premium version of it.
Hustle offers all features together to trigger your offer based on your customers’ behavior, and all these are for free.
Online success depends most of the time on free traffic, and free traffic comes from different search engines.
To optimize your blog for the search engines, you must require an SEO plugin.
Yoast is one of the prominent and industry-leading SEO plugin with its great features.
Although Yoast has a limitation in the free version, it is excellent for newbies.
You can upgrade any time with a small one-time payment of $89.
I love their AI system that detects your content about how well written it is.
Based on your focused keywords, it tells what you should do and how you should do to make your content search engine friendly as well as your customer friendly.
d) Ultimate Blocks:-
Another useful open-source plugin is Ultimate Blocks by Gutenberg. Since the beginning of starting a blog, you should keep it in your mind.
Ultimate Block is a plugin that offers 18 blocks for your pages and posts.
I love one of its great features called the table of content; it is easy to use and for free.
You can give your post a review schema, call to action, content filters, styled box, and more.
So, you must try it for your marketing campaign as well as provide your customers with an excellent user experience.
I have found push engage a better way to connect website visitors with the site owner. It allows bringing back the site users.
PushEngage is the most powerful tool that gives the site visitors a notification to bring them back to your website every time you post new content or update content.
The best part of PushEngage is you can add 2000 free subscribers in your free plan.
Having 2000 subscription limitations is fair enough for the new business owners to build their loyal subscribers. You can upgrade your plan at any time.
Site speed is a compulsory fact for a successful blog. You must have to take it seriously when you start a blog as a business.
No one likes a slow loading site. The study says if a website delays in loading, the potential customers lose their patience and leave the site.
Autoptimize comes to take place to optimize massive codes and images on your blogging site to load your blog faster.
It is easy to use and for free so that you can optimize your blog to give your customers a better experience.
g) Contact Form7:-
Business doesn’t exist without customers, and the customers never stay back if your communication is weak.
To communicate with your customers, you will need to set up a contact form in your blog, and to do so; you can install contact form7 plugin.
By default, most of the WordPress themes attach contact form7.
It is free to use and easy to install.
6) Blog pages
Some relevant pages are required to give your customers a first-hand knowledge about your blog initially.
These pages are essential to start a blog, and you should set up properly at the beginning.
a) About Page:-
It’s most important to let your customers know about your achievements, but do you know the customers more likely want to engage with the personal stories?
In the first few paragraphs, tell your customers about your stories that you think your customers can connect with you and your company emotionally.
Show them some value and let them know why and how you can give them some benefits.
b) Contact Page:-
The contact page should be as simple as you can keep it.
One thing you should remember from the start of your blog that never put your contact email id in the right form.
For example, [email protected], instead, you can put it as abc[at]example.com to keep your inbox spam-free.
You can also add a reCAPTCHA on your contact page to avoid spam mails.
Now it’s time to add some policy to protect your customers’ privacy.
You will have to add some sales funnel in the form of email opt-in and some analytical tools.
So, it’s crucial to make it clear to your customers how you are going to use their email ids and their behavior tracking reports.
7) Blog Pillar Posts
The pillar posts are the support posts that help the rest of your content to boost its ranking faster.
The pillar posts generate more traffic than others, so make sure these posts are well written for your customers and well optimized for search engines.
These posts are also known as cornerstone posts.
When you decide to start a blog, make sure you have separated your expertise and interest in what you are going to write.
Write 4-5 detailed articles based on your main categories.
When you start your promotional activities, you will have to create backlinks for those pillar posts as much as you can.
8) Blog Categories
Categorize your blog niche into 4-5 topics. Each category should contain a pillar post.
Categories should be broad itself like for the digital marketing niche; the categories should be SEO, SMO, PPC, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, etc.
If you don’t pick broad categories, you will run out of ideas to write on that topic.
9) Writing blog posts
You should follow the 80/20 rules if you are going to start a blog for the first time.
Most of the time, newbies make mistakes by sticking on their own blogs and spend most of their time on creating content.
All you can do is, spend 20% of your time on creating content for your blog and the rest of your 80%; you should focus on creating content for others.
If you are targeting to create excellent content for your own blog only, then simply you are making a mistake.
I already mentioned that almost 600 million blogs are out there, so putting your blog on that list is just increasing the numbers, nothing else.
Nobody will care about your blog until your content stands out, and who knows your outstanding content can stand out from others.
Ok, I know I am confusing you! Well, to be honest, no one can predict how and when a blog post stands out from others.
So, don’t wait for the outstanding content coming from your creativity; just start to write content.
Here are the techniques every blogger follows when they start a blog for the first time and create their very first blog posts.
a) Content Ideas:-
Don’t spend your time daily on thinking to generate content ideas.
Decide a day per week to research carefully on what topics you should cover for your blog.
Initially, you can create 2-3 posts per week for your blog. Based on your writing capability and freelancers hiring affordability, you can increase the number of your blog posts later.
b) Optimized Titles:-
The title plays a 20% role in your 80% success for the content you create.
Sounds crazy, right!
Well, this is damn true!
Your customers see your content title before your content, and the title helps them to decide if they should click on that or not.
So, optimize your title for your targeted customers as well as for the search engines.
Do some keyword research using SEMrush tools and put relevant keywords on your title so that search engines can index your content and can give you a rank on relevant keywords.
There is a limitation for a title length. A title with 600px is an excellent fit for the search engine result page.
You can use free tools like Mangools to check your title length.
The one-third of your content creation time should be used on creating a title of that content.
Add some emotions, urgency, curiosity, and a call to action in your title to make it more compelling to your customers.
c) Engaging Body Contents:-
You can find everyone else suggesting to write up to 2000 words content for a better ranking.
What if you are a solopreneur and don’t have time and money to write lengthy content?
Well, I already mentioned about the pillar posts.
Once you set up your pillar posts, then you don’t need to worried about lengthy posts.
You can write short and highly engaging content that converts your potential customers coming from your pillar posts into your paying customers.
To create highly engaging content, build a one-on-one connection with your customers in your content.
Never distract your customers’ attention by giving them off-topic discussion.
Concise your content from the beginning and grab their attention to your offer.
d) Call to Actions:-
This part of your content is most important in terms of conversion. All the parts of your article should lead your potential customers to this section.
This section must contain a strong call to action for your audience.
Craft your call to the action part as a sales copy.
The most engaging call to action copy contains 50 to 100 words.
Use compelling words to provoke your customers so that they can take action.
You can add the most popular call to action buttons at the end of your sales copy like Buy Now, Call Now, Visit Now, Subscribe Now, Click Now, View More, Learn More, etc.
Add some value and emotions in your copy so that the copy will inspire your potential customers to pay you.
10) Promoting Blog Posts
Writing great content and publishing it into your brand new blog is just like giving a speech in an empty hall.
If there is no one to read your blog posts, then these will not give you any benefits.
No matter how good your content is, if you do not promote your content right way, you will not succeed.
Since starting a blog, you must have a proper plan to promote your content.
In 2020 and later, promoting a blog post has become the hardest part of the blogging industry.
So, I have tried to make it simple for you to promote your very first blog posts.
a) Guest Blogging:-
The great way to build your authority in your industry is guest blogging.
It helps to get your potential customers from the guest blogging site to your blog.
Another benefit of guest blogging is it helps to increase your domain ratings, trust flow, and the page authority so that you can achieve better rankings on the search engine result page.
Once you write a blog post targeting a keyword, write another few related content to support your published post.
Add your targeted post link at the beginning of every guest post.
To find related keywords and their difficulty to rank higher, you can use the SEMrush tool.
The SEMrush tool will also help you to understand how many and from where the backlink you will be needed to achieve a higher position.
Make a list of those sites and pitch them your content.
Once they approved your content, you will start getting free traffic from them to your blog posts.
b) Blog Commenting:-
Blog commenting is not a countable signal for search engines until you generate traffic from the comments.
But still, it is countable for personal brand recognition!
You can adopt the habits of blog commenting daily so that people around the world will get to know you and about what you do.
Once they developed their interest in your opinion by reading your comments, they will reach your blog and probably read your other blog posts.
c) Blog Round-up:-
It is one of my favorite and most effective way to promote a blog post.
When you visit any site to comment on its content, you can take a look at their broken links appearing on their content as a resource link.
You can use broken link checker Google Chrome Extension to check existing broken links on the page.
After that, reach out the blog owner and request to replace the broken links with your existing relevant blog content.
d) Social Media:-
Social media are the best platform for content promotions.
To promote your blog post, you can join different social media groups and build your own community by participating in various activities daily.
Create different related memes as well as different infographics as social posts and publish it on various groups and to your social media followings.
Build a one-on-one connection by replying to each comment on your social media posts.
11) Blog's Sales Funnels
Although your sales pages or pillar posts are already set up with sales funnel, as I mentioned that you need to think like a CEO, not as a writer, so, every post and page except contact, about, and privacy page, you should optimize as sales funnel.
Here I always mean for sales funnel is not to be a peddler of your blog.
Be tricky but definitely with honesty because, in this digital age, people can smell if you try to sell something.
Target ready to buy a hunger audience and hook them in your posts and pages with some trigger points.
Although you should add the call to action copy concisely in your content, you can also trigger sales pitch using opt-in, popups, and exit-intents.
a) Opt-in Form:-
The inline opt-in box is most commonly used for sales offers.
The use of the opt-in box in a suitable place with a relevant offer in your content may increase your conversion.
Design an opt-in box matching with your blog theme and place it with a relevant offer in a suitable place of your blog content.
b) Popups Form:-
Once you start generating some visitors, start tracking their behaviors and trigger some popups accordingly with some best offers.
Probably you can put conditions in your popups like when your visitors scroll down any page; then, the popup window will open up.
You can also specify a particular post or page to show a specific offer using popups.
c) Exit-intent Form:-
This is the final call to action that will provoke your visitors to convert into your paying customers.
The exit-intent appears on your blog when your visitors try to leave the site.
So, add a final call to action that targets a general audience.
You can ask to subscribe to your newsletter or offer some freebies in your exit-intent form.
To start a blog, you must need a domain and a web hosting that you can get on BlueHost.
After deciding your blog niche, go to BlueHost, and purchase a plan.
Setup everything like a pro and then start writing high converting blog posts.
But before that, you must set up landing pages so that you can build links for them.
Build a connection with other bloggers by writing guest posts.
And finally, once you start generating traffic, set up a blog sales funnel using the opt-in box, popups and exit-intent.