I get a lot of blogging questions sent to me from blog readers and followers. Quite often, these questions are asked over and over so I wanted to create a place where I could answer those questions about blogging and update as I receive more.
I must stress, all of this is just my opinion. I have been doing this for nearly 5 years and making decent money from my blog for just over 4 years.
1. What is the best website hosting?
For a beginner, the best hosting is offered through Siteground. Many, many people promote another host which rhymes with Pootoast.
They pay a higher commission but their service is crap and I really don’t recommend them. Siteground starts at $3.95/USD a month and offers excellent service. I still use them for my home site and all my smaller sites. If you sign up using this link, I will get $50USD for referring you.
(I use Bigscoots for this site as the traffic is higher now, but Siteground is perfect for starting out right up til around 50,000 pageviews a month).
2. How do you decide which topic to write about?
Deciding what to write about is tough. Not only do you have to be interested enough in the topic that you are willing to write the best content on the internet and become a subject matter expert, but the topic also needs to have earning potential.
When I started out I had this mad idea that I’d write about money systems and how they are viewed by different cultures around the world (economic anthropology). While that is a lovely thought, I’ve never heard of a single affiliate program relevant to the niche. I’d need huge pageviews to receive ad revenue, which is only really possible in a super-popular topic. Unfortunately, economic anthropology ain’t Kim Kardashian-cool.
But how do you know what is popular?
My two favourite ways are:
- Get on Pinterest and search your topic, are there lots of pretty pins made by bloggers? If so, it’s probably a popular niche.
- Download a free Google Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere. It’ll give you the search volume of your search queries so you can decide between topics with the knowledge that people are actually searching for the type of content you want to write.
Once you’ve figured out what’s popular, find your unique angle. Just jotting down ideas about your own experience and what makes your perspective unique can really help.
Here’s mine for example.
I write about personal finance but not regular financial independence retire early (FIRE) stuff.
- I’m a mum who works from home
- My husband works a blue-collar job
- I don’t live in the USA
- I’m a property investor
- Building income streams that make money now is more important to me than a nest egg for the future
- I lived in Australia for 10 years
- I married someone from a different country
- I paid off my house in 5 years
- I’ve travelled around the world 4 times, twice with my kids.
- I was terrible with money in my early twenties but still found financial freedom in my 30s
From this brainstorming you can create a bunch of blog post ideas. I can write for people who want to make money online, tips for working from home, how to live on a low income, property investing, making money in Australia, paying off debt, how to afford travel with kids and how to become good with money.
Your unique experiences are what makes your blog work. No one wants to read a boring, generic blog without the personal touch. If they did, they’d read the news.
TL;DR if you have personal experience with a topic, know enough to help someone else learn more about it and the topic has earning potential – you’re golden.
(Side note: some topics do require expert status in order to be ranked by Google and receive Google search traffic. If you have credentials, you’ll be a step ahead of your competition. This is also why I’m enrolling in the courses required to become a financial advisor).
3. If you are not in the USA (which is basically Nirvana for bloggers) who is your target audience?
You can still make money from a small niche or country, if affiliate programs exist.
I started (and quit) a personal finance blog for New Zealanders because there simply wasn’t the financial incentive to carry on.
I’d make the odd $100-$200 in Adsense income but that was hardly enough for me to travel around the world with my family.
I write a lot of content that is relevant worldwide, and for the things that really need a local perspective, I use freelancers. I have a writer who lives in Michigan and she has brought great experience to the blog.
As for target audience, I don’t have one. I target personas and help them solve their problems.
Mums/moms who want to work from home, people crawling out of credit card debt, families going down to one income, new budgeters, parents who want to travel with their kids.
I have had some questions around US-centric things like health insurance (because we don’t have it) but 90% of the time I find people’s problems are the same everywhere.
People just want enough money to look after their family, have a bit of fun together and not be stressed about money.
(Note: I use a .com for this blog, but if I was serious about targeting an audience from New Zealand or Australia or wherever, I’d buy the local domain (.co.nz or .com.au etc).
4. Do you still get a huge audience from the USA and how does that affect your content?
The US makes up 60% of the traffic to my website, but I’ve seen a growing audience of Aussies and Kiwis. That said, of 100,000 people who visit my site, 60,000 will be from the USA, 10,000 from Australia, 6,000 from New Zealand with other countries making up the difference.
I write in British English, even though most of my readers use US English. But this is my personal blog, I write it from my own perspective and experience. Plus, I started out that way and can’t be bothered going back and changing everything.
For the site I started later on, Little House Lovely Home, I write in US English and my content is targeted at Americans.
This is because the main monetisation (or should I say, monetization) method is Amazon Associates. Amazon is huge in the US. People buy everything on it.
I’ve not been able to make Amazon work on this blog, but that site was built around making money from Amazon Associates.
So far it’s paid off, I make between $1000-$1400US/month from that site and put in less than 2 hours work a week. It’s my 2020 plan to grow that site as it has huge potential and I really am passionate about the topic.
5. Should I use my name as a domain?
You are asking someone who has the world’s longest domain name for domain name advice? Haha, just kidding.
If I had my time over, I’d get a shorter domain name with some nice keywords in it. I’m glad I have money and happiness in my domain. I’m not sure if it makes a difference SEO-wise, but it helps to identify the topic of the blog if someone just sees the URL.
If I had emmahealey dot com, how would anyone know that’s about? Also, what if I wanted to sell the site later on down the track. How would Joe Bloggs (ha!) feel about blogging on emmahealey dot com.
My opinion is that your own name is fine if you are the brand – but if you think you might sell later on down the track, think that decision through very carefully.
I recommend buying your domains from Namesilo – they charge $8 for a .com and that price stays the same on renewal. Check them out here (and get $1 off your domain purchase using the code: BQ1OFF)
6. You mean you can sell a blog?
Yup – for around 30* monthly profit. That means this blog right here could be sold for over $200,000USD. Quite a chunk of change! Blogs can make serious money.
7. How much money do you make blogging?
To be completely upfront with you, I make between $9000-$11000USD/month from blogging, so whilst I’m not the highest earner out there, I make a really good living. More than I made as a Marketing Manager in corporate Australia. I work around my kids hours and have no staff (I do use freelancers though).
It took a long time to get to this level of income. I will say that I was earning between $2,000-$3000/month within 18 months of starting a blog. I feel this is a realistic timeframe to aim for.
8. What blogging courses do you recommend?
I’ve written an extensive review of the best blogging courses I’ve taken here. I obviously can’t recommend any I haven’t taken, but the ones on that list are the best in my opinion.
I’ve taken a lot more than I review on the list, there are some truly terrible courses out there which is something to be aware of.
9. Should I start a blog about blogging?
I hold very strong views on this topic, which I’ve written about in this
rant blog post: Blogging About Blogging: 5 Things You Need to Know About This Lucrative Niche
Basically, if you are a successful blogger and have made money, then yes, feel free. If you haven’t made a cent blogging, go back to the drawing board. There are enough charlatans in this industry without more people spreading bad advice. Sorry if that’s harsh but it really grinds my gears.
Have you got any burning blogging questions you’d really like answered? Please add them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.