How To Start a Personal Blog

Starting a blog is one of the best ways to build an audience, get your ideas out into the world, and possibly make some (or a lot) of money while doing what you love. Everyone has different reasons for beginning a blog and different goals in mind when they do so. Your personal path will dictate some of the choices you make along the way. One thing that is true for everyone, however, is that the only way to succeed is to get started.

Taking that first step can be a huge challenge, but by the end of this article, you should have the tools you need to feel confident and prepared to start your personal blog today.

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This article is a great place to learn the strategy of a personal blog. If you want step-by-step instructions on how to start your own personal blog, check out our free blogging course. 

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What Is Your Blog About?

If you are reading this right now, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want your blog to be about - you want to start a personal blog! But if you are going to stand out from the competition, you will need to have a clearer understanding of what you really want to do with your blog. Do you want to start a personal blog about travel? A personal blog that covers your day to day life? A personal blog about being a mom? 

The more you know exactly what your blog will be about, the better you will be able to craft interesting content and stay focused.

There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:

"If you try to be everything for everbody, you will be nothing to no one."

Establish Your Niche

When creating a new blog, you need to find your niche. This is the corner of the market that you have the most knowledge about, the place you can establish yourself as an absolute authority. If you try to take on Neil Patel all at once, you will probably become frustrated quickly and not make it far with your blog.

You want a blog subject that is not too narrow and not too wide. “Personal blog about when I brush my teeth” is too narrow - you will not have enough to write about. “Personal blog” is too wide - there is nothing to differentiate it from all the other online diaries out there. 

Some examples of niche personal blogs are:

  • Personal Travel Blog - The Everywhereist
  • Personal Baking Blog - Minimalist Baker
  • Personal Design Blog - Design for Mankind

Name Your Blog

Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a name for your blog. You’ll want to pick a name that’s brandable and available. Use our domain name tool to check if your name is available. If it is, scoop it up before someone else gets to it first.

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Finding Your Audience

Having a good sense of who is going to be reading your blog is one of the best ways to know what type of content to create, how to shape it, and, ultimately, how to grow your following. With a clear understanding of your niche, understanding your audience should come more naturally.

Finding your target audience - the people you want hanging out on your blog - isn’t only statistics and demographics. It requires a deeper understanding of who these people are and what they want. Your target audience is the people you’re writing to when you write your blog.

Are you writing to personal lovers who want to enhance their reading experiences, or are you looking to help would-be writers get their first novel started? No matter what the core focus of your blog is, considering the people you want to read it will have a significant effect on your blog’s tone and content.

Create a Persona

One way to understand your audience is to create a persona of your perfect target audience member. This essentially means creating a mock-up of the ideal person you hope to reach with your blog.

Here is an example of a target audience persona:

Tanya Teragon Persona

Having a persona for your perfect audience member helps you to visualize and understand who you are writing for and provides important direction to your content.

Be Your Own Persona

Another popular way to find your perfect target audience is to be your own persona. Many of the best products and services come from scratching your own itch. It’s possible you’ve searched for the perfect personal blog to read, came up short, and decided to create it yourself. This makes you the perfect audience member for your own blog.

This can be a great strategy for creating highly effective content. If you’ve noticed a meaningful omission in blog content, chances are you are not alone. By writing personally satisfying content you are likely to reach an audience in search of the same things.

Where Is Your Audience Hanging Out?

No web content exists in a vacuum. While you should strive to create uniquely entertaining content for your blog, your target audience is almost certainly already out there reading other blogs, engaging on specialized forums, and using social media. Finding the sites where your audience already mingles is a great way to discover what topics they are most interested in, what language they are using, and what valuable content you can add to that mix.

Some examples for your personal blog may include:

  • HeidiCohen.com
  • Miss-Thrifty.co.uk
  • BreakingintoStartups.com
  • SmartBlogger.com

Visiting these sites is also a great way to begin engaging with your audience before your blog has even gone live. Jump into conversations on forums and in comments sections and get to know the people you’ll be writing for. This is a great, organic way to build relationships and direct people to your blog in its early days. Sharing your passion with like-minded people will make them more excited and passionate about supporting you in your blogging endeavor.

How Will You Present Your Work?

Traditionally, when most people think about a blog they picture written content on a page. However, there are several different ways to present your ideas on your blog, depending on your subject matter and target audience. Every blog will thrive with different formats, so it’s important to think carefully about how to best showcase your content before you start.

There are several effective methods of presenting the material on your personal blog. They include:

Evergreen Articles

As the name suggests, evergreen articles are composed of content that lasts. These articles are designed to have a long shelf life and continue drawing readers to your blog over time. They are typically long-form, text-based articles that delve more deeply into a particular topic.

The perfect evergreen content for your blog is content that you think will be relevant years from now - but it needs to be based on your niche. If you are writing a personal blog about being a marketer, you could write evergreen content covering marketing basics. If you are writing a personal blog about your love of quadratic equations, you could write evergreen content about the basics of solving those equations. Reviews are also useful as evergreen content - if you have products you like that fit your niche, consider writing reviews.

Videos

While the video format is not new, the explosive growth of YouTube and the advent of new and innovative video-based tech like Snapchat and TikTok have shown the true power of video as an online medium. While you may think that creating video is much more difficult and expensive than writing your content, you have access to all the technology you need to make high-quality video content right on your smartphone.

You can create video content for your niche, whatever that niche is - you just have to think about which topics make the most sense for video. If you are writing a personal blog about grooming, you could create video how-tos that teach your audience grooming practices. If you are writing a personal blog about your love of hiking, you could make videos of your hikes so that your audience can go along with you and experience your adventures. You will get better at making videos with practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself if your first few are not great!

News-type Articles

News articles or other “announcement” type content can be a great way to gather new readers. One benefit of news content is the short-term but powerful increase in search volume during an event. While this bump may be temporary, it can be a great tool for grabbing new readers who end up coming back for more.

Writing about current events or new happenings also means there will typically be less competition for readers. Other blogs and media sources are all getting the information as it develops. Since the base of knowledge available is smaller, this gives you a good opportunity to add your own flavor to the article.

The downside to news-type articles is that they tend to lose popularity much more quickly than evergreen content. While the interest for an event may be very large one day, the next day people may already be moving on to the next shiny object.

News-type blogs do not have to be long and involved - you can write short blogs about whatever news stories interest you and your audience based on your niche. The key to creating news-type stories is to keep an eye out for what excites you when you are researching your niche. If your personal blog is about your love of a certain type of music, you can write news-type blogs about upcoming album releases or gossip about your favorite musicians.

Image-heavy Content

While most people expect to be reading when they visit a blog, image-heavy content can be very appealing and break up your text-focused posts to keep people’s attention. Depending on the topic of your post, displaying multiple images per page on a single subject can give your audience a better sense of what you are trying to convey.

While some topics may take to images very easily, like a car blog or a celebrity gossip site, others may require some deeper thinking to make this strategy work.

Every personal blogger can incorporate images into their blogs - you just need to determine what kind of images make sense for your niche. If your blog is about your quest to try every type of milk products available, you can take photos of your adventures and post them with your writing. Know your niche, pay attention to your options for images, and incorporate them the best way you can. 

You can take your own photos, collect images online, or both. Many personal bloggers incorporate both stock images and personal photos into their blogs. You will get better at photography with practice, so don’t be afraid to try taking photos if you are interested in doing so.

Mix and Match

Your personal blog will benefit from a mix of different types of content. You may have a personal preference for a specific type, like long-form reviews of products or short-form celebrity gossip blogs. While having a preference is normal, to be successful as a blogger you will need to stretch your boundaries and learn to make other types of content. Shoot some video, take some photos, and strive to keep things interesting for you and your audience.

How To Make Money From A Personal Blog

One of the main reasons people start blogs is to generate some sort of profit. Whether you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month or a job-replacing income, blogging is still an excellent way to make those dreams a reality.

There are a few great ways to make money from a personal blog:

Display Ad Networks

Display ads are the simplest way for websites to generate any sort of income. Ad networks, like Google Adsense, are fairly simple to be accepted into, and implementation onto your site is streamlined and clean. If you’re just beginning to see some traffic to your blog and want to turn this into dollars, display ads are where most people start.

There are a few downsides to display ads, however. The first is that some feel they detract from the user experience on your blog. Most people have been to a site where large ads pop up and block the content in the middle of reading. This can be distracting, frustrating, and even drive people away from your blog. While it’s possible to clean up and control the type of ads you use, it can be a constant battle to balance effective ad placement with aesthetics and readability.

The other main downside is that they don’t pay a lot. These networks generally use a pay-per-click (PPC) model which, depending on the niche, can pay anywhere from $0.01 to $1.50 per click, most on the lower end.

While display ads are a great way to make your first dollars, you’ll want to make sure any negatives they bring are worth the profits they provide. Once you develop a solid following, you can consider moving on to more lucrative and effective profit-making options.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Affiliate have become much more popular over the past few years, as they take the payment model from pay-per-click to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This means you can refer as many users to an advertiser’s product as you want, but will only get paid when the user makes a purchase.

Both advertisers and publishers benefit from an affiliate marketing setup. The advertiser pays nothing until a sale is made and the publisher enjoys much higher commissions than the pay-per-click model.

The Amazon Affiliate program is one of the most versatile affiliate programs out there, which is why so many personal bloggers participate in it. Whatever the niche is that you cover, you can probably find products on Amazon that you can link to in your writing. Whenever a reader clicks a link and buys a product, you get a commission. 

Links to Amazon products are found in so many blogs that they are expected by readers and often desired. If you are reviewing a book that pertains to your niche, your readers will appreciate having the link right there to click so that they can buy the book if they want to. 

Amazon Affiliate links are easy to use, making them perfect for bloggers who are just getting started. You might only make a few dollars a month in the beginning, but by growing the popularity of your blog, you can increase traffic and increase the amount of money you make from the program.

Sell Digital Products

Digital products are an online entrepreneur's dream. You create the item once, then sell it as many times as you can, with little to no cost of reproduction. This means that you can scale your business to infinity.

Examples of digital products are:

  • Ebooks - A piece of writing, generally in PDF format. These can contain literally anything that your audience would want. They can either be true book-length all the way down to a few pages of content. Depending on your niche, audience, and subject, these can run from $1 to $100 per sale fairly easily.

  • Gated Content - This is content that is served on your website just like any other article, except that is behind a “paywall”. If you are creating content that you don’t want to be released to anyone but your true followers, you have them sign up for an account on your site and charge them a subscription fee for access. Generally, authors charge anywhere from $5 to $200 per month for access to gated content.

  • Online Courses - If you can teach a skill that your audience wants to learn, you can create an online course to sell to them. These courses can be formatted in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but most nowadays are video courses. Online courses can sell from $10 to well over $10,000 per course, obviously depending on the subject matter and audience.

As a personal blogger, you can create a variety of digital products based on your unique niche. Online courses can be particularly lucrative, so it is worth thinking about how you can make a course based on your niche. If your personal blog is about your love of affiliate marketing, you could create a course teaching others how to get the most out of different affiliate marketing programs. A well-produced online course can bring in hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so the time you spend creating your course will be time well spent.

Sell Physical Products

Selling physical products is the original money-making strategy. You gather an audience that is hungry for something, you sell it to them, and everyone wins. You don’t have to be an inventor, designer, or manufacturer to sell products. Sites like Alibaba and AliExpress import already-made items into the United States and sell them for a markup.

The two main methods for the distribution of these items are: dropshipping and self-fulfilled.

Dropshipping is a method where you advertise a product on your site that you do not own. Once you make the sale, you inform the manufacturer, who will handle the shipping and handling to the end-user. While this is simple because you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping any items yourself, you’ll find that the margins can be quite slim.

Self-fulfilled sales are much more of a hands-on approach to sales. You buy the item from the manufacturer, store it, then ship it to the end-user once you have made the sale. While there is much more work involved, you’ll find that the margins per sale are much higher.

Selling products through your personal blog can be very lucrative, but it is important to start small at the beginning. You can purchase smaller products, like journals, hats, buttons, and stickers, and have your logo added to them, for only a few dollars apiece. You can then mark those products up significantly and sell them to your audience. Once you gain a larger following, you can partner with your favorite manufacturers to make products or create your own products.

While it can be very profitable when done well, selling products is not generally recommended for the beginner blogger. It’s best to secure an audience that you know will be receptive to the product before making a large investment in product development or acquisition.

Create A Service

Providing a service is another very basic money-making plan. If you can provide a service that you know your audience needs, you have a viable business on your hands.

Whether this service is delivered through one-on-one interaction with the user, through a piece of software that you develop, or by directly completing a task for the user, this is a great way to monetize your skillset and your blog.

Your options for services that you can offer your audience will vary based on your niche. Typically, personal bloggers will offer things like group coaching sessions, one on one coaching, seminars, and other services for teaching what they know. For example, if your blog is about personal style, you can teach groups how to update their style.

You will be able to charge a premium because of your blog and your popularity. Just be sure to avoid overcommitting yourself, because it can be easy to say yes when the demand is high and the money is good. You still need to maintain your blog to keep your business running strong and to keep demand high.

Next Steps To Get Your Personal Blog Started

Now that you have the strategies in place to build and grow your own blog, check out our free course: How To Start A Blog.

This course includes all the essentials on how to get your blog out of your head and onto its own website. Starting a blog is simple and inexpensive, so there’s no reason that you shouldn’t start today!

Free Course: How To Start A Blog

Get your blog up and running today with our step-by-step course.

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