How To Start a Self-Help 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.
Getting started and taking the first steps can feel like a huge challenge. Building a website, planning your content, and finding the right business model are just a few of the tasks you’ll need to do to succeed.
Don’t worry! By the end of this article, you should have the knowledge and tools you need to feel confident and prepared to start your self-help blog today.
Adam Enfroy’s Blog Growth Engine offers practical tools and strategies on discovering your writing niche and generating a substantial income.
What Is Your Blog About?
Since you are here, you probably have a solid idea for what your blog is going to be about - you are writing a self-help blog! But there are a lot of facets to self-help, and you need to choose the one that makes the most sense for you. Are you writing a self-help blog for entrepreneurs? A self-help blog for women? A self-help blog for teens?
You want to know on a deeper level what your content is going to be about so you can focus and move forward deliberately.
ant to create.
There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:
"If you try to be everything for everybody, 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 the Blog of Tim Ferris all at once, you are going to be outmatched and wind up frustrated with your lack of progress.
You need a niche that hits the sweet spot - too broad, and you won’t stand out, too narrow, and you won’t have enough to write about or a big enough audience. “Self-help” is huge. “Self-help for bagel shop owners” is too narrow. Find something in the middle.
Some examples of niche self-help blogs are:
- Self-Help from a Female Perspective Blog - Think Simple Now
- Self-Help from a Zen Perspective Blog - Zen Habits
- Self-Help for Non-Conformists - Chris Guillebeau
Name Your Blog
Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a web domain 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.
Find a Domain Now
Brand Your Blog
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool will help you brand your business with a unique logo to make your business stand out.
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.
Who are you writing to when you blog? Are you writing to single-moms who are struggling to make ends meet, or are you writing to successful entrepreneurs who want to reach the next level of success? Whatever the focus of your blog, you will need to know who you are writing to so that you can set your tone and decide what content to write.
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:
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 self-help 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 self-help blog may include:
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 Your Blog Stand Out?
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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 self-help blog. They include:
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.
Self-help is a great subject for evergreen content because so many of the topics you cover remain consistent over time. You can write articles based on your niche, covering fundamentals, that will be useful to site visitors year after year. You could write blogs on how to become an early riser, how to adopt a new workout routine, and so on. The more in-depth you make your evergreen blogs, the more value your readers will get out of them.
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 are probably already covering a variety of topics that require you to teach and explain to your audience - which means you have plenty of subjects to base video how-tos on. Much how your evergreen content will explain to your readers how to tackle new goals, your video how-tos can do the same. Don’t stress too much about the quality of your videos to begin with. You will want to reach the point where your content looks professional, but doing so takes practice. Start making videos and keep it up to improve your skills.
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.
The news-type content you create for your self-help blog will vary based on the niche you are covering. A good way to find news-type topics is through your regular blog research. You are likely checking out the self-help space consistently to educate yourself and improve your blog. During your research, you will find announcements of new book releases, new courses, new research, and so on. Use what you find in your news-type 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.
You can use different methods to add images to your self-help blog, including stock images and your own photography. Many bloggers stick to images they find online, while others are excited to improve their photography skills so they can take their own pictures and use those.
How-to articles are a good place to start with image-heavy content. You can take photos of each stage of your process as you explain how to do something in your niche, then include those images in your content. While you want your images to look good, try not to be too concerned with your lack of photography skills early on. You will improve if you practice, and your audience will appreciate your efforts and enjoy tracking your progress.
Mix and Match
A successful self-help blog tends to mix and match content delivery styles. While you may find yourself drawn to one particular type of content, such as long-form blogs or short-form blogs, you will benefit from trying your hand at different methods. Try making some videos and taking some photos. Your skills will improve as you practice and your blog will look more appealing to a wider audience because of the variety you offer. You may never “love” creating certain types of content, but you can get good enough at different types to make your blog attractive to readers.
How To Make Money From A Self-Help 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 self-help 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 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.
Many self-help bloggers start with the Amazon Affiliate program because it is so easy to incorporate into a blog - anyone can do it, and you will make commissions when you facilitate sales.
You can work Amazon links into most of your blog content if you are creative. Your audience expects links to products that you are writing about, so they will be looking for them when they want to purchase something mentioned in your blog. Each time they click a link and buy something, you will get a small commission. It may not be much to start with, but it can add up, especially when your audience grows and you get more sales.
A small blog may make a few dollars a month from this program, while a popular blog with a big audience might pull in thousands. You can keep using Amazon Affiliates forever, or you can switch to something you like better on down the line.
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.
Many self-help bloggers create digital products for their audience, and you can do the same. Depending on your niche, you might create an online course on increasing productivity. You could ask your audience about areas that they struggle with, then design your course to solve their problems. While it can take some time to develop such a course, the financial benefits can be significant. A well-produced course in this niche could sell for $100 or more.
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.
Product sales on a self-help blog can start simply, with branded products you purchase from a supplier for just a few dollars apiece - then mark up considerably before selling. Your audience might love to have a t-shirt with your logo on it or a journal for their goals designed by you. When you become more popular and have a larger audience, you can design more expensive products and sell those for even more profit.
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.
Depending on what your self-help blog focuses on and your own skills and experience, you can offer services that your audience may jump at the opportunity to buy. You could put on self-help seminars, or even offer one-on-one coaching over the phone, video conferencing, or in person.
You have positioned yourself as an expert through your blog, which means you can charge a premium for your services. Just try to avoid overcommitting yourself, especially early on. When demand is high and the price is right, it can be easy to sell to more customers than you have time for. Remember, your blog is what makes your business successful, which means you always need to leave enough time to keep up the quality of the blog.
Next Steps To Get Your Self-Help 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
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