A lot of people ask me how to become a professional blogger after I explain to them that that’s what I do for a living.
It’s actually a fairly straightforward process and as long as you’re willing to put in the work you can definitely make it as a blogger or website owner within a few months or years.
I have been working online since 2012 and it took me about 2 years to go from making a few bucks to earning enough to support myself for traveling the world.
These days I run a network of different blogs and websites along with a small marketing agency that I just started to grow.
Becoming a professional blogger isn’t easy and there is so much learning involved that it’s basically like getting a university degree with so much info that you learn over the years.
Even now, more than 5 years after getting started, I’m still learning something new on a regular basis and there’s so much information out there to devour that you can never really stop learning if you want to stay on top.
Blogging isn’t just about writing and some of the different skills you’ll learn include:
- How to set up your website
- How to use WordPress or a different CMS
- How to build an email list
- How to get more traffic to your website
- How to make money blogging
- How to grow your social media following
And this is just a small aspect of everything you’re going to need to learn about.
It takes a lot of time to go from a beginner to someone making a living blogging and today I want to cover why it’s possible as long as you put in the work.
For those of you with a job, I recommend just doing some part-time blogging until you’re earning enough money to quit.
If you’re currently unemployed then you’re going to want to hop right in and start blogging right away, making sure you’re putting in the full-time hours to become a professional.
Let’s get started!
How to Become a Professional Blogger and Get Paid For It
Before You Start
Before you embark on your blogging journey you need to ask yourself:
Is this something I’m going to work hard for and take seriously?
If the answer is anything but a solid YES then you’re better off not starting at all and waiting until you’re motivated and dedicated to make it online.
There are a lot of people these days trying to make money blogging so you’re going to run into a lot of competition, even if you’re hoping to cover the smallest of topics.
At these moments it’s important to remember that you just need to keep pushing forward, and that nearly 99% of people that start a blog or a website will likely give up within just a few months.
You don’t even want to consider blogging unless you’re willing to spend a lot of time making literally no money for the first while after starting your site and you need a lot of your own motivation and discipline to push through all the down days when nothing seems to be going your way.
After being completely honest with yourself about why you want to start and whether or not you’re willing to work for it you can then move forward into the next steps and really get into growing your blog and becoming a professional at it.
Getting Started as a Pro Blogger
Choose the Right Niche (Topic)
There is plenty of information online about how to choose a niche, or a topic to blog about, so I won’t go into too much detail about it here.
However, there are some basics you should keep in mind before you choose a domain and register your site online.
For starters, I definitely recommend choosing a topic that you’re personally interested in and that also has the potential to make you some money.
You need to remember that don’t want to be blogging for free for your entire career and this means you need to otherwise just writing about yourself or things that people simply don’t care about.
It’s possible to make money with just about any niche, though some of the more popular topics that you can write about and make money from include things like:
- Home Furniture and Design
- Healthcare (weight loss, health issues, etc)
- Personal Finance
These are some of the more popular niches that you could start blogging about and each of them offers an endless amount of different things that you could cover so you’re never going to run out of ideas.
You also want to avoid choosing something too specific because you might eventually run out of ideas if you just going to be reading about things where you can’t really expand from.
That’s why it’s a good idea to go the authority route and cover a broad topic rather than focusing on something too specific.
If you need help choosing a niche I recommend taking a look at some of these different guides:
Setting Up Your Website
Once you have decided on a specific topic that you want to move ahead with, it’s now time to set up your blog and get your website up.
There are just a few steps to setting up your website and it’s a very easy process with plenty of documentation and how to articles online if you run into any speed bumps along the way.
The different steps you need to follow include:
- Buying a domain (I recommend NameCheap)
- Buying your hosting (I recommend BlueHost or Siteground)
- Installing WordPress (check out this tutorial here)
- Choosing a WordPress theme (you can find plenty of themes here)
- Installing the right plugins (check out this article on the best WordPress plugins)
- Adding a few beginning pages (About, Contact, Disclaimer, etc)
- Start writing blog posts and uploading content to your website
Again, there are plenty of more in-depth guides that will show you how to go through this process so that you can quickly get everything up and running and start blogging right away.
The first time you do this it’s going to seem like quite a daunting process but once you get the hang of it it’s really easy to manage your website, upload content, try out different themes, and try out a few different plugins to see what you like.
As a beginner, try not to spend too much time hung up on the less important details, such as which theme you should use or which plug-ins are the best, these are just things you can worry about later on down the road after you have grown your blog a bit.
Once your website is set up I also recommend setting up the relevant social media accounts so that you can start to grow your social following right from the beginning.
There are quite a few different platforms to choose from but I recommend starting out with:
I find that these are the best for most bloggers and you can definitely still try out some other platforms if you want, though I recommend focusing on these ones at first.
Install Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
Finally, the last thing you want to do before you start writing is to setup Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
This can be a bit tricky as a beginner depending on how much experience you have with WordPress or whatever blogging platform you using so I recommend taking a look at the following articles on setting up these two tools:
- Getting Started with Google Webmaster Tools
- Submitting a Sitemap to Google
- Getting Started with Google Analytics
It’s important to set them up right away so that you can track a wide variety of different analytics and other important factors about your website and traffic that you’re going to want to keep an eye on.
After they’re set up you don’t need to worry about them for a while and you can learn more about them later on.
Get Some Blog Post Ideas
As a beginner, or even someone with experience, I know there are a lot of people still wondering:
What should I blog about?
Before you even start typing anything you’re going to want to come up with a good list of blogging ideas so that you have a solid base to work from once you’re ready to get started.
That’s one of the main reasons why I recommend going with a topic that you’re actually interested in, because if you’re interested in what you’re writing about it’s a lot easier to come up with ideas rather than scrounging around looking for new topics to cover.
To find some ideas you can start by checking out some of your favorite blogs to see the types of things that they are covering or browsing YouTube to get some ideas from your favorite videos for what you can write about.
You can also try to come up with some ideas about things that might be missing from your favorite blogs or any areas that they didn’t cover in depth enough that you can add value to.
Make sure to keep a list of the ideas that you come up with using Excel, Google Spreadsheets, or even just a basic notepad so that you can refer to the list whenever you need to write a new blog post.
I recommend coming up with at least 50 ideas and if you’re having trouble with this amount then you might want to reconsider the niche, or topic, that you’re hoping to start a blog in.
You need to be gearing up and preparing to write hundreds of posts over the upcoming years so if you’re having trouble with finding ideas then it might not be the best topic for you.
For some more help on finding blog post ideas, I recommend taking a look at the following guides that cover it a little bit more in-depth:
Start Writing Blog Posts
To become a professional blogger you actually need to be blogging on a regular basis, so right after setting up your website you can start uploading content on a regular basis.
Don’t expect to be writing world class blog posts right at the beginning, unless you’re already a skilled writer.
The quality of your writing is going to continually improve as you write more and more and your blogging skills are going to continue to develop as long as you’re running your blog.
You want to make sure that you’re posting on a regular basis and at the bare minimum I recommend at least two in-depth blog posts every week.
By in-depth, I mean you should be covering the topic that you’re writing about in a lot of detail and making sure that it’s a very high quality and engaging piece of writing.
A lot of people are worrying about word count, and I agree that this is something that you need to consider whenever you’re writing something new.
Again, at the bare minimum I recommend writing no less than 1500 words, and as you become a better blogger I would recommend a minimum of 2000 words or more.
There are plenty of statistics online that show the best posts in the top 10 results are all over 2000 words and if you’re having trouble writing this much I recommend I recommend either combining topics or finding something else that you can write about more in depth.
In your blog posts make sure to include some images, and even some videos if you can find any that are relevant.
Monetize Your Blog
Another thing you want to start doing from the beginning is monetizing your blog so that you can start making money from it even with just a little bit of traffic.
Some of the more popular methods of blog monetization include Adsense and affiliate marketing and I recommend taking a look at the article that I wrote about Adsense vs affiliate marketing to see which method is best for you.
I personally recommend going with affiliate marketing because you can make a decent amount of money even with just a few visitors per day compared to display advertising which takes a lot of traffic to make just a few bucks.
With affiliate marketing you’re going to be promoting different products or services and there are so many things out there that you can promote and earn a commission from that you should have no trouble finding affiliate programs that are well suited for the topic that you’re blogging about.
Some of the most popular affiliate marketing programs include:
And I recommend checking out these different programs to see if there’s one that’s suitable for you.
As with any type of website monetization, the more traffic you get the more money you make, so don’t get discouraged at first when you’re just making a few dollars per day because your income will continue to grow as long as you keep working on your blog.
There are a lot of people making a full-time living through affiliate marketing and for a beginner I think it’s the best monetization method to start out with until you have a little bit of experience and can try out other techniques and methods.
You also want to start monetizing from the beginning so that your readers are used to it and so that you don’t lose out on any potential earnings.
Build Relationships with Other Bloggers
Building relationships with other bloggers in your niche is a good idea for a few reasons.
First, when you start talking to other bloggers more often they’ll begin to recognize you and if you’re putting out high-quality content they’re going to be more likely to share it with their followers.
Second, if they like the content you’re putting out and it’s relevant to their own blogs, then they’re a lot more likely to link to it from their own posts if their readers find it useful and relevant.
This helps to grow the overall authority of your blog, since links from others are really important, and it’s also going to help you start getting some referral traffic even if your site is relatively new or you just have a few posts.
These days just about everyone will check something out if their favorite blogger or website writer recommends it, so if you’re being recommended then you’re going to gain new and dedicated followers from people that are truly interested in what you have to say.
Building relationships with others is also going to make it easier to grow your social media following and we’ll take a look at doing that in the next section.
Some different ways that you can start making friends with other bloggers in your niche include:
- Commenting on their latest posts
- Interacting with them on social media
- Attending or hosting blogger events in your niche
- Emailing or contacting them asking for advice
- Simply introducing yourself
- Providing them with your product or service for free in exchange for their opinion
For a more in-depth guide on relationship building I recommend checking out this SmartBlogger article.
Grow Your Social Following
Social media is a great way to start getting traffic right away after you’ve created your first blog.
I mentioned a few main networks above that you should join from the start but you can also consider trying out any networks you’re interested in like Pinterest, Google Plus, or even Snapchat if they’re relevant to your niche.
Getting more social media followers isn’t hard, but it does take a lot of effort, so that’s why I recommend just starting out with a few networks at first so you can learn the ropes and still have time to focus on content.
Of course you’re going to want to be sharing your blog posts across all the networks every time you post something new and at the same time you want to be interacting with other people in your niche as well as anyone that has commented, liked, or shared any of your photos.
Some platforms are better than others depending on your niche so keep that in mind when you’re starting to grow.
For example, Pinterest is an amazing platform to use if your niche includes a lot of images, such as travel, DIY, or fashion.
On the other hand, Twitter is great to use if you’re going to be sharing a lot of informative content and it’s good for those in the marketing or travel niche, for example.
There’s plenty of information online about how to get more followers and increase engagement across the various social networks so I recommend checking out some guides and tutorials if you need more help in a specific area.
The trick here is to just keep at it until you’ve grown a substantial following where you’re getting new followers and shares basically on auto-pilot.
It is going to take a while so don’t get discouraged at first when you’re just getting a small trickle of shares and followers – it will keep growing so just keep at it.
Here are some helpful articles you should check out when it comes to growing your social accounts:
One of the most common reasons why the majority of people never become a professional blogger is because they give up way too soon.
Unless you’re putting in full-time effort, it’s going to take you a long time to start getting traffic, earning some money, and generally growing your blog.
Even 6-months is barely enough time to start getting traffic and becoming recognized as a blogger unless it’s what you’re spending every day doing and you’re constantly trying new things that you’re learning.
The majority of us spent years working on our sites and gaining a following before we were able to quit our jobs and focus strictly on making money online.
Yes, there are definitely some outliers that go from $0 to $10,000 per month quite quickly, but this is not the norm and for every one person that gets quick success there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people that give up.
Although the statistics are stacked against us as bloggers and content creators, I believe that it’s just perseverance and determination that separates those that make it and those that don’t.
There are going to be plenty of times when you might feel like giving up and I’ve come across so many blogs where it’s obvious that the founder has quit too soon, when success was just around the corner.
What I’m trying to say is that you need to just keep blogging and you’re bound to become successful and make it as a pro blogger as long as you keep trying.
Blogging for a Living: Other Things to Consider
Start With a Strong Foundation
From the beginning I recommend starting your blog with your own domain (URL) and hosting.
This means you’ll want to avoid going with a free blogging platform, like blogger or WordPress.com, and instead you’ll need to buy a domain and pay for hosting upfront.
You could do it the free or cheap way, but when it comes to looking like a professional and actually turning your blog into a solid business you’re going to want to do it right from the start.
For buying a domain I recommend going with Namecheap.
They’re easy to use, the customer service is great, and the prices are quite reasonable as well.
For beginner hosting I usually recommend going with Bluehost at the start.
They have some pretty affordable monthly plans and the shared hosting is decent when you’re just starting out.
As your blog grows you can upgrade to something better, such as SiteGround that I like to use, but you don’t need to worry about this until you have a lot more traffic.
With a solid base you have a lot less to worry about in the future and you can make changes more easily as you grow.
Most Bloggers Quit in Less than a Year
Having a goal of becoming a professional blogger is a good one, especially if it’s something you’re passionate about and willing to stick to.
You don’t need to go completely full time from the beginning and it’s possible to start making money and become a pro even if you currently have a job.
Unfortunately, most people quit blogging in just a few weeks or months.
I think this is because starting a blog, adding content, dealing with hosting, choosing themes, picking plugins, working on social media, getting links, and everything else involved is just too much for them to handle.
From the outside looking in it seems that blogging is really easy but there is so much work involved behind the scenes that it’s easier to quit than tackle a mountain of things that need to get done on a regular basis.
There’s also the lack of traffic when you’re starting out and unless you’re promoting your content a lot on social media then you’re going to be stuck in the Google Sandbox for at least the first 6 months and hardly get any traffic at all.
This can be very demoralizing, especially after all the hard work you’re putting in, so it’s not hard to see why people give up so quickly.
You Won’t Make Money for a While
You shouldn’t expect to make any money for at least 6-12 months after you start blogging.
It takes quite a while to learn all of the different skills and other aspects of working on your blog and monetization should be the last thing you worry about when you’re first getting started.
I don’t think there is any problem with starting with the goal of earning a liveable income and you just need to keep in mind that it’s something that you might not achieve right away.
If you’re not willing to try it out for at least a year then I actually wouldn’t recommend even starting at all.
No Guaranteed Income
Once you do start making money blogging you’ll quickly notice that your earnings aren’t going to be consistent month after month and that the amount that you earn is going to fluctuate regularly.
After a certain point you won’t have to worry about this so much but at the beginning your monthly earnings can definitely have quite a large swing in the total that you earn.
This is one of the main reasons why it’s a good idea to diversify your income sources so that you’re not completely reliant on a single source where if something goes wrong you’re completely out of money.
There are plenty of different ways that you can make money online so there’s really no reason to focus on just one method.