How to make a blog that makes money in 2023

Blog illustration
An abstract illustration of a blog

When I first got the idea to start blogging I used it as an outlet for all the thoughts and opinions I had on different topics. And while people in the past would enjoy reading about someone’s life, it’s definitely not the case in 2023.

In order to make money with a blog in 2023 you need to realize something from the start. A blog should be treated as a business. And the failure to understand that from the start might result in nonexistent traffic and in the end, no income at all.

I have written a small blog post on the things you should know before starting a blog and I think it might be a good read for you.

Blogging is still relevant in 2023, it has just changed its shape. Blogs nowadays are targeted toward search queries that answer questions. The answers to these questions are later converted into leads for different products and those leads are converted into revenue.

People make money with blogging in 2023 by being the middlemen between the person looking for a product and the company that provides the product. Whether it be hiking boots, tour guides, meal plans, or dog food.

Is blogging a good idea in 2023?

Blogging is most definitely a very good business opportunity in 2023. It’s a way to earn passive income, has a low-entry level barrier, and is a way to financial independence. The number of blogs is constantly raising which shows that it is even more relevant than 10 years ago.

You see a lot of people, especially on youtube will tell you that blogging is dead. It’s not. It’s just not as easy to turn a profit from the very start. It is something that really takes time and requires building a very broad range of skills in order to get any success.

I’ve noticed that people bash the idea of starting a blog because It’s much easier and alluring to people to read or watch youtube videos on get-rich-quick schemes. It’s much easier to promote ai generated Pinterest pins leading directly to Amazon and promise your readers that they can make 3000 dollars a day with that scheme.

Did you know that more than 77% of people read blogs and that half of internet users take into consideration the opinions and expertise of bloggers?

Creating a successfull blog is a long-term investment of both your time and knowledge. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme and taking the wrong approach to this buisiness can set you for failure.

And if you still don’t believe me go search for “the best vacuums” or the “top 20 resorts in Greece”. Every single result besides the e-commerce stores that come up on the first result page is a blog. A blog that makes reviews and points its readers to a product they later monetize.

Search results show that blogs come up as the main sources for product list reviews

And if you ever feel discouraged from taking your first steps in blogging just because there are a lot of blogs out there already, remember that Tesla started making cars despite there being other brands on the market already. They just offered a take on cars with a very different perspective and became successful by doing so.

How to choose a niche for your blog

Choosing a niche in which to make a blog is the first and most important thing you need to figure out. Take into consideration factors such as monetization opportunities, how much can you write about, and most importantly what you care about and what your passion is.

Let’s sit down and think. What is the thing that you love doing the most? Can you imagine writing tens of thousands of words on this topic? Do you see yourself writing hundreds of blog posts on this topic?

Are there hundreds of blog post ideas on your topic? What affiliate marketing opportunities are there on your topic?

Identify your passion and interests

I never go on TripAdvisor or any other big corporate website in the travel niche when I want to find interesting things to do. I always rely on the experience of bloggers. Of people who have already been there and can give me tips and tricks on what to do and avoid. I want to see their photos and want to hear how they would recommend planning my trip. The same goes for almost any other niche.

We are social beings and rely on the experience of other people. You are more likely to trust a person rather than an AI-generated list of hotel rooms.

That’s why you need to write about the things that really matter to you. That way you will transfer your passion into the content you are writing. You will appear more authoritative and trustworthy.

Maybe you like building terrariums and would like to share your knowledge with other people. Maybe you have visited a small place in Italy and want to introduce new people to it.

Think of what inspires you to talk for hours. What keeps you awake at night and what you can see yourself doing? What is your purpose?

No matter what it is if you go with it you are one step closer to success.

Evaluate the demand for content in your niche

You might be passionate about writing on the topic of “Different kinds of moss on rocks” but how often do people search for that? The traffic potential for super-niched blogs is usually very low and can guarantee that you won’t see much traffic and income in the future.

In this situation, if you want to make money with blogging there are two ways you can take it. Think of a new niche or jump a few levels up on your niche and be broader on your topic. Instead of writing about moss only why don’t you write about plants in general and have moss as one of your subtopics? Now your niche will be broader and you will have the option to write about many other things.

If Sally is a runner she would not focus on writing only about “The best shoelaces for running shoes” but rather focus on “Running as a hobby” where she will be able to write about training to become a runner, the best running shoes, diets for runners, running clothes, etc.

Have in mind that the more in demand a niche is the fiercer the competition is. Beginners are usually discouraged to attack very saturated niches but I don’t agree with that.

The most profitable blogging niches as of 2023 are:

  1. Digital Marketing
  2. Software as a Service (SaaS)
  3. Health and Fitness
  4. Finance and Investing
  5. Food and Recipes
  6. Personal Development
  7. Travel

In my experience, every niche is already saturated and full of information on the topic. I believe that everyone can make it as long as they find a personalized and creative approach to the topic they are covering. As long as you deliver original and well-researched content to the table you are on your way to success. Just mind that with more saturated niches it usually takes a bit longer to establish yourself and gain a good amount of traffic.

How blogs make money in 2023

There are 3 main ways to make money blogging in 2023 and they are affiliate marketing, displaying ads, or selling a product. A combination of the three diversifies your income streams and maximizes your chances to generate revenue. Usually, novice bloggers go with displaying ads first because it’s easiest to set up and in some cases even automated.

Affiliate marketing

People make money with affiliate marketing by simply recommending products to their audience that someone else has created.

If you go to an article that compares the “Best business laptops” you will see that all of the links to the recommended product are affiliate links. If the reader clicks on one of those links and makes a purchase the blog owner will make a small commission on the sale.

The blogger in this case is the middleman between the buyer and the seller and his only job is to promote it. This strategy goes for any niche that might contain products that can be sold.

The biggest benefit of affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to be the product maker or owner. You just need to point your readers in the right direction

There are many bloggers making tens of thousands of dollars doing affiliate marketing and there are many ways to leverage it the most passive and long-term way of doing affiliate marketing is by blogging.

A review article on the best hiking shoes can live on the first page of Google for years to come and bring you affiliate revenue for years.

Displaying ads

There is a big chance that you have heard of Google AdSense. This is a program that enables you to display ads on your blog. And if people click or look at these ads you get some money. There are many other ad programs such as Ezoic, Mediavine, and AdThrive.

Some of them require you to have a certain amount of traffic before you can apply but some are quite open to beginners.

Displaying ads is the fastest way to start earning money with your blog because it requires very little setup, gives you flexibility on where you want the ads to be seen on your website, and is a passive revenue generator. This means that once you have it set up you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Two things you need to take into consideration when running ads on your website are that if you overdo it people might get annoyed and leave and that sometimes ads can slow down your website. Both factors can hurt your page rankings and hurt your traffic so you need to be careful.

Another tip I can give you is not to place ads on your pillar posts. Pillar posts are the ones where you recommend affiliate products, lists of services, and such. Pillar posts are reserved for your affiliate links only.

The best places where you can display ads are informational posts.

Selling info products

Once you have become an expert in the topic you are writing about it only seems natural to endorse this knowledge to your audience.

Creating a course, your own tools, or info products can be a great way to increase your revenue. These are usually things that will not cost you much to create but might have very high returns. In fact, I know of people who sell courses and make up to 70 000 dollars a month.

A good thing about selling info products is that you can make much more money with much less traffic. I’ve looked into websites that sell courses on different topics and I’ve seen up to 10 000 dollar profits on just 30 000 page clicks per month.

Think of it this way. Once you have established yourself as a reputable source of information, people will keep coming to you for more. By seeing your success people might want to follow in your footsteps and try to recreate it. Why not teach them?

Setting up your blog

You have already decided to start blogging and I applaud you for it. Not only that it’s a very good business idea that can bring you passive income for years to come but it’s also very fulfilling to see the content you create help other people.

Of course, just as with any other business you need to be systematic about how you make it.

Getting the first steps right is very important and I hope that with the following steps, I can share with you the way I started and what brought me success.

Choose the right blogging platform

Choosing the right blogging platform in 2023 is still relatively easy.

There are many blogging platforms but WordPress is still dominating the market. Actually, 43% of websites on the internet are using WordPress. That’s a staggering number. That makes millions of websites.

WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) where you manage the settings of your blog, create new pages, and publish posts, and all of that is displayed by a theme in the front end. This helps you transfer your time into creating the content for your blog rather than creating an entire system and front from scratch.

Actually recreating something like WordPress might cost you tens of thousands of dollars just for the basic stuff.

The good thing about WordPress is that it is completely free to use. What you usually pay for are premium themes and plugins.

Besides WordPress, other popular blogging platforms are:

  1. Tumblr
  2. Medium
  3. Squarespace
  4. Wix
  5. Weebly

This is why in this blog post I will be showing you how to make a blog using WordPress. This is also the platform I use and the majority of other big blogs.

I have created several websites using WordPress and I can say that in terms of blogging, this is the easiest and fastest way to go.

In fact, you can get a WordPress blog going in just an hour.

Selecting a domain name

Selecting a domain name and hosting is like choosing where to buy a house. You need your blog to have a nice easily-recognizable name and a reliable place where to store it.

A domain name is practically what your blog will be called. Next to the domain is the domain extension which can either be “.com”, “.net”, “.org”, or “.whatever your country code is”.

There isn’t really any significance in what your domain extension is but the majority of successful blogs run on dot com domains.

The name of your blog should be something related to the topic you will be covering or your personal name brand. If you want to become an authority figure in your niche you can have your name as a domain like “johndoe.com”.

You wouldn’t want your blog to be called “best laptops” and have blog posts about the feeding schedule of goats. Doing that can hurt your rankings, your brand and ultimately confuse people.

Always go with as short a domain name as possible. Look at mine for example. Blogicent.com is short, contains the main keyword “blog” and basically tells you what the website is for.

A rule of thumb is to have no more than 2 or 3 terms in your domain name. The shorter – the better. Easily recognizable words are a bonus.

Before registering a domain make sure that the name you want to use is not already taken. This is easily done by going to a domain reseller and checking for the domain name you want. There you can see all the domain name extensions that are available to use.

An advice I can give you is to not purchase a domain if it has already been registered with a popular extension. If there is “feedinggoats.net” don’t go for “feedinggoats.com” because people can be easily confused and go to the other website and not yours. Also very often by doing this, you might actually be infringing on the copyright of a company that has patented this phrase.

An example of searching for a domain that has already been taken

It is very easy to go overboard on choosing the right domain name for your blog but believe me, the fastest you do it, the better. You might get lost in coming up with different catchy names for your blog but at the end of the day, the domain name doesn’t really matter.

I mentioned earlier that going with your name for your blog is an option. Consider yourself as a brand. People tend to trust real people more than corporations. By becoming a leading expert on your topic you can gain much more success than someone who chooses to be anonymous.

Of course, I realize that it’s not easy to come forward and suddenly become a public figure and it’s definitely not the right choice for everybody but if you have the charms, knowledge, and charisma you can become unstoppable. Also, people who use themselves as their own brand have a much higher chance of developing communities around themselves.

An expert tip I can give you is when you buy your domain, buy other similar-sounding domains and redirect them to your blog. This will help you guard your brand name and not allow other people to introduce themselves as you. What I usually do is if I’m buying a domain name named “orangehouses” I will buy the .com and .net domains and also different variations of the phrase like “oringehouses”, “orangehouse”, and “theorangehouse”. Later I will go to my domain registrar and redirect all of those domains to my main domain name.

I have written a detailed blog post on choosing a domain name for your blog. If you’re interested you can go read then come back and continue the process.

Choosing a hosting provider

Choosing the right hosting provider for your blog will determine whether your loading speed will be fast enough, whether your blog will be always available on the internet, and what resources you will have available at your disposal.

Recently Google made it so that websites with longer loading times would fall off the rankings which hurt a lot of businesses online. This is why it’s very important to choose a hosting provider such as SiteGround to host your website.

Your choice of hosting provider will determine what available space you will have for your resources, what monthly traffic your website will be able to take, how fast your blog will load, and how often it will go offline because of a maintenance shutdown or another issue.

Consider a hosting provider with good customer service as well because as a starter you might have a lot of questions that will need answering in regards to setting your hosting properly. If the customer service is nonexistent you might find yourself stuck in a task that will prevent you from developing your blog.

Since we have discussed what we are looking for in a hosting provider I advise you to go with SiteGround.

So let’s follow a step-by-step tutorial on how to get your hosting

Buying a hosting plan

Go on to SiteGround and from the navigation menu hover on Hosting and choose WordPress hosting

Choosing a WordPress hosting option

Afterward, scroll down until you see the pricing plans.

Choosing a hosting plan on SiteGround

There are three plans you can choose from:

  1. StartUp
  2. GrowBig
  3. GoGeek

StartUp is the cheapest plan but also comes with its own limitations. If you choose it you will be able to host only one website, your disk space will be limited and the amount of visitors your server can handle is a bit low.

I consider the GrowBig plan to be the best you can choose out of the three. It is a bit more expensive but it comes with 30% faster PHP which translates to a 30% faster website. Besides that, you get double the disc space and 10 times more monthly visitors. For this, you pay a little bit more but for me, it’s worth it.

Click on Get Plan on the GrowBig card and you will be taken to an option to choose for what period of time you want to purchase the hosting. SiteGround often runs very good sales and if you purchase a yearly plan you might save up to 70% which is quite a lot of money.

Afterward, you will see a prompt that will ask you if you already have a domain name or want to register one. I advise you to register a domain with SiteGround because things are easier to manage that way.

When you have chosen your domain name you’ll be taken to the Review & Complete section.

Entering personal and payment information in order to buy hosting on SiteGround

Carefully fill in your information and once you get to the Extra Services section choose Domain Privacy. It also comes at a cost but if you purchase it your personal information will be hidden and you will have anonymity on the internet. Without this option, you open yourself to potential harassment from third parties.

Then click on PAY NOW and if everything is successful you will be taken to your new dashboard. From there click on Add New Website and choose Existing Domain

Domain options on SiteGround

Then click on Start New Website and choose WordPress and choose your credentials. Remember them well because you will use them to log into your website’s administration pannel.

Creating a WordPress installation on SiteGround hosting

If you do everything well you will see a loading screen and once your setup is complete you will be taken to your dashboard

Siteground hosting dashboard

If you have an existing domain you will need to set its Name Servers which is a very straightforward process and you all set.

Congratulations, you now have a website. You bought a domain and hosting and created a website in a matter of minutes. Usually, it takes a few minutes for the domain DNS to figure its own things out but eventually, you should be able to visit your website on the domain you have purchased.

To login to your website’s administration panel go to www.[yourwebsite]/wp-admin and type in the credentials you created a couple of minutes ago:

WordPress (wp-admin) login screen

And that’s pretty much it. Now you are in your blog’s dashboard or backend or administration panel. It’s really up to you how you will call it.

WordPress dashboard

Choosing the right theme for Your WordPress Blog

WordPress comes with everything you need in order to create your content but choosing the right theme will give you a proper design with which to display your blog posts to your readers.

Choosing a WordPress theme with the right design and functionalities that cater to your needs can greatly increase your chances to present yourself as a reputable source. You must have come across websites that look like they were made in the 90s and I’m sure that your impression of them was that they looked tacky, unprofessional, and out of date.

The variety of WordPress themes you can choose from is huge. Not only design-wise but also function-wise. The types of themes you can go with are blogging themes, business themes, e-commerce themes, magazine themes, portfolio themes, and so on.

Before buying a theme you need to consider its design, how fast it is, and what customization tools it has to offer.

There are two types of themes – theme builders and premade themes.

With tools like Elementor or Divi, you have the ability to be your own designer. You can create every single page just the way you envision it and be the master of your own website.

Other themes like Astra or Kadence offer you premade templates which means that you install them once and your whole website is transformed with a design that professionals have neatly crafted to be fast, SEO optimized, and beautiful.

The two things I always look for in a theme are design and speed. Such themes are:

  1. Astra
  2. Divi
  3. OceanWP
  4. GeneratePress
  5. Soledad
  6. Newspaper
  7. Hemmingway
  8. Rosemary
  9. SocialNow
  10. Kava
  11. Squaretype

Creating your first blog post

You cant have a blog that makes money without any content. Blog posts are the most important thing that will live on your website and will take 90% of your time.

Writing a blog post is an art form in itself but also a science.

Blog posts are the ones that Google will index and show in the Search Result Pages (SERPs). That’s why it’s important to craft each and every single blog post in a way that is engaging, informative, and most importantly SEO optimized.

In my post about SEO for bloggers, I have gone in-depth on the topic of SEO optimization and how to create your content in a way that it gets indexed and ranked on the first page of Google.

Each blog post on your website can be considered its own little business. Each one will contain different product referrals, comparisons, and reviews. These kinds of posts are pillar posts and they tend to get quite lengthy. Some of them might reach even 6 thousand words.

Choosing what to write about

Of course, you need to write on a topic that is closely related to the niche you’ve chosen. But choosing a blog post topic is not always easy to do. One main thing that will help you with choosing what to write about is keyword research.

Go to Google and see what people are searching for. Google your niche and the main questions you had when you were beginning.

Research your competitors and see what they are writing about.

Do proper keyword research.

Keyword research is exactly that. Discovering what people are searching for on Google. Answering search terms is your ticket to the first page on Google. There are many tools you can use for researching keywords and I can say that using such tools is very important.

There are short-term keywords which usually contain the main niche words and long-tail keywords which are more specific and answer more niched questions.

You know, without doing your keyword research and planning out your content, it’s like shooting in the dark.

The Anatomy of a blog post

Creating such posts isn’t easy and one way to speed up the process of writing them is to have a template to follow.

So what does a blog post consist of?

  1. Title: The title of your blog post is the main thing that will show up on the search result page and carries the context of your entire blog post. It should be catchy, and relevant and inform your reader on what to expect when they click on the link. A good practice is not to have titles longer than 60 characters.
  2. Body: This is where all the content together with text and images will be. Just as in a book, it will be divided into different sections and subtopics. Usually, good content should be accompanied by good images. In the body of your blog post, you will give information on the topic and give answers to relevant questions connected with the subject. This is also the place where you will place your affiliate links, ads, and call to actions
  3. Subheadings: There is a hierarchy of heading you can use in your blog posts and they go from H1 to H6. Your title should always be an H1 and this heading style should not be used more than once on a single page. Having a well-distinguished hierarchy of headings will help Google rank your blog post and from them, it can also make list snippets to show on the SERP.
  4. Images and video: Every now and then you should incorporate an image that helps describe the topic of the blog post. Also adding videos that compliment the topic can increase your chances of ranking higher. If you are creating a tutorial you should show each step with an image so that it is easier for your readers to understand what they should do. High-quality images trick people into trusting the author more and make the design of your blog even more beautiful.
  5. Links: Internal links are the ones that point to the content inside your website. So when you are writing on a topic you can point to another article of yours that goes in depth on a subtopic. By linking posts with one another you make yourself seem more credible and also gain your authority. External links on the other hand are sources you link to when you quote someone for example or you have used a statistic and want to provide the source behind those numbers. It is a good practice to use external links because they also build authority.
  6. Conclusion: In a short paragraph you should summarize the information you have provided. Give your personal opinion and encourage your readers to share their opinion on the subject.
  7. Call to Action (CTA): If you’re selling a product or would like to direct your reader to another blog post on your website, the call to action is the thing you need to use. It can be many things like banners, images, or a special section with an offer. Usually, CTAs can be either scattered throughout the post or be in the very end of it.
  8. Author Bio: This is a snippet of who you are. What you are fighting for and why should people trust you? Think of it as your blogging business card. In your author bio, you should have an avatar that can either be your website’s logo or an image of yourself, and a short description of who you are.

Conclusion

Blogging is still alive in 2023 and is an amazing way to get passive income. Of course, with any other serious business, it takes time to develop and establish.

What I can say is that it definitely pays off. The problem is that a lot of people quit from the beginning. Often you will not see good results in the first few months and this is why a lot of people quit. Don’t be like that. You can make it.

Be consistent and determined in your blogging venture. Research your topics and be yourself. Be original and always present your point of view.

Business-wise, blogging can be extremely profitable it’s just a matter of how creative you can be with your monetization strategies.

The most important thing I hope you will take away from this article is that the recipe for success is choosing your niche, hosting, blogging platform, and creating good quality content. The combination of these simple things will determine how you will do in the future.

Start blogging and don’t give up!

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