The Blogging Process: How to Streamline a Successful Blogging Business
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In this post, I'll describe the blogging process and how it can help you achieve success as a blogger.
When you follow a step-by-step system, it helps you streamline your blogging business so you can create more content and increase profitability.
This blog process can be broken into four stages:
- Launching your blog
- Content creation
- Measuring performance
- Blog optimization
Each stage has specific steps that break the process down into simple actions.
Some steps will only be done once (like Installing WordPress), whereas entire stages like Content Creation are repeatable.
If you've already got a blog, you can skip to the step that's more relevant to you or start from the beginning if you're starting your first blog.
Let's get started.
- Stage 0: Begin with the End in Mind
- Stage 1: Launching Your Blog
- Stage 2.1: Content Creation – Create a Content Strategy
- Stage 2.2: Content Creation – Content Production
- Stage 3: Measuring Blog Performance
- Stage 4: Blog Optimization
- Bonus Stage: Blog Promotion
Stage 0: Begin with the End in Mind
It was Benjamin Franklin who said:
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
This means that before starting any project, we need to define the outcomes we want to achieve and create a plan to achieve them.
Or at the very least, begin with the end in mind to give us an idea of where we're going.
Here are a few important considerations you might want to think over when launching a new blog.
Every successful blog should have multiple income streams; from affiliate marketing and display ads to offering services and selling digital products.
If you're wondering “how do bloggers make money?” there are plenty of ways. You want to choose the ones that make the most sense for you from the very beginning.
You don't need to implement all of them at once, just focus on one when you launch and then add other monetization methods as your blog grows.
Without traffic to your blog, it won't make any money. That's why it's essential to know the source of traffic you'll be focusing on.
Because the blog business model relies on content, the most common form of traffic is from a search engine like Google.
Later in this blogging process, you'll create a content strategy based on what people are searching for and structure articles that are search engine optimized, which gradually builds organic traffic.
Of course, there are other traffic sources such as social media or paid ads, but these methods do not build traffic organically, only while you're actively posting on social media or spending money on ads.
It's best to choose an organic source in the beginning and then branch out to others when you have the budget for it.
An exit strategy is a fancy way of saying “selling your website, blog, or business.”
When you start and grow a blog that earns money, you are building an asset that can be sold, like real estate (and that's why it's called digital real estate).
The only questions you need to ask yourself are:
Do I want to start and grow a blog and keep it forever?
Or do I want to grow a blog that I can sell for a 40 x as much when it reaches $2500 per month?
These are important questions to ponder in the beginning, because they can drastically change the way you approach your blogging process.
Stage 1: Launching Your Blog
Starting a blog can sometimes be the part people struggle with the most. But if you follow the steps below, it's possible to have your new blog up and running in less than a weekend.
Let's get to it.
Step 1. Find a blog niche
So many gurus will say you need to choose the “right niche” or something you're passionate about, but this can often cause people to get stuck.
Instead, when starting your first blog, it's best to go with a topic you have some interest in that you would be happy to learn more about.
This will ensure that you grasp the entire blogging process. If you choose a niche you have no interest in, you'll probably get bored and want to give up.
Likewise, if your first blog's niche is too close to your heart, it can cause you to focus on getting everything perfect and trying to become the next guru in the space.
You don't need to be an expert in the niche to make your blog a success. Instead of aiming to be an expert, aim to be an experimenter.
With that said, there are a few questions you want to ask yourself to help you find your blog niche.
You want to say yes to the following:
- Is there an active audience spending money in this niche?
- Are there enough topics within the niche I can write about that people are searching for?
- Is the niche evergreen and won't die out in the next few years?
You can find tons of niche ideas by thinking about the products people would use in it. You can also find them by researching different hobbies people have.
Start thinking about the type of content you would create for your blog that teaches people what they want to know or which products they could buy.
Creating a blog that follows what I've outlined above will be sufficient to make it profitable and a potential asset you can sell one day.
Step 2. Choose a domain name
If the blog you're starting isn't a personal website, then you'll want to choose something different from yourname.com.
Most successful niche blogs and authority sites use a brandable domain name because it helps the blog stand out from others in the niche.
Many years ago, niche bloggers would choose a domain name based on the primary keyword they were trying to rank for.
For a while, it was easier to rank higher in Google if your domain looked something like bestadjustabledumbbellsforbeginners.com.
Unfortunately, this approach isn't as effective as it once was. It's still possible to rank with a site like this, but the name itself limits you from growing into other product categories.
Here are a few more reasons brandable domains are better:
- Sounds more professional
- Easier to remember
- Has more growth potential
- Can become a more valuable asset
So, how do you come up with a brandable domain name that sounds more professional, doesn't limit growth, and is easy to remember?
To help you decide, you can read this post on how to choose a domain name for your blog or follow these general guidelines:
- Aim for a .com if you can
- Avoid exact match keyword domains
- Use a niche focus word and a modifier (e.g. Golfing + Geek)
- Avoid trademarked phrases
- Check the domain name history with archive.org
To get some inspiration, you can use a domain name generator like Lean Domain Search.
Step 3. Buy web hosting
Web hosting is required for storing all the files, images, and text of your blog so it's available 24/7.
For new bloggers, you'll want to go with a hosting company that is cheap and easy to use, such as Iridium Hosting. It's a premium and affordable hosting service that also offers WordPress management services.Check Out Iridium
More seasoned or technical bloggers might want to use a hosting platform like Cloudways or BigScoots, which offer more resources (check out our full Cloudways review).
These are beneficial when you're getting a lot more traffic.
Really, any of the best WordPress hosting options will do. The main thing you want to focus on in the blogging process is content creation, which I'll be getting to in a moment.
Step 4. Install WordPress
There's a good reason WordPress runs 43.3% of all websites on the internet.
It's a powerful blogging platform, free, and open source. That means you can install and use WordPress with no limitations on what you can create.
To install your WordPress blog, you can use your web host when creating an account.
With Bluehost, this usually involves going through a simple one-click installation process, navigating to My Sites in your account, and creating a new site.
Step 5. Choose a WordPress theme
There's a lot of debate around the importance of your blog's design.
Some suggest that branding and design are key, while others focus on content production and quality.
There are certainly benefits of both, but it isn't essential to get everything right from the start.
A lot of first-time bloggers waste a lot of time choosing the perfect WordPress theme and tweaking all the settings, but the real factors for a new blog's success are content and increasing traffic.
The design can be improved when you see a return on investment.
That being said, here are some of the easiest WordPress themes you could start with.
You can start with the free version of a theme to get things moving quickly, then upgrade to the premium version later and customize a more unique design.
Step 6. Essential WordPress plugins
WordPress plugins allow you to extend the features of WordPress to make your blog easier to manage, keep it secure, and give your readers a better experience.
There are thousands of free plugins with premium upgrades available, but which ones should you choose for your blog?
Here are a few you might want to start with:
- Yoast SEO: A WordPress plugin to optimize your search results
- Social Warfare: Add social share buttons to your articles
- Sucuri: Keeps hackers at bay and your blog secure
It's completely up to you how many plugins you use for your blogs, but sometimes less is more.
Here are a couple you might want to consider when your blog is more established:
- LinkWhisper: Save time on internal linking between articles
- AAWP: Add Amazon product images, tables, and description boxes
Stage 2.1: Content Creation – Create a Content Strategy
Once you've launched your blog, the next stage is content creation, which can be broken into two parts: creating a content strategy and content production.
If you're only focusing on building and growing one blog, then the building phase is complete and all your attention should now be on publishing as much content as possible.
And we can make this process a smooth one by creating a blog content strategy.
Step 7. Generate content ideas
As a new blogger, coming up with blog topic ideas can seem daunting, but there's only one thing you need to know.
All the content ideas you'll ever need already exist online. Your job is to turn the ideas you find into more relevant and valuable articles.
If you can improve on the content that shows on the first page of Google, then you'll have a winning blog.
More on producing great content later in the post.
For now, instead of trying to think of separate articles, look at other blogs in your niche to get a broader idea of what they're blogging about.
Make a spreadsheet of the ideas that make sense to you, noting the title of each article, the products they're promoting, and the URL for later reference.
The key to this step is to understand your niche better. If you chose a niche you're interested in, then this should be a breeze.
To really nail this step, you could read a bunch of articles to deepen your knowledge and spark some creative ways to strengthen your content strategy.
For example, instead of writing 30 unrelated articles, you could help your readers achieve a bigger goal that can't be explained in one blog post.
Each article can still answer a question or review a product to help them with their initial search query, but also lead them to other articles on your blog that they'll definitely want to read.
This content marketing strategy will transform the way you think about your blog.
Instead of struggling with one blog post idea, you'll have endless ideas that get more attention from Google and improve the reader's experience.
Step 8. Do keyword research
Keyword research is finding out what people are searching for on Google.
And you need to know what keywords to use in your articles. Otherwise, no one will find your blog.
You can find the right keywords by using a keyword research tool like Keyword Chef.
Keyword Chef helps you find low-competition keywords, which is great for new blogs because you'll be able to rank your articles faster (don't miss our Keyword Chef review to learn more).
You also get 1,000 free credits when you sign up for an account and there are no monthly commitments.
Here's how I used Keyword Chef to find some keywords in the Golf niche.
First, I chose a product to focus on by looking at a list of golfing equipment on Wikipedia:
I went with golf gloves. Then I searched “golf glove” using Keyword Chef:
Keyword Chef will display a preview of some keywords and common words found within your search query.
To limit the results you get, you can select some words in the list. This will save on the number of credits you use:
Then click Get Keywords and you'll see a list of keywords people are searching for in Google, along with the search volume.
Don't let the low search volume put you off from going after them.
When you start a brand new blog, it's best to target lower search volume keywords because keywords in the hundreds or thousands will be much harder to rank for.
Once you've published 20-30 articles with lower search volume and started getting some traffic, you can start adding articles with higher volume keywords.
This step in the blogging process can take some time to master, but once you've seen a lot of keywords in your niche, you'll start creating a clearer picture of your content strategy.
When you find the keywords you want, add them to a spreadsheet to keep things organized:
Step 9. Types of content
By now, you should have a nice list of keywords you can turn into articles.
And in this step, you'll want to define the intention behind each of the keywords and what type of content the blog posts fall under.
The most common types of content are:
- How to: Teaches the reader how to do something.
- Question: Answers a specific question, starting with why, what, can, etc.
- Product review: Reviews a product to help the reader make a buying decision.
- Listicle: A list of best products, popular bloggers, or valuable tips.
- Case Study: How you achieved a specific outcome, like “How I reduced my spending by $500 per month in 14 days”.
- Interview: A written interview with another blogger in your niche.
Ideally, you want a nice mix of content types on your blog, but it's not essential to have all of them. It also depends on your niche.
For a new blog, it's more important to produce as much content as possible. So, focusing on 2-3 content types in the beginning will help you be more effective.
You can add a column of the content type to your spreadsheet:
Stage 2.2: Content Creation – Content Production
This content creation stage is probably the most important because, without published articles, your blog cannot grow and make money.
Whether you want to write articles yourself or hire a content writer, you'll need to know the process to understand what it takes to run a successful blog.
Step 10. Blog post structure
When you know how to structure a blog post, it makes the writing process much easier.
Instead of starting with a blank page, you gather all the relevant parts that go into each piece of content.
The process then becomes more of a system, rather than a creative endeavor that can often lead to writer's block.
To produce consistent, high-quality content, each post needs to include:
- A catchy title
- An outline
- An intro and a conclusion
Then all you have to do is fill in the blanks.
You can develop a catchy title by using a blog post title generator and a relevant outline by looking at other article outlines that show on the first page of Google.
This makes up the anatomy of a blog post that attracts the reader's interest, gets them engaged to keep reading, and helps them digest the information quickly.
If your title is unimaginative, your intro goes on for too long, and there are no headings to break up the text, your visitors will lose interest and click away.
Follow this blog post structure to develop an effective workflow.
Step 11. On-page SEO
What makes a blog valuable is a consistent source of traffic that grows organically.
It's possible to have multiple traffic sources, but the more sources you focus on, the longer it'll take to grow a single traffic source to its full potential.
Using social media will require a large audience and running ads will require consistent ad spend and configuring campaigns to get a return on investment.
Alternatively, optimizing your articles for organic search is often something you do once and see consistent growth in traffic for years.
Therefore, the blogging process includes a few techniques to optimize on-page SEO when adding your articles.
Here's what it looks like:
- Include the main keyword in the blog post title
- Use the keyword for the article URL slug: e.g. websitename.com/best-golf-gloves/
- Add the keyword in the intro and conclusion
- Include the keyword in an H2 tag
- Use the keyword in the SEO title and description meta tag: Can be done with an SEO plugin, like Yoast
- Try to include the keyword in an image alt text
- Add relevant internal links using your keywords as anchor text
There are plenty of other ways to optimize your articles for SEO, but these are the most essential that can be baked into your content publishing efforts.
Step 12. Format and publish
Formatting your articles is the practice of making them more readable so that people stay on your blog for longer.
If every article comprises huge blocks of text and no sub-headings, it can be overwhelming for most people to digest.
Follow these simple guidelines before you hit publish:
- Keep your introductions short and to the point: Try to answer the reader's question in the first few sentences.
- Use short sentences (1-2 lines) and avoid paragraphs of 4-5 lines or more.
- Use bullet points or numbered lists to break up text
- Include images to break up text and make posts more appealing
- Add quotes or boxes to emphasize key information
- Bold, underline, or italicize text to highlight words of importance
You can include some of these each time you publish, which will improve your user experience and the time they spend on your site.
Internal links are essential to help Google crawl your articles and understand what your blog is about.
The more relevancy each of your articles builds, the more Google will see your blog as an authoritative source and rank you higher in search results.
Links to other articles on your blog also provide more value to the reader and they are more likely to click through to other posts and bookmark them for later reading.
A longer and less effective internal linking process would be to add them as you publish each article.
For a more effective approach, you could plan each internal link before you even start writing.
A combination of planning internal links in advance and using the power of LinkWhisper to find other linking opportunities is an excellent strategy.
Stage 3: Measuring Blog Performance
This stage involves the use of free Google tools to see how many people visit your blog and how they interact with your website.
You can also use premium tools to keep track of search engine rankings, which offer a more user-friendly experience than some Google services.
Still, adding the following Google tools is an important step to monitor your blog's performance and optimize for growth.
Step 14. Google Analytics for blogs
Google Analytics is the industry standard for tracking blog traffic.
It's completely free and offers a wealth of valuable information about your blog visitors, how long they spend on your site, demographics, returning visitors, and so much more.
To get started with Google Analytics 4, you'll need to create an account at analytics.google.com and follow these steps:
- Account and property setup: naming your account and checking some boxes
- Adding a data stream: adding your website URL and stream name
- Connect Google Analytics to your WordPress blog
You can connect GA4 with your blog by using a WordPress plugin like GA Google Analytics or Monster Insights.
These plugins will add the GA tracking code to the pages of your website. Google Analytics plugins like Monster Insights let you view your traffic inside of WordPress.
And don't worry, I've made a complete breakdown of Google Analytics for Blogs in case you need it!
Step 15. Google Search Console
Google search console lets you see which keywords your blog is ranking for, the number of times your blog shows in the results, average positions, and how many clicks you're getting.
There's a host of other features GSC offers that can help you optimize your blog and the way Google crawls your content. We have more information in our post called “What Does Google Search Console Do?”
To add Google Search Console, go to https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome and follow these steps:
- Add a new property by adding your blog URL
- Verify by adding a meta tag inside the header of your blog: this can be done using Yoast
- Add a sitemap: Yoast SEO creates a sitemap you can add to GSC
Adding a sitemap will help Google crawl the pages of your website so that each article can be seen and ranked in the results.
Once you add enough content, you'll be able to see which keywords you're ranking for. You can also use GSC to check page experience and Core Web Vitals.
Last, you can connect Search Console to the same property in Google Analytics, which pulls in extra information from GSC to Google Analytics.
You can connect the two in GSC by navigating to Settings > Associations and clicking the Associate button.
Select your Google Analytics property and click Continue. Now when you navigate to Reports > Acquisition > Acquisition overview inside GA4, you'll see your GSC data.
Step 15. Engagement metrics to track
Engagement metrics are the pieces of information you want to pay attention to when measuring blog performance.
These metrics won't be so important in the early stages of your blog's growth, because it'll take some time to get enough data for you to work with.
When you're receiving over 10,000 visitors per month, you can use the metrics below as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to determine what's working and what's not:
- Visitors: You can increase visitors by adding more content
- Bounce Rate: You can improve bounce rate by writing better content or improving search intent
- Google Search CTR: You can improve this by optimizing your blog post SEO titles
Keeping track of your blog numbers is a practice you'll want to develop as part of your blogging business process.
Step 16. Rank tracking tools
Many bloggers and authority site builders use rank tracking tools like SerpRobot to save time when monitoring their ranking positions.
SerpRobot works by entering the keywords you want to rank for that you are targeting in your articles.
Then you can set SerpRobot to check the SERPs for where your blog is showing up.
This can be a quick and simple strategy for checking how well your content is performing and whether your blog optimizations are impacting your rankings.
Stage 4: Blog Optimization
Optimization is where you assess key areas of your blog to make the most out of the content you published.
Some of your articles will make it to the first page of Google and others will be lost on page 4. However, there are some steps you can take to optimize your rankings, even after they've been published.
Step 17. Update articles to increase organic traffic
Not all of your articles will perform well in the search results. Some will make it to page 1 and others will be lost on page 6 and beyond.
Here are some simple optimizations you can make by updating website content, even months or years after articles were published:
- Add extra keywords in the article: These can be your primary keyword and related keywords the post is already ranking for. You find these keywords in Google Search Console.
- Include more subheadings: Sometimes, improving an article can be as simple as adding missing information to the post.
- Adding images, bullet points, tables, etc., can make the post more readable and engaging.
- Improve your SEO titles: Increase your CTR (Click Through Rate) from Google by making your titles click-worthy.
- Cut out any fluff: If your article goes on and on and doesn't get to the point, visitors will click the back button to find another post.
- Update the published date: By resetting the published date, you add the post to the top of your blogroll, and you signal to Google that the article is fresh.
Do this process every 3-6 months for best results. You want to find your top-performing posts in Google Analytics and start with those first, then tackle articles hiding on pages 2-3.
Step 18. Add more topical relevancy
Topical relevance is how Google determines how relevant an article is in relation to the search query.
The more relevant your articles are (along with lots of other factors), the more chances you'll rank higher in the SERPs.
Here are just a few ways you can make your articles more relevant:
- Add more context: Explain things more in-depth and add meaning to your content; instead of only answering a question, expand on the specifics.
- Include insights from multiple channels: You can get the perspective of experts in your niche, famous quotes, popular YouTube videos, and bestselling books.
- Add related content: Don't just focus on making each article relevant, create posts that relate to each other to build relevancy overall.
Make this optimization tip a common practice to see the best results from the content that's already performing well.
Step 19. Optimize for speed
Website speed has a huge impact on the way visitors interact with your blog.
It's also a direct and indirect Google ranking factor. That means if your website is too slow, it can lower your search rankings.
Luckily, making your WordPress blog fast isn't difficult.
As long as you're using a popular theme and decent web hosting, there are a few steps you can take to boost speed quickly.
- Optimize your images: This can be achieved using an image compression plugin like ShortPixel.
- Use a caching plugin: There are tons of free caching plugins such as WP Fastest Cache or premium ones like WPRocket.
- Minimize CSS, HTML, and JS: This can be achieved with most caching plugins or something like Autoptimize.
- Use a CDN: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) takes a copy of your site and hosts it on servers around the world to display a local version to your visitors, speeding up upload times.
Testing speed should be checked regularly. Adding more content and extra plugins will gradually slow things down.
You can check your blog speed using a tool like GTMetrix or Google Page Insights.
Bonus Stage: Blog Promotion
There's a clear divide between some expert bloggers who are actively promoting their blog vs others who only focus on content creation.
Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Blog promotion can help you boost domain authority faster, whereas doubling down on content can build a bigger blog faster.
A mix of both would be ideal but often isn't practical for solo bloggers trying to juggle all the hats of a blogging business.
However, it's still a worthy consideration in the blogging process.
Guest posts were once a staple practice for gaining backlinks from other blogs in your space that had the potential of driving additional blog traffic.
There's less emphasis being made on this strategy by many blogging gurus today, who suggest other forms of blog promotion.
But, if done right, guest blogging can still offer significant results.
The process comprises the following steps:
- Finding the blogs and the correct contacts
- Cold email outreach to pitch topic ideas
- Outlining and writing drafts
- Submitting guest posts to get them published
If you can systematize guest blogging while maintaining a steady flow of content for your own blog, guest posts can be an effective way to build authority and credibility in your niche.
Check out our list of 100 blogs that accept guest posts.
Instead of creating guest posts to land backlinks, many bloggers prefer a different approach.
- Link exchange: involves giving a link to get a link across different blogs you own.
- Broken link building: Letting other blogs know they have a broken link and asking them to consider linking to you instead.
- Simply asking for a link: Usually involves emailing hundreds to thousands of blogs through cold outreach
A lot of bloggers shy away from these types of link-building campaigns. However, they have the potential for rapid blog growth once you know what you're doing.
Alternatively, you can hire a company to do all the work for you, but expect to pay upwards of $300 for a DR 40+ blog.
Blogs like 9Gag and LadBible get most of their traffic from social media.
That's because they have huge social media marketing teams promoting content on these platforms 24/7.
If you don't yet have a team or thousands of social media followers, chances are you'll want to focus on SEO to get the ball rolling.
Then, when your SEO traffic is generating enough revenue for your blog, you can ease off of content creation and focus more of your efforts on building your social presence.
That concludes the blogging process to simplify the growth of a successful blog (and don't miss out guide on how to be successful at blogging).
It might not be for everyone as there are so many steps involved and it can take a lot of time and effort to make a blogging business profitable.
But when it's broken down into a repeatable system, it's much easier to reach your income goals.
And continue learning with this deep dive into the blogging business model.
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