Thinking of launching your own WordPress blog this year? Want to learn how to start a blog in 2018 from a PRO Blogger?

Or maybe you’ve started a blog before but then you abandoned your project? 

Or maybe, you’ve been wanting to REALLY launch it and get started but something is always holding you back from hitting that PUBLISH button…

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Find out what hosting I'm using for my own blogs. (It's not what you think)

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If you’re in ANY of the situations that I’ve mentioned, this article is for you.

I’ve been there. 

I know exactly how it feels. 

And my hope is that this will help you finally take ACTION because I’ll be sharing with you things that I’ve done wrong and things that I (and others) have done successfully to build successful blogs.

But first, why should you listen to me? 

What makes me credible in sharing my expertise when it comes to building a blog.

Here’s a short summary of my love-hate relationship with blogging:

2008-2009 – Built my first “online presence” with a FREE account where I shared my “Nursing Lessons” to my students and to the online world. Stumbled on “SEO” accidentally and this is how I managed to get “free traffic” to my free blogs.

2010 – Tried to build my first self-hosted blog on the JOOMLA platform. Wrong move, it was clunky, ugly and didn’t last long. 

2011 – Build my first WordPress blog on the weight loss niche – Didn’t know what I was doing, bought a bunch of online courses, failed miserably. 

2012 – Bought TRAFFICSALAD domain, bought the .org version because I was thinking of building an “Organization” or Community, I was only able to buy the .org. It was a blog that I plan to use for showcasing my “digital marketing knowledge” through case studies. 

2013 – Launched my first hugely profitable “niche site” in the “juicing and smoothies” niche. Loved it, crushed 5 figures in 2013 and this niche site just kept on growing. 

2014 – Continued success for my “juicing and smoothies” blog, now earning over 4-5 figures per month in Google Adsense, Clickbank, Amazon Affiliates and promoting my own ebooks.

2015 – This Juicing and Smoothies site earned it’s first 6 figures year. All is going well, then the SEO rankings changed for a major term and traffic dropped in September 2015. It was not able to recover that top rankings for that major keyword ever since. 

2016 – Launched another niche site in the “Paleo niche”. This niche site is now earning about $100-$300 per month as it only had less than 20 articles on the site. The juicing and smoothies sites traffic and rankings continues to decline. Start to research on other ways to drive traffic to my blogs, particularly Facebook Advertising.

2017 – Major shift in earning from my blogs, TRAFFICSALAD started attracting higher paying clients as much as $5,000+ per digital marketing project. Huge focus on authority, design and branding.

2018 – My goal for this year is to create another 6-7 figures income stream by teaching others how to avoid the failures I’ve done while building an online business and help them grow and scale online faster with the proven digital marketing strategies that I’ve learned. 

As a full disclosure, since 2010 up to the present (2018), I’ve been working as a Digital Marketing Professional (SEO, SEM and PPC specialist) in-house and for digital marketing agencies. So I’ve done my fair share and work in this industry. 

Blogging for me has started as a personal project and “side income”, but I’ve had so many failures along the way mostly because of two things

  1. 1. Lack of Focus
  2. 2. Chasing “Shiny Objects” all the time

If you have more than one blog right now (or planning at launching more than one at a time), you’re already lacking focus. 

Don’t make the same mistake that I did. I thought launching “multiple blogs” all at the same time will help me “earn more money” faster. 

Big mistake. 

My website design suffered, my content writing is terrible, and I feel burned out. I’m also constantly anxious and feeling “overwhelmed” and I was because I was putting too many things on my shoulder.

Focus on “One Blog” and “One Niche” at a time if you want to be successful. 

Next, I guess I’ve fallen into the trap of chasing “shiny objects”. When I heard that building an ecommerce business was the “trend”, I started to dabble with it. Spent hundreds of dollars in Facebook Advertising, and failed. Then I’d jump on the next trend, Private label business, etc. 

Here’s what I’ve learned about “Blogging” as a way to grow your side-income into a full-time business. 

Blogging is NOT a business strategy, it is a platform where you can launch your business.

Blogging is a way to get your message out there. 

To get your products and services in front of the people and businesses that you’d like to SERVE.

And that’s where you SHOULD start.

So if you want to build a successful blog, you should start with IDENTIFYING your Goal. 

Here’s a quick way to identify the goal for your blog. 

Do this right now and you’ll thank me later that you did this exercise.

How To Identify The Goal For Your Blog

Here’s a quick exercise for this task. Ask yourself the answers to these questions.

  • Who is it that you want to serve? (Who is your IDEAL audience and customer)
  • How can you help them? (What products and services are you/will you offer to them?)
  • What are the different ways that they can get your products and services (How are you going to provide them with the solutions to their problems)
  • How can they access your products and services? (Value exchange, they pay you in exchange of the value they get, more value can be more expensive)

Answer these questions and that’s what I call the 4 Ultimate Goals in blogging. 

When you are clear on these goals, it is much easier to go into the details (the tech setup, the content, and even the products and services that you’ll provide).

After you’ve downloaded and checked out this blueprint, let’s jump to the tech details on how to actually launch your very first blog. 

I’m going to teach you the very exact strategies that I use every time I launch a blog for my own online business and whenever I launch a new blog for a client.

What’s so special about the strategies that I’ll be sharing with you is that it is SEO or search engine optimized which means it’s designed to attract more free traffic from the search engines. 

This will enable your blog to receive free traffic organically, but this won’t happen overnight but will be gradual as you create more articles and promote your site. 

Ok so let’s dive right in.

How To Launch Your Very First Website: Starting a Blog in Less Than 60 Minutes and 30 Days Plan

12 Easy Steps to Follow

Step 1: Identify your 4 goals – Hopefully, you’ve finished this step

Step 2: Identify your blog type – Choose one that will best fit your needs, you can change this later but it’s best to identify what type of blog you’ll want to build

Step 3: Choose a topic keyword – Use this for branding and as the main keyword to include in your blog domain name

Step 4: Choose a domain name and WordPress hosting provider

Step 5: Install WordPress, Themes and Plugins

Step 6: Create Essential Pages (Legal, About and Contact Pages)

Step 7: Create your first content trifecta (review, beginner’s guide, tips)

Step 8: Create your first lead magnet

Step 9: Create your first email series (from lead capture to your first customer)

Step 10: Create your first product

Step 11: Get your first sale online

Step 12: Rinse and repeat the process (Start again at Step 7)

This is my unique 12 step process in building a profitable blog.

Follow these exact steps and you’ll have focus and clarity on what to do next. It’s like building a puzzle, one piece at a time.

It won’t make sense at first, but as you complete more steps, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture more closely.

Let’s dive right into the details:

Step 1: Identify your 4 Blogging Goals

Please don’t skip this step. It’s so simple yet this step is so crucial or else you’ll attract all sorts of prospects and website visitors that are tire-kickers and freebie seekers. You’ll want to attract those who will be genuinely attracted to your products and services. And that will happen when you specifically know who it is that you want to attract. Once you’ve identified your 4 goals, go to the next step.

Step 2: Identify your Blog Type

Choose one that will best fit your needs, you can change this later but it’s best to identify what type of blog you’ll want to build

Personal Blogs

You are the brand and the main author in this blog. This is an excellent choice if you plan to launch your own personal brand. Usually the domain you’ll choose is your own name like these guys:

Business Blogs

Usually this type of blog is used to promote your business online. You can be the main author in this blog or you can be anonymous if you want. What’s important here is that the face of this blog is more about the business and what it provides.

Here are some of the biggest business blogs in the SEO/SEM industry

Niche Blogs

The main purpose of this type of blog is to provide tons of valuable information in a particular topic or niche. The goal of this blog is to become one of the premier sources of information about your niche online. Most niche blogs are monetized with promoting other people’s products (called affiliate marketing) or monetized with serving ads on their site (Adsense).

This is one of my top favorite types of blogs to create. Once I’ve built them up and start generating free traffic from the search engines, they can become a great source of passive income.

Here are some examples of Nicheblogs – My Paleo blog – My health niche site – a Health niche site – another health niche site

Ecommerce Blogs

If you want to sell physical products on your website, you’ll probably want to create an ecommerce type of blog so that you could take orders and fulfill them on your website.

But what’s important here is that you have a blog that provides tons of free information for your targeted niche. Then when they’re interested to purchase the product that you’ve mentioned, they can purchase it on your website.

For a full ecommerce experience, I don’t recommend going with WordPress + Woocommerce because of potential downtime, bugs and developer issues. An ecommerce website is better hosted in a dedicated ecommerce platform like Shopify.

While Shopify setup is beyond the scope of this article, you can get a free trial of Shopify here.

Hybrid Blogs 

My favorite type of blog right now. 

A hybrid blog is a combination of two or more types of blogs that I’ve mentioned before. The advantage of this type of blog is that you can be flexible at how you can monetize your website. 

With the Hybrid approach, you’re website can look professional and business-savvy, while still providing tons of opportunities of monetization just like in a niche blog.

This site, is an example of a Hybrid blog. It is being monetized as a niche site (with tons of articles that provides tons of value) while also being used as a business blog for my digital marketing services. 

There you have it, the 5 Types of Blogs that you can create in 2018.

Step 3: Choose a Topic Keyword

Once you’ve chosen the type of blog that you would like, it’s now time to find out what the MAIN topic of your blog would be. 

Pick a general and main topic for your blog. 

I usually use the main topic keyword as part of the domain name so that it would be more relevant to my readers and the search engines.

Step 4: Choose a domain name and WordPress hosting provider

This process used to be very technical, but nowadays it’s very easy to buy your own domain name and have the WordPress hosting provider install or create your very first WordPress blog.

I use A2Hosting as my website hosting provider and have been very happy with it.

Step 5: Install WordPress, Themes and Plugins

Congratulations! If you’ve chosen a domain and you’ve bought hosting (A2hosting is the currently the most practical solution that I’ve found right now and it’s performance is great. It is also very easy to use. This is what I use for this site right now), you now have a newly launched WordPress blog.

But your journey doesn’t stop there, in fact it’s just a start. And the next step is to install WordPress Themes which would change how your site looks and feels (super important as design can positively or negatively impact the first impression of a new visitor on your website).

I currently use Elementor PRO, Divi Themes, and Thrive Themes on my own websites and client websites. 

Read my tutorial and review of each WordPress theme to help you decide what’s best for your needs.

#1 Pick in 2018 (overall WYSIWYG builder) – Elementor PRO 
#1 Pick in 2018 (overall Design Templates) – Divi Themes
#1 Pick in 2018 (overall WP Themes + Plugins) – Thrive Architect by Thrive Themes

Step 6: Create Essential Pages (Legal, About and Contact Pages)

The next step after you’ve installed WordPress is to add the Mandatory pages that’s very important when running a blog. You should at least have the following pages:

About us Page
Privacy Policy Page
Terms of Use Page
Contact Us Page

You can should specifically setup the correct legal pages that’s needed for your particular blog or business especially now that there are more stringent rules on online privacy like GDPR, CAN-SPAM Laws, etc.

Step 7: Create your first content trifecta (review, beginner’s guide, tips)

So now that you’ve launched your blog, you’re probably wondering, what’s the topic that you should write about.

After years of trial and error, I’ve figured out what works best in terms of monetization and building content.

I call it my content “Trifecta”.

This is a unique way of grouping articles that are kinda related to one another and that can be used to provide more value to your readers whether they are in the beginner or advanced stage of the customer buying cycle.

My Content Trifecta technique has 3 stages:

Stage 1: The Beginner Stage

In this stage, the content that you’ll write are mostly for people who are starting about the topic that you want to talk about.

The aim of this article at this stage is to simply inform someone who is at the beginner level a general and high-level overview of what your topic is all about.

The article at this stage is “seldom” monetized. The main goal of your article is to provide tons of value. So don’t hold anything back and give as much value as you can.

This is a great way to boost your authority in the eyes of your readers.

Some of the best examples for this content would be How-To Articles, Beginner’s Guides, Top Tips, and Listicles (Top 100 List of…)

Here are just a few examples for Stage 1 Type of Articles

How to Use SEMRUSH for SEO
Beginner’s Guide To Online Marketing by Quicksprout
Paleo Diet Food List by PaleoMint

Stage 2: The Consideration Stage

At this stage, the type of content that you’ll include should start to help people with getting their problems solved. The first stage helped them gather the BIG picture that they need to know about the particular topic. The first stage article prepares them for this next stage.

During this stage, you can start “selling” your product or solution in a subtle way. Here’s the types of articles that you’ll commonly find at this stage:

5 Bestselling Slow Cookers
Top 5 Landing Page Builders (pending)
Top Paleo Cookbooks in 2018

The important thing to know about the articles on this stage is that people are already AWARE of their problem and now they are looking for a solution for their needs.

But they don’t know the PARTICULAR solution yet which is why this type of article is very powerful because you become the TRUSTED authority as you compare the PROS and CONS of EACH Solution and let them decide of what’s the best for them.

IMPORTANT: I want you to understand the importance of these levels in the CONTENT Trifecta if you want to build a 6-figure blogging business. Tons of niche sites have achieved multi 5-to-6 figures online because of these exact strategies.

Stage 3: The Conversion Stage

Now the next stage is where you can be aggressive in “selling” your products or services. It’s because people who are reading this type of content are already “ready or almost ready to buy”, they just needed the extra nudge.

Here are some examples of the types of articles that you’ll find in the conversion stage:

Thrive Themes Review
Elementor PRO Review
Leadpages Review

PRO Tip: In order to boost your sales and conversions at this stage, you can ADD incentives or bonuses that will complement their purchase.

Step 8: Create your first lead magnet

If you are not building your email list, then you’re probably leaving a lot of money on the table. This is my BIGGEST mistake and the reason I didn’t do it before was I was only focusing on the front-end sale on my website. If you want to build an audience then you need to start building an email list.

A lead magnet is an ethical bribe that you give to your readers in exchange of their contact information.

The type of lead magnet you give is important because it pre-frames the readers mind. Consider the following lead magnets:

One lead magnet is an ebook that’s 100 pages of information about “generic” blogging.

While the other lead magnet is a one-page blueprint or map of how a profitable blog works.

Which lead magnet do you think is more valuable and easier consumed by your target reader? The one-page blueprint of course.

You should consider a lead magnet that is easy to consume, yet can provide tons of value. This is how you build your email list and provide tons of value up front.

Here are the top formats that I use and recommend as Lead magnets:

One-Page Blueprints or Mindmaps
One-Page Checklist
Downloadable and Printable Templates

Step 9: Create your first email series (from lead capture to your first customer) 

Once they’ve entered their email address (or subscribed to your messenger bot) in exchange of the lead magnet that you are offering, it’s now time to send them your first email series.

For starters, I recommend that you send them what’s called a “Welcome series”. This sets the stage of what they could expect from you. Since email marketing has changed dramatically over the last few years, I recommend that you split test everything and find out what works best for your industry.

Some people recommend sending an email daily, some people a few days a week, while some only send emails a few times a year.

If you need help creating an email series as well as other copywriting materials to sell your products and services, you can use FUNNELSCRIPTS.

I use these types of services to help me create sales pages, webinar scripts, email series, product offers and more. Check out Funnelscripts here.

Step 10: Create your first product

Now that you’re starting to build your email list, it’s also a great time to create your very first product. You should create a product that your target audience wants.
So if you’ve built your email list, you can specifically ask them what they want. And offer that to them. This is what’s called creating a minimum viable product.
It’s a great way to VALIDATE your idea and product first before you even create it. This way you’ll be able to create a product or service that people wants to buy and purchase.
For starting out as your first product, you can create a simple document out of Google Docs and save it as a PDF.
Don’t go with anything fancy for your first product. What’s important is the content and the value that your content or product provides. 
Focus on the TRANSFORMATION that your product provides for your customer.

Step 11: Get your first sale online

Now that you’ve created your first product, you’ll need to create a payment link that people can use to purchase what you have to offer.
While having a payment link from Paypal works (in a way), it’s not the best way to sell something online.
If you’re really just starting out, you can use an Online Cart like Gumroad to sell your digital products and services.
But in the long term, I recommend that you get an online shopping platform that can take Credit Card orders online or Paypal orders. This way, you’ll be able to give your customers multiple options to purchase your product online.
You don’t need to handle PCI compliance and security issues with taking orders because these platforms handle it for you.
What I use for my own site is a cart platform called THRIVECART. It provides everything that I need to sell my products and services.
It also integrates into my email marketing system so that I could communicate with my buyers through email and it also handles the checkout page, sales tax computation (depending on where you are located), tracking scripts and integration into my membership website.
If you are thinking of selling your products and services through your website, I highly recommend that you checkout THRIVECART.

Step 12: Rinse and repeat the proccess (Go back to Step 7)

Congratulations! If you’ve accomplished the other steps above just rinse and repeat this process starting back from Step 7.
By the time you’ve written about 5-10 topics, you’ll start gaining traction from the search engines. And once you start getting free traffic, you’ll be able to start to see those sales and leads coming in!
I know these steps sounds very simple, but you can get confused and lost along the way! I know I have because of the 2 mistakes I’ve mentioned above. Don’t make the same mistakes that I did. And if you follow these 12 steps when starting a blog, I’m sure you’ll be on your way to blogging success!
What do you think of these 12 steps? Do you think I’ve missed a step? Let me know in the comments below or contact me if you have any questions.
Ryan Cruz
Hey there, Ryan Cruz here. I'm the author and co-founder of TRAFFICSALAD. I'm a business transformation expert and I help high-performance coaches, online course creators, top speakers, and entrepreneurs take their online businesses to the next level.