Whether you aim to monetize your passion, increase brand visibility, or document your personal experiences, starting a blog can be a rewarding (and lucrative) side hustle.
Here are some pro tips for starting a blog as a side hustle:
Start a blog as a side hustle by selecting a niche, choosing a reliable hosting platform, creating engaging and original content, and promoting it effectively. Dedicate time for consistent posting, network with fellow bloggers, and prioritize your audience’s feedback.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about starting a blog as a side hustle.
1. Identify Your Niche
Knowing your niche is pivotal when starting a blog.
In my early days, I spread myself too thin by trying to write about everything under the sun.
However, honing in on a specific niche makes your content more targeted and appealing to a certain audience.
It also simplifies content creation and helps in building authority.
Research is key.
Check what’s trending, see what people are talking about, and find out where you can provide value.
By aligning your interests with market demand, you’re more likely to maintain consistency and enjoy the blogging process.
2. Choose the Right Platform
The right blogging platform can make or break your blogging venture.
WordPress, Blogger, Medium, and Wix are some of the popular choices available.
I started with a free WordPress account and later transitioned to a self-hosted version for more flexibility and control.
Each platform has its advantages and limitations.
While Medium can be a great platform for writers who wish to avoid the technicalities, platforms like WordPress offer more customization.
Invest time in understanding the nuances of each before making a choice.
3. Invest in Good Hosting
The importance of reliable web hosting can’t be stressed enough.
When I started, I opted for a cheaper hosting option and faced frequent downtimes.
This not only affects user experience but can also impact SEO rankings.
Opt for reputable hosting providers such as HostArmada, WPX, or SiteGround.
These providers offer excellent uptime, customer support, and sufficient resources for growing blogs.
Remember, your blog’s performance can directly influence its success.
4. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
When I first started blogging, I believed pumping out numerous articles was the way to go.
However, I soon realized that quality trumps quantity.
Readers prefer well-researched, comprehensive posts over hastily put-together content.
Take your time to research, edit, and proofread.
Each post represents your brand, so make sure it’s a reflection of the high standards you aim to achieve.
5. Learn Basic SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessary “evil” for driving organic traffic.
I remember my initial days when I wrote passionately but had little to no visitors.
That’s when I dove deep into SEO and understood its power.
Having a fundamental grasp of SEO, encompassing aspects like keyword research, on-page optimization, and backlinking, can distinguish your blog.
Tools like RankMath (for WordPress users) can guide you through the optimization process for each post.
6. Engage With Your Readers
One of the most rewarding parts of blogging for me was engaging with my readers.
Their comments, feedback, and emails provided insights into what they wanted and how I could serve them better.
Always encourage readers to leave comments and make sure you respond to them.
This not only builds a community around your blog but also shows that you value their input.
7. Consistency is Key
Early on, I’d write a flurry of posts and then nothing for weeks.
This inconsistency impacted my blog’s growth and readership.
Blogging requires commitment, and maintaining a consistent posting schedule is essential.
Whether you decide to post once a week or once a month, stick to your schedule.
Consistency helps in building reader trust and also plays a role in search engine rankings.
8. Promote Your Content
Writing is just half the battle.
I realized the importance of content promotion when my top-notch articles saw minimal traffic.
Use social media, email marketing, and even collaborations with other bloggers to get your content in front of as many eyes as possible.
Join blogging communities, share your posts in relevant forums, and engage with others in your niche.
Leveraging various channels can amplify your reach and drive more traffic to your blog.
9. Monetize Wisely
When I decided to monetize my blog, I was overwhelmed with options.
From ads to affiliate marketing and sponsored posts, there’s a lot to explore.
However, it’s crucial to choose methods that align with your blog’s ethos and don’t alienate readers.
For instance, if you’re running a health blog, promoting junk food because it pays well might not sit well with your audience.
Always prioritize your readers and choose monetization methods that add value to them.
You can monetize with display ads, affiliate marketing, digital products, lead generation, and more.
10. Keep Learning
The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and what worked yesterday might not work today.
I consistently allocate time every month to stay updated on the most recent trends, tools, and techniques in the field of blogging.
From new SEO updates to changing reader preferences, staying updated ensures your blog remains relevant and continues to grow.
Platforms like Passive Income Geek, Income School, and YouTube offer courses on blogging and digital marketing, which I’ve found incredibly useful.
11. Utilize Visual Content
Visual content grabs attention faster than plain text.
In my blogging journey, I observed a noticeable spike in user engagement when I started incorporating relevant images, infographics, and videos.
Visual elements not only make your content more appealing but also aid in explaining complex topics simply.
Various tools like Canva and DALL-E can help create stunning visuals without needing professional design skills.
Moreover, always ensure that you have the right to use an image or video.
Platforms like Unsplash and Pexels offer high-quality, royalty-free images suitable for blog posts.
12. Network With Other Bloggers
Networking has been a game-changer for me.
By connecting with other bloggers in my niche, I’ve learned new strategies, gained guest posting opportunities, and increased my blog’s reach.
Your peers can provide invaluable insights and collaborations that can boost your blog’s growth.
Attend blogging conferences, join Facebook groups, or participate in Twitter (now X) chats related to blogging.
Building genuine relationships in the blogging community can open doors to myriad opportunities and shared growth.
13. Invest in Email Marketing
One thing I wish I had started sooner is email marketing.
Collecting email addresses and sending regular newsletters keeps your readers engaged and brings them back to your blog.
Unlike social media algorithms, you have direct access to your audience through their inbox.
Platforms like Mailchimp or ConvertKit make email marketing easier.
Start by offering a freebie (like an eBook or a checklist) in exchange for email subscriptions.
It’s a great way to grow your list and offer value to your readers simultaneously.
14. Understand Analytics
The power of data is undeniable.
By understanding blog analytics, I discern which posts were popular, where my traffic was coming from, and what strategies were working.
Google Analytics provides in-depth insights into your blog’s performance at no cost.
Regularly check your metrics, understand your audience’s behavior, and refine your strategies accordingly.
Data-driven decisions can greatly enhance your blog’s growth trajectory.
15. Optimize for Mobile Users
Ensure that your blog is mobile-responsive.
If your blog doesn’t load correctly or is hard to navigate on a phone, you risk losing a substantial number of visitors.
Many modern blogging platforms and themes are optimized for mobile.
Still, always test your site on different devices to ensure a seamless experience.
Prioritizing mobile optimization also positively impacts SEO.
16. Diversify Your Content
Over time, I’ve learned the importance of diversifying content types.
While long-form articles are great, sometimes a podcast, video, or even a quiz can engage your audience in different ways.
Diversifying doesn’t mean moving away from your niche.
It’s about presenting content in various formats to cater to different segments of your audience.
For instance, some prefer listening to a podcast during their commute, while others engage more with infographics or videos.
17. Encourage Social Sharing
Encouraging readers to share your content can dramatically boost your blog’s visibility.
In the initial phase of my blogging, adding simple social sharing buttons led to increased organic traffic.
Ensure the sharing buttons are visible but not intrusive.
Tools like Sumo or ShareThis offer customizable social sharing options.
A gentle reminder at the end of your posts asking readers to share can also make a significant difference.
18. Keep a Content Calendar
Having a content calendar transformed my blogging process.
Instead of brainstorming topics at the last minute, planning allowed me to research, outline, and produce higher-quality posts.
A content calendar helps maintain consistency, ensures a good mix of topics, and reduces the stress of last-minute content creation.
Whether you use digital tools like Trello or Google Calendar or prefer a physical planner, staying organized is key.
19. Optimize Site Speed
One lesson I learned the hard way was the importance of site speed.
Readers have little patience for slow-loading sites.
Furthermore, the speed of a website plays a role in Google’s ranking algorithm.
Optimize images, use caching plugins, and consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to speed up your site.
Regularly test your site’s speed using tools like GTmetrix or Google’s PageSpeed Insights and implement their recommendations.
20. Stay Authentic
In the race to monetize and grow, it’s easy to lose one’s authenticity.
My most genuine posts, where I shared personal experiences or opinions, resonated the most with my audience.
Readers value authenticity.
They come to your blog not just for information but for your unique voice and perspective.
Stay true to who you are, and your audience will appreciate and trust you more for it.
21. Continually Back Up Your Blog
After losing some of my early work due to technical glitches, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of backing up your blog.
Regular backups ensure that your content, design, and hard work are safe.
Most hosting providers offer automatic backup solutions.
You can also use plugins like UpdraftPlus for WordPress.
Ensure you have both local and off-site backups, and regularly test them to ensure they’re functioning correctly.
Here’s a good video about pro tips for starting a blog as a side hustle:
Pro Tools for Starting a Blog as a Side Hustle
Starting a blog not only requires creativity and commitment but also the right set of tools to streamline the process.
I’ve experimented with numerous tools over the years, and here are the ones I use and recommend for anyone serious about blogging as a side hustle.
RankIQ is a powerful AI-driven SEO tool designed specifically for bloggers.
From keyword research to blog post optimization, it provides actionable insights to outrank competitors.
RankIQ helps identify low-competition keywords, which has led to substantial organic traffic growth on my blog.
Passive Income Geek Blogging Program
The Passive Income Geek Blogging Program offers a comprehensive guide to building a profitable blog.
This program breaks down the complexities of blogging into digestible modules, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned bloggers.
Their insights on content creation and monetization have been instrumental in my blogging success.
WordPress.org remains my top recommendation for a blogging platform.
Unlike WordPress.com, the .org version offers more control, flexibility, and customization.
It’s open-source, meaning there’s a vast array of plugins and themes available to cater to almost any need a blogger might have.
WPX and Hostarmada
WPX offers lightning-fast speeds, daily backups, and excellent customer support.
On the other hand, Hostarmada offers reliable uptime, easy scalability, and cost-effective packages.
Both are great choices, depending on individual preferences and budget considerations.
Jasper or ChatGPT
In times of writer’s block or when I need to brainstorm content ideas, Jasper or ChatGPT come to the rescue.
These AI tools can assist in content generation, editing, and even answering niche-specific queries, making the content creation process smoother.
DALLE is an image-generation tool powered by AI.
Whenever I need unique visual content, specially tailored illustrations, or images for my blog, DALLE becomes a handy resource.
It creates images from text descriptions, ensuring the visuals align perfectly with the content’s context.
Canva is a game-changer for bloggers who aren’t design-savvy.
This tool offers a plethora of design templates for everything from blog banners to infographics.
It’s user-friendly and can make any blog visually appealing without the need for professional design skills.
For SEO on WordPress, the RankMath Plugin has become my go-to.
It’s intuitive, offers real-time content analysis, and provides actionable SEO recommendations.
From XML sitemaps to rich snippets, RankMath covers a broad spectrum of SEO essentials.
Lastly, Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO toolset.
It’s invaluable for backlink analysis, competitor research, and tracking keyword rankings.
The insights from Ahrefs have allowed me to fine-tune my strategies and get a better understanding of where my blog stands in the vast digital landscape.
Final Thoughts: Pro Tips for Starting a Blog as a Side Hustle
Starting a blog as a side hustle requires dedication, persistence, and continuous learning.
Every blogger starts with zero readers. With passion and commitment, your audience will grow, and so will your influence and potential earnings.