This is a sample from my book “How I made 100.000€ in 10 months with 10 blogs“.
The good thing about this world is that there’s no need to know coding or being an expert. Even though in the following explanation there’s a bunch of technical concepts, any newbie can create a site with the proper guidance.
I was a teenage nerd creating my shitty sites that nobody saw, so not everything I read stroke me as new. In fact is a knowledge that helped me understand things faster, but again everybody can do it. Is as simple as looking up on Google what a certain word means if it cannot be understood. Even tutorials for the dumbest things can be found on YouTube.
- 1 Looking for a niche first
- 2 Basics to create an online blog
- 3 Technical considerations
- 4 Making money with the blog
Looking for a niche first
I cannot jump directly into creating a site about whatever. That is not guaranteed success. I need to look into what people are actually looking for on internet and if there’s a lack of information at the same time.
It could also be that there’s no missing information but I can expand and explain better in a more qualitative and extensive way.
In other words, I have to find my niche. What is that?
A certain topic that if I look it up on the Search Engines (Google) the websites that pop up are not very well worked and optimized. I am talking about low competition.
Working on a site related to that topic will bring it up on the rankings way faster (and with less investment of time), than if I was to talk about “phone reviews” for example. Since there are tons of sites related to that topic already.
Another aspect that I consider is the fact that I want the site to be monetized (make money) using an affiliate program. In this example: Amazon affiliates, although there are many more that can be pretty interesting.
That means that if I speak about a product, this item can be found on Amazon Catalog. Why? Because instead of having to buy the stock on my own and store it, send it and so on, I will let Amazon or the affiliate company do that for me. Every time that somebody buys something through my website, I will get a commission.
There are other options like Drop Shipping. In that case the users buy the products directly on my website but I have zero stock. Instead I place that order to a Drop Shipping provider who send the product to the client who bought in my site.
I still prefer the affiliates programs because even though Drop Shipping has more margins, there’s still many thing to worry about. For example answer the client and being responsible for the shipping even though I’m not the one sending it directly to the person who bought it.
My strengths are focused on bringing the website up on the ranks, talk properly about the products, and getting the percentage that belongs to me. Of course using affiliates the commission is quite low (from 3% to 10%), but what I’m looking for here is high traffic and independence. Not being dependent on some physical stock is far more valuable (for me) than getting those 100.000€ I made and then being attached to any other normal job.
How do I find this niche to start working on right away?
There are tons of crappy tools out there. Promising to users amazing results but of course I should have to pay. They are basically selling smoke.
The truth is that I haven’t used any of those famous paid tools. None of the popular paid stuff that they try to make me believe I need to target a sector or topic.
The only thing I used for looking into a profitable niche was the free tool that Google itself provides. I am talking about the Google Keyword Planner.
Beside this free resource I don’t use almost anything else, although sometime I was alternating it with this other web-based searcher. I started testing it with the free version, but eventually I ended up paying the basic plan. There’s actually no real need for that tool, but it gives more accurate numbers than Google Keyword Planner. In essence, it makes things a bit easier which let me focus to other parts of the job.
Let’s dig in into the process.
The idea is simple, every time I had an idea of a niche I would type the main idea on Google Keyword Planner or into that other tool.
Most of the so called gurus they tell their audience that they actually need to study the competition as a part of the pursuit of this profitable niche. Well, I didn’t use MajesticSEO, SemRush or Ahrefs neither. What did I use then? My eyes. A bit more of context.
Let’s suppose after looking on the Keyword Planner I decided I want to see how is the competition for “ice cream makers”. I would type that on Google Keyword Planner or the other tool and check what results pop up.
This will show me a bunch of related keywords and the monthly search volume. So typing “ice cream makers” will pop up a list of:
- buy ice cream makers
- what ice cream maker to buy
- ice cream maker guide
- cheap ice cream makers
And another bunch that I am not that interested in:
- ice cream maker amazon (100% for sure Amazon will pop up first)
- ice cream (too generic)
- cream maker (is not ice cream maker)
So I focus on the first four because they sound commercial and they are related to ice cream makers.
I keep in mind though, that using the Google Keyword Planner it shows an estimate volume of searches per month. For example it might say “100-1000”. A few years back it used to give a more accurate estimated, but not anymore. That’s why I slowly switched to this other web-based searcher that I mentioned before.
What am I targeting here?
5 topics of at least 100 searches a month each.
A lot of SEO blogs recommend at least 1000 for start making good money. Initially I don’t actually target this (later on yes). What I am after is for Mr. Google to trust me.
If I can create a resourceful site with 5 articles that has a minimum of 100 searches a month, I will be more successful in encountering less competition. That means that I am going to give to Google an opportunity to pay attention to me.
Once I’m able to stick these low-competed articles into the first page, I will create a few more and Google will trust me from the moment I click “Publish”.
So let’s move on.
I will go into the normal Google search bar, and I will look each one of the 4 keywords that I’ve found.
What I am looking for here is if they really are low competition.
Let’s open 4 tabs, go to Google and search: “buy ice cream makers”, “what ice cream maker to buy”, “ice cream maker guide” and “cheap ice cream makers” on each one of the tabs.
If there’s no Ads it’s a good sign. But even if there are, I don’t despair, since I am targeting organic sites, not paid ones.
I would look into the first page and see what organic sites pop up. If what I saw was big well-known brands I would go for it.
Why? Because clicking in those results I end up in a basic product catalog. I’m thinking about making a page about ice cream makers, but I want to have the best guide ever. That means plenty of text, video and images.
So if I find that the first page is full with simple catalogs of big brands, I have a good chance that Google is going to rank me high if I do apply myself.
In the past I got too exited and created maybe way too many websites I could handle at once. No, is not worth it to start creating a bunch of sites for every single keyword or topic.
For example, if all four results turn out to be low competition, let’s not be foolish and an article for each of those keywords. Ideally I create an article talking and including all four keywords.
One option would be making a macro-site where I put all the articles I want to make.
Seriously. It doesn’t have to be for example “cheap-ice-cream-makers.com”, it could be even “my-name.com” and then start creating a bunch of nice and quality articles. Of course the site should be all about product reviews and guides. I don’t start talking about the fearful time I captured a cockroach in the bathroom. Relevance on the site is key.
In the past there was a lot of talk about how the main keyword that is being target has to occupy the majority of the site. The reality is that the keyword doesn’t have to be everywhere, just on some key places. More on that when I get into the writing of the articles for the site example.
I do believe I would have ended up making even more money focusing on only one site. Creating an all-in-one site I can focus all efforts in making it grow. Something that is better to be understood when I talk about getting links from other sites. Soon.
The important step here is that I find at least 5 topics or keywords that I can start working on. I make a list, search on Google if the conditions are as I mentioned before and prepare to work a bit towards my freedom.
So let’s find these 5 articles.
I open the Keyword Planner or the other tool. Write the topic I am interested in. See all the related keywords. Look each one of those with a minimum of 100 searches a month on the Google search bar and check the competition.
The list should look like this:
Article 1. Ice cream makers: buy ice cream makers, what ice cream maker to buy, ice cream maker guide, cheap ice cream makers.
Article 2. sunglasses: buy cheap sunglasses, what are the best sunglasses, guide buying cheapest sunglasses
Article 3. being awesome: how to be awesome, how to make people like you, how to be interesting
As it shows, the first two articles are kind of related. Is a review of a product. As for the third is not.
That means that I could make one site related to product review to put the first two articles. And a second site related to phycology, or skills to put the third article.
But for the time being I am going to focus only on creating one big site with the same topic. It’s good if I can find then around 5 articles about topic reviewing for example.
Once I have my list ready I can move on to start creating the site.
Basics to create an online blog
For the creation of the website there are a few steps and tool that have to be taken:
- Domain (4€-15€/year). That is the name of the site, for example www.domain-name.com, .net, .org…
- Hosting (50€-120€/year). To make the site live, a bunch of online files have to be uploaded to make it work. To do that a hosting is required. As the name indicates, is some kind of borrowed location to upload those files. Once live, people who visit the domain will be able to see what is being uploaded.
- WordPress (free). More than 25% of all the sites on internet are being managed by WordPress. Is a total free panel and it let its users admin their site through a very user friendly interface. Besides being free, is open sources and is being updated constantly to fight possible bugs (system errors). There are other Content Managers but they are not nearly as popular and good as this one.
- Theme (price: 0-90€/one time). The WordPress Theme is how I introduce my site to its viewers. The colors, columns, structure, code… There’s absolutely no need to go fancy here. For creating a Theme somebody has to know coding, but it doesn’t have to be the owner of the site. The Theme is created by a professional and this one gives it away or sells it. Convenient, huh?
Time to dig in into each one of those. Following the steps below means having a site live in less than 24 hours.
Best domain and hosting company
Speaking of convenience, there’s tons of hosting services on the net giving the domain name for free the first year. Of course if certain months of hosting services are paid in advance.
This is always the first option to consider, since the real performance of a site cannot be properly reviewed after several months have passed.
Moving on to a hosting with domain there’s an important point to consider.
As I mentioned, I’ve been creating sites (with 0 or hundreds of thousands of visits a month) since I was a teenager. At first I was going for free hosting because I cared more about the site being live itself, than how many visits it could hold.
The reality though is that any person who wants to own a site with visits needs to pay hosting. The free sites to upload articles are not reliable at all and they actually own my content and visits. As everybody who is serious about their project (even if the project is a comedy site), paid hosting is the only option to have full control and ownership of what is uploaded.
This arouses the question: what hosting company is the best?
Many years creating sites and testing different kinds of services have made me arrive into a Hosting company that’s totally reliable and that never failed me.
No. I’m not sponsored by them. But I just felt in love with the service. For me is one of the best of the market and they have given me more than I asked for.
The support system is amazing, answering my questions in matter of minutes. The hosting is one of the fastest. Something that technically is very important because the slower sites don’t rank well on Google.
The steps to follow are easy.
- Go to the hosting company site here already mentioned.
- Buy a WordPress hosting for one year to take advantage of the offers. For starters the basic plan is enough.
- They ask what domain I want, which is included in the hosting.
- Follow the registration process and in less than 24 hours the domain and the hosting will be already available.
The next step to follow will downloading and uploading of the website archives to the hosting that has been just purchased. But let’s not get ahead.
WordPress is familiar to a lot of internet users already. More than an acquaintance had the typical subdomain name blog-whatever.wordpress.com but the reality is that wordpress.com and wordpress.org are two different services.
The first one let its users borrow the subdomain and post articles so they can be viewed. But for the matter at hand, which is making money online, it’s not enough. What is needed is full control of the site, not just the content that its published. That’s because there are certain Plugins or Extensions that have to be installed to make money properly and control the site. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to make 100k in 10 months.
Usually the normal step would be going to WordPress.org and downloading the archives needed, and then uploading them to the hosting that I have just purchased. But the reality is that the company where the hosting and domain I bought, they already offer a panel to install that with just one click. So there’s basically no need to worry about anything else than just a single button.
To do that I head to my-domain-name.com/cpanel and once I entered all my login information, I go to the Pack Webempresa, to click on the “Create Wordpres”. With that, I will only have to register all my data and the website with the basic Theme.
The site is already live.
The only site address to worry about will be:
Once entering here, I only type the admin username and password and I’m in to control everything.
As I mentioned before, I had the luck of not being a complete newbie with the creations of sites and so on. I know a bit of coding and I have managed (with more or less time) to solve of edit what I wanted to change.
In the fewer cases I had some technical difficulties I couldn’t solve, I ended up hiring this WordPress support. They are cheap, fast and reliable. Totally recommended.
Get the right Theme
Going to my recently live website domain-name-that-I-bough.com I see that the colors, columns, distribution (Theme) and texts are the ones that WordPress actually publishes as default in the beginning. That way the users can have a real sensation on a made website.
The default theme is probably not that bad, but I don’t like thinking that thousands and thousands of other sites that haven’t been edited and even touched in a long time will have the same exact Theme as me. So I always change it.
Again, there’s no real need for doing that since the content I create for the niche website is way more important that the Theme itself. Although it’s true that some Themes can damage the rankings if they are too overcharged of details and code that slow down the speed of my site.
The good news is that there are tons of free WordPress themes. And I don’t even need to leave my site for trying them out. I go to the Admin panel on /wp-admin I mentioned before. Then right to the Theme manager /wp-admin/themes.php which is also very easy to access through the left side admin bar on WordPress. Just pressing the button “Add New Theme” the panel shows a catalog with huge variety of free themes.
Something I always take into consideration when choosing a theme is that the simplest and cleanest the better.
Anything related to Google can’t be really proven, since their algorithm formula is like the Coca Cola’s one. Secret. But one of the things that every time I’m more convinced of, is the fact that if a site is more minimalistic and focuses on displaying the content rather than details, it ranks better.
Again, prove cannot be shown, but when in the past I switched from an overcharged Theme (speaking about code and useless structures), to a simplistic one, it always performs and ranks better after a few days.
For the website that I’m building in this hypothetical example I can chose whatever them that it focuses on content. Usually one where there’s just one simple menu and one central column.
In the last years though, in order for my sites to stand out a bit more, I’ve been paying the WordPress Theme I’ve been using. Again, this is not necessary, but for prices as low as $15 till $55 (unique payment), there are very nice and coded clean Themes available. I always go to this site to buy them, since it’s a market where freelancers put their good work for sale. And the good thing is that they are well taking cared of, with updates and support.
Either paid or free, I can move on to start creating the most fundamental part of the niche website. The content.
It has been a lot of speculation saying how certain behaviors can help a website rank higher. The truth is that I’ve believed some of them and I called bullshit to some others.
Again, in case of any question or technical difficulty (which are not likely to happen) I recommend using this WordPress support service for cheap and quality help.
Table of contents
Basically an automatic index for each article. Is as easy as installing a plugin called Table Of Contents Plus. This table in each publication of my site will have the little index with links for navigating inside of it.
I tried out and the users really click on them, which makes sense in case they want to jump directly to a certain information. If the users like it then Google likes sites that users like.
I always have it installed in my site since it doesn’t do any harm. Most of the time I activate the option which let’s me fold it so the same users have to open it up in case they want to navigate. That way is less invasive, but I didn’t notice any difference when it’s folded or unfolded by default.
It has been a lot of fuss about this topic, and anybody seem to arrive to a final conclusion.
Follow links and Nofollow links cannot be differentiated to the naked eye. It’s only a piece of code in every link. In fact, a link is always follow unless coded NoFollow. But what’s the difference between that and what does actually mean?
Both references are made for Google Robots. If they are crawling my site and they see a NoFollow link, they will not check where the site goes. This is a measure for me as an owner in case that the site I’m pointing is doing malpractices or is penalized. If the link is Follow (default) the robots will check where it leads.
But just because a link is tagged as NoFollow doesn’t mean that it leads the user to a Spammy site or anything. Is just a way to say to the Google Robots “hey, I’m not responsible for what this site is pointing does. I’m just linking for my visitors to expand on the information I’m offering”.
What do I actually do? In my site I make all the external links Nofollow and the internal ones Follow. As for getting external links to link to my site, I don’t worry about it. A good link profile pointing to my money sites are made without any weird schema on mind.
This is another tag similar to NoFollow, but instead of links this is used for entire pages or articles. For the name is pretty self
The only pages I set for NoIndex are Cookie notices, legal information, or pages that I don’t actually need to be visited from the Google searches.
This is a piece of knowledge that is pretty useful because sometimes a link pointing to my site that comes from a blog with NoIndex tag will not count.
That’s why I always have a plugin on my Chrome browser called NoFollow from the guys at Igorware. Very handy. It creates a little window while I’m navigating in any site and shows me which links and pages are NoFollow or NoIndex in order to be aware of it at any time.
When looking up on Google any piece of information, there’s always certain results showing a star rating or a picture before I haven’t even clicked there. Those are Rich Snippets.
In order for them to be included is as easy as install one of the numerous plugins in WordPress. They are all pretty good and do the job properly.
The only thing to keep in mind is that Google sometimes can take several weeks or even months to include the stars or the rich snippet to the searches results. It’s all about installing that plugin or code and let it rest till one day I see that they have included it.
I keep in mind all the time that 20% of the actions bring 80% of the results most of the time. Achieve 100.000€ in less than 10 months was the result of having this in mind.
I invested 80% of what I was making for 6 months and put the money in my own websites. I paid more links. Yes. With this platform and this other one that I mentioned already several times. I was putting several thousands at some point and they gave me tons of special discounts for keeping me happy.
After several months I decided it was time to start enjoying a little bit the tiny online empire in the shadows of my own I had build, so I decided to don’t invest anymore.
The effect continued to snowball and is when I made the most money. Currently the numbers are still pretty high. Five digits a month high, but they are not as extravagant as right when I stopped investing. The difference is that this time I’m getting the money for me and not for the sites.
Of course in order to diversify my financial independence I move the money to other places as I explain in this section of my blog.
Making money with the blog
In this hypothetical example I have a site and I already have at least 5 articles published. Of course if in one of those articles I talked about an “ice cream maker”, in this the guide, comparison or review I’m going to mention one or several products. That’s when money can be made. In context!
The generation of filling a site with ads that have nothing to do about the content is over. Integrated content is here to stay and the robots are smarter than ever. I never put any other type of ads on my site that is not related to what I have written.
Google offers a platform called Adsense where advertisement in banner form can be put on sites, but I never used it because I can make more money linking the products that I’m talking about. In addition, images of external products makes a site less serious.
What I use 80% of the time is Amazon Affiliates. Is as easy as searching this sentence on Google to find it, and apply. I can only being accepted if I already have a site with content, that’s why this step is placed here and not in the beginning. Because I make sure I will be accepted from the moment I request being part of the program.
Once in, Amazon gives me access to a panel where I can find products and create links with my affiliate tag. This is basically a few letters on the URL so Amazon knows who is sending this costumer. When this end up buying, Amazon identifies me as the affiliate who brought that person in, and gives me a commission from 3,5% till 10% depending on the kind of product being sold.
I rely on Amazon Affiliates because is 100% trustful, automatized and on time. The truth is that there are several others that might be not as famous because they are not that serious. I tried out some like AliExpress, eBay, ShareASale or Zanox, which can be good for specific products that cannot be found on Amazon or where they offer just low commissions.
Once I created my first site with WordPress and published my first bunch of articles, getting used to the platform is pretty easy. Not a few days passed when I was already exploring that “Plugin” section. Which is basically the “extensions” that WordPress offer to make a site more dynamic with so many extra functionalities. Something that cannot be done with wordpress.com, the free blogs that only content can be published.
There are a few tools that I use in every of my “money sites”. These are mostly plugins that make everything more handy and take extra profit on several actions that the user take.
Clocking and geolocalization
Once inside the Affiliate program of any company, for example Amazon, the web address (URL) with the affiliate tag on it is very long and ugly. In addition many times the browser considers it as Spam so it even blocks it for some users and I could end up making zero money. That’s why I “clock” it. In non-technical words, I cover it turning the address into a pretty short one.
I could install a single plugin to “clock” my affiliates URL, there are many. But I found one that also detects where is the user from. Why do I want that? Because depending on the visitor location I can redirect to one shop or another to get the commission.
If I only join for example Amazon Affiliates on the US, if a English-speaking user visits me from the UK, I will redirect to Amazon US, but no shopping will be made because is from another country. The shipping costs would be terrible! Most likely he will head to the Amazon UK himself and I will end up not making any money.
The solution then is detect where the user is from to redirect them to either US or UK. I join both Affiliate programs beforehand and I can make money regardless where is visiting from.
To do so I bought this plugin for clocking and geolocalize the users. The add-on that has the localization is the Green Ninja Bundle. It’s a bit more expensive.