Last Updated on May 10, 2021 by scottkandh
Blogging can be a profitable gig, especially, if you don’t give up. From most of the information that I’ve seen it’s not an instantaneous trek. It appears that most bloggers start making a profit around their 10th – 12th month of blogging because they’ve taken matters into their own hands and took their blogging seriously to begin monetizing it.
The checklists that I’m providing are a roadmap to that end goal in mind – Monetizing your Blog.
By studying these checklists you’ll have a better understanding of what it takes to become a successful blog that converts into making you money. I’ve used the term “proven” checklists because these are the techniques used by many bloggers throughout the blogging community that I’ve seen on many different blogs.
I’ve classified bloggers into three categories: Beginning Bloggers (ready to start their own blog), Intermediate Bloggers (they want to start growing their traffic), and Advanced Bloggers (your blog is now set up the way that you want and you want to have people Show you the Money. Speaking of showing you the money, you’ll want to check out this post that I wrote called: Attention Bloggers: Are you aware Tailwind has launched a new affiliate program to help you earn more?
This post contains affiliate links, I’ll make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase.
I’ve arranged the checklists in the same fashion that I have set up my blog, by helping you to:
- Start your Blog (Beginning Bloggers)
- Grow your Blog or (Intermediate Bloggers)
- Monetize it! (Advanced Bloggers)
The natural flow of a blogger is that they:
- 1st, they have to Start their blog. Once you get past the point of actually purchasing your own domain you’ve reached the home stretch. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen a comment in Facebook that alludes that I have thought about blogging before …
I’m letting you in on a little-known secret that is going to save you a couple of extra dollars every month if you start your blog through an organization called Nameboy. Bluehost for only $2.75/month.
Nameboy is the original and most popular domain name generator in the world. Search for new company name ideas and get the domain name instantly (before someone else does).
Normally, I’ve seen Bluehost offered at $3.95/month. Through Nameboy, they are offering hosting for only $2.75/month. I didn’t know anything about blogging when I first got started and I went through Bluehost and then migrated to SiteGround. Bluehost is a good way economical way to decide if you like blogging or not.
- Secondly, after they’ve gotten accustomed to blogging, they want to start growing their blog’s traffic – (2nd – 3rd month of blogging or so).
- Lastly is the all-important step (about the 8 – 12-month point) that most bloggers are wanting by making their blogs profitable – Monetizing it!
At this point, I wish that I could show you my income report that boosts of tremendous sales from my affiliate marketing. However, unfortunately, that’s not the case. I’ve got the affiliate links in place and my affiliate links are knowing getting clicks; however, those clicks haven’t turned into sales that I’ve seen in my PayPal account. I’m holding until the belief that my blog is going to be making money online and I’m in for the long haul. Unfortunately for most of us, it’s a matter of waiting until we have the right affiliate links and they’re all magically aligned. If you know what I mean! However, at the time of writing this post I was glad to notice that one of my Affiliate Links profited me a whole .50cents so things are starting to slowly turnaround. As you might have noticed it’s usually a long time before websites start showing a profit.
One last point that I’d like to make before we examine the checklist is that blogging is a lot of hard work. The easiest way to tell that is by looking at the checklist. For the most part I’m going to add links to the various posts I have on my blog to help point you in a direction for an area that you might need some more guidance (for example, setting up your first tripwire).
The first part on this checklist (Getting Started – Start your Blog) is for new bloggers who possibly don’t know anything and starting completely from scratch. If you’ve been blogging for a month or two, you can skip to the next section (Intermediate Bloggers – Grow your Blog). The last section is for bloggers that are wanting to take that big leap to start seriously monetizing their blog (which requires you to have a full-time committal for success).
My suggestion to you is to copy and paste these applicable checklists into a Word Document so that you can take advantage of the checkboxes. If they (the checkboxes) aren’t visible in your version of Word, you might have to install something called Developer.
Getting Started – Start your Blog
- ☐ As a blogger, you’ll be writing a lot of content. (sit down and create a blog content
schedule that works for you). Content is king that’ll drive traffic to your blog.
- ☐ Claim your blog on Pinterest (to get traffic to your blog quicker)
- ☐ Create a freebie to start building your email list.
- ☐ Create categories to help you keep your blog’s content relevant.
- ☐ Don’t forget your affiliate disclosure. “This post contains affiliate links, I’ll make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase.” It’s required by law.
- ☐ Find the right theme for your blog.
- ☐ Focus your content on helping your reader, don’t have too many affiliate links.
- ☐ Get 5-10 high quality articles written and then start promoting via Pinterest.
- ☐ Get acquainted and familiar with your WordPress and WordPress Dashboard.
- ☐ Install free WordPress plugins to get the most out of WordPress. See Day 3, (under
7-day Blog Launch Checklist) next couple of pages for suggested plug-ins to use.
- ☐ Install Google Analytics and JetPack to help you see what’s working and what isn’t.
- ☐ Invest in a Pinterest course or eBook if you’ve never used the platform before.
- ☐ Join 1-2 affiliate networks and find some products that relate to your blog’s niche.
- ☐ Learn as much as you can about SEO. It takes about 3 – 4 months for SEO to take
effect so use those first few months to brush up on it. So that everything is ready and
in place for when your traffic starts coming.
- ☐ Make sure that you add your blog’s disclaimer.
- ☐ Make sure that you back up your blog. NOTE: If you’re using SiteGround “they” do
backups as far back as 30 days.
- ☐ Purchase hosting from a reputable hosting account for beginners. My suggestion is to
start with Bluehost and then migrate to SiteGround after you’ve been blogging for
about 5 – 6 months.
- ☐ Read everything you can about blogging and affiliate marketing. (Don’t invest a lot of
money)! You want to know how bloggers make their money? They are relying on
you to buy “their” products and lesson plans about how to blog or use Pinterest.
- ☐ Search for and buy your own domain.
- ☐ Set your blog up with Google Search Console. (it’s free and will help you grow)
- ☐ Sit down and write your first blog post (we all make mistakes, and you can correct
them later. Get started). As a new blogger, this will be your biggest hurdle!
- ☐ Start monetizing right out of the gate with affiliate links.
- ☐ Use a Keyword research tool to help you find the right keywords. Yoast SEO
Premium has a Keyword Research tool built-in to use.
- ☐ Use an affiliate plugin like ThirstyAffiliates to cloak (disguise)/shorten) your links.
- ☐ Use Canva Pro to create eye catching images for your posts.
- ☐ Use ConvertKit to create your e-mail list and your landing pages.
Pro-Tip: One of the best ways to “learn” about blogging is to write posts about blogging. I’ve seen several blogs that their niche has nothing to do with blogging that are writing posts that pertain to blogging. One advantage to this approach is that you’ll see what other bloggers are doing that you can emulate.
The purpose of this checklist is to run these items “before” you publish a post on your blog. Use it to serve as a useful reminder of all the steps that need to be taken for the best search engine optimization (SEO) to optimize your posts.
- ☐ Pick a blog post topic.
- ☐ What’s the purpose of your post?
- ☐ Brainstorm good headlines with Headline Analyzer
- ☐ Outline your post.
- ☐ Write your introduction, body, and conclusion (call to action)
- ☐ Write your first draft in Microsoft Word and then copy and paste it into WordPress.
- ☐ Add at least one internal and one external link to your post.
- ☐ Don’t sparingly use your Call to Action, post it throughout your post.
- ☐ Double check your grammar and spelling with Grammarly.
- ☐ Ensure that your links go to bonafide credible sources.
- ☐ Ensure that your post has good readability with Yoast SEO.
- ☐ For the best Google ranking aim for between 1,000 to 2,000 words
- ☐ Optimize your post with the use of alt-tag in your images.
- ☐ Promote your post on Pinterest to the most relevant board, Facebook, or other social
- ☐ Provide a featured image for your post so that your blog page has an image and a
thumbnail (which is usually auto created for the thumbnail).
- ☐ Provide at least two pins per post.
- ☐ Update your Metadescription with Yoast SEO
- ☐ Use categories for your post.
- ☐ Where applicable (i.e., longer articles) use H2 headings in your post.
- ☐ If it’s one of the most important and extensive articles on your site mark it as a
cornerstone post. You can do this in Yoast SEO.
Before you start and set up your domain you need to determine a few things, like thinking of your Blog’s niche and its name.
- ☐ Define the broad niche. Pick something that really interests you that you can write countless posts on and are excited writing about.
- ☐ Narrow down your niche and focus more specifically on what you’re going to be blogging about.
- ☐ Research other blogs to develop your perfect blog niche. Take the opportunity to learn from other bloggers. For example, here’s a list of 40 Bloggers that you can benefit from to help grow your blog.
- ☐ It really helps if you develop SMARTER goals for your blog. See SMART goals for your blog.
When you develop the name of your blog and its domain (where it’s hosted) you’ll want to develop a name that is easy and simple. Don’t make it so that’s it so long, that you have to think about it. If you have to spend time to think about it, it’s likely that someone else may not take the time to put it into their browser (in lieu of clicking on your URL).
☐ Keep the Blog name simple so people can remember your URL.
☐ Sign up for hosting – to get your blog all setup, I’d recommend that you sign up for Bluehost
(little less expensive) or SiteGround (faster website).
☐ Install WordPress (comes with Bluehost) and will have to be installed if
using another host. Most others have a one-click WordPress install.
☐ Before moving to Day 3, play around with selecting different themes. Go to
paragraph 4 for installing WordPress Themes. It may take a while before you
a theme that you’re comfortable with and will stick with for the duration.
Choosing different themes doesn’t lose your data, it just changes your Blog’s
layout structure and may require some work here and there (to your menus,
Today is set aside for doing a little one-time maintenance on your blog. Pro-tip: If you get prompted to update your plug-ins, stay on top of that. It’s a way that if you don’t keep good control of them that a hacker can get into your website (if there’s outdated plug-ins).
☐ If you are going to launch your blog right away, you need to install the
plug-ins below (before) you launch your Blog and make it available for all to see.
☐ These are the minimum recommended plug-ins that I highly recommend.
☐ Akismet Anti-Spam * ☐ Constant Contact * ☐ Google Analytics *
☐ Milo-Tree Pop-up * ☐ PI Button * ☐ Social Warfare *
☐ ConvertKit (for e-mail) * ☐ ShortPixel (for images optimization) *
(not required if your using SiteGround)
* Suggested minimum plug-ins. For “more” plug-ins
visit 25 Blogging Tools for WordPress
In addition, you’ll want to install a caching plug-in, I prefer ☐ WP Rocket *
There are four one-time WordPress settings that you need to update (before you launch your Blog):
- ☐ Users – In profile, edit the display name to show your name
- ☐ Settings – Go to General, set your Site’s title and tagline (optional)
- ☐ Settings – Go to Reading, choose your Homepage and Blog posts page (they’re created in Pages > Add new).
- ☐ Settings – Go to Permalinks (once set, don’t this change this setting). Set it to Post name for friendlier URLs.
I don’t recommend a specific theme for your blog. What I do recommend is selecting the one that you feel the most comfortable with and has a professional appearance. Paid themes cost an average ranging from $49 to $59.00
☐ Create the main pages for your blog outlined below. The last four can be googled and add the word Generator at the end of your Google Search. That way they’ll generate most of the text for you and you’ll need to provide the information pertinent to your blog.
☐ About Me – this is a frequently visited page, so this one deserves to be in a
prominent place in your menu. Normally I see it located to the far right.
☐ Contact – for people to leave you a message without making a comment
☐ Terms and Conditions Policy
☐ Disclaimer Policy
☐ Guest Post Policy (optional)
☐ Use Canva to create a logo for your blog. In WordPress go to Customize > Header > Site Identity. Use the recommended size by Canva for your logo or what your theme recommends.
☐ Create categories for your blog. This is how people will be able to quickly navigate to a specific topic. I recommend choosing between 3 and 6 categories. To view what categories look like, view any of my posts.
☐ If you want to get in depth information on how to set up and “design” your blog, I would highly suggest taking the course from DOSIXFIGURES.COM called Do Six Figures Bootcamp for $37.00.
☐ Plan to write out your blog’s first content. Try to keep the topics the same because when people are looking at your site structure the next or previous topics might be populated dependent on the theme that you are using.
☐ Select a minimum of 6 to 10 blog posts for your blog before you decide to fully launch it. That way you’ll have some content. You can always add more later. One of the best things to bring traffic to your blog is good quality content. Take your time writing your blog posts and proof them for errors (spelling, punctuation, etc.). I strongly recommend using Grammarly (it’s free).
☐ Before you press publish it and put in on the web for all to see (it won’t actually be visible until you actually launch your blog). There’s a place somewhere on your blog to indicate that your blog is ready, that’s what I mean my launch. The difference between publish and update is that publish is the first step to put it onto the web and update is when you decide to make any changes. There’s a handy plug-in that will automatically update your posts anytime that you make updates for you and your visitors to see that you’re on top of your blog topics and they aren’t outdated called WP Last Modified Info
This day consists of two-parts that you’re going to be doing to start getting traffic.
☐ Start your e-mail list. Did you want to know how most bloggers make their money and you’re going to be surprised? It’s not from their actual blog, it’s from the e-mails that they’ve sent to their subscribers.
On day 3 I recommended some minimum recommended plug-ins. Two of these are strictly for building your e-mail list. So be sure that you have one or the other of these. A third option is a free program called Optin Monster, but I would stick to one of the two below.
I’m telling you based on experience that people don’t like to sign up for newsletters that will be delivered to their e-mail address. Other opt-ins to use are a cheat sheets, checklists, planners, guides, printables, or e-Books.
For some good examples of how to use optin forms see 63 Point Checklist for Optin form
☐ One more thing that I strongly suggest you look at is this blog post about the importance of using funnels on your blog – Learning the secrets of blogging success by using funnels.
I’m not going to spend an exorbitant amount of time on Pinterest, a lot of that information is already on my blog. To find out why it’s so important to use Pinterest as a social media form to grow your blog read the blog below:
☐ Pinterest Overview facts for new Bloggers
And then I think that’ll be enough incentive enough for you to get your Pinterest personal and business account. The business account can’t be done unless you have a website. If you are like me and don’t like coding get the plug-in called Insert Headers and Footers to put the code into your blog (to claim your website).
☐ Pinterest Personal account ☐ Pinterest Business account
Claim your website (instructions)
☐ Top 10 questions everyone working with Pinterest should know how to answer. The information from within this post will provide you with the basics to get your Pinterest all set up.
b. Grow your blog with Facebook.
Once a week go to Facebook and answer people’s questions that they have about your Niche.
Tips to Increase Your Affiliate Income – Monetize it!
If you’ve implemented everything on the checklist above, and are still NOT seeing any affiliate income, it’s time to take a look at your strategy. Here are some tips you can use to help you increase your income.
- ☐ Are you trying too hard to sell? (your job is to recommend not sell)
- ☐ Are you using buyers keywords that get people to take action?
- ☐ Ask if you can get an affiliate discount for the products you promote. (people love
- ☐ Ask questions in Facebook Groups. (just don’t waste a bunch of time in them)
- ☐ Check to see if the links are actually working?
- ☐ Consider creating a landing page for your affiliate offers.
- ☐ Consider publishing blog income reports.
- ☐ Create a resource page, they can drive big sales.
- ☐ Create a tutorial or share a personal experience of yours with the product.
- ☐ Did you choose a relevant product and know enough about it?
- ☐ Diversify your affiliate marketing programs and income streams.
- ☐ Don’t promote more than 2 products per post. (you’ll just confuse your readers)
- ☐ Explain to your audience why they need to have this product to help solve a problem
that they might be encountering.
- ☐ Find your top posts every 30 days and make sure they are monetized properly.
- ☐ Focus on building trust with your visitors and subscribers.
- ☐ Give it time, success doesn’t happen overnight.
- ☐ Improve your blog design to increase sales.
- ☐ Learn how to write faster and create do a content blitz.
- ☐ Make the most out of special days. (promote when the program is running an
exclusive bonuses and discounts)
- ☐ Piggyback off your successful blog posts. (if that content worked once, it may work
- ☐ Place your affiliate links at the top of your post, in the middle, and at the end.
- ☐ Sign up for the affiliate program email. (this is the only way to know about exclusive
- ☐ Stop selling and start helping.
- ☐ Track your affiliate results every month to see what’s working and what isn’t.
- ☐ Use an affiliate plugin like ThirstyAffiliates to cloak (disguise/shorten) your links.
- ☐ Use different methods to promote your products (social media, blog post, email and
- ☐ Work on improving your SEO.
- ☐ Write case studies to show people your results with the product you’re promoting.
- ☐ Write more tutorials and product reviews.
- ☐ Write seasonal posts. (The holidays like Christmas can drive huge sales)
Monetizing your Blog.
We’re nearly done getting ready to fully launch your blog. One of the last steps and the most important which explains why it takes many bloggers to start showing a regular income is monetizing your blog.
☐ Do some research to see how other blogs are making money on their blog. Try to stay blogs that are within your own niche.
☐ Consider signing up for Google AdSense.
☐ Sign up for Affiliate Marketing. My number one Affiliate Marketing program is called ShareASale and there are many more Affiliate programs. If someone comes to your post, clicks on one of your ads and buys something you get a small cut of the proceeds. It’s that simple.
☐ Create your own digital products or products and promote those.
☐ Last big step – Time to Launch your Blog! A lot of want to have perfect blogs and it’s never going to be perfect. You’re always going to be doing updates so get ‘er done.
Related posts that you might want to read on this website.