Building Domain Authority at Scale

Building domain authority at scale is the fastest way to build your blog’s traffic. It’s also the quickest way to make a presence in the niche you have chosen. 

It takes some consistency and effort to build authority. This effort is well worth it. 

There isn’t a more important activity in the early months of your blog’s life.

How to Build Domain Authority

The core of building domain authority (DA) is link building. These links need to come from sites with a domain authority higher than yours. 

There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Pitch sites in your niche with a high domain authority to guest blog on their website.
  2. Pitch sites in your niche with a reasonable DA and ask for a link back from their website to your site’s specific article.

When you start with a domain authority of zero – which all blogs do – going with No. 1 is much easier than going with No. 2. 

Guest blogging is a substantial time commitment, but it can pay huge dividends with the right approach.

How to Acquire Guest Blogging Opportunities

There are three essential elements to acquiring and developing guest blogs:

  1. Know which blogs to pitch. Crawl first, walk second.
  2. Write a quality pitch that provides tangible value. Develop a steady follow-up cadence.
  3. Deliver a quality product that builds your brand’s reputation.

Know Which Blogs to Pitch

Knowing which blogs to pitch as you’re building domain authority is vital. 

Domain authority is on a scale of 0-100—all new sites with a 0. 

I know, how sad, right!? You’re not a zero.

Only a select few – think Google, Facebook, and Twitter – achieve a 99.

It’ss rarified air for some of the world’s most influential companies.

Every blog under the sun pitches high domain authority sites for guest blog opportunities. Sites with a domain authority of 80 or higher are inundated with these pitches daily. 

Therefore, it’s not worth your time to pitch them early in your blog’s life.

You have to learn how to crawl before you walk. Instead, pitch sites with a DA of 35-60. 

Sites with a domain authority below 35 are mostly similar to your own. 

Pitching them for a guest blog won’t provide the value you need in return for the work you would put in. 

Blogs with a 40-60 DA are established, or growing.

They’ll be more likely to accept your pitch and don’t blog owners need new content for their blog, for free, and don’t receive as many pitches as sites with higher DAs.

There’s plenty of mutual benefit to be had here. 

Once you have a few links under your belt from moderate DA sites, you can start walking and pitch websites with higher DAs. 

Just take it a step at a time.

Write a Quality Pitch

The quality of your guest blog pitch to blog owners in your niche is paramount. 

Many well-developed and well-respected blogs receive multiple pitches every day, so yours must stand out.

Elements of a Quality Guest Post Pitch

There are a few must-have elements for an email pitch:

  1. Make it short and sweet. You want to make sure your email gets straight to the point.
  2. First, introduce who you are and give a few contact details. It’s a good idea to hyperlink your blog so the email recipient can quickly check out your online presence. I always hyperlink my name to my LinkedIn profile, so that’s easy to check out.
  3. Compliment the recipient on their site. Be genuine. It’s possible to come off as fake. Do some research and find an article you identify with and explain why you identify with that article.
  4. Get the ask out of the way. Ask directly if their site is accepting guest posts.
  5. Provide some social proof, including websites you have guest written for previously, the sites’ domain authority, and provide some clickable examples of your work. You’re more likely to get a positive response when a site owner sees your articles on other sites. 
  6. Thank them for their time and let them know that you look forward to continuing a conversation. These people are very busy, and who does it hurt to be polite?

Sign off and move to the next email on your list.

Here’s a template you can use that’s been successful for me:

Hello [Site Owner’s Name],

I’ve been following [Site Name] for some time and have enjoyed your work. You guys have a wide variety of diverse perspectives, which is refreshing and engaging.

My name is Kris Hughes. I’m the Founder of Domain Authority Pros, where we help bloggers and SMBs build authority, and marketing agencies deliver big wins to their clients.

I was curious if you’re currently accepting guest posts?

Here are a few topics I could write on:

  1. First Topic
  2. Second Topic
  3. Third Topic

Here are a few of my previously published articles to check out if you’d like to get an idea of my style:

  1. First Article
  2. Second Article
  3. Third Article

I’m open to other ideas if you have them. Any of these sound appealing?

Have a great day-

Kris Hughes – Founder, Domain Authority Pros

Develop a Consistent Follow Up Cadence

Occasionally, you’ll strike gold and get a quick response from a site you pitched for a guest blog. 

This quick response is the exception rather than the rule. 

Be prepared to follow up at least once if not several times to earn a response.

It’s good to follow up on the initial outreach email 3-4 days after sending the first email. 

This email can be very casual.

You’re just trying to move back to the top of the recipient’s inbox, so they see your name more than once and are more inclined to check you out and potentially respond.

If you don’t hear back after that second email, that’s still ok.

Wait another week and send a final email. 

This one can be more direct. 

Let the site owner know that you see mutual value in writing a guest blog for them and would enjoy the opportunity to work together. 

Also, let them know that it’s the last time you’ll be emailing, and you’ll remove them from your list if you don’t hear back in a few days. 

This approach instills some urgency in the recipient.

I’vee received several responses from these third emails. 

It can be a little daunting to send them, sometimes, but nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

Deliver a Quality Product That Builds Your Brand’s Reputation

Guest posts can be more valuable than articles you publish on your site due to the value they create for your domain authority and presence within your chosen niche.

Therefore, it’s vital to deliver a consistent, quality product that builds your brand’s reputation. 

Ensure every article you write for other blogs in your niche has the same quality and consideration of something published on your site.

Developing this reputation for quality makes it easier to win better, more impactful opportunities that help you rapidly build your domain authority. 

Elements of a Quality Post

There are a few elements of a quality post to mention here:

  1. It should be at least 1,500 to 2,000 words. Articles of this length are thorough and favored in Google Search rankings.
  2. Make sure to use a site like Grammarly to double and triple check your grammar, spelling, and context before submitting a final draft to the site owner. 
  3. Don’t send a version that needs in-depth grammatical editing. 
  4. If they need to make some contextual changes here and there based on their site’s editorial policies, that’s fine, but you want your submission to be as clean as possible.
  5. If you’re allowed to link back to your site in the guest post – make sure the link points back to a page you want to rank for a specific search term in Google.
  6. Offer to share the published article on your social media accounts as an act of goodwill for the site owner to help them get more exposure for the post and drive traffic to their site.

This process is repeatable and proven.

It can help grow your domain authority incrementally over time. 

Remember, you have to crawl some before you walk. 

Ensure you’re crawling in the right way, and the right direction and walking will quickly turn into a sprint toward high domain authority.

Building a Money-Making Consulting Business Within Your Niche

Building a consulting business from your niche is an easy way to make money blogging from Day 1. 

It may seem unconventional to suggest your first revenue stream would be a consulting business. 

With the right approach, it’s possible to make money consulting in your niche as your blog gains momentum.

Discovery and Promotion of Your Blog’s Unique Value Proposition 

One of the most critical elements of building a blog – and creating a consulting business around that blog – is to discover and promote your blog’s unique value proposition (UVP). 

The UVP is the knowledge you have that’s unique and powerful for growth within your niche. 

It’s the core of the value you can offer as a consultant. 

People pay for access to knowledge and experience that isn’t otherwise at their fingertips. 

Ultimately, people pay for the ease of being taught essential concepts.

And techniques that will help their blogs and businesses grow instead of having to seek that out themselves. 

There’s plenty of value in time savings, as any professional worth their salt certainly knows.

The Value and Impact of Individual Attention

Even though your blog may be in the infancy phase when you launch your consulting business, this won’t be visible on the surface if you position things correctly. 

There’s value in your UVP. 

But also inherent value in the fact people want and need one-on-one attention to grow. 

This type of consulting can justifiably come at a premium. 

There’s a general perception that individual consultation is more valuable than group consultations or seminars. 

This perception is something to leverage!

Landing that first consulting client is a great way to cover some of your blog’s new operational costs – without bogging it down with advertising before there’s an audience. There’s no need to put the cart before the horse. We built and launched Domain Authority Pros – in part – to help blog owners learn how to start a blogcontent strategycontent marketing strategy, and how to make money blogging at their own pace and with the resources at their disposal.

Give Away Value and Earn More Value in the Long-Run

As crazy as it may sound, it’s always good to give away some value as a consultant as you’re building a relationship with a new client. 

Not to say your consulting business is a charity. 

The inverse is true. 

When you volunteer some of your knowledge – keeping the most impactful experience siloed for your paying clients – you quickly earn trust and respect from knowledge seekers.

We offer a free, 30-minute consultation to everyone interested in what we offer. 

In that consultation, we evaluate where your blog is in its life cycle. 

We also look at what’s going well for you and what isn’t. 

And determine the right plan of attack to move things forward.

There aren’t any expectations tied to this consultation. 

It’s 100% free. No obligations. 

If you think we don’t know what we’re talking about, that’s fine. 

No worries. 

If you take away some value and want to move into coaching or contracted services, even better!

Competitive Analysis for Your Chosen Niche

Competitive analysis of your chosen niche is one of the most critical due diligence activities you’ll do when plotting how to start a blog or re-shape your blog into one with profit potential.

Starting to work on a blog in a uber-competitive niche is like paddling upstream without a paddle. 

The results from the work you’ll put in on content strategy will be negligible, and beyond that, it’ll be tedious.

Some great tools make evaluating competition relatively easy. 

It’s true even if it’s not an exercise you’ve done previously.

Let’s take a closer look at these tools and a walk-through of the process.

How to Complete a Competitive Analysis

Conducting a thorough competitive analysis will help you to understand the players in your niche. 

And how you can best approach content to help you differentiate and have a decent shot to make money blogging.

Here are the steps to take in evaluating competitors:

  1. Examine your competitions’ domain authority and uncover their content marketing strategy and core keywords.
  2. Evaluate these keywords to determine:
    1. The global search volume for the keyword(s) monthly and their level of keyword difficulty
    2. How many backlinks would be needed to be “visible” for the keywords you’re considering to chase
  3. Identify content gaps between what you are creating – or have already created – and your competition to attract a new audience

Let’s take a look at each of these in detail.

Evaluating Domain Authority and Content Strategy

A site’s domain authority (DA) is a score that predicts how well a website will rank overall on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). SERPs are the results you see when you search for something on one of the major search engines.

Domain authority is on a scale from 1-100. 

A site with a 0 domain authority hasn’t yet published any content or gotten any backlinks to their published content. 

Sites with a 100 DA are mega-powerhouses. 

Think the Googles, Facebooks, and Twitters of the world. 

You can use a site like Ahrefs or Moz to evaluate DAs as you’re doing a competitive analysis. 

A majority of websites have a DA somewhere between 30-60. 

If you’re checking out a niche where most blogs and websites have a 60 or higher DA, there’s a steep barrier to entry. 

It’s going to be very difficult to gain traction and develop traffic to your site.

If most sites are closer to 35, it’s a good signal; a deeper dive is worth it to see what the keyword landscape tells you.

Keyword Competitive Analysis

Next, do a keyword competitive analysis if you’re ok with the difficulty level of competing in your niche.

Ahrefs is also a great place to do this work. 

It’s simple to search for the keywords in which you’re interested. 

Ahrefs will provide a keyword difficulty score (KD) from 1-100, similar to DA. 

The higher this KD, the more difficult – in general – it would be for content focused on those keywords to rank in the SERPs.

If most of the keywords have a 35 or less KD, then you’re in good shape.

You also want to consider the Global Search Volume (GSV) for the keywords you’re considering. 

It’s a good rule of thumb that your keywords have at least a GSV of 1,000 or better to be worth chasing.

If the keyword set you’ll be writing around has a 35 or less KD on average, and a GSV of 1,000 or better, you could have a winner! 

If the averages are anywhere near these averages, you should dig in and get to work!

The Link Building Competitive Landscape

When doing a niche competitive analysis, the final consideration is how difficult it will be to build backlinks to your blog.

Domain authority principles apply here as well. 

The higher a blog or website’s DA, the more bloggers like you pitch them for guest blogging opportunities or direct links back to their sites. 

When you’re just starting, it’s best to target sites with a 30-60 DA for your link building efforts. 

Things start to get much more challenging around 60 DA. 

Link building is an effort in incremental growth. 

As your own blog’s DA starts to grow, the DA of sites you should target changes with that growth.

Like many things in blogging, you have to crawl before you can walk.

The more backlinks you drive from sites, the more your DA will grow. 

As your DA grows, you’ll be in a better position in SERPs to show up more often in search. 

With a better search position, you’ll naturally earn more organic traffic. 

Organic traffic increases can open the door to conversions and making your business dreams a reality!

Knowing what content to create first is more than half the battle. 

This knowledge comes from an informed process, however. Flying blind is no way to fly. 

Instead, dig in and do a content gap analysis to identify accessible, initial opportunities for success.

How to Do a Content Gap Analysis

A content gap analysis allows you to see what for which topics your direct competitors are ranking. And, also, where you have an opportunity to make up some ground against them.

Using a tool like Ahrefs, you can get a firm idea of where your competitors have a foothold and opportunities. 

If there are low competition keywords with a high global search volume your competition is not writing about, these are quality chances to poach some traffic and maybe jump your competition in search rankings.

A thorough competitive analysis that includes a content gap analysis can generate unlimited content ideas and keep your fingers flying on that keyboard for months. 

Identifying content gaps is a little tedious, but the opportunities it surfaces are well worth the effort.

Why Competitive Analysis Matters

Doing a thorough competitive analysis of your niche is one of the most vital activities you can complete as a blogger. 

Jumping headfirst into deep water without doing your due diligence first can lead to heartbreak.

Do your keyword research, understand what it will take to build links in your niche, and do a thorough content gap analysis. 

You can make a confident decision about pursuing your niche – or not – informed by hard numbers and the reality of your competition.

How to Make Money Blogging in a Different Way

There isn’t a blogger in the world that starts a blog as a charity. If they do, it’s a passion project, and that mindset doesn’t fit with what we teach. The vast majority of bloggers want to learn how to make money blogging as quickly as possible.

They give plenty of thought on how to start a blog, building an impactful content strategy, and promoting content through a strong content marketing strategy.

One of the questions they’re most like to research is, therefore: How do I make money blogging? 

There’s plenty of conventional wisdom out there on monetizing a blog – some of it good, some not.

Conventional Wisdom on How to Make Money Blogging

The first thing you’ll read on blogs that cover how to make money blogging for beginners is you should add Google AdSense ads as quickly as possible to your site. 

You’ll make a little money from either CPM or CPC. Cost Per Mille or Cost Per Thousand (CPM) are ads that pay you a flat rate for every 1,000 impressions. 

You earn money from Cost Per Click (CPC) ads each time someone clicks on an ad unit.

Adding Google AdSense ads early in your blog’s life could allow you to make a few bucks as you grow. In theory, this is fine. In practice, however, AdSense can do more harm than good.

While AdSense’s technology has advanced dramatically over the years, their ads can still be out of context for your site. This lack of context fit is especially true if you’re just starting. 

If there isn’t enough data about your readers for Google to accurately profile them, the ads that display on your site might not make any sense.

Having non-contextual ads on your site is worse than not having any ads at all! It comes off as spammy and makes your site look unprofessional. 

Beyond the aesthetics, too many AdSense ads can increase page load times. Page load time is one of the most important factors as your site grows. Bogging down load times can be a significant drag on your SEO.

We’re not going to sit here and say you shouldn’t ever use ads to make money blogging. That would be an absurd position to take. 

There’s a time and place to use them, however, and that time is not as your site is just starting to grow.

So if AdSense isn’t a good place to start, you’re asking, what is?

Blogging Online for Money

So, let’s ignore conventional wisdom on blog monetization for a little while and consider an alternative game-plan (and yes, we’ll talk more about the role ads play a little later on. Don’t worry.)

Everyone starts their site with zero visitors. I know, shocking.

As your site starts to build domain authority, your organic traffic base grows.

As your organic traffic base grows, and you flesh out a content strategy, you earn even more authority. More authoritative sites develop an increasingly loyal fan base.

Loyal fans come back to interact with your content daily, and your traffic grows. As all these things start to come together, real money is available.

It’s a step-by-step process that takes some consistent and conscientious work and pays off in a big way.

The old argument goes that you need thousands of website visitors to monetize your blog. 

I’d argue that you only need one.

Yes, one visitor. 

No one said advertising has to be the only way you can make money blogging. 

It should be one of the last methods you consider.

Let’s take a look at an alternative process.

How to Make Money From a New Blog

When starting a new blog, five monetization methods should be at the front of your mind:

  1. Consulting Services
  2. Downloadable, Gated Content
  3. Affiliate Marketing
  4. Advertising
  5. Online Courses

First, let’s consider consulting services.

Consulting Services

Remember all the research you did on creating reader personas and establishing your audience’s potential to spend?

Here’s where it can pay off.

With this research, you identified your blog’s unique value proposition (UVP). The UVP is the knowledge you have communicated through cornerstone content and the occasional blog post (written by you or by your guest authors).

The core of this UVP is the primary subject your captive audience is looking to learn. Therefore, creating a one-on-one consulting service for clients who want individual attention to scale their efforts is a great way to make money blogging from your very first visitor onward.

In our current climate, most of these consultations would be online using a free video-conferencing service like Google Hangouts or Zoom.us

Both have fantastic functionality for one-on-one or small group meetings.

Landing that first consulting client is a great way to cover some of the initial operational costs for your blog, without bogging it down with advertising before there’s an audience to make adding ads worth the real estate they take up!

Downloadable Content

Another avenue to consider is the creation of long-form, downloadable content that can be made available for purchase on your blog. 

After a few months of driving some traffic, some ideas for this content should start to take shape. You’ll have a good feel for how readers react to your content and what they want most. 

Most importantly, you’ll understand what their primary pain point is, and how an ebook, whitepaper or data-driven long-form piece can ease that pain, and solve their problems.

Self-publishing these ebooks means you don’t have to answer to an editor which may hack apart your work.

I mean, sure, you want to maintain quality control and make sure you’re promoting accurate information. Doing so without an editor looking over your shoulder certainly makes this content creation process more comfortable.

Accordingly, once your traffic base is solid enough, it’s also possible to create lead magnets around similar content assets. 

Giving away a free piece of content that provides a reader with a quick, actionable win in return for an email address is a great way to build your list, and even further engage your readers through email marketing.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate programs are probably the most well-recognized method of monetizing a blog. To make money from affiliate marketing, you sign up with companies that offer affiliate commissions for each product purchased due to a link click on your website. 

The structure of these programs is vastly different. 

Some payout a percentage of all link clicks from your site to targeted products on a seller’s website- other programs only payout when the clicks from your site to the seller’s site result in a sale.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing

There are six steps in the affiliate marketing cycle that we’ll cover. 

From Step One to Step Six, the loop is closed between blogs that are publishing affiliate links, to the affiliate network, to the seller’s site, and the customer who purchases a product on the seller’s site when directed there from the links share on your blog.

Your Blog Shows an Affiliate Link

To kick things off, you write an article about a specific topic. 

Within that article, you highlight text that refers to a product the seller offers, and add a link to that text provided to you by your affiliate network. 

This link includes tracking information.

That tracking information allows you and your affiliate network to see when a customer clicks on your blog link and then purchases from the seller site to which you’re linking. 

A sale is registered when this happens, and you receive a cut of that sale as an affiliate. 

Your Reader Clicks on the Affiliate Link

When your reader clicks the link in your blog post, they visit the product page on the seller’s website.

Embedding Tracking Codes on the Reader’s Computer

At this point, a cookie or another tracking device is embedded on the reader’s computer by the affiliate network. 

This cookie tracks how the reader interacts with the seller’s website over a set period, and what actions they take on the seller’s product page where you direct them.

Your Reader Takes the Desired Action on the Partner’s Website

If the reader acts – buying a product, clicking on another link, or something else – on the seller’s website, you receive an affiliate commission for those actions from the affiliate network.

Affiliate Network Records the Transaction & Confirms the Sale

The affiliate network records the transaction your affiliate payment is based on, in their records. 

They then confirm the sale with the seller to ensure it is valid.

Money in the Bank!

Cha-ching! 

The affiliate network and seller have verified the transaction as legitimate, and you earn money. The loop starts again with the completion of this transaction.

Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative, but it takes some time to get it running like a machine. 

With some carefully crafted language and consistency, affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money blogging.

Advertising

Sure. 

Add some ads to your blog.

Advertising is so often the first thought when it comes to making money from blogging. 

When in reality, it should be one of the last things you consider.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Advertising networks can be notoriously fickle. Finding a network that provides ad units that are contextual to your niche, and not obtrusive to the reader’s experience with your blog can be very, very difficult. Not impossible, just tricky.
  2. Adding advertising to your site at the wrong time in its lifecycle can send the wrong message. Websites that run too much advertising too early can look spammy at best and clueless at worst. The moral of the story: Don’t even consider putting ads on your site until you have the traffic base to support them. In general, this is at least 5,000 unique visitors a month, and I would even say 10,000 unique visitors a month given previous experience.
  3. Poorly constructed ad units can deeply damage your blog’s page speed, which can hurt your positioning in search engines like Google and Bing.

Now, enough of that.

Ads can be a dependable way to make money blogging once the conditions above align. 

There are different ad networks worth considering at different points in your blog’s growth.

Advertising Network Options

As you’re building your blog, solidifying your content strategy, and content marketing strategy and starting to see some consistent traffic roll in, there are a few ad networks worth considering:

  1. InfoLinks
  2. PropellerAds
  3. Media.net

Each of these networks is small publisher friendly and can help you monetize your work a little as you continue to grow. They’re relatively easy to set up and have tracking systems in place which are intuitive and user-friendly.

As time goes on, you’ll move from these platforms to secured exchanges. Maybe even to establishing direct deals with private advertisers. These are more lucrative due to the protected and selective nature of the application process and technology involved. 

But that’s another topic for another day.

In short, run with some ads, but just make sure they are a natural fit for your traffic level, goals, and the experience you provide your most loyal readers.

Online Courses

Building courses around your expertise in your blog’s niche is a fantastic way to make money blogging. It’s also very time-consuming. But, as with anything good in life, it takes time to get a solid return.

Once your cornerstone topics are published, you’ve secured guest posts, and backlinks driven to those pieces with consistency with authority driving even more traffic, it’s time to take a look at building online courses.

Building these courses around your cornerstone topics with some additions is a great strategy.

The best thing about online courses is that they can always be updated and polished to be more impactful. 

You earn money from these courses when your readers visit platforms where the courses “live.” Then, you purchase and take the course from the course platform. 

The course platform keeps a percentage of that fee and pays a percentage to you as a course provider.

It’s a pretty sweet setup once you get it up and running with some sustained momentum.

There are several popular platforms, but these are some of our favorites:

  1. Thinkific
  2. Teachable
  3. Ruzuku
  4. Kajabi

Each of these platforms offers some unique features. 

The one thing they share in common is ease-of-use and all activity taking place within a single platform.

Whether the platform helps you with the active promotion of your courses is a significant differentiating factor. 

This promotional option often depends on the level of the service you purchase from the platform, but not always.

Making money blogging is a slow and deliberate process, but one that can pay off handsomely with some smart and calculated work. 

You’ll get there one day, don’t worry! 

Just focus on your process of building authority to drive traffic, and weave these elements in a little at a time.

Content Marketing Strategy to Rapidly Scale Your Blog

It’s essential to know how to start a blog correctly and utilize the proper content strategy to make money blogging

However, there’s little more important than having an actionable content marketing strategy. When developed correctly, it helps propel your site to rapid growth.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.

A purposeful content marketing strategy gives your site’s content a vivid life and identifies your target audience. 

There’s no traffic without content marketing. 

Therefore, it’s the core of blogging with a profitable mindset. 

After all, there’s also no profit and no conversion without traffic.

The Most Important Elements

Let’s take a look at the most critical elements in building your content marketing muscles.

Building Domain Authority (DA)

The primary goal of any content marketing strategy is to build your site’s domain authority

All websites, regardless of topic, start with a domain authority of zero.

Sites with domain authorities of 99 – which is as good as it gets – include the New York Times, the Economist, and the BBC. Reaching a 99 isn’t a reasonable goal regardless of your niche or competition within the niche.

It’s incredibly rarified air.

Reaching a 70 or even an 80DA, however, can be possible with time and hard work. 

Moz – the site that developed the domain authority metric – considers anything over 60 excellent.

It’s important not to obsess with getting links from high DA sites out of the gate. 

Instead, build up slowly—more on this in a little while.

Choosing a Domain Name

One of the essential steps in building domain authority is choosing the right domain name. You want to make sure the domain is descriptive of the content you’ll be creating. 

If you can include your core topic – or core keyword – in the domain even better!

We write about how to start a blog – and then how to scale that blog – so our site name and domain name make sense. 

Think long and hard on this one, y’all! 

Make sure you’re satisfied with the decision. 

It’s something you’re going to be stuck with for the long-haul.

Creating Highly-Optimized and Linkable Content

Next is developing content that is optimized and “linkable.” 

It’s vital to follow all SEO Best Practices (which we previously mentioned in our content strategy cornerstone article).

These include starting article titles with the primary keyword you’re targeting. Also, using qualifiers like best, guide, or the current year. 

Finally, using H2, H3, and H4 tags, adding alt text to all images, and more.

Building Backlinks and Internal Linking Structure

Once your content is “linkable,” the next important step is to earn backlinks. 

We’ll dive into this in much greater detail later. 

For now, know there’s nothing more important in the world of content strategy when it comes to increasing authority.

While backlinks are a pillar, it’s also essential to ensure your internal linking structure follows a predictable formula. Always link to other articles on your site from each article you write. 

This formula is particularly valuable if you have foundational or “cornerstone articles” for which you’re trying to earn attention.

When in doubt, link to another article that’s contextually-relevant or shares something in common with your focus topic. Also, regularly crawl your site – using tools like AhrefsScreaming Frog, or SEMRush to make sure all internal links are in working order.

It’s damaging for a blog’s DA to have any broken links or links that drive traffic to undesired destinations. This damage is worst if a reader visits an article with a 404 Not Found Error. 

Just imagine how much it aggravates you when you visit someone else’s site, and this happens!

A cohesive internal and external linking structure is a critical way to build a professional site. Acquiring backlinks is your key to growth.

Along these lines, one clear path to starting to build domain authority – and backlinks- is to pursue guest blogging opportunities aggressively.

Securing Guest Blogging Opportunities

Securing the opportunity to guest post on high DA sites within your niche is a great way to build your authority. 

As you start to publish on high DA blogs, you will organically start to build backlinks to your site. These backlinks not only build authority but also naturally begin to develop your traffic base.

There are several ways to approach guest posting outreach to build backlinks. 

Traditional methods include cold-emailing content managers for inclusion in their blogs. Or doing the same through a cold LinkedIn message or tweet. 

These methods typically fall flat if you haven’t established a relationship with the contact before outreach.

Consider all of the cold sales requests or other requests you get in your current job! How many of those have you ever responded to? Where do they typically end up? Yep, the trash bin (literally or figuratively).

Also, it’s ill-advised to use Google searches like [my topic] “guest posts” or [my topic] “guest article” as everyone under the sun does the same thing. 

As you might imagine, if everyone is searching on Google in the same way, they’re all getting the same results. 

These site owners get a constant influx of guest post pitches. Yours is likely to get lost in the mix with all the others.

Therefore, it’s vital to try a few under-the-radar methods to identify opportunities that not everyone is chasing.

Smart Ways to Identify Guest Posting Opportunities
Ahrefs Content Explorer

Using the Ahrefs Content Explorer is a great way to identify some under-the-radar guest posting opportunities. Ahrefs has a database of billions of indexed websites to search. They offer a seven day, $7 trial of their entire suite of products before you have to pay $99/month for their base package. 

During that 7-day trial, you could do a year’s worth of guest posting research easily with some dedicated time. Build up a massive spreadsheet of contacts, cancel the trial, and come back to use them later when you have the funds.

The moral of the story is not to become too fixated on high DA sites. 

Whether or not you use Ahrefs to do this research.

There are plenty of sites out there with a lower DA that publish quality content and are growing. Why not help them grow by providing some new material as you grow yourself? 

This value swap could turn into a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership both sides can leverage.

Pursue Sites With a Mid-Range Domain Authority

Facts are it’s going to take a while to get to a 60DA. 

It’s exponentially harder to move from a 50 to 60 than from a 20 to 30. 

It’s increasingly more difficult with every ten points you move.

Fear not. 

A quick way to get some early wins is to start with baby steps. We all crawl before we walk when it comes to content marketing strategy. 

Identify some solid-looking 30-50 DA sites to pitch for guest blogging opportunities, and build from there.

Factors to Consider When Evaluating Low DA Websites

A few factors to consider when evaluating these sites:

  1. Do they post consistently? When is the last time they published a new article?
  2. What is the quality of the content they publish?
  3. Does it look like they often publish guest posts?
  4. Do they have a consistent social media presence? If so, do they share guest articles they publish on these mediums (especially Facebook & Twitter)?
  5. How many backlinks to they have to their site? (Use the Ahrefs or Moz Google Chrome extensions to find this out.)

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, the site is worth pitching for a guest post. Even if you can answer three of the five, it’s probably worth it as you start. 

As time goes on and you have earned some links, you can be more particular with your content marketing strategy.

But, you know the old saying, “beggars can’t be choosers.” 

So work with what you can, and build as you go.

Do Some Reverse Engineering

Another great way to identify potential sites to guest post is to check out where prolific guest bloggers are writing. 

Using Twitter to do this is easy.

For example, search “content marketing” + “guest post.” 

See what you get back for results.

Check the DA of the page. 

See how often they post content. 

The quality of the content, etc., and with checked boxes, we might even reach out to see if we can secure a guest post ourselves! 

It’s that easy on Twitter. 

You can search any keyword imaginable + “guest post” and pull back a ton of potential opportunities.

Another method to identify guest posting opportunities is to reverse engineer links based on where your competitors are posting. 

First, make a list of whom you consider your five primary competitors. 

These are the sites you should emulate and want to work to replicate, through content marketing strategy.

Once you have these sites listed, use a tool like the ones we mentioned previously – Ahrefs or Moz, namely – to see how they are obtaining links from guest posts. Check out a few places where they have posted. 

Some of these sites may not actively advertise that they accept guest posts, but they’re sharing them! Why not approach these sites with your unique pitch to see if you can land a guest post opportunity?

Outsourcing Content Creation

We’ve all heard the old saying “content is king.” Well, it exists for a reason. 

Content is, in fact, king. More specifically, the right content is king.

The right content, and the proper process to get that content created, can make your blog an unstoppable growth machine.

While there are some folks out there who believe content curation – or more often, constant content creation – is the way to make content work in your favor, that’s a little off base. 

Sure, having full control over the content you create is appealing, but also time-consuming. 

Why not take a different approach and outsource content creation to free up time for more calculated, business-minded efforts?

There are a few ways to go here: content marketplaces, hiring freelancers one-off, or acquiring free guest content.

Content Marketplaces

Hiring writers through content marketplaces like ScriptedUpworkGuru, or Textbroker is one option. These sites have the best reputation in the space. The differences between them – including cost, turn-around time, and editorial process – can vary somewhat, but in general, the content their writers produce is consistent and reliable.

These sites allow you to put together a custom proposal for articles and let potential writers pitch to that proposal, or you can select writers based on their previous work you believe would be right for the job.

Depending on the amount of time you have available to write each week, the monetary investment you’d make in these contracted writers could be well worth it. 

Time is money, after all!

Hiring Freelance Writers One-Off

Another option is to hire freelance writers one-off based on the assignment you’re looking for them to cover. There are a few ways to identify freelancers that would be a good fit for your blog.

I would start with perusing social media and checking out sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Search something like “freelance writer [your topic]” and see what you get. 

You can reach out straight to the writer via the messaging part of those platforms to pitch your article. If you find their website, instead, you can use the Hunter Google Chrome extension to pull back an email address if it’s not easy to find.

There are plenty of freelancers that would love to help you build your blog, especially if a one-off article can turn into a long-term partnership that offers consistent, predictable work.

Offer Guest Posting Opportunities on Your Blog

A final option is to offer guest posts on your blog, as well. 

Just because you’re going to be pushing hard to acquire guest posting opportunities on other sites in your niche doesn’t mean you can’t offer the same in return to other writers.

It’s an easy way to get some free content written to publish on your site and push toward ranking for other keywords valuable to your blog’s SEO infrastructure.

Social Media Automation

Posting manually to all of the various social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok, etc. – can be an exhausting slog that requires several hours a week that could be better used.

While social media is an integral part of any content marketing strategy, it can be done intelligently, with minimal time consumption. 

The easiest way to do this? 

Automation. 

Social media automation is a great way to ensure you’re getting some impact from your social accounts without spending more than a couple of hours of focused work on building your accounts.

It’s worth considering platforms like HootsuiteSprout SocialBuffer, or IFTTT depending on your priorities and your technical ability and know-how. 

Each of these platforms allows you to schedule messages in bulk- several weeks ahead if you’d prefer. 

Using this type of social media automation is a great way to get your content – and the content you publish as guest postings – scheduled out to your social channels, and interact with your fans and readers to build community.

I promise it’ll save you countless hours versus trying to do all of it manually.

Content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be imposing and intimidating. Just follow our suggestions step by step and use your instinct to find opportunities to let your writing shine, both on your site and on other blogs, which can help you increase authority!

Building a Winning Content Strategy

What is content strategy? 

Content strategy is a high-level plan which guides content development and content marketing, often against specific goals. 

This definition is perfect for our goals as profit-focused bloggers.

Content strategy is the foundation, the building blocks, of any successful blog. Learning how to start a blog without developing a comprehensive strategy is a bad plan. 

Blogging with a profit mindset is all about sustained, focused effort, and following a well-crafted content roadmap.

The Cornerstone Strategy Process

It’s vital to understand the elements of the cornerstone content strategy for any blogger. You’re only going to be writing 4-5 cornerstone blog posts before hiring other people to do that for you. 

Let’s not look that far ahead.

First, let’s take a look at the cornerstone elements broken into three groupings:

  • Planning Your Content
  • Protecting Content Quality
  • Cultivating the Customer Journey

Deadlines drive content planning, and several systems make up a thorough content plan. 

Time isn’t on your side, but you can make it your ally.

Content Planning & Content Strategy

The foundation of content development is the content calendar and a workflow that addresses deadlines. 

Beyond being timely, your content must have great visual appeal. 

It should be testable. 

Being able to leverage it across several mediums is also very important.

Let’s take a look at each of these pieces in detail.

Content Calendar

Building out a content calendar is not just about planning for future articles, videos, and other content you’ll create. It’s also about tweaking content you’ve already published to make it better.

In our case, the content calendar should layout a timeline for your four or five cornerstone blog posts. 

Think about how long it will reasonably take to write those posts given the time you have available. 

Once publishing of the cornerstone articles is complete, you’ll also need to consider how you’ll acquire more content for the blog from guest writers.

The next step is to develop your content marketing strategy.

Your content must be attractive to your reader personas.

Are the topics positioned correctly for the age, gender, income level, and psychographics elements you’ve determined? 

Do your tone and voice match what these folks would like to read?

It’s a good idea to use a free online tool like Google DocsKapost, or CoSchedule to organize the timeline for outlining, writing, publishing, and marketing your cornerstone articles. 

You can also go the old-school route, write things down on a notepad or in a journal, and mark off your tasks one by one as you’re writing and marketing your articles.

No matter how you choose to build your content calendar, make it easy to understand and use! 

It’ll be your best friend throughout the blogging journey.

SEO Best Practices

It’s no mystery that SEO is the backbone of any well-crafted piece of content. 

There is a handful of SEO best practices worth applying to your cornerstone content, and also to content your guest writers compose.

One of the best ways to test your article’s SEO quality is to use the Yoast SEO plugin once you have installed WordPress. 

If you’re not using WordPress (which we highly recommend), below are the highlights of an on-page SEO checklist from Backlinko for easy reference.

SEO Checklist
  1. Start your title with your primary SEO keyword.
  2. Make sure your title ends with your primary SEO keyword (for this article that’s content strategy.)
  3. Use qualifiers like best, guide, review, or the year you’re in to add to your title’s descriptive nature.
  4. Make sure to use your primary keyword as fast as possible, preferably to start the article. At a minimum, within the first 100 words.
  5. Add an infographic before each section highlighting the section’s main points to add some visual appeal.
  6. Make sure your second-level headings have H2 tags. Make sure your primary keyword is in at least one of those H2 tags.
  7. Research the semantic keywords for your primary keywords. Make sure your H3 tags for sub-sections are these semantic keywords. (Makes things nice and easy for Google search.)
  8. Ensure image file names include your target keyword, and your keyword is part of the image’s alt text.
  9. Make sure to use social sharing buttons in all of your posts. If possible, those social sharing buttons should be in your posts’ body to grab the reader’s attention.
  10. Make sure all articles are at least 2,500 words. This benchmark shouldn’t be a problem for your cornerstone articles. This length is rewarded by Google, along with the engagement of your article. Don’t just write long pieces for their own sake. Also, make sure pieces are engaging and hold your readers’ attention.
Internal and External Linking

Internal linking helps keywords to rank well in Google and generally shows how the article you are writing is relevant for that keyword or keyword phrase. 

Make sure when linking from one article to another, to highlight and link the relevant keyword.

External links are a great way of sharing the wealth. When you link externally to another website, within your article, you signal to Google that site is valuable and has some authority. 

Accordingly, the notion is that when sites link externally to one another, they begin to share authority, helping everyone earn more influence than they would have otherwise.

Don’t let SEO become overwhelming. 

Take control of it instead, and make it an ally!

Ability to Conduct A/B Testing

The goal of the content you’ll be creating for your blog is to increase conversion. This conversion could be selling an informational product, convincing someone to sign up for your consulting services, or click on an affiliate link. 

No matter what the conversion action may be, you should always be optimizing content to increase it.

This optimization is where AB testing comes in. 

In an AB test, one version of your landing page or blog post serves as the control. A second version is a variation – the altered piece of content. 

In a typical A/B test, you split traffic, so some of your website visitors see one version of the content, and others see the variation.

Tools like VWO facilitate A/B testing exceptionally well and are worth considering.

After a set period, the tester views the statistical data recorded by an analytics tool like Google Analytics to determine which version “won” the test.

There’s no reason to continue to run the variation if the control wins the test. 

If the variation wins the test, it may be worth considering what insights that provide. 

How do those insights inform future articles you’ll publish or reports your guest writers will produce? 

There’s always something there to be learned!

Content Design: Add Some Visual Appeal

No matter what type of content you are producing, it’s important for the material to have an impactful visual appeal

This appeal is particularly true when an article is a longer-form piece (like this one – wink). It’s helpful for your content design to have some visual elements that break up long chunks of text and keep your reader engaged.

Engaged readers do what you’d like for them to do.

Disengaged readers leave an article or other piece of content long before they have enough information to act on what they are reading.

A Visual Appeal Checklist

A few straight-forward items to include for visual appeal are the following:

  1. A Table of Contents that outlines what the reader will encounter in the article.
  2. Consistent H2, H3, and H4 subheadings with different font sizes and weights to separate the sections of the item. We mentioned that previously, but it’s always worth mentioning again. It’s one of the core concepts of solid on-site SEO.
  3. Bullet-pointed lists when several items related to a topic.
  4. Imagery. Use as many infographics, memes, GIFs, and pictures as possible. 
  5. Anything that adds some style to the article and catches the reader’s eye.

In summary, whatever you can do to improve the reader’s visual experience is worth it.

Experiment. 

Try different things.

Finally, use tools like CrazyEgg or HotJar to develop heatmaps that show how readers interact with your content. Is there a particular place that they tend to drop off from your articles? Why? What can you change to keep that from happening?

The visual design of the content is about tweaking until you find a style that works for the reader experience and in moving readers down the funnel toward conversion.

Take An Omni-Channel Approach

A quality piece of content shouldn’t just die on the vine after being published. 

Even though you’ll only be writing a few cornerstone pieces yourself, those pieces can have a powerful impact on your blog’s growth. 

This impact is particularly powerful if you take an omnichannel approach to your content.

Taking an omnichannel approach means considering all potential options for the use of a content piece.

As an example, let’s say one of your cornerstone pieces performs much better than the other three or four. 

It drives traffic to the blog. 

When people visit the article, they read several other articles, or spend a long time perusing your site: the more time they spend, the higher their conversion rate.

How to Add New Life to High-Performing Articles

This high-performing article is a piece of content that you want to give a new life through fresh content development. 

There are several questions to ask yourself along these lines:

  1. Can the article be turned into an engaging video?
  2. Could you host a podcast around the subject with guests that are subject matter experts on the topic?
  3. Would developing a long-form piece of content like an eBook you could potentially sell on your blog be a good idea?

Be creative! 

Think of all the ways you can extend a piece of content that’s successful because the reality is that they won’t all be. 

It’s vital to take advantage of the most successful pieces and give these the most extended life possible.

This need is why an omnichannel mindset is a crucial building block of any content strategy.

Ensuring Content Quality

Content quality is a somewhat nebulous concept. Creating quality content is not a highly technical process. It’s more about gut instinct and understanding your audience. It’s about how your blog can solve the audience’s primary problem.

Sure, we all know a quality piece of content when we encounter it. 

Sometimes, something just feels right about an article. 

It flows smoothly. 

It’s an enjoyable read you take something away from, and maybe even share with your friends.

Each of these quality pieces of content was carefully crafted, with four key concepts in mind.

Find Your Overarching Theme

This one’s fairly straight-forward. 

All of the content produced for your blog – both articles you write yourself and those your contracted writers write – should be geared toward your overarching them.

What is the core theme of your blog?

Are the articles you’re writing staying true to this theme? If you answered yes, you’re on the right track. Stay the course. 

If you answered no, or maybe are a little unsure, it may be time to review the problem you’re trying to solve and make sure the articles you publish are solving this problem for your target readers.

When you solve reader problems, they’re more likely to trust you and be interested in what you have to offer as time goes on.

Write With a Consistent Voice

Writing with a consistent voice is harder than it may seem. Regardless, it’s one of the essential elements of any content strategy.

If your voice is casual, and readers feel like they could be your friend after reading a few articles, stay casual. 

If the tone is informative, and readers always feel like they walk away from your blog, having learned something, stay informative. 

Do readers see you as helpful and selfless, giving away great tips and tricks for free? Be selfless.

You get the point. No matter how the approach you take, make sure the method is something you can reproduce across cornerstone content.

 More importantly, however, make sure the voice is also something your guest writers can replicate. If they can’t, you could be in for a world of hurt editing their work to make it so.

Be careful here, and take the time to determine what you want your blog’s voice. 

Then stick to it with all you’ve got!

Write With Your Reader Personas In Mind

While it’s essential to write to your blog’s theme and write with a consistent voice, it’s most important to write with your reader personas in mind. 

An easy way to visualize this is to act like they’re sitting right across from you at the table where you are. 

What would you say to them face to face if you were talking instead of writing?

This scenario is precisely how the tone and voice of your content should come across. 

If you’re writing about landscape gardening for seniors, your reader persona is probably a female in her 60-70s, not a teenage boy. In the same way, if you’re writing about video games, then the inverse is true.

Take time to pause and evaluate your writing’s tone and voice as you compose each article to make sure it aligns with the persona you are targeting. 

This fluidity across your blog will be recognized, and provide some natural authority to the information you’re looking to share with your audience.

Approach Every Article as a Solution to a Problem

As you perform research into content strategy, the problem you’re looking to solve is at the front of your mind. The attachment people have about writing on their “passions” instead of writing with an end goal of profitability in mind is the problem we help you solve. 

Each article you’ll read on Domain Authority Pros is a solution to a particular problem:

  • Learning how to start a blog the right way. 
  • Developing a strong content strategy that mirrors your goals. 
  • Using the right content marketing tools and services. 
  • Learning how to make money blogging.
  • Not knowing where to start. 
  • Struggling with how to develop content. 
  • Having trouble finding the right tools to use. 
  • Not knowing how to monetize the traffic that begins to roll into their site.

What are the problems your blog will solve? Whatever they are, they are the backbone of your cornerstone content, and the content your contracted writers will produce in the future.

If nothing else, be helpful. 

Just be helpful. 

It’s a great way to earn trust, build relationships, and make money blogging about relationships, not just adding “clients.”

Cultivating the Reader Journey Within Your Content Strategy

The goal of blogging with a profit mindset is to lead your readers toward a desired action in the content marketing funnel. While it’s important to know what that action is, the end of the trail is useless if there isn’t a trail.

Therefore, your content should always cultivate the reader’s journey on your blog. It all starts with reader awareness of your existence.

This notion may seem silly, but getting that initial traffic to your blog is half the battle.

Here’s a visual depiction of the content marketing funnel:

Once a reader is aware of who you are and what you offer, the next step is to cultivate that interest through other means of communication. 

Maybe that’s a sequence of emails or a highly-visible offer in your cornerstone content or elsewhere on your website.

If your reader has interacted with each of these types of content, they are showing buyer intent. 

Once you recognize this intent, it’s time to bring out the big guns and heavily promote what you’re selling and drive toward conversion.

It’s that simple – well, not really – but you get the idea!

While all of this might seem overwhelming, with some time, due diligence, and perseverance, you can put together an award-winning content strategy that will get your blog off to a blazing start!

How to Start a Blog from Scratch in 2020 (and Beyond)

Every day, around the world, people ponder how to start a blog for various reasons:

  1. They’re intensely passionate about a particular subject and want to share that feeling with the world.
  2. They have a distinct viewpoint to share and want to build a community around shared beliefs.
  3. They want to generate some income and make money blogging. Heck, maybe even enough to someday replace the day job and grab some more freedom. A good goal to have, right?

How to Start a Blog in 2020, and Beyond

Choosing the blog niche you want to pursue isn’t an easy process. 

Determining long-term goals, and how those align with your knowledge base, helps identify exciting topics on which to focus.

Will the topic hold your own, and your audience’s attention, for the long-haul? There are few more critical questions to consider.

You’ll pour over your blog topics list for hours – if not days – and that’s fine. Don’t stress; it’s natural. It’s a vital decision that will make your blog a powerhouse. Tough decisions require careful consideration, and there’s some discomfort involved.

That’s life.

No matter what, the topic you choose should be one you can write about with confidence and authority.

The #1 Thing to Know About Choosing Blog Topics

Authority in your blog’s subject is just part of the equation. We’re going to assume you’re here to learn about how to make money blogging.

First, let’s take a quick look at the foundation of conventional blogging wisdom:

The constant, painstaking slog for organic traffic and making offerings to the Google gods can be brutal. 

There’s no promise of instant riches in changing this mindset to something new.

Conventional blogging wisdom discounts the inherent value of your time.

The world’s saturated with passion project bloggers, y’all, and trust us, the passion wanes when you’re focused on one topic for an extended period.

Another dark “secret” is that passion projects are not profitable.

Identifying the right audience with a budget to spend, and scaling your blog like a business is profitable.

It’s time to make blogging your friend, not an adversary.

Agree? 

Let’s dig in.

How to Discover Profitable Blog Topics

When considering how to start a blog with the right business mindset, you must think about:

1. The audience’s expendable income and reader personas.

  • Does the audience for which I’m writing have an expendable income?
  • Would business owners in the niche be able to pay for 1:1 consulting services or other products I offer?
  • Am I a part of the target audience for which I’m writing?
  • Who are the people that make up this audience? 
  • Why do I want them as consistent readers and evangelists of my blog and professional network?
  • Do I have in-depth, profound knowledge about my primary topic?
  • Can I utilize the professional network I’ve created to promote my blog and help rapidly escalate its growth?

2. Demand for information related to the blog topic.

  • Are people searching for my primary keywords on Google?
  • How heavy is my competition?
  • Is the barrier to entry low enough I can make some quick headway?
  • Conversely, would I be banging my head against the wall?

Using keyword tools, you can evaluate blog topics to determine competitiveness, based on some standard benchmarks.

We’ll take a closer look at that process a bit later.

First, let’s look at how the best blogs establish reader personas and evaluate the competition.

How the Best Blogs Establish Reader Personas and Evaluate Competition

Establishing reader personas helps you determine how to start a blog. This process is vital, given you’re only going to be writing on a handful of blog topics. 

You’ll outsource the majority of your content to freelance writers as one of your content strategy’s core practices.

Establishing Reader Personas When You Create a Blog

To uncover reader personas, you first need to consider: 

Am I part of the audience for whom I’m writing. If the answer to the question is no, take a step back and reconsider your blog topics. 

If the answer is yes, great. Full speed ahead!

Next, it’s time to sketch out who a perfect reader of your blog would be. 

There are a few things to consider, including demographics, psychographics, and audience behavior, as you start to build a blog.

Demographics, Psychographics and Audience Behavior

Let’s tackle these together, one by one:

1.  Demographics – Demographics are statistical data describing characteristics of a population, such as:

  •  Age
  • Gender
  • Income Level
  •  Ethnicity
  • Religion
  •  Number of Children
  • Martial Status

2. Psychographics – Psychographics is the study of consumer lifestyles to create a detailed customer profile.

  • To understand your psychographics, you’ll need to understand what people want to know about your blog topic and how knowledgeable they are about your niche.
  • You also need to know what stake they have in visiting your blog.
  • Is it casual interest, or more specific, direct intent, perhaps related to their work or business?

3. Audience Behavior- How does my target reader behave?

  • Human beings don’t always act predictably, as we know.
  • Therefore we need to identify personas to understand what they truly want and not just go by what the data shows.
  • To complete your audience persona, you first need to see how their behavior aligns with whom they appear to be.
  • What type of content do they like?
  • What kind of information convinces them to act?
  • Does this all match up with whom they seem to be on the surface?

When you address a reader’s goals, you’ll find a casual reader becomes a passionate follower.

Passionate followers soon become evangelists.

Evangelists are the best free marketers you could want.

When your blog’s audience is full of evangelists, the sky’s the limit!

How Blogging Websites Evaluate Audience Budget

With developing evangelists becoming the goal, it’s vital you target people with expendable income. 

With due diligence, these people are not hard to find.

Given over 2.7 billion people in the world use Facebook, it makes sense their Audience Insights tool would be a fantastic (and free) place to do some audience evaluation. 

To enter Facebook Audience Insights, visit this page.

Facebook Audience Insights helps you to do a deep dive into demographic, psychographic, and behavioral factors to determine if you’re going to be writing for the right audience.

The goal is to differentiate a “hobby blog” audience from an audience that’s information-hungry and ready to spend to build a business.

How Do I Know My Blog Topics Are Business-Focused?

To evaluate a hobby niche versus one whose readers have spending potential, let’s take a look at gardening versus commercial landscaping.

To start, input gardening under interests and select 18 to 65+ as the age range to narrow the initial audience of 150-200M people.

Using just that variable has decreased our total audience from all of Facebook to 30-35M people in the United States. 

From the graphs, you can see that 72% of people who like gardening are female and there’s an equal distribution among age groups.

As you can see, gardening bloggers are likely females of all ages. 

Given this, there would be substantial competition trying to make money blogging in this niche. It would be a long road ahead.

If you’re willing to write about it for years, daily, and follow conventional blogging wisdom, you could make a few bucks.

What if we changed the mindset and took a look at landscape architecture?

Search for landscape architecture as an interest. See how much smaller the niche is! 

With this basic interest search, you can see that there are 5-6 million people in the US interested in landscape architecture. 

It’s a safe bet some of these folks are professional landscape architects (with money to spend), who would love to secure your services as a consultant to help them develop their content strategy.

See where I’m going?

Remember That You’re Trying to Create Evangelists

The business application of your niche has to be front-of-mind. How can you create an audience around this niche that’s ready to spend money to improve?

This mindset sets your blogging efforts up for success before you start to evaluate the demand for the niche, and think about how to start a blog.

The next step is creating content that’s appealing to your evangelist persona in the more focused niche. 

What about the content will encourage them to share it, engage with it, and buy what you’re looking to sell?

Eventually, you’re going to want to package content to sell to the audience you build, and asking these questions helps you determine what that content should be.

How to Scale Growth With Your Professional Influence

Throughout the course of your professional career, you have indeed built a network, and within it, a particular type of influence given your experience, skillset, and accomplishments.

The nature and makeup of this network will help determine how you leverage it; however, some approaches are worth considering.

First, consider what unique value you can provide your connections when you decide how to start a blog. Approaching outreach with this mindset can lead to some serious success.

It’s always about the value you can provide, not the value you want to receive. 

With this selfless mindset, you’re sure to earn the return you are seeking.

In summary, who among your connections would be open to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship? 

Write down those names and get to work contacting them.

This outreach is a huge first step!

Hint: LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for this activity. 

How the Best Blogs Perform Guest Post Outreach

It’s great to reach out to LinkedIn connections to see how you can work together, but it’s also impactful to identify high-domain authority blogs that allow guest posting.

Early on, most of the content you’re going to create is guest posts that drive high domain authority backlinks back to your website, not writing new articles on your blog.

For a step-by-step outline of the guest blog outreach process – including free templates to write your emails – check out our in-depth article on content strategy and content marketing.

Evaluate the Demand of Your Blog Topics

Once you have established reader personas, determined the budget of these personas, and evaluated how you can leverage your network, the last step is to gauge the market demand as you’re thinking about how to start a blog.

The easiest way to gauge market demand for an idea is to use a keyword research tool like Google Search Console or Ahrefs.

Here are a few benchmarks to consider when evaluating the competition level of a keyword:

  • The keyword difficulty of the keyword you’re researching should be 40 or less.
  • The Global Search Volume of the keyword should ideally be 5,000 or more.
  • There should be at least one result on the first page of Google rankings for the keyword with a domain authority of less than 30.
  • The Search Engine Ranking Page (SERP) for the keyword should have seen some movement in the last six months. If new pages aren’t breaking into the first page with some level of consistency, this could be a rough sign.
  • All of the pages in the SERP should have domain authorities less than 65.

It’s a pretty perfect scenario if all five of these variables are true. 

If you’re hitting on at least three of the five variables, then you’re golden.

You can have some confidence you could rank on Page 1 of the SERPs within a reasonable amount of time with some concerted effort to build backlinks and traffic.

How to Evaluate Keywords for Your Blog Topics

Using Google Chrome, this Ahrefs SEO Toolbar is a great way to quickly evaluate the domain authority of sites that come up in Google search as you consider how to start a blog.

We highly recommend Ahrefs, as it’s one of the best tools to use throughout your blogging journey. Ahrefs offers a 7-day trial for $7, which is well worth it for the wealth of information you’ll have at your fingertips to evaluate your niche.

Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s do some research on the keyword, topics to write about. 

Here’s the screenshot for that topic in Ahrefs:

Let’s evaluate this term based on the criteria we mentioned above for competitiveness:

  • 39 Keyword Difficulty – Good – It’s under 40, so that’s a positive.
  • 11K Global Search Volume – Great! – It’s well over 5,000 global search volume, so definitely for which people search.

A solid start. 

Now let’s go to Google and search for the term to see how much domain authority the results on Page 1 have:

What the Data Is Telling Us About Your Potential Niche

Now, this looks promising! 

These are the first four listings below position zero in Google rankings for the keyword. Three of the four listings have a Domain Ranking (Authority) of less than 51, and only one is higher than 65 at 73. 

In short, this keyword is a winner and something you could structure a blog topic around. This same holds when you’re looking for the primary keyword of your entire blog post.

Once you’ve identified your main keyword, click on “All Keyword Ideas” on the left sidebar in Ahrefs, and it will pull back all of the other keywords related to your search:

Evaluating these keywords in the same way you evaluate the primary keyword is the next step. It’s great to have multiple keywords to use in your articles to position as well as possible for Google search, and earning organic traffic.

These secondary keywords are called Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords or semantic keywords. 

We’ll cover this in greater detail in future articles.

Doing Your Due Diligence When Starting a Blog Will Pay Off

Doing due diligence to determine the topic of your blog and the articles you write is just the beginning of the journey.

Content strategy and content marketing strategy are vital to ensure the content you create gets traffic. 

Once you’ve established steady traffic, taking the right steps to make it work for you comes next.

You’re here because you want to make money blogging, and we’re here to help with the journey.

Are you looking to move a little faster?