Oof. Let’s just say that I’m glad I gave myself six months for this challenge. To recap the challenge, read this post. So here’s what I did in July.
Find A Topic
Obviously, if you’re going to create a blog for revenue, you want to figure out what you’ll be writing about. How? The first step is to research some keywords. Head on over to Google Adwords and create an account if you need to. Once you’re all set up, go ahead and click Tools at the top, and select Keyword Planner.
Next select the first option: Search for new keyword and ad ideas
There are two parts to the next screen. First, you want to enter in your keyword ideas. For this example, I put in sprint triathlon. Also, be sure to click on Customize you search. I put in 1,000 into the average monthly search box. You do this because you want to see adwords that have a decent number of searches.
Once you click submit, you’ll see a listing of search words, grouped by ad words. These are some general ideas, but now what you really want.
No, we need to drill down deeper. See that Keyword Idea tab? Click that. There’s what you really want! In my case, Sprint Triathlon had 8,100 local searches per month. Not a huge total, but a decent amount. To try out my ideas, I decided to go with it. It helps to also search Google for your keyword, to see what comes up on the first page. In my case, it was mostly individual sprint triathlon races. Decent, and something I could take over and end up on page one.
Advice: Search until you find something you can be confident in keeping up with. If you aren’t interested in a subject, you’ll find yourself struggling to write consistently about the topic. Don’t just search for something with a great deal of monthly searches, but also think about the topic itself.
Once I had keyword I wanted, I headed over to my domain registration website to search for a domain name. This is a key point: you want to get a domain that has your keyword in it. Hyphens and plurals are ok, but make sure your keyword is available at a top-level domain (i.e. .com, .net or .org). Avoid a low-level domain as they aren’t ranked as highly in Google. I was able to find my keyword and register it for a very low price: I spent $10.87 on www.sprint-triathlon.com. Once I had my site registered, I also needed hosting so I can store my pages and photos and such.
After a bit of Googling, I found a host for a very low price: $1.50 a month for Lithium Hosting. I signed up, pointed my domain to their servers, and I was good to go. The next step was to set up WordPress. Luckily for me, my host had a plug-in that would automatically set it up for me. It took about five minutes to have it installed. I selected a theme and customized my layout a bit, and my website was officially launched.
The most important aspect is content, and here’s where I struggled. I wrote up a few posts, but it really needs more. If you aren’t passionate about your subject, this is where you’ll get into trouble. My triathlon season was over pretty quick this year, so I’ve had a hard time getting motivated to write posts. And if you don’t write up a good deal of content, Google Adsense will NOT approve you; I found this out the hard way.
All in all, I’ve spent less than $15, so I have $85 remaining. I will spend the rest of this on the remaining five months of hosting, a logo and a premium WordPress theme. I need to separate my site from others and give it unique content, or else no one will care. I’m hoping that in a month I’ll have enough posts that I can finally get approved for Google Adsense and make some money. My site generates very little traffic (this blog gets WAY more), so it’ll be a long haul. But again, I’ve got five more months!