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Blogging

What is a Blog?

Blog means Article and the way it emerges or presents to you is called Blogging. You can start thinking about a topic for your blog, choose a topic, that you are passionate about and something that you are naturally inclined to and then you start a blog around it.

There are the methods, you should always practice digital marketing yourself through your own website.

I would recommend this method to learn digital marketing because that is how I learn digital marketing personally.

When you consider self-learning, learning by implementing yourself in digital marketing and you will see the difference.

You need not to pay very high amount for a full-time digital marketing course, you can do the same thing yourself by learning from different sources on the web and start implementing by on your own.

For example, my friend who is very interested about travel and keeps traveling to a lot of places. So he started a blog about travel and now he has started getting a lot of traffic to his blog and he has even started making money from his blog.

So I don’t have an MBA. I am not an MBA in marketing. I don’t have a marketing background. But what I do is that I keep implementing things. So I’m still learning and I’m not a complete expert in this field.

You have so much digital marketing methods, like mobile marketing. You can develop mobile apps and mobile traffic is also an important part of digital marketing traffic strategies.

Then we can have a look at eCommerce website creation and marketing. We have video marketing on YouTube and video advertising as well.

We have something called influencer marketing. Then you have YouTube video ads, YouTube is also a social network in some sense.

We have sponsored content and Native ads display ads which you see all around the web and then we have a plate marketing as well. 

Once you choose a topic for your blog The Next Step would be to register a domain name and then by a web hosting.

How to Create a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog with Your Own Domain Name

This is a comprehensive guide to setting up your self-hosted WordPress blog on your own domain.

  • Free vs. Self-Hosted WordPress blog
  • Costs involved in running a self-hosted WordPress blog

Setting Up Your Self Hosted WordPress Blog

  • Register a good domain name
  • Get web hosting for your blog
  • Install WordPress CMS on your host
  • Choose a theme design for your blog
  • Install essential plugins
  • Install Google Analytics and configure Webmaster Tools

Free Vs. Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

Why not go for a free blog provided by Google (Blogger.com) or WordPress?

Why go through the hassle of setting up your self-hosted blog?

There are plenty of reasons and benefits in a self-hosted blog. It is always a good idea to register your domain, get hosting space, install WordPress on it and customize it according to your needs.

Free blogs do not look professional. If you get a blog at blogger.com or wordpress.com, your blogging possibilities are limited, and you don’t own your domain and website. 

Self-hosted blogs are owned by you and no one can take it away. No one can ban your account. You can completely change the look, feel and functionality of your blog.

You can make your blog a commercial blog. Many free blogging services do not allow internet users to use their platform for commercial purposes.

So don’t even think about going the free route. Always go for a self-hosted blog like mine. It costs a bit, but the benefits are priceless.

Cost of Running a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

Having a self-hosted wordpress blog costs money. A lot of people wonder how much it costs to start and maintain a self-hosted blog.

  • Domain Name: $10 to $15 to register, $10 to $15 per year to renew.

  • Web Hosting: You can get one for as low as $5 a month. That would be around $60 a year. As your website traffic grows, you may have to pay a bit more. I pay around $50 a year for all my websites.

  • Content Management System (CMS): You have to install WordPress on your blog. WordPress is the best CMS available and it is open source! You will not get a better CMS even if you are ready to pay for it.

  • You can download it for free from wordpress.org. However, if you want to upgrade specific functions on your website, there are free and premium plugins available.

 Optional

You can invest a bit of money on logo and website design if you can invest and want to look more professional.

  • Logo: You can get logos designed for $5 on fiverr.com all the way up to $300 in 99designs.com. I paid around $50 for the Digital Deepak logo which appears on this website.
  • Theme Design: For theme design, you can check out studiopress.com where they have a lot of professional SEO optimized themes that you can buy and install on your blog. The cost ranges from $99 to $199. You can also get a custom design at 99designs.com.

Logo and theme design can also be done on a later date. But if you have money to invest, it is best to get the designs made upfront.

Investing on the design makes your blog stand out of the crowd and also helps you become serious about it.

Domain Name

Domain name is very important because it is directly linked to your branding, and you cannot change it on a later date. A domain name is just like a username for your website on the world wide web.

A catchy domain name helps you to remember better and helps the way to access your website and it shouldn’t be confusing. 

I always prefer a .com domain name because that is the first extension launched and most of the people end up visiting the .com version by default.

You can get a .net domain name as the next alternative. In certain cases, it is OK to go with a country specific extension like .in (for India).

One of the basic requirements for a domain name is that the name should be catchy.

Domain Name Registrar

These registrars have two-factor authentication (2FA) and help in preventing your names from getting hacked.

  • Name.com
  • NameCheap.com
  • Godaddy.com
  • BigRock.com

There is a marginal pricing difference between these registrars. Some registrars give you huge discounts for the first year when you register. The renewals costs are more or less the same in almost all the registrars in the world.

Web Hosting

A domain name is like a phone number or address for your website that doesn’t change. People find you through your domain name. But it is not the same with web servers.

You can host your site on any server. Here is a quick illustration of how the domain name system and webservers work.

You can instruct your domain name to point to any computer on the internet. Each web server has an IP address on the internet.

You can point your domain name to this IP address, and the website files will load from this server when an internet users type your domain name in the browser.

A web hosting server is a computer that stores your website files. You can even use your computer to host your website and point your domain name to your computer’s IP address.

When you buy a web hosting server, they will send you something called “Name Servers” along with a welcome email.

These name servers contain the IP address of your web server. You have to enter these name servers in your domain name settings so that your domain name knows where to point the users when they are looking to access your website.

The exact process differs a little bit from company to company. If you contact the support department of your domain name registrar or your hosting company, they will help you connect your domain name and hosting.

At any point in time, if you are changing your web servers, you just need to update your domain name with the new name servers so that it points to a new server.

Here are some of the web hosting servers suitable for WordPress blogs that I recommend for beginners:

  • Cloudways.com
  • GreenGeeks.com
  • DreamHost.com

When you get more than 1,000 visitors a day to your websites, you can go for VPS servers. For VPS servers I recommend:

  • WiredTree.com

If you get more than 3,000 visitors a day for your websites and if you need a top notch hosting company to host your WordPress blog, then I recommend managed WordPress hosting services such as:

  • WPEngine.com

Managed WordPress hosts cost a bit more than traditional hosting, but they will keep your website secure and backed-up every day. Managed hosting services also help your website to load fast because their servers are optimized just for WordPress.

Installing WordPress

What is WordPress

WordPress is a website builder and content management system. It is an open source software that anyone can use to make any kind of website imaginable.

It started out as a blogging platform in 2003 but soon transformed into a CMS and later a full-fledged website building platform.

After you have bought your domain name and hosting, it is time to install WordPress. WordPress Installers like, Softaculous that will install WordPress for you in a few clicks. 

Most of the hosting companies provide you with an interface called cPanel. cPanel is a graphical user interface (GUI) to operate your hosting account.

Your cPanel username, password, and the login URL will be provided by your hosting company. Here are the things you should remember or save it in a safe place.

  • Domain registrar username and password
  • Hosting account username & password (billing and cPanel)
  • WordPress admin username and password.

I recommend that you use a password manager like KeePass or LastPass to save all your passwords in an organized manner.

WordPress Themes

A WordPress Theme is a folder of files that work together to create the design of your site.

A theme includes template files, stylesheets, images, and possibly JavaScript files. All those files change how your blog posts and pages are displayed.

Once you install WordPress and login into your dashboard, you will find many different WordPress themes which you can install for free.

I do not recommend sticking to the default WordPress theme because it will not set you apart from the other blogs on the internet.

You can choose a free theme, or you can buy a premium WordPress theme. Some of the premium (paid) WordPress themes I recommend are

  • Astra Pro
  • GeneratePress Premium
  • StudioPress themes by CopyBlogger media

WordPress Plugins to Install and Configure

A WordPress Plugin is essentially a bit of code that “plugs in” to your self-hosted WordPress site.

In human terms, that means a WordPress Plugin is something that adds new functionality to your WordPress site or extends existing functionality on your site.

One of the best features of WordPress is that it comes with a host of different free and premium plugins to help you publish according to your requirements.

Here are free plugins you should install and activate.

  • Akismet.         Helps you prevent spam comments on your blog. Free to use. You have to register for a WordPress.com account and get the API key.
  • All in One SEO Pack.            Helps you optimize your blog and inside pages for the search engines. Some themes have SEO options built in.
  • Google XML Sitemaps.          Helps you create sitemaps (a page will links to all the pages on your website). This helps search engines track new pages on your website.
  • WP Touch.     A plugin that will make your website available for viewing in mobiles. One of the best plugins for WordPress.

I usually have only the essential plugins on my blogs. I will not install a plugin unless it is necessary. That is because I follow a minimalist approach.

Some blogs need more plugins. You will be able to find many plugins for the following enhancements:

  • Facebook Comments on Your Blog
  • A plugin that displays all social sharing buttons on your posts
  • Related posts plugin which will automatically display related posts below every post
  • Contact form plugin which you can embed on your about, contact or advertise page.


Google Analytics

Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.

Google Analytics works by the inclusion of a block of JavaScript code on pages in your website.

When users to your website view a page, this JavaScript code references a JavaScript file which then executes the tracking operation for Analytics.

Setting up Google Analytics and configuring Google Webmaster tools are a part of your blog setup.

Without Google Analytics, you wouldn’t know who visits your websites from where they come, how long they stay, what pages they visit, how quickly they leave your site and so on.

There are many other website analytics tools available but Google Analytics is what I recommend and what the industry recommends.

First, you have to create an account in Google Analytics. The steps are pretty simple and straight forward.

Once your account is created, you will get a code with a unique identifier like UA-XXXX.

You have to include the code on every page on your website so that Google Analytics can collect data from your website.

There is a WordPress plugin available for that too called ‘Ultimate Google Analytics’ or ‘Google Site Kit’. Some WordPress themes come with in-built functionality to include Google Analytics code and in such cases you need not install a plugin.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is the primary mechanism for Google to communicate with webmasters and helps alert you about issues with your site.

Now It is called “Google Search Central”, formerly it was Google Webmasters, is here to help the right people view your content with resources to make your website discoverable to Google Search.

Google Webmaster tools helps you find out what is happening outside of your website.

Mostly, webmaster tools has to do with the Google search engine.

This is something you cannot ignore because Google has the largest share in the search engine market and you will get a lot of visitors from Google organic search.

How to Choose a Topic for Your Blog?

Blogging can be a very rewarding career. It provides time, location and financial freedom! However, if you do not choose the right topic for your blog, you will fail.

Your blogging success depends on the topic that you choose to blog about. There are three main factors involved in choosing a topic to blog about.

# Passion

You need to have a passion for what you do. If you start a blog just because it looks like there is a market opportunity, you will fail.

But if you have a deep passion for the subject that you are blogging about, you will keep going with it even if the odds are against you.

So when you are starting a blog, you need to ask yourself – are you passionate about this topic?

If yes, then you have crossed 33% of the journey. Because having a passion for a topic is not the only criteria which determine your blogging success.

# Market

You have to make something people want. Any product or service, no matter how passionate you are about it, will not sell if there is no demand for it.

Let’s say you are passionate about making cakes with wine, but no one cares about wine cakes. That could be a disaster for you because unless the market pays you for your passion, you cannot keep doing something that doesn’t pay your bills.

How do you find out the demand in the market? There is no right way to go about it. Do enough research and be open to information around you.

Keyword research online can be a way to find out if people are searching for something, but that doesn’t give you the whole picture.

In general, if you think about a topic that you are passionate about, and if you are deeply involved in that topic, you will be able to know if there is a market demand for it.

# Talent

The third piece of the puzzle is Talent. Let’s say you are passionate about cars. There is a market for content about cars. But if you cannot write about cars or create rich content around it, then there is no way you can move forward.

But the good thing about talent is that you can acquire it. Passion cannot be acquired. Market demand cannot be created by you. However, you can learn and become talented!

This has to be acquired over a period of time such as maintaining public relationships, managing freelance writers, accounting, video creation and editing.

All the skills will help you to grow the blog quickly to millions of page views.

# Focus

It took me a while to learn the value of focusing on one thing, but once I started following this, things changed.

I got better results. I got more readers and engagement.

People started to appreciate my work and efforts, which wasn’t the case before. If you want to succeed in your blogging efforts, you need to focus on one thing.

When I started writing, I was focusing on too many things. I was spreading myself too thin.

I wanted to write this, that, and everything else out there because I didn’t have clear goals.

I was all pumped up and wanted to write everything I thought I knew and tell the world about it

But it didn’t get me the results I was expecting. I didn’t get visitors or comments as I expected.

It was like no one was giving a damn about my blog posts. I was losing hope in blogging and my ability to write.

I’m sure you have been there. You start blogging. You are all excited and write on many things.

But no one appreciates it, and slowly you lose steam. Then suddenly, one of my posts worked.

People were visiting, commenting, asking questions, and appreciating the post.

I wasn’t sure what made it work, but I decided to follow the same approach and see if I could reproduce the results.

I wrote another post like that one, and it worked. Then I wrote one more. Again it worked.

That’s when I realized what people are expecting to read from my blog, and that’s what I should focus on.

From that moment, everything changed. I got better results, and the results motivated me to write more, and the more I wrote, the results multiplied.

Of course, after getting a few followers and readers, I tried different approaches and topics. Some of them worked, gelled well with the audience, and some didn’t.

But I kept the focus on the one thing that worked for me.

And the “one thing” isn’t about the content type. It applies to everything you write or create and publish. Ask yourself – what’s the one thing your reader or audience is going to learn from it?

Define it and stick to it. If you wander beyond it, your content gets diluted, loses its power, and people may not appreciate it.

That’s the one thing I should focus on, nothing else.

If I deviate from it, you won’t like that and will lose interest.

You will skip reading and bounce off. But as long as I keep the focus and stick to the lessons I learned, you’ll continue reading.

Whether it is a social media post, or YouTube video, or podcast, focus on one thing.

Focus is an underrated growth hack that is not taken seriously.

# Consistency

You read my blogging success story or one the other successful bloggers.

You read about how much we make. It sounds awesome.

You also want to earn like that and live like us. You decide to follow our path.

You start a blog. You write a couple of posts and publish them.

You wait for thousands of people to visit your blog, read the post, appreciate it in the comments.

Nothing happens, but you were expecting it. You think if you write more, then people will notice you.

You write more posts and publish them. Again nothing much happens.

You lose your initial interest. You start writing less. You publish once in a while.

And then you quit because you believe blogging isn’t your cup of tea.

Trust me, I know and have been there. But later I found out that it’s the reason why I wasn’t getting the results.

And it’s probably the same reason why you aren’t too.

Blogging takes time to produce the results.

It takes time to Google index your posts and ranks it on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).

It takes time to audience realize there is a new blog on the block, visit you, and consume your content.

It takes time for people to accept your style and appreciate your efforts.

Sometimes it takes a couple of months to see initial traction and sometimes even more than that depending on the niche you have selected and the competition ahead of you.

To get there, you have to publish two posts a week. Most of his posts were of 2000 words or more.

Don’t quit, when no one bothered to visit his first few posts.

You keep on writing, publishing, and promoting until you may get an “overnight success”.

And it wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t consistent.

If you want to lose weight or be fit, going for a walk or working out once in a while isn’t going to be enough.

If you want to improve your writing, you need to write every day.

If you want to grow your social media reputation, you should post quality content every day.

No matter what you want to achieve, you need to be consistently doing it.

Because consistency is the key to success.

IT’s all about ATTEMPT…. ATTEMPT.. ATTEMPT

Can you learn to ride the bicycle in the first attempt?

Can you learn to swim in the first attempt? Can you learn to drive in one attempt?

Not really, right?

It takes two, three, four, or even more attempts before you get it right and doing it. And it applies to blogging too.

You cannot get it right on the first attempt.

Your first post will be rough and unpolished, even if you’ve been writing for a while.

It may not connect with the audience. It may not get ranked on Google. It may not get hundreds of visits, comments, and shares.

It doesn’t mean you should stop. It means you got to try again and do better.

As you keep writing, you get better, and your writing improves.

Your blog posts get better, and your audiences will start connecting with them.

Then your content will start ranking and getting visitors and comments. And one day it will happen.

A blockbuster post that puts you in the growth track.

You will want to repeat it. But you may not be able to recreate the same success.

It might take a few more attempts to write one more blockbuster post.

The key is to keep working and trying to do better.

After a few attempts, you’ll understand what works and what doesn’t, and that knowledge will make you powerful.

With that knowledge, you’ll be able to create more and more hit posts.

You know, I also kept working on it until I felt it’s good enough to send. That’s how it works.

Your first email might fail. As you improve the next ones, you’ll get more opens, clicks, and conversions.

Your first pitching might not work. But if you keep pitching, improving, and you’ll land your first client.

Remember, even Sachin Tendulkar didn’t score a century in his first match. He kept working on it.

So don’t expect to succeed at the first attempt and don’t lose your hopes if you fail at it. Keep working and improving.

# Learn and Implement

You have to learn a lot and experiment a lot. You may fail.

So ask your marketing friends, colleagues, and peers, what’s wrong happening?

I learned what worked and what didn’t, I learned the mistakes, I made and not to repeat them.

That’s why some people are successful while others aren’t.
Don’t just read a book, you need to apply what you learned.

Because that’s the only way you can improve, become better at what you do and how you live.

And remember…

You can learn a lot. But if you aren’t implementing them, you haven’t really learned.

# Out of Box Thinking

I started my blog posts in a particular style, approached the middle portion in a manner, and closed them in one style.

I was so inspired by the book, I read, wrote it in a flow, and sent it to my list, before I could change my mind, and I started receiving replies.

People were appreciating and thanking me for that email.

I need to explore. I need to get out of the box, break the pattern, and do differently.

That changed everything. That gave me the confidence to try different approaches.

I started writing on different topics. I tried different writing styles.

I got the confidence to share my failures as much as I do about my success.

Probably you wouldn’t be reading the content at all.

I’m able to create more because I don’t have to worry about the content, not fitting into a template and create anything.

I’m feeling good about doing it all. And I’m happy about the content I create, being happy about doing what you do?

# Fear to Loose

I will finish my blog post and save it in the draft. I will reread it, edit it one more time, and reread it but won’t have the courage to hit the publish button.

What if no one likes to read this? What if someone reads this but doesn’t like it?

I have shut my eyes while hitting the publish button.

There have been times when I have closed the system and stopped checking the post for days.

Because I was worried about facing the answer to those questions mentioned above.

You can never stop worrying about it. You can never get rid of the fear.

It might get weaker. It might lose its intensity. But it never goes away. And it’s a good thing.

It keeps you in check. It keeps you focusing on helping your audience and creating useful content.

You might start creating low-quality content. You might create something for the sake of creating. You might forget about your audience.

But when you hear the voice, you will sit up and recheck the blog post you wrote or the video you recorded.

You will check whether your audience will like it or not.

No matter if you are a beginner or experienced, you can still apply them and grow your profession and life.

Because this is phase of life in blogging career, fear will guide through to success.

 Best Way to Make Revenue from Blogging

People talk about 100 different ways to earn from a blog. They make a list of so many items and post it on their blogs.

I realized something. There are only 2 REAL ways to make revenue from your blogging efforts.

If you follow these 2 ways, you can become a full-time professional blogger.

These 2 methods can help you make more than 95% of revenue from the blog. But these 2 ways are must have sources.

What are those 2 ways?

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Product Launches

99% of my blog’s income in the past 1 year has come from these two categories.

Many people think that blogging is a way to make money.

NO!

Blogging is not a business model by itself.

Blogging is a marketing method to earn money.

It is a tool to attract people to you.

These people can be potential customers. Blogging will attract customers for your products.

If you have been to my blog because you searched something online, then I am attracting you to my blog.

You might be a potential customer for my courses.

People first “pay” attention to your content.

That happens when you have good content published on your blog.

Now you have to convert this attention into money.

Else you cannot pay yourself for the time and energy that you spend on your blogging efforts.

How to convert this attention into money?

You sell. You can sell other’s products for a commission (affiliate marketing)

or…

You can sell your own products. (Product Launches).

Take that revenue and reinvest into the growth of blog.

And I sell more products in the long term. Along with that my subscriber list also grows.

Many people try to monetize their blog with sponsored reviews and display ads.

They do not pay much. You are earning attention from your readers with your content. And you are selling that attention to someone else.

It doesn’t pay much because you have no control over display ads.

The offer might not be targeted to your audience.

You have to build a relationship with your audience.

A good relationship. Give them what they want. Don’t make fun of the attention they are paying you.

Once you build the trust with them, you can convince them of anything.

And you can sell products or services directly to them. That’s when you will make the most returns on your blogging efforts.

All the successful bloggers that I know in the world have their own product.

The revenue from the product is what helps them pay for the blogging in the first place. That’s why their blogging is a success.

Sometimes when you start blogging… you won’t have much subscribers.

It is difficult to invest money in product creation at that time.

That’s why affiliate marketing is the next best option.

You promote other’s products on your blog. And you make a cut every-time someone makes a purchase.

With affiliate marketing, you are a little bit more in control.

You can choose the products that you want to promote.

How you want to promote it. And you will know exactly how much revenue you will make on every sale.

Once you sell affiliate products, you will understand that there is a market potential.

See which products converts best with your audience. That way, you will know what product that you can create.

I am promoting other digital marketing courses on my blog.

But ultimately,

Selling YOUR OWN PRODUCT to your audience is the best way to make money from your blogging efforts.

# You don’t Need To Know Everything

One of the biggest myths that stop many of the aspiring bloggers starting their blogging journey is that “they don’t know enough.”

They believe they need to know everything about the topic or niche they are going to start their blog.

Well, it’s not true. You don’t need to know everything. I don’t know everything about digital marketing.

I don’t know everything about email marketing. I still get my emails landing in the SPAM box.

I don’t know everything about writing, content marketing, social media marketing, and so on.

I don’t even know everything about blogging. I haven’t tried a lot there.

And I don’t know everything about a lot of things other than marketing too.

When I started blogging, I knew a lot lesser than what I know today.

Yet, I started blogging because I wanted to share my learnings with those who want to learn them.

Not knowing everything is a good thing.

Not knowing everything allows you to learn something new.

It will enable us to make mistakes, and learn from them, implement the learnings, and grow.

It’s even good as long as you are willing to explore and learn.

Don’t wait to learn everything before you start. Let the journey be all about what you learn along the way because that’s where the fun is.

Because life is all about learning.

Happy Blogging Students.

I will meet You in next Module.

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