I actually had a long conversation with someone over Discord last weekend who needed some advice on a blog he had started up and how to get it monetized and if I had tips I would be willing to share that might help him on his journey to gaining more traffic and by nature income via AdSense ads. So naturally whenever someone asks me about running a blog the first thing I like to do is learn what is the reason they wanted to start a blog, what is the primary topic niche, what names and targets are they going to focus on…etc.
When I found out that his blog was already started and running on the free Blogger aka. Blogspot platform, I knew he was going to run into trouble right off the bat. If you are even thinking about wanting to run a blog where you can make money online and turn into a growing and self sustaining platform you really should only be looking at a self hosted WordPress platform with a web hosting plan, you can browse around and you can start with shared plans around $4 per month to dedicated WordPress web hosting plans that cost much more and these are the top web hosts according to MangoMatter. But this article isn’t about the web hosting plans specifically though one of the main reasons you don’t want to run your blog on a free blogging platform is that you don’t own the content and it can be shut down anytime. The second is that you can’t configure the platform with plugins and extensions to assist you with monetizing and SEO. The third is that simply put if you expect to work with brands, you will not be taken seriously if you aren’t running a self hosted site that you own, even if you buy a custom domain and install it to a free web host you will have little to gain and a lot of extra work when you finally realize that you have to migrate later.
So, in this case the person who reached out to me was starting a game review blog which is an extremely difficult niche to get into and monetize. Not only are they are dime a dozen, but they are among the lowest profit margins for everything from affiliate sales to CTR rates with such massive competition and very quick loss of value for the articles. I informed him that in his case I really think he should invest more in Twitch, Mixer and/or YouTube with live streaming for his gaming reviews and content rather than doing an old fashioned written blog, or the blog posts should be very separate in his case. One of the main reasons is this, writing game reviews takes an enormous amount of time and to really do a good and accurate game review that is taken seriously you have to complete a game, not just do a review based on a few hours of play. This means you have to spend massive amounts of hours playing the game, just to write a single article review of the game that you can publish and hope to monetize with AdSense or being able to affiliate sell the game or a related link to gaming for the article. This is not a good ROI on your time and labor, maybe you do the written review, but you could also have actually streamed those hours playing the game or recorded them so that time spent playing wasn’t just consumed and wasn’t able to also be put to good use. Even if you don’t stream your entire play of the game, recording it and slicing out highlights, boss fights, and achievements, unlocks and creating separate videos for each of those alone can provide long standing value.
But that being said, I do think that starting a blog even in 2019 can be valuable for certain niches and in my opinion you should have a blog but also ensure you have other platforms as well like a email subscriber list, YouTube Channel, Instagram Channel, Facebook Page and Twitter Profile possibly even more depending on you target audience, reach and market. If you do want to run a blog that you want to monetize you will want a self hosted WordPress blog, this way you can leverage plugins like YOAST SEO and others to help not only put the appropriate meta information, index files and more to help get your posts and pages indexed by Google but also to give you tips on internal linking, keyword guidance and optimization feedback and more.
Finally you want to leverage tools like Google Keywords analyzer to find a fair amount of search volume with low competition keywords that you can capitalize on, for monetization strategies you can look at things like AdSense, but I wouldn’t rule out affiliate marketing programs tied to the products or services you want to focus on and these can include Amazon Affiliate, ShareASale, Gearbest, CommissionJunction (CJ), MagicLinks and many more. But the rule of thumb is focus on what content and audience reach you want, built out your blog and platform and put out quality content, monetization should not be your primary focus or you are likely to cut corners and not provide truly valuable content as your focus will be to much on monetization and not how to provide value to your readers. As your traffic starts to grow remember, social media is used for driving direct traffic, but the real value is having organic search results and getting search engine traffic which tends to lead to higher CTR and ROI in the end.
So I think it is worth starting a blog in 2019, but if you want to start a blog that you want to monetize and turn into a revenue source I would not use a free blogging platform and I would do your research first. A web hosting platform that supports WordPress is practically a must, and you will want one that offers the best features for the price. So make sure you look at web hosting reviews and find the right hosting plan for you. Good luck starting a blog and let me know if you have any questions or what type of blog you want to start.