Build and Monetise a Blog From Scratch in 2020

Thinking about blogging as your freedom business? Want to know how to really grow a blog’s audience to the point you can monetise it?

In this Virtual Coffee (book yours for free) I talk to Sanjay from India about the steps to taking his travel blog from hobby to something capable of generating a full time income.

Here’s the full video and if you prefer to read, there’s a complete transcript below the video:

Full Transcript

Sanjay 0:00
I’m in India. Today I’m an Indian. Uh huh. I’m do actors management in Milan, Italy. Mm hmm. Because of the situation I came here during March, and I’m staying here for almost six months. So probably I’ll be going back in next month. I write blogs in WordPress site. No, it’s not like website. But just I write about the places I have been to nearby Delhi. But I have no idea like how to create a website or something. I couldn’t spend a lot. For example, even if it is a website, I got an offer to have my own website and pages.

Skye Khilji 0:41
So what is the budget that you have available? Is it $10 a month? Is it 50? What’s the reasonable budget?

Sanjay 0:49
No, it will be the minimum amount you know, and that too, I am ready to start from this number, actually. Okay, so I can have some more examples. Like I don’t think I can focus on the blog, no, but after number, I think I can afford like $10 a month.

Skye Khilji 1:06
Okay. This is the process. So the first thing is you need the website address, which is the domain name. So something come in my case, it’s free the wage slave.com. So this is the address, which you know, people type in to know where to find you on the internet. The next thing that you need is hosting. So the hosting is what makes the website available on the internet. So it’s almost like you know, you put a document in the Google Drive, and it’s now hosted in the cloud. So anybody who clicks on your link can find your document. So, you know, the address is just like the link. And the hosting is just like putting something into the cloud. So it’s available. Hosting and the domain in terms of cost your domain you can get year one for 99 sense. And yet, every year you have to pay to renew the domain. It’s something like $10 10 to $20, depending on the name. And ideally, you want a.com address, they’re the most valuable, it’s called a top level domain. for hosting, you can probably start with something quite cheap, like Hostgator or Bluehost. They do have plans that are around $10 a month. And for the amount of traffic you’re going to get, it’s, it’s more than reasonable. That’s really your only two costs. So this is 99 cents to $10. upfront. And this is probably 10 to $15 a month. Total. This is yes.

Sanjay 2:46
Yeah, actually, I have been receiving mails from the WordPress site. For example, they say like you can have your own website for paying like five euros or some thing per month. So okay, we can say like, the cloud, right? It’s a whole thing.

Skye Khilji 3:00
So WordPress is not a hosting WordPress is the engine engine behind the site. So the the domain is the address the hosting is from a company. So the company have their own servers, and they host your website on their servers. That’s how that works. WordPress is a company that once you say I have my domain name, and I have my host, this is the engine and the the dashboard that lets you create content and create posts. And it makes it user friendly. So you don’t have to know how to code everything from scratch. What’s probably happening is WordPress have realized that people need hosting. So they’ve they’ve created some kind of product in collaboration with somebody else. Okay, does it make sense so far? Yeah. Okay, so once you install WordPress, and that’s a two minute job, usually Your host will will give you, you know, one or two buttons to automatically do that. Then you choose a theme in WordPress, which is the design, there’s many free designs you can choose. Yeah, the next thing is you can go to Canva and create a logo for free. And you usually upload that in the top of the webpage. So maybe in the header. The next thing is you set up your blog, so you have the place that you can write. And then you’re creating content. So what I like to do is I create videos because it’s easy for me to talk, and then I transcribe them. So I have written content. And that allows me to take one piece of content, maybe it’s just a few thoughts that I have on something. And I get to publish a blog post and a YouTube video about that same piece of content. And then the last thing Sanjay is is just to promote those. So let’s say your blog post is on you know, you visited Chennai and you created a post about that. You will put some posts on your Instagram or your Facebook saying, guys, here’s some pictures from my trip to Chennai, go to the blog and check it out. And maybe you do a YouTube video with a few small clips and you say go to my blog to check it out. So this is really the whole journey from having nothing to creating, publishing and promoting. Okay.

Sanjay 5:26
So I have a question here, for example, in time using the basic WordPress blog, I think I have only like a few gigabytes. It’s like 15, I think I’m not sure. So if I want to upload a video in my blog, for example, so I will be out of space. So you mean the hosting? The hosting, for example, cloud will provide me the space to upload the videos and more of images in my web pages, right?

Skye Khilji 5:58
Yeah, so each hosting plan has a different amount of space, but things you can upload. And they also have a certain amount of traffic that your website can receive. So if you suddenly get a million visitors in a day, they’ll say Sunday, you need to pay for the next plan. The plan that I’m on at the moment, I pay something like $200 a year, and I get 20 gigabytes with hostgator. I don’t know what the, the amount is. But there are some things that you can do to minimize the size of the file. And you want to do that for a few reasons. Firstly, if you upload a file that’s too big you use up your space is this is a problem. Secondly, it slows down how fast the page loads. And Google when the Google send somebody to your website, they track how long it takes to load, and they will not put you at the top of the search results if your website loads slowly. So it’s bad for the user also.

Sanjay 6:58
For example, If I get like 20 gigabytes per year, I should finish all my ADR and all the rights within that particular amount of data, right?

Skye Khilji 7:09
Yeah. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to compress the images and the videos, the text really doesn’t take up any space. It’s tiny. The thing that costs you your space is images and videos. Now, there are plugins in WordPress that when you upload an image, it automatically reduces. One of them is called smash SM, you sh. But you can also find many websites where you upload your image and it gives it back to you in a much reduced file size.

Sanjay 7:41
Now, we can also upload a video on YouTube and we can have that link in the blog. For example, they can

Skye Khilji 7:48
see exactly instead of a link that you embedded so the player is on the page. And that’s good because then people stay on your site longer which Google likes and it doesn’t impact The load speed of the page very much at all. It makes a small difference but much less than if you actually had the video inside the page. Okay.

Sanjay 8:13
And Okay, so let’s come to the yearning part, like, what are the ways we can learn? For example, I heard like we can do Google ads, you know?

Skye Khilji 8:25
Mm hmm. Yeah. So there’s a, there’s a few ways that you can earn money. So the first way is, well, let me let me walk you through the process. There are four stages. So the first is you have to create content. That content gives you traffic, which is people coming to the website. You then pre sell those people, which means you build trust, and then you monetize. So it’s called CT, pm content, traffic presell monetized monetize. So if we go through each step, the way you get people to your website is you create content they’re already searching for. So I’m going to share my screen with you. I’m going to show you a few tools if that’s helpful for you, Sanjay. Let’s see, where are we?

Sanjay 9:16
screen. Okay.

Skye Khilji 9:19
So there’s some tools that we use. One of them is called key search.co. And what this does is I can type in any keyword. So for example, I was writing a post earlier about a coach called Dr. demartini. And the seven areas. When I typed that in, it told me that there are 10 people a month searching for this in Google. And the difficulty of me if I created a page using this keyword, from zero to 100 scale, this is 35 difficulty, which is relatively easy. And the tool knows that because it knows these are the pages currently showing up in Google the first 10 results For that search term. So firstly, as I choose, you know, a keyword where I know maybe there’s good amount of traffic, or it’s easy to rank for. Does that make sense? So this is completely free this tool, okay, you just need a Google account you can access it. This is the one we want to get search volumes and forecasts. So let’s just say the key word is let’s just say Chennai travel for example, okay. So you put one keyword or multiple keywords in and we historical metrics, they change this quite often. So what you can see here is there a zero there attend to 100 people a month searching for Chennai travel, but the competition is low. So you want something with as low quality Because it means you have a chance of showing up in Google and the average monthly searches. I wouldn’t worry too much. If it’s a little bit low, Google’s usually not accurate for the low volume searches. So the key thing is you’re choosing a keyword that has low competition. Does it make sense? ,

Sanjay 11:20
Okay so the Barbican could be no right?

Skye Khilji 11:22
The competition should be low. Exactly. Then, you can use a plugin in WordPress, called Yoast. And Yoast will tell you how you need to use that keyword in the page. So you need it in the title of the page. You need it multiple times in the text. Maybe you need to have an image that has the the keyword in there. So it’s a completely free plugin. And what Yoast does is it gives you a traffic light report. And let me just show you an image So as you’re writing your post, it’s giving you something that looks like this. In fact, this is a real screenshot to make it a bit bigger for you.

Zoom in, okay? So it’s telling you here, these factors are green, which means you’ve done a good job. Some of these are orange or red, the ones that are red you want to fix and it gives you the information you need to fix it. Okay? So this, this is about optimizing the page, you’ve chosen the keyword, you know that it’s low volume, low competition, you want to use that keyword, Yoast, then make sure your content contains that keyword in the right way. So you have the best chance of appearing in Google. Okay. Okay, so that’s the content part and you’re writing as many posts as you can, using that two step process. Over time that will get you the traffic and the traffic. You know, the Pre selling the trust that’s being built is based on how good your content is. Now to come to how you monetize. Let me just show you on my blog. This is an example of a page where I have links where I earn a commission from Amazon, this is a very easy way where you don’t have to sell something directly to somebody. But you can still monetize. Because if if it’s a brand new website, and you’re trying to sell to me, I’m probably not going to buy anything from you. So I have this page here, free the wage slave.com resources, and this is a list of the different tools I use. And you can see here I say these are affiliate links. I earn a small commission, it doesn’t cost you anything. So all of these links here are affiliate links. So for example, this use maybe, Kindle Paperwhite so when someone clicks this, it takes them to Amazon On in their country, if they buy something within I think maybe 10 or 30 days, I get a commission. And it doesn’t matter what they buy on Amazon, they can click my link for this keyboard. And they can buy beanbags for their house or a DVD or they can join amazon prime, I will get a commission and it’s a low percentage. But over time, the more people I send to Amazon, the higher my commission goes.

Sanjay 14:28
Okay, so something called the Amazon influence or something right, like if you have a certain number of followers and if they if they buy something from your link.

Skye Khilji 14:40
So it’s not the influencer program. So this is Italy because I’m in Romania right now and there isn’t Amazon Romania. But if I go to amazon.com or.co.uk, you’ll see there’s a program they have called Amazon Associates. This is my I see this because I’m an affiliate so I can view My earnings, I can build links, for example. So let’s say I choose a product that I wish to promote. So I come to Amazon and I say, Okay, this cable, this is something I want to promote in my blog post. I’m going to mention this. So I take the link. In fact, I don’t even need to do that, I can just very easily click here, text an image. And it will give me a link that I can use that includes my unique code. So that when someone clicks it, Amazon knows they came from my website and I get a commission. Okay, so what this should do this is loading is going to give me a link that has my unique code. So can you see here? This These are my unique, different websites and my account. So it gives me this link and inside the full version of that link. They’re going to include a slight code. Can you see here ft, Ws, three wage slave. Yeah, that’s how Amazon knows that it was me that referred that person. Okay. That is, I would say the simplest way. The The most important thing that I will tell you is you need the traffic to make that model work is a volume model. And you get the traffic by creating lots of, you know, valuable and helpful content. To give you an idea of how much traffic you need. You need something like 10,000 page views a month to make $300 in commission. That’s not 10,000 people a month. That’s 10,000 people we’re looking at a total of 10,000 pages. It could be you know, 1000 people and they will look at 10 pages each could be 2000 people and they look at five pages each.

Sanjay 16:59
But I get minimum number of viewers for example, like less than 500 or something whenever I write a blog because I think I like the promotion. I’m using an Instagram On Facebook, but not that much. I think I should promote much more to the audiences because whoever reads it, they say it’s really useful and they are appreciating, but I couldn’t reach many people. So I think I should find some ways.

Skye Khilji 17:25
So So what are you doing at the moment to connect with your audience to find them? a new audience that is not the people who are already reading

Sanjay 17:34
what I do in the blogs?

Skye Khilji 17:35
Yeah, like how are you? How are you getting other people new people to see your blog posts?

Sanjay 17:41
Okay, just sharing my WhatsApp stories and Instagram. No, I direct message my friends so they send to their friends. And for example, if I go to a new city, I just get as many information as possible and I share with them like where I stayed and you know how to do one of those Just traveling for a few days, your number of days so it will be useful for them if they are planning to go to the same city in it, you give them the idea. So that’s how I reach and I’ll share some information about the city some history. And I mostly shared with the direct messages and WhatsApp. And yes,

Skye Khilji 18:22
yes, I think this is good. This is good. These are the free things. So some other things you can do. I’ll share my screen with you again and I’m going to show you some free ways and some ways that do cost money. So the first thing in Facebook so you covering everywhere in the world or just India Firstly, do you write only for the cities in India or for anywhere you visit?

Sanjay 18:51
Anywhere I visit,

Skye Khilji 18:52
okay? So, travel blogger you’re going to type in Some key words. Maybe you’re looking for other travel bloggers, maybe you have a travel guide, whatever you think the right phrases, and you’re going to click here see all results. Now what you’re looking for here is a group. So you’re going to see this option here. And that’s going to filter the results to groups. Then what you’ll do is you’ll look at each group, and you’re going to find a group where you might be able to post your content. You cannot just post your content. In any group, you will get banned, because they have rules. But for example, if we look at this one, the first one, you’ll usually get a sense of is this somewhere where your audience is where you can get eyes on your group. So there’s 1700 1600 members. And here’s the rules. So be kind and courteous. And that The only rule so there’s no rule on on self promotion. But generally you want to join the group. And then spend a little bit of time just seeing what other people are doing. You don’t want to appear as a spammer and you get banned. But you’ll find the groups where you can share your latest post, and you’ll start to build an audience by doing that. Okay. The next thing you can do is you can, you can boost your post. So let’s go back to my page. And I’ll show you how to do this. This is a real simple way of getting eyes on a post for something like $10 you can get thousands and thousands of people to see your post. So let’s go to one of my recent posts. For example, this one from yesterday was asking a book that changed your life and I gave some of mine and this button is here. boost the post. In Facebook, you can see organically, the reach is almost nothing. I’ve got, I think 1000 people that have liked my page, but only 14 people saw my post. Now if I hit boost, what I can do is, is get more people to react, comment and share, I get more people to see my post. Now the important thing for you is this is the audience, choose the people you’re targeting. And you edit and what I would do here, I would leave the gender and the age open. I would change the location to whatever makes sense for you. So I always do United States, UK, Australia, those big countries. Okay, but this is the most important thing. The targeting include people who match so I’m going to type something like frequent travelers. You can see here I can target frequent international travelers, people who returned from traveling two weeks ago. So I start to just put the things that are relevant, you do not want to just put travel. Because if I put travel, it’s 100 and 80 million people, it’s gonna cost you so much money, because it’s too broad. But if I put just frequent travelers 100 and 10 million, it’s still a little bit too broad. So I would look at you know, what, how do I zero in on the people specifically interested in reading what I do, which is travel blog. So here I can find people. So this interests Facebook knows what you’re interested in based on the pages you like on Facebook. So if I click trip and travel blog, Facebook tells me there’s 640,000 people in Facebook who have liked The trip and travel page blog. So you can keep adding multiple different options until you’re happy that yes, this would be exactly who I want. And you want this number to be no more than 1 million people between 500,000 and 1 million is ideal. And you’re basically going to save your audience. And the last thing you’re going to do is you’re going to set your budget so maybe you say to me, I only have 10 pounds to spend total for this. You can set how many days you want the campaign to run. And Facebook is telling you here four days minimum is the best results. I always leave it as five and it tells me for 10 pounds 272 780 people a day will see that post.

And it’s telling me I’m going to spend two pounds a day over five days. That’s the number of people. So I get a good idea of how many people will see it. And it’s as simple as that, and I hit boost. What Facebook might do is it might spend the money faster than five days, but it’s doing that to get you better results. And it’ll never cost more than 10 pounds. So you have complete control of your costs. And it’s really as simple as that. The most important thing is set the audience and set the budget and hit boost. And you can then see the results in here. So when when it’s running, you come into your ad center. And there’s more complex ways to run ads and think for the beginning you don’t need to, but for example, this post they spent $8 and I had 1200 people come to my post and 500 watch the video. There’s some other ones here. If you’re trying To get likes on your page, you can get a lot of results for not much money. This one I had nearly 10,000 people come to my page and 1000 people like it for under $20. So can you see that the volume of the amount of money is very low and you can get a high amount of engagement. In Facebook, if you’re just posting without spending money, you’re probably wasting your time that nobody sees it anymore. You have to spend money to get seen.


Sanjay 25:38
This is a better way to reach more audiences, right? So like, people with similar interests, if they start looking at the post, and if they like it, then they will start following and we can reach them frequently.

Skye Khilji 25:51
Yeah, they’ll start seeing your posts in their feed. Now again, Facebook is it doesn’t show it all the time because there’s so much stuff in everybody’s feed, you’re not going to be seen every time. And that’s why we want to build an audience. And a little bit down the line, once you have, say, 1000 likes or something on your page, when you boost a new post, you can actually show that only to people who have liked your page before. And that’s good, because then, you know, there’s maybe millions and millions of people interested in travel, you’re never going to have the budget, probably, to reach all of them. But what is useful and helpful is if you identify, say, 1000 people, and you keep boosting, so they keep saying, seeing your post because then you’re building that relationship, which remember, there’s content traffic, pre sale where you build the trust and then monetize. So that’s the that’s a good way of not spending much money and building that trust, which helps you get people coming back to the site, and then potentially monetizing that traffic. Thank you. You’re welcome.

Sanjay 27:02
Yeah, I try to start doing this, I think, by the start of November, so start promoting and boosting the post. I think it will be helpful. Yeah,

Skye Khilji 27:13
yeah, I think so. I think Carla is doing something similar. She booked a call with me. I think she’s coming on to the live stream tomorrow do a live stream at 5pm. Romania time tomorrow, every week on Facebook and YouTube. It starts tomorrow. And she shares the same question about boosting. So you can do that journey with her. You guys can work with each other and help each other.

Sanjay 27:37

Skye Khilji 27:40
And if this was helpful, and putting out a lot of stuff on YouTube, and putting out a lot of stuff on the blog from literally writing and publishing most days, follow on on Instagram, that’s where you’ll see everything in YouTube is probably the most helpful stuff. It’s all free. By the way. I don’t So anything I don’t charge anything, I don’t monetize by by charging anything to anybody.

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