Are you a non-native English speaker and would like to start your own successful blogging business?
If so, then this article is for you! I am also a non-native English speaker (I am Japanese), who taught himself English from mostly books and watching movies for shadowing. I then started my own successful blogging business from scratch. At first, I was skeptical if I could be successful in writing a blog in English when English was not my first language.
Why not write in your own language you ask? I wanted to tap into the larger English-speaking community globally and make connections with people from all over the world. I am nobody special, I don’t even have a college or university degree. I was fortunate to learn from a lot of great business mentors and worked very hard.
So in this blog post, let me share with you what I learned about starting a successful blogging business as a non-native English speaker.
We will be exploring the basics of setting up a blog, developing an audience, and monetising your blog. With patience, determination, and hard work, anyone can make their blogging dreams come true.
I am rooting for you!
Table of Contents
Why Building Your Own Blog Is a Great Idea For a Non-Native Speaker
There are many reasons a non-native English speaker will benefit greatly from starting their own blog. Here are the ones I hear often from my friends and have also experienced myself:
- Improve your English while writing a blog post
- Connect with people from all around the world
- Help others learn about topics related to you, such as culture or lifestyle (in my case, I like to teach people about Japanese philosophy)
- Make money by monetising your blog and turn this hobby into a side hustle or even full-time income
As you can see, there are many reasons to start your own blogging business. Now that you know why, let’s jump into the actionable step-by-step guide to start your own blog!
Step 1: Launching Your Blog as a Non-Native Speaker
The first step in starting your own blogging business is to create a blog. The blog is the platform or website that will contain all your posts (what you will write about). There are a few essential steps you should follow to create the perfect blog that reflects your identity (and strength) as a non-native speaker:
1.1. Identifying Your Passion and Target Audience
1.1.1. Who are you?
The first step is to identify what kind of blog you want to create based on your passions and identity.
- Are you a foodie writing about delicious recipes from your home country?
- A fashionista sharing her favorite trends?
- A nerd discussing the newest technologies?
Make sure that you focus on a topic that means a lot to you and that you will be able to keep writing about it for a long time. You will need to create content over months and years without getting tired. It is important you do not choose only based on what you think people want to read (or what trends on social media), but something you can make a personal deep connection with.
1.1.2. Who is your reader?
Once you know what your blog will be about, define who your ideal reader is. Who are these people that would be interested in reading your posts? What do they need help with or what questions do they have? Knowing this information will help guide you in creating content tailored toward them.
1.2. Researching and Selecting a Blog Topic
Pick the niche that speaks to you and your reader and focus on it for everything related to your blog. Note this niche can be broad, there is no point in boxing yourself into a single topic or theme.
A few blog topic ideas for non-native English speakers:
- Blog on the Italian cuisine
- Blog on travel tips in Japan
- Blog on French fashion trends
- Blog on living and working in your country for English speakers
- Blog about teaching your native language to English speakers (so mostly written in English)
The possibilities are endless and you’ll find plenty of ideas by researching what topics people are already writing about or simply brainstorming your own.
1.3. Choosing the Right Platform
Once you have identified your passion topic, target audience, and blog topic, it is time to choose the right platform for your blog. Popular choices include WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and more. Each of these platforms for web hosting has its own benefits and drawbacks so make sure to do your research before making a decision.
Note: For non-tech-savvy bloggers like myself, I recommend using Squarespace for blog hosting, as there are lots of great Plugins, and all the important security and performance parameters and analytics (e.g., how much traffic your blog generates) are already set up, which makes blogging easier and faster. This is why for my own blog I use Squarespace. Other bloggers choose WordPress blog for its free option which is great for new bloggers. Make sure you do your own research to find the web hosting plan that fits the needs of your blogging business.
1.4. Naming Your Blog & Buying Domain Name
Naming your blog is an important step in creating a successful blog business as it will represent who you are and the topics you write about. Pick a name that is easy to remember, pronounce, and type into a search bar. You can create a fantasy name or choose something related to a word that means a lot to you. For my own blog, I chose jiishinya which means courage in Japanese.
Alternatively, you can use your own name as your blog’s name, which has the advantage of keeping your blog flexible to chain with you, and not being set on a specific narrow topic, e.g., “Travel in Greece Blog” when after a few months you pivot into writing about starting a business in Greece.
Once you have chosen a name for your blog, it is time to buy your domain name. There are many hosting services such as bluehost, GoDaddy, NameCheap, and more for example directly inside Squarespace or Wix.
1.5. Setting Up Your Blog
Once you have chosen a platform and bought your domain name, you can start setting up your blog. The main two things that need to be set up are the design of your blog (colors, font style, etc.) and the structure of it (like how posts will be organized). This can be done by installing e.g., a Squarespace or WordPress theme that resonates with you and then further customizing it.
Step 2: Creating High-Quality Content as a Non-Native Speaker
Now that we have built the frame that will contain all the content you will write, it is time to fill in the content. But first, you need to think about your content strategy before you get into writing.
2.1. Planning Your Content Strategy
First, you have to understand what are the topics within your niche you should write about. There are a few sources of insight you should use for this:
- Look at your competition, e.g., other blogs in your niche. What do they write about? Especially for non-native speakers, this is helpful to understand the nuances of questions and what the English-speaking community is interested in
- Understand what people are asking on the internet, through websites such as AnswerThePublic
- Do keyword research to understand which terms are searched frequently on Google, but also how difficult it is to rank for them (the keyword difficulty, or KD). You can do this through many online platforms such as Surfer,Semrush, or Ahrefs. Search engine optimization is important to show up high on Google search engine results and increase the chances for your blog post to be read by many people.
Ultimately based on a list of topics you collect, you should draft a content calendar so you can plan what to publish each week and month.
2.2. Writing Your First Blog Post
Now you can start writing your first blog post. The best way for non-native speakers is to keep it simple and first think about the outline in headings (abbreviated with H).
- H1 is your blog post title
- H2 are the main chapter headings
- H3 are the sub-headings
- H4 are the sub-sub-headings
In this post you are reading right now, I have added “Step 1,2,3” to the H2 headings. And then “1.2,2.2.etc.” to the H3 headings. This way you should be able to quickly follow the structure.
It helps me personally to first come up with the simple headings of the entire blog post. Afterward, I will then write the blog content inside the different headings.
2.3. Leveraging AI Tools to Improve Your Blogging Business Writing
As a non-native speaker (and depending on your English fluency), some writing tasks might be difficult for you.
For example, while I feel confident in writing quickly my thoughts down, my grammar is a “work in progress” and my spelling is atrocious. (By the way, the last word, atrocious, which means “very bad”, I had no idea how to spell when I wrote it just now. I know the word from talking, so I typed what I believed was right and let my Grammarly correct it.)
Luckily, there are now AI tools that can help you automatically correct the most common mistakes in your text. One of the best ones on the market is Grammarly, but there are also other solutions:
- ChatGPT is a great (and free) tool to help you come up with ideas and certain formulations. Read more about how to use ChatGPT here.
- JasperAI is a great tool to help you not only with grammar and spelling but can help you create the outline for a blog post and even create short paragraphs for you based on the prompts you give it.
- Grammarly as mentioned above is a great plugin for your browser and desktop to correct your grammar and spelling every time you write something.
In writing this blog post, I have used some of the tools mentioned above to help make sure my text is easily readable and spelled correctly. Don’t think you cannot use such tools to be a real author – it is still 90% your thoughts and writing, but the final 10% are the proper simple, and elegant sentences spelled perfectly (and better than many native speakers could 😉 ).
In general, I highly recommend AI tools to anyone looking to start a new (blogging) business, especially if you are a non-native speaker who lacks the time or education to do everything perfectly from scratch. Make sure to check out other great AI tools you can leverage for your blogging business, for example also for idea generation, finances, and budgeting.
2.4. Incorporating Multimedia
Every blog post needs a few pictures or even videos to freshen up all that text and make it easily readable. Make sure you only use images you are allowed to and properly attribute them. Great resources for blogging beginners are Freepik and Pexels.
Step 3: Promoting Your Blog as a Non-Native Speaker
Now that you have written your first blog post or video, it is time to promote your content so more people will see it. This can be done through several sources:
3.1. Social Media Platforms
Creating dedicated accounts on popular platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok can help you reach a wider audience. You might feel embarrassed talking on TikTok or Instagram videos. Like many non-native speakers, my written communication (where I can think through my words) is much better than my spoken communication. However, this should not stop you from pursuing a connection with your audience to nurture them. Why not take them along on your personal journey?
3.2. Paid Ads
Investing in online ads on different platforms can be an effective way to drive more traffic to your blog or video. You can start with a small budget and experiment to see which platform works best for you and your content.
3.3. Guest Posts and Interviews
Reaching out to other influencers or bloggers in related fields can also be beneficial for getting more exposure. For example, if you got value out of reading this blog post, you might be looking into some of my other posts as well.
3.4. Creating a Newsletter
Building up a list of subscribers who are interested in being informed about new content from you is another great way to get people to view your work.
3.5. Utilising SEO to Increase Traffic
As we mentioned earlier, keyword research is important. By making your blog posts easy to read for the search engine Google, you help it to understand what your blog and your individual blog posts are about and can suggest them to the relevant readers. So you can understand why this is important to do.
You also want to make sure you use your chosen keywords throughout the blog post as they help with ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Another effective way of doing this is by using alt tags for images and schema markup for content.
Step 4: Monetising Your Blog as a Non-Native Speaker
In the beginning, I recommend focusing on building and growing your blog as long as you can. Once you get better in the whole blog writing, you can monetise your skills for example through offering guest post writing or link-building services on Fiverr or Upwork.
After a while though it is time to start making money blogging. Here are the most common ways to turn your blog into a small business.
4.1. Advertising and Google Adsense
Advertising is the most popular way to monetise your blog as a non-native speaker. You don’t need to worry about any extra work or creating something new for someone else – you just sign up with an advertising network, set up the ads on your website, and make money every time someone clicks on them. However, it can take some time until you start seeing higher earnings as traffic increases over time. Note it is important you have many site visitors on your blog for this to yield significant ad revenue, so make sure to drive traffic to your blog through social channels or advertisements.
Google Adsense is one of the most popular advertising networks and you can join for free.
4.2. Affiliate Marketing
This is another great way to monetise your blog without having to create anything new yourself – you will be promoting other people’s products and services and making commissions when someone uses your affiliate link to purchase something from that company or person.
4.3. Selling Digital Products
Creating and selling digital products is a great way to monetise your blog as you can create them once, and sell them an unlimited amount of times without any extra cost for you or the customer. Popular digital products are ebooks, courses, audio recordings, videos, photography, art prints, etc.
If you have expertise in certain areas (again think about teaching your native language to English speakers, helping them relocate or start a job in your country, etc.) and want to share that knowledge with other people – coaching might just be the right fit for you and your blog! You can offer one-on-one sessions with clients over Skype or Zoom and help others learn from your experience and knowledge in a specific area – like how to start a business, how to learn a language, etc.
4.5. Consulting Services
Similar to coaching (but more hands-on with you creating a lot of output for your customer), offering consulting services is another great way to monetise your blog if you have expertise and experience in certain areas. Depending on what you offer and the client’s needs, this could be either done remotely or even on-site for clients located in your area. Consulting services usually come with higher rates than coaching but do require more hours of dedicated work from you depending on the project.
A Final Recommendation
Now that I have shared everything there is on how to start a blogging business as a non-native English speaker, it is time for you to get started! Remember to take things one step at a time and focus on building your blog for the long term. If you want, you can also consider taking online courses or attending webinars to get a better understanding of how blogging works and how to make money blogging. And don’t forget to keep improving your English but also never let it hold you back! Regardless of your current level, there are tons of great English books that can help you with your blogging business.
Good luck! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!