Money. You should not start a blog to make money. We need to get that out of the way first. If your primary objective is to replace your full-time income from blogging, forget about it. It doesn’t work that way. Do you think that Jimi Hendrix picked up his first guitar so he could “supplement his income”? No, he didn’t. Rather, he did it for the love of it, for the joy and fulfillment he received, and the income came thereafter—much later actually.
Always keep a capture device close by. Ideas can come to you at any time and if you don’t write them down then they can easily be forgotten and lost. So write down every idea for a blog post that you get and then evaluate if it's a good and useable one later on. I use a memo app on my smart-phone for this when I am out and about. And my computer when I'm at home.
Start your search for a theme as soon as your WordPress platform is installed. The look and feel of your blog rely on the theme you choose. Your readers will first notice the overall appearance, before even taking a look at the content. Choose a theme that looks great, but also works for your unique content needs. The default theme that comes with your WordPress blog installed is Twenty Seventeen—while it’s a good starter theme, you’ll want to choose a theme that is unique and compatible with your niche.
Sometimes I think we just need permission to do the things we love without having to make a living at it. So I'm giving you permission. I'm telling you it's fine for you to have a blog that gives you an outlet for your creativity, allows you to talk about things that are important to you and lets you stay connected to friends and family. You don't have to try to monetize your joy.
Design isn’t about crazy colors, multiple fonts, and tons of images and videos. It’s about making the experience of your reader as enjoyable as possible. That’s why the first thing you should think about when it comes to transitioning from the basics of learning how to start a blog over to perfecting your design, isn’t what you can add. But what you can take away.
Once your hosting account is set up, it’s time to actually get WordPress up and running. Bluehost makes it really easy by installing WordPress in the background. You will be asked to choose a theme. A theme is like a skin for your blog. You can change your theme at any time. Scroll down and choose ‘Skip This Step‘. On the next screen, click on ‘Start Building‘ button to configure your blog.
More often than not, people think they should blog about popular topics where they think money grows on trees. And while the truth is that you might be able to attract the larger audience if you write about smartphones instead of blogging about something specific like tuna fishing, that’s the wrong way to go. In the case, it would show that you write about something you might not completely understand and love, and it would result in an unsuccessful blog that not even you would enjoy.
“The turning point for me came when I realized that of the 3-5x a week I was publishing it was the ones that were about small businesses and freelancing that really took off. I also really enjoyed writing that kind of content. So that was this pivotal moment of understanding if I want things to be shared and I want to be consistent, this is what the blog should be about.”
Most people that start a blog might not understand what they're in for. They might not fathom the amount of work that's waiting for them. Sure, gone are those 9-to-5 hours where they need to sit in a cubicle with their heads down or in some office on the 12th floor in a corporate building in some business park, but so is the guarantee of any semblance of pay.
Once you have a popular blog, advertisers will be hounding you for the opportunity to advertise. The best way to take advantage of this situation is to use Google Adsense. They find the advertisers for you and all you have to do is place the Google Adsense code on your blog to start running ads. Google Adsense takes all of the hard work out of the process and just cuts you a check.
Great article. I recently came back into blogging. I hadn’t realized how much I had learnt from my first attempt. Now with the new blog I started about a month ago, I am seeing an increase of traffic everyday which is quite surprising and very exciting. So I have been reading all over how to monetize a blog. Your article is excellent and in-depth. Thank you for sharing I will definitely be using some your advice. Blessings.
Thanks Zee! It’s definitely an investment- more so in time rather than money, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you get things up and running (super easy with Bluehost), it’s all about building up your following and increasing your reach- both of which have basically unlimited potential (which means theoretically unlimited earnings potential). No better time to start than now!
With a business account, you’ll have access to Pinterest Analytics, as well as the ability to create “Rich Pins.” You can also pay Pinterest to promote your pins with a business account, but that’s definitely not necessary. We experimented with about $50 worth of promoted pins before figuring out we could make our pins go viral on our own, without the help of ads.
Search for blogs that cover similar topics. Use a search engine and the search bar on blog hosting sites to find blogs that cover your topic or related topic. Read a few blog posts from the most popular ones, that show up high on the search ranking, have the most comments, or display a readership of 20,000 or more. Get an idea for how much interest and competition there is.
Be discerning about how you interact. This isn't the place to be feeding the trolls or sociopaths. If someone is nasty, pushing for a fight or defamatory, do not interact with them. You might consider reporting them to your site host if relevant, or the police if they're threatening. Take defamatory comments seriously; see a legal adviser for assistance.
More and more, secure websites are becoming a requirement rather than an option. Even if you are not collecting any information on your website, it is still better to add security to your website with a SSL certificate. These encrypt the connection between your blog’s visitors and your website, reducing the chance something will go wrong when viewing the site.
In a version of the service called Blogger in Draft, new features are tested before being released to all users. New features are discussed in the service's official blog. In September 2009, Google introduced new features into Blogger as part of its tenth-anniversary celebration. The features included a new interface for post editing, improved image handling, Raw HTML Conversion, and other Google Docs-based implementations, including:
Hey Alex & Lauren! All this information has been so usefull and so easy to understand, i am very grateful. But i have a query, i live in a country in South America (Chile) where spanish is the main language, therefore i don`t know if its best to create my blog in spanish (which is easier for me because i have much more vocabulary and grammer skills) or go with the world wilde language English. Hoping to hear from you guys, thanks!
Jaime, this is an excellent article. I’ve been blogging for fun for over four years, In the last year I’ve branched out and started a self-hosted blog about blogging for fun. I’m at the point think I have enough to offer on that subject and a few others. There are so many steps to get started, I think it overwhelms people, including those of us who are comfortable blogging. There are lots of courses available, but most of them that I’ve tried are pretty general. Do you recommend getting a coach?
Firslty thank you for sharing all this great info, so far everything you have explained has worked. However I am stuck on the “choosing my theme”, I am hesitant because I don’t know if I am STUCK with whatever I choose and at this point I want a longterm awesome working blog and website. Can I try themes out to actually understand what I want or do I just choose and then that’s it I am stuck with it. Most importantly I want to be able to add “ads” so I can make some income from my site, just to cover some of my expenses and time, but I have no idea which themes allow this and how do I find out. Frustrated and stuck in limbo for a couple weeks now. Thanks for your help
2. You can migrate to a self hosted blog later on but if you don’t have your own custom domain name then you’ll lose the traffic you have built up. A domain name is going to cost you $15 from WordPress.com whilst a domain name + 1 years hosting at Just Host is around $27 for the sake of around $12 I think it makes sense to start off totally in control.
Yes, you can create an e-commerce site with Bluehost and WordPress, but you’ll have to add either a plugin or an e-commerce platform like Shopify as well. I would go with the top plan if you’re able to do so. Make sure you do more research in terms of adding the shop — there are lots of different options out there — all with their own pros and cons.
“I’m a veteran blogger, headed into my 6th year of writing to a smart and engaged community on a variety of lifestyle topics. I didn’t get to Chapter 2 before I was so compelled by her invaluable advice that I stopped reading and started implementing her smart and savvy tips on my site. Four hours and a much better navigation bar later, I started reading more and found no less than fifty things that I could be doing better to make my site more reader friendly. This is probably the 10th blogging ebook I’ve read, but by the far the best. She is brilliant and generous and you will be amazed at the pearls of wisdom in this little volume. I love her style, which is the perfect blend of the philosophical and the practical and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred back to her advice for my own blog. It’s been a month since I employed many of her techniques and my traffic and income are up 25%. I’m so glad she took the time to write this. It’s a gift to the blogging community.“
Choose your topic. The best blogs focus on topics that you, the blogger, are passionate about. This topic can be anything that you believe you have enough to say about to interest others. It works best if you can find a “niche” that is not being fully exploited. There are several important things to keep in mind when choosing your blog topic:
Wow really great list of tips, even for non beginners! I agree Ahrefs is probably the best SEO tool for bloggers, but honestly Google Webmaster Tools is the first place to start to monitor your search traffic. Ahref is really expensive, and for new comers, probably overkill. I recently started a new blog, and am more than happy with the data provided by Webmaster Tools.
Great post, blogging is hard. We run a travel blog and I think the most important thing we tell people is to travel with a purpose, Do not just wander around the world aimlessly. (Like ours is to experience and document the Top 100 Travel Adventures) So many travel blogs do not really have a purpose or a niche. Niche is key and many miss out on that because they want to cover and do it all. Do not just start a blog because you think you will get rich quick and be able to travel the world. It takes a lot of work and lots of time.
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Advertising is easy to start, making it a popular income stream for many bloggers. However, it’s not nearly as lucrative as it once was and it requires a lot of traffic to be truly profitable. Also, it runs the risk of frustrating your readers (ever been on a site only to be assaulted by the ads?) and making your site look cheap and unsophisticated. Therefore, it’s not a top recommendation of mine.
We have good news because you are not the first person who tried to start a blog! (Shocker, we know!) In fact, we’ve gone through this process a few times ourselves, with a wide variety of failures and successes. That’s why we’re here to give you a roadmap detailing all the things you’ll need to know in order to start a blog with all the right ingredients to be successful. This is everything we wish we knew back when we first got started.
“This book is an excellent resource for bloggers, especially bloggers relatively new to blogging (i.e. have been blogging for 2 months to a year or so) and that are looking to take their blog to the next level. Ruth gives you clear advice on how to build a solid foundation for your blog, and she does an amazing job of emphasizing the importance of that foundation and it’s role in helping you make a profit down the road. For Ruth, it’s more about lasting upward momentum than getting rich quick. And I love that! Additionally, Ruth’s advice is valuable even if you are not looking to monetize your blog, since many of the same qualities that make a profitable blog are also ones that grow your readership generally. It quickly becomes apparent that Ruth is all about quality, honesty, action, and organization. I feel like I have a much clearer picture of what kinds of items need to be on my blogging to-do list, and after reading I felt empowered to actually get myself in gear and cross those items off my list.
By now you’ve probably come across the term “plugin”, and you might be wondering what the heck that is and if you need any of ’em. There are pros and cons to plugins, and you definitely don’t just want to dive in and start installing plugins left and right. Lesson 5 is an overview of what plugins are, how to install them, and what to be careful about regarding plugins when you start a blog.
Once you’ve selected the right account, you’ll move to the next page where you can actually purchase your domain. Either you already have a domain, which you can easily port over to their service, or you’ll buy a new domain name. If you’ve already done the research on your domain, this step should be fairly straightforward. If you haven’t, don’t rush this step and take enough time selecting the perfect domain.
If you can keep your readers engaged and actively reading your content and digesting it thoroughly, Google will take notice. Engagement, calculated through things like the average time spent reading your content, average session time, exit rate, bounce rate, and so on, is one of the primary components when ranking on Google's competitive Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Your newsletter is all yours. Unlike social media sites, your newsletter and email subscribers are all yours, and you have their undivided attention. You don't have to worry about algorithms not displaying your content to readers, and this is because they are your email subscribers. You aren't fighting with anyone else to have them see your content.
It’s only finally getting into my head that it will only ever be a small percentage of my audience that really matters in terms of supporting my business. I was always so worried about not alienating the Big Crowd that I missed a ton of chances to focus on the people who really do understand my overall message and want to go deeper. This post (and especially the comment thread) has been wonderful and is helping me to clarify my new philosophy.
What's sponsored content? Generally, it's when a brand, company or individual pays you a fee in order to get their content (or offer) in front of your audience. That means you'll likely need some semblance of a readership base before you're able to broker a sponsored content deal—because the sponsor's going to want to see your readers click through and at least evaluate the special offer you're writing about.
This obviously isn't a book on SEO techniques, but I totally disagree with the author that SEO is an "old school" way of generating traffic. The bulk of my traffic has always come from search engines and, while social media is changing how we use the internet, I don't think enough emphasis can be put on the importance of search engines as a source of traffic for most blogs.