Consider “bonus content.” For example, if you run a podcast on your blog, you might consider having the standard episode available for free but a longer version or additional content for a small fee. Dan Savage’s extremely popular “Savage Lovecast” runs on this model, where standard episodes are free and “magnum episodes” (longer, with no ads) are available for a subscription fee.[61]
Of course, offering products and services doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive from using ads. You can do both, but what I see happen is that when you start to make $5 from ads you try to figure out how you can make even more and that becomes your focus. The tactics you use to boost your ad revenues are often the ones that prevent you from building your list and promoting your own products.
This is where you'll select the best hosting plan (more details about hosting in the next section of this guide below, but hosting is the service that actually gets your blog hosted and keeps it live on the Internet). Personally, I highly recommend choosing the Choice Plus plan—because it comes with Domain Privacy, which will protect your personal information (your full name, email address, phone number and home address) from being published online. That means no spam/scam emails or phone calls.
Yes, that’s right Janelle. Bluehost is the hosting plan. I recommend a paid hosting plan for all bloggers. Your host’s server is where your website lives. WordPress is free, it’s the ‘software’ so to speak that you use to write your posts. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad my site has been helpful to you! Please feel free to post here if you have more questions or email me anytime.
Finally, in order to build a blog that actually makes money, you need to get social. You need to collaborate with others. Communicate with leaders in your niche. Reach out and share other bloggers’ content. Acknowledge their work and give them positive feedback. Don’t be pushy about it and don’t look for anything in return. It doesn’t quite work that way.
“As a newer blogger, I have been wanting a conversation – a seasoned blogger to talk to me about the most popular ways to monetize my blog, the pros and cons of each of them, and give me realistic tips and goals to reach my future goal. Ruth did all of this. She has such a fantastic writing style that you feel like you are sitting down with her over a cup of coffee. The material is easy to navigate, covering the importance of good content before anything else, Pinterest, media kits, reviews, ads, and a whole lot more. Ruth is incredibly level-headed in her approach to monetizing her blog and truly believes and promotes that a blog full of good ideas, content and writing must come first. My favorite part is that every chapter ends with a “plan of action” which is great if you are truly looking to improve your blog. I can’t wait to put her tips and ideas into action and watch my blog grow!“
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.
Although we mentioned some free hosting options, the best course of action is to own your blog, especially if you will be using your own copyrighted material (articles, drawings, photos, etc.). Pay a small amount of money every month, about the same as a Starbucks coffee, and you will build your own equity. If you plan to sell products, services, music or anything else via your blog, then this is the best way to go. Many hosting providers can help you maintain an e-commerce blog.
Custom themes are created by an individual developer (coder and designer, or agency) who will either customize an existing theme or create a brand new theme for you. While coming with clear-cut advantages, they are not the ideal choice for a beginner blogger due to their high cost. Prices to customize a theme, range from $500 to $2,000, depending on the features you want.
Keep reading and listening and pick up inspiration. Stay up to date and deepen your knowledge about your niche. Read books and blogs about it. Listen to podcasts and watch videos. When you have new ideas flowing into your mind each week and month you’ll come with new stuff yourself. Or combine what you have learned. Or you can share your experience with what you learned from someone else.
Unnecessary plugins. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. You’ll see a list of plugins, all of which I delete (the only plugin I might keep at the beginning is the Bluehost plugin). A plugin must be deactivated before it can be deleted. So, if you hover over a plugin you may have to choose “Deactivate” then repeat the process to see the “Delete” link. As I explain later, plugins can slow your site down and make things glitchy so I use them very sparingly. I only add a plugin when I have a clear reason to do so. I’ll give my plugin recommendations in a bit.
When you go with free, you’ll have a lack of control over how your blog looks and acts: Free blogging services (like Blogger, Medium or Tumblr) will pretty much always limit the design and functionality of your blog. This means you won't be able to make your blog look like your favorite other sites. Plus, you might not be able to do the things you want (like capture email addresses from your readers using tools like ConvertKit, include ads, join affiliate programs and other activities that'll help you actually make money blogging).
When I spoke to Preston Lee, the founder of Millo.co, for my podcast, he told me that he first learned how to start a blog on his train commute in to his day job. He had 40 minutes each way going to and from his full-time gig, and he used that time to write, design and create his blog that now brings in upwards of $15,000 a month in sponsorship revenue.
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
You’ll Meet Great People – I’ve had conversations with brilliant people through my blog. I love getting emails from strangers. Sometimes it’s just a hello, sometimes it’s a request that I review a product or a new book, sometimes it’s an opinion that encourages ongoing dialogue. Seriously, the internet is full of awesome, talented, passionate people.
WordPress.org is a highly popular choice because you don’t have to know any coding to design a slick blog. 1 in 5 websites use WordPress. Note: WordPress.org is a full-service blog hosting site, but you have to register your domain name and get set up with web hosting first. Wordpress.com has limited features and provides you a .wordpress domain name for free, but you can’t put advertising or affiliate links on a wordpress.com blog.[16][17]
This is a big reason why I recommend building your blog with a platform that allows you to build a proper, fully-fledged website rather than a blog with a few simple pages. Platforms like WordPress.org allow you to build beautiful pages designed to captivate and convert your readers as they scroll through them. You can do this with page builders, email marketing plugins, plugins that help you manage and cloak affiliate links, and more.

Great article! I’ve been trying to set up a blog, but due to lack of funds I began on the WordPress free platform. Is it practical to keep developing content for that free blog and then transport it to a paid platform or should I begin from scratch on a paying site? And also, how much content should I have before I launch my blog? I’ve wanted it to be so perfect I’ve barely brought myself to write, even though I have so many wonderful posts trapped in my head, but they have to get out of there, I need to start! Thanks in advance!

At the time of this writing, I’ve been blogging for only 1 1/2 years. And most of that time I spent on my podcast and writing my book – not blogging. And yet one day I realized – hey, I can make money blogging! The last time I published my monthly online income, my blog made $40,560.20.  You can find out more reading my income reports. And I don’t say that to brag, but to show you, you can do it.
Thanks for an awesome step by step. I started by getting a domain and hosting, as per your instruction, but at the end of my registration page on Host Gator, I didn’t find the “Constant Contact” add on. Instead, I have “Get a Pro Email Address from Google” add on. How do I get this Constant Contact add on, and do you suggest me adding the Pro Email Address one? Thank you so much, and so sorry for such a noob question 😀
Your first step in starting a blog is deciding on a niche. Maybe you've already selected a niche. Maybe you haven't. Your niche will essentially be your content angle. What will you write about? What information will you convey? Will it be about a specific industry? Maybe it will be about a certain area of skills or personal development? Whatever it is, decide on it now.
When I set up my hosting account, there were so many steps involved. I had to decide between a Linux or Windows account, then there was the whole separate c-panel, and FTP, that I was totally lost. Save yourself a headache and use Bluehost. They have made the process so simple, anyone can do it, no tech experience needed. Besides being simple Bluehost offers 24-7 support via phone, email, and chat — which you’ll want should you ever encounter a problem. They’re also affordable ($2.95 to $5.45 a month, plus a free domain), which is a huge plus if you’re launching your blog on a shoestring budget.
Digital products are another awesome way to make money with your blog. Rather than selling someone else’s product or service, you’re creating something of your own and selling it directly to your tribe. There are many options to choose from when it comes to digital products, but we’re going to look at what we’ve seen and consider to be the top three.
Hi Ramsay Thanks for your excellent article! The only trouble is I impulsively signed up with BlueHost just before I read it and have ended up paying $7.95 per month for 12 months. I didn’t want to sign up for the 36 months – that at least would’ve been $3.95 per month. I also realize, after doing some reading, including your article, that I am not quite ready to launch my blog yet. Would it be possible for me to cancel with BlueHost and then sign up again later through you to get the good deal? I don’t want to find I’ve lost my domain name though. Hoping you can help! Thanks.
Thankfully Number 7. and 10. work really well for me because I am easily overwhelmed thinking about how I have to compete with all of the content and service providers out there. It’s just not my thing. I rather rock my little corner of the world and have a smaller, loyal following. As a consumer I prefer to devote my time and attention to someone who provides super-niched, rich, quality content on a less frequent basis than someone who just fills space because he/she is on a content schedule. Therefore, when email letters or blog posts do arrive it feels like a treat, and I trust that person more because he/she waited to write when inspiration struck and valuable content could be delivered. Furthermore, my own following is rather small, but it remains loyal. And, I’m ok with that. As my list has steadily grown over the past couple of years my open rate is consistently at 40-42% every month and many of my clients are annual repeats.
Earn a living doing what you love! Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) will prove a valuable resource. The expanded second edition, offers solid advice and practical action plans for creating an authentic, successful, and profitable blog.  Ruth Soukup shares how she grew her own blog to over one million monthly visitors, while earning a full time income, and writing about the things she truly cares about. In this book you will receive actionable steps to be able to achieve your goals:
Your domain name may be the highly popular “dot com” or it may be country or niche specific. From .us (United States) to .co.uk (United Kingdom) and from .guru (yes, for life coaches) to .sport (for sports related domains), these top level domains (TLDs) are added to any domain name in order to point to their location. The general rule is to go for a “dot com” domain, but some of the other extensions can work. For example “dot net” or “dot me.”

There are many ways to keep an email list engaged. Which will work best for you and your readers will depend on your style of communication and their content preferences. We recommend to write your emails in a similar tone as you write your blog posts. Here are a few types of emails you can send on a regular basis to keep your list paying attention:


Lets say, for example, that you refurbish and resell used smartphones out of your home. You could use a blog to attract visitors to your website where you list your current phones for sale. Your blog might cover topics about DIY refurbishing. On one level, it seems counterintuitive because you want people to buy your phones, but it also helps you build a brand and gain recognition. Social media guru Jay Baer explains the concept on Copyblogger:
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