However, if you’re looking to build a business out of your blog or make money blogging, I would highly recommend some of the paid (yet still very affordable) options that I’m going to cover below. If you're on the fence about whether to use a free or paid hosting provider to get started... here’s why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:

“Heidi and I are fortunate to make our own schedules, travel the world, and live our lives on our own terms, because we built our blogs into a business that affords this lifestyle,” Sabra said in her email. “And, we believe if someone is interested enough to start a blog, then she, most likely, is searching for this flexible lifestyle too—which we warmly call the ‘blogger lifestyle’.”


Make sure it's easy to share your content – I love sharing posts on social media. However, it gets frustrating when some blogs make it more difficult than it needs to be. You should always make sure it's easy for readers to share your content, which means your social media icons should be easy to find, all of the info input and ready for sharing (title, link, and your username), and so on. Also, you should make sure that when someone clicks on one of your sharing icons the title isn't in CAPS (I've seen this too many times!). No one wants to share a blog post that sounds like you're screaming at them.
Selecting a good keyword can be helpful. Search engines function through SEO (search engine optimization), which ranks search results based on how many keywords they have related to the person’s search query. However, you don’t want to get so wrapped up in SEO that your readers feel your blog is generic. Developing strong brand identity is the best thing you can do to draw readers to your blog.
For example, the hypothetical “haircare.com” tells readers what the blog is about, but it doesn’t offer any “angle” on what kinds of hair care advice your blog offers. The hypothetical “Frizzfighters.com” is still clearly about hair care, but it gives off a fun vibe through its alliterative name and communicates your strong brand identity (funky, focused on a particular hair issue, hip).
If you are blogging about one specific topic then you will definitely want to include that in some way in your blog name. Try not to get hung-up on just one word though. For example, a cooking blog doesn’t necessarily have to have the word “cooking” in it. The words “food”, “recipes”, and “meals” would also let people know that your blog is about cooking.

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.


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.
Please note that your chosen domain name may be taken; you may need to try a few different names before you find one that hasn’t already been registered. If you find this process a little frustrating, remember this: your domain name doesn’t have to be permanent. If you’re not 100% happy with your domain name, you can always change it in the future (you can grab a new domain for as little as $11.99).
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.
5. Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to make a few bucks or spend a few bucks if you need some of the services people offer. Basically, everything is $5. You either pay $5 or charge $5. They call them “gigs.” You can offer your services however you choose. If you sell art and you’re fine selling pieces for $5 each, that’s a gig. If you’re a graphic designer and you want to offer your services for $10/hour, simply offer a 30 minute gig. If they need two hours of graphic design, they pay you $20, or $10/hour by buying four gigs.
And that’s totally fine (hint: I don't either)! There are some incredible free blog photo and design resources you can use to enhance your posts, even if you’re not very design-minded at all. You can even just use product screenshots throughout your content, depending upon the subject matter—take for example my recent article about the best CRMs for small business.
Of course, there are other CMS options you can look at, such as Squarespace, Ghost, and Wix when learning how to start a blog. However, I strongly recommend setting up a self-hosted WordPress site for your blog as it’s the most sustainable, long-term solution—and really the only option worth considering if you're starting a blog with the eventual goal of making money from your website in some way, shape or form.
Thank you Yaro for all the information. Being new to all this, I am trying to get my thinking straight. When you all speak of conversions I take it that you are talking about having something extra to sell than just having them click on adsense ads. Correct? I believe you are talking about converting visitors to loyal paying followers, is this correct? I have only been blogging a couple of months so I have much to learn. Thanks for your patience.
And if you want to maximize your blog’s potential for earning an income (maybe the reason you're learning how to start a blog in the first place?), then it’s always worth it to own your platform and go with a self-hosted WordPress blog, powered by a hosting provider like Bluehost that'll have your back on any of the technical questions & issues you run into.

29. Videos – This could be an entire section on it’s own. Many people have made money by creating YouTube videos. Evan of EvanTube is a kid and he has made millions by creating reviews of products that other kids his age would use. It’s not easy to get views into the millions, but once you do, you’ll start seeing some cash come in. Many bloggers have completely turned to videos to get their point across by starting a video blog.
Learn from other top bloggers: If you don’t feel ready to connect with other bloggers in your space, at least try to learn from what they’re doing. For Silas Moser, one half of Chasing Foxes told me, you should study people who are good at what you’re doing: “Look at what works for them and see how you can use it. So many people told us ‘you could never make money from a blog.’ But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are tons of successful bloggers out there that you can learn from and see what they’ve done and apply that to your niche.”
There’s also Quora—a question and answer site that lets anyone respond to user’s queries. One tactic I’ve used is to search for relevant topics in my niche and then answer questions I’ve already written about on my blog (like this Quora answer about how to get blog traffic that's received hundreds of upvotes and thousands of views_ . This way I know I’m giving them good value and can even link back to the full post on my blog.
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]
For many visionary novice bloggers, the world is not enough. The stash of free themes (more than two thousand themes are available on WordPress.org) does not satisfy their particular desire for look and feel. There are two other options you can take a look at, premium and custom themes. But they incur a cost, sometimes a tiny one, at other times a huge amount.

An email list is a vital tool to blogging and online business. It helps you acquire site visitors and turn them into regular members of your audience. It also helps you connect with your audience, something you can do more effectively if you use your email list to segment them. The end result is more a consistent flow of traffic as well as more buzz when you're ready to launch your first product.

Because we receive so many questions about how we specifically set up our blog, we decided to provide our readers with a soup-to-nuts, comprehensive guide for how to set up a blog. This blog post is intended to function as a how-to manual—a guide that will light the path toward launching your new blog—with easy-to-follow screenshots, step-by-step instructions, as well as additional rationale and insights to improve your blog.
In addition to getting new readers to your blog, you will also want to make sure your current readers are coming back. This is where email marketing plays a big role. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors (with their permission of course), you can then notify them when you post something new on your blog. This keeps people coming back to your blog, which not only gives you more readers over time, it also allows you to build a closer relationship with your readers.
Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.

Don’t get me wrong I have made many mistakes along the way but once I knew what I was doing it became a lot easier and more enjoyable. Many of my friends have emailed me or called me to find out more about “What Jamie Does”, but it can be a little hard to sink in at first as to how you can actually make a real income from running a successful blog(s). Therefore I have decided to create this guide for my friends, family, email subscribers and anyone else who wants to start doing “What Jamie Does”.
Thank you Jessica for the information. I’ve read just about all of your blog posts and they have helped me, someone that loves using tech but not so tech savvy when it comes to building a blog. You made it easy right from the start and as I was thinking of questions they were being answered as I read a little more. Thanks again. (if you go to my web page it’s still in demo mode until I have enough material to begin!)

After having this realization, I started going out and pitching other similar (non-competitive) startups and online brands that clearly needed more business-related content for their blogs... and over the course of the next year, I continued to slowly double the prices I'd charge per article. I'd add new "extras" as time went on and I built a larger community & brand for myself too—always experimenting with my offer to see what clients would pay more for.
Okay, so if that doesn't dissuade you one bit, or you've already made the decision to start a blog, here's what you need to do in a step-by-step format. First, I need to premise this by saying that this post is largely based off of the WordPress blogging platform. It is not a step-by-step configuration guide to WordPress, but it does reference the system often.
Understand the difference between total revenue and net income. Most income reports tout total revenue. Net income or profit (what really matters) is often buried in the post. I came across an income report recently with a super impressive number in the title (and Pinterest image). It was total revenue. Not until I read the whole post did I learn this blogger spent well over half their total revenue on Facebook Ads alone. On top of that, they had an extensive list of expenses. By the end of the post I realized I had netted more than they did the previous month.
– Project Payday is one of those sites that has testimonials of people who have earned thousands of dollars by getting paid to get trial offers. I’m not saying you’ll earn thousands, but it is legit and you can earn some extra cash. They assume that by paying you to do a free trial, you’ll either like the product and purchase it, or forget to cancel the trial and get charged for it. If you can keep track and cancel before you get charged (if you don’t want the product), then this is a great site for making some money.
Be aware that many blog hosting services only allow their proprietary contextual ad service, and may shut down your blog if you use one not made by the host company. If you are hosting your own blog, you should research contextual ad services and choose one that shows appropriate ads. Some allow pornography or other ads that may not be suitable for your blog.

Hi Yaro, as usual a very strong and detailed post. Yes, nowadays it is very easy to get lost in the jungle of blogs. I think that if you plan to make a business with blogging, like I do, you first have to thoroughly study all the options available. And those options, as you just have mentioned, are ever increasing. Then there are people like me, who are artistic and thus more emotional, but also a bit introvert on the other site. I think the key to online success, or at least partially, is to literally start communicating with your future prospects. In the beginning that’s a bit scary, however I see a pattern emerging here. Talking to your prospects or subscribers is crucial for finding out what your audience is looking for with regard to both content and products. Even if you have a great sales funnel, it’s not of much use if you don’t know your audience well enough. This takes time, not only for yourself, but also for your future followers to accept you as their friend and mentor. It’s not only you who is shy, your audience is too.

If you're serious about marketing anything online, rather than opting for running ads on your blog (which won't make you real money unless you have at least hundreds of thousands of visitors per day) or engaging in affiliate marketing, you should build a topical lead magnet that will sell a digital product or offer that you create in the back-end. The lead magnet will entice people to sign up to your list and provide you with their email address.
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]
According to Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith, co-authors of Born to Blog, there are five traits or roles that are necessary for blogging. Schaefer and Smith maintain that everyone has at least one of these traits, and some of the most popular bloggers probably have three or four of them. The idea is to recognize that trait or role that you play, build upon it, and then use it to create a successful blog.

Again, it doesn't take much to become a blogger, but you're going to have to work harder and smarter to find success. It all boils down to bringing something unique to the table while providing high-quality, valuable content and promoting it well. You'll need to overcome issues like writer's block and stay focused while working towards your goals. Do you have experience in growing blogs? Be sure to share your own strategies in the comments below.
However if you are NOT clear on this and you don’t mind spending some time doing research, one of the best things you can do is start reaching out to people with your “best guess” offer and see how that goes. In the case of blogging that means writing about the subject area you want to focus on, even if you are not clear how exactly you fit into that niche yet.

I still remember the beginning days of building this blog. I worked tirelessly for 60 to 80 hours every single week without fail. In the beginning, I saw a trickle of traffic that amounted to maybe 20 to 30 visitors per day. That number multiplied by about a 100 after approximately a year and a half or so of grueling hard work. And since then, it has climbed significantly for one reason and one reason only: consistency.
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.

Leaving Work Behind is a relatively small blog when it was started as a personal project in 2011. Now, it is a thriving business with a team of editors, writers, and resources to help freelancers further their careers through the power of blogging. In other words, we’ve seen the whole process transform from a single person into a platform that supports a team of passionate visionaries.

Affiliate sales comprise a large chunk of revenue for most big-name bloggers. For instance, Pat Flynn made $53K last month from affiliate sales, compared to "just" $9,500 from book sales. In general, look for affiliate products with higher price points; web hosting companies are a great choice if it makes sense in your niche, with payouts of anywhere from $60-$130+ per signup.
Premium content can mean any type of content you charge for - an ebook, whitepaper, downloadable guide, etc. But what I'm referring to here is pay-gated content. Basically you just put some awesome content up behind a paywall, which means visitors pay to access it. You can get your own paywall set up in 10 minutes or less using a plugin like MemberPress or Paid Memberships Pro.
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.
One of my favorite ways to get readers to my blog is to post links on my social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. This is great, because not only do your friends see the link, but if your friends share the link with their friends it automatically multiplies your readers. If you have created high-quality content on your blog then social media is a great way for your blog to go viral.
As you'll see, my first year of blogging saw only about 9,000 total readers, but I wasn't really taking blogging seriously and I was still learning how to drive traffic. In my second year, you'll see traffic begins to pick up dramatically as I start to figure out who my audience is and which traffic strategies work best for me—that's when I started driving almost as much traffic per month than I'd gotten in my entire first year.
I’m a bit confused…are you talking about using WordPress.com or WordPress.org when setting a blog? I heard not to use WordPress.com for a blog even though its free because the blog isn’t really “yours” and they can do what they want with it. Can you clarify the difference between the .com and .org and which one should be used in setting up a website and blog?
In addition to getting new readers to your blog, you will also want to make sure your current readers are coming back. This is where email marketing plays a big role. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors (with their permission of course), you can then notify them when you post something new on your blog. This keeps people coming back to your blog, which not only gives you more readers over time, it also allows you to build a closer relationship with your readers.
Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing – I bought this ebook last month, and I highly recommend it. Facebook is an area I'm currently working on, and I've already read the whole book. The author of this ebook grew her Facebook page from 2,000 to 100,000 followers in just 5 months! Crazy, right?  I started 2016 with just around 6,500 Facebook followers and ended it with 38,000. I owe a lot of that to the great tips in Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing. Growing my Facebook page has allowed me to reach new readers, improve my blogging income, grow my email list, and more.

There’s also Quora—a question and answer site that lets anyone respond to user’s queries. One tactic I’ve used is to search for relevant topics in my niche and then answer questions I’ve already written about on my blog (like this Quora answer about how to get blog traffic that's received hundreds of upvotes and thousands of views_ . This way I know I’m giving them good value and can even link back to the full post on my blog.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools, services and learning resources I’ve personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.
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