Ruth Soukup is a writer, blogger, mom of two, and the successful founder of the blog LivingWellSpendingLess.com. Since launching in 2010, Living Well Spending Less has become one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the net, receiving more than one million visitors per month. She is also the founder of the Elite Blog Academy, as well as the author of the bestselling blogging guide How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), and her next book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life (Zondervan) will be released December 30th, 2014. For more information about Ruth, please visit LivingWellSpendingLess.com.
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? I hope so. I have 78 years of knowledge to share on food, music, and other topics. Your instructions are amazing, wonderful, and hopefully easy enough for even an old tech-idiot like me to understand. I’ll sign up for your course, but I want to express my admiration and appreciation for such a fine product as you have created.
Affiliate marketing is one of the fundamentals ways many people monetize their blog. You can talk about products or services you use and love – and if someone else clicks YOUR link and makes a purchase, you can make money on that sale! Of course there is more to it than that, and lesson 11 walks you through the basics of what affiliate marketing is.
Put your ideas in a spreadsheet and prioritize: Ok, let’s get this list a little more organized now. Start a spreadsheet and include your keyword, estimated search volume, difficulty, and opportunity (You should be able to get all this info from the keyword tool you use). Looking at all these, assign a priority to each one either on a scale of 1-5 or a basic High-Medium-Low. Join my free blogging course to grab my editorial calendar template.
Answer questions people interested in your niche are already asking. I sometimes check out the most popular questions about personal development on huge sites like Reddit and Quora. They can often give you a good idea of what questions people are really interested in finding answers for. And so you’ll find some really good topics for your next posts or podcasts.
Outstanding Customer Service. Bluehost’s customer service is 100% US-based. With hold times that average less than 30 seconds and 100% in-house, on-site staff in their Texas offices, you can rest assured that the person helping with your site knows how to help. In other words, if you have any questions, they will help you through the entire set-up process.
If you are interested in covering a broad topic that many people already write about, create multiple specialized blogs instead and link between them when the subjects overlap. For instance, if you are a nutrition expert, write one blog about healthy weight management, another one about child nutrition, and another about growing your own vegetables.
You want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. Even if you’re not interested in making money from your blog, I am assuming that you at least want other people to read it – yes? Then the same rules apply.
The most successful bloggers are not afraid to think outside of the box. They know how to effectively market their blogs. They are artistic or otherwise graphically inclined for website design. They know how to use social media to promote their blogs. Simply put, as a blogger, if you do not have writing and editing skills, you can always hire an editor. But if you are not clever, creative, motivated, innovative, strategic, and forward-thinking, your blog will not thrive.
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.
Hello, I just found your blog while looking for resources on financial planning. We’ve been passive and a little sloppy in this dept for our entire marriage and want to change that. I have to be honest. While a lot of the resources here are fantastic, I feel suspicious about the blogging for profit idea. Seems a bit too good to be true. I went to a very good school and majored in lit/writing. There was no mention of the potential to write, profitably, for the internet (with the exception of science/medical writing). Could a writer generate a decent income simply with freelance writing and blogging? Where does the money come from? Ads? Or would I have to also have a product to sell (i.e., a course, ebooks, etc). I’m feeling a pyramid scheme here (buy my writing course, start a blog, sell your course, etc). Gina’s income in her first few months was outrageously high. More than I make now as a librarian. Forgive me for being cynical/suspicious. I’m just curious.
Most hosting providers will provide you with a WordPress plugin and make it relatively easy to install WordPress on your hosting account. But it's your duty to locate the right provider and get the right hosting account. In the beginning, you won't need a high capacity account. But as you grow, you'll need to ensure you have the right amount of space and bandwidth to support your traffic. Those are good problems to have, but you won't have them in the beginning.
"Blogger for Word" is an add-in for Microsoft Word which allows users to save a Microsoft Word document directly to a Blogger blog, as well as edit their posts both on- and offline. As of January 2007, Google says "Blogger for Word is not currently compatible with the new version of Blogger", and they state no decision has been made about supporting it with the new Blogger. However, Microsoft Office 2007 adds native support for a variety of blogging systems, including Blogger.
The single most important strategy you'll find for building up a blog and boosting your visibility on search engines like Google, and my all-time go-to strategy for rocketing up the search rankings on Google's SERPs, is content marketing. Marketing your content is an intricate process that involves long, seemingly-never-ending hours of building more useful off-site content that links to your primary anchor content, but it's well worth it.
A blog is not a blog without content so once you’ve set your blog up you need to focus your attention upon creating useful content. What you choose to create will depend a little on the topic that you choose to write about (on that note, most successful bloggers have some focus to their blogging whether that be a niche or a demographic that they write for).
Great article Jamie! I’ve only ever used affiliate links on my blog but recently I’ve been getting a lot of text-link offers. A typical email will ask a link to be put into one of my articles (relating to the content or website they want to link back to) and they offer anywhere between $50-$150 per link. Given the nature of your article, I just wanted to check your thoughts on such offers. Are they legitimate or should I have red flags go up as I’d hate to think they increase spam or worse yet affect google ranking or break basic rules of website T&Cs. Again, I’m not familiar in monetizing via such offers and googling about it didn’t give me much info. Thanking you in advance.
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:
Hello! I want to be a stay at home mom and I’m basically a single mother. I’m with my child’s father. We just aren’t married yet but he plays basketball overseas so I’m taking care of our daughter by myself. I want to be able to spend more time with her. I’m currently a teacher and it is absolutely miserable and draining the life out of me and my sanity. I would love to get started on becoming a blogger. You have truly inspired me to do it. I’m just very scared and hesitant on spending the money but I’m beyond ready to do it. I started filling out bluest but haven’t completed yet because of the add-ons they are offering and I’m unsure on what to select or unselect but it raises the price it. Could you provide advice? I also wanted to know is there another site you recommend for themes? They are no longer $69, they are $89 now for Elegant themes website. I’m really trying to get this started and am more motivated then ever to do this but I’m just trying to do it in a lower cost if possible. Thank you!
Great article. I recently came into blogging. I hadn’t completed what quantity I had learnt from my initial try. currently, with the new diary, I started a few month alone, I’m seeing a rise in traffic on a daily basis that is kind of stunning and really exciting. therefore I even have been reading everywhere the way to legitimize a diary. Your article is superb and in-depth. Many thanks for sharing. I will be able to definitely take on some of your advice. Cheers Jamie!
We’re going to go through seven specific steps you can take to find your own path to success, but first, let’s take a look at a common path most successful blogs have taken. It starts with a problem to solve and a product or affiliate product to sell. Ideally, this product is designed to solve that problem. Next, these sites use their blogs to provide free, valuable, high-quality content and use things like SEO, social media, guest posts and even paid ads to drive traffic to their websites.
Spend enough time to create 5-10 pieces of awesome content, and spend the rest of your time networking. Leave thoughtful comments on authoritative blogs that you enjoy reading. Reach out and email influential bloggers without asking anything in return. After a month of being selfless, try to secure a guest post on those authoritative blogs and capture some of their audience (your guest post should be amazing).
17. Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.
It might be the case that an audience understands the basics, but isn’t there still a place for this ‘basic’ information on any blog within a niche? Sure, they can get it elsewhere, but if the content doesn’t take too long to create then why not? There will always be new people entering a niche and if other blog information isn’t maintained then why not provide the latest?
This is an important one. If you don't know who your audience is, you don't know whether or not the content you're creating is truly having a positive impact in your niche. Sure, you can rely on keyword research and analytics to steer you in the right direction, and you should, but you should also consider forming a deep understanding of who your audience is, what they want and what problems they're facing.
Great question! Yes, starting on a free platform limited my visibility to search engines (there are so many spammy blogs and sites that are self-hosted, I think that google just ignores all of them). They also don’t have the speed that self-hosted plans can. (readers don’t want to sit around waiting for a site to load) While you can do custom blog URLS with some free platforms, if you have the /blogger or /wordpress web address, it just doesn’t look as professional or legit to potential readers and sponsors. It also limited my ability to customize and optimize my blog design for growing my audience and income. There may be other reasons someone more technical than myself could explain, but all in all, I saw my traffic increase almost over night after I switched over. I hope that helps a bit! Best wishes with your blog!
28. Subscription – If you think of something valuable (newsletter, online magazine, etc.) that you can consistently offer on a certain basis (weekly, monthly, etc.), you may want to offer a subscription service. This could be a fee charged each time your product is sent out or on a monthly basis. Either way, this has to be something that your customers can only get by subscribing to your website.
You can use your email list for this purpose simply by sending a broadcast email every now and then asking your subscribers what problems they're facing in your niche or what they would like to see on your blog. You can also promote a link to a survey on your site. Or you can even go all in and have real conversations with people by inviting them on Skype, talking to them on LinkedIn and Facebook groups, participating in forums, and more.
Why? While there are other platforms for blogging, WordPress is the most mainstream, with nearly 100 million installations to date. Yes, that's a lot of blogs out there. The fact is that there are approximately 1000 websites being created every minute of every day, with a large majority of those being blogs. So if you're starting a blog, you're likely starting a WordPress blog.
On August 23, 1999, Blogger was launched by Pyra Labs. As one of the earliest dedicated blog-publishing tools, it is credited for helping popularize the format. In February 2003, Pyra Labs was acquired by Google under undisclosed terms. The acquisition allowed premium features (for which Pyra had charged) to become free. In October 2004, Pyra Labs' co-founder, Evan Williams, left Google. In 2004, Google purchased Picasa; it integrated Picasa and its photo sharing utility Hello into Blogger, allowing users to post photos to their blogs.
Email Marketing – From the day you launch your blog, you need to be collecting email addresses from your readers so that you can remain in contact with them. To do this, you'll need to sign up with an email marketing provider. Don't worry, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get started, in fact, you can get a free account with Constant Contact or Sendinblue.
Even back in 2009 people were telling me that traffic isn’t everything, and traffic with no business model doesn’t make money. I heard it but didn’t really grasp what it meant. Big numbers are attractive and gratifying. I’m on the right path now but I spent almost five years missing the chance to cater to my biggest fans instead of reaching for more.
There are literally millions of blogs on the internet, and only a fraction of them are earning any income. (It’s hard to get exact statistics, but I’d guess that that less than 10% of bloggers ever become “full time”. I heard somewhere that 90% make less than 1$ per day – but don’t worry. I make well over 100$ each and every day, and I will show you WHY I earn money with my blog, so that you can start your own blog and make money too.)
Blogger allows its users to choose from various templates and then customize them. Users may also choose to create their own templates using CSS. The new design template, known as "Dynamic View", was introduced on 31 August 2011 with Dynamic Views being introduced on 27 September 2011. It is built with AJAX, HTML5, and CSS3. The time for loading is 40 percent shorter than traditional templates, and allows user to present blog in seven different ways: classic, flipcard, magazine, mosaic, sidebar, snapshot, and timeslide. Readers still have the option to choose preferable views when the blog owner has set a default view. Some of the widgets (e.g., Labels, Profile, Link List, Subscription Links, Followers and Blog Archive etc.) are available for Dynamic Views; other templates are chosen by the blogger.
It makes your blog portable. If you decide to move from one blog host to another, you just take your blog content AND your domain name with you. That way you don’t lose the links you’ve built over time. If you didn’t have a domain name, you would lose all the “search engine rankings” and “link value” you’ve built up so far – so in a sense, you’d be starting over.
This includes what blogging actually is (and isn’t), understanding what successful blogging entails, examples of successful bloggers, and what you’ll need to have ready before even thinking about setting everything up. Then, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions for technically setting up your blog so you can start publishing content. Finally, we’ll offer you our hard-earned knowledge and strategies on how to get subscribers for your blog and even start making some money out of it.
If you can repurpose your content and put it on content hubs (sites that collect specific kinds of content), you will start to bring in readers from different sources. For example, SlideShare hosts professional content in the form of presentations, infographics, documents, and videos. Youtube is a well-known video-sharing website. Podcasting is another great way of repurposing blog content for iTunes listeners.
Sign up for affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a very popular way of monetizing a blog because it capitalizes on your readers’ trust of you. If your posts always deliver quality content, then your audience is more likely to trust product or service recommendations. You can provide links or recommendations to relevant products and get a commission from any sales driven by your blog.
If you do decide to hire a designer, it’s always a good idea to do your homework beforehand and know exactly what you’re after. There’s nothing more time-consuming (and expensive) than going back and forth with a freelancer because you didn’t have a clear vision of what you wanted in the first place. If you're looking for more sites to track down some freelance designers, check out my list of the best freelance job sites.
If you want to be famous or reach a wide audience, you will have to choose something slightly broader and work hard to make the best content for that topic. A subtopic relating to fitness, finance, or relationship advice is likely to reach the most people. Consider specific but broadly applicable topics such as managing money in college, or a marriage counseling blog.
You’ll Become a Better Thinker – blogging forces you to think, research, and then type your thoughts into the computer. It’s much more involved than I just made it sound. Try writing for 5 minutes without stopping if you don’t believe me. It takes critical thinking and concentration. You will think deeply and with more clarity as you practice writing.
“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!“
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.