You also need to do things like select a theme. What will your design look like? Will you use a standard theme that's free or will you splurge on a premium theme? There are literally hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes that can be chosen to hep you with the design and layout of your blog. Two of my favorite options for sourcing premium WordPress themes are Envato's Theme Forest and Template Monster.
I always encourage my friends to look at WPengine for hosting, its a bit more pricey but is really stable and reliable, plus they include tons of goodies that are usually considered a premium service and they all work without a struggle. Thinks like a CDN, Backups, Offload to S3. All these things can really help the quality and consistency of your site and are definitely something to think about whether you are a beginner or an advanced blogger.
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.
The more involved you become with blogging, the more your creative juices will flow. That’s one reason why blogging is so popular. As you gain knowledge about your topic, the confidence you build in your followers and most importantly, in yourself, will soar. All of this leads to increased creativity. Keep an open mind and enjoy your new-found confidence in your own abilities!
This post is exactly what I was looking for as I start the new year. Back in my college years I would write for several different college lifestyle blogs and I vowed when I graduated I would keep it up…fast forward 3 years…still no blog. I’m not big on resolutions, but I really really really am going to make it happen this year. This weekend is dedicated to getting my blog set up and running! Thanks for this post!
After you've determined the right way to help a handful of your readers solve a real problem they're encountering, pitch them (individually in a very personalized manner either over email or ideally on the phone) on pre-ordering your course and getting direct coaching from you in the meantime while you work on building out the actual course material.
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
Jeff, first article of yours I’ve read. Excellent stuff! I’m following Michelle as well and am floored at the potential. I’m starting right now to implement all your suggestions. I’ve not yet set up my website email, but hey, one bite at a time, right? I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the interwebs. At this moment, by site is a blank slate, but I have several posts written in Google Docs of which to choose from. Cheers!
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.
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.
The entire blog world keeps talking about how it's not that hard to be a professional blogger. Usually the people saying that are the ones who have something to sell you, quite frankly. If someone's telling you this is not that difficult, you should look at what their motive is. Do they have something to sell you so that you'll become inspired, you'll think you can do it, or you'll start building a blog?
In-depth tutorials are great for getting links and social shares. However, they can also be a great way to earn money on your blog. There are a number of ways you can make this happen - include affiliate links for the products you use in your tutorial; promote your own products in the tutorial; write a tutorial to promote an advertiser's product (just be clear that it's a sponsored post), etc.
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!
If you are new, obviously don’t try to fit all of these income streams in at one time. You should build on it and work on one at a time. Slowly build your income. Think of it in terms of a job. When you start out at a job you don’t usually start making the big bucks right away. After time and experience come into play, then you start making more and more money with raises and promotions. Now you can make a ton more money online than a typical job but it is the same concept!
The process of customizing your blog will take some time (probably a few days), but it’s super easy and fun, and no professional designer is needed. In fact, when I did my site redesign this year, I purchased a theme from StudioPress. I can't tell you how much I love it, it's so easy to modify, and it only took a few days to get everything into place.
Lack of support. Companies don’t offer free blogs out of the goodness of their hearts. They still want to make money somehow. If you’re only using their free service, they’re not making money from you. Therefore, they don’t have a lot of incentive to keep you happy. Sometimes this means you’ll have little to no support. Other times it means you’ll be badgered with offers for their paid-for products.
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).
Starting a blog to make money requires that you are willing to learn and learn and learn. And then learn some more. (Many people don’t want to hear that – because they want blogging to be the thing that solves all their problems easily… but if there’s a way to make a living blogging without gaining any knowledge about blogging, I haven’t figured it out yet.)
You can become a successful blogger if you are a good communicator. Some people think that a blogger’s work is over after writing the article. But they are wrong. The main work starts after the completion of the article. A blogger needs to promote that article on social networking sites and then he should also reply to all the comments he got on his article. You need a good communication skills for this. So improve your communication skills if you want to become a successful blogger.
Starting a blog that actually makes money involves a great deal of writing. But not just any writing. You need to write keyword-focused content and do it repeatedly. When it comes to writing your content, there are a ton of rules that you should follow if you want it to be effective when it comes to SEO (in fact over 200+ which you can learn about here), but try not to allow that to overwhelm you.
Hi Anna! I love that you already know blogging is your calling! You’re totally right that there are many possible directions to go, but you won’t truly know which is the one that will make you most successful until you get out there and try a few things. Also, with practice, you’ll be much more likely to see posts take off. I don’t think you need to be afraid to start, though. As long as you start your blog off the way I’ve outlined in the post, you’re going to have such a great start. This is everything I wish I would have known in my first years of blogging that would have helped me become successful so much faster. You can do it! And I hope you’ll stop by and give me an update about how you’re doing as you do get started :)
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”.
Of course, if you’re launching a blog for personal reasons and have no goals beyond the satisfaction of writing, these don’t impact you. However, if you’re trying to make money from blogging, it is very important to set realistic expectations of the work involved. Blogging for money is a form of business, which involves a few costs. Thankfully, blogging is relatively cheap compared to most other startups.
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.
Our friend Bobby realized that soon after he started his blog. His site wasn’t making any money at the time, so he needed to find another way to bring in some cash. That’s when he started reaching out to other businesses offering his services doing the things he’d learned from blogging (Facebook ads, writing online content, social media strategy, etc.).
Im currently interested on starting a blog and Im wondering if it is possible to blog on a smartphone? Since I cant always carry a laptop around and most of the time ideas and inspirations just pop-up from unexpected places and I dont want to waste the feelings and emotions that I wanted to express on my writings just because I cant conveniently start from where I am
Domain Privacy Protection: We can’t put it better than Bluehost does: “The whois information for any domain name is available to anyone on the internet. Your whois information can be harvested by marketing companies, which will give you unwanted solicitations. When you add Bluehost Domain Privacy to your registration, the only information listed in the whois will be Bluehost.” Basically, it’s an issue of privacy. Decide whether you want it accordingly!
Hey Isabel. I would definitely create your blog in your native language if that is the one that you write better in. If your English grammar isn’t impeccable, you will have a hard time getting a loyal audience of English speakers. A blog written in English has the potential for a larger audience, but a blog in your native language will have less competition and the potential for a far more LOYAL audience. I hope that helps!
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.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.
Great article about blogging. This is very helpful. I have been blogging about fashion for my Apparel Search website for many years, but have not received much traction for the efforts. Hopefully your suggestions will be of help. Even though I post often and I think with helpful information for people interesting in clothing, I don’t seem to gain any followers. After several years, I have people reading the blogs, but no followers and not many people posting comments. Rather frustrating, but I will continue my efforts. Anyway, thank you for your post and hopefully it helps me and others improve our blogging.
Step 4: Stop displaying how many likes you have. If you have like buttons on your posts from for example Facebook or LinkedIn that display how many likes/upvotes you have from each social media network then that can drag the load times down. I chose to stop displaying how many likes my posts got from each network and only kept the buttons. It made a big difference. You can also choose keep the number of likes but display buttons from fewer social sites, maybe just 2-3.
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.
You can also strategically rely on traditional post formats to help you along the way. At the end of the day, as long as your information is interesting, relevant, and sourced reliably, you’re on the right track. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but keep in mind it’s smarter to break the rules on purpose than by mistake. Read and learn from popular blogs in your niche and try out what works best for them.
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.
Hi Betsy, thanks for stopping by the blog. Yes, you can start a blog for free, but as I mentioned in the post, you’ll have a much better chance of success if you do go with a paid host. However, the investment is minimal. I have been earning a significant income through blogging that has allowed me to stay at home with my kids since about 2014, so I can say yes, it really does work. I hope you’re able to find the at home job you need!
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.
You also don't have much say in how much you're able to make with these revenue streams. Products (e.g. ebooks, video courses, apps, etc…), on the other hand, are your own. You can price them at whatever you want them to be or at least what your audience is willing to pay. This gives you the freedom to create whatever type of content you want and earn however much money you want.
I learned very quickly that focusing on large-scale traffic was not necessarily the shortest path to a sustainable business. And I actually started being very blunt and firm about this in public, which “turned off” large numbers of readers who were not giving anything back. Paradoxically, though, the people who really resonated with my content started stepping up to the plate. I noticed I could sell something at $20 or at $797 and make the SAME number of sales. So I started focusing mainly on those willing to give back. And I finally started making enough money to quit my job.