Visual content has been growing for years and it appears to be speeding up, not slowing down. We now have retina display tablets and our smartphones are getting bigger. Social networking sites like Facebook are favoring images and videos over text – never mind sites like Pinterest which are totally based around photos! If you’re not working with visual content yet it’s time to start.
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.”
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.
A great post, Ramsay, and great timing for me. I just went live with a coming soon page for my first website and blog that I plan to launch early next year. It’s great to read what your thoughts are on the future of blogging. I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of what you talk about in #19. I had planned to have my coming soon page up in October, but I was focusing on too many little things and got hung up. Now my challenge will be to not have the same thing happen with the main site.
This is it! You just made a blog all by yourself. In fact, we dare say if you thoroughly read this entire guide you now know more than the average person does about starting a blog. But remember, starting a blog is easy – it only takes about thirty minutes of guided steps. It’s what comes next that will determine how successful you are when all is said and done.
Direct Income – when I started making money from my blogs it was through ‘direct’ income streams. I put AdSense ads on my blog and promoted some products on Amazon as an affiliate and the more readers I had the more income began to trickle in (it really was a trickle at first). In time as my traffic grew this income grew and I was also able to experiment with other direct forms of income such as selling advertising directly to advertisers.
Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
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.
The reasoning behind this is simple. If your aren’t earning money, you’re not truly “in business.” Your blog is merely a hobby you do in your spare time. On the other hand, how much revenue you need to earn to be considered a success depends on the amount of money you need to survive and the expenses your business has. Basically, as long as you still have money leftover after paying your personal and business bills, you’re golden.
The problem with an everything is free model to begin with is you set expectations at that level and attract people who don’t want to buy things. You need to go in with the mindset of what content will get me buyers now, not later, which means you make offers from day one based on very clear positioning from day one (or no one will buy). You still provide value for free of course, but it’s tied in with immediate offers so you can set a standard and begin seeing if you actually have a business that makes money.
These “old men” to me at the time, also have their mentors who came before them. I remember listening to interviews (and you still hear this today), and names like Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert were mentioned as the pioneers before internet marketing, back when direct response was all about paper sent in the mail, or full page ads in trade journals or magazines.
Thanks for this really easy-to-follow guide, it was a great help installing my blog. However, I have the same problem as Ellen above. I set up my domain name successfully and installed WordPress. Got an e-mail saying that the WordPress install was successful (as shown in your guide). But when I want to log in to my admin URL it says that the website is not available! and it’s been like that for the last 2 days. Do you know what to do?
Make money from home. Blogging can be quite lucrative if done correctly. The top bloggers in the world obviously earn quite a bit, but even a part-time blogger can expect to make a nice profit if things are done correctly. The best part about it is that blogging is a form of passive income, since you can spend just a few hours a week writing a blog post and then continue to make money from it long after the blog post is written. I go into much more detail on how to blog for money later in this guide.
If you’re 100% brand new to blogging, note that this book will not explain blogging basics in detail (i.e. there are no chapters on how to get started–that’s not what the book was created for). That said, it is a book I would recommend to brand new bloggers nonetheless as it will help set you up for success. And besides, you can always Google “what is a blog” later 😉
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.
Keep it simple: At the end of the day, the goal of starting a blog is to share content that can be easily consumed (read, watched, experienced). And unfortunately, a lot of fancy blog themes get in the way of that. Don’t get too drawn in by crazy looking themes that compromise on legibility and usability. If a theme looks good, but doesn’t help you share your thoughts and engage with readers, it’s not a good theme.
Bluehost will ask if you want to purchase a ton of add-ons to your package. We don’t think any of these are absolutely necessary, but you might want to consider privacy protection. It’s less than $1 a month, and it’ll keep your contact information private. Note, though, savvy searchers will know how to check this information, and if it’s anonymous, it could hurt your credibility.
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”.
Once you have your niche picked out, then start researching what else is out there. Do a Google search, Instagram search, and Pinterest search — this will give you a wealth of information. Once you find your competitors, figure out how you can put your unique spin on the topic. I like to include personal stories in my content because I know that no-one else will have exact experiences.
Other measurements of success can include traffic, user engagement, social shares and email subscribers, but it all depends on your business goals in actuality. Do you want to sell more of your own products through your blog? Your version of success is going to include a healthy amount of revenue from those products alongside a decent-sized email list and a high level of user engagement. Do you want to simply earn more revenue from your blog as a whole? Your version of success would include high amounts traffic and user engagement.
Create a basic logo using a program like InDesign, Photoshop, or a text editor (note: even though we have no design skills, we were able to use Apple’s Pages application to create our simple logo after downloading some free vector art and choosing the typeface that best suited our aesthetic), or you can hire someone like 99designs to design a professional logo.
If you're passionate about a subject and you have decent writing skills, blogging definitely could be an alternative career path for you. The short answer is, yes, it is possible to make a living—a very good one, even—by writing online. On the other hand, the hard truth is most of the millions of bloggers today don't make enough to support themselves just with their blogs. Let's take a look at what's involved.
Schaefer and Smith state that a blogger does not need to be a good writer in the classic sense of a Pulitzer Prize winner or literary great. Bloggers, they say, must be natural conversationalists – writers and speakers able to get their points across not with jargon or in boardroom speak; but in dialogue that builds rapport, much like what takes place when we sit down to have a drink with a friend. In other words, blogging is not just about text. It is less objective and structured than article or presentation writing. It is more personal, more intimate, because the blog writer is looking to start a relationship founded on their opinions and perspectives.
So, in order to gain visibility, you have to go directly to the source. You need to tap already-established bloggers by offering them your great content with a chance to secure a single link back to your own site. Keep in mind, this isn’t about exchanging blog posts or links. No, do not do that. This is about offering to write for existing platforms that will help you build your own audience.
I recently hit my 5 year anniversary at my current job it got me thinking about what I actually want to be doing with my life. I’ve flirted with the idea of starting a blog for a few years, but it’s scary! You mentioned that not only is blogging a great way to communicate, it can also help you to become a better person and a better writer. I love a good opportunity to better myself, and I think I might have to give it a try!
It’s good to have a main topic — but you can branch out from there. Many coupon bloggers post coupons, discounts, money saving ideas, ways to make money, as well as home related stuff like recipes, parenting, etc. Have you ever tried mind mapping? That would be a great way for you to discover if you have enough ideas for a blog on any given topic. Good luck and keep us posted!
It was a pleasant surprise for me to encounter your blog Yaro. Your obvious experience means that you have had the benefit of seeing what works. For me I commenced engaging online back 1996, but did not really begin seeing the potential for personal business development until 2009-since then I have commenced a blog trying to talk with ‘mature people’ who struggle with the online technicalities..I thought this was my niche. On the other hand I have tried to engage with too many niche areas at once-this is a hard lesson, but I have finally learnt it! Kudos to you for recognizing the vast possibilities at a young age. I genuinely like to help people, so it is an exercise in finding out how best to do just that.
Okay, so there are a ton of other considerations. For the sake of brevity, I’ll have to skip over all the little nuances that are involved with configuring things properly and optimizing for things like search engine optimization and installing plugins and so on. If you want to learn about SEO, I would recommend checking out my course on Udemy or one of my books or audiobooks on the topic.
What does it mean to deliver value? Either your posts have to be extremely informative, in that they teach people how to do something useful, or they need to be entertaining or provide value in another format. Your posts also need to be engaging. Don’t expect people to spend a lot of time or even share any of your content if your posts don’t deliver value and they’re not engaging.
Find something that other people are interested in, too. If you choose to write about Himalayan basket weaving for men, you probably won’t have many readers, and you’ll have a hard time earning any income. Try to find something that combines your interests with things other people also care about. For my main blog, I write about money advice. I’m a personal finance nerd but, fortunately, there are people online looking for that type of information, too.
When Jeff and I started blogging about finance and investing last year, we knew that you could use a blog to generate income but we wanted to focus on building a library of content first, before we looked at ways to generate additional revenue. We wanted to focus on growing on a local level here in Virginia and then scale up and look for opportunities to make moves online.
Do you want to know what’s really hard to read? A long paragraph like this. One that is huge and the text is long and the sentences run on and on and on. Even if you start out with a compelling first sentence, eventually people are going to get tired. It’s just too much of a task to take on to read this entire thing. Ain’t nobody got time for that! It makes people’s eyeballs hurt. They want content that they can easily scan over and pick and choose what they want to read. So please, unless you are a writer for the NY Times or moonlight as a ghostwriter for Steven King, do not write blog posts like this.
Be Honest. Your blog needs to be authentic—it needs to feel real—if you want people to read it. You can be your blog, or your blog can be you. That is, do you really embody the stuff you write about? If not, people will see through it. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is the famous Gandhi quote. Perhaps bloggers should build the blog they want to write for the world.
These pages are all pretty standard, but they’re also a great way to have some fun and let your readers get to know you. In fact, I use my About page to not only introduce who I am and tell my story, but also to explain my value proposition (for potential clients looking to hire me as a freelance content marketer) and show off some of my recent achievements.
"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.
Create and customize your blog. If you are using a free service, there should be a tutorial to guide you through the initial steps of setting up your blog, as well as a forum for people to ask questions. If you are hosting your own site, you will need someone with web design experience to customize your blog, or you can use software such as WordPress.org to use the same structures available at free services.
Ninja Popups – The best $20 I’ve spent on my website in 2015. This one lets you create a popup windows that show up in front of your content and can help you readers to sign up for your newsletter, share your website on Facebook and many other things. It helps me to add about 30% more new email subscribers a day to my Positivity Newsletter. To not annoy people, be sure that his window is only shown once for each of your readers.
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.
Amazon is the giant in the industry, but it’s also a good idea to reach out to small companies and even individuals who make products or services that are related to your blog. For example, if you have a popular cooking blog, you might contact small BBQ sauce companies to see if they’d be interested in setting up an affiliate marketing program with you. You earn a portion of the sale through your blog, and they get free marketing.
Although every work or profession needs to be disciplined but as a blogger when you work from home or cafes, discipline is your best friend. It should divide into writing posts, commenting on other blogs and social networking promotion. If you want loyal readers, then you have to post regularly on your blog. If you do not blog regularly, then you will lose your readers.
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.
However, aside from that, you can always opt to generate small amounts of cash flow by doing other things such as creating articles that will lead people to courses or audiobooks that you've developed, or building out video tutorials that will ultimately sell some big package or system that will help to teach people whatever it is that you're really good it.
This is very useful information for me as a beginner blogger. I figured to try blogging as a project while working on my MBA program online this year. I haven’t finished publishing my blog site yet. Still checking out some tips and advice prior to publishing. A bit nervous but after reading other new bloggers helps build my confidence. Hopefully I get the nerves to publish by end of January. As you mentioned, I ended up using WordPress.
Wow, you really are just a breath away from starting your blog, and wish all the passion and organization you already have, you have such a great start. I know I already mentioned in the post, but I wouldn’t let choosing a domain name hold you back from starting your blog as it really can be changed pretty easily down the road if you find you just hate it. Some variation on your own name is an easy place to start. I hope to hear back from you someday soon that you’ve started your blog! :)
Protip: Back in the day, when there weren’t so many blogs online, you could almost pick any topic and run with it. Now, not so much. There are definitely niches that are really, really full and therefore difficult to break into. How do you know? If you can easily find several dozen popular blogs on the topic, you might rethink your topic. On the other hand, just because a niche is big doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to choose it. After all, a large niche means there’s a market for it! In that case, you’ll have to find a really unique angle. Spend time watching the main players. Knowing your way around will help you fine-tune the “thing” that will make you stand out.
Through my affiliate link, you can secure hosting for as little as $2.95 a month. But you have to purchase the 36-month package, which would be $106.20 — but this includes a free domain name. You can use a free theme, but I highly suggest purchasing one, for $39 – $130. You can buy a custom logo design on Fiverr for $5, and you can use Sendinblue for email marketing which is free for a certain number of email subscribers. All in all, it shouldn’t cost you any more than $150.20 – $241.20 (plus tax).
If you want to set yourself up for success, then you should invest in a self-hosted blog. A self-hosted blog is when you pay a company such as Bluehost to “park” your website in their “parking lot.” The company owns all the servers that you’re able to use to host your own content on (i.e. your blog). This service comes with a monthly fee of course.
I believe you need a combination of a customer nurturing process where you focus on your existing best customers at the same time as you use content and community to spread the word. However in my opinion I think bloggers get the ratio too skewed in the wrong direction, they spend too much time trying to reach new people when there are much bigger gains to be made refining what works already with your nice small tribe of buyers.
Start a blog. If you don't own a blog yet, you need to find the right platform for you. There are so many blogging platforms out in the market to choose from such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Medium, Weebly etc. Try one out; if you are not satisfied with its offered features, then you can move to another, there are countless options some are free and some paid.
How to Blog For Profit is like having a best friend or big sister guide you through the blogging process. With wit,wisdom, and the insight of someone who has been there, Ruth shares how she grew her blog, Living Well Spending Less, to over 1 million unique visitors per month, earns a full time income, and still is able to write about the things she truly cares about.
Choosing an extension is also important. The extension is the “.com,” “.net,” or “.org” after a website. There are now dozens of extensions, but those three are the most familiar to English-speaking audiences and will drive the most traffic to your website. Unless you’re a non-profit or a similar type of blog, don’t go for “.org” -- a “.com” is the top choice, followed by “.net.”
I would like to work from home and am looking into blogging. I literally have no idea what I’d write about (I’m interested in several different things that are not related to one another) and am assuming I’d need sponsorship to actually make money. Since I know what assuming gets me, I am doing my homework before I do anything else. Thanks for all the info and any other advice is appreciated.
Wow, how the times have changed! I can remember when every lawyer in the state of Texas was creating two or three blogs and trying to do it in their free time. I guess they realized they simply did not have the time. I have heard that having a blog on a website is helpful but actually becoming a “professional” blogger is a completely different story.
I wanted to let you know that this evening is the first time I have came across your blog and as I have many others I read through it. However, I’m not sure what it is about your particular blog but for some reason I feel drawn to it. A lot of what you have blogged about sounds so much like myself. I have wanted to start my own blog for a while (3 years to be exact) but being the procrastinator that I am, not knowing where/how to start AND racking my brain for a domain name has prevented it. I too, have a passion for writing. I always have. All the way back to Elementary school. I have many, many ideas for my blog and have had to hand write everything as I think of it. My dilemma now is coming up with a domain name haha. I have a binder with “my blog” topics, “layout” etc. I literally am just steps away…if I can ever decide on a domain name. Thank you so much for the inspiration you give and the passion you put into your writing…Unlike some blogs where the content is just as original as the next one I click on after it. I only hope to become half the blogger you are. Thank you for sharing this, it has helped!!
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.
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.
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.
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!)
So now you have 15 reasons why you should start a blog, and we’ve shown you how to start a blog, step-by-step, based on our personal experience. But after giving you those detailed instructions, which could save you hundreds of hours of wasted time, we also want to give you some good reasons why you should not start a blog. (Keep in mind that these reasons are just our opinions, and we do not pretend to offer them up as a collection of empirical blogging maxims.)
“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’.”
Business owners should take this one step further by using their website to define their ideal customer and their unique selling proposition. They should then write blog posts that answer the questions being asked by potential customers. As you answer questions and provide value through your website for free, you are building trust with your audience. That will result in paying customers and eventual profit. That whole process is called inbound marketing.
This one ties into the last point. The user experience of any digital space, whether it's your website or an app, can make or break that space's success. In short, visitors won't stick around if your site's user experience is poor. Furthermore, if you don't know who your audience is and what they want, you can't know for sure if your blog's user experience is optimized for them.
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.
And while the name you choose is one of the more important parts of setting up your blog, remember that it's something you can always change in the future—so don't let this step hold you back. Just choose something that's close to the topics you're planning to blog about, or you can even grab yourname.com or yournickname.com (like I've done with my blog here) and let's keep moving.