This obviously isn't a book on SEO techniques, but I totally disagree with the author that SEO is an "old school" way of generating traffic. The bulk of my traffic has always come from search engines and, while social media is changing how we use the internet, I don't think enough emphasis can be put on the importance of search engines as a source of traffic for most blogs.
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.
Indirect Income – later on in my blogging journey opportunity has come for ‘indirect’ income streams. As my blogs and profile grew as a result of my blogging I was able to sell my services as a speaker and consultant and was offered the opportunity to author a book with the publisher Wiley. Later I was able to start an event for bloggers which also made money. None of this income came directly from the blog – but rather it came ‘because’ of my blog.
I have a lot of great ideas, but most of them are just thoughts and theories, and it seems that no one would want to read about, even pay for, ideas in which I am not a complete expert on. My greatest talent, perhaps, is being a prolific writer. Otherwise, I’m more of a Cliff Craven I know a lot about some things, and some about a lot of things. How does THIS make MONEY??
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.
Vision. The reason our site design looks good is because we have a great host, we have a great theme, and most important, we had a vision of how we wanted our blog to look. Once we had the vision, we worked hard to make that vision a reality. (Note: neither of us had any design experience before starting a blog.) It’s hard to create a beautiful blog if you don’t know what you want it to look like.
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.
I will also tell you that I believe, based on my experiences so far (and the experiences of my bloggy friends) that if you are not willing to invest, you will either not succeed at all – or it will take you a very very long time. The money I have put into this blog has not only motivated me to succeed, but it allowed me to succeed, by learning (quickly) the things I needed to know.)
Hi Jamie, the article is very helpful. I have a question though…I searched several niches on Google Trends. they all show between 75 to 100 searches. That makes it difficult for me to choose. I blog about many things within the lifestyle category. Do I really need to pick a niche? My goal is to be a social media influencer. I’m a practising artist though.
I worked 50 hours per week but needed to make extra income to make ends meet and a friend of mine was buying stuff from China and selling it at markets and managed to give up his full time job, i couldn’t afford to buy lots of stock and came across dropshipping, Its very daunting to begin with and there are many people doing it but I came across a dropshipping wholesale directory that helped me find products and offered lots of help, Im not making mega money at the moment but I was able to give up my full time job and take something part time so I have more time to spend with the family and im still making double what I previously was. My goal in the future (end of the year hopefully ) is to only be focussing on my own business, I might get there quicker once I follow your other suggestions.
IF something like that were to happen I surmise we can reasonably expect some sort of announcement/warning to the approved API partners (and probably even to the general public). I would say it’s almost impossible they’ll push through some sort of update that suppresses auto-pinned content without us knowing (at least a little) ahead of time, thus giving us time to adjust accordingly.
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.
My main concerns why I’m asking this is that I think 12 published blog posts might not be enough content for the person that lands on my page to stay on my page for too long, therefore it might be more beneficial to guest post a few months from now. Also, I’m thinking maybe it is better to invest that time in things like learning affiliate marketing rather than trying to get somebody to collaborate.
1) Become an Expert in Your Niche – Your niche is the topic area that you will write about, and you should choose something that you find interesting and meaningful. When you actually care about a topic, you will spend time reading about it and absorbing it, which will give you something of value to write about. Over time, you’ll become extremely knowledgeable about a specific topic area, and the articles and videos will follow your knowledge and passion.
In case you don’t know what Adsense is or how CPC advertising works (cost-per-click), basically Google gives advertisers a pre-determined amount of money each time someone clicks on an advertisement on your blog (from as small as $.01/click to some keywords raking in as much as $100/click based on a bidding system/how competitive a particular keyword is).
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.
“This book is an excellent resource for bloggers, especially bloggers relatively new to blogging (i.e. have been blogging for 2 months to a year or so) and that are looking to take their blog to the next level. Ruth gives you clear advice on how to build a solid foundation for your blog, and she does an amazing job of emphasizing the importance of that foundation and it’s role in helping you make a profit down the road. For Ruth, it’s more about lasting upward momentum than getting rich quick. And I love that! Additionally, Ruth’s advice is valuable even if you are not looking to monetize your blog, since many of the same qualities that make a profitable blog are also ones that grow your readership generally. It quickly becomes apparent that Ruth is all about quality, honesty, action, and organization. I feel like I have a much clearer picture of what kinds of items need to be on my blogging to-do list, and after reading I felt empowered to actually get myself in gear and cross those items off my list.
Google knows that most people will abandon a site that's slow-loading. To combat that, it's created the AMP specification to help ensure that pages load very quickly. AMP is successful at doing this by thinning down the page and removing extraneous bloated elements that take up a lot of front-loading resources. Specifically, you can learn more about the AMP specifications here. In short, here's a summary of what AMP does:
W3 Total Cache – Absolutely essential. This is a plugin that will make your website load faster and put less stress on your hosting account. It's very important to have it to prevent your website from crashing when one of your articles or other content goes viral on social media or is mentioned on a popular website and many thousands of visitors may pour in quickly.
Thanks Donna for taking the time to write this excellent comment. I agree with you 100%. A blog can give you an income from offline sources and is a great way of diversifying into different areas, but again it also depends on the niche you find yourself in. I always say to people to not be too reliant on one source of traffic or one source of income, because they can vanish pretty quickly.
A blog itself isn't really a business—it's more of a platform for other income streams. Your content alone won't likely make you money. Instead, you'll have to get advertisers, sell services like consulting or speaking, use affiliate marketing to get a percentage of sales from links people click on your blog, or maybe offer products like ebooks or premium content to actually generate income. ProBlogger has an excellent post about these different ways you can make money.
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.
Hi Jessica, thanks for the advice! I have been setting up my blog over the last few days and written a few posts already. I’m really nervous to launch the site though so as of now only I have access to my blog. Did you wait until you had a good amount of material on your blog before publicizing it or did you start with one article and got more traffic as more material was added? Thanks!
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.
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.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others. If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
The problem is many of our blog idols are very much like I have been in the past, spreading the gospel of large numbers (not always overtly – but displaying your traffic counter as social proof does make people see big numbers as an indication of success). People then pursue the same path, just like you share in your story – quantity instead of quality, when it should be the other way around.
This is an ambitious method, but it's definitely plausible if you make smart decisions and are willing to work hard enough. Outreach involves getting noticed by influencers and getting your content on their websites. These will be the biggest names in your niche who probably have about a hundred other bloggers looking to get their content on their blogs. You'll need to do a lot to impress them.
Oh, and side note—once you've started generating a decent amount of traffic to your blog, it'll be a smart long-term decision to move up your hosting plan to a managed WordPress hosting provider like Kinsta that have even more features (which is what I use now that I'm in the hundreds of thousands of monthly readers), especially when you're in need of speeding up your WordPress blog.
Hi Ramsay, Happy New Year! Another great post from which established bloggers can also benefit. I’ve been getting bogged down with SEO recently so I’m glad of the tips in the comments thread about keeping it, mostly, simple and concentrating on good, long form content. I have a couple of questions. 1. in 2018 do you think narrowing down to a specific niche is super important or is multipotentialite blogging still going to be effective? Yikes – I know I need to work on my strategy 😉 2. I notice when I click on a link in your posts the new post doesn’t open up in a new window – evidently this isn’t an important back-end consideration for you, and perhaps something you do intentionally? 3. For selling a blog would you recommend Flippa or Empire and any chance of a new updated blog post on this (or is your previous one updated already?)
If you can keep your readers engaged and actively reading your content and digesting it thoroughly, Google will take notice. Engagement, calculated through things like the average time spent reading your content, average session time, exit rate, bounce rate, and so on, is one of the primary components when ranking on Google's competitive Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
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!
Anyhow, the good thing is I think we can very reasonably expect a warning before anything like that happens. Enid Hwang (one of Pinterest’s top honchos) recently spoke at the AdThrive Summit and shared that Pinterest does penalize/look down on/treat any differently an approved API partner (like Tailwind) than it would someone who is manually pinning — this has been known for some time, it was just nice to hear them reaffirm it (any conjecture beyond that is merely a rumor).
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.
Your SEO strategy should start with the basics. Make sure your website is optimized for speed and mobile devices. You can also install a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you set up a sitemap and get your indexes, keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions in order. You should learn how to perform proper keyword research after that as well as how to use those keywords in your posts. After that, you can learn about more complicated SEO techniques, such as white hat link building and brand building. Of course, creating unique and valuable content will help with this as well.
Define Your Ideal Readers. Once you’ve found your niche, you need to know who will be reading your blog. For example, we blog about living a meaningful life with less. Thus, our ideal readers are people who are interested in exploring minimalism so they can clear the path toward more meaningful lives. If you want to write about your newborn baby growing up, that’s wonderful: your ideal readers are probably your friends and family. If you want to write about restoring classic cars, that’s cool, too. Tailor your writing to your readers (whether it’s your family or local community or whoever else will read your blog).
The reason this section is called “Great Content” is because your content really does need to be of a high standard. Everyday millions of blog posts are published on the internet and with so much competition for our limited attention spans you really have to be creating blog posts people are going to want to read and perhaps even share on social media or on their own blogs.
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.
2. You can migrate to a self hosted blog later on but if you don’t have your own custom domain name then you’ll lose the traffic you have built up. A domain name is going to cost you $15 from WordPress.com whilst a domain name + 1 years hosting at Just Host is around $27 for the sake of around $12 I think it makes sense to start off totally in control.