Over time, as you move from this beginning phase of learning how to start a blog and into the stages where you're progressing in different ways to drive traffic to your website, growing your established base of readers and focusing on improving your domain authority, you'll be able to start competing on the bigger topics—but for now, picking a niche is the name of the game.
If you’ve gone with a self-hosted WordPress site like I suggested, you’ll have literally thousands of amazing free and paid theme options at your disposal. Plus, once you buy a theme (which are relatively inexpensive investments) like the one I use for my blog here, OptimizePress, you'll own it forever and get all the benefits of excellent support and customization options that come with premium WordPress themes.
Hi Debra, I don’t have any experience with Host Gator. I like Blue Host because it’s easy for beginners to set up. Not all hosting companies make the process this easy. I started off with Go Daddy and I wasn’t happy with their services and I need a web programmer to upload the blog to the host because the process, at least 8 years ago, wasn’t intuitive. Also, if you don’t enjoy writing — blogging probably isn’t the right path for you.
Ignore Negative Criticism and Stupidity. Sure, we get a lot of negative comments and stupid questions from ignorant people who aren’t really our readers (e.g., negative comments like “You’re not real minimalists” and stupid questions like “Are you guys gay?”). We call these people seagulls: they fly in, crap on your site, and fly away. But we pay them no mind, because we didn’t start our blog for them. Delete their comment and move on.
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.
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.
“I signed up about a month ago and set up a page with the help of Jennifer. She responded immediately and helped all the way to my satisfaction. I foolishly tried doing my 2nd site with WordPress/BlueHost on my own and was road-blocked, frustrated, and told that for $80 I could sign up for a training seminar because they “aren’t there to help with design” lol What was I thinking!!
The goal? Create a schedule and stick to it. In the beginning, write as much content as you can and share it everywhere. However, don't sacrifice quantity over quality. Ensure that all the posts are great, high quality posts that are both relevant to your audience and niche while also being keyword-centric. Don't veer off topic or go on one tangent after another.
I have actually put all my plans and projects on hold for about a week to focus on reading your blog and that of a few others such as Serena Star-Leonards’ ‘Retire Young’ and Darrens’ ProBlogger. Figured the old adage holds true, if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you’ve always got (other than when the effective means of delivery changes anyway =P ) But as blogs and passive income are where I have constantly struggled I figured it was high time I learnt some new stuff as the old stuff clearly wasn’t working out.
The problem is that in order to build your audience and increase the size of your platform, you need visibility. But in order to be visible, you need great content. However, if people can’t discover your great content, how are you supposed to build your audience? If you know anything about SEO, then you know that it’s the proverbial Catch-22 at the outset.
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.
Ruth’s ebook is hands down the best blogging ebook I’ve ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough and will be telling every new and seasoned blogger I know to get a copy! This ebook is comprehensive, but not overwhelming, and packed with amazing information. And I don’t say that lightly. You see, by implementing the Pinterest strategies that Ruth suggests in her ebook, I have increased my site traffic by over 500,000 unique visitors per month. For real. Ruth is brilliant! What more can I say?!
This may seem a little bit confusing if you are brand new to internet marketing, but you need to understand the various websites that can be created. Think of blogging as a spectrum of possibilities. At one extreme, you have massively popular authority websites. At the other extreme, you have very simple niche websites. Everything in between is possible.
If you are planning to create a personal blog where you discuss a variety of topics then I recommend using your name, or some variation of it, since your blog is all about you. For example, I own the blog scottchow.com. You can also add your middle name or middle initial if you find your name is already taken. Or you could use a variation like “Scott Chow Blog” or “Blogging with Scott”.
Your chosen domain name will be free if you go with Bluehost for your hosting. You can also choose to purchase a domain separately from your hosting package. This is sometimes recommended if you decide to switch hosting providers at a later date. We have been with Bluehost from the start, so I don’t think it’s necessary, but you have the option. We have used Google Domains to buy other domains in the past for $12/year.
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.
Also, I have a theory that a contact page without a form cuts down on time-wasting emails. That’s because a lot of people will see a form and use it immediately before reading the information on my contact page. By providing my email address at the end of my contact page, I’m hoping their question(s) will be answered before they get there, thus saving us both time in an email exchange.
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.
It’s only finally getting into my head that it will only ever be a small percentage of my audience that really matters in terms of supporting my business. I was always so worried about not alienating the Big Crowd that I missed a ton of chances to focus on the people who really do understand my overall message and want to go deeper. This post (and especially the comment thread) has been wonderful and is helping me to clarify my new philosophy.
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.
We place small ads throughout our website (and within our blog posts) that help us generate a little bit of income each month. Google gives you everything you need to get setup and it doesn’t take much of any coding knowledge to insert it into a blog post (phew). We try not to inundate readers with a wall of ads that might detract from the user experience or hinder them in actually reading our content.
“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.
Hi Mary Joe! WordPress is just the platform that you use to create and publish your blog posts. They do not pay bloggers. So, I’m guessing you may have been signed up with an ad network or affiliate program where you were earning income. Some of the most common are Adsense and Amazon. However, there are many thousands of options out there for earning an income blogging, so you’d really have to go back to your blog and check if you see whether you were working with a particular company. One thing I can say in general is that some companies have a minimum amount you must earn before they will issue a payment, it would be anywhere fomr $10 to $50 or so. If your earnings were below that threshold, then that may be why you haven’t been paid. Also, make sure to check that you have given them your up-to-date contact information. I hope you’re able to make a go of your blog as a source of income soon! :)
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.
If you look at a few articles with the title “How to Become a Successful Blogger,” you may find a good portion of them focusing on how to get a domain name, purchase a hosting account and all that jazz. While these things do affect how you blog, they have very little impact on your ability to grow your blog. I do, however, recommend steering clear of free blogging platforms like WordPress.com and Blogger as their limitations will affect your ability to grow.
Before you start choosing a domain name and theme, you need to figure out what topics your blog is going to cover. What are you going to write about on a regular basis? You may already have an idea in mind, but if not, I suggest doing some intense brainstorming. Write a list of your passions, hobbies, and dreams, and a second list with your skills, experiences, and areas of expertise. Then start thinking about possible blog post ideas for each topic. If you're coming up short on article ideas, it's probably not the best topic for a niche.
In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.
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.
There are many ways to keep an email list engaged. Which will work best for you and your readers will depend on your style of communication and their content preferences. We recommend to write your emails in a similar tone as you write your blog posts. Here are a few types of emails you can send on a regular basis to keep your list paying attention:
Really excellent article. One suggestion or caution with Godaddy though…Godaddy has a product called WordPress Hosting. I signed up for it, and all was fine until I installed a plugin which had a special requirement that needed to be set up by the webhost. (something in the server side settings). I called Godaddy and they advised they can’t make those changes. Only on their individual hosting plans would that have been possible. This is a rare event, but worth keeping in mind. When you go for your own hosting you have more flexibility.
If you aren’t part of an ad network then you are constantly searching for new companies to advertise on your site. This one was always a pain in the ass for me. I wanted to spend time making my site better, but if I ignored selling my ad space then I wouldn’t have money to continue to make my site better. You can join an ad network, but that means you are giving up a percentage of the revenue. Work hard to only get 50% of the money? Bleh.
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.
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.
Network with other bloggers or mention their blogs: Early on, you want to get on other people’s radars. And one of the best ways to do that is to mention other relevant bloggers and blog posts on yours. For Austin Belack, founder of Cultivated Culture, that meant linking out to relevant blog posts and then emailing the blogger and saying “Hey! I mentioned you in my most recent article. If you think it’s worthy of a share, I’d really appreciate it. But if not, I’m happy to keep sharing yours.” This drove the initial 50,000 to 60,000 readers to his blog.
Some blogs are focused on getting paid to provide links to news articles, company stores, or other third party websites. The most financially successful of these range from the Drudge, a blog composed almost entirely of conservative-leaning news links, to Smashing Magazine, a site that provides advice and product reviews to help software developers.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that making money blogging is not possible by putting your site up and letting it sit there. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work here, so be sure youâ€™re willing to put in the time. Most bloggers donâ€™t see a spike of income for several months (sometimes years) after starting their blog. Before you dive too deep into blogging, remember these little bits of advice: