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 :)
Thank you Yaro for all the information. Being new to all this, I am trying to get my thinking straight. When you all speak of conversions I take it that you are talking about having something extra to sell than just having them click on adsense ads. Correct? I believe you are talking about converting visitors to loyal paying followers, is this correct? I have only been blogging a couple of months so I have much to learn. Thanks for your patience.
Thank you so much for this helpful post! I have been researching how to make a successful blog for a month or so and have found many of your posts very helpful! It is my goal within the next year or so to have one up and running! I’m currently working more then full-time hours but live my job; just want more freetime. I think with some hard work I can make it possible.
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.
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.
Now you’ve got many different options to start earning online. If you saw something that really interests you, try it out and learn more about it. If you’re really wanting to make a full-time income online, you need to be dedicated to learning how to do what you want to do. There are tons of free resources out there. You just have to search for them!
If your answer was the former, you’re wasting your time. In fact, if you’re not starting a blog because you’re inherently passionate about whatever it is you’re blogging about, it truly is a lost cause. Why? Because building a blog to any semblance of an audience is an astronomical feat. I don’t tell you that to scare you. Only to prepare you for what’s to come.
Take the time to build your automated sales funnel. There is so much involved with sales funnels, but the basic premise is that your visitors will show up to your site by discovering your content, drop into your sales funnel through an offer via your lead magnet or some other tripwire, and they'll then be led through a journey with drip-fed messages at some periodic schedule that will allow you to sell your products and services on autopilot.
This isn’t something you necessarily need before you start a blog, but it is something you should implement as soon as possible. “Something to sell” may refer to your own products, affiliate products or even your sponsors’ products. It doesn’t matter whose product it is so long as it’s generating revenue for you. As a side note, affiliate marketing is the cheapest way for new and young blogs to start generating revenue. Be sure to read through our guide on how to get started with affiliate marketing for more information on that.
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.
Thankfully, you needn’t be tech savvy to start a blog (we certainly aren’t). You don’t need to know how to code or design to build your blog (we still don’t). You don’t need much money to create a blog (you can get a free domain and host your site for just a few bucks a month). And you don’t need to spend a ton of time setting up your blog, either (you can set up your blog in less than an hour).
This direct connection to the reader is one of the main benefits of starting a blog. This connection allows you to interact and share ideas with other like-minded people. It also allows you to build trust with your readers. Having the trust and loyalty of your readers also opens up the door to making money from your blog, which is something I discuss later in this guide.
These can each be customized to become incredibly unique websites. However, remember not to get sucked into design right now! Whenever choosing a theme, or customizing one for yourself, focus on creating a clean and uncluttered design. If you’re not satisfied with our suggestions, feel free to browse the WordPress.org theme directory for free alternatives.
“Do you want to monetize your blog? Do you feel like you need better organization techniques for handling all of the tasks of blogging? Do you just want to have a better handle on how blogging for profit actually works? Ruth delivers all the answers to those questions with a loving, honest big-sister voice. She doesn’t hold anything back. She shares all of her successes (and her embarrassments) so you can take your blog to a whole new level. Ruth’s ebook is a wonderful resource for future, current and established bloggers to maximize their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. She lovingly encourages while giving you the neccessary tools needed to tackle some of the most perplexing problems in the blogosphere.“
With a business account, you’ll have access to Pinterest Analytics, as well as the ability to create “Rich Pins.” You can also pay Pinterest to promote your pins with a business account, but that’s definitely not necessary. We experimented with about $50 worth of promoted pins before figuring out we could make our pins go viral on our own, without the help of ads.
Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to make money blogging. I love it because it can feel quite passive. You can create just one blog or social media post, which can potentially still earn you money years down the line. Now, you will have to maintain the post and keep generating traffic to it. Still, with affiliate marketing, I can relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.
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!
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!!
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.
There aren’t many options in the quality, low budget hosting scene. We went with Bluehost for hosting and we recommend their services. I did a lot of research before starting the site and kept getting recommendations for Bluehost. They have worked really well for us (We are still using them after 2.5 years of blogging) and the price was the lowest that we found. In addition, there are a couple of other benefits.
Congratulations, you’ve completed reading the “How to Start a Blog” guide! By now you should have your own domain name, hosting space and your blog set up. Next, you will need to get familiar with the WordPress dashboard, learn how to make desired changes, learn blogging basics such as content creation and promotion in order to become a successful blogger. Check out our Resources and Blog sections to learn how to run your blog.
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.
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.
When I started this book, I honestly was considering what the heck I was doing with my blog. It wasn’t fun anymore! Ruth really helps you rethink your direction, and motivates you to find what you really enjoy doing, which will make you do that better than just ‘whatever’. She also has a great ‘Action Plan’ at the conclusion of every chapter that really help you stay organized and break things down. Her down-to-earth talk and honesty really brings her message across, and helps the reader feel that making money with your blog is completely do-able. She also points out that nobody can do everything, offers helpful organization and time management tips, including free printables, and just gives you that ‘push’ you need to take your blog to the next level.
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.
For many visionary novice bloggers, the world is not enough. The stash of free themes (more than two thousand themes are available on WordPress.org) does not satisfy their particular desire for look and feel. There are two other options you can take a look at, premium and custom themes. But they incur a cost, sometimes a tiny one, at other times a huge amount.
If you want to really make money with your blog, you need to create a mailing list using one of the billions of email service providers out there. I use and love ConvertKit, but if you are just getting started and don’t understand sales funnels, sequences, or tagging you might want to start off with something simpler and free. If that is the case go with MailChimp where you get the first 2,000 subscribers free or Mailer Lite.
Have in-depth knowledge in your niche? Package it up into an ebook and sell it on your blog. I'd generally advise against selling it (at least exclusively) on Amazon or Kobo, as you'll probably be able to charge much less. If you've already built up a solid audience, you can probably change anywhere from $5 for a very short one, all the way up to $39+.
Even still, with around 200,000 monthly unique readers on my blog, I only earn about $1,000/mo from being a member of this ad network. Plenty of other ad networks offer marginally higher CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) rates, but aren't as restricted in the types of brands & products that are allowed to advertise on my site—so I've chosen to take less in earnings in order to stick with the types of brands I want to promote on my site.
What is your ”spin”? To set yourself apart from the crowd, you’ll need to do something different and interesting with your content. Will you have an interactive focus? Focus on bizarre day-to-day news events instead of celebrity dish? Whatever you choose to blog about, make sure that you have ways to approach it creatively and that you can consistently offer new, exciting content.
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.
Under no circumstances should any information from this blog be used as replacement for professional financial advice. DollarSprout.com is owned by VTX Capital, LLC and neither are licensed by or affiliated with any third-party marks on this website and third parties do not endorse, authorize, or sponsor our content except where clearly disclosed. DollarSprout.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
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.
Unnecessary plugins. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. You’ll see a list of plugins, all of which I delete (the only plugin I might keep at the beginning is the Bluehost plugin). A plugin must be deactivated before it can be deleted. So, if you hover over a plugin you may have to choose “Deactivate” then repeat the process to see the “Delete” link. As I explain later, plugins can slow your site down and make things glitchy so I use them very sparingly. I only add a plugin when I have a clear reason to do so. I’ll give my plugin recommendations in a bit.
Most people that start a blog might not understand what they're in for. They might not fathom the amount of work that's waiting for them. Sure, gone are those 9-to-5 hours where they need to sit in a cubicle with their heads down or in some office on the 12th floor in a corporate building in some business park, but so is the guarantee of any semblance of pay.
Once you setup your account on AdSense you will be given a code to add to your blog. This code will automatically display advertisements on your blog from companies who are part of Google’s advertising network. You may see ads from small companies related to your topic, or you may see ads from large companies that are completely unrelated to your topic.
Once you have a popular blog, advertisers will be hounding you for the opportunity to advertise. The best way to take advantage of this situation is to use Google Adsense. They find the advertisers for you and all you have to do is place the Google Adsense code on your blog to start running ads. Google Adsense takes all of the hard work out of the process and just cuts you a check.
Even though you have to pay for your own web hosting out of pocket, going this route allows you much more flexibility in terms of site design and usability. And don’t worry, hosting is really inexpensive, especially if you take advantage of our 42% off coupon code with Hostgator (BTOP42). Depending on your hosting plan, it shouldn’t end up costing you more than a few dollars a month.
Protip: If you look at my contact page, you’ll notice I don’t put my email address in standard form with the @ and . signs. Instead I write it out like this: AmyLynnAndrews at gmail dot com. I do this to cut down on spam. The idea is to throw off any bots crawling the web hunting for the standard email format, harvesting it and blasting me with unwanted emails. Honestly, I’m not sure how well it works. It might just be a holdover from my younger blogging days. I should research this again. 🙂
Hi Carol, Sorry to hear about your troubles. Did you upload WordPress to Bluehost? If so, what you need to do now is upload a theme. There are free ones that you can use, or you can purchase one from StudioPress (this is what my blog is designed with now), Elegant Themes, or Thesis. I’ve heard the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes is super easy to modify. Don’t give up you can do this — with anything new, there is a learning curve.
Time management is a very personal issue. You’ll need to figure out what the right balance is for you. As a general rule of thumb you’ll want to post regularly, which depending on your niche will vary. Some coupon bloggers post multiple times a day. I generally post 3 – 5 articles a week. But a lot of research and time go into writing my posts, because they are educational in nature. Personally, I’m of the mindset that it’s better to post less and ensure that your content is awesome! You’ll also need to spend time marketing your blog daily. Then there are administrative tasks like email, bookkeeping, replying to comments, editing, etc. A good place to start is by figuring out how many free hours you have to work on your blog. Once you know that — you can use the block scheduling method to plan out your tasks.
These are certainly stark and sobering insights! I’ve only added some content to my travel blog fairly recently. Travel is certainly a saturated area, but on the flipside I guess it also has broad appeal. This brings me to ponder point 10 – positioning. I have some ideas and some strategies in my head, but will mull over this. Yaro, by providing the authoritative insights that you (and others) do, how much do you think these insights have been responsible for raising market sophistication across the board? Do you think that this creates an ever increasing base standard for success? (notwithstanding the point that you make above that the market is growing). The impression I am left with is that where large amounts of competitive quality content exists (i.e. most fields), it is those that harness the lessons that you (and other experts) provide, in combination with their own original tactical strategies that will prosper. Your thoughts?
This is an awesome post. I too found PinchofYum.com some time ago. I’ve built a niche site and I’m in the stage of promoting it so I really needed the information posted here. I’ve researched making money for years but never paired that research with any ACTION. It was not until recently that I started putting things in motion so seeing some of the steps I’m taking being talked about in this topic is quite reassuring. My blog is based around making money online but making it make sense for beginners. https://chuckcandoyoucantoo.com
Once you’ve selected the right account, you’ll move to the next page where you can actually purchase your domain. Either you already have a domain, which you can easily port over to their service, or you’ll buy a new domain name. If you’ve already done the research on your domain, this step should be fairly straightforward. If you haven’t, don’t rush this step and take enough time selecting the perfect domain.
“The turning point for me came when I realized that of the 3-5x a week I was publishing it was the ones that were about small businesses and freelancing that really took off. I also really enjoyed writing that kind of content. So that was this pivotal moment of understanding if I want things to be shared and I want to be consistent, this is what the blog should be about.”