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The internet has afforded us that freedom. We have the freedom to become digital nomads and earn an income from anywhere in the world. The majority of those that succeed in this endeavor opt for starting a blog. They escape to some exotic destination such as the tropical jungles of Costa Rica or the sugary-white-sanded beaches of Mexico where they can live on the cheap while building their digital empires.
Please Note: I am an affiliate of Bluehost. That means, I’ll get a commission every time someone uses one of my links to sign up for the service. However, I do believe that Bluehost is one of the best hosting companies out there, with one of the best customer service departments, which is crucial when you’re doing something technical like hosting a blog.
I’ve been building online businesses and e-commerce websites since 2000. I would never in my life start a new website with a “free” blogging or “free” website platform. If you do, within months your website is going to start growing, and you’re going to have to switch to a paid platform anyway. You will have thrown away all that time (and lost money in the process).
And, if you’re interested in starting a blog, you probably have a ton of ideas for posts you want to write. However, I can say from experience that those ideas aren’t always there. Sometimes running a blog is harder than it seems. And it can be incredibly hard when you run out of ideas, especially when you’re writing about topics you’re passionate about.
Add Value. Your blog must add value to its readers’ lives. You want to help people solve problems. This is the only way you will get great quality readers to your site (and keep them coming back). Adding value is the only way to get someone’s long-term buy-in. We both learned this after a decade of leading and managing people in the corporate world. With everything you write, it’s worth asking: Is this adding value?
Your newsletter is all yours. Unlike social media sites, your newsletter and email subscribers are all yours, and you have their undivided attention. You don't have to worry about algorithms not displaying your content to readers, and this is because they are your email subscribers. You aren't fighting with anyone else to have them see your content.
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.
Consider affiliate programs. By finding an affiliate program suitable for your blog, you agree to provide links to a company's products, and in return are paid for each reader who makes a purchase after following your link. You can find specific companies by searching an affiliate directory such as ClickBank, or by searching individual company websites for affiliate programs. Consider these factors before you choose an affiliate program:
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?
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.
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 Thanks for your excellent article! The only trouble is I impulsively signed up with BlueHost just before I read it and have ended up paying $7.95 per month for 12 months. I didn’t want to sign up for the 36 months – that at least would’ve been $3.95 per month. I also realize, after doing some reading, including your article, that I am not quite ready to launch my blog yet. Would it be possible for me to cancel with BlueHost and then sign up again later through you to get the good deal? I don’t want to find I’ve lost my domain name though. Hoping you can help! Thanks.
Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, Ruth’s bestselling book, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), offers solid advice and practical action plans for writing amazing content that gets noticed and shared, creating compelling images, growing blog traffic, maximizing revenue, and turning your blog into a profitable business.
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.
Time. Once you’ve learned how to start a blog, you’ll learn that blogging takes a lot of time, especially if you’re as neurotic as we are (we spent over eight hours testing the fonts on this site). And see those Twitter and Facebook icons in the header? We spent hours on those, deciding what was right for us). That said, once you have your design set up, don’t tweak it too much. Instead, spend the time on your writing.
According to the State of the Blogging Industry 2017, professional bloggers average $138,046 in annual profit. That’s certainly a respectable salary if you ask us. In other words, we dare say that professional blogging is a viable career choice, though it is notable that the path there will be long and rough because it is largely a do-it-yourself industry.
Bloggers like Michael Hyatt, Yaro Starak, Brian Clark, and Ramsay of Blog Tyrant (among many others) have learned to invest time, energy, and money on creating timeless and useful products. This information comes in the form of eBooks, software, themes, plugins, online courses, etc. so that their audience can learn and advance their understanding in a short amount of time.
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 😉
I appreciate all the info you have here. I have had to retire from a 50 year career because of a health problem and I desperately need to find something to do at home to keep from losing my house. I have been looking at your site for months now, and just can’t find anything I would be interested in doing. I had a blog once before, years ago, and loved it, but never made any money from it as I didn’t understand how to. I have stayed away from the blogging idea because I know it takes a while to get going (making any money) and I need some NOW. But, after months of not finding anything else suitable, I have decided that if I don’t get started doing something, I’ll never get anywhere. After reading all of your info here, and printing out all of the basics to get started, it’s a little daunting! There’s so much more to it than I thought. I think I know what topic, niche, to use and want to start with affiliate marketing, but there is SO much to know and get it started! I hope I am able to get this all figured out! One thing you suggested is to connect with other bloggers to get tips on how to do things. How do you do that? Where do you find them?