While the first crucial step to getting your blog started today is registering your domain name and setting up hosting (get 65% off your domain and hosting right here from Bluehost), my free course breaks the entire process of starting a blog and actually growing it, down into an incredibly simple 7-day process for going from zero to publishing (and promoting) your first blog post in less than 1 week. I can't recommend it enough.
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.
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.
If you're a new blogger or a blogger with less than a year or two's worth of experience, this is probably a great book. The author does a great job of organizing the information into sections and she actually provides actionable steps that will improve your blog. Many are common sense - such as "write awesome content" and "determine your main theme..."
As you build up your blog, expect to receive multiple sponsored post requests each day. These native ads can be a highly effective way for businesses to reach your audience in a non-threatening way - and they can be a highly effective way for you to make a lot of money. Just make sure the posts are actually interesting and relevant to your audience, and that you fully disclose the sponsored nature of the post.
There are dozens of such affiliate marketing companies out there – they work by acting as an intermediary to even bigger companies (Walmart, Target, Lowes, you name it…) and drive sales to those advertisers. Some of the bigger affiliate marketing companies out there are, FlexOffers, Commision Junction, and ShareASale. We are on all of them, but have had the most success so far with FlexOffers.
First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
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.
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.
Making money with a blog is a slow process. You want to establish yourself as a thought leader first, then get savvy with marketing. That means you shouldn’t focus on search engine optimization (SEO) or linkbuilding schemes, or plastering 20 ads on your newly founded blog. You should focus on the things I mentioned above in point (3). If you have excellent content that readers love, you will eventually find ways to make money.
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.
Once the course launches, they are ready with their wallets. The course is priced at $100 (probably undercharging here, but it’s your first course and you are nervous) so some of them balk at buying it, but 100 people do end up buying it and you make $10,000 (minus processing fees). That’s the same amount you made from your advertising and you are in control of everything! Even better you don’t have to wait 30-60 days to get paid.
And that’s totally fine (hint: I don't either)! There are some incredible free blog photo and design resources you can use to enhance your posts, even if you’re not very design-minded at all. You can even just use product screenshots throughout your content, depending upon the subject matter—take for example my recent article about the best CRMs for small business.
Once your hosting account is set up, it’s time to actually get WordPress up and running. Bluehost makes it really easy by installing WordPress in the background. You will be asked to choose a theme. A theme is like a skin for your blog. You can change your theme at any time. Scroll down and choose ‘Skip This Step‘. On the next screen, click on ‘Start Building‘ button to configure your blog.
Readers want to reach a goal. What are common goals people have? Have you set and reached some significant goals? Can you spell out how you did it and inspire others on their journey? Fitness and weight loss come to mind here, as well as getting out of debt. Pursuing big goals can be disheartening and lonely. Knowing someone else has been there does wonders.
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.
For example, the hypothetical “haircare.com” tells readers what the blog is about, but it doesn’t offer any “angle” on what kinds of hair care advice your blog offers. The hypothetical “Frizzfighters.com” is still clearly about hair care, but it gives off a fun vibe through its alliterative name and communicates your strong brand identity (funky, focused on a particular hair issue, hip).
Henry Croft launched GymTalk in March 2014. He turned his blog into a full-time job within one year. It earned 420,996 page views, received two fitness blogging awards, and earned $15,000 during that time. He started while still working a regular day job. Most of his effort went into developing a unique brand personality, following a strict content strategy, and even hiring writers to help him product top notch information.
Thanks Zee! It’s definitely an investment- more so in time rather than money, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you get things up and running (super easy with Bluehost), it’s all about building up your following and increasing your reach- both of which have basically unlimited potential (which means theoretically unlimited earnings potential). No better time to start than now!
19. eBay – Of course you can’t read an article about making money online that doesn’t mention eBay. You can start an eBay store and get serious about it or you can just sell some stuff to declutter your home. Either way, I’ve made my fair share from selling on eBay and it’s still a popular way to earn money. If you decide to start an actual eBay store, you’ll want to find a drop-ship business like Doba that will store and ship items straight to your customers so you don’t have to deal with an inventory.
5. Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to make a few bucks or spend a few bucks if you need some of the services people offer. Basically, everything is $5. You either pay $5 or charge $5. They call them “gigs.” You can offer your services however you choose. If you sell art and you’re fine selling pieces for $5 each, that’s a gig. If you’re a graphic designer and you want to offer your services for $10/hour, simply offer a 30 minute gig. If they need two hours of graphic design, they pay you $20, or $10/hour by buying four gigs.
More and more, secure websites are becoming a requirement rather than an option. Even if you are not collecting any information on your website, it is still better to add security to your website with a SSL certificate. These encrypt the connection between your blog’s visitors and your website, reducing the chance something will go wrong when viewing the site.
Money. You should not start a blog to make money. We need to get that out of the way first. If your primary objective is to replace your full-time income from blogging, forget about it. It doesn’t work that way. Do you think that Jimi Hendrix picked up his first guitar so he could “supplement his income”? No, he didn’t. Rather, he did it for the love of it, for the joy and fulfillment he received, and the income came thereafter—much later actually.
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 are using a free blog hosting service instead of your own domain name, you must provide high quality content with a limited number of relevant links or risk being shut down. If you are only interested in writing short, quick product reviews in order to earn money, you will need to host your own blog. Be warned that low-content, high-link blogs are a less reliable, though lower effort, way to earn money.
Hi Ramsay I think I may have replied to someone else’s comment! Thanks for your very helpful article. I have a lot of learning to do. I signed up with Blue Host rather impulsively, and paid $7.95 for 12 months- and only then found your website with the excellent deal of $2.95. I have another blog but now want to start a new one but I realize I’m not quite ready. Can I cancel with Blue Host – I’m still within the 30 days – and sign up later, but, most importantly, I don’t want to lose my domain name. Thanks.
Once you’re logged in you’ll get a popup screen that says, install WordPress or concrete5, just click on the green “Install WordPress” button. Next, it will ask you which domain you’d like to install WordPress on — choose your domain from the drop-down box and click on the green button, “Check Domain.” When the install starts, you’ll get a screen that says, “Ok, we’re setting up WORDPRESS for you!”
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I love your stuff. I so agree about multiple formats – I have a little system down for writing my post, recording the video and editing and then exporting for youtube and the audio version for podcast. The pin said article to pinterest, etc. I am very niched down and I’d like to think there isn’t really anyone else on the web providing the quality of information to my particular audience as me. I am passionate about what I do – I used to hear people say you need to have a passion for what u do, but I didn’t really think much of it until now when I think how hard I’ve worked the past couple years and realizing that there’s no way I would have been able to do so on such a level if I wasn’t truly passionate about it.
Best part about this book: the updated 2014 edition, which is what I bought. The blogging environment was a lot different back in 2010 - 2012 (and a lot easier back then), so I knew that books written back then would be out of date for me for now. Ruth's book was one of relatively few books that had been written or updated in 2014 and onward. Very well done, lots of non-obvious tips and tricks, and lots of clear explanation not just about HOW to do things, but WHY.