“I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a ‘blogging for profit’ book junkie. I’ve read LOTS of them! However, most of them it’s just the same thing over and over. When I first heard about this book my first thought was ‘should I bother? There’s never anything new anymore’. I was so wrong – Ruth’s writing style is so nicely organized, and easy to read, as if you were sitting there chatting with an old friend. Her book goes into amazing-yet-easy-to-understand details on a ton of methods for making money blogging – but that’s after about half the book giving you advice and steps on actually GETTING to the point where you could make money, by growing your blog and being YOUR type of awesome.
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.
Leaving Work Behind is proudly affiliated with Bluehost. Naturally, we recommend Bluehost over other options because we’ve had good experience with it. We should divulge we also get a few dollars every time anybody signs up for their service through our links. Not only that , Bluehost comes highly recommended by the team over at wordpress.org, the blogging platform you will be using.
This step should have been obvious by this point in the article. Again, creating content or products based on what you feel would be most successful is risky. It’s next to impossible to replicate what another, more successful blog is doing and expect the same results for yourself. It’s better to know who you’re targeting, what their biggest pain points are and what products you want to use to target those pain points. A content marketing strategy will help you plan more effectively.
Our friend Bobby realized that soon after he started his blog. His site wasn’t making any money at the time, so he needed to find another way to bring in some cash. That’s when he started reaching out to other businesses offering his services doing the things he’d learned from blogging (Facebook ads, writing online content, social media strategy, etc.).
Make it easy for the person you are guest posting for. Don’t forget to edit and proof-read and perhaps even format the post before you send it to the website. Make it as easy as it can be for the website owner to just cut and paste the article and hit publish. I used to publish guest posts on The Positivity Blog maybe 6 years ago and I loved it when people did that. I did not love it when people sent me lazy drafts and hoped I would do the cleanup.
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.
“As a newer blogger, I have been wanting a conversation – a seasoned blogger to talk to me about the most popular ways to monetize my blog, the pros and cons of each of them, and give me realistic tips and goals to reach my future goal. Ruth did all of this. She has such a fantastic writing style that you feel like you are sitting down with her over a cup of coffee. The material is easy to navigate, covering the importance of good content before anything else, Pinterest, media kits, reviews, ads, and a whole lot more. Ruth is incredibly level-headed in her approach to monetizing her blog and truly believes and promotes that a blog full of good ideas, content and writing must come first. My favorite part is that every chapter ends with a “plan of action” which is great if you are truly looking to improve your blog. I can’t wait to put her tips and ideas into action and watch my blog grow!“
The next step in building a blog that will actually make you money somewhere down the road is to purchase a domain name. If you’ve decided what you’ll blog about, then you need to find a domain name that’s going to be harmonious with that. Pick a name that’s short enough to be easily remembered, but also keyword-rich enough to be applicable to your content.
With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.
I was wondering what your thoughts are on wordpress themes. I don’t want to get hung up on picking one, but I was wondering if you would recommend going with a free one or a premium one to start? And if you recommend a premium one, do you have a favorite site to get them from? I’ve read that free themes aren’t really a good way to go because you don’t get updates or support and they can contain malicious code, so I was just wondering what your experience is with themes. Thanks so much!
We spent 3 months on the first blog, but there were two of us working on it and we put a ton of hours into it before we threw in the towel. I can’t say that there is any kind of time period that is “enough” to know whether a blog is worth it or not. It really depends on how much time and effort you put into it and what kind of results you’re seeing. Everyone’s situation will be a little different.
On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example, “YourName.com” or “YourAwesomeBlog.com. You can end it with .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images, and content plus the free themes and you have a winning combo.
Although we mentioned some free hosting options, the best course of action is to own your blog, especially if you will be using your own copyrighted material (articles, drawings, photos, etc.). Pay a small amount of money every month, about the same as a Starbucks coffee, and you will build your own equity. If you plan to sell products, services, music or anything else via your blog, then this is the best way to go. Many hosting providers can help you maintain an e-commerce blog.
Take some time and create a list of topics you’d like to write about. Then for each topic create subtopics. Example: Cooking – Gourmet Cooking, Gourmet Cooking on a Budget, Gourmet Recipes, Easy Gourmet Recipes, Gourmet Desserts, Gourmet Chocolate Desserts, etc. Next brainstorm specific article ideas for each subtopic. Make sure to write these down on paper — it helps to visually see the process.
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.
Starting a blog to make money requires that you are willing to learn and learn and learn. And then learn some more. (Many people don’t want to hear that – because they want blogging to be the thing that solves all their problems easily… but if there’s a way to make a living blogging without gaining any knowledge about blogging, I haven’t figured it out yet.)
Perhaps most importantly, you need to choose a responsive design. The term responsive design simply means a design that works on all devices – desktop, tablets, and mobile. It is called this because the design is responsive and adapts its appearance based on the size of the screen it is being viewed on. This creates a pleasant, cohesive user experience for everyone. This is vital because since 2016, more people use the internet from their phones than from a computer desk!
In March 2018, I started my first self-hosted blog and it was super easy, quick, and fun! At first, I was scared because I thought that it would be too hard and that I would struggle for days, weeks, or even months trying to figure everything all out. I was literally reading hundreds of articles about blogging which were all offering contradicting information. The overwhelm was real.
All you have to do is keep going. Rinse. Repeat. Again and again. Keep churning out great content and people will eventually take notice. Get social on social media and share your content everywhere that you possibly can. It's going to feel frustrating at first. I still remember the early days and just how painful it was to see a small trickle of traffic. But that changes over time.
Visual content has been growing for years and it appears to be speeding up, not slowing down. We now have retina display tablets and our smartphones are getting bigger. Social networking sites like Facebook are favoring images and videos over text – never mind sites like Pinterest which are totally based around photos! If you’re not working with visual content yet it’s time to start.
Thankfully Number 7. and 10. work really well for me because I am easily overwhelmed thinking about how I have to compete with all of the content and service providers out there. It’s just not my thing. I rather rock my little corner of the world and have a smaller, loyal following. As a consumer I prefer to devote my time and attention to someone who provides super-niched, rich, quality content on a less frequent basis than someone who just fills space because he/she is on a content schedule. Therefore, when email letters or blog posts do arrive it feels like a treat, and I trust that person more because he/she waited to write when inspiration struck and valuable content could be delivered. Furthermore, my own following is rather small, but it remains loyal. And, I’m ok with that. As my list has steadily grown over the past couple of years my open rate is consistently at 40-42% every month and many of my clients are annual repeats.
As of late 2016, Blogger is available in these 60 languages: Afrikaans, Amharic, Arabic, Basque, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Hong Kong), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (United Kingdom), English (United States), Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Zulu.
Although most internet marketers (IMs) would have you believing otherwise, there is no “secret success formula” that will help you build a mass fortune quickly on the web. There is no “newly-discovered blueprint” that will give you the tools for success. No, it’s all a grind. Plain and simple. However, the niches that involve more competitive transactional searches, such as the online money-making niche, are going to be harder to make progress in at the outset.
Thanks so much for this great post! I’m a new stay-at-home mom and was researching jobs I could do from home (so I could stay at home for the longterm!) and I kept coming back to blogging. I have read and re-read your post multiple times and downloaded Ruth Soukup’s book; so good! I feel like I’m much more set up for success and not floundering in the dark! I would love any feedback on my website!
Direct Income – when I started making money from my blogs it was through ‘direct’ income streams. I put AdSense ads on my blog and promoted some products on Amazon as an affiliate and the more readers I had the more income began to trickle in (it really was a trickle at first). In time as my traffic grew this income grew and I was also able to experiment with other direct forms of income such as selling advertising directly to advertisers.
Find something that other people are interested in, too. If you choose to write about Himalayan basket weaving for men, you probably won’t have many readers, and you’ll have a hard time earning any income. Try to find something that combines your interests with things other people also care about. For my main blog, I write about money advice. I’m a personal finance nerd but, fortunately, there are people online looking for that type of information, too.
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.
When you start a blog to make money you often forget that it will require patience – but if you’ve been at this a few months and still aren’t seeing any income, you may be making one of these very basic mistakes. Lesson 13 will go over identifying your problem areas and provide some solutions to help you conquer these issues and start making money with your blog!
However if you are NOT clear on this and you don’t mind spending some time doing research, one of the best things you can do is start reaching out to people with your “best guess” offer and see how that goes. In the case of blogging that means writing about the subject area you want to focus on, even if you are not clear how exactly you fit into that niche yet.
This relates to content marketing as much it does social media. You may see top blogs publishing blog posts, YouTube videos and podcast episodes every week while killing it on every social media platform imaginable. What you don’t see is the fact that these bloggers work full time on their blogs and hire employees or contractors to take care of the things they don’t have time for.
Selene, Bluehost has several different packages available. I believe to get the $2.95 rate, you have to pay for 36 months up front, but I am not 100% sure. Definitely check into it first and make sure it’s something you’ll be comfortable with before signing up. Alternately, you can look into Black Chicken hosting. Their rates are a little more but you can pay monthly.
Jeff, first article of yours I’ve read. Excellent stuff! I’m following Michelle as well and am floored at the potential. I’m starting right now to implement all your suggestions. I’ve not yet set up my website email, but hey, one bite at a time, right? I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the interwebs. At this moment, by site is a blank slate, but I have several posts written in Google Docs of which to choose from. Cheers!
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).
This is such a helpful post. Thanks, Carly! My one big question is how do you do this (maintain and publish a blog) while being a stay at home mom? I would love to do what you’re doing more than anything. I have a two year old and another one on the way, and I feel like I absolutely have what it takes to be a blogger, but with how busy littles ones can keep you, I have a hard time imagining making it all work. I’m new to your blog. How often do you post? How many hours a day do you typically spend on the blog? (By the way, I noticed that you responded to the comment above mine at 12:20 am, that could be my answer–ha!)