It is an invaluable tool for experienced and novice bloggers alike, explaining not only what it takes to create an authentic, successful, and profitable blog, but how to get there as well.  Better yet, it has now been updated with even more valuable information–25% more content–and this expanded 2nd edition is available in both a Kindle and Paperback version!
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.
Anyone who's serious about building a blog and making money, needs to leverage Google's webmaster tools to see what keywords they're ranking for and any messages that would impact their ability to rank. This will also allow you to submit an XML sitemap and track keyword impressions along with click-through rates. This is one of the most useful tools for growing your site or blog through constant analysis of your efforts.
If you are working with a 2-part system like Genesis, you’ll need to upload both the Genesis Theme Framework and the child theme of your choice. Again, read my post about choosing a theme for an explanation of this preferred type of system. If you try to upload your child theme and you do not have the Genesis Framework installed, it will not work. I recommend you upload the Genesis Theme Framework first, then repeat the process with your child theme.
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 :)
When you go with free, you’ll have a lack of control over how your blog looks and acts: Free blogging services (like Blogger, Medium or Tumblr) will pretty much always limit the design and functionality of your blog. This means you won't be able to make your blog look like your favorite other sites. Plus, you might not be able to do the things you want (like capture email addresses from your readers using tools like ConvertKit, include ads, join affiliate programs and other activities that'll help you actually make money blogging).
First of all the guide very easy and I started my blog using this guide only. But I have a doubt. I started blog using WordPress with a free account and now I want to upgrade my account so that I can use plugins for optimizing my site to get more traffic and after that monetize my site. So the doubt I have is what is the difference between a HostGator plan and a WordPress plan that I can buy directly on the WordPress website.

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.


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.

Why? While there are other platforms for blogging, WordPress is the most mainstream, with nearly 100 million installations to date. Yes, that's a lot of blogs out there. The fact is that there are approximately 1000 websites being created every minute of every day, with a large majority of those being blogs. So if you're starting a blog, you're likely starting a WordPress blog.

Some bloggers may scoff at the idea of giving away anything for free, but it’s actually one of the most effective ways to grow an audience. This is because most Internet users aren’t going to take a chance on a product from a blogger they’ve never encountered unless that blogger has some form of social proof. Instead, you should fill your blog with free content your readers can use as “free samples” of your products or affiliate products.

“I’m a veteran blogger, headed into my 6th year of writing to a smart and engaged community on a variety of lifestyle topics.  I didn’t get to Chapter 2 before I was so compelled by her invaluable advice that I stopped reading and started implementing her smart and savvy tips on my site.  Four hours and a much better navigation bar later, I started reading more and found no less than fifty things that I could be doing better to make my site more reader friendly.  This is probably the 10th blogging ebook I’ve read, but  by the far the best.  She is brilliant and generous and you will be amazed at the pearls of wisdom in this little volume.  I love her style, which  is the perfect blend of the philosophical and the practical and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred back to her advice for my own blog.   It’s been a month since I employed many of her techniques and my traffic and income are up 25%.  I’m so glad she took the time to write this.  It’s a gift to the blogging community.“

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.
That being said, while you shouldn’t expect to go full-time right away, blogging has in fact led to multi-million dollar companies. There is no guarantee in blogging, just like any other business endeavor. We share these stories with you so you can see what is possible. While you may never make millions, with the right research, time, effort, and timing, you can certainly earn a good income from blogging. To play it safe, we recommend blogging as a side business until you start seeing those returns.
I would like an response anyone, preferably from the author. I used to write a Blog and would like to start again. My previous Blog was hosted by WordPress. I was paying about 29.00 dollars a year for many years, but all of a sudden it jumped to about 150.00 a year. I tried contacting WordPress about this unexplained huge increase, but they chose not to respond. Since you recommend using WordPress, how can you assure me they will honour their promises, and when they don’t, what can I do?
Do this for each of your keywords and look at the results. If all of your top keywords have a Monthly Search Volume of 5,000 – 10,000, you’ve definitely got a potentially profitable niche. If you’re too much over that up into the high hundreds of thousands of Monthly Searches, you might want to get more specific with your niche rather than competing with much larger, established websites on more popular subjects.
Choose your topic. The best blogs focus on topics that you, the blogger, are passionate about. This topic can be anything that you believe you have enough to say about to interest others. It works best if you can find a “niche” that is not being fully exploited.[9] There are several important things to keep in mind when choosing your blog topic:[10]
Yaro, I’ve been noticing this trend for years now. “Blogging” is a “platform” that builds a “business”. Our internet marketing marketing community can be overly-focused on short term results at the expense of healthy business strategy. Thank you for level-setting us. We can certainly capitalize on trends, but not at the expense of being valueable in the marketplace.
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.
If you are blogging about one specific topic then you will definitely want to include that in some way in your blog name. Try not to get hung-up on just one word though. For example, a cooking blog doesn’t necessarily have to have the word “cooking” in it. The words “food”, “recipes”, and “meals” would also let people know that your blog is about cooking.

If you're unsure whether or not you've written a strong headline, take it for a test drive by using the free headline analyzer tool from CoSchedule. It's super cool—you just paste in the headline you're thinking about using, and it gives you a score on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 100 being a truly perfect headline), based on their analysis of millions of headlines.

Here's how affiliate programs work: You get a special tracking link from the company you're an affiliate for. Then, you'll place that link within posts on your blog, emails to your blog subscribers, and weave it in elsewhere that you reach your readers. When someone clicks on that tracking link and completes a purchase, sign up (or occasionally another metric), then you earn either a set fee or percentage of that sale.


“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.”
Another great exercise if you’re trying to decide on a niche for your blog is to think about who your ideal reader is. This is the person most likely to visit your blog and get value from your writing. For me, the easiest way to think about this is to use myself as an example. If you’re writing about an interest, then you’re most likely your ideal reader.
Help document travel, education and other life events – Sometimes, people start blogs to help document some kind of journey. That journey might be traveling to some far-off destination. That journey could also involve learning a musical instrument or a new language. It could also involve a life event such as getting married, divorced or fighting through a health scare.

If you do decide to hire a designer, it’s always a good idea to do your homework beforehand and know exactly what you’re after. There’s nothing more time-consuming (and expensive) than going back and forth with a freelancer because you didn’t have a clear vision of what you wanted in the first place. If you're looking for more sites to track down some freelance designers, check out my list of the best freelance job sites.
Selecting a good keyword can be helpful. Search engines function through SEO (search engine optimization), which ranks search results based on how many keywords they have related to the person’s search query. However, you don’t want to get so wrapped up in SEO that your readers feel your blog is generic. Developing strong brand identity is the best thing you can do to draw readers to your blog.
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.
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.
Be Yourself. Part of being interesting is telling your story. Every person is unique, and your story is an important one. The important part of storytelling, however, is removing the superfluous details that make the story uninteresting. A great storyteller removes 99% of what really happens—the absorptive details—and leaves the interesting 1% for the reader.
Don’t simply start a blog about weight loss. Start a blog targeting people trying to lose weight with the keto diet, no equipment workouts or strength training. Don’t start a blog about gardening. Start a blog about urban gardening, growing your own food or growing a specific type of plant. Basically, consider the broad topic you want to start a blog about, and find a niche market within that topic to target.
Okay, so if that doesn't dissuade you one bit, or you've already made the decision to start a blog, here's what you need to do in a step-by-step format. First, I need to premise this by saying that this post is largely based off of the WordPress blogging platform. It is not a step-by-step configuration guide to WordPress, but it does reference the system often.
PS: my answer to this question is always… “the better question is… how can my blog help me build a profitable business?” Most of the profits from blogging are not made on your blog, but that’s okay. I don’t believe blogging about making money per se, but about branding yourself and positioning yourself within your niche market as an authority and leader. Once that is established, there are so many ways to move people into your money making enterprises. Email marketing, as you pointed out, is one of the best ways to do this. Sending people to your membership sites, services, info products and coaching programs are all great things to route people into as well.
If you just want to earn an income from writing, I would go the freelance route, like what Gina teaches. I can definitely see how it can seem too good to be true, but you have to look at these fields, either blogging or freelance, as a job/business. It’s definitely not a get rich quick thing. Those who become successful work hard, just as anyone in a more conventional job does. What I love about Gina is she is an incredibly hard worker. If you look at her story, she started out in freelance while working full time, so she was getting up at 4:30 in the morning and working weekends so she could grow her income. She was so determined. Her first month she made $805. Amazing!
Thank you so much for the information! I’ve always wanted to blog since I love to write and have a minor in creative writing. My friends and family always told to start one as well but it always seemed too daunting. After somehow coming across your sight I read this post and for the first time felt I really could do you. You made it sound simple and possible. It does take work, yes, but your post was very encouraging and realistic. I’m just still in the building a blog stage, but hope to launch soon. I’m excited for this journey and it’s all thanks to your blog!
Sign up for affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a very popular way of monetizing a blog because it capitalizes on your readers’ trust of you. If your posts always deliver quality content, then your audience is more likely to trust product or service recommendations. You can provide links or recommendations to relevant products and get a commission from any sales driven by your blog.[44][45]

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.

By now you’ve probably come across the term “plugin”, and you might be wondering what the heck that is and if you need any of ’em. There are pros and cons to plugins, and you definitely don’t just want to dive in and start installing plugins left and right. Lesson 5 is an overview of what plugins are, how to install them, and what to be careful about regarding plugins when you start a blog.


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!
I must say, its a great article and enjoyed a lot. There’s so much good information which can be followed and actioned. I was in similar situation before trying to make money online, but couldn’t quite make it. So started slowly and work on the content and SEO. After 4 months I made $2. After this, I was able to make around $50 a month from the same blog. And recently I sold that blog. It happened with me so guys you can make it happen as well. But, please remember if you are looking for big money quick then it is not for you.
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+.
If you can repurpose your content and put it on content hubs (sites that collect specific kinds of content), you will start to bring in readers from different sources. For example, SlideShare hosts professional content in the form of presentations, infographics, documents, and videos. Youtube is a well-known video-sharing website. Podcasting is another great way of repurposing blog content for iTunes listeners.
A “blog” is a website that usually presents information in a list-type set of entries. These entries can be anything, including commentary, descriptions of events, photographs, or videos. They’re usually interactive, so that readers can leave comments or messages on the entries.[1] A blog can focus on a wide range of subjects or a very narrow topic. The choice is up to you! Creating a blog to express yourself can be a lot of fun, but it’s also possible to make money from a blog.
Use a system like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache and turn on browser caching to ensure that you speed up the delivery of your webpages. In the beginning, this might not seem as important. But as you grow and your traffic increases to thousands of visitors per day, this will be critical. Use Google's Page Speed Insights to test things before and after the installation.
Hi and thanks for all the info. These are great step by step instructions. I am new to blogging and this is my first attempt. I have my domain name from NameCheap. I just purchased hosting with HostGator. Now, when I go to install WordPress, I am not finding the install you mention in your blog. I already installed one time and followed the free link (which looked completely different from your graphics) but I never saw the bar saying your install is complete and I never got any login credentials. When I checked My Installs, WordPress was listed there. Since I could not find the credentials, I uninstalled it. What am I doing wrong here? I think I need to start over!
Anyhow, the good thing is I think we can very reasonably expect a warning before anything like that happens. Enid Hwang (one of Pinterest’s top honchos) recently spoke at the AdThrive Summit and shared that Pinterest does penalize/look down on/treat any differently an approved API partner (like Tailwind) than it would someone who is manually pinning — this has been known for some time, it was just nice to hear them reaffirm it (any conjecture beyond that is merely a rumor).

They didn't just publish posts on a regular basis. Successful blogs found out what struggles their audiences were having and created content that solved their problems. They also got in gear and optimized their sites for SEO. They even learned about email marketing, social media marketing, how to monetize and more. Basically, if you want to become a blogger and succeed, you're going to have to learn how to run an online business rather than a simple blog.
How to Blog For Profit is like having a best friend or big sister guide you through the blogging process.  With wit,wisdom, and the insight of someone who has been there, Ruth shares how she grew her blog, Living Well Spending Less, to over 1 million unique visitors per month, earns a full time income, and still is able to write about the things she truly cares about.

If you're unsure whether or not you've written a strong headline, take it for a test drive by using the free headline analyzer tool from CoSchedule. It's super cool—you just paste in the headline you're thinking about using, and it gives you a score on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 100 being a truly perfect headline), based on their analysis of millions of headlines.
I am a writer (freelance) of print production, which as we all know, is going the way of the dinosaurs. While your tutorial was helpful, I am a dinosaur. Please send me one link (I will pay a fee, if reasonable, but I only want to pay one fee…and this tutorial leads me (I am sure, incorrectly), to believe I must pay this and that for a domain , host, etc.

Use social media. These days, if you’re not on social media, you’re missing out on major readership. Post a link to your latest article in your Twitter bio and ask for “retweets,” or link your content to your public Facebook page. Don’t just replicate the same content over and over, though. Use social media for quick, attention-grabbing posts and your blog for longer, more engaging content. The following are popular social media sites:[33]

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.

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.


Protip: A quick way to tell if others are making money in a particular topic or niche is to do a Google search. Do ads show up at the top of the search results when you type in main keywords for that topic? If so, people are making money in that niche (otherwise they wouldn’t spend money on advertising) and there’s potential for you too. But do note, the absence of ads doesn’t necessarily mean you couldn’t make money in a particular niche. Dig deeper and you might find sites do make money but don’t choose to advertise on Google.
I love helping people and went through my own weight loss journey and when face to face with people I do very well and pretty quick I get more and more people but its a face to face thing where Im teaching a crossfit or boot-camp style outdoor exercise routine and follow it up with some dietary knowledge and its a great combo but….I started a blog a while back and wrote some of my best secrets in some well written blog articles and also started a youtube channel. I stayed at it for a few months and got maybe 5 followers on the blog and a few dozen views on my youytube videos. I dont understand because some of the most ridiculous youtube weight loss videos brag about losing 10 pounds in 10 days and some bikini clad babe give the most bland answer like “Dont forget to drink lots of water” [that was day 1]…and has millions of views!

I actually think that the recent success of more bloggers paves the way for new bloggers – we’re joining a growing industry at the perfect time. More and more brands see the benefits of working with bloggers, more affiliate programs are being offered, more consumers are turning to bloggers as a the source of their information. Ad networks are getting more competitive.

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