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.
Although you shouldn't start a blog with the intention of optimizing it to oblivion, you most certainly should understand the fundamental principles of search engine optimization so that you pay attention to the key aspects that will impact your ability to rank on search engines like Google. Begin with Google's Webmaster Guidelines, and digest and implement that information. Learning SEO is a long and drawn out journey. You should always be increasing your knowledge and expanding your skill set.
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.
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?
If I concentrate only on existing customers I may have lose up many fans who can be my buyers too someday. If they did not buy my products no problem but they can help to spread my blog to others which is also a free advertising. In other words I need to have these sticky communities (regardless if they are buyers or not) to keep my blog active and alive by their comments, suggestions and contributions (in term of free articles).
Working with advertising networks isn’t your only option when it comes to selling ads. If you end up with enough traffic, advertisers may come directly to you and ask you to place their ad on your site. You can also contact advertisers yourself. The biggest difference from the above mentioned option is that there is no middle man, which means you can set your own ad rates.