Blogging is a lucrative business, even as popularity in video marketing and podcasting are on the rise. It also happens to be the one of the oldest and most popular forms of content marketing. This is due to how effective it’s been for small and big-time blogs alike as well as how cheap it is compared to other forms of marketing. These are probably a few of the reasons why you want to start a blog yourself, but how do you become successful as a blogger? That’s what we’re going to explore in this post.
This is an important one. If you don't know who your audience is, you don't know whether or not the content you're creating is truly having a positive impact in your niche. Sure, you can rely on keyword research and analytics to steer you in the right direction, and you should, but you should also consider forming a deep understanding of who your audience is, what they want and what problems they're facing.
Thanks so much for this article and all of the links! I’ve been thinking about blogging for the past year. This year I started my Instagram page and just this week joined Twitter and Facebook as a means of (hopefully) expanding once the blog is underway. My first dilemma however, is the name! For the past four months, I have been @travelsandtantrums on IG (and the other platforms) however, I am thinking of changing that name as it began as a way of documenting our big family trip this year – I hadn’t counted on growth (as you talk about in your articles). Also, as our kids grow up, I hope that the ‘tantrums’ will subside – so, I don’t know whether to stick with what I have or to change to a more ‘family/reality’ name. It is catchy but is it relevant if we are not ‘travelling’ all the time? Hmmmmm. I’d love to know what you think!
Google’s AdSense program is the most widely used PPC program because it has the power of Google Search behind it. Google will read your article and find "ads that are relevant" to it and display them next to or within the article. It will also use your readers’ cookies to display ads that are relevant to their recently visited websites on your blog.
Really excellent article. One suggestion or caution with Godaddy though…Godaddy has a product called WordPress Hosting. I signed up for it, and all was fine until I installed a plugin which had a special requirement that needed to be set up by the webhost. (something in the server side settings). I called Godaddy and they advised they can’t make those changes. Only on their individual hosting plans would that have been possible. This is a rare event, but worth keeping in mind. When you go for your own hosting you have more flexibility.
After you have your account created, you’ll be directed to a page where you need to select your hosting package. You can choose to pay for your hosting in a 12 month period, 24 month period, or a 36 month period — the longer the plan, the cheaper your price. Next, add your payment info and wait for an email confirmation of registration – this only takes a minute or two.
You can use your email list for this purpose simply by sending a broadcast email every now and then asking your subscribers what problems they're facing in your niche or what they would like to see on your blog. You can also promote a link to a survey on your site. Or you can even go all in and have real conversations with people by inviting them on Skype, talking to them on LinkedIn and Facebook groups, participating in forums, and more.
I’m a bit confused…are you talking about using WordPress.com or WordPress.org when setting a blog? I heard not to use WordPress.com for a blog even though its free because the blog isn’t really “yours” and they can do what they want with it. Can you clarify the difference between the .com and .org and which one should be used in setting up a website and blog?
Consistency and success go hand in hand. They have for centuries, from the publication schedules old newspapers used to the publication schedule you use today. For example you see it in TV with weekly episodes. You see it in magazines with monthly issues. You even see it in sporting events with weekly games. Some of the most successful blogs use a posting schedule.
A great post, Ramsay, and great timing for me. I just went live with a coming soon page for my first website and blog that I plan to launch early next year. It’s great to read what your thoughts are on the future of blogging. I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of what you talk about in #19. I had planned to have my coming soon page up in October, but I was focusing on too many little things and got hung up. Now my challenge will be to not have the same thing happen with the main site.
Susan Shain is the founder of Travel Junkette and runs her blog-based business while traveling the world. She started out like any other college student, struggling with so-called regular job interviews. Then she found seasonal work, which led to more travel. That’s when she knew she had to build a more regular and reliable income through blogging so she could keep on going as long as she wanted.
When you log in to WordPress, there are some free design templates/themes (on the left-hand side under, appearance) that you can use to customize your site. However, if you’re willing to spend $35 – $199 you can get stylish, professional looking theme that will make you stand out from the crowd. You can either purchase a theme from the Marketplace (located on the left-hand sidebar in WordPress), or you can purchase a theme through Thesis or StudioPress (they have a much larger design selection than the Marketplace).
Create a basic logo using a program like InDesign, Photoshop, or a text editor (note: even though we have no design skills, we were able to use Apple’s Pages application to create our simple logo after downloading some free vector art and choosing the typeface that best suited our aesthetic), or you can hire someone like 99designs to design a professional logo.
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.
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.
When I spoke to Preston Lee, the founder of Millo.co, for my podcast, he told me that he first learned how to start a blog on his train commute in to his day job. He had 40 minutes each way going to and from his full-time gig, and he used that time to write, design and create his blog that now brings in upwards of $15,000 a month in sponsorship revenue.
A blog itself isn't really a business—it's more of a platform for other income streams. Your content alone won't likely make you money. Instead, you'll have to get advertisers, sell services like consulting or speaking, use affiliate marketing to get a percentage of sales from links people click on your blog, or maybe offer products like ebooks or premium content to actually generate income. ProBlogger has an excellent post about these different ways you can make money.
Find Your Niche. You needn’t have a niche, but it helps. When learning how to be a blogger, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re passionate about. Running? Cooking? Being a parent? Have you found your passion? If so, whatever it is, write about that. If not, then you must first find your passion. (Note: We generally recommend that people don’t start a blog about minimalism or the paleo diet or any other heavily saturated topic. But what we really mean when we say this is: don’t create a blog about something unless you have a unique perspective. If you’ve embraced simple living and have a unique perspective, then by all means have at it.)
Wow really great list of tips, even for non beginners! I agree Ahrefs is probably the best SEO tool for bloggers, but honestly Google Webmaster Tools is the first place to start to monitor your search traffic. Ahref is really expensive, and for new comers, probably overkill. I recently started a new blog, and am more than happy with the data provided by Webmaster Tools.
In-depth tutorials are great for getting links and social shares. However, they can also be a great way to earn money on your blog. There are a number of ways you can make this happen - include affiliate links for the products you use in your tutorial; promote your own products in the tutorial; write a tutorial to promote an advertiser's product (just be clear that it's a sponsored post), etc.
“After a year and a half of blogging as a hobby, I decided to launch a second blog with the goal of making a profit. Ruth did an excellent job addressing all of the questions I had, including the ones that came up as I navigated through my new blogging journey. By implementing the strategies and action plans in Ruth's eBook, I was able to surpass my one-year blog traffic goal within 3 months from launching my blog. Not only that, I was also able to earn an income within 2 months! Today, my blog traffic and income continue to steadily grow. If you are serious about monetizing your blog, Ruth provides you with the necessary tools to yield tangible results.” Jesenia Montanez @ The Latina Homemaker
Great post, thank you! I found this to be very useful. I have just got into the Pay Per Click method and it is a great way of building a passive income. Due to my niche, I have found it difficult to source good affiliate networks, but just today I have revisited the accounts I set up on Link Share and CJ, to my surprise they offer a good range of affiliate programs, many of which cater to my niche blog topic :)
23. Affiliates – There are many affiliate networks, such as FlexOffers and CJ Affiliate that allow you to promote other people’s products and services. You simply put a link or a banner on your page and then you get a percentage if someone clicks through and buys the product/service. You’ll want to select products that are specifically within your blog’s category.This is an effective way to earn money once you have the traffic coming to your blog.
Ruth’s ebook is hands down the best blogging ebook I’ve ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough and will be telling every new and seasoned blogger I know to get a copy! This ebook is comprehensive, but not overwhelming, and packed with amazing information. And I don’t say that lightly. You see, by implementing the Pinterest strategies that Ruth suggests in her ebook, I have increased my site traffic by over 500,000 unique visitors per month. For real. Ruth is brilliant! What more can I say?!
NOTE: I’ll get into this in the section on Helping Other Bloggers, but be sincere in your help. If you only seek out to get something out of someone else, you won’t form a relationship with that person. I’ve liked Stephanie’s blog and content since I first saw it. She has an amazing story of being broke in New York City, and she’s built this amazing personal finance business in just a couple years. I help Stephanie because I like Stephanie, not because I want or expect to get anything out of the relationship.
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 can’t offer people a whole world of knowledge yet but what I can say is that if you have been spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere, press pause on your operations for a bit (not more than a week or two at most, doing nothing will also get you nowhere) and re-educate yourself with articles like this and re-work your tactics where necessary.
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.
Show consistent, relevant postings over time. Google seems to favor domains that have had some time to age and that are going to be a good bet for their visitors. Remember -- Google's (and other engines') goal is to provide the best experience possible for the people who search with them. If your blog is going to be a good match for your search terms it will be easier for you to rank and stay there.
If you have great writing skills, you can become a successful blogger. Writing is the basic skill for becoming a blogger. Your blog readership will depend on how good your writing skills are. When I’m talking about writing, it doesn’t mean writing like an expert, but write like an individual. You are not writing for a book or a newspaper, as they are different. See the editorial page of a newspaper or a magazine, and that’s the exact kind of writing which I’m talking about.
Easy Social Share Buttons – This one is the best social media plugin I have found. You use it for adding the buttons you see on just about every website so your readers can share your content on social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A premium plugin but it only costs $14. Well worth it since it loads faster and looks better than the previous free ones I used to use.
I’m starting from square one in terms of becoming a blogger. I don’t even know what I want to blog about yet. My goals for starting a blog are a bit different than many, however. I’m not trying to create another source of income; I would simply be trying to create a reader base because my ultimate goal is to become a published novelist and when pitching your book, I believe it is helpful to already have an established readership. This will theoretically help you stand out to agents/publishers. 🙂 In addition, blogging would help me develop my writing skills, hopefully be of some use to people, and allow me to express myself and connect with others. Do you have any advice for me?
Content marketing can be done with articles on sites like Medium.com or Scribd.com, it can be done by answering questions on Reddit or Quora, and it can be done with videos on YouTube or Vimeo, along with a variety of other means. The point is that all of the content has to be useful, period. Don't try to do the least amount of work for the greatest return. You need to do the exact opposite if you want to succeed.
Getting into the groove of writing content for your blog is fairly easy. Once you’re there, you’re there. But writing for your email list is a big challenge. Some women go on scrapbooking weekends. Some men go off to hunt. When it’s my weekend to take off by myself, I pack up my computer and a few bottles of wine and head to my sister’s house to write auto responder emails.
For example, if you plan to start a blog about making money online, passive income and things of that nature, which is extremely competitive, then it’s going to take you considerably more time to start generating money from your activities. You can’t simply expect to prop up a blog, make a few posts and become a millionaire overnight. It doesn’t work that way.
WordPress also have a variety of plugins that make it easy to put social sharing buttons on your blog posts. Some people like to limit the number of plugins they use on their WordPress blog because it can slow the blog down and it can open your blog up to more attacks, butt a social sharing plugin is one that should have high priority if you do choose to use plugins.
Post your article links on social media and blog directories. Get traffic to your site with frequent updates on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Find blogging communities that match your readership and post links to relevant articles on their comments or forums. This helps in getting traffic to your site as well as raising your search engine rankings.
My blog is hosted with Siteground, and I love them because a) they are crazy affordable (You can get a great discount on their shared plans right here – it’s less than 4$/month!) and b) they have AMAZING 24 hour tech support that never makes me feel stupid for being computer confused. This is critical. And perhaps most importantly c) my blog has never been down with them. Ever. (Downtime = lost revenue. Period.)