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 :)
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!
Great article Jamie! I’ve only ever used affiliate links on my blog but recently I’ve been getting a lot of text-link offers. A typical email will ask a link to be put into one of my articles (relating to the content or website they want to link back to) and they offer anywhere between $50-$150 per link. Given the nature of your article, I just wanted to check your thoughts on such offers. Are they legitimate or should I have red flags go up as I’d hate to think they increase spam or worse yet affect google ranking or break basic rules of website T&Cs. Again, I’m not familiar in monetizing via such offers and googling about it didn’t give me much info. Thanking you in advance.
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.
What is your ”spin”? To set yourself apart from the crowd, you’ll need to do something different and interesting with your content. Will you have an interactive focus? Focus on bizarre day-to-day news events instead of celebrity dish? Whatever you choose to blog about, make sure that you have ways to approach it creatively and that you can consistently offer new, exciting content.
Notice that I avoided putting a specific dollar figure on the amount you can make from blogging. It will come down to your work ethic, your skills as a writer, your ability to generate targeted traffic, and plain old good luck. It’s a bit like baseball: Everyone played it as a kid, only a small fraction make it to college ball, an even smaller number become professional, but only the cream of the crop makes it to the majors.
Brainstorm keywords for each blog post. Keywords are the important words that relate to the topic of your blog, and specifically the new subtopic you cover each time you post. Choosing relevant keywords that people search for frequently will increase the visibility of your blog, attract more readers, and show them advertisements they are likely to click.
If you can keep your readers engaged and actively reading your content and digesting it thoroughly, Google will take notice. Engagement, calculated through things like the average time spent reading your content, average session time, exit rate, bounce rate, and so on, is one of the primary components when ranking on Google's competitive Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
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.
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.
“I came across an article from Chris Guillebeau said it’s really easy to write a traditionally published book, a self-published book, or a couple self-published guides, you know…100 blog posts, 50 guest posts, and then it goes on, a few long form pieces for some magazines, blah, blah, blah, in a single year. It said it’s pretty easy if you just write a thousand words a day.
The next step in starting a blog and eventually earning a healthy income, is to find a good domain name. Domain names are in high demand these days, and there are all sorts of new extensions available. However, I would recommend that you stick with the dot-com domain extension. If you can't find it through a regular search, try GoDaddy Auctions or another domain auctioneer.
Also, I have a theory that a contact page without a form cuts down on time-wasting emails. That’s because a lot of people will see a form and use it immediately before reading the information on my contact page. By providing my email address at the end of my contact page, I’m hoping their question(s) will be answered before they get there, thus saving us both time in an email exchange.
Hi Debra, I don’t have any experience with Host Gator. I like Blue Host because it’s easy for beginners to set up. Not all hosting companies make the process this easy. I started off with Go Daddy and I wasn’t happy with their services and I need a web programmer to upload the blog to the host because the process, at least 8 years ago, wasn’t intuitive. Also, if you don’t enjoy writing — blogging probably isn’t the right path for you.
When you purchase a hosting account, you’re actually just renting space on a server. Either you’re sharing that space with others, or the server is yours and yours alone to use. When you first start out, it will likely be the former. Your hosting account will be what’s called a shared hosting account, likely on what’s called a virtual private server (VPS).
Thanks for an awesome step by step. I started by getting a domain and hosting, as per your instruction, but at the end of my registration page on Host Gator, I didn’t find the “Constant Contact” add on. Instead, I have “Get a Pro Email Address from Google” add on. How do I get this Constant Contact add on, and do you suggest me adding the Pro Email Address one? Thank you so much, and so sorry for such a noob question 😀
When Jeff and I started blogging about finance and investing last year, we knew that you could use a blog to generate income but we wanted to focus on building a library of content first, before we looked at ways to generate additional revenue. We wanted to focus on growing on a local level here in Virginia and then scale up and look for opportunities to make moves online.
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.
The easiest PPC method to get started with is Google AdSense. However, in order to make any kind of decent money with display ads, you’ll need quite a bit of traffic. And by the time you get that much traffic, you’ll make more money going with an ad management company like Mediavine (minimum of 25,000 monthly impressions) or AdThrive (minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews).
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
Great article about blogging. This is very helpful. I have been blogging about fashion for my Apparel Search website for many years, but have not received much traction for the efforts. Hopefully your suggestions will be of help. Even though I post often and I think with helpful information for people interesting in clothing, I don’t seem to gain any followers. After several years, I have people reading the blogs, but no followers and not many people posting comments. Rather frustrating, but I will continue my efforts. Anyway, thank you for your post and hopefully it helps me and others improve our blogging.
Custom themes are created by an individual developer (coder and designer, or agency) who will either customize an existing theme or create a brand new theme for you. While coming with clear-cut advantages, they are not the ideal choice for a beginner blogger due to their high cost. Prices to customize a theme, range from $500 to $2,000, depending on the features you want.
The first thing we did when starting our blog was go to Bluehost and register our domain, which is free with hosting. We’ll explain hosting in a moment, but let’s talk about your domain name first. Your domain name is an important part of your blog because it creates a first impression—it is the name of your blog. Also known as your URL, your domain is also your address on the web. For example, our domain name is www.theminimalists.com.
However, aside from that, you can always opt to generate small amounts of cash flow by doing other things such as creating articles that will lead people to courses or audiobooks that you've developed, or building out video tutorials that will ultimately sell some big package or system that will help to teach people whatever it is that you're really good it.
Under no circumstances should any information from this blog be used as replacement for professional financial advice. DollarSprout.com is owned by VTX Capital, LLC and neither are licensed by or affiliated with any third-party marks on this website and third parties do not endorse, authorize, or sponsor our content except where clearly disclosed. DollarSprout.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Advertising is easy to start, making it a popular income stream for many bloggers. However, it’s not nearly as lucrative as it once was and it requires a lot of traffic to be truly profitable. Also, it runs the risk of frustrating your readers (ever been on a site only to be assaulted by the ads?) and making your site look cheap and unsophisticated. Therefore, it’s not a top recommendation of mine.
Edit yourself. We know you’re ready to click “publish,” but take a minute to self-edit your work. (The Write Life has some great self-editing tips.) If it’s laced with errors, you’re going to lose credibility — and readers. Recruit a friend or family member to have a second look. If no one’s available, read your work aloud. This is a great way to view it from a different angle and identify areas that need polishing.
A very good sharing! Referring to point 13 I’m keeping the existing customers as well as attracting the new ones. The reason I’m still attracting the new ones is because whenever I broadcast my newsletter I noticed that the sales (own product and affiliates sales) and Adsense earning were increased too. If I could double up my list this means I can double up all my earnings.
Be discerning about how you interact. This isn't the place to be feeding the trolls or sociopaths. If someone is nasty, pushing for a fight or defamatory, do not interact with them. You might consider reporting them to your site host if relevant, or the police if they're threatening. Take defamatory comments seriously; see a legal adviser for assistance.
If you put your nose to the grindstone — you can earn good money within a year, but the general rule of thumb is blogging is not the fast lane to making cash quickly. I’ve been blogging for nine years, but it took me five years to hit the six-figure mark. Bloggers like Sarah Titus have hit the six-figure mark within a year. Kristin Larsen started making $3,500 a month at the five-month mark. You can read their stories below:
Consider a free blogging service. Many people opt to create a free blog using popular services such as WordPress.com or Google Blogger. This is a good option for people who aren't familiar with web design, don't want to pay for their own hosting, or enjoy the ease and stability that comes with these services. These services do have limitations on how you can make money using them, however, so make sure your blog won't break the terms of service.
Network with other bloggers or mention their blogs: Early on, you want to get on other people’s radars. And one of the best ways to do that is to mention other relevant bloggers and blog posts on yours. For Austin Belack, founder of Cultivated Culture, that meant linking out to relevant blog posts and then emailing the blogger and saying “Hey! I mentioned you in my most recent article. If you think it’s worthy of a share, I’d really appreciate it. But if not, I’m happy to keep sharing yours.” This drove the initial 50,000 to 60,000 readers to his blog.
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.
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.
Protip: Your post or page title (i.e. what your readers see) does not have to be the same as your permalink (i.e. what appears in the search bar). Your post title should be easy to read by humans, whereas your permalink can be easier to read by computer bots. For example, I titled my page Tools I Use & Recommend but I edited my permalink to simply “tools” which you can see in the address bar at the top of your screen). The shorter permalink can be easier to link to and advantageous for SEO.
If you're passionate about a subject and you have decent writing skills, blogging definitely could be an alternative career path for you. The short answer is, yes, it is possible to make a living—a very good one, even—by writing online. On the other hand, the hard truth is most of the millions of bloggers today don't make enough to support themselves just with their blogs. Let's take a look at what's involved.
2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up. I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.
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.
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.
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!
This is it! You just made a blog all by yourself. In fact, we dare say if you thoroughly read this entire guide you now know more than the average person does about starting a blog. But remember, starting a blog is easy – it only takes about thirty minutes of guided steps. It’s what comes next that will determine how successful you are when all is said and done.
Personally, if you have the resources I would go for the second option. Not only does this tell readers who you are and if they’re in the right place. But it also gives you a chance to show social proof (that other people have recognized you as a thought leader). Of course, you might not have this right away, so it’s perfectly fine to just go with the first option.
It might be the case that an audience understands the basics, but isn’t there still a place for this ‘basic’ information on any blog within a niche? Sure, they can get it elsewhere, but if the content doesn’t take too long to create then why not? There will always be new people entering a niche and if other blog information isn’t maintained then why not provide the latest?
Some blogs are focused on getting paid to provide links to news articles, company stores, or other third party websites. The most financially successful of these range from the Drudge, a blog composed almost entirely of conservative-leaning news links, to Smashing Magazine, a site that provides advice and product reviews to help software developers.
No you don’t pay both; WordPress is a free platform. What you’re looking at on the WordPress website is their hosting service costs. You’ll be able to upload WordPress directly from BlueHost. There are free options but you’re limited in how you can monetize. This post has some information on free options: https://www.theworkathomewoman.com/businesses-start-no-money/
Last year I focused for brief time on traffic again. Had a few weeks where I had tens of thousands of visitors streaming in. The result – lots of work for me and virtually no money. So I’m back to my original model. I agree with you that this is one of the biggest fallacies on the internet and one people seem to have a hard time letting go of – that the best focus is on building traffic instead of focusing on serving the people who are willing to give back.
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IF something like that were to happen I surmise we can reasonably expect some sort of announcement/warning to the approved API partners (and probably even to the general public). I would say it’s almost impossible they’ll push through some sort of update that suppresses auto-pinned content without us knowing (at least a little) ahead of time, thus giving us time to adjust accordingly.
Students, Professionals, and anyone else who desires to promote and control their personal brand should consider creating a simple WordPress website (a.k.a. blog). You have complete control over the content displayed and the information provided. Furthermore, when people use a search engine to look you up, your website will often be near the top of search results. This allows you to control your public image.
It’s dependent on traffic. Traffic goes up and down and you never know when it is going to do a major dip. Most advertisers pay based on the number of views their ad will get. This turns you into a traffic monster. You start to look for creative ways to get any kind of traffic, no matter if it’s good traffic or not. This can easily lead to your site becoming another junk site that you try to avoid.
What is CPC? CPC stands for “cost per click.” By displaying CPC ads with Google Adsense, you receive a set fee every time an ad on your website is clicked by a visitor. The cost per click is set by the advertiser. (This is in contrast to CPM ads, where you’re paid for ad views instead of clicks. CPM means “cost per thousand impressions,” where M is the roman numeral for 1,000.)
So, what do you want to call your blog? Maybe it’s YourName.com. Maybe it’s YourBusinessName.com. Or maybe it’s a creative brand name you thought up. If you’re having a hard time thinking of a good domain name, try Wordoid, a wonderful naming tool that will give you plenty of great options. Just make sure you don’t buy the domain from them since Bluehost will give you a free domain. (If you’ve already purchased a domain elsewhere, that’s okay, too, because Bluehost will make it easy to transfer your existing domain during the set-up process.)
Even back in 2009 people were telling me that traffic isn’t everything, and traffic with no business model doesn’t make money. I heard it but didn’t really grasp what it meant. Big numbers are attractive and gratifying. I’m on the right path now but I spent almost five years missing the chance to cater to my biggest fans instead of reaching for more.
Email Marketing – From the day you launch your blog, you need to be collecting email addresses from your readers so that you can remain in contact with them. To do this, you'll need to sign up with an email marketing provider. Don't worry, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get started, in fact, you can get a free account with Constant Contact or Sendinblue.
I’d like to start a blog, I feel it’s easy but with all the info don’t know where to start. The goal is to have fun with it and earn potential income. How do I come up with great topics people would go for. I tried this kinda before but didn’t complete process. It gave me headache 🤦🤦. By the way thanks for your blogging education. Very informative..😊
I have actually put all my plans and projects on hold for about a week to focus on reading your blog and that of a few others such as Serena Star-Leonards’ ‘Retire Young’ and Darrens’ ProBlogger. Figured the old adage holds true, if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you’ve always got (other than when the effective means of delivery changes anyway =P ) But as blogs and passive income are where I have constantly struggled I figured it was high time I learnt some new stuff as the old stuff clearly wasn’t working out.
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.