This is a big reason why I recommend building your blog with a platform that allows you to build a proper, fully-fledged website rather than a blog with a few simple pages. Platforms like WordPress.org allow you to build beautiful pages designed to captivate and convert your readers as they scroll through them. You can do this with page builders, email marketing plugins, plugins that help you manage and cloak affiliate links, and more.


Hi Ramsay Thanks for your excellent article! The only trouble is I impulsively signed up with BlueHost just before I read it and have ended up paying $7.95 per month for 12 months. I didn’t want to sign up for the 36 months – that at least would’ve been $3.95 per month. I also realize, after doing some reading, including your article, that I am not quite ready to launch my blog yet. Would it be possible for me to cancel with BlueHost and then sign up again later through you to get the good deal? I don’t want to find I’ve lost my domain name though. Hoping you can help! Thanks.
At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier. Writing about more than one topic is totally fine too. As long as you are writing about things that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through and keep your readers interested.
Start your search for a theme as soon as your WordPress platform is installed. The look and feel of your blog rely on the theme you choose. Your readers will first notice the overall appearance, before even taking a look at the content. Choose a theme that looks great, but also works for your unique content needs. The default theme that comes with your WordPress blog installed is Twenty Seventeen—while it’s a good starter theme, you’ll want to choose a theme that is unique and compatible with your niche.
Before you start choosing a domain name and theme, you need to figure out what topics your blog is going to cover. What are you going to write about on a regular basis? You may already have an idea in mind, but if not, I suggest doing some intense brainstorming. Write a list of your passions, hobbies, and dreams, and a second list with your skills, experiences, and areas of expertise. Then start thinking about possible blog post ideas for each topic. If you're coming up short on article ideas, it's probably not the best topic for a niche.

Okay? A what? Sorry if I lost you. However, if you're serious about ensuring the blog that you started will make some serious coin over time, you need what's called a value ladder and a sales funnel. If you've never heard of these two concepts, let me explain. First of all, you need a system for email marketing. There are plenty of great plugins and programs to send out emails.


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.

One criticism: I bought the print version, and there are a few illustrations there that were obviously done in color for the e-Book version, but they wind up in black-and-white in the print version. Surely it could have been easy enough to change the way these illustrations looked in black and white to optimize it for the print book e.g. using dotted or dashed lines, or more strongly contrasting shades of gray? I felt rather frustrated at that. However, it was the only problem I encountered (it only affects literally a few small things) and it was not a major drawback. I still give the book a full 5 stars, it's still great despite this minor issue.

Affiliate sales comprise a large chunk of revenue for most big-name bloggers. For instance, Pat Flynn made $53K last month from affiliate sales, compared to "just" $9,500 from book sales. In general, look for affiliate products with higher price points; web hosting companies are a great choice if it makes sense in your niche, with payouts of anywhere from $60-$130+ per signup.

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.
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 :)
But if you create a realistic plan for how much time you’ll have for creating for your website in the next 3 months and you fill that plan with what you think are good or great ideas for new posts or podcasts then you will start creating some true hits with readers or listeners (even if not all of those ideas will resonate as much with your audience as they may do with you).
Thank you Yaro for all the information. Being new to all this, I am trying to get my thinking straight. When you all speak of conversions I take it that you are talking about having something extra to sell than just having them click on adsense ads. Correct? I believe you are talking about converting visitors to loyal paying followers, is this correct? I have only been blogging a couple of months so I have much to learn. Thanks for your patience.
Industry Blogs. These are specialized to a particular field or industry. They’re a good choice if you’re already an expert on something and want to share that expertise. Because you have to constantly stay on top of new information and developments in that industry, you need to make sure you’re comfortable with researching and understanding your topic.
If you are interested in covering a broad topic that many people already write about, create multiple specialized blogs instead and link between them when the subjects overlap. For instance, if you are a nutrition expert, write one blog about healthy weight management, another one about child nutrition, and another about growing your own vegetables.
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.
Before you start choosing a domain name and theme, you need to figure out what topics your blog is going to cover. What are you going to write about on a regular basis? You may already have an idea in mind, but if not, I suggest doing some intense brainstorming. Write a list of your passions, hobbies, and dreams, and a second list with your skills, experiences, and areas of expertise. Then start thinking about possible blog post ideas for each topic. If you're coming up short on article ideas, it's probably not the best topic for a niche.
Unnecessary plugins. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. You’ll see a list of plugins, all of which I delete (the only plugin I might keep at the beginning is the Bluehost plugin). A plugin must be deactivated before it can be deleted. So, if you hover over a plugin you may have to choose “Deactivate” then repeat the process to see the “Delete” link. As I explain later, plugins can slow your site down and make things glitchy so I use them very sparingly. I only add a plugin when I have a clear reason to do so. I’ll give my plugin recommendations in a bit.
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.
There are dozens of such affiliate marketing companies out there – they work by acting as an intermediary to even bigger companies (Walmart, Target, Lowes, you name it…) and drive sales to those advertisers. Some of the bigger affiliate marketing companies out there are, FlexOffers, Commision Junction, and ShareASale.  We are on all of them, but have had the most success so far with FlexOffers.
A blog is not a blog without content so once you’ve set your blog up you need to focus your attention upon creating useful content. What you choose to create will depend a little on the topic that you choose to write about (on that note, most successful bloggers have some focus to their blogging whether that be a niche or a demographic that they write for).

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.


I will be rocking my blogging in 2018! Back in the Fall of 2017 I rolled out a modern web site design and a podcast. I’ve also just done an evaluation of what worked last year and the areas where I fell short. I also found it helpful to examine those latter areas to understand why. With those in mind, I know where I need to focus my energy. I’ve even got two new products in the works (both in the editing phase). 2018, here I come!
Keep in mind that making money from your blog takes time. After all, there is a reason that learning how to make money from a blog is the last step in my guide. You need to make sure you have followed all the previous steps perfectly in order to give yourself the best chance of earning a substantial income from blogging. This will not happen overnight, but most bloggers find that the work itself is rewarding enough to continue on the journey.
We have good news because you are not the first person who tried to start a blog! (Shocker, we know!) In fact, we’ve gone through this process a few times ourselves, with a wide variety of failures and successes. That’s why we’re here to give you a roadmap detailing all the things you’ll need to know in order to start a blog with all the right ingredients to be successful. This is everything we wish we knew back when we first got started.

Mass appeal to a large audience is the goal of any blogger that starts a blog. While saturation into the marketplace is difficult any way that you slice it, starting with a smaller audience won't help you. If you want to write about resume writing skills, for example, you might want to take a broader approach of larger business or employment skills and information.

Amazon is the giant in the industry, but it’s also a good idea to reach out to small companies and even individuals who make products or services that are related to your blog. For example, if you have a popular cooking blog, you might contact small BBQ sauce companies to see if they’d be interested in setting up an affiliate marketing program with you. You earn a portion of the sale through your blog, and they get free marketing.[46]
Are they spending many minutes on the page? Or, are they arriving and leaving quickly after 30 seconds or so. Keep in mind that your posts should be lengthy, so plan to write at least 1000 words per article or more. On this blog, I focus on a minimum of 2000 words per article. Not to be verbose. But because I know that value and engagement is delivered in length, not in brevity.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.
When people pay attention, not only are they engaged, which is great for Google, but they’re also likely to share and comment on your work. These are all indications of engagement. And those share links help you considerably as long as they’re real and they’re organic. You can’t just go out and buy shares or engagement. You won’t make any traction like that.
Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
Please note that your chosen domain name may be taken; you may need to try a few different names before you find one that hasn’t already been registered. If you find this process a little frustrating, remember this: your domain name doesn’t have to be permanent. If you’re not 100% happy with your domain name, you can always change it in the future (you can grab a new domain for as little as $11.99).

Keep reading and listening and pick up inspiration. Stay up to date and deepen your knowledge about your niche. Read books and blogs about it. Listen to podcasts and watch videos. When you have new ideas flowing into your mind each week and month you’ll come with new stuff yourself. Or combine what you have learned. Or you can share your experience with what you learned from someone else.


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.
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.
Building a Framework – Abby Lawson is a successful blogger and has written an ebook about starting a successful blog. It's FULL of amazing information, and it's affordable. She's a friend of mine (and we're in a mastermind together!) and I can honestly say that she knows her stuff! In her ebook, she teaches technical advice, how to write engaging content, networking tips, social media strategies, monetization tips, and more.
There is so much about this article that I found useful and engaging Yaro, but the point that I resonated with most was the focus on conversions not traffic. That is the mindset crucial for income, and that income can come more easily and consistently from a smaller group of loyal followers who also refer, than from numerous hits from fringe tire kickers just clicking around the internet for fun.
Ignore Negative Criticism and Stupidity. Sure, we get a lot of negative comments and stupid questions from ignorant people who aren’t really our readers (e.g., negative comments like “You’re not real minimalists” and stupid questions like “Are you guys gay?”). We call these people seagulls: they fly in, crap on your site, and fly away. But we pay them no mind, because we didn’t start our blog for them. Delete their comment and move on.
This post is exactly what I was looking for as I start the new year. Back in my college years I would write for several different college lifestyle blogs and I vowed when I graduated I would keep it up…fast forward 3 years…still no blog. I’m not big on resolutions, but I really really really am going to make it happen this year. This weekend is dedicated to getting my blog set up and running! Thanks for this post!
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.
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).

You also don't have much say in how much you're able to make with these revenue streams. Products (e.g. ebooks, video courses, apps, etc…), on the other hand, are your own. You can price them at whatever you want them to be or at least what your audience is willing to pay. This gives you the freedom to create whatever type of content you want and earn however much money you want.
Building a Framework – Abby Lawson is a successful blogger and has written an ebook about starting a successful blog. It's FULL of amazing information, and it's affordable. She's a friend of mine (and we're in a mastermind together!) and I can honestly say that she knows her stuff! In her ebook, she teaches technical advice, how to write engaging content, networking tips, social media strategies, monetization tips, and more.
As you'll see, my first year of blogging saw only about 9,000 total readers, but I wasn't really taking blogging seriously and I was still learning how to drive traffic. In my second year, you'll see traffic begins to pick up dramatically as I start to figure out who my audience is and which traffic strategies work best for me—that's when I started driving almost as much traffic per month than I'd gotten in my entire first year.
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.

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.
“Have you ever started a book that you just couldn’t put down? Ruth Soukup’s How to Blog for Profit is not only unforgettable, but undeniably one of the most practical and comprehensive books on blogging that is on the market! Ruth writes with contagious passion stemming from her years of wisdom in the blogging world, yet doesn’t leave young “small bloggers” like me in the dust. This book gives practical, doable steps to pursue your blogging dreams that might seem out of reach (right now), but that Ruth encourages can be made possible with dedication and hard work. The world of blogging is vast, but with concrete advice and “plan of action” steps at the end of each chapter, Ruth makes blogging (and earning an income to support your family through your blog) purposeful and possible.
Indirect Income – later on in my blogging journey opportunity has come for ‘indirect’ income streams. As my blogs and profile grew as a result of my blogging I was able to sell my services as a speaker and consultant and was offered the opportunity to author a book with the publisher Wiley. Later I was able to start an event for bloggers which also made money. None of this income came directly from the blog – but rather it came ‘because’ of my blog.

Jaime, this is an excellent article. I’ve been blogging for fun for over four years, In the last year I’ve branched out and started a self-hosted blog about blogging for fun. I’m at the point think I have enough to offer on that subject and a few others. There are so many steps to get started, I think it overwhelms people, including those of us who are comfortable blogging. There are lots of courses available, but most of them that I’ve tried are pretty general. Do you recommend getting a coach?

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.
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.)

Great article! I’ve been trying to set up a blog, but due to lack of funds I began on the WordPress free platform. Is it practical to keep developing content for that free blog and then transport it to a paid platform or should I begin from scratch on a paying site? And also, how much content should I have before I launch my blog? I’ve wanted it to be so perfect I’ve barely brought myself to write, even though I have so many wonderful posts trapped in my head, but they have to get out of there, I need to start! Thanks in advance!


Can you teach an old dog new tricks? I hope so. I have 78 years of knowledge to share on food, music, and other topics. Your instructions are amazing, wonderful, and hopefully easy enough for even an old tech-idiot like me to understand. I’ll sign up for your course, but I want to express my admiration and appreciation for such a fine product as you have created.
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.
I love your stuff. I so agree about multiple formats – I have a little system down for writing my post, recording the video and editing and then exporting for youtube and the audio version for podcast. The pin said article to pinterest, etc. I am very niched down and I’d like to think there isn’t really anyone else on the web providing the quality of information to my particular audience as me. I am passionate about what I do – I used to hear people say you need to have a passion for what u do, but I didn’t really think much of it until now when I think how hard I’ve worked the past couple years and realizing that there’s no way I would have been able to do so on such a level if I wasn’t truly passionate about it.

It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the “How to start a profitable blog in 10 minutes and earn $5000 / month while you sleep!” articles that you see out there. But the thing is, those articles leave out some details – they do this on purpose, so that you go ahead and start your blog RIGHT NOW, without giving it any thought – so the writers can earn commission on hosting sales. Many bloggers earn so much money from hosting sales with their how to start a blog tutorial that they hardly even need to try making money anywhere else on their blog.

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