Ruth Soukup is a writer, blogger, mom of two, and the successful founder of the blog LivingWellSpendingLess.com. Since launching in 2010, Living Well Spending Less has become one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the net, receiving more than one million visitors per month. She is also the founder of the Elite Blog Academy, as well as the author of the bestselling blogging guide How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), and her next book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life (Zondervan) will be released December 30th, 2014. For more information about Ruth, please visit LivingWellSpendingLess.com.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others.  If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
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).
My decision to learn how to start a blog and begin making money from it on the side of my day job, is what propelled me into building a six-figure freelance writing business with clients like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Google, Intuit and more. On top of that, starting a blog has helped me generate thousands of dollars in passive income each month and book interviews with some of the world’s top entrepreneurs for my podcast.
Constantly keep learning and doing your best to understand more and more about blogging and convey important lessons to your audience and you'll succeed. Some of the most successful blogs in the world are earning millions of dollars per month. Don't expect that to happen right away. But that does show you the potential of what you can accomplish in this industry if you stick to it.
If you can build a relationship with 10 early readers and work with them to pinpoint a challenge you're interested in building a physical or digital product for, focus next on repeatedly solving that problem yourself, then develop a plan of action for how you can personally help those 10 people solve that problem in their own unique situations as well. This'll be very manually at first, but that's necessary.

How frequently should you write new blog posts? I think the real question here is How frequently CAN you  write new posts on the regular? If you can commit to writing a new post once every 2 weeks for now, perfect. That’s your magic number. Over time I recommend ramping up to once or twice a week as you get comfortable with your blog schedule. Whatever you do, please don’t write 6 posts in 2 weeks and then disappear for 3 months! Creating a schedule and then sticking to it is sooo key when it comes to building trust.
Hello, I just found your blog while looking for resources on financial planning. We’ve been passive and a little sloppy in this dept for our entire marriage and want to change that. I have to be honest. While a lot of the resources here are fantastic, I feel suspicious about the blogging for profit idea. Seems a bit too good to be true. I went to a very good school and majored in lit/writing. There was no mention of the potential to write, profitably, for the internet (with the exception of science/medical writing). Could a writer generate a decent income simply with freelance writing and blogging? Where does the money come from? Ads? Or would I have to also have a product to sell (i.e., a course, ebooks, etc). I’m feeling a pyramid scheme here (buy my writing course, start a blog, sell your course, etc). Gina’s income in her first few months was outrageously high. More than I make now as a librarian. Forgive me for being cynical/suspicious. I’m just curious.
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.
As we mentioned before, professional bloggers average about $138,046 in annual profit. On the other side of that, we have serious bloggers who aren’t yet professionals earning an average of $9,497. That’s nothing to scoff at either, but it’s worth noting you probably shouldn’t start out by quitting your job. These are bloggers who are serious enough to earn cash but haven’t broken through to make a full-time career of blogging. You can learn more about the blogging industry by reading the complete State of the Blogging Industry 2017.
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.
I really like your blog. It’s so professional. I also like your other topics on this blog like how to get email subscribers. I am very hungry for this information. I am becoming a professional blogger right now so I love reading everything I can get my hands on on the subject. I’m going to read more of your work. I think I may have already joined your email list….
There’s also Quora—a question and answer site that lets anyone respond to user’s queries. One tactic I’ve used is to search for relevant topics in my niche and then answer questions I’ve already written about on my blog (like this Quora answer about how to get blog traffic that's received hundreds of upvotes and thousands of views_ . This way I know I’m giving them good value and can even link back to the full post on my blog.
Why? While it's relatively straightforward to begin a blog, it's a monumental undertaking to generate any semblance of traffic and profit from your arduous efforts. You need laser-focus and persistence to build an audience or reach mass saturation with your prose. It takes time and it takes long and drawn out evenings burning the proverbial midnight oil.
Thanks for this really easy-to-follow guide, it was a great help installing my blog. However, I have the same problem as Ellen above. I set up my domain name successfully and installed WordPress. Got an e-mail saying that the WordPress install was successful (as shown in your guide). But when I want to log in to my admin URL it says that the website is not available! and it’s been like that for the last 2 days. Do you know what to do?
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.

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]
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.
The best avenue for making money from your blog is through email marketing, plain and simple. Hands down, this offers one of the quickest and surest strategies for earning an income through your blog. But before you get there, you need to sign up to an email marketing platform like Aweber, ConvertKit, MailChimp, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft or any other number of platforms that exist out there.
According to the State of the Blogging Industry 2017, professional bloggers average $138,046 in annual profit. That’s certainly a respectable salary if you ask us. In other words, we dare say that professional blogging is a viable career choice, though it is notable that the path there will be long and rough because it is largely a do-it-yourself industry.

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.
Starting a blog that actually makes money involves a great deal of writing. But not just any writing. You need to write keyword-focused content and do it repeatedly. When it comes to writing your content, there are a ton of rules that you should follow if you want it to be effective when it comes to SEO (in fact over 200+ which you can learn about here), but try not to allow that to overwhelm you.
If you're serious about succeeding with your blog, you need to build useful anchor content. It needs to be engaging, keyword centric, insightful, unique and well written. Don't write your content for search engines. Rather, write your content for humans while also paying homage to search engines and what they want. Simply put, it's a skill that develops over time with practice. It's also important to regularly publish your content on a weekly basis.
Once you’re up and running with your hosting account, your next step is to install WordPress, the most popular blogging platform, onto your newly-minted blog. This is a rather straightforward process, so don’t be alarmed here. In your Bluehost control panel, you’ll find a simple one-click logo icon with the description “Install WordPress,” that will help guide you along in the process.

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.
More and more, secure websites are becoming a requirement rather than an option. Even if you are not collecting any information on your website, it is still better to add security to your website with a SSL certificate. These encrypt the connection between your blog’s visitors and your website, reducing the chance something will go wrong when viewing the site.
Just wanted to check up and say hey. I’m following your lead of side hustle millionaire entrepreneurship. Building a million dollar online business is tough. People have to want to do this because there’s no guarantees. It’s certainly worth the risk because speaking from past experience in corporate America, I was miserable waking up everyday and going to work for someone else that got rich off of my work without me getting benefits. This is why I’m in the side hustle millionaire mindset like you. Thanks for keeping me inspired.
Ninja Popups – The best $20 I’ve spent on my website in 2015. This one lets you create a popup windows that show up in front of your content and can help you readers to sign up for your newsletter, share your website on Facebook and many other things. It helps me to add about 30% more new email subscribers a day to my Positivity Newsletter. To not annoy people, be sure that his window is only shown once for each of your readers.
“This book is an excellent resource for bloggers, especially bloggers relatively new to blogging (i.e. have been blogging for 2 months to a year or so) and that are looking to take their blog to the next level. Ruth gives you clear advice on how to build a solid foundation for your blog, and she does an amazing job of emphasizing the importance of that foundation and it’s role in helping you make a profit down the road. For Ruth, it’s more about lasting upward momentum than getting rich quick. And I love that! Additionally, Ruth’s advice is valuable even if you are not looking to monetize your blog, since many of the same qualities that make a profitable blog are also ones that grow your readership generally. It quickly becomes apparent that Ruth is all about quality, honesty, action, and organization. I feel like I have a much clearer picture of what kinds of items need to be on my blogging to-do list, and after reading I felt empowered to actually get myself in gear and cross those items off my list.
Responsiveness is a must: Responsiveness refers to themes that make sure your blog looks as good on a laptop, as it does on someone’s smartphone. Today, more and more people use their phones to read blogs and depending on your audience, that number could be 50% or higher (like mine is). Google also favors mobile-friendly websites and ranks them at the top of their organic search results. If you’re not totally sure whether a theme is mobile friendly or not, copy and paste the URL of the theme’s demo page into Google’s Mobile Friendly Test page. (This test will almost always show some warnings. But major red flags to watch out for are text too small or content wider than screen.)
aText – text expander app for Mac. “aText accelerates your typing by replacing abbreviations with frequently used phrases you define.” For example, I tend to use the word “WordPress” a lot, so instead of having to write it by hand every single time, I’ve set a macro that allows me to just write WPP, and aText will right away expand it to WordPress. I have loads of other ones like this set up (for common typos I make, complicated words, etc.).
Hey Isabel. I would definitely create your blog in your native language if that is the one that you write better in. If your English grammar isn’t impeccable, you will have a hard time getting a loyal audience of English speakers. A blog written in English has the potential for a larger audience, but a blog in your native language will have less competition and the potential for a far more LOYAL audience. I hope that helps!
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.
This is a step that every successful business faces, and if you really want to turn your blog into a business, it’s a step you simply can’t skip. I say this with complete confidence and after years working with brands who put so much effort into marketing, and then later realize that they’re missing the mark. I don’t want this to happen to you, so here’s the deal…
I wanted to let you know that this evening is the first time I have came across your blog and as I have many others I read through it. However, I’m not sure what it is about your particular blog but for some reason I feel drawn to it. A lot of what you have blogged about sounds so much like myself. I have wanted to start my own blog for a while (3 years to be exact) but being the procrastinator that I am, not knowing where/how to start AND racking my brain for a domain name has prevented it. I too, have a passion for writing. I always have. All the way back to Elementary school. I have many, many ideas for my blog and have had to hand write everything as I think of it. My dilemma now is coming up with a domain name haha. I have a binder with “my blog” topics, “layout” etc. I literally am just steps away…if I can ever decide on a domain name. Thank you so much for the inspiration you give and the passion you put into your writing…Unlike some blogs where the content is just as original as the next one I click on after it. I only hope to become half the blogger you are. Thank you for sharing this, it has helped!!

Thanks for this really easy-to-follow guide, it was a great help installing my blog. However, I have the same problem as Ellen above. I set up my domain name successfully and installed WordPress. Got an e-mail saying that the WordPress install was successful (as shown in your guide). But when I want to log in to my admin URL it says that the website is not available! and it’s been like that for the last 2 days. Do you know what to do?

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).


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.
I still remember the beginning days of building this blog. I worked tirelessly for 60 to 80 hours every single week without fail. In the beginning, I saw a trickle of traffic that amounted to maybe 20 to 30 visitors per day. That number multiplied by about a 100 after approximately a year and a half or so of grueling hard work. And since then, it has climbed significantly for one reason and one reason only: consistency.
Protip: If you look at my contact page, you’ll notice I don’t put my email address in standard form with the @ and . signs. Instead I write it out like this: AmyLynnAndrews at gmail dot com. I do this to cut down on spam. The idea is to throw off any bots crawling the web hunting for the standard email format, harvesting it and blasting me with unwanted emails. Honestly, I’m not sure how well it works. It might just be a holdover from my younger blogging days. I should research this again. 🙂

22. Advertising – This is definitely the most old-school way of earning money with a blog. It’s also starting to become the least common way. You can sell advertising spots directly on your site or you can sign up with a company like Google AdSense or Media.net. Either way, you won’t see a whole lot of money from ads until your views are well into the thousands each day.


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.
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.
To make your site safe, all you need to do is turn on the SSL certificate. It controls the data transfer on your site and makes it unreadable to nosy people who might sniff the data from an outside. But before you start worrying that only technicians and internet experts know how to do this, let us show you how you can get a FREE secure connection in just a few steps:

There are many ways to keep an email list engaged. Which will work best for you and your readers will depend on your style of communication and their content preferences. We recommend to write your emails in a similar tone as you write your blog posts. Here are a few types of emails you can send on a regular basis to keep your list paying attention:


Now you’ve got many different options to start earning online. If you saw something that really interests you, try it out and learn more about it. If you’re really wanting to make a full-time income online, you need to be dedicated to learning how to do what you want to do. There are tons of free resources out there. You just have to search for them!
After getting some much needed guidance from a prolific internet entrepreneur, I shifted my focus. I released my first digital product in September last year in the way of an eBook, then a month ago I opened the doors to my own training course (that was scary!) and as you would expect I’ve already surpassed the total earnings of those first 18 months by a good margin.
Thanks, I’m 59 years old and at a point in my life that I believe I’m starting to understand the meaning of life. Though this understanding is still in its infancy I think I’m ready to start asking some questions. Is it plausible to have a Blog that explores is subject matter and do you think it would be interesting to others. I’ve not written anything since high school but on my way home from work I had a Moment of clarity and then this idea thank you for your time.

17. Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
This is very useful information for me as a beginner blogger. I figured to try blogging as a project while working on my MBA program online this year. I haven’t finished publishing my blog site yet. Still checking out some tips and advice prior to publishing. A bit nervous but after reading other new bloggers helps build my confidence. Hopefully I get the nerves to publish by end of January. As you mentioned, I ended up using WordPress.
Other measurements of success can include traffic, user engagement, social shares and email subscribers, but it all depends on your business goals in actuality. Do you want to sell more of your own products through your blog? Your version of success is going to include a healthy amount of revenue from those products alongside a decent-sized email list and a high level of user engagement. Do you want to simply earn more revenue from your blog as a whole? Your version of success would include high amounts traffic and user engagement.
If you want a more concrete answer than that, we’ve found it takes even our smartest, most dedicated students 3-6 years to make enough money from blogging to quit their jobs. And that sounds like a long time, but so what? 3-6 years to be able to work from anywhere in the world, take a vacation whenever you want, and probably have passive income until the day you die?
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