Great question! Yes, starting on a free platform limited my visibility to search engines (there are so many spammy blogs and sites that are self-hosted, I think that google just ignores all of them). They also don’t have the speed that self-hosted plans can. (readers don’t want to sit around waiting for a site to load) While you can do custom blog URLS with some free platforms, if you have the /blogger or /wordpress web address, it just doesn’t look as professional or legit to potential readers and sponsors. It also limited my ability to customize and optimize my blog design for growing my audience and income. There may be other reasons someone more technical than myself could explain, but all in all, I saw my traffic increase almost over night after I switched over. I hope that helps a bit! Best wishes with your blog!
You can also strategically rely on traditional post formats to help you along the way. At the end of the day, as long as your information is interesting, relevant, and sourced reliably, you’re on the right track. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but keep in mind it’s smarter to break the rules on purpose than by mistake. Read and learn from popular blogs in your niche and try out what works best for them.
Once you have your niche picked out, then start researching what else is out there. Do a Google search, Instagram search, and Pinterest search — this will give you a wealth of information. Once you find your competitors, figure out how you can put your unique spin on the topic. I like to include personal stories in my content because I know that no-one else will have exact experiences.
I learned very quickly that focusing on large-scale traffic was not necessarily the shortest path to a sustainable business. And I actually started being very blunt and firm about this in public, which “turned off” large numbers of readers who were not giving anything back. Paradoxically, though, the people who really resonated with my content started stepping up to the plate. I noticed I could sell something at $20 or at $797 and make the SAME number of sales. So I started focusing mainly on those willing to give back. And I finally started making enough money to quit my job.
Great post, blogging is hard. We run a travel blog and I think the most important thing we tell people is to travel with a purpose, Do not just wander around the world aimlessly. (Like ours is to experience and document the Top 100 Travel Adventures) So many travel blogs do not really have a purpose or a niche. Niche is key and many miss out on that because they want to cover and do it all. Do not just start a blog because you think you will get rich quick and be able to travel the world. It takes a lot of work and lots of time.
My blog is hosted with Siteground, and I love them because a) they are crazy affordable (You can get a great discount on their shared plans right here – it’s less than 4$/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.)
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.
AdSense is a contextual advertising network that places partner (business) ads on your website. It’s easy to set up—all you have to do is copy and paste some code given to you from Google in the places you'd like the ads to appear on your website. Google will then show ads from advertisers that are a match to the content on your website so that ideally your website visitors see relevant ads.
Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, Ruth’s bestselling book, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), offers solid advice and practical action plans for writing amazing content that gets noticed and shared, creating compelling images, growing blog traffic, maximizing revenue, and turning your blog into a profitable business.
If you want to set yourself up for success, then you should invest in a self-hosted blog. A self-hosted blog is when you pay a company such as Bluehost to “park” your website in their “parking lot.” The company owns all the servers that you’re able to use to host your own content on (i.e. your blog). This service comes with a monthly fee of course.
However, if you’re looking to build a business out of your blog or make money blogging, I would highly recommend some of the paid (yet still very affordable) options that I’m going to cover below. If you're on the fence about whether to use a free or paid hosting provider to get started... here’s why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:
One of the biggest concerns for me, when I launched my blog, was what platform to use. I knew I had to purchase a domain name and hosting, but how to bring them together and make them work as one was a mystery to me. Because I was a new to tech world, I knew I wanted something easy, yet something that looked professional. However, the easy solutions that were already put together looked amateurish and unprofessional.
This direct connection to the reader is one of the main benefits of starting a blog. This connection allows you to interact and share ideas with other like-minded people. It also allows you to build trust with your readers. Having the trust and loyalty of your readers also opens up the door to making money from your blog, which is something I discuss later in this guide.
And while the name you choose is one of the more important parts of setting up your blog, remember that it's something you can always change in the future—so don't let this step hold you back. Just choose something that's close to the topics you're planning to blog about, or you can even grab yourname.com or yournickname.com (like I've done with my blog here) and let's keep moving.
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.