That’s why I created this ultimate guide that’s taken me years to build. In it, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know when it comes to learning how to start a blog and actually profit from it. I’ll show you the exact techniques and strategies I’ve used for both myself and my highest-profile clients I’ve helped to go from 0 to millions of readers a year. Most of all, we’re diving deep into how I went from learning how to start a blog myself, to making this blog a source of more than $100,000 in side income each year.
Learn about search engine optimization (SEO). The very basics of this is knowing which keywords to focus on. These are what people are searching for in the search engines, and how they might find your blog. Some of these keywords get a lot more searches than others get, so it's in your best interest to eventually choose the ones that do get searched for often. Keep in mind that these are often more competitive than ones that are searched for less -- but you might get lucky.
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.
Earn a living doing what you love! Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) will prove a valuable resource. The expanded second edition, offers solid advice and practical action plans for creating an authentic, successful, and profitable blog. Ruth Soukup shares how she grew her own blog to over one million monthly visitors, while earning a full time income, and writing about the things she truly cares about. In this book you will receive actionable steps to be able to achieve your goals:
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.
If you are planning to create a personal blog where you discuss a variety of topics then I recommend using your name, or some variation of it, since your blog is all about you. For example, I own the blog scottchow.com. You can also add your middle name or middle initial if you find your name is already taken. Or you could use a variation like “Scott Chow Blog” or “Blogging with Scott”.
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 😀
"Blogger for Word" is an add-in for Microsoft Word which allows users to save a Microsoft Word document directly to a Blogger blog, as well as edit their posts both on- and offline. As of January 2007, Google says "Blogger for Word is not currently compatible with the new version of Blogger", and they state no decision has been made about supporting it with the new Blogger. However, Microsoft Office 2007 adds native support for a variety of blogging systems, including Blogger.
A blogger should always be ready to learn. I m still a learner. I read a lot of other blogs to gain more knowledge. Mostly bloggers share their experiences so that others can learn from them. So do spend some time to read other blogs so that you can increase your knowledge. I’m sure you are one of those who are willing to learn, and that’s why you are here. But even you achieve few goals and get initial success, don’t quit reading. Reading is an essential requirement which will help you to stay updated with the latest information.
These are certainly stark and sobering insights! I’ve only added some content to my travel blog fairly recently. Travel is certainly a saturated area, but on the flipside I guess it also has broad appeal. This brings me to ponder point 10 – positioning. I have some ideas and some strategies in my head, but will mull over this. Yaro, by providing the authoritative insights that you (and others) do, how much do you think these insights have been responsible for raising market sophistication across the board? Do you think that this creates an ever increasing base standard for success? (notwithstanding the point that you make above that the market is growing). The impression I am left with is that where large amounts of competitive quality content exists (i.e. most fields), it is those that harness the lessons that you (and other experts) provide, in combination with their own original tactical strategies that will prosper. Your thoughts?
Hi Betsy, thanks for stopping by the blog. Yes, you can start a blog for free, but as I mentioned in the post, you’ll have a much better chance of success if you do go with a paid host. However, the investment is minimal. I have been earning a significant income through blogging that has allowed me to stay at home with my kids since about 2014, so I can say yes, it really does work. I hope you’re able to find the at home job you need!
“As a new blogger, I have been wanting a conversation–-a seasoned blogger to talk to me about the most popular ways to monetize my blog, the pros and cons of each of them, and give me realistic tips and goals to reach my future goal. Ruth did all of this. She has such a fantastic writing style that you feel like you are sitting down with her over a cup of coffee. The material is easy to navigate, covering the importance of good content before anything else, Pinterest, media kits, reviews, ads, and a whole lot more. Ruth is incredibly level-headed in her approach to monetizing her blog and truly believes and promotes that a blog full of good ideas, content and writing must come first. My favorite part is that every chapter ends with a “plan of action” which is great if you are truly looking to improve your blog. I can’t wait to put her tips and ideas into action and watch my blog grow!“ -Maggie @ The Love Nerds
Lastly, don’t be afraid or too shy to integrate your personality into your brand, and yes, your blog is your brand. Consumers want to buy products from brands they trust, and there are few greater ways to form relationships with them than by sharing your own thoughts and personal struggles in your niche, showing more of yourself, and generally being as authentic and transparent as possible.
Be professional. When you submit a résumé, don’t type it in ALL CAPS and please don’t avoid the caps lock like the plague. Know how to use it without looking incompetent. Write in complete sentences with proper grammar. Of course, there will be exceptions, but even with the exceptions, you must keep it professional. You’re building their view of you.
Focus your efforts on these keywords for now. Choose a big one that will take longer to reach, as well as three to four additional terms you're going to try to rank for. These should all be similar! Then, you're going to include these keywords in each blog post you make in various combinations. Always focus your posts on one term, and include the others only if they make sense. As you focus on these similar keywords the search engines will start to rank you more highly because your blog is tightly focused and relevant to what you're targeting.
21. Facebook – Facebook swap shops are great for selling things locally. It’s like CraigsList, but a little easier. You simply search for swap shops in your area and ask to join the group. Once you’re in, take a picture of the item, write a quick description with the price and post it. It doesn’t get much easier than that. You can generally expect to get about what you would get at a yard sale, maybe a little more.
This is the ultimate path to monetary success and independence, something that may have had an influence in your decision to become a blogger. Affiliate marketing, sponsorships and advertisements are great, but they all make you dependent on another company. This means you won't have complete freedom when it comes to the type of content you want to create and the decisions you make.
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?
“No blogging for profit book has made the difference to me and my blog like this one. If you only read ONE of these subject books – LET IT BE THIS BOOK!!! After finishing the book, my blog is totally getting revamped, I have the excitement for it again, and now my whole direction has changed to not only help me become more profitable, but also for me to get back to ENJOYING what I do, which is really the best part!” -Danielle @ Busy Moms Helper
27. Sponsored/paid posts – Many blogs publish sponsored and paid posts. Sponsored posts are basically just posts about a specific brand, product or service. A company will pay you to publish an article about it. It’s similar with other paid posts as well. Your basically selling the spot for the article on your site. If you decide to take this route, you’ll want to build your traffic before you will get many offers.
Here's how affiliate programs work: You get a special tracking link from the company you're an affiliate for. Then, you'll place that link within posts on your blog, emails to your blog subscribers, and weave it in elsewhere that you reach your readers. When someone clicks on that tracking link and completes a purchase, sign up (or occasionally another metric), then you earn either a set fee or percentage of that sale.
Although I do think conversions are the most important thing I can recall when I first started out one of my sites and I was starting to get regular daily traffic of around 10 uniques, and then I had one day that spiked to 200. That was a very encouraging day. Just seeing that traffic spike gave me confidence and a drive to work harder towards my next goal. I had not made any conversions yet, no money. However, seeing that my hard work was doing something was very encouraging.
Hi Yaro, as usual a very strong and detailed post. Yes, nowadays it is very easy to get lost in the jungle of blogs. I think that if you plan to make a business with blogging, like I do, you first have to thoroughly study all the options available. And those options, as you just have mentioned, are ever increasing. Then there are people like me, who are artistic and thus more emotional, but also a bit introvert on the other site. I think the key to online success, or at least partially, is to literally start communicating with your future prospects. In the beginning that’s a bit scary, however I see a pattern emerging here. Talking to your prospects or subscribers is crucial for finding out what your audience is looking for with regard to both content and products. Even if you have a great sales funnel, it’s not of much use if you don’t know your audience well enough. This takes time, not only for yourself, but also for your future followers to accept you as their friend and mentor. It’s not only you who is shy, your audience is too.
It was a pleasant surprise for me to encounter your blog Yaro. Your obvious experience means that you have had the benefit of seeing what works. For me I commenced engaging online back 1996, but did not really begin seeing the potential for personal business development until 2009-since then I have commenced a blog trying to talk with ‘mature people’ who struggle with the online technicalities..I thought this was my niche. On the other hand I have tried to engage with too many niche areas at once-this is a hard lesson, but I have finally learnt it! Kudos to you for recognizing the vast possibilities at a young age. I genuinely like to help people, so it is an exercise in finding out how best to do just that.
Some bloggers may scoff at the idea of giving away anything for free, but it’s actually one of the most effective ways to grow an audience. This is because most Internet users aren’t going to take a chance on a product from a blogger they’ve never encountered unless that blogger has some form of social proof. Instead, you should fill your blog with free content your readers can use as “free samples” of your products or affiliate products.
WordPress is free open source software – you are referring to your web hosting company. Web hosts will inform you of any charges in advance and it is very easy to move to a new host. Some web hosts offer free transfers if you sign up for a contract of 12 months or more. The other thing to do to avoid sudden price hikes is pay for 36 months rather than 12.
Use a keyword research tool to gather even more ideas: We want a TON of these blog post topics, so let’s use a keyword explorer tool like Ahrefs (pictured above), Google Keyword Planner, or Moz to help us fill it out. These tools basically just show you terms and topics related to the ones you’ve already come up with, as well as how much traffic those terms are getting (to show that your audience cares about them!)
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.
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.
Have in-depth knowledge in your niche? Package it up into an ebook and sell it on your blog. I'd generally advise against selling it (at least exclusively) on Amazon or Kobo, as you'll probably be able to charge much less. If you've already built up a solid audience, you can probably change anywhere from $5 for a very short one, all the way up to $39+.
In addition to getting new readers to your blog, you will also want to make sure your current readers are coming back. This is where email marketing plays a big role. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors (with their permission of course), you can then notify them when you post something new on your blog. This keeps people coming back to your blog, which not only gives you more readers over time, it also allows you to build a closer relationship with your readers.
So let me start out by answering your first question: where does the income come from? I go into this in greater detail in my How to Make Money from a Blog post, but it sounds like you’ve got the idea. My main source of income is through ads, but I also earn money through my books and courses, affiliate commissions, my Etsy store, and occasionally sponsored posts.
Lets say, for example, that you refurbish and resell used smartphones out of your home. You could use a blog to attract visitors to your website where you list your current phones for sale. Your blog might cover topics about DIY refurbishing. On one level, it seems counterintuitive because you want people to buy your phones, but it also helps you build a brand and gain recognition. Social media guru Jay Baer explains the concept on Copyblogger: