Email subscriptions is one of your most important priorities as a blogger, if not the most important. Highly engaged email lists are at the core of every successful blog. Unfortunately, managing and sending emails on a list involves a lot of spam regulatory laws, which means you’ll need a reputable email marketing service. There are quite a few great services which can handle your email broadcasts, autoresponders, and more.
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.

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.
Add Value. Your blog must add value to its readers’ lives. You want to help people solve problems. This is the only way you will get great quality readers to your site (and keep them coming back). Adding value is the only way to get someone’s long-term buy-in. We both learned this after a decade of leading and managing people in the corporate world. With everything you write, it’s worth asking: Is this adding value?
Two of the most popular social media platforms in use are Facebook and Twitter. You can add native videos to Facebook and cater to those that love to watch videos, you can Tweet instant updates on Twitter and invite followers to check out your new blog post. And most importantly, no matter which network you use, you can expand your reach to an audience base you never even knew about.
Lack of support. Companies don’t offer free blogs out of the goodness of their hearts. They still want to make money somehow. If you’re only using their free service, they’re not making money from you. Therefore, they don’t have a lot of incentive to keep you happy. Sometimes this means you’ll have little to no support. Other times it means you’ll be badgered with offers for their paid-for products.
What should you do first? Great question! If you’re feeling stuck on which comes first – the chicken or the egg – the answer is really both.  It may seem like a lot to juggle, but as I explain (Step #3 below), even though you’ll be dipping into all of your buckets each month, some will have a priority focus over others. For instance, if you’re starting out with blogging, in months #1-3 you may have a priority focus on:
Ruth’s ebook is hands down the best blogging ebook I’ve ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough and will be telling every new and seasoned blogger I know to get a copy!   This ebook is comprehensive, but not overwhelming, and packed with amazing information. And I don’t say that lightly.  You see, by implementing the Pinterest strategies that Ruth suggests in her ebook, I have increased my site traffic by over 500,000 unique visitors per month. For real. Ruth is brilliant! What more can I say?!
Every time you add a plugin to your site, you add more computer code to the back end. And more code means more for the search engines and other computer-y things to wade through. And more to wade through often means a slower site. No one likes slower sites, not readers and especially not search engines like Google (which we are all trying to please so they send visitors our way!).
Hey Shannon so I read your post a while ago but I didn’t comment, just because as I was setting it up the total for the package was $118 with what I picked is that upfront? Or would I make the payments of $2.95 I opted out because I don’t have the money yet. And like you said I don’t want to start a free one I rather invest in one but I just wanted to be sure if that amount if required upfront when paying for the package? Then after the payments of 2.95 for 36 months?
The problem is many of our blog idols are very much like I have been in the past, spreading the gospel of large numbers (not always overtly – but displaying your traffic counter as social proof does make people see big numbers as an indication of success). People then pursue the same path, just like you share in your story – quantity instead of quality, when it should be the other way around.
To become a successful blogger you will have to choose the right niche and work on attaining the highest form of knowledge within that topic. So pick the one that appeals to you—the one you are passionate about and most interested in. Strive for success, happiness, and recognition. By choosing the niche of interest and having your own point of view you’ll be able to differentiate your personal blog from the competition.
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.
He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.

2. You can migrate to a self hosted blog later on but if you don’t have your own custom domain name then you’ll lose the traffic you have built up. A domain name is going to cost you $15 from WordPress.com whilst a domain name + 1 years hosting at Just Host is around $27 for the sake of around $12 I think it makes sense to start off totally in control.
Hi and thanks for all the info. These are great step by step instructions. I am new to blogging and this is my first attempt. I have my domain name from NameCheap. I just purchased hosting with HostGator. Now, when I go to install WordPress, I am not finding the install you mention in your blog. I already installed one time and followed the free link (which looked completely different from your graphics) but I never saw the bar saying your install is complete and I never got any login credentials. When I checked My Installs, WordPress was listed there. Since I could not find the credentials, I uninstalled it. What am I doing wrong here? I think I need to start over!
I recently hit my 5 year anniversary at my current job it got me thinking about what I actually want to be doing with my life. I’ve flirted with the idea of starting a blog for a few years, but it’s scary! You mentioned that not only is blogging a great way to communicate, it can also help you to become a better person and a better writer. I love a good opportunity to better myself, and I think I might have to give it a try!

This is such a helpful post. Thanks, Carly! My one big question is how do you do this (maintain and publish a blog) while being a stay at home mom? I would love to do what you’re doing more than anything. I have a two year old and another one on the way, and I feel like I absolutely have what it takes to be a blogger, but with how busy littles ones can keep you, I have a hard time imagining making it all work. I’m new to your blog. How often do you post? How many hours a day do you typically spend on the blog? (By the way, I noticed that you responded to the comment above mine at 12:20 am, that could be my answer–ha!)
Your SEO strategy should start with the basics. Make sure your website is optimized for speed and mobile devices. You can also install a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you set up a sitemap and get your indexes, keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions in order. You should learn how to perform proper keyword research after that as well as how to use those keywords in your posts. After that, you can learn about more complicated SEO techniques, such as white hat link building and brand building. Of course, creating unique and valuable content will help with this as well.

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.
Now, whether you use your own name or a product name for your biz really depends on which you prefer. I recommend choosing a name that makes you feel 100% authentically YOU, and at the same time encompasses your longer term vision. For instance, if you plan to grow your team beyond just you, a product name might be the way to go. Try to include keywords related to your blog’s focus so that people have an idea what your biz is all about.

Wow really great list of tips, even for non beginners! I agree Ahrefs is probably the best SEO tool for bloggers, but honestly Google Webmaster Tools is the first place to start to monitor your search traffic. Ahref is really expensive, and for new comers, probably overkill. I recently started a new blog, and am more than happy with the data provided by Webmaster Tools.

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.


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.
I can’t offer people a whole world of knowledge yet but what I can say is that if you have been spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere, press pause on your operations for a bit (not more than a week or two at most, doing nothing will also get you nowhere) and re-educate yourself with articles like this and re-work your tactics where necessary.

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?
If you start constructing your blog through wordpress.COM, you will likely spend a lot of time picking a theme and starting to write and organize your posts, only to discover that wordpress.COM does NOT support any ways to monetize your site. You can NOT place any adds on a wordpress.COM hosted site. Of course, that defeats the whole purpose of having a "blog for profit".
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