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.
Transparency. Being transparent is different from being honest. You needn’t share every detail about your life just for the sake of being honest. Always be honest, and be transparent when it adds value to what you’re writing. (Because everything we write must serve the greater good, you won’t ever see pictures of us using the restroom—that’s just not relevant.)
The reasoning behind this is simple. If your aren’t earning money, you’re not truly “in business.” Your blog is merely a hobby you do in your spare time. On the other hand, how much revenue you need to earn to be considered a success depends on the amount of money you need to survive and the expenses your business has. Basically, as long as you still have money leftover after paying your personal and business bills, you’re golden.
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If you do decide to hire a designer, it’s always a good idea to do your homework beforehand and know exactly what you’re after. There’s nothing more time-consuming (and expensive) than going back and forth with a freelancer because you didn’t have a clear vision of what you wanted in the first place. If you're looking for more sites to track down some freelance designers, check out my list of the best freelance job sites.
A blog is a website. Until the internet changes so much that we do not use websites as a publishing platform, a blog will remain a viable option. That is of course until a better publishing platform replaces it, which will happen eventually (some might say it already has in the case of mobile apps, although I don’t see apps as a direct competitor to blogging).
Keep it simple: At the end of the day, the goal of starting a blog is to share content that can be easily consumed (read, watched, experienced). And unfortunately, a lot of fancy blog themes get in the way of that. Don’t get too drawn in by crazy looking themes that compromise on legibility and usability. If a theme looks good, but doesn’t help you share your thoughts and engage with readers, it’s not a good theme.
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.
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?

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”.
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.

Note: When you send a post or page to the trash, it’s not deleted entirely. It will be held in the Trash folder. You’ll know you have things in the Trash because a “Trash” link will appear to the right of All / Published / Drafts / Private near the top of the window. You can restore something from the Trash if you’d like by clicking on the “Trash” link, hovering over the item you want to restore and clicking the appropriate link.
You want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. Even if you’re not interested in making money from your blog, I am assuming that you at least want other people to read it – yes? Then the same rules apply.

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.
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.
In a version of the service called Blogger in Draft,[14] new features are tested before being released to all users. New features are discussed in the service's official blog.[15] In September 2009, Google introduced new features into Blogger as part of its tenth-anniversary celebration. The features included a new interface for post editing, improved image handling, Raw HTML Conversion, and other Google Docs-based implementations, including:
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.
Your content absolutely deserves to be updated on a regular basis. There’s always new information popping up, new data, new techniques, methods, products, or whatever else it is that you write about. Your audience wants to read about what’s new. Google wants to see you write about it too. Literally, the world wants you to keep your content up to date. If you don’t … goodbye your Google rankings.
With Bluehost, there are three hosting options to choose from, Basic for $2.95/month, or Plus or Prime for $5.45/month — these prices are only available through my link, normally it's $3.95 and $5.95 a month) If you have the funds, I’d suggest going with the Plus Plan, because you get more unlimited features; and as your website grows you can switch to a more robust plan.
At the time of this writing, I’ve been blogging for only 1 1/2 years. And most of that time I spent on my podcast and writing my book – not blogging. And yet one day I realized – hey, I can make money blogging! The last time I published my monthly online income, my blog made $40,560.20.  You can find out more reading my income reports. And I don’t say that to brag, but to show you, you can do it.

If you're passionate about a subject and you have decent writing skills, blogging definitely could be an alternative career path for you. The short answer is, yes, it is possible to make a living—a very good one, even—by writing online. On the other hand, the hard truth is most of the millions of bloggers today don't make enough to support themselves just with their blogs. Let's take a look at what's involved.
I guess, based on my computer abilities, that I knew that blogging wouldn’t be easy but I just wish someone had been a little more HONEST with me about what it would take. I also wish, that the first “how to start a blog tutorial” I ever used had held my hand throughout the process a little more. (I am a classic victim of the how to start a blog tutorials that ONLY take you through step one!)
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