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.)
Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.

Hi Kari! I think you’re understanding me correctly. Your readers will initially find you through your WordPress blog. Hopefully, you’ll be offering them lots of amazing articles that they’ll love, so they will want to join your email list. On your blog, you’ll need to include a link to your email sign up (you can see some on my blog at the bottom of posts. Hope that helps answer your question! :)


Okay? A what? Sorry if I lost you. However, if you're serious about ensuring the blog that you started will make some serious coin over time, you need what's called a value ladder and a sales funnel. If you've never heard of these two concepts, let me explain. First of all, you need a system for email marketing. There are plenty of great plugins and programs to send out emails.
According to this definition, many news and big time entertainment magazines are all blogs now. At least, their online versions are! It may sound silly, but the takeaway here is that the word ‘blog’ doesn’t intrinsically mean something is reliable or not – it simply refers to a perfectly legitimate style of publication. Like anything, common sense is key. It is always a good idea to research the creator of the blog to check whether they have a good reputation for publishing solid information.
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.
SEO friendliness: SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to how well Google and other search engines can find your information when people search for it. Some themes use bulky code that makes it difficult for search engines to read. And while no one expects you to inspect a theme’s code you should see if the developer has said it is optimized for SEO.
Our friend Bobby realized that soon after he started his blog. His site wasn’t making any money at the time, so he needed to find another way to bring in some cash. That’s when he started reaching out to other businesses offering his services doing the things he’d learned from blogging (Facebook ads, writing online content, social media strategy, etc.).
If you aren’t part of an ad network then you are constantly searching for new companies to advertise on your site. This one was always a pain in the ass for me. I wanted to spend time making my site better, but if I ignored selling my ad space then I wouldn’t have money to continue to make my site better. You can join an ad network, but that means you are giving up a percentage of the revenue. Work hard to only get 50% of the money? Bleh.

It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the “How to start a profitable blog in 10 minutes and earn $5000 / month while you sleep!” articles that you see out there. But the thing is, those articles leave out some details – they do this on purpose, so that you go ahead and start your blog RIGHT NOW, without giving it any thought – so the writers can earn commission on hosting sales. Many bloggers earn so much money from hosting sales with their how to start a blog tutorial that they hardly even need to try making money anywhere else on their blog.


Leaving Work Behind is a relatively small blog when it was started as a personal project in 2011. Now, it is a thriving business with a team of editors, writers, and resources to help freelancers further their careers through the power of blogging. In other words, we’ve seen the whole process transform from a single person into a platform that supports a team of passionate visionaries.
The internet has afforded us that freedom. We have the freedom to become digital nomads and earn an income from anywhere in the world. The majority of those that succeed in this endeavor opt for starting a blog. They escape to some exotic destination such as the tropical jungles of Costa Rica or the sugary-white-sanded beaches of Mexico where they can live on the cheap while building their digital empires.
Hello! I read your article with pleasure. I was glad that you were not beating around the bush but instead said in a straight-forward way that if anyone expects results, she/he must invest in their business. You outlined few downsides of choosing to have a blog for free. I think this is a very crucial decision and it impacts the way future blogger will act in the future. I remember when I started 6 years ago, I wanted to reach the tops by not spending a single dime. I ended up with wasted hours, frustration and no single earned penny in my pocket. If we want to do something well, we need to invest proper resources. All the best in 2018!

According to this definition, many news and big time entertainment magazines are all blogs now. At least, their online versions are! It may sound silly, but the takeaway here is that the word ‘blog’ doesn’t intrinsically mean something is reliable or not – it simply refers to a perfectly legitimate style of publication. Like anything, common sense is key. It is always a good idea to research the creator of the blog to check whether they have a good reputation for publishing solid information.
Also, not all plugins work together that well. Sometimes you’ll stumble upon things interfering with each other, thus making your site crash (worst case scenario) or your performance drop significantly (best case). And don’t even get me started on having multiple plugins trying to do the exact same thing (installing W3 Total Cache on top of WP Super Cache, for instance).
Start your search for a theme as soon as your WordPress platform is installed. The look and feel of your blog rely on the theme you choose. Your readers will first notice the overall appearance, before even taking a look at the content. Choose a theme that looks great, but also works for your unique content needs. The default theme that comes with your WordPress blog installed is Twenty Seventeen—while it’s a good starter theme, you’ll want to choose a theme that is unique and compatible with your niche.
This is where having a clear content calendar becomes so important. If you can spend a couple hours each month mapping out all the posts you want to write, you’ll always know what you should be working on and when it’s due. This can be in a simple Google Doc like the one in my free blogging course, or by using a tool like Trello that lets you track posts through the whole process from idea to writing to published and promoting.
Always keep a capture device close by. Ideas can come to you at any time and if you don’t write them down then they can easily be forgotten and lost. So write down every idea for a blog post that you get and then evaluate if it's a good and useable one later on. I use a memo app on my smart-phone for this when I am out and about. And my computer when I'm at home.
That means that every goal, task and item in your blog action plan should be around these 4 areas in order to make money with your blog. Ideally, you will address each bucket every month, meaning that you set specific goals that you plan to achieve for each focus area, each month (blog, traffic, subscribers, product). This way you’ll be covering all bases and moving them all forward.
In March 2018, I started my first self-hosted blog and it was super easy, quick, and fun! At first, I was scared because I thought that it would be too hard and that I would struggle for days, weeks, or even months trying to figure everything all out. I was literally reading hundreds of articles about blogging which were all offering contradicting information. The overwhelm was real.

Ramsay, Over the years, your advice has helped me go from a blogging noob (even though I’d been blogging for years before I found you) to being able to launch a site that does what I want it to do and gets picked up in google searches within 24 hours – Wow! Thank you so much for all the knowledge you share. I just gave this post a tweet because I feel it is important to give back a little whenever I can… Happy Unicorn Day (9 April)! Lisa x
While there are other blogging platforms out there like Blogger.com and Tumblr.com, nearly every serious blogger uses a self-hosted WordPress site because of its creative freedom and flexibility. The Minimalists uses WordPress because it gives us greater control over the look and feel of our blog—more creative control than any other platform. Oh, and WordPress itself is free!
Please Note: I am an affiliate of Bluehost. That means, I’ll get a commission every time someone uses one of my links to sign up for the service. However, I do believe that Bluehost is one of the best hosting companies out there, with one of the best customer service departments, which is crucial when you’re doing something technical like hosting a 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+.


The one constant with trends is they do not last. They are always based on a new technique or technology and follow an interest cycle. Since human beings by their nature move on to something different, new and perceived as better (and usually ACTUALLY better), if you are attached to any one trend, you are doomed if you don’t adjust and keep up with the times.
I will tell you up front that within a month of starting my blog I had spent over 600 dollars and I chose to see it as an investment, one that I knew I might never get back. It was scary. I could have spent ten times that – but it would have been unnecessary. I will also tell you that my best (successful) blogging buddies have also spent AT LEAST that much within their first months.
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