In the end, running a blog is one of those things that seems simple in itself, but the gap between just doing it and doing it to its fullest potential is actually huge. There’s just so many moving parts! There’s WordPress itself, writing content, editing, formatting, hosting, SEO, link building, social media, email lists, networking, and on and on and on.
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.
In case you don’t know what Adsense is or how CPC advertising works (cost-per-click), basically Google gives advertisers a pre-determined amount of money each time someone clicks on an advertisement on your blog (from as small as $.01/click to some keywords raking in as much as $100/click based on a bidding system/how competitive a particular keyword is).
Social Media – To help spread the word about new posts on your blog, you'll want to create social media profiles with some of the various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Each platform has its own pros and cons and which ones you choose to use will depend on your bandwidth and niche. I suggest starting with two – three and investing time in nurturing and growing them before adding more to the mix.

If you’ve spent a lot of time writing that week and just need a break from working on a post, it may be a productive way to spend an hour or two but I personally think your time could be better spent elsewhere. (This isn’t to say that you can’t find success utilizing this method, I just don’t see many/any people doing it and reporting back that it’s really helped them).
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.

Be Honest. Your blog needs to be authentic—it needs to feel real—if you want people to read it. You can be your blog, or your blog can be you. That is, do you really embody the stuff you write about? If not, people will see through it. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is the famous Gandhi quote. Perhaps bloggers should build the blog they want to write for the world.
Of course this is just my own personal interest, you may be a keen amateur photographer, a budding cake decorator or want to write about travelling across Australia. So, carry out your research online by looking at different websites in Google and even on social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest to see where the money making niches are, where the people are and if these niches are growing or shrinking. It will save a lot of heartache later down the line.

These “old men” to me at the time, also have their mentors who came before them. I remember listening to interviews (and you still hear this today), and names like Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert were mentioned as the pioneers before internet marketing, back when direct response was all about paper sent in the mail, or full page ads in trade journals or magazines.
What does it mean to deliver value? Either your posts have to be extremely informative, in that they teach people how to do something useful, or they need to be entertaining or provide value in another format. Your posts also need to be engaging. Don’t expect people to spend a lot of time or even share any of your content if your posts don’t deliver value and they’re not engaging.
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).
You also need to do things like select a theme. What will your design look like? Will you use a standard theme that's free or will you splurge on a premium theme? There are literally hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes that can be chosen to hep you with the design and layout of your blog. Two of my favorite options for sourcing premium WordPress themes are Envato's Theme Forest and Template Monster.
What does this mean for you? How can you increase the authenticity on your blog? Be as authentic as you can possibly be. You don't need to write an autobiography on your About us page nor do you need to pour your heart and soul out every time you write a new blog post. You should, however, put enough personality and personal anecdotes into your posts so your audience knows you're all in this together.
Allow readers to purchase your own products or donate to your cause through your blog. If you have an online store for selling arts and crafts, or you create T-shirt designs available through a clothing website, provide links to those sites. Including a PayPal button for quick, safe purchases or donations is a common way to monetize creative blogs, or blogs that provide free advice or assistance to those who can't afford it.
Some people will argue that you shouldn't start a blog in a niche that isn't too popular. For example, if you want to write about something like crocheting or playing a specialized instrument, understand that the appeal of the blog can only be as large as the total global audience in your prospective language. Some things simply don't have a large audience.
Okay, so there are a ton of other considerations. For the sake of brevity, I’ll have to skip over all the little nuances that are involved with configuring things properly and optimizing for things like search engine optimization and installing plugins and so on. If you want to learn about SEO, I would recommend checking out my course on Udemy or one of my books or audiobooks on the topic.
Paying for clicks and traffic on social media or in the search engines can be a great option to market your blog. A lot of the information about blog marketing covers the organic options. While some of these can turn your blog into a popular destination quickly the more likely scenario is that it will take time for you to build communities to promote your blog content.

Now we’re revvin’ up the traffic engine of the blog income formula (first part, step #1). First things first, let me say when it comes to driving web traffic, social media and content are interrelated. Where one goes, the other must follow, which is why step #4 is broken down into two parts. In case you’re wondering which part to tackle first, I say both, friend. You really can’t have one without the other.
Direct Income – when I started making money from my blogs it was through ‘direct’ income streams. I put AdSense ads on my blog and promoted some products on Amazon as an affiliate and the more readers I had the more income began to trickle in (it really was a trickle at first). In time as my traffic grew this income grew and I was also able to experiment with other direct forms of income such as selling advertising directly to advertisers.
Outstanding Customer Service. Bluehost’s customer service is 100% US-based. With hold times that average less than 30 seconds and 100% in-house, on-site staff in their Texas offices, you can rest assured that the person helping with your site knows how to help. In other words, if you have any questions, they will help you through the entire set-up process.

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.
Some people will argue that you shouldn't start a blog in a niche that isn't too popular. For example, if you want to write about something like crocheting or playing a specialized instrument, understand that the appeal of the blog can only be as large as the total global audience in your prospective language. Some things simply don't have a large audience.
We use BYLT for our theme, a platform created by SPYR. They have a number of beautiful, simple WordPress themes to choose from, and, in fact, you can purchase the same theme we use if you like. Simply go to their site and find the theme that best fits your desired aesthetic. BYLT’s themes are feature-rich plus, once you buy your theme, you will have the same team supporting your work that we trust to support ours.
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!).
Post your article links on social media and blog directories. Get traffic to your site with frequent updates on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Find blogging communities that match your readership and post links to relevant articles on their comments or forums. This helps in getting traffic to your site as well as raising your search engine rankings.
Sign up for affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a very popular way of monetizing a blog because it capitalizes on your readers’ trust of you. If your posts always deliver quality content, then your audience is more likely to trust product or service recommendations. You can provide links or recommendations to relevant products and get a commission from any sales driven by your blog.[44][45]
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.).

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

So, in order to gain visibility, you have to go directly to the source. You need to tap already-established bloggers by offering them your great content with a chance to secure a single link back to your own site. Keep in mind, this isn’t about exchanging blog posts or links. No, do not do that. This is about offering to write for existing platforms that will help you build your own audience.
If you are using a free blog hosting service instead of your own domain name, you must provide high quality content with a limited number of relevant links or risk being shut down. If you are only interested in writing short, quick product reviews in order to earn money, you will need to host your own blog. Be warned that low-content, high-link blogs are a less reliable, though lower effort, way to earn money.
Internal Linking. Internally link to other content on your blog to organize it better for web crawlers. In addition, aim to have other websites link back to your website (through guest posting, blog comments, or just by publishing quality content others want to mention on their own site) so Google and other search engines can reward you for being authoritative and rank your blog posts higher.
You have to be careful with statements like it’s just about getting people to give you an email address and that is where the relationship starts – it’s not, the reason why they signed up to your list is where it starts and frames the communication you then continue via the list. You are dealing with the motivation behind why people make decisions and every single point of interaction matters, not just what goes on with the email list.
hey i actaully have 2 questions about starting a blog..1. is that if i just have a free blog on WordPress, and my blog is owned by them, will i still get money for it?? 2. i already made a free WordPress blog, but in case of any mind changes can i switch to a hosting company while still keeping the page i have already made? or would i have to start all over again?
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!
By now you’ve probably come across the term “plugin”, and you might be wondering what the heck that is and if you need any of ’em. There are pros and cons to plugins, and you definitely don’t just want to dive in and start installing plugins left and right. Lesson 5 is an overview of what plugins are, how to install them, and what to be careful about regarding plugins when you start a blog.

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.
When I started this book, I honestly was considering what the heck I was doing with my blog. It wasn’t fun anymore! Ruth really helps you rethink your direction, and motivates you to find what you really enjoy doing, which will make you do that better than just ‘whatever’. She also has a great ‘Action Plan’ at the conclusion of every chapter that really help you stay organized and break things down. Her down-to-earth talk and honesty really brings her message across, and helps the reader feel that making money with your blog is completely do-able. She also points out that nobody can do everything, offers helpful organization and time management tips, including free printables, and just gives you that ‘push’ you need to take your blog to the next level.
And if you want to maximize your blog’s potential for earning an income (maybe the reason you're learning how to start a blog in the first place?), then it’s always worth it to own your platform and go with a self-hosted WordPress blog, powered by a hosting provider like Bluehost that'll have your back on any of the technical questions & issues you run into.
Of course this is just my own personal interest, you may be a keen amateur photographer, a budding cake decorator or want to write about travelling across Australia. So, carry out your research online by looking at different websites in Google and even on social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest to see where the money making niches are, where the people are and if these niches are growing or shrinking. It will save a lot of heartache later down the line.
You can become a successful blogger if you are a good communicator. Some people think that a blogger’s work is over after writing the article. But they are wrong. The main work starts after the completion of the article. A blogger needs to promote that article on social networking sites and then he should also reply to all the comments he got on his article. You need a good communication skills for this. So improve your communication skills if you want to become a successful blogger.
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!).
Hi Ramsay I think I may have replied to someone else’s comment! Thanks for your very helpful article. I have a lot of learning to do. I signed up with Blue Host rather impulsively, and paid $7.95 for 12 months- and only then found your website with the excellent deal of $2.95. I have another blog but now want to start a new one but I realize I’m not quite ready. Can I cancel with Blue Host – I’m still within the 30 days – and sign up later, but, most importantly, I don’t want to lose my domain name. Thanks.
After you've determined the right way to help a handful of your readers solve a real problem they're encountering, pitch them (individually in a very personalized manner either over email or ideally on the phone) on pre-ordering your course and getting direct coaching from you in the meantime while you work on building out the actual course material.
Hey Alex & Lauren! All this information has been so usefull and so easy to understand, i am very grateful. But i have a query, i live in a country in South America (Chile) where spanish is the main language, therefore i don`t know if its best to create my blog in spanish (which is easier for me because i have much more vocabulary and grammer skills) or go with the world wilde language English. Hoping to hear from you guys, thanks!
Firslty thank you for sharing all this great info, so far everything you have explained has worked. However I am stuck on the “choosing my theme”, I am hesitant because I don’t know if I am STUCK with whatever I choose and at this point I want a longterm awesome working blog and website. Can I try themes out to actually understand what I want or do I just choose and then that’s it I am stuck with it. Most importantly I want to be able to add “ads” so I can make some income from my site, just to cover some of my expenses and time, but I have no idea which themes allow this and how do I find out. Frustrated and stuck in limbo for a couple weeks now. Thanks for your help
My decision to learn how to start a blog and begin making money from it on the side of my day job, is what propelled me into building a six-figure freelance writing business with clients like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Google, Intuit and more. On top of that, starting a blog has helped me generate thousands of dollars in passive income each month and book interviews with some of the world’s top entrepreneurs for my podcast.
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