However, if you’re looking to build a business out of your blog or make money blogging, I would highly recommend some of the paid (yet still very affordable) options that I’m going to cover below. If you're on the fence about whether to use a free or paid hosting provider to get started... here’s why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:
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+.
Finally, in order to build a blog that actually makes money, you need to get social. You need to collaborate with others. Communicate with leaders in your niche. Reach out and share other bloggers’ content. Acknowledge their work and give them positive feedback. Don’t be pushy about it and don’t look for anything in return. It doesn’t quite work that way.
As we mentioned before, professional bloggers average about $138,046 in annual profit. On the other side of that, we have serious bloggers who aren’t yet professionals earning an average of $9,497. That’s nothing to scoff at either, but it’s worth noting you probably shouldn’t start out by quitting your job. These are bloggers who are serious enough to earn cash but haven’t broken through to make a full-time career of blogging. You can learn more about the blogging industry by reading the complete State of the Blogging Industry 2017.
If your answer was the former, you’re wasting your time. In fact, if you’re not starting a blog because you’re inherently passionate about whatever it is you’re blogging about, it truly is a lost cause. Why? Because building a blog to any semblance of an audience is an astronomical feat. I don’t tell you that to scare you. Only to prepare you for what’s to come.
“How to Blog for Profit is hands down the best blogging book 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 book 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 book, I have increased my site traffic by over 500,000 unique visitors per month. For real. Ruth is brilliant! What more can I say?!” -Crystal Paine @ Money Saving Mom
If you want to set yourself up for success, then you should invest in a self-hosted blog. A self-hosted blog is when you pay a company such as Bluehost to “park” your website in their “parking lot.” The company owns all the servers that you’re able to use to host your own content on (i.e. your blog). This service comes with a monthly fee of course.
Great question! Yes, starting on a free platform limited my visibility to search engines (there are so many spammy blogs and sites that are self-hosted, I think that google just ignores all of them). They also don’t have the speed that self-hosted plans can. (readers don’t want to sit around waiting for a site to load) While you can do custom blog URLS with some free platforms, if you have the /blogger or /wordpress web address, it just doesn’t look as professional or legit to potential readers and sponsors. It also limited my ability to customize and optimize my blog design for growing my audience and income. There may be other reasons someone more technical than myself could explain, but all in all, I saw my traffic increase almost over night after I switched over. I hope that helps a bit! Best wishes with your blog!
Thank you Jessica for the information. I’ve read just about all of your blog posts and they have helped me, someone that loves using tech but not so tech savvy when it comes to building a blog. You made it easy right from the start and as I was thinking of questions they were being answered as I read a little more. Thanks again. (if you go to my web page it’s still in demo mode until I have enough material to begin!)
“As a newer 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!“
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.)
Ever since the idea of online auctions came into existence, the online selling market has been on the rise. Many are interested, but don’t know how to get started. There are still all kinds of ways to make money by selling online, whether you’re selling what you already have or buying and selling like a store. Before we get started, here are a few general tips when selling anything online:
But until that moment where you've written 10 posts, you haven't yet proven to yourself or to anyone else that you actually have what it takes to be a blogger. You're just going to be one of those people who writes a couple of blog posts and then fizzles out and doesn't do anything. There are so many of those people in the Internet- don't add to it.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.
Bluehost will ask if you want to purchase a ton of add-ons to your package. We don’t think any of these are absolutely necessary, but you might want to consider privacy protection. It’s less than $1 a month, and it’ll keep your contact information private. Note, though, savvy searchers will know how to check this information, and if it’s anonymous, it could hurt your credibility.
For example, if your hobby is cooking, start with the different categories of recipes you enjoy cooking: Baking, Grilling, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Beef, Chicken, Crockpot, Budget, Exotic, etc. Then break it down from there: Baking: Cookies, Pies, Cakes, Breads, Quick Breads, Baking Tips, etc. If you’re not coming up with enough categories, sub-categories, and topic ideas, it’s probably not a sustainable topic for you.
If you look at a few articles with the title “How to Become a Successful Blogger,” you may find a good portion of them focusing on how to get a domain name, purchase a hosting account and all that jazz. While these things do affect how you blog, they have very little impact on your ability to grow your blog. I do, however, recommend steering clear of free blogging platforms like WordPress.com and Blogger as their limitations will affect your ability to grow.
Hi Jamie, this is great. I am totally new to the idea of blogging for myself and your website is clear and jargon free. From everything I have read, it seems it’s about having a subject you are either very knowledgeable in or are passionate about and then sharing that information with other people who may find it useful through blog posts. Once the audience are there, then looking at ways to monetise through audience numbers, if I’ve got it right?
28. Subscription – If you think of something valuable (newsletter, online magazine, etc.) that you can consistently offer on a certain basis (weekly, monthly, etc.), you may want to offer a subscription service. This could be a fee charged each time your product is sent out or on a monthly basis. Either way, this has to be something that your customers can only get by subscribing to your website.
If you are blogging about one specific topic then you will definitely want to include that in some way in your blog name. Try not to get hung-up on just one word though. For example, a cooking blog doesn’t necessarily have to have the word “cooking” in it. The words “food”, “recipes”, and “meals” would also let people know that your blog is about cooking.
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.
While the first crucial step to getting your blog started today is registering your domain name and setting up hosting (get 65% off your domain and hosting right here from Bluehost), my free course breaks the entire process of starting a blog and actually growing it, down into an incredibly simple 7-day process for going from zero to publishing (and promoting) your first blog post in less than 1 week. I can't recommend it enough.
Wow, you really are just a breath away from starting your blog, and wish all the passion and organization you already have, you have such a great start. I know I already mentioned in the post, but I wouldn’t let choosing a domain name hold you back from starting your blog as it really can be changed pretty easily down the road if you find you just hate it. Some variation on your own name is an easy place to start. I hope to hear back from you someday soon that you’ve started your blog! :)
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.
The more involved you become with blogging, the more your creative juices will flow. That’s one reason why blogging is so popular. As you gain knowledge about your topic, the confidence you build in your followers and most importantly, in yourself, will soar. All of this leads to increased creativity. Keep an open mind and enjoy your new-found confidence in your own abilities!
When you start a blog to make money you often forget that it will require patience – but if you’ve been at this a few months and still aren’t seeing any income, you may be making one of these very basic mistakes. Lesson 13 will go over identifying your problem areas and provide some solutions to help you conquer these issues and start making money with your blog!
Blogging is hard and what I find to be the hardest for me is constant writers block. Evey time I sit down at the computer to write the mind just goes blank. I wonder if that is just me or happens to others also. Or maybe it means that I am not a good communicator or maybe too much disciplined as I am pushing myself too much instead of letting the creativity come naturally. Just don know 🙁
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.
So now you have 15 reasons why you should start a blog, and we’ve shown you how to start a blog, step-by-step, based on our personal experience. But after giving you those detailed instructions, which could save you hundreds of hours of wasted time, we also want to give you some good reasons why you should not start a blog. (Keep in mind that these reasons are just our opinions, and we do not pretend to offer them up as a collection of empirical blogging maxims.)
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.
If you want to be famous or reach a wide audience, you will have to choose something slightly broader and work hard to make the best content for that topic. A subtopic relating to fitness, finance, or relationship advice is likely to reach the most people. Consider specific but broadly applicable topics such as managing money in college, or a marriage counseling blog.
Show proof that you’re part of their community: You can show your readers that you’re part of their community in a number of ways. Do you write for other blogs or sites that are in your niche or actively contribute to popular communities and forums? What about adding a testimonial or social post from someone in the industry who read and liked your blog.
If you scour the web, you'll find companies like Aweber, Get Response, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact and loads of others when it comes to email marketing. The first thing you need to do is to pick one of those companies and integrate it into your blog. Second, you need to develop a free offer. What will you give away in exchange for that lucrative email address?
I would also suggest that if bloggers have the time, they need to think about their social media strategy too as this can help amplify your posts. I’m not talking about just setting up social accounts for the sake of it, but to really think about what platforms your social audience is most likely to be using. And not to start off with them all at once, see how it goes and adapt and refine. Once you’ve got the foundations right then look to open it up to other platforms.
I will also tell you that I believe, based on my experiences so far (and the experiences of my bloggy friends) that if you are not willing to invest, you will either not succeed at all – or it will take you a very very long time. The money I have put into this blog has not only motivated me to succeed, but it allowed me to succeed, by learning (quickly) the things I needed to know.)