Although you shouldn't start a blog with the intention of optimizing it to oblivion, you most certainly should understand the fundamental principles of search engine optimization so that you pay attention to the key aspects that will impact your ability to rank on search engines like Google. Begin with Google's Webmaster Guidelines, and digest and implement that information. Learning SEO is a long and drawn out journey. You should always be increasing your knowledge and expanding your skill set.

Bon Crowder runs the Math Four website. She finds the blogging aspect relatively easy and spends most of her energy on creating autoresponders. In fact, that’s where she spends quite a lot of her time! Setting up a system of autoresponders can take your blog a long way towards success. This is one example of spending your time on business strategy (i.e. engaging and growing your audience!) and how it can net positive results.


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!


Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.
Yaro, I’ve been noticing this trend for years now. “Blogging” is a “platform” that builds a “business”. Our internet marketing marketing community can be overly-focused on short term results at the expense of healthy business strategy. Thank you for level-setting us. We can certainly capitalize on trends, but not at the expense of being valueable in the marketplace.
Over time, as you move from this beginning phase of learning how to start a blog and into the stages where you're progressing in different ways to drive traffic to your website, growing your established base of readers and focusing on improving your domain authority, you'll be able to start competing on the bigger topics—but for now, picking a niche is the name of the game.
Affiliate sales comprise a large chunk of revenue for most big-name bloggers. For instance, Pat Flynn made $53K last month from affiliate sales, compared to "just" $9,500 from book sales. In general, look for affiliate products with higher price points; web hosting companies are a great choice if it makes sense in your niche, with payouts of anywhere from $60-$130+ per signup.
Of course, if you’re launching a blog for personal reasons and have no goals beyond the satisfaction of writing, these don’t impact you. However, if you’re trying to make money from blogging, it is very important to set realistic expectations of the work involved. Blogging for money is a form of business, which involves a few costs. Thankfully, blogging is relatively cheap compared to most other startups.
If you entered a new domain at the beginning, it takes 2-24 hours for it to become fully registered. When it’s ready, Bluehost will switch it for you automatically. If you used an existing domain or opted to choose a domain later, you can set it up when you’re ready. (If you’re unsure how to do that, call Bluehost support and they’ll walk you through.)
Once your hosting account is set up, it’s time to actually get WordPress up and running. Bluehost makes it really easy by installing WordPress in the background. You will be asked to choose a theme. A theme is like a skin for your blog. You can change your theme at any time. Scroll down and choose ‘Skip This Step‘. On the next screen, click on ‘Start Building‘ button to configure your blog.
As you can see there is no shortage of methods with regards to making money on your blog. While it might be tempting to try and make money right away, I would advise you to focus on getting a nice foundation built up. Offering services from day 1 can work out for you and bring in some clients, but as your blog grows you’ll find that your time is better spent making products.
Make money from home. Blogging can be quite lucrative if done correctly. The top bloggers in the world obviously earn quite a bit, but even a part-time blogger can expect to make a nice profit if things are done correctly. The best part about it is that blogging is a form of passive income, since you can spend just a few hours a week writing a blog post and then continue to make money from it long after the blog post is written. I go into much more detail on how to blog for money later in this guide.
Most hosting providers will provide you with a WordPress plugin and make it relatively easy to install WordPress on your hosting account. But it's your duty to locate the right provider and get the right hosting account. In the beginning, you won't need a high capacity account. But as you grow, you'll need to ensure you have the right amount of space and bandwidth to support your traffic. Those are good problems to have, but you won't have them in the beginning.
Readers want to be entertained. Do you have a fascinating story? Do you lead a wildly interesting life? Are you outrageously funny? Everyone needs down time and plenty of blogs exist purely to entertain. With all the available entertainment these days, the key is providing something totally unique. As a bonus, you could be entertaining and helpful at the same time. For example, if your quirky family raises llamas, talk about how you raise llamas not just that you raise llamas. Entertaining + helpful = a great combination.
Talk to people about what you’re doing: It might seem too simple, but tell the people around you what you’re doing. Get excited about your blog and share the things you’re working on. As Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking told me: “Maybe it’s just your friends reading you to start, but you should be responding to every comment and going out and commenting on other blogs. This is essentially your industry and these are your coworkers.”
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.).

PS: my answer to this question is always… “the better question is… how can my blog help me build a profitable business?” Most of the profits from blogging are not made on your blog, but that’s okay. I don’t believe blogging about making money per se, but about branding yourself and positioning yourself within your niche market as an authority and leader. Once that is established, there are so many ways to move people into your money making enterprises. Email marketing, as you pointed out, is one of the best ways to do this. Sending people to your membership sites, services, info products and coaching programs are all great things to route people into as well.


Great information altogether, but my main question still hasn’t been answered. I think I have Pinterest figured out and my traffic is gradually growing. I haven’t reached 5000 views per month yet but right now it seems like I will get 1000 page views in August and I started Pinterest mid-July with 0 views. I’m sure could be better, but not too bad either.
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:
As you build up your blog, expect to receive multiple sponsored post requests each day. These native ads can be a highly effective way for businesses to reach your audience in a non-threatening way - and they can be a highly effective way for you to make a lot of money. Just make sure the posts are actually interesting and relevant to your audience, and that you fully disclose the sponsored nature of the post.

Unfortunately, gazillions of awesome domain names have been already taken. Especially if you aim for the most popular .com domain. But don’t worry; if you can’t get the domain you wanted while registering for a hosting account, Bluehost will help you by letting you choose one later. Just by clicking the button, you can skip the registration of the domain. That will give you time to do some research and thinking. Try thinking about other options or maybe another extension like .net or any other that may be a good fit your blog.

Pick a topic that you are passionate about. Even if you don't have a passion, writing about your daily life can make for a good read, depending how you word it. If you are going to blog about what you did today, make it interesting. People are looking for a funny story or your opinion on a debatable subject. They may not be as willing to read how you changed a lightbulb today. Using photos can help enhance the reading experience and engage readers more.
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?!
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.
Google knows that most people will abandon a site that's slow-loading. To combat that, it's created the AMP specification to help ensure that pages load very quickly. AMP is successful at doing this by thinning down the page and removing extraneous bloated elements that take up a lot of front-loading resources. Specifically, you can learn more about the AMP specifications here. In short, here's a summary of what AMP does:
Perhaps most importantly, you need to choose a responsive design. The term responsive design simply means a design that works on all devices – desktop, tablets, and mobile. It is called this because the design is responsive and adapts its appearance based on the size of the screen it is being viewed on. This creates a pleasant, cohesive user experience for everyone. This is vital because since 2016, more people use the internet from their phones than from a computer desk!
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).

Keep in mind that even if you don’t have a completely clear plan for how you’ll make everything come together, that’s okay! What’s important is that you’re going in with the idea you’ll keep an eye out for these opportunities. A little bit of research ahead of time will help, but it’s not necessary to have everything planned out to the smallest detail right now.

Hi Jamie, the article is very helpful. I have a question though…I searched several niches on Google Trends. they all show between 75 to 100 searches. That makes it difficult for me to choose. I blog about many things within the lifestyle category. Do I really need to pick a niche? My goal is to be a social media influencer. I’m a practising artist though.


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
Consistency and success go hand in hand. They have for centuries, from the publication schedules old newspapers used to the publication schedule you use today. For example you see it in TV with weekly episodes. You see it in magazines with monthly issues. You even see it in sporting events with weekly games. Some of the most successful blogs use a posting schedule.
First of all, happy new year and once again you did a great job by sharing such a fantastic blog with all of us. It’s beneficial for everyone searching for this topic. I read many blogs on this topic, but the way you describe the things is really impressive. I just loved it. You make me feel proud that I am a reader of your blog. I read all of your blogs on a regular basis and honestly saying all of them are super awesome. Thanks for making such an excellent website for all of us and sharing such type of unique content. Keep sharing. I appreciate your work. Once again Thank You so much for this lovely post.
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.
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?
Fortunately for us, being active on social media in the months prior to trying to make money blogging really paid off here. As of right now, we have a social reach of nearly 750,000 people each month. Starting a blog has helped immensely with that. What you can charge is largely dependent on your traffic and what an advertiser can expect to make back for paying you for a sponsored post.
Visual content has been growing for years and it appears to be speeding up, not slowing down. We now have retina display tablets and our smartphones are getting bigger. Social networking sites like Facebook are favoring images and videos over text – never mind sites like Pinterest which are totally based around photos! If you’re not working with visual content yet it’s time to start.
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.
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.
Pro Tip: While you shouldn’t automate everything on social media (since people will be able to tell), you can use automation to build a real, engaged following. For example, you can use a tool like Narrow to interact with Twitter users that are talking about subjects relevant to the audience you want to attract. Or, use a free tool like Revive Old Post to get more eyeballs on your archive content.
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WordPress is free open source software – you are referring to your web hosting company. Web hosts will inform you of any charges in advance and it is very easy to move to a new host. Some web hosts offer free transfers if you sign up for a contract of 12 months or more. The other thing to do to avoid sudden price hikes is pay for 36 months rather than 12.
Money. You should not start a blog to make money. We need to get that out of the way first. If your primary objective is to replace your full-time income from blogging, forget about it. It doesn’t work that way. Do you think that Jimi Hendrix picked up his first guitar so he could “supplement his income”? No, he didn’t. Rather, he did it for the love of it, for the joy and fulfillment he received, and the income came thereafter—much later actually.

PS: my answer to this question is always… “the better question is… how can my blog help me build a profitable business?” Most of the profits from blogging are not made on your blog, but that’s okay. I don’t believe blogging about making money per se, but about branding yourself and positioning yourself within your niche market as an authority and leader. Once that is established, there are so many ways to move people into your money making enterprises. Email marketing, as you pointed out, is one of the best ways to do this. Sending people to your membership sites, services, info products and coaching programs are all great things to route people into as well.
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).
Sometimes I think we just need permission to do the things we love without having to make a living at it. So I'm giving you permission. I'm telling you it's fine for you to have a blog that gives you an outlet for your creativity, allows you to talk about things that are important to you and lets you stay connected to friends and family. You don't have to try to monetize your joy.
Thanks Zee! It’s definitely an investment- more so in time rather than money, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you get things up and running (super easy with Bluehost), it’s all about building up your following and increasing your reach- both of which have basically unlimited potential (which means theoretically unlimited earnings potential). No better time to start than now!

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.
The problem with an everything is free model to begin with is you set expectations at that level and attract people who don’t want to buy things. You need to go in with the mindset of what content will get me buyers now, not later, which means you make offers from day one based on very clear positioning from day one (or no one will buy). You still provide value for free of course, but it’s tied in with immediate offers so you can set a standard and begin seeing if you actually have a business that makes money.
Great post, blogging is hard and consistency is required. We run a Nature and travel blog and I think the most important thing we tell people is to start blogging with a purpose, Do not just start and end up soon. Niche is key and many miss out on that because they want to cover and do it all. Do not just start a blog because you think you will get rich quick and be able to travel the world. It takes a lot of work and lots of time.
Consider a free blogging service. Many people opt to create a free blog using popular services such as WordPress.com or Google Blogger. This is a good option for people who aren't familiar with web design, don't want to pay for their own hosting, or enjoy the ease and stability that comes with these services. These services do have limitations on how you can make money using them, however, so make sure your blog won't break the terms of service.
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!

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:
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