When I spoke to Preston Lee, the founder of Millo.co, for my podcast, he told me that he first learned how to start a blog on his train commute in to his day job. He had 40 minutes each way going to and from his full-time gig, and he used that time to write, design and create his blog that now brings in upwards of $15,000 a month in sponsorship revenue.
While usually a domain would cost you around $15, with Bluehost you will get one for FREE! The basic package also includes a free SSL certificate (which protects data transfers on your site and makes it safe), 50GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth which means you can have as much visitors as you are able to attract to your site. And this is more than enough to start with.
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.

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?


After having this realization, I started going out and pitching other similar (non-competitive) startups and online brands that clearly needed more business-related content for their blogs... and over the course of the next year, I continued to slowly double the prices I'd charge per article. I'd add new "extras" as time went on and I built a larger community & brand for myself too—always experimenting with my offer to see what clients would pay more for.
Be aware that many blog hosting services only allow their proprietary contextual ad service, and may shut down your blog if you use one not made by the host company. If you are hosting your own blog, you should research contextual ad services and choose one that shows appropriate ads. Some allow pornography or other ads that may not be suitable for your blog.
Last year I focused for brief time on traffic again. Had a few weeks where I had tens of thousands of visitors streaming in. The result – lots of work for me and virtually no money. So I’m back to my original model. I agree with you that this is one of the biggest fallacies on the internet and one people seem to have a hard time letting go of – that the best focus is on building traffic instead of focusing on serving the people who are willing to give back.

When you log in to WordPress, there are some free design templates/themes (on the left-hand side under, appearance) that you can use to customize your site. However, if you’re willing to spend $35 – $199 you can get stylish, professional looking theme that will make you stand out from the crowd. You can either purchase a theme from the Marketplace (located on the left-hand sidebar in WordPress), or you can purchase a theme through Thesis or StudioPress (they have a much larger design selection than the Marketplace).
I’ve been blogging for about 6 months now I just recently posted my 50th blog post. It took awhile to figure out exactly what topic I was passionate enough about, originally I began as a food blogger, however I has since transitioned into a blog that aims to reach millenials who are at different stages including college, jobs, and new parenthood depending on the path they have chosen to take. Blogging helped me to get my freelance writing career off the ground, and I am hoping that soon I will be able to do well enough with my freelance writing that I can finally invest that ~$200 necessary to get my blog on the profit making path.
SEO – SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically, you want search engines, like Google, to index and rank your content high in their algorithm, so that when people do an internet search — your content is easily found (preferably on page one). So when you research and write your content you'll want to consider your niche, keywords, questions, and phrases that individuals are searching for and intertwine these into your blog posts. This is an oversimplified definition, but it gives you the gist of what SEO can do your blog. This article talks more about SEO so you can start learning the ropes.
I learned very quickly that focusing on large-scale traffic was not necessarily the shortest path to a sustainable business. And I actually started being very blunt and firm about this in public, which “turned off” large numbers of readers who were not giving anything back. Paradoxically, though, the people who really resonated with my content started stepping up to the plate. I noticed I could sell something at $20 or at $797 and make the SAME number of sales. So I started focusing mainly on those willing to give back. And I finally started making enough money to quit my job.
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.
Although I do think conversions are the most important thing I can recall when I first started out one of my sites and I was starting to get regular daily traffic of around 10 uniques, and then I had one day that spiked to 200. That was a very encouraging day. Just seeing that traffic spike gave me confidence and a drive to work harder towards my next goal. I had not made any conversions yet, no money. However, seeing that my hard work was doing something was very encouraging.
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.
Blogging has to be one of the lowest risk investments you can ever make in yourself and/or your business. For less than $100/year you can try it and if you find out it’s not for you, you can cancel at no charge to you. HostGator offers such plans that start as low as a few dollars per month and scale up from there depending on your needs. For most of you, the most basic of plans will work until your web traffic begins to grow considerably.

“The turning point for me came when I realized that of the 3-5x a week I was publishing it was the ones that were about small businesses and freelancing that really took off. I also really enjoyed writing that kind of content. So that was this pivotal moment of understanding if I want things to be shared and I want to be consistent, this is what the blog should be about.”

Be Yourself. Part of being interesting is telling your story. Every person is unique, and your story is an important one. The important part of storytelling, however, is removing the superfluous details that make the story uninteresting. A great storyteller removes 99% of what really happens—the absorptive details—and leaves the interesting 1% for the reader.


It’s hard to get noticed when you cover topics on a broad scale. Everyone has their own set of problems, and every blog is trying to solve them. What you need is a niche that will help you target a specific market in the broader topic your niche belongs in. It’s important for you to define your niche before you start blogging or in the early stages of your blog, at the very least.
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.
NOTE: I’ll get into this in the section on Helping Other Bloggers, but be sincere in your help. If you only seek out to get something out of someone else, you won’t form a relationship with that person. I’ve liked Stephanie’s blog and content since I first saw it. She has an amazing story of being broke in New York City, and she’s built this amazing personal finance business in just a couple years. I help Stephanie because I like Stephanie, not because I want or expect to get anything out of the relationship.
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.
And that’s totally fine (hint: I don't either)! There are some incredible free blog photo and design resources you can use to enhance your posts, even if you’re not very design-minded at all. You can even just use product screenshots throughout your content, depending upon the subject matter—take for example my recent article about the best CRMs for small business.
There’s also Quora—a question and answer site that lets anyone respond to user’s queries. One tactic I’ve used is to search for relevant topics in my niche and then answer questions I’ve already written about on my blog (like this Quora answer about how to get blog traffic that's received hundreds of upvotes and thousands of views_ . This way I know I’m giving them good value and can even link back to the full post on my blog.
Make sure that you're always posting amazing content. The better your content and the more interesting your blog, the more people will link to it. There is nothing better than getting free links just because people liked what you have to say! Keep your mind on the SEO side of things, but also remember that you are ultimately catering to the needs of the people in your niche. If they like you, the search engines will like you.
Most people that start a blog might not understand what they're in for. They might not fathom the amount of work that's waiting for them. Sure, gone are those 9-to-5 hours where they need to sit in a cubicle with their heads down or in some office on the 12th floor in a corporate building in some business park, but so is the guarantee of any semblance of pay.
Readers want to reach a goal. What are common goals people have? Have you set and reached some significant goals? Can you spell out how you did it and inspire others on their journey? Fitness and weight loss come to mind here, as well as getting out of debt. Pursuing big goals can be disheartening and lonely. Knowing someone else has been there does wonders.
There are many ways to keep an email list engaged. Which will work best for you and your readers will depend on your style of communication and their content preferences. We recommend to write your emails in a similar tone as you write your blog posts. Here are a few types of emails you can send on a regular basis to keep your list paying attention:
I learned very quickly that focusing on large-scale traffic was not necessarily the shortest path to a sustainable business. And I actually started being very blunt and firm about this in public, which “turned off” large numbers of readers who were not giving anything back. Paradoxically, though, the people who really resonated with my content started stepping up to the plate. I noticed I could sell something at $20 or at $797 and make the SAME number of sales. So I started focusing mainly on those willing to give back. And I finally started making enough money to quit my job.
Great Pricing. TheMinimalists.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, which means that in addition to using their service, we also receive a commission for referring new customers. To be fair, though, we would still use Bluehost even if we weren’t an affiliate—we’ve used them for a long time. Ergo, we don’t recommend Bluehost just because we’re an affiliate (every hosting company offers a similar affiliate program); we recommend Bluehost because they are the best, most reliable option. Plus, because we’re a partner, Bluehost offers a 50% discount for The Minimalists readers: only $2.75 a month. That’s an outstanding price!
This is an awesome post. I too found PinchofYum.com some time ago. I’ve built a niche site and I’m in the stage of promoting it so I really needed the information posted here. I’ve researched making money for years but never paired that research with any ACTION. It was not until recently that I started putting things in motion so seeing some of the steps I’m taking being talked about in this topic is quite reassuring. My blog is based around making money online but making it make sense for beginners. https://chuckcandoyoucantoo.com
The easiest PPC method to get started with is Google AdSense. However, in order to make any kind of decent money with display ads, you’ll need quite a bit of traffic. And by the time you get that much traffic, you’ll make more money going with an ad management company like Mediavine (minimum of 25,000 monthly impressions) or AdThrive (minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews).
Readers want to reach a goal. What are common goals people have? Have you set and reached some significant goals? Can you spell out how you did it and inspire others on their journey? Fitness and weight loss come to mind here, as well as getting out of debt. Pursuing big goals can be disheartening and lonely. Knowing someone else has been there does wonders.
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.
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.
Mass appeal to a large audience is the goal of any blogger that starts a blog. While saturation into the marketplace is difficult any way that you slice it, starting with a smaller audience won't help you. If you want to write about resume writing skills, for example, you might want to take a broader approach of larger business or employment skills and information.
Your newsletter is all yours. Unlike social media sites, your newsletter and email subscribers are all yours, and you have their undivided attention. You don't have to worry about algorithms not displaying your content to readers, and this is because they are your email subscribers. You aren't fighting with anyone else to have them see your content.
Brainstorm keywords for each blog post. Keywords are the important words that relate to the topic of your blog, and specifically the new subtopic you cover each time you post. Choosing relevant keywords that people search for frequently will increase the visibility of your blog, attract more readers, and show them advertisements they are likely to click.
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+.

“I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a ‘blogging for profit’ book junkie. I’ve read LOTS of them! However, most of them it’s just the same thing over and over. When I first heard about this book my first thought was ‘should I bother? There’s never anything new anymore’. I was so wrong – Ruth’s writing style is so nicely organized, and easy to read, as if you were sitting there chatting with an old friend. Her book goes into amazing-yet-easy-to-understand details on a ton of methods for making money blogging – but that’s after about half the book giving you advice and steps on actually GETTING to the point where you could make money, by growing your blog and being YOUR type of awesome.
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.
If you want to really make money with your blog, you need to create a mailing list using one of the billions of email service providers out there. I use and love ConvertKit, but if you are just getting started and don’t understand sales funnels, sequences, or tagging you might want to start off with something simpler and free. If that is the case go with MailChimp where you get the first 2,000 subscribers free or Mailer Lite.

Write down every topic that you are knowledgeable or passionate about. You'll have a much easier time making money from a blog you are interested in, rather than trying to write content you don't like because you think it will make money.[1] Some examples are hobbies that you enjoy, your career, or some specific and miscellaneous knowledge that you have.
Henry Croft launched GymTalk in March 2014. He turned his blog into a full-time job within one year. It earned 420,996 page views, received two fitness blogging awards, and earned $15,000 during that time. He started while still working a regular day job. Most of his effort went into developing a unique brand personality, following a strict content strategy, and even hiring writers to help him product top notch information.

That concludes our official list of the steps you should take to become a successful blogger, but let’s go over a few honorable mentions we couldn’t squeeze into the list. For starters, growing your email list is an obvious one. It’ll help you turn casual visitors into regular readers and eventually customers. Read our posts on how to create an email marketing strategy and how to start an email list for free for more information.
“No blogging for profit book has made the difference to me and my blog like this one. If you only read ONE of these subject books – LET IT BE THIS BOOK!!! After finishing the book, my blog is totally getting revamped, I have the excitement for it again, and now my whole direction has changed to not only help me become more profitable, but also for me to get back to ENJOYING what I do, which is really the best part!” -Danielle @ Busy Moms Helper
With the free version of WordPress, you don’t really have that much freedom to make changes to your site. Plus, WordPress actually owns your site if you use the free version (meaning, your site is technically not even yours). With the free version of WordPress, your website link even looks unprofessional; instead of a .com ending, your site will look like “yourwebsite.wordpress.com”.
“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
This is an awesome post. I too found PinchofYum.com some time ago. I’ve built a niche site and I’m in the stage of promoting it so I really needed the information posted here. I’ve researched making money for years but never paired that research with any ACTION. It was not until recently that I started putting things in motion so seeing some of the steps I’m taking being talked about in this topic is quite reassuring. My blog is based around making money online but making it make sense for beginners. https://chuckcandoyoucantoo.com

Google’s AdSense program is the most widely used PPC program because it has the power of Google Search behind it. Google will read your article and find "ads that are relevant" to it and display them next to or within the article. It will also use your readers’ cookies to display ads that are relevant to their recently visited websites on your blog.[41]


Best part about this book: the updated 2014 edition, which is what I bought. The blogging environment was a lot different back in 2010 - 2012 (and a lot easier back then), so I knew that books written back then would be out of date for me for now. Ruth's book was one of relatively few books that had been written or updated in 2014 and onward. Very well done, lots of non-obvious tips and tricks, and lots of clear explanation not just about HOW to do things, but WHY.
×