Ruth Soukup is a writer, blogger, mom of two, and the successful founder of the blog LivingWellSpendingLess.com. Since launching in 2010, Living Well Spending Less has become one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the net, receiving more than one million visitors per month. She is also the founder of the Elite Blog Academy, as well as the author of the bestselling blogging guide How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), and her next book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life (Zondervan) will be released December 30th, 2014. For more information about Ruth, please visit LivingWellSpendingLess.com.
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.
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.
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.
Search for blogs that cover similar topics. Use a search engine and the search bar on blog hosting sites to find blogs that cover your topic or related topic. Read a few blog posts from the most popular ones, that show up high on the search ranking, have the most comments, or display a readership of 20,000 or more. Get an idea for how much interest and competition there is.
Thankfully, you needn’t be tech savvy to start a blog (we certainly aren’t). You don’t need to know how to code or design to build your blog (we still don’t). You don’t need much money to create a blog (you can get a free domain and host your site for just a few bucks a month). And you don’t need to spend a ton of time setting up your blog, either (you can set up your blog in less than an hour).
I would like an response anyone, preferably from the author. I used to write a Blog and would like to start again. My previous Blog was hosted by WordPress. I was paying about 29.00 dollars a year for many years, but all of a sudden it jumped to about 150.00 a year. I tried contacting WordPress about this unexplained huge increase, but they chose not to respond. Since you recommend using WordPress, how can you assure me they will honour their promises, and when they don’t, what can I do?
Once you’re up and running with your hosting account, your next step is to install WordPress, the most popular blogging platform, onto your newly-minted blog. This is a rather straightforward process, so don’t be alarmed here. In your Bluehost control panel, you’ll find a simple one-click logo icon with the description “Install WordPress,” that will help guide you along in the process.
Advertising is easy to start, making it a popular income stream for many bloggers. However, it’s not nearly as lucrative as it once was and it requires a lot of traffic to be truly profitable. Also, it runs the risk of frustrating your readers (ever been on a site only to be assaulted by the ads?) and making your site look cheap and unsophisticated. Therefore, it’s not a top recommendation of mine.
Once you have a popular blog, advertisers will be hounding you for the opportunity to advertise. The best way to take advantage of this situation is to use Google Adsense. They find the advertisers for you and all you have to do is place the Google Adsense code on your blog to start running ads. Google Adsense takes all of the hard work out of the process and just cuts you a check.
Im currently interested on starting a blog and Im wondering if it is possible to blog on a smartphone? Since I cant always carry a laptop around and most of the time ideas and inspirations just pop-up from unexpected places and I dont want to waste the feelings and emotions that I wanted to express on my writings just because I cant conveniently start from where I am
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.
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.
29. Videos – This could be an entire section on it’s own. Many people have made money by creating YouTube videos. Evan of EvanTube is a kid and he has made millions by creating reviews of products that other kids his age would use. It’s not easy to get views into the millions, but once you do, you’ll start seeing some cash come in. Many bloggers have completely turned to videos to get their point across by starting a video blog.
WordPress.org is a highly popular choice because you don’t have to know any coding to design a slick blog. 1 in 5 websites use WordPress. Note: WordPress.org is a full-service blog hosting site, but you have to register your domain name and get set up with web hosting first. Wordpress.com has limited features and provides you a .wordpress domain name for free, but you can’t put advertising or affiliate links on a wordpress.com blog.
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.
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!”
One of the biggest concerns for me, when I launched my blog, was what platform to use. I knew I had to purchase a domain name and hosting, but how to bring them together and make them work as one was a mystery to me. Because I was a new to tech world, I knew I wanted something easy, yet something that looked professional. However, the easy solutions that were already put together looked amateurish and unprofessional.
Hi, thanks for this very helpful post! Is it possible to register a domain even if you don’t plan on using it immediately? Basically just ensuring that you get the domain name that you want (if possible). Also, if I’m planning to blog on varying topics what would you recommend to do as far as a name? Do you think it’s imperative that the name coincides with the topic? I only ask because I’ve seen fashion/beauty blogs where their names have nothing to do with fashion or beauty. I’m sooo stuck on the name I can’t move to the next steps! Ugh!
A blog itself isn't really a business—it's more of a platform for other income streams. Your content alone won't likely make you money. Instead, you'll have to get advertisers, sell services like consulting or speaking, use affiliate marketing to get a percentage of sales from links people click on your blog, or maybe offer products like ebooks or premium content to actually generate income. ProBlogger has an excellent post about these different ways you can make money.
WP Engine is a superb prospect however you’re looking at $29p/m for their most basic package. This is way out of the reach of most of my readers. This article is aimed at people who are just taking their first baby steps into blogging, and aren’t yet at a level of knowledge or income to justify something that costs over $300 per year. In comparison the hosting I recommend costs around $72 for 3 years and includes a free domain name in year one.
It is an invaluable tool for experienced and novice bloggers alike, explaining not only what it takes to create an authentic, successful, and profitable blog, but how to get there as well. Better yet, it has now been updated with even more valuable information–25% more content–and this expanded 2nd edition is available in both a Kindle and Paperback version!
The truth is, it's not as easy to carve out your space on the web and make a name for yourself as a blogger today, as it was back when blogging was brand new. And it takes a lot of time to build your audience to the point where it's successful. (The most successful, multi-million dollar blogs today were started around 2005 or earlier.) So it's definitely not something you can get rich quickly with, though many people do work on their blogs full time.
This isn’t something you necessarily need before you start a blog, but it is something you should implement as soon as possible. “Something to sell” may refer to your own products, affiliate products or even your sponsors’ products. It doesn’t matter whose product it is so long as it’s generating revenue for you. As a side note, affiliate marketing is the cheapest way for new and young blogs to start generating revenue. Be sure to read through our guide on how to get started with affiliate marketing for more information on that.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools, services and learning resources I’ve personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.
Even though you have to pay for your own web hosting out of pocket, going this route allows you much more flexibility in terms of site design and usability. And don’t worry, hosting is really inexpensive, especially if you take advantage of our 42% off coupon code with Hostgator (BTOP42). Depending on your hosting plan, it shouldn’t end up costing you more than a few dollars a month.
“I’m a veteran blogger, headed into my 6th year of writing to a smart and engaged community on a variety of lifestyle topics. I didn’t get to Chapter 2 before I was so compelled by her invaluable advice that I stopped reading and started implementing her smart and savvy tips on my site. Four hours and a much better navigation bar later, I started reading more and found no less than fifty things that I could be doing better to make my site more reader friendly. This is probably the 10th blogging ebook I’ve read, but by the far the best. She is brilliant and generous and you will be amazed at the pearls of wisdom in this little volume. I love her style, which is the perfect blend of the philosophical and the practical and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred back to her advice for my own blog. It’s been a month since I employed many of her techniques and my traffic and income are up 25%. I’m so glad she took the time to write this. It’s a gift to the blogging community.“
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.
With Bluehost, there are three hosting options to choose from, Basic for $2.95/month, or Plus or Prime for $5.45/month — these prices are only available through my link, normally it's $3.95 and $5.95 a month) If you have the funds, I’d suggest going with the Plus Plan, because you get more unlimited features; and as your website grows you can switch to a more robust plan.
My main concerns why I’m asking this is that I think 12 published blog posts might not be enough content for the person that lands on my page to stay on my page for too long, therefore it might be more beneficial to guest post a few months from now. Also, I’m thinking maybe it is better to invest that time in things like learning affiliate marketing rather than trying to get somebody to collaborate.
Step 4: Stop displaying how many likes you have. If you have like buttons on your posts from for example Facebook or LinkedIn that display how many likes/upvotes you have from each social media network then that can drag the load times down. I chose to stop displaying how many likes my posts got from each network and only kept the buttons. It made a big difference. You can also choose keep the number of likes but display buttons from fewer social sites, maybe just 2-3.
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!
Help document travel, education and other life events – Sometimes, people start blogs to help document some kind of journey. That journey might be traveling to some far-off destination. That journey could also involve learning a musical instrument or a new language. It could also involve a life event such as getting married, divorced or fighting through a health scare.
Put your ideas in a spreadsheet and prioritize: Ok, let’s get this list a little more organized now. Start a spreadsheet and include your keyword, estimated search volume, difficulty, and opportunity (You should be able to get all this info from the keyword tool you use). Looking at all these, assign a priority to each one either on a scale of 1-5 or a basic High-Medium-Low. Join my free blogging course to grab my editorial calendar template.
You can actually start getting to know your audience before you even launch your blog by becoming active where they hang out online. Try forums tailored to your niche, Facebook groups, Quora, Reddit, Stack Exchange and similar sites. You can also try to form in-person relationships in your niche. Once you start blogging, take the time to ask your email subscribers and commenters what their biggest problems are.
Hello; I thought that points 12 and 13 were the most important. one agrees with what my dad always told me which is that it isn’t what you gross its what you keep. And the other making the point that we need to focus more on those people and companies we already know. I was reminded of this while trying to book venues for an upcoming trip to shoot youtube episodes about theme parks for my amusement industry based channel. the only ones that said yes were the ones i had work with on buying or selling amusement equipment. and you are so right about your story because I am currently struggling with the subject of my blog. the most popular posts are those dealing with my weight loss or my managing a business as a blind person. these get views shares and comments but they don’t necessarily sell anything. they may even be confusing some who follow or thought about following the blog. I don’t want to manage two blogs but i can see how it might be the right thing to do. I also have a similar concern about my other efforts social media, podcasting, youtube videos, google hangouts, etc. I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks for this amazingly detailed and comprehensive post. Take care, max
I recently hit my 5 year anniversary at my current job it got me thinking about what I actually want to be doing with my life. I’ve flirted with the idea of starting a blog for a few years, but it’s scary! You mentioned that not only is blogging a great way to communicate, it can also help you to become a better person and a better writer. I love a good opportunity to better myself, and I think I might have to give it a try!
However, to the victors go the spoils. Those that start a blog and don't actually quit, continuing to push forward, make tremendous amounts of income over time. Not overnight. Nothing good comes quickly. You'll have to put in the work. But this is by far one of the best ways that you can make money online as long as you understand what you're doing.
I’ve been building online businesses and e-commerce websites since 2000. I would never in my life start a new website with a “free” blogging or “free” website platform. If you do, within months your website is going to start growing, and you’re going to have to switch to a paid platform anyway. You will have thrown away all that time (and lost money in the process).
Life experiences. Everyone has lessons they have learned through life experience. Sharing this knowledge can be incredibly helpful to others in similar situations. For example, I recently helped a woman start her blog about being a fireman’s wife. She has a lot of experience and knowledge to share with others about this topic, and it has helped her connect with others in similar situations.Think about the things you have experienced in life. This could be related to your family (example: a blog about being a stay at home mom), work (a blog about experiences dealing with clients), or other life experiences (a blog about dealing with a troubling time such as a disease or divorce, or about a happy time such as preparing for a wedding or a birth of a child).
Ignore Negative Criticism and Stupidity. Sure, we get a lot of negative comments and stupid questions from ignorant people who aren’t really our readers (e.g., negative comments like “You’re not real minimalists” and stupid questions like “Are you guys gay?”). We call these people seagulls: they fly in, crap on your site, and fly away. But we pay them no mind, because we didn’t start our blog for them. Delete their comment and move on.
Affiliate marketing is one of the fundamentals ways many people monetize their blog. You can talk about products or services you use and love – and if someone else clicks YOUR link and makes a purchase, you can make money on that sale! Of course there is more to it than that, and lesson 11 walks you through the basics of what affiliate marketing is.
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.
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.
If you do decide to hire a designer, it’s always a good idea to do your homework beforehand and know exactly what you’re after. There’s nothing more time-consuming (and expensive) than going back and forth with a freelancer because you didn’t have a clear vision of what you wanted in the first place. If you're looking for more sites to track down some freelance designers, check out my list of the best freelance job sites.
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.
Recognition for yourself or your business. No, you probably won’t have paparazzi following you around because of your latest blog post. But a successful blog can gain you a ton of recognition in your respective field. Many bloggers are known as experts just because of their blogs, and some have even gotten book and movie deals based on their blogs.
The tools you use to reach people constantly change and you always have new options – more than you can handle. If however you understand the fundamentals, you realize that your core values stay consistent. How you present your value and what distribution formats you use to deliver it to people, fluctuates based on what is working best at any given time.
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.)