This is such a helpful post. Thanks, Carly! My one big question is how do you do this (maintain and publish a blog) while being a stay at home mom? I would love to do what you’re doing more than anything. I have a two year old and another one on the way, and I feel like I absolutely have what it takes to be a blogger, but with how busy littles ones can keep you, I have a hard time imagining making it all work. I’m new to your blog. How often do you post? How many hours a day do you typically spend on the blog? (By the way, I noticed that you responded to the comment above mine at 12:20 am, that could be my answer–ha!)
“Have you ever started a book that you just couldn’t put down? Ruth Soukup’s How to Blog for Profit is not only unforgettable, but undeniably one of the most practical and comprehensive books on blogging that is on the market! Ruth writes with contagious passion stemming from her years of wisdom in the blogging world, yet doesn’t leave young “small bloggers” like me in the dust. This book gives practical, doable steps to pursue your blogging dreams that might seem out of reach (right now), but that Ruth encourages can be made possible with dedication and hard work. The world of blogging is vast, but with concrete advice and “plan of action” steps at the end of each chapter, Ruth makes blogging (and earning an income to support your family through your blog) purposeful and possible.
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.
Easy Social Share Buttons – This one is the best social media plugin I have found. You use it for adding the buttons you see on just about every website so your readers can share your content on social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A premium plugin but it only costs $14. Well worth it since it loads faster and looks better than the previous free ones I used to use.
Under no circumstances should any information from this blog be used as replacement for professional financial advice. DollarSprout.com is owned by VTX Capital, LLC and neither are licensed by or affiliated with any third-party marks on this website and third parties do not endorse, authorize, or sponsor our content except where clearly disclosed. DollarSprout.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Add Value. Your blog must add value to its readers’ lives. You want to help people solve problems. This is the only way you will get great quality readers to your site (and keep them coming back). Adding value is the only way to get someone’s long-term buy-in. We both learned this after a decade of leading and managing people in the corporate world. With everything you write, it’s worth asking: Is this adding value?
This step should come after defining your niche. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can get to work on finding out about all of the individual problems they’re having and pinpointing their top pain points. Why is this important? People read blogs, watch videos and buy products to solve the problems they’re having. You could simply blog about what you feel would be most popular and create products you feel would be most profitable, but having definitive proof on what your audience cares about the most is a much better way to ensure success.
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.
Learn from other top bloggers: If you don’t feel ready to connect with other bloggers in your space, at least try to learn from what they’re doing. For Silas Moser, one half of Chasing Foxes told me, you should study people who are good at what you’re doing: “Look at what works for them and see how you can use it. So many people told us ‘you could never make money from a blog.’ But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are tons of successful bloggers out there that you can learn from and see what they’ve done and apply that to your niche.”
Me: Maybe, but I wouldn’t worry about that right now. If you go into building your blog knowing that you’re going to launch an ebook on such and such date, or start a membership website right away, you’re going to fail. Work on your blog, build it naturally with the primary purpose of helping people. If you do that, you’ll gain authority and by then you’ll know what you should do next. Keep everything we talked about in mind so you’re ready when that happens.
These pages are all pretty standard, but they’re also a great way to have some fun and let your readers get to know you. In fact, I use my About page to not only introduce who I am and tell my story, but also to explain my value proposition (for potential clients looking to hire me as a freelance content marketer) and show off some of my recent achievements.
Clueless, confused, and confounded with choices, we had no idea how to start a blog or how to be a blogger. When should we start? How do we register a domain name? What is hosting? Which blogging platform should we use? How do we choose a template? What is a plugin? What should we write about? Heck, we could hardly spell HTML, let alone build a blog!
Hey Isabel. I would definitely create your blog in your native language if that is the one that you write better in. If your English grammar isn’t impeccable, you will have a hard time getting a loyal audience of English speakers. A blog written in English has the potential for a larger audience, but a blog in your native language will have less competition and the potential for a far more LOYAL audience. I hope that helps!
We place small ads throughout our website (and within our blog posts) that help us generate a little bit of income each month. Google gives you everything you need to get setup and it doesn’t take much of any coding knowledge to insert it into a blog post (phew). We try not to inundate readers with a wall of ads that might detract from the user experience or hinder them in actually reading our content.
Bloggers like Michael Hyatt, Yaro Starak, Brian Clark, and Ramsay of Blog Tyrant (among many others) have learned to invest time, energy, and money on creating timeless and useful products. This information comes in the form of eBooks, software, themes, plugins, online courses, etc. so that their audience can learn and advance their understanding in a short amount of time.
in my personal opinion, I believe affiliate marketing and blogging is by far the most simple way to put oneself in a position to make money online tested 24 hours a day but this is not a get rich quick overnight operation. In fact, people who dedicate themselves to making affiliate marketing and blogging full-time career left and work twice, thrice, and dozen times harder than the regular day job in order to make it work for them. Why? Because there’s no guarantees of earning one died in online marketing. This is possible with no guarantees of financial stability. But one can make themselves a future “side also millionaire,” if they believe in themselves and do the transformation business work of inspiration for desperation.
Domain Privacy Protection: We can’t put it better than Bluehost does: “The whois information for any domain name is available to anyone on the internet. Your whois information can be harvested by marketing companies, which will give you unwanted solicitations. When you add Bluehost Domain Privacy to your registration, the only information listed in the whois will be Bluehost.” Basically, it’s an issue of privacy. Decide whether you want it accordingly!
Great article about blogging. This is very helpful. I have been blogging about fashion for my Apparel Search website for many years, but have not received much traction for the efforts. Hopefully your suggestions will be of help. Even though I post often and I think with helpful information for people interesting in clothing, I don’t seem to gain any followers. After several years, I have people reading the blogs, but no followers and not many people posting comments. Rather frustrating, but I will continue my efforts. Anyway, thank you for your post and hopefully it helps me and others improve our blogging.
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.
IF something like that were to happen I surmise we can reasonably expect some sort of announcement/warning to the approved API partners (and probably even to the general public). I would say it’s almost impossible they’ll push through some sort of update that suppresses auto-pinned content without us knowing (at least a little) ahead of time, thus giving us time to adjust accordingly.
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.
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
My understanding is that you have to subscribe/pay for the business version of Word Press in order to use any of the monetizing functions. I think you should clearly state this in this article at the beginning. I think there is a degree of bait and switch here if people are just signing up for the free subscription and then finding out they have to pay for a subscription to make money. I am ok with that, it just needs to be stated up front everywhere.
Time management is a very personal issue. You’ll need to figure out what the right balance is for you. As a general rule of thumb you’ll want to post regularly, which depending on your niche will vary. Some coupon bloggers post multiple times a day. I generally post 3 – 5 articles a week. But a lot of research and time go into writing my posts, because they are educational in nature. Personally, I’m of the mindset that it’s better to post less and ensure that your content is awesome! You’ll also need to spend time marketing your blog daily. Then there are administrative tasks like email, bookkeeping, replying to comments, editing, etc. A good place to start is by figuring out how many free hours you have to work on your blog. Once you know that — you can use the block scheduling method to plan out your tasks.
On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example, “YourName.com” or “YourAwesomeBlog.com. You can end it with .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images, and content plus the free themes and you have a winning combo.
In March 2018, I started my first self-hosted blog and it was super easy, quick, and fun! At first, I was scared because I thought that it would be too hard and that I would struggle for days, weeks, or even months trying to figure everything all out. I was literally reading hundreds of articles about blogging which were all offering contradicting information. The overwhelm was real.
That being said, while you shouldn’t expect to go full-time right away, blogging has in fact led to multi-million dollar companies. There is no guarantee in blogging, just like any other business endeavor. We share these stories with you so you can see what is possible. While you may never make millions, with the right research, time, effort, and timing, you can certainly earn a good income from blogging. To play it safe, we recommend blogging as a side business until you start seeing those returns.
Make it easy for readers to browse – If you want more page views, you should make it as easy as possible for readers to read your other blog posts. It should be easy for readers to find your blog homepage, categories, tags, search bar, and so on. Also, I recommend including links in every single one of your blog posts, which helps readers easily find related topics.
You'll want to track these influencers down and start sharing their content and becoming active in their communities to start gaining their attention. You may have luck by simply messaging them out of the blue, but it's not likely. Once you think you have their attention, you can try to reach out to them by asking them to promote something on social media, publish your post on their blog or link to a post of yours on their site.
Wow really great list of tips, even for non beginners! I agree Ahrefs is probably the best SEO tool for bloggers, but honestly Google Webmaster Tools is the first place to start to monitor your search traffic. Ahref is really expensive, and for new comers, probably overkill. I recently started a new blog, and am more than happy with the data provided by Webmaster Tools.
25. Products – You can create your own product, such as an ebook or computer software. You would then use your blog as a promotion tool to get people to buy your product. As long as you create a legitimate product with a whole lot of value, you should be able to get some buyers, but like everything else with a blog, you’ll need the traffic to get the sells.
Keep reading and listening and pick up inspiration. Stay up to date and deepen your knowledge about your niche. Read books and blogs about it. Listen to podcasts and watch videos. When you have new ideas flowing into your mind each week and month you’ll come with new stuff yourself. Or combine what you have learned. Or you can share your experience with what you learned from someone else.