Find Your Niche. You needn’t have a niche, but it helps. When learning how to be a blogger, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re passionate about. Running? Cooking? Being a parent? Have you found your passion? If so, whatever it is, write about that. If not, then you must first find your passion. (Note: We generally recommend that people don’t start a blog about minimalism or the paleo diet or any other heavily saturated topic. But what we really mean when we say this is: don’t create a blog about something unless you have a unique perspective. If you’ve embraced simple living and have a unique perspective, then by all means have at it.)
Of course this is just my own personal interest, you may be a keen amateur photographer, a budding cake decorator or want to write about travelling across Australia. So, carry out your research online by looking at different websites in Google and even on social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest to see where the money making niches are, where the people are and if these niches are growing or shrinking. It will save a lot of heartache later down the line.
The time you invest to make any significant amount of money is the same amount of time it takes to build a course or other offerings. If you want to make good money with ads (in the thousands), then you need to get 100s of thousands or millions of pageviews a month. This takes time and in that time you could just as easily build up your mailing list, create an infoproduct and make thousands whenever you want.
Use a keyword research tool to gather even more ideas: We want a TON of these blog post topics, so let’s use a keyword explorer tool like Ahrefs (pictured above), Google Keyword Planner, or Moz to help us fill it out. These tools basically just show you terms and topics related to the ones you’ve already come up with, as well as how much traffic those terms are getting (to show that your audience cares about them!)

Hi Yaro, as usual a very strong and detailed post. Yes, nowadays it is very easy to get lost in the jungle of blogs. I think that if you plan to make a business with blogging, like I do, you first have to thoroughly study all the options available. And those options, as you just have mentioned, are ever increasing. Then there are people like me, who are artistic and thus more emotional, but also a bit introvert on the other site. I think the key to online success, or at least partially, is to literally start communicating with your future prospects. In the beginning that’s a bit scary, however I see a pattern emerging here. Talking to your prospects or subscribers is crucial for finding out what your audience is looking for with regard to both content and products. Even if you have a great sales funnel, it’s not of much use if you don’t know your audience well enough. This takes time, not only for yourself, but also for your future followers to accept you as their friend and mentor. It’s not only you who is shy, your audience is too.


Industry Blogs. These are specialized to a particular field or industry. They’re a good choice if you’re already an expert on something and want to share that expertise. Because you have to constantly stay on top of new information and developments in that industry, you need to make sure you’re comfortable with researching and understanding your topic.
Thanks so much for this great post! I’m a new stay-at-home mom and was researching jobs I could do from home (so I could stay at home for the longterm!) and I kept coming back to blogging. I have read and re-read your post multiple times and downloaded Ruth Soukup’s book; so good! I feel like I’m much more set up for success and not floundering in the dark! I would love any feedback on my website!
Leaving Work Behind is proudly affiliated with Bluehost. Naturally, we recommend Bluehost over other options because we’ve had good experience with it. We should divulge we also get a few dollars every time anybody signs up for their service through our links. Not only that , Bluehost comes highly recommended by the team over at wordpress.org, the blogging platform you will be using.
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!)
W3 Total Cache – Absolutely essential. This is a plugin that will make your website load faster and put less stress on your hosting account. It's very important to have it to prevent your website from crashing when one of your articles or other content goes viral on social media or is mentioned on a popular website and many thousands of visitors may pour in quickly.
Creating a job board on your site is a great way to make your blog "sticky" - meaning you get visitors returning again and again. It's also a great way to earn some extra cash while also providing a valuable service. Darren Rowse from ProBlogger runs a hugely popular job board where he charges $70 for a 30-day listing. With around 70 listings per month, he's bringing in some solid earnings with relatively little investment of time or money.
Hello, I just found your blog while looking for resources on financial planning. We’ve been passive and a little sloppy in this dept for our entire marriage and want to change that. I have to be honest. While a lot of the resources here are fantastic, I feel suspicious about the blogging for profit idea. Seems a bit too good to be true. I went to a very good school and majored in lit/writing. There was no mention of the potential to write, profitably, for the internet (with the exception of science/medical writing). Could a writer generate a decent income simply with freelance writing and blogging? Where does the money come from? Ads? Or would I have to also have a product to sell (i.e., a course, ebooks, etc). I’m feeling a pyramid scheme here (buy my writing course, start a blog, sell your course, etc). Gina’s income in her first few months was outrageously high. More than I make now as a librarian. Forgive me for being cynical/suspicious. I’m just curious.
Leaving Work Behind is a relatively small blog when it was started as a personal project in 2011. Now, it is a thriving business with a team of editors, writers, and resources to help freelancers further their careers through the power of blogging. In other words, we’ve seen the whole process transform from a single person into a platform that supports a team of passionate visionaries.
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.
Other measurements of success can include traffic, user engagement, social shares and email subscribers, but it all depends on your business goals in actuality. Do you want to sell more of your own products through your blog? Your version of success is going to include a healthy amount of revenue from those products alongside a decent-sized email list and a high level of user engagement. Do you want to simply earn more revenue from your blog as a whole? Your version of success would include high amounts traffic and user engagement.

Blocking of *.blogspot.com domains by keyword-based Internet filtering systems is also encountered due to the domain containing the substring "gspot"; however, this can be alleviated by excluding the "blogspot.com" section of the URL from the keyword-based Internet filtering whilst the *. section of the URL is exposed to keyword-based Internet filtering.
We have good news because you are not the first person who tried to start a blog! (Shocker, we know!) In fact, we’ve gone through this process a few times ourselves, with a wide variety of failures and successes. That’s why we’re here to give you a roadmap detailing all the things you’ll need to know in order to start a blog with all the right ingredients to be successful. This is everything we wish we knew back when we first got started.
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.

Hey Shannon so I read your post a while ago but I didn’t comment, just because as I was setting it up the total for the package was $118 with what I picked is that upfront? Or would I make the payments of $2.95 I opted out because I don’t have the money yet. And like you said I don’t want to start a free one I rather invest in one but I just wanted to be sure if that amount if required upfront when paying for the package? Then after the payments of 2.95 for 36 months?


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.

It will depend LARGELY on what kind of traffic you can drive to your blog. Profitable blogs have readers. There’s no way around that. (If you are struggling with traffic, I LOVED – and by loved, I mean have read twice and will read again – Lena Gott’s Traffic Transformation Guide. She details how she went from 17k pageviews to over 400k pageviews in ten months!)

Okay, so if that doesn't dissuade you one bit, or you've already made the decision to start a blog, here's what you need to do in a step-by-step format. First, I need to premise this by saying that this post is largely based off of the WordPress blogging platform. It is not a step-by-step configuration guide to WordPress, but it does reference the system often.
Now, whether you use your own name or a product name for your biz really depends on which you prefer. I recommend choosing a name that makes you feel 100% authentically YOU, and at the same time encompasses your longer term vision. For instance, if you plan to grow your team beyond just you, a product name might be the way to go. Try to include keywords related to your blog’s focus so that people have an idea what your biz is all about.
Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
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! :)
After getting some much needed guidance from a prolific internet entrepreneur, I shifted my focus. I released my first digital product in September last year in the way of an eBook, then a month ago I opened the doors to my own training course (that was scary!) and as you would expect I’ve already surpassed the total earnings of those first 18 months by a good margin.
SEO friendliness: SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to how well Google and other search engines can find your information when people search for it. Some themes use bulky code that makes it difficult for search engines to read. And while no one expects you to inspect a theme’s code you should see if the developer has said it is optimized for SEO.
Consider affiliate programs. By finding an affiliate program suitable for your blog, you agree to provide links to a company's products, and in return are paid for each reader who makes a purchase after following your link. You can find specific companies by searching an affiliate directory such as ClickBank, or by searching individual company websites for affiliate programs. Consider these factors before you choose an affiliate program:

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.


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.


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.
Email subscriptions is one of your most important priorities as a blogger, if not the most important. Highly engaged email lists are at the core of every successful blog. Unfortunately, managing and sending emails on a list involves a lot of spam regulatory laws, which means you’ll need a reputable email marketing service. There are quite a few great services which can handle your email broadcasts, autoresponders, and more.
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.
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.

Take some time and create a list of topics you’d like to write about. Then for each topic create subtopics. Example: Cooking – Gourmet Cooking, Gourmet Cooking on a Budget, Gourmet Recipes, Easy Gourmet Recipes, Gourmet Desserts, Gourmet Chocolate Desserts, etc. Next brainstorm specific article ideas for each subtopic. Make sure to write these down on paper — it helps to visually see the process.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.
Consider affiliate programs. By finding an affiliate program suitable for your blog, you agree to provide links to a company's products, and in return are paid for each reader who makes a purchase after following your link. You can find specific companies by searching an affiliate directory such as ClickBank, or by searching individual company websites for affiliate programs. Consider these factors before you choose an affiliate program:

My intention is to begin immediately with my new blog. I want to focus around the service industry more specifically about addiction. It is a huge epidemic in this country and I do not feel that there is enough information out there, real to life information for people to read. As a product of my own demons and at this stage in my life I feel that I have much to offer in this regard. I would just like a little feedback from you about the idea, and perhaps how you would go about laying something like that out online.


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.
Please Note: I am an affiliate of Bluehost. That means, I’ll get a commission every time someone uses one of my links to sign up for the service. However, I do believe that Bluehost is one of the best hosting companies out there, with one of the best customer service departments, which is crucial when you’re doing something technical like hosting a blog.
Two of the most popular social media platforms in use are Facebook and Twitter. You can add native videos to Facebook and cater to those that love to watch videos, you can Tweet instant updates on Twitter and invite followers to check out your new blog post. And most importantly, no matter which network you use, you can expand your reach to an audience base you never even knew about.
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.

I’ve known Ruth for years.  She is one of the authorities on blogging.  Four months ago, I caught up with her at BlogHer and she gave me a small piece of advice that transformed one of my blogs.  That blog went from 30,000 unique visitors into 300,000 in a matter of months.  If there was one book that I would spend money to buy, this is it.  From the basics of blogging to in depth marketing and income generation, Ruth really knows what she is talking about.  You don’t have to wonder if she really practices what she preaches, she shows you her real numbers.  Buy this book, it will change the way you look at blogging.  
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.

Jaime, great article that you have posted on how to make money with blogging. Lots of informative concepts which a lot of other blogs would have over complicated but you have made it so simple that I find it so easy to read and take notes. I like it how you have broken it down to steps to follow which is great for the first time blogger just getting started in what appears to be an Internet jungle.
Curious what a theme is? I’m glad you asked! You’re reading a post from my theme right now – The Blog Profit Plan Series. Seriously though, themes are just subtopics where you take readers on a journey and one post feeds naturally into the next. So if you’re a fashion blogger, you might plan a theme around stripes one month and then colors the next.
If you just want to earn an income from writing, I would go the freelance route, like what Gina teaches. I can definitely see how it can seem too good to be true, but you have to look at these fields, either blogging or freelance, as a job/business. It’s definitely not a get rich quick thing. Those who become successful work hard, just as anyone in a more conventional job does. What I love about Gina is she is an incredibly hard worker. If you look at her story, she started out in freelance while working full time, so she was getting up at 4:30 in the morning and working weekends so she could grow her income. She was so determined. Her first month she made $805. Amazing!
Be discerning about how you interact. This isn't the place to be feeding the trolls or sociopaths. If someone is nasty, pushing for a fight or defamatory, do not interact with them. You might consider reporting them to your site host if relevant, or the police if they're threatening. Take defamatory comments seriously; see a legal adviser for assistance.
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.
Please Note: I am an affiliate of Bluehost. That means, I’ll get a commission every time someone uses one of my links to sign up for the service. However, I do believe that Bluehost is one of the best hosting companies out there, with one of the best customer service departments, which is crucial when you’re doing something technical like hosting a blog.
“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
If you just want to earn an income from writing, I would go the freelance route, like what Gina teaches. I can definitely see how it can seem too good to be true, but you have to look at these fields, either blogging or freelance, as a job/business. It’s definitely not a get rich quick thing. Those who become successful work hard, just as anyone in a more conventional job does. What I love about Gina is she is an incredibly hard worker. If you look at her story, she started out in freelance while working full time, so she was getting up at 4:30 in the morning and working weekends so she could grow her income. She was so determined. Her first month she made $805. Amazing!

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.


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.
What is your ”spin”? To set yourself apart from the crowd, you’ll need to do something different and interesting with your content. Will you have an interactive focus? Focus on bizarre day-to-day news events instead of celebrity dish? Whatever you choose to blog about, make sure that you have ways to approach it creatively and that you can consistently offer new, exciting content.

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.

Affiliate marketing works in conjunction with several other online advertising mechanisms. This is the case because affiliates will often use these platforms for marketing purposes. Some of the mechanisms include search engine optimization (SEO), e-mail marketing, paid search engine marketing (PPC-Pay Per Click), display advertising, and content marketing. At the same time, affiliates can also appropriate less traditional advertising methods. An example would be publishing reviews of services or products.

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.
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.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Thank you so much for this helpful post! I have been researching how to make a successful blog for a month or so and have found many of your posts very helpful! It is my goal within the next year or so to have one up and running! I’m currently working more then full-time hours but live my job; just want more freetime. I think with some hard work I can make it possible.


Hi and thanks for all the info. These are great step by step instructions. I am new to blogging and this is my first attempt. I have my domain name from NameCheap. I just purchased hosting with HostGator. Now, when I go to install WordPress, I am not finding the install you mention in your blog. I already installed one time and followed the free link (which looked completely different from your graphics) but I never saw the bar saying your install is complete and I never got any login credentials. When I checked My Installs, WordPress was listed there. Since I could not find the credentials, I uninstalled it. What am I doing wrong here? I think I need to start over!

If you are planning to create a personal blog where you discuss a variety of topics then I recommend using your name, or some variation of it, since your blog is all about you. For example, I own the blog scottchow.com. You can also add your middle name or middle initial if you find your name is already taken. Or you could use a variation like “Scott Chow Blog” or “Blogging with Scott”.
One criticism: I bought the print version, and there are a few illustrations there that were obviously done in color for the e-Book version, but they wind up in black-and-white in the print version. Surely it could have been easy enough to change the way these illustrations looked in black and white to optimize it for the print book e.g. using dotted or dashed lines, or more strongly contrasting shades of gray? I felt rather frustrated at that. However, it was the only problem I encountered (it only affects literally a few small things) and it was not a major drawback. I still give the book a full 5 stars, it's still great despite this minor issue.
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