A great post, Ramsay, and great timing for me. I just went live with a coming soon page for my first website and blog that I plan to launch early next year. It’s great to read what your thoughts are on the future of blogging. I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of what you talk about in #19. I had planned to have my coming soon page up in October, but I was focusing on too many little things and got hung up. Now my challenge will be to not have the same thing happen with the main site.
Thank you so much for the information! I’ve always wanted to blog since I love to write and have a minor in creative writing. My friends and family always told to start one as well but it always seemed too daunting. After somehow coming across your sight I read this post and for the first time felt I really could do you. You made it sound simple and possible. It does take work, yes, but your post was very encouraging and realistic. I’m just still in the building a blog stage, but hope to launch soon. I’m excited for this journey and it’s all thanks to your blog!
Wow, how the times have changed! I can remember when every lawyer in the state of Texas was creating two or three blogs and trying to do it in their free time. I guess they realized they simply did not have the time. I have heard that having a blog on a website is helpful but actually becoming a “professional” blogger is a completely different story.
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.
Keep it simple: At the end of the day, the goal of starting a blog is to share content that can be easily consumed (read, watched, experienced). And unfortunately, a lot of fancy blog themes get in the way of that. Don’t get too drawn in by crazy looking themes that compromise on legibility and usability. If a theme looks good, but doesn’t help you share your thoughts and engage with readers, it’s not a good theme.
If you are working with a 2-part system like Genesis, you’ll need to upload both the Genesis Theme Framework and the child theme of your choice. Again, read my post about choosing a theme for an explanation of this preferred type of system. If you try to upload your child theme and you do not have the Genesis Framework installed, it will not work. I recommend you upload the Genesis Theme Framework first, then repeat the process with your child theme.
Anyone who's serious about building a blog and making money, needs to leverage Google's webmaster tools to see what keywords they're ranking for and any messages that would impact their ability to rank. This will also allow you to submit an XML sitemap and track keyword impressions along with click-through rates. This is one of the most useful tools for growing your site or blog through constant analysis of your efforts.
Hello! I want to be a stay at home mom and I’m basically a single mother. I’m with my child’s father. We just aren’t married yet but he plays basketball overseas so I’m taking care of our daughter by myself. I want to be able to spend more time with her. I’m currently a teacher and it is absolutely miserable and draining the life out of me and my sanity. I would love to get started on becoming a blogger. You have truly inspired me to do it. I’m just very scared and hesitant on spending the money but I’m beyond ready to do it. I started filling out bluest but haven’t completed yet because of the add-ons they are offering and I’m unsure on what to select or unselect but it raises the price it. Could you provide advice? I also wanted to know is there another site you recommend for themes? They are no longer $69, they are $89 now for Elegant themes website. I’m really trying to get this started and am more motivated then ever to do this but I’m just trying to do it in a lower cost if possible. Thank you!
Today, blogging is no longer only a hobby confined to a college dorm room. It can be used to publish all manner of content, from personal journals to corporate business magazines. This boom of online content creation has created new business models and job opportunities. Existing businesses use blogging to drive content marketing campaigns, while others use create business models with blogs at the center.
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?

If you are working with a 2-part system like Genesis, you’ll need to upload both the Genesis Theme Framework and the child theme of your choice. Again, read my post about choosing a theme for an explanation of this preferred type of system. If you try to upload your child theme and you do not have the Genesis Framework installed, it will not work. I recommend you upload the Genesis Theme Framework first, then repeat the process with your child theme.
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!)
This is an ambitious method, but it's definitely plausible if you make smart decisions and are willing to work hard enough. Outreach involves getting noticed by influencers and getting your content on their websites. These will be the biggest names in your niche who probably have about a hundred other bloggers looking to get their content on their blogs. You'll need to do a lot to impress them.
Ninja Popups – The best $20 I’ve spent on my website in 2015. This one lets you create a popup windows that show up in front of your content and can help you readers to sign up for your newsletter, share your website on Facebook and many other things. It helps me to add about 30% more new email subscribers a day to my Positivity Newsletter. To not annoy people, be sure that his window is only shown once for each of your readers.

And while the name you choose is one of the more important parts of setting up your blog, remember that it's something you can always change in the future—so don't let this step hold you back. Just choose something that's close to the topics you're planning to blog about, or you can even grab yourname.com or yournickname.com (like I've done with my blog here) and let's keep moving.

In order to build a platform, you have to be consistent in your value delivery. You can’t go cold for weeks and months on end. You need to stay in front of your audience. They’ll be actively checking back for updates from you, so don’t let them down. Get out there and over time, you’ll see an exponential rise. Just don’t expect it to happen right away.
If you're serious about marketing anything online, rather than opting for running ads on your blog (which won't make you real money unless you have at least hundreds of thousands of visitors per day) or engaging in affiliate marketing, you should build a topical lead magnet that will sell a digital product or offer that you create in the back-end. The lead magnet will entice people to sign up to your list and provide you with their email address.
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.
2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up.  I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.
Unless you have a very good reason (unlikely), do not use the Plain or Numeric structure. They don’t play well with Google and other search engines because search engines use words, not numbers, to understand what your posts and pages are about. Search engines will be more likely to send people to your site when search words match the words in your permalinks.
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.
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.
Susan Shain is the founder of Travel Junkette and runs her blog-based business while traveling the world. She started out like any other college student, struggling with so-called regular job interviews. Then she found seasonal work, which led to more travel. That’s when she knew she had to build a more regular and reliable income through blogging so she could keep on going as long as she wanted.

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.

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.
Solid numbers about blogging incomes are hard to come by. For example, in the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lump bloggers in the very broad category of “Writers and Authors” which has a median income of $61,240 per year. That’s not an accurate measure since there are vastly different occupations included in that category. Information from small surveys and anecdotal evidence can also be found online, but much of it is outdated or taken from tiny sample sizes.
If you're passionate about a subject and you have decent writing skills, blogging definitely could be an alternative career path for you. The short answer is, yes, it is possible to make a living—a very good one, even—by writing online. On the other hand, the hard truth is most of the millions of bloggers today don't make enough to support themselves just with their blogs. Let's take a look at what's involved.

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.
Sometimes this means they post once a week while other times it means they post on the same day of every week. Some even post multiple times a week, but it all depends on how much quality content you're able to produce. Consistency isn't all about your editorial schedule, either. It's also about the type of posts you publish as well as the intros and outros you use for every post. It's even about the styles you use on your blog for fonts, images, buttons, colors and more.

The official support channel is the Blogger Product Forum.[38] This online discussion forum, delivered using Google Groups, serves Blogger users of varying experience, and receives some monitoring from Google staff. "Top contributors" are community-members nominated by the Google staff who enjoy additional privileges including managing discussions and direct access to Google staff. There is likely to be a top contributor or other knowledgeable person reading the forum almost all the time.
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.
Direct Income – when I started making money from my blogs it was through ‘direct’ income streams. I put AdSense ads on my blog and promoted some products on Amazon as an affiliate and the more readers I had the more income began to trickle in (it really was a trickle at first). In time as my traffic grew this income grew and I was also able to experiment with other direct forms of income such as selling advertising directly to advertisers.

Another great exercise if you’re trying to decide on a niche for your blog is to think about who your ideal reader is. This is the person most likely to visit your blog and get value from your writing. For me, the easiest way to think about this is to use myself as an example. If you’re writing about an interest, then you’re most likely your ideal reader.
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.
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.
Email Marketing – From the day you launch your blog, you need to be collecting email addresses from your readers so that you can remain in contact with them. To do this, you'll need to sign up with an email marketing provider. Don't worry, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get started, in fact, you can get a free account with Constant Contact or Sendinblue.

Hi! Thanks for all the helpful tips. I have been blogging on and off for a few years, and am currently using a wordpress.com site but pay for my domain name so it doesn’t have the .wordpress.com at the end of it. If I choose to go through blue boat to host my blog, do I type in my current blog/domain name into the already have one box instead of creating a new one? And will all my current blog content transfer over? Thanks!!! :)
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!
Thank you Jessica for the information. I’ve read just about all of your blog posts and they have helped me, someone that loves using tech but not so tech savvy when it comes to building a blog. You made it easy right from the start and as I was thinking of questions they were being answered as I read a little more. Thanks again. (if you go to my web page it’s still in demo mode until I have enough material to begin!)
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.
I believe you need a combination of a customer nurturing process where you focus on your existing best customers at the same time as you use content and community to spread the word. However in my opinion I think bloggers get the ratio too skewed in the wrong direction, they spend too much time trying to reach new people when there are much bigger gains to be made refining what works already with your nice small tribe of buyers.
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.
If you're a new blogger or a blogger with less than a year or two's worth of experience, this is probably a great book. The author does a great job of organizing the information into sections and she actually provides actionable steps that will improve your blog. Many are common sense - such as "write awesome content" and "determine your main theme..."
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