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.
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.
About Blog The NEO Law Group believes that healthy nonprofits are more effective at creating positive change. We help create and maintain legally compliant nonprofits that have strong foundations on which to build great programs. And we provide practical and affordable counsel, giving leaders reassurance and confidence to best further their valuable missions.
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was a lot different back in 2010 - 2012 (and a lot easier back then), so I knew that books written back then would be out of date for me for now.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.
I’m a bit confused…are you talking about using WordPress.com or WordPress.org when setting a blog? I heard not to use WordPress.com for a blog even though its free because the blog isn’t really “yours” and they can do what they want with it. Can you clarify the difference between the .com and .org and which one should be used in setting up a website and blog?

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:

Your SEO strategy should start with the basics. Make sure your website is optimized for speed and mobile devices. You can also install a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you set up a sitemap and get your indexes, keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions in order. You should learn how to perform proper keyword research after that as well as how to use those keywords in your posts. After that, you can learn about more complicated SEO techniques, such as white hat link building and brand building. Of course, creating unique and valuable content will help with this as well.


Linking to other websites is a great way to make friends and provide value to your readers. It shows that you know your stuff and are not afraid to mention the “competition”. However, every time I want to include a link, Yoast says: “you’re about to link to a website that’s ranking for the same keyword you want to, are you sure you want to do that?”
Don’t simply start a blog about weight loss. Start a blog targeting people trying to lose weight with the keto diet, no equipment workouts or strength training. Don’t start a blog about gardening. Start a blog about urban gardening, growing your own food or growing a specific type of plant. Basically, consider the broad topic you want to start a blog about, and find a niche market within that topic to target.
Hi Jessica, thanks for the advice! I have been setting up my blog over the last few days and written a few posts already. I’m really nervous to launch the site though so as of now only I have access to my blog. Did you wait until you had a good amount of material on your blog before publicizing it or did you start with one article and got more traffic as more material was added? Thanks!
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.
You want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. Even if you’re not interested in making money from your blog, I am assuming that you at least want other people to read it – yes? Then the same rules apply.
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.

Once the course launches, they are ready with their wallets. The course is priced at $100 (probably undercharging here, but it’s your first course and you are nervous) so some of them balk at buying it, but 100 people do end up buying it and you make $10,000 (minus processing fees). That’s the same amount you made from your advertising and you are in control of everything! Even better you don’t have to wait 30-60 days to get paid.

As you build up your blog, expect to receive multiple sponsored post requests each day. These native ads can be a highly effective way for businesses to reach your audience in a non-threatening way - and they can be a highly effective way for you to make a lot of money. Just make sure the posts are actually interesting and relevant to your audience, and that you fully disclose the sponsored nature of the post.

Once you’re logged in you’ll get a popup screen that says, install WordPress or concrete5, just click on the green “Install WordPress” button. Next, it will ask you which domain you’d like to install WordPress on — choose your domain from the drop-down box and click on the green button, “Check Domain.” When the install starts, you’ll get a screen that says, “Ok, we’re setting up WORDPRESS for you!”
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.
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.
If you put your nose to the grindstone — you can earn good money within a year, but the general rule of thumb is blogging is not the fast lane to making cash quickly. I’ve been blogging for nine years, but it took me five years to hit the six-figure mark. Bloggers like Sarah Titus have hit the six-figure mark within a year. Kristin Larsen started making $3,500 a month at the five-month mark. You can read their stories below:

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.
I love your stuff. I so agree about multiple formats – I have a little system down for writing my post, recording the video and editing and then exporting for youtube and the audio version for podcast. The pin said article to pinterest, etc. I am very niched down and I’d like to think there isn’t really anyone else on the web providing the quality of information to my particular audience as me. I am passionate about what I do – I used to hear people say you need to have a passion for what u do, but I didn’t really think much of it until now when I think how hard I’ve worked the past couple years and realizing that there’s no way I would have been able to do so on such a level if I wasn’t truly passionate about it.
More often than not, people think they should blog about popular topics where they think money grows on trees. And while the truth is that you might be able to attract the larger audience if you write about smartphones instead of blogging about something specific like tuna fishing, that’s the wrong way to go. In the case, it would show that you write about something you might not completely understand and love, and it would result in an unsuccessful blog that not even you would enjoy.
Your domain name may be the highly popular “dot com” or it may be country or niche specific. From .us (United States) to .co.uk (United Kingdom) and from .guru (yes, for life coaches) to .sport (for sports related domains), these top level domains (TLDs) are added to any domain name in order to point to their location. The general rule is to go for a “dot com” domain, but some of the other extensions can work. For example “dot net” or “dot me.”
What is CPC? CPC stands for “cost per click.” By displaying CPC ads with Google Adsense, you receive a set fee every time an ad on your website is clicked by a visitor. The cost per click is set by the advertiser. (This is in contrast to CPM ads, where you’re paid for ad views instead of clicks. CPM means “cost per thousand impressions,” where M is the roman numeral for 1,000.)
Selene, Bluehost has several different packages available. I believe to get the $2.95 rate, you have to pay for 36 months up front, but I am not 100% sure. Definitely check into it first and make sure it’s something you’ll be comfortable with before signing up. Alternately, you can look into Black Chicken hosting. Their rates are a little more but you can pay monthly.
Choosing an extension is also important. The extension is the “.com,” “.net,” or “.org” after a website. There are now dozens of extensions, but those three are the most familiar to English-speaking audiences and will drive the most traffic to your website. Unless you’re a non-profit or a similar type of blog, don’t go for “.org” -- a “.com” is the top choice, followed by “.net.”
In-depth tutorials are great for getting links and social shares. However, they can also be a great way to earn money on your blog. There are a number of ways you can make this happen - include affiliate links for the products you use in your tutorial; promote your own products in the tutorial; write a tutorial to promote an advertiser's product (just be clear that it's a sponsored post), etc.
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
Thank you so much for this!! I have been thinking about starting a blog for a year now and somehow kept thinking how will I ever get people to read it. With the help of your post I was able to start my own blog! I promised myself I will not comment until I had something up and running. It’s very new and very small (only 3 posts up so far) but I would be honoured if you check it out. The entire credit goes to you.
PS: my answer to this question is always… “the better question is… how can my blog help me build a profitable business?” Most of the profits from blogging are not made on your blog, but that’s okay. I don’t believe blogging about making money per se, but about branding yourself and positioning yourself within your niche market as an authority and leader. Once that is established, there are so many ways to move people into your money making enterprises. Email marketing, as you pointed out, is one of the best ways to do this. Sending people to your membership sites, services, info products and coaching programs are all great things to route people into as well.
One of my favorite ways to get readers to my blog is to post links on my social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. This is great, because not only do your friends see the link, but if your friends share the link with their friends it automatically multiplies your readers. If you have created high-quality content on your blog then social media is a great way for your blog to go viral.
When you start a blog to make money you often forget that it will require patience – but if you’ve been at this a few months and still aren’t seeing any income, you may be making one of these very basic mistakes. Lesson 13 will go over identifying your problem areas and provide some solutions to help you conquer these issues and start making money with your blog!

Content marketing can be done with articles on sites like Medium.com or Scribd.com, it can be done by answering questions on Reddit or Quora, and it can be done with videos on YouTube or Vimeo, along with a variety of other means. The point is that all of the content has to be useful, period. Don't try to do the least amount of work for the greatest return. You need to do the exact opposite if you want to succeed.


Starting a blog that actually makes money involves a great deal of writing. But not just any writing. You need to write keyword-focused content and do it repeatedly. When it comes to writing your content, there are a ton of rules that you should follow if you want it to be effective when it comes to SEO (in fact over 200+ which you can learn about here), but try not to allow that to overwhelm you.

Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others.  If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
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:

Thankfully Number 7. and 10. work really well for me because I am easily overwhelmed thinking about how I have to compete with all of the content and service providers out there. It’s just not my thing. I rather rock my little corner of the world and have a smaller, loyal following. As a consumer I prefer to devote my time and attention to someone who provides super-niched, rich, quality content on a less frequent basis than someone who just fills space because he/she is on a content schedule. Therefore, when email letters or blog posts do arrive it feels like a treat, and I trust that person more because he/she waited to write when inspiration struck and valuable content could be delivered. Furthermore, my own following is rather small, but it remains loyal. And, I’m ok with that. As my list has steadily grown over the past couple of years my open rate is consistently at 40-42% every month and many of my clients are annual repeats.
Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, Ruth’s bestselling book, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), offers solid advice and practical action plans for writing amazing content that gets noticed and shared, creating compelling images, growing blog traffic, maximizing revenue, and turning your blog into a profitable business.
I’m a bit confused…are you talking about using WordPress.com or WordPress.org when setting a blog? I heard not to use WordPress.com for a blog even though its free because the blog isn’t really “yours” and they can do what they want with it. Can you clarify the difference between the .com and .org and which one should be used in setting up a website and blog?

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.
Understand the difference between total revenue and net income. Most income reports tout total revenue. Net income or profit (what really matters) is often buried in the post. I came across an income report recently with a super impressive number in the title (and Pinterest image). It was total revenue. Not until I read the whole post did I learn this blogger spent well over half their total revenue on Facebook Ads alone. On top of that, they had an extensive list of expenses. By the end of the post I realized I had netted more than they did the previous month.
I love your stuff. I so agree about multiple formats – I have a little system down for writing my post, recording the video and editing and then exporting for youtube and the audio version for podcast. The pin said article to pinterest, etc. I am very niched down and I’d like to think there isn’t really anyone else on the web providing the quality of information to my particular audience as me. I am passionate about what I do – I used to hear people say you need to have a passion for what u do, but I didn’t really think much of it until now when I think how hard I’ve worked the past couple years and realizing that there’s no way I would have been able to do so on such a level if I wasn’t truly passionate about it.
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.
One of my favorite ways to get readers to my blog is to post links on my social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. This is great, because not only do your friends see the link, but if your friends share the link with their friends it automatically multiplies your readers. If you have created high-quality content on your blog then social media is a great way for your blog to go viral.

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.


Every time you add a plugin to your site, you add more computer code to the back end. And more code means more for the search engines and other computer-y things to wade through. And more to wade through often means a slower site. No one likes slower sites, not readers and especially not search engines like Google (which we are all trying to please so they send visitors our way!).
Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to make money blogging. I love it because it can feel quite passive. You can create just one blog or social media post, which can potentially still earn you money years down the line. Now, you will have to maintain the post and keep generating traffic to it. Still, with affiliate marketing, I can relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.
Okay, so there are a ton of other considerations. For the sake of brevity, I’ll have to skip over all the little nuances that are involved with configuring things properly and optimizing for things like search engine optimization and installing plugins and so on. If you want to learn about SEO, I would recommend checking out my course on Udemy or one of my books or audiobooks on the topic.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? I hope so. I have 78 years of knowledge to share on food, music, and other topics. Your instructions are amazing, wonderful, and hopefully easy enough for even an old tech-idiot like me to understand. I’ll sign up for your course, but I want to express my admiration and appreciation for such a fine product as you have created.
Really excellent article. One suggestion or caution with Godaddy though…Godaddy has a product called WordPress Hosting. I signed up for it, and all was fine until I installed a plugin which had a special requirement that needed to be set up by the webhost. (something in the server side settings). I called Godaddy and they advised they can’t make those changes. Only on their individual hosting plans would that have been possible. This is a rare event, but worth keeping in mind. When you go for your own hosting you have more flexibility.
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.
Amazon is the giant in the industry, but it’s also a good idea to reach out to small companies and even individuals who make products or services that are related to your blog. For example, if you have a popular cooking blog, you might contact small BBQ sauce companies to see if they’d be interested in setting up an affiliate marketing program with you. You earn a portion of the sale through your blog, and they get free marketing.[46]
The reason this section is called “Great Content” is because your content really does need to be of a high standard. Everyday millions of blog posts are published on the internet and with so much competition for our limited attention spans you really have to be creating blog posts people are going to want to read and perhaps even share on social media or on their own blogs.
If your answer was the former, you’re wasting your time. In fact, if you’re not starting a blog because you’re inherently passionate about whatever it is you’re blogging about, it truly is a lost cause. Why? Because building a blog to any semblance of an audience is an astronomical feat. I don’t tell you that to scare you. Only to prepare you for what’s to come.
A “blog” is a website that usually presents information in a list-type set of entries. These entries can be anything, including commentary, descriptions of events, photographs, or videos. They’re usually interactive, so that readers can leave comments or messages on the entries.[1] A blog can focus on a wide range of subjects or a very narrow topic. The choice is up to you! Creating a blog to express yourself can be a lot of fun, but it’s also possible to make money from a blog.
It’s only finally getting into my head that it will only ever be a small percentage of my audience that really matters in terms of supporting my business. I was always so worried about not alienating the Big Crowd that I missed a ton of chances to focus on the people who really do understand my overall message and want to go deeper. This post (and especially the comment thread) has been wonderful and is helping me to clarify my new philosophy.

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!)
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