Google’s AdSense program is the most widely used PPC program because it has the power of Google Search behind it. Google will read your article and find "ads that are relevant" to it and display them next to or within the article. It will also use your readers’ cookies to display ads that are relevant to their recently visited websites on your blog.
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. 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.
As you'll see, my first year of blogging saw only about 9,000 total readers, but I wasn't really taking blogging seriously and I was still learning how to drive traffic. In my second year, you'll see traffic begins to pick up dramatically as I start to figure out who my audience is and which traffic strategies work best for me—that's when I started driving almost as much traffic per month than I'd gotten in my entire first year.
Here's how affiliate programs work: You get a special tracking link from the company you're an affiliate for. Then, you'll place that link within posts on your blog, emails to your blog subscribers, and weave it in elsewhere that you reach your readers. When someone clicks on that tracking link and completes a purchase, sign up (or occasionally another metric), then you earn either a set fee or percentage of that sale.
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.
Finally, in order to build a blog that actually makes money, you need to get social. You need to collaborate with others. Communicate with leaders in your niche. Reach out and share other bloggers’ content. Acknowledge their work and give them positive feedback. Don’t be pushy about it and don’t look for anything in return. It doesn’t quite work that way.
Our friend Bobby realized that soon after he started his blog. His site wasn’t making any money at the time, so he needed to find another way to bring in some cash. That’s when he started reaching out to other businesses offering his services doing the things he’d learned from blogging (Facebook ads, writing online content, social media strategy, etc.).
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.
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.
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.
How qualified are you? Good blogs convey a sense of familiarity and ease with the material. Excellent blogs usually have bloggers who are personally qualified to talk about their topics. If you can’t think of at least 25 separate posts off the top of your head about your topic, you may not have enough familiarity with the topic to keep your content going.
Create a basic logo using a program like InDesign, Photoshop, or a text editor (note: even though we have no design skills, we were able to use Apple’s Pages application to create our simple logo after downloading some free vector art and choosing the typeface that best suited our aesthetic), or you can hire someone like 99designs to design a professional logo.
Do you want to know what’s really hard to read? A long paragraph like this. One that is huge and the text is long and the sentences run on and on and on. Even if you start out with a compelling first sentence, eventually people are going to get tired. It’s just too much of a task to take on to read this entire thing. Ain’t nobody got time for that! It makes people’s eyeballs hurt. They want content that they can easily scan over and pick and choose what they want to read. So please, unless you are a writer for the NY Times or moonlight as a ghostwriter for Steven King, do not write blog posts like this.
Sounds like a lot of work, I know, sorry about that, but there’s just no other way to do content publishing in the web landscape of today when starting a blog. There’s just too much great content out there already. Too much content that’s already quite optimized. In an environment like that, you can’t just rely on your main keyword for the entire site and then keep creating your content around “whatever” loosely connected topic.
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.
When Jeff and I started blogging about finance and investing last year, we knew that you could use a blog to generate income but we wanted to focus on building a library of content first, before we looked at ways to generate additional revenue. We wanted to focus on growing on a local level here in Virginia and then scale up and look for opportunities to make moves online.
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.
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
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!
Define Your Ideal Readers. Once you’ve found your niche, you need to know who will be reading your blog. For example, we blog about living a meaningful life with less. Thus, our ideal readers are people who are interested in exploring minimalism so they can clear the path toward more meaningful lives. If you want to write about your newborn baby growing up, that’s wonderful: your ideal readers are probably your friends and family. If you want to write about restoring classic cars, that’s cool, too. Tailor your writing to your readers (whether it’s your family or local community or whoever else will read your blog).
Make it easy for the person you are guest posting for. Don’t forget to edit and proof-read and perhaps even format the post before you send it to the website. Make it as easy as it can be for the website owner to just cut and paste the article and hit publish. I used to publish guest posts on The Positivity Blog maybe 6 years ago and I loved it when people did that. I did not love it when people sent me lazy drafts and hoped I would do the cleanup.
After you have your account created, you’ll be directed to a page where you need to select your hosting package. You can choose to pay for your hosting in a 12 month period, 24 month period, or a 36 month period — the longer the plan, the cheaper your price. Next, add your payment info and wait for an email confirmation of registration – this only takes a minute or two.
If you are interested in covering a broad topic that many people already write about, create multiple specialized blogs instead and link between them when the subjects overlap. For instance, if you are a nutrition expert, write one blog about healthy weight management, another one about child nutrition, and another about growing your own vegetables.
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.
Google pays acute attention to the length of your articles. Short articles are called “thin” content. They generally tend to be 500 words or less. Even sub-1000-word articles are largely a waste of your time. Why? You can’t compete in the beginning with thin content. Unless you have an existing audience, which takes time to build, you need content that packs the value-punch.
I’m a cyclist! I try to ride my bike outside as much as I can throughout the week. If its too cold or wet, I put the bike on the trainer and do 20-minute high-intense spinning workouts (lot’s of free videos for it on YouTube). Biking is a wonderful fitness tactic… You burn calories fast, exercise the parts that mean the most and you kill stress and junk that is giving you that horrid ‘blogger’s block’ plus, its fun and makes you feel like a kid again! 😀
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.
Responsiveness is a must: Responsiveness refers to themes that make sure your blog looks as good on a laptop, as it does on someone’s smartphone. Today, more and more people use their phones to read blogs and depending on your audience, that number could be 50% or higher (like mine is). Google also favors mobile-friendly websites and ranks them at the top of their organic search results. If you’re not totally sure whether a theme is mobile friendly or not, copy and paste the URL of the theme’s demo page into Google’s Mobile Friendly Test page. (This test will almost always show some warnings. But major red flags to watch out for are text too small or content wider than screen.)
The one constant with trends is they do not last. They are always based on a new technique or technology and follow an interest cycle. Since human beings by their nature move on to something different, new and perceived as better (and usually ACTUALLY better), if you are attached to any one trend, you are doomed if you don’t adjust and keep up with the times.
If you’ve spent a lot of time writing that week and just need a break from working on a post, it may be a productive way to spend an hour or two but I personally think your time could be better spent elsewhere. (This isn’t to say that you can’t find success utilizing this method, I just don’t see many/any people doing it and reporting back that it’s really helped them).
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.
Answer questions people interested in your niche are already asking. I sometimes check out the most popular questions about personal development on huge sites like Reddit and Quora. They can often give you a good idea of what questions people are really interested in finding answers for. And so you’ll find some really good topics for your next posts or podcasts.
Jaime, this is an excellent article. I’ve been blogging for fun for over four years, In the last year I’ve branched out and started a self-hosted blog about blogging for fun. I’m at the point think I have enough to offer on that subject and a few others. There are so many steps to get started, I think it overwhelms people, including those of us who are comfortable blogging. There are lots of courses available, but most of them that I’ve tried are pretty general. Do you recommend getting a coach?
I was wondering what your thoughts are on wordpress themes. I don’t want to get hung up on picking one, but I was wondering if you would recommend going with a free one or a premium one to start? And if you recommend a premium one, do you have a favorite site to get them from? I’ve read that free themes aren’t really a good way to go because you don’t get updates or support and they can contain malicious code, so I was just wondering what your experience is with themes. Thanks so much!
Hi Kari! I think you’re understanding me correctly. Your readers will initially find you through your WordPress blog. Hopefully, you’ll be offering them lots of amazing articles that they’ll love, so they will want to join your email list. On your blog, you’ll need to include a link to your email sign up (you can see some on my blog at the bottom of posts. Hope that helps answer your question! :)
While the first crucial step to getting your blog started today is registering your domain name and setting up hosting (get 65% off your domain and hosting right here from Bluehost), my free course breaks the entire process of starting a blog and actually growing it, down into an incredibly simple 7-day process for going from zero to publishing (and promoting) your first blog post in less than 1 week. I can't recommend it enough.