Create catchy headlines. You can have the best content in the world, but if your readers don’t recognize it instantly, it’s unlikely they’ll click through. Headlines are especially important because many readers will encounter your content through a feed reader, such as Google Reader, or content site like Digg. They may only see the headline at first, so it needs to communicate what your post will be about in an engaging, entertaining way.[24]
Of course, offering products and services doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive from using ads. You can do both, but what I see happen is that when you start to make $5 from ads you try to figure out how you can make even more and that becomes your focus. The tactics you use to boost your ad revenues are often the ones that prevent you from building your list and promoting your own products.
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was a lot different back in 2010 - 2012 (and a lot easier back then), so I knew that books written back then would be out of date for me for now.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.
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!
When I spoke to Preston Lee, the founder of Millo.co, for my podcast, he told me that he first learned how to start a blog on his train commute in to his day job. He had 40 minutes each way going to and from his full-time gig, and he used that time to write, design and create his blog that now brings in upwards of $15,000 a month in sponsorship revenue.

Now we’re revvin’ up the traffic engine of the blog income formula (first part, step #1). First things first, let me say when it comes to driving web traffic, social media and content are interrelated. Where one goes, the other must follow, which is why step #4 is broken down into two parts. In case you’re wondering which part to tackle first, I say both, friend. You really can’t have one without the other.
Thanks Donna for taking the time to write this excellent comment. I agree with you 100%. A blog can give you an income from offline sources and is a great way of diversifying into different areas, but again it also depends on the niche you find yourself in. I always say to people to not be too reliant on one source of traffic or one source of income, because they can vanish pretty quickly.
Do what you can to get relevant links that point to your homepage and your individual posts. A lot of ranking decisions are based on how many backlinks you have coming into your website. You can get these links by writing articles to submit to directories, writing guest blog posts on other high traffic blogs, using social networking sites, using social bookmarking sites, and buying links (be very careful with this tactic).
This is a step that every successful business faces, and if you really want to turn your blog into a business, it’s a step you simply can’t skip. I say this with complete confidence and after years working with brands who put so much effort into marketing, and then later realize that they’re missing the mark. I don’t want this to happen to you, so here’s the deal…
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.
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!)
That means, once again, you shouldn’t try to replicate what another blog is doing. Instead, you should choose one channel to focus on and master it before implementing additional channels. You’re obviously reading this post because you want to start to blog, which means you shouldn’t move into video marketing or podcasting until you’re publishing consistently and generating a consistent amount of traffic.
Anyhow, the good thing is I think we can very reasonably expect a warning before anything like that happens. Enid Hwang (one of Pinterest’s top honchos) recently spoke at the AdThrive Summit and shared that Pinterest does penalize/look down on/treat any differently an approved API partner (like Tailwind) than it would someone who is manually pinning — this has been known for some time, it was just nice to hear them reaffirm it (any conjecture beyond that is merely a rumor).
If you want a more concrete answer than that, we’ve found it takes even our smartest, most dedicated students 3-6 years to make enough money from blogging to quit their jobs. And that sounds like a long time, but so what? 3-6 years to be able to work from anywhere in the world, take a vacation whenever you want, and probably have passive income until the day you die?
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.
Jeff, first article of yours I’ve read. Excellent stuff! I’m following Michelle as well and am floored at the potential. I’m starting right now to implement all your suggestions. I’ve not yet set up my website email, but hey, one bite at a time, right? I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the interwebs. At this moment, by site is a blank slate, but I have several posts written in Google Docs of which to choose from. Cheers!
Your first step in starting a blog is deciding on a niche. Maybe you've already selected a niche. Maybe you haven't. Your niche will essentially be your content angle. What will you write about? What information will you convey? Will it be about a specific industry? Maybe it will be about a certain area of skills or personal development? Whatever it is, decide on it now.

If you can keep your readers engaged and actively reading your content and digesting it thoroughly, Google will take notice. Engagement, calculated through things like the average time spent reading your content, average session time, exit rate, bounce rate, and so on, is one of the primary components when ranking on Google's competitive Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Once your hosting account is set up, it’s time to actually get WordPress up and running. Bluehost makes it really easy by installing WordPress in the background. You will be asked to choose a theme. A theme is like a skin for your blog. You can change your theme at any time. Scroll down and choose ‘Skip This Step‘. On the next screen, click on ‘Start Building‘ button to configure your blog.
I wanted to let you know that this evening is the first time I have came across your blog and as I have many others I read through it. However, I’m not sure what it is about your particular blog but for some reason I feel drawn to it. A lot of what you have blogged about sounds so much like myself. I have wanted to start my own blog for a while (3 years to be exact) but being the procrastinator that I am, not knowing where/how to start AND racking my brain for a domain name has prevented it. I too, have a passion for writing. I always have. All the way back to Elementary school. I have many, many ideas for my blog and have had to hand write everything as I think of it. My dilemma now is coming up with a domain name haha. I have a binder with “my blog” topics, “layout” etc. I literally am just steps away…if I can ever decide on a domain name. Thank you so much for the inspiration you give and the passion you put into your writing…Unlike some blogs where the content is just as original as the next one I click on after it. I only hope to become half the blogger you are. Thank you for sharing this, it has helped!!
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.
The tools you use to reach people constantly change and you always have new options – more than you can handle. If however you understand the fundamentals, you realize that your core values stay consistent. How you present your value and what distribution formats you use to deliver it to people, fluctuates based on what is working best at any given time.
Ignore Negative Criticism and Stupidity. Sure, we get a lot of negative comments and stupid questions from ignorant people who aren’t really our readers (e.g., negative comments like “You’re not real minimalists” and stupid questions like “Are you guys gay?”). We call these people seagulls: they fly in, crap on your site, and fly away. But we pay them no mind, because we didn’t start our blog for them. Delete their comment and move on.

If you’re 100% brand new to blogging, note that this book will not explain blogging basics in detail (i.e. there are no chapters on how to get started–that’s not what the book was created for). That said, it is a book I would recommend to brand new bloggers nonetheless as it will help set you up for success. And besides, you can always Google “what is a blog” later 😉

More and more, secure websites are becoming a requirement rather than an option. Even if you are not collecting any information on your website, it is still better to add security to your website with a SSL certificate. These encrypt the connection between your blog’s visitors and your website, reducing the chance something will go wrong when viewing the site.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that making money blogging is not possible by putting your site up and letting it sit there. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work here, so be sure you’re willing to put in the time. Most bloggers don’t see a spike of income for several months (sometimes years) after starting their blog. Before you dive too deep into blogging, remember these little bits of advice:
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