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!!! :)
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.
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.
With the free version of WordPress, you don’t really have that much freedom to make changes to your site. Plus, WordPress actually owns your site if you use the free version (meaning, your site is technically not even yours). With the free version of WordPress, your website link even looks unprofessional; instead of a .com ending, your site will look like “yourwebsite.wordpress.com”.
Protip: A quick way to tell if others are making money in a particular topic or niche is to do a Google search. Do ads show up at the top of the search results when you type in main keywords for that topic? If so, people are making money in that niche (otherwise they wouldn’t spend money on advertising) and there’s potential for you too. But do note, the absence of ads doesn’t necessarily mean you couldn’t make money in a particular niche. Dig deeper and you might find sites do make money but don’t choose to advertise on Google.
Find something that other people are interested in, too. If you choose to write about Himalayan basket weaving for men, you probably won’t have many readers, and you’ll have a hard time earning any income. Try to find something that combines your interests with things other people also care about. For my main blog, I write about money advice. I’m a personal finance nerd but, fortunately, there are people online looking for that type of information, too.
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.
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.
The answer is YES, resoundingly yes, there is plenty of room for new bloggers to make money. (Not to mention that just because there are “millions of blogs” doesn’t mean there are millions of successful blogs. People who won’t invest the time, money and effort it requires are included in that “millions” as well. Remember, blogging for profit is work!)
Of course, if you’re launching a blog for personal reasons and have no goals beyond the satisfaction of writing, these don’t impact you. However, if you’re trying to make money from blogging, it is very important to set realistic expectations of the work involved. Blogging for money is a form of business, which involves a few costs. Thankfully, blogging is relatively cheap compared to most other startups.

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.


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.

Note: When you send a post or page to the trash, it’s not deleted entirely. It will be held in the Trash folder. You’ll know you have things in the Trash because a “Trash” link will appear to the right of All / Published / Drafts / Private near the top of the window. You can restore something from the Trash if you’d like by clicking on the “Trash” link, hovering over the item you want to restore and clicking the appropriate link.
With a business account, you’ll have access to Pinterest Analytics, as well as the ability to create “Rich Pins.” You can also pay Pinterest to promote your pins with a business account, but that’s definitely not necessary. We experimented with about $50 worth of promoted pins before figuring out we could make our pins go viral on our own, without the help of ads.
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).

These types of tools will help you build two essential pages too few blogs use. They are the Start Here page and the Resources page. Creating Home, About, Blog and Contact pages are obvious. The Start Here page, on the other hand, allows you to build a page full of links to your greatest and most valuable content. It can help you highlight the content you want to convert. The Resources page is one you can use to build a list of links (including affiliate links) for the tools you use in your niche as well as anything else you feel would be useful to your audience, such as books and courses.
Ruth’s ebook is hands down the best blogging ebook I’ve ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough and will be telling every new and seasoned blogger I know to get a copy!   This ebook is comprehensive, but not overwhelming, and packed with amazing information. And I don’t say that lightly.  You see, by implementing the Pinterest strategies that Ruth suggests in her ebook, I have increased my site traffic by over 500,000 unique visitors per month. For real. Ruth is brilliant! What more can I say?!
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!
aText – text expander app for Mac. “aText accelerates your typing by replacing abbreviations with frequently used phrases you define.” For example, I tend to use the word “WordPress” a lot, so instead of having to write it by hand every single time, I’ve set a macro that allows me to just write WPP, and aText will right away expand it to WordPress. I have loads of other ones like this set up (for common typos I make, complicated words, etc.).
Yes, that’s right Janelle. Bluehost is the hosting plan. I recommend a paid hosting plan for all bloggers. Your host’s server is where your website lives. WordPress is free, it’s the ‘software’ so to speak that you use to write your posts. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad my site has been helpful to you! Please feel free to post here if you have more questions or email me anytime.
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!

Fortunately for us, being active on social media in the months prior to trying to make money blogging really paid off here. As of right now, we have a social reach of nearly 750,000 people each month. Starting a blog has helped immensely with that. What you can charge is largely dependent on your traffic and what an advertiser can expect to make back for paying you for a sponsored post.

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 😉

Learn about search engine optimization (SEO). The very basics of this is knowing which keywords to focus on. These are what people are searching for in the search engines, and how they might find your blog. Some of these keywords get a lot more searches than others get, so it's in your best interest to eventually choose the ones that do get searched for often. Keep in mind that these are often more competitive than ones that are searched for less -- but you might get lucky.
Great information altogether, but my main question still hasn’t been answered. I think I have Pinterest figured out and my traffic is gradually growing. I haven’t reached 5000 views per month yet but right now it seems like I will get 1000 page views in August and I started Pinterest mid-July with 0 views. I’m sure could be better, but not too bad either.
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.
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.
Ramsay, Over the years, your advice has helped me go from a blogging noob (even though I’d been blogging for years before I found you) to being able to launch a site that does what I want it to do and gets picked up in google searches within 24 hours – Wow! Thank you so much for all the knowledge you share. I just gave this post a tweet because I feel it is important to give back a little whenever I can… Happy Unicorn Day (9 April)! Lisa x
Hi Anna! I love that you already know blogging is your calling! You’re totally right that there are many possible directions to go, but you won’t truly know which is the one that will make you most successful until you get out there and try a few things. Also, with practice, you’ll be much more likely to see posts take off. I don’t think you need to be afraid to start, though. As long as you start your blog off the way I’ve outlined in the post, you’re going to have such a great start. This is everything I wish I would have known in my first years of blogging that would have helped me become successful so much faster. You can do it! And I hope you’ll stop by and give me an update about how you’re doing as you do get started :)

Thank you, I started my blog on January 1st of this year. I paid for a host and got the free domain name. I have been using a free theme so far. Your post encourage me as I am starting out ok. Traffic has been slow, but I just watched an online series about SEO that I believe will help. I look forward t your next post. Also, I had trouble picking a domain name and picked this one but would love to change it later.


Great post, thank you! I found this to be very useful. I have just got into the Pay Per Click method and it is a great way of building a passive income. Due to my niche, I have found it difficult to source good affiliate networks, but just today I have revisited the accounts I set up on Link Share and CJ, to my surprise they offer a good range of affiliate programs, many of which cater to my niche blog topic :)
Don’t get me wrong I have made many mistakes along the way but once I knew what I was doing it became a lot easier and more enjoyable. Many of my friends have emailed me or called me to find out more about “What Jamie Does”, but it can be a little hard to sink in at first as to how you can actually make a real income from running a successful blog(s). Therefore I have decided to create this guide for my friends, family, email subscribers and anyone else who wants to start doing “What Jamie Does”.
Blogs are unique in the way they work. I mean, apart from the body of your article, you also need to prepare the headline, format the post, add some images, set your tags/categories, add some “click to tweets” maybe, and do a myriad of other things – all the things that starting a blog involves. This is all in the “publishing” bucket. Do this last. Work on making your post look great immediately before you hit the publish button.
Oh, and side note—once you've started generating a decent amount of traffic to your blog, it'll be a smart long-term decision to move up your hosting plan to a managed WordPress hosting provider like Kinsta that have even more features (which is what I use now that I'm in the hundreds of thousands of monthly readers), especially when you're in need of speeding up your WordPress blog.
Life experiences. Everyone has lessons they have learned through life experience. Sharing this knowledge can be incredibly helpful to others in similar situations. For example, I recently helped a woman start her blog about being a fireman’s wife. She has a lot of experience and knowledge to share with others about this topic, and it has helped her connect with others in similar situations.Think about the things you have experienced in life. This could be related to your family (example: a blog about being a stay at home mom), work (a blog about experiences dealing with clients), or other life experiences (a blog about dealing with a troubling time such as a disease or divorce, or about a happy time such as preparing for a wedding or a birth of a child).

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.
Okay? A what? Sorry if I lost you. However, if you're serious about ensuring the blog that you started will make some serious coin over time, you need what's called a value ladder and a sales funnel. If you've never heard of these two concepts, let me explain. First of all, you need a system for email marketing. There are plenty of great plugins and programs to send out emails.
aText – text expander app for Mac. “aText accelerates your typing by replacing abbreviations with frequently used phrases you define.” For example, I tend to use the word “WordPress” a lot, so instead of having to write it by hand every single time, I’ve set a macro that allows me to just write WPP, and aText will right away expand it to WordPress. I have loads of other ones like this set up (for common typos I make, complicated words, etc.).

Mass appeal to a large audience is the goal of any blogger that starts a blog. While saturation into the marketplace is difficult any way that you slice it, starting with a smaller audience won't help you. If you want to write about resume writing skills, for example, you might want to take a broader approach of larger business or employment skills and information.
Premium content can mean any type of content you charge for - an ebook, whitepaper, downloadable guide, etc. But what I'm referring to here is pay-gated content. Basically you just put some awesome content up behind a paywall, which means visitors pay to access it. You can get your own paywall set up in 10 minutes or less using a plugin like MemberPress or Paid Memberships Pro.
An email list is a vital tool to blogging and online business. It helps you acquire site visitors and turn them into regular members of your audience. It also helps you connect with your audience, something you can do more effectively if you use your email list to segment them. The end result is more a consistent flow of traffic as well as more buzz when you're ready to launch your first product.
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.
At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier. Writing about more than one topic is totally fine too. As long as you are writing about things that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through and keep your readers interested.
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.

Hi. Thank you for your informative post. I’m still looking for the best (least expensive or free) value to use my own domain (not with wordpress.com or the like in the domain name). If you’ve included this information somewhere, I have missed it. I also didn’t see it on the comparison chart? I’m sure it’s probably there, but maybe worded differently…?
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.

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.
Heads up, you’re going to have to spend some time on each social media platform. It might seem like your entire day is devoured by social media at first, but it won’t be forever, I promise! You’ll get your days back soon! Really, you just need to spend enough time to learn the ins and outs, share some content, see which types of content perform best, and most importantly, which sites give you the most bang for your buck.
With practice and a little effort, you can easily build your base of fans and followers. As you become known as an expert in your niche, you can inspire, encourage and help your followers make a difference in their own lives. Along with your blogging journey, you will make new friends and connections throughout the world. If you like to travel, that means a lot of couches are available for you to snooze on while winging your way around the globe!
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!)
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