Some people will argue that you shouldn't start a blog in a niche that isn't too popular. For example, if you want to write about something like crocheting or playing a specialized instrument, understand that the appeal of the blog can only be as large as the total global audience in your prospective language. Some things simply don't have a large audience.
Everyone who’s everyone wants to start a blog that makes money. They’ve been lured in by the stories of the world’s most popular bloggers that are generating tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month on autopilot. However, like any other goal in life, starting a successful blog that actually makes a respectable amount of income is no easy feat.
We’re going to go through seven specific steps you can take to find your own path to success, but first, let’s take a look at a common path most successful blogs have taken. It starts with a problem to solve and a product or affiliate product to sell. Ideally, this product is designed to solve that problem. Next, these sites use their blogs to provide free, valuable, high-quality content and use things like SEO, social media, guest posts and even paid ads to drive traffic to their websites.
Thanks so much for this article and all of the links! I’ve been thinking about blogging for the past year. This year I started my Instagram page and just this week joined Twitter and Facebook as a means of (hopefully) expanding once the blog is underway. My first dilemma however, is the name! For the past four months, I have been @travelsandtantrums on IG (and the other platforms) however, I am thinking of changing that name as it began as a way of documenting our big family trip this year – I hadn’t counted on growth (as you talk about in your articles). Also, as our kids grow up, I hope that the ‘tantrums’ will subside – so, I don’t know whether to stick with what I have or to change to a more ‘family/reality’ name. It is catchy but is it relevant if we are not ‘travelling’ all the time? Hmmmmm. I’d love to know what you think!
Second job, anyone? In America, two-income families are the norm but think of the havoc it wreaks on your daily life. You’re so exhausted by the time you get home from work; you barely have enough time and energy to make dinner and help the kids out with their homework. Even that becomes difficult if you work at more than one place, whether evenings or on weekends.
Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.

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!)
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!
Hi, so I’ve been thinking about writing a book about my personal experience with adultery and how this was the worst mistake I’ve ever made and I have made many. In June 2008 my now ex wife became pregenant with our second child but the previous month she introduced me to Facebook. That was the beginning of the end. To make a long story short my ex wife and a woman I met on Facebook both gave birth to my 2 daughters 51 days apart. The blog I want to start will hopefully help other men not be as self destructive as myself.
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.
It makes your blog portable. If you decide to move from one blog host to another, you just take your blog content AND your domain name with you. That way you don’t lose the links you’ve built over time. If you didn’t have a domain name, you would lose all the “search engine rankings” and “link value” you’ve built up so far – so in a sense, you’d be starting over.
Since I have a large proportion of freelancers in my audience, he offered to set me up as an affiliate where I'd earn a set fee for each new paid subscriber that signed up as a result of an email or clickthrough from my blog. The week I sent my first email out to my community about SolidGigs, nearly 100 people signed up to try it out. And that number's only continued to grow over the months, adding more to my recurring income that comes from this channel.
Clueless, confused, and confounded with choices, we had no idea how to start a blog or how to be a blogger. When should we start? How do we register a domain name? What is hosting? Which blogging platform should we use? How do we choose a template? What is a plugin? What should we write about? Heck, we could hardly spell HTML, let alone build a blog!
This is the strategy that most bloggers start with when looking to monetize their blog. However, keep in mind you're not limited to selling banner ad spots (which is generally an ineffective strategy these days). Consider other areas you could rent out: space on your pop-up box, social media headers, the "P.S." on your email newsletters...think outside the box (quite literally).
Starting a blog to make money requires that you are willing to learn and learn and learn. And then learn some more. (Many people don’t want to hear that – because they want blogging to be the thing that solves all their problems easily… but if there’s a way to make a living blogging without gaining any knowledge about blogging, I haven’t figured it out yet.)
Once you’ve selected the right account, you’ll move to the next page where you can actually purchase your domain. Either you already have a domain, which you can easily port over to their service, or you’ll buy a new domain name. If you’ve already done the research on your domain, this step should be fairly straightforward. If you haven’t, don’t rush this step and take enough time selecting the perfect domain.
AdSense is a contextual advertising network that places partner (business) ads on your website. It’s easy to set up—all you have to do is copy and paste some code given to you from Google in the places you'd like the ads to appear on your website. Google will then show ads from advertisers that are a match to the content on your website so that ideally your website visitors see relevant ads.
Two of the most popular social media platforms in use are Facebook and Twitter. You can add native videos to Facebook and cater to those that love to watch videos, you can Tweet instant updates on Twitter and invite followers to check out your new blog post. And most importantly, no matter which network you use, you can expand your reach to an audience base you never even knew about.
Hi Jamie, this is great. I am totally new to the idea of blogging for myself and your website is clear and jargon free. From everything I have read, it seems it’s about having a subject you are either very knowledgeable in or are passionate about and then sharing that information with other people who may find it useful through blog posts. Once the audience are there, then looking at ways to monetise through audience numbers, if I’ve got it right?
This step should come after defining your niche. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can get to work on finding out about all of the individual problems they’re having and pinpointing their top pain points. Why is this important? People read blogs, watch videos and buy products to solve the problems they’re having. You could simply blog about what you feel would be most popular and create products you feel would be most profitable, but having definitive proof on what your audience cares about the most is a much better way to ensure success.
This is the strategy that most bloggers start with when looking to monetize their blog. However, keep in mind you're not limited to selling banner ad spots (which is generally an ineffective strategy these days). Consider other areas you could rent out: space on your pop-up box, social media headers, the "P.S." on your email newsletters...think outside the box (quite literally).

This isn’t something you necessarily need before you start a blog, but it is something you should implement as soon as possible. “Something to sell” may refer to your own products, affiliate products or even your sponsors’ products. It doesn’t matter whose product it is so long as it’s generating revenue for you. As a side note, affiliate marketing is the cheapest way for new and young blogs to start generating revenue. Be sure to read through our guide on how to get started with affiliate marketing for more information on that.
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.

“After a year and a half of blogging as a hobby, I decided to launch a second blog with the goal of making a profit. Ruth did an excellent job addressing all of the questions I had, including the ones that came up as I navigated through my new blogging journey. By implementing the strategies and action plans in Ruth's eBook, I was able to surpass my one-year blog traffic goal within 3 months from launching my blog. Not only that, I was also able to earn an income within 2 months! Today, my blog traffic and income continue to steadily grow. If you are serious about monetizing your blog, Ruth provides you with the necessary tools to yield tangible results.” Jesenia Montanez @ The Latina Homemaker

However, building a platform isn’t just about that. Building a platform involves ensuring that you’re always doing the most amount of work for the least initial return. Sound crazy? Okay, it might be a little bit crazy. But it’s true. You have to go out of your way for your readers. Because, believe me, they pay attention and remember what you do for them.

Pick a topic that you are passionate about. Even if you don't have a passion, writing about your daily life can make for a good read, depending how you word it. If you are going to blog about what you did today, make it interesting. People are looking for a funny story or your opinion on a debatable subject. They may not be as willing to read how you changed a lightbulb today. Using photos can help enhance the reading experience and engage readers more.
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.”
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.
It was interesting to see the diagram wheel picture in tip one with all the different domains that are used. Self-hosted WordPress seems to be the most popular. Do you think it has to do with how you can customize it the way you want the most compared to the other domains? I’m wanting to start my blog of dancing. I sincerely appreciate all of these additional ideas to get my blog started!
I worked 50 hours per week but needed to make extra income to make ends meet and a friend of mine was buying stuff from China and selling it at markets and managed to give up his full time job, i couldn’t afford to buy lots of stock and came across dropshipping, Its very daunting to begin with and there are many people doing it but I came across a dropshipping wholesale directory that helped me find products and offered lots of help, Im not making mega money at the moment but I was able to give up my full time job and take something part time so I have more time to spend with the family and im still making double what I previously was. My goal in the future (end of the year hopefully ) is to only be focussing on my own business, I might get there quicker once I follow your other suggestions.
Thanks so much for this article and all of the links! I’ve been thinking about blogging for the past year. This year I started my Instagram page and just this week joined Twitter and Facebook as a means of (hopefully) expanding once the blog is underway. My first dilemma however, is the name! For the past four months, I have been @travelsandtantrums on IG (and the other platforms) however, I am thinking of changing that name as it began as a way of documenting our big family trip this year – I hadn’t counted on growth (as you talk about in your articles). Also, as our kids grow up, I hope that the ‘tantrums’ will subside – so, I don’t know whether to stick with what I have or to change to a more ‘family/reality’ name. It is catchy but is it relevant if we are not ‘travelling’ all the time? Hmmmmm. I’d love to know what you think!
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”.
On February 24, 2015, Blogger announced that as of late March it will no longer allow its users to post sexually explicit content, unless the nudity offers "substantial public benefit," for example in "artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts."[11] On February 28, 2015, accounting for severe backlash from long-term bloggers, Blogger reversed its decision on banning sexual content, going back to the previous policy that allowed explicit images and videos if the blog was marked as "adult".[12]
This is an important one. If you don't know who your audience is, you don't know whether or not the content you're creating is truly having a positive impact in your niche. Sure, you can rely on keyword research and analytics to steer you in the right direction, and you should, but you should also consider forming a deep understanding of who your audience is, what they want and what problems they're facing.
I have actually put all my plans and projects on hold for about a week to focus on reading your blog and that of a few others such as Serena Star-Leonards’ ‘Retire Young’ and Darrens’ ProBlogger. Figured the old adage holds true, if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you’ve always got (other than when the effective means of delivery changes anyway =P ) But as blogs and passive income are where I have constantly struggled I figured it was high time I learnt some new stuff as the old stuff clearly wasn’t working out.
We spent 3 months on the first blog, but there were two of us working on it and we put a ton of hours into it before we threw in the towel. I can’t say that there is any kind of time period that is “enough” to know whether a blog is worth it or not. It really depends on how much time and effort you put into it and what kind of results you’re seeing. Everyone’s situation will be a little different.
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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