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…?

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.
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.

If you're passionate about a subject and you have decent writing skills, blogging definitely could be an alternative career path for you. The short answer is, yes, it is possible to make a living—a very good one, even—by writing online. On the other hand, the hard truth is most of the millions of bloggers today don't make enough to support themselves just with their blogs. Let's take a look at what's involved.
But if you're willing to put in the time and the effort, and you can stay persistent over the years (and yes, I said years), then you can most certainly generate a substantial income online. In fact, your blog is quite possibly one of the best hubs of passive income generation, and if done the right way, it can attract the right clients and customers no matter what industry or niche you might be in.
Personally, if you have the resources I would go for the second option. Not only does this tell readers who you are and if they’re in the right place. But it also gives you a chance to show social proof (that other people have recognized you as a thought leader). Of course, you might not have this right away, so it’s perfectly fine to just go with the first option.

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.

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.  


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:
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.
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.
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 :)

Hello! I want to be a stay at home mom and I’m basically a single mother. I’m with my child’s father. We just aren’t married yet but he plays basketball overseas so I’m taking care of our daughter by myself. I want to be able to spend more time with her. I’m currently a teacher and it is absolutely miserable and draining the life out of me and my sanity. I would love to get started on becoming a blogger. You have truly inspired me to do it. I’m just very scared and hesitant on spending the money but I’m beyond ready to do it. I started filling out bluest but haven’t completed yet because of the add-ons they are offering and I’m unsure on what to select or unselect but it raises the price it. Could you provide advice? I also wanted to know is there another site you recommend for themes? They are no longer $69, they are $89 now for Elegant themes website. I’m really trying to get this started and am more motivated then ever to do this but I’m just trying to do it in a lower cost if possible. Thank you!
If you just want to earn an income from writing, I would go the freelance route, like what Gina teaches. I can definitely see how it can seem too good to be true, but you have to look at these fields, either blogging or freelance, as a job/business. It’s definitely not a get rich quick thing. Those who become successful work hard, just as anyone in a more conventional job does. What I love about Gina is she is an incredibly hard worker. If you look at her story, she started out in freelance while working full time, so she was getting up at 4:30 in the morning and working weekends so she could grow her income. She was so determined. Her first month she made $805. Amazing!

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.


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.
“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
I always encourage my friends to look at WPengine for hosting, its a bit more pricey but is really stable and reliable, plus they include tons of goodies that are usually considered a premium service and they all work without a struggle. Thinks like a CDN, Backups, Offload to S3. All these things can really help the quality and consistency of your site and are definitely something to think about whether you are a beginner or an advanced blogger.

You can use your email list for this purpose simply by sending a broadcast email every now and then asking your subscribers what problems they're facing in your niche or what they would like to see on your blog. You can also promote a link to a survey on your site. Or you can even go all in and have real conversations with people by inviting them on Skype, talking to them on LinkedIn and Facebook groups, participating in forums, and more.


Leaving Work Behind is proudly affiliated with Bluehost. Naturally, we recommend Bluehost over other options because we’ve had good experience with it. We should divulge we also get a few dollars every time anybody signs up for their service through our links. Not only that , Bluehost comes highly recommended by the team over at wordpress.org, the blogging platform you will be using.
In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.
Hi Carol, Sorry to hear about your troubles. Did you upload WordPress to Bluehost? If so, what you need to do now is upload a theme. There are free ones that you can use, or you can purchase one from StudioPress (this is what my blog is designed with now), Elegant Themes, or Thesis. I’ve heard the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes is super easy to modify. Don’t give up you can do this — with anything new, there is a learning curve.
Protip: Back in the day, when there weren’t so many blogs online, you could almost pick any topic and run with it. Now, not so much. There are definitely niches that are really, really full and therefore difficult to break into. How do you know? If you can easily find several dozen popular blogs on the topic, you might rethink your topic. On the other hand, just because a niche is big doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to choose it. After all, a large niche means there’s a market for it! In that case, you’ll have to find a really unique angle. Spend time watching the main players. Knowing your way around will help you fine-tune the “thing” that will make you stand out.

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:
You can actually start getting to know your audience before you even launch your blog by becoming active where they hang out online. Try forums tailored to your niche, Facebook groups, Quora, Reddit, Stack Exchange and similar sites. You can also try to form in-person relationships in your niche. Once you start blogging, take the time to ask your email subscribers and commenters what their biggest problems are.
Hi and thanks for all the info. These are great step by step instructions. I am new to blogging and this is my first attempt. I have my domain name from NameCheap. I just purchased hosting with HostGator. Now, when I go to install WordPress, I am not finding the install you mention in your blog. I already installed one time and followed the free link (which looked completely different from your graphics) but I never saw the bar saying your install is complete and I never got any login credentials. When I checked My Installs, WordPress was listed there. Since I could not find the credentials, I uninstalled it. What am I doing wrong here? I think I need to start over!
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!

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 :)


Take some time and create a list of topics you’d like to write about. Then for each topic create subtopics. Example: Cooking – Gourmet Cooking, Gourmet Cooking on a Budget, Gourmet Recipes, Easy Gourmet Recipes, Gourmet Desserts, Gourmet Chocolate Desserts, etc. Next brainstorm specific article ideas for each subtopic. Make sure to write these down on paper — it helps to visually see the process.

Through my affiliate link, you can secure hosting for as little as $2.95 a month. But you have to purchase the 36-month package, which would be $106.20 — but this includes a free domain name. You can use a free theme, but I highly suggest purchasing one, for $39 – $130. You can buy a custom logo design on Fiverr for $5, and you can use Sendinblue for email marketing which is free for a certain number of email subscribers. All in all, it shouldn’t cost you any more than $150.20 – $241.20 (plus tax).
According to the State of the Blogging Industry 2017, professional bloggers average $138,046 in annual profit. That’s certainly a respectable salary if you ask us. In other words, we dare say that professional blogging is a viable career choice, though it is notable that the path there will be long and rough because it is largely a do-it-yourself industry.
I must say, its a great article and enjoyed a lot. There’s so much good information which can be followed and actioned. I was in similar situation before trying to make money online, but couldn’t quite make it. So started slowly and work on the content and SEO. After 4 months I made $2. After this, I was able to make around $50 a month from the same blog. And recently I sold that blog. It happened with me so guys you can make it happen as well. But, please remember if you are looking for big money quick then it is not for you.
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.

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.
To make your site safe, all you need to do is turn on the SSL certificate. It controls the data transfer on your site and makes it unreadable to nosy people who might sniff the data from an outside. But before you start worrying that only technicians and internet experts know how to do this, let us show you how you can get a FREE secure connection in just a few steps:
Through my affiliate link, you can secure hosting for as little as $2.95 a month. But you have to purchase the 36-month package, which would be $106.20 — but this includes a free domain name. You can use a free theme, but I highly suggest purchasing one, for $39 – $130. You can buy a custom logo design on Fiverr for $5, and you can use Sendinblue for email marketing which is free for a certain number of email subscribers. All in all, it shouldn’t cost you any more than $150.20 – $241.20 (plus tax).
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.
How frequently should you write new blog posts? I think the real question here is How frequently CAN you  write new posts on the regular? If you can commit to writing a new post once every 2 weeks for now, perfect. That’s your magic number. Over time I recommend ramping up to once or twice a week as you get comfortable with your blog schedule. Whatever you do, please don’t write 6 posts in 2 weeks and then disappear for 3 months! Creating a schedule and then sticking to it is sooo key when it comes to building trust.

Readers want to be entertained. Do you have a fascinating story? Do you lead a wildly interesting life? Are you outrageously funny? Everyone needs down time and plenty of blogs exist purely to entertain. With all the available entertainment these days, the key is providing something totally unique. As a bonus, you could be entertaining and helpful at the same time. For example, if your quirky family raises llamas, talk about how you raise llamas not just that you raise llamas. Entertaining + helpful = a great combination.


Thanks Zee! It’s definitely an investment- more so in time rather than money, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you get things up and running (super easy with Bluehost), it’s all about building up your following and increasing your reach- both of which have basically unlimited potential (which means theoretically unlimited earnings potential). No better time to start than now!
It’s dependent on traffic. Traffic goes up and down and you never know when it is going to do a major dip. Most advertisers pay based on the number of views their ad will get. This turns you into a traffic monster. You start to look for creative ways to get any kind of traffic, no matter if it’s good traffic or not. This can easily lead to your site becoming another junk site that you try to avoid.
It’s hard to get noticed when you cover topics on a broad scale. Everyone has their own set of problems, and every blog is trying to solve them. What you need is a niche that will help you target a specific market in the broader topic your niche belongs in. It’s important for you to define your niche before you start blogging or in the early stages of your blog, at the very least.
Brainstorm keywords for each blog post. Keywords are the important words that relate to the topic of your blog, and specifically the new subtopic you cover each time you post. Choosing relevant keywords that people search for frequently will increase the visibility of your blog, attract more readers, and show them advertisements they are likely to click.
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!”
Affiliate marketing is a blog monetization method in which you place a link to a product or company on your website or a social media platform in an attempt to make an income from followers purchasing the product through your link (this is called an affiliate link). Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money blogging because if there is a product or company that you enjoy, all you have to do is review the product and hopefully others will be interested in buying it as well.
It’s good to have a main topic — but you can branch out from there. Many coupon bloggers post coupons, discounts, money saving ideas, ways to make money, as well as home related stuff like recipes, parenting, etc. Have you ever tried mind mapping? That would be a great way for you to discover if you have enough ideas for a blog on any given topic. Good luck and keep us posted!
Please note that your chosen domain name may be taken; you may need to try a few different names before you find one that hasn’t already been registered. If you find this process a little frustrating, remember this: your domain name doesn’t have to be permanent. If you’re not 100% happy with your domain name, you can always change it in the future (you can grab a new domain for as little as $11.99).

It seems like you got your blog up and running – congratulations! About the “WebPage not available” – this is a common thing. Just wait a few hours, clear your browser cookies and you should be able to see your blog. If you want to speed up the process, follow this guide: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/hosting-guide/lets-get-started/when-will-my-domain-start-working-propagation
NOTE: I’ll get into this in the section on Helping Other Bloggers, but be sincere in your help. If you only seek out to get something out of someone else, you won’t form a relationship with that person. I’ve liked Stephanie’s blog and content since I first saw it. She has an amazing story of being broke in New York City, and she’s built this amazing personal finance business in just a couple years. I help Stephanie because I like Stephanie, not because I want or expect to get anything out of the relationship.
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.).
The more involved you become with blogging, the more your creative juices will flow. That’s one reason why blogging is so popular. As you gain knowledge about your topic, the confidence you build in your followers and most importantly, in yourself, will soar. All of this leads to increased creativity. Keep an open mind and enjoy your new-found confidence in your own abilities!
“As a newer blogger, I have been wanting a conversation – a seasoned blogger to talk to me about the most popular ways to monetize my blog, the pros and cons of each of them, and give me realistic tips and goals to reach my future goal. Ruth did all of this. She has such a fantastic writing style that you feel like you are sitting down with her over a cup of coffee. The material is easy to navigate, covering the importance of good content before anything else, Pinterest, media kits, reviews, ads, and a whole lot more. Ruth is incredibly level-headed in her approach to monetizing her blog and truly believes and promotes that a blog full of good ideas, content and writing must come first. My favorite part is that every chapter ends with a “plan of action” which is great if you are truly looking to improve your blog. I can’t wait to put her tips and ideas into action and watch my blog grow!“

“I’m a veteran blogger, headed into my 6th year of writing to a smart and engaged community on a variety of lifestyle topics.  I didn’t get to Chapter 2 before I was so compelled by her invaluable advice that I stopped reading and started implementing her smart and savvy tips on my site.  Four hours and a much better navigation bar later, I started reading more and found no less than fifty things that I could be doing better to make my site more reader friendly.  This is probably the 10th blogging ebook I’ve read, but  by the far the best.  She is brilliant and generous and you will be amazed at the pearls of wisdom in this little volume.  I love her style, which  is the perfect blend of the philosophical and the practical and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred back to her advice for my own blog.   It’s been a month since I employed many of her techniques and my traffic and income are up 25%.  I’m so glad she took the time to write this.  It’s a gift to the blogging community.“
I have a lot of great ideas, but most of them are just thoughts and theories, and it seems that no one would want to read about, even pay for, ideas in which I am not a complete expert on. My greatest talent, perhaps, is being a prolific writer. Otherwise, I’m more of a Cliff Craven I know a lot about some things, and some about a lot of things. How does THIS make MONEY??
My main concerns why I’m asking this is that I think 12 published blog posts might not be enough content for the person that lands on my page to stay on my page for too long, therefore it might be more beneficial to guest post a few months from now. Also, I’m thinking maybe it is better to invest that time in things like learning affiliate marketing rather than trying to get somebody to collaborate.

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.

Use a system like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache and turn on browser caching to ensure that you speed up the delivery of your webpages. In the beginning, this might not seem as important. But as you grow and your traffic increases to thousands of visitors per day, this will be critical. Use Google's Page Speed Insights to test things before and after the installation.


I want you to have realistic expectations, though. Those results are not the norm. My first month of monetizing my blog I made several thousands of dollars. But that occurred after I had been blogging for eighteen months. But do the math – I’m estimating my business will earn six-figures in ** the second year**. And I’ve never monetized a blog before!

Selling physical products online can be hard to setup as you will need to deal with storage, shipping and even deal with things such as local taxes and distance selling laws. Of course a lot of this headache can be resolved by finding a company who will offer a white-label or drop shipping service leaving you to worry about getting traffic and updating the website.


Indirect Income – later on in my blogging journey opportunity has come for ‘indirect’ income streams. As my blogs and profile grew as a result of my blogging I was able to sell my services as a speaker and consultant and was offered the opportunity to author a book with the publisher Wiley. Later I was able to start an event for bloggers which also made money. None of this income came directly from the blog – but rather it came ‘because’ of my blog.
Blogging is a lucrative business, even as popularity in video marketing and podcasting are on the rise. It also happens to be the one of the oldest and most popular forms of content marketing. This is due to how effective it’s been for small and big-time blogs alike as well as how cheap it is compared to other forms of marketing. These are probably a few of the reasons why you want to start a blog yourself, but how do you become successful as a blogger? That’s what we’re going to explore in this post.
Once you have a popular blog, advertisers will be hounding you for the opportunity to advertise. The best way to take advantage of this situation is to use Google Adsense. They find the advertisers for you and all you have to do is place the Google Adsense code on your blog to start running ads. Google Adsense takes all of the hard work out of the process and just cuts you a check.
These are certainly stark and sobering insights! I’ve only added some content to my travel blog fairly recently. Travel is certainly a saturated area, but on the flipside I guess it also has broad appeal. This brings me to ponder point 10 – positioning. I have some ideas and some strategies in my head, but will mull over this. Yaro, by providing the authoritative insights that you (and others) do, how much do you think these insights have been responsible for raising market sophistication across the board? Do you think that this creates an ever increasing base standard for success? (notwithstanding the point that you make above that the market is growing). The impression I am left with is that where large amounts of competitive quality content exists (i.e. most fields), it is those that harness the lessons that you (and other experts) provide, in combination with their own original tactical strategies that will prosper. Your thoughts?
Show proof that you’re part of their community: You can show your readers that you’re part of their community in a number of ways. Do you write for other blogs or sites that are in your niche or actively contribute to popular communities and forums? What about adding a testimonial or social post from someone in the industry who read and liked your blog.
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