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).

Be professional. When you submit a résumé, don’t type it in ALL CAPS and please don’t avoid the caps lock like the plague. Know how to use it without looking incompetent. Write in complete sentences with proper grammar. Of course, there will be exceptions, but even with the exceptions, you must keep it professional. You’re building their view of you.

Choose your topic. The best blogs focus on topics that you, the blogger, are passionate about. This topic can be anything that you believe you have enough to say about to interest others. It works best if you can find a “niche” that is not being fully exploited.[9] There are several important things to keep in mind when choosing your blog topic:[10]
Keep it simple: At the end of the day, the goal of starting a blog is to share content that can be easily consumed (read, watched, experienced). And unfortunately, a lot of fancy blog themes get in the way of that. Don’t get too drawn in by crazy looking themes that compromise on legibility and usability. If a theme looks good, but doesn’t help you share your thoughts and engage with readers, it’s not a good theme.

This obviously isn't a book on SEO techniques, but I totally disagree with the author that SEO is an "old school" way of generating traffic. The bulk of my traffic has always come from search engines and, while social media is changing how we use the internet, I don't think enough emphasis can be put on the importance of search engines as a source of traffic for most blogs.
Most people that start a blog might not understand what they're in for. They might not fathom the amount of work that's waiting for them. Sure, gone are those 9-to-5 hours where they need to sit in a cubicle with their heads down or in some office on the 12th floor in a corporate building in some business park, but so is the guarantee of any semblance of pay.
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.
Also, I have a theory that a contact page without a form cuts down on time-wasting emails. That’s because a lot of people will see a form and use it immediately before reading the information on my contact page. By providing my email address at the end of my contact page, I’m hoping their question(s) will be answered before they get there, thus saving us both time in an email exchange.
This one ties into the last point. The user experience of any digital space, whether it's your website or an app, can make or break that space's success. In short, visitors won't stick around if your site's user experience is poor. Furthermore, if you don't know who your audience is and what they want, you can't know for sure if your blog's user experience is optimized for them.
Lastly, don’t be afraid or too shy to integrate your personality into your brand, and yes, your blog is your brand. Consumers want to buy products from brands they trust, and there are few greater ways to form relationships with them than by sharing your own thoughts and personal struggles in your niche, showing more of yourself, and generally being as authentic and transparent as possible.
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.
Add Value. Your blog must add value to its readers’ lives. You want to help people solve problems. This is the only way you will get great quality readers to your site (and keep them coming back). Adding value is the only way to get someone’s long-term buy-in. We both learned this after a decade of leading and managing people in the corporate world. With everything you write, it’s worth asking: Is this adding value?

Warning: : When I say be sincere, I mean it. People can smell an insincere pitch a mile away. I was guilty of this when I first started blogging. If you start out becoming friends with other bloggers first, sometime in the future they will help you with your eBook launch, promoting your blog, your course, giving you an introduction to someone – whatever – because you’re friends.
2. You can migrate to a self hosted blog later on but if you don’t have your own custom domain name then you’ll lose the traffic you have built up. A domain name is going to cost you $15 from WordPress.com whilst a domain name + 1 years hosting at Just Host is around $27 for the sake of around $12 I think it makes sense to start off totally in control.

Show consistent, relevant postings over time. Google seems to favor domains that have had some time to age and that are going to be a good bet for their visitors. Remember -- Google's (and other engines') goal is to provide the best experience possible for the people who search with them. If your blog is going to be a good match for your search terms it will be easier for you to rank and stay there.
Great post Jamie! There’s so many posts about how to make a money blog and your one is by far the best. One thing I want to comment on is initially all people who start a new blog don’t know where to start. They just sign up to different affiliate money making programs thinking that they will become rich quickly. You and me both know that this is not the case. What they don’t know and need to understand is that blogging needs hard work and dedication. To keep on going when after 6 months they are still earning zero. Only after that one can think to be successful online.

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.
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.
And if you want to maximize your blog’s potential for earning an income (maybe the reason you're learning how to start a blog in the first place?), then it’s always worth it to own your platform and go with a self-hosted WordPress blog, powered by a hosting provider like Bluehost that'll have your back on any of the technical questions & issues you run into.
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.
The goal? Create a schedule and stick to it. In the beginning, write as much content as you can and share it everywhere. However, don't sacrifice quantity over quality. Ensure that all the posts are great, high quality posts that are both relevant to your audience and niche while also being keyword-centric. Don't veer off topic or go on one tangent after another.
Unnecessary plugins. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. You’ll see a list of plugins, all of which I delete (the only plugin I might keep at the beginning is the Bluehost plugin). A plugin must be deactivated before it can be deleted. So, if you hover over a plugin you may have to choose “Deactivate” then repeat the process to see the “Delete” link. As I explain later, plugins can slow your site down and make things glitchy so I use them very sparingly. I only add a plugin when I have a clear reason to do so. I’ll give my plugin recommendations in a bit.
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.

Email Marketing – From the day you launch your blog, you need to be collecting email addresses from your readers so that you can remain in contact with them. To do this, you'll need to sign up with an email marketing provider. Don't worry, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get started, in fact, you can get a free account with Constant Contact or Sendinblue.


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).

Before I looked down to see who the creator of the pin was, I knew it was going to be from Pauline Cabrera over at twelveskip.com. Without even realizing it, I had subconsciously begun to recognize her purple-themed pins with the crisp block font.  And I knew that those pins led to really good content, so I clicked on the pin and ended up reading her article.
“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.“
Consider a free blogging service. Many people opt to create a free blog using popular services such as WordPress.com or Google Blogger. This is a good option for people who aren't familiar with web design, don't want to pay for their own hosting, or enjoy the ease and stability that comes with these services. These services do have limitations on how you can make money using them, however, so make sure your blog won't break the terms of service.
When I started this book, I honestly was considering what the heck I was doing with my blog. It wasn’t fun anymore! Ruth really helps you rethink your direction, and motivates you to find what you really enjoy doing, which will make you do that better than just ‘whatever’. She also has a great ‘Action Plan’ at the conclusion of every chapter that really help you stay organized and break things down. Her down-to-earth talk and honesty really brings her message across, and helps the reader feel that making money with your blog is completely do-able. She also points out that nobody can do everything, offers helpful organization and time management tips, including free printables, and just gives you that ‘push’ you need to take your blog to the next level.
Although I do think conversions are the most important thing I can recall when I first started out one of my sites and I was starting to get regular daily traffic of around 10 uniques, and then I had one day that spiked to 200. That was a very encouraging day. Just seeing that traffic spike gave me confidence and a drive to work harder towards my next goal. I had not made any conversions yet, no money. However, seeing that my hard work was doing something was very encouraging.
More often than not, people think they should blog about popular topics where they think money grows on trees. And while the truth is that you might be able to attract the larger audience if you write about smartphones instead of blogging about something specific like tuna fishing, that’s the wrong way to go. In the case, it would show that you write about something you might not completely understand and love, and it would result in an unsuccessful blog that not even you would enjoy.
Great article. I recently came back into blogging. I hadn’t realized how much I had learnt from my first attempt. Now with the new blog I started about a month ago, I am seeing an increase of traffic everyday which is quite surprising and very exciting. So I have been reading all over how to monetize a blog. Your article is excellent and in-depth. Thank you for sharing I will definitely be using some your advice. Blessings.
These “old men” to me at the time, also have their mentors who came before them. I remember listening to interviews (and you still hear this today), and names like Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert were mentioned as the pioneers before internet marketing, back when direct response was all about paper sent in the mail, or full page ads in trade journals or magazines.
Great post, blogging is hard. We run a travel blog and I think the most important thing we tell people is to travel with a purpose, Do not just wander around the world aimlessly. (Like ours is to experience and document the Top 100 Travel Adventures) So many travel blogs do not really have a purpose or a niche. Niche is key and many miss out on that because they want to cover and do it all. Do not just start a blog because you think you will get rich quick and be able to travel the world. It takes a lot of work and lots of time.
But before we begin; if you’re interested in a full, no-holding-back guide on how to start a blog then we have that for you. It’s a complete walk-through from nothing to a live blog that’s optimized, secure, and ready to welcome your readers. The guide was written based on our experience growing this very blog (which now has more than 150,000 monthly readers). And it’s 100% free. Click here.
When you purchase a hosting account, you’re actually just renting space on a server. Either you’re sharing that space with others, or the server is yours and yours alone to use. When you first start out, it will likely be the former. Your hosting account will be what’s called a shared hosting account, likely on what’s called a virtual private server (VPS).
I’m starting from square one in terms of becoming a blogger. I don’t even know what I want to blog about yet. My goals for starting a blog are a bit different than many, however. I’m not trying to create another source of income; I would simply be trying to create a reader base because my ultimate goal is to become a published novelist and when pitching your book, I believe it is helpful to already have an established readership. This will theoretically help you stand out to agents/publishers. 🙂 In addition, blogging would help me develop my writing skills, hopefully be of some use to people, and allow me to express myself and connect with others. Do you have any advice for me?
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).
This obviously isn't a book on SEO techniques, but I totally disagree with the author that SEO is an "old school" way of generating traffic. The bulk of my traffic has always come from search engines and, while social media is changing how we use the internet, I don't think enough emphasis can be put on the importance of search engines as a source of traffic for most blogs.
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