The first thing we did when starting our blog was go to Bluehost and register our domain, which is free with hosting. We’ll explain hosting in a moment, but let’s talk about your domain name first. Your domain name is an important part of your blog because it creates a first impression—it is the name of your blog. Also known as your URL, your domain is also your address on the web. For example, our domain name is www.theminimalists.com.
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.
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.
When you become a blogger for the first time, you may be tempted to publish “viral” posts in hopes of finding success in a short period of time. This may or may not be an effective way to bring traffic to your site, but it may result in you isolating your audience and search engines by not providing enough value. This, in turn, may ultimately result in a less engaged audience and lower search engine rankings.
My decision to learn how to start a blog and begin making money from it on the side of my day job, is what propelled me into building a six-figure freelance writing business with clients like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Google, Intuit and more. On top of that, starting a blog has helped me generate thousands of dollars in passive income each month and book interviews with some of the world’s top entrepreneurs for my podcast.
So, in order to gain visibility, you have to go directly to the source. You need to tap already-established bloggers by offering them your great content with a chance to secure a single link back to your own site. Keep in mind, this isn’t about exchanging blog posts or links. No, do not do that. This is about offering to write for existing platforms that will help you build your own audience.
What does it mean to deliver value? Either your posts have to be extremely informative, in that they teach people how to do something useful, or they need to be entertaining or provide value in another format. Your posts also need to be engaging. Don’t expect people to spend a lot of time or even share any of your content if your posts don’t deliver value and they’re not engaging.
So let me start out by answering your first question: where does the income come from? I go into this in greater detail in my How to Make Money from a Blog post, but it sounds like you’ve got the idea. My main source of income is through ads, but I also earn money through my books and courses, affiliate commissions, my Etsy store, and occasionally sponsored posts.
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.
Sounds like a lot of work, I know, sorry about that, but there’s just no other way to do content publishing in the web landscape of today when starting a blog. There’s just too much great content out there already. Too much content that’s already quite optimized. In an environment like that, you can’t just rely on your main keyword for the entire site and then keep creating your content around “whatever” loosely connected topic.
5. Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to make a few bucks or spend a few bucks if you need some of the services people offer. Basically, everything is $5. You either pay $5 or charge $5. They call them “gigs.” You can offer your services however you choose. If you sell art and you’re fine selling pieces for $5 each, that’s a gig. If you’re a graphic designer and you want to offer your services for $10/hour, simply offer a 30 minute gig. If they need two hours of graphic design, they pay you $20, or $10/hour by buying four gigs.
But until that moment where you've written 10 posts, you haven't yet proven to yourself or to anyone else that you actually have what it takes to be a blogger. You're just going to be one of those people who writes a couple of blog posts and then fizzles out and doesn't do anything. There are so many of those people in the Internet- don't add to it.
When anyone asks me about starting a professional money making blog I always recommend them to use self hosted WordPress as it’s the best platform for bloggers. I always recommend to new bloggers to use BlueHost to host their new blogs. You can get BlueHost’s high quality hosting for  $2.95 per month (36 months sign up) Use this link to get a free domain name with your hosting.
Making money through blogging requires a carefully thought out topic. If you have an existing blog with a small audience, be honest when considering whether the topic has broad appeal that isn't already covered by other established bloggers. If it does, great! Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with starting a second blog that will be more successful in attracting an audience, marketing itself, and making money through a variety of methods described below.

This is a big reason why I recommend building your blog with a platform that allows you to build a proper, fully-fledged website rather than a blog with a few simple pages. Platforms like WordPress.org allow you to build beautiful pages designed to captivate and convert your readers as they scroll through them. You can do this with page builders, email marketing plugins, plugins that help you manage and cloak affiliate links, and more.
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.
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!
While our blog generates only a fraction of our total gross revenue, I am thankful to have opened up another income stream that I didn’t really understand even just two months ago. The best part about the blogging process so far is that it has generated opportunities for us to scale and grow our business that I had never considered when we first started.
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.
Finally, in order to build a blog that actually makes money, you need to get social. You need to collaborate with others. Communicate with leaders in your niche. Reach out and share other bloggers’ content. Acknowledge their work and give them positive feedback. Don’t be pushy about it and don’t look for anything in return. It doesn’t quite work that way.
In order to build a platform, you have to be consistent in your value delivery. You can’t go cold for weeks and months on end. You need to stay in front of your audience. They’ll be actively checking back for updates from you, so don’t let them down. Get out there and over time, you’ll see an exponential rise. Just don’t expect it to happen right away.
The single most important strategy you'll find for building up a blog and boosting your visibility on search engines like Google, and my all-time go-to strategy for rocketing up the search rankings on Google's SERPs, is content marketing. Marketing your content is an intricate process that involves long, seemingly-never-ending hours of building more useful off-site content that links to your primary anchor content, but it's well worth it.
They didn't just publish posts on a regular basis. Successful blogs found out what struggles their audiences were having and created content that solved their problems. They also got in gear and optimized their sites for SEO. They even learned about email marketing, social media marketing, how to monetize and more. Basically, if you want to become a blogger and succeed, you're going to have to learn how to run an online business rather than a simple blog.
The truth is, it's not as easy to carve out your space on the web and make a name for yourself as a blogger today, as it was back when blogging was brand new. And it takes a lot of time to build your audience to the point where it's successful. (The most successful, multi-million dollar blogs today were started around 2005 or earlier.) So it's definitely not something you can get rich quickly with, though many people do work on their blogs full time.
In the end, running a blog is one of those things that seems simple in itself, but the gap between just doing it and doing it to its fullest potential is actually huge. There’s just so many moving parts! There’s WordPress itself, writing content, editing, formatting, hosting, SEO, link building, social media, email lists, networking, and on and on and on.
One attractive feature of promoting digital information products is that the commissions tend to be higher than that of physical products; ranging anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent or even higher. As an example, if someone is selling a digital information product for $500 with a 50 percent commission, you can earn $250 per sale. This is much higher than commissions on physical products due to the high profit margins.
Once you have your niche picked out, then start researching what else is out there. Do a Google search, Instagram search, and Pinterest search — this will give you a wealth of information. Once you find your competitors, figure out how you can put your unique spin on the topic. I like to include personal stories in my content because I know that no-one else will have exact experiences.
When anyone asks me about starting a professional money making blog I always recommend them to use self hosted WordPress as it’s the best platform for bloggers. I always recommend to new bloggers to use BlueHost to host their new blogs. You can get BlueHost’s high quality hosting for  $2.95 per month (36 months sign up) Use this link to get a free domain name with your hosting.
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.
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!
Thanks so much for this great post! I’m a new stay-at-home mom and was researching jobs I could do from home (so I could stay at home for the longterm!) and I kept coming back to blogging. I have read and re-read your post multiple times and downloaded Ruth Soukup’s book; so good! I feel like I’m much more set up for success and not floundering in the dark! I would love any feedback on my website!
If you have great writing skills, you can become a successful blogger. Writing is the basic skill for becoming a blogger. Your blog readership will depend on how good your writing skills are. When I’m talking about writing, it doesn’t mean writing like an expert, but write like an individual. You are not writing for a book or a newspaper, as they are different. See the editorial page of a newspaper or a magazine, and that’s the exact kind of writing which I’m talking about.

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!
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.

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.
SEO – SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically, you want search engines, like Google, to index and rank your content high in their algorithm, so that when people do an internet search — your content is easily found (preferably on page one). So when you research and write your content you'll want to consider your niche, keywords, questions, and phrases that individuals are searching for and intertwine these into your blog posts. This is an oversimplified definition, but it gives you the gist of what SEO can do your blog. This article talks more about SEO so you can start learning the ropes.
Yaro, I’ve been noticing this trend for years now. “Blogging” is a “platform” that builds a “business”. Our internet marketing marketing community can be overly-focused on short term results at the expense of healthy business strategy. Thank you for level-setting us. We can certainly capitalize on trends, but not at the expense of being valueable in the marketplace.

What does that really mean? To start, just take a mental snapshot of your priority focus areas for the next 3 months. This works fantabulously well because it’s a small enough time frame where you can feel positive and excited about your action items, rather than stressed and defeated because you start getting ahead of yourself. Been there, done that. At the same time it gives you a bird’s eye view of where you should be putting your focus.
The next step in building a blog that will actually make you money somewhere down the road is to purchase a domain name. If you’ve decided what you’ll blog about, then you need to find a domain name that’s going to be harmonious with that. Pick a name that’s short enough to be easily remembered, but also keyword-rich enough to be applicable to your content.
Outstanding Customer Service. Bluehost’s customer service is 100% US-based. With hold times that average less than 30 seconds and 100% in-house, on-site staff in their Texas offices, you can rest assured that the person helping with your site knows how to help. In other words, if you have any questions, they will help you through the entire set-up process.
If you want to be famous or reach a wide audience, you will have to choose something slightly broader and work hard to make the best content for that topic. A subtopic relating to fitness, finance, or relationship advice is likely to reach the most people. Consider specific but broadly applicable topics such as managing money in college, or a marriage counseling blog.
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!
Thanks for an awesome step by step. I started by getting a domain and hosting, as per your instruction, but at the end of my registration page on Host Gator, I didn’t find the “Constant Contact” add on. Instead, I have “Get a Pro Email Address from Google” add on. How do I get this Constant Contact add on, and do you suggest me adding the Pro Email Address one? Thank you so much, and so sorry for such a noob question 😀
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.
Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing. I’m blogging about healthy food. I’ve been trying put traffic to my newly blog for months into no avail. The only thing that get me from stale mate point is that I’ve performed some serious keyword expansion. I’ve got help from support guys from the SEO tool I’ve been using. Now I know how to rank well for as many relevant keywords as possible and it did miracles to by blog. The tool calls SERPstat and the guy were awesome. Thanks for this post. And huge thanks for the guys who helped me. I’m starting to believe that if you put efforts into something, the universe will oblige)

With Bluehost, there are three hosting options to choose from, Basic for $2.95/month, or Plus or Prime for $5.45/month — these prices are only available through my link, normally it's $3.95 and $5.95 a month) If you have the funds, I’d suggest going with the Plus Plan, because you get more unlimited features; and as your website grows you can switch to a more robust plan.


If you are blogging about one specific topic then you will definitely want to include that in some way in your blog name. Try not to get hung-up on just one word though. For example, a cooking blog doesn’t necessarily have to have the word “cooking” in it. The words “food”, “recipes”, and “meals” would also let people know that your blog is about cooking.

Consider “bonus content.” For example, if you run a podcast on your blog, you might consider having the standard episode available for free but a longer version or additional content for a small fee. Dan Savage’s extremely popular “Savage Lovecast” runs on this model, where standard episodes are free and “magnum episodes” (longer, with no ads) are available for a subscription fee.[61]

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.
The first thing your blog’s front end needs is a face (design and layout). You want to create an environment that is both eye-catching and practical. In the long run, you want your visitors to easily find information on your site. You don’t want visitors to be discouraged by the colors you choose or the non-intuitive and unpractical way in which information is displayed. Your design can cause instant distrust of your blog or instant acceptance.
My decision to learn how to start a blog and begin making money from it on the side of my day job, is what propelled me into building a six-figure freelance writing business with clients like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Google, Intuit and more. On top of that, starting a blog has helped me generate thousands of dollars in passive income each month and book interviews with some of the world’s top entrepreneurs for my podcast.
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