Great question! Yes, starting on a free platform limited my visibility to search engines (there are so many spammy blogs and sites that are self-hosted, I think that google just ignores all of them). They also don’t have the speed that self-hosted plans can. (readers don’t want to sit around waiting for a site to load) While you can do custom blog URLS with some free platforms, if you have the /blogger or /wordpress web address, it just doesn’t look as professional or legit to potential readers and sponsors. It also limited my ability to customize and optimize my blog design for growing my audience and income. There may be other reasons someone more technical than myself could explain, but all in all, I saw my traffic increase almost over night after I switched over. I hope that helps a bit! Best wishes with your blog!
Content marketing can be done with articles on sites like Medium.com or Scribd.com, it can be done by answering questions on Reddit or Quora, and it can be done with videos on YouTube or Vimeo, along with a variety of other means. The point is that all of the content has to be useful, period. Don't try to do the least amount of work for the greatest return. You need to do the exact opposite if you want to succeed.
All you have to do is keep going. Rinse. Repeat. Again and again. Keep churning out great content and people will eventually take notice. Get social on social media and share your content everywhere that you possibly can. It's going to feel frustrating at first. I still remember the early days and just how painful it was to see a small trickle of traffic. But that changes over time.

Protip: Your post or page title (i.e. what your readers see) does not have to be the same as your permalink (i.e. what appears in the search bar). Your post title should be easy to read by humans, whereas your permalink can be easier to read by computer bots. For example, I titled my page Tools I Use & Recommend but I edited my permalink to simply “tools” which you can see in the address bar at the top of your screen). The shorter permalink can be easier to link to and advantageous for SEO.
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.  
Create a location-independent lifestyle – Blogs are great for working while traveling and producing an income no matter where you might be living. In a recent article that I wrote for Forbes, I talked about how Nomadic Matt, one of the most popular travel bloggers, started his blog so that he could enjoy traveling the world and not be tied to a 9-to-5 desk job.
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.
Notice that I avoided putting a specific dollar figure on the amount you can make from blogging. It will come down to your work ethic, your skills as a writer, your ability to generate targeted traffic, and plain old good luck. It’s a bit like baseball: Everyone played it as a kid, only a small fraction make it to college ball, an even smaller number become professional, but only the cream of the crop makes it to the majors.
Paying for clicks and traffic on social media or in the search engines can be a great option to market your blog. A lot of the information about blog marketing covers the organic options. While some of these can turn your blog into a popular destination quickly the more likely scenario is that it will take time for you to build communities to promote your blog content.

After having this realization, I started going out and pitching other similar (non-competitive) startups and online brands that clearly needed more business-related content for their blogs... and over the course of the next year, I continued to slowly double the prices I'd charge per article. I'd add new "extras" as time went on and I built a larger community & brand for myself too—always experimenting with my offer to see what clients would pay more for.
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!
Protip: Your post or page title (i.e. what your readers see) does not have to be the same as your permalink (i.e. what appears in the search bar). Your post title should be easy to read by humans, whereas your permalink can be easier to read by computer bots. For example, I titled my page Tools I Use & Recommend but I edited my permalink to simply “tools” which you can see in the address bar at the top of your screen). The shorter permalink can be easier to link to and advantageous for SEO.
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.

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.


Great article! I’ve been trying to set up a blog, but due to lack of funds I began on the WordPress free platform. Is it practical to keep developing content for that free blog and then transport it to a paid platform or should I begin from scratch on a paying site? And also, how much content should I have before I launch my blog? I’ve wanted it to be so perfect I’ve barely brought myself to write, even though I have so many wonderful posts trapped in my head, but they have to get out of there, I need to start! Thanks in advance!


I am not ashamed to admit that when I was first learning how to build a blog I made a ton of mistakes. You can benefit from more than a decade of my experience so that you don’t repeat these same mistakes when you make your own blog. I created this free guide so that anyone can learn how to blog quickly and easily. And if you get stuck at any point, please send me a message and I will do my best to help you!
The easiest PPC method to get started with is Google AdSense. However, in order to make any kind of decent money with display ads, you’ll need quite a bit of traffic. And by the time you get that much traffic, you’ll make more money going with an ad management company like Mediavine (minimum of 25,000 monthly impressions) or AdThrive (minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews).

Once you've built your free offer, you need to create a value ladder. What will you sell on the next step up? Create your own digital products if you're serious about earning a real income from your blog. Decide on the next sale or dollar amount such as $99 on the next step, $499 on the second, $1,999 on the third, $9,999 on the fourth, and $24,999 on the fifth.
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!
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.
Consistency and success go hand in hand. They have for centuries, from the publication schedules old newspapers used to the publication schedule you use today. For example you see it in TV with weekly episodes. You see it in magazines with monthly issues. You even see it in sporting events with weekly games. Some of the most successful blogs use a posting schedule.

Create an online store if appropriate. If you are an arts and crafts blogger, create a shop through etsy or another service for selling your artwork. If you are a writer or illustrator, search for a website that will sell T-shirts with your slogans or drawings on them. Many blog topics are not easily tied to products. You don't need to sell anything to make money, but if it fits your blog, do it.
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.
Thanks, I’m 59 years old and at a point in my life that I believe I’m starting to understand the meaning of life. Though this understanding is still in its infancy I think I’m ready to start asking some questions. Is it plausible to have a Blog that explores is subject matter and do you think it would be interesting to others. I’ve not written anything since high school but on my way home from work I had a Moment of clarity and then this idea thank you for your time.
Recognition for yourself or your business. No, you probably won’t have paparazzi following you around because of your latest blog post. But a successful blog can gain you a ton of recognition in your respective field. Many bloggers are known as experts just because of their blogs, and some have even gotten book and movie deals based on their blogs.
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.
The funny thing is that all these things can happen. You could make a full-time income from building a blog. We do it, Corbett Barr does it, and so do many others. And you could become Internet famous like Leo Babauta or Chris Brogan. But if these are the sole reasons why you start blogging, you’ll be miserable, because it will seem like a job, and if it feels like a job you won’t be passionate about it, and so you’ll either (a) hate it, (b) fall flat on your face, or (c) hate it and fall flat on your face.
I had a blog a couple years ago in a pretty precise niche (female musicians), too precise maybe. I had like 20 readers! Now I’d like to try again with another topic but I’m afraid there’s way too much blogs about it already (hippie lifestyle including health, fashion, decor, beauty, printables, etc). I tried checking stats and keywords but I don’t understand any of the information I’m getting. I’d rather pay someone to do the research for me but I have no money. The other thing is that I’m not an expert in anything. The hippie lifestyle thing is the only topic I can think of that would generate more than two article ideas in my brain! Do you think there are solutions for someone in my situation ?
A great post, Ramsay, and great timing for me. I just went live with a coming soon page for my first website and blog that I plan to launch early next year. It’s great to read what your thoughts are on the future of blogging. I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of what you talk about in #19. I had planned to have my coming soon page up in October, but I was focusing on too many little things and got hung up. Now my challenge will be to not have the same thing happen with the main site.
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.
I will also tell you that I believe, based on my experiences so far (and the experiences of my bloggy friends) that if you are not willing to invest, you will either not succeed at all – or it will take you a very very long time. The money I have put into this blog has not only motivated me to succeed, but it allowed me to succeed, by learning (quickly) the things I needed to know.)
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