When you go with free, you’ll have a lack of control over how your blog looks and acts: Free blogging services (like Blogger, Medium or Tumblr) will pretty much always limit the design and functionality of your blog. This means you won't be able to make your blog look like your favorite other sites. Plus, you might not be able to do the things you want (like capture email addresses from your readers using tools like ConvertKit, include ads, join affiliate programs and other activities that'll help you actually make money blogging).
If you want to really make money with your blog, you need to create a mailing list using one of the billions of email service providers out there. I use and love ConvertKit, but if you are just getting started and don’t understand sales funnels, sequences, or tagging you might want to start off with something simpler and free. If that is the case go with MailChimp where you get the first 2,000 subscribers free or Mailer Lite.
Protip: If you look at my contact page, you’ll notice I don’t put my email address in standard form with the @ and . signs. Instead I write it out like this: AmyLynnAndrews at gmail dot com. I do this to cut down on spam. The idea is to throw off any bots crawling the web hunting for the standard email format, harvesting it and blasting me with unwanted emails. Honestly, I’m not sure how well it works. It might just be a holdover from my younger blogging days. I should research this again. 🙂
If you look at a few articles with the title “How to Become a Successful Blogger,” you may find a good portion of them focusing on how to get a domain name, purchase a hosting account and all that jazz. While these things do affect how you blog, they have very little impact on your ability to grow your blog. I do, however, recommend steering clear of free blogging platforms like WordPress.com and Blogger as their limitations will affect your ability to grow.
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.
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.
No blogging for profit book has made the difference to me and my blog like this one. If you only read ONE of these subject books – LET IT BE THIS BOOK!!! After finishing the book, my blog is totally getting revamped, I have the excitement for it again, and now my whole direction has changed to not only help me become more profitable, but also for me to get back to ENJOYING what I do, which is really the best part!”
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).
This includes what blogging actually is (and isn’t), understanding what successful blogging entails, examples of successful bloggers, and what you’ll need to have ready before even thinking about setting everything up. Then, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions for technically setting up your blog so you can start publishing content. Finally, we’ll offer you our hard-earned knowledge and strategies on how to get subscribers for your blog and even start making some money out of it.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.
Selecting a good keyword can be helpful. Search engines function through SEO (search engine optimization), which ranks search results based on how many keywords they have related to the person’s search query. However, you don’t want to get so wrapped up in SEO that your readers feel your blog is generic. Developing strong brand identity is the best thing you can do to draw readers to your blog.
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.
The process of customizing your blog will take some time (probably a few days), but it’s super easy and fun, and no professional designer is needed. In fact, when I did my site redesign this year, I purchased a theme from StudioPress. I can't tell you how much I love it, it's so easy to modify, and it only took a few days to get everything into place.
If you’ve gone with a self-hosted WordPress site like I suggested, you’ll have literally thousands of amazing free and paid theme options at your disposal. Plus, once you buy a theme (which are relatively inexpensive investments) like the one I use for my blog here, OptimizePress, you'll own it forever and get all the benefits of excellent support and customization options that come with premium WordPress themes.
Most hosting providers will provide you with a WordPress plugin and make it relatively easy to install WordPress on your hosting account. But it's your duty to locate the right provider and get the right hosting account. In the beginning, you won't need a high capacity account. But as you grow, you'll need to ensure you have the right amount of space and bandwidth to support your traffic. Those are good problems to have, but you won't have them in the beginning.
Most bloggers actually welcome the advance to create great content for their platform. So you shouldn’t be shy in at least trying. There’s no harm in trying. If you succeed, then it will be a big win. If not, continue to network and add value on your own, and eventually, as you build it, they will most certainly come. Just don’t expect it to happen quickly or easily.
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.
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!
This is the ultimate path to monetary success and independence, something that may have had an influence in your decision to become a blogger. Affiliate marketing, sponsorships and advertisements are great, but they all make you dependent on another company. This means you won't have complete freedom when it comes to the type of content you want to create and the decisions you make.
Affiliate marketing is one of the fundamentals ways many people monetize their blog. You can talk about products or services you use and love – and if someone else clicks YOUR link and makes a purchase, you can make money on that sale! Of course there is more to it than that, and lesson 11 walks you through the basics of what affiliate marketing is.
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.
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!
27. Sponsored/paid posts – Many blogs publish sponsored and paid posts. Sponsored posts are basically just posts about a specific brand, product or service. A company will pay you to publish an article about it. It’s similar with other paid posts as well. Your basically selling the spot for the article on your site. If you decide to take this route, you’ll want to build your traffic before you will get many offers.
I was wondering what your thoughts are on wordpress themes. I don’t want to get hung up on picking one, but I was wondering if you would recommend going with a free one or a premium one to start? And if you recommend a premium one, do you have a favorite site to get them from? I’ve read that free themes aren’t really a good way to go because you don’t get updates or support and they can contain malicious code, so I was just wondering what your experience is with themes. Thanks so much!
Make it easy for readers to browse – If you want more page views, you should make it as easy as possible for readers to read your other blog posts. It should be easy for readers to find your blog homepage, categories, tags, search bar, and so on. Also, I recommend including links in every single one of your blog posts, which helps readers easily find related topics.
You also need to do things like select a theme. What will your design look like? Will you use a standard theme that's free or will you splurge on a premium theme? There are literally hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes that can be chosen to hep you with the design and layout of your blog. Two of my favorite options for sourcing premium WordPress themes are Envato's Theme Forest and Template Monster.
Choosing an extension is also important. The extension is the “.com,” “.net,” or “.org” after a website. There are now dozens of extensions, but those three are the most familiar to English-speaking audiences and will drive the most traffic to your website. Unless you’re a non-profit or a similar type of blog, don’t go for “.org” -- a “.com” is the top choice, followed by “.net.”
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.
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.
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.
Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.
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!
Start a blog. If you don't own a blog yet, you need to find the right platform for you. There are so many blogging platforms out in the market to choose from such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Medium, Weebly etc. Try one out; if you are not satisfied with its offered features, then you can move to another, there are countless options some are free and some paid.
We use BYLT for our theme, a platform created by SPYR. They have a number of beautiful, simple WordPress themes to choose from, and, in fact, you can purchase the same theme we use if you like. Simply go to their site and find the theme that best fits your desired aesthetic. BYLT’s themes are feature-rich plus, once you buy your theme, you will have the same team supporting your work that we trust to support ours.
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.