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.

We have good news because you are not the first person who tried to start a blog! (Shocker, we know!) In fact, we’ve gone through this process a few times ourselves, with a wide variety of failures and successes. That’s why we’re here to give you a roadmap detailing all the things you’ll need to know in order to start a blog with all the right ingredients to be successful. This is everything we wish we knew back when we first got started.
Under no circumstances should any information from this blog be used as replacement for professional financial advice. DollarSprout.com is owned by VTX Capital, LLC and neither are licensed by or affiliated with any third-party marks on this website and third parties do not endorse, authorize, or sponsor our content except where clearly disclosed. DollarSprout.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Understand the difference between total revenue and net income. Most income reports tout total revenue. Net income or profit (what really matters) is often buried in the post. I came across an income report recently with a super impressive number in the title (and Pinterest image). It was total revenue. Not until I read the whole post did I learn this blogger spent well over half their total revenue on Facebook Ads alone. On top of that, they had an extensive list of expenses. By the end of the post I realized I had netted more than they did the previous month.
If you are using a free blog hosting service instead of your own domain name, you must provide high quality content with a limited number of relevant links or risk being shut down. If you are only interested in writing short, quick product reviews in order to earn money, you will need to host your own blog. Be warned that low-content, high-link blogs are a less reliable, though lower effort, way to earn money.
Amazon is the giant in the industry, but it’s also a good idea to reach out to small companies and even individuals who make products or services that are related to your blog. For example, if you have a popular cooking blog, you might contact small BBQ sauce companies to see if they’d be interested in setting up an affiliate marketing program with you. You earn a portion of the sale through your blog, and they get free marketing.[46]
Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was developed by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. The blogs are hosted by Google and generally accessed from a subdomain of blogspot.com. Blogs can also be served from a custom domain owned by the user (like www.example.com) by using DNS facilities to direct a domain to Google's servers.[4][5][6] A user can have up to 100 blogs per account.[7]
This step should come after defining your niche. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can get to work on finding out about all of the individual problems they’re having and pinpointing their top pain points. Why is this important? People read blogs, watch videos and buy products to solve the problems they’re having. You could simply blog about what you feel would be most popular and create products you feel would be most profitable, but having definitive proof on what your audience cares about the most is a much better way to ensure success.
However, if you’re looking to build a business out of your blog or make money blogging, I would highly recommend some of the paid (yet still very affordable) options that I’m going to cover below. If you're on the fence about whether to use a free or paid hosting provider to get started... here’s why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:
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.
Getting into the groove of writing content for your blog is fairly easy. Once you’re there, you’re there. But writing for your email list is a big challenge. Some women go on scrapbooking weekends. Some men go off to hunt. When it’s my weekend to take off by myself, I pack up my computer and a few bottles of wine and head to my sister’s house to write auto responder emails.
If you scour the web, you'll find companies like Aweber, Get Response, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact and loads of others when it comes to email marketing. The first thing you need to do is to pick one of those companies and integrate it into your blog. Second, you need to develop a free offer. What will you give away in exchange for that lucrative email address?

Wow, how the times have changed! I can remember when every lawyer in the state of Texas was creating two or three blogs and trying to do it in their free time. I guess they realized they simply did not have the time. I have heard that having a blog on a website is helpful but actually becoming a “professional” blogger is a completely different story.
Understand the difference between total revenue and net income. Most income reports tout total revenue. Net income or profit (what really matters) is often buried in the post. I came across an income report recently with a super impressive number in the title (and Pinterest image). It was total revenue. Not until I read the whole post did I learn this blogger spent well over half their total revenue on Facebook Ads alone. On top of that, they had an extensive list of expenses. By the end of the post I realized I had netted more than they did the previous month.
Domain Privacy Protection: We can’t put it better than Bluehost does: “The whois information for any domain name is available to anyone on the internet. Your whois information can be harvested by marketing companies, which will give you unwanted solicitations. When you add Bluehost Domain Privacy to your registration, the only information listed in the whois will be Bluehost.” Basically, it’s an issue of privacy. Decide whether you want it accordingly!
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.

This isn’t something you necessarily need before you start a blog, but it is something you should implement as soon as possible. “Something to sell” may refer to your own products, affiliate products or even your sponsors’ products. It doesn’t matter whose product it is so long as it’s generating revenue for you. As a side note, affiliate marketing is the cheapest way for new and young blogs to start generating revenue. Be sure to read through our guide on how to get started with affiliate marketing for more information on that.
A content upgrade is a bonus that’s very specific. For example, I got a popular post about self-esteem. And the content upgrade for that specific post is simply a checklist in downloadable PDF format where the reader can get all the tips from that post neatly summarized in a document that they can keep on their smart phone for whenever they need it.
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.
Direct Income – when I started making money from my blogs it was through ‘direct’ income streams. I put AdSense ads on my blog and promoted some products on Amazon as an affiliate and the more readers I had the more income began to trickle in (it really was a trickle at first). In time as my traffic grew this income grew and I was also able to experiment with other direct forms of income such as selling advertising directly to advertisers.
Time. Once you’ve learned how to start a blog, you’ll learn that blogging takes a lot of time, especially if you’re as neurotic as we are (we spent over eight hours testing the fonts on this site). And see those Twitter and Facebook icons in the header? We spent hours on those, deciding what was right for us). That said, once you have your design set up, don’t tweak it too much. Instead, spend the time on your writing.
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.
First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
For many visionary novice bloggers, the world is not enough. The stash of free themes (more than two thousand themes are available on WordPress.org) does not satisfy their particular desire for look and feel. There are two other options you can take a look at, premium and custom themes. But they incur a cost, sometimes a tiny one, at other times a huge amount.
You'll want to track these influencers down and start sharing their content and becoming active in their communities to start gaining their attention. You may have luck by simply messaging them out of the blue, but it's not likely. Once you think you have their attention, you can try to reach out to them by asking them to promote something on social media, publish your post on their blog or link to a post of yours on their site.
Another great exercise if you’re trying to decide on a niche for your blog is to think about who your ideal reader is. This is the person most likely to visit your blog and get value from your writing. For me, the easiest way to think about this is to use myself as an example. If you’re writing about an interest, then you’re most likely your ideal reader.
You want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. Even if you’re not interested in making money from your blog, I am assuming that you at least want other people to read it – yes? Then the same rules apply.
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.
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.
We place small ads throughout our website (and within our blog posts) that help us generate a little bit of income each month. Google gives you everything you need to get setup and it doesn’t take much of any coding knowledge to insert it into a blog post (phew). We try not to inundate readers with a wall of ads that might detract from the user experience or hinder them in actually reading our content.
Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was developed by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. The blogs are hosted by Google and generally accessed from a subdomain of blogspot.com. Blogs can also be served from a custom domain owned by the user (like www.example.com) by using DNS facilities to direct a domain to Google's servers.[4][5][6] A user can have up to 100 blogs per account.[7]
This step should have been obvious by this point in the article. Again, creating content or products based on what you feel would be most successful is risky. It’s next to impossible to replicate what another, more successful blog is doing and expect the same results for yourself. It’s better to know who you’re targeting, what their biggest pain points are and what products you want to use to target those pain points. A content marketing strategy will help you plan more effectively.
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!
If your answer was the former, you’re wasting your time. In fact, if you’re not starting a blog because you’re inherently passionate about whatever it is you’re blogging about, it truly is a lost cause. Why? Because building a blog to any semblance of an audience is an astronomical feat. I don’t tell you that to scare you. Only to prepare you for what’s to come.
Thankfully, you needn’t be tech savvy to start a blog (we certainly aren’t). You don’t need to know how to code or design to build your blog (we still don’t). You don’t need much money to create a blog (you can get a free domain and host your site for just a few bucks a month). And you don’t need to spend a ton of time setting up your blog, either (you can set up your blog in less than an hour).
Hello, I just found your blog while looking for resources on financial planning. We’ve been passive and a little sloppy in this dept for our entire marriage and want to change that. I have to be honest. While a lot of the resources here are fantastic, I feel suspicious about the blogging for profit idea. Seems a bit too good to be true. I went to a very good school and majored in lit/writing. There was no mention of the potential to write, profitably, for the internet (with the exception of science/medical writing). Could a writer generate a decent income simply with freelance writing and blogging? Where does the money come from? Ads? Or would I have to also have a product to sell (i.e., a course, ebooks, etc). I’m feeling a pyramid scheme here (buy my writing course, start a blog, sell your course, etc). Gina’s income in her first few months was outrageously high. More than I make now as a librarian. Forgive me for being cynical/suspicious. I’m just curious.
“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’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.“


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.
Because we receive so many questions about how we specifically set up our blog, we decided to provide our readers with a soup-to-nuts, comprehensive guide for how to set up a blog. This blog post is intended to function as a how-to manual—a guide that will light the path toward launching your new blog—with easy-to-follow screenshots, step-by-step instructions, as well as additional rationale and insights to improve your blog.
Even though you have to pay for your own web hosting out of pocket, going this route allows you much more flexibility in terms of site design and usability. And don’t worry, hosting is really inexpensive, especially if you take advantage of our 42% off coupon code with Hostgator (BTOP42). Depending on your hosting plan, it shouldn’t end up costing you more than a few dollars a month.
Hi Kari! I think you’re understanding me correctly. Your readers will initially find you through your WordPress blog. Hopefully, you’ll be offering them lots of amazing articles that they’ll love, so they will want to join your email list. On your blog, you’ll need to include a link to your email sign up (you can see some on my blog at the bottom of posts. Hope that helps answer your question! :)
On August 23, 1999, Blogger was launched by Pyra Labs. As one of the earliest dedicated blog-publishing tools, it is credited for helping popularize the format. In February 2003, Pyra Labs was acquired by Google under undisclosed terms. The acquisition allowed premium features (for which Pyra had charged) to become free. In October 2004, Pyra Labs' co-founder, Evan Williams, left Google. In 2004, Google purchased Picasa; it integrated Picasa and its photo sharing utility Hello into Blogger, allowing users to post photos to their blogs.[citation needed]

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.


In-depth tutorials are great for getting links and social shares. However, they can also be a great way to earn money on your blog. There are a number of ways you can make this happen - include affiliate links for the products you use in your tutorial; promote your own products in the tutorial; write a tutorial to promote an advertiser's product (just be clear that it's a sponsored post), etc.
This is the strategy that most bloggers start with when looking to monetize their blog. However, keep in mind you're not limited to selling banner ad spots (which is generally an ineffective strategy these days). Consider other areas you could rent out: space on your pop-up box, social media headers, the "P.S." on your email newsletters...think outside the box (quite literally).
You also don't have much say in how much you're able to make with these revenue streams. Products (e.g. ebooks, video courses, apps, etc…), on the other hand, are your own. You can price them at whatever you want them to be or at least what your audience is willing to pay. This gives you the freedom to create whatever type of content you want and earn however much money you want.
I’d like to start a blog, I feel it’s easy but with all the info don’t know where to start. The goal is to have fun with it and earn potential income. How do I come up with great topics people would go for. I tried this kinda before but didn’t complete process. It gave me headache 🤦🤦. By the way thanks for your blogging education. Very informative..😊
“I truly loved reading this book!! I will admit, when I first heard the title, there was part of me that was tempted to think that there wasn’t “anything new under the sun.” But, I was wrong. Ruth’s fantastic writing grabbed me from the start with the encouragement that each of us has AWESOME in us somewhere…and growing a great blog means finding YOUR awesome. I just can’t tell you how much I love that. 🙂 The rest of the book goes on to give motivation, inspiration, practical ideas and action points at the end of each chapter. She includes her thoughts and ideas on writing good content, SEO, Pinterest, ads, reviews, and so much more. I also love that we get a “behind the scenes” look at a big blogger’s blog & how-she-does-it type material. And, don’t worry, at the end of the book she assures you that no one can do it all. 🙂 She shares ideas for goal-setting and time management. As one who has been blogging for 6-7 years, but only recently started trying to grow my blog and make a small, part-time income from it, I found this book very helpful!!”
Put your ideas in a spreadsheet and prioritize: Ok, let’s get this list a little more organized now. Start a spreadsheet and include your keyword, estimated search volume, difficulty, and opportunity (You should be able to get all this info from the keyword tool you use). Looking at all these, assign a priority to each one either on a scale of 1-5 or a basic High-Medium-Low. Join my free blogging course to grab my editorial calendar template.
People who start to blog always thing of making money which tends them toward failure. In my opinion bloggers should choose the topic which interests them. They don’t think about making money. It’s about knowledge, try to learn more and don’t think about money stuff. There are many top blog topics to make money online but you can get success only with the topic you like to write on. Try to choose your topic for the blog. Making money is very easy, don’t think about it much.

Obviously, you can blog about almost anything. However, you won’t succeed at it if you’re not staying true to yourself. Don’t blog about something you’re not passionate about. Don’t blog about something you’re not knowledgable about. You have to have some degree of knowledge and a big degree of passion. That’s just how it works if you want to succeed.
Social Media – To help spread the word about new posts on your blog, you'll want to create social media profiles with some of the various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Each platform has its own pros and cons and which ones you choose to use will depend on your bandwidth and niche. I suggest starting with two – three and investing time in nurturing and growing them before adding more to the mix.
Really excellent article. One suggestion or caution with Godaddy though…Godaddy has a product called WordPress Hosting. I signed up for it, and all was fine until I installed a plugin which had a special requirement that needed to be set up by the webhost. (something in the server side settings). I called Godaddy and they advised they can’t make those changes. Only on their individual hosting plans would that have been possible. This is a rare event, but worth keeping in mind. When you go for your own hosting you have more flexibility.
Be Yourself. Part of being interesting is telling your story. Every person is unique, and your story is an important one. The important part of storytelling, however, is removing the superfluous details that make the story uninteresting. A great storyteller removes 99% of what really happens—the absorptive details—and leaves the interesting 1% for the reader.

However, to the victors go the spoils. Those that start a blog and don't actually quit, continuing to push forward, make tremendous amounts of income over time. Not overnight. Nothing good comes quickly. You'll have to put in the work. But this is by far one of the best ways that you can make money online as long as you understand what you're doing.
A blog is a website. Until the internet changes so much that we do not use websites as a publishing platform, a blog will remain a viable option. That is of course until a better publishing platform replaces it, which will happen eventually (some might say it already has in the case of mobile apps, although I don’t see apps as a direct competitor to blogging).

Thank you for this post. I am a SAHM of 3 kids. With only one source of income, I would love to be able to create some extra income blogging to help my family out. I love to share ideas and recipes online so I really feel like blogging is my calling but I am nervous to start because I feel like there are so many different directions to take and I want to know I am going to do everything I can to be successful.
Great post, thank you! I found this to be very useful. I have just got into the Pay Per Click method and it is a great way of building a passive income. Due to my niche, I have found it difficult to source good affiliate networks, but just today I have revisited the accounts I set up on Link Share and CJ, to my surprise they offer a good range of affiliate programs, many of which cater to my niche blog topic :)
However if you are NOT clear on this and you don’t mind spending some time doing research, one of the best things you can do is start reaching out to people with your “best guess” offer and see how that goes. In the case of blogging that means writing about the subject area you want to focus on, even if you are not clear how exactly you fit into that niche yet.
Since I have a large proportion of freelancers in my audience, he offered to set me up as an affiliate where I'd earn a set fee for each new paid subscriber that signed up as a result of an email or clickthrough from my blog. The week I sent my first email out to my community about SolidGigs, nearly 100 people signed up to try it out. And that number's only continued to grow over the months, adding more to my recurring income that comes from this channel.
Anyone who's serious about building a blog and making money, needs to leverage Google's webmaster tools to see what keywords they're ranking for and any messages that would impact their ability to rank. This will also allow you to submit an XML sitemap and track keyword impressions along with click-through rates. This is one of the most useful tools for growing your site or blog through constant analysis of your efforts.

“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 

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!
Just wanted to check up and say hey. I’m following your lead of side hustle millionaire entrepreneurship. Building a million dollar online business is tough. People have to want to do this because there’s no guarantees. It’s certainly worth the risk because speaking from past experience in corporate America, I was miserable waking up everyday and going to work for someone else that got rich off of my work without me getting benefits. This is why I’m in the side hustle millionaire mindset like you. Thanks for keeping me inspired.

I’m a bit confused…are you talking about using WordPress.com or WordPress.org when setting a blog? I heard not to use WordPress.com for a blog even though its free because the blog isn’t really “yours” and they can do what they want with it. Can you clarify the difference between the .com and .org and which one should be used in setting up a website and blog?


– Project Payday is one of those sites that has testimonials of people who have earned thousands of dollars by getting paid to get trial offers. I’m not saying you’ll earn thousands, but it is legit and you can earn some extra cash. They assume that by paying you to do a free trial, you’ll either like the product and purchase it, or forget to cancel the trial and get charged for it. If you can keep track and cancel before you get charged (if you don’t want the product), then this is a great site for making some money.
I am a writer (freelance) of print production, which as we all know, is going the way of the dinosaurs. While your tutorial was helpful, I am a dinosaur. Please send me one link (I will pay a fee, if reasonable, but I only want to pay one fee…and this tutorial leads me (I am sure, incorrectly), to believe I must pay this and that for a domain , host, etc.
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.
Obviously, you can blog about almost anything. However, you won’t succeed at it if you’re not staying true to yourself. Don’t blog about something you’re not passionate about. Don’t blog about something you’re not knowledgable about. You have to have some degree of knowledge and a big degree of passion. That’s just how it works if you want to succeed.

He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
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