By now you’ve probably come across the term “plugin”, and you might be wondering what the heck that is and if you need any of ’em. There are pros and cons to plugins, and you definitely don’t just want to dive in and start installing plugins left and right. Lesson 5 is an overview of what plugins are, how to install them, and what to be careful about regarding plugins when you start a blog.
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.
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.
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.
Your SEO strategy should start with the basics. Make sure your website is optimized for speed and mobile devices. You can also install a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you set up a sitemap and get your indexes, keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions in order. You should learn how to perform proper keyword research after that as well as how to use those keywords in your posts. After that, you can learn about more complicated SEO techniques, such as white hat link building and brand building. Of course, creating unique and valuable content will help with this as well.

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.
First of all the guide very easy and I started my blog using this guide only. But I have a doubt. I started blog using WordPress with a free account and now I want to upgrade my account so that I can use plugins for optimizing my site to get more traffic and after that monetize my site. So the doubt I have is what is the difference between a HostGator plan and a WordPress plan that I can buy directly on the WordPress website.

Ramsay, Over the years, your advice has helped me go from a blogging noob (even though I’d been blogging for years before I found you) to being able to launch a site that does what I want it to do and gets picked up in google searches within 24 hours – Wow! Thank you so much for all the knowledge you share. I just gave this post a tweet because I feel it is important to give back a little whenever I can… Happy Unicorn Day (9 April)! Lisa x
If you're serious about marketing anything online, rather than opting for running ads on your blog (which won't make you real money unless you have at least hundreds of thousands of visitors per day) or engaging in affiliate marketing, you should build a topical lead magnet that will sell a digital product or offer that you create in the back-end. The lead magnet will entice people to sign up to your list and provide you with their email address.
Make sure that you're always posting amazing content. The better your content and the more interesting your blog, the more people will link to it. There is nothing better than getting free links just because people liked what you have to say! Keep your mind on the SEO side of things, but also remember that you are ultimately catering to the needs of the people in your niche. If they like you, the search engines will like you.
I will be rocking my blogging in 2018! Back in the Fall of 2017 I rolled out a modern web site design and a podcast. I’ve also just done an evaluation of what worked last year and the areas where I fell short. I also found it helpful to examine those latter areas to understand why. With those in mind, I know where I need to focus my energy. I’ve even got two new products in the works (both in the editing phase). 2018, here I come!

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.
Keep reading and listening and pick up inspiration. Stay up to date and deepen your knowledge about your niche. Read books and blogs about it. Listen to podcasts and watch videos. When you have new ideas flowing into your mind each week and month you’ll come with new stuff yourself. Or combine what you have learned. Or you can share your experience with what you learned from someone else.
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.

Thank you so much for this helpful post! I have been researching how to make a successful blog for a month or so and have found many of your posts very helpful! It is my goal within the next year or so to have one up and running! I’m currently working more then full-time hours but live my job; just want more freetime. I think with some hard work I can make it possible.
Keep in mind that you’re not just building a blog, you’re going to be building a business and a brand. The more memorable you make your domain name, the more likely you’ll be to succeed with your blog. If it’s catchy and people can remember it, they might just come back to it over and over again as long as the content is great. But it all starts with a domain name.
Some blogs are focused on getting paid to provide links to news articles, company stores, or other third party websites. The most financially successful of these range from the Drudge, a blog composed almost entirely of conservative-leaning news links, to Smashing Magazine, a site that provides advice and product reviews to help software developers.[5][6]
Hi Anna! I love that you already know blogging is your calling! You’re totally right that there are many possible directions to go, but you won’t truly know which is the one that will make you most successful until you get out there and try a few things. Also, with practice, you’ll be much more likely to see posts take off. I don’t think you need to be afraid to start, though. As long as you start your blog off the way I’ve outlined in the post, you’re going to have such a great start. This is everything I wish I would have known in my first years of blogging that would have helped me become successful so much faster. You can do it! And I hope you’ll stop by and give me an update about how you’re doing as you do get started :)
I learned very quickly that focusing on large-scale traffic was not necessarily the shortest path to a sustainable business. And I actually started being very blunt and firm about this in public, which “turned off” large numbers of readers who were not giving anything back. Paradoxically, though, the people who really resonated with my content started stepping up to the plate. I noticed I could sell something at $20 or at $797 and make the SAME number of sales. So I started focusing mainly on those willing to give back. And I finally started making enough money to quit my job.
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.
Premium content can mean any type of content you charge for - an ebook, whitepaper, downloadable guide, etc. But what I'm referring to here is pay-gated content. Basically you just put some awesome content up behind a paywall, which means visitors pay to access it. You can get your own paywall set up in 10 minutes or less using a plugin like MemberPress or Paid Memberships Pro.
If you enjoy writing, then working as a paid blogger is a great job. Often you can work from home, make your own hours, and get paid to do what you love. Some professional bloggers work full-time at large and small companies around the world, even outside the media. The opportunities are out there, and below are resources to help you find a blogging job, get hired, and become a paid blogger.
Exactly! I’ve heard the analogy from many different people that you really just need to be one step ahead. It’s kind of like the model of discipleship. The people who are ahead in a certain aspect can help those who are a step behind, and hopefully you also have someone ahead of you to look up to and learn from. I hope you’ll come back and update me when you start your blog Kim!
The one constant with trends is they do not last. They are always based on a new technique or technology and follow an interest cycle. Since human beings by their nature move on to something different, new and perceived as better (and usually ACTUALLY better), if you are attached to any one trend, you are doomed if you don’t adjust and keep up with the times.
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.

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).
Search for blogs that cover similar topics. Use a search engine and the search bar on blog hosting sites to find blogs that cover your topic or related topic. Read a few blog posts from the most popular ones, that show up high on the search ranking, have the most comments, or display a readership of 20,000 or more.[7] Get an idea for how much interest and competition there is.
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.
Vision. The reason our site design looks good is because we have a great host, we have a great theme, and most important, we had a vision of how we wanted our blog to look. Once we had the vision, we worked hard to make that vision a reality. (Note: neither of us had any design experience before starting a blog.) It’s hard to create a beautiful blog if you don’t know what you want it to look like.
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.
I’m trying to get going for the minimum cost in the first instance. So, my question; is it possible to have more than one blog (or niche) attached to a single website? I have been advised it will cost around £250 for a basic WordPress site (once you have domain, hosting, theme etc). I have done a lot of work with small businesses as an advisor and specialise in marketing. I’m considering offering online courses and e guides. however, I would also like to blog about my hobbies of walking and motor homing. It’s just where to start!
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.
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.
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.
Ignore Negative Criticism and Stupidity. Sure, we get a lot of negative comments and stupid questions from ignorant people who aren’t really our readers (e.g., negative comments like “You’re not real minimalists” and stupid questions like “Are you guys gay?”). We call these people seagulls: they fly in, crap on your site, and fly away. But we pay them no mind, because we didn’t start our blog for them. Delete their comment and move on.
“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.“

Take the time to build your automated sales funnel. There is so much involved with sales funnels, but the basic premise is that your visitors will show up to your site by discovering your content, drop into your sales funnel through an offer via your lead magnet or some other tripwire, and they'll then be led through a journey with drip-fed messages at some periodic schedule that will allow you to sell your products and services on autopilot.
In addition to getting new readers to your blog, you will also want to make sure your current readers are coming back. This is where email marketing plays a big role. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors (with their permission of course), you can then notify them when you post something new on your blog. This keeps people coming back to your blog, which not only gives you more readers over time, it also allows you to build a closer relationship with your readers.
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.
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.
Selling physical products online can be hard to setup as you will need to deal with storage, shipping and even deal with things such as local taxes and distance selling laws. Of course a lot of this headache can be resolved by finding a company who will offer a white-label or drop shipping service leaving you to worry about getting traffic and updating the website.
A blog itself isn't really a business—it's more of a platform for other income streams. Your content alone won't likely make you money. Instead, you'll have to get advertisers, sell services like consulting or speaking, use affiliate marketing to get a percentage of sales from links people click on your blog, or maybe offer products like ebooks or premium content to actually generate income. ProBlogger has an excellent post about these different ways you can make money.
Of course, if you’re launching a blog for personal reasons and have no goals beyond the satisfaction of writing, these don’t impact you. However, if you’re trying to make money from blogging, it is very important to set realistic expectations of the work involved. Blogging for money is a form of business, which involves a few costs. Thankfully, blogging is relatively cheap compared to most other startups.
I still remember the beginning days of building this blog. I worked tirelessly for 60 to 80 hours every single week without fail. In the beginning, I saw a trickle of traffic that amounted to maybe 20 to 30 visitors per day. That number multiplied by about a 100 after approximately a year and a half or so of grueling hard work. And since then, it has climbed significantly for one reason and one reason only: consistency.
A blog itself isn't really a business—it's more of a platform for other income streams. Your content alone won't likely make you money. Instead, you'll have to get advertisers, sell services like consulting or speaking, use affiliate marketing to get a percentage of sales from links people click on your blog, or maybe offer products like ebooks or premium content to actually generate income. ProBlogger has an excellent post about these different ways you can make money.
If you are working with a 2-part system like Genesis, you’ll need to upload both the Genesis Theme Framework and the child theme of your choice. Again, read my post about choosing a theme for an explanation of this preferred type of system. If you try to upload your child theme and you do not have the Genesis Framework installed, it will not work. I recommend you upload the Genesis Theme Framework first, then repeat the process with your child theme.
Hi! Thanks for all the helpful tips. I have been blogging on and off for a few years, and am currently using a wordpress.com site but pay for my domain name so it doesn’t have the .wordpress.com at the end of it. If I choose to go through blue boat to host my blog, do I type in my current blog/domain name into the already have one box instead of creating a new one? And will all my current blog content transfer over? Thanks!!! :)
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.

Jeff, first article of yours I’ve read. Excellent stuff! I’m following Michelle as well and am floored at the potential. I’m starting right now to implement all your suggestions. I’ve not yet set up my website email, but hey, one bite at a time, right? I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the interwebs. At this moment, by site is a blank slate, but I have several posts written in Google Docs of which to choose from. Cheers!
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.
Hi Mary Joe! WordPress is just the platform that you use to create and publish your blog posts. They do not pay bloggers. So, I’m guessing you may have been signed up with an ad network or affiliate program where you were earning income. Some of the most common are Adsense and Amazon. However, there are many thousands of options out there for earning an income blogging, so you’d really have to go back to your blog and check if you see whether you were working with a particular company. One thing I can say in general is that some companies have a minimum amount you must earn before they will issue a payment, it would be anywhere fomr $10 to $50 or so. If your earnings were below that threshold, then that may be why you haven’t been paid. Also, make sure to check that you have given them your up-to-date contact information. I hope you’re able to make a go of your blog as a source of income soon! :)
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.
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.

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.
My understanding is that you have to subscribe/pay for the business version of Word Press in order to use any of the monetizing functions. I think you should clearly state this in this article at the beginning. I think there is a degree of bait and switch here if people are just signing up for the free subscription and then finding out they have to pay for a subscription to make money. I am ok with that, it just needs to be stated up front everywhere.

Hi! Thanks for all the helpful tips. I have been blogging on and off for a few years, and am currently using a wordpress.com site but pay for my domain name so it doesn’t have the .wordpress.com at the end of it. If I choose to go through blue boat to host my blog, do I type in my current blog/domain name into the already have one box instead of creating a new one? And will all my current blog content transfer over? Thanks!!! :)
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.  

Once the course launches, they are ready with their wallets. The course is priced at $100 (probably undercharging here, but it’s your first course and you are nervous) so some of them balk at buying it, but 100 people do end up buying it and you make $10,000 (minus processing fees). That’s the same amount you made from your advertising and you are in control of everything! Even better you don’t have to wait 30-60 days to get paid.

That being said, while you shouldn’t expect to go full-time right away, blogging has in fact led to multi-million dollar companies. There is no guarantee in blogging, just like any other business endeavor. We share these stories with you so you can see what is possible. While you may never make millions, with the right research, time, effort, and timing, you can certainly earn a good income from blogging. To play it safe, we recommend blogging as a side business until you start seeing those returns.


Although every work or profession needs to be disciplined but as a blogger when you work from home or cafes, discipline is your best friend. It should divide into writing posts, commenting on other blogs and social networking promotion. If you want loyal readers, then you have to post regularly on your blog. If you do not blog regularly, then you will lose your readers.
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.
Thank you for sharing such a great post! I am new to blogging and I keep on searching for website like this. One of the hardship I encountered is content for my blog I am not very good at writing so I am planning to hire someone who could provide a very good content. Do you have any recommendation where to hire for someone who could write an article for me?
Thanks for this really easy-to-follow guide, it was a great help installing my blog. However, I have the same problem as Ellen above. I set up my domain name successfully and installed WordPress. Got an e-mail saying that the WordPress install was successful (as shown in your guide). But when I want to log in to my admin URL it says that the website is not available! and it’s been like that for the last 2 days. Do you know what to do?

If you're serious about succeeding with your blog, you need to build useful anchor content. It needs to be engaging, keyword centric, insightful, unique and well written. Don't write your content for search engines. Rather, write your content for humans while also paying homage to search engines and what they want. Simply put, it's a skill that develops over time with practice. It's also important to regularly publish your content on a weekly basis.
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!
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.
I want to start an educational tutoring blog but I want to earn money. I presently private tutor from home but want to expand and be able to charge from online but I also want to be blogging about education informing parents and students. I am not sure how to set that up once I set up the blog. Can you offer some help on how I can go about that. I don’t have a website yet but I am looking to set up blog page before August 2018 Birthday gift to myself.
Hi Debra, I don’t have any experience with Host Gator. I like Blue Host because it’s easy for beginners to set up. Not all hosting companies make the process this easy. I started off with Go Daddy and I wasn’t happy with their services and I need a web programmer to upload the blog to the host because the process, at least 8 years ago, wasn’t intuitive. Also, if you don’t enjoy writing — blogging probably isn’t the right path for you.
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.
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.
Your SEO strategy should start with the basics. Make sure your website is optimized for speed and mobile devices. You can also install a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you set up a sitemap and get your indexes, keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions in order. You should learn how to perform proper keyword research after that as well as how to use those keywords in your posts. After that, you can learn about more complicated SEO techniques, such as white hat link building and brand building. Of course, creating unique and valuable content will help with this as well.
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.
If you want a more concrete answer than that, we’ve found it takes even our smartest, most dedicated students 3-6 years to make enough money from blogging to quit their jobs. And that sounds like a long time, but so what? 3-6 years to be able to work from anywhere in the world, take a vacation whenever you want, and probably have passive income until the day you die?
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