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.
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.
Blogging is hard and what I find to be the hardest for me is constant writers block. Evey time I sit down at the computer to write the mind just goes blank. I wonder if that is just me or happens to others also. Or maybe it means that I am not a good communicator or maybe too much disciplined as I am pushing myself too much instead of letting the creativity come naturally. Just don know 🙁
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.
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.
Include keywords in important places. Include them in your blog post title, the large "headers" introducing a new section, the first few sentences of your post, and in links. Change your settings so each blog post's URL includes the title of the post, not the date it was posted. Try to make these as descriptive as possible to raise your ranking in search results and attract the right audience.
Find Your Niche. You needn’t have a niche, but it helps. When learning how to be a blogger, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re passionate about. Running? Cooking? Being a parent? Have you found your passion? If so, whatever it is, write about that. If not, then you must first find your passion. (Note: We generally recommend that people don’t start a blog about minimalism or the paleo diet or any other heavily saturated topic. But what we really mean when we say this is: don’t create a blog about something unless you have a unique perspective. If you’ve embraced simple living and have a unique perspective, then by all means have at it.)
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.
Responsiveness is a must: Responsiveness refers to themes that make sure your blog looks as good on a laptop, as it does on someone’s smartphone. Today, more and more people use their phones to read blogs and depending on your audience, that number could be 50% or higher (like mine is). Google also favors mobile-friendly websites and ranks them at the top of their organic search results. If you’re not totally sure whether a theme is mobile friendly or not, copy and paste the URL of the theme’s demo page into Google’s Mobile Friendly Test page. (This test will almost always show some warnings. But major red flags to watch out for are text too small or content wider than screen.)
If you want to be famous or reach a wide audience, you will have to choose something slightly broader and work hard to make the best content for that topic. A subtopic relating to fitness, finance, or relationship advice is likely to reach the most people. Consider specific but broadly applicable topics such as managing money in college, or a marriage counseling blog.
Blogging is a LEGIT way to make ALOT of money – (I am updating this as of February of 2018, and this is more true now than ever). I make good money doing this, I had no experience when I started, and in the grand scheme of life, I started making money very quickly.) So if your burning questions was “is blogging REALLY profitable?” the answer is a resounding YES – it sure can be!)
I have actually put all my plans and projects on hold for about a week to focus on reading your blog and that of a few others such as Serena Star-Leonards’ ‘Retire Young’ and Darrens’ ProBlogger. Figured the old adage holds true, if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you’ve always got (other than when the effective means of delivery changes anyway =P ) But as blogs and passive income are where I have constantly struggled I figured it was high time I learnt some new stuff as the old stuff clearly wasn’t working out.
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.
Life experiences. Everyone has lessons they have learned through life experience. Sharing this knowledge can be incredibly helpful to others in similar situations. For example, I recently helped a woman start her blog about being a fireman’s wife. She has a lot of experience and knowledge to share with others about this topic, and it has helped her connect with others in similar situations.Think about the things you have experienced in life. This could be related to your family (example: a blog about being a stay at home mom), work (a blog about experiences dealing with clients), or other life experiences (a blog about dealing with a troubling time such as a disease or divorce, or about a happy time such as preparing for a wedding or a birth of a child).
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!
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.
“The turning point for me came when I realized that of the 3-5x a week I was publishing it was the ones that were about small businesses and freelancing that really took off. I also really enjoyed writing that kind of content. So that was this pivotal moment of understanding if I want things to be shared and I want to be consistent, this is what the blog should be about.”
Google knows that most people will abandon a site that's slow-loading. To combat that, it's created the AMP specification to help ensure that pages load very quickly. AMP is successful at doing this by thinning down the page and removing extraneous bloated elements that take up a lot of front-loading resources. Specifically, you can learn more about the AMP specifications here. In short, here's a summary of what AMP does:
Great article Jamie! I’ve only ever used affiliate links on my blog but recently I’ve been getting a lot of text-link offers. A typical email will ask a link to be put into one of my articles (relating to the content or website they want to link back to) and they offer anywhere between $50-$150 per link. Given the nature of your article, I just wanted to check your thoughts on such offers. Are they legitimate or should I have red flags go up as I’d hate to think they increase spam or worse yet affect google ranking or break basic rules of website T&Cs. Again, I’m not familiar in monetizing via such offers and googling about it didn’t give me much info. Thanking you in advance.
I will tell you up front that within a month of starting my blog I had spent over 600 dollars and I chose to see it as an investment, one that I knew I might never get back. It was scary. I could have spent ten times that – but it would have been unnecessary. I will also tell you that my best (successful) blogging buddies have also spent AT LEAST that much within their first months.