We spent 3 months on the first blog, but there were two of us working on it and we put a ton of hours into it before we threw in the towel. I can’t say that there is any kind of time period that is “enough” to know whether a blog is worth it or not. It really depends on how much time and effort you put into it and what kind of results you’re seeing. Everyone’s situation will be a little different.
Once your hosting account is set up, it’s time to actually get WordPress up and running. Bluehost makes it really easy by installing WordPress in the background. You will be asked to choose a theme. A theme is like a skin for your blog. You can change your theme at any time. Scroll down and choose ‘Skip This Step‘. On the next screen, click on ‘Start Building‘ button to configure your blog.
Consider “bonus content.” For example, if you run a podcast on your blog, you might consider having the standard episode available for free but a longer version or additional content for a small fee. Dan Savage’s extremely popular “Savage Lovecast” runs on this model, where standard episodes are free and “magnum episodes” (longer, with no ads) are available for a subscription fee.
With Bluehost, there are three hosting options to choose from, Basic for $2.95/month, or Plus or Prime for $5.45/month — these prices are only available through my link, normally it's $3.95 and $5.95 a month) If you have the funds, I’d suggest going with the Plus Plan, because you get more unlimited features; and as your website grows you can switch to a more robust plan.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others. If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
Use a keyword research tool to gather even more ideas: We want a TON of these blog post topics, so let’s use a keyword explorer tool like Ahrefs (pictured above), Google Keyword Planner, or Moz to help us fill it out. These tools basically just show you terms and topics related to the ones you’ve already come up with, as well as how much traffic those terms are getting (to show that your audience cares about them!)
On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example, “YourName.com” or “YourAwesomeBlog.com. You can end it with .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images, and content plus the free themes and you have a winning combo.
Do what you can to get relevant links that point to your homepage and your individual posts. A lot of ranking decisions are based on how many backlinks you have coming into your website. You can get these links by writing articles to submit to directories, writing guest blog posts on other high traffic blogs, using social networking sites, using social bookmarking sites, and buying links (be very careful with this tactic).
With a business account, you’ll have access to Pinterest Analytics, as well as the ability to create “Rich Pins.” You can also pay Pinterest to promote your pins with a business account, but that’s definitely not necessary. We experimented with about $50 worth of promoted pins before figuring out we could make our pins go viral on our own, without the help of ads.
In March 2018, I started my first self-hosted blog and it was super easy, quick, and fun! At first, I was scared because I thought that it would be too hard and that I would struggle for days, weeks, or even months trying to figure everything all out. I was literally reading hundreds of articles about blogging which were all offering contradicting information. The overwhelm was real.
There is so much about this article that I found useful and engaging Yaro, but the point that I resonated with most was the focus on conversions not traffic. That is the mindset crucial for income, and that income can come more easily and consistently from a smaller group of loyal followers who also refer, than from numerous hits from fringe tire kickers just clicking around the internet for fun.
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.
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.
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.
That’s why I created this ultimate guide that’s taken me years to build. In it, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know when it comes to learning how to start a blog and actually profit from it. I’ll show you the exact techniques and strategies I’ve used for both myself and my highest-profile clients I’ve helped to go from 0 to millions of readers a year. Most of all, we’re diving deep into how I went from learning how to start a blog myself, to making this blog a source of more than $100,000 in side income each year.
According to this definition, many news and big time entertainment magazines are all blogs now. At least, their online versions are! It may sound silly, but the takeaway here is that the word ‘blog’ doesn’t intrinsically mean something is reliable or not – it simply refers to a perfectly legitimate style of publication. Like anything, common sense is key. It is always a good idea to research the creator of the blog to check whether they have a good reputation for publishing solid information.
Hi Yaro, as usual a very strong and detailed post. Yes, nowadays it is very easy to get lost in the jungle of blogs. I think that if you plan to make a business with blogging, like I do, you first have to thoroughly study all the options available. And those options, as you just have mentioned, are ever increasing. Then there are people like me, who are artistic and thus more emotional, but also a bit introvert on the other site. I think the key to online success, or at least partially, is to literally start communicating with your future prospects. In the beginning that’s a bit scary, however I see a pattern emerging here. Talking to your prospects or subscribers is crucial for finding out what your audience is looking for with regard to both content and products. Even if you have a great sales funnel, it’s not of much use if you don’t know your audience well enough. This takes time, not only for yourself, but also for your future followers to accept you as their friend and mentor. It’s not only you who is shy, your audience is too.
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.
If you have great writing skills, you can become a successful blogger. Writing is the basic skill for becoming a blogger. Your blog readership will depend on how good your writing skills are. When I’m talking about writing, it doesn’t mean writing like an expert, but write like an individual. You are not writing for a book or a newspaper, as they are different. See the editorial page of a newspaper or a magazine, and that’s the exact kind of writing which I’m talking about.
There are dozens of such affiliate marketing companies out there – they work by acting as an intermediary to even bigger companies (Walmart, Target, Lowes, you name it…) and drive sales to those advertisers. Some of the bigger affiliate marketing companies out there are, FlexOffers, Commision Junction, and ShareASale. We are on all of them, but have had the most success so far with FlexOffers.
On February 24, 2015, Blogger announced that as of late March it will no longer allow its users to post sexually explicit content, unless the nudity offers "substantial public benefit," for example in "artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts." On February 28, 2015, accounting for severe backlash from long-term bloggers, Blogger reversed its decision on banning sexual content, going back to the previous policy that allowed explicit images and videos if the blog was marked as "adult".
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.
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.”
I would like to work from home and am looking into blogging. I literally have no idea what I’d write about (I’m interested in several different things that are not related to one another) and am assuming I’d need sponsorship to actually make money. Since I know what assuming gets me, I am doing my homework before I do anything else. Thanks for all the info and any other advice is appreciated.
Add Value. Your blog must add value to its readers’ lives. You want to help people solve problems. This is the only way you will get great quality readers to your site (and keep them coming back). Adding value is the only way to get someone’s long-term buy-in. We both learned this after a decade of leading and managing people in the corporate world. With everything you write, it’s worth asking: Is this adding value?
You can use your email list for this purpose simply by sending a broadcast email every now and then asking your subscribers what problems they're facing in your niche or what they would like to see on your blog. You can also promote a link to a survey on your site. Or you can even go all in and have real conversations with people by inviting them on Skype, talking to them on LinkedIn and Facebook groups, participating in forums, and more.
How qualified are you? Good blogs convey a sense of familiarity and ease with the material. Excellent blogs usually have bloggers who are personally qualified to talk about their topics. If you can’t think of at least 25 separate posts off the top of your head about your topic, you may not have enough familiarity with the topic to keep your content going.
The reasoning behind this is simple. If your aren’t earning money, you’re not truly “in business.” Your blog is merely a hobby you do in your spare time. On the other hand, how much revenue you need to earn to be considered a success depends on the amount of money you need to survive and the expenses your business has. Basically, as long as you still have money leftover after paying your personal and business bills, you’re golden.
Before you start choosing a domain name and theme, you need to figure out what topics your blog is going to cover. What are you going to write about on a regular basis? You may already have an idea in mind, but if not, I suggest doing some intense brainstorming. Write a list of your passions, hobbies, and dreams, and a second list with your skills, experiences, and areas of expertise. Then start thinking about possible blog post ideas for each topic. If you're coming up short on article ideas, it's probably not the best topic for a niche.
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.
In case you don’t know what Adsense is or how CPC advertising works (cost-per-click), basically Google gives advertisers a pre-determined amount of money each time someone clicks on an advertisement on your blog (from as small as $.01/click to some keywords raking in as much as $100/click based on a bidding system/how competitive a particular keyword is).
For example, the hypothetical “haircare.com” tells readers what the blog is about, but it doesn’t offer any “angle” on what kinds of hair care advice your blog offers. The hypothetical “Frizzfighters.com” is still clearly about hair care, but it gives off a fun vibe through its alliterative name and communicates your strong brand identity (funky, focused on a particular hair issue, hip).
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.
Oh, and side note—once you've started generating a decent amount of traffic to your blog, it'll be a smart long-term decision to move up your hosting plan to a managed WordPress hosting provider like Kinsta that have even more features (which is what I use now that I'm in the hundreds of thousands of monthly readers), especially when you're in need of speeding up your WordPress blog.
If you can build a relationship with 10 early readers and work with them to pinpoint a challenge you're interested in building a physical or digital product for, focus next on repeatedly solving that problem yourself, then develop a plan of action for how you can personally help those 10 people solve that problem in their own unique situations as well. This'll be very manually at first, but that's necessary.
Lastly, don’t be afraid or too shy to integrate your personality into your brand, and yes, your blog is your brand. Consumers want to buy products from brands they trust, and there are few greater ways to form relationships with them than by sharing your own thoughts and personal struggles in your niche, showing more of yourself, and generally being as authentic and transparent as possible.
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.
One added benefit is that if someone clicks on a link from your website to Amazon and ends up buying multiple items (not just the item you are promoting), then you would get credit for the entire sale! Imagine you recommend a book on Amazon, your visitor goes to Amazon to buy a book, and while they're there they end up buying a new TV, a Sony PlayStation, and some other things. You get credit for all of the sales. Not only that, but you also earn from any sales you make in the following 15 days from that customer.
Create catchy headlines. You can have the best content in the world, but if your readers don’t recognize it instantly, it’s unlikely they’ll click through. Headlines are especially important because many readers will encounter your content through a feed reader, such as Google Reader, or content site like Digg. They may only see the headline at first, so it needs to communicate what your post will be about in an engaging, entertaining way.
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.
Great article. I recently came into blogging. I hadn’t completed what quantity I had learnt from my initial try. currently, with the new diary, I started a few month alone, I’m seeing a rise in traffic on a daily basis that is kind of stunning and really exciting. therefore I even have been reading everywhere the way to legitimize a diary. Your article is superb and in-depth. Many thanks for sharing. I will be able to definitely take on some of your advice. Cheers Jamie!
WP Engine is a superb prospect however you’re looking at $29p/m for their most basic package. This is way out of the reach of most of my readers. This article is aimed at people who are just taking their first baby steps into blogging, and aren’t yet at a level of knowledge or income to justify something that costs over $300 per year. In comparison the hosting I recommend costs around $72 for 3 years and includes a free domain name in year one.
Network with other bloggers or mention their blogs: Early on, you want to get on other people’s radars. And one of the best ways to do that is to mention other relevant bloggers and blog posts on yours. For Austin Belack, founder of Cultivated Culture, that meant linking out to relevant blog posts and then emailing the blogger and saying “Hey! I mentioned you in my most recent article. If you think it’s worthy of a share, I’d really appreciate it. But if not, I’m happy to keep sharing yours.” This drove the initial 50,000 to 60,000 readers to his blog.
While usually a domain would cost you around $15, with Bluehost you will get one for FREE! The basic package also includes a free SSL certificate (which protects data transfers on your site and makes it safe), 50GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth which means you can have as much visitors as you are able to attract to your site. And this is more than enough to start with.
Even still, with around 200,000 monthly unique readers on my blog, I only earn about $1,000/mo from being a member of this ad network. Plenty of other ad networks offer marginally higher CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) rates, but aren't as restricted in the types of brands & products that are allowed to advertise on my site—so I've chosen to take less in earnings in order to stick with the types of brands I want to promote on my site.
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.
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.