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 10 hours testing the fonts on this site). And see those black 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.
If you’re keen to blog seriously but you’re not tech-savvy, you might like this happy medium between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. If you want a gorgeous but easy to customize website, Squarespace is your guy.
You can approach companies on your own to ask about doing paid reviews. There are also websites like PayPerPost and SponsoredReviews that can help to connect you with businesses who may be interested.
Set aside $20 a week for a test and try to learn as much as you can about what gets shared, what your audience likes, where they are located, etc. This data can be super valuable for helping you decide what to write about next which, in turn, leads to more shares over time.
Hello Jon, the lessons are detailed and comprehensive. Frankly speaking, I have never read a blog post that carefully like today and I really benefit a lot from it. However, I still have a question regarding to this post, that is, if I am not an expert in any field, what kind of blog (topic for blog) should I start with and how to get enough traffic to my blog? I agree with you that we should not sell ads but should sell our own products or affiliate products via our blog. However, if I cannot teach others something and my blog doesn’t have enough traffic, how can I sell my products or the affiliate products to my readers? Anyhow, I will still focus on your blog and hope I will learn more valuable knowledge through your blog.
Just make sure if your aim is to build a huge following, sell online, or monetize your blog in any way, you research the niches that are competitive enough to generate revenue but aren’t so oversaturated it’s nearly impossible to break into the niche and make money.
Do you know if you can designate notification emails to go to another email address? I like to keep all my blogging related email in 1 place and I don’t want to clutter my personal email with fb notifications.

Thank you for the tips. I started my blog in December and I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I want a facebook page for it. I have a bad taste in my mouth from facebook because I had a personal page and I absolutely hated it. Also, I have twitter, instagram, pinterest, and google plus so I’m not sure how much more social media time I have to spend on yet another site.
That said, don’t feel like every post needs to be an essay. Online readers generally scan content, so as long as you’re formatting your posts so they’re easy to read, write as much or as little as you like.
Totally, irrevocably sold on long content! It’s taking a long time to learn everything, I still don’t know what product to offer as I’m bad at getting specific – but my traffic and subscribers are growing. One more step to take along the road.
If all this affiliate marketing stuff sound like rocket science to you then I’d suggest you take advantage of some training on how to set up your own passive income generating online affiliate business.
I would also suggest that if bloggers have the time, they need to think about their social media strategy too as this can help amplify your posts. I’m not talking about just setting up social accounts for the sake of it, but to really think about what platforms your social audience is most likely to be using. And not to start off with them all at once, see how it goes and adapt and refine. Once you’ve got the foundations right then look to open it up to other platforms.
If you’re looking for a more low-maintenance way to make money online blogging with WordPress, then selling your own digital products may be a good choice. While you do have to invest the time to create the product up front, after it’s created your work is very minimal.
Alrighty. Just started a new blog this week and this post is SO valuable. My first goal is growing my list to 1,000, but you’ve got me thinking about viable products and a webinar. Thanks for sharing your expertise and experience!
Have you tried clearing cookies & cache? Your blog is actually up & running already, but your internet provider haven’t updated your settings. See this guide here: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/specialized-help/how-do-i-clear-my-web-browsers-cache
Great post, blogging is hard. We run a travel blog and I think the most important thing we tell people is to travel with a purpose, Do not just wander around the world aimlessly. (Like ours is to experience and document the Top 100 Travel Adventures) So many travel blogs do not really have a purpose or a niche. Niche is key and many miss out on that because they want to cover and do it all. Do not just start a blog because you think you will get rich quick and be able to travel the world. It takes a lot of work and lots of time.
If you’re interested in getting started with affiliate marketing, you can start by thinking about the products you already use that your readers may be interested in as well. Then you can see if they have an affiliate program that you can sign up for.
At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier. Writing about more than one topic is totally fine too. As long as you are writing about things that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through and keep your readers interested.
PS. I joined in the conversation as I can genuinely relate to this problem and have been thinking of buying a bicycle . Those #iCycleToWork kind of hashtags and ideas are inspiring, and can be used by the whole online community.
There are several ways you can make money blogging, from selling your own products or services, to getting paid to write reviews of products on your blog. But the easiest way to make money from your blog is to sell advertising space.
Similarly, it’s an even worse feeling realizing that you spent so much time working on paying the bills that you’ve forgotten to launch those long term projects that are your main source of passion/interest.
This is invaluable information as it helps you decide whether or not you can compete in certain niches and keywords. If someone has links coming from Harvard, Wikipedia and NASA then it is unlikely you’ll be able to outrank them in a hurry.
Changing your theme is the simplest way to customize your blog, but there are lots of of other customizations you can do. Check out my full post on customizing your blog for an in-depth step-by-step guide. You can also watch the video at the end of this guide to see me completely customize a blog from scratch.
I’m impressed about the depth of insight you seem to command in this area. It is true there are lots of sites that means opposite of what they say or write but yours is different. Keep on doing a good job out there.
Great content. Just what I have been looking for. I realized that I have been spending lots of hours creating content for my blog but doing nothing when it comes to outreaching and promiting my content.
Getting hacked. Poorly coded plugins can also introduce security risks. For example, hackers may figure out a way to manipulate the plugin to send spam from your domain name, or to insert hidden links on your site.
A 404 page appears like you said “when a page can’t be found”..basically it does not exists.If this site belongs to you, pay close attention to the spelling and font format of the page. It could be a spelling issue or a case sensitive issue..
This sounds a bit similar to my experience, however with a better ending. I accidentally signed up for their WordPress account only to discover I couldn’t do really anything else with the account. I wanted the full (cPanel) version. I called them up and they very graciously switched me at no charge. And, I can still do WordPress on my account.
Hello Jon, Wow now this article is right on cue, All 20 lesson’s Rock! I got so much out of this one, oh yeh 2 pages of notes HEHE Yes I do take notes, I can ‘t remember all of these goodies after I leave. I think it is a great idea, why not they just may come in handy right.
Ghost is a minimalist blogging platform with limited features focused on writing blog posts. It’s available as a hosted platform, and also as a software that you can install and host yourself. We’ll take a look at both options.
Heres my suggestion: Before you start a blog, make sure you have some ideas what to write about. If you dont have any think about your hobbies or things youre passionate about. This helped me to find my niche/topic for my blog.
I have used many of your ideas on my blog and found them helpful and most have shortened the learning curve quite a bit. The best take away from your post today was your quote about spending to much time tweaking 5% of your projects. I am at fault with that as well and plan on printing out that quote and pasting it to my computer…:)
Perhaps I should mention that I’d like my blogs to be funny and uplifting, just so you now where I’m aiming, I suppose. Sadly, I don’t feel that I have an expertise to offer anyone in any particular field. All I’ve got are my own life lessons and sense of humor. 🙂
A common way that many bloggers make money is through offering services to their readers. These might be anything from coaching and consulting, to writing or copywriting, to design, training or other freelance services.
It seems we are at the same juncture for professional blogging. It strikes me as a positioning opportunity for professional blogging. You have generously done as much or more than anyone I know to move the profession forward. I want to be part of that process. Perhaps, destiny calls.
 @Rachel @ Read That Reviews I’m not sure. I have email notifications for my fan pages turned off – I’ll see it when I login to Facebook, so I usually don’t want to know. Too many blog-related accounts and pages to keep up with!
WordPress.org is an open source software platform which allows you to build your website or blog on your own. It is a self-hosted solution, which means you will need to sign up with a WordPress hosting provider.
The top partner has the first shot to fill an ad – if they don’t – they “pass back” that ad request to Adsense (since Adsense is a 100% fill solution but tends to have lower CPMs than other ad networks).
There is a site named Helping Neighbor where you can register to become a Helper, setup your email alerts for the types of jobs you can complete in the areas you prefer so that you can receive paying project requests. Check them out at https://helpingneighbor.com/how-it-works/
Then, when a site visitor clicks on your website to view it, the web host servers help deliver that content to your visitor’s computer screen or mobile device in a visually appealing and understandable format.
Define Your Ideal Readers. Once you’ve found your niche, you need to know who will be reading your blog. For example, we blog about living intentionally. Thus, our ideal readers are people who are interested in exploring minimalism so they can clear the path toward more meaningful lives. If you want to write about your newborn baby growing up, that’s wonderful: your ideal readers are probably your friends and family. If you want to write about restoring classic cars, that’s cool, too. Tailor your writing to your readers (whether it’s your family or local community or whoever else will read your blog).
I need some help, I see that you said that building a site that is based on a niche is much more profitable. I have one question, how about a site that isn’t based on a niche. I often blog about many things. Sometimes, they’re not related to each other at all. In terms of SEO, will it have any massive negative impact? Thanks in advance.
Don’t worry. All you need to do is wait. You could also contact with HostGator support and they will likely speed up the process. More information can be found here: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/propagation-times
One downside of dropshipping is that you have to find a good supplier, which can be a challenge, and sometimes you have to place a large order up front. This can make it difficult to get started without investing a lot of money.
As a keen photographer and travel enthusiast I’ve decided to finally start my own blog, which my friends have been encouraging me to do for a long time. But not knowing anything about how to go about it, I’ve found this piece so valuable. Again, thank you so very much 🙂
You can then customize your theme using the customizer. The extent to which you can customize your website will depend on the theme you selected. Change between themes easily just by activating a new theme. All of your website content will appear in the new theme.
Great post, Ramsay. 🙂 I agree with all of your points. I especially need to focus on visual art sides of my blogging. I use images here and there but I need to integrate them better into the blog. I also need to start taking them myself as I have a several thousand dollar Nikon SLR sitting around not being used. Thanks for writing this for us.
Jon, you just rock! I agree that you should be called “his Royal Awesomeness” :). This is the greatest post I ever read about blogging and monetizing a blog. I know some bloggers who are able to make a living 20-30k per year with their blogs but it took them years to build a following and thousands of posts too…
Your blog is great and every single post is packed with truly useful and up to date information and tips, but one thing I am finding, not just with BBT, but most “how to be a successful blogger” sites is that the focus is almost entirely geared towards people who want to be a “blogger” and not on how a company can use a blog to drive sales.
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 and I suggest you use BlueHost to host your new blog.
“I already have ad domain name” – this means you need to type in the domain you’ve bought already and then connect it with HostGator through nameservers. More information can be found here: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/hosting-guide/lets-get-started/dns-name-servers/how-do-i-change-my-dns-or-name-servers