OK – the first four steps of starting a blog, creating content, finding readers and building engagement with those readers are important foundations that you really do need to get in place before you’ll be able to build long term income for your blog.
Jaime, this is an excellent article. I’ve been blogging for fun for over four years, In the last year I’ve branched out and started a self-hosted blog about blogging for fun. I’m at the point think I have enough to offer on that subject and a few others. There are so many steps to get started, I think it overwhelms people, including those of us who are comfortable blogging. There are lots of courses available, but most of them that I’ve tried are pretty general. Do you recommend getting a coach?

This principle applies to just about anything: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Abe Lincoln, Einstein, Edison, and just about any other successful person I can think of worked their ass off for a large part of their lives before they saw any success.
My love affair with the blogosphere started years ago.  I was deeply in love in the beginning, but like all great infatuations, things cooled down over time.  My brilliant post ideas did not come as fast and furious.  I was faced with the challenge of figuring out how to continue to discuss topics that mattered to me, while still capturing my readers’ interest.
If there’s one guy’s email I never throw away before reading and dissecting, it’s Jon Morrow. First I was impressed by your back story and then I was impressed with the quality of your work and recommendations.
The best ranking sites are still the ones with back links. I was going to write “the BEST back links” but decided against it as there are a bunch of blogs in my niche that rank with a huge volume of crappy back links, which is sad.
This goes against the grain of 90% of what I’ve learned from the”experts” in the last 9 months of blogging. But man it feels right. I’m so worried about short term gains that I’m not building a long term foundation. I’m thinking so small! These lessons are profound, Jon. Thanks!
Some time a few years ago I was fed up writing for no one online. I wanted my words to be read and ultimately wanted to be paid to write. So I decided to educate myself on the subject. Here’s what I did:
Great article, yes I do agree that WordPress.org (self-hosted) is the best methods to start a blog and website these days. It has darn near become industry standard. Heck, you have major corporations transferring their sites over to WordPress. The reputation, flexibility, capability, tools and ease-of-use that it offers makes it a winner!
Unless you have a very specific design in mind for your blog, I suggest you use one of these themes to start with. For our example, let’s use the “Twenty Twelve” theme. In order to activate the theme on your blog, hover over the theme and click the “Activate” button. That’s it! You have changed the entire design of your blog with just one click!
Spot-on post though, I’m just genuinely curious…in your experience, have you found it more difficult for people to break into guest blogging since it’s so pervasive among the IM crowd? Is it more-so a matter of who you know versus what you know?
I recommend a host I have personally paid for and used for over a decade. (As a longtime paying customer, the links below are my referral links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.)
Jon, it’s so disheartening to read this list. Not for my sake, but for the sake of all the hobby bloggers I know who keep asking me why their blogs aren’t getting the traffic, attention, or sales they were hoping for, and how in the world can I be building my email list before I even start blogging? Am I STUPID or something?!
This is a lot of great information. I was a bit overwhelmed about all the different ways in which to start a blog but am feeling more confident now. Thanks for this! Looking forward to starting my blog soon.
If your blog is aimed around professional readers and business people you might have more potential traffic from LinkedIn and Google+. If your target reader is more visual it might make more sense to focus exclusively on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for promoting your blog.
Where is my target audience consuming content already? Research into your competitors i.e. the existing sites or YouTube channels that already produce the kind of content you are looking to do. Work out why a vlog is so popular and try to use such techniques in your own videos
As I write this, it just so happens that I’m in the initial stages of starting a new blog (more details to be announced soon). It’s in a completely different space where I have no products, so I’ve been pondering the best way to monetize it, and here’s what I think…
Press Trips: A tourism board or tour company invites you to their country to write about your experiences. They do this because your blog has large numbers and they want to introduce your readers to their tour or destination. The deal typically includes flights, all transport, food, travel and entertainment for the duration of the trip and you can charge for your services on top of this (upwards of $3,500 / two-week trip).
Thank you for such a nicely crafted article. I just had one query, Isn’t it true that even in case of paid advertisement people would just visit, read and leave my website rather than visiting again and again over time. What is better, advertising to extract email ids or to build FanPage likes and community
Rather than publishing banner ads on your website via Adsense or another 3rd party you can always work with advertisers to setup their banner ads directly. Generally banner ads are paid on a CPM model, which is basically a price per 1000 impressions of their banner on your website.
Ask friends, especially those with little knowledge about your topic. If you’re starting a travel photography blog, ask your friends, “What’s one question you’ve always had about photography? What do you wish you knew?”
I have read about being careful to charge enough to cover my expenses, also not to undercut others who must cover expenses, and really, I think that an admirable goal. I don’t want to run someone else’s life, to guarantee their life-long success if I’m the one in control. I just want to publish, successfully, and thereby help as many as possible.
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
Don’t expect it to come quickly. I have worked pretty tirelessly on my blog and genuinely love blogging, but realistically, only make 20-25% of my income from blogging (13 months later). It takes time and an awful lot of work. Don’t feel bad if it takes a year or two to start seeing any momentum.
Hi Jessica, thanks for the advice! I have been setting up my blog over the last few days and written a few posts already. I’m really nervous to launch the site though so as of now only I have access to my blog. Did you wait until you had a good amount of material on your blog before publicizing it or did you start with one article and got more traffic as more material was added? Thanks!
There are plenty of places to find professional web design help. You can take advantage of gig powerhouses like Fiverr, Upwork, or 99designs. You could also do a local Google search to find design firms close to you.
Hi Karen ,You’ve provided guide to start blogging that helped me in setting up my blog.This guide really proved usefull for me.I’ve been looking for creating blog for me but did’t get good guide .But finally i’m ready with blog that is online now. Thanks here for helping me 🙂
I was wondering what your thoughts are on wordpress themes. I don’t want to get hung up on picking one, but I was wondering if you would recommend going with a free one or a premium one to start? And if you recommend a premium one, do you have a favorite site to get them from? I’ve read that free themes aren’t really a good way to go because you don’t get updates or support and they can contain malicious code, so I was just wondering what your experience is with themes. Thanks so much!