How to Start a Blog and Make a Living From It (Updated Aug 2018)

Choosing Your Topic, Writing, Hosting, Websites and Making Money With Your Blog Writing - all Updated for 2018!

Welcome to How to Start a Blog – the ultimate online resource for finding your purpose, guide to starting a blog, getting it up and live on the internet, making money from anywhere in the world, achieving financial freedom, and finally selling your blog for a huge windfall.

We will be going in-depth with this step-by-step guide to show you every bit of the process of creating the ultimate blog based on your likes and dislikes, writing style, and work preferences.

This is a self-study guide, so please at least skim through all the pieces, and bookmark it so you can always refer back to any piece that you need more information on. We will be constantly going back revising and editing it so you always have the most up-to-date version, with the best new plugins and technologies available.

It may seem like a lot to tackle all at once, but once you get into it, you realize most of the concepts are fairly simple, and just require you to get familiar with topics.

Sit back, grab a beverage of choice, and let’s dive in to the 9 parts of this step-by-step guide / tutorial on how to make a website from scratch and start blogging!

Step 1 - Tackle Your “Why” and Remove Excuses

Step 1 - Tackle Your “Why” and Remove Excuses

Why Start Your Own Blog

Choosing Your "Why" is as Important as Choosing Your Subject
Choosing Your “Why” is as Important as Choosing Your Subject

How many people get intimidated by the idea of starting a blog, and putting themselves out there online. They asked a question “Why would I even want to start my own blog?”. We would respond back with “Why not?”. Owning, operating and writing a blog doesn’t take very much time out of your normal schedule, and can be both a fantastic outlet creative ideas, as well as a great money maker for your family income.

Many people worry that it won’t be good enough writers or nobody wants to hear what they have to say, so they’d never end up starting one or putting themselves out there.

This is why one of the first steps in starting your own blog or travel blog is actually inside your own head. It is going through and tackling the “why” for you, and making that reason one of the primary drivers in how you decide many of the next steps.

For some people, it is more about creative writing, and expressing themselves. For others, they don’t care about the writing as much, and just want to have a blog that makes great money every single month.

But whatever your reason is, you need to get crystal clear on it, so you can make better decisions about what works best for you, and have something to fall back on when the going gets tough, we could always will.

Having a reason beyond yourself is one of the greatest things that can motivate you day in and day out. You can be doing it for your family, for a cause you believe in, or just to create a better life for yourself.

Creating a better life for more people is one of the main motivators for why we started How to Start a Blog in the first place, and the more people’s lives we see changed – the more we will create! Let’s start blogging!

Common Excuses for Why People Don't Start a Blog

“I can’t write very well”

Most people haven’t written in long form text since having to do essays back in high school and college. They aren’t comfortable putting out their thoughts on paper or expressing themselves through the written word. Like anything, writing is a practiced skill, and the more you exercise the muscle, the better you will get at it.

For most people, the excuse of “I can’t read very well… right now”  is a more accurate one, because it is something you can improve over time.

I don’t know what to write about

From what we’ve seen, choosing what to write about is one of the most time-consuming pieces of pre-launch work that most bloggers do. There’s a lot that goes into choosing what to write about, but it doesn’t have to be something that you deliberate over for years.

The great thing about blogging is that it’s so cheap to start, and very easy to change along the way, that if you choose a subject that you later no longer write about, it is quick and easy to change everything.

We’ll dive much deeper into choosing what’s right about later, but for most people, you can find a passion that you could easily write about at length about online.

I’m not technically minded

Many people we talked to become overwhelmed at the daunting task of setting up and launching their website, choosing a domain, figuring out all the settings, and making sure doesn’t go down over time when something breaks.

In the past this was a much more difficult task. But now with the website builders out there, hosted blogging platforms, and simple tools, blogging and creating a live website is as easy as posting a status on Facebook.

I don’t have much money

This is another common excuse people use, but in today’s world of free websites, or super cheap versions of that, there really is no excuse not to. You can launch your own WordPress blog today for absolutely free. If you want to get more in-depth, there are places you can spend money very selectively, and get great results from it.

I have a full-time job / I don’t have time to write

The last common excuse we will go over is not having enough time to write, or having a full-time job, family responsibilities, and more that will prevent you from writing. This is probably one of the most valid excuses of all of them, but still something that can be worked around.

You can always stay up a bit later, get up a little earlier, not binge on Netflix or have to watch 3 football games in a row to find the time it takes to get a successful blog off of the ground. I bet if you tracked your time, you could easily find 10 hours throughout the week that could easily be reallocated to focused writing or building time.

Want to Dive Deeper Into the Mental Game Behind Blogging?

Getting over the mental hurdle of starting is one of the biggest issues with blogging. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the mental game so you can be the most effective blogger you can be.

Read Ch 1 and Find Your Excuses and Your Why

Step 2 - Choose a Domain and Web Hosting

Step 2 - Choose a Domain and Web Hosting

When most people wonder how to start a blog, they first start to think about the actual website. It’s now time to get a starter site up and live in the world.

We will walk you through how to choose a domain name for your blog, and then the best platform to get it up and live, whether that means you self-host it with your own web hosting package, or use one of the all-in-one blogging platforms or websites builders. Both have their pros and cons.

Choosing your Domain Name

No matter what hosted website solution you choose, what are the most important first choices you have to make is what domain name to register or buy for your blog.

Whatever you choose has a directly reflect the topic that your blog is writing about, and be something that’s easy enough to remember and say the people so that visitors will be able to come back to your blog.

Top-Level Domain Extensions

When most people think of domain names, they either think of .com extensions, .net extensions or .org extensions. These have been the most common extensions for a long time, and any big and reputable brand will use one of those top extensions.

For most people this is what we would highly recommend, as they are the most search engine friendly, and easiest to remember when verbally telling someone what your blog is.

But one of the main issues is that most of the good domains have already been registered in the past, because the internet has been around for decades now.

So if you want one of the top-level domain extensions, chances are you will either have to buy an existing domain from an aftermarket company, or choose a new, quirky, or branded one that you can register fresh.

If you are thinking about a new top level domain, we highly recommend using GoDaddy for your registration. They have one of the best domain management platforms out there, and are one of the biggest in the industry. We hold most of our domains within our GoDaddy account still to this day.

Secondary Extensions

Another common route that many new bloggers are taking, is selecting one of the “secondary extensions” from the market that are much newer, and haven’t been taken up as much.

Domain extensions like .blog, .accountant, .co, .life, .photography, .shop, etc. are all great ones to choose from. Most of the time, you can find a domain name that you normally wouldn’t be able to register on the open market for one of the top level extensions (.com, .net or .org), but you can find it available in these secondary places.

Again, if you are thinking of a secondary domain extension, one of the best places online to get one is GoDaddy. They have the largest selection of secondary domain extensions to choose from, and some of the best prices you can find in the industry.

Register New

How many people coming with the perfect domain name means thinking of a catchy or clever brand name, and getting the .com version available. Depending on the brand name you choose for your blog, this could work fantastically well.

Registering new is also by far the cheapest method of getting a domain, because it’s open on the market already. Most of the time existing domains will sell for more than registering it new.

If you’re thinking about registering a new domain, use this affiliate link to get a special savings from GoDaddy on your first year’s order. You won’t be able to find deals like that around the web for sure.

Buy an Existing Domain

If you want to be able to register a domain is already taken, chances are that is actually for sale on one of the many online marketplaces or online auction houses.

Or even if you just don’t know quite which one you should register – these can give you a great starting point to browse through the available listings, search by keyword, or just find some hidden gems that are available.

Usually the better the domain name, the more expensive it is. But we have found some absolute gems on sites like GoDaddy Auctions, that are live and generating great traffic to this day!

The best place in the industry to go out and find existing domains is GoDaddy Auctions. They are the largest, most affordable, and best system for purchasing existing domains out there.

We’ve bought and sold dozens of domains from this site, and highly recommend the experience.

Choosing a Website Host - Self-Hosted Blog or All-In-One Builder

One of the most common debates for people just creating their blog is whether to use a self-hosted solution (getting your own website hosting account, and installing WordPress from WordPress.org), or using one of the all-in-one website platforms out there.

Both options have their pros and cons, so let’s dive deeper into each one.

Self-Host with an Existing Website Host

Most people who are serious about blogging will go with a self-hosted WordPress blog with your own website hosting account, and will install WordPress themselves.

This is probably the avenue that we would recommend, because most websites hosts have fantastic support, and have made it easier and easier to manage your site without technical knowledge required.

The type of hosting you want to be looking at is probably shared web hosting, which means you will be one of the multiple accounts on shared servers, so you don’t have to pay for your own dedicated server, or manage one yourself.

Pros

  • Cheaper – you can get fantastic website hosting for $3-$5/m that will grow as large as your blog will.
  • More Flexible – with your own website hosting, you are also more flexible and in better control of your site. Most CPanel installations have many options to create subdomains, manage your email, update your sites, etc.
  • Multiple Websites – many bloggers will start out with only 1 site, but will quickly start building others around other areas of interest to them. Your own hosting platform allows you to launch multiple sites, without any additional cost from the hosting company.
  • Built-In WordPress Installation – most existing hosting companies also have one-click WordPress installers built-in, so you don’t have to worry about setting up a MySQL domain, configuring users, etc. Just enter a few basic details and viola!
  • Great Support – almost all of the hosting companies have pretty good customer support, and the few that we are recommending below all come with excellent support.
  • Free Domain – many hosting companies will also include a free domain name with the purchase of a hosting account, which will automatically be configured to your account – so no needing to mess with DNS settings!

Cons

  • More setup work – most of the time there are few more setup pieces and settings you’ll need to tweak with this method.
  • Slightly More Difficult to Use – This isn’t a huge issue for most people, but often having your own hosting will come with more settings and places to look too, which makes things naturally a little more complicated. You’re in better control of it, but some people can get overwhelmed with all the options.
Hostgator
Hostgator is one of the best cheap hosting providers on the internet.

Hostgator

One of my favorite beginner blogging hosting options is HostGator.

This is the first hosting platform that I ever used, and still have that first account I have a registered to this day. They have fantastic support, dirt cheap prices, great load times and speeds, and phenomenal up time on the way.

There is a really good reason that these guys are one of the biggest hosting providers out there.

They offered three great plans for shared hosting which is the one you would probably want to go with when first starting off. Oh, and all come with a great money-back guarantee.

  • Hatchling Plan – $2.75/m
    • Single Domain
    • One-Click Installs
  • Baby Plan – $3.95/m
    • Unlimited Domains
    • One-click installs
    • Unmetered Bandwidth
    • Free Upgraded SSL Certificate
  • Business Plan (Recommended) $5.95/m
    • Unlimited Domains
    • One-click installs
    • Unmetered Bandwidth
    • Free Upgraded SSL Certificate
    • Free Dedicated IP
    • Free SEO Tools

If you’re looking for a little bit higher up platform, they do Provide Cloud hosting and managed WordPress hosting as well, with both go for a little bit more every month. If you have a high traffic website, we recommend those for you. But for most bloggers, the shared hosting will be more than adequate.

 

A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting provides a great mix of speed and value.

A2 Hosting

One of our other favorite shared hosting platforms is A2 Hosting.

They’re very price comprable to HostGator, the one thing that sets them apart is their speed. All of their hosting platform to set up with solid state hard drives, and turbo boosted plugins to make sure your website is as fast as possible, all for a great price.

We have dealt with their support teams many times and only have the highest of compliments for the way they handle everything.

Their packages also come with three starter plans, which will depend on what is best for you.

  • Lite – $3.92/m
    • 1 Website
    • 5 Databases
    • Unlimited Storage
    • Unlimited Transfer
    • cPanel Control Panel
    • Free SSL & SSD
    • X Turbo
    • Anytime Money Back Guarantee
  • Swift – $4.90/m
    • Unlimited Websites
    • Unlimited Databases
    • Unlimited Storage
    • Unlimited Transfer
    • cPanel Control Panel
    • Free SSL & SSD
    • X Turbo
    • Anytime Money Back Guarantee
  • Turbo (recommended) – $9.31/m
    • Unlimited Websites
    • Unlimited Databases
    • Unlimited Storage
    • Unlimited Transfer
    • cPanel Control Panel
    • Free SSL & SSD
    • Turbo (Up To 20X Faster)
    • A2 Site Accelerator
    • Anytime Money Back Guarantee

For most people, A2 hosting packages are very reasonably priced, so we recommend going with the turbo package, which gives you the fastest loads beads possible. The faster the load time, the more visitors will stick around your site, and click through and read more post that you have.

 

WP Engine
For those serious about blogging, WP Engine provides a managed service with incredible support

WP Engine

Lastly, for the people who want to buy the best managed service out there for WordPress, and have the best speed out of the box, we highly recommend using WP Engine.

This company is quickly middle name for themselves for being the best managed WordPress hosting out there. That means when your website goes down, there is somebody to call 24 hours a day, who is also a WordPress expert, to help you get back up and going fastest.

They have a number of additional tools, such as staging sites, pre-configured WordPress hosting, and more that makes your job as a blogger much easier, and will allow you to focus on your writing, not maintaining your website.

They’re the most expensive solution we are recommending, but you get what you pay for for sure with this company.

  • Startup – $35/m
    • Starts with 1 site
    • 3 environments/site
    • 25K visits/month
    • 50GB bandwidth
    • CDN & SSL included
    • Migrations free
    • Page Performance free
    • Powerful tools available
  • Growth – $115/m
    • Starts with 5 sites
    • 3 environments/site
    • 100K visits/month
    • 200GB bandwidth
    • CDN & SSL included
    • Migrations free
    • Page Performance free
    • Powerful tools available

If you are serious about your bogging future, then we recommend getting WP Engine from the start. They’re ones that you will never have to migrate away from, and can scale as large as you possibly could imagine.

Using an All-in-One Website Builder

What are the other options of people choose when creating their website, is an all-in-one website builder, or hosted login platform that will take care of all the technical details for you, so you can focus on your writing.

Some of these are great for starting off, and some of the other ones can scale much larger if you really take off and get a ton of traffic to your blog.

Pros

  • Easy – these tools have made it the easiest possible to get started blogging right away. No needing to setup hosting, register domains, etc.
  • Affordable – most platforms are super affordable between $10 – $20 per month, so you won’t break the bank.
  • Pre-Configured and Maintained – everything is already pre-setup and maintained for you, so you don’t have to worry about your site at all.

Cons

  • More Expensive than Self Hosting – our top hosting recommendations start at $3 – $5 per month, so at $10 – $20 per month, these are significantly more expensive over time.
  • Not as Flexible – if you’re looking at launching multiple websites, or may want to do other things (subdomains, email, etc.), these builders usually aren’t as easy to work with.
  • Pay for Each Site – with shared hosting, you can launch as many websites as you want for the same hosting cost. With site builders, you’ll have to pay for each and every site you create.
WordPress
WordPress is the best platform for almost any blog out there, and the hosted version makes it simple

WordPress Hosted

WordPress powers a majority of websites on the internet, and is the most widely used website platforms on the planet. They have two options available – self-hosted (downloadable) and hosted (the take care of everything). Either can let you make a free website.

If you are brand new to blogging we cannot recommend the Hosted WordPress platform highly enough. It is built by the people who build WordPress itself, so it’s perfectly tuned for anything and everything you could want to do World login. They have fantastic plugins available right from your site, great turbo boost with tools like JetPack, and will be able to grow as large as you can.

Starting off, you can create your WordPress blog completely for free. Then overtime, when you get more serious about it or get more visitors to your site, you can upgrade to some of the more paid services, which are all very affordable, to extend the functionality in the scale of your blog.

If you are on the fence about creating a WordPress blog, we highly recommend creating a free Hosted WordPress blog, and see how you like it.

Wix
Using Wix as a website builder will give you great functionality and flexibility, at a reasonable price

Wix

What are the other most highly recommended website builders we have out there, is Wix.

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of the advertisements around TV or YouTube, and it’s for a great reason. The power over a hundred million websites all over the world, and have built a fantastic product for being able to create a website without very great technical knowledge.

They are just as focused on blogging though, as you can create a fantastic website for your business, club or any other use for website you would have.

With great drag-and-drop builders, templated elements, theme customizers, and extensions, you can build exactly the blog that you were imagining, at a very affordable price.

Want to Learn More About Domains and Website Hosting?

Choosing your domain and getting your website online is more difficult than many people initially assume. We’ll give you a full overview to make you comfortable with the task.

Read Ch 2 about Domains and Hosting

Step 3 - How to Install WordPress

Step 3 - How to Install WordPress

Best Blogging Platform

By far the best blogging platform / content management system (CMS) out there is WordPress. It Powers a majority the internet, is completely free, and can scale to become whatever you wanted to be the future.

There is no better blogging platform out there than WordPress for almost anyone. We use it on almost every site we created this day, and don’t foresee a time where we will not use it.

It has the largest community of support and developers in the world, great free and paid themes and plugins, and as much extensibility and functionality as you could ever imagine. Want to pivot to an e-commerce site? No problem! Need to have better opt-in forms, forum functionality, social network (through something like WordPress BuddyPress)? It can do it!

Unless you have a really good reason not to, there is no question that WordPress is one of the best choices for almost any new blogger out there to use as a content management system.

Installing Your WordPress Site

For those of you who decided to go with a self-hosted blog / WordPress instance, now the time to actually install WordPress on your hosting account.

The way that we highly recommend for most people, is actually using the one-click installers that come with almost every web host company out there.

It will be different for each and every side, but you ought to reach out to your support to figure out how to do it for your individual one.

Here are a few quick videos and how to use some of the one-click installers from the hosting solutions that we have recommended, so you can see just how easy it is to get your site up and going.

Again do not let the process begin your website up intimidate you. In this day and age, installing WordPress is just as easy as posting something on Facebook.

Need More Info on Installing Your WordPress Installation?

For a little extra help with getting your website up and going, we’ve created a helpful guide for getting everything up and going.

Read Ch 3 on Installing WordPress

Step 4 - Choosing the Best Theme

Step 4 - Choosing the Best Theme

Once you have your WordPress website installed, the first thing you need to do is choose a theme for your site. No matter if you have a hosted site, or a self-hosted blog, you’ll need to choose one.

A theme is basically the front-end skin for your site that controls all the aspects of how your site looks and functions.

We’ll dive into how to choose a theme for your self-hosted WordPress blog, choosing between free vs premium themes, and exactly how to install it on your website.

Simplicity and Readability

One of the most important things to consider in choosing a theme is the functionality for website visitors. That means your site should look as readable and simple as possible.

It’s a common desire to want the most beautiful and stylish site, but many times these types of themes make reading the actual blog content somewhat difficult, are full of too many images that slow down the load times of your site, and will break more often.

The simpler the better for most blog designs. Let your writing fully display your creativity. It’s great to have a good looking website, but the most important thing that will get your more visitors is the actual content.

Mobile Responsive

In this day-and-age, it’s absolutely crucial that your website be easily accessible from any mobile device out there. That becomes difficult over time with so many variations of different mobile devices, phones, tablets, operating systems, screen reader etc.

That is why we actually focus on making the website adapt based on the width and size of the screen in general – not specific to each new device or HTML standard. That way, as technology changes and adapts, your blog will always look great on any device size. It’s called responsive design, and any good theme nowadays will have it natively built-in. Your HTML code will remain the same, but your CSS will change how it looks based on width of the web browser.

There usually isn’t anything different you need to do on your end – it’ll just automatically work on your site.

Free vs Paid Themes

One of the first questions that most bloggers have when deciding on a theme, is whether a free theme will be good enough, or whether it’s worth it to go with a premium theme.

There is no absolute right or wrong answer on this one, and it will really depend on you, your resources, and how serious you are about your blog.

While some of the free themes are great, many of them don’t have great features or solid construction enough to not break down over time. They also might look cheap to your readers sometimes. Going with an affordable paid theme can be something that is not that expensive, but gives you a world more options in the long run.

Best Free WordPress Themes

The best place to look for free WordPress themes is in the WordPress theme repository. It’s the official Automattic company site that has an approval process for submitting new themes to the repository.

Here are some of our favorite themes in the free section:


TwentySeventeen Theme

TwentySeventeen

 

Adventure Blog Theme

Adventure Blog

 

Blog Personal Theme

Blog Personal

 

Modern Blogily Theme

Modern Blogily

 

Best Premium Themes for Self Hosted WordPress Blogs

As for paid / premium themes, there are hundreds of companies that build and sell website themes out there, and there is a wide range of quality.

Sure you can buy something super cheap, but often times you are getting what you paid for.

The following theme company recommendations are all super reputable companies with long histories of quality and dependability. They aren’t super expensive at all, and will be a great investment into the future of your company and success.

Elegant Themes

Elegant Themes
Elegant Themes has long been one of my favorite theme companies on the market. I started using their themes almost 9 years ago, and they have just kept improving the platform.

Their Divi theme is a fantastic front-end framework builder, drop-down menu creator, etc. that lets you customize almost every bit of your website’s look and feel with an intuitive drag and drop editor (no web developers, HTML and CSS knowledge needed!). They also have many other set blog styles to choose from as well, such as Extra, which is one of the best all-in-one blogging themes on the market.

StudioPress Themes

StudioPress
StudioPress’s Genesis Framework is one of the most popular, stable and powerful frameworks on the market today. It basically functions as the backbone to many of their “child themes” that can put a different skin on the front end of your site.

It is one of the platforms that will grow with you as large as you can scale. So if you’re looking for something for the long term, anything from StudioPress or Genesis is a great option.

Step-by-Step Instructions on Installing Your Theme

1 – Download Your Theme Files / Find it on the Repository

If you’re using a premium theme, you’ll probably have a ZIP file of the theme itself ready to install. If you’re using a free WordPress one, you can just skip this step as long as you know what the name is.

2 – Go to Appearance → Themes in the WordPress Admin

This is the main themes page. Here you’ll find all currently installed ones, and can switch between everything.

3 – Click “Add New”

In the top of the screen, right next to the title, click the “Add New” button.

4a – [Premium Themes] Click “Upload Theme”

If you’re using a premium theme, and you have the ZIP file on your computer, click the “Upload Theme” button also right next to the title, and navigate to where your files are.

4b – [Free Themes] Install via WordPress Repository

If you’re using a free theme, you can just search straight on this page within the repository, and locate the one you want to install.

5 – Click “Activate” on the new theme

Once your theme is installed, you’ll need to click the “Activate” button to make sure it goes live on your site.

6 – Customize to Your Preferences

Every theme will be a little bit different when it comes to customization. Some have their own built-in options panels, and some rely on the built-in WordPress customizer, which also works great. Just follow the support that comes with your theme for more details.

Step 5 - The Best Plugins, Analytics, and Other Tools

Step 5 - The Best Plugins, Analytics, and Other Tools

Google Analytics

Google Analytics
Google Analytics can tell you more about how your visitors interact with your blog than any other tool out there.

If you ask anyone familiar with web design, they will say the absolute best analytics platform out there is Google Analytics. Not only is it free, but it collects some of the best information out there on the internet, all powered by the largest search engine on the planet.

It is pretty easy to set up by going to their website, and following the step by step instructions they give you.

Depending on what kind of website platform installation you have, chances are there was a plugin for WordPress or whatever website builder you chose, that will make it very easy to install your code.

Google analytics will show you exactly how many visitors you are getting, from where in the world are coming from, and every behavior imaginable they are doing on your website.

We still use Google analytics on absolutely every site that we own, and rely on that data to make informed business decisions every day.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is your gateway into how Google sees and works inside your website.

One of the other main tools that we recommend using is Google webmaster tools. It is the place that you will interface your site with Google, show it what pages you have, and get in-depth information as to what kind of clicks and rankings you are getting.

It is a One-Stop shop for making sure your site is still in good graces with Google.

Bing also has their webmaster tools, will you can do most of the same things as in Google, except it is for the Bing search engine instead. We recommend setting up in both, as you will likely be getting blog traffic from both sources.

Best WordPress Plugins

While the basic WordPress installation is great out of the box, adding a few selective plugins can greatly extend its functionality. But be careful though, too many plugins will slow down your load times, and bog down your sight. Here are the few plugins that we highly recommend, and use on almost all of the websites that we own.

Yoast SEO (Free and Paid)

Most bloggers rely on social and search engine traffic power their blogs. There is no better to out there then yoast SEO for customizing each of the little pieces of your site that you want to rank. They have both you free to paid version that are both great to use, and will allow you to change your blog titles, create meta descriptions, create sitemaps, and many more little tasks that have HUGE impacts on how well you rank in Google.

WordPress JetPack(Free and Paid)

Another great extension tool created by the same company who created WordPress, is WordPress JetPack. It is an entire tool box of tools, specifically created for bloggers, the greatly extend the functionality and security of any blog.

It includes things like firewall protection, social sharing, in-depth analytics, video and image hosting, and much more directly into your WordPress site, which will not only speed up your load times, but I’m sure you do not get hacked overtime.

While the free version is great, we highly recommend upgrading to the paid version for small yearly price, Which packs much more features that you will really need once your blog is up and going.

Gravity Forms (Paid)

Almost all websites need to include forms or opt-in forms on some part of their site or another. Well there are a number of great free form plugins out there, the one that we install on every single one of her WordPress sites, and keep going back to is Gravity Forms.

It isn’t the cheapest plug-in, but can do just about anything you want to do, including taking payments, integrating with email platform, and much more, depending on what level you purchase.

Sucuri Security (Free and Paid)

When it comes to security, there’s no better name of the game then Sucuri Security. Because WordPress is so widespread, it also created large target for hackers. This is a plug-in that we install on almost every single one of our WordPress site, so we will not have to worry about getting hacked.

Both the free and the paid versions are fantastic to use, and provide peace of mind that you were site will not be going down anytime soon.

Sumo(Free and Paid)

Lastly one of the best Hosted tools out there for growing your site in almost any way is Sumo. Com. It is a hosted tool that comes with a WordPress plugin.

They provide the absolute best and most well rounded growth tools for your website out of anyone. So if you want to get more customers, get more traffic, or track your success, they have tools that can do just that.

They have great free versions of many of the tools, so you can get started without paying anything. Then when you grow and need more tools or functionality, you can easily upgrade to paid versions.

Want More Great Blogging Tools and Plugins

Having the right plugins can supercharge your site and make your standard blog into a super website.

Read Ch 4 on WordPress Plugins and Tools

Step 6 - Write Great Content

Step 6 - Write Great Content

Alright, now that your website is up in real life, and you know what you want to write about, it’s time to actually blog! This can be as easy as hard as you make it, and really is flexible to however you want to write.

Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog

Many people get stuck up about format, length, or topic being perfect, and procrastinate actually writing way too long.

DON’T GET STUCK BEFORE YOU START!

One of the things that many successful writers will tell you, is just getting started is the biggest hurdle that they have to overcome. They often throw out the first page or two of writing, which they use as a warm-up for the real thing.

Even if you don’t want to use in the future, don’t let a white page block you from actually creating content. Start writing whatever comes the top of your head. You can always delete it later, or edited so it’s better before you ever post anything.

One thing that we may or may not recommend for getting over the hurdle getting started, maybe an alcoholic drink or two 🙂

Main Pages You'll Need

Every blog will need to have a number of pages that aren’t really blog articles, but are very important to the function and legality of your blog.

Home

Obviously your blog will need a homepage, which is most often just a collection of the most recent post that you published. But sometimes that page can also have some additional content, welcoming people to the site, telling them a bit about who you are and why the blog exist, or any other purpose you can have for a homepage.

About

Everyone wants to know who is actually writing the the articles are reading. That is why krafty the great about page is one of the best things you can do to develop an ongoing relationship with your readers, letting them know who you are, where you come from, and why you blog in the first place.

Make this one fun, light-hearted, but also genuine about who you are. This is one of the things that will go the farthest in creating an honest relationship and trust with your readers.

Contact

Many people want to learn more, or get ahold of the author of whatever article they are reading. They may offer things like suggestions, additional articles, or even business opportunities for whatever writer is there. Having an easy-to-use contact page is necessary for every website out there.

Privacy Policy

One thing that most people don’t necessarily think they need is a Privacy Policy. most affiliate programs, search engines, and other tools require you to have an up-to-date privacy policy on your website before you’ll be able to post their links. There are many great free Builders out there that can create a privacy policy for you in a matter of minutes, without having to hire a lawyer.

We recommend using {THIS ONE}, as it is simple, quick and free to use.

Cookie Policy

Along the same lines of the privacy policy, recent legislation changes in Europe, California and more have required you to be more careful with a cookie and user data that you acquire overtime. If you use Google analytics, any type of tracking programs, advertising programs, or even collect user information like in a form, you need to have one of these.

Like the Privacy policies also, there are some great generators out there that can create a cookie policy for you in a matter of minutes for free online.

Terms and Conditions

This is another one of those legal pages that nobody really thinks they need, but is very important for the long-term legality of your blog. Most privacy policy generators will also come with the terms and conditions generator, so you can make sure you are compliant with all potential legal jurisdictions.

Writing a Quality Article

Now the fun part! Let’s get it to actually craft a beautifully written blog post.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

First and foremost most people question how long they should write each blog article. The real answer is… it depends.

It depends on your style of writing, the topic you want to cover, the overall voice and tone of your blog, and how much you really know about that subject.

Some blogs write short 100 word articles, there more streams of consciousness throughout the day. these make it very easy to create a blog post and very little time, but don’t often get into the depth that many readers are looking for.

Other blogs focus on writing long-form essays instead of shorter articles, which can be thousands of words a piece, and only post a few times a month. These off and go very deep on one particular subject, and become a pillar post and whatever category they are talking about (like this topic you are on now).

We like to aim somewhere in the middle with most of the blogs that we own, with 500 – 2,000 word posts being a great place to aim for. The search engines tend to favor the 1,500 – 2,000 word articles the best though, which is a great thing to keep in mind for the future.

Be Specific on Topic

Bloggers also vary greatly on how specific or broad they get in a single article. some generate lofty and conceptual article that talked about a variety of subjects, and others dive deep into one particular idea.

Again the way that you choose will depend on everything about your blog, personality and writing style.

We recommend shooting somewhere in the middle, so the subject is not too hyper focused on something that doesn’t really make a difference for most people, but also specific enough so you can really cover a subject well.

Keep Your Keywords in Mind

What is that many bloggers forget is that not only are they writing for people, but they’re also writing for search engines. Google, Yahoo and Bing provide most of the search traffic that blogs get, and this organic traffic is a fantastic way to build a business very fast.

When writing your articles, you need to focus on including relevant keywords that people will be searching for within your content. The key is to use it as naturally as possible, and not try to stuff it in as many times as you can which will get you penalized quickly.

You also need to include many of the related and tangential ideas around whatever particular topic is the main theme of your article. Google basically sees that as a measure of authority and expert knowledge about a subject.

For example, if you are writing about baseball, but never mention words like “bat”, “ball”, “bases”, “players”, etc., then Google will assume that this isn’t a very comprehensive article on the subject, and won’t rank you very highly.

Get on a Schedule

The most successful writers are very disciplined and scheduled about their writing. Very few times does the inspiration to write just come upon you. So you need to create that time with scheduled blocks to just focus on your writing.

Go where you are most creative

Many freelancers prefer to work from cafes or shared workspaces for the same reason – it’s easier to separate work and home, and always have a place they go to for getting focused work done.

I personally prefer a coffee shop or co-working space, but many writers love getting outside into nature for inspiration.

Include Images and Videos

One of the best things you can do for your website is including great videos and images that are relevant to what you’re talking about. People love visual pieces, and will stick around much longer if you’ve included great videos on the subject as well.

Places to Get Videos

In our opinion there is only one main place to get great videos to embed – YouTube. It hosts billions of videos, and is growing every day. Chances are if you can’t find a video about your subject, you aren’t looking hard enough. With a simple search, you can uncover thousands of results to post.

We recommend keeping it to a handful of videos per article, but it will really depend on what you’re writing about.

Places to Get Images

We also highly recommend using compelling imagery around your site, to make it feel more professional and engaging.

Images are one area in particular though where you have to pay extra close attention as to where you get those images from, and who owns the copyright. You can get in deep trouble and face thousands in fines if you just steal images from wherever.

We recommend using stock photography websites such as Deposit Photo or Shutterstock for getting stock photos at fair prices. It’s much cheaper to pay for the images up front, than have to settle in court for using them illegally.

Getting Outsourced Content

One idea the true writers don’t actually really like is the idea of getting outsourced content for their blog. If you are in it to create more of a business that have a creative outlet, that this could be a fantastic way of multiplying your time, and seeing success faster.

There are many great writers online they could be hired for their affordable prices, to create any level of content you could dream up. You’d be surprised how many best selling authors also ghost write for other publications, and can be hired to create content for your blog.

Places like UpWork, ContentMart, Bunny Inc, and more are great places to get great content written at affordable prices.

We recommend Bunny Inc or ContentMart for getting single pieces of content written at a time, and UpWork for finding freelance writers from all over the world.

Getting your content for free

One other method that is not talked about very often is getting free content for your blog by other people.

If you were looking to do this, you are needing already somewhat successful blog that people will actually want to write for.

But there are many businesses and other writers out there who will be willing to guest post on your blog, in exchange for a link back to theirs, and publicity in front of your readers.

You will have to go through and edit the post they give you, but this can be a great way to bolster the amount of Articles being posted on your blog.

You can find these kinds of relationships by reaching out to other websites in your industry and ask you if they want to guest post on your site. Once your side gets large enough also, freelance writers will also begin to contact you about guest posting.

Ready to Learn More About Writing Great Content?

Writing great content is paramount to having a successful blog. We’ll give you the right tools and frameworks to be a successful writer.

Read Ch 5 on Blog Content Writing Tips

Step 7 - Optimize Your Site for More Traffic

Step 7 - Optimize Your Site for More Traffic

Now that you have your sign up and running, it’s time to actually get some traffic going to it!

There are many ways to do this, and each will really depend on what your website is about, and where your readers usually hang out.

We’ll first talk about the main methods that bloggers use to get traffic, and then we’ll go over how to optimize your site to better get that traffic.

Organic Traffic

The bread-and-butter source that most bloggers use for getting traffic is by utilizing search engines to ranked highly for their terms that they want to, and getting free clicks all day long. It’s what we rely on here at How to Start a Blog, and is something we highly encourage.

Google, Yahoo and Bing all serve billions of queries every day, and direct that traffic to websites like yours. We’ve personally operated sites that get hundreds of thousands of visitors every month, all for free!

Now while that sounds fantastic, it can be harder than it seems to get started. It will take a while writing to boost up your authority, backlinks and published body of work to really take off well in the SEO world.

The best advice we can give in that is to just write fantastic articles, all narrowed around a particular topic, and eventually it will start to gain traction.

We go much deeper into this in our Blogging SEO article if you want to learn more.

Social Sharing Traffic

Another place that many bloggers have seen great success is in getting traffic from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more.

Whenever you create a blog post, we highly recommend sharing it to your audience on all of those platforms, so you can start to get more and more traction and authority on those sites.

Occasionally, a blog post will just “go viral” and you will have no idea where this flood of traffic comes from, but enjoy it! Chances are your post got shared somewhere on social media, and your hard work is being rewarded by many people going nuts over it. Great job!

So on all of the major social platforms, we recommend creating a separate page for your blog, that includes the brand, logo, links and more. This will allow you to post as much content as you want without pissing off your friends and family by posting your own blog articles all of the time.

We also recommend putting up social sharing buttons on your site, so users can easily share on twitter, share it to their Facebook friends,

Google Analytics Traffic Signals

Most people are trying to figure out how to get more traffic to their site, so start by optimizing what they have. Here are a few of the metrics and data points within Google Analytics you can use to measure how well your content is performing, and how much people are liking it.

  • Bounce rate – this will tell you how many people click the back button immediately after landing, and go back to where they came from without clicking through to another page. The higher this rate, the worse off you are. If you have a really high bounce rate, we recommend going back and making your content better, or user experience more professional so people don’t bounce right away.
  • Time on Site – same as bounce rate, this will show you the average duration that people stick on your site for while reading. The longer the better in our opinion. Often you can add more videos, images and more to encourage more interaction between you and your visitors.
  • Pages per session – this is also a great metric to look at for determining how engaged readers are with your content. The more pages they are clicking around to, the more they like what they’re reading.
  • Social Shares – this isn’t a metric in Google Analytics, but is also an important one to look at. The more people are liking and sharing your content, the better you will do. You can use a tool like https://www.sharedcount.com/ to find how much your articles are being shared on social media.

While these seem like technical metrics, they are deeply important to Google’s algorithm, and tell a story of how well you are writing your content to them. The better you can make these numbers, the more engaged people are with your website, and the more traffic Google, Yahoo and Bing will send your way.

Want to Find Out How to Get More Organic Traffic?

Getting organic traffic is the bread and butter for most bloggers. We’ll dive deeper into how to make that happen consistently for you.

Read Ch 6 about Blog SEO Tips

Step 8 - Monetize Your Site

Step 8 - Monetize Your Site

Now that your website has been created and you’ve started the post relevant articles, and started to get some traffic to it, it’s time to start making money!

For me this is one of the most enjoyable parts of blogging, and something that can actually make a huge difference in your day-to-day life. you can look around many places online and find success stories of professional bloggers, we’re making six and seven figures per year solely from their blog.

A big part of how successful you will be is what kind of attention you pay to monetization overall. This depends greatly on what you choose to write about, and how serious you will take it as a business.

We’re going to go over a number of the top, most common monetization methods of most bloggers use, include our opinions of some of the best places these are useful for. Let’s get started making money blogging!

Advertising - Google Adsense

For most bloggers, it’s very easy to throw up a few advertising placements, and start to make a few dollars to a few hundred dollars per day. This would be greatly depending on how much traffic do you have, and your niche as to how much you can potentially make our daily basis. But we firmly believe that most bloggers can get to a level that can replace their normal day job in a matter of months.

There are many advertising platforms out there, but the one we recommend to most bloggers is Google AdSense. It is the easiest to sign up for and use, and has the greatest variety of advertisers on it. They pay pretty good rates per-click, and are a stable platform that can grow as large as you can.

There are tons of very large websites that solely monetize with advertising, and Google Adsense is a prime way that they keep a large staff paid well.

You can get signed up today in a few minutes by heading over to Google Adsense, and walking through the process.

Then all you will have to do is create a placement or use their auto-placement option to post ad spaces around your website. Then viola! You are now making money as a professional blogger!

Affiliate Programs

If you write about a subject that involves people buying things, then there are a few great places that you can send people to while recommending products, that will give you a small commission on each sale. That is how we mostly monetize this site, and is something we recommend to most bloggers starting out.

Amazon Associates

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, then you know Amazon is one of the largest retailers in the world, and sells just about anything and everything imaginable.

They also have a fantastic affiliate program called Amazon Associates, that will allow you to make a percentage of every sale that you send to them, within a 24 hour window. That means you can be recommending fishing poles to buy, but if someone you send purchases a TV, you can also get a percentage of that, which often is between 2% and 6%, depending on the product category.

They also have great embeddable tools that you can place on your site, that will directly display images, accurate prices, and links back to the site.

Amazon is definitely one of our first choices for monetizing many blogs out there.

Clickbank

If you promote things that also potentially have some education component of them, one of the largest online marketplaces for digital products is ClickBank.

They allow anyone in the world to sell digital or physical products, and attract affiliates (like you) to promote that product for them in exchange for a very healthy cut of the sale.

Many affiliate products on ClickBank offer 50% and even 75% commissions on every product sold, so you can effectively recommend products you didn’t even make, and earn more money than the person who created it!

They have products about anything and everything, and once you get dialed in on how you promote them, can make a TRUCKLOAD of cash every month.

Private Affiliate Programs

Depending on your niche, there are plenty of more private affiliate programs that we won’t get into today, from anyone else who sells online. That can be anything from other larger retailers (WalMart, Bass Pro Shops, etc.), to larger affiliate networks (CJ, ShareASale, etc.) that have large collections of affiliate programs all under one roof.

You’ll have to signup and get approved for any program out there, but can easily monetize a blog by recommending other people’s products, and replace your full time income fairly quickly (depending on how much traffic you get).

Create your own products

Lastly, if you want to get really industrial, you can always create your own physical or digital product that you can sell on your website.

We won’t get too deep here as to how to do that, as you could write many books about the ins-and-outs of that. But often times, creating a course focused on their expertise is not that hard for blog writers to do, and can be a great way to supplement earnings.

Then you could post that course on platforms like Udemy, or sell it yourself on ClickBank, and get the leverage of a marketplace of people also being able to promote what you sell.

Ready to Turn Your Blog Into a Business?

Time for the fun part! It’s time to finally turn your blog into a business, replace your day job, and enjoy your life of financial freedom!

Read Ch 7 About Making Money From Your Blog

Step 9 - Sell Your Blog for a Windfall

Step 9 - Sell Your Blog for a Windfall

Congratulations! You’ve successfully done what most people dream of doing. You have created a successful blog that makes great money, and it gets in front of thousands of people every single month. For many people this is enough to justify taking it easy for the rest of their lives. But things change, market conditions update, and you may want to take risk off the table right now, in exchange for a big windfall of cash.

Selling your blog can be a great way to capitalize on all of your hard work, and get a one-time payment with years of earnings paid upfront.

There are multiple ways to do this, and we’ll talk through the specific methods we recommend, as well as some decision frameworks as to whether you should sell or not.

To Sell or not to sell?

For most people, the decision to sell the project they have been pouring their blood, sweat and tears into for years is a really heavy decision. It is not something you should go about lightly, and something that can greatly change your future. Here are a few things to consider when determining if you want to sell your blog or not.

  • Growing or shrinking – one of the most attractive website purchases for a buyer is to purchase something that is continuing to grow over time. No one wants to buy a sinking ship, so if you are thinking about selling, make sure your business continuing to grow, and has a track record of success.
  • Niche – some niches are just more attractive than others to potential website buyers. If you talk about underwater basket weaving, chances are you don’t make very much money on the site, and most people want not actually want to buy it. Most buyers are focused on making money with whatever blog they purchase, so the nice that you blog about is more more important to them.
  • Workload – No website buyer wants to buy a job, so the more systemized and passive the business, the more attractive it is to them, and higher price you’ll get for it. That is why we recommend everybody try and make their blog as systemized and processed as possible, so you can get the highest multiple for it.
  • How much is it making – Almost all blog purchases under a few million dollar level, are all priced on a multiple of earnings. This basically means, depending on a number of factors about your website, you will get 2 to 4 years of profit upfront as a lump sum payment. So when you consider selling your blog, make sure you are making as much as possible with it, and also have a track record of success to be able to show potential buyers.
  • History of success – No one wants to buy a brand new blog that has no proven track record of success. That is why if you considering selling, make sure you have a verifiable history behind the business, so they can have more trust that it will continue on that trend line after they purchase it.

Website Brokers

Using a website broker to sell your site
Using a Website Broker can be a great way to get our site in front of more people

If you’ve made your mind up about selling your business, one of the places that we highly recommend the most is utilizing on online business broker who will give you an honest look at pricing, position it best to sell, and get in front of thousands of people who are wanting to buy websites and have the money to do so.

It is a growing industry, so there are plenty of brokers out there who are scammers, or will not do a great job at selling your site. It is just as important as picking a realtor who is honest, and out for your best interest.

One of the top brokerages that we recommend if you’re selling a site that is worth over $50,000 is Quiet Light brokerage. they have the best selection of high-quality websites around, and developed a fantastic reputation industry for being honest, upfront, and genuine and how they approach business. We have bought and sold multiple sites through them, and only have top things to say about how they run their business.

If you would like a private introduction to one of their Brokers, and a special deal to make sure you get treated well, please contact us through our website, and we’d be happy to introduce you.

Online Auction Sites

What are the name of the places that other people used to sell their website is online auction sites, that gets your website in front of many people all around the world.

This is often a cheaper route to go then using a website broker, but you also get what you pay for, in that sites that sell on auction websites often sell for much less than they would with a traditional broker.

One of the most popular and well established sites out there for this is Flippa, which has sold tens of thousands of websites on it in the history of the business. It definitely is the wild-west with this listing platform, as you see anything and everything imaginable listed for sale. But if you want a discounted way of selling a site, especially if brokers may not want it – this is your place.

Want More Assistance in Selling Your Blog?

Selling your blog for a huge payday is one of the holy grails of online business. We’ll walk you through how to earn the most money for your blog.

Read Ch 9 on Selling Your Blog

Conclusion

There you have it! We have taken you through every step in the process of creating a blog, writing great content, getting it out there in the world, making money, and eventually selling it off for a lump sum of money.

Creating a successful blog is something that many people are not able to do, but for the ones who persevere and work through it, can have great rewards in the end. But it is also about the journey along the way. You can make fantastic money, have a great creative outlet, and produce a work of art that you are proud of for years to come.

We have personally built many successful blogs, and help others do the same along the way. If it is something you are considering doing, we highly recommend jumping in and at least giving it a try before you rule it out.

If you have more specific questions about the process, technical set up, or anything else, please feel free to reach out and contact us with your questions, and we’ll try to answer it both privately and publicly on our website.

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General

What is blogging?

Blogging is the process of consistent writing and posting to a central website, often personal or focused on a particular topic. For many people, it’s just a writing hobby similar to journaling. For some though, they’ve started to gain enough traffic from their writing that they’re able to make money and even a full time income off of their blog.

Where did the term blog / blogging come from?

Blogging is a term that initially came from “web logging”, that was a web-based journal in the early days of the Internet. That got shortened to “blogging” over time, and the singular item we know today is just a “blog”.

How is a blog different than a website?

A website is much more general than a blog, and can be anything and everything from a company site, forum, eCommerce store, etc. A blog is much more focused about consistent writing and individual entries or articles, all focused around a single topic.

Are blog names copyrighted?

Yes, your blog name and content are protected under your copyright if you put proper copyright information in the footer of your site. Without filing for more specific copyright protection, you don’t have as much legal power to litigate, but you still have some basic protections.

When was the blog first invented?

The first blog that was ever created was called “links.net”, and it was created by Justin Hall in 1994. He was a student at Swarthmore College at the time. He created a website, as the term blog wasn’t even around back then, and it would take another 3 years for the term “weblog” to be coined.

What type of blog should I write?

That’s completely up to you! It will depend on what types of topics and subjects that interest you most. What hobbies do you have? What do you like to do in your free time? It’s usually best to incorporate some type of passion into the choosing of the main topic of your first blog, so that you’re able to write at length about that subject and still be interested and excited about it.

How do I figure out what kind of blog topic I should have?

That’s another question where it really depends on who you are, and what you want out of your blog. If you’d like to really just focus on making money on your blog, that answer may be different than if you just want to do it for the joy of writing. But a great place to start is to inventory your passions and hobbies, to see if there is something you love enough to write about it for a long time to come.

Can a blog be anonymous?

Yes! You can blog under whatever name or pen name that you would like. If you want to be public with your name, that’s completely up to you. But if you’d like to keep a different online identity, almost every blogging platform out there will allow you to do that.

Instead of a domain name and a web host, can I just use my facebook page to launch my blogs?

You can... but for the most part, blogs and Facebook pages are very different things. You can use both to launch your blog, but if you are serious about actually creating content, having it easily found and searchable, and in its most useful format - you need your own blog setup. Blogs are designed for longer form content, to be found in search engines and other social sites, and have much more functionality overall. Facebook pages are great for quickly publishing short form content, or staying in contact with your reader base, but you cannot share posts on other social channels, and search engines don't really index and display social posts in their results.

Monetization

How much money can you make from a blog?

The short answer - how much do you want to make? While most blogs out there don't really make much money, there are thousands and thousands of blogs that make significant money. Those earnings range from a few hundred dollars per month to millions and millions per month. It's not that difficult to start making a few thousand dollars per month with not a ton of traffic, but with a solid focus on monetizing your content.

What's the best monetization method for a blog?

That will greatly depend on what type of blog that you have. For some bloggers, the best and most general option would be something like Google Adsense, as it allows you to monetize little traffic, and covers a large variety of subjects. For other sites that talk about specific products or categories that have things for sale online, signing up for one of the many Affiliate Programs can be a great way of making a little portion of each sale of a product that is made. One of the most versatile we recommend for that is Amazon Associates.

Specific Types of Blogs

How do I start a fashion blog?

Fashion blogs generally focus on one or more specific areas of fashion - skincare, clothing, makeup, jewelry, etc. It's best to have a great personality to your fashion blog so you can get more readers to it.

How do I start a travel blog?

That one is pretty simple - start traveling and writing about it! But if that's out of your realm, you can start researching amazing places, finding the top things to do in each one of those places, and write a great roundup post about it - like "The Top 10 Things to Do in Bangkok".

How do I start a celebrity gossip blog?

Get some insider knowledge! Many people love celebrities and want to keep up on every single part of their life. The most important part of this type of site is having great, timely news to break, so readers come back to you when you add the latest updates.

How Did We Do?

Alternate Content Types

ContentTextVideoAudio
Why Start Your Own Blog in the First Place
Common Excuses for Not Creating a Website
How to Choose a Domain Name
Using a Top Domain Extension for Your Website
Using a Secondary Domain Extension for Your Website
Registering a New Domain vs Buying an Existing Domain
Launching Your Website Self-Host
Launching Your Website All-In-One Hosted Platform
Using a Hosted WordPress Instance for Your Blog
How to Install Your WordPress Blog
Using Google Analytics in Your Blog
Using Google Webmaster Tools in Your Blog
Best WordPress Plugins for Blogging
Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog
Main Pages You Need to Have in Your Blog
How to Write the Highest Quality Blog Posts
Best Methods of Including Images and Videos Into Your Blog
How to Get Outsourced Content for Your Blog
How to Get Free Content for Your Blog
Optimize Your Site for More Traffic
What Google Analytics Data Points Say About Your Website Traffic
How to Monetize Your Blog With Google Adsense
How to Monetize Your Blog With Affiliate Programs
How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall.
How to Sell Your Blog via Website Brokers or Online Auctions

Video Versions

Again do not let the process begin your website up intimidate you. In this day and age, installing WordPress is just as easy as posting something on Facebook.

Need More Info on Installing Your WordPress Installation?

For a little extra help with getting your website up and going, we’ve created a helpful guide for getting everything up and going.

Read Ch 3 on Installing WordPress

Step 4 - Choosing the Best Theme

Step 4 - Choosing the Best Theme

Once you have your WordPress website installed, the first thing you need to do is choose a theme for your site. No matter if you have a hosted site, or a self-hosted blog, you’ll need to choose one.

A theme is basically the front-end skin for your site that controls all the aspects of how your site looks and functions.

We’ll dive into how to choose a theme for your self-hosted WordPress blog, choosing between free vs premium themes, and exactly how to install it on your website.

Simplicity and Readability

One of the most important things to consider in choosing a theme is the functionality for website visitors. That means your site should look as readable and simple as possible.

It’s a common desire to want the most beautiful and stylish site, but many times these types of themes make reading the actual blog content somewhat difficult, are full of too many images that slow down the load times of your site, and will break more often.

The simpler the better for most blog designs. Let your writing fully display your creativity. It’s great to have a good looking website, but the most important thing that will get your more visitors is the actual content.

Mobile Responsive

In this day-and-age, it’s absolutely crucial that your website be easily accessible from any mobile device out there. That becomes difficult over time with so many variations of different mobile devices, phones, tablets, operating systems, screen reader etc.

That is why we actually focus on making the website adapt based on the width and size of the screen in general – not specific to each new device or HTML standard. That way, as technology changes and adapts, your blog will always look great on any device size. It’s called responsive design, and any good theme nowadays will have it natively built-in. Your HTML code will remain the same, but your CSS will change how it looks based on width of the web browser.

There usually isn’t anything different you need to do on your end – it’ll just automatically work on your site.

Free vs Paid Themes

One of the first questions that most bloggers have when deciding on a theme, is whether a free theme will be good enough, or whether it’s worth it to go with a premium theme.

There is no absolute right or wrong answer on this one, and it will really depend on you, your resources, and how serious you are about your blog.

While some of the free themes are great, many of them don’t have great features or solid construction enough to not break down over time. They also might look cheap to your readers sometimes. Going with an affordable paid theme can be something that is not that expensive, but gives you a world more options in the long run.

Best Free WordPress Themes

The best place to look for free WordPress themes is in the WordPress theme repository. It’s the official Automattic company site that has an approval process for submitting new themes to the repository.

Here are some of our favorite themes in the free section:


TwentySeventeen Theme

TwentySeventeen

 

Adventure Blog Theme

Adventure Blog

 

Blog Personal Theme

Blog Personal

 

Modern Blogily Theme

Modern Blogily

 

Best Premium Themes for Self Hosted WordPress Blogs

As for paid / premium themes, there are hundreds of companies that build and sell website themes out there, and there is a wide range of quality.

Sure you can buy something super cheap, but often times you are getting what you paid for.

The following theme company recommendations are all super reputable companies with long histories of quality and dependability. They aren’t super expensive at all, and will be a great investment into the future of your company and success.

Elegant Themes

Elegant Themes
Elegant Themes has long been one of my favorite theme companies on the market. I started using their themes almost 9 years ago, and they have just kept improving the platform.

Their Divi theme is a fantastic front-end framework builder, drop-down menu creator, etc. that lets you customize almost every bit of your website’s look and feel with an intuitive drag and drop editor (no web developers, HTML and CSS knowledge needed!). They also have many other set blog styles to choose from as well, such as Extra, which is one of the best all-in-one blogging themes on the market.

StudioPress Themes

StudioPress
StudioPress’s Genesis Framework is one of the most popular, stable and powerful frameworks on the market today. It basically functions as the backbone to many of their “child themes” that can put a different skin on the front end of your site.

It is one of the platforms that will grow with you as large as you can scale. So if you’re looking for something for the long term, anything from StudioPress or Genesis is a great option.

Step-by-Step Instructions on Installing Your Theme

1 – Download Your Theme Files / Find it on the Repository

If you’re using a premium theme, you’ll probably have a ZIP file of the theme itself ready to install. If you’re using a free WordPress one, you can just skip this step as long as you know what the name is.

2 – Go to Appearance → Themes in the WordPress Admin

This is the main themes page. Here you’ll find all currently installed ones, and can switch between everything.

3 – Click “Add New”

In the top of the screen, right next to the title, click the “Add New” button.

4a – [Premium Themes] Click “Upload Theme”

If you’re using a premium theme, and you have the ZIP file on your computer, click the “Upload Theme” button also right next to the title, and navigate to where your files are.

4b – [Free Themes] Install via WordPress Repository

If you’re using a free theme, you can just search straight on this page within the repository, and locate the one you want to install.

5 – Click “Activate” on the new theme

Once your theme is installed, you’ll need to click the “Activate” button to make sure it goes live on your site.

6 – Customize to Your Preferences

Every theme will be a little bit different when it comes to customization. Some have their own built-in options panels, and some rely on the built-in WordPress customizer, which also works great. Just follow the support that comes with your theme for more details.

Step 5 - The Best Plugins, Analytics, and Other Tools

Step 5 - The Best Plugins, Analytics, and Other Tools

Google Analytics

Google Analytics
Google Analytics can tell you more about how your visitors interact with your blog than any other tool out there.

If you ask anyone familiar with web design, they will say the absolute best analytics platform out there is Google Analytics. Not only is it free, but it collects some of the best information out there on the internet, all powered by the largest search engine on the planet.

It is pretty easy to set up by going to their website, and following the step by step instructions they give you.

Depending on what kind of website platform installation you have, chances are there was a plugin for WordPress or whatever website builder you chose, that will make it very easy to install your code.

Google analytics will show you exactly how many visitors you are getting, from where in the world are coming from, and every behavior imaginable they are doing on your website.

We still use Google analytics on absolutely every site that we own, and rely on that data to make informed business decisions every day.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is your gateway into how Google sees and works inside your website.

One of the other main tools that we recommend using is Google webmaster tools. It is the place that you will interface your site with Google, show it what pages you have, and get in-depth information as to what kind of clicks and rankings you are getting.

It is a One-Stop shop for making sure your site is still in good graces with Google.

Bing also has their webmaster tools, will you can do most of the same things as in Google, except it is for the Bing search engine instead. We recommend setting up in both, as you will likely be getting blog traffic from both sources.

Best WordPress Plugins

While the basic WordPress installation is great out of the box, adding a few selective plugins can greatly extend its functionality. But be careful though, too many plugins will slow down your load times, and bog down your sight. Here are the few plugins that we highly recommend, and use on almost all of the websites that we own.

Yoast SEO (Free and Paid)

Most bloggers rely on social and search engine traffic power their blogs. There is no better to out there then yoast SEO for customizing each of the little pieces of your site that you want to rank. They have both you free to paid version that are both great to use, and will allow you to change your blog titles, create meta descriptions, create sitemaps, and many more little tasks that have HUGE impacts on how well you rank in Google.

WordPress JetPack(Free and Paid)

Another great extension tool created by the same company who created WordPress, is WordPress JetPack. It is an entire tool box of tools, specifically created for bloggers, the greatly extend the functionality and security of any blog.

It includes things like firewall protection, social sharing, in-depth analytics, video and image hosting, and much more directly into your WordPress site, which will not only speed up your load times, but I’m sure you do not get hacked overtime.

While the free version is great, we highly recommend upgrading to the paid version for small yearly price, Which packs much more features that you will really need once your blog is up and going.

Gravity Forms (Paid)

Almost all websites need to include forms or opt-in forms on some part of their site or another. Well there are a number of great free form plugins out there, the one that we install on every single one of her WordPress sites, and keep going back to is Gravity Forms.

It isn’t the cheapest plug-in, but can do just about anything you want to do, including taking payments, integrating with email platform, and much more, depending on what level you purchase.

Sucuri Security (Free and Paid)

When it comes to security, there’s no better name of the game then Sucuri Security. Because WordPress is so widespread, it also created large target for hackers. This is a plug-in that we install on almost every single one of our WordPress site, so we will not have to worry about getting hacked.

Both the free and the paid versions are fantastic to use, and provide peace of mind that you were site will not be going down anytime soon.

Sumo(Free and Paid)

Lastly one of the best Hosted tools out there for growing your site in almost any way is Sumo. Com. It is a hosted tool that comes with a WordPress plugin.

They provide the absolute best and most well rounded growth tools for your website out of anyone. So if you want to get more customers, get more traffic, or track your success, they have tools that can do just that.

They have great free versions of many of the tools, so you can get started without paying anything. Then when you grow and need more tools or functionality, you can easily upgrade to paid versions.

Want More Great Blogging Tools and Plugins

Having the right plugins can supercharge your site and make your standard blog into a super website.

Read Ch 4 on WordPress Plugins and Tools

Step 6 - Write Great Content

Step 6 - Write Great Content

Alright, now that your website is up in real life, and you know what you want to write about, it’s time to actually blog! This can be as easy as hard as you make it, and really is flexible to however you want to write.

Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog

Many people get stuck up about format, length, or topic being perfect, and procrastinate actually writing way too long.

DON’T GET STUCK BEFORE YOU START!

One of the things that many successful writers will tell you, is just getting started is the biggest hurdle that they have to overcome. They often throw out the first page or two of writing, which they use as a warm-up for the real thing.

Even if you don’t want to use in the future, don’t let a white page block you from actually creating content. Start writing whatever comes the top of your head. You can always delete it later, or edited so it’s better before you ever post anything.

One thing that we may or may not recommend for getting over the hurdle getting started, maybe an alcoholic drink or two 🙂

Main Pages You'll Need

Every blog will need to have a number of pages that aren’t really blog articles, but are very important to the function and legality of your blog.

Home

Obviously your blog will need a homepage, which is most often just a collection of the most recent post that you published. But sometimes that page can also have some additional content, welcoming people to the site, telling them a bit about who you are and why the blog exist, or any other purpose you can have for a homepage.

About

Everyone wants to know who is actually writing the the articles are reading. That is why krafty the great about page is one of the best things you can do to develop an ongoing relationship with your readers, letting them know who you are, where you come from, and why you blog in the first place.

Make this one fun, light-hearted, but also genuine about who you are. This is one of the things that will go the farthest in creating an honest relationship and trust with your readers.

Contact

Many people want to learn more, or get ahold of the author of whatever article they are reading. They may offer things like suggestions, additional articles, or even business opportunities for whatever writer is there. Having an easy-to-use contact page is necessary for every website out there.

Privacy Policy

One thing that most people don’t necessarily think they need is a Privacy Policy. most affiliate programs, search engines, and other tools require you to have an up-to-date privacy policy on your website before you’ll be able to post their links. There are many great free Builders out there that can create a privacy policy for you in a matter of minutes, without having to hire a lawyer.

We recommend using {THIS ONE}, as it is simple, quick and free to use.

Cookie Policy

Along the same lines of the privacy policy, recent legislation changes in Europe, California and more have required you to be more careful with a cookie and user data that you acquire overtime. If you use Google analytics, any type of tracking programs, advertising programs, or even collect user information like in a form, you need to have one of these.

Like the Privacy policies also, there are some great generators out there that can create a cookie policy for you in a matter of minutes for free online.

Terms and Conditions

This is another one of those legal pages that nobody really thinks they need, but is very important for the long-term legality of your blog. Most privacy policy generators will also come with the terms and conditions generator, so you can make sure you are compliant with all potential legal jurisdictions.

Writing a Quality Article

Now the fun part! Let’s get it to actually craft a beautifully written blog post.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

First and foremost most people question how long they should write each blog article. The real answer is… it depends.

It depends on your style of writing, the topic you want to cover, the overall voice and tone of your blog, and how much you really know about that subject.

Some blogs write short 100 word articles, there more streams of consciousness throughout the day. these make it very easy to create a blog post and very little time, but don’t often get into the depth that many readers are looking for.

Other blogs focus on writing long-form essays instead of shorter articles, which can be thousands of words a piece, and only post a few times a month. These off and go very deep on one particular subject, and become a pillar post and whatever category they are talking about (like this topic you are on now).

We like to aim somewhere in the middle with most of the blogs that we own, with 500 – 2,000 word posts being a great place to aim for. The search engines tend to favor the 1,500 – 2,000 word articles the best though, which is a great thing to keep in mind for the future.

Be Specific on Topic

Bloggers also vary greatly on how specific or broad they get in a single article. some generate lofty and conceptual article that talked about a variety of subjects, and others dive deep into one particular idea.

Again the way that you choose will depend on everything about your blog, personality and writing style.

We recommend shooting somewhere in the middle, so the subject is not too hyper focused on something that doesn’t really make a difference for most people, but also specific enough so you can really cover a subject well.

Keep Your Keywords in Mind

What is that many bloggers forget is that not only are they writing for people, but they’re also writing for search engines. Google, Yahoo and Bing provide most of the search traffic that blogs get, and this organic traffic is a fantastic way to build a business very fast.

When writing your articles, you need to focus on including relevant keywords that people will be searching for within your content. The key is to use it as naturally as possible, and not try to stuff it in as many times as you can which will get you penalized quickly.

You also need to include many of the related and tangential ideas around whatever particular topic is the main theme of your article. Google basically sees that as a measure of authority and expert knowledge about a subject.

For example, if you are writing about baseball, but never mention words like “bat”, “ball”, “bases”, “players”, etc., then Google will assume that this isn’t a very comprehensive article on the subject, and won’t rank you very highly.

Get on a Schedule

The most successful writers are very disciplined and scheduled about their writing. Very few times does the inspiration to write just come upon you. So you need to create that time with scheduled blocks to just focus on your writing.

Go where you are most creative

Many freelancers prefer to work from cafes or shared workspaces for the same reason – it’s easier to separate work and home, and always have a place they go to for getting focused work done.

I personally prefer a coffee shop or co-working space, but many writers love getting outside into nature for inspiration.

Include Images and Videos

One of the best things you can do for your website is including great videos and images that are relevant to what you’re talking about. People love visual pieces, and will stick around much longer if you’ve included great videos on the subject as well.

Places to Get Videos

In our opinion there is only one main place to get great videos to embed – YouTube. It hosts billions of videos, and is growing every day. Chances are if you can’t find a video about your subject, you aren’t looking hard enough. With a simple search, you can uncover thousands of results to post.

We recommend keeping it to a handful of videos per article, but it will really depend on what you’re writing about.

Places to Get Images

We also highly recommend using compelling imagery around your site, to make it feel more professional and engaging.

Images are one area in particular though where you have to pay extra close attention as to where you get those images from, and who owns the copyright. You can get in deep trouble and face thousands in fines if you just steal images from wherever.

We recommend using stock photography websites such as Deposit Photo or Shutterstock for getting stock photos at fair prices. It’s much cheaper to pay for the images up front, than have to settle in court for using them illegally.

Getting Outsourced Content

One idea the true writers don’t actually really like is the idea of getting outsourced content for their blog. If you are in it to create more of a business that have a creative outlet, that this could be a fantastic way of multiplying your time, and seeing success faster.

There are many great writers online they could be hired for their affordable prices, to create any level of content you could dream up. You’d be surprised how many best selling authors also ghost write for other publications, and can be hired to create content for your blog.

Places like UpWork, ContentMart, Bunny Inc, and more are great places to get great content written at affordable prices.

We recommend Bunny Inc or ContentMart for getting single pieces of content written at a time, and UpWork for finding freelance writers from all over the world.

Getting your content for free

One other method that is not talked about very often is getting free content for your blog by other people.

If you were looking to do this, you are needing already somewhat successful blog that people will actually want to write for.

But there are many businesses and other writers out there who will be willing to guest post on your blog, in exchange for a link back to theirs, and publicity in front of your readers.

You will have to go through and edit the post they give you, but this can be a great way to bolster the amount of Articles being posted on your blog.

You can find these kinds of relationships by reaching out to other websites in your industry and ask you if they want to guest post on your site. Once your side gets large enough also, freelance writers will also begin to contact you about guest posting.

Ready to Learn More About Writing Great Content?

Writing great content is paramount to having a successful blog. We’ll give you the right tools and frameworks to be a successful writer.

Read Ch 5 on Blog Content Writing Tips

Step 7 - Optimize Your Site for More Traffic

Step 7 - Optimize Your Site for More Traffic

Now that you have your sign up and running, it’s time to actually get some traffic going to it!

There are many ways to do this, and each will really depend on what your website is about, and where your readers usually hang out.

We’ll first talk about the main methods that bloggers use to get traffic, and then we’ll go over how to optimize your site to better get that traffic.

Organic Traffic

The bread-and-butter source that most bloggers use for getting traffic is by utilizing search engines to ranked highly for their terms that they want to, and getting free clicks all day long. It’s what we rely on here at How to Start a Blog, and is something we highly encourage.

Google, Yahoo and Bing all serve billions of queries every day, and direct that traffic to websites like yours. We’ve personally operated sites that get hundreds of thousands of visitors every month, all for free!

Now while that sounds fantastic, it can be harder than it seems to get started. It will take a while writing to boost up your authority, backlinks and published body of work to really take off well in the SEO world.

The best advice we can give in that is to just write fantastic articles, all narrowed around a particular topic, and eventually it will start to gain traction.

We go much deeper into this in our Blogging SEO article if you want to learn more.

Social Sharing Traffic

Another place that many bloggers have seen great success is in getting traffic from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more.

Whenever you create a blog post, we highly recommend sharing it to your audience on all of those platforms, so you can start to get more and more traction and authority on those sites.

Occasionally, a blog post will just “go viral” and you will have no idea where this flood of traffic comes from, but enjoy it! Chances are your post got shared somewhere on social media, and your hard work is being rewarded by many people going nuts over it. Great job!

So on all of the major social platforms, we recommend creating a separate page for your blog, that includes the brand, logo, links and more. This will allow you to post as much content as you want without pissing off your friends and family by posting your own blog articles all of the time.

We also recommend putting up social sharing buttons on your site, so users can easily share on twitter, share it to their Facebook friends,

Google Analytics Traffic Signals

Most people are trying to figure out how to get more traffic to their site, so start by optimizing what they have. Here are a few of the metrics and data points within Google Analytics you can use to measure how well your content is performing, and how much people are liking it.

  • Bounce rate – this will tell you how many people click the back button immediately after landing, and go back to where they came from without clicking through to another page. The higher this rate, the worse off you are. If you have a really high bounce rate, we recommend going back and making your content better, or user experience more professional so people don’t bounce right away.
  • Time on Site – same as bounce rate, this will show you the average duration that people stick on your site for while reading. The longer the better in our opinion. Often you can add more videos, images and more to encourage more interaction between you and your visitors.
  • Pages per session – this is also a great metric to look at for determining how engaged readers are with your content. The more pages they are clicking around to, the more they like what they’re reading.
  • Social Shares – this isn’t a metric in Google Analytics, but is also an important one to look at. The more people are liking and sharing your content, the better you will do. You can use a tool like https://www.sharedcount.com/ to find how much your articles are being shared on social media.

While these seem like technical metrics, they are deeply important to Google’s algorithm, and tell a story of how well you are writing your content to them. The better you can make these numbers, the more engaged people are with your website, and the more traffic Google, Yahoo and Bing will send your way.

Want to Find Out How to Get More Organic Traffic?

Getting organic traffic is the bread and butter for most bloggers. We’ll dive deeper into how to make that happen consistently for you.

Read Ch 6 about Blog SEO Tips

Step 8 - Monetize Your Site

Step 8 - Monetize Your Site

Now that your website has been created and you’ve started the post relevant articles, and started to get some traffic to it, it’s time to start making money!

For me this is one of the most enjoyable parts of blogging, and something that can actually make a huge difference in your day-to-day life. you can look around many places online and find success stories of professional bloggers, we’re making six and seven figures per year solely from their blog.

A big part of how successful you will be is what kind of attention you pay to monetization overall. This depends greatly on what you choose to write about, and how serious you will take it as a business.

We’re going to go over a number of the top, most common monetization methods of most bloggers use, include our opinions of some of the best places these are useful for. Let’s get started making money blogging!

Advertising - Google Adsense

For most bloggers, it’s very easy to throw up a few advertising placements, and start to make a few dollars to a few hundred dollars per day. This would be greatly depending on how much traffic do you have, and your niche as to how much you can potentially make our daily basis. But we firmly believe that most bloggers can get to a level that can replace their normal day job in a matter of months.

There are many advertising platforms out there, but the one we recommend to most bloggers is Google AdSense. It is the easiest to sign up for and use, and has the greatest variety of advertisers on it. They pay pretty good rates per-click, and are a stable platform that can grow as large as you can.

There are tons of very large websites that solely monetize with advertising, and Google Adsense is a prime way that they keep a large staff paid well.

You can get signed up today in a few minutes by heading over to Google Adsense, and walking through the process.

Then all you will have to do is create a placement or use their auto-placement option to post ad spaces around your website. Then viola! You are now making money as a professional blogger!

Affiliate Programs

If you write about a subject that involves people buying things, then there are a few great places that you can send people to while recommending products, that will give you a small commission on each sale. That is how we mostly monetize this site, and is something we recommend to most bloggers starting out.

Amazon Associates

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, then you know Amazon is one of the largest retailers in the world, and sells just about anything and everything imaginable.

They also have a fantastic affiliate program called Amazon Associates, that will allow you to make a percentage of every sale that you send to them, within a 24 hour window. That means you can be recommending fishing poles to buy, but if someone you send purchases a TV, you can also get a percentage of that, which often is between 2% and 6%, depending on the product category.

They also have great embeddable tools that you can place on your site, that will directly display images, accurate prices, and links back to the site.

Amazon is definitely one of our first choices for monetizing many blogs out there.

Clickbank

If you promote things that also potentially have some education component of them, one of the largest online marketplaces for digital products is ClickBank.

They allow anyone in the world to sell digital or physical products, and attract affiliates (like you) to promote that product for them in exchange for a very healthy cut of the sale.

Many affiliate products on ClickBank offer 50% and even 75% commissions on every product sold, so you can effectively recommend products you didn’t even make, and earn more money than the person who created it!

They have products about anything and everything, and once you get dialed in on how you promote them, can make a TRUCKLOAD of cash every month.

Private Affiliate Programs

Depending on your niche, there are plenty of more private affiliate programs that we won’t get into today, from anyone else who sells online. That can be anything from other larger retailers (WalMart, Bass Pro Shops, etc.), to larger affiliate networks (CJ, ShareASale, etc.) that have large collections of affiliate programs all under one roof.

You’ll have to signup and get approved for any program out there, but can easily monetize a blog by recommending other people’s products, and replace your full time income fairly quickly (depending on how much traffic you get).

Create your own products

Lastly, if you want to get really industrial, you can always create your own physical or digital product that you can sell on your website.

We won’t get too deep here as to how to do that, as you could write many books about the ins-and-outs of that. But often times, creating a course focused on their expertise is not that hard for blog writers to do, and can be a great way to supplement earnings.

Then you could post that course on platforms like Udemy, or sell it yourself on ClickBank, and get the leverage of a marketplace of people also being able to promote what you sell.

Ready to Turn Your Blog Into a Business?

Time for the fun part! It’s time to finally turn your blog into a business, replace your day job, and enjoy your life of financial freedom!

Read Ch 7 About Making Money From Your Blog

Step 9 - Sell Your Blog for a Windfall

Step 9 - Sell Your Blog for a Windfall

Congratulations! You’ve successfully done what most people dream of doing. You have created a successful blog that makes great money, and it gets in front of thousands of people every single month. For many people this is enough to justify taking it easy for the rest of their lives. But things change, market conditions update, and you may want to take risk off the table right now, in exchange for a big windfall of cash.

Selling your blog can be a great way to capitalize on all of your hard work, and get a one-time payment with years of earnings paid upfront.

There are multiple ways to do this, and we’ll talk through the specific methods we recommend, as well as some decision frameworks as to whether you should sell or not.

To Sell or not to sell?

For most people, the decision to sell the project they have been pouring their blood, sweat and tears into for years is a really heavy decision. It is not something you should go about lightly, and something that can greatly change your future. Here are a few things to consider when determining if you want to sell your blog or not.

  • Growing or shrinking – one of the most attractive website purchases for a buyer is to purchase something that is continuing to grow over time. No one wants to buy a sinking ship, so if you are thinking about selling, make sure your business continuing to grow, and has a track record of success.
  • Niche – some niches are just more attractive than others to potential website buyers. If you talk about underwater basket weaving, chances are you don’t make very much money on the site, and most people want not actually want to buy it. Most buyers are focused on making money with whatever blog they purchase, so the nice that you blog about is more more important to them.
  • Workload – No website buyer wants to buy a job, so the more systemized and passive the business, the more attractive it is to them, and higher price you’ll get for it. That is why we recommend everybody try and make their blog as systemized and processed as possible, so you can get the highest multiple for it.
  • How much is it making – Almost all blog purchases under a few million dollar level, are all priced on a multiple of earnings. This basically means, depending on a number of factors about your website, you will get 2 to 4 years of profit upfront as a lump sum payment. So when you consider selling your blog, make sure you are making as much as possible with it, and also have a track record of success to be able to show potential buyers.
  • History of success – No one wants to buy a brand new blog that has no proven track record of success. That is why if you considering selling, make sure you have a verifiable history behind the business, so they can have more trust that it will continue on that trend line after they purchase it.

Website Brokers

Using a website broker to sell your site
Using a Website Broker can be a great way to get our site in front of more people

If you’ve made your mind up about selling your business, one of the places that we highly recommend the most is utilizing on online business broker who will give you an honest look at pricing, position it best to sell, and get in front of thousands of people who are wanting to buy websites and have the money to do so.

It is a growing industry, so there are plenty of brokers out there who are scammers, or will not do a great job at selling your site. It is just as important as picking a realtor who is honest, and out for your best interest.

One of the top brokerages that we recommend if you’re selling a site that is worth over $50,000 is Quiet Light brokerage. they have the best selection of high-quality websites around, and developed a fantastic reputation industry for being honest, upfront, and genuine and how they approach business. We have bought and sold multiple sites through them, and only have top things to say about how they run their business.

If you would like a private introduction to one of their Brokers, and a special deal to make sure you get treated well, please contact us through our website, and we’d be happy to introduce you.

Online Auction Sites

What are the name of the places that other people used to sell their website is online auction sites, that gets your website in front of many people all around the world.

This is often a cheaper route to go then using a website broker, but you also get what you pay for, in that sites that sell on auction websites often sell for much less than they would with a traditional broker.

One of the most popular and well established sites out there for this is Flippa, which has sold tens of thousands of websites on it in the history of the business. It definitely is the wild-west with this listing platform, as you see anything and everything imaginable listed for sale. But if you want a discounted way of selling a site, especially if brokers may not want it – this is your place.

Want More Assistance in Selling Your Blog?

Selling your blog for a huge payday is one of the holy grails of online business. We’ll walk you through how to earn the most money for your blog.

Read Ch 9 on Selling Your Blog

Conclusion

There you have it! We have taken you through every step in the process of creating a blog, writing great content, getting it out there in the world, making money, and eventually selling it off for a lump sum of money.

Creating a successful blog is something that many people are not able to do, but for the ones who persevere and work through it, can have great rewards in the end. But it is also about the journey along the way. You can make fantastic money, have a great creative outlet, and produce a work of art that you are proud of for years to come.

We have personally built many successful blogs, and help others do the same along the way. If it is something you are considering doing, we highly recommend jumping in and at least giving it a try before you rule it out.

If you have more specific questions about the process, technical set up, or anything else, please feel free to reach out and contact us with your questions, and we’ll try to answer it both privately and publicly on our website.

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General

What is blogging?

Blogging is the process of consistent writing and posting to a central website, often personal or focused on a particular topic. For many people, it’s just a writing hobby similar to journaling. For some though, they’ve started to gain enough traffic from their writing that they’re able to make money and even a full time income off of their blog.

Where did the term blog / blogging come from?

Blogging is a term that initially came from “web logging”, that was a web-based journal in the early days of the Internet. That got shortened to “blogging” over time, and the singular item we know today is just a “blog”.

How is a blog different than a website?

A website is much more general than a blog, and can be anything and everything from a company site, forum, eCommerce store, etc. A blog is much more focused about consistent writing and individual entries or articles, all focused around a single topic.

Are blog names copyrighted?

Yes, your blog name and content are protected under your copyright if you put proper copyright information in the footer of your site. Without filing for more specific copyright protection, you don’t have as much legal power to litigate, but you still have some basic protections.

When was the blog first invented?

The first blog that was ever created was called “links.net”, and it was created by Justin Hall in 1994. He was a student at Swarthmore College at the time. He created a website, as the term blog wasn’t even around back then, and it would take another 3 years for the term “weblog” to be coined.

What type of blog should I write?

That’s completely up to you! It will depend on what types of topics and subjects that interest you most. What hobbies do you have? What do you like to do in your free time? It’s usually best to incorporate some type of passion into the choosing of the main topic of your first blog, so that you’re able to write at length about that subject and still be interested and excited about it.

How do I figure out what kind of blog topic I should have?

That’s another question where it really depends on who you are, and what you want out of your blog. If you’d like to really just focus on making money on your blog, that answer may be different than if you just want to do it for the joy of writing. But a great place to start is to inventory your passions and hobbies, to see if there is something you love enough to write about it for a long time to come.

Can a blog be anonymous?

Yes! You can blog under whatever name or pen name that you would like. If you want to be public with your name, that’s completely up to you. But if you’d like to keep a different online identity, almost every blogging platform out there will allow you to do that.

Instead of a domain name and a web host, can I just use my facebook page to launch my blogs?

You can... but for the most part, blogs and Facebook pages are very different things. You can use both to launch your blog, but if you are serious about actually creating content, having it easily found and searchable, and in its most useful format - you need your own blog setup. Blogs are designed for longer form content, to be found in search engines and other social sites, and have much more functionality overall. Facebook pages are great for quickly publishing short form content, or staying in contact with your reader base, but you cannot share posts on other social channels, and search engines don't really index and display social posts in their results.

Monetization

How much money can you make from a blog?

The short answer - how much do you want to make? While most blogs out there don't really make much money, there are thousands and thousands of blogs that make significant money. Those earnings range from a few hundred dollars per month to millions and millions per month. It's not that difficult to start making a few thousand dollars per month with not a ton of traffic, but with a solid focus on monetizing your content.

What's the best monetization method for a blog?

That will greatly depend on what type of blog that you have. For some bloggers, the best and most general option would be something like Google Adsense, as it allows you to monetize little traffic, and covers a large variety of subjects. For other sites that talk about specific products or categories that have things for sale online, signing up for one of the many Affiliate Programs can be a great way of making a little portion of each sale of a product that is made. One of the most versatile we recommend for that is Amazon Associates.

Specific Types of Blogs

How do I start a fashion blog?

Fashion blogs generally focus on one or more specific areas of fashion - skincare, clothing, makeup, jewelry, etc. It's best to have a great personality to your fashion blog so you can get more readers to it.

How do I start a travel blog?

That one is pretty simple - start traveling and writing about it! But if that's out of your realm, you can start researching amazing places, finding the top things to do in each one of those places, and write a great roundup post about it - like "The Top 10 Things to Do in Bangkok".

How do I start a celebrity gossip blog?

Get some insider knowledge! Many people love celebrities and want to keep up on every single part of their life. The most important part of this type of site is having great, timely news to break, so readers come back to you when you add the latest updates.

How Did We Do?

Alternate Content Types

ContentTextVideoAudio
Why Start Your Own Blog in the First Place
Common Excuses for Not Creating a Website
How to Choose a Domain Name
Using a Top Domain Extension for Your Website
Using a Secondary Domain Extension for Your Website
Registering a New Domain vs Buying an Existing Domain
Launching Your Website Self-Host
Launching Your Website All-In-One Hosted Platform
Using a Hosted WordPress Instance for Your Blog
How to Install Your WordPress Blog
Using Google Analytics in Your Blog
Using Google Webmaster Tools in Your Blog
Best WordPress Plugins for Blogging
Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog
Main Pages You Need to Have in Your Blog
How to Write the Highest Quality Blog Posts
Best Methods of Including Images and Videos Into Your Blog
How to Get Outsourced Content for Your Blog
How to Get Free Content for Your Blog
Optimize Your Site for More Traffic
What Google Analytics Data Points Say About Your Website Traffic
How to Monetize Your Blog With Google Adsense
How to Monetize Your Blog With Affiliate Programs
How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall.
How to Sell Your Blog via Website Brokers or Online Auctions

Video Versions

Video - Why Start Your Own Blog in the First Place
Video - Common Excuses for Not Creating a Website
Video - How to Choose a Domain Name
Video - Using a Top Domain Extension for Your Website
Video - Using a Secondary Domain Extension for Your Website
Video - Registering a New Domain vs Buying an Existing Domain
Video - Launching Your Website Self-Host
Video - Launching Your Website All-In-One Hosted Platform
Video - Using a Hosted WordPress Instance for Your Blog
Video - How to Install Your WordPress Blog
Video - Using Google Analytics in Your Blog
Video - Using Google Webmaster Tools in Your Blog
Video - Best WordPress Plugins for Blogging
Video - Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog
Video - Main Pages You Need to Have in Your Blog
Video - How to Write the Highest Quality Blog Posts
Video - Best Methods of Including Images and Videos Into Your Blog
Video - How to Get Outsourced Content for Your Blog
Video - How to Get Free Content for Your Blog
Video - Optimize Your Site for More Traffic
Video - What Google Analytics Data Points Say About Your Website Traffic
Video - How to Monetize Your Blog With Google Adsense
Video - How to Monetize Your Blog With Affiliate Programs
Video - How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall.
Video - How to Sell Your Blog via Website Brokers or Online Auctions

Audio Versions

Audio - Why Start Your Own Blog in the First Place
Audio - Common Excuses for Not Creating a Website
Audio - How to Choose a Domain Name
Audio - Using a Top Domain Extension for Your Website
Audio - Using a Secondary Domain Extension for Your Website
Audio - Registering a New Domain vs Buying an Existing Domain
Audio - Launching Your Website Self-Host
Audio - Launching Your Website All-In-One Hosted Platform
Audio - Using a Hosted WordPress Instance for Your Blog
Audio - How to Install Your WordPress Blog
Audio - Using Google Analytics in Your Blog
Audio - Using Google Webmaster Tools in Your Blog
Audio - Best WordPress Plugins for Blogging
Audio - Tips on Getting Started Writing Your Blog
Audio - Main Pages You Need to Have in Your Blog
Audio - How to Write the Highest Quality Blog Posts
Audio - Best Methods of Including Images and Videos Into Your Blog
Audio - How to Get Outsourced Content for Your Blog
Audio - How to Get Free Content for Your Blog
Audio - Optimize Your Site for More Traffic
Audio - What Google Analytics Data Points Say About Your Website Traffic
Audio - How to Monetize Your Blog With Google Adsense
Audio - How to Monetize Your Blog With Affiliate Programs
Audio - How to Sell Your Blog for a Windfall.
Audio - How to Sell Your Blog via Website Brokers or Online Auctions

The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Blog

Date Modified - 08/07/2018