2019’s Best Blogging Guide – Learn The Insider Secrets That Guarantee Success

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It’s 2019 and your next big adventure is closer than you think.

Starting a blog about your hobby, expertise, or business can be a powerful move. You can raise your profile, connect with others, and grow your network . . . if you do it the smart way.

Blogging.com provides free resources for bloggers who want to thrive online. Creating a blog is easy. Making it successful requires some know-how.

We provide free how-to guides, tips from successful bloggers, and product reviews to help you grow your audience.

With our step-by-step guide you can launch a blog today.

Blogging.com can save countless hours of frustration. We provide the best  — and  easiest way — to create a successful blog.

How Do I Start Blogging?

Want to get started right away? Dive in with our Step-By-Step Guide: you’ll set up a blog and publish your first post today.

Who Are We? Your Professional Blogging Team

We’re a small group of seasoned pros who’ve made money online for decades, created and sold online ventures, and grown websites to millions of views. Find out more about us here.

We want to see more people — like you — find enjoyment, freedom, and opportunity as blog-preneurs.

We learned through trial and error. Sometimes we followed bad advice we found online. Eventually we figured out what works.

Bookmark blogging.com and we’ll teach you what we learned, so you can save time and money.

You can launch and grow your own blogging venture — the smart way.

What Can You Get From Blogging.com?

Starting your first blog and growing your audience becomes easier when you have guidance from blogging veterans.

Our free tutorials and reviews are clear and easy to understand. Beginners and established bloggers alike will find valuable insights and tips.

Blogging.com readers get exclusive discounts on products and tools we review. Simply click through the links provided in the review and your discount will be automatically applied.

Start Blogging Today With Our Step-By-Step Guide

Get up and running with a new blog in about 20 minutes with our quick start guide. Plus: learn all about WordPress, web hosting, and website builders.

  • Start a Blog in 20 minutes: Our free guide walks you step-by-step through creating your own blog and your first post.
  • Find the best WordPress web hosts — at a discount:  Our WordPress web hosting reviews provide provide solid options for beginners and pro-level options for high-traffic bloggers . Established bloggers can explore VPS and dedicated hosting options.
  • Find the best WordPress themes and plugins: Our theme reviews cover popular frameworks like Genesis. To get started, check out our reviews of free Photoshop plugins and E-commerce plugins.
  • Find the right website builder: Not into WordPress? No problem. We’ve vetted the most popular builders to save you time. Get a professional-looking blog, no technical experience required.
wordpress themes
WordPress themes are pre-built designs for your blog. You get to choose from thousands of styles. And you can to customize your theme.

Learn How to Create Great Content and Grow Your Audience

Every blogger wants to attract a growing base of readers. We’ll show you how to polish your writing until it sparkles, master SEO, and grow your impact.

  • The Write Stuff: Learn how to write blog posts that people actually want to read. Boost your credibility by citing online sources the right way. Find out what you need to know about $10 copy words!  Create 10x content. And tap our valuable resources for freelance writers.
  • Get your blog noticed with social media and email marketing tools:  Learn how to use email marketing to grow your audience. Find out how tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social can be used to promote your blog.
  • Launch a successful podcast: From mics and software to finding your niche and editing your episodes, our Podcasting Guide will get you on the fast-track to podcasting success.
  • Learn how to create a popular vlog: Our Vlogging Guide provides everything you need to know from equipment to how to make your vlog stand out.
placeit graphics
Use tools like Placeit to create pro-quality social media graphics, book covers, and clothing to sell on your blog.

Find Out How to Make Money Blogging

Want to make money on your blog by running ads? Interested in selling products and s2ervices?  Maybe you’ve got your eye on becoming a sought-after social media influencer. We provide the how-tos.

Choosing a Blogging Platform

Before starting a blog, you’ll want to choose your blogging platform (also called a CMS or content management system).

So, what’s a blogging platform? It’s an online software service that makes it easy to create and launch your own blog.

 Blogging platforms give you design options and make it easy to create, publish, and manage your content.

Let’s start with WordPress.

WordPress: The World’s Most Popular Blogging Platform

WordPress dominates nearly 60 percent of the CMS market. Why is it so popular?

It’s free, easy to use, and can be customized in thousands of ways.

wordpress themes
There are thousands of pre-designed WordPress themes to choose from, like these that use the Genesis framework.

Using WordPress is like building with LEGO blocks. You can start with a simple WordPress site. Then you can add functionality via “plugins.”

For example, you can add an online store to your blog easily with the WooCommerce plugin.

How to Get a WordPress Blog

Here’s what you need to know about WordPress:

  • You’ll need web hosting. Use our Step-by-Step Guide to get signed up with a hosting provider. Then you’ll create your WordPress site with one click.
  • After creating your WordPress site you’ll customize it with themes and plugins. WordPress themes are pre-designed WordPress websites. You can choose from a massive selection of free or paid themes. We love the Genesis themes for their flexibility.
  • Plugins allow you to add additional functionality, such as banners, newsletter sign-up forms, popup boxes, SEO features, and much more. There are more than 54,000 plugins to choose from. Some are free, some are not.

More Options

There are dozens of other platforms that allow you to build your own blog in just a few minutes.

Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Squarespace: Easy to use and beautiful designs. Plenty of ways to customize.
  • Wix: Very affordable, drag-and-drop editor with hundreds of templates to choose from.
  • Weebly: Similar to Wix, though fewer template options. Has a good selection of blog designs.
  • GoCentral Website Builder: Budget-friendly DIY website builder from GoDaddy. Offers plenty of SEO features.
website builders
Just like WordPress, website builders like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly come with dozens of beautiful, pre-built sites ready to go out-of-the-box.

There are also free platforms like Tumblr and Blogger.com. But as with all free platforms, there are some serious limitations that can hinder your ability to grow your blog.

What is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com is a software platform that enables you to easily create your own WordPress site and get it hosted at the same time.

Be aware: You need to choose the Business plan ($30/month) in order to be allowed to install any plugins you want.

Which Blogging Platform Is the Best?

The best blogging platform depends on your preferences, budget, and the goal of your blog.

For example, if you’re publishing a recipe blog, you’ll want to go with WordPress: there are lots of plugins you can use to easily create things like recipe cards or nutrition displays.

Use our Step-by-Step Guide and you’ll save a lot of money setting up your WordPress blog.

Can I Get a Free Blog?

You can get a free blog from a provider like Wix. You can also get a free WordPress blog from WordPress.com. This may seem like an appealing option for first-time bloggers. But free plans are quite limited.

For example, Wix and WordPress will run ads on your blog. You have to choose a paid plan to remove the ads. And on the free WordPress.com plan, you won’t get access to SEO tools, advanced social media tools, or site monetization options.

Note: When you set up your blog today with our Step-by-Step Guide, you can choose from many free themes to use in your first blog.

blogger photos
Developing a connection with your audience: Many bloggers  — like these above — engage readers by sharing candid shots of their behind-the-scenes activities.

Start Blogging Today With Our Step-by-Step Guide

Once you choose a platform, it is time to get started blogging! Our Step-By-Step Guide makes it easy by walking you through 5 steps from signing up for web hosting, getting a free domain name, setting up a theme, and creating your first post.

We’ll provide resources that will help you:

  • Come up with topics to blog about
  • Learn how to schedule new content
  • Learn how to grow your blog traffic, by creating email lists and pop-ups, using email marketing, SEO, and social media platforms.

If you are a complete novice, this guide will get you started. We made it super-easy to navigate with a table of contents, so you can skip straight to the topics you care about.

What Should I Blog About?

“Always put a quality effort into everything that you write.”
Brian Moran, Small Business Edge

You want to start a blog, but are overwhelmed by all the options, right? Do you write about your adorable dog? Share funny cat pictures? Show off your brand new knitting project? It is easy to get overwhelmed by the options.

  • Start on social media and see what people in your target audience are talking about.
  • Check out Google Trends to see what topics are becoming more popular, and see if any match your niche.

Still stumped? Here are a few questions to help you decide what you should blog about:

  1. What am I passionate about?
  2. What topic do I have more knowledge about than the average person?
  3. Who can I help with this blog?
  4. What solution can I offer readers?
  5. What is the purpose of this blog? (e.g., to make money, share with family, promote your brand.)

Once you have the answers to these questions, you will be ready to start a successful blog!

Learn to Create Great Content

A successful blog starts with great content. But what, exactly, is great blog content? And how do you create it?

High-quality content is interesting; well-written; free of typos; and offers valuable, surprising, or useful information. It often includes enticing visuals like photos or video.

Engage Your Readers

Engaging your readers will help you to create loyal, repeat visitors.

How Can I Make My Blog Interesting?

In our guides How to Write Posts People Actually Read and How to Create 10x Content, you’ll find plenty of tips on creating interesting and engaging content, including:

  • Create compelling headlines
  • Understand what your audience wants
  • Solve a problem your audience has
  • Lead with whatever is surprising or unusual
  • Use hyperlinks to prove the facts and research that you share
  • Use your content to elicit emotion and create connection with your audience.

Throughout our site, you will find the tools and strategies you need to create great content, including practical how-to guides create by blogging pros, tool recommendations, and much more.

picstitch app
We’ll teach you how to make your blog look great, by using simple tools like the Pic Stitch photo collage app.

 

“Always put a quality effort into everything that you write,” says Brian Moran of Small Business Edge. (Read more of his tips in this interview.)

We also provide advice on how to engage readers, for example, by creating a podcast or using tools like polls and surveys or apps to create visual impact.

For more experienced bloggers, we also recommend tools like top Photoshop plugins and e-commerce tools.

Advice on writing includes how to cite online sources and avoid plagiarism. We even provide tips on how to get a job blogging for others.

Growing Your Blog Traffic: Learn About Search Engines and SEO

“If you wait until you feel ready you’ll never start.”
Wendy Werneth, The Nomadic Vegan

High-quality content is the foundation of any good blog. But how do you increase your traffic and help readers find the amazing content you produce?

It starts with SEO (search engine optimization). This is the process of optimizing your content so that it ranks well in search engines. The better you rank, the more traffic you’ll get.

Successful bloggers frequently say they wished they had spent more time learning about SEO in the early stages of their blog. (See the “Lessons” here.)

Search engines use hundreds of factors to rank a page. That sounds complicated. But, by focusing on the most important factors you can ensure your blog gets free traffic.

We’ve also had the pros weigh in on their favorite SEO tools like Keyword Discovery Tool and WordTracker.

google analytics
With Google Analytics you can not only find out how many people are visiting your blog, but also when they visit, which countries the majority of your readers live in, and which device types they use to access your blog. Google Analytics is a free tool. Learn how to use it here

Grow Your Audience: Social Media and Marketing

“Spend at least the same amount of time promoting an article as writing it.”
Gee Ranasinha, Kexino

Growing your audience is the single most important thing you can do to create a successful blog.

And SEO is just one factor. You also need to dive into social media and other methods of marketing, such as email.

“Spend at least the same amount of time promoting an article as writing it,” says Gee Ranasinha, who blogs at Kexino.

Anton Gorlin, whose professional photography site includes a blog, says “It’s 90% about marketing.”

cass bailey pinterest page
Cass Bailey is the mom behind the “Diary of a Frugal Family” blog. Her Pinterest page gets a whopping 2 million views a month.

To help you get started, we’ve tapped pros to create in-depth resources to help you learn everything you need to know about marketing your blog.

Start by reading our interviews with top bloggers — like these interviews with keto bloggers or interior design bloggers.

Find out how they use social media. And you’ll pick up tips too on how frequently you should blog. Once a week? A month?

Dig into our reviews of social media tools to find the best one that works for you. We love Sprout Social and Hootsuite. They make it easier to schedule social media posts in advance and track what works.

social media tools
Social media tools like HootSuite and SproutSocial save you time and help you make a bigger impact. 

Or, if email marketing is more your jam, check out some of our top email marketing resources:

How Do I Get My Blog Noticed?

Read up on what the pros do! We’ve compiled advice from successful bloggers on how they grew their online profile.

For example, we have advice from art bloggers, investment bloggers, startup bloggers, and many others.

social media images
Graphics tools like Placeit, Pablo by Buffer and Adobe Spark make it easy to create pro images for social media. 

Learn From Other Bloggers: How to Create a High-Quality, Successful Blog

“Bloggers are amazingly talented and resourceful people.”
Viveca Menegaz, The Nourished Caveman

Creating a blog can be done in less than five minutes. Creating a high-quality, successful blog is not so simple.

How Do I Become a Good Blogger?

Top bloggers agree: the best way to learn how to create a successful blog is from other bloggers.

The good news is we’ve interviewed dozens of the world’s top bloggers so you can learn directly from them.

These interviews cover blogging topics like veganketo and low-carb diets, travelhikingfrugal livingRVinginterior designreal estate, and small business.

These successful bloggers share not only their practical tips for success but also mistakes they made — so you can save time.

 

vivica menegaz and antya markin
We’ve interviewed dozens of the top bloggers — like Vivica Menegaz and Antya Markin, pictured above. These interviews cover a variety of niches, from food to small business and investing. These interviews are loaded with practical advice for you, the new blogger.

 

For example, Sina of Vegan Heaven recommends: “Connect with other bloggers on Facebook and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Viveca Menegaz, creator of The Nourished Caveman blog, says that “Networking with other bloggers” made the biggest impact on her success.

“Bloggers are amazingly talented and resourceful people,” she adds. (Read more of Viveca’s success tips in our interview.)

Connecting With Your Audience

Ask yourself, “How can I help my audience?” Can you solve a problem for them? Inspire them? Make something easier for them? Provide valuable information?

Finding ways to help and solve problems for your target audience is key to becoming a good blogger.

art blogging
How did they do that? Artists Cindy Chinn and Carol Moore use their blogs to teach others their techniques.

Can I Make Money Blogging?

Yes, many bloggers earn revenue from their blogs. And we’re not talking chump change.

Here are some figures to whet your appetite:

  • The wonderfully-named “My Wife Quit Her Job” blog earns over $80k . . . a month.
  • “Pinch of Yum,” a recipe blog, earns $95k/month
  • “Just a Girl and Her Blog” earns a ‘paltry’ $51k/month.
  • “A Beautiful Mess,” a crafts and DIY blog, earns $125k/month.
  • The “Melyssa Griffin” creative design blog earns over $110k/month.
  • Timothy Sykes, an investment blogger, makes more than $1 million a month through blogging.

Use this guide to find out how much cash top bloggers earn.

Are you surprised that blogs can be revenue streams? It can seem mysterious until you learn exactly how it’s done. We share our secrets in our free Make Money Blogging Guide.

Let’s be blunt: This is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes hard work and perseverance.

 

successful food blogging
Marly McMillen Beelman left the C-Suite for blogging. In addition to her Namely Marly food blog, she has launched the Chopped Academy and produces a regular podcast.

Hard Work, Then Rewards

Results don’t come overnight, but they do come.

But it isn’t an easy road. Building and growing a successful blog requires commitment. It’s not going to make you rich overnight.

The rewards of becoming a successful blogger are substantial. Do you want to work for yourself? Grow your brick and mortar business? Work from a beach? Set your own hours? Spend more time with your family? Become financially independent?

With the right resources, blogging can help you accomplish your goals – if you are willing to work hard.

Realistic Expectations

“Go for it, but know it is a lot of work.”
Diane Henkler, In My Own Style

While it’s fascinating to see how much some bloggers earn, what’s realistic?

Lifehacker cites research indicating that 17% of blog owners are able to sustain themselves with their blogs while “81% never make even $100 from blogging.”

That 17% figure seems high to us. Nevertheless, it underscores that the minority of bloggers make money.

There are many factors that can make the difference between a blog that earns revenue and one that doesn’t. Some of those include:

  • Whether the blog’s niche has a high level of interest.
  • Whether or not the blog owner understands and follows good SEO, social media, and other marketing practices.
  • The ability of the blog owner to create quality content — as defined by Google — consistently.
  • Whether or not the blog owner was experienced in content creation and marketing when they launched the blog or how long it took them to learn the fundamentals.

A Competitive Landscape

As time progresses, blogging becomes more competitive. That’s simply because readers have more sources of information from which to choose.

Most bloggers that we know are earning full-time revenue took at least 2 years to get to that level.

The successful bloggers we interviewed noted that:

  • It took far more work than they expected
  • Perseverance made all the difference
  • Connecting with other bloggers helped them stay motivated

How Do I Make My Blog Profitable?

Blogging can be monetized in several ways. The right monetization method for you will depend on your business, the amount of time you have to invest, and the needs of your customers.

Here are the most popular ways to monetize your blog.

  • Sell Products Online: Build an online store using WordPress E-Commerce Plugins or non-WP options like Shopify or BigCommerce. Consider using drop shipping, so you do not have to store stock.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Recommend or review products you like and earn a small commission when your visitors make a purchase.
  • Sell Digital Products: E-books, PDFs, and online courses are all money makers for bloggers.
  • Google AdSense: AdSense is a way to automatically run ads on your site. You get paid when people click on the ads. This requires a high level of traffic. It’s a good option for established bloggers.
  • Vlogging: Similar to Google AdSense, you make money by selling ads. Requires a lot of traffic.

Do Beginner Blogs Make Money?

“Most bloggers give up when they are just about to succeed.” Anna Kovalchenko, L’Essenziale blog

Beginner blogs can make money but it’s unlikely they would earn revenue from traffic.

That’s because it takes months to create a good selection of quality content and to promote your blog effectively.

Beginners can make money by creating and selling products (like an e-book) and using paid advertising to attract buyers.

Revenue would depend on the quality of the product, demand for it, and the quality of the advertising.

Beginners can also launch a business idea and use blogging to attract clients.

How Many Views Do You Need to Make Money Blogging?

There is no magic number. The number of page views you get isn’t as important as the quality of page views you get.

For example, if you get 1,000 views but no purchases, then you aren’t going to make any money. However, if you get 100 views and 10 of those people buy from you, then you will make a profit!

Start Blogging Today

Blogger Wendy Werneth (The Nomadic Vegan) says, “If you wait until you feel ready you’ll never start.”

Start blogging today with our How to Create a Blog Guide or dig into more in-depth topics like email marketing or e-commerce.

Blogging.com offers in-depth guides written by the pros on every blogging topic you can imagine. If you are looking to take your blogging from zero to a full-blown success story, we’ve got you covered!


Photo credit: Podcasting images by  Austin Distel on Unsplash via the Unsplash license.

Danielle is a Chicago-based editor and writer who specializes in digital marketing. She spends her days brandishing a red pen and her nights dreaming of a world where everyone uses the Oxford comma.
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