Inside: Looking to start a blog? These are the best blogging tips including which host to use, how to make money blogging, and what to focus on first!
I‘ve been blogging for 8 years now.
And let me tell you, I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way.
But I’ve learned from those mistakes, which has made me a better blogger and business owner.
However, if I could go back in time and give myself the advice I’m about to give, you better believe I’d do that in a heartbeat. It would have saved me so much time and money!
The following blogging tips are everything I wish I would have known when I started out.
If you’re a beginner or an experienced blogger looking for some helpful insight, I’ve got everything you need right here.
This post contains affiliate links. Please visit my disclosure policy for more information.
1. Select the Best Website Platform
My first blogging tip is to choose the best website platform. This is where you will house your blog.
I learned it the hard way, but I’ve found that WordPress is, by far, the best choice!
I started out on Blogger and am so glad I made the switch. I was initially a little intimidated by some of the more “technical” aspects of WordPress, but after getting into it, I found that it’s actually really intuitive.
WordPress will give you the best creative freedom and the most control over your brand.
If you’re still not convinced, check out this post on getting started with WordPress.
It walks you through all the WordPress features (that Blogger doesn’t have) as well provides a foolproof tutorial to get you started on the right foot.
2. Choose a Good Website Host
Along with choosing the right place to house your blog, it’s also really important to choose the right website host.
There are lots of options out there, and they are not all created equally.
When I was looking to upgrade, I asked a community of top bloggers which hosting platforms are best, to see what’s a good WordPress hosting price.
My post will walk you through all the major features of each website host, general pricing, and services so you can make the most informed decision for your blog and brand.
I also found out which website hosts you should steer clear of at all costs!
When I first converted to WordPress I used Siteground, and it’s was great for my small blog. But as my traffic grew, I decided I needed a faster host, so I switched to Big Scoots and I’ve been very happy so far.
3. Invest In Your Blog
If you’ve been wondering how to start a blog and not thinking of making at least a little financial investment, you may want to reconsider.
I’m definitely all about doing things as frugally as possible, but I’ve also seen how investing in my blog adds value to my brand and improves the ability to reach my audience.
In order to take advantage of the best resources out there, you will need to invest a little capital.
Some of the investments I’ve made are in blogging eBooks, online courses, WordPress premium plugins and add-ons, and a the best Pinterest scheduler.
I highly recommend purchasing a professional camera. This is the camera and lens I currently use:
I tried to get away with doing things for free for a long time, before realizing I needed to make some monetary sacrifices upfront, to get a return in the end.
As soon as I took that chance, I started to get more attention from readers and sponsors and have tripled my income since last year!
More investment no-brainers:
- Get your own domain. I got mine through Google.
- Buy a blog design that fits your brand. There are lots of blog designs available on Etsy and they are usually pretty affordable.
- Get this Traffic Transformation Course.
4. Know How To Monetize
This is one of the biggest questions successful bloggers get.
And the answer is, “You bet!”
The top categories for bloggers to earn income are:
- Advertisements on their blog
- Sponsored posts with brands
- Affiliate links
- Your own products and services
When you become well-versed in how to blog for money and set your brand up for monetizing from the start, you actually end up giving yourself more freedom to blog for the joy of blogging and the connections and partnerships come more organically.
When I first started blogging, I signed up for Adsense because it was easy to do on Blogger.
It took me 3 years to reach their $100 threshold to cash out my ad income.
I now make that much money in a day with Mediavine.
Mediavine just raised their application threshold to 50,000 sessions, so if you’re not quite there yet, Ezoic is another option.
How to Create a Blog that Lands Sponsors
Use Google Analytics
I talk about the benefits of Google Analytics in this post for new bloggers. The information Google Analytics provides is exactly what sponsors what to know in order to start a partnership. These stats include:
- Number of page views per month
- Unique visitors per month
- The country, state, and city where your viewers live
- Hourly page visits
Networks are a great way to start making money as a new blogger.
They serve as a middle man between bloggers and brands. Networks get the products the brands want to promote, create campaigns, and then select bloggers to participate in those campaigns.
I’ve listed some of the best networks to join in this post about how to make money blogging.
I’ve since moved away from most networks and try to pitch directly to brands as often as I can!
Pitching can seem scary at first, but it’s the best way to ensure that you’re getting paid collaborations each month.
One thing to note when working with sponsors is to always stay true to your brand and only take partnerships that make sense for you and your audience and for products and services you would actually use.
Once you do start getting attention from brands, it’s important to know your worth!
Some brands will want you to do work for free, so don’t shy away from asking for monetary compensation.
If you’re serious about making money blogging, you have to approach that subject. (I do make some exceptions and take product as payment for ongoing partnerships or for a product that is comparable in price to my service fees, but this is a rare exception!)
If you’re not sure what you should charge, Social Bluebook, is a great resource to help you determine a good starting point for negotiation.
However, I’ve found that the best way to know what to charge is to ask fellow bloggers. I even had an audit done on my blog and got some great feedback and rates that were way higher than I was charging.
If you’d like to have an audit done on your blog, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to send some rates your way!
Affiliate links are a great way to get paid for sharing products and services that you already use and love, however, the payout can be much smaller than sponsored posts or ad revenue.
Here are a few affiliate programs I use:
If your favorite brand or service isn’t on one of those platforms, just check their website directly. A lot have their own affiliate program set up.
Your Own Products and Services
Once you’ve developed a loyal following and audience, it may be smart to start creating products and services specifically designed to meet their needs.
A few ideas are:
Here’s an example of an eBook I created to help moms with meal planning every week.
5. Understand Your Taxes
If you’re interested in writing a blog for money, you’ll also need to understand a little bit about taxes.
Most of my readers know that I used to work for a tax prep company, so I have some unique insight on this topic. (This is also one of the three jobs I’ve had as a stay-at-home mom.)
Most people hear the word, taxes, and either completely zone out or start to feel uneasy.
While taxes can sometimes be confusing or intimidating, I’ve made it easy for you and broken it down in this post all about blogging taxes.
And, for those who already know a bit about taxes, make sure you read the 14 Tax Updates Everyone Needs To Know For 2019.
6. Get to Know Pinterest
If you’re considering starting a blog, you have to take advantage of Pinterest. It’s my biggest traffic source!
There is an art and a science to being successful on Pinterest and it does take some research, work and trial and error.
Here are some general pointers for best Pinterest practices:
- Get Pinterest for Business
- Understand and track Pin performance with Pinterest Analytics
- Pin at peak times for your audience
- SEO your pin and board titles and descriptions and select appropriate keywords
- Use only vertical pins
- Join group boards
Again, Tailwind is a super helpful resource because it will determine the best times to pin for your audience. It also creates an automated pin schedule for you, along with suggestions for hashtags.
You won’t have to be a slave to your keyboard!
Pinterest Group Boards
Pinterest group boards are another great way bloggers can support fellow bloggers. L
ike-minded people with similar interests and brands can put their pins together on a shared board. They help each other out by pinning each other’s work.
Tribes are very much like Pinterest Group Boards, but they show a lot more insight on the pins available for reciprocation. You can see how popular a pin is before you schedule a fellow blogger’s pin.
7. Immerse Yourself In SEO
One of the biggest regrets I have with my blog is NOT figuring out SEO early enough.
Next to social media, your top traffic referrer should be search engines, AKA Google.
You need to make sure that your blog is properly set up for Search Engine Optimization or you’re doing yourself a big disservice.
I personally have paid for SEO courses to catch up from the years I missed out on this practice, but you can also find a ton of great information online and through Pinterest.
Before you even hit publish on your first post, make sure that you understand SEO best practices so you can implement them from the start.
Here’s a great series of posts all about SEO as a starting point.
8. Interact with Other Bloggers
If you want to know how to start a successful blog, you have to interact with other bloggers!
When I was just starting out and in need of helpful pointers, I turned to groups for guidance and support. I also took courses from bloggers I respected.
The best tips for starting a blog always come from those willing to share their experiences.
I’ve learned so much about how to start a blog and how to create a blog that’s successful from other seasoned writers on Facebook. There are lots of groups out there, so it’s okay to be selective. You don’t want to get overwhelmed.
My absolute favorite blogging group is Root + Rise. It’s for the professional blogger, so it may take some time to get accepted, but once you do, the resources and posts in there are gold!
Reciprocation threads are daily opportunities for bloggers within a Facebook group to help support each other’s posts.
These can be liking each other’s Facebook posts or sharing Pinterest pins or leaving blog comments. I’ve shared some of my favorite threads groups, here.
One thing to note with daily threads: some bloggers hate them and others don’t.
I’ve learned not to bash anyone’s business practices in the blogging world and hope others would give me the same respect.
I personally only use these threads once a week and I don’t go too crazy with them. I use them more as a boost for my posts rather than the only source of engagement.
9. Be Adaptable
Learn to be adaptable!
Algorithms are always changing, social media is always evolving and what’s popular and working now, might not work in the future.
Successful bloggers continue to educate themselves and are able to roll with the punches.
Pay attention to policy and company changes for any of the social media networks you use. Go to conferences and meetups if you can. Most importantly, always listen to your audience and track your statistics.
10. Assess Your Growth and Audience
Your blog ideas and content should always be catered to your audience.
You will gain a loyal following when you consistently provide genuine and inviting content that your audience needs. These loyal followers are the ones who will purchase a product from you and try the brands you use.
If you truly want to know how to make money blogging and how to create a blog that’s engaging, you have to interact with your readers.
Always be responsive to comments and questions. Ask your readers for content suggestions. Give them opportunities to get to know you better on a regular basis.
Check out My Most Read Blog Posts of 2018 to see how I find my most-read content. This is the content my readers love and that I know I should expand on.
11. Don’t Give Up!
Don’t be fooled by articles that talk about “how to make a blog for free”, or, “how to start a blog in 10 easy steps”.
It’s never going to be that simple.
But when you put the right work in, you will be rewarded over time. And, it does take time!
One of my best blogging tips for beginners is don’t give up before you’ve even started. Some blogs take off quickly, but most don’t start to see success for more than a year.
If you’re losing hope, and it’s only been a few months, keep going. It took me a while to get things going and if I would have given up in those early years, I would have the success that I do today.