How to Start a Blog for Fun or Profit

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Are you interested in starting a blog? This guide can walk you through the process and show you everything you need to know to get your website up and running quickly!

I’ve had many readers and new bloggers e-mail me for tips on starting a blog. I love answering e-mails and helping people, but I often found myself answering many of the questions multiple times. So I thought writing a series on how to start a blog would be a more effective method of helping people realize their goal of starting their own blog.

This “how to start a blog” series is intended to help you decide if blogging is for you, and if it is, how to set up a blog and get it going. There are thousands of other topics that can be covered outside the scope of this series, but I will leave it to the hundreds of bloggers that blog about blogging, getting traffic, making money, and similar topics. At the end of the series, I will link out to several other resources that will help you on your journey of improving your blog once you get it going.

What is a Blog?

Blogs, or weblogs, originally started out as a way to share links and stories with others on the web. As time and technology evolved, so did blogging. Now blogging is something that anyone can do – from a teenager, to a CEO from a Fortune 500 company, to your grandmother who may have only recently learned how to use the internet.  Blogs can be set up for free within minutes or you can buy a domain and hosting and spend hundreds of dollars on customization, advertising, and other miscellaneous expenses. The quick answer is – a blog is what you want it to be – there are no rules except those that you set for your blog.

Why start a blog?

Blogging can be a great creative outlet that you share only with friends and family, it can be your full-time job, or it can be anything in between. The internet is the cheapest and most accessible way to communicate quickly and easily with a large number of people. The internet also keeps a permanent record of what you post, which can be a nice way for friends and family members to keep up to date, or for businesses to share their product or services with the world.

There are many benefits to and reasons for starting a weblog:

  • Informational: sharing news, information, photos, videos
  • Professional: enhancing your business, as a career journal, to display your writing skills, market yourself or your business
  • Personal: personal or family blog, thoughts and musings, as a family photo or video journal
  • As a business: internet marketing, consulting, brand development

This list is by no means comprehensive and there can be overlap between the categories. The uses of a blog are limited only by your imagination.

Who Should Start a Blog?

The beauty of blogging is that it is incredibly easy to do – anyone who can surf the internet or use a word processor can start a blog. But that doesn’t mean everyone should start a blog. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you enjoy writing?
  • Are you passionate about a certain topic?
  • Do you have specialized knowledge you want to share?
  • Do you want to enhance or grow your business?
  • Do you want to create an online journal to share with family and friends? What about a career journal?
  • Do you have a portfolio of photographs, artwork, or web designs you want to market?
  • Do you want to earn money?

These questions are just the tip of the iceberg, but they are a good place to start. If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you may want to consider starting a blog. Note that I added “earn money” last on the list. While some blogs are profitable and there are some professional bloggers, blogging can be hard work and it is not a get rich quick scheme.

What to Write About – Why You Should Consider Your Purpose Before Starting a Blog

So you after reading the introduction on starting a blog for fun or profit you have decided you want to go for it and start your own blog. Great! But what should you write about?

This is one of the most important questions you will face when deciding to start a blog. You want to write about a topic in which you are knowledgeable, and more importantly, that you are passionate about. But before we go further, you need to ask another important question to help you define your blog.

What is your blog’s purpose?

Before putting pen to paper, you need to ask yourself what the purpose of your blog will be. We asked similar questions in the first part of the series, and you may have already answered this question. Once you know your blog’s purpose, you need to narrow your focus until you can answer this question with a one-sentence answer. There is no right or wrong answer – your blog is what you want it to be.

You will need more than just a purpose, you will also need knowledge and passion.

Two key elements of blogging: Knowledge and Passion

Without knowledge and passion, your blog is doomed to fail. These two elements feed off each other and it will give you the energy you need to continue writing, even when you hit a down period and don’t feel as though you have anything to contribute.

The knowledge test. Let’s try a quick test – grab a sheet of paper and start writing down article ideas; a title or rough sentence is all you need. If you can’t come up with 30 article ideas in about 5 minutes, it might be best to think about a different topic.

The passion test. Ask yourself a few questions about your topic idea – Do you think about this topic every day? multiple times per day? Can you talk about it for hours? Do you actively search out new information on your topic or actively bring it up in conversations? All of these answers should be yes.

How many topics should you write about?

Give your blog one main theme. People will usually expect to read related topics on the same site, so it is usually best to focus on one topic or a set of related topics. On Cash Money Life I focus on “personal finance and career” topics. These aren’t the same topic, but they are related closely enough that it makes sense to combine the topics. It wouldn’t make sense for me to write about personal finance today, then fishing tomorrow, then ballroom dancing on Friday, then… catch my point?

It will be infinitely easier to grow your blog in terms of subscribers and traffic if readers know what to expect.

But I pass the knowledge and passion test on multiple topics!

So you are a Renaissance man, eh? Schooled in math, science, engineering, economics, politics, art, music, and travel? Why not write about all of these topics and place them all on the same site?

Because readers won’t know what to expect on any given day – which will turn off many people. If you want to write about all these topics you have two choices to consider – creating separate sites for each topic or use a subdomain for each additional topic.

Using multiple subdomains: You aren’t limited to just one subdomain. You can make as many as you want. Check out Curious Cat and how he uses subdomains to cover 3 diverse topics.

If you notice, each of these “sites” has a different feel to let the reader know the topic has changed. By doing using subdomains, he is able to maintain his site’s brand while branching out into the topics that interest him. And he does this without confusing his readers.

So which topic should you write about?

Only you can answer that question. My advice is to brainstorm, take the passion and knowledge tests, then start off with the topic that interests you the most. It may be tempting to try and start 5 blogs at once because you have a passion for those topics, but you will be more successful if you focus on one blog, to begin with. The learning curve and time commitment are much larger than most people realize.

Should You Have a Hosted or Self-Hosted Website?

Now we will discuss different types of blog hosting – an important consideration that must be made before starting your blog. This determines where your website is hosted – either on your own domain or on a free blogging platform. There are pros and cons to both, which we will cover. Ultimately, the decision is yours.

Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Blogs

There are two main types of blogging services you will need to consider: Hosted or self-hosted. With a self-hosted blog you will typically purchase a domain and a web hosting package, set up the blogging software, and take care of all the details yourself. With a hosted blog, all you do is sign up for an account, select a blog name and start blogging. The company hosting your blog takes care of (most of) the other details. While this sounds nice, there are usually a lot of limitations that come with hosted blogs.

As with everything there are pros and cons. Be sure to understand what you are getting into before you commit to either blog hosting choice.

Pros and Cons of Hosted Blogs

Advantages of using a hosted blog service.

There are many advantages to using a hosted blog service, chief among them is the price. Many hosted blog services are free. The most common examples of free blogging services are Blogger and WordPress.com. Another popular hosted blogging platform is TypePad.com, which is a subscription blog service geared more toward people and businesses who do not want to mess around with the technical side of blogging. For most of these services, you simply set up an account and start writing. It’s that easy!

Disadvantages of using a hosted blog service.

The biggest disadvantage is limited flexibility and control. Some blog services have a limited number of available themes (The “skin” that gives blogs their unique look), some do not allow advertising, and some do not have an easy way to back up your data. Ownership is another issue. While you own the content you have written, you do not own the domain – such as “mybloggerwebsite.blogspot” – and you will not be able to sell your site should you want to.

Lastly, should the host cease to operate or randomly delete your blog (this has happened to many people), you are out of luck. To sum up, you are at the mercy of your blog’s provider.

Other notes regarding hosted blogs:

WordPress.com is free but does not allow advertisements. TypePad.com requires users to pay a monthly or annual usage fee (however, this may be the perfect solution for your business).

Who should you hosted blogging?

Hosted blogging is a great solution for people who are looking for a free or inexpensive blogging solution and don’t want to hassle with many of the technical details of blogging. However, they should be aware that there may be certain limitations regarding the design of their blog, the ability to earn money with their blog, or the ability to sell it in the future.

The Pros and Cons of Self-Hosted Blogging

Cash Money Life is a self-hosted blog and is what I recommend for anyone who is serious about building a website with staying power and earning potential.

Advantages of using a self-hosted blog.

Control. You control everything. While this might seem daunting at first, this is actually a blessing. With full control of your website, you can change the look or feel of your site whenever you want. You can place advertisements, back up your data, export data, run analysis, or even sell your blog. You own the domain and all the content within it.

Disadvantages of using a self-hosted blog.

Control. A blessing can also be a disadvantage. When you run a self-hosted blog, there is a learning curve involved. Thankfully, most of the software is very easy to use, much of it is free, and there are hundreds of free resources available if you know where to look (more details on that in a future article).

The other disadvantage is cost. You will need to buy a domain and a web hosting package to host your domain. Fortunately, the cost is not prohibitive. You can get started for under $100, including the domain and your first year of web hosting service. Just look for Go Daddy coupon codes when you register your domain and use an inexpensive and reliable web host like BlueHost. BlueHost also gives customers a free domain with the purchase of a year’s hosting plan, so you may be able to skip using a registrar like GoDaddy.

Who should use a self-hosted blog?

I recommend using a self-hosted blog for anyone who plans on making a serious attempt at blogging, has plans on making money with their website, wants total control of their website, or wants the option of selling their website in the future.

Should You Choose a Hosted or Self-Hosted Blog Plan?

The choice, of course, is up to you and you should get the blog setup that best meets your needs. If you only plan on sharing your blog with close friends and family, then a free hosted blog plan like Blogger or WordPress.com is probably sufficient. TypePad would be a good solution for a business that wanted an inexpensive hosting solution but didn’t want to take care of many of the technical aspects of the blog.

But if you have plans on starting a blog that will be highly trafficked and will hopefully make money, then I strongly recommend purchasing your own domain and web hosting package. For less than $100 you will have 100% flexibility and save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

How to Choose a Domain Name

Now you need to choose a domain name. Your domain will be with your site forever and it is a very important factor in the success of your blog. These tips should help you find the perfect domain name for your new blog.

How to choose a good domain name

Your domain is your website’s calling card – it will be one of the first things people recognize and it will be with you for the life of your blog. The difference between a good domain and a poor domain can mean many more repeat visitors. That is why it is so important to get it right the first time!

Qualities of a good domain

A good domain is something that will be relatively short, easy to remember, and more importantly, easy to type. Branding is another factor to consider – popular sites such as Google and Twitter are made up words. If you do this well, you might be on to something. If not, you might find your domain in the next section – poor domain names.

Qualities of a poor domain.

A poor domain may be hard to remember, have complicated words or spellings, be confusing, and may use excessive numbers or dashes in the name. Be careful when using a made up word; while Google and Twitter were mentioned as good examples of made up words that succeeded as brands, there have been thousands of made up words that died a slow, lonely death from lack of visitors.

.Com, .net, .org… What’s the difference?

In the hierarchy of the web, .com extensions are the most common and most favored, followed by .org, .net, other country codes (.co.uk, .ca, etc.) then other extensions. Always try for the .com first, then if it is not available, try for the .org, or .net. Try to avoid the .info extension, as many of these are used by spammy websites and infomarketers.

Where and how to purchase a domain

I have purchased my domains from a variety of sources, including GoDaddy, Google, Name Cheap, and Register.com. Another option for registering domains is through your webshost. However, many people prefer to keep their domains separate from their host, for various reasons. GoDaddy and Register.com also offer hosting packages, which you will need to get your site up and running.

Brainstorm and try different options. When you visit GoDaddy you will see a box to input your desired domain name. Enter it and click the submit button and GoDaddy will check your desired name against all registered domains. You may find your first choice is taken – if so, keep trying variations or other domains until you find what you are looking for. When you find your desired domain name, go to the checkout, and don’t forget to use your GoDaddy promo code before you purchase it!

How to Make Money with Your Blog

What about money? Ah, you noticed I didn’t bring up money yet! That’s because money shouldn’t factor into why you want to start a blog. If you have the knowledge and the passion, it will show and you will eventually get readers and traffic. And with those two elements, you can start thinking about making money with your blog.

Not all websites make money, nor should every website make money. But it is no secret that some websites make money and the potential is there. I started this website in 2007. By 2010, I was running websites as my full-time job. But that doesn’t mean it was easy or that I didn’t have a lot of lucky breaks along the way. It took a lot of late nights and hard work, and in many ways, I was in the right place at the right time.

Ways to Make Money with Your Website

AdSense. No doubt you are familiar with this one. The AdSense locations on your site are good, however, I noticed that the large leaderboard in the header section on your hiome page is partially covered, which is against the AdSense TOS. This could get you a nastygram from Google, or even booted from the program. A 468x 80 ad should fit there perfectly and might even look better, leading to more clicks.

Affiliate ads. This is where I am trying to concentrate now because this is where the most opportunity lies. Since your site often deals with stocks, affiliates for online discount brokers such as TradeKing, ShareBuilder, and Zecco would be ideal products to link to. There are several companies I recommend for affiliates, including Commission Junction, Pepperjam Network (there is currently a $10 bonus for new publishers), LinkShare, LinkConnector, and ShareASale. Once you sign up for any of these companies, you search their advertiser inventory, apply for a program, get approved, and place affiliate links in your articles, on the sidebars, or anywhere else you think might bring traffic. You make money when someone buys something from your link. TradeKing has affiliates with Pepperjam and Commision Junction, ShareBuilder is with LinkShare, and Zecco is Commission Junction. It helps to sign up for multiple affiliate companies.

Display Ads (Banner Ads) / CPM)Ads. CPM means “cost per mille” or cost per thousand. They pay out on a cost per thousand page views. Many publishers use a 3rd party tool Like Google DoubleClick for Publishers to manage ads from multiple ad agencies, since agencies don’t always fill every impression. The other agencies act as backup ads. The payouts vary, usually anywhere from $1-3 per thousand page views. I don’t look at CPM ads as a way to make a lot of money, but they can be a nice source of income to augment your other income.

Text Link Ads. Google doesn’t like these because the can wreak havoc on their page rank algorithm, so use at your own risk. I have used Text-link-Ads and Linkworth in the past, as well as sold private text link ads. I no longer sell text links, but some people still sell them.

Direct ad sales. I don’t get many of these, but they come on occasion. I have sold banner ads and text links. I don’t currently sell text links any more, though they can be extremely lucrative.

Use online tools to help you build upon growth

Using online tools such as Google Analytics is just one way to track your traffic statistics. Once you get your site up and running, you will notice that certain articles are bringing in more traffic than others. A good way to increase your traffic more quickly is to leverage your growth by increasing your content by writing on similar topics.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. Marko Saric says

    Sounds very interesting! I am subscribed to your feed and looking forward to this blogging series.

    Questions you asked are important. Finding one topic that you have passion for, and that you can write a lot about, and that you are ready to blog about daily is the key.

    Do not focus on how much money money you can make etc, find something that you would be able to do daily even when it goes bad and you do not see results…

    • Ryan says

      Thanks, Jules. I’ll try to work them in with the rest of my regular scheduling so I don’t turn this blog into a blog about blogging. I’ve known several businessmen who have successfully added a blog to their website to bring extra attention and sales to their business, so hopefully this will help others have similar results. 🙂

  2. Craig says

    I’m really looking forward to this series, hopefully it will help me out a lot with my new blog. I need to learn the basics, would great if I can make it half as successful as your blog.

  3. Kristy @ Master Your Card says

    Good start to what promises to be an interesting series. When I first started blogging, I had no clue! Jonathan has been a big help in that department for me, but I still don’t have the guts to go out and work my own blog. I sort of started a free one on Blogger, but it was just more of a place to write my personal thoughts, I didn’t even make it public. Eventually, I’d like to consider my own blog and move into another topic I love – film!

    Looking forward to the rest!

  4. Ryan says

    frugalcpa: I wouldn’t worry about straying off-topic a little bit – I do it from time to time. It’s how you do it and how often you do it that matters. The bulk of your content should be easily determined by your readers. 🙂

  5. frugalcpa says

    Good stuff, Ryan. I feel like I’ve got the passion and knowledge down. I’ve been really happy with how easily post ideas have been coming to me, and I really enjoy writing them.

    Hopefully people don’t mind a little CPA exam prep and career mixed with frugality/personal finance posts.

  6. Kristy @ Master Your Card says

    This is such great advice, Ryan. Prior to working with Jonathan, I didn’t know a thing about blogs, but it’s amazing the amount of time and prep work that goes into this and I’m only writing posts and interacting with the readers. Jonathan does the site maintenance, posts his posts, interacts with readers, and the many other things he does…I don’t know how he keeps it all straight sometimes.

    Knowledge and passion are certainly keys to running a blog. I know there’s no way I could write for blog where I had to talk about fishing every single day. I’d be bored to tears and my posts would show it. With finance, there’s such a broad spectrum of things to talk about, I can pick and choose the topics that interest me the most. More importantly, Jonathan gives me the freedom to do that, so it makes it even better.

    Love the post! Keep ’em coming!

    • Ryan says

      Thanks, Kristy. But believe it or not – there is just as much info on fishing as there is personal finance, you just aren’t as passionate or knowledgeable about the subject (nor am I)!

      I am passionate about personal finance, and this blog is one of the ways I learn and hold myself accountable. And in that regard it has been infinitely valuable to me. 🙂

  7. Ken says

    Great thoughts…I definitely have a passion for personal finance as a topic. This post just confirmed that for me. I also think I have the knowledge to make it work. I look forward to reading more about building a better blog. Who is your hosting service?

    • Ryan says

      Ken, Thanks for the kind words. Glad to hear you chose the right niche for your blog! I use LunarPages for my hosting service, and I don’t hesitate recommending them to anyone – the service, support, and uptime I have received have all be phenomenal. I will be writing more about them in more detail in a later post. 🙂

  8. Miranda says

    Great information! You really cover the essential points. It is important to think about how you want to go about your blog before you get started. Having a plan is vital to success.

  9. FFB says

    When I started I was using Blogger. It was a great introduction to getting my head around what blogging was all about. After some months I was starting to see the limitations of Blogger in what I wanted to do and took the leap to self-hosting and using wordpress.org. Best move I’ve made! The difference was light and day.

    Still, there is a lot more you can do on Blogger since I’ve moved and if you aren’t too tech savvy (not that’s it’s too difficult) you may want to get your head around a hosted platform first.

    I’d say if you can handle a hosted platform after a few months and you still have a passion for blogging then make the leap to self hosted.

    You may want to get your own domain name early on (not one with a .blogspot at the end). Domain names are pretty cheap and at least the site name is yours.

    • jamus says

      “The difference was light and day.”

      lol I don’t think that was what you wanted to say.
      sorry I had to say something. 😛

  10. Ryan says

    Thanks for the info, FFB. I’m an advocate of just jumping in with both feet and going straight to a self-hosted blogging platform. That will be much better in the long run, especially when it comes to links, SEO, traffic, and other factors. Building your brand and then moving it can be a larger setback than most people realize.

  11. FFB says

    @ Ryan – I agree with what you say but I think it also depends on why you are blogging in the first place. If it’s just for fun then a hosted platform could be better. I also know from my experience that if I jumped right into self hosting I would have been confused to no end. Having some time to get around code in Blogger helped enormously.

    You have to know why you’re blogging and how well you can play with the code (not too hard but some folks aren’t very tech savvy).

  12. Ryan says

    Ha, I’m not too tech savvy either! I didn’t have a clue when I started. But now I know some great people who can, and do, help me out frequently. They have helped me tremendously over the past two years. 🙂

  13. Monevator says

    Deep analysis, nice work.

    I can think of lots of successful bloggers who went from hosted to self-hosted, but I can’t think of one who went the other way, which sort of illustrates which option is better for serious bloggers I think?

    Really, with the effort blogging takes a few dollars on a URL and hosting is going to be the least of your commitments.

  14. Ryan says

    Very true, Monevator. The initial investment is small in terms of cash outlay, and if you later switch to a self-hosted blog service, it will set you back a few months. I think free hosted blogs have great uses though – many people just want a small personal or family blog, or have no intention of growing a large site or earning money. Free can be good. 🙂

    But for a business, it is usually best to go with a self-hosted blogging platform, or a hosted platform such as TypePad.

  15. John Hunter says

    Thanks for mentioning my blog. I enjoy reading your blog in and seeing that comment is special. I really had the management and science ones separate from the beginning. And in the management blog I occasionally had some economics and investing related posts. And as I found I wanted to write more on that topic, I decided it made sense to split it off into its own blog.

    It is a challenge to see what is the best target for your audience. I think it is good to have a personal flavor and occasionally straying from the main theme is fine. But if you find a strong theme that really is not tied to the main theme splitting it into a separate blog makes sense, in my opinion.

    I also find myself sometimes slightly editing a post on one blog for one of my other blogs, since the topics can overlap to some extent.

  16. Ryan says

    Curious Cat: Your site was the perfect example of using subdomains. 😉

    I agree, straying away from the main topic is fine on occasion, but consistently blogging about 2 or more completely diverse and non-related topics will turn off many people.

  17. Stingy Student says

    Great advice. This is very helpful for those of us who are blogging and considering one or the other. Continue the good writing!

  18. PRIMUS1 says

    As many of you entrepreneurs already know, the first step to embarking on starting a business is choosing a name for your business. After this is complete, it is just as crucial if not MORE important to find an appropriate URL and hosting.

    Lucky for you, there is a great company called GoDaddy. They not only sell URL’s but they also offer internet hosting. Ontop of great service, they offer great deals and promotions.

  19. Kyle says

    In fact, there’s been talk that Google explicitly penalizes .info domains for being “spammy.” That is, you’re guilty until proven innocent as far as they’re concerned. I don’t own any .info domains but I’ve seen quite a bit of talk surrounding this subject, so I’m guessing there’s something to it.

  20. Ryan says

    Hi Kristy: You basically only need to know how to navigate a folder structure on a computer (My computer –> C:Drive –> Documents –> My Special Folder –> My Special File). If you can do that, you can set up a self-hosted blog on WordPress. (This will also be the next article in the series).

    As for knowing html – you won’t need to know a lot to set up a blog, but it will help to learn how to recognize certain aspects of it. Most of what you will do with it will be very basic and you can often find an example on the web and copy/paste.

    Design help usually isn’t included with a hosting package, but there are many forums and other free resources where you can find assistance. (for the record, I am very poor at design and I only know very basic html).

  21. Ryan says

    Kristy: Some people have had problems having their domains at their host when they tried to move their site to another host down the road (trouble as in the host wouldn’t allow the domain to be transferred, host would renew the domain, and other such problems). These problems aren’t common anymore, but some peopel just prefer to keep their hosting and domain management separate.

    Domains have an annual registration fee. Some hosts such as LunarPages cover the fee for new customers – it’s like a coupon to bring in new people. After your first commitment is up, you may have to pay for it on your own. Domains cost $9.99 through LunarPages, but are usually a couple dollars cheaper through GoDaddy.

    I have several .org domains. Anyone can purchase one – there are no special requirements.

  22. Kristy @ Master Your Card says

    This is great information for those considering their own blog, and putting it into a series is extremely helpful. Just curious, but if you go with the self-hosted platform, do you have to have any kind of familiarity with HTML code, or can you get design help included with the domain and hosting services?

  23. Kristy @ Master Your Card says

    Just a quick note, if I’m not mistaken, .org extensions are generally reserved for nonprofits, so they may be tough to sell. I could be wrong on that, but I believe that’s what I had read.

    Forgive me for my ignorance here, but what’s the advantage of having your domain separate from your web host? Why pay money for a domain if you get one free with your host for a year? Is there an annual fee for the domain through a host? What about separately?

  24. Kristy @ Master Your Card says

    Sorry, in the previous post about .org extensions, I meant to say they may be tough to obtain. Don’t know why I put “sell” there.

  25. Primus1 says

    Kristy,

    I do not think that .orgs are reserved for only organizations… I could be wrong but why would you be able to purchase them prior to checkout when purchasing a .com?

    Anyone?

    Primus1

  26. Primus1 says

    Thanks Ryan,

    That is what I thought but just wanted to make sure. Man, so this is a little off topic but last night I purchased another domain from GoDaddy because I found those coupons I listed above…and it wasn’t hooked to the server for some reason…

    Long story short, I woke up this morning to them calling me! I have never had a company do that or even heard of a company do that..

    I like GoDaddy THAT much more now.. ha

    PRIMUS1

  27. kim sisto robinson says

    I’ve been thinking about starting my own blog for a while now. I know exactly what I want to do. How do I begin this? I want to inform, entertain, and make money at the same time. Help me! PS. I do have a blog now on another site…but I want my OWN SITE.

  28. Mary Thomas says

    I think your expertise would be helpful to me in also starting a blog. I am an older person who would like to hear from other “oldies gut goodies” on how they feel about this too rapidly changing world. Today’s events are all too reminiscent of pre and post depression era in this country. Unfortunately, we don’t learn from past mistakes. Anyway, as you can see I have strong feelings and would like to learn as well as share. Thank you for your assistance.

  29. Mo Vaughan says

    I am passionate about beekeeping and microscopy within the field of honey bees.
    I have looked at forums and decided that they are not for me. So I would like to start my own Blog site but do not have a clue on how to start.

    Any advice will be acted upon to make it a good site to visit.

    Thank you for your time and sharing your expertese with me.

    Mo

  30. Mikaela says

    Ryan,

    Do people ever do creative writing/fiction blogs? That is definitely the thing I am most passionate about. Is that a bad idea?

    • Ryan says

      Mikaela, That is a wonderful idea! The key to improving your writing is to practice, practice, practice! Setting up a blog not only gives you the outlet to practice creative writing, but a venue to showcase it as well. If you are interested in writing, meeting new people, and possibly learning some new skills, then I highly recommend starting a blog. There are few entry barriers and unlimited opportunity.

  31. Ronald Manengo says

    I’ve been searching the net to know about the blogging, how to start and how to be in. I know you can help with this. Thank you very and more power.

  32. Frenchie Mccall says

    Dear Ryan, The insight that you offer on starting a blog has been very helpful. I have no knowledge whatsoever of how to start a blog. I do know that I have a great deal of passion and knowledge about a subject that I would like to share with the public at large and my family that I strongly believe would be very useful and very informative. I have always wanted to do this, but never knew where to began. I will read your recommend blogs for further help. Thank you for helping me get started.

  33. Bianca says

    I wanted to start a blog to share recipies with friends…I was just wondering…is it against copy writes to post recipies that you find in books or other websites on a blog?

    • Ryan says

      Bianca, It may be against copyright to republish recipes on the web. I recommend reading the copyright notice in the book or on the website where you find the recipe.

  34. Sushant says

    I feel self-hosted wordpress is a good option even for a beginner. Most of the hosting companies now offer one click blog hosting which makes it even easier.

  35. Sheila says

    I want to start a online food product business. I’m currently a Director of a HomeHealth Agency and want to develop my own business. I have the product I want to start with and just started researching blogging for profit. What do you think?

  36. larry davis says

    looks like you got an overwhelming response to this great idea.
    not gonna burden with a request right now.
    I’m a Handyman in business for myself for about 5 yrs.
    I want to start a blog for DYI’s and explore the business side of this.
    I’ll be watching. I know you’re gonna do well.
    Larry

  37. Koren says

    I am beginning to research how to start my own blog with the long term goal of making it profitable enough to make it my full time job. I look forward to your follow up advice and comments!

  38. Katie says

    I am thinking about starting a blog chronicling my own learning process of implementing something I feel passionate about. I notice your advice is to write about something we already know a lot about–but will this chronicling approach work?

    • Ryan says

      Absolutely. There are probably many people making the same journey as you who would love to hear about the things you learn while you are learning them. This is a great way to blog.

  39. Jamie Mauck says

    I’m starting a blog and you have good information to share. Thank you and I’ll be waiting for additional articles in your series.

  40. Phalewail says

    It is good that you emphasized that you need to be passionate about the topic if your going to blog, too many people are just trying to make quick money from blogging without realizing that in order to truly succeed you’ve got to love what you are doing.

  41. Ken says

    Thanks for the reminder that things will get better. I’ve been blogging about 3 months and my wife already told me, “It hasn’t made anthing for us.” I told her it was a long term deal…it takes time to improve and attract more readers. I’m committed to this venture.

    • Ryan says

      Ken, blogging is definitely a case where it takes time to make money. One of the most under-appreciated aspects of blogging is how long it takes to create a substantial amount of archives, which are generally necessary to bring in a stable amount of traffic… and you need traffic to make money with a website.

      Yesterday, Flexo from Consumerism Commentary published this article: Realistic Expectations For Making Money Through Blogging. It is great reading for all bloggers, and can also apply to non-blogging situations.

      • Ryan says

        Kyle, best of luck with your new business. Having the outlook that it may take awhile to become profitable will help you prepare for the ups and downs of running a new business. As long as you keep this mindset and have another source of income or large emergency fund, you should be OK financially, and will hopefully be able to turn your new business into a profitable enterprise.

  42. Robert says

    It is a good reminder that you have to keep the long term goal in mind. There are plenty of good websites out there, but you just have to keep plugging along.

    Thanks again for the good information.

  43. Kyle C. says

    I am getting ready to start small local business and in planning for it I fully expect to be working for free, or even less than free to get things going. Between startup costs and general costs to run the business it is going to be a bit before I really start to see a profit. The key is to not expect to much at the outset and work your tail off to make good things happen.

  44. Megastar says

    Ryan,
    You are definitely correct. It takes time before you start making money. It’s just a matter of staying committed and remaining passionate.

  45. P says

    This makes sense. Would you like to share what other websites you working on and how are you making money? I have yet to make any money on my blog, as it is new and I do not like adsense…am I making mistake? Thanks.
    Congratulations for your success.

    • Ryan says

      P, the main sites I run are Cash Money Life and The Military Wallet, but I also run multiple other sites. My sites earn money through Google AdSense and other forms of advertising. AdSense is only one way to earn money, but it is not the only way. So, I can’t say you are making a mistake by not using it. Each site performs differently with different forms of monetization.

      Best of luck with your sites. And remember, it takes time and work to create an income generating business.

  46. Daddy Paul says

    “My goal with this site and others is to help people improve their lives.”
    And it shows in your writing!
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  47. Dustin @ Inzolo says

    So TRUE. I’m just realizing that I’ve been working on Inzolo for over a year now (as my hosting costs came due. Not only have I worked for free, but I’ve dumped money into the project as well paying for hosting, security certificates, advertising, and legal fees. So, I’m actually losing money to work… but I have the greater goal in mind and I’m confident that there will be a tipping point when my business takes off. For now, I guess I’m faking it well because friends think my site is pulling in all kinds of money 🙂

  48. pkamp3 says

    Great article Ryan, I took a lot of it to heart. I hope my site can be half as successful as yours; I’ll keep writing for far below minimum wage until then!

  49. LiveCheap says

    Ryan, like this article. I’ve been a software entrepreneur and now run LiveCheap. People who have never been through a startup don’t understand how precious money is. When you are the founder, you come last but you have all the upside in the equity.

    Just having this conversation with another senior-level executive discussing a new venture. The question that we all ask us on a new startup is how long can we go not drawing a salary. Ideally if you live cheaply, you can do this for a year or more because the ramp to cashflow positive always takes longer. If you can’t go more than a few months, you don’t have enough “runway”.

    Anytime you are drawing a salary early in a startup it’s likely you took money from someone. Money means that you gave up control. So if you want to keep full control, you get paid nothing. With blog type websites, nobody is going to write you a check since they don’t generate that much money.

    I got my first $100 plus ad check after 3 months. Apparently this is good, but it felt like forever and required a lot of work!

    To give readers an idea of how long it took on a software business, we got our first $5,000 sale after 7 months and didn’t break even for 18 months. So for 7 months, we didn’t earn a dime. And that was a ton of 14 hour days and was considered very fast. I had a salary at the software company but it was reduced for a long time. So even if you aren’t working for free bet on taking a serious pay cut that might set you back 5 to 10 years in salary.

    • Ryan says

      I like how you mentioned taking on venture capital and giving up control. This isn’t something most bloggers face, but it is common with other start ups. This is a topic I don’t have much experience with, so I won’t cover it on my site, but it is a topic many entrepreneurs must face at some point. The decision deals with taking on funding to get the necessary working capital to develop the software or infrastructure, vs. bootstrapping your operations and building everything organically. The difference can boil down to time and efficiency. Sometimes it’s better to give up some control in order to be first to market, and other times it’s best to do it on your own to retain full control, and thus full profits once they start rolling in. Definitely a case by case situation!

      • Financial Samurai says

        In venture capital, you have to believe in the idea, and invest in the MANAGEMENT. That is my #1 criteria. I’ve got one VC investments in the making, and it should be good.

        The issue with VC is that you need to be a “QI” or qualified investor. There are some criteria such as having X amount of investable assets, and make X amount of money. It’s good to have a wall, b/c you can easily lose everything in VC!

        • Ryan says

          I was coming more from the perspective of taking on VC funds to get your company off the ground, but looking in from the side of buying into a startup is important too. I’ve not dealt with this topic too much, but I’ve seen a little from the outside. It’s a very interesting sector of the market and one I enjoy reading about.

  50. Financial Samurai says

    Gotcha Ryan. VC funds take and take and take until mgmt stakes get marginalized to nothing. I’d be wary. Although, there is a ton of money chasing capital, so maybe you can get a better deal.

    I’d rather invest with a VC instead.

    • Ryan says

      I’m not currently seeking VC for any of my projects, but I’ll keep that in mind. Right now I’m interested in developing my business ventures organically and contracting out for anything I can’ do myself. 🙂

  51. Kristine says

    What is it called…sweat equity….when you start off a business working for free? Starting your own business centered around your passion will take a lot of work, but work to enjoy along the way. Keeping the big picture in mind, the goal(s) of starting your business will keep you going.

    We have read many successful stories of how people have made it blogging or creating their own websites. Learn from them. Study them. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. When we focus on giving quality material of high value to the reader, the return on the time and effort invested will return indefinitely!

  52. Pam says

    Amen. I totally agree that if you want to be a successful entrepreneur you need to be willing to put a lot of hours in without getting paid. It’s all part of the process and if you can continue to work towards your goal and persevere despite all odds, you will eventually reap the rewards. The key for me is to take on projects that I really enjoy doing so they are more like a hobby than a business venture. Then, if they end up producing money in the future, great, but if not, I feel like I’ve still accomplished something. The most important thing is not to give up. Thanks for the insightful post.

  53. Kevin Khachatryan says

    I’ve been working for myself for the past 2 years and I must say that the number one obstacle is the slow beginning that you referred to as well. There seems to be a sort of plateau whereby passing it almost propels you into stability. As a web designer, it took me a few months before my business started getting any traction from word of mouth and returning clients.

  54. Rebecca says

    Ryan – yes, many thanks for the reminder that working for free is not for fools. Building a website takes a lot of time, energy and hard to work and nice to be reminded that there is a light there at the end of the tunnel which may be hard to imagine when you look at your hourly wage.

    I also, look at my year of working for free as a free education. Where some people spend hundreds of thousands on business school, I’ve been gaining real world experience and have learned so much in the last 7 months, it has made it all worth it. Some risks are worth taking.

  55. Richard D. Reddick says

    My daughter suggested I read your column about blogging. I am considering
    taking my historical novel (in process) and using it as the basis for a blogsite.
    There are several interest areas potentially so I am re-thinking this subject.
    Thanks for you information and suggestions.
    Cordially,
    Dick Reddick

  56. Ann says

    Hello,

    I want to start a blog and build it to a point where I can make a profit. I am going to buy a domain name, but what is the next step after getting the domain name???

  57. Francis Z says

    I am a traveler , I really wanted to make a blog and post interesting information from my journey.I really wanted to touch life of other people as what encounter during my travel. please email me how make a blog.

  58. Ahfi says

    Hello,

    I have also been wanting to start a blog for a long time. The quick question I have is this. Talking about copyright, way back between 1986-1989, I took some community cookery classes in London (UK), and for each recipe that we worked through during class, we were given a single paper hand out. I have a number of these handouts and really, I have not seen any recipe on the web which is the same as the ones I was given in class. These handouts have no identification whatsoever of the school or where from these recipes. Are these things that I can publish? Of course, I am not going to just copy everything word for word. Also, most of the terminologies are more British, so I have to change them anyway. On top of everything, I payed for these classes, anyway. PLEASE HELP.

    • Ryan says

      Ahfi, I don’t have a firm answer for you regarding the copyright of the recipes. You can try contacting the school if it is still around, or you may consult with a lawyer or someone who specializes in copyright law and/or intellectual property. This isn’t my area of expertise. Best of luck starting your blog!

  59. Loki61 says

    I checked into copyrights about recipes and I found that they shouldn’t be copy-written due to the fact that one person can change one ingredient and that recipe would be theirs. Of course you can copyright any recipe but the cost is not worth it.

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