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10+ More Blogging Tips to Grow Your Site and Make Money

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New to blogging and looking for tips to grow your blog? I share some of my top blogging tips I've used to make money blogging and replace my income.

I started this blog close to five years ago. Prior to that, I had absolutely zero experience blogging. I started it in hopes of being able to help people with their money decisions, taking lessons from my own personal failures in the past and hoping to use them for good. I asked a friend who has their own blog for some tips and off I went.

Then, I noticed something. I enjoyed this blogging thing. It wasn’t as difficult as I once thought and I was actually able to make an income from my little blog. Fast-forward those five years, and I’ve been able to replace the income from my day job, and honestly, make substantially more than I did in my old day job.

If you’re new to blogging, or have been at it for a brief time and are looking for some tips to take your blog to the next level, this post will help.

The Hosting Decision

 

When you start a blog the first main decision you have to make is hosting. You can either choose a free platform, like Blogger, or you can go the self-hosted route. Free sounds great, but it comes with some significant drawbacks – mainly in that you don’t technically own the content, and you’re limited in how you can monetize your site.

This leaves self-hosted as the only real option if you want to monetize your site and make money blogging. Thankfully the self-hosted route can be relatively inexpensive, and in some cases, they will even help you set up your site.

The best option for new and growing bloggers is Bluehost. There are several reasons for that:

  • Bluehost costs $2.95 per month when you sign up through my link. That’s extremely cheap when compared to other self-hosting options.
  • One-click installation. If you’re not technically inclined, Bluehost allows you to install WordPress (the platform you need to use if you self-host) with one simple click.
  • 24/7 Support. Let’s face it; a blog lives online 24 hours a day. If you need help with a problem, they’re there 24 hours per day.

The best thing about Bluehost is they do everything to set up the site for you. With one click they get your site up and running, which is great if you’re like me and not technically inclined. Additionally, you get your domain name for free with Bluehost when you sign up through my link, which normally would cost you $10 or $15 through other channels.

Side note: If you need helping setting up your blog, check out my complete guide on how to start a blog. It’s a step-by-step guide that walks you through the entire process of setting up and starting a blog.

Advanced Blogging Tips

 

I’ve shared some blogging tips for beginners on the site in the past. You can check out that post for a more detailed explanation of some of those tips, but I’ll provide a brief synopsis of it below:

  • Have a consistent posting schedule. It doesn’t matter how often you post, just make it consistent, so your readers know what to expect.
  • Comment on other blogs. You will struggle to grow your site if you’re a hermit.
  • Reach out to other bloggers. Network, network and then network some more.
  • Backup your site. I’ve had a site hacked before; it’s a pain to bring it back up if you don’t backup your site.
  • Respond to comments. If you want to build a community, it’s important to let your readers know you have seen their comment and care enough to respond.

What I didn’t cover in that previous post are more advanced blogging tips to follow if you want to take your site to the next level. Here are some more advanced tips to take your blog to the next level:

  • Start an editorial calendar. I didn’t do this in the beginning but started one several years ago. There are many benefits to having an editorial calendar. It helps protect against writer’s block when you don’t know what to write about and helps you formulate an idea of when you’d like to run particular topics to take advantage of seasonality. I now plan out an entire year, with themes for each month so I don’t have to struggle to come up with a topic last minute.
  • The money is in the list. If you’ve been blogging for any sort of time, you have likely heard this saying. I ignored it for my first few years, which was a big mistake. The list is your email subscribers who sign up to receive posts. I now send out weekly emails to my readers with exclusive content, not found on the site. This helps nurture the community and allows me to get to know my readers. I personally use ConvertKit, and they’re very easy to use in setting up a newsletter for your site.
  • Take advantage of social media. Social media is a great tool to bring readers to your site. I personally never used platforms like Twitter or Pinterest before I started Frugal Rules and now they’re both major sources of traffic for the site. If you personally don’t use much social media, pick one or to platforms to get your feet wet and grow from there. You’re overlooking significant sources of traffic if you don’t use social media.
  • Make it easy for your readers to read your content. Most of your traffic will be from mobile devices. Have you tried reading a 2,000-word article with no breaks? Yes, it can make your eyes glaze over. Break up your posts into shorter pieces and not big chunks, your readers will thank you and likely stick around longer.

By following these tips and some of the beginning tips, your site will hit the ground running in no time.

New to blogging and looking for tips to grow your blog? I share some of my top blogging tips I've used to make money blogging and replace my income.

Yes, You Can Make Money Blogging

 

It is definitely possible to make money blogging. It’s not truly passive income, but there are some ways that are pretty close to passive income. It’s also important to remember that you can’t just put up a site and expect to have money falling from the heavens.

It takes time and a lot of work, and if you put in both, it’s possible to make great money through your blog. With that in mind, here are some ways to make money through your blog:

  • Affiliate advertising. Affiliate advertising is one of the best ways to make money blogging. You promote products you like on your site – such as something from Amazon, a banking product or something else and when a person uses your link to buy the product you get a small commission. My friend Michelle makes over $50,000 per month just through affiliate marketing. If you want to start with affiliate advertising and learn some of her best tips to make money from affiliate marketing, sign up for her course to get started.
  • Create your own product. Affiliate marketing is great, but creating your own product is even better. Creating your own product to sell does take a lot of work, but the great thing is you get to keep everything you sell. You’re not getting a percentage like with affiliate marketing; you get to keep 100 percent of what you sell.
  • Sponsored content. Companies see that bloggers have a following. When that following matches well with their target market, companies like to sponsor content. This is simply another avenue for the company to advertise and can be a great way to monetize your site. Platforms like IZEA, TapInfuence and others match influencers to companies to create sponsored content. This isn’t as regular as other advertising possibilities, but it can be quite lucrative.
  • Offer different services. A blog can be a great platform to jumpstart income possibilities. I’ve mentioned freelance writing in the past, but a blog can be a great way to showcase other services you can offer to clients. This can be as simple as being a virtual assistant to a bigger blogger, creating images for social media platforms or something else – if you have a marketable skill a blog can be a great way to attract clients and make money online from home.

There are many other ways to make money blogging. This list only scratches the surface. I will say that it’s important to keep in mind the importance of multiple streams of income for your blog. Things change, and one way you earn will dry up, so you don’t want to be overly dependent on one source or another.

As you grow your blog, remember it’s what you make of it. The beauty of blogging is that you’re in 100 percent control and you get to say what goes. You can also make a decent income from a blog if you put in the time and work.

 

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.

83 Comments

  • Just this Christmas I created my version of an editorial calendar, and it’s helped some. I always had been in the habit of writing my post ideas so it wasn’t new to me, but it was nice to have it in an electronic file for reference. In particular I am planning ahead because I will be out more than a week with no internet access in February, so getting ahead is a must.

    • John says:

      I started doing mine around the same time. I’ve always had a running list of ideas, but I like how the calendar plans out when things are to be written so I am not left scrambling.

    • Something I am not currently doing, but a great idea! I have a lot of ideas in my head, but I get writer’s block about the time I am ready to write a post. Thanks for the tips!

  • Also you shouldn’t shudder about your first posts. People aren’t going to visit a brand new blog as much so it’s more important (in my opinion) to just start putting content out there vs. trying to make an SEO friendly post.

  • I agree about all of these. I really need to implement a calendar of some kind. I have a million posts written and sometimes I forget about them. If they are time sensitive (about the holidays, etc) then they get outdated and I can’t use them! What a waste of time!

    • John says:

      I would definitely encourage it as it’s helped me out a lot. I am almost through February now and starting to look at Mach. I have a few of those posts myself…at least I can use them this summer. 🙂

  • Savvy Scot says:

    I started my calendar about 3 months back,… I laugh at my old calendar-less self now!!

  • Thanks for the mention! I think the last rule : take time off from your blog, is one of the most important. I know I don’t do this enough and I got really burned out by the end of the year. Taking that week off was immensely helpful!

    • John says:

      I could not agree more. I loved the ten days I took off and it was refreshing to be de-tethered from my computer. I took it as a good sign that I wanted to come back though. 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    I don’t have an editorial calendar, but definitely need to do that! And yes, taking time off is very important.

  • Pauline says:

    I have started to use a calendar in the new year, I had a rough idea of a weekly pattern but it sure helps to write it down. Now I need to queue 15 timeless posts I can use if I want time off!

    • John says:

      It really does help out Pauline. I am looking to do the same thing myself so if I am not feeling inspired or simply do not have the time I can just use it.

    • Ian says:

      That’s a good idea. I usually have a few extras around but a few weeks worth completely edited and ready to go would be great.

  • Running multiple blogs, I something wouldn’t know where to begin without an editorial calendar.

  • Cat says:

    Sounds like a great idea – I really need to get more organized and prepared in advance!

  • I will use an editorial calendar on and off and what I use is Google calendar. It works well for me!

  • Mackenzie says:

    Blogging burn-out is a real and true thing; I’ve experienced it myself. Taking some time off is a requirement as a blogger, I feel. The blog will be there when you get back 🙂

  • I need to start to use a calender. I have a lot of draft ideas and I was going through them yesterday and found that I lost the opportunity to post 2 ideas because they were holiday related. I also agree with reading your old posts along with other people’s. This can spur many ideas, or at least it does for me.

    • John says:

      Like I’ve said to others Grayson, I would HIGHLY encourage it. It’s been of immense help to me and I basically have my posts pinpointed for the next six weeks. It has been a huge time saver.

  • Boris says:

    John, I’ve been reading your blogging tips (all parts) and they’ve been invaluable. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. As a new blogger it really helps out.

    • John says:

      Not a problem Boris! I am glad to be of help. Truth be told, they’re really things I’ve learned from other bloggers or just picked up along the way.

  • The blog is a huge time suck. I’m always spending time on my blogs now. I’ll need to schedule some time off soon.

  • I don’t have an editorial calender but it does sound like a great idea. Perhaps I should give it a shot…

  • AverageJoe says:

    Another reason for an editorial calendar: advertisers are interested in certain topics, and when you can share with them “what’s coming up” you have a better chance of including them.

  • That is why I love using my Blog Planner John!

    The editorial calendar is setup on a weekly basis with room to include lots of details. But I also love being able to keep track of all of the other things that need to be done once the post is published as well as all of the other work that goes into blogging.

    It is great to work a month or 2 in advance instead of day by day or week by week.

    Way less stressful and a lot more fun!!

    • John says:

      As you should Sicorra! What you came up with is pretty awesome. I am still looking it over and seeing how I can implement it for the administration of my blog.

      I could not agree more about working a month or two in advance, it does bring the stress level down significantly. I am currently about six weeks out and about ready to get started on March

  • Leslie says:

    Thanks for the tips! I don’t do any of them officially, so by implementing these I hope to see improvement in my blog success.

    • John says:

      I think you will. At the very least the ability to streamline things so it makes the day to day management much easier. Thanks for stopping by!

  • I use the WP Editorial Calendar plugin. I wish it had some more features, but it’s great for scheduling posts. When you get to the point where you are writing 2-3 weeks out, what day is Friday in 3 weeks? I also use it for holiday posts. I had a great idea for a Thanksgiving post about 3 weeks after Thanksgiving. I know have a drat scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving this year.

    • John says:

      I’ve taken a look at the plugin myself, but decided against it as I did not want to install another plugin. I just use the calendar on my phone to chart out the dates and can usually have my ideas for the month in pretty quick fashion. I’ve had a few of those “Thanksgiving” ideas myself…oh well…one less thing I have to think of for the future. 🙂

  • Great post, John. There is so much to learn. I, too, find by rereading old posts and comments can stir up some new ideas. And I’m always reading, which is so much fun but takes a lot of time. I don’t blog as frequently as most of you do, so my “time suck” so to speak comes from reading all of your posts! 🙂

    • John says:

      Thanks Shannon! I agree with the reading takes time, especially if you have other distractions going on at the same time. Hopefully the “time suck” is worth it though. 😉

  • I’m a hands on type of guy so my calendar is all written in a huge calendar book. I like to see it and write in and it works for me. I track everything in it. Sure I could do it online but for some reason I started using the book and I like it. I book all my posts a month in advance so I know what I am posting and when. It all helps. Great tips .

    • John says:

      That’s awesome Mr. CBB! You have to go with what works for you. I do almost everything on my computer so that makes it so convenient for me.

  • Danielle says:

    I often have my own personal editorial calendar for my writing at work but don’t use it at home. This needs to change!

  • Melissa says:

    I used to find that my writing style would mimic whoever I was reading at the time. Now that I read so much, that doesn’t happen so much anymore, but lots of reading can definitely help generate ideas.

    • John says:

      I used to be the same way Melissa. Now it feels like I am constantly reading one thing or another so I really don’t see it happening much anymore.

  • krantcents says:

    I often use different magazine articles, TV, internet and others to stimulate ideas. In addition, I read a lot of books which definitely helps my writing.

    • John says:

      I like to use magazines and books as well. It’s a different medium and a different style of writing which helps balance out all the online reading I do.

  • I started a calendar with the new year, and even though it’s flexible, it’s nice to feel like I’m more like a month ahead then a couple of days the way I was there for a while.

    Also – if I get an idea for a post that’s seasonal, but not “in season”, I’m putting a note of it nearer to that date to write it and schedule it. Makes life way easier, but at the beginning I think I might have been too intimidated by something like that. I was just writing whatever floated to my head and couldn’t imagine planning a month in advance. =)

    • John says:

      I started late in December myself. It has been a huge time saver and I like how it allows me to have a plan as opposed to just writing whatever. I leave a couple of days a month just for that, but really like to have a plan. I do agree though, trying something like planning a month out would have been too much for me in the beginning.

  • I’m a huge fan of the editorial calendar. I have a WP Plugin for it, and I have my calendar scheduled out through March right now. I also have an unscheduled drafts sidebar on it where I can jot down ideas and then drag and drop them to fit into the calendar. I do this for all my sites to keep my on track and help manage.

    I also use Evernote to keep track of ideas for my sites. I have it on my phone so when I think of an idea, I can write it down where ever I am. It is very helpful.

    • John says:

      I am as well, it’s been a great find for me. I’ve looked at the WP plugin myself and I imagine if and when I am running multiple sites I’ll definitely be using it.

      I’ve downloaded the Evernote app recently. I need to figure it out a bit and start using it myself as I know that I am losing good ideas that pop into my mind.

  • Jordann says:

    Hey these are some great tips! I don’t have an editorial calendar, but I think I’m definitely going to make one, along with that running list of blog ideas, this seems like it would take a lot of stress out of blogging.

    As far as taking time off, I used to be great at that, but these last few weeks have been terrible. I DO however, always take Friday night and Saturday off. Those days are mandatory.

    • John says:

      I would highly encourage it Jordann, both have been a huge timesaver for me and make things much less stressful.

      I used to have the same time off schedule, but have strayed away from it. I need to get back to it…

  • I like the idea of catchier titles. And also making sure I occasionally blog for readers who might be non PF bloggers who might have stumbled on the site. As we all hope happens. I thing scaling back my schedule has been helpful, but it’s hard to stay away. I’m scared of losing my current readers if I don’t spend enough time reading their stuff and commenting, but something has to give. I’m not making money yet, so I can’t ignore the job that is bringing me income. All good tips!

    • John says:

      That’s a great point Tanya as we do want other non PF bloggers coming to our sites. Ideally it would be a decent mix of the two.

      I can understand about the fear about others coming back, I think a lot of us deal with that fear. But, at the same time, you do have to draw a line somewhere. In the end, you have to go with what’s paying the bills.

  • My mom recently started blogging, and I find that she really has to make some trial and error to learn. I tell her what to do all the time, but mostly she doesn’t listen until she finds out that what she is doing isn’t working. Blogging is difficult to tap into, because it seems so easy – until new bloggers find out that if you want your blog to be successful, it takes a LOT of work and knowledge!

    • John says:

      Blogging can be difficult to grasp, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to give to it. It does take a TON of time, now I just need more of it. 🙂

  • Now that I’m home more, I’m going to take more time with SEO. I downloaded Sicorra’s planner but haven’t done much with it, but that’ s on the list. I need to also have some “generic” posts ready to go for when I get busy. Those are some good goals for the next couple of months.

    • John says:

      I have been looking at SEO more myself and really want to start implementing a more targeted approach to it. I downloaded the planner as well and just need to sit down and take an in depth look at it. That’s a great point to the generic posts Kim, I need to do that myself.

  • Jason @ WorkSaveLive says:

    An editorial calendar is a must-have! I’ve been planning my posts for about a year now and I don’t think I could live without it. Also, considering that I have all of the staff writers now, it makes it even more important that I plan ahead and use the calendar.

    • John says:

      I am with you there Jason. I jus wish I would’ve listened to my wife earlier. 🙂 I can imagine that having one is a must have with staff writers as it just adds to the moving parts…which is something I hope to be able to do at some point in the future.

  • Great tips! I need to implement an editorial calendar. Right now I just have a running list of blog ideas. Recently I started using the ‘Notes’ program on my iPhone. I always think of post ideas when I am not home. At the store, local businesses, conversations overheard, so I just type them out on my phone. I know that if I don’t get them down right away I will quickly forget.

    • John says:

      Thanks Kyle! I would highly recommend using one. I have found myself in similar situations where I have a great idea and then forget it. The calendar now saves my butt. I also have the running list of ideas that I add to as well when I think of them on the fly.

  • Dustin Small says:

    Thanks for the tips John. When you mention that your previous posts paid no attention to SEO etc. what specifically did you do wrong? Are you referring to simply not having a focused enough topic?

    • John says:

      Not a problem Dustin. Yea, they weren’t focused and those I was focusing on were on terms not being searched for enough. Not that each post needs to be optimized, but I am focusing on it more now.

  • Buck Inspire says:

    Another set of great tips! The editorial calendar is critical in keeping you consistent with blogging. Mine went out the window with the baby. It has been challenging to get back on track. I have been stepping away more often to combat burnout and just plain fatigue. Thanks again!

    • John says:

      Thanks Buck! I could not agree more about the consistency aspect behind the calendar. It helps me see if I am focusing on one topic too much or not. I can relate to the baby aspect. Having three little ones running around myself it helps me keep my sanity.

  • Justin@TheFrugalPath says:

    A calendar is something that I really need to start. I just started a new job at the same company, but now my hours are all messed up. So it’s something that can really help me stick to producing better content.

    • John says:

      I would highly encourage it Justin! Especially with the work aspect you mention it’d help you keep better track of what you’re writing so you would not have to scramble to come up with solid content.

  • Kay Lynn says:

    Once again great tips. I was blogging a couple of years before I learned a couple of them so kudos to you.

    I wholeheartedly agree with taking a break. I took a holiday break that just happened and it was quite refreshing. Keeping an editorial calendar is a great tip. Give yourself the flexibility to change it but having an outline is useful for those uninspired days.

    • John says:

      Thanks Kay Lynn! Sadly I would’ve learned some of them even earlier if I would have listed to my dear wife. 😉

      I’ve found that taking a break is vital. Not just to get away from the blog and the requirements it brings, but being de-tethered from your computer as well.

  • eemusings says:

    I don’t have an editorial calendar! I have a ton of drafts (about 30 at the mo) and am always coming up with new ideas. I basically just sit down at times, finish a whole batch, then schedule them. Haphazard but it works. The one time I came close to drying up, I was about to go on holiday, and when I came back I was refreshed and brimming with creativity.

    • John says:

      You have to go with what works for you in my opinion. I’d imagine having 30 drafts ready to go at any point is a great backup to have. I ideally want to get to where I have 15-20 generic enough posts that could be put up at any time and still be applicable.

  • Sadly, every time I’ve left a blog go by itself for a week or two, the site grows. Sometimes, I’d wish that it would shrink into oblivion. But, it never happens. The sad truth is, your blog will be fine without you for a while.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more. I think this is especially true if you schedule things out, or just plain take some time off. Your blog will do just fine and probably fairly well in fact.

  • I had thought about doing a calendar before but never got around to it. Something about reading your post got me going. I spent the weekend thinking about where I want to go with my posts and now have the rest of January and February filled. Thanks for the push!

    • John says:

      Awesome! Glad to hear that I could be an encouragement Brian! It took me some time to get it started, but won’t look back now. I am in March myself and it feels good knowing I’ve got the next 6-8 weeks covered.

  • Chad says:

    I completely with the taking time off component. I actually came across this by accident as some other aspects in my life were drawing me in different directions. Once I came back to my blog I had this shot of energy and flow of ideas that helped with more content on my site.

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