Revealed: 19 Things to Know Before Starting a Blog in 2018

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starting a blog 2017

Last Update December 14th, 2017.

Thinking about starting a blog this year? This post is for you!

Blogging is a wonderful activity, whether you’re doing it for business or pleasure, and can even have a significant positive impact on the world around you.

Today I’m going to show you some really important things you need to know before you get started including the quickest set up and hosting, the most effective strategies, and even a quiz at the end to test your readiness.

If you follow these tips you’ll hopefully save a lot of time and valuable energy.

Quick steps for starting a blog in 2018

First up, if you don’t have a blog yet and are wondering about the best way to get started there are a few quick steps you’ll want to follow:

quick steps for starting a blog

  • Set short and long term goals.
  • Get a domain name and blog host from BlueHost and install WordPress as your blogging platform.
  • Choose a theme and decide on branding elements like logos and colors.
  • Add an opt-in form to start collecting email subscribers.
  • Begin producing strategic content that helps people.

The content below will go into much deeper detail about starting a blog this year and give you a bunch of helpful resources that you can use to skyrocket your blogging progress.

Disclosure – This post on starting a blog contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of those links I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend services I’ve used and love and my partnership with Bluehost has allowed me to secure a big discount for you!

So you’re starting a blog? Here’s what you need.

Here are some of the most important things you’ll want to pay attention if you want to make this blogging thing work for you. There are also some really great tips in the comments at the end.

1. A self-hosted WordPress blog is still your best bet

We harp on about this a lot but best thing you can do about blog hosting is to set up your own blog on your own host. I am still of the firm belief that free blogs like Tumblr and Blogger (and even do not give you the control, ownership and branding options that you need.

Here’s a quick graphic I made highlighting a few differences between a free blog and a blog that you create on your own host: vs when starting a blog

I recommend BlueHost for all new bloggers (get a Blog Tyrant special discount rate of $2.75 per month on a 36-month starter plan). It’s where I first got started as a blogger and is the chosen host for millions of bloggers around the world.

You can take a look at this tutorial where we go through the setup process – step by step. It should take around five minutes to get completely set up!

As I’ve said before, the one prediction I have for people using a free blog host is that one day you will want to migrate it to your own host. And that can be a really annoying process. It’s much better to set yourself up the right way from the beginning. Here’s a quick video I did about it:

2. Visual content (videos, graphics, photos, etc.) will only get bigger

Finding quality photos and images for your blog is a tricky issue.

At a minimum, you want to be part of a quality stock photo site that allows you to use photos on your site with an attribution license. But an even better option is to take your own photos, make your own images, or have a professional do it – that really sets you apart from the rest.

Visual content has been growing for years and it appears to be speeding up, not slowing down. We now have retina display tablets and our smartphones are getting bigger. Social networking sites like Facebook and Google+ are favoring images and videos over text – never mind sites like Pinterest which are totally based around photos! If you’re not working with visual content yet it’s time to start.

3. Growing a mailing list is still the most important thing

If you asked a big blogger for advice about the most important thing to do in 2006 they would have probably told you to grow a mailing list.

Ten years later and nothing has changed.

Your email list is a means to get into people’s inboxes whenever you like. That can lead to increased traffic to your new blog posts as well as more sales when you launch a product or promote an affiliate product.

But the main reason that you want to grow an email list is because you just can’t trust Google for traffic. And you can’t trust social networking sites that constantly change their policies. It’s only the mailing list that gives you a constant source of traffic, should something go wrong.

We’ll talk more about how to get email subscribers below, but I recommend a site like AWeber for bloggers who want to professionally manage and grow their list.

4. It’s time to get smart about competition analysis

I reckon about 90% of bloggers that I talk to do zero research when it comes to writing new posts, creating new blogs or coming up with products.

No one is thinking about the competition!

This is a big mistake in my opinion. Almost every post that you write has been written before. Every blog that you think of is already out there. Most products have things that are pretty much the same.

It’s really important to use a quality program like Majestic to do some research into the competition. A quick look around and you’ll be able to see what keywords people are targeting, how many back links they have for their main posts and where those back links are coming from.

This is invaluable information as it helps you decide whether or not you can compete in certain niches and keywords. If someone has links coming from Harvard, Wikipedia and NASA then it is unlikely you’ll be able to outrank them in a hurry.

5. Long content still works

Long content has been working for years. One of the first posts I ever wrote on this site was several thousand words on how I sold a blog for $20,000. That post went viral and got the attention of a lot of bloggers.

I feel really fortunate to get that attention, but also kind of know that if I’d just written a little 500 word update on the topic nothing would have happened. The whole thing would have fizzled out.

Unfortunately, that is what happens to a lot of bloggers.

Neil Patel has talked about how well long content works for him and now even Google has launched an in-depth articles section on their search results.

Forget about short little updates and start working on longer content that solves problems and provides so much value that people can’t help but share it with their friends.

6. It’s time to spend money on promotion

For some reason bloggers hate the idea of spending money on advertising. It’s a real shame.

One thing you’ll start to see more and more in 2017 is that the bigger bloggers (and other internet entrepreneurs) will start to pay to promote their posts and products a lot more.

There is so much noise online. Just think about the niche you are in – how many competitors are there that are doing better than you?

Well, one way to bypass their domination is to spend a little bit of money promoting your best work to a targeted group of people who are likely to be interested in your stuff. Here’s a small promo I’ve been running on Twitter lately:

The great thing about advertising on social networks like Facebook is that it’s low cost and there is a chance that people will share it of their own free will, once they’ve seen your advert. Here is a simple sponsored post that appeared in my newsfeed while I was writing this post. Easy to make and very effective.

You don’t need much. Set aside $25 for a test and see how you go.

7. Make big connections early

Something that a lot of new bloggers fail to recognize is that your success is often largely dependent on the alliances that you form.

If you are going to start a new blog in 2017 it’s a good idea to start making connections with the big blogs and bloggers in your niche as soon as you can. I’m not talking about spamming them with guest post requests either – I’m talking about making genuine friends that can support each other for the long term.

Start by finding the big players on Twitter and sharing their stuff. Mention it on your site and let them know about it. It’s a nice little introduction.

8. You’ll need a deliberate and clever blogging strategy

Over the years blogging has become more and more scientific.

Big companies have realized the value of blogs and other social networking sites and have been investing money to make sure they are get a good return on their investment.

One of the best ways to compete with this is to have a solid blogging strategy that helps you write the perfect blog post and genuinely help people in your niche.

Try to plan out your goals for the next month, year, and five years and ensure that everything you do when you start a blog is about making that strategy come to fruition.

Remember, a lot of people give up on new blogs before they give it a chance to flourish – a long term set of goals matched to a strategy will help you avoid that.

9. Responsive blog designs are a must

Mobiles and tablets are now a primary source of web traffic the world over.

If your theme doesn’t respond well to the smaller mobile screens (use this to test) there is a good chance you will be losing valuable traffic as people click away to find something easier to navigate.

mobile responsive blog

Google has even started removing non-mobile responsive sites from mobile searches in order to provide a better experience for their customers. Make sure you are thinking about your mobile users at every turn.

10. Outsourcing will make you prolific

Ever since I chatted to Chris Ducker on Skype last year I’ve been more and more looking to outsourcing as a way to get things done.

I’ve been doing it for years, but it wasn’t until talking to Chris that I realized that the process could be streamlined with the use of a virtual assistant – someone who can manage all of your tasks that you would normally control yourself.

There are a few reasons as to why this will be even more important in 2017.

Firstly, it helps you create more content and frees up time for you to focus on the tasks that really grow your blog. Secondly, it gives work to someone who really needs it and, hopefully, is a lot better at that task than you are. Note: We had a big debate about this on my Fiverr post.

Over are the days where you do everything on your blog from the writing to the photoshopping to the HTML editing and outreach. It’s time to get help with it all.

11. Your health will become a priority

The science is in.

Sitting still for long periods of time is a lot worse for your health than first thought. In fact, researchers are now showing that sitting still can lead to early death as well as a whole host of bad diseases.

The bad news is that going for a run or to the gym at the end of the day does not undo the damage. This means we need to start moving regularly, working while standing up and taking regular short breaks to stretch the muscles and get the blood flowing.

Now that we know how bad it really is it’s time to do something about it.

12. Security threats will increase

Internet security is already a major issue. A really stressful issue at that.

Companies, small businesses and organizations all around the world are falling prey to nasty intruders on an increased basis. No one is safe.

So what can you do?

  • Keep backups
    Try to keep backups of your websites, blogs and important documents both on and offline. There are many plugins to help you do this.
  • Use a good security plugin
    I’m no expert on this but there are several security plugins and services around like Sucuri and Bulletproof Security. These can help lockdown your blog.
  • Research regularly
    Here’s an old post I wrote on the topic. Try to keep up to date with the trends as they change.

I don’t want to freak you out but I do want you to think more about keeping your blogs, emails and computers safe into 2017.

13. Personal branding will become more important

As we mentioned above, Google+ is on the rise. And something you need to know about Google+ is that it is really about the personal brand of the author. Google wants to make each individual a useful participant in their search engine (and thus the internet).

Taking from this lead, we need to focus more on our personal brands.

Now, this is a really contentious issue for some people. I once got a really sour email from a reader when I talked about personal branding as they thought it was disingenuous and a sign of a sell out. I understand where they come from but, to be honest, also understand that it’s a necessary evil in today’s online world. Personally I think the selling out part is up to each individual. You can choose to be an honest person of integrity and thus make your personal brand a trustworthy one.

In 2017 I think bloggers will need to get their faces out there more. Spend less time building a website and more time building the person behind the website. This increases trust and allows you to create new projects that aren’t locked in to just one stale brand name.

14. Diversification of income will be key

This is another one of those tips that have been around for a while but become more and more relevant with every passing year.

If you start a blog in 2017 you should expect your income streams to change. That can be a really scary thing if you aren’t prepared.

For example, if you rely on Google Adwords from organic search traffic and your blog suddenly get’s pinged in some update you might wind up with zero income for a while. The same goes with an affiliate product that you might be promoting with natural traffic vs paid traffic. That can dry up in an instant.

Try to think about diversifying your income streams so that you aren’t up the creek should one dry up. The best bet is a strong mailing list that you can use to launch your own products and affiliate promotions.

15. Buying blogs will get more popular

Flippa is already killing it. But this year I think they will kill it even more (not sure what that means) because more and more people are going to be buying blogs to skip the initial stages of a blog’s life.

You see, when you first start a blog you have to do a lot of groundwork that takes time. Research, pillar articles, networking, logo creation, social media accounts set up, etc. It is a very time consuming process.

So what I’ve noticed is that a lot of people are skipping all this and buying blogs that are already pretty well established. I saw a four-month-old blog sell for $120,000 the other day.

This is not a bad strategy if you want to get straight in to things and you have a few thousand to spare. There is, however, a LOT to consider before you buy a blog so please do not rush into it. If you’d like to learn more about this idea please leave a comment and I’ll consider doing an article on it.

16. You’ll need to start planning for next year

I’ve always tried to emphasize the idea that you need to have short term and long term projects on the go.

It’s a terrible feeling being a self-employed and realizing that you’ve spent so much time working on a long term project that you have no short term money coming in to pay the bills.

Similarly, it’s an even worse feeling realizing that you spent so much time working on paying the bills that you’ve forgotten to launch those long term projects that are your main source of passion/interest.

So one thing I wanted to tell you about blogging this year is that you really want to start thinking about blogging in the next year. That means planning, researching and developing ideas now instead of later.

Keep working on the short term stuff but make sure your long term stuff still happens.

17. SEO will change (but not really)

Although I get a lot of traffic from Google I am a little bit over SEO. I don’t have the patience required to be any good at all the little things that make a difference.

But something I’ve been noticing is that blogging SEO is changing, but only in some ways. It’s almost like a car in that the design, colors and minor features change each year but the core remains the same. In this case the core is back links and the features are things like freshness, authorship and so on.

The best ranking sites are still the ones with back links. I was going to write “the BEST back links” but decided against it as there are a bunch of blogs in my niche that rank with a huge volume of crappy back links.

back links
A screenshot of a blog in my niche that has around 70,000 back links since July 2013 and is ranking number one for some really competitive terms. Legit?

The key here is to know your limits and know your niche. If you have a niche where the rankings are dominated by fresh results then you need to start working on getting fresh content, and so on. You don’t want to be throwing thousands of dubious links at your main blog if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The major thing to remember here, however, is that we will see more competition for organic links because more and more people are moving away from the old “link building” methods of the past in favor of a “quality content” approach to SEO. To get those back links you’re going to have to get noticed first.

18. Tumblr, Ghost and Medium will teach us things

At the very top of this blog post on the things you need to know to start a blog I mentioned that I still think a self-hosted WordPress blog is the best bet for serious, professional bloggers.

Well, that doesn’t mean that we should totally ignore the other platforms.

I’m not saying that you need to go out and sign up for everything else right now, but I am saying that we should learn a few things from the new kids on the block like Tumblr, Ghost and Medium which are innovative, sexy and coming up with some really big wins.

Take the Tumblr “Follow” button that slides out of the right hand corner as you scroll down the page. That feature is very hard to ignore and has played a big part in Tumblr being so “viral” amongst users of that platform. It has since been copied by a lot of non-Tumblr bloggers who have found it converts quite well.

One of the main lessons I think these new platforms are teaching us is that people want simplicity. Simplicity of design and layout, and simplicity of subscription and updates.

I’m going to be keeping an eye on these types of blogs in 2017 to see what they do to get even bigger. I might even muck around with a few to see if I can adopt any features over here.

19. I, personally, will not be waiting around

This last point is more of a personal goal/ambition for any new blogs that I start this year, as well as the current blogs that I run.

For me, from now on, I’m focusing on putting things out there and not waiting.

I have a tendency to want things to be perfect; launch dates, syncing of projects, image design, article structure, etc. Well, I think that has resulted in a lot of lost opportunities for me because instead of getting things out there I’m mucking around behind the scenes on issues that only I care about.

So, my mantra is going to be something like this:

Don’t spend 95% of your time tweaking the last 5% of your projects. – Click to Tweet this.

I’m sure a lot of people will argue that it is that 5% that makes the difference but I’m not so sure anymore. Be prepared to see a lot more stuff from me this year and expect it to be only half-polished.

Ready to start a blog? Take the quiz.

If you’ve made it this far you’ve probably digested a lot of new information about blogging. Here’s a short quiz that will give you a very basic idea about how ready you are.

start a blog quiz

Start the Blogging Quiz!

If you scored anything over 60% you are doing extremely well and, with a bit of extra study, can really give blogging an exceptionally good shot!

What else do you need to know to start a blog?

I’d really like to know what you guys think about starting (or running) a blog this year. Do you think there will be any big changes? Do you disagree with any of the points I’ve made above?

Comments on this article are now closed.


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102 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Ricky

    Always a pleasure to read your articles. I agree with all these points.

    If you don’t do any SEO, do you outsource it or just do nothing?

    I tried out ghost the other day, it was good but I agree it has a lot of limitations.

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Ricky.

      I don’t do any SEO on this site except for all the on-site stuff and lots of white-hat guest blogging type things. Don’t build links or anything in a paid way.

      Glad you like the articles.

      1. Fiona

        I’m the same, I’ve never paid for links and concentrate on on site SEO and although it takes more time it is now really paying off. I’ve now got over 50 number one positions in Google and my traffic has doubled in the last year.

        I’d rather do that than worry about my site plummeting down the ratings each time Google update their algorithm.

  • Prabhat

    Great post

    On point no. 4, a lot of keyword and competition research leaves you thinking more about ranking and less about writing.

    So i stick with writing with whatever i like and know and i guess ranking will work for itself in the long run.:)

    1. Ramsay

      Yeah I totally agree with you. Sometimes it’s just good to check whether a few keywords are going to make a big difference though, I think. For example, this post could have been “start blogging” instead of “start a blog”.

    2. Patrick M

      I am not so knowledgeable on blogging, having started my first blog last year. I however think that keywords are an important part of your blog. In fact, I made my own 10 commandments on blogging. The first one reads. “Though shall never start a blog post without a keyword in mind.”

      I stand to be corrected.

  • Sonia

    Great post ! Thanks. Personally I see a tendency that is becoming more and more important. Small and medium size bloggers getting to work together on a range of projects. Contests, swap of content, NGO’s and charity actions…

    I can see your point on number 6. but for a lot of us is still a little bit awkward to think that we could be paying for promotion in the near future.

    I also do not do a lot of keyword research, it kills the pleasure of writing. I do try to think in terms of subjects that could be interesting to my readers, that yes…

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Sonia.

      What do you mean by “awkward” in regards to paying for promotion when starting or running a blog?

  • Robin Hammond

    You’ve got my attention & gratitude. Just launched a new chalk enhanced paint line, know I want and need to start a blog and get engaged on my Facebook and website. But dare I say, it’s all a bit scary & daunting. New to you and look forward to figuring out where to even begin.

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Robin.

      Took me ages to figure out what a “chalk enhanced paint line” was. I think I need sleep!

      As for getting started, this might help:

  • Papa

    Great post, I really enjoyed it. Also, Blue Post is the best out there hands down.
    My intention is to begin immediately with my new blog. I want to focus around the service industry more specifically about addiction. It is a huge epidemic in this country and I do not feel that there is enough information out there, real to life information for people to read. As a product of my own demons and at this stage in my life I feel that I have much to offer in this regard. I would just like a little feedback from you about the idea, and perhaps how you would go about laying something like that out online.
    Kindest regards

    1. Ramsay

      There was a story on the news here just yesterday about a lady who has breast cancer started a blog to document the process and how much it had caught on and helped people. I think if it’s personal, but at the same time medically accurate and helpful, it could be of great use to people.

  • Alexandra Petean-Nicola

    Great article. I agree with you mainly on the ideas that SEO is changing but not really. I love the analogy with the car as well. Also the fact that you have a personal goal at the end of the list I hope will encourage all your readers to choose one for their own as well.

    1. Ramsay

      Glad you enjoyed it Alexandra.

  • Vinny Polston

    Hey Ramsay,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this out. I actually just started a blog with the “launch date” of Jan 1st 2014. I couldn’t wait any longer and started a “soft launch”. It’s been a load of fun! You made some really good points in this article. It really does come out to the “last 5%” think you mentioned. I kept prepping and prepping for my launch and was really just putting myself off from starting it. I think it’s most important to just take action, we’ll get better as we do more.

    I’d love to know the blog you talked about in #15 that sold for $120,000 – that’s outstanding! I always love reading about when deals like that happen. It’s articles like that and the one you wrote about selling your blog for 20k that really inspire me when it comes to online income.

    I would love to hear more on #6 about paying for promotion. I know from the company blog I write for that we do Facebook “boost post” and have pretty good results from that. Any further advice for new blogs on this subject? I’m not afraid to spend money on my brand –it’s necessary. But I would like to spend it wisely πŸ™‚

    In regards to #17 – I have tried the whole blasting backlinks method. They will bank for a while and then it will get hit by Google and lose their rankings. Honestly surprised they have lasted that long.. It’s so much better to just focus on making good content that naturally gets shared and backlinks.

    Good stuff Ramsay! Thanks again,
    Vinny Polston

    1. Ramsay

      Hey Vinny.

      Great comment!

      I think I will do a post on the paid promotion thing. Might have to run a few experiments first to see how it goes in a bit more detail.

      As for the the back links – did you ever find that the limited time you got ranking up top was enough to make profit?

      1. Vinny Polston

        Thanks for the reply Ramsay.

        In the end it ended up bringing me a slight profit. I attribute most of the profit to me flipping it after Google brought down it’s hammer πŸ˜›

        In the course of 4 months it brought in just under $2,000. Combine that in addition to the 1k I flipped it for and I grossed about $3,000. Taking out expenses from link building and cheap content it ended up having a net profit of about $1,800.

        It was easy money.. If I could go back and change how I did it, I would have tried to provide better content for the visitors that would hopefully get shared and liked naturally. It was a rank and bank type of scenario that ultimately had an end..

        Thanks again for sharing my blog post on your Twitter!
        -Vinny Polston

  • Adithya Shetty

    Hi Ramsay,
    As always great post, essential guide to consider for starting a new blog! I started my blogging journey on blogger, but self-hosted WordPress is best to start with! WordPress is better than blogger. . .
    And talking about Personal Branding; there is no doubt it works great!

    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for commenting Adithya.

  • Jerry

    Great post as usual!

    I have used many of your ideas on my blog and found them helpful and most have shortened the learning curve quite a bit. The best take away from your post today was your quote about spending to much time tweaking 5% of your projects. I am at fault with that as well and plan on printing out that quote and pasting it to my computer…:)

    Quick question, I love your aweber blog broadcast email template. Can I get a copy of the template? I am not that good at coding and don’t really like any of Aweber’s templates.

    1. Ramsay

      Hey Jerry.

      I would give you a copy of the template except I don’t use one! It’s just a plain text email. It’s not a blog broadcast either, just a broadcast – I send each one individually.

      Does that help?

  • liz@lifedreaming

    Great post as usual Ramsay.

    I’ve saved it so I can spend some time going through it over the holidays when I’m in Oz. I want to take the time to get the Mountain View and create an overarching sale/marketing/social media/blogging strategy for 2014 and 2015.

    Beth Kanter has written some great stuff on Curating content as a blog strategy and I’ll be doing a curation type of post twice a month.

    I want to mix my blogging up a bit in terms of types of content and had a few ideas today that I want to explore next year.

    One thing I’ve done this week is trial Toggl as a time keeping and analysis tool.

    I want to get a clearer sense of how I use my time and focus my attention on a daily basis.

    My plan is to be more conscious of where I focus my efforts and energy each day in all areas of my life.

    I have 2 big dreams for 2014 [grow Life Dreaming and move back to Oz] and they will need daily efforts.

    Quality content that’s well researched will be key.

    Speaking your own voice will be key.

    Get out and ask to guest post (I got a guest post after one of your other readers read my comment on your guest post! Yup – it’s that circular!); leave genuine and interesting comments on Linked In; Google +; FB: Twitter and don’t always mention your products.

    Yup – it takes time and effort so be VERY SURE that you love what you’re doing folks because the view from the trenches can be tiring as well as exciting at times.

    Ramsay, Happy Christmas mate and here’s to a healthy, successful and delightful 2014 for us all.


    1. Ramsay

      Liz you are an absolute legend. Love your comments and all your input over the years. It means a lot.

      I haven’t had a change to dig through LD yet but plan to give it a good go when things slow down a bit over Xmas. I can’t wait to see how well it goes for you.

  • Jeffrey Bunn

    Great post – thanks for sharing! I especially agree with point #13 and your rebuttal. Personal branding is sleazy if you try to be someone you’re not – people will notice that you’re not being genuine. Be yourself, put it all out there, and you’ll resonate with readers without ‘selling out’.

    1. Ramsay

      I really hope that’s the case, Jeffery. There are a lot of honest bloggers out there who aren’t marketing themselves for any bad reasons.

  • Scott Kindred | SafeHouse Web

    Thank you for this, Ramsay. Perfect timing for it here; I have shared this with my newest website & blogging client.

    #11: Have you got any citations or a place where you first learned about this?

    1. Ramsay

      I think it was perhaps this article from Sydney about a study of 220,000 Australian residents who sat still for long periods. There have been a few follow up studies since that freaked me out, especially because it says exercise doesn’t undo all the bad blogging vibes!

      1. Scott Kindred | SafeHouse Web

        Ha! Thanks for digging up the citation πŸ™‚

  • Doug Wojtczak

    Great article as always Ramsay!

    Numbers 2, 3 and 6 are areas that I have neglected over the years and I am sure that it has greatly limited my success.

    Those three are going to have my focus in the upcoming new year.

    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Doug. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope 2014 goes well for you.

  • C Paris


    Great post, do you have more advice on paid advertising spend for blogs? I have a blog getting decent traffic however I would like to expedite that a bit with a bit of paid advertising. I’ve ventured a bit into facebook ads but am looking for other channels to promote as well. Any advice would be appreciated so I can expand my readership.

    1. Ramsay

      Facebook ads has converted really well for one of my clients. Very cheap and well targeted. Glen from Viperchill has a great article about it somewhere.

      You can also use Paid Discovery by StumbleUpon quite cheaply. I haven’t had amazing results though.

      The other option is BlogAds. It involves a lot less work and less analytics so can be a bit simpler.

      I think I’m going to do a post on it all.

      1. C Paris

        I think doing a post on paid ad spend would be killer, I know a lot of blog owners out there like myself who have the budget and have experimented some but just not seeing great results. I’ve used SU paid discovery, and while relatively cheap, I find that most of the traffic doesn’t convert into subscribers or return visitors.

        Regarding BSA, I monetize my site with BSA, the site gets around 50k impressions per month, advertising on there I’ve found not to be economical for a blog as the CTR’s are so low, but definitely good for ecommerce sites.

        1. Ramsay

          Alright, I’ll look into doing a post I think. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Juanma

    Congratulations! A very interesting post. I am agree with almost everything you say. Only could add, that more beauty shall be required in internet. Most of the blogs are without design, and maybe it could be the Play for artists. Thanks

    1. Ramsay

      Very true. Design is a really important part of displaying content well.

      Thanks Juanma.

  • Matthew Setter

    Hi Ramsay,

    thanks for all the pointers. It’s funny you mention planning for 2015 already, I’m only just now heavily in planning for 2014. But hey, that’s worked well for me so far, a bit more planning sounds like a good idea. Your point about personal branding is also really reassuring. That’s one of the aspects I’m getting ready for next year.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Matthew. Hope you have a good one in 2014!

  • Alex

    Hey Ramsay,

    I’ve been blogging since July 2013. Your article excites me and terrifies me at the same time! Part of the whole marketing world changing due to the blogging, “work from the internet” world- is that it’s just THAT viral, and THAT fast!

    I’ve been brainstorming many great ideas to have my web presence blow up in 2014. I invested in a MacBook and I will be recording lots of videos with easier editing than my pc ever gave me. I love what you said about how things will only be getting more visual.

    My website is ready for a 2014, SEO ready, back-link equipped, makeover! Ran by a blogger (who will make sure she exercises!) Grateful I found this blog, I will be following you and poking around for more info!

    1. Ramsay

      Sounds like you are ready to go, Alex!

  • Melissa Wilson

    A great post, Ramsay, and great timing for me. I just went live with a coming soon page for my first website and blog that I plan to launch early next year. It’s great to read what your thoughts are on the future of blogging. I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of what you talk about in #19. I had planned to have my coming soon page up in October, but I was focusing on too many little things and got hung up. Now my challenge will be to not have the same thing happen with the main site.

    I was wondering what your thoughts are on wordpress themes. I don’t want to get hung up on picking one, but I was wondering if you would recommend going with a free one or a premium one to start? And if you recommend a premium one, do you have a favorite site to get them from? I’ve read that free themes aren’t really a good way to go because you don’t get updates or support and they can contain malicious code, so I was just wondering what your experience is with themes. Thanks so much!


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Melissa. If you can wait a little while I’ll be able to answer your WordPress theme question in a big way. πŸ˜‰

      1. Melissa Wilson

        Ok, I’ll hang tight. Looking forward to your thoughts on it!

  • Tom

    Great article, Ramsay. I have a question about adding visual content. You say that it’s a good idea to belong to a stock photo site that has an attribution license. It seems like that’s how all of the stock photo sites are nowadays.

    Do you know of any stock photo sites that will let you license photos without making you add a credit to the name of the stock photo site and the contributor?

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Tom.

      Nope, can’t think of a single one… πŸ™

  • Greg Strandberg

    Good stuff!

    I’d encourage people not to worry too much about what hosting program you’re using to power your site, so long as you’re paying for it.

    I think I can confidently say that 100% of the blogs I read are because of their content and not their backer, and I don’t think I’ve ever clicked ‘back’ because of what was by the copyright. Many do annoy me, however.

    1. Ramsay

      Can have a big impact on things like load time, etc. though wouldn’t you agree?

      1. Greg Strandberg

        Fractions of seconds? Not a huge concern to most people. Mobile users will never get over their impatience either.

        I guess it really comes down to which model people are most comfortable with, and which they get stuck paying for over a year or more. And then many get stuck.

        It’s not real appetizing to see those archives on the sidebar go from a year to a month if you make a switch, and I think many are afraid to see those go away.

        1. Ramsay

          Hi Greg.

          In regards to the fractions of seconds; it actually makes a huge difference. Studies by Amazon, Yahoo and a bunch of others have showed that increments of as small as 0.2 of a second can decrease sales by up to 7%.

          Also, it has a big impact on how well you rank on Google – slow sites don’t provide a good user experience for Google’s customers.

          I agree with you for the most part though. Thanks for commenting.

  • Balazs Hende

    Hi Ramsay,

    it’s a great article. I always try to stand up for a while and move a little in every hour during working on computer. It’s difficult sometimes to keep it in mind but we have to take care about our health.

    Thanks for sharing this article!

    1. Ramsay

      Great to hear!

  • Shenandoah Kepler

    Your article is great, and I hope new and old bloggers will make a list of your recommendations/trends to think about and act upon as they are able. I have been blogging for only about 15 months, but so much of what you say can save others from the mistakes I and others have made. (1) I chose to get into blogging, and am now paying $13 or so each year to maintain the old connects from to — not a lot of $ but annoying. (2) learned from reading my favorite blogs of those who were hacked and bought a monthly subscription to BlogVault to work automatically in the background to back up site and restore it if necessary.

    I will be publishing my first eBook very soon and giving the book away to my subscribers. I have been trying to develop ways to garner income, but I haven’t had any success yet, except to Tweet for sponsors. I have recently added pages for advertizers and guest bloggers, so hope that helps. I plan to get to know more bloggers and network with them on social sites and by guest blogging myself. But thanks for all the great advice – I will be checking off some of this article’s items as the 2013 comes to a close. Best to you in the New Year!

    1. Ramsay

      Awesome! Sounds like you’re doing really well Shenandoah!

  • MIchael Kawula

    Great post Ramsey and new to your blog, thus maybe you’ve written on this before. In one of the responses you said:

    I don’t do any SEO on this site except for all the on-site stuff and lots of white-hat guest blogging type things. Don’t build links or anything in a paid way.

    Can you clarify?

    Look forward to following future post ~ Mike

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Mike.

      What part would you like me to clarify?

      Basically I meant that I do do any paid link building for Blog Tyrant – all the SEO benefits I get are from on-site tweaks and just promoting my writing.

      1. MIchael Kawula

        Thanks Ramsey and was just wondering if you don anything different on site. I use all-in-one-seo vs. Yoast and was wondering if I should be doing anything else.

        Loved the post. Mike

        1. Ramsay

          The main thing I’d recommend at the moment is just being active on Google+. The rest of SEO is a bit complicated and murky at the moment, IMHO.

  • Tapiwa Mapani

    A very informative and well writen post!

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Ramsay

      Not sure if spam.

  • Andrea

    Hey Ramsay,
    I think you are on point with your predictions – especially about the need for visual content and a bigger focus on Google+. I’d like to add a suggestion to your personal mantra for 2014: “Don’t spend 95% of your time tweaking the last 5% of your projects.” First of all, so true! You will miss opportunities if you spend too much time perfecting and tweaking and not enough time just putting things out there! For me (and one of the biggest things I stress to other bloggers), content planning is key. If you sit down and prepare your posts ahead of time, you’ll have more time to spend on actually writing,editing, and tweaking rather than spending time every week thinking up a post idea and then writing it. I have a great system for creating and managing content calendars if you or anyone in you community would like to check it out ( I really enjoyed reading your post!

    1. Ramsay

      Andrea that is really cool! Thank you for sharing. I’ll check it out.

      1. Andrea Goulet Ford

        Awesome. πŸ™‚ Also, if you want a complimentary class for you to review or a promo code to share with your community, just let me know. My passion is getting the word out there and helping other people get over their blogging inertia!

  • Steve Rendell

    Hey Ramsey, an excellent post – pretty much agree with you on all items!

    The long article/content is definitely one that I have been trying out – does mean though that the amount of articles posted is much much less, as it takes quite a while to write out 6000 words of decent content.

    That said I’d rather have only 5 killer articles on my site, instead of 100 short and quickly written ones.

    I also love the fact that someone other than myself has picked up on the images. I always use fiverr and pay an illustrator 5 bucks for maybe 5 images to illustrate my blog posts. It not only gives a far more unique look – you know that people will subconsciously understand that the article they have just read is of higher quality than most.

    Will definitely subscribe to your blog to keep up to date with what you’re posting!

    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Steve. Just make sure those Fiverr guys are using images that they are allowed to use.

  • Shoplet Promos

    Great post, I’m trying to optimize my blog, and some of the point will be very helpful.
    Thank you

    1. Ramsay

      Hope it helps.

  • David Black

    Well I enjoyed that – until I got to the bit “sitting still can lead to early death as well as a whole host of bad diseases”
    As if this blogging wasn’t hard enough without finding out I’m going to an early grave if I keep typing.
    Happy Christmas!!

    1. Ramsay

      Ha ha! I know how you feel. Nothing a few quick star jumps every half hour can’t fix!

  • Kristal Alley

    I’m trying to renew/revive/pick up from the trash heap the blog associated with my consulting business. I get stuck in the ‘5%’ too often…

    A question on combining a business webpage with a blog: I have a hosted wordpress website for my consulting business and I use one of the tabs for my blog related to the focus of the consulting. Do you think it’s best to combine the site like I do now – or start a separate site just for the blog?

    1. Ramsay

      I think the blog is always best integrated with your site as it helps to build traffic and links to that site.

  • Josh


    I stumbled onto this site from good ol’ Copyblogger. Lots of good stuff you got going on here. Think I might stick around for a bit.

    I just started posting longer form content to my blogs. Just today I posted my longest post which was over 1100 words. That is paltry compared to some of the bigger guys, but it’s a start.

    I suck at Google +. I have no clue what I’m doing. I want to get involved with it more, but don’t know much about it. I have an account–with no circles. So, that will be up there on my list of things to get done asap.

    Thanks for the goodies,


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Josh!

      Glad you made your way over.

      Google+ is really complicated. Stick at it. I think the benefits are going to be big.

  • Shawn Gossman

    Great post, Ramsay. πŸ™‚ I agree with all of your points. I especially need to focus on visual art sides of my blogging. I use images here and there but I need to integrate them better into the blog. I also need to start taking them myself as I have a several thousand dollar Nikon SLR sitting around not being used. Thanks for writing this for us.

    P.s. This is another one of your post titles that caught my eye. You should make a course teaching others how to write eye catching titles! Per, I hate Copyblogger post!

    1. Ramsay

      Thanks so much for your kind comment over on CB today. I even Tweeted about it!

      1. Shawn Gossman

        I saw that – thanks for that! πŸ™‚ It was a great post though and it lead me to this cool blog!

        1. Ramsay

          Ha ha. Awesome. Got to start blogging a bit more over there this year.

  • TJ

    My favorite part about this post is that even though your expertise is blogging, you present your information from the “whole person” perspective.
    I love that you added health, interconnections and security among your points. In reality it would be pretty hard to have any sort of blog without these three very important things.
    I am equally looking forward to what happens as you embrace your new mantra. Your beautiful quote resonates such an important truth – how painful that last 5% can be and how hung up creative people can be over it.
    Here’s wishing you a healthy and wonder-filled 2014 Ramsay… tj

    1. Ramsay

      Hey TJ!

      Long time no see.

      The “whole person” is a good way to describe what we do, I think. After a while you start to realize that if you don’t look after yourself you are less effective, efficient and bothered with it all.

      Have a great Xmas!

  • Greg


    Been a while. This is a top notch list bud; you managed to squeeze value into each point.

    I’m worried about the excess sitting now (though I prolly new this all along) – what steps are you taking?

    Hope those big doggies drop by and comment!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Greg.

      Get a timer on your laptop and just set it for 25 minutes or something. When it goes off just stand up and do some star jumps, pushups, etc.

      Or, keep a big bottle of water on your desk and every time you get up to go to the toilet do the same.

      You can also try standing up to work – kitchen counter for 20 minutes, etc.

    2. Shawn Gossman

      I’m a cyclist! I try to ride my bike outside as much as I can throughout the week. If its too cold or wet, I put the bike on the trainer and do 20-minute high-intense spinning workouts (lot’s of free videos for it on YouTube). Biking is a wonderful fitness tactic… You burn calories fast, exercise the parts that mean the most and you kill stress and junk that is giving you that horrid ‘blogger’s block’ plus, its fun and makes you feel like a kid again! πŸ˜€

  • Azni

    Hey Ramsay,

    This is really a fantastic post. As a new joiner in the industry, never have I ever thought I would learn so much in one comprehensive post. I feel so overwhelm and feels like I am so behind!

    I love point #2 and #5. I personally likes to see vibrant images and read long informative post, but find it very hard to do it myself.

    But, whatever it is, thank you very much for the knowledge you’ve shared. I think most people who visit this post benefiting this some way or another.

    Keep it up the good work!

    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Azni! Glad that you decided to start a blog and join us!

  • Stan Eigi

    I think that Blogging in 2014 will be a major source of information and a huge part of marketing (not that it wasn’t already). With what you’ve said it’s pretty obvious that blogging will only gain more and more popularity. Every organization with at least a flicker of self-respect has its own blog, so small wonder blogging is such a “virulent” phenomenon. It’s a great post, very informative and it might an amazing tutorial for beginners in blogging.

    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Stan.

      Totally agree. If they haven’t started a blog yet they really should.

  • Yanira Gutierrez

    useful article, thanks for the update of what may occur in 2014 πŸ™‚

  • adam

    thank u so much Ramsay for this helpful information ,
    i think the mailing list it’s so important for all blogger
    thank u again

  • Tiffany

    Wow! This is SO much to think about for 2014. I definitely have some goals for my blog that are in line with what you’re talking about – probably increasing the visual aspects which go hand in hand with branding, more photographs and increasing the output of my video episodes will be a big focus. I also am planning to write an e-book in my first efforts to get some kind of monetization going… in time.

    One thing I struggle with has to do with your idea of building relationships. I’m fantasmo at creating relationships with real people in “real” life, but I really struggle with how to find online blogging communities with which to get involved. I’ve been most drawn to “coaching/self-help” type circles, but the problem is, what I’M saying is kind of the sarcastic/nay-sayer/life coaches are missing the boat voice – which doesn’t go well with the whoo whoo positive thinking crowd!

    I’d love to see a blog about how to find other bloggers/online communities for more edgy/less mainstream content!

    Thanks for another lovely post!

    1. Ramsay

      That’s a really good idea for a blog post Tiffany. Thanks for that. I reckon I’ll try and get on to it soon.

      1. Tiffany

        Wow! Fantastic! I loo forward to reading your ideas for sure.

        Thanks Ramsey!

  • Angelina

    I agree with all of your points. I especially need to focus on visual art sides of my blogging. I use images here and there but I need to integrate them better into the blog. I also need to start taking them myself as I have a several thousand dollar Nikon SLR sitting around not being used. Thanks for writing this for us.
    P.s. This is another one of your post titles that caught my eye. You should make a course teaching others how to write eye catching titles.Thanks…!!

    1. Ramsay

      Get on to that SLR! Perfect.

  • Yasmin Chopin Interior Design

    Interesting long-ish post which I began to speed-read after point 10. Something about that number – you sort of think it should end there. So, my contribution to your excellent content would be ….make numbered lists because it helps the reader stay engaged to the end, but stop at 10.

    I never knew that people sold blogs – now there’s a niche for the future. Start writing them now for 2015 eh?

    Thanks for your post, I enjoyed it.

    1. Ramsay

      Hey Yasmin.

      Glad you enjoyed it. But stopping at 10…? Come on. All the best bits are down there. πŸ˜‰

  • Matthew Kaboomis Loomis

    Lots of great points to consider in 2014. Thanks for sharing Ramsay and count me in as someone who would like to see you write about the topic of “buying a blog.”

    I also have a question about outsourcing… When is it okay for someone running multiple blogs to outsource article writing? Do you simply edit the content to match your voice? Curious if you do this at all or not?

    1. Ramsay

      Hey Matt.

      Hope your blogging for 2014 is going well so far. So many people seem to be about to start a blog.

      With the editing/outsourcing, some blogs don’t need that as they are so general. If it’s a one man show (like this blog) I don’t outsource any content at all. If you wanted to, however, you could look at getting someone to do the research, image gathering, etc.

  • Vicky Xu

    “A self-hosted WordPress blog is still your best bet.”

    I’ve used blogger during first years in blogging. Now I am using wordpress and I am loving it.

  • Lewis LaLanne

    #3 on the list caught my attention Ramsay.

    I love using images but I hate being concerned about them slowing my load time on my site down. After doing things wrong for a long time, I now optimize my images but I’m yearning for the day when the net gets so efficient that I don’t need to worry about something like images increasing my bounce rates due to slower load times.

    Maybe 2014 will bring this innovation to the web!

    Good luck on putting an end to mucking around and pulling the trigger faster on more your ideas! Remember to always test small, never bet the farm, and make your concepts prove themselves with small wins before shoving major time and money at them. πŸ™‚

  • bry

    I’ve been blogging for 3 months now and I use blogger platform, If I only know that WordPress is much better.
    Thanks for your inspiring article.

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