Are You Really Ready to Start a Blog in 2016? Take the Quiz.

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start a blog 2016

Last Updated September 30th, 2016.

For the last two years I’ve written prediction posts about what you’ll need to know before starting a blog. These have been really popular and helped a lot of new bloggers kick off their careers. This year I’m doing something a bit different.

You see, not everyone is ready to start a new blog. The truth is that starting a blog and running it in a professional and sustainable way is a lot of work.

So, to kick off 2016 I’m going to show you a few things that will help you determine whether or not you are ready to start a blog or whether you’ve still got some preparations to do.

Let’s do it.

Ready to start a blog in 2016? Take this quiz first.

I’ve teamed up with my buddies over at Lifestyle Updated to develop a short quiz that will determine how prepared you are for starting a blogging related business this year.

Take the quiz, see what score you get, then come back here and keep reading below for tips on how to improve.


How did you go? Leave a comment at the end of the post and let me know your score!

If you get less than around 70% then I’d suggest that we have a little bit of work to do. But that’s okay – this is intended to reach beginners. Read the information below to figure out how you can fill in the missing pieces.

What do you need to know to start a blog in 2016?

So what’s the motivation for this post?

Well, recently my friend Glen mentioned that too many bloggers talk about earnings and fancy lifestyles and never go into the realistic aspects of what it takes to run a successful and beneficial blogging business.

And while I do always try to be realistic about what it takes, I decided to focus on making sure new bloggers in 2016 get the full picture and have enough information and resources to look at if they feel like they’re lacking in some areas.

1. Do you really want to work for yourself on the Internet?

People who work for themselves often paint it as a fantastic lifestyle filled with freedom and days off at the beach. And while it is true that you have more flexibility, you’re also responsible for a lot of other more negative aspects.

When you work as an employee you generally don’t have to worry about complicated taxes, working late nights when deadlines or problems pop up, hiring and firing staff, and dealing with money worries when the business takes a downturn. That stuff is often taken care of.

Running a blogging business is not just about writing articles and posting them to social media. It’s a real-world business that has a lot of side issues that you’ll need to take care of.

2. Can you actually write?

This is a really hard one to point out and it’s something that those luckily enough to have had some success probably don’t do as regularly as possible. You see, not everyone has the writing skills needed to run a successful blog.

Please don’t think that this means that you can’t improve. We all get better at things that we practice. But if you’re planning on trying to make money blogging then you’ll need to be able to write.

Every week I get emails from someone who is asking me how to make money quickly (like a few weeks) and my heart just breaks at their grasp of English. For non-native English speakers I can imagine this would be really difficult.

But all hope is not lost!

  • Set up a free blog and practice
    Before you go and get all professional you might want to start a free blog and just practice for six months. Write as much as you can and get feedback.
  • Get help from an editor
    There are lots of great editors out there who can help you polish your writing to a point where you might be able to write out articles in less than perfect English and publish anyway.
  • Write a blog in your native language
    A lot of bloggers want to write in English because there is a bigger market. But it might be a good idea to start in your own language and see whether the results are better.

I really don’t mean to discourage anyone from starting a blog and building a career, but it’s very important to try and be honest about our limitations. Someone who has only a few years of writing English is going to find it a lot harder to write long form content than someone who has grown up writing and communicating with it.

3. Are you prepared to pay for setup and ongoing costs?

At least a few times every week I get an email from someone who wants to find out how to get a free domain name, free hosting or a free plugin or service.

Unfortunately business doesn’t work like that.

Successful blogging doesn’t either.

As I always say, the best thing you can do is start your blog with your own host and domain name that you own, control and have unlimited access to. Free hosted setups do not give you the flexibility you need, and can severely limit you in many aspects.

Of course, we should always try to minimize our expenses, and if you can get free things that is always good. But it can also be a really big limitation if you refuse to pay for anything. It will set your progress back immensely.

A small business IRL (in real life) pays for rent, equipment, stock, staff, insurance, accounting, etc. Here on the web we have less of these expenses but you still really need to spend money on things like servers, mailing list hosting, accounting, premium plugins or themes, security, coding, etc. – it’s still a lot less than the real life alternative.

If you want to start a blog in order to make money this year then you need to be prepared to pay for a few things. You can stagger this approach but please don’t expect it to be free forever.

It’s also important to note that these days it’s a huge bonus if you are willing to pay for promotion. Facebook, for example, is largely a “pay to play” platform these days and the blogs and blogging businesses that spend money on advertising are usually the ones that see success come a lot quicker. This is my favorite guide on the Internet for how to get started with Facebook advertising.

4. Do you have the time to commit to blogging?

If you look at my guide on how to start a blog I talk a little bit about how long it took me to transition into a full-time blogging capacity. It’s a lot of work that can take careful planning.

But at the same time, I still recommend blogging as a way stay at home moms can make money if they’re looking to do some part time work. And I believe that as well.

Blogging does take a lot of time and often you progress is linked to how much time you can devote to the craft. If you’re trying to blog while raising kids that might make it a bit more challenging.

Here’s a quick graphic I made to show you what I feel are the most important aspects to consider”

successful blogging formula

The main thing I want to emphasize is that it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes time and dedication and we need to set our expectations to “marathon” instead of “sprint”.

5. Will this be your only source of income?

When I first started my blogging business I worked in a gym cleaning toilets to pay the bills.

This was a fantastic experience that I really treasure. It taught me to be humble, and the hours were from 6am til 10am so I could come home after that and work on my own projects.

If you’re ready to start a blog please don’t quit your day job straight away with the expectation of instant riches – especially if you have kids, debts or other commitments that you need to take care of.

It’s a much smarter idea to gradually build up your blogging and online income until it is proven and stable before you make the decision to quit your IRL job. And that decision shouldn’t be taken lightly – make sure you talk to your husband or wife first and make sure everyone is on board.

6. Have you figured out how to differentiate your blog from others?

One of the most important things you can do if you want to start and build a successful blog is figure out how to differentiate it from other blogs in your niche.

Unfortunately a lot of new bloggers see successful bloggers doing their thing and just want to emulate that success by copying what they do.

For example, since Blog Tyrant became popular there have been quite a few Blog [insert different type of dictator name] popping up around the place. This doesn’t bother me, but it really reduces the chances of success for that person, which is a little bit sad.

At a very minimum you should figure out how to make your brand stand out by having a differentiated logo, color scheme and angle at which you attack the content. If you want to learn more about this I highly recommend you read How Brands Grow (non aff) to see how some of the most successful companies have done it.

7. How much do you know about SEO and inbound marketing?

These days SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and inbound are two wings of the same bird.

And, lucky for us, you don’t need to be an expert to get started – we can learn as we go. I have a beginner’s guide to SEO that you can read, and then a big load of tips in this piece about reaching 100,000 visitors per month.

Think of it all like this: produce amazing content and people will share it. The more people share it the higher Google will rank you.Tweet this.

That’s basically it.

However, I did put a little bit of a trick in the quiz about this because backlinks are still the number one most important thing for good rankings. The only difference is how we go about getting them – with naturally useful content that people want to link to.

So our role as bloggers is to write the most amazingly helpful, brilliantly problem-solving content that we can possibly manage. And even more than that, we should focus on writing on other people’s blogs more than our own. The more gigs you get off-site the more new faces you’ll get in front of.

8. Do you have experience with WordPress?

I always recommend starting a WordPress blog over and above every other type of blogging platform. It’s the most popular blogging software in the world and comes with hundreds of thousands free and open source plugins and themes.

It is extremely simple to use and publishing a blog post isn’t much harder than sending an email. But, that being said, there are a few extra features that you’ll want to learn about if you want to get the most out of the platform.

  • Know how to secure it
    Securing your website is an ongoing struggle that, unfortunately, every blogger needs to think about. There’s plugins that lock things up, but you still need to take extra precautions like having a complex username and password, using secure connections and so on. Most importantly – take regular backups.
  • Know how to find good plugins and themes
    At a bare minimum we should know how to find good plugins and themes. That means not downloading anything that isn’t regularly updated and patched for security, and making sure you look at reviews to see how it might interact with your site.
  • Know how to get help
    Lastly, as a beginner, you’ll need to know where to turn when something goes wrong. First point of call is usually the WordPress Forums, but then hitting up your server support or a WordPress expert can often become necessary.

One of the best things you can do in regards to WordPress is find someone else to outsource a lot of the tasks to. It is such a comprehensive platform that, if you try, you could spend your whole life trying to learn. Just focus on the important tasks and then find someone else to do the coding and updating type of jobs that you struggle with.

9. Are you active on social media?

A lot of bloggers think that if you start a blog you also need to be active on Facebook, instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and every other social network ever invented.

Well, actually, that might just be a huge waste of time.

If you take a look at the majority of the world’s most successful bloggers you’ll notice that they spend very little time on social network sites. Instead they are writing content, taking photos, developing tools, producing podcasts and generally just making as much beneficial content as possible.

Sure, there are a few people who hit it big posting on instagram and develop a following from there, but for the most part that forms part of an overall strategy that then leads people back to a mailing list.

10. Have you started your mailing list?

If you want to have a successful blog you need a successful and healthy mailing list.

I am absolutely convinced that it’s the best way.

And if I could give beginners one piece of advice it would be to not wait to start growing your mailing list. Have it set up and ready to go on day one.

A lot of newcomers think that you need to have a lot of content on a blog before you can start promoting it to the big wide world. It’s a mistake. You should start your blog with one or two incredible pieces of content and a mailing list coupled with a free giveaway “bribe”. Billy Murphy did one post called How to Buy a Ferrari for $20k and got 760 subscribers within a week.

One strategy for doing this effectively is to spend a week writing out an eBook or eCourse that is based around one particular aspect of your niche. You then focus your first few blog posts around elements of that free giveaway.

For example, lets say you write an eBook called How to Do a Handstand in One Week you could then published long form articles on micro-topics like The Complete History of Handstands or 21 of the Most Dangerous Handstands You’ve Ever Seen.

This type of blogging strategy works extremely well because you are always “teasing” people about the free eBook that you are giving away. This way they sign up for your mailing list at the same time as getting a huge curiosity filled.

A final positive word from someone who does it

After I finished writing this post I realized that it might come across as a bit of a downer. I really don’t want that. I want you to feel inspired, but to also acknowledge what’s realistic.

I’ve been lucky enough to make a comfortable living from my blogging company for many years now. I have friends who are doing the same. It’s allowed me to travel the world, work from a home office and, most importantly, donate to a few charities that I believe are worth supporting.

But it’s been hard.

There have been times where I’ve had to go to my mother’s house for dinner because I couldn’t afford food. There’s been times where I’ve been so stressed that I wondered whether it was worth the hassle.

In the end, however, I feel like it’s worth it because all the stress is for my own asset. I’m building a business where I control our vision and goals. I can donate the money to good causes if I work hard enough. That kind of thought process really makes the whole thing worth while for me.

So I encourage you to have hope and inspiration, but to also not beat yourself up when it doesn’t get instant results. Sometimes these things take time. And they always take a lot of hard work.

Got tips for people starting a blog this year?

The Blog Tyrant community is full of people who are making a living through blogging. It’s wonderful to see so many people who are not only doing what they want for work, but are also helping others by running truly useful websites. So, what advice would you give to any newcomers to the blogging world?

Please leave a comment below and let us know. It might really help someone who is just getting started.

Ramsay from Blog Tyrant


Hi, I'm Ramsay. If you enjoyed this post you might like to check out:

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

  • Slavko Desik

    Love the article buddy 🙂 A really honest observation of what it’s like to do this thing full time.

    My partner and I have been running a successful site for almost 4 years now, out of which the entire first year was zero traffic and zero revenue. Piling up the effort, it exploded with success after 15 months or so. Ever since, we’ve both been living off of passive income.

    But not everything is perfect. Whereas other jobs give you a schedule and a deadline, here you have to set things up by yourself. Which can sometimes be hard, considering that you always need to be ahead of yourself, planning every piece of the puzzle. But guess what- with enough practice, it becomes a piece of cake, and a valuable skill that will enable you to try your hand at entrepreneurial projects as well.

    As for writing? Practice, my fellow aspiring bloggers. It outranks other methods nine ways to Sunday. I’m not an English speaking native, and I don’t even live in an English speaking country. Yet somehow, the cumulative power of all the practice so far enabled me to write top-notch copy, and even release an informational product of my own. Practice, and that’s pretty much it.

    Another tip- as soon as you can afford it, start outsourcing. It will allow you to scale projects dramatically.

    Having a blog, you have an invaluable asset. One that can morph into many opportunities along the way. At the end of the day, you can sell it and use your knowledge to start another (what Ramsay did at the beginning with his fitness blog which sold in the mid 5 figures mark after only a year or so, if I remember correctly).

    Really love the article, I hope more and more people will come and join the comment section. C’mon guys, bloggers who are just starting need to hear some stories.

    1. Ramsay

      It’s been really cool seeing your progress over the years mate. You seem like one of the good guys and I hope it keeps going well and your blog keeps helping people. Thanks for being an active part of this community.

  • Jack | @The_Saunatarian

    Hi Ramsay. Thanks for the tips. I just started a blog. Not to make money, but to start a revolution. If you wanna take a quick look and offer one or two tips for how to make the site more grab-o-genic, I’ll be happy to hear it. Bear in mind it’s all DIY and only 3 weeks old.

    I’ve enjoyed your posts, esp. the 41 mailing list tips.


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Jack.

      My first suggestion would be to simplify your homepage. It’s quite long and difficult to see what the main thesis of the website is within a few seconds. Try to make that image/header area more of a call to action to a mailing list or primary piece of content.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Jack | @The_Saunatarian

        Thanks Ramsay, great feedback. Was thinking that already, will go ahead and rework the page now.


  • CC

    Well, Hello!
    There you are! And not surprising you’ve been silent, looks like you’ve been a little busy… Neat trick dressing up your marketing survey as a Cosmo Quiz 😉

    (60% by the way, but I’m the kinda girl who if I wait until I’m fully prepared, it might never happen, so I fly by the seat of my pants. A lot.)

    I’m not 100% sure that non-native English speakers have a disadvantage – unless their blog is heavily text based. Like this one. I used to religiously follow a Swedish girl who had a blog in the true sense (online diary) ALL in Swedish. I’d drool over her amazingly chic nordic life, all told in pictures and some rather crap Google Translate-d captions.

    In a way I’m thankful my blog makes no money. Its not that I haven’t monetised it. You know, why not right? It just isn’t a $$ generator. But it takes the pressure off a little, doing it for the fun of it, just to learn a new skill, help a few people maybe, give myself an outlet for voicing my opinions even if no one listens.

    I’m trying to get Mr CC to also start a blog. He is a mad keen cyclist who geeks out over all the technical stuff. But he is TOO precise. He has to know something inside out before he starts. He’s not allowed on Blog Tyrant (sorry). He would be an amazing reader, but he would get bogged down and never graduate to the actual writing.

    Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and take the leap.

    (And sometimes know when to shut up and get back to writing your own blogpost instead of getting distracted on here.) *Takes own advice*

    1. Ramsay

      Disallowing your husband access to my site: not sure if I’m impressed or upset! 🙂

  • Chris


    My tip for people who are new and SERIOUS about blogging? Don’t be cheap! I see so many people trying to “save money” by doing technical stuff themselves when they aren’t technical at all. So, they spend 8 hours on something that would take a pro a few minutes to do. Spend your time on writing content and creating products, not on trying to save a buck.

    My second tip…Don’t be cheap! (Sound familiar) Yes, you could find the cheapest web host or email list service and then have problems with your site’s uptime or deal with the limitations of the free/cheap email list services. When it comes to using online services, you’re paying for usage, support, and features.

    Spent money to save time and spend money to build a serious business. Don’t spend three months doing tech work or creating work-arounds to save money.

    1. Ramsay

      Agree with this so much. I often feel a bit weird about giving that advice because I make money promoting some of those services, but it really makes such a difference.

      Last week I had an email from someone who was asking how to get a domain name and web host for free and I felt really sad for them. Often it’s not because they are cheap, it’s because they’re in a country where the currency is so inflated that a web host is more like a month’s salary. That’s a tough one to solve…

    2. Ramona

      Don’t be cheap on web hosting, but don’t spend a lot either. Let’s be serious, a starting blog doesn’t need a dedicated server or an expensive host. I’ve been doing business with Hostgator for instance for 10 years now and it’s still a great fit. Same for bluehost, although I’ve not been impressed with their security or support in this matter.

      The main idea is to get a SMALL shared account (do look for cpanel hosting) and start fro there. Pay 4-5 bucks/month, no need to pay hundreds until you really have to.

      I know people who have spent thousands of bucks on dedicated servers (so that they don’t seem cheap) on sites that had maybe 100 visitors/day. If you are setting your wordpress properly, you can get 10 times this much and still enjoy the perks of an inexpensive shared account.

      Afterwards you can probably afford few more bucks for a better plan.

      Main idea: pay as you go -start on the smallest account, make sure you optimize your wordpress (so that it doesn’t use up useless resources) and build up. You can always upgrade accounts, hosts do this seamlessly, so you don’t lose traffic or anything, just pay more when you REALLY have to pay more.

      1. Ramsay

        What happened with BlueHost to give you that impression? I’ve always found them to be very proactive with security.

  • Mr. Byu

    Hey Ramsay, I’ve just started to read your blog and I really must say that you are providing some killer information. It’s cool that everything you tell is simple and straightforward and you don’t have tons of confusing posts, videos, courses, etc on the same subject.

    I am planning to kick off my idea this year, and thanks to you, something that seemed out of my reach before now suddenly seems completely doable.

    What is your opinion on online courses (like Are they really superior to the standard “sell an eBook” approach? What will be the best ways of providing and selling content in 2016? To tell the truth, I feel much more comfortable about writing a killer, old fashioned eBook than creating a teachable course, but I’m not sure… I wouldn’t want to leave the new doors opened by the technology unused. Could you share your opinion on the matter, please? I would appreciate it.

    1. Chris

      From what I’ve learned – it depends. Membership sites are the current craze. However, the content can be created in an ebook or as text behind a login screen. I’ve found it depends on the market. Some topics demand video while others could easily be text based.

      1. Mr. Byu

        That sounds reasonable, thank you for your feedback.

        1. Slavko Desik

          Chris is right, membership sites are slowly becoming the norm in some industries. Take fitness for example. It is harder to sell a product when you have sites like DailyBurn or FitnessGlo.

          And though video is a great content delivery format, I’ll go a step further and say that interactive multimedia is the way to go. This includes graphics, some video excerpts, as well as text and multiple choice answers which the user can click. Combined together, it can be a very enticing deal.

          But like any other content- whatever you end up creating, make the core of high quality, and you can later change the content delivery format (say e-book into a video course, or vice versa).

    2. Ramsay

      What everyone has said here is correct. That being said, in the past I’ve been more excited by a plain text piece of information that absolutely blows me away with a new idea. Play to your strengths. If you’re a good talker then maybe a locked video would work best. Test it all out.

      1. Mr. Byu

        Thanks for sharing your opinion, guys! I think I might just end up starting to pour the information into a plain text file and focus on the content, and as I go along I decide what the best would be.

        1. Slavko Desik

          Hey Mr. Byu, I’m just working on a web app/course myself. Been thinking about the content delivery method, and yesterday, after seeing this comment thread, I decided to sketch a draft design of how the content might look.

          The web app is for another market entirely (it is a course on how to find employment, in a Eastern European country), but if you’d like, I can send you a pic via e-mail, in hope that it will spark some ideas.

          Mail is Slavko dot Desik at gmail

          Thanks, I guess 🙂

  • Vishal Ostwal

    “We all learn as we go” is the one thing I really believe in.

    I’ve been awful in the past, I admit it. But still I think that continuing to do things without giving up matters the most. It really does.

    There have been times when I felt badly timid about myself as my blog wasn’t progressing. But then I realized the reason – I was doing most of the things wrong.

    The two obvious options which arise in such situation are – 1. Quit, 2. Improve. I chose the latter one.

    We all know somehow when our work sucks, it’s just that we keep ignoring our instincts.

    Last night I stayed up till 5 am to read some grammar books for getting an idea of idioms, along with reading Stephen King’s “On Writing.” I know it gets hard sometimes, and also that we become too much cautious at times, but this sort of attitude is somehow helpful to survive in the long run.

    Today my post appeared on The Huffington Post, this made me smile, because one year earlier this seemed impossible to me. Then I would be astounded to see the “big guys doing big things.”

    What I’ve learnt is that blogging is much about creating some tiny things, until they turn into something adorable and worthy.

    I often check years old archives of the present blogs which are dominant and find that they all were small once, just like we all are now. But slowly things improve and everything gets right. Perhaps, patience is one of the most precious values blogging has taught me.

    You’re always an inspiration Ramsay, you always are. Like I usually say, “one of my superheroes.”

    Whether it be Neil, Glen, Jon, Brian, or someone else, when I read you guys, it feels like you’re sitting next to me, wishing to see me grow, and get my hard-work the value it deserves.

    We’ll be starting a new blog in a few months, it’ll be for computer science people. This arena is greatly empty on the internet (the one we’re aiming at) and we’re working to bridge this gap.

    Although I hadn’t thought much about earning from my previous blog, this time, I do. Also, we wish to grow at a rapid pace and are ready to put in whatever it might take.

    We’re currently preparing some content in advance, and doing one thing at a time. We don’t have a strong financial base, yet, if we somehow manage to earn some bucks after the launch, then we’ll put everything we earn in it again.

    It’s going to be “blog for blogging.” This is because we don’t wish to see the blog die. This one too is much an outcome of selfless intentions, and we’re prepared to give it all that we can.

    Got any tips? Like what would have you done if it was your blog. (That’s what you write about at BlogTyrant, but still…)

    1. Ramsay

      Hey mate.

      I don’t know about the other guys but I do genuinely want to see everyone succeed – especially if there blogs are helping people. That’s what gets me out of bed. You in particular, of course I wish you well! You’re not just a reader, you’re a friend.

      You mentioned two blogs there – computer science and blogging. Which one do you want tips for?

      1. Vishal Ostwal

        Let me rephrase that – “We wish to blog for the love of blogging.” I didn’t at all mean that we’re starting a blog about blogging.

        I’m asking about the computer science blog. However, I’m still skeptical about online earning successes, perhaps, because I’ve never experienced any. Yet, you few valuable pieces of advice can make a huge difference I believe.

        So, any tips for the computer science blog?


        1. Ramsay

          Depends on who your blog is aimed at. If it’s students then you could offer coaching or develop guides on how to study for exams or get into the right colleges. If it’s more corporate level then you could offer services or audits. There are so many options.

  • Brooke

    Hey, Ramsay!
    Thank you so much for the tweet! I consider you a celebrity, so your tweet made my whole month.
    I scored a 70% on your quiz. Boo! I think I answered the social media immersion question incorrectly, as well as the # 1 ranking factor on Google question.
    Thank you so much for your explanation in #10! I’m so intimidated by the concept of making a free eBook to entice potential subscribers. My blog’s all over the place, so I didn’t really know where to start, but #10 has given me a few ideas. I especially like the idea of adding complimentary “teaser” posts to draw attention to the eBook. Brilliant!
    I must tell you that I deeply admire your blog and think you’re one of the best bloggers out there. You are invaluable to newbie bloggers like me who struggle to navigate the daunting world of blogging. Thank you for sharing all of your secrets with us!

    1. Ramsay

      Hey Brooke. You are far too kind. I’m kind of embarrassed. HA.

      I had a quick look at your blog – you’re a good writer. I’d recommend massively reducing the size of your header image as it pushes a lot of your content down below the fold too far.

      Thanks for commenting!

      1. Brooke

        Now I’m the one blushing! Thank you for your compliment.
        And thank you, thank you for the header advice. Taking care of that right now!

  • Toks Fashion

    Hi Blogtyrant,

    Gosh! What took you so long to publish this post, was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms. lol
    Nice post thanks, I got 80% in the quiz, I guess I am really ready.
    It took me a whole year to set up my online handbags business ( and I am also writing a blog about handbags, nice tips you gave out above.
    Thank you.

    1. Ramsay

      Sorry for the long absence. Took a bit of forced time off over Christmas and the New Year.

  • Sharon

    I love the realness of this post as you are helping people understand what blogging entails. I have been following you for about six months and working hard to heed your advice as I’m on this creative endeavor to create a website for parents of teenagers. I plan to launch my site next month when a guest blog goes live that I wrote for another site (advice I took from you on back linking). Quick question for you, Ramsay. What’s the best tool to dangle the carrot of a free incentive like an e-book? I’m having Pop Up Alley to capture subscribers so would I just customize the pop up to advertise this freebie? Would you also recommend that I have a subscriber pop up that doesn’t include the freebie for more hesitant visitors? Any tips on setting this up would be awesome. Thanks for your great work.

    1. Ramsay

      Hey Sharon.

      Good luck with your blog, it sounds like it could be really helpful to some people.

      A pop up is fine and they generally do work really well, especially when paired with a free giveaway that is relevant to your content. Services like Sumo Me can help with that really well.

  • Chuck Bartok

    As always dynamite information and so well presented.
    Question though.
    What system did you use for the
    Is it a plugin?
    Thanks for your continued support of those who enjoy blogging and poduce quality content

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Chuck.

      I had the quiz software built from scratch. I might be releasing it for others in the future. Is that something you’d be interested in?

      1. Heleen Schrijvershof

        I would love it! 🙂

  • Kenn

    Thank you for the information and suggestions. I was thinking about starting a blog next month but I didn’t know what steps that I needed to take.
    I’m a little nervous about it because it’s an entirely new arena for me but I’ll continue to research the information that you’ve laid out and strive for a successful outcome.

    1. Ramsay

      Don’t be too nervous. We all get better by trying things, mucking them up and then trying again.

  • Clavy

    l read a lot because l want to Learn, everyday l read important update from great writers like you. Its important to note that most bloggers share their success stories and also advice the new ones to take their time to perfect their skills. The truth about the trend, hips and glory of blogging is in someone’s ability to create something different before He/She can succeed.

    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for commenting!

  • alqintara

    Well, recently my friend Glen mentioned that too many bloggers talk about earnings and fancy lifestyles and never go into the realistic aspects of what it takes to run a successful and beneficial blogging business.

    This aspect nails the entire article.

    People still think blogging is rocket science even when rocket science is not a days job?

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Ramsay

      I’m not sure I understand your rocket science comment but thanks for the compliment.

      1. alqintara

        What I meant Ramsay is some people all over the world still think that you can become rich overnight without working hard on the internet.

        1. Cathleen

          This info is the cat’s pamasaj!

      2. Melia

        That’s not just logic. That’s really sesbenli.

  • Darius Gaynor

    Great Article! Definitely have at least some money to invest in your blog for advertising instead of just the free route. Research and testing is very important too.

    1. Ramsay

      Yep, completely agree.

  • Michael Pozdnev

    That’s a great idea with the Quiz! My result is 80% 🙂

    I launched my blog a few months back and I understand every point of your article very well. There are plenty of difficulties, just like in any other endeavor. But I think we will cope with them and will not give up to our main enemy: ourselves. Flying to the moon is within a person’s power, let alone launching the blog 🙂

    Personally, I experience the following problem at the moment: I have too many tasks to handle. Since I have a lot of experience in my niche, it even interferes with what I do. I try to juggle 100 things simultaneously and sometimes get physically and mentally worn out.

    Then I read your blog and get vigorous again. You inspire people, Ramsay, with your own example. Thank you!

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Michael.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      I highly recommend outsourcing or hiring some people to help if you’re finding yourself too busy to focus on the important stuff. It’s worth the money.

  • sarfraz khan

    I am ready to do more hard work this year. My site got deleted on 13th and I was left with nothing. But in a few days I again wrote 21 articles with better content. Now I gain more traffic on 21 articles than on my previous 65.

    1. Ramsay

      Oh damn! What happened?

      1. sarfraz khan

        Actually From 11th to 13th jan I wasn’t able to login to my dashboard and my website was down. I searched on forums and I found a solution that one of my plugin was giving me problems.

        I uninstalled that through ftp. But after I got to my dashboard I wan’t able to edit anything. I asked help on forums and I found that I was not having admin privileges and I tweaked in the phpmyadmin many things and then I tried and I found that every page of my website was giving 404 error. I was shocked that all of my 65 articles disappeared at the same time. I even started crying because all of my income is from this blog and I don’t do job.
        Even my backup didn’t worked as I didn’t do it properly, Then I have to start from sratch again. It was painful moment. But I was already determined as I am not doing job that I will again setup my website.
        I again installed wordpress, installed a new and better theme. Installed every plugin and made my new logos, images etc on the same day. I wrote 7 articles in the same evening which were getting maximum traffic and used the same url as before.

        Fortunately today I am having 21 articles and I am getting 200 more visits than before on 65 articles combined as I optimized my articles with better content and SEO. Now I am working harder than before.

        Thanks for listening to my problems:)

        1. Ramsay

          Oh man that sounds awful. Did your sever support not have any answers? And do you know which plugin it was?

          1. sarfraz khan

            Actually it was my fault. I didn’t installed the wordpress on my server but actually exported my website from localhost. So, they couldn’t help it.

            The plugin was learnpress.

  • holly

    Thank you for the article. I have been a beginner for almost 2 years now. I have learned a lot from your previous articles as well. the quiz shows I still have work to do. this year I will work harder than ever to develop a quality product and really invest my time. we have an extra day this year. what will you do with yours?

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Holly.

      For me I want to just focus on being as helpful and prolific as possible. I really want this site to be a place people can come to solve problems and perhaps make their life a little bit easier.

  • Maria Geronico

    Hi! I had a 60% score, but actually I knew all the answers… it’s just that I was honest about what limits me, which are: costs and knowing how to differentiate myself from the rest Fashion News’ blogs.

    Nice post to start the year, even more because it reminds us our strength or weak points!

    Bests!! M

    1. Ramsay

      Good answer.

  • Ian

    80% and I haven’t started to blog yet.

    I trained travel consultants and managers for 30 years and now I want to do it as an on-line travel agent selling unique tours where you actually interact with the locals. Myanmar (Burma) is my first destination and unique point of difference where you actually eat, talk and learn from the locals about their lives.

    Your training is great. I joined Copyblogger on your recommendation which is also excellent.

    My advice – make lots of mistakes and take risks but do it cheaply.



    1. Ramsay

      G’day Ian! Glad you found Copyblogger useful. All of their stuff is of the highest quality.

  • SalesFizz

    Great post and thoughts on getting started in 2016. I just started my blog and hope to get some nice growth out of it with great content.

    Thanks for all of the articles you provided, your blog has been my map over the last few weeks to get up and running. Much appreciated, keep up the good work!


    1. Ramsay

      I’m so glad to hear it has helped you. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Kimsea Sok

    Tyrant, that is awesome article about starting…

    It seem blogging looks like a hot business, and I’m everyone can be home mom…

    When I came and starting the blog, I didn’t know anything about blogging but I want to make money.

    I started my first blog with Blogger, and it’s an direction which help me to better. Yeah, you said…

    Free blogging platform helps me to practice my writing.

    However, even it free for everyone but it ain’t recommend choice for us. It’s better to own a business, grabbing self hosting service…

    I love you mention about duration of blogging, and it’s what I always want to reader get to know about that…

    Blogging isn’t an fastest earning business, unless you committed to work with that. I spent my life with blogging without any payment for almost three.

    Now a day, I could earn with my blog but it isn’t a big money. However, I’m a jobless…, I pay for my coffee shop and other payment using my blog.

    Thanks for your detail and useful tips. I shared this article to my social networking, and I hope everyone benefit from this article..

    Have nice day, and Happy New Year…

    1. Ramsay

      Glad you’re making progress. It can be a long road but it’s definitely worth it.

  • SoftwareJourney

    When you mentioned on twitter yesterday that a new post was coming I was quite amped and looked forward to it, and you definitely do not disappoint

    One thing that I always appreciate in your blog is your honesty. Especially how you willing to share bits of the humble beginnings of blog tyrant. I think it really gives the readers (especially new bloggers such as myself) a better perspective more realistic expectations. It also helps preparing us to take on the challenges that put in the work that’s needed to start and maintain a blog.

    Btw the quiz is a cool idea, even though I already started blogging I took it anyway… Look like I’m on the right track (with plenty room for improvement)

    1. Ramsay

      Thank you for the compliment. I always include those stories just because I hope it’ll helps someone who is at that beginner stage where they’re broke and scared and trying anyway. I needed that when I was starting.

  • Stacey is Sassy

    I found this information great. You write really well and I was able to understand most of your ideas. I’m fairly new in the blogging world and I’m struggling with SEO stuff. I think I need to do a little bit more research to get it right.

    I only got 60% but I’m pretty sure I know where I’m going wrong. A little bit of patience and a lot more networking and hopefully I’ll get there.

    Thanks. 🙂

    1. Ramsay

      Don’t worry too much about the SEO – just focus on being as helpful and awesome as possible.

  • Jon

    I recently started a blog and it’s still very new. This will be my second attempt with a WordPress blog. This time with more realistic goals. I’ve made a promise to my mentor that I will not give up for at least a year. That being said I love all the advice and honesty you offer! I signed up with aweber through your link and set up a mailing list. Still scoring a 60 though…. That back linking one got me. Much to learn, and enjoying the process! Thanks!

    1. Ramsay

      I hope it helps! Best of luck.

  • Pat @ Posting For Now

    Thanks for your post & quiz – I scored 60%. I’ve been blogging for over two years and have had many missteps & fun too. I am still working on improving though.

    1. Ramsay

      Keep going! That’s all we can do.

  • Glen Schaffer

    Just started a blog. Good info. Quickly found out I need professional help. I have lots of content to write about and want to focus on that. I have WordPress set up and domain name and actually a couple of short article posted. Need help with the technical stuff, don’t have time to spend hours on thing that pro would spend minutes. Do you have list of providers for technical stuff?

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Glen.

      In my footer you’ll see a link to Crazy XHTML. I’ve been using this Prague-based firm for years and they are absolutely wonderful with all things WordPress.

  • Bojan

    Hey mate, great article as always, cool idea with the quiz, the interactivity overall really adds to the quality of the article and I bet it’ll have a positive impact on the social shares as well.

    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Bojan.

  • George

    Just my 0.02…

    – There are many proofreaders on Fiverr, and you can even get a volunteer with a post on Craig’sList
    – WordPress is cool and quite versatile, but it also has two disadvantages: It is very targeted by spammers and crackers (website thieves), and it is a massive software with too many options for the simple blogger who wants to write and be read. I suggest Ghost as a good alternative.

    1. Ramsay

      Great tips!

  • Sangma Avenue


    I read your article very carefully, You have written awesome and fantastic about to start a blog in this 2016, I really started my blog this new year January 1, 2016. This post completely for me!

    I understand you cool ideas and method about doing blogging this year.

    Thanks for your time for this crazy informative article.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Sangma. I am really glad you liked it.

  • Pat

    Hey Ramsay,

    Been following your stuff for about a year I think – always good info that makes me stop and think. Thank you man.

    I scored 80%. Have just moved out of the family business in AU (was able to sell the website which is cool!) and now in NYC. I’ve just picked up my hobby blog again and would love to make something of it. Wrestling with it though as it seems all the guys who seem to ‘make it’ are blogging about the business itself.

    I question if it’s getting more challenging to win with a niche blog. I’m prepared to write and create content but have the ‘climbing the ladder against the wrong wall’ feeling.

    Maybe you or your readers can share some thoughts?



    1. Ramsay

      Hey Pat.

      I hear people say that a lot but honestly don’t agree. There are so many fitness/cooking/diet/tech/news/everything but blogging blog that are succeeding in big ways. Blogs about blogging are hard to do – there’s a lot of competition.

      I think the most important thing is to find a way to differentiate your blog and then work really hard at solving problems aimed at beginners.

      1. Pat

        Ah. Key word – beginers. That’s what I was looking for. Of course. Cheers!

  • Rodolfo

    This post is an eye opener. The writing skills really hits the mark. To become a blogger means to become a better writer.

    I would like to add, a blog is a business venture. So don’t expect to earn from day one and don’t expect to get rich in a month or so.

    1. Ramsay

      Totally agree. Thanks for commenting.

  • Michelle Louise

    Thank you so much for this post and all you do! Finding the time to blog is my main challenge, since I’m working more than full time right now, but I’m transitioning into grad school soon and hope to get more writing time after that! I have to say, this has been the most useful site I’ve found as I’ve explored blogging. And very fun to read!

    1. Ramsay

      Thank you for the compliment! I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

  • Jane

    I enjoyed this article and I did the one before. I am blogging but only once a month through WordPress but now my webmaster is adding it to a new website and promoting for me which helps and will link to my children’s books- ready February
    Thanks for all the tips.Will reread too>
    Jane in S.W. Ontario near Windsor/Detroit border.

    1. Ramsay

      Best of luck!

  • Heleen Schrijvershof

    Hi Ramsay,

    Glad you wrote this post. It’s a realistic outlook and I love that. A quick question: I’m Dutch and I chose to write Dutch texts, simply because I’m not trying to get to the US market. In other blogposts you have mentioned about realistic numbers of subscribers, reader and so on. Do you have any tips about how to ‘convert’ that to a smaller country and thus a possibly smaller market? The upside is that there is way less competion, which is great.

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Heleen. What’s the main thing you’re promoting? Honestly, sometimes you really don’t need that much traffic to do well.

  • Tonia

    Thanks Ramsay

    I’m about to start my first blog and your posts/articles have been incredibly valuable. I got 70% on the quiz which feels about right… there has been quite a build up to getting started and a few key things I have not yet set up…

    Glad that I joined your mailing list before even getting out there!

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Tonia. I’m so glad it’s been useful to you. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Salesfizz

    Great post and once again several links to go back and dig deeper. The tip about focusing on writing on other websites as much as or more than your own is something I wasn’t considering. Great perspective, thanks.

    1. Ramsay

      Yeah I think that’s a big one a lot of bloggers miss.

  • AAP Punjab

    heye man thnx for sharing this post it increase my reading habbit

    1. Ramsay

      No problems.

  • Laure

    I really needed this, to remind me which direction to take for my blog.thanks for the quiz i scored 60%.
    very soon i will share my blog to get some feedback from you.

    1. Ramsay

      Hope it helps!

  • Deepak

    Well, I achieved exactly 70% on the quiz. I have just started my first blog mid-last month. Never pondered over all these points when started. I guess I have to build some strategies! 😉

    1. Ramsay

      Let me know how you go.

  • Dex

    Hey Ramsay,

    Wonderful article, very sincere and realistic, and the follow up comments are wonderful (@Slavko Desik great one and @The_Saunatarian the way you sincerely opened up and put yourself out there for the professionals to criticize is amazing and it has helped me to pick courage and even comment on this post).
    Am an absolute newbie when it comes to blogging, and Kinda like Pat, though am not already into the business but really am enthusiastic about starting a blog (scored 50% by the way), but it does seem like the “big dogs” in the industry are majorly in the “how to blog”, “how to make money online” niches and that kinda creates some fears for newbies like myself. Am also being overwhelmed with information but at this point I can say reading CC’s comment has giving me that boost I need to finally kick off and give it a go regardless of the obstacles or challenges that lie ahead.
    Am ready to devote myself to reading more articles in this blog and am totally opened to any form of tutoring or mentoring from you.

    Thanks once again.

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Dex. Honestly the make money online niches are not the easiest ways to make money – they are totally over saturated. The super successful online people are no where near these niches.

  • Todd

    You don’t really have to be able to write – you can always outsource. The biggest, most popular sites have teams of writers, and on most of them I bet the site owner doesn’t write a single word.

    1. Ramsay

      I agree. Unfortunately for a lot of new bloggers there isn’t the income to hire a team yet.

      1. Tuesday

        Articles like this really grease the shafts of knodlewge.

  • Talha Wahid

    Helo Ramsay I am really thankful to your for these informative and motivative articles….need ur help….!! Recently i have a started a website and according to plan its 20% completed (content i mean) but m not getting enough users …..only 3k pageviews daily….??Everything is fine there so now i have to wait or coninje providing content

    1. Ramsay

      3k page views is a very decent level of traffic. You should be getting good results from sales and mailing list sign ups at that level.

  • Dave

    Ramsay, I just found your blog and took your quiz. I’ve gotta say, I wish I’d had some succinct straight talk like this when I was starting out a couple of years ago. I had some good success creating and selling 5-figure niche sites and I still receive some passive income from a few of them every month. However, I wasn’t prepared for the rigors of being my own boss, and because of the lack of preparation I found myself getting bogged down in the minutia of running a business.

    I know I have some strengths that could be put into building a successful blog, but business ownership and management is one of the things I really need to work on. Thanks for some great tips.

    1. Ramsay

      Hi Dave. Have you looked at things like Virtual Staff Finder by Chris Ducker? That might help.

  • Paul

    Hello Mr. Ramsay,
    Just wanted to ask, did you make the quiz by yourself, if yes, how did you do it?

    1. Ramsay

      Hey Paul. As mentioned in the post I teamed up with Lifestyle Updated to code it.

  • Nicola

    I have just found your site and am really finding it useful. I have a tiny hobby blog which I have been playing around with (and more recently neglecting) I want to revamp it at the same time as moving it to it’s own hosting and I am wondering is it better to focus on just one topic for the blog or can you have a range? I wanted it as a sort of lifestyle blog and I have been posting about dressmaking and my allotment but I wanted to start including diet and beauty from an honest beginners perspective. For me in my head all four topics tie in together (the allotment is exercise and peace of mind which ties in with beauty and diet, beauty and diet also tie in with my dressmaking) but I worry for others it would come across as a strange mix. Is it worth worrying about or just revamp the blog and post about all four and see how it evolves over time?


    1. Ramsay

      I think it’s okay to have more than one topic as long as there is a solid brand and point of difference that ties them all together. That’s sometimes hard to find.

  • Ashley

    Hi Ramsay,

    I have been bull dozing through your blog for the last 2 weeks, because I am getting ready to start a blog of my own. Firstly, thank you so much for helping the people such as myself that have no knowledge of the blogging world get more comfortable with the idea of blogging. Anywho…to the point lol.

    I have a question which may sound ignorant, but I’m still learning. Are bloggers able to sign with more than one affiliate program at a time? I have been doing research trying to find the best ones for my blogging needs (which might I add is so overwhelming since there are tons of affiliate networks and programs to choose from). It seems that in order to get some information on the programs you have to already have a blog created and that’s up and running for at least a month. This is all fine and dandy I just want to make sure I am looking in the right direction.

    1. Ramsay

      You can sign up to as many as you like! Then there is sites like which kind of put them all into one place for you.

  • Ashley

    Perfect! Thanks Ramsay

  • KUK

    Are you considering Bloging or Vloging-?

  • Annabel

    3k online visits is an OK level of movement. You ought to be getting great results from deals and mailing list sign ups at that level.