Leaving Work Behind

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Blogging

Written by Tom Ewer on July 11, 2012. 96 Comments

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to BloggingI have played guitar since I was 16 years old.

When I first started, it seemed impossible. I couldn’t even strum a chord, let alone string a few together and play an actual song.

And yet, with practice and the passing of time, I turned an impossible into a possible. I became what I would consider a good guitar player, and these days I have loads of fun singing and playing guitar in my band.

You may be wondering what this has to do with blogging. Well, just like playing guitar, blogging is something that you can pick up easily enough – but mastering it is another thing altogether.

There is a fine line between a blog that is nothing more than a time suck, and a blog that can help you generate a full time income (directly or indirectly). The problem is that there is too much information out there. It is far too easy to become paralyzed into inaction.

With that in mind, I set out to produce a relatively brief guide that would focus solely on the core fundamentals of successful blogging, which you can find below. Enjoy!

Is Blogging Worth It?

Before we begin, I want to address the primary question that may be holding you back from starting your own blog: “Is it worth it?”

The short answer is an emphatic yes. Blogging itself is such an adaptable tool that it can be leveraged to benefit nearly any business. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do online – blogging can help you.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  1. Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income generates tens of thousands of dollars every month in affiliate income. He also has other revenue streams – some of which are also blogs.
  2. Corbett Barr is a serial blogger. He cut his teeth over at what is now corbettbarr.com, before moving onto affiliate marketing, consulting services and eventually information products via Think Traffic (read Corbett’s fascinating story here).
  3. Marcus Sheridan created a blog for his ailing fibreglass pool company and ended up with more client referrals than he could manage. Then he launched The Sales Lion which he used as a tool to launch his own social media consultancy and public speaking business.
  4. Fraser Cain owns Universe Today – a news blog dedicated to the space and astronomy niche that pulls in a six figure yearly income through advertising.
  5. Keith Snow’s Harvest Eating gives away tons of free advice on local and seasonal foods, whilst operating an integrated membership site.

I have very deliberately included two blogs above that have absolutely nothing to do with making money or online business in any way shape or form. That market is arguably the hardest to make money in, because it is so saturated. Thanks to Chris Guthrie for making the very sensible suggestion that I should include non-MMO blogs in my examples above.

Oh, and then there’s also the rather less high profile example – me. I am certain that if I hadn’t launched this blog and stuck with it over the past 12 months or so, I wouldn’t be where I am now. This blog has been arguably the main contributing factor to my success to date, for a number of reasons:

And let’s not forget that quite simply, I love running this blog. The simple joy of running a blog should not be ignored.

It doesn’t really matter what you are trying to achieve online – having a blog can almost certainly help you in achieving that goal.

Choosing Your Path

I understand that many of you are not willing (or able) to invest any more than a few bucks in blogging.

I get that – when I first started out, I was very selective with the investment I made in my blog. Essentially, I was afraid to invest, for fear that I would not see a return. That is why I am offering this guide completely free of charge – so that you do not have to spend any money on learning how to blog well.

Start a Blog that MattersHowever, if you are willing to invest some money in your learning, I would heartily recommend that you stop reading immediately and grab yourself a copy of Start a Blog that Matters. This is an online course developed by the aforementioned Corbett Barr, and I cannot recommend it enough. I have been running through the course material over the last couple of months, and it has revolutionized my approach to blogging (which some of you may well have observed with interest).

If you are willing to purchase Corbett’s course, you don’t need this guide. He covers literally everything – it by far the most accomplished and complete information product I have ever bought.

With that said, if you’re not ready to make that jump just yet, please read on!

Picking a Topic

Many of you who have contacted me already have your own blog, whilst others love the idea of blogging, but are simply not sure what to blog about.

When first starting out, I personally feel that you should just jump in at the deep end and see what happens. Your first blog may not be a success, but it will be a huge learning experience.

Whilst you can spend days and weeks deliberating over what you should blog about, I would recommend that you follow this simple decision-making process:

  1. Find a topic that you like writing about
  2. Consider potential monetization methods

It can (and should eventually) get a lot more complicated than this, but I do not want you to get so embroiled in theory that you never actually get around to starting your blog.

You may be wondering how to analyze whether or not a blog has the potential to be monetized. To give you an idea, here are a list of the main potential monetization methods:

  1. Product creation
  2. Affiliate marketing
  3. Consulting/coaching
  4. Freelancing
  5. Advertising

Any blog can utilize advertising, so theoretically, any blog can be monetized. But ideally you will pick a topic that is more conducive to higher profit margins. For inspiration, you can see the list of high profile bloggers above, in which I highlighted the monetization methods that they use.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by this process and whether or not your chosen topic is financially viable, consider this – when I launched Leaving Work Behind I had no idea as to how I would use it to generate income, yet now it serves as a referral machine for my freelance writing business and makes money via affiliate marketing and my freelance writing guide.

I am so glad that I pushed on without a clear plan at the beginning, rather than getting overwhelmed and not even starting. That approach won’t be for everyone, but it worked for me.

Choosing a Blogging Platform

Gone are the days when you had to manually code your site. Now you have a host of “content management systems” to choose from that make the process of building a website and publishing content online a piece of cake.

First of all, you should run your blog on self-hosted WordPress. Not Tumblr, not Blogger, and not WordPress.com (click here for an explanation of the differences).

The cost is pretty nominal – $10 or so for a domain name, and a few bucks a month for hosting. Having a self-hosted WordPress blog will mean that you are in total control of your site, which is not the case with hosted platforms.

Speaking of hosting, I have tried all of the major hosting providers (such as BlueHost, GoDaddy and HostGator), and recommend WestHost over them all. Great reliability and support at an extremely reasonable price – look no further. To get a 30% discount on Westhost, click here and use the coupon code LEAVING30 on checkout.

The technical process of creating your first blog is probably a whole lot easier than you realize. I created a ten minute video to show you just how easy it is:

If you’re interested in learning more about WordPress and how to master it, check this out.

Choosing an Email Marketing Service

I want to make something very clear at this early juncture – collecting your reader’s email addresses will be one of your most important priorities as a blogger (if not the most important priority). With that in mind, you need to get your hands on a quality email marketing service that will handle email broadcasts, autoresponders, and so on.

AWeberMy preference is AWeber – it also seems to be the favorite of most bloggers (in my experience)

The whole idea of email marketing may seem intimidating to you – it certainly did to me. I’ve gone through several different methods of engaging with my email list, and have only recently settled on something that I’m really comfortable with (general ranting). If you’re looking for a simple approach to list building, check out this post: 5 Reasons Why Everything You Know About Email List Building is Wrong.


How your blog looks will become a very important factor in marking you out from the crowd as a blogger to follow, but when you are starting out, it is of secondary importance to producing great content and promoting your blog.

By all means, spend some time making your blog look pretty, but don’t go overboard, spending hours and hours on a design that no one is going to see is rather pointless. Think of your initial design as the first step in a continuous evolution, rather than the finished article.

If you are on a limited (or non-existent) budget, consider starting with a free theme. Personally I think the Twenty Twelve theme packaged with WordPress by default is great. However, if it’s not to your tastes you can find plenty of free themes in the best free themes of the month series I run over at ManageWP.

WooThemesIf you have a few bucks set aside for a premium theme, my firm recommendation is WooThemes. This very site runs on the Canvas theme, which is an awesome framework that can be customized to produce something truly unique.

When choosing a theme, focus on something that is clean and uncluttered. Please refrain from going for anything particularly striking or “flashy” – it’ll typically result in a blog design that is not conducive to reader retention. Social Triggers is a great example of how a clean and simple design with plenty of whitespace offers an experience that is easy on the eye.

Fundamental Engagement Factors

There are a few things on a blog that you need to get right in order for it to perform ably. I have been asked for advice on countless blogs, and I find the same mistakes more often than not. Here’s a quick list of fundamental engagement factors that you should adhere to:

  1. Make it absolutely clear to visitors what your blog is about.
  2. Build an engaging About page.
  3. Create a Start Here page.
  4. Make sure that you are easy to contact.
  5. Have at least one prominent email signup form on every page.
  6. Make your site easily navigable.
  7. Do not clutter up your sidebar.
  8. Keep the most important elements on your blog above the fold.
  9. Provide plenty of relevant internal links (i.e. links to other posts on your site) in your blog posts.

I could go on forever, but these are what I consider to be the key factors. Make sure that you follow them all.


Your content should be awesome. But you already knew that – what you are wondering is how to create awesome content.

The best advice I can give you is to simply write blog posts, and read other blogs. I learnt the basics from Copyblogger, and really furthered my skills after going through the Write Like Freddy course, but my main advancements have mainly been through observation and practice.

Ashley Ambirge

Ashley Ambirge – the antithesis of a shrinking violet.

With that said, I’d like to offer up perhaps the most useful piece of advice that I think can really help you to create great content. It is simply this – be personable. You shouldn’t manufacture a personality (we can’t all be Johnny B. Truant or Ashley Ambirge), but don’t be afraid to let your true character shine through. Draw from personal experiences – use stories to bring your posts to life.

In essence, just be you. It’ll be far easier to write, and people will be naturally drawn to you, because your posts feel like more than just words on a screen. Your blog will have character and life. People like that.

Beyond that, you will want to sprinkle in well-established post types that traditionally perform well (known as link bait) – primarily resource posts, featured blogger posts, and list posts. Do so sparingly – the last thing you want to do is be accused of trying to “manufacture” an audience. For the most part, just focus on writing epic shit.

A Quick Note on SEO

Bloggers can waste a whole load of time obsessing over SEO. My advice to you is as follows – don’t.

As a blogger, you should not be engaging in any black hat SEO tactics. You should in fact be dedicated zero time to actively sourcing links. If you produce great content and network effectively, the links will come in time.

When it comes to SEO, just adhere to this this 7 step checklist, and you’ll be set.


It is in this section that I feel the most important lessons I can teach you is contained. I wish I had read the advice I am about to give you when I was first starting out – I think I would be a lot further along the line than I am now if I had.

Promotion starts when you’re still thinking about the topic of your blog. How unique and interesting your angle on your chosen topic is, the better you will be able to leverage your promotional efforts to greater effect.

With that in mind, you should put aside 45 minutes to watch this video interview between Corbett Barr and Derek Halpern – it is an absolute must-watch when it comes to better understanding how the topic you choose affects your promotional efforts:

Beyond that, you must go to the people. Find where your target audience hangs out, and go get ’em. If you simply sit back and wait for the traffic to flood in, it won’t. Trust me.

You may be wondering how to translate this advice into practical action. When it comes to blogging, going to the people usually involves one or more of the following:

  1. Being active on social media networks
  2. Being active on forums
  3. Being active in the comments sections on other blogs
  4. Guest posting
  5. Networking with other bloggers

How well you exploit every single one of these areas is entirely down to your own work ethic. Having said that, the areas you absolutely must focus on are social media, guest posting, and networking.

At your blog’s inception, you will want to establish a base of content. After all, if you only have a handful of articles, a reader isn’t likely to hang around for long. But once you have say 7-10 articles on your blog, your main focus should be on guest posting. This isn’t something you’ll hear most bloggers say, but I strongly recommend that you publish just one post per week on your own blog, and focus on producing 2-3 guest posts per week.

You publish the one post on your blog per week to continue building your base of content and to demonstrate that you are not a fly-by-night blogger. You get the guest posts published on other blogs as a means of building an audience. Before long, your name will be on the lips on many of your prospective readers. Once you have an established audience, you can write more on your own blog, and less on others’, if you feel it will be beneficial to your continued growth.

If you want to know more about guest posting, you may want to sign up to the aforementioned Write Like Freddy course. If you don’t have the necessary budget, then why not download my completely free guest posting guide?

You can also broaden your audience by working on YouTube videos and podcasts. In all honesty, this is not something that I have any experience in, so I don’t have anything of value to offer on those fronts. If you are interested in learning more about those potential traffic streams, Pat Flynn is a great example to follow.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Let’s see – this is what you should be able to do at this point:

  1. Decide upon a topic for your blog
  2. Get yourself some hosting and set up a WordPress blog
  3. Get yourself set up with an email marketing service
  4. Find a good, clean theme for your blog
  5. Design your site with the key engagement factors in mind
  6. Start working on great content
  7. Spend the few necessary moments on SEO
  8. Promote your blog through various channels

If you follow those steps, you should have a burgeoning blog on your hands in no time at all. Don’t expect dramatic short term results, because you will probably not get them. My blog received all of 417 unique visitors in its first month of life. You have to pay your blogging dues.

However, if you stick with it, you can expect to reap some serious rewards down the line. Blogging will probably open up a multitude of opportunities for you – some completely unexpected. All it takes is a lot of hard work and the passing of time.

Fellow Bloggers – I Would Like Your Help!

Blogging is a huge topic, and I have attempted to distill this guide down into a relatively brief introduction to the fundamentals.

You may feel that I have missed out important factors, or you may disagree with my approach. I would love to read your thoughts, so please let rip in the comments section!

Furthermore, if you are a beginner blogger, you may have questions regarding the subject matter that I have covered. Please don’t hesitate to ask any and all questions that cross your mind!

Creative Commons image courtesy of JD Hancock

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96 Responses to “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Blogging”

  1. Eric
    July 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Tom, I just finished reading from your Naked Marketing post up through this one. The focus you mentioned there has paid off; this post especially is excellent.

  2. Rich Polanco
    July 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Tom! Good post. Like your blog an enthusiasm 🙂


  3. David Loney
    July 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Nice post Tom. It seems we all end up having to deal with fear in one way or another. I am glad to hear I wasn’t the only one. It is a funny feeling writing your first post that actually matters to oneself. Crossing that barrier is a big one.

  4. Margaret Adams
    July 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I think one of the most important things about blogging is to choose a topic.

    So many people don’t do this. They write about all sorts of things. That means they’re just not remembered. What’s more they have very few opportunities to earn anything from their blog.

    Glad you make this point so forcefully, Tom.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 11, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Totally agree Margaret!

    • Jamie Farrelly
      July 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Also agree, and a topic that you can actually cover well too – something that you’re passionate about. You’re much more likely to write about stuff that you like rather than something that you have no interest at all in.

      • Tom Ewer
        July 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

        Couldn’t agree more Jamie. Whilst you can blog about something that you’re not truly passionate about, it won’t come nearly as easily (and you may get discouraged before you’re making enough money from the blog to justify the work).

  5. Josh Larsen
    July 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Amazing guide! I just bookmarked about 10 different links to go over tonight. I just started my blog about a month ago and I’m looking forward to incorporating a lot of your suggestions.

  6. Derry O Donnell
    July 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Great post Tom. I think I need to revisit my blogging. I started blogging using WordPress and then built a couple of websites once I got comfortable using it. But that meant that I let my blog slide. Time to get back to basics I think.

  7. Cari
    July 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Tom,
    What a wonderful guide… I jumped in ‘cold turkey’ last year – bought a scam, oops, scheme from a Guru – Sheesh, what a mistake, what a waste (time and $$$s)!
    Now that I’m broke, I’m starting over. Wish I’d been reading this before – fear was the reason I thought I had to buy into something established. No confidence is a killer! Thanks for a great resource.

  8. Christian Ficara
    July 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    This post covers all of the basics in a very user-friendly way. The sin I am guilty of is forever tinkering with themes and plugins and not producing enough content. WordPress is such a feature-rich platform that it is easy to spend too much time on the wrapping paper and not enough on the gift.

  9. Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon
    July 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Nice! This is an awesome post for people looking to get into blogging – must have taken you a long time to write all this! Really like the stormtrooper picture btw 😉


  10. Brett
    July 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    MailChump banned me as my niche is considered spammy (no it’s not MMO). WordPress is OK but I’ve now gone back to my programming roots and built my own site, CMS and mailing list manager. At the end of the day, you’re better off doing stuff yourself.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      I’ve heard those stories before Brett – I’m definitely an AWeber fan myself.

      Most people are not able to do what you have done. WordPress offers almost infinite extensibility for the “average” person – can’t be beat for those who don’t have the technical skills to do it themselves (in my opinion).



  11. Ken
    July 11, 2012 at 9:52 pm


    Great guide with all the necessary tools to start out as a succesfull blogger. Even with all these tools, you’re right, EPIC SHIT is not the easiest thing to create and your blog will die even with all the fancy bells and whistles.

    I enjoy reading and have started to visit often.


  12. Brock
    July 12, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Tom – Corbett’s course is clearly having an impact on your style because I’ve seen multiple “pillar” posts from you in the past couple of months.

    Awesome work, dude!


  13. Ricardo Caicedo
    July 12, 2012 at 2:54 am

    This guide really motivated me. I just started a blog about Japanese green tea and have great hopes for it.

    I didn’t know that you had written a guest post on My Wife Quit Her Job. I had been reading that blog for several years.

    Best regards,

  14. Charley
    July 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for this guide. It’s 100 times better than those rubbish clickbank ebooks selling for $47. I’ve recently checked out Woothemes and they’re quite beautiful and customizable (I took advantage of the test ground facility). I’m currently using Daily (premium theme from Theme Junkie) and I think it reflects the ideal blogging theme you described above.

    I have a question. My blog is about dog foods and it’s not a micro niche site – I’m building it into an authority blog. I currently have 23 posts and growing, personally written by me. Is it the blogging success you’re trying to help us achieve attainable with a dog food blog, or some other blog in a relatively less popular niche?

    • Tom Ewer
      July 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Hey Charley,

      This may sound like a silly question, but are you passionate about dog food? And can a blog about dog food be made into part of a successful long term business?

      My gut tells me no. You might be able to get some affiliate sales and make some cash, but I can’t imagine it would ever turn into something of true substance. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run with it, but it wouldn’t be something I would do.



      • Charley
        July 13, 2012 at 6:35 am

        My mistake then. I should’ve known that dog food isn’t a great blogging topic. My answer to your question is yes. I love writing about dog food and sharing my experience with the ones I’ve tried. Let me see if it’ll work out. I’ll be keeping track of my progress over the next 6 months.

        • Tom Ewer
          July 15, 2012 at 12:52 am

          Hey Charley,

          If you’re interested in dog food then presumably you’re interested in dogs, so perhaps you might consider a wider topic.

          The key is to stand out. So perhaps you could start a health blog for dogs? I.e. how to make sure that your dog remains fit and healthy. I could imagine passionate dog owners being interested in something like that.

          Just a thought…



          • Charley
            July 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

            Thanks for the suggestion. I’m seeing little but progressive success with my dog food blog and I’ll either expand it and branch out to other areas of knowledge in the dog niche, or start a new blog about dogs in general, by the time I ultimately see this blog to the top.

  15. Victor
    July 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Good article Tom… Excellent post. It has covered everything that one beginner should know.

    I blog about my city, Chicago, and hoping to lang among successful bloggers. Please feel free to comment if you think I should do anything specific on my blog that can improve it.

    Excellent post.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 12, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks Victor,

      A few thoughts at first glance:

      1. I hate popups. Personal preference though – if it converts well for you, the temptation may be to keep it.
      2. The site is totally overwhelming – I have no idea where to start.
      3. You shouldn’t advertise a low feed/follower count.



      • Victor
        July 24, 2012 at 9:07 pm

        Thank you Tom for your comments.

        Yes, popup for subscription has been good for my site. I have removed the feed counter from the site. Your opinion makes sense.

        I have 70 more posts scheduled to be published. Once I am done with those, I am going to create one “Start Here” section.

        Thanks much for your guidance.

  16. Suhail
    July 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    awesome post Tom, one of the best reads for wannabe bloggers.

  17. Stephen Trapanese
    July 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Bookmarked and sent to Pocket for continued reference. Great work Tom!

  18. Joel Clough
    July 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Awesome guide Tom! Nice roundup, I really liked the way you summarized what strategies have worked best for the A-listers. I’m working through Start A Blog too!

    The only other thing I would have mentioned under design is to not underestimate the power of colour and textures – in my hunt for a theme that I actually want to work with, I’ve narrowed it down to finding a minimalist theme and just giving it a hint of colour to add some flair. Otherwise things can just detract from your content just like you said.

    Great guide man, loved it!

    P.S. eagerly looking forward to that elusive product; I say go with instinct! 🙂

    • Tom Ewer
      July 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Hey Joel,

      You make a good point and I totally agree with you. But it didn’t “make the cut” as it were, because I was trying to concentrate the post down to just the bare essentials.

      As for the elusive product, I’ve made a good start on it – instinct has taken over! 🙂



  19. Adem
    July 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Tom,

    I’ve been creating niche sites and making money from them over the past year, but I’ve decided that I want more and want to write engagaing content rather than just keyword packed posts and so I’m starting a new blog.

    I’ve got the domain, bought a premium theme, and now I getting my logo designed and starting on content. It’s great fun to be doing that for something I love 🙂

    It’s been great seeing your blog grow and seeing the ways you’ve promoted yourself especially some guest posts on some really big websites, so well done, and I’ll be looking to copy some of your promotional techniques in the future too and and hopefully have some success.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Hey Adem,

      I think that niche sites serve as a great introduction to internet marketing. They can also become great money spinners, as demonstrated by the likes of Spencer Haws and AdSense Flippers.

      However, it seems to me that most niche site advocates eventually “graduate” onto blogging, which I consider to be a far better long term prospect.

      I wish you all the best with your blog – please let me know if I can be of any help!



  20. Rick
    July 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Hey tom,

    There is so much to learn from your blog that it keeps me coming back. I really enjoy reading this post and the ones I’ve read before.

  21. Elena Anne
    July 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Great post, very thorough. I think offering your readers something – maybe even at the beginning of your blog to get them hooked! – is a good idea. It is a useful incentive for people to engage with you.

    • Tom Ewer
      July 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      Hey Elena,

      It can help, but I find that the time spent in creating such a product can be better spent in creating content for the blog and guest posting. When your audience is very small, it is very difficult to effectively leverage the time it takes to create a product of worth.



  22. John Banks
    July 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Tom,

    Great post – very to the point. Although, I personally think that the MMO niche although hard is a great niche to be in. You say it is saturated, yes but so are Electricians, yet people still go to them.

    This post is great though, it literally covers everything people should need with regards to blogging.


  23. Niall
    July 31, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Hey this is great!

    Some good information here and its great to see someone making a success!

    I am preparing to start a blog soon that will revolve around enabling people to do what they really want with their lives.

    I will be coming back to this site for guidance as I progess!



  24. Liz
    September 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Tom: Thanks so much for this post. The video between Corbett and Derek under Promotion is priceless…such great honest insight.

    Really appreciate your candor and useful information…keep up the amazing work!


    • Tom Ewer
      September 14, 2012 at 10:52 am

      Hey Liz,

      That is one of the best videos I have watched in the entire make money online niche since I started my journey 16 months ago. Huge eye opener. Glad you like the post!



  25. Jenn Flynn-Shon
    November 27, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Just wanted to thank you for doing what you do to share your experience with those of us who are new to the world of freelance writing and blogging for income. I’ve been blogging for about 5 years but my initial draw was to connect on a more personal level. So my heavily visited blog is all personal stories of the random life experiences I’ve had or rants I go on about (you can check it out if you like my name is linked). Recently I started blogging tips for self-publishing Writers of fiction as I self-published my second book last month. But secretly (okay, not so secretly) my main passion is writing about myself. Probably sounds nuts but my goal with my personal blog was to get it all out there then pick from the fifty or so stories that really told the reader who I am and compile them into a memoir of sorts. Hell, it worked for Jen Lancaster! Anyway, your blog has become my favorite morning and afternoon read as I research ways to make my writing talents work on a career level and I plan to keep reading! Thanks again! 🙂

    – Jenn

  26. Leah @ The Miracle Journal
    December 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    WOW! Thank you so much! I just had someone reach out to me with the very broad question, “How do I start blogging?” That’s such a broad question that I figured it would better serve them to find a resource someone else had already put together. A quick Google search led me to you and I’m so delighted! Not only did I find a great resource to pass on to a new blogger, you’ve given me some great tips to think about as an established blogger. I’m very grateful!
    With many thanks,

    • Tom Ewer
      December 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Hey Leah,

      Glad you found me via Google — I think you’re the second person to actually tell me that in all the time I have been blogging here 😉



  27. Fred
    December 22, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Great article as always. I love every single one of these tips. Well, it is quite the load of valuable info to consume in a single sitting. As such, I am bookmarking this post to call upon when my blogging adventure requires some greasing. Cheers.

  28. Tracy Oeser
    January 9, 2013 at 4:15 am

    Hi Tom, great info. Can you give some insight into landing pages? I’ve heard it’s important to have one but I guess I don’t understand how to make one. Is it just another page that you create on your WordPress site that isn’t necessarily represented by a tab or link on your home page?

    Thanks for your time!

  29. Yannick Van Broeck
    March 5, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Wow, the amount of information on here really is something! I’ve been running around with the idea of making money by blogging about my path to making money online and now you inspired me of actually making that jump. I’ll continue coming here for advice, inspiration and general reading! Keep it up!



  30. Catherine
    May 15, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Tom, i just landed on your sight today. This is the simplest information on blogging that I have come across. I am just starting out in freelance writing and I had no idea where to start until I read your blog. i have been on it the whole afternoon and i cannot thank you enough. I am ready to start and I will try and start a blog tomorrow. Is it okay to contact you through e-mail if I get stack? I am almost overwhelmed with information but I am determined to make a living through writing.
    Many thanks,

  31. Dan
    May 16, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Hey Tom,

    Just ran into your website and love it so far. I see that you have a couple free guides on starting up with blogging as well as your product that has a cost to it here http://www.leavingworkbehind.com/freelance-writing-online/. Also in this post, you mentioned Corbett’s course here http://startablogthatmatters.com/?hop=tomlwb.

    Being that I’m brand new to all this, can you shed some light on this? I’m not sure if your paid guide/course is roughly the same as Corbett’s or if what you have in your paid guide is roughly the same information as what you’ve kindly given to us free in your start a blog guides.


    • Tom Ewer
      May 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Dan,

      Mine and Corbett’s guides are completely different: his is about launching a blog, mine is about launching a freelance writing business. They’re both very different but of course I would recommend them both 🙂



  32. Lindsey
    June 25, 2013 at 3:21 am

    This may be a dumb question, and it may have already been answered, but what exactly are SEO’s?

    • Tom Ewer
      June 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      Hey Lindsey,

      SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization — the practice of optimizing your site (and links to your site) to make it rank higher in Google etc.

      Hope that helps 🙂



  33. Tianahlynn
    December 31, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Tom.
    Great post! 🙂 Great info and tools.
    I was wondering if you keep a blog planner. Do you plan out your posts and other projects? Or do you just jot down your ideas in evernote and thats that?
    How do you keep track of all the information that goes along with blogging? (views, money, ideas, posts, projects, email marketing…etc).

    Thank you! 🙂

    • Tom Ewer
      January 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Yep, I just keep my topic ideas in Evernote.

      I don’t have a lot of information to keep track of (I like to keep things simple) but I use a combination of Evernote and Google Drive.

  34. Doug Bradley
    March 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Tom, really like your guide. I’ve got plenty of good tips out of it for my blog. Unfortunately I had already set mine up by the time I read this but I still took a lot away from it. Whilst you may not like the content I would appreciate your feedback, here’s a link…


    • Tom Ewer
      March 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Nice clean design Doug — good work! A couple of things that I think would improve the reader experience: (1) Make your font a little bigger and (2) use more paragraphs.

      • Doug Bradley
        March 3, 2014 at 7:15 pm

        Thanks, I will implement both of those.

        After reading through lots of your tutorials I feel like I’ve made an real error in starting my blog on WordPress.com rather than through a 3rd party and install wordpress myself. What do you suggest as now I am worried about my blogs performance, security, look and getting people in the door. I feel I’ve totally underestimating the amount of work to be put in behind the scenes and not just get it up, keep it simple and start writing. I wasn’t expecting to be making money off blogging but perhaps down the line I might wish to expand and obviously that would be extremely difficult after how I’ve set my blog up.

        Sorry for the length.

        • Tom Ewer
          March 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm

          Not at all Doug. Moving over to self-hosted WordPress isn’t that difficult (just Google it) and I wouldn’t worry about it right now anyway. Get comfortable with blogging, and once you’re ready to move, do so. WordPress.com is a good place to start 🙂

  35. Tempest
    May 5, 2014 at 2:00 am

    Thank for taking your time to help. I new to all of this and I really don’t have lots of money to pay for a webhost…something will work out though.

  36. rahul
    January 25, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    To figure out what was SEO, I had almost wasted a month. I knew nothing about blogging. But now I have set up one. So anyone can do it. It doesn’t cost much to setup one too. And you have written this article in a simple way which is surely going to benefit readers. Great post

  37. Param
    October 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    An awesome post.
    Thanks brother.
    Keep Blogging on and write more on blogging niche.
    Thank you once again.

  38. Suresh Kumar
    October 10, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Great Post. I feel Very Good After Reading This awesome Post. I hope you will be provide always this type Post . Thanku So much for sharing this great Post..

  39. Nancy Garner
    October 28, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Hello Tom, I have a very specific yet general question. Will you please help me. I understand you recommend Westhost as a hosting company with WordPress.org.
    You have a lot of how-to knowledge when it comes to doing the technical necessities. I have none, nada, zip, zero knowledge. I am ready to put myself out there, not because I am so prepared but because I have researched till I’m confused. All I do know is this… You better get in with the right hosting company with wp.org to which my confusion kicks in and says…WHO IS RIGHT FOR YOU NANCY AND THAT’S WHAT I MUST KNOW TO GET OUT OF THIS STATE OF LIMBO…SO…My question is this:
    BlogPress/WordPress.org(it appears to me they do the technical things I have no idea about.

    I know I am putting you in a pickle asking you to speak of hosting companies you are not currently endorsing. I seem to have read somewhere in your writings where you used to use another hosting company and how they are still good but that Westhost is better for you at this time. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE TOM, STEER ME I TRULY NEED SOME DIRECTION. Thank you I am frozen not knowing with whom my next move needs to be. I have your program and still read over and over and over it.

  40. Pranab @ Blogging
    January 24, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Awesome post bro.
    Do post on Adsense revenue please,

  41. Trickizm
    July 3, 2017 at 11:29 am

    An excellent post for beginners. You did a great job. Every step is described clearly. Thanks a million for such a great article. 🙂

  42. Ha Mocani
    September 15, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Excellent Blog!! It’s very helpful for beginner. Thanks for sharing.

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