How to be a successful Blogger: A step-by-Step guide to doing things in the right order

Why starting a blog in an hour is the worst thing you can do


The simple reason Most Bloggers Fail

Yes, most bloggers fail. But that is not going to be you because I’m going to tell you how to setup a successful blog. I’m going to let you in on a little secret – the reason most bloggers fail is simply because they do things in the wrong order.  Crazy, right?

Most new bloggers will google something like “how to start a blog for beginners”, but what they really mean is “how to start a successful blog and make money”.  Unfortunately, the step by step tutorials beginner bloggers find don’t teach all the steps for being a successful blogger, they just teach how to get a website with a blog online.  This causes most bloggers to understandably assume that getting their blog online is the first step.  But it’s not. There is a lot you need to do before you get a website.

If you follow this step-by-step guide, you can use your blog to build a successful business. You can earn income much quicker than most new bloggers do – though still not overnight like some blog posts might promise. 

Building a successful business using a blog as a tool will take work, but if you are willing to do that work, you can be successful.  I’m going to teach you how to start a successful blog by doing things in the right order.

Why starting a blog in 60 minutes is not how to start a successful blog

Getting a blog online is easy – you can do it in 60 minutes-ish with the right tutorial.  But it isn’t how to start a successful blog.  If you want to have an impactful and profitable business using a blog, that is NOT where you should start.  

The problem is this:

When  you throw up a website/blog in 60 minutes you tend to see it more as a hobby.  But to succeed, you will need to see your blog as a business from the startnot as a hobby.  Before you ever get that blog online, you will need to invest time in laying a foundation for your business. And that can feel scary – what if you invest all that time and it flops?  {Enter self-doubt and negative thoughts here.} If all you do is spend 60 minutes getting a blog online, then you don’t have much to lose if it doesn’t succeed, so that can feel like the safer option.  But that’s the catch – by investing little, it will be easier to give up – more comfortable to say, “well, I guess blogging just isn’t my thing.”

It’s also backward – there are steps you need to take before you publish your first blog post if you are to be impactful and profitable.  These foundational steps are the key in “how to start a successful blog.”  If you want to be a hobby blogger – sure, go ahead and start a blog in 60 minutes. But if you want to have a successful business using a blog as a tool, I’ve got a different suggestion for you: 

BE Brave!

Decide now that your business is going to be successful – you are going to have a profound – and broad – impact on others.  You are going to bring income into your home that allows you to make your dreams a reality.  That income will also allow for more freedom – more opportunities to serve and lift and give back.

If you are feeling a tug to share your unique talents with the world – trust it.  God wants your brand of goodness out there, touching people only you can.  I know that as you seek His help, He will support you. Involve Him in each of the following steps and He will show you how to start a successful blog that becomes a real business – a business that brings light and goodness into the world.

It will not be easy.  But you can do hard things.  You can absolutely start a successful blog.

So, start a blog the right way – the successful way.  Start with the intent of having an impact and earning income.  You’ve got this!

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Step #1: Decide, commit and invest

Many bloggers start their blogs as hobby blogs or “experiments” or as a way to record life or voice their thoughts on a certain topic. These mindsets are not a foundation for success as an online business owner.  A house needs a foundation, or otherwise, it will crumble. The wise man built his house upon the rock, remember? The same is true for your blog if you want it to be a business.  You must build your foundation before you build the rest of your business.  

The foundation of your business is built when you decide it is an actual business and commit to treating it as such.  You determine not to give up.  You commit time and invest money in order to see success.

5 steps to a secure foundation for your blog

Building this foundation includes a few steps:

  1. Overcoming your limiting beliefs. You need to believe that technology is meant to be used for good, that God has a way for you to use your talents online, and that it’s okay if you make money while serving and helping others.  You need to believe that you can learn the tech and marketing required – or find others to do those things for you.
  2. Commit to a business – not just a blogging hobby for fun.  You will need to spend time and invest money.  You will need to eventually hire help.  As an online content marketer who wants a successful business, you will need to accept that your face needs to be out there – in pictures and video – in order to be successful.  Get professional pictures taken. 
  3. Set boundaries on work and family time.  Decide how much time you will spend on your business and when.  What sorts of things will you never say “yes” to in order to keep your family and faith as a top priority.  Think it through.
  4. Get organized.  Set up systems to keep track of your finances, digital assets (pictures, documents etc), ideas, to-do lists, passwords, communication and more
  5. Set goals.  These initial goals should be fairly big picture.  Where do you want your business to be next year?  in 5 years? 10?

If you are too busy to build good systems, then you'll always be too busy.

Step #2: Do your research

Even when they have decided they want to use their blog as part of a bigger business plan, many bloggers jump in too quickly. The get a site online and start writing blog posts.  Sadly, many of their posts fall flat and they end up feeling discouraged and unsure if they are “cut out” for this blogging gig.  But the funny thing is, it actually has nothing to do with them!  

The problem is they didn’t research.

If you want to know how to start a successful blog you need to understand that it takes research.  This research should include:

1). Which of your own talents and passions you would most enjoy using to serve and help others.  I call this Discovering your Superpower.

2). Determining who you will serve and what their needs are.  What do they need help with?  What can you do to help them?

3). What products, tools and educational articles are already out there?  How can you do something different?

For some great tips on how to perform this research, read Will it Fly?  by Pat Flynn (affiliate link)

Step #3: Build your brand Assets

Once you have a firm grasp of the needs in your market and how you are uniquely prepared to help, you can then start building your actual brand assets.  You will need to:

  1. Choose a business name
  2. Buy the domain (  I use Namecheap (affiliate) b/c it comes with free privacy protection (otherwise, anyone online can see your phone number and address)
  3. Create social media accounts Claim an account on all social media platforms, even if you don’t plan to use it right away so that it is there when / if you need it.  Choose just 1 social media platform (based on your earlier research you should know where your target market likes to hang out) to start using right away and learn all you can about it.  Make it your goal to do all you can to serve and help those who need you there.
  4. Get a professional email address.  You can do this using Zoho for free (I’ve not used them but have heard good things) or G Suite (affiliate) for a few dollars a month (this is what I use).
  5. Choose the colors that will represent your brand online.  They should attract your target market based on your research. (here is a tool)
  6. Choose your fonts (typically no more than 2 and make sure they are readable and maybe 1 script font to be used occasionally).  Google fonts are free and look great online.
  7. Create a logo.  You will likely change this as you grow and get more focused.  Try a kit from Creative Market (affiliate) or hire some on Fivver for now.  Nothing too fancy yet.

Step #4: Start your email list

Way too many bloggers do not have an email list, and I cannot think of more costly mistake. If you want to know how to start a successful blog and keep it successful – a solid email list is your answer. When done right, you can expect to earn around $1 per person you have on your email list every month.  Email is a much better return on investment than trying to market on social media AND it is easier – there is no middleman (looking at you Instagram) deciding who actually sees what you publish.

The most costly mistake that bloggers make is not starting an email list right away.

Do not wait to start your list.  Ask most any successful blogger about their 1st online business and they will say they wished they started their email list sooner.  Start your email list before you start your actual website / blog.  

First, you will need an Email Service Provider.  I recommend MailerLite (affiliate) if you want to go the free route. It’s free up to the first 1000 subscribers, but it isn’t quite as easy to use or as robust as ConvertKit (affiliate) which is what i recommend if you already have a list over 1000 subscribers or want something easy to use with great support. 

Signup for your ESP and watch the tutorial videos they provide.  Take the time to really learn how to use this tool – it will be the most profitable tool you will use in your business.  Yes, it will bring you income, but it will also allow you to have a profound impact on those you serve. You can create a simple landing page with your ESP even if you don’t have a website.  As you provide value to those who follow you on social media, you can drive traffic to that landing page and start building a list of interested people before you even have a website!  Sweet, right?

The best way to get people on your email list is to give them something valuable!  Based on your research, you know what your audience needs – create something simple that meets one of those needs.  It should be something that will give them a quick win.  This is called a lead magnet or, as I prefer to call it, a freemium.  Once they are on your list, continue delivering them valuable, actionable content.  If you sign up for my email list below, I will show you how:

Step #5: Create your website / blog

Can you believe this is step #5!?  This is NOT step #1.  

I suggest setting up a website using WordPress and choosing WPMUDEV (affiliate) as your host.  

Most bloggers can get this far with the help of the right online tutorial, but they struggle with getting their site to look like they really want it to.  If you use Elementor Pro (affiliate), you can build your entire website using a drag and drop interface.  It’s rad.  And it’s just $49 / year. Way less than the $1000 – $20,000 you might pay a designer to create your site for you.  I really, REALLY wish I’d had this tool back in 2010.

Create a homepage, about page, and contact page. Create the blog. Don’t forget your legal pages like your privacy policy or affiliate disclosure.  

Step #6: Drive Traffic to your blog

In order to drive traffic to your website, you will need to have something of value there – something visitors want to come and see. In other words, you will need content.  I suggest you have at least 3-5 blog completed before you launch or start using social media to drive traffic to your website. 

Choose your content Format

Based on the research you performed earlier, you should know how your target audience prefers to consume content.  Written articles?  Podcasts?  Videos?  Which format will you use to provide value to those you teach?

Choose one.

You may be surprised I suggest videos and podcasts in an article about how to start a successful blog (which is typically written content).  Starting a successful blog with written content was much easier in 2010. As I write this in March 2020, there are over 600 million blogs (1 for every 13 people), 31 million YouTube channels (1 for every 252 people), and just 800,000 podcasts (1 for every 9750 people).  If your target audience listens to podcasts or is on YouTube, you might consider creating your content in video or audio format instead of written.  

A blog is simply a regularly updated section of a website.  Those updates don’t have to be in written format.  They could be in video (vlog) or audio format (audioblog).  You can create a video, upload it to YouTube and then embed that video on your website’s blog.  Or, you could create an audio file, upload it to a podcast host and then embed that same audio on your website’s blog. Eventually, you could create written transcripts of your audio/video and use those as written articles on your blog.

Learn how to drive traffic for maximum profitablity

Take courses (free and paid) on SEO, on your favorite social media platform, and/or on paid advertising. Invest money and spend time in learning how.  You committed to a business, remember? Do all you can to drive traffic to your website.  Continue doing all you can to capture this traffic by getting them to sign up on your email list.  Every piece of content you create should invite the person reading, watching or listening to sign up on your email list.  

Step #7: Create Your Own Product

So many bloggers think that they only way to make money as a blogger is to have a site that gets lots of traffic and then pay others to advertise on that site.  But what if YOU were the one advertising on your own site?  Makes more sense, right?  You’d make a lot more money and a lot sooner because you could make money with less traffic.  Obviously more traffic would mean more money, but there would be no need to wait until you have 20,000 monthly visitors (or whatever your ad network requires) before you can start earning.

Use the research you did!  What gaps are there in the market?  What problems do people have that aren’t being solved?  

Again, for some great tips on how to perform and use your research, read Will it Fly?  by Pat Flynn (affiliate link).  

Step #8: Grow smart

Once you have an initial product and are making some sales, you are ready to focus on truth growth and passive income.

This will come in a few ways:

  1. As you continue to grow what you are offering. You can create different levels of products/solutions: lower priced, simple solutions all the ways up to premium hands-on one-on-one offerings.
  2. As you learn to effectively re-purpose content.  For example, you can create a video for Youtube, use the audio for a podcast, transcribe it for a written article.  You can also take quotes from it for social media posts.  You can create worksheets based off of it – and on and on and on.
  3. As you automate things.  Learn about email and social media automation and scheduling.
  4. As you hire help.  



If you want to know how to start a successful blog you have to know what to do and when.  You need to take steps that make sense toward building a blog that serves as a tool inside your larger business.  Those steps are:

  1. Decide, invest and commit to a business not a hobby blog
  2. Research your market and target audience
  3. Build brand assets that will attract that market
  4. Start an email list
  5. Build a website
  6. Drive traffic by creating quality content
  7. Earn quicker by creating your own product(s)
  8. Grow smart through additional products, re-purposing content, automation and hiring help

Doing things in the right order is the key to starting a successful blog.

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