It’s been a freaky journey up to this point since starting Man Vs Debt many years ago. I feel like I swallowed both the red and blue pills in one big gulp. I rarely try to blog about blogging, however I thought it would be fun to reflect on what I’ve learned in these first 6 months.
Before we get started, let me make something very clear. I didn’t title this post ‘How to be an awesome blogger’ on ‘Blog your way to success’. First of all, those titles aren’t me. Second, I don’t think I have the knowledge or authority to tackle the subject from that angle.
I don’t claim to be an expert, however I have been able to build what many would consider a thriving community within a relatively short amount of time (in blogging terms), so I hope to share some insights on how you can start blogging as a beginner and potentially make money along the way. So, while you may debate it, I honesty feel I’m somewhere between sucking and success. In other words, I feel I’ve crossed over the sucking hump.
And yes… I just coined the phrase ‘sucking hump’. It’s mine. Don’t touch it.
As with any post I do, this will be based completely on my own experience and perspective. I’m not charging you for it and it’ll be worth what you pay for it. I’ll be reviewing the big picture stuff that inspires me, as well as trying to reveal some specific, tangible nuggets you may or may not already know.
Let’s start with the beginner’s guide to how you can make money blogging.
Using ChatGPT to Make Money Blogging
Open AI’s ChatGPT will change the blogging world as we know it. As such, consider researching how chatGPT can help you make money blogging with forms such as content creation, idea creation, and formatting blog posts with search engine optimization in mind.
ChatGPT can definitely be a good source, so consider different ways to utilize it when you start a blog.
Blogging for Money – Beginner’s Guide
When I first started blogging, I knew that I wanted to make money blogging, but I did not know exactly how I would make money. The purpose of this guide is to help you start to understand how to make money.
If you are interested to start a blog and haven’t done so already, stop and check out this guide, “how to start a money making blog” as it will help you figure out what niche to target, get you setup on Bluehost for a ridiculous deal and then help you get started building a money making blog.
1. Guest Posting
Selling guest posts is frowned upon by Google if you do not mark the post as sponsored, but many people still sell guest posts on their blog. The price per post can range from $5 to thousands of dollars, and it often depends on the domain rating or domain authority of your blog. The higher the domain authority may yield you a higher cost per post or link insertion.
Again, this is called a grey or black hat SEO strategy, so I am not going to recommend this option, but it is a common way beginners make money guest posting.
2. Advertising (Banner Ads and Ads in General)
Many people use AdSense or another ads publishing platform to advertise with banners on their website. For this option, it’s all about how many users you have reading your website each month. If you have a lot of readers, you can make $100 fast more and more money through different publishing networks. That said, some people don’t like this option as it can clutter the blog that you worked so hard on.
3. Affiliate Links
Affiliate links is where an advertiser would pay you on a per click, per acquisition or per lead basis. For example, let’s say you found a blog post covering dog toys, and clicked on a link and made a purchase. The publisher may have received an affiliate commission for that purchase. This is an extremely common way that beginner bloggers make money.
4. Sell a Product
If you have a knack for building a product, you can sell that on your blog. For example, let’s say you have a blog covering cartography, and have an Etsy shop where you are selling specific things related to your blog. This is a less common option for new bloggers looking to make money.
5. Sell a Service (eBooks, Courses)
When you start to get a following, some bloggers sell services or eCourses. On Man Vs. Debt, we have an ecourse covering how to sell your crap because many people do not realize how you can sell your stuff most efficiently for the biggest dollar amount. I would say that this is not a common option for beginner bloggers because you have to have a following before you get this started.
6. Become a speaker
Some of the biggest blogging names are also public speakers. Being a public speaker can yield thousands of dollars for an appearance fee, but if you are a beginner blogger, I wouldn’t focus on this option as this may come years from now.
7. Write for other blogs
If you write amazing articles that get Google’s attention, you may be asked to write blog posts for other blogs. A friend of mine paid a fellow blogger under $1000 to cover the previously popular, Personal Capital, on a blog post. He stated that the blog post the blogger wrote yielded potentially over $100,000 in revenue over the years.
Now that we covered how you can make money as a beginner in blogging, let’s talk about resilience in blogging and how you can really make it a long term, sustainable side hustle for you.
If you aren’t 100% passionate, you will fail miserably.
Every successful blogger I’ve talked to has said the same thing. Every. Single. One. If you aren’t completely passionate (borderline obsessive) about your topic, there is no way you will put forth the enormous amount of effort it takes to succeed.
All the resources provided throughout the rest of this post come back to this one point. Look for it in each one. It’s there. If your number one reason for blogging is income generation… well… everything I’ve experienced and everyone I’ve talked to indicates that you are destined for catastrophic failure. I’m sure there is an exception, however you’re probably not it.
So what’s the solution? Work all this out before you start. And DON’T start until you are convinced beyond any doubt that you absolutely adore your topic/business model. If you only do one thing in this whole post, watch the following video:
[External link to video]
I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’ve watched this Gary Vaynerchuk video once a week since I found it back in late April. Most of you have probably already watched it. Watch it again, anyway. Here are some of the parts/topic that continue to inspire me:
- No non-sense follow your passion.
- Giving a shit about your readers.
- Stop crying. Keep Hustling.
- Legacy is greater than currency.
- The nature of the game is changing. [still is]
- “Stop watching f***ing Lost”
I can’t say enough about the impact this video had on Man Vs. Debt, so I’m going to stop trying.
After you are done watching the video, download Chris Guillebeau’s 279 Days to Overnight Success. For me, it was the print version of the video above. I stumbled into it sometime during my second month and it has been my blogging bible ever since. Here are the parts of it that most affected Man Vs. Debt so far:
- Shattered my model of what blogging could be (especially within my niche)
- How to be remarkable and leverage your personal story
- Building Flagship content (which I call ‘pillar’ content)
- Balancing being authentic with “fake-it-until-you-make-it” (super important)
- Chris’ Adsense perspective (on page 43) confirmed what I thought, but was afraid to say
When I launched Man Vs. Debt, I was set-up for failure from the beginning. Luckily, within the first two months I was able to find and latch onto these two resources early. I was very lucky. If you haven’t watched or read both of these recently, your blog NEEDS you to.
Realize that it’s difficult to make money
Seriously, let go. I’ve seen so many new bloggers poison themselves with a constant quest to monetize. They are so addicted to tweaking Adsense or finding ways to pitch affiliates that they end up doing nothing else. They have no time to create stuff that inspires. They have no time to really connect with their readership or find their voice.
Do you know anyone who has been monetarily successful in the first 6 months of blogging (without a pre-existing platform, etc…)? I don’t. Not a single one. If you do, I’d really like to know. In fact, I can count the number of people who I know who made full-time money in the first year on two fingers.
I don’t know everyone, but I know a decent amount of bloggers now. Their stories are all the same. They worked their ass off with very little money and very little reward for a very long time. They lived and breathed their blogs for months and months before they made any significant money.
I honestly believe one of the keys to Man Vs. Debt’s early growth was that I never got trapped in the monetizing loophole. I tried to trap myself many times, but luckily I surrounded myself with people who would pull me out of it and inspire me to focus on much higher-leverage activities.
I’m not saying you should not plan ahead. Plan out and work towards how you will eventually feed your family through you blogging endeavors. When you are just getting started, though, stop trying to actually do it now. You’ll just be discouraged, frustrated, and distracted.
Expose yourself to ALL the possibilities of blogging.
There is no one way to blog. Heck, there is no right way to blog. It depends on the topic, niche, community, and individual blogger. But don’t let yourself be pigeon-holed into only one business plan or one method of blogging. Here are a couple examples:
- Several of my pf-blogging friends make fantastic income with Adsense.
- Chris Guillebeau primarily supports himself on his own information products.
- Ramit Sethi leveraged his blog to catapult his book launch and solidify his personal brand.
- Leo from Zen Habits had public success accepting donations to help him become a full-time writer.
- Pinyo from Moolanomy was offered a killer job based on his success with his blog.
- Clay Collins trains people on how to build and market very specific niche products.
- Other bloggers end up selling their sites to pursue other passions.
- Jonathan Mead coaches individuals on how to ‘get paid to exist’ based off his own story.
The moral of the story? The possibilities that come from blogging are endless. I truly believe there is something for everyone. There is a model out there (or combination of models) that is perfect for you, but you got to be able to expose yourself in the first place. For me, this search is a continual project. I suspect it’ll always be that way.
Be the “something”-guy (or gal)
Brand yourself intentionally. This is yet another area that I’m still figuring out. My theory is that you start by trying to attach your name to certain “somethings.” For example, early on I tried to be the “debt”-guy. I quickly realized that wasn’t me. I didn’t want that role, nor am I fit for that role. So I’ve tested out being some other things.
Honestly, I want to be known as the “transparency”-guy. Or the “authenticity-and-passion”-guy. That’s a lot of hyphens. You get the point. Your branding will be a million times more effective if you are pumping out a consistent message. I haven’t found my sweet spot, yet, but that doesn’t keep me from knowing this will be essential moving forward.
The step after that? Is to flip the scenario. When people lead with the term you want them to think of you. Search engine? Google. Anti-credit card? Dave Ramsey. Social Media news? Mashable. This is the where you should always be headed in my opinion.
Don’t squander 6-months in this area like I have. Experiment early on. When you find a “something” that feels right… drive it home.
Be as transparent as possible
This has been HUGE for me. Now, I know not everyone is able or willing to be as transparent as I have been with this blog. That’s the “as possible” part. Set your limits early on and then reveal as much as possible up to those limits. I only follow a couple blogs that I don’t feel like I personally know the author. That doesn’t mean I’ve met them, but rather I feel like we’ve met.
The blogosphere is crowded. You will be very hard pressed to find a niche that isn’t already saturated. The only way you can stand out is with your personal story and your personality. That’s the only reason I start following new blogs. What about you? Do you stumble across a newer blog and add it just because it has a cool design? I don’t. A cool design might catch my eye, but only for long enough for me to search for the About page.
I’m an awesome fan to have on your side. I’m super loyal and super loving. If you hook me, I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth and sing along the way. To be honest, I’m the type of fan I want. Are you still with me? I want raving fans. And raving fans are tough to inspire if you aren’t letting your personality and/or your story lead the way.
Stop f***ing with your design and your plug-ins
Hammer out your design and blog set-up early and then leave it alone. I wasted so much time on this crap early I actually don’t even want to think about it. I constantly see newer and/or smaller bloggers shoot themselves in the foot by focusing WAY too much time and energy on this stuff.
When in doubt, go with the simple option. Use WordPress. Unless you have previous background in programing or web design, buy a theme. I bought Thesis within the first two weeks and it was one of the smartest things I did for the blog. I’ve been able to do most of the minor changes myself by searching the support forums. When in doubt, I’ve asked one of the other 102988512319 bloggers that use it.
For less than $100 bucks you can have your pick of the 3-4 most popular themes. Get your design all pretty and set-up your plug-ins. Search the three sites and tap into the resources below to get a feel for whats going on.
Once you get to the point you are 80% satisfied… LEAVE IT ALONE. Seriously. That last 20% is the biggest waste of your time. Once again, I don’t want to think about this anymore. Gives me nightmares.
Resources to help you in this area:
You only need to subscribe to three ‘blogging’ blogs. But, in my opinion, all three are essential because they focus on different areas. I never miss a post from:
Unfortunately, I don’t personally know these three guys. They aren’t my friends. They are simply the best at what they do. Each has been ridiculously valuable to my development in different areas of my blogging. Using all three sites you can find the answer to ANY question you have about blogging.
This next resource is a long one. It’s roughly an hour, but it’s a good one to get out of the way as soon as possible. This video came at perfect timing for me, because I really was about to give up. Tim Ferriss packs this full of useful tidbits. Some of my favorites include:
- Why do you blog?
- Income is not the only currency
- Only measure what matters
- Passion over polling
- Creating a writing system, set of habits, or ‘zone’
- How to handle comments
- Tons of Q&A about random, specific topics
This isn’t a video I watch every week like the first one. Doing that will only cause you to obsess over the details of your blog (which I’ve ranted 500 words about above). This is one of those that you make a big cup of coffee, click play, and take notes. At the end, spend one big burst of time adjusting your blog and then LEAVE IT ALONE again. 🙂
If you’re really new to the blogging scene, I suggest you also download Erica Douglass’ new free e-book. Erica’s book does a great job of providing small, actionable tips to help you get the details ironed out. Since this was just released, I had already figured the majority of it out the hard way. If you’re just starting to get your feet wet, though, this will save a ton of time.
Once set-up, focus 80% of effort on creating content
Content is king. That’s all I got. Nothing I can say here will help you. Write passionately. Make creating a priority. There, I tried. This part is up to you.
Build relationships BEFORE you need them
Spend the other 20% connecting with your peers. By the way, genuinely connecting with others IS marketing. My experience is that they are not separate activities. It seems to be the nature of the blogging beast. I’ll dig much more into the details of this below in the ‘Getting On The Map’ section.
Seek out mentors (whether they are willing or not)
Early on I had several mentors. Some knew it and some didn’t. Some saw something in me early and stepped up to the plate. Some are taking chances on me now. While I won’t name them all, I want to point out a couple.
- First, there was Leo. Zen Habits was the first major blog I passionately followed. Before I was interested in personal finance, before I had an obsession with simplicity, and before I knew what Twitter was. For a long time Zen Habits was the only blog I followed. And it was his journey out of debt that led me to research other bloggers that discussed personal finance. It was all downhill from there. Thanks, Leo… I think.
- Once I had started the blog, there was one A-list personal finance blogger who reached out before any other. His name was Wang… Jim Wang. For some reason, Jim thought it was worth his time to answer all my retarded questions early on. He made himself unusually accessible and I’m still looking forward to the day I can return the favor. This was a huge benefit to me early. If someone with experience and success makes themselves available. Don’t let it slip by.
- As I mentioned earlier, sometime towards the end of the first month, I stumbled upon Chris Guillebeau’s 279 Days manifesto. It really rocked my world. I remember going back and reading nearly every page in the archives of the Art of Non-Conformity. At this point in time, Chris had no idea he was a mentor. Regardless, he was shaping my approaches to marketing, community, and transparency. He continues to inspire the direction of Man Vs. Debt, although these days he knows it. 😉
- Lastly, I have to mention Jonathan Mead who was the first non-personal-finance blogger to actively reach out to help me. Jonathan has literally spent hours talking with and helping me work through blogging-related issues. He’s constantly pushing me to pursue the highest-leverage activities and cut out all the rest. He single handily convinced me that the world would not stop revolving if I didn’t post everyday and has talked me down from quitting more than once.
Search out people like the ones above in your own blogging endeavors. If you are desperate enough, search out me. That’s an open invitation. If I can pass on any help that I’ve been given, nothing would make me happier.
Find a Blogging Buddy
This is another specific area that has been invaluable to me so far. I think it’s important to find someone that has similar goals, is at a similar point in there journey, and who you can trust to be honest. While I have many blogging friends in the community, the one I trust more than any others is Matt Jabs.
Matt and I talk frequently (not always productively!) about a wide variety of topics. We help keep each other in check by bouncing ideas of each others, allowing the other person to rant privately, or helping each other define our goals. Matt’s support has been a huge motivation for me to stay committed. Next to Courtney, Matt has been the single most supportive influence for my blogging so far.
Darren Rowse of Problogger had a great post on the benefits of a blogging buddy earlier in the year. Check it out and go find a buddy! 🙂
Getting on ‘The Map’
So you are inspired. You’ve set-up the blog. Your new blogging buddy says your content is awesome. How do you get it out to people?
Simple… put it in front of influential people. There are several ways to do this. But I can tell you from experience that a relative link from a major blog in your niche will do more for your growth than anything else. I’d rather have a link from Trent at The Simple Dollar then hit the front page of Digg. I’ve had both and it’s not even close. One gives me exposure to a highly-receptive, pre-targeted, and passionate group of followers. The other crashes my site, leaves a ton of negative comments, and averages .0324 seconds per visit.
That’s nice, but how do you actually get it in front of people? Here were the top things I did:
- Leave Passionate Comments. No matter how big the blogger, I’ve never heard of one that doesn’t read his/her comments. It’s just sort of a given. I feel this has been the #1 way I’ve connected with influential bloggers. My suggestions for comments:
- Only comment when you can genuinely be passionate. Don’t fake comments.
- Pick a single part of the post that you connected with and relate it to your life.
- Don’t be afraid to disagree, especially with a specific part of the article.
- As a side benefit, you can get some serious traffic from these. On several occasions, I’ve received over 100 referrals from a single passionate comment on larger sites. Good comments benefit everyone.
- Focus Your Guest Posting. This might not go over well with some bloggers, but I would advise you NOT to guest post on small to medium size blogs. For example, it’s rare that you’ll receive a big benefit from guest posting for me. I’m just being honest. Rather than use a shotgun approach, try a laser. Focus on guest posting for a major A-list blog at a time. Investing the time to make one GREAT post for an A-list blog, outweighs creating 20 GOOD posts for C-list blogs.
- Support influential blogger’s pet projects. Even the big guys have side projects they do. Support them. When Jim Wang and J.D. Roth started the Personal Finance Hour, I thought it was a dream come true. I was just getting started and here I had the chance to call in and talk to two of the top pf-bloggers. Early on, it turns out, other bloggers were just too busy or too scared to call-in and support the show. For the first few weeks, I was the only personal to call-in. Supporting that show put me on the radar of both Jim and J.D. and both relationships have proven extremely valuable to me in these first 6 months. This is only one example of several relationships I built through side projects like this.
- Submit to Blog Carnivals. Some niches have more of these than others, but seriously, it’s not hard. There are at least 15 in the personal finance community alone. Not only are these good for incoming links, but they are a great way to get in front of other bloggers and bigger audiences. Take the time to check who is hosting the bigger carnivals. Submit your best posts on the weeks the carnival is hosted by a large blog. Several months ago, I saw that WiseBread was hosting a personal finance carnival the next week. I saved my best article at the time to submit to them and left a detailed message. It ended up getting chosen as and editor’s pick and then picked up by LifeHacker. Think LifeHacker would have saw it on my blog? Think again. Check out the link, they even mentioned seeing it on WiseBread. If you are too lazy to submit to blog carnivals, scroll up and watch the first video again.
- Create extensive link round-ups. Feature blogs you want a better relationship with in cool link round-ups. I can’t imagine a better example then the recent, Top 25 Badass Personal Finance Blogs. Simply brilliant what they did. Early on, I did exhaustive link round-ups, sometimes featuring over 25+ links where I commented a little on each link. It was genuine, though. At one point I was following and reading over 150+ RSS feeds. This was a great way to initiate relationships and get my own writing in front of the bloggers I was targeting.
- Tweet. Twitter was one of my top referrals for the first 2-3 months. I used twitter directories to find anyone who was related to personal finance and followed all of them. I looked forward to Follow Friday and spent hours finding out who was active and respected on Twitter. I interacted with bloggers I wanted to follow me and supported people with detailed (not just generic RTs). It was a ton of work, but I was able to deepen the connection with a lot of influential bloggers using this medium. As many of you know, I’m still super-active on Twitter and it continues to be of amazing benefit in building relationships.
That’s it as far as specifics go. The last thing I’ll add on the topic of reaching out to influential bloggers is… The answer is always ‘NO’ if you never ask. Take initiative and put yourself out there. Give them all the information they need in one spot (don’t make them click through). If you are genuine, people will respond. That’s what has worked for me.
Last bit of random crap…
- Delete negative comments. If you get a comment that isn’t constructive or is abusive, just delete it. Don’t respond. Don’t even finish reading it. Don’t waste another second with hate-mongering trolls. Leave a constructive comment on this site and I’ll love you. I appreciate people who expand the discussion and help me grow. Leave a whiny rant and I will delete you. It’s my blog. Deal with it. [Learned this the hard way]
- Use good pictures. I’ve received a lot of feedback on the fact that I generally have great pictures. It’s surprising because it’s not hard. I forgot where I first read it, but here’s what I do. Use this link to search FlickR, type very specific keywords, and sort by most interesting. Don’t say I didn’t provide anything tangible. 😉
- Thank first-time commenters. I’ve done this from day one and the results are amazing. I’m utterly convinced it drastically increases the number of repeat commenters. Either way, the conversations that it has started over e-mail with some of my readers have been fabulous. I don’t e-mail everyone on every comment, of course. Just the first one people leave (the ones that need to be approved the first time).
This was a more recent find, so I can’t say that it inspired Man Vs. Debt over that last 6-months. However, I think it’s valuable, especially for the sections on ‘thrashing’ things out at the beginning. [The first couple of minutes are slow… it picks up quickly.]
Seth Godin on the ‘lizard brain’.
Hopefully, at least a couple of these 4,000 words (or videos) have been helpful. Most importantly, I’d love if you’d add your own tips and suggestions on not sucking below. I’d like to continue to build on my momentum and make the jump to “successful” blogger (whatever that means) and will be looking for your best tips to help me!
Please take the time to share your thoughts below! (At least congratulate me for surviving for 6 months) 😉
photo by Jason Gulledge
351 thoughts on “How to Make Money Blogging For Beginners (2023 update)”
Excellent Information. There is of course overlap on good blogs, but there are always a few nuggets on great posts that you can take away. And you have left me with plenty.
Have you ever noticed that when you have successes in life-you are always there?
If you believe that we create our own reality…then you absolutely, unconsciously attracted those successes into your life; and it started with your thoughts.
WOW! Awesome content for onward development of my blogging journey. I really like those videos and the pdf’s. Thanks for sharing.
Hey, this is the first time I’ve come across your blog and I’m glad I did.
I’m currently finding it a bit tough to figure out what I want to blog about lol. I did the setup all wrong. I bought the domain name and hosted it with an initial (flimsy) idea and now I’m like “wtf?” lol.
However, your blog post has provided me with some great resources and ideas that I’m going to get stuck into before focusing my efforts on making my blog for the right reasons.
And also so that I don’t suck at blogging anymore 😀
Wow, where can I start with this? This is seriously an awesome post with SO many good tips. Here is what I have to say–
1) Expose yourself to ALL the possibilities of blogging. — I think this is so true. I’m planning to put ads on my blog pretty soon, but I’ve gotten a lot more out of it so far! I’ve gotten free books, free products offered to me, and job interviews! If I was focused on money, alone, I wouldn’t get this far.
2) Passion does go a long way. There’s no way I could keep writing if I didn’t have a true passion for what I do.
3) About transparency… I know “baring your soul” online so to speak can get you places but unfortunately, I’ve been struggling with this. I’m definitely reluctant to focus on myself and tell all, so hopefully I’ll figure out how to get better at this over time.
Thanks for the great tips! Another awesome tip: email your subscribers!
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I’m writing this from Barsov in Romania where me and Amanda (spouse and blogging partner) are reading this post.
Thank you so much for writing it (we’re a year late, and have only been in this blogging business for two months)! This is the first piece that I read from your post, and it totally rocked my boat. I’m going to test all of your tips and let you know how it goes.
We’ve just started our adventure, but so far it has been extremely rewarding.
Much more rewarding than any previous work we’ve had.
What has been the best part of it for you?
Thank you for the inspiration, best of luck!
Great post. I have the paper version of 279 days to overnight success and it is great. i have been reading that thing nonstop and there is always things in their that surprise me.
Found you through colour me happy while looking for some new colors for my home. Just wanted to say keep up the great work! Lots of wonderful tips, thank you!
Adam, Thank You. All though I didn’t know you existed until a few minutes ago, I love you for this post. I’m right smack in the middle of that youthful blogging hell (BTW, I love blogging). But here I am tweaking my widgets all day long, being scared my posts don’t have enough lists and bullets to find an audience, reading and hating too many blogs, not knowing how to start a business, being totally passionate and obsessing about it all (ten thousand tag lines today). Even with all the advice out there, the path isn’t clear. And maybe that is because I have to make my own. But I feel in a lot better shape after reading half this post (the other half will have to wait for tomorrow because it is way past my bedtime).
Thank you for your post! I have been thinking about starting a blog but I know nothing (and I really mean nothing) about the subject. I found your website through frugal dad and I am happy with the results! Great info and resources to help me get started!
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I’m somewhat new to your blog, I’ve been following it for about 3 months. I’m really enjoying your blog. This is the first blog that I found that shared their monthy stats and income, NEAT. You have great content. So here’s your BIG CONGRATULATION on getting to the 6 month milestone.
I’m in the process of learning WordPress and I will be getting my websites switched over to WordPress soon. I’m still working on nailing down my main passion as I have three, Natural Health, Living a Happy Life, and Mastering Self Employment. I am considering blending these three together as I’m an expert in all of these areas. I believe we need to be healthy to enjoy our happiness and success.
I’m wishing the best for you and your success. Great writing.
With 201 comments already I highly doubt you would ever get the chance to read them all but I felt compelled to leave one anyway. =)
Came across your blog from a link from Think Traffic and in seconds I knew I loved your site! Maybe it was the great header picture with your baby girl. I’m a mommy myself so things like that stand out for me.
Just realized that I need to incorporate that “personal” side to my site. I run a blog on online business training and although I have fun in my writing and speak with my “true” voice I realized I leave out the most important aspect of my life, the very people I work so hard on my business for, my two little ones.
Anyway, I am really looking forward to reading more of your blog! And sorry for the long comment…no I’m not drunk, just exhausted and now inspired! =) Take care.
My god, this was by far one of the most passionate, readably, inspiring blog posts I have ever read. I am still in the beginning stages and this is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Thank you for the guidance, the inspiration, and the kick in the butt.
Awesome post! Thanks so much for this – as a new blogger, the task of building a readership can be daunting, and it’s so easy to get bogged down in design details and other relatively unimportant tasks, as you’ve said. I’m just starting out, but I’m hoping to grow an incredibly valuable resource for others (specifically, those headed to academic graduate school for Ph.D.s) as you’ve done here, so thanks for inspiring me!!
Thank you so much for this post – I read through it last night and have watched the various videos you recommend (except for Timothy Ferris – ran out of time) and read the excellent “279 Days to Overnight Success” e-book. I’ve been blogging since 2006 but have always held back from making a 100% commitment – and am now contemplating a plunge into doing it full-time. The resources you’ve compiled, and the details you share from your own experience, are exactly what I need to be immersing myself in right now. I really appreciate your generosity – thanks again!
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I cant believe i read the whole of your page – comments and all. I was feeling so down about twitter and blogging but i feel inspired and ready to get out there and make your ideas work. love your style and transparency thank you
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Love your work – rekindled my love to Tim Ferris!
Are you guys still in NZ?
Merry xmas and keep up the great work – just shaved off about $16K worth of debt this morning.
Great post, very inspirational, would be interresting how long it took you to write just this post alone? It would have taken me at least a full day.
Where do you write your post before posting them? You mention the number of words in your post, I write directly as I feeel I can write much faster as the flow goes, I write and click “post” button, job done.
But I have no idea of how many words I type.
Anyway, superb job here!
Bravo and merci!
Leon from Dol de Bretagne (France)
I am in the beginning stages of blogging and am setting up site. This could not have arrived at a better time. Thank you for sharing your hard work, much appreciated.
I keep coming back to this post again and again. You thinking of writing an updated version of this now that you have more blogging under your belt?
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Thanks very interesting post, I’ve been blogging for over a year with out much success. I’ve started making more effort recently and found your post. Lots of useful stuff all in one place.
Haha wow this was one of the dopest posts’ I’ve read in a long time. Gary’s video was soo sick..I’m going to have to start watching the 2 times a day for ummm the rest of my life? I just started blogging and honestly I’m going to take your advice and not worry soo much about the design of my website. That’ll come with time. The main thing is to build a community and a following. That’s real talk though man good stuff. Loved the post.
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Thanks for the great post – it must be gratifying to still receive so many positive comments on a post that’s 1 year and a half old! You are definitely succeeding at conveying an approachable and authentic voice which is encouraging and supportive for new and old bloggers alike. To me, you’re the “approachable & encouraging” guy! 😉
I have a question for you: do you think that the process of getting a blog set up from scratch (i.e. doing the market research, creating your vision and mission, setting up your design, writing your flagship content) can be equally well applied to a blog that has been already running for a while but which you want to revamp? I’ve recently become interested in pursuing blogging more intentionally (although at this time I have no interest in generating income from blogging), but I don’t want to close my current blog or put it on “hold” while I hole up to recreate everything from a blank slate. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this and perhaps continuing the conversation via twitter.
wow really good content… I’m new to all this
Thanks for sharing
Very inspiring. Thanks for the informative post on blogging. I totally agree with you – every business or business person should consider at least, creating and running a blog. I believe Web 2.0 is here to stay.
This is a very informative and helpful post. I am new to the personal finance blogosphere and I am now trying to get my blog looking 100% but like you stated 80% is alright. I should focus on creating the content. Also I am working on being more transparent and networking with successful bloggers.This post/blog hits home and I’m adding your link to my page because of that. Man vs debt.. what a blog name! lol How cool, I used to watch Man vs Wild ha ha but anyway. Keep it up dude.. Love that pic with the island in the background, if you look at my blog you will clearly see that I’m a tropical kinda guy. Again, great job.
Oh and if you have any suggestions or tips about my blog please share. I need all the help I can get. Thx!
Just getting started in the world of blogging and really appreciated your advice! Thanks for your honesty. I am happy to learn from your mistakes. =) PS I love your story!!
Hi there! I just found your blog and so far I love it.
* rave rave *
Keep it up!
Great article…thanks for the pratical help and resources.
Thank you. I am grateful for this information, and to you for compiling and sharing it.
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Dear Adam Baker,
I am amazed to see your work on this blog, great that I have found it today, lots and lots to learn and realize!
Highly appreciate your work!
I really need this!
One thing I am curious about is where the lines are drawn. Can I use any photo on the internet in my blogs or is that a copy write violation? Is there any “Blogging rules for dummies” blo out there?
Dang, think I will go search that now =).
Hey Adam, I just noticed your blog thanks to an article in Yahoo News, congrats! I like the title of this post especially; it definitely got my attention haha!
I agree that passion is the #1 thing you need for your blog, and to focus on one topic too. The first time I made a blog it was a little one I used to talk about random thoughts and what was going on lately, and it didn’t really have a theme or anything. But this year I started a blog, The Shyness Project, where I have been focused on one topic that I am passionate about. I’m recording my year-long journey to confront my shyness, and it’s been a big learning experience for me.
You’re right about the money thing too. I think it’s best to just write because you want to share your experience and not to worry about trying to make money from it. And yes, being very transparent and open about your life makes you feel vulnerable, especially when you talk about embarrassing subjects or moments, but it also really allows your readers to get to know the real you. I think the people who read my blog know more about the real me than most of the people in my real life actually! Great post, I will be referring to it again to make sure my blogging doesn’t suck haha! Take care, I’ll be reading more of your posts!
Baker…. I am a fellow Hoosier and just found your blog. I love the direction you are headed in. I am from Anderson and have been working towards being debt free for about 20 years. We have paid off $107K in debt since 2003. We made our last house payment in January of this year. I do have credit cards but the rule in our house is that the balance is paid off monthly. In 25 years I have never paid a dimes interest on credit cards. I have paid mortgage and car loan interest though and enough to buy my home much much earlier!
My wife and I can be crazy sometimes about how we save. We would wrap all our coins monthly and take them to the bank to make another mortgage payment. Those extra 10 -20 bucks over a year add up.
We have two paid for cars too. We have 2 – 2011 cars. One is a Chevy Camero and one is a Chevy Cruze. I drive 60 miles each way to work every day so the 37 mpg on the Cruze is awesome.
I wish you folks well. Keep doing what you are doing. We just looked in my closet and counted the number of T shirts (99) and the number of golf shirts (56). I think we could have been done alot sooner with the mortgage if I had limited my stuff. You are developing habits that will serve you well. I think in shirts along I have about $2,000 more than I need. Can you imagine what $2,000 into a mortgage payment would have saved me over the years?………………. TONS!
I work downtown in Indy and would love to meet you and the family when you are here this fall.
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Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m in the planning phase for creating a blog and was in dire need of some direction. Finally, some solid information and an amazing amount of resources! I appreciate your willingness to be a mentor to newcomers.
I am not from the States and have not seen Gary V before. He is full on and full of value. Thanks for the intro Baker. Nice blog.
Thanks! There’s at least 4 actionable ideas that I want to do right now. Very helpful. In particular, I liked your take on comments (incoming and outgoing) – really nice touch. I launched my travel blog earlier this year during my 5-month 15-country trip, and was at times getting bogged down focusing on the wrong areas. Thanks.
I love that this breaks it down and keeps it real. You’ve helped me realize I’m on the right track. I love your transparency and what you do. The most important, to me, of your oh-so-many words in this post were these: “Content is king. That’s all I got. Nothing I can say here will help you. Write passionately. Make creating a priority. There, I tried. This part is up to you.”
Thank you for sharing so generously. And congratulations on all your success.
Hi! Thanks for all the information… Hopefully we can suck less from some of these tips -lol. My husband and I have a goal to move to Puerto Rico and live there without “real” jobs. We just bought a property there in May. It has 4 tropical acres and two houses already on it. Most of our money currently comes from our jobs in Colorado, but we have some rental properties that we are hoping will give us enough passive income that we can live there without working. We might even open a guesthouse down in Puerto Rico too! But we also hope that our blogs will help too. Blogging for money seems to be way more work than blogging for fun and way harder than making money on rentals, at least for us so far! So we really appreciate all the tips you’ve shared to help us suck less at this :-). We had never even heard of a blog carnival! Well, anyway, you can check out our blog about our life in Colorado and the upcoming move to Puerto Rico at
LifeTransPlanet and about my thoughts on money and finances at
Fruitfulista. It would be awesome to be able to make enough money from blog websites like you guys do to be able to live where we want (in Puerto Rico at least for now) and do what we love to do anyway!
Great post! This was loaded with helpful advice. I’ll be reading it again and sharing it. Thanks!
Tim Ferris is a passionate motivator. I bought his audiobook recently, the Four-Hour Work Week. And I have had a great feeling that I can put into action the lessons I learned everytime I listen to the audio version of his best-selling book.
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Thank you Baker!
I have really all the posts I have read on your site so far, however this one particularly.
I have just started a wordpress site, and having next to no experience with anything website, blogging, writing, and photography related, I could use all the help I can get.
Your site would have immensely valuable to me over the previous several years, as I had been carrying 40,000+ in debt. Somehow though, I pulled it together, and paid it off completely just a few months ago. What helped me to this success, finally, was to take on as much work as I could get, keep my head down and moving forward, and not having any time to spend any money, I crossed that liberating threshold from the negative to positive for the first time in 15 years. I have seen so many useful tips within your posts that I will use to remain debt free and continue on toward prosperity.
I will check out the sites and videos for information on my blogging future.
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Adam…great post. Especially for someone like me who is just starting out and trying to get something going. I am still thinking thru the authenticity/ branding type thing. One day…
Thanks a lot for this post, I found it through Darren’s ebook on blogging (31 days…) and I just love it! I’m SO following you on twitter 😉
I know this was written a while ago, just wanted to let you know it’s really helpful to me, even being in a very different blogging community than you are. Regarding your point about focusing your guest posting: I’ve learned in the short time I’ve had my current blog and have been in a position to be invited to guest post, that I need to pay attention to not just how large a fan base the blog I’m guest posting for has; but I also have to consider certain other factors when deciding whether it is worth the time: I’ve posted on some blogs with 200 readers and gotten 20 new followers from it (keep in mind I’m really really small, so that’s a huge increase for me). And other guest posts that I’ve written for bloggers with almost 2000 followers have gotten me maybe one or two new readers. I’m very careful now to consider not just the scope of a blog’s reach, but also how quickly that blogger posts new material that bumps down guest posts, how much time that blogger spends letting others know about their guest posters, &c. before I take time to write a post that I’m going to be obsessing over more so than my own normal posts.
Thanks for the great post 🙂 I absolutely loved the Gary Vaynerchuk video you posted. Then I found this one, which was great as well.
I’ll be watching the Tim Ferriss video and reading 279 days to overnight success.
All the best!
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I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been blogging for about 6 months now, and am contemplating whether or not to throw in the towel. This post has helped me realize that I need to decide what my focus and what I really love are and then go from there. I’m so overwhelmed. I see the big picture and things I’d love, but seeing how to get there is so hard! Thanks for the encouragement. I can’t stop looking through your site and I don’t even have debt!
This was an awesome post! And it kicked me, like I seem to be getting kicked a lot lately. It made me realize that I’m far too eager to monetize my blog early on, in addition to debating whether or not I have an idea that I can continue to talk about.
I found this through a link from ThinkTraffic, and it has been fantastic advice! Thank you very much!
P.S. I’m a college student with some loans to pay off – not much in debt, and I hope to pay them off by the time I graduate, so this blog will be going into my favorites – I am certainly a man against debt!
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An awesome post! I came across this blog (about an hour ago) through ‘How To Start a Blog That Matters’ and cannot stop reading. Really like you’re writing style and appreciate all the hard work you have put into this thing. You’re an inspiration.
I so agree with being a 100% passionate about blogging! I see so many folks who get into blogging with just the sole objective of commercial success. Well, as you rightly point out, if you don’t have the inherent passion to blog, you’d just fail sooner than later. The key to blogging success is of course in writing about what you are truly passionate about and not just writing with keywords in mind and coming up with articles that read as if it was churned out by a computer – I do see a lot of that!
This really is a must read for a lot of folks out there into blogging. I wish I read a blog post like this when I started out. I made a lot of mistakes initially, I am wiser for them now, but had I known of these earlier, it would have surely saved me a lot of time and energy. Great post, Adam, very informative 🙂
Love it, Baker.
I am a newbie blogger and I am a lucky boy for stumbling across this so early. I found it in an unlikely way, I was searching for images in Google for random acts of kindness, accidentally clicked through on one image to a website which also showed it had retweeted this post. A random act of clicking.
Your post has given me loads to think about. Inspiring as well as informative. I look forward to following you from here on.
Thank you very much indeed for writing and sharing this, it has clearly meant a lot to a large number of people, now including me.
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This was great. It was the inspiration I really needed. I’m new to the blogging scene, and I’ve only been freelance writing for about 6 months, and I wish I had read this post then. The information you provided in this post was invaluable. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference!
Thank you so much!!
I’ve literally just spent 2 hours off and on your site. I randomly clicked to it via a pintrest link about decluttering and have found the whole site utterly facinating. I’ve spent a long time on this particular page and have “favorite”ed it to my desktop to come back to again later when I’ve got a little more time.
I’ve actually been thinking of setting up a blog for a while now, but this post has given me the push I need to give it more serious thought!
I look forward to following your future posts. 😀
This is a great article! Thank you so much for all of this info. I am new to blogging and very excited. I have been working a lot on all the “pretty stuff” and plugins, etc. But I also have a goal to create one peice of content a day. This has been extremely helpful. The more I dive into the blogging world, the more I’m finding there is to learn about! I plan on following your suggestions. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
This post is phenomenal. I’ve bookmarked the Gary Vaynerchuk speech to watch again later, as well as the 3 “blogging blogs” to go back and check out, though I’ve read posts on each of them already. I like the transparency aspect of ManVsDebt, and will definitely include transparency in my site as well, though I’ve just started it this month. Keep up the great work.
Thanks for the informative post! Do you have any advice for people that need to blog to support a separate online business? I have a store of handmade crafts through artfire.com and they provide a blog in the store specifically to help drive your traffic. It’s obviously something very important, but I haven’t even started yet because I’m so concerned with creating the products themselves. Any advice on how to find a balance in creation/promotion? Do you know of any blogs specifically for online artisans? Thanks again, I will be following you from now on!
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Wow! Starting out as a writer/blogger is difficult to say the least. But at the end of the day I really think it’s a privilege to live in a time where I can share my ideas and passions with others through writing on such a large scale.
Probably the best thing I took aware from this article is that I’m not alone in this. I used to think I was the only one going through the difficulties in blogging and it was just smooth sailing for the lucky few. Baker, by sharing how hard it was for you in the beginning, you’ve shown me that all it takes is to be passionate about what you do, and work hard at it. Thanks for the incredible article!
Thanks so much for this post!
Guess, what? I’m just getting started with blogging and so this came at the best possible time! I am becoming quite the ManvsDebt man now. Even watched the movie (I’m Fine, thanks) just last week. I love what you guys are doing and appreciate all the inspiration and knowledge you give out.
I’ve book marked this page and will be back a few more times.
Thanks once again,
So much sound advice here that I can now take on board. I’ve been blogging for about 18 months and do sometimes get into the “affiliate trap” – but mostly try and focus on my writing. 🙂
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I wish I had read this when I started my first blog in the 2007. This is so spot on it’s embarassing to think how incompatent I was (and how most of us are) when we start publishing online.
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Wow! Thank you for all of this information. This is a really really dense post and I’m looking forward to diving into all the videos and other sources you’ve shared during the day. I’m brewing my big pot of coffee now 🙂
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It’s really not easy to blog such a long post. The points shared contains great insight too. Thank you.
This is an awesome post, thanks for sharing! I’m starting to implement the photo tip more.
Wow!!! This is EPIC stuff Corbert Barr referred to. I am NEW here and was here through Think Traffic of Mr. Barr. I sat & read through it all. I am blown away by the revelations and plain truth you shared willingly. I am in the process of starting a Travel Blog of my own. Definitely, I will add your tips to my To Do blog list.
Thanks & Best Regards,
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I’m a new blogger. Thanks for the helpful hints! Also, heard you on John Dumas interview. Thanks for the inspiring others to live their dreams!
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Great article. I really enjoyed the part about being as transparent as possible.
Brene Brown talks about how much there is to gain in real life relationships in her TED Talk “The Power of vulnerability” and I don’t think that there’s is any reason it shouldn’t translate onto the blog format as well.
Just wanted to say that it was a great read and that I took a lot from it. Thanks!
P.S. In case you’ve never seen the TED talk I’m referring to here’s a link. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
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Dude. Awesome. I re-read this today after months and felt compelled to leave a comment because it’s influenced me so much in so many ways. Thanks. Just wanted to say I appreciate you.
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First off, Adam, thanks for all the intentionality that went into this post. I found you through an interview on Fizzle.co w/ Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness. This post was very influential to his start, I am just around the corner from my own 6 mo. mark w/ my blog. I’ve been fortunate enough to find my voice early in the game, but haven’t quite been able to define my audience w/ laser focus yet. Thanks for letting me learn from your experience!
wow this is really good! I do agree when you said that the blogging market is really crowded! and also i do agree with Seeking out mentors (whether they are willing or not) that’s great advice!
I have just started blogging and so am still going around the net and trying to find information on how to do this well. I guess many of us bloggers start blogs in areas they are passionate about and then try to share this passion onto others. The biggest reward is when people come into your blog and like the content. As a person, I’ve always gone out of my way to help people and so my blog is just an extension of that. I’ve faced a problem, learnt some ways to overcome and now want to share it with others. I guess the hard part for many of us is how to stand out. Since I am starting out, I still have no idea what I am actually doing and don’t really have eloquent writing, but with time this will hopefully change.
Thanks for providing all the links to the resources. I am starting with the Art of Non-Conformity and reading through it and hopefully will have time to go through the other stuff you provided. Since I am starting out, it’s always inspirational to read how other people started out and what their journey was and what obstacles they faced. For me, it’s a learning journey at the moment…
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Thank you for posting this. I have to say your passion against debt is what drew me into this site and then this post ended up being very helpful. I am getting ready to kick start my first blog & I think you have saved me a lot of heart ache.
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I actually found you through Entrepreneur on Fire’s podcast. I remembered your story, but most of all, I remembered your last name because it is my mom’s maiden name. So, I checked your blog out and became very impressed. I say this to suggest to any of the readers that from time to time, things just happen. Not everyone is the same. Marketing for your blog can be different for each new follower. Don’t miss opportunities to do interviews, get your name out there on other platforms, etc. Thanks Adam! I know I have benefitted from this article and will be sharing it with others.
Hey. This was written 3 years, and it is still the BEST blog post about blogging that I have ever come across (and I basically just read blog posts all day). Thank you for writing it.
This is one of the very first blog posts I read when I began creating my own blog. Now, 6 months since my blog first went live, it’s still the post I keep coming back to.
Thank you for writing this and sharing your knowledge!
I’ve started a blog this week, and came across this post as I was building up content. I keep coming back and re-reading bits. It’s great.
Creating, writing, taking photos, making videos, basically ‘doing’ is why I set up the blog, and this post affirms that I’m taking the right approach.
First time commenter here even though this article is years old! :Three years later, do you still feel like it’s a waste of time to guest post for your blog? 🙂 I found this site through a link on another site and am finding the more PF sites I read, the blogosphere is actually pretty small in terms of really well-known sites. The fact that yours comes up often enough for me to notice says something. Thanks for the information above. It’s a great reinforcer.
I feel obliged to leave a comment as I never do to anyone’s blog. Ever. So over the last year I’ve been listening to a lot of Podcasts. Also been watching some TED Talks. I’ve seen yours and liked it. Fast forward a couple months and while listening to Entrepreneur on Fire, I heard your story again. Now I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve got my own blog going so I think I can start my online karma by posting my first comment here.
Thanks for posting these tips and hopefully one day I’ll be the go-to-person in my niche (think American Pickers meets Rehab Addict). Hyphens and all…
Thanks man, Im glad I came across this. I was watching some stuff on Steve kamb for influence and he mentioned this article in an interview.
Im at around 5 months into blogging, not doing mind blowing numbers but I remind myself it’s a journey not a destination and to focus on progress not perfection.
Thank you for a great insight and focus
I was listening to Pat Flynn and Steve Kamb this morning on Pat’s podcast when they mentioned you and this article. Had to read it first thing. Great info, still applicable, and look forward to checking out the rest of the site.
Even after almost 7 years this post is STILL inspiring and insightful. Thanks Adam!
Hi, I loved this article so much. I have really been struggling with wanting the online biz dream but feeling really rushed about it. This rushed feeling is killing my love for the topic and making me feel overwhelmed before I have even started the damn blog! I know my husband would like to see a return on the investment that I have now made in learning about online business, website, and other tools, but now I can tell him that it takes at least 2 years. Anyway, I am gonna chill out and focus on content and getting my enthusiasm back! Thank you!
Love the passion that comes out of GaryVee. He’s been killing it for decades! And your post is a solid addition to it, especially about the transparency part. With so many people online, transparency is absolutely key to standing out from the pack.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed blog post. This was highly encouraging ” Content is king. That’s all I got. Nothing I can say here will help you. Write passionately. Make creating a priority. There, I tried. This part is up to you.” This has truly been a mini struggle. (I know you don’t want to hear of it) but I have spent so much time doing what I don’t really know how to do (tech stuff) and avoiding the content rule. Re-publishing my blog after a month of “work” and no content. The plus is that I have been learning A LOT about blogging and e-mail lists. I suppose this is great yet my subscribers are slim to 0. I never started out so worried about it. The blog was more about me and my real life and healthy stuff and recipes. Now, I just feel like I am supposed to pick a “niche” and stick with that. But I feel the creative juices are squelched. This blog post of yours however has encouraged me to be me. I love it. I feel good about it. As far as mentors go I am still on the search. I promise to also get way better at the 20% of commenting and visiting other bloggers. Thanks! 🙂
I’m just starting a new blog and in another article by Steve Kamb he mentioned this post helped him greatly in the beginning of his blogging journey so I came and sought it out myself! Thanks so much for you tips and I’m sure I’ll be back to re-read as I go on. 🙂