Blogging FAQ

Whenever I tell people I blog for a living, or when I talk about blogging and websites in general, there are questions. I’ve gotten all kinds since I started blogging in 2004. These are the popular ones.

Blogging FAQ

Making money blogging

Getting started

The nitty gritty

Chatting with others about blogging

Do people really make money from blogging?

Yes, all the time. The money I earn from this blog, sales of my book and income from related projects is our family’s main source of income. For more on the topic, check out my guide called How to Make Money Blogging.
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Is making money blogging legitimate?

Absolutely. As in any industry, there are definitely scammy people out to make a quick buck, but many, many people are making very legitimate money via blogging and other income streams related to blogging. And the number is growing all the time.
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How do people make money blogging?

There are several ways people do so. Here are the main ones:

  1. Putting advertisements on their blog. Just like a TV show gets paid by advertisers to insert commercials into their show, a blogger gets paid by advertisers to insert graphic or text ads into their blog.
  2. Promoting a product for someone else and then getting a commission if a sale is made. This is called affiliate marketing. I wrote a post called What is Affiliate Marketing? in case you’re curious.
  3. Using a blog as a launching point to sell their own product(s) or service(s) like I’ve done with my time management ebook Tell Your Time and like I did as a blogging coach/consultant.
  4. Taking advantage of other opportunities their blog brings such as authoring a book, virtual assistance (here’s how to become a virtual assistant), speaking, brand ambassadorship or writing for online and offline publications.

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How long does it take to make money as a blogger?

Blogging for profit is hard work and certainly will not happen overnight; it’s just like starting any other business. The nice thing is, there’s very little overhead and virtually no risk.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but I’d say on average, most of us started making coffee money after about 6 months, a solid part-time income took at least a year and a full-time income, 2 years plus. If you’re willing to do the hard work in the beginning, it can really pay off down the road.
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How can I start my own blog?

You can start your own blog in 15 minutes or less. I’ll walk you right through the process. You’ll get your digital hands dirty but technical know-how is not required to start.
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I’m not very tech-savvy. Can I do this?

I like non-tech-savvy types. After all, I started with no computer background myself. My goal is to teach anyone how to blog or create a website from the very beginning. I’ve taught countless people these steps, many of whom had no prior web building knowledge.
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How much does having a blog cost?

It depends on a few things such as the blogging platform you use, the size of your site, whether or not you want to make money blogging and more. Like anything, there are plenty of additional products/services you can buy to enhance your blogging experience, but $10 a month (paid annually in most cases) would sufficiently cover the basics. If you hope to earn income, clearly, it’s not huge overhead. Most offline businesses cost significantly more to start. But like any business, it requires a ton of work and it doesn’t happen overnight. If at all possible, I don’t recommend using a free blogging service (like Blogger, for example).
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Why don’t you recommend using a free service like Blogger?

If you have no intention whatsoever of using your blog to generate income now or down the road, most free services work just fine. However, you get what you pay for, and for a business blog, expandability and flexibility are key, both of which are limited with free blogging services. Also, a free service means you don’t really own your blog, they do. That’s not so good if you’re counting on the income. I always recommend a self-hosted WordPress site. (Note: There’s a difference between a free WordPress.com site and a paid-for, self-hosted WordPress site. It’s confusing, I know, so read on…)
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What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

Good question. Both use the same blogging software (called WordPress), which is free. The difference lies in the host. With a self-hosted WordPress blog (oftentimes referred to as a WordPress.org site), you purchase hosting yourself, thus making it “self-hosted.” If you have a free blog on WordPress.com, they host your blog for you. (Do you find these terms confusing? Read this post and it’ll make a lot more sense.)

At first glance, you might think the deal at WordPress.com is a sweeter one. I mean, free blogging software plus free hosting – score, right? Well, life is all about trade-offs (as my dad would say). So, in exchange for their free service, WordPress.com severely limits your ability to customize your blog (can’t upload themes like Genesis) and they do not allow you to monetize your blog (i.e. make money) unless you pay an upgrade fee. And if you’re going to pay them for the chance to make some money, you might as well purchase your own hosting and have a whole lot more control over your blog and business to start with!

So, what to do? If you haven’t started a blog already, my simple instructions in the post How to Start a Blog (In 15 Minutes or Less) will get you on your way with the right kind (i.e. a self-hosted WordPress blog).

If you’ve already started a free blog on WordPress.com but want to switch, no worries. Follow these steps:

Need more explanation?


Can’t see the video? Watch it here.
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What’s the difference between a blog and a regular website?

A blog is a type of website that is updated regularly, with posts listed in reverse chronological order (newest first).

On the other hand, I often use the term “website” to refer to the type of site which is static, that is, not updated regularly. A static website would be used like a brochure, providing basic information about yourself, your company or your organization. For example, if you want to start a virtual assistance business or you want a website for your existing business with basic info like services, pricing and contact info, a static website would be the way to go.
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What if I don’t want a blog but just a regular website?

No problem. You can still follow the steps here, and then just make this simple tweak.
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Who are you and why should I listen to you?

I’m Amy. I created my first website in 2004. I am completely self-taught (read: zero prior computer knowledge) and if I can do it, you can too…except you won’t have to be googling like a crazy person (that’s how I learned) since I spell it all out for ya. :) For me, blogging started out as a hobby and has grown into a full-time job.
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What is a niche?

Your blog’s general topic is often called a niche. While not required, a niche provides focus and direction, making your blog’s purpose easily understood and defined, not only by you, but by your visitors as well. Some examples of popular niches are food, decorating, memoirs, homeschooling, fitness or weight loss, parenting, photography, etc.
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What does “Above the Fold” mean?

Everything on your site that shows up as soon as your page loads is above the fold. Anything a visitor has to scroll down to see is below the fold.
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What is bounce rate?

Your bounce rate is the percentage of visits that are a single page. In other words, imagine a visitor lands on your site and looks at only the page they landed on. They do not explore any other pages on your site but leave your site immediately. Not good. You want visitors to stay a while and click around. The lower your bounce rate, the better. You can find your Bounce Rate in Google Analytics –> Audience –> Overview. Here are some ideas to get people to stick around.
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What is a child theme?

A child theme is the second part of a WordPress theme. This explains the concept.
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What’s the difference between a domain and a URL?

Your domain is the web address you would give to someone if they asked, “What’s your website?” or “Where can I find you on the internet?” On the other hand, the URL (stands for Uniform Resource Locator) is the complete string of characters that identifies a web address. So, for example:

      • My domain = AmyLynnAndrews.com
      • My URL = http://AmyLynnAndrews.com

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What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and involves making your site more attractive to the search engines so they will include your site when someone searches for a topic you write about. Read my full post, What is SEO? (And Why It Matters).
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This post was updated on April 15, 2014.

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