How to Create a Successful Blog Based Business

When you first get interested in blogging it is not obvious how complex creating a successful blog will be. Like any other business, there are many variables that must be addressed correctly. The more of these you understand and handle, the faster your blog will grow and the more success you will have.

While you could start with a free blog, if you are serious about turning a blog into an income generating business we do NOT recommend doing that.  If you aren’t sure you’ll like blogging you could use a free blog to find out. Other than that do NOT use a based blog for business because there are restrictions against using the free version to make money.

Their system is also usually painfully slow, so if you’re serious don’t waste your time there. Go directly to buying your own domain and installing WordPress on it.

If you are not technically inclined, we strongly recommend hiring someone to handle the technical details for you. Let them:

  1. Buy the domain you desire
  2. Recommend the best place to host it
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Install a custom Theme
  5. Install desired plugins and Widgets.

Unless you are a programmer able to create your own, your Theme should be one that is professionally designed, thoroughly tested, and that offers ongoing  support (important so that your blog continues to work as WordPress versions, plugins, and widgets may change). After years of research we decided on Thesis.  All of our blogs are now using that Theme and it is what we use on any new blogs we decide to create.

Themes and especially Thesis can be customized in both layout and design. Your Theme installer can alter the number of columns and where sections appear on the page. If your budget allows consider also paying for custom design features. Someone who installs blogs will have some design skills and more complex changes will require someone who specializes in design.


  1. A Blog or Business Name – ideally one that is memorable, easy to spell, and not terrible common so it can be easily found online
  2. A Blog Logo that can also be cropped or reduced and used as your Avatar on Social Networking sites, your Gravatar in blogs and a Favicon.
  3. Blog / Business Slogan also called a Tagline – critical to make it instantly obvious what your blog site is about
  4. Search function – ideally in the top right in either the header or the right sidebar
  5. Pages for about, contact, and any others specific to your business
  6. An obvious way to  Subscribe to RSS, Subscribe to email, Follow on Twitter and other options you desire

Serious bloggers all use over a dozen plugins and widgets that they have researched and configured. These are important for getting your blog indexed in the search engines and to improve your interactions with your readers. Let your expert do this for you too.

Never invest your limited time in learning something that you only need to have done once.

If you desire to become an expert then by all means learn this; if you are primarily a writer or running a business focus on those skills instead.

Here is where we are so far:

  1. Domain purchased and directed to your hosting company
  2. WordPress installed
  3. Theme installed
  4. Theme Design customized
  5. Widgets and plugins installed
  6. Blog Name, Logo, Slogan and Favicon, pages, subscription options

By having all of the above completed by someone who has vast experience knowing what to do and how to get it done, your new blog is now ready for content and traffic.

Instead of spinning your wheels and wasting time learning all of the above you can focus on learning how to use WordPress including how to use tags, keyword phrases and fill in the SEO plugin information. You will also want to improve your copywriting. Create some quality content first and then you can move on to how to use various methods to drive traffic to your blog. See the links in the reference sections below for additional information.

Do NOT be tempted to skip any of what we have recommended above because to do so will limit your success!

These recommendations are the result of hundreds of hours of research and collaboration on Web design, usability, SEO, blogging, WordPress, plugins and widgets, copywriting, and testing what drives conversions.  Choosing the wrong Theme, failing to add SEO friendly content behind the scenes, not making it obvious what your site is about, not making your blog easy for your readers to interact with  – any of these mistakes will hurt you.

Ready to get started? While there are many who can assist you, we rely on Derek at Threaded Web (@dereksemmler) for both this blog and our new Joint Venture niche blogs that include related stores full of affiliate products. Derek is enormously talented at working with affiliate product feeds. More on that in a future post.

Sammy at SearchFriendlyWebDesign (@searchfriendly)provided our original installation and Theme and still works with us. He is usually extremely busy for good reason. We recommend you contact him if you need a custom search friendly business Web site built.

How do you make money with your new or existing blog? Subscribe now so you won’t miss future posts on that very subject.

[NOTE: Thesis is so flexible and can be modified so much that there are many design mistakes or omissions that can be introduced. Do NOT assume that anyone who can figure out how to make changes is qualified to make them!]




  • Don’t make this major common mistake: readers DO NOT care about your business – they care about themselves! Copy MUST BE about What’s In It For THEM.


  • Reality Check on Average Blogging Incomes
  • Don’t Fall for Those Who Are Living the Pro-Blogging Lifestyle By Selling YOU The ProBlogging Dream
  • Peter Lee shares an example of a REAL Blog Income: Work From Home April 2009 Blog Income Report – We recommend his blog to any serious bloggers. He shares what works as he learns and tests new methods.


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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.


  1. Rafiul Islam

    Very nice and informative article for newbies and business blogger who want to publish business related blogs on their niche. I really like this article because, you’d written everything from first and you’d explain everything clearly in short. Thank you dear Gail Gardner for sharing this article with us.

  2. Love wordpress and use it exclusively for all our sites and client sites. Blogging is such a critical part of really any business these days — it’s no longer JUST for bloggers — and I personally believe every business out there should have a blog and update it regularly.

    I just read an article about a study done a few months ago that businesses who blog earn 4 times more on average in internet customers than companies who don’t.
    Brendan would love you to read ..Content Is The Absolute Backbone Of SEOMy Profile

  3. Hi there, just found your blog and was pleased to read your post. WordPress is the appropriate platform to use when your are not so technically experienced in coding and web design and all the stuff that scare people from starting their own business blogs online.

    Once you get all the basics of how to set up a wordpress blog, a beautiful journey begins of learning as there are always new tools and seo tricks you can apply to improve your blog’s everything. :)

  4. You don’t necessarely need to hire someone for the technical part.
    If you can read and follow instructions then it wont be that hard.
    I didn’t know anything about this when I started out, but I just read some blog posts and watched some videos and I could install it just fine.
    If you put in the time once then the next time you need to buy a domain, find hosting, install wp etc. you can do it easily. Unless you barely know how to turn on your pc, then it might be smart to hire somebody :)
    Danny would love you to read ..Remington RM1015P 10-Inch 8 Amp Electric Pole chain SawMy Profile

  5. Informative post. Thanks for posting the sentence about WordPress for businesses. I have actually found a lot of businesses who try to use WordPress, I don’t think anyone pays attention to the requirements.

  6. It sure is much to take in as a newbee. Great post, helps alot, thanx!
    Peter would love you to read ..Aktiviteter på herrgårdarMy Profile

  7. Great checklist especially for those who are starting a blog…i always believe that customizing your blog can do wonders..may it be that the theme or the just the feel of the blog
    Buffalo Tees would love you to read ..Buffalo Cool Place T-ShirtMy Profile

  8. I am drafting my blog with WordPress and some of SEO plugins are excellent.
    Andri would love you to read ..Blogger atau WordPress- Mana yang Lebih SEO FriendlyMy Profile

  9. Casa Particular says:

    @Paris accommodation, I don’t think hiring someone to handle the technical details is necessary. You can get a WordPress blog up and running in no-time, just Google for it and you’ll find tons of tutorials explaining how to do that. If you really want to get the job done for you, you will find some very cheap services that will provide a WP installation for you…
    Casa Particular would love you to read ..Casa Nilda y LuisMy Profile

    • Hi Casa,

      I totally disagree because while most can eventually get a blog installed that is NOT all it takes to create a really top blog and many people will be pulling their hair out before they just get WordPress working.

      Those needing a new WordPress blog can use this link to inexpensive WordPress installations.
      Gail would love you to read ..Why Support Collaborating Local CommunitiesMy Profile

  10. New York SEO says:

    I myself focus on sharing only those other blogs that have the same ethical standards – today its not easy!

    • It has never been easy – it is just more obvious now because people share so much more than they used to in the physical. I usually follow anyone who leaves a comment – but you have your tweets protected. You know that will severely limit the potential for increasing your contacts and leads from Twitter, right?

      I follow many people every day, but I almost never follow someone who has protected tweets. That is partly because I don’t know if they’ll want me to follow them but mostly so I will not inadvertently share anything they have posted to a private group.
      growmap would love you to read ..Why We Need Group Geo-Targeted Niche BlogsMy Profile

      • WNY Yoga says:

        yes,its not easy…we are in the process of getting it out there and its challenging.we are hopeful and positive. The links helped a lot

  11. There’s some great resources listed there – you could probably also add some of John Chow’s stuff in there. He’s a really good guy to follow if you’re interested in making decent money from your blog

    • Hi Joe,

      I never recommend or link to any blogger who recommends strategies that can get you banned. I focus on sharing only those other blogs that have the same ethical standards I do.
      growmap would love you to read ..Why We Need Group Geo-Targeted Niche BlogsMy Profile

      • I think that’s a great policy to have and I’m sure your readers appreciate that and follow you loyally because of it.

        Just out of curiosity I’m wondering what particular strategy you’re talking about when you say it can get you banned (and banned from what?).

        I can’t remember reading anything on his blog that sounded dodgy, but then I’m not necessarily up on all the legalities of this sort of thing.

        If you don’t want to put it here I understand, but maybe if you could shoot me a quick email I’d appreciate that – it might help me avoid doing something dodgy myself, without realizing it.

  12. squarecof says:

    Your articles are good quality. Thank you for sharing your great article.

  13. Thank you for this information….. One can make a lot of money or a little… has to do with the desire and a well laid out plan. Unfortunately most people are living their lives on other people terms and they do not understand why what they want is not coming. The question is…. are you living your life in accordance with your values or compromising them for someone else? Live Big in Your Life NOT small in someone elses.
    ( Mona McClelland Abundant Life Guide & Health Coaching Specialist)

  14. WOW! Huge amount of killer info on successful blogging. I have been neglecting mine for way too long and need to get on the ball again.

    Thank you for the reminder and all of the tips.
    San DIego Mortgage Guy would love you to read ..How you lost your new San Diego home to a washing machineMy Profile

  15. This article hits it right on the nail. For someone looking at starting blogging, then this is your spot. Plugins are great, and yes has immense value. But will not help to much if your content is not great.

    Looking forward to going through your site and reading more from you!


  16. Excellent post. These are great guidelines for the neophytes. So modified and can give a nice experience to those who want try blogging.

  17. SEO Ranking Report says:

    Great article and dot on. One thing I think many novice wordpress users do is to install a lot of plugins on their site in order to take advantage of all the functionality. However, this can create a very, very slow page and impact search rankings. WordPress experts know how to make the most of plugins without impacting site load time.
    .-= SEO Ranking Report´s featured blog ..Google Sandbox- What Every New Site Owner Needs to Know =-.

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