How To Build Your Blog Foundation

Many people took advantage of my Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal to set up a free WordPress blog. Now that you’ve got WordPress up and running, it’s time to build on that foundation. A blog does not start and end with WordPress. There are many supporting systems that you should put into place to ensure a long-lasting blogging business. Here are the main ones I use.

Aweber Email List Management

My biggest blogging mistake was not starting my blog mailing list from the get go. Because John Chow dot Com was a personal blog back then, I never applied my normal marketing tactics to it. Had I started the Email list from day 1, the blog would be making over $100,000 per month. It was a costly mistake. One that I hope you don’t make.

Email Marketing is something that most bloggers overlook. They’ll work on building their RSS, Facebook, Twitter and all other forms for social media contacts but do nothing about email. Most blogs don’t even have an email list. And yet, this is the biggest factor separating the big money-making bloggers from all the little guys – we have a big mailing list. And if you truly want to make the big bucks in this business, you absolutely must have a mailing list.

In my post on Email marketing vs. blog marketing vs Twitter marketing, Email came out on top by a wide margin. Email is still the most responsive medium for getting your offers in front of your readers. I know that if an offer does well with a blog post, it will do five to ten times better when I send out an email about it.

Choosing the right email marketing solution is even more important than choosing your blogging software. When you switch blog software, say from Blogspot to WordPress, you can port over all your post without losing any. However, switch email host providers and you’ll stand to lose up to 80% of your subscribers. This is because the provider will require your subscribers to opt in again, and most won’t do so. Because of this, it is very important to select the right list service from the start.

My recommended mailing list service is Aweber. They offer a $1 trial account for all new customers. The account is just like a normal Aweber account and includes unlimited email campaigns, newsletter, broadcasts and follow ups. It’s a great way to test drive Aweber to see what it can do for your blog. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you’re not happy for any reasons, contact Aweber within 30 days and they’ll give you the $1 back.
$1 Aweber Offer

MaxCDN Content Delivery Network

Your HostGator plan houses your blog on a single server. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) takes your blog’s static content and replicates it through hundreds of servers around the world. This technology makes sure each visitor to your site gets their data from the city closest to them. This makes your blog load much faster, increase server capacity, enhance site performance and improve your Google ranking.

Adding a CDN to your blog used to cost an arm and leg. However, MaxCDN offers an affordable pay as you go plan. You are charged based the bandwidth. Prices start at $39.95 for 1TB of bandwidth, which should last the average blog for a full year. It’s a very inexpensive way to increase blog performance and Google rank.

Link Tracking System

If you plan to make money with your blog, you must have a link cloaking and tracking system in place. The reasons are many but the main two are to prevent lost of affiliate revenue or a Google slap.

Most bloggers don’t use any link tracking at all. They just use the given affiliate link from the merchant. This is a bad move. When a merchant drops out of a network, or moves to a new network, you have to manually search for and replace all those links in a very short time to avoid losing commissions. This is especially difficult if you’re promoting links from multiple networks, and if you maintain many websites or blogs. By using a link tracking system, you get control over your affiliate marketing campaigns. You can also view all your clicks stats in one central location, which helps you make smarter decisions on where to focus your marketing efforts.

I use two link management systems on this blog: Ninja Affiliate and LinkTrackr.

Ninja Affiliate allows you to turn any word in your blog post into an affiliate link. You can also cloak your affiliate links, track them and manage them right from your WordPress text editor. It’s also a great branding tool. Instead of giving the URLs to my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn accounts, I use Ninja Affiliate to set up URLs with my domain name and then forward them those social sites. So, instead of branding Twitter with http://twitter.com/#!/JohnChow, I brand myself with http://www.johnchow.com/twitter.

LinkTrackr is much more powerful tracking tool than Ninja, which only track total clicks to a link. With LinkTrackr, you can do far more.

  • Mask and cloak all your affiliate links in one central location
  • Automatically convert keywords to links in WordPress
  • Analyze your top traffic sources with instant campaign tracking
  • Integrate TID tracking from your affiliate network to do conversion tracking
  • Shorten affiliate URLs (with your own custom domain like I do)
  • The ability to split test affiliate offers
  • Enables readers to share your cloaked link on FaceBook and Twitter using the viral bar

Linktrackr

The basic LinkTrackr plan costs only $9 per month and gives you 100 tracking links and up to 10,000 clicks per month. That should be good enough to get started with, but you can always upgrade to the Pro, Hyper or Xtreme plans if you have many affiliate links to cloak and track. You can upgrade or downgrade your account at any time. To try LinkTrackr, simply go and create your account. Use the coupon code JOHNCHOW to get 20% off any plans.

Automate Advertising Sales

OIOpublisher Direct is a WordPress Plugin that automates the ad buying process so you can concentrate on blogging instead of selling. With OIOpublisher Direct, advertisers can order, pay for and upload their ads directly to your blog. The only thing you have to do is approve the ad. The script can be installed on an unlimited number of domains and also works with PayPal subscription.

You want to blog, you don’t want to sell ads. Let OIOpubliser Direct do the selling for you. The plugin cost only $47 and it’s worth every penny. You should make it all back and more with your first sale.

VaultPress Backup

A blogger’s worst nightmare is losing his blog because of a hardware failure or hack attack. Way too many bloggers don’t have a backup system. Do not make that same mistake. VaultPress is the ultimate WordPress backup tool. Made by the creators of WordPress, VaultPress makes real-time backups of your blog and saves them to the WordPress.com grid (made up of over 1,200 servers in three data centers).

VaultPress does more than just back up a copy of your WordPress database. It backs up your entire blog. This means your plugins, dashboard, themes, comments, and post revisions are all safeguarded and ready to be restored. VaultPress is always working. Whenever I write a new blog post, or a reader writes a new comment, VaultPress will back it up on the fly. There is a real-time status display that shows what VaultPress is doing at all times.

VaultPress is a WordPress premium service. Currently, there are three plans available: Basic, Premium, and Enterprise. They cost $15, $40,and $350 a month respectively. Most bloggers will do fine with the basic plan. This is cheap insurance and a must-have for any money-making blog.

Blogging Is A Serious Business

Making money by blogging is a serious business and should be treated as such. Most new bloggers are shocked when they find out it cost more than $1,100 a month to run my blog. I guess everyone expects everything on the Internet to be free. Big money bloggers treat their blogs like a real business, and businesses have expenses. However, those expenses are nothing compared to the expenses of a normal business. My blog makes over $500,000 a year. How many $500,000 a year business can run on a bit more than grand a month? I only know one.

While you don’t have to get everything I’m using to power my blog from the get go, you will eventually need them. I recommend starting with VaultPress, Aweber, and MaxCDN. You can add the rest later.


45 thoughts on “How To Build Your Blog Foundation”

  1. Marcie_Hill says:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and resources on how to make money from blogging. I’ll be checking into it soon.

  2. Krish says:

    You have truly inspire many to start blogging! One of them is ME. Thank you for making a big difference in many lives…

    1. John Chow says:

      @Krish Hey! Thanks for the feedback! It’s comments like this that makes me enjoy what I do so much.

  3. Pam Britton says:

    Thank you, John, for another informational and inspirational post. I appreciate your knowledge and wisdom on the subject of professional blogging. 🙂

  4. Pam Britton says:

    Thank you, John, for another informational and inspirational post. I appreciate your knowledge and wisdom on the subject of professional blogging. 🙂

  5. Marcus says:

    This was an awesome list of resources! Generous of you to share these with your readers.What are your thoughts on Amazon S3 vs. VaultPress? Or Amazon CloudFront vs. MaxCDN? My impression is that Amazon Web Services are very powerful. I hadn’t thought of link cloaking and tracking. Glad you explained those and why they’re so important.

  6. Kim says:

    good stuff, I’m about to pull the trigger on a program…so I’m glad I came here

  7. TJC says:

    Now that I am literally 3 days from finishing my degree, I am seriously considering starting up my own blog to document my progress in my new endeavors. Do you think there would be much interest (or income) for anyone to read about a yurt livin, chicken keepin, garden lovin, school teacher?

    I’m disappointed that I missed out on the Word Press opportunity, but I had my nose in my books.

  8. NgPillai says:

    You had been always impressed me John and this new tactics surely will help the new bloggers whom are eager to make money through blogging… Seriously all the newbie bloggers should take John as their mentor and move forward. Anyway all the best John

  9. @John Chow thanks for writing this blog post up. I have been wanting to find a good service for the advertisement purchasing for awhile now. I use Pretty link for the cloaking process of affiliate links is that something that you have used before?

  10. ourhealth2011 says:

    thanks for sharing, very informative blog!

  11. chozzhan says:

    It’s quit interesting to know about Link tracking system which help us a lot. Thanks John

  12. 3ddi3 says:

    You can never go wrong with WordPress. The technology has not matured yet and this coming year will be the year that we will be seeing more amazing features. Next year will be the year of WordPress as mentioned in this <a href=”http://htmlpress.net/wordpress-2012-comes-with-high-tech-features/”>article</a>.

  13. fas says:

    Cant agree more with you John. The beauty of automation totally rocks.

  14. hypnodude says:

    Your posts are always interesting and worth reading, which is the main reason behind your blogging success. There is always something good to learn. Have a great day!

  15. Entrepreneur says:

    Great information – furthermore a wordpress can have such huge earning potential which can be maximized by using appropriate plugins & tools to automate & get the most out of it

  16. Shamawi says:

    You have always Great information

  17. Panha says:

    Thanks for your sharing informative ideas, I never use email marketing before and I will try to it.

  18. Caleb says:

    I ran into an issue yesterday morning where my hosting service said I was going over cpu space and that instead of using wp supercache I should use w3 total cache, but one thing I am realizung especially from watching the max video above is that I NEED a CDN…will MaxCDN sync up with w3 withing w3’s cdn field settings or will there be other issues I need to be aware of??

  19. Mobifree says:

    This is insane.

    I would love to make 1/10 of what you’re making.

    Great read. I’m just starting off.. Heck, I’d love to make 1/100 of what you’re making.

  20. Shun Gui says:

    Hi John,

    Thank you for this post. It motivates me to want to break free from the corporate chains.

    I run a personal blog and I blog about my personal adventures in life, such as the places I visit, the food I eat, the events I attend, and so on. And I have lots of pictures in my posts. I wonder if there’s any chance for me to make money with a personal blog?

    Thank you in advance

    Shun Gui

  21. Hey JC, sounds very interesting to me – even I’m not a marketer at all. Still I think, if a pro like you are is telling about these success tactics to the all those many readers (on so different levels), it’s a bit like an alien lands in a village, telling the rednecks how antigravity works. They can understand the words, also they might handle to copy the ideas, but success needs so much more of knowledge. Also a huge load of time, the will to risk a lot and so much selfesteem to follow a target. I guess…

    I wish good luck to all who are trying to find their way in that biz. Hard times…

    Nice Job anyway, JC! 😉

    (Sry for my bad English, I’m from Germany, still practicing your language. ^^ )

  22. Mugin says:

    Awesome John. i wish i could be as success as you – btw, thanks for this great information. i realized that it is hard for beginner like me to earn up to $100 per month with my blog, but it’s okay, and your articles keep motivating me to reach my dream ! again, thanks John

  23. Mugin says:

    Awesome John. i wish i could be as success as you – btw, thanks for this great information. i realized that it is hard for beginner like me to earn up to $100 per month with my blog, but it’s okay, and your articles keep motivating me to reach my dream ! again, thanks John

  24. post free ads says:

    I think best one information for success of blog advertising is very important via facebook and twitter of blog

  25. The sad truth is that nobody will ever be able to duplicate John’s success in blogging so better stop dreaming and go get a job! 🙂 Or keep dreaming 🙂

  26. YaisaHagood says:

    @yaisahagood I truly believe the fast way to be successful is to learn from someone who has already done it. John you are truely a success story and by sharing your knowledge those who are focused and dedicated should be able to duplicate your success.

  27. Lori says:

    John, your words have inspired so many and there are many people who charge a great deal of money for the valuable information you share freely. I have learned so much from your experience and wisdom. Thank you John.

  28. Scott Cofer says:

    More excellent content John – thanks. Going through both of your books now, and they are superb. Speaking of auto responders, I agree that Aweber is a great service but I prefer TrafficWave if you’re going to build a big list — no limits on subscriber size and excellent functionality.

  29. Thanks for these resources John! Perfect Timing!

    You’re one of the reasons I decided to launch my personal blog. I just launched it a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t going to, but I’ve been following you and seeing how much success you are having with your blog. I figured it would be good to add a personal blog to my online properties. Hoping I can grow it as you have done. Looking forward to your future posts!

  30. Thanks for these resources John! Perfect Timing!

    You’re one of the reasons I decided to launch my personal blog. I just launched it a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t going to, but I’ve been following you and seeing how much success you are having with your blog. I figured it would be good to add a personal blog to my online properties. Hoping I can grow it as you have done. Looking forward to your future posts!

  31. stavgeor says:

    Nice list and approach.I would add emphasis on building links always and choosing a good domain name.And never give up.

    http://www.theinternetbusinessblog.com , http://www.theinternetmarketingmagazine.com

  32. Ramakrishnan says:

    experience words very very useful john

  33. Innes says:

    This links in with a new area in which we are looking to branch into and develop new income. This advice does for sure help me make more sense of how to run the blogs which plan on launhing.

  34. Abhik says:

    John, may we have a list of all the plugins you use on JohnChow dot Com?

  35. dburkinc says:

    Hi John I’m going to favorite this post. I want to make my blogging into a serious business and not just a hobby. Can you provide me with a list of plugins you use for your blog. Also can you recommend how to get a solid email list.

  36. Very useful list of blogging resources. But I will like to say that all of them are not affordable for bloggers who are just starting out.

  37. hypnodude says:

    John, after having seen you using livefyre here to deal with comments I’ve put it on my blog. Great service and very useful. Another advantage of following your blog. Thumbs up. 🙂

  38. RizzoTees says:

    The first thing we’re talking with clients about is actually having a blog. The fact that many organizations still debate the need for one is hard to believe.

  39. Wasim says:

    Is it possible to start making from a blog wthout a previous business? The reason why I ask this is because blogs seem to be an additional to businesses. So for example, I enjoy everything to do with health and fitness. Is it possible to start a blog from the ground up and make money from it?

  40. priya says:

    good article about building a new blog. I like the first tip about email marketing. Awber. but i have a doubt… we can not send mails to everyone in the mailing list without their permission right?

    example: lets say I have 1000 mails of different people. how shall I use this so that they should not consider it spam.

  41. kids bedding says:

    Hi! John Chow!

    It’s a nice article.Thanks for the info on maxblogpress,I will it.

  42. Thanks for the info! Some of this information I had been trying to find on google search, but no results came up. The first thing I did was sign up for Aweber when I was debating on a newsletter service. Since I’ve been reading your blog on and off the past 5 years, I see you’ve always consistantly mentioned using aweber. I def have to agree that it’s worth every penny, and I haven’t seen ANY frugal bloggers with this service – just the basic RSS feed sign up. I’ve been setting up follow up broadcasts and every follow up has to do with my niche, and is able to make me money. I’m just really starting to build a list a readers, so hoping to see how email marketing will work for me as my subscribers continue to grow.

  43. great info john… for me USD 40 000 is more than enough, let a lone 100 000 🙂 kudos to the master

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