In his new book, Blog Blazers, Stephane Grenier interviews 40 prominent bloggers about their secrets to creating successful — and profitable — blogs. Some of those who participated include:

I also took time to respond to Stephane’s questions. Here, with his permission, are a few of my tips on how to build a successful blog.


What makes a blog successful according to you? Is it traffic, reach, revenue, etc.?

I run several blogs. Each blog has a different measure of success. My personal blog is successful if it keeps my friends and family informed and entertained. I don’t need a lot of traffic there, but to maintain a connection to the people I know. Similarly, at my animal intelligence site, I measure success by how many stories I can find and share, not by traffic.

At Get Rich Slowly, however, things are different. My number one measure for success is feedback from readers: are people finding the content useful and relevant? But I’m much more interested in traffic numbers there. In particular, I try to build my subscription numbers. RSS readers are important to me. I’m less interested in pageviews and unique visitors.

Revenue is a secondary concern for me. Don’t get me wrong: the money is nice, but it’s not my top priority. I am grateful that I’m earning enough from blogging to allow me to quit my day job, but I’d still blog even if I didn’t.

When did you decide you finally reached success with your blog?

I don’t know. I’ve been writing various blogs for nearly seven years (and “on-line journals” for even longer). For most of that time, I’ve dwelled in relative anonymity. I guess it’s only recently that I’ve begun to think of myself as a successful blogger, and that’s only because doing this now can support me full-time.

Which websites would you recommend for any new bloggers starting to blog?

Steve Pavlina’s article on how to make money from your blog is excellent. I think it’s the best single piece of information on this subject. There are only two actual web sites, however, that I think most bloggers need to read: Problogger and Copyblogger. These sites consistently provide excellent information.

Which book(s) would you recommend for new bloggers (these can range from marketing books, blogging books, etc.)?

I strongly believe that the skill most bloggers — including myself — need to improve is writing. I don’t think bloggers need to read marketing books or blogging books. They need to read books about writing. I recommend the following:

Two non-writing books that I also believe are useful:

  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, which deals with procrastination and fear, etc.
  • The Incredible Secret Money Machine by Don Lancaster, which is a late-seventies manual for starting a small business. When I re-read this recently, I was amazed at how much of the advice applied to my situation as a “pro” blogger.

What’s your best advice in regards to content and writing for bloggers?

Content and writing are two different things. I address writing elsewhere in this interview. As for content: be interesting. Try to avoid the “echo chamber”. Every blog niche has one. Among personal finance blogs, one person will write on a subject (“how to save money on cheese!”), and then there’ll be a ripple effect as other people respond (“my top 5 ways to save money on cheese!”, “why processed cheese is better than the real stuff”, “top 5 blog posts about cheese”). Some of this is natural — there will always be articles you want to respond to — but too much of it is lame.

To use one example: John Chow has carved out a very successful niche for himself. He has a good blog and some devoted readers. But many of his readers create blogs that seem to be solely responses to John Chow. Don’t do that. Let John Chow write about John Chow. You write about yourself and what is important to you. If you don’t know a damn thing about making money on the internet, then don’t write about it. Write about your paper airplane collection instead. I’d rather read a good blog about paper airplanes (or saving money on cheese) than to read yet another person responding to John Chow.

What are your quick and short five best tips for blogging?


  1. Take a writing class at your local community college.
  2. Don’t start a blog because you want to make money. Start a blog because you’re passionate about the subject.
  3. Write daily, even if you don’t post daily. Get in the habit of writing.
  4. Learn to edit yourself! I spend more time editing my material than I do actually writing it.
  5. Don’t worry about SEO. Search engine optimization does not make a successful blog. Writing content that people want to read makes a successful blog.

What is the most common pitfall new bloggers generally fall into?

Wanting overnight success. Readers and traffic come with time. You can’t start a blog for fame and fortune. You have to start it for love. If the passion isn’t there, the other things will probably never come.

Any other comments or thoughts you’d like to share?

Blogging is a dream come true for me. Not the blogging itself, but the opportunity it gives me to write everyday. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I just never pictured myself writing about personal finance for the web. (I thought I’d write fantasy or science fiction novels.) Now that I’m doing it, however, I understand that this is what I’m meant to do. My whole life has been leading to this. It’s awesome.

You can read the entire interview — and 39 others like it — in Blog Blazers, the new book from Stephane Grenier. The author was kind enough to provide several copies of his book for me to give to GRS readers. I will send a free copy to four randomly-selected commenters on this post.

117 Replies to “Practice, Passion, and Patience: The Secrets to Successful Blogs”

  1. PT says:

    Great post, J.D. Very interesting to get your perspective on blogging. I was told “on writing” was a great book by a friend. I’m going to try and pick that one up.

    Off to write a echo post about your interview. 😉

  2. Eric N. says:

    Great tips JD! I don’t blog but I still enjoyed it.

  3. Pat with SPI says:

    “Wanting overnight success. Readers and traffic come with time. You can’t start a blog for fame and fortune. You have to start it for love. If the passion isn’t there, the other things will probably never come.”

    That’s golden right there…golden.

    Thanks J.D.

  4. Shanel Yang says:

    The change to write about all the things I love (helping other people overcome obstacles in life related to people, work, and money) is why I started blogging and I can’t agree with you more about passion being the No. 1 priority to blogging for the long haul. I’ve just completed my first year but am looking forward to many, many more years to come. But, like you, I also haven’t given up my love for writing fiction. For all aspiring writers out there, I thought you might enjoy “200 Writing Quotes” at

  5. Lance says:

    This is really some great information J.D.! I blog because I love it – and because I love it, I want to do more of it. And get better at what I do. And, I think that’s the passion. Blogging has been an amazing journey for me, but it’s also one that I am not profiting from – which is ok. Maybe I’ll get there. For now, I’m happy to be writing and interacting with my readers. This also reminds me I need to spend more time at Problogger and Copyblogger… Good info all around!

  6. Ryan McLean says:

    This is a great interview. I run my own entrepreneurs blog and I just got sent a free tshirt which is one small measure of my growing success. Also I have nearly 300 RSS subscribers which is also a sign of my growing success.
    I love your blog and thanks for the interview

  7. Bon says:

    I am lucky enough to read your articles. Its inspire me in doing
    and get to know about blog.


  8. J. Leon says:

    What a timely posting today! I was literally sitting down with my wife this morning telling her that I wanted to start a blog, but wasn’t sure where to start or how to approach it.

    Great tips that I’ll be considering over the next few weeks as I try to get my own blog off the ground!


  9. Diogo Slov says:

    I blog every now and then and I am looking for tips on how to reach the next step, apparently this book might be a good tool.

    I also didn’t know Steve Pavlina’s article, going to read it now. Thanks for the tips!

    Cheers, D.

  10. Lorna says:

    You are so right about different blogs having different measures of success. I do have one blog that I measure strictly on its traffic for monetizing purpose, but another one I measure by the comments and conversation my posts bring.

    JD, I would love to get my hands on one of Stephanie’s free copies, so here I am commenting after lurking for so long 🙂

  11. Paula D. says:

    I enjoyed your post very much and really realized one thing. I love reading blogs, but wouldn’t make a very good blogger myself since I don’t care that much about writing!

    I’ll keep reading, because I enjoy your tips.

  12. Jeremy says:

    Hi JD,

    Thanks for the post. I have a question:

    How long was the gap between starting your first blog/website and starting your second, or third blogs/websites?

    Great work,

  13. Karen says:

    This is an interesting post. I’ve been thinking about blogging lately, but I want to be sure I have something to really share with people before I start. I feel there are a lot of blogs out there about my passions so I haven’t taken the initial step to actually blog. I also thought it would be a good way for me to express myself since I like to write, but as you mentioned, I don’t want to take from other blogs or be repetitious.

  14. Joey says:

    Your post is excellent and very timely for me. I have been an avid reader of personal finance blogs for a while now, and have recently felt the stirrings to start my own. I have had a personal blog for a long time that my friends and family read, but I believe it’s time to step up and do what I really want to do, which is write about personal finance.

    Thanks for the great tips that will undoubtedly benefit a newbie like me.

  15. J.D. says:

    Jeremy wrote: How long was the gap between starting your first blog/website and starting your second, or third blogs/websites?

    For many years, I had just one blog (or web journal). My first web journal was started in the spring of 1997. I moved that to Blogger in March 2001. I didn’t start any new blogs until February 2006, at which time I started my comic book blog. I started Get Rich Slowly in April 2006. I’ve started various other blogs since then, but realized that mostly that’s just too much. It’s difficult to focus on more than one site.

  16. John Chow? says:

    Who reads this John Chow website? There’s no content there!

  17. Dylan says:

    I like the comic strip. Good thing you already had access to boxes!

  18. Jim says:

    Congrats on all your success so far, great work you’re doing here.

  19. Tony says:

    I’ve always thought Steph has good things to say. It’s quite a compliment to be included in his book, congratulations.

  20. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the response.

    Every once in a while I come across bloggers who say things like, “I have 143 blogs making $10 each month per blog. You can too! Pay me $50 to find out how.” WHAT? Where’s the focus, the feeling? Even a remote genuine interest? Drives me crazy.

    A big thanks to you for continuing to pump out high quality, interesting, and useful information for me, and the rest of your audience.

  21. J.D. says:

    Yeah, when I saw this strip on Thursday or Friday, I just about died. It’s like it was drawn just for me. Boxes. Blogs. Talking animals. And funny, too! 🙂

  22. Studenomics says:

    Follow up question, How long after the launch of this blog did you gain so many readers? This blog is clearly very popular and if I could have fraction of your readers I would be happy.

  23. TNRkitect says:

    I have a personal blog as well as write and maintain a blog for my local AIA chapter. I agree that you should only blog because you want to write, not because you want to make money or become famous. Success in blogging is about getting your point across to the reader. Accomplish that, and the rest is gravy.

  24. Ken says:

    Check out “The Writing Life” by Annie Dillard as well.

  25. Chic Financials says:

    Great information from you as usual J.D.! What I really like about these posts from you is that you emphasize writing about what you’re passionate about. The money may or may not come and if it does, you won’t get rich overnight.

    When I decided to “go public” with my journey, it was for support and accountability. I want comments from readers who can offer good advice, who can relate, and who can help keep me accountable when I slip up. As I started reading more Personal Finance blogs, I saw more ads and more posts about monetizing. It is easy, especially for me, to lose focus and redirect my attention toward making money from my blog. But with no readers yet (lol), I think that route would leave me frustrated and discouraged and end up defeating my original purpose. So I have decided to just focus on getting into the habit of writing daily, writing well, and posting helpful information as I learn.

  26. Manshu says:

    I recently read “The Elements of Style” and was amazed by the rich information the little book had to offer. Equally surprising was the lack of focus that bloggers pay on writing. I see several grammatical errors and a few spelling mistakes on otherwise good blogger’s content too. Thanks for bringing out the focus on writing skills and attention to editing too.

  27. J.D. says:

    Here’s a graph of GRS weekly traffic since August 2006 (when I first started tracking). As with anything, I’ve gained readers slowly. My subscriber graph looks similar.

  28. Loren says:

    I started a blog fairly recently and I have a lot to learn. It’s incredible how much information is out there! My friend has sent me several links to your posts for tips. Thank you for the great advice.

  29. A. Dawn says:

    Great article. I think marketing is also a very important factor to make a blog successful. Success blogs, like Get Rich Slowly, do not need marketing because it started a long time ago and already created its own niche. These days there are simply too many blogs out there and in order to stand out, you need to have a successful marketing strategy.
    A Dawn Journal

  30. Ian says:


    Thanks for the tips about writing. Nothing is worse than a poorly written blog.

  31. Deborah Johnson says:

    On Writing is a great book. I also recommend Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose.

    However, you need to read more than just books on writing in order to improve your writing. Read literature, interviews, non-fiction, fiction–just read slowly and carefully, like Prose recommends (she calls it slow reading). Savor the words.

    Another way to improve your writing is to do it. Write every day. Writing is like a muscle. It doesn’t develop if you don’t work at it.

  32. shevy says:

    When I saw that comic strip in the Friday paper I thought of you!

    Very interesting interview (I didn’t know about all your other blogs, although the comic one doesn’t surprise me) and a book I really want to read.

    I’m not really trying to make money off my blog at this point (or I’d be doing AdSense and probably Pay Per Post) but I’m still trying to figure out why some blogs with poor content have a lot of readers, some good blogs have a relatively small number, other equivalent ones have thousands, etc.

    When you read about it, the push is for optimization but it seems artificial to me (and you and a few others have said it’s better to focus on other areas).

    I’m interested in increasing my own traffic, primarily because I derive a lot of value from intelligent comments. If I’m not getting constructive feedback there’s not a whole lot of difference between blogging and writing in my journal.

  33. Frugal Scholar says:

    I am a newbie blogger, but a long-time teacher of writing. The key to good writing: READ! ANYTHING! ALL the time!

    Another good book is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Truly a motivator!

  34. JennWhite says:

    You’ve inspired me to pay more attention to our blog. I think it’s probably the best strength of our site and worth developing. Thanks for the great posts, and all your hard work. As with anything in journalism, we only get to see the tip of the iceberg! I know how much work must go into even a simple post – so thanks!

  35. Carla says:

    I like the part where is warns us not to expect overnight success.

    I have The Elements of Style and a few other style book/manuals. I think I need to crack them open again!

  36. Amy says:

    I love “On Writing Well”! Yes, all bloggers should read it. Also I agree that having content that people want will lead the search engines to you, and for free. Something else that I’m thinking about for my own blog is how to build a community. It seems like that is another key to success.

  37. Jeremy Day says:

    Hi JD,

    Glad you did the interview. Its not really news to me, but its a good reminder of what it takes to have a great blog.
    I would say RSS readers are most important to me too. Darren just wrote about how he cares less about the numbers everyday and more about the influence he has with the blogging community. I think that is a real measure of success.


  38. guinness416 says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. Your success is richly deserved, but it’s good to see the hard work that went into it … although selfishly I’d like it if you updated Animal Intelligence as often as GRS 🙂

    Thanks for the excerpt JD!

  39. Kenneth Finnegan says:

    That’s a lot of good answers. With ads on my blog, it’s always an easy trap to just try and write to get better ads and more clicks. Every few months I need to take a break and retarget myself at my readers.

  40. Beca says:

    Very useful information. Thank you!! I love your blog and have been reading it a lot. Lots of good financial advice.

  41. Simple Sapien says:


    Thanks for sharing your wisdom! One thing I have definitely been neglecting with my blog is the whole writing aspect. I mean that in terms of brushing up on my writing skills. I spend hours working on my blogging skills, and spend no time improving my actual writing.

    If I don’t win Blog Blazers, I will buy it! Sounds like a great resource.

    – Jack Rugile
    Simple Sapien

  42. Amy M says:

    I love the Get Rich Slowly blog. I read it every day.

  43. Jenni says:

    I’m thinking of starting to blog, and this article was very helpful to me, including the recommended links. Thanks!

  44. Ali Manning says:

    Great advice – will definitely look for her book at the store. Thanks.

  45. Zane says:

    From a “blogger wannabe” who wants to blog but has not committed yet, these are great tips. Thanks.

  46. antiSWer says:

    I absolutely love that cartoon. And great advice.

  47. T says:

    these are great tips – thanks for sharing! Speaking of writing fiction… have you ever thought of doing the National Novel Writing Month to get some of that fantasy noveling in?

  48. Adam says:

    I am not a fan of blogs, but I enjoy coming here at least once a day to see what articles you have posted. I definitely agree with your assessment that writing is the most fundamental skill for a blog owner.

  49. Nadine says:

    Fantastic info – and the book giveaway – great way to get people to click-thru RSS!

    Thanks for all of the info that you give away.

  50. Carol M says:

    Great article. Have been thinking of starting a new blog and would love a copy of the book. Thanks for all the tips!

  51. Carolyn says:

    I love your blog, J.D.! I appreciate the fact that you write well, but that wouldn’t keep me subscribing. I don’t have a lot of time to read blogs each day but yours is one I do read because it adds value to my life. It’s practical, focused, and positive. When I have a financial question, I search your blog to see what you have to say about it. I now am the proud owner of an ING account 🙂 and I am in the process of changing out my life insurance policies for new ones based on things I’ve learned, in part, from GRS. Thanks for great content and great writing!

  52. Beth says:

    I loved the way you focused on honing skills as a writer in order to be a good blogger. One of the reasons I come back to this blog every day is because it is well written (and I also really like the content). Recently I was reading another pf blog and the author stated that he didn’t really care about or feel like taking the time to bother with editing his posts. It was obvious. I have since stopped reading his blog — the errors became distracting.

  53. annie says:

    I so agree with you about starting something for the passion instead of the money, you could say that about any career I think. The passion keeps you going on days when it’s hard to go to work.

  54. Student Scrooge says:

    I would love to hear more about the “low” points you had as you worked to become a successful blogger. It seems like it is a combination of perseverance, dedication, and luck that gets you blog success — what kept you going? Any advice on getting through those points?

  55. Jim says:


    Great advice about blogging. I’ve been messing around with the CSS, Adsense, WordPress and blog design, its nice to remember why we write.

  56. plonkee says:

    I’m breaking all the cardinal rules of using comments by adding nothing of interest, except that I’d like a copy of that book.

    As with everything else, people that do best out of blogging are those that enjoy it.

  57. Writer's Coin says:

    Way to push the idea of writing as something valuable that you don’t see too often out there. Seriously, so much of what’s out there means well but with the way it’s written just takes up space and my time.

  58. Jimmy @ Wealth Is Boring says:

    J.D. – Excellent and informative post as always. Having started a new personal finance blog myself, I might just have to pick up a copy of Blog Blazers as soon as it gets a few reviews on Amazon.

    Being a professional web developer, I absolutely love the technical aspects of blogging, but I have to admit, I sometimes find it a struggle to create compelling articles – anything that can help me get over that hump is a winner.

  59. SparkyBlue says:

    Speaking of Julia Cameron -Have you read The Money Drunk?
    I meant to ask you that yesterday. Ten years ago a friend gave the book to me and it helped kick-start my journey out of debt. A year ago this same friend came back into my life just long enough to borrow a couple of hundred dollars from me to make up the difference towards a new laptop. She was over her credit limit.
    She paid half back- I am still working out the karmic aspects of that experience in my head.
    JD it was so good to meet you and Kris yesterday and thank you again for all that you do here!

  60. Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks&Me says:

    I enjoy your blog very much, even though I have never commented.

    I’ve been blogging for over two years now and I’m still surprised at how many countries are represented.

  61. Lauren says:

    Great interview, insight and links (off to check out a few of them now). Thanks!

  62. Merry says:

    I started reading your blog a couple months ago; it was recommended to me by an Internet friend. I can see why it’s so popular: very little recycled cheese and a lot of useful tips 🙂

  63. Vijay says:

    JD, I’ve been enjoying your all your posts. Your simplicity in getting your points across without sounding preachy, has really inspired me to think about starting a blog. I enjoyed reading about your experience with Blogging. Please keep up the good work.

  64. Leslie says:

    They could not have picked a better person to interview for this book. Congrats!

  65. ExpatKat says:

    Great tips about blogging and writing in general J.D. I blog because I love to write. I started blogging because it was a good excuse for me to commit myself to writing every day (although I don’t post daily.) Writing is like most things – the more you practice, the easier it becomes!

  66. Pier says:

    This book is a good idea.

  67. Brian Clark says:

    Great post JD, and thanks for the mention. 🙂

  68. Frugal Vet Tech says:

    Good info. Thanks for sharing. You’re the first person I’ve “heard” say to NOT worry about SEO. Other people say to focus on content, just like you did, but I also see a lot about SEO. I like your point of view.

  69. Double says:

    I am passionate about my blog and my hope is if I do not give up, eventually I will be rewarded with steady traffic. My experience so far is blogging is not as easy as Gurus make it out to be even though there is lots of help out there on SEO and monetization of a blog.

  70. Mark says:

    Well, I started my insurance blog recently because I saw a distinct lack of guidance and advice on how to approach insurance as part of your personal finance strategy. Consistently will likely be the key, so let’s work on that!

  71. Amanda says:

    What perfect timing. I just started working on setting up a blog today. I will be writing about small business (I’m a Web designer) on It should be ready by the first of the year. This is all great advice.

  72. Dawn says:

    Wow! Great advice!!! Am new to your blog but am LOVING it.

  73. Julie says:

    Great answers. I’d love to receive a copy of the book to see what others have said as well.

  74. Andrew Galasetti says:

    Amazing advice JD! I’ll have to check out this book more.


  75. Morgante Pell says:

    Great interview! You have some excellent tips about blogging, especially about the importance of simply writing well. They are very helpful as I work on my own new blog. Thanks!

  76. Mr. ToughMoneyLove says:

    JD – Thanks for sharing your expertise and for focusing on the writing. Some of us hope that good writing will be enough to attract readers and feedback. I hope so!

    Would love that book to read.

  77. Therese says:

    Thanks for the useful information. I hope I get lucky and win the book!

  78. Sara at On Simplicity says:

    On an unrelated note, can I just say that I would love a blog about saving money on cheese? The good stuff ain’t cheap!

  79. PizzaForADream says:

    Great blog post!! Your story is an inspiration to all of us newbies out here in the blogosphere. I look forward to your insights.

  80. --matthew says:

    I’ll be starting a site soon enough, and it’s good to hear that it takes a lot of work and still won’t be an overnight success. That helps give the motivation to keep working hard even when the results aren’t immediately available.

  81. Bekka says:

    It must be fate that I read this post today… I have officially started my own blog.

  82. ANN Q. says:

    I came across your blog by accident. I’m from a Third World country where most are just trying to get by each day. Your blog inspired me to create one to somehow share what I learned in my 37 years of life to my fellow Filipino. I am happy to say that I am living the life I wanted for myself not because I’m wealthy nor well-off. Far from it. I practice most of what you have to say in your blog, that’s why.

    I am truly rich because i get to live my dream life!

    And this is the message that I want to share via my web blog. I’m no technical person and all these web jargons make me crazy. I don’t know how to reach out to those who may somehow benefit from what I have share.

    Please help. My blog URL is

  83. Breeni Books says:

    You contributed some excellent advice there. I was kind of surprised at the SEO part, though, considering how much everyone plugs it. I have no idea where to start with it anyway. 🙂

  84. cherie says:

    That sounds like a good read – nice that he made at least one good choice in choosing one of my fave bloggers.

  85. No Debt Plan says:

    I’d say you are pretty successful if you are interviewed to be in a book about blogging 🙂

  86. Steve says:

    The waiting for success, that’s the hard part. I love my day job as a software developer. I look forward to going to work every morning. But if I didn’t get paid, I’d be doing something else. I also love creating video tutorials for my webpage, It is the creative aspect that really excites me. Since starting this in July, I’ve made less than $20. But it is nice to know that SOMEBODY finds my work worthwhile. It’s nice to know I’m not just shouting into the empty universe that is the web. I create my videos because I enjoy it, the money, any money, tells me the effort to publish them on the web is worth it. We are social animals. We need a connection to others. Financial success is one of the bigger ways modern society uses to identify that connection. I’m not saying it is the best way or even a healthy way, but money is a measure we all use.

  87. Dave says:

    Wow, 86 comments already!?!? Promise to send a free book and people type in, eh?

    Well you’ve already sent me a free book in the past and both my wife and I read it.

    I continue to find your blog useful and your writing increasingly interesting.

    Keep it up! and Thanks!

  88. RenaissanceTrophyWife says:

    Great insight– and thanks for the helpful resources!

  89. Hallie says:

    I am also considering starting a blog, so this advice is really helpful. My main struggles are a) coming up with a subject/theme for the blog that’s interesting to me and unique enough for my potential readers and b) committing to the time it will take to get it up and running and going…because if I’m going to do it, I want to do it well, whatever my definition of success may be.

  90. allen says:

    *blatent comment to try to win book here*

    Honestly, though, JD, it is nice to hear someone SAY (or read, i suppose, and that being such, SEE) to the bloggers out there, to talk about content they CARE about. It gets SO painful to read and reread blogs about subjects that the writer clearly doesn’t care about. It turns you off to the topic at hand.

  91. Nate says:

    I just started blogging, and the first book I found on writing was the Stephen King book, he recommended Strunk and White in the intro, so that’s the book I used(How can Stephen King be wrong??)

    I’d buy that book just for the book question alone, assuming it is asked of all the bloggers.


  92. Dave says:

    JD, the timing on this post is great! I’m seriously considering starting my own blog. On my to-do list this week: ask the bloggers that inspire me for their advice. It seems you’ve beat me to the punch on this one!

    Now, it’s time to start writing about cheese! 🙂

  93. Martin says:

    Here’s another great book on writing, “A Grammar Book for You and I (Oops, Me)” by C. Edward Good.


  94. Charlotte says:

    Good advice: Take a writing class.

    I like writing but think that I have a LOT of room for improvement.

    No one reads my blog but I do it anyway because I like doing it. I would like to write better and a writing class (or book) is just what I need.

    J.D. – you can select me to win a copy of the book then I will donate it to the library after I read it 🙂

  95. Patrick says:

    I stumbled upon your blog via another personal finance blog a couple of months ago and I have really enjoy your content that you provide. I am glad that you were afforded the opportunity to write full time.
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Sorry it took a free give away to finally say the thanks you deserve.

  96. Miss M says:

    I started a blog partly to become a better writer, I’m definitely going to check out the recommended books and I’ve thought about taking a writing class as well. I want to make personal finance a more interesting read, it tends to be a pretty dry subject. One thing you don’t get as a blogger is direct feedback on your writing style, ability etc. You may get indirect feedback, ie no one will read it if your writing is atrocious. Hey if anyone wants to come critique my writing please do, I could use the feedback!

    As for success, it’s a tough road. There are a lot of blogs out there and not all will be successful. I put a lot of time into my posts, it sucks when no one reads them. But I can’t complain, I’ve had some really lucky moments in my young blogging career. I was feeling really low on Friday, almost no comments or visitors. Then in the evening it started picking up, one of my posts had been featured by MSN Money’s blog. I’ve been on a high ever since. Not to brag or anything, here it is
    Underwater, but she’s riding it out
    OK, I am bragging. I know I have a long way to go but I’m enjoying the journey. Keep up the good work JD, you’ve built something impressive here.

  97. J.D. says:

    Okay, folks, I’m closing the book giveaway now. I’m going off to to pull the numbers, and will post them in a bit. Feel free to keep commenting, but further conversation won’t be eligible for the free books, I’m afraid.

  98. Liz says:

    I am so glad to see that one of the books you listed is “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser.

    That book is simply the best book on how to learn to write, by far; it is one of those books that I wished was used as a text in my college journalism classes many years ago. Had it been, I might have stuck with that major rather than switching to English (with a writing, rather than a literature, concentration).

    Also check out another of Zinsser’s books called “Writing to Learn.” It is his take on the other component of being a successful blogger – writing about something you love with passion.

    Great post!

  99. Ben says:

    Your blog motivates, inspires and possibly most importantly helps thousands of people. Now how about that free book?!

  100. Jordan says:

    People confuse my blog by it’s name. The title is a parody (and the first thing that popped into my head at the time) and I just like to write about marketing in general. I listen and read on the web what people want to hear about or try to clear up confusion for them.

    On SEO: my latest post is on SEO and marketing (I’m passionate about puzzles) and the funny thing is I just wrote it and didn’t even SEO the thing, and mention that as the last line of my post.

    The potential is there but it shouldn’t be the only reason a person blogs as you mentioned. You bring up Problogger and Copyblogger it’s ironic I haven’t read either one really. They are just not for me. However some of Stephen Kings On Writing rules have helped me out. I read a lot of smaller scale blogs for fun and research, and the ones I read on a personal basis are usually finance and entrepreneurial.

    Taking a writing class is a good idea. I took screenplay writing and that was useful. I’d like to add that reading A LOT and times that by 10, helps you write without having to think about it.

  101. Ron says:

    Well since there were so many comments to this post I admit I did not read all of them so please excuse me if someone else asked this but..

    I am at the other end of the spectrum. I am looking to start a blog for my men’s bible study group. We are just looking for something that we can use online to keep in touch and further our bible study.

    So I am looking to set up something nice but also somewhat simple, customizable, and preferably free.

    How do I get started? Any helpful resources?

  102. Natalie says:

    I enjoyed this post. I hope to one day make money writing as well, but I realize now that what a need to do is develop my craft and my niche so I’m trying to blog daily to just that. Thanks for the reminder.

    Ron, I like It’s free and easy to use.

  103. Ron says:

    A co-worker said to check into Movable Type.

    Anybody have much experience with this?

  104. J.D. says:

    Ron, Movable Type is good. Typepad is the version that you would want. I haven’t used any recent version of it, but based on a snapshot of three years ago, I’d also recommend

    I actually think that this is the sort of thing where, for your purposes, you cannot make a wrong decisions. All of the free, easy-to-use tools out there are appropriate. Any of them will meet your needs.

  105. Ron says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I will look into those.

    What do you use for GRS?

  106. J.D. says:

    I use WordPress hosted on a my own server. The simpler version — the one for you — would be at You might also check out Again, these are all good choices. I wouldn’t fret over which is best. Just find one that feels good and go with it. If you decide it’s not right, it’s easy to switch.

  107. Jen M. says:

    Oooh! Am I too late to be “randomly chosen?” Has the book already been given away? I’d love to have a copy!

    I blog right now, because I love the subject matter, and I love writing. I’d love to make money from it–sure–but I’m blogging because I love it.

    (I have more than one blog, but one is a marketing blog for my art, and one is not for public consumption.)

    Great article! I’m definitely going to check out that book on small business!

    ~Jen M.

  108. Jen M. says:

    Personally, I like Blogger. I find it very user-friendly. (Leaves more time for writing!)

    ~Jen M.

  109. Jake says:

    Great tips JD – thanks for the post!

  110. Erik says:

    Great post again JD, might have to really work on my blog, find my niche and start moving foward. I’ve used both WordPress and, it all depends on what one feels right for you.

    Taking a writing class and getting a few grammar books are great advice, lucky for me since I finished my BA in English May of 2008, I still have a few of my books.

    Now to start writing about cheese…

  111. Maggi says:

    I’ve only discovered GRS today, but am already getting hooked given the excellent quality of the posts.

    I’m new to blogging (just a few weeks) and never expected to be doing this, although I did want to write and am actually part way through a correspondence course on writing. I got started helping my partner with the website he’s building and that’s where the blog came from. The ultimate goal is to make some money, but in true GRS mode, I expect that’s going to take some time.

    I agree about the need for interesting writing – in learning about blogging I’ve seen lots of mediocre stuff out there, and lots of echoes that just seem to go round and round in circles, even reproducing someone else’s full article rather than commenting and adding original copy. Okay they’re posting regularly which may be getting them some sort of ratings somewhere, but surely enhancement is better than pure duplication.

    I’m finding that coming up with original, interesting articles takes time, but hopefully my writing will get quicker with practice!

    I’ll definitely be back to GRS searching for some food for thought!

  112. Norman Reiss says:

    I find that blogging is a way I establish myself as a subject expert in ephilanthropy. Definitely takes time to build an audience, though.

  113. Andy says:

    What a great series of interviews and this is a topic I have been thinking of a lot lately as I try to make my personal finance blog a source of some serious alternative income (rather than “coffee money”). Some great traits here, and when I did a quick review of top pf bloggers, I found that it takes about 3000 visitors a day to get to a decent revenue stream. You are clearly well past that (your blog was also reviewed) and something to aspire to for the rest of us.

  114. Nate says:

    Great tips. I think this is the advice I needed for determining whether or not to go ahead with my blog. I appreciate the links as well!

  115. Jim McNeely says:

    Thank you for writing such an insightful article. I agree that everything you do should be done because you are passionate about the subject. Blogging is alot like participating in a sport- you have to practice correctly in order to be sucessful. Daily writing is the equivalent of running daily. Veteran writers, like you, are the coaches that will lead the next generation of blogs. Thanks for leading.

  116. Lee L. says:

    I really appreciate the advice given here and look forward to the book. I have been turning my art interests over and over in my mind, and trying to find a way to do these things more often instead of those narrow windows of “free time” I have. This provides options to eventually do that. Thank you!

  117. Jen M. says:

    @ Lee: Good luck! As a person with a full time job, it is a challenge for me, but I manage an hour or two on most weeknights and several hours on the weekends. My art means everything to me, and if I can one day pitch my day job and make a living from my creative pursuits, I will do so and not look back!

    Just don’t “wait until you have free time.” Find a way to fit it in now.

    Jennifer Moore
    JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

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