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20+ Best Blog WordPress Themes for Personal & Freelance Blogging


A blog is a great way to be creative, grow your brand and flex your writing skills. Of all the possible blogging platforms WordPress is the best (or at least we think so – it’s what we use to run our blog that you’re reading right now). WordPress makes blogging easy and with the help of one of the best blog WordPress themes you can get started writing asap.

When looking at themes for your blog there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Layout: Choose a theme with a layout you like. If you want a masonry grid layout, it’s easier to pick a theme that has a masonry demo instead of installing a plugin and trying to make it work. Along the same lines – your theme should be responsive to ensure your blog looks great on any device.
  • Post Formats: Find a theme that can handle the media you want to upload. Whether you just want standard posts, videos, image galleries or quote double check that the theme you pick supports those formats.
  • Social Media: Any good blogging theme will include support for social media. Social media marketing is a huge part of growing your blog and online presence, which is why it’s so important that your blog posts are easy to share. A good WordPress blog theme will usually have social sharing options on posts, links in your header/footer and a social “follow” widget.

Those are just a few features we think an awesome WordPress blogging theme should have. Depending on your own needs you may also want a theme with WooCommerce compatibility, built-in ad spots to monetize your blog, an autoplay feature (in you’re thinking of starting a vlog), etc.

If you search for the best WordPress blog themes you’ll likely find thousands upon thousands of results. To save you some time, here’s our list of the best blog WordPress themes to get started blogging. We hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. Total

Total Multipurpose & Blogging WordPress Theme: Mason Demo

The Total drag & drop WordPress theme is a flexible, multipurpose theme perfect for any website design. It’s a top selling theme with over 32,000+ happy customers – which is why we keep recommending it! With built-in responsiveness, RTL support, A11y features, custom post types (portfolio, staff, testimonials), an easy to use page builder, premium animated sliders and more Total is an obvious choice for your blog or web design project.

Total Multipurpose & Blogging WordPress Theme: Charlotte Demo

Total also includes 40+ quick install sample demos, including the Mason and Charlotte blog demos seen above. This way you can simply install a sample demo to have your website started in minutes. The theme includes tons of blog-specific features including columns, lists, news layout, masonry grids and customizable dynamic page templates. Plus social is already integrate – so you can add sharing your posts right from the live Customizer.

2. Ashe (Free)

Ashe Personal & Multi-Author Free WordPress Blog Theme

Building a blog should be easy – and with the free Ashe WordPress theme it is. This stunning theme can be installed right from your WordPress dashboard and includes easy to use features to help you build a beautiful blog. Use built-in options for a boxed or full width site layout, choose custom background colors using the Live Customizer, upload your own custom logo and more. And since the theme is responsive and retina ready your blog will look great whether your readers are on their phone or their computer.

Other great theme features include a stunning featured homepage slider, right and left sidebars, featured ad areas (promo boxes), list layout, RTL and translation support. Plus Ashe is compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce to add an e-commerce store, Contact Form 7, GDPR compliance plugins, and most page builders (Elementor, Visual Composer, Beaver etc) so you can design your own one of a kind layouts. And if you’re interested in getting even more from the theme you can upgrade to Ashe Pro for advanced paste, post and styling options.

3. Newspaper

Newspaper WordPress Theme for Blogs, Magazines & More

Newspaper is a great WordPress theme for any blog, magazine, news outlet or any other publishing site. As one of the top 10 best selling themes of all time (on Envato), you won’t be disappointed by this theme’s seemingly never ending list of powerful features. Choose from more than 80 demo designs, 810+ ready to use page elements and design templates for blog posts, pages, categories and archives. use the intuitive drag & drop builder (with custom grid and news elements not found in other themes) to easily create one of a kind layout designs. Plus built-in support for AMP, YouTube, Adsense, reviews, bbPress, WooCommerce and GDPR requirements put Newspaper over the top.

4. Activello (Free)

Activello Free WordPress Blog Theme

The Activello theme from Colorlib is a lovely blogging theme perfect for your to start your own website. This multipurpose theme is built on Bootstrap with features for slider, custom copyright, infinite scroll, vector icons, responsive layouts, unlimited colors and more. The theme is also compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, Yoast SEO, JetPack and W3 Total Cache for added features. Plus it’s completely FREE- what’s not to love?

5. Glamor

A Multi-Purpose Glam Blog Theme

Start your own glam blog with Glamor by QDONOW. This lovely theme offers tons of easy features, like multiple quick start demos (including lifestyle, entrepreneur, mommy, and food blog) so you can have a great looking website in minutes. Then you can customize your site with 800+ Google fonts, custom widgets, featured image sizing, layouts, color options and more. Plus with Glamor you can also monetize your site – via a WooCommerce store and predefined ad banner areas (header, sidebar, footer and below content sections. And if you need help at any point QDONOW offers free installation, detailed online documentation and direct email support!

6. Rosemary

Rosemary Responsive Blog WordPress Theme

Rosemary is lovely WordPress theme for any style blog. The clean and bright layout is the perfect blank slate for your content. The theme includes 5 different blog layouts, a featured slider, built-in color options and a responsive over all design. Rosemary also comes with custom blog widgets for your latest posts, promo box, about me, social media and more.

7. Divi

Divi Multipurpose, Blog WordPress Theme

The Divi theme is a popular and flexible option to build your website or blog. Built on the popular Divi page builder, there are tons of easy page elements to add images, text, skills, headings, email optins, search, shop, testimonials, pricing tables, sliders, portfolio, call to action, blurbs and more. But most importantly – Divi’s default blog is a great base for you to get started blogging. Create a stunning homepage with the builder, then use the post formats support to add your content (complete with images, videos, links or galleries).

8. Wanderlust

Wanderlust Travel Blog WordPress Theme

The Wanderlust blogging WordPress theme was designed to make sharing your adventures easy. Geared towards travel focused blogs or magazines, the Wanderlust theme includes full-width images, 10 post format styles to best display your media (images, video, audio), and a useful Instagram section above the footer to showcase you latest pics. Get started quickly using one of three pre-formatted homepage designs, the get to work adding your posts. Want to add a store? No problem. The theme is also fully compatible with WooCommerce for easy e-commerce options.

9. Mesa (Free)

Mesa Free WordPress Theme

Mesa is a completely free, 100% GPL blog theme for WordPress created right here at WPExplorer. This simple masonry blog style theme is perfect for your new blogging endeavor. The theme features simple styling options via the live Customizer (for responsiveness, header, social links, entry style/columns, ad spots, etc), plenty of post formats (standard, image, gallery, video, audio and quote), custom logo upload, built-in footer & sidebar ads and social link options (header and widget). Mesa is a quick and simple way to have your blog up and running!

10. Olsen

Olsen Light Free Blog WordPress Theme

Olsen Light is a lovely free blog WordPress theme you can use to start your own blog. While there is a premium version (which we highly recommend upgrading to), Olsen light has helpful features for integrating your social media, displaying an Instagram photo slider, uploading a logo, configuring your menu, and more options in the live Customizer. The theme also comes with blog-specific widgets for an “About Me” section, latest posts and social media. The Olsen theme is also compatible with the Elementor, Divi and/or SiteOrigin builders for even more powerful page building options.

11. Hemlock

Hemlock Responsive WordPress Blog  Theme

Hemlock is a stunning theme for aspiring bloggers. The theme has a unique featured posts homepage slider design to help you better showcase your best content. The theme includes all the features we mentioned that the best WordPress blogging themes should have – like built-in social sharing, plenty of post formats and solid layouts (choose from full-width, sidebar or grid blog). Plus the simple design makes it adaptable for any industry such as  fashion, tech, business, gardening, etc.

12. Amadeus Pro

Amadeus Pro WordPress Blogging Theme

The Amadeus blog WordPress theme is a great choice whether you want to blog as a hobby or to help promote your business. With Amadeus it’s easy to customize the look and feel of your website using the options for unlimited colors, logo, social and layout (all in the handy Theme Options Panel). Add a homepage slider, take advantage of the customizable sidebar widgets and choose your homepage layout (grid or columns) to create your own one of a kind blog.

13. New York (Blog & Shop)

New York WordPress Blog & Shop Theme

For those looking to build a blog as a business, New York is one of the best shop & blog WordPress themes you can choose. It’s the perfect theme to build an elegant blog to share your thoughts and tips, or to start your own online store with WooCommerce. The theme includes a unique homepage posts carousel, styled widgets (social, about, Instagram, recent posts, etc), two menu areas, a built-in footer Instagram feed grid and customizable copyright text. On top of the amazing blog features, the theme also comes with the powerful Yellow Pencil CSS editor plugin so you can tweak any part of the design with just a few clicks!

14. Essence Pro

Essence Pro Blog WordPress Theme

Essence Pro is a beautiful blogging child theme for the popular Genesis framework. Because it’s built on Genesis, the theme already includes important options for accessibility, custom header, responsiveness, translations, layout options, eCommerce and core page layouts. But what makes Essence Pro unique is the stylish homepage layout with featured image, newsletter optin and layered post grid design.

15. Ink Story

Ink Story Telling Blogging WordPress Theme

The Ink WordPress blog theme makes it easy to share your content. Design options for the theme are all neatly tucked into the live Customizer, where you can make changes to colors and fonts then see them live before you save. The theme’s stunning image grid homepage helps new posts standout, and since the theme is retina ready you can upload bigger, bolder photos.

16. Veggie

Veggie Blogging WordPress Theme

The Veggie Food Blog theme is a beautiful choice to start your own site with blog posts, recipes, video guides or anything else. This responsive blogging theme was created for food bloggers but would work great for any number of blog focuses. Easy customization options for colors, various layouts, page builder support (works great with Elementor, Beaver Builder or SiteOrigin), translation options, RTL compatibility and more all make Veggie a solid theme.

17. Authentic.

Authentic Lifestyle Blog WordPress Theme

The Authentic Lifestyle Blog theme includes 9 different demo designs to choose from to start your blog fast and easy. Pick your favorite with options for blog grid, sliders, styled overlays and more. The theme also has easy optins built-in to customize colors for over 67 theme aspects, header design options (with different menu, logo and social positions), customizable footer modules (add your logo, insert your Instagram, or use widgets), add video backgrounds, create a featured posts carousel and more.

18. Pineapple (Free)

Pineapple Free Tumblog WordPress Theme

Pineapple is a clean and simple tumblog style WordPress blogging theme. If you want to start a blog with just your social links and your content it really is the perfect theme. Pineapple features a clean centered layout, easy post formats (image, video, audio, quote), colorful category tags and built-in social media integration. The theme is also compatible with Yoast SEO (for breadcrumbs), Contact Form 7 and most other popular free WordPress plugins.

19. Peak

Peak Masonry Grid Blog WordPress Theme

The Peak theme is a grid based theme perfect for any online blog or magazine. The theme comes with 2 different homepage options for auto (masonry) or custom (you define image sizes) tiles, post drop cap (on first letter), multiple single post layouts and post formats, a built-in portfolio, mega menu option and even custom page title banners. The Peak theme is also compatible with the WooCommerce plugin – so you can add your own store or share affiliate goods with your readers.

20. TheBlogger

TheBlogger WordPress Blogging Theme

When considering the best blog WordPress themes we had to include TheBlogger of course. This blogging theme was designed to make (you guessed it) blogging easy. With intuitive Customizer options, built-in portfolio options, parallax backgrounds, intro background video, WooCommerce compatibility, color option, and unique layouts there’s lots to love about this WordPress blog theme.

21. Brittany

Brittany Light Free Blog WordPress Theme

Brittany Light is a traditional blog style layout with left side, single column content and a right hand side bar. But that is exactly what makes this theme great! It has options for custom widgets to add your social media links, newsletter signup, about me section and Instagram feed. The light version of the theme is a perfectly good theme to get your blog started. But if you want more features (like author box, color options, layouts, etc) we recommend upgrading to pro.

22. Let’s Blog

Let's Blog WordPress Theme

The Let’s Blog WordPress makes blogging a breeze. With one click demo import, 300+ theme Customizer settings and options, multiple blog layouts (with sliders, header images, carousels, grids, etc), galleries, custom sidebar widgets and an instant search there are a ton of great features within Let’s Blog so you can create a design worthy of your content.

23. Underwood

Underwood Story Blog WordPress Theme

If you’re looking for a good theme to create a personal blog, you can’t go wrong with the Underwood theme. This modern theme features bold typography, tons of post formats (9 in total for images, audio clips, video, galleries, etc), 3 unique homepage layout styles, WooCommerce support, styled Contact Form 7 fields and integrated social media.

24. Modern Studio Pro

Modern Studio Pro Blog WordPress Theme

Modern Studio Pro is another Genesis child theme. This means you have all of the same great features you’ve come to love about Genesis, with the added bonuses of some classy styling. This includes custom headers, backgrounds, color styles, page layouts, cusomtizer options, etc. Plus the theme adds 2 homepage widget areas and a lovely centered logo header style.

25. Recipes

Recipes Blogging WordPress Theme

Recipes is a stylish blogging premium WordPress theme perfect for sharing your favorite recipes with the world. This is a great theme for a restaurant blog, sharing vegan versions of your favorite recipes, blogging about copycat recipes or for any other food blog.

Cooking can involve a lot of trial and error, so why not share your delicious discoveries with the world? Recipes is a fantastic food blogging theme that you can use to publish and share your own tried and true recipes. The recipe custom post type makes it easy to add all the info your readers will need – including prep time, cooking time, ingredients and more.

Once you’ve added your awesome recipes, the theme includes options for your readers to rate your recipe. The theme also features sortable recipes pages, clickable ingredients lists, a “Print Recipe” option, and recipe author bios (great if you have multiple contributors to your food blog).

This theme is also translation ready, includes custom widgets for top rated and most recent recipes, built-in theme options, and it comes bundled with a child theme ready for your customizations.

Next Step: Choose One of the Best Blog WordPress Themes & Get Started!

With all of these awesome themes there are only two things left for you to do – pick one and start your blog!

We know there are a LOT of WordPress themes for blogging, but it’s important to choose a theme that’s right for you. Find a WordPress blog theme with solid code, good features and a layout you like. We’ve listed what (in our opinion) are some of the best blog WordPress themes. Hopefully there were a couple solid options for your blog in our roundup.

Then, get to work creating your content. If you’re not sure where to begin, try our easy 5-step guide to start a blog. We layout all the key parts to start your own blog with WordPress (trust us – it’s easy).

Have any questions about the themes listed above? Or do you have a theme we missed that you think should be on our list of the best blog WordPress themes? Leave a comment below!

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New RTLS Module to Cut Active UWB Tag Cost (RFID Journal)


The DWM1004, Decawave’s latest module, offers a low cost and low power consumption in a 30- by 15-millimeter package, for use on assets by small and midsized companies.

Jul 29, 2019—Real-time location system (RTLS) adoption is still high-cost for small to midsized companies looking to manage their assets, and active tags can be among the most expensive aspects of such a solution. That’s been an entry barrier for many companies that want to track their assets or tools in real time, according to ultrawide-band (UWB) semiconductor company Decawave.
To address that high cost, Decawave has released the latest version of its DWM1000 series modules, priced at less than $10 apiece, that are small, low-power RTLS transmitters without a need for high processing or added functionality. The new model, known as DWM1004, is currently being tested by some of Decawave’s customers, with solutions expected to be made available to end users by the end of the year.

The DWM1000, released in 2014, was Decawave’s first UWB active RFID module to ease the development of RTLS tags (see DecaWave Intros Ultra-wideband Active RFID Module). Subsequently, the DWM1001 module was released last year with features such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), an accelerometer and high processing power to enable edge computing.
Like its predecessors, the DWM1004 complies with the IEEE 802.15.4 UWB standard and is designed to ease the development of hardware for solution providers that offer RTLS technology for locating assets. Users of tags incorporating the modules are expected to include manufacturers, logistics providers, health-care facilities and farms. But the latest module is lower in cost, the company reports—without BLE functionality or a high memory processor, it can be small and cost less than $10.

The demand for RTLS-based technology has been growing, according to Mickael Viot, Decawave’s marketing VP, who says his company has sold several thousand evaluation kits, adding, “So we know there’s a lot of demand.” However, small to midsized companies face challenges when it comes to implementing RTLS technology for managing assets.

The tags that beacon their location to gateways for RTLS solutions can be expensive, and that, he says, has served as a barrier to adoption, especially for companies that don’t buy the tags in high volume. The cost of designing, gaining certification and finding a manufacturer is simply too high, Viot says. “So we decided to offer a module that is tailored to specific applications,” he explains, for which a lost-cost tag with a small form factor is needed, without the extra features that the DWM1001 models offer.

The DWM1004 is designed with an STMicroelectronics STM32L0 MCU that beacons its unique ID number at pre-set intervals and goes dormant when not beaconing. It has less processing power and consumes less energy than the DWM1000 and DWM1001 units. The module comes with an accelerometer to identify when a tag is in motion, enabling that tag to beacon, or to beacon more often, based on its movement.

Because the tag consumes almost no power while dormant (the accelerometer consumes a small amount of energy during such times) and requires less power to transmit, the battery life can be between seven and nine years with 1,000 beacons per day. This long battery life provides a significant reduction in the cost of ownership, Viot says, since it eliminates the need for frequent battery checks and tag replacement. The expense of labor hours required to locate tags, check them and replace batteries can be higher than the value of the tag itself, he says, adding, “We remove this cost.”
The tag can be read via standard UWB gateways that would receive its unique ID and employ UWB’s time and distance of arrival (TDoA) to calculate the tag’s location. Decawave’s existing customers (RTLS solution providers) have conducted early testing on the new modules and will now be able to design their own products to allow their customers to track goods with small active RTLS tags when asset tracking is needed. In the meantime, Viot says, companies looking to utilize RTLS technology with robotics or other systems requiring high processing of data on the edge could use the DWM1001. In other words, he says, scenarios in which the tag does not need to know its own location are best suited for the DWM1004.

Companies that will benefit from the DWM1004 module-based tags, Viot reports, include logistics firms and warehouses that must track pallets, manufacturers that need to manage assets or tools, and farmers looking to monitor cattle. The module measures 15 millimeters by 30 millimeters (0.6 inch by 1.2 inches), which enables the tag to be small enough to be attached to a hand tool, on the side of a pallet or in a cow’s ear.

Location accuracy, as with the other DWM1000x modules, is approximately 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 inches) in 2D or 3D, based on raw TDoA data, while additional computing in cloud-based software could provide further granularity. For companies tracking tools, pallets or cattle, Viot notes, the reliability of the tags is the greatest priority, as opposed to tight location granularity. “Our goal is to enable the mass adoption of UWB-based RTLS systems,” he states. In the long run, Viot says, he envisions the module enabling the development of UWB tags that are affordable and readily available for end users.

The module comes with Decawave’s DW1000 chip with a data rate of 6.8 Mbps, so that it reduces airtime, thereby minimizing power consumption and the risk of interference. Its STM32L0 MCU comes with 32 kilobits of memory, enabling tag designers to embed Decawave’s TDoA tag software, or their own, as well as added features such as tag transmission rates. The module provides encryption to ensure the security of data in transit between a tag and a gateway.

The DWM1004 is expected to be certified by September 2019 to meet Federal Communications Commission and ETSIregulations, Viot adds, sparing developers the time and cost that would otherwise be required to gain approval from U.S. or E.U. regulatory bodies. That means the time to release new products could be reduced considerably, he says. “We’re reducing the time to market,” Viot states. “Someone could buy the module tomorrow and complete a tag within a couple of months.”

Later this year, the company plans to release a UWB active tag that includes the DWM1004 module and an IP67-rated casing with a battery holder.

Read article at: https://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?18785

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Decawave Demonstrates Ongoing Commitment to Quality with ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification Renewal


Decawave Demonstrates Ongoing Commitment to Quality with ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification Renewal

As further proof of our commitment to deliver only the highest-quality products and services, Decawave is proud to announce that we have successfully renewed our ISO 9001:2015 certification. This ISO standard defines the requirements for a quality management system (QMS), which for Decawave covers the design, development and manufacturing of UWB-based precision location and communication silicon solutions.

Decawave was originally certified in August 2016, making it one of the first companies in Ireland to be assessed against the new standard. The process requires a complete re-assessment audit every three years, ensuring that we are continuing to meet strict customer and regulatory requirements.

“This process underlines our commitment to working toward best practices for our customers and partners,” said Decawave CEO Ciaran Connell. “We are committed to be the preferred supplier of UWB-based precision location and communication silicon solutions, and the ongoing certification is a recognition of our invested effort to establish and maintain the highest quality production standards.”

Decawave Quality Manager, Sharon Meyler, has overseen the development of the company’s quality systems during the last few years. “Our aim since initial certification has been to promote and develop our quality systems to improve Decawave’s overall performance and minimise risk to the company by providing tools to continuously improve process quality, consistency and scalability. We work in a dynamic, challenging industry, so our QMS needs to be able to respond to changes in business demands,” said Meyler.

Certification to world-class standards gives organizations and their customers an advantage. NSAI Chief Executive Geraldine Larkin says, “You can see the real difference standards make to your business, and you reap rewards from these benefits. Not only do you gain competitive advantage – improving efficiency, reducing costs and minimising waste – your industries will continue to benefit because of your investment.”

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IntraPosition – Decawave


IntraPosition’s innovative technology brings high-accuracy, indoor positioning into the retail, healthcare, and industry markets, enabling indoor-navigation, asset-tracking and workforce management.

With a unique fusion of indoor positioning and IoT technologies, they digitize the physical world.

Utilizing real-time, 1-ft accuracy indoor positioning, they pinpoint the location of every object or person of interest. With a combination of high performance and affordable pricing, they hit the sweet spot of numerous applications and markets.

Their systems are highly scalable and easy to deploy with quick and simple installation.

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Oslo is where two of the world’s browser engines were born. Let’s celebrate World Browser Day – Blog


Håkon Wium Lie Introduces World Browser Day

Opera’s former CTO and one of the web’s founding fathers, Håkon Wium Lie, proposes World Wide Browser Day in an interview and unveils a commemorative plaque at the location of the first Opera HQ in Oslo.

Presto and WebKit celebrated on October 16,
World Wide Browser Day

On October 16, a blue historical plaque will be added to an office building in Oslo, celebrating its key role in the history of the web. This building was home to not one, but two of the rendering engines which empower web browsers. Håkon Wium Lie, who served as Opera’s CTO for 18 years, took the initiative to add the historical marker. We asked him some questions.

Håkon Wium Lie in front of the first Opera HQ, now a historical site
Håkon Wium Lie in front of the first Opera HQ, now a historical site

Why is this building in Oslo so important for the web?

Waldemar Thranes gate 98 was home to not just one, but two of the rendering engines that power our browsers. In the history of the web, Geneva is the birthplace, Urbana–Champaign is the kindergarten, and Oslo is the racetrack where two ultra-fast competing rendering engines were developed. Opera developed Presto there, which enabled Opera to put browsers into mobile phones, TVs and kitchen sinks. It’s also the site where the neighboring company, TrollTech, developed the groundbreaking Qt tool, with one of its employees spearheading the KHTML engine. This engine was later renamed by Apple to WebKit. Together, Presto and WebKit made the internet possible on mobile devices.

Breathtaking. When did it all start?

Opera moved into the building in 1998. On a web timescale, this is very early. Opera’s main product then was a browser that fit on a floppy disk – it was much smaller and faster than competing browsers from Netscape and Microsoft. Oslo is in Scandinavia, and in the neighboring countries, Nokia and Ericsson started the development of mobile devices in which a browser was a key component. Opera’s code was small enough to fit into Nokia’s Communicator and Ericsson’s P800. This opened up the door to a mobile revolution which has been changing our lives ever since.

TrollTech’s main product was a development tool called Qt. Cute name, no? For Qt, the browser was a component. One of its employees, Lars Knoll, was active in the development of KHTML, and TrollTech chose to use KHTML as the browser component. The KHTML grew from being Lars’ spare-time project to becoming the WebKit code base on which Apple and Google built their own browsers. I don’t think building a rendering engine was in TrollTech’s business plan but the project had a fundamental impact on the web.

In 2013, Opera switched to WebKit and Microsoft announced their switch in 2018. This means it is now used by all the major browsers except Mozilla Firefox.

Why aren’t there more rendering engines?

The answer is simple. It’s hard work to write and maintain the code. Your own rendering engine will probably act slightly differently from WebKit, and web developers may see this as bugs.

That being said, there are several benefits to having multiple rendering engines. Competition is always good, and it’s helpful to verify (say) CSS specifications by having several interoperable implementations.

I’m the chairman of the board of YesLogic, the company which makes the Prince HTML to PDF formatter. The single-digit technical team in Melbourne has implemented their own rendering engine and they have no plans to replace it. So, it is possible, and even fun to build your own engine.

Does anyone still use the Presto rendering engine?

Presto still runs on many mobile phones and TV sets. But the rendering engine is not being developed further since Opera switched to WebKit. By that time, WebKit was just as fast and standards-compliant as Presto, and the somewhat smaller footprint of Presto was not important enough to most users. It made more sense for our programmers to contribute to an open source project.

Things might have been different had we opened the Presto source code earlier. Perhaps Apple would have used Presto instead?

Back to the building, Why did it all happen here?

First of all, it was cheap. Oslo is an expensive city and this drab and uninspired building offered low rent to startups. The area is attractive, though. It’s within walking distance of downtown, and Opera and TrollTech programmers liked living in the nearby historical neighborhood, Grünerløkka.

Did you occupy the building alone?

The first years we spent there, the tenant on the 4th floor was a store with, ahem, a rich selection of porn magazines. Opera was on the 5th floor but visitors sometimes mixed up the entrances. Or pretended to mix up entrances. That was an icebreaker in formal meetings with large corporations.

What else do you remember from the early days?

Opera moved into the building in 1998, a few months before I joined. When I arrived, there were ten or so employees in a big space with room for many more. Geir Ivarsøy and Karl Anders Øygard were the main brains behind the Presto rendering engine. I pushed for more and better support for web standards. As a result, the binary size of the Opera executable grew slightly, beyond what could fit on a floppy. The early slogan fits on a floppy had to be changed to almost fits on a floppy, which doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The company was geared for growth and we rapidly hired talented programmers for the Presto team, including Rune Lillesveen and Morten Stenshorne. When Opera switched to WebKit in 2012, they were shepherds along the way. They are continuing work on the WebKit codebase today, even if it’s now called Blink and their employer is Google. Metaphorically and physically speaking, they sit downstream from the Opera building.

In addition to programmers, a company also needs staff for sales, marketing, and accounting. And they all need a good lunch to stay productive. Anne Christiansen became the office manager and took on the task of building a kitchen to serve lunch. The kitchen workers were all hired as Opera employees, as were janitors and other support staff. It was a wonderful time when we all felt we were contributing to build better browsers for a better world.

Why Oslo? Could this development have happened anywhere else?

Most internet giants are based on the US West Coast. The fact that two of the foremost rendering engines have their roots in Oslo is an exception to the rule. It happened here due to some very smart and stubborn programmers, combined with a tech-friendly society, some venture capitalists and a bit of luck.

Thanks to the internet, we were able to reach many more customers, as such we helped fuel our own future. This effect is even stronger today and you can see internet startups everywhere.

That being said, Oslo has a flourishing startup scene. I’m especially proud of Huddly and Remarkable which make truly interesting devices. I must also add that I’m an early investor in those companies.

You refer to the buildings as drab, which is not a complement. Did the drabness of the building impact your code?

The building was built in 1939, a few years after architects in Norway (and many other places) turned away from traditional building methods towards a functionalist right-angle approach with striped windows. Personally, I prefer more traditional buildings which tend to embellish the spaces they occupy rather than degrade them. One amusing example of such structures is the rooftop smoking shed which was built in 2003. The carpenter made a sensible choice to have a traditional gable roof. It towered beautifully on top of the building, as can be seen in the first two pictures:

Opera’s first HQ in Oslo was located in a drab building

In the second picture, you can also see the entrance to the Peugeot car dealership which was there before hi-tech moved in. In the fourth picture, you see our backyard, as well as the charming areas with wooden houses to the north. There are several such historical areas in the neighborhood – you can walk in any direction from that office building and find lively and beautiful neighborhoods.

The aesthetic aspect plays an important part in our lives. Which brings us to Cascading Style Sheets, which are your baby. Was CSS also developed in that building?

I first developed CSS while working with Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. Then, working with Bert Bos at W3C, CSS was developed into a specification in 1996. From then on we tried to have browser vendors implement CSS correctly. Netscape and Microsoft both said they would do it, but dragged their feet. Then Opera came along and in three months Geir Ivarsøy, one Opera’s founders, implemented CSS to a level which allowed Opera to surpass the other browsers. At that point I decided to move back to Norway to join Opera as CTO.

A year or so later, I hosted a meeting for the W3C’s CSS working group. In the pictures below you can see Bert BosEric MeyerTantek ÇelikChris Lilley, and Ian Hickson. They all contributed massively to the CSS specifications and implementations.

The last picture is from the backyard party in 2000 when Opera, TrollTech, and Linpro – a linux-based startup which also worked in the building – organized a party. It coincided with the CSS Working Group meeting, so everyone joined in. In the last picture you can see Microsoft’s Tantek Celik and Opera’s co-founder Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner.

Is it true that Opera also used the building in its marketing?

Kind of, in a tongue-in-cheek way. The slogan Ugly building. Beautiful browser was placed on the pavement outside the building, along with (in translation) Small thinking (5MB) is ok in a tiny country. Here are some pictures:

Is is possible to visit the building today?

The building is no longer home to Opera or TrollTech. After being listed on the Oslo stock exchange, both companies found new owners – and new premises. I do not know the current tenants, and I have not been inside since Opera left the building. A sense of loss would naturally occur, so I prefer to stay outside with the plaque.

Seeing the building is quite easy if you are in Oslo. Type 98 Waldemar Thrane into you phone and guidance will be provided. Fun fact: Some of the code in your phone is most likely written by people who worked in that building.

The street is also famous for its hot-dog stand: Syverkiosken, a hole in the wall with street art around it. It serves delicious hot dogs with many kinds of toppings. Try the lingonberry!

A treat for web tourists who come to visit?

Indeed! After unveiling the plaque on Wednesday, we’ll celebrate there. If you’re in Oslo, join us. If you’re not, let’s celebrate a World Wide Browser Day virtually. I hereby propose making October 16 a worldwide browser celebration day!

Categories
Uncategorized

20+ Best Blog WordPress Themes for Personal & Freelance Blogging


A blog is a great way to be creative, grow your brand and flex your writing skills. Of all the possible blogging platforms WordPress is the best (or at least we think so – it’s what we use to run our blog that you’re reading right now). WordPress makes blogging easy and with the help of one of the best blog WordPress themes you can get started writing asap.

When looking at themes for your blog there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Layout: Choose a theme with a layout you like. If you want a masonry grid layout, it’s easier to pick a theme that has a masonry demo instead of installing a plugin and trying to make it work. Along the same lines – your theme should be responsive to ensure your blog looks great on any device.
  • Post Formats: Find a theme that can handle the media you want to upload. Whether you just want standard posts, videos, image galleries or quote double check that the theme you pick supports those formats.
  • Social Media: Any good blogging theme will include support for social media. Social media marketing is a huge part of growing your blog and online presence, which is why it’s so important that your blog posts are easy to share. A good WordPress blog theme will usually have social sharing options on posts, links in your header/footer and a social “follow” widget.

Those are just a few features we think an awesome WordPress blogging theme should have. Depending on your own needs you may also want a theme with WooCommerce compatibility, built-in ad spots to monetize your blog, an autoplay feature (in you’re thinking of starting a vlog), etc.

If you search for the best WordPress blog themes you’ll likely find thousands upon thousands of results. To save you some time, here’s our list of the best blog WordPress themes to get started blogging. We hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. Total

Total Multipurpose & Blogging WordPress Theme: Mason Demo

The Total drag & drop WordPress theme is a flexible, multipurpose theme perfect for any website design. It’s a top selling theme with over 32,000+ happy customers – which is why we keep recommending it! With built-in responsiveness, RTL support, A11y features, custom post types (portfolio, staff, testimonials), an easy to use page builder, premium animated sliders and more Total is an obvious choice for your blog or web design project.

Total Multipurpose & Blogging WordPress Theme: Charlotte Demo

Total also includes 40+ quick install sample demos, including the Mason and Charlotte blog demos seen above. This way you can simply install a sample demo to have your website started in minutes. The theme includes tons of blog-specific features including columns, lists, news layout, masonry grids and customizable dynamic page templates. Plus social is already integrate – so you can add sharing your posts right from the live Customizer.

2. Ashe (Free)

Ashe Personal & Multi-Author Free WordPress Blog Theme

Building a blog should be easy – and with the free Ashe WordPress theme it is. This stunning theme can be installed right from your WordPress dashboard and includes easy to use features to help you build a beautiful blog. Use built-in options for a boxed or full width site layout, choose custom background colors using the Live Customizer, upload your own custom logo and more. And since the theme is responsive and retina ready your blog will look great whether your readers are on their phone or their computer.

Other great theme features include a stunning featured homepage slider, right and left sidebars, featured ad areas (promo boxes), list layout, RTL and translation support. Plus Ashe is compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce to add an e-commerce store, Contact Form 7, GDPR compliance plugins, and most page builders (Elementor, Visual Composer, Beaver etc) so you can design your own one of a kind layouts. And if you’re interested in getting even more from the theme you can upgrade to Ashe Pro for advanced paste, post and styling options.

3. Newspaper

Newspaper WordPress Theme for Blogs, Magazines & More

Newspaper is a great WordPress theme for any blog, magazine, news outlet or any other publishing site. As one of the top 10 best selling themes of all time (on Envato), you won’t be disappointed by this theme’s seemingly never ending list of powerful features. Choose from more than 80 demo designs, 810+ ready to use page elements and design templates for blog posts, pages, categories and archives. use the intuitive drag & drop builder (with custom grid and news elements not found in other themes) to easily create one of a kind layout designs. Plus built-in support for AMP, YouTube, Adsense, reviews, bbPress, WooCommerce and GDPR requirements put Newspaper over the top.

4. Activello (Free)

Activello Free WordPress Blog Theme

The Activello theme from Colorlib is a lovely blogging theme perfect for your to start your own website. This multipurpose theme is built on Bootstrap with features for slider, custom copyright, infinite scroll, vector icons, responsive layouts, unlimited colors and more. The theme is also compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, Yoast SEO, JetPack and W3 Total Cache for added features. Plus it’s completely FREE- what’s not to love?

5. Glamor

A Multi-Purpose Glam Blog Theme

Start your own glam blog with Glamor by QDONOW. This lovely theme offers tons of easy features, like multiple quick start demos (including lifestyle, entrepreneur, mommy, and food blog) so you can have a great looking website in minutes. Then you can customize your site with 800+ Google fonts, custom widgets, featured image sizing, layouts, color options and more. Plus with Glamor you can also monetize your site – via a WooCommerce store and predefined ad banner areas (header, sidebar, footer and below content sections. And if you need help at any point QDONOW offers free installation, detailed online documentation and direct email support!

6. Rosemary

Rosemary Responsive Blog WordPress Theme

Rosemary is lovely WordPress theme for any style blog. The clean and bright layout is the perfect blank slate for your content. The theme includes 5 different blog layouts, a featured slider, built-in color options and a responsive over all design. Rosemary also comes with custom blog widgets for your latest posts, promo box, about me, social media and more.

7. Divi

Divi Multipurpose, Blog WordPress Theme

The Divi theme is a popular and flexible option to build your website or blog. Built on the popular Divi page builder, there are tons of easy page elements to add images, text, skills, headings, email optins, search, shop, testimonials, pricing tables, sliders, portfolio, call to action, blurbs and more. But most importantly – Divi’s default blog is a great base for you to get started blogging. Create a stunning homepage with the builder, then use the post formats support to add your content (complete with images, videos, links or galleries).

8. Wanderlust

Wanderlust Travel Blog WordPress Theme

The Wanderlust blogging WordPress theme was designed to make sharing your adventures easy. Geared towards travel focused blogs or magazines, the Wanderlust theme includes full-width images, 10 post format styles to best display your media (images, video, audio), and a useful Instagram section above the footer to showcase you latest pics. Get started quickly using one of three pre-formatted homepage designs, the get to work adding your posts. Want to add a store? No problem. The theme is also fully compatible with WooCommerce for easy e-commerce options.

9. Mesa (Free)

Mesa Free WordPress Theme

Mesa is a completely free, 100% GPL blog theme for WordPress created right here at WPExplorer. This simple masonry blog style theme is perfect for your new blogging endeavor. The theme features simple styling options via the live Customizer (for responsiveness, header, social links, entry style/columns, ad spots, etc), plenty of post formats (standard, image, gallery, video, audio and quote), custom logo upload, built-in footer & sidebar ads and social link options (header and widget). Mesa is a quick and simple way to have your blog up and running!

10. Olsen

Olsen Light Free Blog WordPress Theme

Olsen Light is a lovely free blog WordPress theme you can use to start your own blog. While there is a premium version (which we highly recommend upgrading to), Olsen light has helpful features for integrating your social media, displaying an Instagram photo slider, uploading a logo, configuring your menu, and more options in the live Customizer. The theme also comes with blog-specific widgets for an “About Me” section, latest posts and social media. The Olsen theme is also compatible with the Elementor, Divi and/or SiteOrigin builders for even more powerful page building options.

11. Hemlock

Hemlock Responsive WordPress Blog  Theme

Hemlock is a stunning theme for aspiring bloggers. The theme has a unique featured posts homepage slider design to help you better showcase your best content. The theme includes all the features we mentioned that the best WordPress blogging themes should have – like built-in social sharing, plenty of post formats and solid layouts (choose from full-width, sidebar or grid blog). Plus the simple design makes it adaptable for any industry such as  fashion, tech, business, gardening, etc.

12. Amadeus Pro

Amadeus Pro WordPress Blogging Theme

The Amadeus blog WordPress theme is a great choice whether you want to blog as a hobby or to help promote your business. With Amadeus it’s easy to customize the look and feel of your website using the options for unlimited colors, logo, social and layout (all in the handy Theme Options Panel). Add a homepage slider, take advantage of the customizable sidebar widgets and choose your homepage layout (grid or columns) to create your own one of a kind blog.

13. New York (Blog & Shop)

New York WordPress Blog & Shop Theme

For those looking to build a blog as a business, New York is one of the best shop & blog WordPress themes you can choose. It’s the perfect theme to build an elegant blog to share your thoughts and tips, or to start your own online store with WooCommerce. The theme includes a unique homepage posts carousel, styled widgets (social, about, Instagram, recent posts, etc), two menu areas, a built-in footer Instagram feed grid and customizable copyright text. On top of the amazing blog features, the theme also comes with the powerful Yellow Pencil CSS editor plugin so you can tweak any part of the design with just a few clicks!

14. Essence Pro

Essence Pro Blog WordPress Theme

Essence Pro is a beautiful blogging child theme for the popular Genesis framework. Because it’s built on Genesis, the theme already includes important options for accessibility, custom header, responsiveness, translations, layout options, eCommerce and core page layouts. But what makes Essence Pro unique is the stylish homepage layout with featured image, newsletter optin and layered post grid design.

15. Ink Story

Ink Story Telling Blogging WordPress Theme

The Ink WordPress blog theme makes it easy to share your content. Design options for the theme are all neatly tucked into the live Customizer, where you can make changes to colors and fonts then see them live before you save. The theme’s stunning image grid homepage helps new posts standout, and since the theme is retina ready you can upload bigger, bolder photos.

16. Veggie

Veggie Blogging WordPress Theme

The Veggie Food Blog theme is a beautiful choice to start your own site with blog posts, recipes, video guides or anything else. This responsive blogging theme was created for food bloggers but would work great for any number of blog focuses. Easy customization options for colors, various layouts, page builder support (works great with Elementor, Beaver Builder or SiteOrigin), translation options, RTL compatibility and more all make Veggie a solid theme.

17. Authentic.

Authentic Lifestyle Blog WordPress Theme

The Authentic Lifestyle Blog theme includes 9 different demo designs to choose from to start your blog fast and easy. Pick your favorite with options for blog grid, sliders, styled overlays and more. The theme also has easy optins built-in to customize colors for over 67 theme aspects, header design options (with different menu, logo and social positions), customizable footer modules (add your logo, insert your Instagram, or use widgets), add video backgrounds, create a featured posts carousel and more.

18. Pineapple (Free)

Pineapple Free Tumblog WordPress Theme

Pineapple is a clean and simple tumblog style WordPress blogging theme. If you want to start a blog with just your social links and your content it really is the perfect theme. Pineapple features a clean centered layout, easy post formats (image, video, audio, quote), colorful category tags and built-in social media integration. The theme is also compatible with Yoast SEO (for breadcrumbs), Contact Form 7 and most other popular free WordPress plugins.

19. Peak

Peak Masonry Grid Blog WordPress Theme

The Peak theme is a grid based theme perfect for any online blog or magazine. The theme comes with 2 different homepage options for auto (masonry) or custom (you define image sizes) tiles, post drop cap (on first letter), multiple single post layouts and post formats, a built-in portfolio, mega menu option and even custom page title banners. The Peak theme is also compatible with the WooCommerce plugin – so you can add your own store or share affiliate goods with your readers.

20. TheBlogger

TheBlogger WordPress Blogging Theme

When considering the best blog WordPress themes we had to include TheBlogger of course. This blogging theme was designed to make (you guessed it) blogging easy. With intuitive Customizer options, built-in portfolio options, parallax backgrounds, intro background video, WooCommerce compatibility, color option, and unique layouts there’s lots to love about this WordPress blog theme.

21. Brittany

Brittany Light Free Blog WordPress Theme

Brittany Light is a traditional blog style layout with left side, single column content and a right hand side bar. But that is exactly what makes this theme great! It has options for custom widgets to add your social media links, newsletter signup, about me section and Instagram feed. The light version of the theme is a perfectly good theme to get your blog started. But if you want more features (like author box, color options, layouts, etc) we recommend upgrading to pro.

22. Let’s Blog

Let's Blog WordPress Theme

The Let’s Blog WordPress makes blogging a breeze. With one click demo import, 300+ theme Customizer settings and options, multiple blog layouts (with sliders, header images, carousels, grids, etc), galleries, custom sidebar widgets and an instant search there are a ton of great features within Let’s Blog so you can create a design worthy of your content.

23. Underwood

Underwood Story Blog WordPress Theme

If you’re looking for a good theme to create a personal blog, you can’t go wrong with the Underwood theme. This modern theme features bold typography, tons of post formats (9 in total for images, audio clips, video, galleries, etc), 3 unique homepage layout styles, WooCommerce support, styled Contact Form 7 fields and integrated social media.

24. Modern Studio Pro

Modern Studio Pro Blog WordPress Theme

Modern Studio Pro is another Genesis child theme. This means you have all of the same great features you’ve come to love about Genesis, with the added bonuses of some classy styling. This includes custom headers, backgrounds, color styles, page layouts, cusomtizer options, etc. Plus the theme adds 2 homepage widget areas and a lovely centered logo header style.

25. Recipes

Recipes Blogging WordPress Theme

Recipes is a stylish blogging premium WordPress theme perfect for sharing your favorite recipes with the world. This is a great theme for a restaurant blog, sharing vegan versions of your favorite recipes, blogging about copycat recipes or for any other food blog.

Cooking can involve a lot of trial and error, so why not share your delicious discoveries with the world? Recipes is a fantastic food blogging theme that you can use to publish and share your own tried and true recipes. The recipe custom post type makes it easy to add all the info your readers will need – including prep time, cooking time, ingredients and more.

Once you’ve added your awesome recipes, the theme includes options for your readers to rate your recipe. The theme also features sortable recipes pages, clickable ingredients lists, a “Print Recipe” option, and recipe author bios (great if you have multiple contributors to your food blog).

This theme is also translation ready, includes custom widgets for top rated and most recent recipes, built-in theme options, and it comes bundled with a child theme ready for your customizations.

Next Step: Choose One of the Best Blog WordPress Themes & Get Started!

With all of these awesome themes there are only two things left for you to do – pick one and start your blog!

We know there are a LOT of WordPress themes for blogging, but it’s important to choose a theme that’s right for you. Find a WordPress blog theme with solid code, good features and a layout you like. We’ve listed what (in our opinion) are some of the best blog WordPress themes. Hopefully there were a couple solid options for your blog in our roundup.

Then, get to work creating your content. If you’re not sure where to begin, try our easy 5-step guide to start a blog. We layout all the key parts to start your own blog with WordPress (trust us – it’s easy).

Have any questions about the themes listed above? Or do you have a theme we missed that you think should be on our list of the best blog WordPress themes? Leave a comment below!

Categories
Uncategorized

20+ Best Blog WordPress Themes for Personal & Freelance Blogging


A blog is a great way to be creative, grow your brand and flex your writing skills. Of all the possible blogging platforms WordPress is the best (or at least we think so – it’s what we use to run our blog that you’re reading right now). WordPress makes blogging easy and with the help of one of the best blog WordPress themes you can get started writing asap.

When looking at themes for your blog there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Layout: Choose a theme with a layout you like. If you want a masonry grid layout, it’s easier to pick a theme that has a masonry demo instead of installing a plugin and trying to make it work. Along the same lines – your theme should be responsive to ensure your blog looks great on any device.
  • Post Formats: Find a theme that can handle the media you want to upload. Whether you just want standard posts, videos, image galleries or quote double check that the theme you pick supports those formats.
  • Social Media: Any good blogging theme will include support for social media. Social media marketing is a huge part of growing your blog and online presence, which is why it’s so important that your blog posts are easy to share. A good WordPress blog theme will usually have social sharing options on posts, links in your header/footer and a social “follow” widget.

Those are just a few features we think an awesome WordPress blogging theme should have. Depending on your own needs you may also want a theme with WooCommerce compatibility, built-in ad spots to monetize your blog, an autoplay feature (in you’re thinking of starting a vlog), etc.

If you search for the best WordPress blog themes you’ll likely find thousands upon thousands of results. To save you some time, here’s our list of the best blog WordPress themes to get started blogging. We hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. Total

Total Multipurpose & Blogging WordPress Theme: Mason Demo

The Total drag & drop WordPress theme is a flexible, multipurpose theme perfect for any website design. It’s a top selling theme with over 32,000+ happy customers – which is why we keep recommending it! With built-in responsiveness, RTL support, A11y features, custom post types (portfolio, staff, testimonials), an easy to use page builder, premium animated sliders and more Total is an obvious choice for your blog or web design project.

Total Multipurpose & Blogging WordPress Theme: Charlotte Demo

Total also includes 40+ quick install sample demos, including the Mason and Charlotte blog demos seen above. This way you can simply install a sample demo to have your website started in minutes. The theme includes tons of blog-specific features including columns, lists, news layout, masonry grids and customizable dynamic page templates. Plus social is already integrate – so you can add sharing your posts right from the live Customizer.

2. Ashe (Free)

Ashe Personal & Multi-Author Free WordPress Blog Theme

Building a blog should be easy – and with the free Ashe WordPress theme it is. This stunning theme can be installed right from your WordPress dashboard and includes easy to use features to help you build a beautiful blog. Use built-in options for a boxed or full width site layout, choose custom background colors using the Live Customizer, upload your own custom logo and more. And since the theme is responsive and retina ready your blog will look great whether your readers are on their phone or their computer.

Other great theme features include a stunning featured homepage slider, right and left sidebars, featured ad areas (promo boxes), list layout, RTL and translation support. Plus Ashe is compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce to add an e-commerce store, Contact Form 7, GDPR compliance plugins, and most page builders (Elementor, Visual Composer, Beaver etc) so you can design your own one of a kind layouts. And if you’re interested in getting even more from the theme you can upgrade to Ashe Pro for advanced paste, post and styling options.

3. Newspaper

Newspaper WordPress Theme for Blogs, Magazines & More

Newspaper is a great WordPress theme for any blog, magazine, news outlet or any other publishing site. As one of the top 10 best selling themes of all time (on Envato), you won’t be disappointed by this theme’s seemingly never ending list of powerful features. Choose from more than 80 demo designs, 810+ ready to use page elements and design templates for blog posts, pages, categories and archives. use the intuitive drag & drop builder (with custom grid and news elements not found in other themes) to easily create one of a kind layout designs. Plus built-in support for AMP, YouTube, Adsense, reviews, bbPress, WooCommerce and GDPR requirements put Newspaper over the top.

4. Activello (Free)

Activello Free WordPress Blog Theme

The Activello theme from Colorlib is a lovely blogging theme perfect for your to start your own website. This multipurpose theme is built on Bootstrap with features for slider, custom copyright, infinite scroll, vector icons, responsive layouts, unlimited colors and more. The theme is also compatible with popular plugins like WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, Yoast SEO, JetPack and W3 Total Cache for added features. Plus it’s completely FREE- what’s not to love?

5. Glamor

A Multi-Purpose Glam Blog Theme

Start your own glam blog with Glamor by QDONOW. This lovely theme offers tons of easy features, like multiple quick start demos (including lifestyle, entrepreneur, mommy, and food blog) so you can have a great looking website in minutes. Then you can customize your site with 800+ Google fonts, custom widgets, featured image sizing, layouts, color options and more. Plus with Glamor you can also monetize your site – via a WooCommerce store and predefined ad banner areas (header, sidebar, footer and below content sections. And if you need help at any point QDONOW offers free installation, detailed online documentation and direct email support!

6. Rosemary

Rosemary Responsive Blog WordPress Theme

Rosemary is lovely WordPress theme for any style blog. The clean and bright layout is the perfect blank slate for your content. The theme includes 5 different blog layouts, a featured slider, built-in color options and a responsive over all design. Rosemary also comes with custom blog widgets for your latest posts, promo box, about me, social media and more.

7. Divi

Divi Multipurpose, Blog WordPress Theme

The Divi theme is a popular and flexible option to build your website or blog. Built on the popular Divi page builder, there are tons of easy page elements to add images, text, skills, headings, email optins, search, shop, testimonials, pricing tables, sliders, portfolio, call to action, blurbs and more. But most importantly – Divi’s default blog is a great base for you to get started blogging. Create a stunning homepage with the builder, then use the post formats support to add your content (complete with images, videos, links or galleries).

8. Wanderlust

Wanderlust Travel Blog WordPress Theme

The Wanderlust blogging WordPress theme was designed to make sharing your adventures easy. Geared towards travel focused blogs or magazines, the Wanderlust theme includes full-width images, 10 post format styles to best display your media (images, video, audio), and a useful Instagram section above the footer to showcase you latest pics. Get started quickly using one of three pre-formatted homepage designs, the get to work adding your posts. Want to add a store? No problem. The theme is also fully compatible with WooCommerce for easy e-commerce options.

9. Mesa (Free)

Mesa Free WordPress Theme

Mesa is a completely free, 100% GPL blog theme for WordPress created right here at WPExplorer. This simple masonry blog style theme is perfect for your new blogging endeavor. The theme features simple styling options via the live Customizer (for responsiveness, header, social links, entry style/columns, ad spots, etc), plenty of post formats (standard, image, gallery, video, audio and quote), custom logo upload, built-in footer & sidebar ads and social link options (header and widget). Mesa is a quick and simple way to have your blog up and running!

10. Olsen

Olsen Light Free Blog WordPress Theme

Olsen Light is a lovely free blog WordPress theme you can use to start your own blog. While there is a premium version (which we highly recommend upgrading to), Olsen light has helpful features for integrating your social media, displaying an Instagram photo slider, uploading a logo, configuring your menu, and more options in the live Customizer. The theme also comes with blog-specific widgets for an “About Me” section, latest posts and social media. The Olsen theme is also compatible with the Elementor, Divi and/or SiteOrigin builders for even more powerful page building options.

11. Hemlock

Hemlock Responsive WordPress Blog  Theme

Hemlock is a stunning theme for aspiring bloggers. The theme has a unique featured posts homepage slider design to help you better showcase your best content. The theme includes all the features we mentioned that the best WordPress blogging themes should have – like built-in social sharing, plenty of post formats and solid layouts (choose from full-width, sidebar or grid blog). Plus the simple design makes it adaptable for any industry such as  fashion, tech, business, gardening, etc.

12. Amadeus Pro

Amadeus Pro WordPress Blogging Theme

The Amadeus blog WordPress theme is a great choice whether you want to blog as a hobby or to help promote your business. With Amadeus it’s easy to customize the look and feel of your website using the options for unlimited colors, logo, social and layout (all in the handy Theme Options Panel). Add a homepage slider, take advantage of the customizable sidebar widgets and choose your homepage layout (grid or columns) to create your own one of a kind blog.

13. New York (Blog & Shop)

New York WordPress Blog & Shop Theme

For those looking to build a blog as a business, New York is one of the best shop & blog WordPress themes you can choose. It’s the perfect theme to build an elegant blog to share your thoughts and tips, or to start your own online store with WooCommerce. The theme includes a unique homepage posts carousel, styled widgets (social, about, Instagram, recent posts, etc), two menu areas, a built-in footer Instagram feed grid and customizable copyright text. On top of the amazing blog features, the theme also comes with the powerful Yellow Pencil CSS editor plugin so you can tweak any part of the design with just a few clicks!

14. Essence Pro

Essence Pro Blog WordPress Theme

Essence Pro is a beautiful blogging child theme for the popular Genesis framework. Because it’s built on Genesis, the theme already includes important options for accessibility, custom header, responsiveness, translations, layout options, eCommerce and core page layouts. But what makes Essence Pro unique is the stylish homepage layout with featured image, newsletter optin and layered post grid design.

15. Ink Story

Ink Story Telling Blogging WordPress Theme

The Ink WordPress blog theme makes it easy to share your content. Design options for the theme are all neatly tucked into the live Customizer, where you can make changes to colors and fonts then see them live before you save. The theme’s stunning image grid homepage helps new posts standout, and since the theme is retina ready you can upload bigger, bolder photos.

16. Veggie

Veggie Blogging WordPress Theme

The Veggie Food Blog theme is a beautiful choice to start your own site with blog posts, recipes, video guides or anything else. This responsive blogging theme was created for food bloggers but would work great for any number of blog focuses. Easy customization options for colors, various layouts, page builder support (works great with Elementor, Beaver Builder or SiteOrigin), translation options, RTL compatibility and more all make Veggie a solid theme.

17. Authentic.

Authentic Lifestyle Blog WordPress Theme

The Authentic Lifestyle Blog theme includes 9 different demo designs to choose from to start your blog fast and easy. Pick your favorite with options for blog grid, sliders, styled overlays and more. The theme also has easy optins built-in to customize colors for over 67 theme aspects, header design options (with different menu, logo and social positions), customizable footer modules (add your logo, insert your Instagram, or use widgets), add video backgrounds, create a featured posts carousel and more.

18. Pineapple (Free)

Pineapple Free Tumblog WordPress Theme

Pineapple is a clean and simple tumblog style WordPress blogging theme. If you want to start a blog with just your social links and your content it really is the perfect theme. Pineapple features a clean centered layout, easy post formats (image, video, audio, quote), colorful category tags and built-in social media integration. The theme is also compatible with Yoast SEO (for breadcrumbs), Contact Form 7 and most other popular free WordPress plugins.

19. Peak

Peak Masonry Grid Blog WordPress Theme

The Peak theme is a grid based theme perfect for any online blog or magazine. The theme comes with 2 different homepage options for auto (masonry) or custom (you define image sizes) tiles, post drop cap (on first letter), multiple single post layouts and post formats, a built-in portfolio, mega menu option and even custom page title banners. The Peak theme is also compatible with the WooCommerce plugin – so you can add your own store or share affiliate goods with your readers.

20. TheBlogger

TheBlogger WordPress Blogging Theme

When considering the best blog WordPress themes we had to include TheBlogger of course. This blogging theme was designed to make (you guessed it) blogging easy. With intuitive Customizer options, built-in portfolio options, parallax backgrounds, intro background video, WooCommerce compatibility, color option, and unique layouts there’s lots to love about this WordPress blog theme.

21. Brittany

Brittany Light Free Blog WordPress Theme

Brittany Light is a traditional blog style layout with left side, single column content and a right hand side bar. But that is exactly what makes this theme great! It has options for custom widgets to add your social media links, newsletter signup, about me section and Instagram feed. The light version of the theme is a perfectly good theme to get your blog started. But if you want more features (like author box, color options, layouts, etc) we recommend upgrading to pro.

22. Let’s Blog

Let's Blog WordPress Theme

The Let’s Blog WordPress makes blogging a breeze. With one click demo import, 300+ theme Customizer settings and options, multiple blog layouts (with sliders, header images, carousels, grids, etc), galleries, custom sidebar widgets and an instant search there are a ton of great features within Let’s Blog so you can create a design worthy of your content.

23. Underwood

Underwood Story Blog WordPress Theme

If you’re looking for a good theme to create a personal blog, you can’t go wrong with the Underwood theme. This modern theme features bold typography, tons of post formats (9 in total for images, audio clips, video, galleries, etc), 3 unique homepage layout styles, WooCommerce support, styled Contact Form 7 fields and integrated social media.

24. Modern Studio Pro

Modern Studio Pro Blog WordPress Theme

Modern Studio Pro is another Genesis child theme. This means you have all of the same great features you’ve come to love about Genesis, with the added bonuses of some classy styling. This includes custom headers, backgrounds, color styles, page layouts, cusomtizer options, etc. Plus the theme adds 2 homepage widget areas and a lovely centered logo header style.

25. Recipes

Recipes Blogging WordPress Theme

Recipes is a stylish blogging premium WordPress theme perfect for sharing your favorite recipes with the world. This is a great theme for a restaurant blog, sharing vegan versions of your favorite recipes, blogging about copycat recipes or for any other food blog.

Cooking can involve a lot of trial and error, so why not share your delicious discoveries with the world? Recipes is a fantastic food blogging theme that you can use to publish and share your own tried and true recipes. The recipe custom post type makes it easy to add all the info your readers will need – including prep time, cooking time, ingredients and more.

Once you’ve added your awesome recipes, the theme includes options for your readers to rate your recipe. The theme also features sortable recipes pages, clickable ingredients lists, a “Print Recipe” option, and recipe author bios (great if you have multiple contributors to your food blog).

This theme is also translation ready, includes custom widgets for top rated and most recent recipes, built-in theme options, and it comes bundled with a child theme ready for your customizations.

Next Step: Choose One of the Best Blog WordPress Themes & Get Started!

With all of these awesome themes there are only two things left for you to do – pick one and start your blog!

We know there are a LOT of WordPress themes for blogging, but it’s important to choose a theme that’s right for you. Find a WordPress blog theme with solid code, good features and a layout you like. We’ve listed what (in our opinion) are some of the best blog WordPress themes. Hopefully there were a couple solid options for your blog in our roundup.

Then, get to work creating your content. If you’re not sure where to begin, try our easy 5-step guide to start a blog. We layout all the key parts to start your own blog with WordPress (trust us – it’s easy).

Have any questions about the themes listed above? Or do you have a theme we missed that you think should be on our list of the best blog WordPress themes? Leave a comment below!

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20 Best Blogging Books for Bloggers to Read in 2020 (Free and Paid)


If you’re looking for the best blogging books, then you’ve come to the right place.

The Internet is full of information on just about every topic. Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad—and some of it’s neither accurate nor helpful.

When it comes to blogging, there are quite a few different ways to learn, ranging from content on other blogs (like mine), online courses, video tutorials, conferences and more. One format that many overlook, is blogging books.

Believe it or not, books are still very much in use—and they often explore topics in greater depth than a single article ever can. Blogging books in particular, can cover a single topic at length, or serve as a more approachable, general introduction to a broader umbrella of subjects. The right blogging books can offer a great deal of value to readers, especially for their extremely low cost (and the fact that many of them are often even free).

Not all blogging books are created equal though. For that reason, I’ve created my list of the best blogging books in 2020, to help make your blogging journey more profitable this year. Some of the blogging books on this list are specifically about blogging-related topics, while others will simply give you practical ideas, strategies and concepts that’ll help you improve as the owner of your own blog business.

These blogging books are a must-read for any blogger that wants to eventually grow their sites to profitability.

20 Best Blogging Books for Every Blogger to Read in 2020 (and Profit From)

  1. The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers
  2. How to Start a Blog (on the Side) in 2020
  3. How to Promote Your Blog (and Get Readers)
  4. How to Make Money Blogging This Year
  5. Atomic Habits
  6. WordPress for Beginners 2020
  7. HTML and CSS
  8. Deep Work
  9. Faster, Smarter, Louder
  10. Storytelling
  11. One Million Followers
  12. Talk Triggers
  13. SEO Like I’m 5
  14. SEO 2020
  15. Affiliate Marketing 2020
  16. Creative Confidence
  17. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  18. Bird by Bird
  19. Virtual Freedom
  20. Company of One

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. When you purchase cheap web hosting using my one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep things like my 25,000 word ultimate guide to starting a blog free of charge. Know that I also only recommend products I personally stand behind.

But before we dive into this list, an important final question. It’s 2020. Do people even read blogging books anymore?

The answer is yes. Believe it or not, people are still reading (and listening to audio books). The main difference between now and the pre-digital era, is there are a lot more options for readers to consume educational content—on their own terms.

Physical books are still the top choice for reading, but audiobooks are on the rise. Digital eBooks are also very popular. The perk with eBooks, is you can buy blogging books directly from the knowledgeable authors, who can impart their experience with readers—while avoiding having to pay out fees to big publishing organizations.

Want to know the best part? I’m giving away 3 of my most popular blogging books—completely free.

Want 3 of My Best Blogging Books (for Free)?

Free Blogging Book Bundle by Ryan Robinson

Get your free copies of my 3 top eBooks (in PDF format) that’ve helped me start a successful blog and reach 500,000+ monthly readers today.


Now, the best blogging books I recommend here come in a variety of mediums, but they’re all helpful to aspiring bloggers who want to make money blogging.

Without further delay, let’s dive in!

1. The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers by Ryan Robinson

Habits of Successful Bloggers (Blogging Books) Cover Hardbound

The first blogging book on my list, is one that I personally wrote to help new bloggers get a jump start on building a real system to support the growth of their blogs.

It’s called The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers and it’s a guide to using transformative habits. My book is filled with the advice I would have given myself, if I could go back to the beginning of when I first learned how to start a blog.

When I wrote this book, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t waste your time. I want you to be able to sit down and begin learning something useful and actionable in the very first chapter. I won’t make you wait until the end of the book, to get to my point—and I offer valuable information in every single chapter. In The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers, I cover three specific habits that can help every type of blogger. It doesn’t matter what blog niche you’re in, because these are concepts anyone can apply. For those looking to go even deeper and achieve more, I also include a chapter on more advanced tips & tactics I’ve used to grow my own blog over the years.

The habits I introduce in this blogging book may seem like they won’t make a significant difference at first. But put them into practice and give it some time.  In 6 months to a year of regular practice, you’ll see real growth. If you’re truly ready and willing to put in the hard work and change your own limiting habits, you’re going to have more readers, more subscribers and more revenue from your blog. The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers is available right now for digital download.

2. How To Start a Blog (on the Side) in 2020 by Ryan RobinsonHow to Start a Blog Free Book by Ryan Robinson This Year

The title of this blogging book says it all, right? It’s actually a digital download version of my ultimate guide: How to Start a Blog (on the Side).

In this free book of mine (which you can pick up right here), you’ll get my exact, step-by-step tutorial on how to get your blog set up. It goes from zero all the way through to learning how to write a blog post that’s designed to attract readers, to publishing your first article, finding your target audience and bringing in your readers. Since I first published this guide and blogging book nearly two years ago, more than 1 Million people have read—and taken action—on this foundation process for building a successful blog business.

That’s why I’ve packaged it into the format of a digital book, and give it away for free to my readers. Get your copy for free (right here) today!

3. How to Promote Your Blog (and Get Readers) in 2020 by Ryan RobinsonHow to Promote Your Blog (Blogging Book) by Ryan Robinson Cover

After getting your blog started, the natural next step is… getting readers to your blog, right? This free blogging book (written by me) is a downloadable PDF version of one of my most successful recent guides: How to Promote Your Blog in 2020.

If one of your goals is to eventually build a profitable blog, then you’ll need to figure out how to tap into reliable, dependable, lucrative sources of traffic. In this second free blogging book of mine (which you can pick up right here), I’m walking you step-by-step through the most impactful 12 strategies I’ve used to grow my blog from zero to more than 4.4 Million yearly readers. We’re covering everything from nailing your blog’s SEO efforts, to researching and learning from your competition’s traffic sources, setting up a high-impact guest blogging campaign, leveraging email marketing, social media channels, connecting with influencers and more. There’s truly a promotional strategy for everyone in this free blogging book.

Because this guide has been so popular with my readers, I’ve decided to make it into digital book—and give it away for free. Get your free copy (right here) today!

4. How to Make Money Blogging This Year by Ryan Robinson

How to Make Money Blogging Book by Ryan Robinson

The last of my own blogging books, is another free (in-depth) guide to learning how to monetize your new blog. You can pick up a free copy right here.

I wrote this book, pulled largely from this guide right here on my blog, to highlight how an ordinary person can learn to make a massive profit from blogging—not overnight, and not without putting in a lot of hard work, but to show you that it’s possible. I launched my blog in 2014 and have steadily grown it into becoming a full-time business (and source of more than $450,000 in annual revenue). This book is ideal for new bloggers or people who have started a blog but simply aren’t making a profit. It’s not written for experienced bloggers that’ve already mastered monetization, but rather for those still learning how to best carve out a profitable niche and start earning back from their blogs.

How to Make Money Blogging covers topics like how to strategize on a smart blog niche, actionable ways to earn money through your blog, how to grow your traffic, and more. Since this blogging book is constantly updated, the information (and strategies I’ve broken down) are always as fresh as possible. The book version is available for free digital download right here.

Want 3 of My Best Blogging Books (for Free)?

Free Blogging Book Bundle by Ryan Robinson

Get your free copies of my 3 top eBooks (in PDF format) that’ve helped me start a successful blog and reach 500,000+ monthly readers today.


5. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits by James Clear Book for Bloggers to Read

Atomic Habit was written by my good friend James Clear. Some of his ideas helped inspire my book The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers, and he has been gracious enough to appear on my podcast. This book discusses how creating good habits will help you achieve your greatest goals. James Clear is an expert in habit formation and in his book he gives away genuine practical strategies that just about anyone can use.

He explains the need to focus on habits and systems before you can really reach your goals, which is why I’ve ranked it so high on my list of the best blogging books here. Goals are good for inspiration, but the system you use is the vehicle that gets you there. For example, if you want to be an incredible blogger—you’ll need a content schedule you can stick with.

In Atomic Habits, James covers things like why small habits make a big difference, how to build better habits, how to change your environment to become more successful, how to make good habits more appealing than bad habits, and many other very useful very practical insights. He keeps things interesting with engaging writing and incredible stories. He includes his own real-life experiences as well as stories from Olympic gold medalists, successful business leaders, physicians, comedians, and artists.

His book is currently available in hardback, paperback, audio, and Kindle versions on Amazon right here.

6. WordPress for Beginners 2020: A Visual Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering WordPress by Dr. Andy Williams

Blogging Books to Read This Year WordPress for Beginners on Amazon

Regardless of the type of blog you want to build, I always recommend WordPress as the best blogging site to use when creating your own blog. It’s a free and very powerful platform that millions of bloggers use around the world. That being said, there is a learning curve when you’re just beginning. There are a lot of online tutorials for WordPress as well as an online help forum for WordPress users. But if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop consider WordPress for Beginners by Dr. Andy Williams.

Author Andy Williams has written several books related to websites, SEO and other topics pertaining to running a website, and this book dives into things like how to register your domain name, how to design your WordPress website, securing your blog, an introduction to basic HTML and tons more content. If you’re already quite familiar with WordPress, you may not find this blogging book as useful, but there’s probably still insightful information you can use to further customize your blog.

This book is currently available as an eBook or in paperback form on Amazon.

7. HTML and CSS by Jon Duckett

HTML and CSS Book for Technical Bloggers and Web Designers

If you’re a more experienced blogger and you’re ready to take your site to the next level, you’re probably going to want to learn a thing or two about HTML and CSS. That’s why the blogging book HTML and CSS by Jon Duckett will come in handy. At this point, you may not be ready for behind the scenes work. If that’s you, don’t worry. You don’t have to be a coding expert to make a great website, though. On the other hand, if you want greater customization and control of your site, learning some code is an excellent way to do it.

Jon Duckett’s book is packed full of extremely helpful information about links, images, structure, tables, forms, text, color, and a lot more. He covers both HTML and CSS for many of the same topics.What’s really exceptional about the book is just how visually beautiful it is.

You may think that a blogging book about coding would be really basic, but this book was designed in a way that makes you want to flip through it even if you have no interest in coding at all. HTML and CSS can be helpful for people who have a strong understanding of coding, but it’s geared primarily for beginner to intermediate users.

This book is currently only available in a print version on Amazon here.

8. Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep Work Book by Cal Newport

There’s work, and then there’s Deep Work. There are plenty of times when you set out to work but you’re filled with so many distractions that you can’t give your work attention that it needs.

When you are able to work without distractions, you’re able to push your cognitive skills to their limits. As a result, you can produce incredible work that creates new value. The valuable work your produce is difficult for other people to replicate and it stands out in the world. It has the potential to impact a lot of people in positive ways. That’s what author Cal Newport calls deep work. His book Deep Work contends, when a person is in a state of deep work, their brain begins working more rapidly and effectively.

But how do you get to this point?

Cal Newport is an MIT graduate and professor. In Deep Work, he explains how you develop your ability to engage in deep work even with a busy schedule. And the real reason I’ve ranked this on my list of the top blogging books, is that he gives real-life advice for ways to work without distractions and produce meaningful work that lasts far longer than a Tweet or Facebook post ever could.

This book comes in a variety of versions including print, digital, audio CD, and audio download on Amazon.

8. Faster, Smarter, Louder: Master Attention in a Noisy Digital Market by Aaron Agius and Gián Clancey

Top Blogging Books for Writers to Read: Faster, Smarter, Louder

There’s absolutely no secret that digital marketing is essential for your blog. The only problem is—sometimes it’s hard to stand out. There are millions of other users trying to attract attention to their accounts. Couple that with algorithm methods that don’t always work in your favor, and you may find digital marketing extremely frustrating. That’s why books like Faster, Smarter, Louder are so beneficial (and sitting high up on my list of blogging books you need to read).

This book, written by successful digital marketers Aaron Agius and Gian Clancey, talks about how you can effectively use digital marketing for your blog (and other forms of businesses).

Their book talks about the importance of reaching your audience through authenticity, value, and real human connections. In the introduction of this blogging book, they write, “A powerful brand is one part technical savvy and one part social smarts… This book balances process with humanity, proven marketing strategies with a heartbeat. After all, it doesn’t matter what you do if you can’t relate to the mindset of your prospective customers.”

Faster, Smarter, Louder is available in eBook and print on Amazon.

10. Storytelling by Daniel Anderson

Storytelling Book for Bloggers to Write More Effectively

Social media is an incredible resource for marketing your blog. People spend an enormous amount of time on social media and many acknowledge that social media influences their purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, like digital marketing in general, social media can be a hard nut to crack. You can spend a lot of time working on the perfect photo for Instagram and end up with minimal reach—and this lives on my list of the best blogging books, because it gives you a much more useful skill: storytelling.

The book Storytelling by Daniel Anderson dives into the art of engaging your audience with stories. His book explains how you can use your stories to create interest and make people want to return to your platforms. The same advice can be used for your own blog posts. People want something they can connect with and a good story has always had the power to pull people in.

You can get this book in print or as an eBook on Amazon.

11. One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days by Brendan Kane

One Million Followers Top Blogging Book to Read This Year

Another really useful book for growing your social media presence, is One Million Followers by Brendan Kane.

Brendan Kane is a digital strategist that has worked with people like Rihanna and Taylor Swift, and he’s also worked with brands such as MTV, Skechers and IKEA. This blogigng book also includes interviews with influencers, celebrities, and marketing experts who explain their insights on developing their social media presence.

The first chapter of his book details how he gained a million followers. He writes, “Although it may sound like a ludicrous undertaking, building a massive social following in thirty days or less is possible.” He goes on to say that he used a growth hack to garner that many followers, but “without the other strategies, mindsets, and processes shared in this book, you won’t become a rock star at content creation.”

His other processes teach you how to gain diverse and authentic followers, create valuable content, and develop branding on social media. The main social media platforms that he discusses in his book are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.

One Million Followers is available in print, digital download, and audio digital download on Amazon.

12. Talk Triggers by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin

Talk Triggers by Jay Baer Book for Bloggers

One powerful way to create interest in your blog is by word-of-mouth marketing. When someone takes the time to promote your blog—or a particular blog post—people are far more likely to click. Think about it. Your best friend tells you that you absolutely have to watch a brand new TV show. You and your friend have similar interests and generally like the same things. You’re way more likely to watch it after your friend recommends it than you are from a random ad.

That’s what the book Talk Triggers is all about, and why it fits squarely amongst my picks for blogging books you need to read this year. Written by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin, this book looks into strategies for getting people to share your work.

They explain, “Nobody says ‘let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I had last night.’ The strategic, operational differentiator is what gives customers something to tell a story about. Companies (including the 30+ profiled in Talk Triggers) must dare to be different and exceed expectations in one or more palpable ways. That’s when word of mouth becomes involuntary: the customers of these businesses simply MUST tell someone else.” Talk Triggers gives you tangible ways to stand out against your competitors, reach people in meaningful ways, and truly understand what your customers (or blog visitors) really want and need.

Talk Triggers is available in print, digital download, and audio download on Amazon.

13. SEO Like I’m 5 by Matthew Capala

SEO Like I'm 5 Blogging Book for Search Engine Optimization

Learning to nail your blog SEO is an integral part of marketing your website and getting your content discovered in search engines like Google. Without a good SEO strategy, you simply won’t rank high on a search engine. You can’t afford to miss out on search engine traffic because 51% of website traffic comes through organic searches.

If this is the first time you’ve heard about SEO, or if you only have a minimal understanding of it, you’d benefit from reading a very foundational and comprehensive blogging book like SEO Like I’m 5. And although the book is written in a way that is accessible to beginners, it also offers valuable insights to people more well versed in SEO. SEO Like I’m 5 also includes screenshots, step-by-step instructions and SEO templates, making it a more helpful blogging book than your average.

This book is available in print, but is more accessible as an eBook, both on Amazon.

14. SEO 2020 by Adam Clarke

SEO Focused Blogging Books to Read for New Bloggers

For another fantastic blogging book focused on SEO, check out SEO 2020 by Adam Clarke. It’s been updated and expanded to include recent information for SEO best practices—and gets frequent updates from the author. Clarke explains, “Most published SEO advice is either outdated or just dead-wrong. Google’s constant updates have made many popular SEO optimization strategies useless.”

His blogging book includes more recent changes to Google’s algorithm methods like the Google 2018 industry change update, sometimes referred to as the “Medic Update” and much more. SEO 2020 also covers topics like how to survive Google updates, what keywords are, how to structure your site for automatic SEO, attracting high quality links and quite a few other topics.

This book is available in print and eBook form on Amazon.

15. Affiliate Marketing 2020 by Christopher Clarke and Adam Preace

Affiliate Marketing 2020 Book for Bloggers to Read

Let’s say you’ve started a blog and you’re now ready to monetize. What should be your first step? Affiliate marketing (by promoting the right products with healthy affiliate programs) is one of the best monetization channels for bloggers. If you’re interested in learning more about affiliate marketing, check out Christopher Clarke and Adam Preace’s book Affiliate Marketing 2020.

This blogging book is up-to-date and covers a huge range of topics for affiliate marketing. In it you’ll learn important things like picking a niche, finding the best affiliate offers, building a marketing plan, and a lot more. This book is a really good option for people who are new to blogging, people who want to be more successful with monetization, and people who are already successful but want to gain some additional insights.

Affiliate Marketing 2020 is available as an audiobook, eBook and paperback on Amazon.

16. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley as a Top Blogging Book This Year

Many people are attracted to blogging because it’s an opportunity to express creativity. When you start a blog you’re able to use your vision and make something that didn’t exist before. If you love creativity (or if you wish you were more creative) Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley is just for you. The first chapter of this blogging book begins with:

“When you hear the word ‘creativity,’ what do you think next?… You may equate ‘creative’ with ‘artistic.”…As brothers who have worked together for thirty years at the forefront of innovation, we have come to see this set of misconceptions as the “creativity myth.”…This book is about the opposite of that myth. It is about what we call ‘creative confidence.’ And at its foundation is the belief that we are all creative.”

Creativity increases productivity, helps problem-solve, and helps you come up with fresh and interesting ideas. Creative Confidence will give you strategies and principles to help develop this key skill, which is why I’ve ranked it amongst my picks for must-read blogging books.

This book is available as an eBook, in print form and as an audio download on Amazon.

17. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Stephen King's On Writing Book for Bloggers

Let’s go old school for a moment. Can you be a successful blogger and be a terrible writer? The answer is probably not. You may have really great ideas to share, but people aren’t going to stick around if your writing is dull—or they can’t understand what you’re saying. Your writing has to grip your readers. You have to give them some reason to keep reading. So let’s go back to basics.

What makes writing engaging and captivating? Even if you’ve never read a Stephen King novel, you probably know who he is. He’s written over 50 novels, a couple hundred short stories, and his writing has been adapted for both film and TV. He obviously knows a thing or two about writing—hence why his writing tutorial makes an appearance on this list of blogging books.

The good news for the rest of us is he chose to impart some of his writing knowledge in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King shares some of his best writing advice. He talks about his own personal experiences and passes on his habits and even blogging tools to help other aspiring writers.

This book is available in audio, digital download and print via Amazon.

18. Bird by Bird by Anna Lamott

Bird by Bird Book by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is another blogging book dedicated to writers on this list. Anne Lamott is an author of both fiction and non-fiction books and she is also a writing teacher. Even though her book Bird by Bird came out almost 25 years ago, it still holds deeply valuable thoughts about writing.

The concept of this blogging book came from a childhood memory. When her brother was ten, he had a huge assignment due for school. He was supposed to write a report on birds. He had been given three months to write it, but he had waited until the day before it was due to start. At the kitchen table and almost in tears, her brother was feeling extremely overwhelmed. Their father came to him and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” Anne Lamott took the idea of simply doing one simple thing at a time and applied it to writing. She explains that you have to start by giving yourself short little assignments before you can tackle big huge concepts. If you’re going to write a novel about your childhood, first write a single description. Don’t worry about writing an entire novel at once.

In the case of bloggers, don’t worry about creating an entire collection of work when you first begin. Write one valuable piece of content at a time.

Bird by Bird is available for digital and audio download and is also available in print on Amazon.

19. Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker

Chris Ducker's Virtual Freedom Blogging Book

You’ve gained some success, you’re making some money, people are starting to notice your blog. Maybe you’ve even experienced significant success and you’ve reached heights greater than you ever thought you could. The only problem is the tasks are starting to become more than one person can handle. You’re trying to juggle writing content, marketing, photography, customers, affiliates, website design and a million other things. What should you do now?

That’s where Chris Ducker’s blogging book Virtual Freedom comes in. This blogging book is for entrepreneurs who know they need help but don’t know where to start. It’s also for people who struggle to let go. It’s your creative genius and you know best how you want everything to run. At some point though, you have to take that leap and hire out some of the workload.

Chris explains, “Entrepreneurs often suffer from ‘superhero syndrome’—the misconception that to be successful, they must do everything themselves. Not only are they the boss, but also the salesperson, HR manager, copywriter, operations manager, online marketing guru, and so much more. It’s no wonder why so many people give up the dream of starting a business—it’s just too much for one person to handle.”

To overcome this battle, Ducker offers helpful advice about finding and hiring a virtual staff, training your staff, and managing your staff, which is why it ranks amongst my favorite blogging books every blogger should read.

Virtual Freedom is available in print, audio and eBook versions on Amazon.

20. Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis

Company of One by Paul Jarvis Top Selling Book This Year

Company of One has been one of the most instrumental (recent) blogging books in my life. In this fantastic book, my friend and veteran solopreneur, Paul Jarvis, talks about his practical philosophy (and actionable approach) to building a self-funded, profitable and enjoyable business that’s designed to deliver the lifestyle you want to live—without feeling like you need to build a giant company in order to be “successful” by your own definition.

While not specifically about the nuance of building a blog-based business, this book is particularly relevant to those who want to grow their own blogs, because it goes deep into the (important) process of structuring a purposeful, single-person business that’s designed to stand the test of time.

Whether you realize it or not, that’s pretty much exactly how most blogs are designed. From a business philosophy standpoint, I couldn’t recommend this blogging book more highly.

Company of One is available in print, audio and eBook versions on Amazon.


Can (the Right) Blogging Books Really Help You Succeed?

If you’re not a book person—or even if you are—you’re probably wondering at this point if even the best blogging books can actually help you.

If you read them, will your blog become an overnight success? The answer is no.

None of the blogging books on the list will automatically make your blog explode with traffic and excite all of those new readers. You’re not instantly going to have hundreds of valuable blog post ideas that nobody else is competing for. You won’t start making more money from your blog the day after you read one of these blogging books.

The problem is… too many beginning bloggers quickly read about helpful blogging tips, tricks, hacks and advice—then do absolutely nothing with it.

It really won’t help grow your blog if you only read these top blogging books… yet never take action or follow their advice.

The truth is that the simple act of only reading blogging books—will do nothing for you.

Your success as a blogger will come only through your own action.

These blogging books here today will all give you a foundation—a blueprint to follow—but unless you start implementing the ideas, strategies and adopt the  mindset of experimentation these authors advocate for, you can’t expect to see a change in results.

Not only that, but anyone who tells you to expect instant success after reading a book, isn’t being truthful with you.

Every blogging book on this list has actionable, valuable information. But it takes time, commitment and endurance in order to implement the lessons you’ll learn.

You can do incredible things with your blog, but be prepared to put in the hard work.

My advice is to start with one or two of these blogging books that you connect most with. Use them as a guide post to start improving your blogging business.

Want 3 of My Best Blogging Books (for Free)?

Free Blogging Book Bundle by Ryan Robinson

Get your free copies of my 3 top eBooks (in PDF format) that’ve helped me start a successful blog and reach 500,000+ monthly readers today.

 

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What is WordPress? Difference Between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com


Well, you’re here to answer the question… what is WordPress? So here we go:

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a simple blogging platform started in 2003 to help publishers, bloggers and businesses quickly build, publish and maintain websites without having to hire a technical team to do it, but WordPress has since transformed into much more.

Most people who are interested in starting a blog will hear the name WordPress pretty early on in their research. And during that research phase, the next natural question is often, what’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

We’re going to answer both of those questions here today, but first, we need to give you more context around what WordPress has become in recent years.

WordPress is now used by millions of people. In fact, it’s estimated that there are currently 19.5 Million websites using WordPress around the world—and it powers more than 34% of all websites on the Internet.

Not only that, but some of the biggest brands in the world use WordPress to power their websites and blogs, including companies like TechCrunch, The Walt Disney Company, Mercedes-Benz, The White House, Etsy and many more… including mine that you’re reading from right here.

What’s particularly great about WordPress is how diverse of a publishing platform it is. You can use WordPress to make almost any kind of website, ranging from an eCommerce store, to a blog, portfolio, membership site, business page, social network, online forum and more. The possibilities are truly endless.

Now, if you’ve started researching WordPress, then you may be confused by the fact that there are actually two versions of WordPress.

There’s WordPress.com and WordPress.org, both of which go back quite far in the history of blogging.

But… why are there two names and what’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

Here’s a hyperlinked table of contents if you’d like to jump straight down to the section you’re looking for.

What’s the Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

  1. Short Answer: What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
  2. The Long Version: More differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
  3. Cost differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com
  4. Is it cheaper to go with WordPress.org or WordPress.com?
  5. What is a WordPress theme?
  6. What is a WordPress plugin?
  7. Ease of use between WordPress.org and WordPress.com
  8. Is WordPress.org or WordPress.com better?

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. Know that I only recommend tools, products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind. When you sign up for hosting with one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep all of my in-depth content free of charge for readers.

What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

WordPress.org is a free CMS that powers blogs and websites (like mine). WordPress.com is a hosting service that uses WordPress software to create a blog or website.

This guide will show you the meaningful differences between the two.

I’ll also help you understand what WordPress is and how to pick which option is best for you and your blogging goals.

Before diving into more details and specifics though, let’s look at the bare bones difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com Homepage of WordPress.org

WordPress.org is a content management system (CMS) that’s open-source and self-hosted. It’s totally free and it can be installed on your own web host.

WordPress.org was created before WordPress.com and is often the version people are referencing when they recommend using WordPress. It’s also often referred to as self-hosted WordPress, when reading through guides about how to start a blog.

WordPress.org offers a very high level of customization, thousands of WordPress themes to make your blog building process easier, and access to over 55,000 plugins.

Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com Homepage Screenshot

WordPress.com is essentially a website builder that also provides the hosting service for you (for a monthly fee).

One benefit of using WordPress.com, is that you won’t need to use different third party web hosting company to get started.

However, a drawback is that while WordPress.com uses the same software as WordPress.org, it doesn’t provide the same level of customization (more on that later).

There is a limited free version of WordPress.com but the paid plans offer more features and flexibility than the free version.

Now that we’ve done a brief overview, let’s dive deeper into the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

The long version: What’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

What's the Difference Between WordPress dot Org and WordPress dot Com

In order to get a clear idea about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, it’s helpful to compare multiple aspects of the two.

While there are similarities between the two platforms, there are some pretty significant differences as well. Here’s a point-by-point guide explaining key similarities and differences between the two options.

In this section, we’ll start by covering the cost to run a blog on each platform, the WordPress themes & WordPress plugins available to install, ease of use and customization capabilities.

What’s the cost to run a WordPress.org blog vs using WordPress.com?

There’s a long-standing debate about which platform is cheaper to run overall.

Not everyone is in agreement, so I’ll break down the typical costs you should expect to see with both (depending upon which features you want to activate).

The cost to set up a WordPress.org blog

At first glance, WordPress.org seems like the obvious choice financially.

The software is free to the public, and WordPress requires no upfront money to get started. You can run a fairly sophisticated website without paying any fees to WordPress.

However, as I mentioned before, with WordPress.org, you’ll need to pay for a hosting service. You’ll also have to find a name for your blog and pay for the domain name where your website will live.

I personally use and recommend Bluehost, one of the longest-standing players in the WordPress web hosting space for getting your domain name and hosting set up.

WordPress Hosted Blog Bluehost Homepage

As I mentioned, Bluehost is one of the most established companies in the WordPress hosting industry, and offer plans for as little as $3.95/mo (billed annually). Their hosting plans also come with a free domain name for the first year.

Another nice feature about Bluehost, is that it works really well with WordPress. They have a 1-Click install option that makes spinning up your blog easy and straight-forward.

Why Choose to Host Your Blog with WordPress Description

If you end up going with Bluehost, the plan I recommend is their Choice Plus plan, because it comes with a Domain Privacy feature. This keeps your personal information as a website owner private, and withholds it from being publicly visible online. You can choose any of the options, though, and just add domain privacy in the checkout process for about $1/mo.

Bottom line, self-hosting your WordPress blog with a company like Bluehost is the most affordable option.

The cost to host your own blog is really quite minimal compared to any other popular website builders—around $65/year.

It’s actually quite a bit cheaper than using WordPress.com’s paid plans (which unlock the kinds of features you’d actually want if you’re hoping to grow a blog as a business).

When you use WordPress.org, there are a lot of free themes and plugins that new bloggers can hit the ground running with. Free themes and plugins are still a very viable way to build a good looking website on a budget.

If you want to have more control over your blog though, you may ultimately opt to buy a premium plugin or theme (like the OptimizePress or Elementor themes that power my blog).

How to Write a Blog Post with Good Design ryrob OptimizePress

We’ll discuss plugins (most of which are free) more soon, but there are times when a paid plugin is worth your money.

You may also choose to pay for a more fully-featured WordPress theme if you’re unable to find a free option that suits your needs.

A self-hosted blog on WordPress allows you to be as simple or as complex as you’d like with your site.

If you’re not an experienced web developer, but you have a specific look in mind, you can still always find a professional on a freelance site to customize your blog on a budget.

The cost to set up a free WordPress.com blog

WordPress.com does offer a free (pretty limited) version if you want to get started without any money down.

With a free WordPress.com blog, you’ll also be limited to a website name like…  yourcoolblog.wordpress.com that lives on the WordPress domain.

And while they do share, “Every single week, thousands of people start their journey with a free WordPress website,” that statement doesn’t explain exactly how their free website plans are limited in scope and features.

With the free version, you’ll receive 3GB of storage, dozens of free responsive themes, and some basic plugin features from Jetpack. If you need support during the process of starting your blog, you’ll need to rely on public forums to ask for help—as email & live chat support comes only with paid plans.

If you choose their free plan, you won’t have control over your own website’s advertising options either.

WordPress.com will put their own banner advertisements on your website and collect any earnings from them.

And as I mentioned already, your domain name will only be able to have the WordPress extension tied to it if you’re on their free plan.

For example, my blog here is ryrob.com. My domain name is simple, easy to remember and free from third-party advertising or branding. I truly own my platform.

WordPress Powered Blog Ryan Robinson ryrob Homepage Screenshot

If I were using the free version of WordPress.com to create my blog, my domain name would look like…  ryrob.wordpress.com

It’s definitely not as professional looking, and is hardly memorable to the readers that come to my blog.

So that’s what you get with the free version of WordPress.com.

Now, we’ll get into what you get with each of their paid web hosting plans.

The cost to set up a paid WordPress.com blog

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog on WordPress.com Hosting Plan Options

WordPress.com has six levels of paid versions to choose from, with each step up offering a few more features.

Let’s break down each one to show what you’re actually getting:

Blogger Plan (WordPress.com Hosting)

The Blogger plan costs $3 a month. Here’s a basic rundown of what you’ll get with it:

  • A free .blog domain name
  • Email support
  • 6 GB of storage space
  • Dozens of free responsive themes
  • Basic design customization
  • WordPress.com ads removed
  • JetPack essential features

Personal Plan (WordPress.com Hosting)

The Personal plan costs $5 a month. This is the bare minimum plan you’d want to sign up for in order to get close to what a self-hosted and Bluehost-powered WordPress blog will get you (for a lower cost).

Here you get the same things as the Blogger package plus:

  • A free domain name (like a .com) for one year
  • Email and live chat support
  • 6GB of storage space

Premium Plan (WordPress.com Hosting)

The Premium plan costs $8 a month and includes the same as the Personal package plus:

  • 13 GB of storage space
  • Unlimited premium themes
  • Advanced design customization
  • Social media options like scheduling posts in advance
  • Option to include a PayPal button to sell products
  • Site monetization
  • Can load videos with VideoPress

Business Plan (WordPress.com Hosting)

The Business package is $25 a month and offers the same as the Premium package plus:

  • Unlimited storage space
  • SEO tools
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Personalized help
  • Ability to install plugins
  • Can upload custom or outside themes
  • Removes the wordpress.com branding extension from your domain name.

eCommerce Plan (WordPress.com Hosting)

The eCommerce package is $45 a month and includes the same as the Business package plus:

  • Integrates with shipping carriers like UPS
  • Unlimited products and services
  • eCommerce marketing tools like social media integration
  • Customizable store themes

WordPress VIP Plan (WordPress.com Hosting)

Enterprise WordPress Hosting Plan to Use for Blogging

The final option for WordPress.com plans is called “WordPress VIP.”

WordPress VIP isn’t usually listed on the main WordPress.com website. It has a separate website and it works much differently than their other paid plans.

WordPress VIP is a managed hosting plan that’s specifically geared toward high-profile and high-traffic websites. The VIP site does not list prices, but the prices typically range from $5,000 to $25,000 a month. Yeah, not a realistic plan for bloggers to even need—this one’s more for big businesses.

This option includes unlimited resource usage and dedicated support. It also offers managed services including automated hourly backups, a process for reviewing plugins and constant performance monitoring.

All of the WordPress VIP websites are built to be incredibly fast with very high-end security. Some examples of commercial companies using WordPress VIP are Facebook, Spotify, and TechCrunch.

Obviously, this isn’t the right choice for new bloggers, but it’s an option for those already receiving millions of visitors to their site each month.

Is it cheaper to go with WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

A self-hosted (WordPress.org) blog that’s powered by a hosting company like Bluehost will almost always be cheaper than a WordPress.com plan with the same features.

The primary difference in the way pricing is structured, is that with WordPress.com, everything is packaged into one monthly fee. You choose the plan that fits your needs, get all of those features and you pay a more premium price for the simplicity of it.

With a self-hosted (WordPress.org) blog powered by a hosting company, you don’t have to spend any more than your hosting cost + domain name. Your costs can stop right there, making it a far cheaper option to go with.

However, where the costs can begin to stack up is if you opt for premium for themes, plugins, security features, a professional web developer or other extras. So at the end of the day if you’re not careful (and willing to do some learning), you could possibly end up spending more with a WordPress.org blog than with one of WordPress.com’s lower-priced plans.

What is a WordPress theme?

A WordPress theme is a series of page templates and stylesheets that are used to dictate the appearance of a WordPress powered blog.

Themes are what control the visual look of your WordPress blog—and the best ones will allow you to do that very easily (without touching any code).

Alright, now let’s explore WordPress themes as they relate to the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

One of the main reasons people are drawn to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, is that it provides access to literally tens of thousands of theme options.

What are WordPress Themes? Examples of Themes in WordPress

WordPress.org offers thousands of free themes.

You can also purchase premium themes from third party companies that’ve already built more visually appealing themes.

WordPress.org even gives you the option to upload your own themes (build by a web developer), giving you near limitless potential with your blog’s visual appearance.

WordPress Theme Library and Examples

WordPress.com on the other hand, offers some themes, but not as many as you can get through WordPress.org.

There are currently 140 free themes and 184 premium themes, which is still quite a lot for a new blogger to choose from.

And you can upload your own custom-built theme on WordPress.com—if you pay for a Business plan (or higher).

What is a WordPress plugin?

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software you can upload, that contains functions you can add to your WordPress blog. They typically add more functionality or enable brand new features on your WordPress website.

What is a WordPress Plugin Definition

If you’re not already familiar with WordPress, you may not know what a plugin is or why they’re so incredibly awesome.

Simply put, a WordPress plugin is a bit of code that can be uploaded to your WordPress website, thus enabling your blog to do new things and enable more features.

Here’s a short list of some just a few of the best WordPress plugins available on the market today:

  • Jetpack: Jetpack was created by WordPress and it helps with things like security, website performance, and traffic growth.
  • Yoast SEO: Yoast SEO helps you create content that ranks higher on search engines.
  • WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a powerful option for people interested in using their site to sell something.
  • Elementor: Elementor allows your WordPress page to perform like a drag-and-drop website builder. This is helpful for people who want the ease of a website builder like Wix, but the customization features of WordPress.
  • Instagram Feed: Instagram Feed lets you display your Instagram feed on your website.
  • WP Forms: WP Forms is a helpful plugin for those who want to include any kind of form on their blog.
  • WP Fastest Cache: WP Fastest Cache is a plugin that keeps your website running quickly even when you have a lot of traffic.
  • Table Press: Table Press allows you to create and manage tables for your site.

These are just a few examples, and there are many more extremely helpful plugins that you can use to make your blog a finely-tuned machine.

WordPress.org currently hosts over 55,000 plugins that gives you the ability to customize your blog or website the way you want.

WordPress.com does offer access to a few plugins with even their most basic of plans, but you’ll have to use the Business plan or higher to install additional plugins.

Ease of use between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

Ease of Use in WordPress as a Blogging Platform

One thing you might be wondering about is how easy are these platforms to use?

Let’s say both WordPress.org and WordPress.com sound great… but how easy is it to get started? Which one is easier to use?

There are a lot of people who want to have a professional looking blog, business, or portfolio website, but aren’t experienced with website development.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a website building master in order to get started with either version of WordPress.

Here are some of the main differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com when it comes to their ease of use.

WordPress Set up Process

To get started with WordPress.org you’ll first have to set up a hosting plan and choose a domain name. Something you can do quickly and affordably with Bluehost or one of the top monthly hosting plans I’ve reviewed and recommend.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to connect WordPress to your hosting service. If you choose to use Bluehost, there’s a 1-click option making it easy to get your blog launched, but keep in mind that even the cheapest hosting plans and shared hosting companies also offer 1-click WordPress installation.

Getting started with WordPress.com is much easier (and faster). To get started with WordPress.com, you just have to create an account and choose your plan. That’s it. Once you’ve done that, you can get started building the visual appearance of your website.

Website Maintenance

WordPress.com may appeal to those that want a simple website with very little to no ongoing updates or maintenance.

When you run a self-hosted WordPress.org website, you’re in charge of things like updating themes and plugins, setting up regular backups, monitoring security, implementing blog SEO strategies, boosting your website speed and spam control.

If you use WordPress.com, all of these things are more or less taken care of for you. You don’t have to worry about maintenance.

However, this also means you don’t have the choice to control these aspects of your blog (which you’ll want to do if you intend to actually make money blogging in the long haul).

Flexibility

If you want a simple, turn-key website that requires very little work, WordPress.com is the better choice for you.

A self-hosted WordPress.org blog however, gives you the ability to do literally anything you want with your website. There are very few limitations on what you can do, as long as you’re willing to spring for the right themes and plugins to extend your features & capabilities.

WordPress.com on the other hand, is more boxed in. You have access to fewer features and less overall control over your blog.

But, if all you need is a simple and mostly static website, WordPress.com is a good option for you.

Customization

When comparing customization, a self-hosted WordPress.org blog is by far the best choice.

What is WordPress Customization with Themes and Plugins

A self-hosted WordPress.org blog gives you the freedom to use as many themes and plugins as you’d like. You also have the ability to monetize your website without restrictions and without paying a higher premium to your monthly hosting provider.

WordPress.com’s higher priced plans do offer more customization abilities, but the cost is much higher than running a self-hosted WordPress.org site on Bluehost.

A self-hosted WordPress.org install gives you complete control to do what you want with your website—with very little restrictions. You can hire a website developer to build custom functionality, use third-party plugins and themes, monetize your website, create your own themes and basically do anything you could ever want.

Monetization

A major reason that many people start blogging, is to promote their blogs and eventually make money from their blog. It can make a great side business or even eventually become your primary source of income (like I’ve done here)—with the right blog business plan.

Your blog monetization options are is very different when you compare a self-hosted WordPress.org website and WordPress.com.

Self-hosted WordPress.org blog monetization

With WordPress.org, you have complete control over your blog’s monetization capabilities. You are in control.

You choose the advertisements, affiliate programs, sponsors, even which products you eventually sell—and keep 100% of your profits. You don’t have to profit share or deal with unwanted ads from WordPress.com.

How I Made $54923 Blogging in 2019-06 June Side Income Report Ryan Robinson ryrob

You can monetize your blog without any limits—even crossing the $50,000/mo revenue mark like I’ve done by generating revenue through a combination of affiliate programs, sales of blogging courses and blogging books, sponsorships, podcast advertisements and more.

WordPress.com blog monetization

With WordPress.com, there are far more restrictions on your website monetization.

If you choose the free version of WordPress.com, you’ll have WordPress advertising on all of your pages. You won’t be earning any money from the ads, and you have no control over them or what they look like on your site.

At present, there are two ways to run advertising on your site with a paid WordPress.com plan. You can use something called WordAds or you can use WordPress.com VIP.

WordAds is a program created by WordPress.com. With WordAds, you earn money through impressions. But, you’re only eligible for WordAds if your website meets their minimum traffic requirements (thousands of monthly page views).

When you use WordAds, you share a portion of the profits with WordPress.com.

In addition, you have no control over the ads that are chosen for your pages. The WordAds program chooses the ads and how they appear on your page.

WordPress.com does allow you to use affiliate links if, “the primary purpose of your blog is to create original content, and as long as the code for the ad is supported.”

In other words, they don’t allow you to use affiliate links if you’ve created a blog primarily for driving traffic to affiliate partners. They want websites and blogs that offer inherent value.

Other ways you can make money through your WordPress.com blog, is by selling physical or digital products and soliciting sponsored posts from advertisers that want to reach your readers.

Of course, in order to sell products on WordPress.com, you’ll have to have a Business plan or higher—which makes WordPress.com no longer the best option.

Given the choice between the two, I’d choose a self-hosted WordPress.org blog because of the complete control over your blog’s monetization.

Is WordPress.org or WordPress.com better?

Is WordPress.org or WordPress.com Better?

Now that you have a better idea of the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, the real question is… which one is better?

If you’re thinking about creating a mostly static website for something like a local business or portfolio that won’t be changing very often, you may want to use WordPress.com and their free hosting plan option. It could also be a good choice for a very simple blog if you want to get started and begin testing things out, but don’t want to pay anything while you’re still learning.

For almost every new blogger or website owner, I recommend a self-hosted WordPress.org blog over WordPress.com.

With a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, there’s so much more versatility, customization options and freedom with future monetization.

You can also create your blog by paying only for the hosting (with a WordPress hosting company like Bluehost) and yearly domain name renewal fees, which is usually the most affordable option—think $100 to $200 a year maximum.

If you already have a WordPress.com website, or you want to try it out because it’s free—you can always switch your website over to WordPress.org later.

You’re not locked into either choice forever if you’d like to make a change.

Once you’ve made a decision about which one works for you, the next step is creating awesome content.

WordPress is a vehicle to get you to where you’re going, but what you choose to do with it, is what builds a real blogging business.

Now, the real work fun can finally begin.

Check out my best blogging tips and advice today—and for my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a WordPress-powered blog (quickly), read my Free Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog.

Still Need to Start Your Blog?

Check out my ultimate guide How to Start a Blog Today.

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10 Blog SEO Strategies (Get 584,958 Readers): SEO for Bloggers 2020


Blog SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is more important than ever when it comes to getting your blog posts noticed on search engines like Google.

Today, that makes SEO for bloggers one of the primary concerns worth dedicating a lot of time & effort to learning and implementing during your content creation process.

Now that we’re in 2020, a whopping 93% of online experiences start with a search engine, and for 92.04% of those users, Google is their search engine of choice.

For many content creators, blog SEO sounds incredibly complex. It’s easy to think no list of blog SEO strategies could ever make a meaningful difference. Others make Google out to be a grim reaper that hand-picks which blogs to let live, and which ones to deprive of precious organic search traffic.

Six years ago when I first started learning how to start a blog, I felt like that too—completely overwhelmed and not sure which blog SEO strategies would actually work, versus which ones would only waste my precious time.

But in growing my blog to millions of yearly readers, I’ve learned that Google isn’t out to get you.

The search engine giant actually needs you. They crave fresh, high-quality content that gives their users the best possible answers to the questions they’re asking.

And that’s what blog SEO is all about. It’s relating your blog content to the solutions people are looking for—and giving search engines the chance to recognize your relevant, quality content.

So, what if that’s exactly what you’re doing… but your blog still isn’t getting traffic?

Employe these 10 blog SEO strategies, and it will.

These are the exact strategies, principles and blogging tips I’ve used to grow this blog from zero to 584,958 readers a month, and I’m going to show you blog SEO isn’t some mysterious, indomitable beast.

10 Blog SEO Strategies to Get 584,958+ Readers/Mo (SEO for Bloggers)

  1. Nail your keyword research
  2. Focus on user intent (not search engines)
  3. Take your time writing blog SEO-friendly headlines
  4. Use the right heading tags
  5. Optimize your page URL
  6. Be strategic with your links
  7. Craft an enticing meta description
  8. Optimize your images
  9. Ensure mobile friendliness and reduce page loading times
  10. Promote your content

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep all of my in-depth content free of charge for readers (like you).

Let’s get started with what you should be doing before, during and after you create a post.

1. Nail your keyword research

SEO Blog Strategies on How to Do Keyword Research and Optimize Your Blog Content

The most fundamental element of all SEO strategies starts with learning how to do keyword research—and finding great keyword opportunities to rank for.

If you use too many of them, at best, your content sounds like it was written by R2-D2. At worst, Google thinks you’re keyword stuffing and penalizes your site’s ranking. Not good.

New blogs also have lower domain authority (when you first make a website) and thus don’t carry the same weight as older, more reputable websites. As a result, ranking for more competitive keywords can be challenging, and your efforts in promoting your blog will take more time to pay off.

If you’re a new blogger, the best type of keywords to try and rank for are:

  • Low difficulty
  • High volume
  • High click-through rate

The goal is to find three to five head keywords (one-to-three word phrases) and one to two long-tail keywords (whole phrases people are searching for). Long-tail keywords have lower traffic and competition but are equally valuable.

And how do you find them?

Twinword Ideas is a (currently) free tool you can use. Type in a head keyword phrase you want to rank for. Then, see what the search volume is and how competitive it’ll be to rank for that term. Best of all, these blogging tools will give you additional keyword research ideas.

Blogger SEO Techniques and Tools to Do Keyword Research Twinword

Because Keywords Everywhere is a browser plugin, it has the advantage of giving you related keywords and sentences people are searching for right from Google’s search engine results page (SERP).

If you’re looking to really level-up your keyword game, Ahrefs and SEMrush will take your SEO game out of this world. These are two ultra-popular SEO analysis tools, and you’ll be in good hands with either one.

The most significant difference between the two is while both are excellent keyword researchers, Ahrefs has the edge if you’re looking to analyze what backlinks your competitors have. This will come in come in handy when finding where your competitors are getting mentioned, so you can do the same!

2. Focus on user intent (not search engines)

Gone are the days when mentioning your keyword as many times as humanly possible is what got you ranked.

Google’s algorithms have wisened up, and today, it’s all about quality content and addressing user intent—what people are looking to find when they type a word or phrase into a search engine bar.

Thankfully, we don’t need Spock’s mind-melding abilities to discover what people might really be looking for when they search for something. Google has already figured it out.

Type your keyword into the search box and look at the “People also ask” and “Searches related to” sections. Clicking on a website and then pressing your browser’s back button sometimes also reveals a “People also search for” box beneath the clicked site. These are all questions and problems people are asking, and you can address in your post.

While you’re on the SERP, take time to look at how your competitors answered the user’s intent.

Aim to address the reader’s challenges better and make your post an even more useful guide for them.

Consider:

  • How long is your competitor’s post? Yours should be at least the same length.
  • What resources can you add? Think videos, helpful websites, downloadable templates.
  • What concepts can you explain better or expand on?
  • If you were the reader, what would make the post more useful to you?

Writing a 10,000-word rambling blog post just because you think that’s what you should do won’t improve your SEO. But creating a targeted article that is a one-stop guide for the exact answers your audience needs, definitely will.

Answer reader’s questions right, and you might even get a coveted spot as position #0 on Google’s featured snippet section.

Here are two of my featured snippets to give you an idea of how they appear and what Google likes to see.

First up, is my guide to starting a freelance business:

Blog SEO Strategies for Bloggers to Get More Search Traffic in 2019 Snippet

And next, we’ve got my ultimate list of side business ideas:

Blog SEO Example of Featured Snippet Ranking in Search Results ryrob

You’ll notice that while featured snippets answer the user’s question right away, more often than not, it’s too small to provide a complete answer directly within the box.

So, people click on your link to get the full story, and your article can get a major boost from this placement—making it a major blog SEO win.

3. Take your time writing blog SEO-friendly headlines

You can write the best blog post ever to grace the Internet, but if you can’t get your audience to click on your headline and read the article, then it doesn’t exist.

You also need people to click on your post because the more reads, shares, and likes it has, the more Google sees it’s what people want when they search for your keyword. Google rewards high click-through rates with better search rankings.

When it comes to crafting your headlines, first and foremost, they need to tell the reader how they’ll benefit from your blog post.

And then you need to deliver on that promise.

For example, this post promises these SEO tips for blogs can get you hundreds of thousands of readers per month if diligently followed. And it can because it’s how I got my 584,958 readers per month.

But, if your title makes over-exaggerated claims and doesn’t live up to it with your content, it’s clickbait.

Avoid at all costs.

When you fail to keep your promise to the reader, it breaks the reader’s trust and hurts you more than it helps. Clickbait titles also cause higher bounce rates, which leads to lower site rankings for you.

The second step is to make your title irresistible to click on. The best titles are a mixture of proven formulas and a balance of common, uncommon, emotional, and power words.

Thankfully, the kind people at Co-Schedule created a headline-analyzing machine that factors all of this for you, tells you how likely your title is to get shares, and breaks down your score result.

Here’s how my own SEO headline for my ultimate guide to start a blog scores:

SEO for Bloggers How to Write a Good Headline for Your Article Tester

Scores above 70 are considered good and are great titles for social media sharing. Anything in the 80s is excellent and definitely winning headline when it comes to blog SEO.

From a blog SEO standpoint, your main keyword needs to be in your headline.

Titles get cut off in SERPs after 60 characters. There’s not really a compelling reason to have a title longer than that many characters, but if you do go over the limit—just be sure your target keyword is at the front of your title.

Yoast is an extremely popular (free) WordPress plugin that’ll help with SEO for bloggers who want to make sure your title and the content of your articles check all the right fundamental SEO boxes.

Blog SEO WordPress Plugin Yoast for Getting Your Content Optimized

If understandably, you’re having trouble writing a catchy title that tells the reader the benefit AND is SEO-friendly, you can also create a separate SEO title to show up in search results using Yoast.

Click “edit snippet” on the Yoast section of the WP editor, then delete the automatic title tags there and write in your own SEO-friendly title that’ll do better in search results.

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While your SEO title should still be compelling, you can play around with the structure.

For example, here’s my SEO title from a Google featured snippet:

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And here is the title you’ll see when you click the post:

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I use a different SEO title because my research suggests that in search results, it’s better to connect starting a blog with making money from blogging relatively early on in the headline—to clearly show what benefits readers will get from clicking my link.

4. Use the right heading tags

Heading tags (H-tags) are formatting options you can apply to the content of your post.

Rather than changing font sizes to emphasize headings, you should select your heading sizes from the menu.

Here’s how to select your heading formats in both the WordPress content editor and in Google Docs:

Blog SEO Strategies and Tips How to Select Heading Format in WordPress

Correct headings are incredibly important for SEO.

Google scans them to discover the main point of your content.

Here’s how to properly use them, in order of importance, for search engine optimization.

Heading 1: Can only be used once and is usually reserved for your title. Include your primary keyword here.

Heading 2: These are the big ideas of your post. They are also crucial for SEO and are great places to work in both your head and long-tail keywords. Take a look at mine, and you’ll see I did exactly that.

Heading 3: These are the subtopics or smaller ideas that fall under your H2. For this article, it’s each of our 10 SEO tips for bloggers. You can add keywords here too.

Heading 4-6: Used to help with formatting and styling of your page. These have the least amount of SEO value.

It’s also incredibly important to include your main target keyword in the first 100 words of your introduction.

Your target keyword phrase and its variations should be sprinkled throughout the body of your article in a natural, conversational manner. As mentioned before, keyword stuffing just to get a few more mentions in, is something to avoid.

The free Yoast plugin is also a great help here to make sure you’re hitting all the marks.

5. Optimize your page URL

The URL of your blog post is crawled by search engines and is an important way for them to figure out what your article is about. It’s an invaluable opportunity to include your target keyword phrase.

For example, in one of my most popular guides, How to Make Money Blogging (on the Side), I wanted to rank for the long-tail keyword, “how to make money blogging.”

To better optimize the article for blog SEO friendliness during the writing process, I made sure to incorporate the main keyword phrase in my URL slug.

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I took out unnecessary words like “how” and “to” from my keyword.

You only need just enough words so that the reader knows what the link is about.

A few other blog SEO tips on selecting a smart URL are to only use lowercase letters to avoid duplicate content and keep the slug to less than 50 to 60 characters. The shorter your URL is, the better.

Yoast can check how SEO-friendly your URL is and make suggestions as well.

6. Be strategic with your links.

It’s a given that search engine website crawlers go through your text and look for keywords.

But, did you know they pay special attention to linked keywords? To them, linked keywords have more weight than non-linked words and phrases.

There are three types of links to use within your overall blog SEO strategy:

  • Anchor Links: Links to other areas of the same post (like my hyperlinked menu near the top).

For longer posts, like this one, it can look like a table of contents. It’s an excellent opportunity to link to your main keywords early on.

  • Internal Links: Links to relevant content on your site.

This not only helps readers discover helpful content, but it also connects your individual content pieces to each other in a related web that search engines can read, map out and assign authority to your content.

  • External Links: Links to content on someone else’s website.

Linking keywords to strong pieces of content—think first page of SERPs or sites with high domain authority—boosts your site’s credibility through association.

While anchor links aren’t a must-have, you should always have a balance of relevant internal and external links.

Two to four internal and external links each, per 600 words, is a good rule of thumb.

7. Craft an enticing meta description

Meta descriptions are the text that appears after your headline in SERPs.

Google highlights the words in meta descriptions that are the same as what you were searching for. This helps the reader connect what they were searching with what you have on your site.

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Yet another reason Yoast is terrific (assuming you’ve chosen WordPress—one of the best website builders—and one of the best WordPress themes to go along with it), is it gives you a chance to craft your own meta description for your blog post instead of Google selecting a snippet for you.

You’ll see the option appear after clicking, “edit snippet” in the Yoast section of the WP content editor.

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What’s the recipe for an enticing meta description?

  • 50-160 characters: This holds the reader’s attention and doesn’t get cut off in search results.
  • Benefit for the reader is clear: The reader knows why they should click on you instead of the link below you.
  • One to two keywords is included: This is so the keyword gets bolded to match the user’s search terms and to clarify what your article is about. Remember, your keywords must still be used naturally.

Repeatedly do this well, and your blog SEO will benefit greatly from putting in the work up front. And remember that as your traffic grows, you’ll want to considering hiring out for some more advanced SEO services that can help scale your best practices across all the pages of your blog—plus unlock some more creative opportunities to increase your key rankings.

8. Optimize your images

Many people forget that optimizing your images also gives you another big blog SEO boost.

Because search engines can’t “see” a picture the way you and I do, they look at the image file’s description—both the title and image alt text—to understand and categorize your images.

SEO for Bloggers Example of Image Alt Text and Title Tags

For more SEO power, rename file names of pictures uploaded to WordPress to something that’s short, includes an important keyword and is still descriptive.

This is especially important for your feature image because it’s often the one that gets pinned, shared and indexed into image search results.

For instance, you can name an image “before-after-blog-seo.jpg” when “blog SEO” is your target keyword phrase, and the picture could be a graph showing your blog traffic before and after it was optimized.

If you’re using a proprietary image you created, be sure to use your keywords in your alt text and keep your description to under 100 characters. You don’t need to do this with pictures you find on the Internet because they already rank for someone else’s keyword.

Before you get all keyword happy with writing your image alt text though, keep in mind that its purpose is to essentially describe the image to someone who’s blind—not to be a place for keyword stuffing.

Here’s what to look for in WordPress after uploading your images, to write titles and alt tags:

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After the title and alt text, the second thing to do for every photo is use tools like ImageOptim or Pichi to get the dimensions down to less than 1,000px and reduce your file size.

Reduce the file size as much as you can without compromising on image quality and ending up with a blurry photo.

Why does your image file size make a difference for your blog SEO?

Proper scaling and file size is critical to keeping your page load times low; because if people have to wait more than three seconds for your page to show up, they’re going to go “Bye, Felicia” on you. This is one of the most frequent blogging mistakes I see, so try your best to avoid it!

9. Ensure mobile friendliness and reduce page loading times

Have you ever been in a rush while grocery shopping and felt relief when there was an empty checkout lane…

And then remember how fast your joy was cut short when you realized you picked the one with the only cashier-in-training?

Oh, the agony.

That’s what waiting for your blog post to load feels like for your reader—and it’s even worse when your blog gets crawled by Google too.

People won’t stick around if you keep making them stare at blank pages, and the major search engines don’t like it either. Loading times and mobile responsiveness affect your blog SEO and user experience, so make sure to pay attention to it.

Tools like web.dev and Google’s PageSpeed Insights will let you know how your site is doing.

If your blog isn’t mobile friendly, then you’ll need to either hire a professional or choose to use a mobile-friendly theme (like OptimizePress), or install a specific WordPress plugin to help with that.

If your page load times needs work, you can start by:

  • Optimizing your images
  • Removing any non-essential plugins (WP sites only)
  • Changing to one of the best hosting plans to speed up your site

The simple fact though, is that it does cost some money to blog, and you’ll likely have some of your own budget constraints. Depending upon your situation, you may need to choose from only the cheapest hosting plans, budget-conscious shared hosting options or even free hosting plans that come with some restrictions on the speed front. If so, then that’s ok. Blogging is a long race, so you can afford to upgrade your hosting later on down the line after your site begins generating revenue.

Your ultimate goal is to eventually get your pages and posts to load lighting fast—ideally in less than two seconds (or faster).

10. Promote your content

When you’re new to blogging, you can feel like you have so much catching up to do with your blog’s content.

You just want to write, write, write… and write some more.

But if you’re looking for more traffic and to improve your domain authority…

You should be spending 20% of your time writing and the other 80% promoting your content.

Here’s how to promote your blog content in order to achieve maximum blog SEO results:

Writing guest blog posts: Getting published on someone else’s blog gives you a chance to get a link back (aka backlink) to your blog. When someone else vouches for your work, it shows Google you must be providing quality content and rewards you with better search rankings.

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  • Networking with other bloggers: If you’ve been smart and learned to pick a niche to blog about where you have some expertise (or connections), other bloggers can be your best friends when it comes to helping spread the word! Employ intelligent blogger outreach practices to send them an email about being a guest their podcast, accepting a Q&A style article from you or joining forces to do a joint YouTube video series together.
  • Sharing new content on social media: People aren’t going to be checking your site daily to see if there’s updated content. Make everyone’s life easier by sharing and promoting posts on social media. You never know, you might luck out and go viral.
  • Continuing to promote older posts: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Take what you have, update it, improve it and re-share it with a few different titles to see what gets more social media attention.
  • Promoting content via your email list: Your newsletters and welcome-series emails are incredible opportunities to not only practice your blog email marketing chops, but to link to relevant content your readers don’t know about, missed, or forgot.
  • Pinning blog posts on Pinterest: Pinterest is an excellent supplement to Google, especially while you wait for more organic search engine traffic. You may find that Pinterest traffic isn’t as reliable as Google’s, but because Pinterest’s algorithm isn’t as sophisticated, it’s still a whole lot easier when first starting out to rank and drive tons of traffic to your site. Create and Go’s Pinterest Traffic Avalanche is an excellent course to look into for learning much more on this subject.

While each of these actions is important and contribute to getting the traffic you crave, don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking you have to do everything, every day or else you’re not going to get the blog SEO results you crave—take your time to thoughtfully create a blog business plan that leans on your own strengths & experiences, do your research by reading relevant blogging books, consider taking blogging courses to further your knowledge and commit to continual learning.

Pick two things to focus for the month (or even the quarter).

Work some of the other elements of your blog SEO strategy in when you have the time.


When it comes to blog SEO, you’re in it for the long-haul.

I wish I could say you can implement all ten of these blog SEO strategies today, and immediately see a virtual stampede of people rushing to your blog to devour every single word you’ve ever written.

But… the truth is, you could become an SEO expert with your blog content and still not see much of a change in the very beginning. It’s probably not you.

It can take as long as six months (or even longer) to start seeing results.

But once you do… your blog growth can be more explosive than your wildest dreams.

And once you do get 584,958 readers per month—because if you hustle hard at perfecting your blog SEO and creating great content, you will. Just don’t get complacent. Keep learning, take the right blogging courses to advance your skills and improve your blog SEO strategy.

Regularly take a good, hard look at your blog SEO and content analytics every three to six months.

Dig deep to see what’s working, what’s not—and what can be improved.

Above all, keep your audience in mind—and ask yourself what you can do to make your content even better for them.