How To Start a Blog (If You Want to Make Money)
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO A PRODUCT I’VE USED FOR YEARS. READ MY AFFILIATE POLICY.
If you want to learn how to start a blog, this guide will help you create your blog the right way – so you can get started on your goal of earning an online income. And don’t worry, learn the basics of how to start a blog just takes a few simple steps.
Why Start a Blog?
Blogging can be a highly rewarding activity. Bloggers in every niche make hundreds or thousands of dollars a month through their blog alone. I’ll be the first to admit that blogging is an investment of time and creativity, but it has opened many doors to make money online.
Whether you simply want to learn how to start a blog to start a new hobby, earn passive income by recommending products you use, share your expertise with others looking for wisdom, or build an online business that will eventually replace your current income stream, blogging is an excellent option that can literally change your life.
You don’t have to be an English or Communications major to start a blog. The only two requirements are the ability to write clearly and have a passion for what you write about.
For example, if you enjoy woodworking, you can create a blog that shares tips with other wood enthusiasts. Your blog can also double as a marketplace to sell your creations if you want to monetize a hobby.
The possibilities are truly endless!
How to Start a Blog in 8 Simple Steps
This part of the article will help you determine what you should blog about and a great place to get started. Here’s how to start a blog in 8 easy steps.
How to Start a Blog Step 1: Choose a Niche
The first thing you need to do is choose a niche. (The topic you’ll be focused on writing about.) This needs to be something you are interested in and can write about on a weekly basis indefinitely.
Ideally, choose something you already talk obsessively about to anyone who will listen, as that’s a sign that you have a lot to say and are unlikely to lose interest.
Most “evergreen” topics that allow you to create content infinitely fall into one of the three broad categories:
- Lifestyle and Hobbies
- Personal Finance
Take a look at your own daily routine, hobbies, and interests. If you enjoy woodworking, you might start a blog that talks about the various crafts you can make by hand and the tools you use in your shop. Or, you might write about healthy living or parenting if those topics are important to you.
As a first-time blogger learning how to start a blog, you’ll probably want to avoid a blog solely dedicated to the latest fad or trend. Fads and trends fade, so they’re not usually good choices.
Take children’s toys for example. Will the “must-have” toy this season turn into a timeless brand like Mickey Mouse or Legos? It doesn’t mean you should avoid writing about the trends, but, you might expand the scope of your blog to include all children’s toys so it will remain relevant for many years.
How to Start a Blog Step 2: Identify Your Audience
You next have to think of who you want to reach with your posts. Will it be moms, grandparents, young professionals, college students, etc…
This step is important because it can help you determine the name of your blog and who your articles will be aimed at. What might your audience be looking for, and what problems do they have that you can solve?
The more you know about your target audience, the clearer your writing will be. You’ll know exactly what they want to hear about and you’ll be able to write directly to them.
How to Start a Blog Step 3: Choose Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the web address that people can type into the bar at the top of their browser to go directly to your site. The domain name for this site is MoneyCrush.com, for example.
The name can be a made-up word, but it’s easier if the name is relevant to your niche and potential audience.
As your blog presence grows online, the name of your site can cause curious web surfers to click on your links to see what you wrote. If you don’t have a name in your mind, you can perform a quick Google search to get some ideas.
Sticking with the woodworking example, you might choose woodworking101.com or something similar if it were available.
When choosing a name, try to keep it as simple as possible. Don’t include more words than necessary, and don’t include numbers or hyphens (i.e. a123-guide.com) as they make it harder for visitors to remember your blog address to go back to in the future or to share with friends. Of course, avoid using trademarked words and phrases as well so that you aren’t forced to change it later. (TESS is a good place to check if a word or phrase is trademarked.)
How to Start a Blog Step 4: Get Started at Bluehost
While there are a few sites that let you start a blog for free, I don’t recommend this route if you want to make money with your blog.
Here’s why: It’s a lot harder to rank on the first page of Google for various terms (this is very important) and you might be limited about what affiliate links and advertisements you can embed.
Basically, when you go the paid (also known as self-hosted) route instead of free, you have complete control of your site. That’s super important when it comes to making money with your blog!
For these reasons, Bluehost is a great place to create your own self-hosted blog using the WordPress platform. (And you DO want to use WordPress to power your site.)
Of course you can get paid hosting other places too, but you can get hosting with Bluehost for as little as $3.95 a month. You’ll get full control of what content gets put on your site, how it looks, etc. I’ve used Bluehost for more than 10 years and been very happy with them. I’m still with them now, too.
You can sign up with BlueHost right here. Once you are on the Bluehost website, click their “Get Started Now Button” and you’ll be on your way.
Quick BlueHost Tutorial: Select a Plan
Bluehost offers three different plan options ranging from $3.95 to $5.95 per month. Any of the three options are good choices. Going with the Plus and Premium can be good since you get additional storage and marketing perks. But, if you are on a budget, the basic $3.95 plan is a good option and you can upgrade later as your blog grows.
Quick BlueHost Tutorial: Enter Your a Domain Name
The next step is to enter the domain name you’ve chosen.
If you’ll be taking advantage of Bluehost’s free domain name, just enter it in the “new domain” side. If you’ve already bought a domain elsewhere, enter it in the “I have a domain name” side.
Quick BlueHost Tutorial: Enter Your Information
Once you have selected your domain name, it’s now time to create your account profile, verify your plan choices, and enter your payment information.
Choosing the upgrades are optional. One upgrade I recommend is Domain Privacy Protection for $0.99 per month. This hides your personal information (i.e. name, home address, email address) on the domain registry databases from spammers that are up to no good.
One great thing about Bluehost is that you don’t have to be all tech-y to get going with your site. Once you’re signed up, you just click Bluehost’s One-Click Installs button, choose WordPress, and it’s easy as pie from there.
How to Start a Blog Step 5: Choose a WordPress Theme for Your Blog
Your blog is now live and you can begin creating content! But first, you may want to choose a theme so that your blog has something other than the default look and feel.
There are hundreds of free themes to choose from and you can filter through the results by looking for special features like a sliding header or lots of submenus. Personally I prefer themes with easy built-in navigation.
If you don’t like the theme you pick after giving it a “test drive”, you can always switch to a new one at any time. And you CAN start out with WordPress’ default theme. So don’t stress! The important thing is to get going.
How to Start a Blog Step 6: Launch Your Blog
You are now logged into the WordPress panel. This is where you come to add posts and modify your blog. So your site no longer says “Coming Soon” to the casual visitor, you’ll need to click the blue “Launch” button.
You will also be prompted to enter your blog name and site description. This is where you type in the name of your site (Woodworking 101) and a brief description (Your Ultimate Resource for Everything Woodworking). This is your first step to creating your online brand.
Make sure you choose Post Name under Settings > Permalinks too so that your URL structure is ideally set up from the get-go.
Once your blog launches, it will show your theme and you can begin editing your blog layout or adding posts and pictures to personalize the site. Go ahead and do it now, even if you’re nervous about the process. You can (and will) make changes later and it’s absolutely fine, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking things have to be perfect before you start.
If you want to make money with your blog, it’s critical to start NOW. You’ll need time while your site is up and running to get traction and readers to your site. So click that Launch button now.
How to Start a Blog Step 7: Add Blog Posts and Pages
Finally, it’s time to add blog posts and pages to your blog. All you have to do is click “Add New Post” or “Add New Page” anytime you want to write new content. Within each article, you can add pictures and videos to enhance the visitor experience.
- Posts are articles that will always remain accessible on your site, but, will only appear on your blog’s main page until they are replaced by newer posts in your blogroll. They appear in reverse chronological order, with newest posts displaying first. It’s like visiting an online news site and the latest breaking news is at the top of the page while yesterday’s is underneath it.
Publishing a new post at least once a week will help invite readers to continue returning to view your latest content. Write your first post and get it out there quickly, as getting started is often the hardest step.
How to Start a Blog Step 8: Hit Publish
When you are ready to publish any post or page, just click the blue “Publish” button. Your piece will now be ready to view and the search engines will begin mapping your site as well.
Congratulations! You have successfully created your blog online and can now begin creating content that can ultimately help you earn a steady passive income stream.
Promote your content on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter to get it out there. Don’t forget to tell people you know in daily life about it too, as they will often be your best source of traffic when you’re starting out. Be proud of your site. After all, you’d tell people about your new business if you were starting a restaurant right? This is no different. I like to focus on 80% promotion, 20% content creation.
Hard work, but rewarding!
In only eight simple steps, you can create your very own blog that is accessible to everyone online. Blogging can be hard work but it’s also very rewarding. Using a hosting service like Bluehost makes the startup process easier so you can spend more time creating content and promoting your new blog.