Interested in blogging, but don’t know where to start? Here is step by step instructions on how to set up a blog and make money from it.
Starting a blog is a lot easier than you think. I thought about it for years before I finally took the plunge, and I am still upset that I WAITED so long!
First things first, let’s go over a little bit about what blogging is and how to plan for your blog before we dive into the steps of setting it up.
What Is A Blog?
A blog is a website. You can blog about ANYTHING. There are more profitable topics than others, but basically, if you know about the subject, then you can blog about it and monetize it.
What Is Monetization?
Monetization refers to making money from your blog. You can make money from ads, affiliate links, sponsorships, or even your own products.
Some people blog as a hobby, but many people are blogging for money. If you take the right steps, you can monetize your blog from the beginning.
Monetize Your Expertise
Is there a subject that you know A LOT about? Maybe you are trained with a degree or particular skill, blog about it.
Monetize Your Passion
Do you have a passion or hobby that you love? If you know about it or just love researching it, blog about it!
What is a Niche?
You may have heard the term “niche” thrown around the blogging world, and it just means what topic your blog is about. So if you picked to blog about your expertise or your passion, you just picked your niche. Now I’m not going blow smoke; some niches will make more money than others. That doesn’t mean you have to be a food blogger when your passion is hiking. It’s just that some niches are easier to monetize. Although, you can monetize ANY niche, you just have to figure out what your audience wants.
Come Up With “Catchy” Blog Name
Now that you know what you want to blog about, it’s time to come up with a name. Brainstorm words that fit with your niche. You want your audience to know what you are about just from the name of your blog. Once you have come up with ideas, google them. You need to know if the name is available and also if it’s affiliated with another business.
Check your chosen name on Namecheap.com to see if the domain is available. Sometimes you will find the name you want isn’t possible but it is for sale. Unless you REALLY love that name, I would never suggest buying it. Many companies buy up catchy domain names so that they can upsell them later.
4 Rules for Naming your Blog
- Don’t use alternative spellings.
- Keep the domain name reasonably short.
- Don’t use big brand names.
- Don’t use trendy words. They won’t be trendy a year from now.
- Do try to choose .com instead of the other options like .net, .org, .co etc.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name, look up synonyms of the words that go with your niche. Keep it simple. Remember, people need to remember it, know how to spell it, and be able to type it a search bar without problems.
How to Start a Money-Making Blog
Now that you have decided what you are going to blog about, and the name of your blog, it’s time to set it up. I suggest doing this as cheaply as you can at first and then upgrading as you start making money from it. I have outlined a very budget-friendly way to set up your blog.
Step 1: Register your Domain
Your domain is the name of your website. For example, my domain is www.acentastionallife.com. I recommend registering your domain with Namecheap because it is the leading domain registrar. They have the best prices! You can register your domain for under $10 for the WHOLE year!
Even if you are still undecided if you should start a blog, if you have thought of a great domain name, go ahead and register it. That way you have the name, and if you change your mind later and end up not setting up your blog, you can hold on to that domain and sell it. Catchy domain names have even been sold for over $1,000,000, so a $10 investment could mean a lot either way.
Start your domain search here!
Step 2: Purchase your Hosting
OK if you have read on other websites on how to start a blog, many bloggers suggest just getting your domain and host from the same company. THAT IS A BAD IDEA. Unfortunately, some of these bloggers get kickbacks for promoting a certain big-name host. I am not going to do that. I am going to be honest, and tell you that for SECURITY reasons, you should have your domain separate from your host. If one or the other would ever get hacked, then it can be easily fixed because they are SEPARATE.
Your hosting is very important. It will control the speed, security, and uptime of your website. Go with the BEST!
The BEST hosting company I have found and I always start each website out with is SiteGround. Google them, they have the BEST reviews, and you get the whole package. When I started my first website, I went with a different company who had horrible customer service, nothing was included, and everything cost extra.
SiteGround is amazing! They are affordable, and their customer service is hands down the best in the field. Seriously, no matter what, their customer service is available 24/7. I recommend their start-up plan which is only $3.95 a month if you use this link! It comes with everything you need, plus added security for your website is INCLUDED which other hosts charge an extra $50 for.
Step 3: Set up WordPress
Luckily, when you join SiteGround, they have a FREE 1-click WordPress installation. Pretty much all bloggers use WordPress because it is so functional. Even big-name websites like The New York Times uses WordPress.
If you feel intimated to install WordPress, you can contact SiteGround via chat or by phone and have them walk you through the process. Just like that! That is another reason why they are so awesome!
Once it’s all set up, just log into your very OWN website!
WordPress has a dashboard that is the backbone of your website. That is where you set everything up and write your posts. I was intimidated by the dashboard the very first time I saw it, but it is simple to learn. Go through all the tabs and look around. Just stay out of the Editor, unless you know how to code.
Step 4: Pick a Theme
A theme is how your blog looks. The layout, the colors, and the functionality are based on the theme you choose. The most important aspect of a theme is if it is mobile-friendly. Think about it; most people spend most of their internet time on their phones or tablets.
There are free themes, and there are paid themes. The free themes are all accessible on your WordPress dashboard under Appearances. You can browse through the free themes offered and even preview them. If you do choose one of them, just install and activate it.
There are cons to having a free theme. There will be no technical support, and they don’t have a lot of customization options. I have actually never used a free theme. Trust me, when I started my first website, I was doing it as frugally as I could. However, I did realize early on, if I wanted it to LOOK good, I needed a paid theme.
I use and highly recommend the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. Read why Genesis is the Foundation of Any Smart WordPress Design. It looks clean and is SEO-friendly (search engine optimized). If you WANT to make money from your blog, you need it to look good and to be user-friendly. Genesis Framework makes it easy to set up your blog because it has pre-formatted sections to make your layout look amazing in no time. If you get a free theme, you will have to do ALL of that yourself.
When I started my very first blog, I used the Modern Studio Pro Theme by Studio Press, which is a Genesis child theme. I recommend reading A Beginner’s Guide to Genesis Framework to familiarize yourself with how Genesis works. Since I knew NOTHING about setting up a blog back then, installing a Genesis theme was life-saver. I was able to set-up my blog in no time, and it looked so professional. If you are serious about making money, invest in a theme, so your site looks professional from the START.
You only get ONE chance, to make a first impression!
Step 5: Set up your Website
So, you have made it this far. You have registered a domain, signed up with a host, downloaded WordPress, and picked a theme, now what? Well before you start writing your very first post, you need to make some tweaks to your WordPress dashboard.
- Set-up Permalinks. Go to Settings > Permalinks and chose the post name option and save. *IMPORTANT: Do this before writing any post or publishing your website. This should ALWAYS be done first.
- Set-up your Site Title and Tagline: Go to Settings > General and write your site title and a catchy tagline. Remember, these will show up in your google search results.
- Set-up your Menu: Go to Appearances > Menus.
- Set-up your Categories: Go to Posts > Categories.
Getting your website set-up right from the very beginning will save you so much time later. Think about what you want your menu to highlight, and the types of categories you need.
Step 6: Write your First Blog Post
Wow, you have officially made a website, now it’s time for the fun part, the writing. Ok, the first rule to writing a MONEY-MAKING BLOG is to write to solve problems. That’s right; you have to write for your audience. Write the answers that your target audience are looking for.
First, go to Posts > Add New. There you will see all the tools you need to write that killer first post. Look at toolbox on top and play around will the buttons, so you know exactly what each one does. Don’t forget to add pictures. People love pictures in posts, and you do that with the media button.
Rules to Follow When Writing a Blog Post
- Write to benefit your target audience.
- Keep the paragraphs short, no more than 3-4 sentences.
- Use headers to separate ideas in your post.
- Add great graphics. There are tons of free picture sites. Just google “free no copyright images.”
- For SEO purposes, try to write your posts to be at least 800+ words.