I wanted to start a blog for years before I finally took the plunge. I guess I was so scared of making a fool of myself or maybe I just wanted it all to be perfect? Either way, I wish I would have started sooner. I love being able to express myself creatively and making money isn’t a negative either lol!
If you are reading this then I’m going to take a guess that you are wanting to start a blog this year. My biggest piece of advice is to go for it! If you have any questions whatsoever, know that you can send me an email and I will walk you through it all. This is an exciting time! Lets get you all set up so you can finally start writing!
This post contains affiliate links meaning I earn a small commission if you use those links at no extra cost to you.
I wanted to start my blog after I started learning about the money making potential. I had read a few income reports where bloggers are making over $100 000 /month blogging! I would be happy with a fraction of that so I figured why not!
Why start a blog?
Blogging is essentially an online journal. Besides money, the benefits are:
- Record memories – Your blog will be your safe place to store all of your memories and growth. Weddings, vacations, births etc.
- Therapeutic – In the same way that journalling can be extremely therapeutic and help you get through hard times, the same is true for blogging
- Creative outlet – have a space that is all yours and have fun expressing yourself!
- Educational – Help others by teaching them the things that you are an expert in.
Is it actually possible to make money?
You would be surprised how many bloggers start making money even while they are quite small.
A good example is Dale from bloggingherway.com
She started making $200 a month with affiliate sales right from the start. Her blog is only a year old at this point and she has officially gone full time.
There are so many others that I could name. There is nothing special about them. There is no reason that you cannot do it too!
You will need to do four things if you want to make money:
- Set up your blog correctly (step by step instructions below)
- Create content that adds value to others
- Drive traffic to your site
- Understand how to monetize your site and implement strategies
Start your blog right!
- Choose your domain/ blog name
- Sign up for hosting
- Install WordPress
- Choose your theme and customize
- Install plugins
- Create “About” and “Disclosure” pages
- Write awesome content
- Promote your content to get it seen
- Apply for ad networks
- Apply for affiliate networks and programs within your niche
The process to get you going is super simple and we can easily have it done in under an hour.
If at any point you get confused with the process, send me an email and I will happily walk you through it!
1. Domain / Name of Blog
I would suggest taking some time to think about the name of your blog. You want this to represent who you are and be easy to remember. I opted to go with my name. It is a bit of a risk since its hard to remember / hard to spell but I wanted to create a lifestyle blog so it made sense. You do what makes most sense for you!
This is an important decision but give yourself a deadline so you don’t get caught up in perfection. It isn’t ideal but you can switch the name down the road. The most important thing you can do is to get started (otherwise you might never!)
Another word on picking your domain, choose .com instead of an alternative. Most people assume .com immediately and will type that in first. Make it easy for your readers to come back to you!
Do not purchase your domain yet! You will get it for free when you self host in the next step!
Self Hosting vs Free or Alternatives
If you plan on creating a blog that makes money then you need to be self hosted. I have heard horror stories of people losing their entire blog because they did not actually own it (even if you own the domain, that does not mean that you own the site!). Imagine putting all the time and effort into making something and then waking up to find it gone. Other reasons to self host:
- You plan on making money so you will receive a lot of page views each month. A free blog or even Squarespace or Wix, are not equipped to deal for that. Most often they get bogged down and become unresponsive.
- A lot of brand networks, affiliate networks and ad networks will not work with someone who is not self hosted. They are looking for people who treat their blog seriously. A huge part of that is self hosting.
2. Self Hosting
I recommend Bluehost to all new bloggers. There are extremely affordable, offer a ton of freebies such as
- free domain
- 24/7 support (they are so kind and helpful!)
- 30 day money back
- SSL certificate
- a self hosted blog for less than $80 and then you can monetize your blog!
Let’s Start Your Blog!
Press “Get Started Now”
Select the “basic plan”. It’s all you need for now and it is super easy to change down the road. There’s no point paying for more than what is necessary to get started.
This is where you type your domain to see if it is available. If you already have a domain then you would type it in on the right. (the rest of these steps are for new domains for now. I will create another post for bringing your domain to Bluehost very soon though!)
Enter all of your info. For “package information” I suggest getting the largest term plan. It is the best price. If you want to just try out blogging and you aren’t sure how you like it, you can always fall back on the “30 day money back guarantee”. At the very least buy for 12 months so you can start posting!
The only thing I suggest here is the “domain privacy protection”. It is extremely affordable and keeps your contact information private. Then you just enter your payment information and you are in!
3. Set up WordPress.org
After you have entered your payment information and been redirected to the next page, you should see “install WordPress” on the bottom of your screen.
WordPress.org is not the same thing as wordpress.com. In order for your blog to get accepted into ad programs such as Google Adsense, you need to be signed up with wordpress.org.
4. Choose a theme
A theme is basically the look of the blog. You can choose a free one for now if you are looking to move slowly but there are many limitations with free themes. For one, it is extremely difficult to get the look you desire with a free theme. You will also have a hard time monetizing with a free theme. I use “foodie pro” as my theme with genesis and I love it!
Tip: Try to find a theme where Genesis is included in the price. I have heard great things about Boutique Design Studios. You can get beautiful themes with Genesis for less than $50!
Once you have the theme installed, you can customize the pictures and colours so it looks uniquely yours!
If you need help with this step, I highly recommend taking the course Create Your Dream Blog from Lisa at Farmhouse on Boone. She has amazing videos walking you through every step of the designing process as well as pretty much everything else you need to know as a new blogger. Don’t make the mistake I made and try to figure it out by yourself for a year! I almost gave up so many times, I wish I would have started my blog with this course. After purchasing the course I felt so confident with how my blog looked and the direction I was taking my blog. Worth every penny. (And until the end of January, use the code NEWYEAR2019 for a discount!)
5. Install plugins
This is something else that Lisa goes through in her course Create Your Dream Blog
She explains which plugins she uses and why. Also the disadvantages of using too many.
The ones I use are :
- Yoast SEO
- Social Warfare
- Google Analytics for WordPress by Monsterinsights
- Instagram Feed
6. Create “About” and “Disclosure” Pages
About: Write a quick page about how you are and what your readers can expect to see from your blog/ your intentions for this space. Try to explain what value you will bring the reader rather than just making it all about you.
Disclaimer: You need to disclose whether you will be using affiliates on your page, making sponsored posts and your privacy agreement. (Remember that you still need to have a disclosure on all blog posts as well!)
7. Write awesome content!
Finally time to start the fun part which if you are anything like me is also so terrifying! You are finally writing blog posts! Work hard to post consistently and build up a library.
Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone says in her course that her blog took off the year she committed to posting twice a week no matter what (Seriously guys this course is SO good!) She also shares in her course exactly what her process is to write a successful post, SEO tips and general teachings of how to use WordPress which is a little confusing at first!
8. Promote your content
The good news is that if you don’t tell anyone that you have a blog no one will ever know… the bad news is that no one will know! Choose one social media platform at a time. Learn how to use it and grow your following so that you can start building readers!
I started with Instagram which has been amazing but I think the most important place to start is Pinterest.
9. Monetize : Apply for Ads
When your blog first goes live, you can apply for Google Adsense. Unfortunately the payout is not very high. The goal is to reach 25 000 in 30 days so you can apply for Mediavine. Currently, that’s what I’m working for. Everyone that I have spoken to or read income reports from is making some pretty decent income from them!
10. Monetize : Apply for Affiliate Marketing Partnerships
Affiliate links are a great way to make some money from your blog as soon as you launch.
Dale from Bloggingherway.com created an Ebook “Get Paid to Pin” outlining how she made $200 her first month blogging just using Pinterest. Her Ebook is fairly beginner but does a great job walking someone through how to optimize their site, create affiliate links, Group Boards to join depending on niche and affiliate networking programs depending on niche. I highly recommend this course to anyone just starting out, who wants to make money.
Word of caution, only promote products that you truly love. The last thing you want is to lose trust from your readers.
There you have it!
You have officially started a blog in 2019! Send me a message over on instagram letting me know that you started your blog today so I can cheer you on. Also let me know if you have any questions whatsoever. I am going to try to create more posts to help you along every step of the way!