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After leaving my corporate job, I was looking for ways to work online.
I had a good job, but wanted flexibility to work from home to stay with my kids.
Making money blogging sounded like a great job, if I only knew how to do it.
I started following successful bloggers who were very generous with their advice.
I figured it out and blogging has been one of the best decisions I ever made.
You can start a blog at a low cost or free on WordPress. I’m going to tell you how to get started and how bloggers, (myself included), make a full-time income blogging.
In this post I’ll guide you on how to easily start a blog. Save this post for later because it has lots of blogging tips that will save you time.
Why I started blogging?
For money – after leaving my corporate job to stay home with my first born, I needed some income to replace my salary.
For flexibility – blogging gave me flexibility with my schedule. I can focus more on personal hobbies and on my family.
You can start a money making blog on WordPress hosted by Bluehost for cheap, at any time. Read below for more information.
You don’t have to quit your job to blog. You can start blogging on your spare time, at your own pace.
Why Start a Blog
- To make money from home. Blogging is a real business. I recommend everyone should have a blog or a page on the internet. It’s like owning a home on the World Wide Web, it is Digital Real Estate.
- It’s cheap to operate and as you learn, the benefits will out weight the costs. Blogging can completely change your lifestyle, specially if you’re looking for more freedom.
- Chance to share your expertise. Having your own blog can be very satisfying if you’re into sharing your knowledge and helping people solve problems.
- To learn a brand new set of skills. In the learning process of blogging, you’ll learn new skills. These skills can become a whole new craft. You’ll also become an entrepreneur, perhaps even a serial one.
- For Hobby. Blogging can be a fun way of keeping track of your adventures, travels and experiments. It can be just your own page, it doesn’t have to be a business.
What to Write About
What to write about to make money with a blog? To help you decide on a topic, first you need to decide is the Blog for business or for a hobby?
This is important because depending on the topic, your monetization strategies will be different. Banner ads, affiliate sales, digital products are some of the ways to make money with a blog.
Start making a list of ideas, themes, sub-themes, audiences you want to reach. It is normal to be a little bit anxious about this whole process. However, making a blog is something that anyone can do, no matter your age.
If you write about a topic that interest you, it will keep you writing for a long time. This in turns will help you grow your blog with content over the years.
Here is a list of top blog topic ideas
- Business and Entrepreneurship
Here is how to create a Word Press Blog and be Self Hosted
- What to expect
- Get a domain name
- Choose a niche topic
- Find a reliable hosting company
- Set up Word Press
- Design your blog
- Submit your Blog to Google
- Market your blog to search engines and social media
1.What to expect
The first thing I want to tell you is expect to invest time into your blog for it to be successful. It’s fairly cheap to obtain blog hosting, themes and a writing platform. It’s also easy to set up your blog technically. But, your time is the biggest investment into your blog.
So, whether you are going to blog part time or full time, time is key. After you’ve built a decent size content library, you’ll need to spend less and less time. Other habits that successful bloggers have are discipline, patient and good time management. Plan to put all of that to work for you.
2.Get a Domain Name
The domain name is you blog’s name. Some people just come up with a name on a whim. I highly recommend that you put in some time into this process.
Your domain’s name is a catch-all for what your blog is about. This name should transmit your blog’s intent. Catchy is good. Our domain name is SavvyMoneyMaking.com, this is also what appears on the url address.
You can search online to see if your domain name is available for free, at Bluehost.
3.Choose a Niche Topic
A niche topic is an umbrella theme for your blog. What you’ll be talking about in your content. How do you come up with a theme? List your interests, passions and expertise. Answer the question WHY do I want to start a blog? and What problem can I solve for readers? This will be the basis for your business.
Sticking to a niche theme does not mean just one topic. The niche is your umbrella and under it you may have different topics. Try not to be all over the place though. You need to be focused, even when you’re covering 2, 3, 5 topics.
As a roadmap/guide, here are 3 examples.
- You decide to create a Beauty Blog, your niche. You then may want to focus on 3 main topics. Makeup. Nails. Skin Care.
- You choose a Photography Blog, your niche. You then focus on Nature. Sports. Creatives.
- You create a Food and Drink Blog, your niche. Then focus on Healthy Recipies, Desserts, WorldCuisine.
I recommend to focus on 3-4 related topics or less within your niche. You want to focus on creating great content for your niche topics.
4.Find a Hosting Provider for Your WordPress Blog
I’m recommending that your blog be self hosted so that you can monetize it. Then you’ll need a reliable host. I used Bluehost for my very first blog because it makes things very easy and affordable for beginners, together with WordPress.
Here is why I chose Bluehost as a beginner blogger
- No technical experience needed. It’s very easy to link your Bluehost account to your FREE WordPress blog.
- 24 hours support/chat
- Very affordable ($3.95 to $5.95 per month, depending on offers). You need to pay a full year, but it’s still very affordable.
- FREE domain registration name
- Established company. You don’t want to host your blog on an unstable or flight by night company.
5.Pick a BlueHost Plan
You can choose among different levels of Hosting Plans. The cheapest plan is the most basic one. To start blogging all you need is the Basic plan.
Then choose the Account Plan – Basic 36 months price – $3.95 with FREE Domain registration.
6.Hook up WordPress
WordPress is your writing platform. Bluehost hosts your blog on its servers. WP lets you write your blog on its database, free. There are other writing platforms, I use WordPress on my blogs.
It’s simple to use, is used widely, is updated regularly. You can get help because many virtual assistance are trained in WP. There are tons of plugins for WP to enhance your users experience.
There are two versions of WordPress. The .com and the .org. You need the WordPress.org, also known as “the real WP”, it’s free and you have to get a separate host, be self hosted (this is the one I recommend)
Bluehost makes things very simple when it comes to hooking up your WordPress blog. Once you have paid for your Bluehost plan, you’ll get an email with login credentials to the Control Panel, this is like a dashboard.
Once you’re logged, you’ll see a screen that lets you choose which writing platform to chose. You need to chose WordPress. Click on “Install WordPress”.
You will get a message saying “Installation Complete”, when done. This process takes about 20 — 30 minutes.
Choose a WordPress Blog Theme
Once WorPress is installed it’s very easy to navigate. Now you need a Theme. A WP theme allows you to design your blog and make it look nice by choosing colors and layout.
Your theme must be Mobile Responsive or Mobile Ready.
There are many FREE WP themes, one of these is fine for your first blog. You can always upgrade later on, you’re not stuck with the same theme. If you have a budget to get a paid theme, do it. The premium themes are paid and they make your blog look more stylish and professional.
If you go with the free theme here are the steps,
- Go to Appearance
- Click add new
- Clcik upload theme
- Click activate
If you go with a paid theme,
Before activation, you’ll have to download a .zip file. You’ll get a download with instructions.
You don’t need to pay a designer, you can install and work with your free or paid theme, it’s not complicated. The Genesis Framework is what I used on my blogs. It works very well, it’s updated and flexible. It’s a paid theme.
Once your theme is set, start writing your posts. I recommend that you have 20-30 posts ready before making your blog public. This is up to you. On WordPress, you’ll have the choice on the upper right hand corner to keep your posts “private” or make them “public”.
Installation is done.
Recommended Plugins for Running your WordPress blog
After you’ve completed the installation of WordPress and chosen your theme, I recommend you install these plugins on your site. There are many other plugins you can add, these are 3 essential ones.
Install an SEO plugin. Get the Yoast free SEO version for WordPress.
Install a security plug in. For WordPress, there is a free version of Wordfence
Install a cache plugin. Chose the W3 Total Cache to increase the site performance.
7.Submit your Blog’s URL to Google
Google is the largest search engine, so you’ll want your blog to be indexed by this engine. It directs most of the traffic on the internet, about 65%. You don’t need this step to set up the blog, this is done after you’ve WordPress and hosting installed.
First, create an account with Google Webmaster tools, Google Console. Then submit your new blog to Google using your blog’s url. It may take a couple of weeks for your blog to show up on Google because it’s new. You can also go into your webmaster account and request the engine to re-crawl your site.
Second, install Google Analytics. This is a powerful tool that gives you information on the people visiting your blog. You can use this information to learn about your audience and tailor blog’s campaigns.
I recommend that you review your Analytics reports a few times a week. Check traffic patterns and sources. See what’s working, which content is being read. This is one way to come up with new, but related content for the future.
8.Make Money with your Blog – Market your blog
If your blog is going to be a business, then of course you want to make money. If your blog is just for hobby and fun, you still may want to do some marketing to spread your message.
Your blog’s monetization at the beginning can be accomplished in different ways. You can use Banner Ads, affiliate marketing, sell your own private ads space and sell your own digital products. Banner ads thru an ad network and affiliate marketing are the most common at the beginning.
Here is how to market your Blog.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization. This is something you can do when writing your blog’s posts to make them more visible to search engines.
There are a lot of free resources on the internet that teach you basic Google SEO for blogs. You don’t need to become an expert, just learn some basic techniques to make your content search engines friendly.
Basically, you need to write for humans, but the machine or search engine has to recognize your content. There are plugins for WordPress that can help you write posts optimized for search, one of these is Yoast SEO.
Your goal with SEO is to be able to obtain organic traffic or Google traffic. You get organic traffic if your content (posts) can rank in the search engine.
Here is Google perspective on SEO – Insights
Social Media. I recommend that you focus on writing good content first, then use social media to spread the word and to spread your links to the inter webs. Choose 2 to 3 social media platforms and make one of them your main platform. Don’t fuzz too much about social media and followers, your content should be the key to your blogging strategy.
Pinterest – This is a platform that is neither a social network nor a search engine. It’s actually more like a visual search engine. Pinterest is different from Google and you’ll get traffic that goes straight to the platform to search and discover. It’s a destination for people looking for specifics and also looking to discover. I recommend that you open an account on Pinterest for your blog and start to participate.
Email Marketing. As soon as your blog is public or soon after, start collecting emails. There are a number of FREE email services, like Mailchimp and Constant contact. Eventually, you’ll need a paid email provider as your blog grows.
Don’t be afraid to start your blog. It can be the first step to launch you as an online business owner. It can also change your lifestyle.
Having my own blog have allowed me to spend more time with my family, own my time and almost given me total control over my schedule. I still have to take the kids to soccer and baseball practices and to school.
I’m a big fan of blogging for business or hobby. You get to write and teach about your favorite topics, it’s very affordable and fun. You don’t have to blog full-time, this is something you can do on your spare time. But, you never know, blogging may turn out into a full-time business for you.
Professional blogging can help you improve your craft or expertise. It can also turn you into an entrepreneur and into a life of learning. Anyone can learn how to blog. Anyone can monetize a hobby.
If you have questions on how to start blogging, leave me a comment below or send me an email using the Contact Form. I would love to help you.
Thinking about Business or Hobby Blogging? Try Bluehost for your hosting with my code here.