A Comprehensive Guide to Starting a Blog and Making Your First $1,000

In this article, I’m going to walk you through the process of starting a blog and making money from that blog in 2019.

On top of that, you’ll also get step-by-step guides, free resources, and so much blogging goodness to help you start this new year off right! It’s a long one, so grab yourself a drink and get your scrolling thumb ready.

This is the only comprehensive blogging guide you’ll ever need, so be sure to pin it and bookmark it for later!

How to start a blog and make $1000 a month this year

Let’s get to it!

BEFORE YOU START A BLOG


Before you even start your blog, there are a few things you need to consider. I tend to categorize them this way: your blogging motives, your blogging goals, and your financial timeline.

– YOUR MOTIVES


If you’re thinking of starting or growing your blog in 2019, ask yourself the simplest of questions. Why?

It’s so important to think about the motive behind your choices. Because let me tell ya, there will be times that you will want to give up on this thing. You need to have a REASON to keep pushing on and working toward your blogging goals.

So, what is your motive? Why do you want to start a blog? Dig deep and think beyond the idea of making money.

– YOUR GOALS


You need to have clear goals in mind before you even start your blog. Your goals and plans will evolve as your business grows, and that’s okay! But ideally, your goals will define the direction you take and the decisions you make.

Your goals should always follow the S.M.A.R.T. method. They should be:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Timebound

This goal-setting process doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as jotting down a few specific, reasonable goals on a sticky note. Or it can be as elaborate as creating an in-depth business plan… Whatever you have time for!

– YOUR FINANCIAL TIMELINE


This is probably the most important thing to consider before starting your blog.

Blogging is NOT a get-rich-quick deal. It takes time, effort, and patience to grow your blog and start making money from it. You’ll put in a lot of work before you start reaping the financial benefits.

It takes most bloggers several months to start making ANY money from their blog, and it can take years to start making STEADY money that could potentially replace your day job.

You need to have a realistic financial timeline in place for your blogging business. Perhaps your goal will be to make $100 your first month, $200 your second month, $300 your third month, etc. How long will it take you to turn your blog into a career at that rate? This is important to consider.

It’s also a good idea to have a little financial cushion for those slower months. If you have no money in savings and you desperately need to come up with rent money for next month, blogging is probably not the best focus for you right now.

But, if you have a day job, a savings account, or a spouse that helps with the bills, then this is the absolute best time to start blogging! You just need to make sure that you can continue paying your expenses while you are building up your business.

HOW TO START A BLOG


WARNING: this section is a little on the dry/boring side. It is quite literally a step-by-step guide for setting your blog up the right way…and that’s not very exciting. But it is necessary, so hang in there with me!

I promise it will be worth it 🙂 

This is the exact system that I used to set up this blog that you are reading right now. It took me about 15 minutes, and I am not tech-savvy AT ALL.

If I can do this, you can too!

I’m going to lay out the steps from square one, as if you haven’t even started your blog. Following this step-by-step guide is super important, because this is the ONLY way to set up a website that gives you full ownership and full control.

Pro Tip: Review all steps before going through the actual setup process. It will give you a clearer picture of how this whole thing works!

STEP ONE: Purchase a domain name from NameCheap


This will be the name of your website and the web address that people type into Google when they want to read your blog. The domain name that I purchased was SweetandSimpleLife. You can purchase a domain name for as little as $1.00! If you prefer to buy your domain name from your hosting company, you can do that too, which we’ll talk about next…

STEP TWO: Purchase website hosting from Siteground


Website hosting is like the plot of land where your blog lives on the internet. Every blog needs a place to live 😊

I use and love Siteground because they have fast servers, excellent customer service, and excellent prices. You can start your blog for just $3.95/per month.

When you head over to Siteground to purchase hosting, you will be prompted through three basic steps: choosing a package, choosing a domain name, and setting up your profile.

You’ll choose your package here, the “Start Up” package is perfect for beginners:

Choose a hosting package through Siteground

Then you’ll choose your domain name. If you purchased through NameCheap, you’ll select the option that says “I already have a domain” and you’ll enter that domain name into the box. If you prefer to purchase through Siteground, select “Register a New Domain” and choose the website name you’d like to use.

Note: If the domain name you want isn’t available, Siteground will provide similar options that you can choose from.

Your last step includes setting up your Siteground profile and making your payment. If you already have a domain name, the start-up package total is $47.40. If you choose to buy your domain through Siteground, the total price will be $63.35. And if you buy 3 years up front, you will save A TON of money…because you are locked in at your introductory price.

STEP THREE: Download WordPress.org


Wordpress.org is the FREE software that you will use to design your website and publish content. Siteground has a 1-click autoinstall option for WordPress in your Siteground dashboard. Or you can follow these steps to download WordPress. If you need any help along the way, just reach out to Siteground here and they will walk you through the entire process.

You’ll also want to contact Siteground if you purchased a domain name from another company, because you’ll need them to redirect your domain name to their website servers.

STEP FOUR: Choose a website theme


Login to WordPress using the username and password you set up in step three. Once you are logged into your account, you’ll probably want to select a theme. Your theme is the look and layout of your website. A default theme is already in place, but it’s pretty darn basic. You can select a different theme from your WordPress dashboard or you can purchase a theme from an outside company like Creative Market.

Here is the step-by-step guide for selecting and installing your theme.

STEP FIVE: Learn to write and publish content through your WordPress dashboard


After you complete the first four steps, you have a domain name and a website that belongs to you. You can change your theme at any time, but for now, this is what your website looks like!

Now, you can head over to the “Post” section of your WordPress dashboard and start writing your first blog post. There is a little bit of a learning curve for brand new WordPress users but try not to stress.

YouTube videos will be your new best friend.

Keep in mind that you are starting a blogging business today. It won’t always be easy. Setting up your blog and learning WordPress will be the first test of your CEO-strength. And you CAN DO THIS.

YOU STARTED A BLOG, NOW WHAT?

Okay, so…

You started your blog. You have a functional website and you might even have a few blog posts published.

Now what?

First of all, let’s talk about a few important things that every blogger needs to do if they want to be successful. Then we’ll talk about strategic action.

Successful bloggers:

Know WHO they are writing for and HOW they can help them. Keep in mind that your readers will be coming to your blog posts for a specific reason.

Maybe they want information or education about a topic that you know about. Maybe they want inspiration or motivation to do something that you can help them with. Or maybe they want some entertainment or comic relief.

Figure out who your target audience is and how you can help them.

Successful bloggers:


Publish and promote content consistently. You have to show up and deliver awesome content for your audience on a regular basis. When you have a lot of great content that is helpful to a specific group of people, it becomes soooo much easier to grow an engaged audience that loves your stuff!

So, come up with a content creation plan TODAY.

Commit to publishing new content at least once each week…more if possible. If you write and publish one new blog post each week, that will amount to 52 articles within just one year. If you do two blog posts a week, that’s over a hundred articles on your website in your first year of blogging.

Successful bloggers:

Treat their blog like a real business.

If you want to be successful, it’s important to treat this thing like a real business, because that’s what it is. Real business owners make hard decisions, make financial investments, and work even when they don’t feel like working.

They also fill a need for their customers, act in a professional manner, and treat their colleagues with kindness and courtesy. No stealing from fellow bloggers, yo. That’s just not cool.

These are just a few of the important foundational things that you need to keep in mind for your money-making blog.

How to start, grow, and monetize your blog in 2019

HOW TO GROW YOUR BLOG

I’m sure one of your blogging goals involve increasing your blog traffic, right? Well, I’m about to rock your world and tell you something that most blog coaches don’t share…

FACT: You do not need a large audience or a lot of blog traffic to make money from your blog.

Yup, I said it…Those page views that everyone brags about are honestly just vanity metrics. They don’t mean much and they definitely don’t equal money in your pocket.

Want to build a money-making blog this year? Stop worrying about increasing your blog traffic and start worrying about finding and engaging your TARGET AUDIENCE.

Instead of focusing on numbers and page views, we want to focus on HAPPY, ENGAGED readers. Those people that love your stuff, follow your blog, share your articles, and recommend you to their friends! This is one of the strategies that I teach in my comprehensive blogging program, and it’s working for hundreds of my students. 

If we can find those die-hard fans that love our blog, we can make money…even if our audience is very small. And we’ll talk about HOW to make that money in just a moment. First, let’s talk about growing our blog by finding our target audience.

Step one is knowing who your audience is and how you can help them. Hopefully, you already have that part down.

Step two is creating great content that is appealing to that target audience and publishing it on your blog. Hopefully you’re working on that too!

Then comes the growth strategy: getting your great content in front of that target audience right when they need you. There are many ways to do this, but we’re going to focus on the two strategies that work best for bloggers.

Pinterest and SEO.


Pinterest = the best free source of blog traffic for bloggers! It’s an app that allows users to search and save – ideas, inspiration, and solutions to their problems.

Bloggers can use this platform to share their content with potential readers. And it is an absolute gold mine for targeted blog traffic!

If you’re brand new to Pinterest, take this FREE challenge to help you get started.

Ultimately, you want to be pinning your blog posts on Pinterest and optimizing those pins so that your readers can find your blog posts.

SEO = search engine optimization. This is the act of optimizing or enhancing your content so that search engines can rank your blog in their search results. There is a lot to learn about SEO, but this article is a good starting point.

Building up your website traffic takes some time, so be patient, and focus on providing quality content that solves a problem for your reader.

Now… let’s get to the really good stuff. Making money from your blog.

HOW TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG


I know this article is long and packed with information, but hopefully you’re hanging on. If you’re wiped out, just pin this baby for later and come on back when you can!

Here’s the truth about making money from your blog: it’s tough for a lot of people and it takes some time. Also, it’s best not to worry about making money from your blog until you have that foundational stuff down.

Sometimes it takes a few months to build that foundation. Sometimes it takes a few years. That all depends on you and your circumstances. The whole process gets a lot easier if you invest in some business education to speed up the process of growth and sales.

When you’re ready to jump into monetizing, this is what you need to know:

Bloggers make their money from one (or both) of these two things: creating and selling their own products/services or promoting and selling products/services for other businesses.

You can create and sell physical products like t-shirts or digital products like stock photos. You can provide your own services, like virtual assistance, photography, or consulting. And regardless of what you choose to create, sell, or provide, you can use your blog to educate and promote your stuff.

That’s why we’re called bloggers 😉

What about promoting and selling stuff for other businesses? This is another great way to make money from your blog. It includes things like affiliate marketing, sponsored work, and advertising. And again, you’ll promote and sell these things through your own blog and social media channels.

Here’s an article that will help you get started with affiliate marketing.

Here’s an article that will help you get started with sponsored work.

And now the question that every new blogger asks me: How much money can you REALLY make from your blog? 

The easy answer is A LOT. However, this will depend on how hard you are willing to work and what monetization strategies you choose. Hard work and strategic action equal success.

I know bloggers that make $200 a month and bloggers that make $200,000 a month. The income potential is limitless, if you APPLY YOURSELF and choose highly profitable monetization strategies.

A GUIDE TO YOUR FIRST $1,000 FROM YOUR BLOG

Now that we know HOW bloggers make their money, let’s talk about strategic action. We’ll start with creating and selling your own products, physical or digital.

Let’s say you created your own lovely annual planner. You sell that planner for $25. If you promote and sell (40) of those planners, that equals $1,000. Here and here are examples of successful bloggers that sell planners.

Or maybe you want to sell a digital product, like an online course. Let’s say you create a course and sell it for a hundred bucks. If you promote and sell (10) of those courses, you just made your first $1,000. Another option would be to create multiple “mini courses” and sell them for a little less.

Want a free and easy way to sell online courses? Check out TEACHABLE. This is the platform I use to create and sell my own blogging courses.

Now, I’m not going to lie: creating and selling your own products comes with a lot of work and some risk. I highly recommend adding this to your list of blogging goals, but it might not be your first choice as a new blogger…and that’s okay!

It is definitely a little easier to promote products for other companies that already have a raving audience and positive reputation.

So, let’s talk about promoting and selling products for other businesses now.

Affiliate marketing:

You can join as many affiliate programs as you’d like. Some of them pay a percentage of each sale, some of them pay per lead, and some of them pay a flat rate. I love working with companies that pay a flat rate of $100 or more!

10 sales x $100 per sale = $1,000. This is one of the simple ways that I make over $5k every month from my blog. This is also one of the strategies that I teach extensively in my self-paced blogging course. If you want to dig into affiliate marketing, I highly recommend checking it out here.

Sponsored posts:

Sponsored posts are essentially charging a company to promote their product/service/business to your audience. Let’s say that you charge $250 for one sponsored post package, which is a very reasonable fee.

4 sponsored posts x $250 per post = $1,000

Here is a comprehensive article about making money through sponsored posts.

Providing services:

If you charge $50 per hour for your services, you would have to work for just 20 hours to hit your $1,000 goal.

Charging $50 per hour might seem impossible in the beginning, but it’s actually a very reasonable fee for a specialized service. If you have coding skills, marketing skills, or design skills, you could easily charge that much and more.

If you don’t have a highly specialized skill, that’s okay too! Many bloggers have grown their own successful virtual assistant business or consulting company and make over $1,000 a month…Find a need, fill a need, and get paid doing it.

BEST BLOGGING TOOLS FOR 2019


If you’re serious about taking this blog to the next level in 2019, then I have some great resources for you. Some are free, and all are super affordable investments.

Free Pinterest Course

Free Access to Tailwind

Free Email Marketing Service

Free Blogging Support Group

A huge discount on “Becoming a Blogger”. This course goes into heavy detail on the topics we have covered here today, and many more strategic tips and resources. The price goes up in January 2019, so jump in now for 50% off!

A huge discount on “Pinterest Simplified” , a comprehensive Pinterest course that launches February 2019. Hop in on the free Pinterest training for a special discount on the comprehensive course that is coming soon.

I hope this guide has been helpful! If you enjoyed this article, please take a moment to pin or bookmark for later!

22 Comments

  1. Eunice

    December 12, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Yes totally agree! I started my blog on February ❤️ Many things came so fast

    1. Cate

      December 12, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  2. Enstine

    December 12, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Hey Cate,
    Good to be on your blog again today and thanks for this step-by-step guy for beginners.
    Do they still have to download WordPress like in STEP THREE? I think Siteground has a wizard to walk them through the installation of WordPress. I’m hosting with WPX so have little experience with Siteground control panel.

    So how is the week going BTW?

    1. Cate

      December 12, 2018 at 10:24 pm

      Yes, if they’re using Siteground, they’ll still use the autoinstaller to download WordPress, then the wizard walks you through the process 🙂

  3. Catherine

    December 12, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Love this blog post, thank you so much for writing it. As a beginner blogger, it can be really overwhelming knowing where to begin and getting caught up in all the numbers. I am really glad to have read your post and feel reassured that it’s more about helping your followers with quality posts. At the moment I am only averaging one post a week as well and was quite nervous about this, but from you saying that would be 52 posts written in a year is incredible! Thank you for always being so informative and our hands in our blogging journey.

    1. Cate

      December 12, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      I’m so glad this post could give some perspective. I think back to when I was a beginner and how stressful it was trying to make sense of everything. If I can simplify it for my readers a bit, that makes me so happy! 52 articles in a year is definitely something to be proud of! You’re doing great 🙂

  4. Nichole

    January 3, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Great article! I started a blog months ago, have over 20 posts and haven’t made any money yet.. I’ll be implementing some of these ideas really soon. Thank you!

    1. Cate

      January 3, 2019 at 8:04 am

      Creating a solid library of great content is the first step, so you’re doing great! Keep it up 🙂

  5. Mimi Franco, VA & soon to be travel blogger

    January 6, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! I’ve gotten the beginner steps complete, but the part I’m stuck on is the legal component. At what point do you suggest legally registering the website as a buiness? Is it under an LLC or Sole Proprietorship?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Cate

      January 8, 2019 at 8:56 pm

      That will be a personal decision and something to discuss with your CPA or lawyer. LLC is not a requirement to be successful, but it does separate your personal income/liabilities from your business income/liabilities 🙂

  6. Deidre

    January 14, 2019 at 1:52 am

    This was so clearly and concisely written I absolutely love it. I found it so useful along with your article all about affiliate programs/networks. I can’t waitto begin monetizing my blog with your tips & advice. Thank you for sharing!

    Sending my love xx

    1. Cate

      January 28, 2019 at 4:24 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment, I appreciate that so much!

  7. Patryk Kachel

    January 25, 2019 at 8:35 am

    I did write recently similar guide… Maybe not me – my wife did it, and not so similar because focused more on technical aspects of starting a blog 🙂 However your article treats really nice the “soft” part of blogging – goals, determination, motivation, passion… and business aspects. It feels you’re a business strategist 🙂 Good read 🙂

    1. Cate

      January 28, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks for reading, I have several posts on the technical side of blogging too, but sometimes, I think focusing on goals and plans is a good idea too. I appreciate your support so much!

  8. Tabassom

    January 30, 2019 at 4:39 am

    Hi Cate!
    This article is so nice, I read it all at once.
    I’m 22 years old, College Student and my dad is so sick and bunkrupted so my family is getting broken.
    I used to have a Fan-Page blog a few years ago and I never knew about the marketing nor thought of blogging as a business.
    A few months ago I started working for Freelancer and UpWork but I couldn’t earn much money to save the family.
    So I thought as I have a little experience weiting a blog, maybe I could start a blog and make money from it so I can help my parents and my small sibling FAST. I was like “It’s okay if it takes another year but I will make it and in 2020, we will be so rich!”
    I can assure you that I read a lot of topics of “How to start making money from blogging”, “How blogging changed my life”, etc. All the resources says that you can start TODAY and no one ever mentioned that “Blogging is not a thing to focus right now if you have no money at expense”
    I need to thank you for this advice, this was a honest fact and I knew I should not be positive about gaining without paying!
    I will try to learn more and more and at the same time I will do freelancing and saving money, even tho it’s takes lots of time to have a large clients and earn that enough money to save for blogging and also the family.

    Thank you again,
    Tabassom

    1. Cate

      February 10, 2019 at 7:38 pm

      Freelancing is definitely a good way to make quick money. Blogging is a wonderful career but yes, it does take some time to earn steady income. I’m wishing the best for you and your family!

  9. Skyler

    March 1, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Hi Cate!
    I was experimenting with different ways to make a side income and always keep going back to blogging. After reading your post, it’s made me even more motivated! The way you touched on Affiliate marketing and actually broke it down so that it’s easier to understand is something other bloggers rarely do. Are there times when you were so frustrated with blogging that you thought you might give up? I love your blog and thanks for all the info!

    1. Cate

      March 12, 2019 at 7:13 am

      Oh my goodness, yes! I want to give up at least once each month haha! But honestly, that is the life of an entrepreneur, two steps forward and one sep back… but then when someone tells you that something you said changed their whole life : it’s allll worth it!

  10. Tamiko Krzewinski

    March 6, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    amazing Information Great help.

    1. Cate

      March 12, 2019 at 7:05 am

      Thank you for reading!

  11. kumar Jayant Singh

    March 8, 2019 at 10:22 am

    “Great information”. I hope this blog will help a lot of peoples like me. Thank you

    1. Cate

      March 12, 2019 at 7:05 am

      Thanks for reading!

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