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