How to Set Up a Blog that Actually Makes Money

When I started entertaining the idea of monetizing my blog, I was sooo overwhelmed by all the advice floating around out there. We had just brought baby number one home from the hospital, and my boss cut my work hours in half, at a job that I honestly didn’t even like.

So, my options were simple: either pick up a second job, or figure out how to make money working from home. That’s when I decided to start monetizing my blog.

I already knew what it was like to work in a soul-sucking job that I hated, and now I kinda wanted to know what it would be like to do something that I love every day (and hopefully get paid to do it).

So, I did a ton of research, asked a ton of questions, read a ton of articles, and purchased some helpful training courses. I can honestly say that now, after some hard work and trial-and-error, I truly know how to set up and manage a blog that makes money!

how to start a blog This post probably contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

First off, I want to clear up a few misconceptions about blogging, and then I’ll go through the five basic steps of starting a profitable blog.

MYTH # 1: It’s hard to start a blog.

You guys, setting up a blog is probably the easiest thing you’re going to do today! With the beauty of modern technology, you can have your website up and running within minutes. It’s so easy, and I’m going to show you how to do it.

MYTH # 2: It costs a lot of money to start a blog.

This is probably the biggest misconception about blogging, and nothing could be further from the truth. You can set up a blog for less than $4 a month. I spent around $65 to start my blog, because I paid for a full year (and a domain name) in advance…more about this in a few minutes.

MYTH # 3: You can’t make any money from blogging.

I started making money during the first month of monetizing my blog, and my income has grown steadily month over month. In fact, after about six months of work, I was able to quit my day job and work for myself full time! I’ll go through the steps with you for that as well, but just know this: there is A LOT of money to be made from blogging, and the possibilities are endless.


This article is going to be all about SETTING UP a profitable blog. If you’re just getting started, this is where you want to be. Of course, we go way deeper than this in my blogging course, and I will show you how to start making money from blogging. But, we have to make sure that you get started on the right foot first.

There are FIVE BASIC THINGS that you need to do to start a blog (the right way, the profitable way). A profitable blog means that you’re going to start making money pretty quickly after getting set up. Maybe not the first day, but hopefully within the first few weeks. I’m going to list the five most important things below, and I’ll explain them in detail.


This is super important, because this is going to be your blog address and you’re going to be building an online presence around this thing. Example: www .yourdomainname .com

My blog’s domain name is: My blog is all about working from home, making money blogging, and enjoying the sweet things in life. Obviously, my domain name reflects what I’m writing about and sharing with people.

We’re going to assume that, at this point, you already know what you want to write about and who you want to write for. This is called your niche, or the subject matter that interests your audience.

Your domain name should reflect what you are going to be writing about. Blogging is all about sharing your knowledge and expertise with your specific audience. Choose a domain name that will showcase what you are going to be sharing or teaching.

Give this some thought, but don’t kill yourself over “the perfect name.” There is no such thing. Find something you love, something that fits your style and your subject matter, and roll with it! Perhaps even write down a few options, just in case your domain name of choice is already taken. Using your own name is also an option, so that’s something to consider.

Once you have a domain name in mind, you can move on to thing number two.


Before I actually started monetizing my blog, I joined a few blogging groups on Facebook, took a few courses, and learned everything that I could about setting up a blog the right way. Everyone pretty much said the same thing, and this is the gist of it: if you want to have a profitable blog, you need to be on a self-hosted platform.

There are other platforms that you can use for your blog too, but you are limited with search engine optimization, monetization, customization, and you don’t own your platform…so I just can’t recommend those options. If you want to start a blog that’s going to make good money, that’s going to represent the real you, and that’s going to be protected by your legal rights, you need to be on a self-hosted platform.

I got my hosting through Siteground, and they are the absolute best in the business. The process for getting started is simple, their customer service is incredible, and their prices are super affordable. Like I said before, you can start your blog for under $4 a month.

Siteground’s live chat option is top notch. I have never had any issues with my own hosting, but I have helped a few other people with various issues like payment changes, upgrades, and glitches, and I always use the Live Chat option to get them set up. This is why I recommend Siteground over their competitors. They run an incredible business and have a great support team

So, start here. Go to the Siteground website, hit that sign up button, and purchase your hosting package. It’s seriously three easy steps.


When you click the link above, it’ll take you to a sign page with three options. It’s perfectly fine to use the StartUp Plan. You can always upgrade later!

siteground hosting sign up page


Remember, we already know our niche, and we came up with a few domain name ideas before we decided to purchase hosting. Type your domain name into the empty box and click “Proceed” to see if it’s available (image below). If all else fails, use your own name!

If you already have a domain name and you’re just wanting to transfer it over to Siteground for hosting, select the option that says “I already have a domain.” Siteground will help you transfer everything for free!

siteground domain name set up


This is where you’ll create your login information for your Siteground account and add your payment information. If you get the StartUp package with NO add ons, I think the total is around $64.

siteground hosting sign up page

Note: the optional add-ons do increase the price a little bit. But I highly recommend getting the “domain privacy” so that your personal information is protected. Now, hit that pay button, and that’s it! You now have a website domain on a self-hosted site! Woo-hoo!

So, where do we go from here?

THING 3. DOWNLOAD WORDPRESS.ORG will be the dashboard that you use for sharing your content with your readers. It is the “back end” of your blog, where you will write and publish content, add various blog features, and customize your site.

Now that you’ve set up your domain on Siteground, you can login to your dashboard with the username and password you just created, and follow THESE STEPS to download for free. These instructions are straight from the Siteground website, but if you run into any problems, you can always use their Live Chat to get assistance. Remember, these guys are being paid to help YOU set up your blog the right way…so let them help you.

You will also create a username and password to login to Write it down, because you’ll need this info every day of your blogging career! Once you have installed, you’ll be ready to login and design the look of your blog. Just type your domain name into your search bar, and add: /wp-admin to the end of it. For example:

This will take you to your login page for

NOTE: You will have one username and password for your Siteground account and a completely different username and password for your account. When you need help with things like your hosting, your payment info, your website backup, and your email systems, you’ll login to your Siteground account. When you need to write, edit, publish, share content, download themes and plugins, add widgets to your blog, and communicate with your readers, you’ll login to your account.

So, login to and let’s move on to our fourth step in setting up this blog!


There are plenty of free themes that have basic functions and features, so you do not need to spend money on a theme when you start a blog. I promised you that you could set up a blog for under $4 a month, and I meant it.

I STILL use a free theme on my blog and I have no complaints about it. One day, I will probably switch to a paid theme when I’m ready to customize my site even more, but it is not necessary if you’re happy with a free theme.

When you login to your dashboard, you’ll go to Appearance > and then Themes from the dark grey toolbar on the left side of the screen. It looks like this:

siteground wordpress theme

You can choose from one of the themes right there on the Themes page, or you can upload a theme that you have purchased or downloaded elsewhere. Here are the steps for adding or changing your blog theme. Again, you can find this information on the Siteground website, or use their Live Chat for assistance if you get stuck.


That’s it guys! You just started a blog, and now, you’re ready to start writing. You will do your writing through your dashboard. So, bookmark your login page and save your login information to make it easier to access.

Before you write your first blog post, read this article. It is a step-by-step tutorial for writing and publishing a new blog post. Remember, we’re trying to build a blog that actually makes money, right? Anyone can write content on a website, and never make a dime from it…and that’s totally okay if that’s your hobby and not your business.

But if you’re trying to make a steady income from your blog, then you will want to write content that actually makes you money. And if you need help with that, then I’m your girl.

Becoming a Blogger is my comprehensive course that covers everything you will need to know about becoming a blogger and turning your blog into a money-making machine. In this course, I’ll show you the most important features of a successful blog, the top ways to make money from blogging, the most effective way to create and share content, how to set up your mailing list, how to start building up your fanbase, and much more.

Sign up here.
Now, tell me! What made you decide to start blogging? Share in the comments or send me an email to cate @ sweet and simple life {dot} com to tell me about it!



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  1. Megan

    December 18, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Great tips – I’m a relatively new blogger still trying to navigate the whole blogging world. Getting there slowly but surely – I’ve taken my time but I’m starting to get involved with affiliate marketing – wish me luck!

    1. Cate

      December 19, 2017 at 8:12 am

      There’s so much to learn! The blogging world is so different from every other field, which is exciting but also scary haha! Congrats on taking the leap into affiliate marketing. It’s a great way to make some money!

  2. Erika

    December 19, 2017 at 2:10 am

    Hello Cate! Thank you for this! I recently decided to leave years of full-time jobs and give myself permission to finally start my own art business! I am an artist/illustrator but I’ve LOVED writing since I was a little girl and am working hard on writing blog posts to help and encourage other artists out there! I would love it if I could turn my blog into one of my income streams and am learning as much as I can so I’m glad I found your site. Will be back for sure! Thanks again!

    1. Cate

      December 19, 2017 at 8:11 am

      How exciting! Starting your own blog/business is probably the most exciting, scary thing you can do! Send me a link to your blog and I’ll check it out and give you some feedback. You can also register for my upcoming training to help you out, its a comprehensive 30-day program that teaches you how to turn your blog into a business: Enjoy every moment of your new venture!

  3. Zoe

    December 23, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Awesome clear to read tips – thanks !

  4. rumi

    December 23, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Very nice and informative post

  5. Mayi

    December 23, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Great tips, I wish I had seen this before starting my own.

    1. Cate

      January 2, 2018 at 2:53 am

      Thank you, we have a lot more info to come on monetizing your blog, so stay tuned!

  6. Kiana

    December 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Cate! Great post 🙂 I started blogging when I was 16 and haven’t stopped since, but over the past 5 months or so I’ve been attempting to make money with my blog. Through affiliate links I make around $30-50 a month, but I’m really hoping to grow that. I can use all the tips I can get!

    1. Cate

      January 2, 2018 at 2:55 am

      That’s awesome, affiliate marketing is great! I’ll have more tips coming soon about great ways to monetize.

  7. Michelle

    December 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for this info! I don’t cutrently monetize my blog, but now I have a jumping board to do it when I’m ready!

    1. Cate

      January 2, 2018 at 2:52 am

      Good for you, if you need any help along the way, just let me know!

  8. Erin

    December 23, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Great tips. I know when I started, I could have used these.

    1. Cate

      January 2, 2018 at 2:52 am

      Thank you girl. That’s exactly what I wanted to do, provide easy to follow tips for new bloggers, so I’m glad that shines through. There will be lots more to come!

  9. Juliana

    December 23, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Loving your blog thus far! Definitely looking to get more consistent with my posts and monetize this year.

    1. Cate

      January 2, 2018 at 2:50 am

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it! If you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to ask me.

  10. Chiara

    January 10, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you for the article! I’ve been following you for a while now, and I have a very silly question: I’ve just started my blog but I’m italian and even if I can understand english quite well, I’m totally not able to write articles in english. Do you think this would be an obstacle in monetizing my blog and reaching a big audience? Thank you!

    1. Cate

      January 15, 2018 at 4:40 am

      Congrats on starting your blog! I don’t think it will be an obstacle necessarily, but if it was me, I would find someone to edit my blog content for clarity. I would always want my readers to get a clear picture of what I’m saying….unless you choose to write all of your content in Italian, and reach an Italian audience, which is also an option!

  11. Ashley

    April 24, 2018 at 1:06 am

    This is going to be INCREDIBLY helpful once I set up!! Thanks!

    1. Cate

      April 24, 2018 at 5:40 am

      I’m sooo glad!! Let me know if you need any help along the way!

  12. Jess Pacheco

    May 24, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Very useful information for folks just starting out. Sometimes its just a matter of someone laying it out simple for them. Good work.

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