How to Start a Blog that Actually Makes Money
Hey blogger! Let’s talk about HOW to start a blog that actually makes money.
You probably found this article because you’re interested in starting a blog and you want to make sure you do things the right way… and that makes YOU my favorite kind of person! I love planners and thinkers 😎
Setting up a blog isn’t difficult. But setting up a blog that is primed to grow quickly and make a lot of money? Well, that requires a little bit of research and work.
Lucky for you, I did that work already (the right way and the wrong way). And I’m here to help you avoid all of those newbie mistakes!
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOU START A BLOG…
Before beginning the actual set up process for your new blog, you should have a few things in place.
First, you should have some idea about what you want to write about and who you want to write for. Remember: money-making bloggers write for their readers.
It’s okay to write about a few different topics, especially in the beginning when you are still finding your voice and your footing. Just make sure those different topics are all somewhat appealing to your target demographic.
Secondly, you need to decide if this will be a hobby blog or a business blog. The answer to this question will affect how you set up and manage your blog, so give it some thought.
Do you want this blog to be your hobby/side hustle that makes a few bucks here and there? Or do you want this blog to be a money-making component of your online business?
WHAT TO DO IF YOU WANT THAT BLOG TO MAKE MONEY
If you want to make some real money from your blog, you need to treat it like a business and set it up on a solid foundation. And just like any other business owner, you want to be able to own, operate, and customize your business to your liking… but more about that in a minute.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about starting a blog from scratch and setting it up the right way. The way that actually helps you make money.
Let’s get to it!
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 pretty darn easy, and I’m going to show you exactly how to set up your blog the right way.
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 with Siteground Hosting. And with a little help from your friend (me), you can save even more money on hosting by using my fancy little hosting trick. Learn about it >> here<<!
Truth be told: growing a money-making business does eventually require the investment of time AND money. But when you’re getting started, the financial investment is minimal.
MYTH # 3: You can’t make any money from blogging.
Every circumstance is different, and the income you earn from your blog will depend on how much time and strategic effort you are putting into your blogging biz.
With that said, I was able to quit my day job and work for myself full time after about a year of strategically monetizing my blog. And I know many other bloggers with a similar story!
Bottom line: there is A LOT of money to be made from blogging.
HOW TO START A BLOG THAT MAKES MONEY
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’ll go way deeper than this in other articles on this site, and I will show you how to start making real money from your blog too. But, we have to make sure that you get started on the right foot first.
In my opinion, there are FIVE BASIC THINGS that you need to do to start a blog the right way (the profitable way). There are probably some other things that we could add to the list later on, but these are the big ones!
A profitable blog means that you’re earning more money than you are spending on keeping that blog running.
Ideally, we want to start making money pretty quickly after we start a blog. Maybe not the first day, but hopefully within the first few months. We just need to have a few things in place first.
THING 1. CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME
Your domain name is your website address.
This is super important, because this is going to be the first thing people see when they find your blog posts in Google. It’s going to be what they type in when they want to come back to your blog. And you’re basically building an online presence around this thing.
An example of what a domain name looks like: www .yourdomainname .com
Your domain name should have some kind of correlation to what you’re going to be writing about. For a few reasons:
Reason # 1
A clear domain name lets your potential readers know exactly what they can expect to find on this blog, before they even open the page. If it’s a fitness blog, having fitness or health or workout in the title would be helpful. If it’s a mom blog, having mom or mommy or motherhood in the title would be helpful.
Always try to make things as CLEAR AND SIMPLE as possible for your potential readers. Because quite honestly, user experience is everything!
Reason # 2
A clear domain name that contains a keyword will help Google figure out what you’re all about. Google depends on keywords and text optimization to learn about your blog and when they should share your blog posts in search engines.
A domain name that includes a keyword about your blog content is always a good idea!
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 sometimes called your niche, but in general, it’s just the content that interests your target audience.
Don’t stress over finding “the perfect name.” There is really no such thing.
Just find something you love, something that fits your style and your subject matter, and roll with it!
A few recommendations: write down a few of your top picks, just in case your domain name of choice is already taken. And always try to find a domain that ends in .com
Once you have a domain name in mind, you have a few options.
THING 2: GET WEBSITE HOSTING THROUGH SITEGROUND
Before I actually started monetizing my blog, I had to decide where that blog was going to live online. There are soooo many options, but only a few of them are going to give you everything you need for a profitable business.
My hobby blog was actually hosted on the FREE WordPress .com platform, but I didn’t have access to important tools that I needed for growing and monetizing my blog.
I learned very quickly: if you want to own your blog, if you want to grow quickly, and make a lot of money, 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, but you can save even more than that if you use my little hosting trick.
Siteground has a historic up-time of 99% and their 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 email 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.
They also offer FREE 1-click WordPress installation, FREE SSL certificate, and 5 FREE business email addresses. Like I said, the best set up you could ask for, and it costs less than a Starbucks coffee each month.
So, start here. Go to the Siteground website, hit that sign up button, and purchase your hosting package. It’s seriously three easy steps.
If you need a monthly option, Lyrical Host is a wonderful company too.
STEP 1: CHOOSE A HOSTING PACKAGE – THEY START AT $3.95/MONTH
When you click the Siteground link above, it’ll take you to a sign-up page with three options. It’s perfectly fine to use the StartUp Plan. You can always upgrade later!
STEP 2: CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME FOR YOUR BLOG
Remember, we already know our niche, and we came up with a few domain name ideas before we decided to purchase hosting. If you decide to purchase your domain from Siteground, you’ll 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 over to their servers!
STEP 3: SET UP YOUR SITEGROUND USERNAME, PASSWORD, AND PAYMENT INFO
This is where you’ll create your login information for your Siteground account and add your payment information.
Note: the optional add-ons do increase the price. But I do 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! Woot woot!
So, where do we go from here?
THING 3. DOWNLOAD WORDPRESS.ORG
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, set up pages, 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 WordPress.org 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 WordPress.org. Write it down, because you’ll need this info every day of your blogging career!
Once you have WordPress.org 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: yourdomainname. com/wp-admin
This will take you to your login page for WordPress.org
NOTE: You will have one username and password for your Siteground account and a completely different username and password for your WordPress.org 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 WordPress.org account.
So, login to WordPress.org and let’s move on to our fourth step in setting up this blog!
THING 4: CHOOSE A THEME
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 WordPress.org 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:
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.
THING 5: START WRITING
Alright now… You just started a blog, and now, you’re ready to start writing. You will do your writing through your wordpress.org 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.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Let’s wrap this baby up like a rolled taco and make sure we’ve got the blogging basics down.
We know that having our own self-hosted website is the best way to start a blog and make money. I recommend Siteground if you can swing the annual investment and Lyrical Host if you prefer monthly payments. They both offer amazing services and support.
Once your blog is set up, it’s time to start writing helpful, problem solving content for your target audience. I definitely recommend trying for at least one solid blog post each week, but always focus on quality over quantity.
There will be a lot more to learn along the way, but this is your foundation. Rock the heck out of it and remember to have fun along the way!
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