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!




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?




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!

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 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.


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.



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.

You can either buy from a registrar like Name Cheap, or move on to thing number two and buy through your website host. I personally choose to buy through Name Cheap.



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.

Web Hosting

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.



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!



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!


This is where you’ll create your login information for your Siteground account and add your payment information.

siteground hosting sign up page

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 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 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: yourdomainname. com/wp-admin

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.


Alright now… 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.


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!

If you found this article helpful, be sure to pin it for later…



  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. Antoinette Bryant

      March 5, 2019 at 2:04 am

      Thank you Cate. Whereas I’m old I’m determined to make this work. I’m a retired school teacher and my husband has been ill. I’m writing about children’s books, parenting tips, and misc. baby posts. What theme did you use here ? It’s so pretty and inviting. Can you share ?

    3. Antoinette Bryant

      March 5, 2019 at 2:05 am

      Thank you Cate. Whereas I’m old I’m determined to make this work. I’m a retired school teacher and my husband has been ill. I’m writing about children’s books, parenting tips, and misc. baby posts. What theme did you use here ? It’s so pretty and inviting.

      1. Cate

        March 12, 2019 at 7:06 am

        This is the FREE marlin lite theme, and I love it!

  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.

  13. Gineen

    July 23, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Love this! I have recently joined your Facebook group and I found this article very helpful for my new blog 🙂 Thanks for writing!

    1. Cate

      July 23, 2018 at 3:06 am

      Thank you so much! So glad to have you in my group 🙂 This guide is definitely the best starting point!

  14. Nina

    August 29, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    Such great tips and confirmation that I’m on the right track with setting up my blog, thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Cate

      August 29, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Awesome, I’m so glad you’re on the right track!

  15. Naomi Legault

    September 1, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Hello there, Can I sign up and use SiteGround if I already have my free wordpress blog site set up?

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      Yes, Siteground is a hosting company (they host your website on their servers). When you purchase hosting, you’ll download WordPress .org through your host and they will transfer your website for you. Siteground is having a labor day sale right now too:

  16. susanne shumate

    September 11, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Im so glad I found you! I wanted to set up a blog to possibly help out with the household bills because my husband is the only one working. I don’t expect much but of anything is better than nothing which is what i am making now , big fat nothing and i have been messing around with it for about a year or so, I just want to understand all the legal stuff before I jump in with both feet. I thought what better way than to write about what I love most!!! Crocheting! I want to use my crocheting to help others. My dream is to help the mothers & their children in family abuse shelters & those little ones that get put into the foster system . I just hope that now I can start getting inspired to write my pwn patterns . Thank you so much for all your help !!! REALLY!

    1. Cate

      September 13, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story! I’m always here to help if you get stuck along the way!

  17. Bhavna

    September 14, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Hi Cate,
    I have registered my domain name with I get complimentary WhoIsGuard privacy protection along with the domain name.
    I guess I don’t need the domain privacy add-on. (I don’t even get it as an option, just the SG site scanner. ) Do you agree?
    P.S. I am using your affiliate link 🙂

    1. Cate

      September 15, 2018 at 3:21 am

      I agree, the site scanner is not necessary if you have privacy protection in place!

  18. Morin

    September 22, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    I’m amazed with this post! but there is one thing I wanna ask and clarify, when you pay for siteground, does it require a credit card or a debit card will do? I’m struggling to earn money for my blog’s self hosting

    1. Cate

      September 24, 2018 at 5:11 am

      You can use a debit card! I used a debit card for purchasing my hosting. And thank you so much for reading, I appreciate you!

  19. Morin

    September 22, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Oh and yeah I almost forgot, when you put the monthly option for siteground, do you pay it monthly or you pay for it as a whole year? I’m really confused whenever the price appears. It scares me

    1. Cate

      September 24, 2018 at 5:11 am

      You will be paying annually, the start up package costs $47.40 (the add ons are extra and you can unclick those buttons if you don’t want to purchase them). I highly recommend purchasing several years in advance to lock in that introductory price.

  20. Lucy Wanjeri Kariuki

    January 24, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Great tips there! I have surely learned a lot and I just can’t wait to monetize my blog!

  21. Morgan

    February 13, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks for your article. Did you mention what theme you picked? Im having a hard time finding where to add a subscribe options/pop up and also- how to make my contact for work. Thanks!

    1. Cate

      February 14, 2019 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you for reading. My theme didn’t come up pop up options, but I use Mailerlite for my subscription/opt in forms. Super user friendly and FREE 🙂

  22. Jane Daley

    October 8, 2019 at 4:02 am

    I’m just getting started and according to the comments, I’m in the right place to do it. Your writing style is easy to read, making this complex topic seem not so complex. Thank you for all this great info. And I learned a thing or two from the comments section too. Awesome 🙂 My domain name is through GoDaddy, and with your info will get it hosted with Siteground. And we’re rolling!!

    1. Cate

      October 18, 2019 at 12:03 am

      Congratulations on getting started, I’m glad my article was easy to read and understand – making things SIMPLE is always my goal! I’m here if you need any help!

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