Blogging is a great way to earn extra money or even quit your day job! Learn how to start a money making blog in 5 quick and easy steps.
Blogging is a fun and creative way to earn money working at home. If you’re willing to put the time and effort into it, you can even make blogging your full time job earning as much as 5, 6, or even 7 figures!
Blogging is perfect for anyone who wants to work from home, such as stay at home moms, college students, and really anyone who is tired of their boring day job.
When I started my first website SarahBlooms.com in 2017, I had the hardest time setting up my site!
Now, that I’ve been doing this for a while, I can have a new site up in 10-15 minutes! Seriously, the hardest part for me now is coming up with new domain names!
That’s why I made this tutorial. I don’t want you to struggle like I did. It was seriously frustrating.
When I look back, I realize that the process itself wasn’t hard, I just didn’t have anyone showing me exactly how to do it.
To be clear, I run all my websites on WordPress, and I recommend this platform for anyone who wants to start a money making blog.
These instructions will cover how to set up your own WordPress.org site.
If you don’t know what WordPress is, or the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, keep reading. I cover it all right here.
Now let’s get started. Keep reading to learn how to start your own money making blog in just 5 quick and easy steps!
If you have any comments or questions about this tutorial, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would be happy to help as much as I can 🙂
For more money-making ideas, check out the following:
Pin for Later!
Bloggers start their blogs for a variety of reasons.
Do you want to help people? Do you want to share your story?
Do you want to make some extra money, or even quit your boring desk job to work at home blogging?
If you’re successful, blogging can be surprisingly lucrative. You can make 5, 6, or even 7 figures a year!
But I won’t lie, blogging takes a lot of hard work, especially when you’re first building up your site, but it can be so worth it.
I find it fulfilling to connect with my readers and have a creative outlet I wasn’t getting with my boring desk job.
Here are the Top 5 Benefits of Starting a Blog that may motivate you to start one, too:
Do you have a reason you want to start a blog that I haven’t covered here? Please share it in the comments at the bottom of this post!
Especially, when you’re first starting out and aren’t bringing in any money with your blog, you might be worried about startup costs, but don’t worry, starting a blog doesn’t have to be expensive at all!
But that’s not so bad, right?! Around $20 to start your blog shouldn’t be out of reach for most people.
If you have zero money to start a blog, you can begin writing blog posts on a free site like Wix, Blogger, or WordPress.com, then migrate or copy and paste your posts at a later date.
I absolutely do recommend using WordPress.org as your blogging platform if and when you can. I explain more about that below, as well.
When first starting out, many new bloggers try free blogging platforms like Wix, Blogger, and WordPress.com because they’re free and easy to use, but are they a good choice for a money making blog?
Not really. These sites are great for blogging as a hobby, but if you’re looking to make money with your blog, you really need a blogging platform that will grow with you.
These free sites won’t let you run ads or add affiliate links, which is the main way to make money blogging, especially when you’re first starting out.
Your site address won’t look professional (i.e. freedomhoney.blogspot.com), which may mean your audience won’t take you seriously, negatively impacting your money making capabilities.
Plus, when you set up a blog on someone else’s site (which is what you’re doing on Wix, Blogger, and WordPress.com), they can delete it at any time!
This actually happened to Michelle from the blog, Making Sense of Cents, when she was first starting out, and it was a stressful and upsetting experience for her. She was able to get her site back, but most of the time, that isn’t the case.
Don’t let this happen to you!
I recommend using WordPress.org and getting your own hosting. This way, you’ll own your site and can control all aspects of your blog.
If you’re really not tech savvy and need a drag and drop platform to create your site, you may want to look at Squarespace.
You have to pay a monthly fee (starting at $12/month when billed annually), but you’ll pay about the same to buy your own hosting.
Squarespace is a little easier to use if you’re not great with the technical side of things, but it also doesn’t have as many options as WordPress.org, which may hold you back later on.
Honestly, depending on what theme you decide to use, WordPress isn’t that hard to use.
I set up my first site in 2017 totally on my own with zero experience. As long as you have some basic computer skills, you can, too!
Another option is to have someone else set up your blog for you. Check out Fiverr where freelance professionals can customize your site with prices starting at just $5.
In this tutorial, I’ll be teaching you exactly how to start your WordPress site in about 30 minutes or less and just 6 easy steps:
Even though these instructions may look like a lot of steps, I promise you it’s really not hard to set up your own WordPress site, as long as you have some basic computer skills.
Now, let’s get started!
Many blogging how-to’s will tell you to blog about a topic, also called a niche, you’re passionate about, and that sounds like great advice – how could you possibly get bored writing about something that interests you?
I agree with this advice – to a point.
However, there are certain types of blogs that tend to be more successful much more quickly than other, more obscure topics.
These popular topics include (in no particular order):
Look at the most successful blogs. They most likely fall into one or more of these categories.
Of course, you can blog about whatever you like, but if you want to make money blogging as quickly as possible, I highly recommend picking one of these basic topics.
These topics are very broad, so you really have a lot of choices when it comes to deciding exactly what you’d like to blog about.
Just make sure your topic is one a lot of people will be interested in, so you won’t have to struggle so much to get traffic to your blog.
The most important thing to keep in mind when starting and running a money making blog is the acronym, WIIFM – What’s in it for me?
If you want to make money with your blog, don’t use your site to talk exclusively about your experiences. A money making blog isn’t a diary.
People care about their own problems and life issues and are looking for solutions online.
Write about topics and issues readers care about. Make sure your posts are giving your readers something valuable.
Once you are successful, you can talk a little more about yourself, but, contrary to popular belief, blogs aren’t really about you.
You’re providing a service for your readers ⇒ remember that successful blogging is a business and should be treated as such.
I find that getting a domain name is the worst part of starting a blog.
The process of buying the domain isn’t hard at all, but finding a website address you like that’s actually available can be really challenging.
Here are my top tips to make this process easier.
In case you don’t know, a domain name is your web address, like FreedomHoney.com.
I buy my domains at Namecheap.com and have been really happy with my experience.
I say “buy” loosely here because you’re really just renting your web address for a low yearly fee.
With Namecheap, regular website names are the cheapest around, starting at just $8.88/year for a non-premium .com address.
I used Namecheap when I started blogging in spring 2017, and I’ve stuck with them.
I have no complaints, their prices are the best I’ve found, and their customer service has been phenomenal!
To buy a domain, you first have to see if your desired web address is available. Spoiler alert: it most likely isn’t. But that’s okay!
You will probably have to type loads of name ideas into their search engine to see if it’s available at an affordable price.
However, you might be able to get the domain name you want if you’re willing to have a different top-level domain (TLD) like .co or .net.
Having a .com address has long been most coveted, but the other TLDs are becoming more and more common and are definitely worth considering.
As you search for a domain, a few available site addresses you punch in may have premium pricing, which means someone (a company or person) bought the domain name with the intent to sell it at a high resale price.
These are usually just names they think will be popular and in-demand.
You don’t have to buy these premium name, and I actually recommend you don’t.
You want to start your blog in the most economical way possible.
Just keep brainstorming, and you’ll find a great blog name at some point.
PRO TIP: Don’t stress about your blog name too much. Your content and marketing are far more important than your name.
When you find a name you want to go with, just add the domain name to your cart, pay for it, and you’re ready to find hosting!
I’ll be honest, Bluehost is the worst!
Many bloggers recommend Bluehost hosting service, but I definitely don’t. Why? I tried Bluehost, and it was a terrible experience.
I consider myself pretty tech savvy, but I just couldn’t figure out how to make Bluehost work. I tried to get help from their customer service.
Every time I tried to contact them, it took forever to connect with anyone, and they weren’t very helpful once I finally got to talk to a real person.
The price is only so low (around $2.65 a month) if you pay for 36 months up front, which is a lot more money to pay at one time.
You will likely outgrow Bluehost’s capabilities well before those 36 months are over, so you’ll be paying for hosting you’ll probably never use.
Plus, I ran the numbers back when I tried to use Bluehost. If I paid for plugins to make my Bluehost site comparably secure from hackers (when comparing a better host like Lyrical), it would have cost me more than $30 per month!
So why do so many bloggers recommend Bluehost? I think some bloggers really do like Bluehost because it’s an incredibly cheap hosting service that might make blogging more accessible for some people.
However, I think most bloggers recommend Bluehost because of their lucrative affiliate program.
I know of a lot of bloggers who admit they don’t use Bluehost, yet they continue to recommend it to their readers. I don’t want to bad mouth anyone, but I think that’s seriously dishonest.
If you don’t believe me, do a quick Google search on Bluehost.
You’ll see they have loads of negative reviews from users complaining their site isn’t live (I’ve heard a lot of people complain about Bluehost’s downtimes), or they need help and can’t get through to customer support fast enough.
There are so many low cost alternatives from more trustworthy and reputable companies, I think you’ll be so much happier in the long run if you go with someone else.
PRO TIP: I recommend staying away from large hosting companies like BlueHost, GoDaddy, and HostGator. I also don’t like Siteground.
They lure you in with super low prices the first year, then raise them really high after that.
Smaller companies offer better service at great prices, are eager to please their customers, and are far more reliable and trustworthy.
Shared hosting through Namecheap starts at just $1.44 a month when paid yearly – that’s just $17.28 for the first year!
Just remember to read the fine print.
The Stellar plan renews at $33.88 a year, Stellar Plus at $57.88, and Stellar Business at $104.88.
I don’t mind these price increases because these plans are still really cheap, but it’s definitely worth noting to prevent a surprise debit from your bank account or credit card year from now.
Namecheap hosting is a great option when you’re first starting out, but you will probably need faster and more robust hosting and increased security once your traffic goes in the 1,000’s.
Namecheap has upgraded hosting plans, or you can choose another host like the ones below.
If you choose to start with Namecheap shared hosting, I recommend you go for the Stellar Plus or Stellar Business hosting plans.
They aren’t that much more expensive, and they offer daily backups (a must), and Stellar Business has cloud storage for your website, which is nice for added security.
Namecheap hosting plans include the domain name for free, but that’s only for domain names with uncommon endings like .tech and .online.
You will have to pay extra for domain names with common endings like .com, .co, or .net.
Lyrical Host is quickly gaining popularity in the blogging world due to their great prices (that stay the same year after year) and wonderful customer service.
I use Lyrical Host for all my websites, and they are the best host I’ve had by far!
That’s after trying BlueHost, StudioPress, WPEngine, Siteground, Namecheap, and BigScoots.
Their web hosting is fast, reliable, and affordable, and their customer service is fantastic – support is available 24/7, and every time I have contacted them, they’ve replied and solved my issue or answered my questions in minutes!
Lyrical Host offers 3 WordPress hosting plans. The Tiny plan (the cheapest at $11.99 a month) is perfect for beginners.
If you outgrow the base plan, you can upgrade any time.
I have the most expensive plan, the Boss plan for $29.99 a month, but that’s only because I run 6 different websites.
Look at all you get with the Tiny plan:
I have honestly never seen a host provide extras like stock photos.
They also have a free resource page where you can find loads of other goodies like additional photos, blogging tips, and more!
Isn’t $11.99 kind of expensive?
This may sound like a lot of money when Namecheap starts at just $1.44/month, but you just can’t beat Lyrical’s one-on-one service!
LyricalHost will set up your website for you, which wouldn’t be a ton of work if you did it yourself, but can be kind of difficult for a beginner who has never dealt with the process before.
All you have to do is install your desired plugins (and those required or recommended for your theme) and the theme itself, and you can start writing! (You can technically start writing before that, but your site won’t look like much).
And if you have any problems with your site, just open a support ticket, and they’ll take care of it for you. I’ve had to do this several times, and they always reply to me in minutes and solve my problems really quickly.
You can also purchase your domain name through Lyrical if you’d like, but the base price is $14.99 a year, so it’s a little more expensive than Namecheap.
Side Note: BigScoots is another popular host among bloggers.
I tried them for about 6 months and ended up switching to Lyrical because they were cheaper, offer more perks, and have much better customer service.
>>>Bottom Line: Lyrical Host is a reliable and affordable hosting company that will grow with you and won’t hit you with surprise fees or price increases.
WPEngine.com offers premium, worry-free hosting starting at just $22 per month when you pay annually ($270 the first year, then $300 a year) or $30 per month when you pay monthly.
If I love Lyrical Host so much, why would I recommend a host that’s more expensive??
To be honest, I would only recommend WPEngine if you’re interested in using the StudioPress Genesis themes.
A lot of bloggers really like to use the sleek, modern look of the Genesis themes.
If you are interested in using one of the Genesis child themes, I would recommend you sign up for WPEngine hosting, so you can try out the themes for free (they offer free access to 35 themes with their hosting plans) before you pay $130 for the theme.
Why are Genesis themes so expensive?
You have to buy the Genesis Framework and the theme you like because all the Genesis themes run on the framework.
The good news is you only need to buy the Genesis Framework once, so additional themes are $75 after that.
Are you a little lost with all this talk of themes? Don’t worry, we go over themes down below.
PRO TIP: If you find a Genesis theme you really like, you can always buy it outright and switch to a cheaper host. You can buy Studiopress themes here.
>>>Bottom Line: Go with WPEngine if you want to try out their popular StudioPress Genesis Themes.
Once you get hosting, you’ll want to get an SSL certificate for your web address.
When you buy your domain, it’s usually automatically set up with an http:// at the beginning of the address.
An SSL certificate will change this to https:// which shows your readers and Google that your site is legitimate and safe.
Google prefers websites with SSL certificates and will be more apt to send traffic your way if your domain has one, so you definitely want to set it up for your blog.
SSL certificates are included with LyricalHost and WPEngine, and their customer support staff will activate it for you, too.
Namecheap includes SSL for the first, then charges you yearly after that.
Lyrical Host and WPEngine install WordPress for you, but with most other hosts, you’ll need to download it yourself.
Don’t worry, though. It’s really easy.
Most hosts offer 1-click installs.
This means you’ll see a button in the control panel on your hosting site that says something like, “Install WordPress” (mine says “Reinstall” because WordPress is already installed on my site).
Just click that install button, fill in your information, and you’re good to go.
During this process, you’ll pick the username and password you’ll use to log in to your WordPress site.
You can also pick a theme for your blog, or you can wait until you can log in to your site.
If you have any issues downloading WordPress, contact your host, or check out wpbeginner.com for more detailed instructions.
Once you download WordPress, you can enter your domain address in your browser’s address bar and see that your site is up and running!
In order to make any changes to your site – including writing posts – you’ll need to access the Admin Area, which you will find at https://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.
Then, type in the username and password you created when you downloaded WordPress to log in.
Your theme determines how your website will look.
With WordPress, you can use themes to create an attractive website without having to code anything yourself, which is wonderful if you’re a regular computer user like me.
You can pick a theme when you download WordPress or once you access the Admin Area of your site (under Appearance < Themes).
You can also buy WordPress themes straight from their companies like Studiopress (for Genesis themes).
If you’re going to use a free WordPress theme, make sure you only use the official free themes available at WordPress.org.
These themes will be available in your Admin Area at Appearance < Themes < Add New.
Most bloggers use and recommend premium themes you have to pay for.
This doesn’t mean all free themes are bad.
It just means premium themes tend to offer more features, customization, and updates (to fix any problems that may arise) than free themes.
You can also use a free theme to get started, then upgrade later. Themes aren’t static – you can change them any time and as much as you want.
Sarah Blooms runs on Genesis Framework.
Genesis has built-in SEO (Search Engine Optimization to help Google find and recommend your blog) and lots of great plugins to help you change the look and feel of your blog.
With Genesis, you typically have to buy the Genesis Framework and the theme you like because all the Genesis themes run on the framework (unless you host your website with WPEngine, who lets you use their Genesis Framework and themes for free).
These themes usually cost around $130, so they’re a pretty big investment, especially when you’re first starting out.
The good news is you only need to buy the Genesis Framework once, so additional themes are $75 after that.
However, I got my Genesis theme for only $69!
I use the Harper Theme from 17th Avenue. With 17th Avenue Themes (i.e. the Genesis theme I use for Freedom Honey), the Genesis Framework is included at no additional cost!
I have never seen this with another theme provider, but it’s another great reason to buy your Genesis theme from 17th Avenue!
However, 17th Avenue makes independent themes, which means you can’t try them out on WPEngine before you buy.
17th Avenue will also help you install and customize your theme for an additional fee if you need more help.
Here is their FAQ page to answer any questions you may have about their themes.
If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of picking a theme yourself, check out Fiverr.
You should be able to get someone to set up a basic site for you for around $100.
If you decide to use a premium theme, you’ll need to upload your theme to your site.
Once you purchase and download your premium theme to your computer, go to your WordPress Admin Area, and click on Appearance < Themes < Add New < Upload Theme.
Then, upload the .zip file you will have received when you bought your theme.
Just about every theme is different, but they typically have instructions to help you set up and personalize your theme.
For example, the instructions for my Harper theme are here.
Need even more help? Premium themes also typically offer support, but that help isn’t always free.
PRO TIP: Don’t stress too much about the appearance of your blog.
If you want to make money as quickly as possible, you need to start writing and promoting your content ASAP!
You can always change your blog’s theme and appearance later on (and pay someone else to do it once your blog starts making money if you want!).
Remember that your content is the most important thing about blogging.
Your readers won’t care so much what your site looks like as long as you have great content.
Now, it’s time to celebrate because you just started your own WordPress blog!
To get started blogging, you can write a post to introduce yourself and explain your motivation for starting a blog.
Remember, blogging to make money is about what you can do for your audience – WIIFM – What’s in it for me (i.e. your readers)? Give them value from reading your blog.
Give them advice and tips to make their lives better.
Everyone is looking for how to live their lives to the fullest – how to make more money, save money, lose weight, be happier, healthier, etc.
That will be your job as a blogger – to help your readers hack this thing we call life!
Wasn’t that easy?! And it didn’t take much money either.
It should have been around $8-$10 to buy the domain from Namecheap for the whole year and $11.99 a month for hosting if you opted for Lyrical Hosting.
Not bad, right?
I hope my instructions for How to Start a WordPress Blog on a Dime was helpful for you.
Blogging may seem like a daunting task, but if you work on your blog consistently, you will be surprised at how far you can come in just a few months.
It takes time, but it can be so worth it if you’re willing to put in the work.
So good luck to you in your blogging endeavors, and feel free to contact me below with any comments or questions!
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease.
Ads provided by Mediavine, Inc. Displayed ads do not constitute endorsement or recommendation by Sarah Blooms.
© 2017-2021 · SARAH BLOOMS | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED