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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! 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. Keep reading to learn 7 Easy Steps to Start a Money Making Blog, and be sure to check out 20 Side Hustles You Can Start Today for more amazing money making ideas!
Why Should You Start a Blog?
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? These are all valid reasons to start a blog. Here are the Top 5 Benefits of Starting a Blog that may motivate you to start one, too:
- You want to use blogging as a side hustle to make some extra money while keeping your day job.
- You want to quit your boring 9-5 job to make blogging your full time gig. Yes, this is actually possible! There are loads of income reports out there to show that blogging really can bring in some fantastic income.
- You want to learn more about a topic that interests you. You don’t have to be an expert on a subject to blog about it! If there’s a topic you’d like to learn more about, there’s no better way to do that than to research and write for your blog. Plus, you get to share what you’ve learned to help other people – it doesn’t get much better than that!
- You want to express yourself and share your story. You can use blogging to share your story and life experiences with your audience. Just be careful with this. If you want a profitable blog, you may have to limit talking about yourself until you become more established.
- You want to meet new people. Blogging is an excellent way to connect with new people! The Internet can reach people all over the world. All you have to do is reach out!
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!
How to Start a Money Making Blog in Minutes
In this tutorial, I’ll be teaching you exactly how to start your WordPress site in about 30 minutes or less in just 7 easy steps:
- Pick a Topic
- Choose a Blogging Platform
- Get a Domain Name
- Get Hosting
- Pick a Theme
- Start Blogging
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!
1. Pick a Topic
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):
- How to Make Money
- Personal Finance
- Health and Fitness
- Beauty and Fashion
- Personal Development
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 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’re 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.
2. Choose a Blogging Platform
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. sarahblooms.blogspot.com), which may mean your audience won’t take you seriously, which, of course, will negatively impact 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 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 site totally on my own with zero experience, so, 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.
3. Get a Domain Name
In case you don’t know, a domain name is your web address, like SarahBlooms.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 with 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. Plus, I’ve had the SarahBlooms.com address through them for almost a year. I have no complaints, and their customer service has been phenomenal!
BUY A DOMAIN
To buy a domain, you first have to see if your desired web address is available. Spoiler alert: it most likely isn’t. You’ll probably have to type in 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!
4. Get Hosting
WHY I DON’T RECOMMEND BLUEHOST
Many bloggers recommend Bluehost hosting service, but I definitely don’t. Why? I tried Bluehost, and I didn’t like it. 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, but it takes forever to connect with anyone, and they aren’t very helpful once you do finally get to talk to a real person.
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. Is Bluehost really right for you, or is it just a great way for other bloggers to make money from your clicks whether they use the Bluehost service or not?
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. Smaller companies offer better service at great prices and are far more reliable and trustworthy.
BETTER HOSTING COMPANIES – WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
SITEGROUND — PERFECT FOR MOST BLOGGERS + BUDGETS
Siteground is quickly becoming the most popular hosting company for bloggers. Their web hosting is affordable, reliable, and fast, and their customer service is fantastic – support is available 24/7, and max wait time is just 10 minutes! Siteground offers three hosting plans. The StartUp plan (the cheapest) is perfect for beginners. You can easily upgrade your plan later as your blog grows.
You can also purchase your domain name through Siteground if you’d like, but it costs $15.95/year, so it’s a little more expensive than Namecheap.
Bottom Line: Siteground is a reliable and affordable hosting company that will grow with you.
StudioPress.com offers premium, worry-free hosting for $24 per month when you pay annually ($297/year) or $27 per month when you pay monthly. That may sound like a lot of money when Bluehost offers $2.65/month, but BlueHost’s pricing is only that low when you pay for 36 months at a time. 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, it would have cost me more than $27 per month! StudioPress hosting has security and reliability that can’t be beat. You just set up your website and let them worry about the rest!
- Better Security. Security isn’t much of a concern when you start out, but once your site takes off, you’ll be glad to have the best security around to combat malware, DoS attacks, and more.
- Speed. Speed is so important when you have a website. How many of you have left a site because it wasn’t loading fast enough? Fast load times can mean users stay on your site longer, which means better revenue for you!
- Worry Free Site Management. StudioPress does all the boring site work for you! With automatic WordPress updates and website backups, you don’t have to worry about downtime – StudioPress will keep your site up and running, so you can focus on writing content for your blog.
- 24 Genesis WordPress Themes Included FREE! StudioPress
PRO TIP 1: If you want to buy one of the 24 Genesis WordPress Themes StudioPress Sites offers for free with a hosting subscription, get StudioPress hosting first, so you can try out the theme before dropping $130 just to find out you don’t like their theme. You can always move your website to a new host later.
This almost happened to me. When I was first setting up SarahBlooms.com, I feel in love with the Foodie Pro Genesis Theme and was all ready to spend $130 to buy it. Then, I discovered StudioPress Sites hosting and found out I could use Foodie Pro for free with their hosting service. Turns out, Foodie Pro wasn’t what I was looking for after all, and I ended up buying a much cheaper WordPress theme (Soledad) I like much better! More on that later.
PRO TIP 2: Why are Genesis themes so expensive? You have to buy the Genesis Framework and the theme you like (e.g. Foodie Pro) 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.
Bottom Line: StudioPress Sites is the perfect hosting for someone who can afford to pay a little more for hands off convenience and peace of mind.
This step isn’t required, but I definitely recommend it. 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 users and Google that your site is legitimate and safe. This is especially important if you plan to sell products to your readers through your site or plan to set up an email list of subscribers (you definitely want to do this with a money making blog).
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 StudioPress Sites and Siteground, and their customer support will activate it for you, too.
5. Install WordPress
StudioPress hosting is compatible only with WordPress.org themes, so you don’t need to download WordPress – it’s already on there for you. Siteground support can download WordPress for you if you prefer. However, installing WordPress isn’t hard by any means, so don’t let that be a deterrent for you. Most other hosts, including Siteground, 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.” Just click that install button, fill in your information, and you’re good to go. At this time, 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.
Once you download WordPress, you can type in your domain address and see that your site is up and running! In order to make any changes to your site, you’ll need to access the Admin Area, which you will find at https://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin. For instance, I can access my Admin Area for my new site, Honey + Hen at https://honeyandhen.com/wp-admin. Then, type in the username and password you created when you downloaded WordPress to log in.
6. Pick a Theme
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).
FREE VS. PAID WORDPRESS THEMES
If you’re going to use a free WordPress theme, please only use the official free themes available at WordPress.org. These themes will also 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.
For SarahBlooms.com and HoneyandHen.com, I use the Soledad Theme (just $59) from PenciDesign. I love this theme because you can customize the look of your site in so many different ways. Soledad has a bunch of Demos you can choose from to get the look you want, so the Soledad Theme is really like having a lot of themes for one low price! Check out the Soledad Demos here to see what I mean.
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.
INSTALL YOUR PREMIUM THEME
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 included in your theme package.
Just about every theme is different, but I know for the Soledad theme, you’ll now have to choose the demo you want to use. To do this, go to Admin Area < Install Plugins. Install all the recommended plugins for the Soledad theme. If you find that you don’t use some of the plugins (e.g. MailChimp), you can always deactivate them and delete them later. Make sure to go to Plugins and activate the Penci Soledad Demo Importer. Then, go to Appearance < Import Demo Data to import the demo you want to use.
PRO TIP 1: Some themes (like Genesis Foodie Pro) won’t look like the demo when you upload it to your site, so you’ll have to figure out how to customize your theme if you want your site to look like the demo. StudioPress themes offer online tutorials (i.e. here’s the Foodie Pro tutorial).
The Soledad theme will make your site look like the demo immediately, but you’ll still have to do some customizing if you want to change your site’s colors or other features. In your WordPress Admin Area, click Appearance < Customize, and play with the different settings to see what they do. If you get the Soledad theme, their Online Installation Guide is super helpful!
PRO TIP 2: 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.
7. Start Blogging
Now, you’re good to go! To get started, 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? What’s in it for 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!
I would love to hear from you!
I hope this post on 7 Easy Steps to Start a Money Making Blog was helpful for you. It may not seem like the easiest tutorial, but I assure you it really is. Once you start to set up your site, you’ll realize it all comes together. 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 or via my Contact Form with any comments or questions!