How Blogging Replaced My Day Job
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I first started blogging close to four years ago. I had just quit my job as a stockbroker to help my wife run our growing business. Having spent nearly 15 years in the financial services industry I missed talking to people about money so I started a blog.
I’ll let you in a secret. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I came up with a name I liked, bought the domain on GoDaddy and got started. Fast-forward four years and blogging has changed my life.
So much so in fact, I’ve more than replaced my income that I lost when I left my former day job. I regularly get asked how to start a blog or how to make money blogging. It’s not that difficult. In fact, it’s relatively simple. If I can do it then I know you can too. Below, I’ll share the steps you need to take to start a blog.
My Blogging History
Starting a blog is one of the best decisions I’ve made – both professionally and personally. I’ve been able to take advantage of opportunities I never thought were possible. It has allowed me the freedom to work the schedule I want with the companies I like. I love working for myself, and blogging is a great way to do just that.
It may sound too good to be true. It’s not. I’ve more than tripled my income through blogging through things like freelance writing, consulting and affiliate advertising. There are many resources to help you start with any of those, especially affiliate marketing. I can’t recommend my friend Michelle’s course on affiliate marketing enough – she makes over $50,000 per month all thanks to affiliate advertising. If you’re interested in learning how to make money with affiliate marketing, check out the course.
Mind you, this did not take place overnight. Many who start a blog will give up after a couple of months because money doesn’t instantly fall from the heavens. However, if you put in the work and time, you can make significant money through a simple blog.
You may not know what to blog about. Find an interest and go after it. For me it was personal finance. There are many other blogging niches out there – parenting, fashion, sports and interior design just to name a few. Whatever it is, find a niche you enjoy and have fun with it. If it’s not fun you won’t want to stick with it over the long haul. That being said, if you pick something you enjoy and put in some effort your website can change your life.
Start A Blog By Following These Steps
A blog can be a great hobby and a fun past time. Starting a blog, however, can be overwhelming. I had no idea where to start when I started my blog. I’m not technically inclined. I had never done work online in the past and had no idea how to even work online.
We had a good family friend who was supporting her family with a website and figured if she could do it then I could as well. With that, I started my blog. Before you start a website, there is a lot that needs to go on behind the scenes.
I made mistakes on some of them, but I did not let that intimidate me. Instead, I learned what I could and got some great help. Don’t let the details overwhelm you. Trust me, if I can start a blog, keep it online and make money at it you can too. Let’s move on to how to start a money making blog.
Know What You Want to Write About
This is likely the most important aspect of starting a blog. You want to write about something you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it you’ll get bored and frustrated awfully quickly.
There’s a fine line to walk when you choose a blogging niche. You want something broad enough that will attract readers but you want it focused enough to have a good connection with your main audience.
Don’t feel like you need to know exactly what you want to talk about. I just knew I wanted to talk about money and very little from there. Many other successful bloggers didn’t have a laser focus niche when they started either. The moral of the story is to find something you enjoy but don’t give in to paralysis by analysis. The important part is to start and build it along the way – that’s what I did and it worked quite well.
#1 Name Your Blog
There’s a lot of debate over what or how to name your blog. You can be as simple as naming it after yourself or, assuming you have a brand identity in mind, you name it something else that might be search engine friendly.
I chose not to go with the personal approach as I wanted to create a brand. After some thought I came up with the name Frugal Rules. I felt it was catchy enough, obviously discussing frugality to a certain extent but not bound by simply frugality.
Again, whatever it is you choose make sure it’s something you like. Make sure it works with your personality or a created personality if you choose to go with a pen name.
#2 Register the Domain
Ok, so you’ve spent a few days thinking over some domains you might like to try but where do you start? It’s actually quite simple. You want to make sure the domain names you’re thinking of are available for purchase.
The best way to see if a domain is available is through GoDaddy. You simply type in the domain ideas you have in mind and hit “Enter.” GoDaddy will tell you if the site name is taken or not. Assuming it’s not, you can generally buy the name for $12 or less for the first year – though they commonly run specials so I’d make sure to get it for as cheap as possible.
If the site name is available it makes a lot of sense to buy it as soon as you can – especially if you plan to make money blogging. The last thing you want is to wait around or not search and find out the name is already taken.
I will add one note. If you plan on taking blogging seriously you want to get a custom domain name. It’s more professional and will help you with search engines. If you want to make money blogging, both are very important to keep in mind.
#3 Choose A Host
Once you buy your domain name, you want to choose a host. Before I discuss how to choose a host let me say something.
You can either use a free blogging platform, like Blogger or go self-hosted. If you go with a free platform you’ll hinder your efforts to make money blogging. Not only will you not own your content in most cases, you’re also severely restricted from advertising. You want to make money blogging so you want to go the self-hosted route.
The best self-hosted option for beginning bloggers is Bluehost. There are several reasons for that, such as:
- If you sign up through my link you get hosting for $2.95 per month. That’s extremely cheap.
- Free domain name. You get a free domain name when you sign up through my link.
- One-click installation. If you’re not technically inclined, Bluehost allows you to install WordPress (the platform you need to use if you self-host) with one simple click.
- 24/7 Support. Let’s face it, a blog lives online 24 hours a day. If you need help with a problem, they’re there 24 hours per day.
- Generous refund policy. If you choose to cancel within the first 30 days, you get a full refund. Bluehost will pro-rate it after 30 days for the remainder of your term.
#4 Open Your Bluehost Account
Ok, now we know that going self-hosted is the best way to make money blogging. You’ve chosen to host through Bluehost, but how do you start? Here’s how to open your account with Bluehost:
Go to Bluehost and click “Get Started Now”
Select your hosting plan.
You will see three different options. If you’re new to blogging, you will be just fine with the $2.95 option.
Get your free domain.
Remember that when you sign up through my link you get a free domain name with Bluehost. If you don’t have a domain name, simply input it. If you already have one, select the “Transfer Domain” option.
From there you simply add in your billing information and you’re good to go.
It may feel like we’re wading in the weeds here. We’re not. Remember, if you signed up through Bluehost, they allow you to connect your site with one click. Here’s how you do it. You select “Hosting” and then “cPanel.”
This will take you to another page. You will want to look for a tab that says “website builders” and select “Install WordPress.” You click on that button and it takes care of everything for you so you have a live blog.
It will ask you to set up a user name and password. Please, please, please don’t use “admin” as the user name. Select something that’s unique as that will protect your site from hackers. Once you’re done, you’ve got an honest to goodness blog.
Blogging Tips for Beginners
As I shared in the beginning, I’ve been able to more than replace my income from my former day job through blogging. Keep in mind, I have five people in my family. This is not to toot my own horn, but to say that you can make money blogging – good money at that. If I can do it, so can you. Here are some things to keep in mind as you start a money making blog:
- Don’t be a hermit. If you tell no one about your website, no one will come to it. As such, you want to get your name out there as much as possible. Connect with other bloggers in your niche. Answer questions from readers. Reach out to companies you like to see if they’re interested in working with you. All of those activities have the potential to help you grow your blog.
- Commit to a specific period of time. I told myself that if I couldn’t make money within a year I would have to try something else. Guess what, I’m still here fours years later. If you don’t commit to a specific time period you’ll be more inclined to give up when things don’t go as you like.
- Make a plan. I’m a bit neurotic and schedule posts out at least six months in advance. You don’t have to do quite that much, but you never know what will happen in life. Planning ahead will help you avoid scheduling conflicts – not to mention catching seasonal events that might be beneficial from a monetization standpoint.
There are many other tips to consider though this will give you a good start. Just remember that if you want to make money blogging – it is possible if you put in the work and have an idea you want to share with others.
Remember: If you want to start a blog, you can get hosting for $2.95 per month plus a free domain name through my Bluehost link. If you want to make money blogging, self-hosted is the best, most reliable and most professional way to do it.
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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