I started blogging close to five years ago. I had no clue what I was doing, how to start a blog or anything else – in short, it’d be generous to call me a beginner. Fast forward nearly five years, and I’ve more than replaced the income from my day job through this blog and run a business from home with my wife.
My story isn’t that unique; the Internet is full of people who make good money through a website. If you’d like to start a blog but don’t know where to begin this post will give you the tips and strategies needed to grow your own profitable blog.
Decide the Theme of the Blog
There are countless areas you can focus on with a blog. I chose personal finance because I love helping people with their money and have a background in finance. There are many other blogging niches, from travel to mommy blogs, to faith-based and more.
You want to find something you’re passionate about for your blog. Blogging takes a lot of time and work, and if your heart isn’t in it, then it will get old very quickly.
I’ll also caution you not to take too much time analyzing the focus of your blog. Yes, you do want it to be something you care about, but the last thing you want is to overanalyze it and do nothing. Half the beauty of blogging is that it’s your website so you can make it whatever you want as it grows.
Start Your Blog
Now that you’ve decided on a topic to cover, it’s time to get down to the technical aspect of starting a blog. I know that sounds overwhelming. It’s not. If I can start a blog and be profitable, you can as well – here’s my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog to help you through the process.
Thankfully, there are resources available that help you start your blog. I’ll break down how those resources work below:
Decide on a Domain Name: This is the name of your website. You can choose whatever you want, so long as it’s not already being used by someone else. You will want to use GoDaddy to buy your domain name. They’re the most well-known domain broker in the industry and have great pricing.
Choose A Host: Now that you have the name of your site, you need a host. You have two options – self-hosted or a free hosting platform like Blogger. I know you think the free option is better; it’s not. If you have any plans on making money from your blog, you need to go the self-hosted route.
Thankfully, the self-hosted option is relatively cheap and, in some cases, they can even help you set up your site. The best option for new bloggers is Bluehost. There are several reasons for that:
- Bluehost costs $2.95 per month when you sign up through my link. That’s extremely cheap.
- 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.
Once you sign up for Bluehost, your site is set up with just a few clicks. 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 a new blogger, you will be fine with the $2.95 per month plan.
While you can get your domain name through GoDaddy, you get a free domain name with Bluehost when you signup through my link. 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 to the next step – connecting WordPress.
It may feel like we’re wading in the weeds here. We’re not. When you sign 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.
Other Beginner Blogging Tips
Starting a blog and getting it up and running is just a small part of the battle. If you want to make money blogging, or simply grow your blog, there are many other blogging tips to keep in mind.
Many of these were ones I learned over time, or the hard way when I was first starting out. Keep in mind that blogging should be fun, and it’s your site, so you’re the one in control. That being said, following are some blogging tips to keep in mind when you’re a beginner, and you want to grow your blog:
- Have a consistent posting schedule. You don’t want to make readers guess when you’ll post. You want them to know what to expect. Having a consistent schedule will bring readers back. It doesn’t matter if you have a new post once a week, or everyday, it’s your site after all, but make sure it’s consistent.
- Comment on other blogs. Commenting on other blogs has multiple benefits. It helps you build relationships with other bloggers. It also helps get your name out to other blog readers. There’s no magic number, but the more you comment, the more it gets your name out there.
- Reach out to other bloggers. I know it might seem that other bloggers are your competition. They’re not. Think of reaching out to other bloggers as networking. You never know how you might be able to help each other down the road and you will meet some genuinely nice people. I’ve made some great friends through reaching out to and working with other bloggers.
- Backup your site. This is a must follow in my opinion. There are many spammers out there, and you never know what one might be able to do, not to mention anything else that can go wrong with a site. The last thing you want is for your site to get hacked and have no backup of the site. Thankfully there are plugins, like Backup Buddy, that simplify this for you, so you don’t have to do anything too technical.
- Respond to comments. If you want to build a community, this is very important, especially as you begin. No matter how long or short the comment, you should respond so the person. Not doing so makes it easy for the person think you’re ignoring them and they’ll be less likely to come back. This doesn’t mean you have to respond the moment a comment comes through, but it is important to be timely.
By following some of these tips, you’ll be surprised at how your site grows, giving you more opportunities down the road.
Ways to Make Money Blogging
When I explain to friends and family members that I make money blogging, they give me a confused look not understanding how it works. In reality, I earn my income through blogging, and many other bloggers do.
Personally speaking, I was able to leave my job thanks to my blog as I was able to replace my income. It didn’t happen overnight, as it took time and effort to grow my site, but it is possible to make money blogging. Here are some of the ways:
- Display advertising. This is one of the most common ways bloggers make money. If you’ve spent any time on the web, you’ve likely seen display ads. Many companies use this as another way to advertise their products. Google AdSense and Media.Net are examples of display ad companies you can work with to earn money.
- Affiliate advertising. Affiliate advertising is one of the best ways to make money blogging. You promote products you like on your site – such as something from Amazon, a banking product or something else and when a person uses your link to buy the product you get a small commission. My friend Michelle makes over $50,000 per month just through affiliate marketing. If you want to start with affiliate advertising and learn some of her best tips to make money from affiliate marketing, sign up for her course to get started.
- Freelance writing. One of the best parts of a blog is that it serves as a portfolio of your writing talent. If you like to write, it’s possible you can make money from freelance writing for blogs or companies. My wife and I both freelance write on the side and make decent money from it. If you want to make money freelance writing, sign up for my friend Holly’s course – Earn More Writing.
- Public speaking. If you like to speak publicly and feel passionate about a certain topic you can use your blog as a means to make money from speaking. This will admittedly take some time to grow into a role like this, but you can make great money from giving talks.
There are many other ways to make money blogging; the above list only scratches the surface.
There’s been a lot in this post. Just remember one thing, blogging should be fun. You get to make what you want of it, and if you put some time and work into your site, it’s possible you can even make money from your blog.