Have you been wondering how to start a blog?
If you’re anything like me, the idea of starting your own blog and making money from home sounds like a dream come true!
I’m not sure what your reasons are for dreaming of such a thing. Maybe you hate working your 9-5 or perhaps you’ve been reading blogger income reports and would love to spend half the time you already do working, but make twice (or 3x, or 4x, or…) the money.
When I laid my eyes on an income report for the first time, I was shocked. I had no idea that a blog could generate money. I was especially shocked by just how much money some blogs bring in.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my disclaimer.
I was, and still am, a stay-at-home mom. Although my family’s financial situation has improved since I started A Frugal Desteny, I won’t walk away from this blog.
There are so many ways to bring in money as a blogger. All it takes is time and a little creativity.
Here are the first 5 steps you need to take if you want to get your blog up and running today:
PICK YOUR NICHE
You’ve gotta figure out what you want to write about. If you’re in this to make money, you need to take that into consideration, too.
I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half now and I’ve come to realize not every niche is created equal when it comes to making money.
There are tons of reasons why a blog isn’t profitable, but one of those reasons could easily be a poor choice of niche.
Sure, you need to be able to write about something you know you want to write about, but you need to take your audience into consideration.
Odds are, you’ll have the best chance of creating a profitable blog if you choose one of these niches:
- Finance – How to make and/or save money.
- Food – Everyone loves a good recipe.
- Lifestyle – Something specific, like gardening or homesteading.
- Relationships & Personal Development – TONS of people are trying to better their lives and relationships.
- Health & Fitness – Have you noticed a recent increase in these kinds of blogs? Because I have.
- Blogging – Some of the most successful bloggers blog about blogging.
Granted, these topics aren’t the only ones that can make money. They are, however, hot topics right now. People are more interested in these 6 niches than the random blogs about knitting or dog training.
I believe every single blog has the potential to make money, given the owner does what it takes to get it there. Your job is definitely simplified if you pick a popular topic, though.
IT’S ALL IN THE NAME
The next step is picking your domain name.
I chose A Frugal Desteny as a play off my first name. When I started my blog, I chose the finance niche while targeting stay-at-home moms like myself. The main post topics I had in mind revolved around inexpensive recipes, cheap DIY, saving money, and making money from home.
I recommend jotting down every single domain name idea that comes to mind. Then you can type it in here and find out if it’s available:
If you’re in love with a name & it’s available, go ahead and get it! If you still aren’t sure, ask a friend or family member. An outsider’s opinion can be very helpful. I had both my sister-in-law and husband help me pick my name.
CHOOSE YOUR HOSTING PLAN
A web host allows your website to be accessible on the internet. When you sign up for a hosting service, you are either renting or purchasing space on a server.
Good web hosts offer other services, too, like extra security, an email address to match your blog and website backup options. Some of these features are free, some cost extra money. It all depends on what web host you choose to use.
I personally use Bluehost. I chose this company because a lot of bloggers talked them up and they also offered the lowest priced plan I could find. Bluehost offers a full refund if you cancel before your plan is up, too. So, say you sign up for the 36-month plan to get the best discount, but decide blogging isn’t for you after a year (something I was definitely scared would happen). Bluehost refunds you for the 2 unused years that you paid for.
A lot of people say bad things about Bluehost, but I have yet to have a problem with them. They’ve solved all of my problems and answered all of my questions quickly.
Now for SiteGround. I’ve never used them, but I have heard a ton of good things about them. The two things that stand out to me:
- Better website speed – Some bloggers swear their website speed improved when they switched from Bluehost to SiteGround.
- Better for heavy traffic – I’ve heard horror stories of bloggers who use Bluehost having a post go viral. A ton of people flood their blog and it crashes. It’s even worse when you find out that this blogger wasn’t backing up their blog so they lost a lot, if not all, of their content.
If you backup your content (which everyone should do no matter their hosting service), I don’t see a problem with using Bluehost when you’re a newbie.
Bluehost is $1 a month cheaper than SiteGround when you sign up for their 36-month plan. I don’t know about you, but as a SAHM living on a single income, I wanted to save every dollar I could.
I have to admit, though, when my hosting with Bluehost ends in 2019, I plan to switch to a different hosting company. Of course, I’m also assuming that by that time my website will be receiving more traffic and I could use a boost in speed.
If Bluehost is the route you want to go, as I did, here’s how it works:
HEAD OVER TO BLUEHOST.COM
This is what you’ll see when you get to Bluehost.com. Click on the “get started now” button.
The best option for new bloggers is the basic package. Sure, all the extras offered with the plus and prime packages would be awesome, but they really aren’t necessary when you’re first starting out.
Plus, if later on down the road you decide you need some of the extra features, you can always upgrade your plan.
This is the part where you get to claim dibs on that domain name you are (hopefully) super excited to use. Type it in here.
There are a few steps on the next page. First, you share all of your contact information.
Next they ask what you want included in your package.
They have multiple options in the account plan tab, but the 36 month price is the best deal.
Don’t sweat the rest of the options. You can add them if you really want, but they aren’t a necessity.
I’ll be honest with you, though. I did sign up for Site Backup Pro and Domain Privacy Protection straight out the gate. Both were important to me at the time.
The last step on this page is to give them your payment information. Once you’ve finished that, pat yourself on the back! You officially have your very own hosting service!
Bluehost gives you your username and password. Then you can log in to your new Bluehost account.
This is what your dashboard will look like. All you need to do to get your blog started is click “Install WordPress”.
Bluehost then walks you through the steps to get WordPress up and running on your new website.
You will have to create a new username and password for your blog. This username and password are separate from your Bluehost account and can only be used to login to your WordPress blog.
To access your WordPress blog, use this URL:
Click on the login link and enter your username and password.
CHOOSE YOUR THEME
You’re almost there! The last thing you need to do before you can start posting is choose a blog theme.
Now, bare with me through these screenshots. I’m using shots from my own blog and it will look a bit different from yours. I have plugins and themes installed that you won’t have on your blog yet. For the most part, your blog will look very similar to mine, though.
On your left sidebar, there will be a tab called “Appearance”. Click on “Themes”.
There should only be one theme currently installed on your blog. To find new ones, click “Add New Theme”.
Once you’ve done this, WordPress will take you to a screen where you can preview and install thousands of free themes.
When you find one you like, WordPress will allow you to customize it. How much you can customize a free theme varies from theme to theme.
WRITE YOUR FIRST POST!
You’ve chosen a niche and name, purchased your hosting, installed WordPress and now you are finally ready you write your first blog post.
At the top of WordPress, you’ll find a tab that says “New”. Click on it.
The above picture shows you what the next screen will look like, for the most part.
This is where you get to write your posts, save them, schedule them, and publish them to your blog.
Soon this screen will become one of your best friends!
Once you’ve completed these 5 steps, there are about a million other tasks to do if you want your blog to be profitable. The most important one, though, is QUALITY CONTENT.
Without quality content, you’re nothing. Now, you don’t have to be some amazing author to have a successful blog. Heck, I’ve seen successful bloggers with posts filled with typos!
What I mean by quality content is that you have to write posts people want to read.
It might be important to you, but nobody else really cares about your son’s first loose tooth or your husband’s promotion. Stuff like that can be used for social media updates, however, they really don’t need to be on your blog unless you’re giving other moms ideas about what to do with teeth once their kid loses one or sharing your husband’s tips and tricks to getting a promotion.
When you write your blog posts, you have to think about it from your reader’s perspective. And your reader is selfish! They aren’t going to read what you have to write unless there’s something in it for them.
Keep that in mind and you’ll be one step closer to becoming the successful blogger you dream of being!