So you are thinking of starting a blog?
I think for most people starting a blog seems like the absolute dream job. No boss to answer to, no annoying co-workers and no getting up before the sun is out! I always pictured big bloggers sitting on a beach on some tropical island, drinking a Margarita with their laptop in their lap. Just truly enjoying life.
Now before you get to Margaritas and tanned legs, you have to first get started! Starting a Blog seems like a scary task. What if I won’t make any money off it? What if nobody wants to read my blog? What if people laugh at my bad English skills?(That was my number one concern.) Well, I think if you never try how will you ever know?
What if you make $100 a month for your first-month blogging? What if you make a $1000 in your third month? What if you are able to quit your full-time job within 9 months of starting? The only way to find out is to just dive right into it and see where it takes you! If you still think you are ready to start a blog keep reading!
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosures policy for more info.
Related: My First Month Blog Income Report – February 2018
Related: My Second Month Blog Income Report – March 2018
How to start a blog and make money online?
Step 1. Think about what you would like your blog to be about
Forget about people preaching you that you will only ever succeed if you choose a small niche in blogging. I think when you are just starting out the best thing to do is not to narrow down your focus too much. Picking a small niche might limit you from expanding in the future and I think the main problem is you might get bored of the topic very quickly and stop blogging altogether.
Now saying that you don’t want to make your blog too confusing at the same time. Your audience might get confused if there is 30 different topics being discussed but no real focus on any one of those topics.
The best thing to do is to still choose a niche but a really broad one. Popular choices of board niches include:
Lifestyle – anything from travel, home decor, organization, life tips and homesteading to DIY projects.
Health and Fitness – anything from recipes, workout ideas and supplement reviews to weight loss diets.
Parenting – or a mom blog, anything from kids, education, recipes to crafts.
If you choose a broad niche you can always narrow it down once your blog progresses and you find out what your target audience likes to read about.
Step 2. Decide on a Name for your Blog and Domain
What is a domain name?
Domain name is the address for your blog or website. It is the link you type into your search bar and is used to find your site all over the web. Think of it as a street address for your blog.
Choosing a good Domain name is an extremely important step and it is very hard and frustrating to change it if you decide you don’t like it anymore in a few years time. You may risk losing traffic and having broken links.
So just make sure you choose something that will stick with you for a long time! But don’t make the mistake I made of postponing the start of my blog for months because I wanted to get my name just right!
I wrote a handy guide on How to Choose the Best Name for Your New Blog. Have a look for more tips on choosing a domain name.
Your best bet is to buy the Domain name together with the hosting as that offers you the best price. Bluehost actually gives you a completely free domain name with the purchase of 12 months or more of web hosting.
If you already have a few ideas in mind, you can use this handy tool to check if your chosen name is available. If your desired name isn’t available, this tool will give you other suggestions on similar names that are available!
Step 3. Choosing a Web Host
What is web hosting?
Anyone who wants to start a blog needs web hosting. Now if you think of your domain as your street address on the internet, think of your web host as the landlord you rent the space to keep your blog uploaded online.
A web host stores all your data and ensures it is kept online and visible to everyone.
Now you can choose to pay nothing upfront and go with free hosting but keep in mind that with free hosting you aren’t going to be making any money from your blog. Free hosted blogs are the ones that have those long awkward names like butterfliesandpuppies.blogspot.com.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t go free hosted
You will not be able to monetize your blog (Affiliate links and Ads are banned from free hosted sites)
You can’t really customize your blog
No brand is going to want to work with a free hosted blog (Harsh but true!)
You will have an awkward and ugly long domain name and URL with .blogspot in it
and the main reason why you shouldn’t go with free hosting
You will not own any of your content in other words – someone else is controlling your blog and using your posts
So in conclusion, going free hosted is only good if you do not want to make any money from your blog and just want to blog for a hobby.
If you are serious about starting a Blog and actually making some money from it the best thing to do is going self-hosted!
There are a ton of web hosting options available but the biggest and the most affordable one by far is Bluehost.
The main reasons I chose to go with Bluehost as my Web host is:
1.They are extremely affordable
When I was looking at plans for web hosts, I could not find anything as affordable as Bluehost is. And trust me, I compared it to ALL the hosts out there. (if you use my special affiliate link, you will receive the special price of $3.95/month plus a free domain name!)I mean you can’t really beat the $3.95/month price. That is literally how much I pay for my cup of coffee every day so I barely even notice it.
2.They are the #1 WordPress.org recommended hosting company
WordPress is the software that powers over 29% of all the websites in the world so it is safe to say that they are absolutely massive! And if they have such strong faith in Bluehost that they named it as their #1 recommended hosting company, I knew that I could feel pretty confident in choosing them.
3.They have 24/7 support
I used this, heavily when I was first setting up my blog. I did not use any guides so I messed up quite a bit but Bluehost was always there with their Live Chat to help me out. Honestly, I can’t thank them enough for helping me out so much as without the help at the time I would have probably just called it quits on this blogging thing!
4.a 30 day Money Back Guarantee
This was the ultimate selling point for me. I actually used this money back guarantee when I first started a blog(a different one not this one) which was just the dumbest little blog about blood cells. I wanted to make a niche site but I called quits on it before I even published my first post as I realized I have no passion whatsoever about that topic. I emailed Bluehost and within 1 day I received the full amount I had paid back in my account! No questions asked! So even if you really feel that blogging isn’t for you, you can still give it a try and just ask for your money back if you aren’t happy!
4.Sign up for a Hosting Plan
Go on the bluehost website
Press the big green Get Started Now button (It is hard to miss!)
Choose your plan. I went with the Basic plan and I am totally happy with it. I think if you are just starting out there is no need to go above anything but the Basic!
Choose your complimentary free Domain. If you still not 100000% sure on this one, don’t worry, you can choose one later on!
Next, you have to fill out your information and payment details. You also get an option of choosing any extras you want to add to your plan. The only one I recommend adding is the Domain Privacy Protection as it protects your personal information. But again it is not absolutely necessary if you are on a budget!
You will also get the option of choosing either 12 or 36-month plan. I went with the 36 months one because I want to make sure I have the best price locked in, in case the price goes up in the future! Just so you know, you will be charged the full 12 or 36-month plan price upfront, but don’t stress so much. Remember, you will always have the refund option if you aren’t satisfied with the product!
You have successfully created your account! YAY! Now make sure you choose a strong password with a mix of letters numbers and punctations so it will be impossible to crack! Bluehost will let you know if your password is good enough or not!
5.Choosing a Theme
Now that you have your hosting account, you are ready to start blogging! But before you do that you want to make your blog look pretty!
After registering on Bluehost, you will be prompted to a page with 15 different themes to choose from. All these themes are free but honestly, didn’t like any of them so I chose to purchase a theme. But if you are just getting started, you can choose a free theme to get going.
The theme I use on my blog is this one!
6.Start posting Content
Now that you have your brand new blog you are ready to get going and start writing your first blog posts!
It is a bit intimidating, I know! When I first started this blog it sat completely empty for the first few weeks because I wasn’t sure what to write about. If you feel stuck on publishing your first blog posts check my guide on how to write your first 5 blog posts
7. Gain Traffic to your blog
It is all fun to publish blog posts but it no one is there to read them you will soon lose motivation to keep writing them! You will not gain traffic if you don’t promote your blog and content. Google search engine takes 6 months to take notice of your new blog. That’s a long time! Aint nobody got time to wait for 6 months for traffic to come.
Read more on how I managed to gain over 15 000 page views in my first month blogging
So what can you do to gain traffic even as a brand new blogger with no social following?
I absolutely love Pinterest. It is amazing for gaining traffic. Pinterest acts as a search engine, but a visual one. All you really need to do to promote your blog and your content is to make a nice Pin for it and publish it on Pinterest.
The nice thing about Pinterest is that the Pins will keep circulating on there for-ev-er so it is very passive once you have plenty of Pins set up. I am writing a post on How to make Pins that keep people coming back to your blog in a few weeks so stay tuned for that!
Also, if you are starting a blog as a side hustle and still work in your 9-5 job, you may notice how hard it is to stay on top of Pinning consistently. Well, there’s a perfect solution to this! Tailwind. Basically, Tailwind does all the hard work of Pinning for you. It Pins for you round the clock and helps you achieve amazing reach and promote your content for free. Tailwind is a Pinterest approved app and you won’t get in any trouble for using it! This tool seriously helped me gain so much traffic and I recommend it with 1000% certainty. If you click on my link and you can try 1 month of Tailwind out for free to see if you love it too!
8.Monetize your brand new blog!
This is the most fun part of this whole guide. By the way thanks for actually sticking around through all this I know it is a very long post!
Many people will tell you that you can’t make money with a new blog. Well, I call BS on that! (In fact, I have already made a little bit of $ and I am only a couple weeks in! Look forward to an Income Report as soon as the month is over!)
Ps. If you need more help in monetizing your blog, check out my guide on how to start monetizing your blog as a beginner!
There are a few ways you can start monetizing your new blog
This is probably the easiest one to get started with. All you need to do is apply for Media.net to start earning totally passive income with your blog. I personally have chosen not to run advertisements on my blog for personal reasons. But I believe it is beneficial if you are looking to quickly recoup the cost of starting a blog. Getting started with Media.net is super easy and they accept pretty much anyone. Once you get accepted you can design your ads and put them on your site to start earning money as soon as possible! Join Media.net here and receive a 10% boost to your ad income for the first 3 months!
You can get started with pitching out to brands with even a small amount of audience. At first, you may be offered products in return for you posting about them, but once you have built a bigger audience you can get paid quite well for sponsored posts.
You can always create your own product or a course and sell it to your audience. It is very popular for bloggers to write ebooks and other digital products. While creating the product might seem like a long and daunting task it is 100% worth it because once you have created the product it has the potential to earn you thousands of dollars of passive income for many years to come.
This is by far my favorite method to monetize. Basically, you get to talk about the products you love and earn a commission if someone buys something through your link. There are hundreds of great affiliate programs out there and it is just a matter of finding the best fit for you and your blog. The income you can earn with Affiliate marketing is endless.
I actually made my very first affiliate sale way back in the beginning of December 2017. I made it in only 7 hours after getting started with affiliate marketing. Read more about it here:
How I made my first Affiliate Sale in only 7 hours, using Pinterest
After reading the book I immediately started implementing her methods and made my first affiliate sale so quick I couldn’t even believe it!
To Sum Up, these are all the steps you need to take to start a blog today!
- Think about what you would like to blog about
- Decide on a Name (I wrote a guide on how to choose the best name for your new blog here!)
- Choose a web host
- Sign up for hosting
- Choose a theme
- Start posting content (I have a helpful guide on how to write your first few blog posts here!)
- Gain traffic to your blog (Read more on how I managed to gain over 15 000 page views in my first month blogging)
- Start monetizing your blog (I have a guide on how to make money blogging as a beginner here!)
Starting a Blog is in no way a get rich quick scheme. But the key is being persistent and be willing to keep pushing forward even if you do not find Instant success. The hardest bit about blogging is getting started. Once you go over the first few obstacles, you will find that it only gets easier as you move forward.
Hope you found my guide useful and I will keep updating it as I learn more and move further in my blogging endeavor. I really and truly hope it gave you the courage to just jump in and go for it! The only way you are going to lose is if you never get started!
Thank you for reading and feel free to contact me via the comment section on my Contact page at the top and I would love to help you as much I can!♥
ps. if you found this post useful please make sure you pin it for later ↓