blogging anniversary first year

How to Start a Blog {That Actually Makes Money}

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When thinking about how to start a blog, one can easily become overwhelmed. There’s a TON of information out there on the world wide web, and many tutorials skip over the basics of starting a blog and use terminology that not everyone quite understands. That’s why I’ve created this guide for you! It’s a step by step action plan so you can start writing your first blog post in 30 minutes or less!

There are a few things to consider before you can even start a blog.

  1. What are you going to write about?
  2. Who is going to be your host? In my opinion, self-hosted is the ONLY way to go. I know you’re wondering “What’s the difference between hosted and self-hosted?”. I’ll explain why soon.
  3. What will your domain name be?

But First…

how to start a blog

Who Should Start a Blog?

In my opinion, in this digital age, literally, every single capable person should start a blog. 

Millennial women should start a blog.

If you’re a woman between the ages of 25 and 36, you’ve got a lot of life experience under your belt. It’s time you started sharing your gifts with the world. What better place than through an online platform?!

Realtors®, Insurance Agents, and all local business owners who sell or provide a service should start a blog.

The days of radio ads, television ads, billboards, and park benches are long gone and have been replaced by mobile devices. Think about it. When you’re stopped at a red light (hopefully in the passenger seat and not driving), you’re probably not looking at the billboards.

You’re checking your social media accounts or searching online for something. Print advertising is obsolete! If you aren’t looking at the billboards and park benches, no one else is either.

It’s time to step up your online presence and create a website or blog, with hyperlocal, hyperspecific content created for your target clientele. If you can rank on page one of Google for certain keywords in your city, in your preferred subdivision, etc you’ll be so far ahead of the competition it’ll be unreal!

Stay at Home Moms should start a blog.

I was always a working Mom. I was actually a better Mom when I got a bit of a break from my kids. It’s just the truth. But when my husband’s career changed, causing much more travel out of state, it was up to me to be more present and involved with the kids.

It was time for me to leave my corporate career in banking and real estate and stay at home with the kids. As exciting as you’d think it would be to quit your job and stay at home full-time, I was not feeling very fulfilled. So I learned how to start a blog and when I first started, I made some mistakes.

I fumbled through it. But the truth is, WordPress is very user-friendly and almost anything can be fixed if you make a mistake. Writing gave me an outlet…a way for me to connect with the outside world as a stay at home Mom.

In some ways, I’d say blogging saved me from the loneliness of motherhood as a stay at home Mom in a new area where I had little to no friends. We had just relocated to Illinois, and we were starting over. Blogging can be therapeutic!

Super Fans should start a blog.

My husband is a huge fan of this show called Dragon Ball Z, a Japanese anime television series that’s been around for several years. Every week he tunes in to new episodes and watches Dragon Ball Super.

It’s the nerdiest thing on the planet. But DBZ fans are #fansforlife. The same goes for Star Wars, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, This is Us…you name it. There is a community built around many of these shows and movie series’.

If you have extensive knowledge and/or have seen every single episode and want to write about it and build a following, you should start a blog! There are blogs tailored to superfans that make well over six figures of income every year where authors enjoy talking about a tv show or movie that they love and would talk about every single day whether or not they were being paid for it.

Kids should start a blog.

I can’t stress enough the value of getting your kids started blogging today! If they can learn how to start a blog, they can work on their writing skills and be so far ahead of their classmates in terms of language arts and communication.

And they can make money doing it! Imagine having an outlet other than social media…where your kids can write about their struggles in school with bullies. A place where they can share their knowledge of a certain subject.

A place where they can create and start making money to help so they can help buy their first car or even pay cash for college! Have you ever heard of Ryan ToysReview? Ryan is six years old. Ryan ToysReview YouTube channel grossed over 11 million dollars last year.

11 MILLION FREAKING DOLLARS. Let that sink in for a minute. A six-year-old is a self-made millionaire….by creating videos that review his favorite toys.

How to Start a Blog That Actually Makes Money

how to start a blog that makes money
Step 1: Decide what you’re going to blog about.

What is the one thing that you could talk about every single day of your life? What’s the one thing your friends and family get tired of hearing you talk about? What is your passion?

THAT is what you should blog about. For me, it was personal finance, marketing, and business. I could talk about each of these subjects every single day: the journey to pay off debt, save money, and create a life we’re always dreamed about.

I never grow tired of talking about professional and personal development. So when I finally figured that out, it wasn’t a struggle for me to come up with blog post ideas.

Step 2: Choose your Platform.

I highly recommend starting a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. It’s what I use, and well, my website is fast, responsive, beautiful, and versatile.

The alternative is to create a WordPress.com blog, but these types of hosted blogs are just so limited in terms of income potential and, to be honest, they’re kind of ugly.

I’ll link to the theme I used to create this beautiful website at the end of the tutorial at the bottom of the page. It’s called Glam from Restored 316.

This tutorial will teach you how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog.

Related: January 2019 Blogging Income Report

Step 3: Choose your Host.

You’ve just downloaded WordPress to your computer, but now you need server space to hold all of your content. WordPress alone won’t publish your blog posts without a hosting provider.

There is a small fee that must be paid to the hosting provider to set up your account, store all of your files, and provide support for your website or blog. So choosing a good host is vital!

I’ve chosen some pretty terrible hosting providers before that chose to outsource their customer service, and I couldn’t even communicate with customer service. Don’t do that! Save yourself a headache and go with my preferred hosting provider Bluehost.

Click Here to >>> Go to Bluehost <<< and Start your own Blog(The link will open in a new window so you can reference these instructions as you work.)

Click the big, green “Get Started Now” button:

how to start a blog with bluehost

The screen you see might look a tad bit different because Bluehost is always updating their site. 🙂

Next, you need to choose your plan:

 

Hosting is ridiculously inexpensive per month. There are three different plans to choose from, but as you can see, with the plus and prime plans, you get many more features and space than with the basic plan.

And on the Prime Plan, you get domain privacy and SiteBackup Pro included (highly recommended)! You want your site backed up in the case of technical difficulties and your blog posts get lost in cyberspace!

Step 4: Choose your domain name.

You get a free domain name with Bluehost, but here’s some additional info for you.

I’m a HUGE fan of using your own name as your domain name. As a self-proclaimed free-spirited nerd, I obsessed over my domain name with each blog I created until I finally let that go and chose to purchase my name.

By using your name, you have flexibility in what you write about, and you are branding your website to YOU. The only time I don’t suggest using your name as the domain name is if you’re creating a hyper-niche blog like I mentioned above (superfan status) or if you’re a business such as a bakery or a restaurant.

Of course, if you already have a domain name you’re in love with, you need to go ahead and purchase it before someone else gets to it first!

If you’ve already registered a domain and want to use it for this new site, enter it on the right. If you don’t already have one, enter your desired domain on the left. This is important, but remember, if all else fails, purchase your name and then you can buy another desired domain name later.

Domains are usually $10-12 so not a major expense at all!

Check out six ways to get a free domain name here.

 

bluehost domains

Next, you’ll enter all of your account information and choose the term of your package. Bluehost offers terms of 1, 2, 3, or 5 years upfront, so you can pay in advance and save money (where other hosting providers charge double or triple for monthly payment plans).

Please don’t pay more than you have to for hosting by signing up for a monthly payment plan. That’s like buying a cell phone that retails for $800 but paying 36 monthly payments of $35.00 (overpaying by $460). I hate it when people get sucked into that kind of a “deal”.

If you can’t afford an annual plan right now, save up and pay for it with your next paycheck! Just be sure to bookmark this post for future reference. 🙂

bluehost sign up form

Choose the plan that fits your budget, and you can’t go wrong.

Enter your billing information.

This step is pretty self-explanatory. Just enter your credit or debit card number, expiration date, and CVV code and don’t forget to read the fine print and click “Submit”.

Next, you’ll be asked if you want to sign up for upgrades or special offers. Skip those for now. You’re ready to get started, and you don’t need any of that at this time.

Choose a password.

Click the green “Create your Password” button. This will be your password for BlueHost so be sure to write it down somewhere safe.

bluehost password

 

I always click “Display Characters” so I can see what I’m typing (to avoid frustration when my fingers don’t agree with me).bluehost password 2

Now it’s time to get started blogging! Click the Blue “Start Building” button and use the login credentials you just created in the last step.

Bluehost will give you the option to download free themes. Resist the urge (even if they’re pretty). You can just get started with the free, pre-installed theme while you familiarize yourself with WordPress. When you’re ready to purchase a theme, I highly suggest any of the themes from Restored 316. My website uses the “Glam” theme. You can purchase it (and check out all of Restored 316 themes) here.

Side note: There are plenty of free themes available in the wordpress dashboard. You don’t have to buy a theme right off the bat. Just focus on hosting for now so you can get started writing by this time tomorrow!

Remember: you can get started immediately without purchasing the Glam theme. Definitely bookmark this page for reference so you can go back and look at all of Restored 316’s themes made specifically for women entrepreneurs.

Get Started with WordPress: Start your Blog

This is what your WordPress Admin Dashboard looks like. You’ll follow the prompts on this page and on the left-hand column, click “Posts” to create a new post. Play around with it a bit and familiarize yourself with WordPress.

It’s really easy once you get the hang of it! It’ll take 24-48 hours for your domain registration to be complete, so don’t freak out if you see that you have a “temporary domain”. It’ll adjust within a couple of days and you’ll be ready to go!

 

I hope this was helpful in teaching you how to start a blog. Every single blog or website has to go through these exact steps before launching a new blog, so we all know how intimidating it can be. Let me know if you have questions in the comments below and please share with a friend!

And when you’re ready to amp up your social media game, read this post on my Winning Pinterest Strategy and how I grew my Pinterest audience 10x the first month, driving 1000 page views to my brand new blog. Remember: Every single person should start a blog! It’s up to you to find your voice and start sharing your gifts with the world!

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Comments

  1. Sheree

    Such an informative post. I wish I had read this when I was first starting out.

    xo Sheree
    PoshClassyMom.com

    1. Thank you, Sheree! I spent a lot of time creating this post because I wanted people to be able to learn how to blog easily. 🙂

  2. This is such a fantastic guide to getting started. I would have loved this kind of info when I was starting out. I also think it’s fab that you suggest for kids to start blogging too. Encouraging their writing skills and creativity is such a positive thing! Thank you 🙂

    1. Thanks, Zoe! With the internet moving us forward, we’ve got to get these kids started young so they can keep up!

  3. Karen

    This is awesome. I have seriously considered having my 7 year old start something online. I think she would be perfect for it!

    1. Thanks, Christie! I only wish I had found a site that offered a step by step guide, rather than fumbling through it myself 😛 Would’ve saved me some headaches!

  4. These are some really awesome tips! I started my blog two years ago and got the wrong hosting. I’ve already paid for 3 years and the hosting a down a lot of time.

    1. Yikes! I think it’s probably time to make the switch! Have you checked out Bluehost? Maybe you could contact your current hosting provider and get a partial refund for the amount of time your site has been affected!

  5. I agree that business owners need to have their own blog. That is incredible that that six year old did toy reviews and made that much money off of it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi, Carrie! Great question! I have a list of resources that I use on my own blog here https://melissablevins.com/resources/

      Take a look at ConvertKit as your email provider, Tailwind as your Pinterest and/or Instagram Scheduler, and any courses that may interest you…Oh! And Squirrly is the bomb! Let me know if you have any questions from the list!

  6. Great post! I wish that I would have started out using my name. It was so difficult trying to fit into a box that I had found myself in with the decision of my first one. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Teya! What matters is that you are loving what you’re doing and you love your domain name! There is no one-size-fits-all domain name idea, but if people are on the fence and dragging their feet because they can’t choose a name, their own name is always a safe bet 🙂

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