My decision to start a blog was pivotal for me.
It turned my hopeless days of working at a job I hated into a period of excitement, inspiration, and hope.
Before starting a blog, I pretty much hit rock bottom.
- Unfulfilled creatively and in my career
- Dreaded waking up for work
- Undervalued and ignored
- Felt limited in my earning potential
- Reaching invisible glass ceilings as a woman of color
- Stuck and confused
I wanted to have control over my life, but at the time, it felt like I had no control at all.
I was lost and confused. Every day I asked myself, is this really it?
As a creative person, I couldn’t do the work I’ve been longing to do at my job.
Furthermore, as a woman in a male-dominated field, it’s wasn’t uncommon to be ignored and disregarded.
Initially, this frustrated me and made me lose all hope.
But when I started my blog, I realized that I could to be my own boss.
All with the bonus of generating a substantial side-income or even full-time income.
Yup, you heard me!
Because I took the right steps, I am now making hundreds of dollars a month.
This is extra money for groceries, bills, and so much more.
On top of that, most of the money I make is mostly passive, meaning that I don’t have to actively work to make it, saving me a lot of time.
But it’s not just about the money for me — it’s about being in control of my life.
I can work on my blog whenever and wherever I want. I’m not dictated by arbitrary work hours and have the freedom to design my own workday.
There aren’t any invisible corporate ladders for me to climb and I’m not limited to opportunities due to my gender or race.
So, if you’re ready, then I’m ready to help you. I’ll walk you through the step-by-step on how to start a blog and make some serious income!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
What to know before you start a blog
If you’re feeling skeptical about blogging, these pointers might help you:
1. Blogging IS still relevant and will remain relevant
In fact, it’s more relevant than ever.
When you search for a solution or an answer to your question, what are you typically led to?
When I googled how to bake a cake, one of the top search results was a link to a blog post.
In addition, many corporations are now utilizing blogging as part of their marketing and monetization strategy because blogging actually works.
2. You don’t have to be “special”
One of the thoughts that held me back from starting a blog is the belief that I was never going to succeed.
It felt like the other people making money had some special, innate skill that I wasn’t born with.
But when I started making money on my blog, I realized that these were just limiting thoughts I had.
You don’t need to be special or a prodigy to start blogging. You just need to be consistent and show up.
We all start from zero. Even the successful people.
Now let’s get into the complete walkthrough on how to start your blog today.
1. Decide what you’re going to blog about
It’s time to decide WHAT you’re going to blog about!
And a little motivational tip — you can make money blogging about literally anything.
There are people blogging about succulents, (yes, the plant) and are making a great living.
Since you’ll be writing about it a lot, you want to make sure it’s something you enjoy talking about AND something you have some knowledge about.
To help you, here are some questions I asked myself:
- Is there a topic I literally can’t shut up about?
- What is something I love so much I’d be willing to do for free?
- What am I getting paid to do now?
If you’re looking to build a loyal audience and monetize quicker, I recommend niching down, especially when you first start.
When I first started blogging, I blogged about anything and everything.
I’d blog about topics that weren’t even related to each other, such as fitness, finances, self-care, my personal life, and more.
Doing this burned me out and made me unremarkable to my blog visitors.
However, when I started to blog about planning and only planning, I started to get a bigger audience.
I further narrowed it down to digital planning and saw a major spike in my traffic.
Now that I have that steady traffic, I now blog about various topics that are still centered around solving other people’s problems.
If you’re interested in making money from blogging, it’s imperative that you help solve a problem or inform/educate your readers!
2. Establish your blogging goals
You’ll need to establish WHY you’re blogging, WHO you’re blogging for, and for those who want to make income, what problem or service you are you solving or providing.
What are your blogging goals? Do you want to do it as a hobby, make income, or potentially have it be your main business?
I’m assuming that you’re looking to make money from it if you’re here.
It’s also important to understand who you’re blogging for?
If you try to blog to everyone, then no one will stick around.
However, if you have that one target audience you’re writing for, then you’ll monetize your blog much faster.
3. Choosing your Hosting and Blogging Platform
Now that you decided what you want to blog about, it’s time to set up your blog! Your sweet, precious child! 👼
It’s time to set up the place you’ll be sharing your content and hosting your audience. It’s the place where you’ll be fostering a warm and loving community.
To help set you up for success, let’s get into the necessary steps of setting up your blog that will last you for years to come.
Blogging for free (and why you shouldn’t)
There are a lot of free blogging sites out there.
To list a few, there’s Wix, Tumblr, Blogspot, WordPress.com (not .org) and much more.
However, I’m going to be honest and tell you that you SHOULDN’T use a free blogging platform.
Although it seems to make the most sense financially, you’re actually limiting your blog growth and your earning potential.
Unfortunately, with a free blogging site, you:
- Don’t have full control over your platform
- Can’t monetize with ads
- It looks unprofessional and spammy (Have you seen free Wix sites?)
- Your site won’t be able to support as many people
- No tech support
You want a professional-looking site and you want it to appear legitimate in order to get people to trust you, read your content, and eventually buy from you.
To do that, your site must be self-hosted if you want to make an income from blogging. If you aren’t sure what this means, no worries – I’ll go over it in the next section!
So Lynn, how much does starting a good blog really cost?
Before I explain to you all about blogging platforms and blog hosting, I want to talk about the costs of starting a blog.
You might be worrying about the costs and feel you can’t afford it, but let me put things into a greater perspective:
The startup costs to creating a blog, which will ultimately serve as your business, are extremely low.
Compared to a brick and mortar store, where you need storage, printing services, shipping, a building, and more, the start-up costs for your blog pales in comparison.
To start your blog, all you need to pay for is a blog hosting plan.
But how much is a blog hosting plan?
Luckily, if you pay upfront for 3 years, you’ll ONLY need to pay $3.95 (originally $8.99) a month if you use my Bluehost link.
This is a lot cheaper than your Netflix or Spotify expenses and has a high chance (if you do put in the work) to provide you a comfortable side (or full-time) income.
What you need to Set up a Money Making Blog
To start a blog optimized for monetization, you’ll need:
- A Self-hosting system where your site will live
- A Blogging platform
To set yourself up for success as a blogger, I recommend you to use WordPress.org as your blogging platform and Bluehost as your hosting system.
Let me explain why below:
WordPress is the golden standard when it comes to blogging platforms.
All the bloggers who are making GOOD money writing content are using WordPress.
BUT, just to save you any confusion, there are 2 versions of WordPress:
- WordPress.com (free)
- WordPress.org (requires paid hosting)
To see the best return on investment and time, I highly recommend you choose the paid version.
As stated, WordPress.com is free.
However, you are extremely limited in what you can do.
For instance, you can’t:
- Customize your website design freely as there is limited theme support
- You are also not allowed to use any plugins, which will be essential when you grow bigger
- Display ads, which limits your blog’s earning potential
- There is limited SEO (search engine optimization) Control, making it HARDER for readers to find your blog
- Can’t utilize eCommerce features, further limiting your earning potential
- Can’t Remove the WordPress branding and ads (which you don’t make money from) from your site
With WordPress.org, you aren’t limited at all.
In fact, the possibilities are endless. You have complete control over your website and can even create an eCommerce store on it!
If you choose the free version, you’ll 100% end up switching to a paid hosting solution in the future, especially if you’re actually serious about blogging and making money with it.
Not to mention, the process of switching over is both annoying and time-consuming.
To save you the hassle, time, and energy, I recommend you go with the WordPress.org route.
If you’re wondering how to set up WordPress.org, then Bluehost has your back! Let me go more into detail.
If you’re a brand new blogger with little to no experience under your belt, then I highly recommend you to use Bluehost to host your blog.
Chances are, you are confused and don’t have a massive budget to allocate for blogging.
Luckily, hosting is the only thing you’ll need to pay for now as a beginner blogger, and Bluehost is super affordable, especially for new bloggers.
Bluehost also helps you set up your WordPress.org site hassle free.
They make it so easy compared to other hosting sites.
If you use this Bluehost link to purchase, you’ll get a discounted price of $3.95 (originally $8.99) if you commit to 3 years.
If you’re interested in other plans or managing more sites, there are other affordable options, but if you’re completely new to blogging, the basic option works just completely fine.
You can also upgrade your plan whenever if you decide you want to.
4. Setting up your blog with Bluehost
If you’re serious about making this work, then I’m here to help you set up your blog.
I’m going to help you set up your Bluehost account and walk you through step-by-step.
After you go to Bluehost, you want to choose a plan to continue with. The BASIC plan is enough for a beginner blogger like yourself.
With the Basic Bluehost plan, some of my favorite features include:
- FREE Domain for 1 Year
- 24/7 Customer support (trust me, you’ll want this)
- Free SSL Certificate
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee (If you do decide that blogging isn’t for you within 30 days, you can still get a FULL refund!)
- 1-click WordPress Install
Naming your Site
Next, you’re going to want to create your domain name!
If you don’t know what a domain is, it’s basically the name of your website. My domain is www.bitofclarity.com.
Normally, owning a domain can cost anywhere from $10 to $20 a year, but with Bluehost, your first year is completely free.
Now back into my explanation!
So….in short, this is when you decide WHAT you want your website to be called!
It might come easier to some, but if you’re having problems, know that the name of your site doesn’t determine your success and capabilities!
As long as it’s not inappropriate or confusing, then it should be fine. To help, here are some website name guidelines:
Domain Name Guidelines
- Don’t make your domain too confusing.
It shouldn’t be difficult to type in your website’s name into the search engine.
Some guidelines are not to make it too long and to make sure each word is distinguishable from the others.
- Be aware of how words look next to each other without any spaces.
You might think a name is cool, but when you put it together, it gives off a different impression.
For example, Pen Island seems like a cool name for a site about pens, but when you put it together, it spells penisland. Talk about unintentional.
- Factor change into your domain name
Ever since I started blogging, I changed my blog’s niche multiple times.
And luckily, my blog’s domain name isn’t too specific.
If my blog’s name was www.bestpetfood.com and I decided to change my blog niche to hair products, then that name wouldn’t work.
However, if you’re certain about your blog niche, then it’s fine to be specific and focused!
But if you’re not too sure your first niche will be your forever niche, consider making your domain less niche-specific.
If you want, you can always skip this step and come back to it later!
Next, you’re going to input your account information:
After that, you’ll see that there will be some plan options.
If you’re serious about making money with your blog, then you should commit to the Basic 36 Month Price.
You get the best value and save the most money in the long run.
If you really want to make blogging work, you have to make a commitment.
This is the first step! Anyone can blog, but not many people are willing to commit. Are you?
After choosing your plan, there are some package extras that are available to you.
As a beginner, you don’t really need any of these tools, but I recommend you to choose Domain Privacy and Protection.
This will ensure that your personal details stay private and that your information stays confidential. This will protect you and your website.
Finally, you just need to check out and enter in your payment details.
After you submit, you’re now ready to set up WordPress.org!
6. Setting up WordPress.org
It’s time to set up WordPress.org!
With Bluehost, this is extremely easy. There’s literally a one-click WordPress Install and if you’re still confused, they have amazing 24/7 customer support. Everyone is super friendly and patient!
To get started with WordPress, you can refer to this easy, step-by-step tutorial on how to Install WordPress.
If you’re ever confused, don’t hesitate to call customer support! Their number is 1 (888) 401-4678.
7. Designing your Blog
Now that you’ve created a nice little spot for you on the internet, it’s time for you to decorate it and make it pleasant for your visitors.
If you’re strapped on cash, there are a lot of free themes you can get started with.
Here are some free themes I recommend for beginners:
Don’t stress over your blog design too much in the beginning.
Your blog’s design will definitely undergo change in the future.
For now, my general guidelines are to keep your blog simple, clean, and legible.
People are going to be coming to your blog for your CONTENT after all and it needs to be easy to read.
If you need help installing your theme, Bluehost has a simple, step-by-step walkthrough!
8. Publish your First Blog Post
Now that you have your site running, it’s time to put up your first post!
Here are some good post ideas to help introduce yourself to your audience:
- Introduce yourself
- Introduce a personal philosophy on a topic in your niche
- Talk about why you started the blog
9. How to Make Money Blogging
People don’t believe me when I say I make money blogging.
However, what they don’t know is that there are so many ways to make money with a blog!
You can make money from:
- Displaying Ads
- Affiliate Marketing (promoting other people’s products)
- Sponsored Blog Posts
- Selling your own Products (E-books, Courses, Printables, etc.)
- Offering Services to your Readers
And so much more.
However, as a beginner, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your blog, post consistent content, and actually get consistent traffic.
Seems overwhelming? I remember being overwhelmed and I took pretty much all the wrong steps.
I tried to monetize before my blog was ready. As a result, I was kicked out of the Amazon Affiliates Program for not making a sale within 180 days, made $0 from Ads, and had almost no traffic.
After only a few weeks of implementing their strategies, I was able to:
- Get 10k+ visitors to my blog every month
- Make my first $100 in a few weeks after a year of making $0
- Understand how to truly make money and scale my blog
- Gain over 300+ Email Subscribers
Before taking their courses, I was just trying to piece together random bits of free information regarding blog monetization. I received a lot of conflicting advice, which ultimately delayed my blog’s progress.
In this course, Alex and Lauren will walk you through step-by-step:
- Setting up your blog
- Designing your blog
- How to write killer blog posts
- Setting up an email list and getting subscribers
- Monetizing your blog with the strategies listed above
- How to get thousands of readers onto your blog
And so much more.
This course is perfect for anyone who just launched their blog and wants to monetize it.
If you decide you take this course, don’t be surprised if you make money within a few weeks!
If you’re serious about blogging, then head over to the Launch your Biz course.
Are you ready to start a blog and monetize it?
Congrats for reading through this blog post and for following the step-by-step instructions.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it — blogging takes a lot of work and commitment. It is not a get rich quick scheme.
However, the rewards from blogging are priceless.
Because I decided to start a blog, I was able to generate a side income, express myself and my creativity, help thousands of readers, and so much more.
If you’re interested, I put together my top 6 blogging secrets that I wish I knew when I started blogging.
If I knew, I probably would have been able to quit my dead-end job a lot sooner.
If I could do it, I know you can do it too.
If you have any other questions regarding blogging, feel free to leave me a comment below! Thanks for reading and good luck!