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In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to start a blog and make money from it.
Although there are many free blogging sites like the three I mentioned above, if you want to have control over your blog and be able to make money from it, then you’ll need your own domain and a hosting account.
I’m going to show you how to put up a hosted WordPress blog like the one I’m using now. By “hosted WordPress blog”, I’m not talking about the one you get when you sign up at WordPress.com but rather the one you get on a web hosting account.
This is what all the popular, money-making blogs use because of the freedom you get to do whatever you like. When you use a free blog site, you have to follow the rules of those sites. You do not own the blog and one mistake can get your blog suspended or deleted.
When you start a hosted WordPress blog the way I’m going to outline below, you have all control over every aspect of your blog and go by your own rules. Once you’re making money from your blog, you have a business that you own.
Why Start a Blog?
People start blogs for different reasons. Here are just some of the reasons why blogs are started.
- write about their passion
- outlet for their opinions
- share ideas about a topic
- make money
- to educate
- company blogs
- video blogs (vlogs)
- to chronicle a project
Not all blogs become popular and well known. Some blogs die quickly as the blogger loses interest or the motivation to keep going.
Ever visited a great blog and noticed that the last post was from 2 years ago? Kinda like that.
The reason why I started this blog is because I love affiliate marketing and hate MLM. I’ll probably keep blogging about affiliate marketing until I’m no longer interested in the topic (which I can’t imagine right now).
What’s your reason why you want to start a blog?
What You’ll Need to Get Started
You do not need a lot of technical skill to start a blog. Although things do go wrong, problems can easily be fixed by typing a query into the Google search engine or by watching a video on YouTube. Or you can simply ask questions in a forum.
You also do not need a whole lot of money. You’ll only need to buy a domain and a hosting account, while a premium WordPress theme is optional. You’ll need an SSL certificate to make your blog secure but most web hosts include it for free or for a very low cost.
You won’t need a merchant account or anything else so those costs don’t apply.
In a nutshell, to get started blogging, you’ll need.
- a topic to blog about
- a domain name
- web hosting
- premium WordPress theme (optional)
- affiliate programs (to make money)
A domain and hosting should run you less than $20 your first month. Domain names are as low as $7.49 and web hosting is as low as $7.95 a month if you decide to pay each month.
You can also get free web hosting at Wealthy Affiliate if you decide you want structured training about making money with your blog.
Starting a Blog: Step by Step
In this section, you’ll find a step by step approach to starting a blog that pays. If you have any questions, please don’t be afraid to ask in the comments section. I’ll reply, usually within a couple of hours.
Step 1. Finding a Topic
This first step to starting a blog is to find a topic to blog about. This is the key part to starting a blog that makes money.
Your blog should be about one topic only. You can’t decide to blog about your dog Spot today and then blog about weight loss diets the next day.
If you’re not sure what to blog about, here are three ways to find a topic.
1. Blog about something you love doing – a passion is a great way to get blogging ideas. You’ll feel motivated to write your blogs and you’ll have lots of topics to keep your blog going for a long time.
Also, there are people that share your interests and these people will become readers of your blog or your niche market. It will be much easier for your blog to make money with an audience that shares the same passions as you do since you’ll know their needs.
2. Blog about something you want to learn – positioning yourself as a newbie is a great way to start a blog. There are others who may be starting out just the same as you and there will be others starting out every day. They’ll enjoy discovering the same things you’re discovering, they can teach you stuff you don’t already know or help you with your obstacles and you can teach them stuff as well.
As you keep learning, you will grow your blog and write about stuff that helped you which you can monetize.
3. Find a topic that already makes money and blog about it – this is also one way to find a topic but is not as easy as the first two. If you want to go this route, you must realize that you can get burned out quickly and lose interest. Unless, of course, you enjoy the topic to some degree or you blog from an interesting angle (like a case study).
You need to do the proper research though to learn about your market and come up with blog ideas. Monetization is easy since you’re blogging about a topic that’s proven to make money.
If you’re having trouble finding the right topic to write about, ask yourself this question. What can you talk about all day? What’s the one thing you would rather be doing right now?
Step 2. Set up Your Blog (Domain & Hosting)
This starts with purchasing a domain name. Your domain name is the address that people will type in to access your blog.
This domain should be as short as possible and preferably it should have a .com extension. Try to make your domain name as relevant to the topic that you chose to blog about. You can purchase a domain name from Godaddy but make sure you opt out of all the other stuff they try to sell you.
After you’ve purchased your domain name, you then need to get a hosting account so that you can show the world your blog when they try to access your domain name.
One thing you shouldn’t do is to buy a domain name and web hosting from the same company. Use a domain registrar like Godaddy for domains and a web host like Bluehost for web hosting.
Whichever web host you choose, make sure that you can install WordPress so that you can get your blog started. You can then link your domain name to your web hosting account.
Once you’ve done this, log into your web hosting account and look for WordPress in the control panel. You will then be able to install WordPress by following the instructions given by the host, usually in 2 or 3 clicks.
Step 3. Set up Your Blog (Working With WordPress)
Once you’re installed WordPress on your domain, your blog will be ready. This will be a basic blog using a default theme (design).
You should definitely change this design to make your blog look the way you want it. You can choose a theme from the thousands of themes available from WordPress for free under the Appearances tab.
I would suggest getting a premium theme as there are so many options to make your blog look a little more unique and also make blogging easier. This is an optional step though. There are lots of great free themes available. Just make sure that you choose one that lets you write black text on a white background.
The WordPress welcome screen should give you some basic instructions about things you may want to change or set up.
You’ll also need to add plugins as a way to add functionality to your blog – like if you want a contact page, you’ll need to add a contact form plugin. There are thousands of plugins available from WordPress for free that will do everything from putting Facebook comment forms on your blog to allowing you to run a store.
Step 4. Add Pages and Posts
This is where the real blogging begins. Pages are the parts of your site that do not change. Examples of pages would be a contact page, your “about me” page and any other page that you want people to always see.
Posts on the other hand are your blog topics. These would have a date, author, category and a comments section for discussion. You would use the posts more often than you’ll use pages.
Once you’re ready to start blogging, pick the first idea from the topic and add a new post, write your post and publish it. You can then share it on your Facebook or Twitter, wait for some comments or begin writing your next post.
Making Money from Your Blog
After you’ve set up your blog and have a bit of content, your blog should be getting regular visitors from the search engines, social media and other sites that linked to you.
You now have the task of monetizing your blog. How your blog makes money is totally up to you. There are quite a number of ways you can choose to make money from your blog.
The most common ones are:
- affiliate marketing
- Google Adsense
- selling ad space to advertisers
- selling your own product
- running a membership site
These are some of the most common ways to monetize your blog with the most common being affiliate marketing and Google Adsense.
To incorporate affiliate marketing into your blog, you can do reviews of products relevant to your topic and link to it via your affiliate link. This could be on Amazon or any other affiliate network.
Google Adsense let’s you put ads on your blog and pays you on a per-click basis. Each time someone clicks on an ad, you get paid some cents, usually half of what the advertiser is paying.
Starting a blog is a great way to make some extra money on the internet and if you are determined, motivated and dedicated to your niche topic then you can make a business out of blogging.