Welcome to the Blogging Tips guide on how to start a blog and make money.
This page is your starting point, designed to nurture you towards three key goals.
- To successfully create and launch your blog
- Growing your audience through valuable, actionable content they’ll love
- How to make money blogging
More information and resources:
I’ll give you further study options, reading materials and/or tools in each section, to give you an advantage to starting your blog.
Shall we begin?
What You’ll Learn (Overview)
Making money through your blog may sound easy. We’re bombarded by blogs, links and newsletters stating how this person ‘made a six-figure income’ or how that person ‘lives from the income their blog generates’.
Ultimately, the thing you need to remember, however, is that making money with your blog takes hard work, dedication, and patience.
It won’t happen overnight.
You need to lay the foundation, build your blog’s scaffolding and furnish it before the money comes in.
So here’s what you’ll learn by reading this:
- Which hosting service to choose for your blog and how to find a mailing list provider?
- How to set up your website, including choosing your domain, installing WordPress, choosing a design and installing a theme.
- How do you go about creating amazing content, defining your audience and providing value?
- How to design your own blog, get an SEO plugin, and start email marketing.
- Sourcing traffic and optimizing your content and email marketing.
- How to make money from your content, your skills, and from your own knowledge.
- How to semi-automate the process so you can free up your time.
I’ll be with you every step of the way, offering you my thoughts, insights, and guidance.
I’ll be there to urge you on and show you you can do it. It requires some work, like all good things.
1. Understand 2 Critical Components: Hosting and Email
When you are a new blogger, even before you think about what to call your blog, what your topic will be and the kind of content you’ll be creating, it’s best to consider two key things vital to your success:
- What hosting company will you use?
- Who will be your mailing list provider?
Everything you do on your blogging journey will hang on those two things.
The Importance of a Good Host
A good web host needs to handle the traffic you’ll be generating.
It needs to be fast, easy to use and quick to set up. Forget about pricing for a moment and focus on quality.
Your blog will be the way you make money online and your source of income – it needs to be reliable and accessible.
(Please note: a few of these links are affiliates which means I will earn a small commission if you buy the item, with at no extra cost to you.)
The Importance of a Good Email Provider
Similarly, your mailing list provider needs to be equally reliable.
Many people may say email marketing is dead – this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your mailing list will be a vital source of targeted traffic and monetization, which you can tap into in an instant.
Finding a great provider for your email marketing will make sure you deliver consistent, high-quality results over and over.
I recommend starting with the email provider Mailchimp when you are a first-time blogger.
It is free when you are under 1,000 subscribers…both due to its reliability and ease of use.
Then switch to ConvertKit when you hit 1,000 subscribers – they are great because you can “tag” subscribers and segment your list.
Niche Further Reading:
- 51 Steps To Launch (Or Relaunch) A Hot Blog: a popular post that has helped quite a few bloggers start their own blogs.
2. How To Start a Blog Using Bluehost and WordPress
Your next step towards monetizing your blog is to get things set up.
A great blog with the potential to make money doesn’t just need to be strong, sturdy, and reliable.
It needs to look and sound great too.
First, let’s look at your domain name.
The Ideal Domain Name
The ideal domain name should:
- Roll easily off the tongue – it needs to be easy to say, to spell and to type
- Be memorable – it might be tempting to go for something long and detailed but keep in mind how memorable that will be to your readers. A shorter, snappier URL is much more likely to be remembered.
- Reflect your topic – think about what you’re going to be writing about. If it’s about blogging, consider incorporating that word into your URL somewhere. This will make it easier to find and will give readers an idea of what they’re likely to expect.
I use Namecheap to register all of my domains because they give you free “WhoIs” for your first year and it’s very easy to set the name servers (sounds technical, but it’s easy).
Once you’ve bought your domain, you must add it to the hosting package you hosted on your website.
Adding Hosting To Your Domain Name
You should receive an email from your domain provider with instructions on how to point your domain to your host’s servers.
These emails are usually to-the-point with clear, step-by-step guides on getting you up and running.
If you’re still stuck, however, there’s plenty of guides on BlueHost.
With your hosting package and domain sorted, it’s time to build your blog.
There are many blogging platforms out there to choose from – I list 10 of them here – Where To Start A Blog: 10 Blogging Platforms For First Time Bloggers – however, I’ll always use WordPress.org as my number one choice due to its versatility.
Therefore, for this guide that’s what I’ll be working with and we’ll start by installing WordPress onto your website.
Depending on what hosting provider you use, your WordPress installation should be pretty straightforward.
Most hosts these days will offer a one-click installation of the WordPress software and will email you instructions on how to do this.
How to Start a Blog Using Bluehost and WordPress
If you settle on using BlueHost to manage your website, here’s a helpful step-by-step guide you can use to get up and running.
Step 1: Get special pricing for my readers from BlueHost
We’ve worked with BlueHost to negotiate a special discount to Bloggingtips.com readers – $2.95/mo hosting packages to get your blog off the ground at a very low price.
Step 2: Select a hosting plan
Next, you’ll choose a hosting plan. The basic package is what we suggest building on. You can always upgrade at a later date.
Step 3: Enter Your Domain
You’ll then be prompted to register a domain. If you already have a domain, enter it here.
If not, no worries, go ahead and register one now.
Step 4: Select Your Package & Enter Your Billing Info
Enter your payment information, including a credit card. This is essential so that BlueHost can bill you every month.
Step 5: Enter Your Billing Information
After that, enter your billing information.
Step 6: Set Up Your Password
First, enter your password so you can set up your account.
Step 7: Confirm Account is Set Up
Once complete, the finished screen should look like this.
Step 8: Log in and you are now in WordPress
Once your account is set up, you should see a screen like this. That means the account has been successful, and you can now start building your WordPress site.
Step 9: BlueHost’s Own Tools
Bluehost has a variety of tools to make building a blog easy. We suggest using the default WordPress editor, but you can check out their own tools – you might like them.
Step 10: Your BlueHost Info
Enter your standard Bluehost info, and you’ll be ready to go after that.
You are done setting up your BlueHost account!
We’re at a really fun stage of your blog creation process here.
This part is all about getting the look and feel of your blog just right.
WordPress is incredibly easy to design with and make your own.
There are some fabulous websites out there built on the platform that look amazing.
Yet we’re not all creative geniuses, so it’s perfectly okay to buy a theme or pay for someone else to design it for you.
For awesome WordPress themes, you’ve got plenty of options:
- StudioPress is a site that deals exclusively with WordPress Themes built for the Genesis Framework. I dare you not to fall in love with these. This is what I use.
- Plus WordPress.org itself has an archive full of free themes that you can use if you want a basic setup.
- Many more WordPress themes for beginners to make building a site quick and easy.
Before getting started, we suggested reading the following:
Once you have the basics down, you can then move on to the next step.
Want to Outsource?
To find a theme custom designed or tweaked, consider the following places:
- Fiverr – this site is full of talented graphic designers and artists who will take on a project for as little as $5.50
- Alternatively, you can look within the marketing and design community for bloggers who offer design services to their readers.
3. Creating Content After You Start a Blog
When you begin creating content for your blog, the key thing to remember is your audience.
At the very front of your mind should be the people you’re writing this content for.
- Who are they?
- What problems do they have?
- What questions are they asking?
- What are their pain points?
Only after you know what their problems are, can you provide the solutions.
Craft your content around those problems and then provide a thorough, detailed blog post that covers the solution – how your reader can overcome it.
An example of this in action might be:
The bloggers you follow on Twitter are struggling to come up with good headlines for their posts. So you create an article with multiple resources and approaches that the blogger could take to craft punchy, attention-grabbing headlines.
They have the questions – you provide the answers.
But you can’t just go willy-nilly with your content. You need to remember to keep it relevant to your audience.
There’s no point writing about blogging if your audience isn’t made up of bloggers. Which is why you need to define your audience first.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Create personas for your ideal reader. Flesh it out with everything about this person and use it as a guide.
- Research is where your ideal reader hangs out online and listen in on their conversations.
- Conduct a survey asking your ideal reader what they struggle with and write posts about the answers to their questions.
With an audience ready to receive your content, you’re ready to create it.
Here’s some further readings you’ll find useful:
- How To Come Up With A Blog Name: 10 Effective Ways To Come Up With A Name For Your New Blog
- How To Write A Blog Post: Write Long, In-Depth Quality Content that Ranks Highly In Google
- 25 Blog Post Ideas to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
- Blog Post Examples: How to Get Started On Your Next Blog Post
4. Attracting Traffic After Starting a Blog
Getting traffic to your blog might seem like a futile effort at first.
You’re sending your posts out into the ether having put loads of time and effort into making them valuable, yet no one seems to be reading them.
This is where you need to start putting in more work.
Yes, you read that correctly. More. Work.
I told you it wouldn’t be easy, right?
The great news is that the hard work pays off. You just need to have a little patience to have a profitable blog.
Your hard work at this stage will be in the form of marketing your content. You can do this in several ways, but to keep things simple, let’s cover three ways to market your blog posts:
- Optimizing for Search Engines
- Posting on Social Media
- Email Marketing
1. Optimizing for Search Engines
As you publish more and greater content, you’ll notice that you get traffic from search engines such as Google and Bing.
They generally call this search traffic or organic traffic because you’re essentially not marketing it – the readers are finding you instead.
To attract the right kind of readers to your content via the search engines, you’ll need to make sure your articles are optimized properly.
There was a time when this meant stuffing your blog posts full of keywords.
Now, however, that’s not necessary.
The emphasis is more on quality and value but there are still things you can do to encourage better performance:
- Research keywords using sites like Google Keyword Planner to find out what people are searching for, in relation to your niche
- Add the keywords naturally to your post title
- Use your keyword sparingly within the body of your post
- Place your keywords in the alt title of any images you’re using within that post
- Use the keyword in your meta description (while this is no longer a factor in search engine optimization, it’s still useful to do this to prompt readers to click-through)
2. Posting on Social Media
Social media has the potential to open up your content to a whole tribe of interested people.
With the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest and sweeping the world with their massive networking potential, it’s fairly easy to be found and heard.
However, people are sensitive to complete self-promotion, so choose your strategy carefully:
- Market to the platforms where your audience hangs out the most. If your content is heavy on tutorials and visuals, for example, your best method for social media marketing might be Pinterest or Instagram, since this content does particularly well there
- Don’t just bombard followers with links. Choose catchy headlines, including hash tags where relevant and use eye-catching images
- Respond to every notification and mention you receive – carry on with the conversation and create lasting relationships
- Share other people’s content – this will open you up to reciprocal sharing and will put you in front of key influencers
3. Email Marketing
I mentioned email marketing at the beginning of this guide as a valuable source of traffic.
Growing your email list can be as simple as adding an opt-in form to key areas on your blog such as your sidebar, across the top of your blog, after posts and as a pop-up.
Once your list starts to grow, you can send your latest posts to your readers via email.
You might want to send your subscribers a weekly roundup of your best performing posts.
Alternatively, send an email every time you update. Whatever you decide, remember that people are inviting you into their Inbox out of choice, so treat your subscribers as you would like to be treated yourself.
A few tips for success:
- Keep it personal by talking about your targeted readers’ problems(s)
- Don’t just list out what they’ll read, show them how they’ll enjoy reading. What problem will it solve for them?
- Invite the conversation by asking your list to get in touch if they have any problems
- Encourage users to unsubscribe. It might seem counter-intuitive, but inviting people to opt-out of your list will make sure the people left there are the ones most interested in what you have to say.
With these key marketing strategies in place, you’ll soon see your traffic increasing.
Remember, consistency is the key, regardless of how many times a week you post.
Pick a day and time to post – a frequency you’re comfortable with (and I recommend just once a week) and consistently publish at those times.
Here’s some further reading on getting traffic:
5. How To Make Money Blogging
Now that you took the steps to start a blog, get traffic, and increase the amount of people on your email list, you can start to see your hard work pay off.
There are many ways to monetize a blog, but there are a few that stand out above the rest:
- Advertising that generates income
- Sponsored Reviews
- Affiliate programs, like Amazon, ClickBank, etc.
- Freelance Services
- Creating your own offers
- Writing a book
There are many avenues you can go down when considering monetizing your blog. I’ll just discuss the ones that my clients ask about the most.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another way you can earn money through your blog content.
This requires placing a banner or a link within a post / somewhere on your blog, which links back to a product or service. When someone purchases through your link, you’ll earn a commission.
There are many affiliate marketing programs out there. Some you might consider using include:
The key to affiliate programs is to just promote products you would endorse and use yourself. This gives you context and authenticity when you recommend them to your readers.
Don’t just promote just any old thing. Keep it relevant to your audience, your blog, and your existing content.
2. Product Creation
Product creation is the process by which you develop and sell your own products.
It can be a highly lucrative form of monetization since you’ll be marketing your products to an audience that’s already interested in what you have to say.
Further to this, they’ll be your own products – there’s no middleman taking an affiliate fee.
Here are a few ideas for products you could create:
- eBooks – many bloggers use eBooks as a way of selling information. They can be published to Kindle, made available for many devices and can be as detailed or as simple as you like.
- Videos – create video tutorials and show your readers how to solve a problem they have.
- Courses – a course is a complete information package that promises to teach a “how-to” subject. Bloggers can make large sums of money creating and selling their own courses, it simply takes time and enthusiasm to get the ball rolling.
Again, keep your products relevant to your audience and your content to generate the best results.
Do you have a unique set of skills or experience that you could sell to other bloggers and members of the public? If so, this is another great way to use the power of your blog to make money.
Think of your blog as a broadcasting platform – every new reader is another potential client.
When you think like this, doors will open and new possibilities and opportunities will present themselves.
Here’s what you can offer as a freelancer from your blog:
- Copywriting services
- Blog design
- Content Management
- Business consulting
- Social media strategy
The possibilities are endless!
While making big money is the idea, you will need accurate bookkeeping and organization, plus you’ll need to contemplate how to handle your withholding allowances when it’s all said and done.
For further reading on monetizing your blog, check out some of these posts which I think you’ll find helpful:
6. Automation and Outsourcing
We’ve nearly reached the end of this guide.
I hope so far you’ve found it useful, however, there’s one last thing I want to talk about before signing off. It’s how to automate some of your blogging responsibilities to save time.
Because running your own authority blog is a lot of work!
It’s also time-consuming – something you might struggle with if you have other responsibilities such as a family and a full-time job.
The good news is, there are ways you can make blogging and monetization much easier.
- Outsource your content writing – hire a ghostwriter to create some of your content to free up some of your time. The work will be in your own name and a good ghostwriter will tailor the voice of anything they create to fit with your own branding
- Outsource your marketing – get a social media manager in to watch and look after your social accounts. A few hours saved each day from content marketing is a surprisingly good amount of time to do something more important
- Use tools like Hootsuite to automate your social media broadcasts
- Use Evernote (my favorite tool) to jot down your ideas for blog posts as they come to you
Here’s what to do next…
Want to make real money blogging? You should join my free 5 day Start a Blogging Business Crash Course.
In it, you’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to build a blog capable of making $1,000+/month in just 12 months without quitting your full-time job.
This is the exact formula I used to start my pest control blog and scale it to 7 figures.