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Chances are, if you’re reading this you are interested in starting a blog. I can tell you right now that you’ll be so glad you did. It’s easy, it’s fun and to help you, I’ve created this guide to show you how you too can start a blog and how you can make money from it, just like I did.
As you likely know since you are inquiring about how to start one, a blog is a website that contains content for the benefit of your readers and followers and can be on just about any topic that you can dream about.
Generally, blogs are written from the author’s perspective, and includes your own opinions and feelings. Interacting with your readers is a must for any blogger as it’s how you develop –and maintain- relationships with your readers.
Why should you start a blog?
This varies for everyone but some of the main reasons people blog is to:
- Tell your own story
- Make money
- Create a sense of community
- Add to your existing business
- Share your expertise
As for myself, I’ve always loved writing so having an outlet for my creative side was something I have been interested in as well as the fact that I really wanted to supplement my current income. One of the great things about blogging is the ability to monetize it in which you can actually create an income from it, but we’ll talk more about that later.
What do you need in order to blog?
I’m a firm believer that there are actually three important things you need in order to succeed as a blogger:
- A real passion for writing because if you don’t enjoy writing, a blog will be more of a nuisance than a joy. Since the point of a blog is to share information, so you will definitely have to have a passion for blogging about your desired topic or niche.
- A commitment to produce content on a regular basis. You’ll definitely need to possess a high level of commitment for blogging, because it isn’t something that you can post to once or twice a month and hope that it takes off. Successful bloggers are posting fresh content on a regular schedule to keep their audience interest.
- A lot of patience because success rarely occurs overnight and it takes time to build a following and an audience. As they say, patience is a virtue, and you’ll need to have patience to see your blog grow. I always find it interesting to see that many bloggers who tell their success stories start off by saying they have been blogging for several years. Success in anything often takes time and blogging rarely – if ever – takes off into instant success overnight.
Some benefits of starting a blog:
- It doesn’t cost much to start or operate a blog. In fact, you can start a blog for as low as $3.95/month.
- You can earn money with a blog if you decide to monetize it.
- You can teach others about your specific knowledge and build a sense of community.
Believe it or not, it’s not nearly as hard as some would make you believe. In fact, starting a blog can be broken down into these basic steps:
- Deciding on a topic/niche
- Choosing a name
- Getting online
- Installing/Designing your WordPress blog
- Writing posts
- Promoting your blog
- Monetizing your blog
If you are completely new to the whole blog world and starting from scratch, or even if you know your way around the blogging world and just aren’t sure where to start, I’ve made this guide super easy for you.
1. Deciding on a topic/niche
This is the part where you decide what you want to blog “about”. Will it be a travel blog? A food blog? A mom blog? Maybe a combination of a few things?
There are a crazy amount of blog topics out there and even more sub-topics so the sky is really the limit here.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Home Décor
- Graphic Design
Do you have to have a niche?
I personally think that it depends. There are some who say that having a specific niche brings you more traffic and builds authority on your topic. Yet, there are plenty of bloggers who blog on a whole host of topics as they relate to general life in the day to day. One blogger I like writes on topics of organization, travel, family, cooking, and planning. Her blog is a huge success despite writing on a variety of topics. So my advice is “you do you” and don’t worry about the rest. Blogging isn’t necessarily a cookie cutter formula in which only one way works. There are lots of popular blogs with multiple angles. While some focus on just one topic – like maybe fashion – there are others that focus on two, three or even four topics and they all work well together.
Don’t stress yourself out worrying about your niche. You can always change it as your blog evolves. Perhaps you might start out blogging about finance, and eventually move more into entrepreneurship, or maybe something different than that altogether. The thing to remember is that it is your blog… so you can do it however you want.
Remember that there is no set rule in place that states you have to be an “expert” in any field in order to write about it. Bloggers are everyday people like you and I with a little bit of knowledge about things who like to share what info they have. Blogging is all about your unique voice and your own experiences. As long as you know enough about your topic to teach others, you’re set. I follow all kinds of blogs and learn something new from them almost every day. Are any of them so-called “experts”? Not one of them, but they know enough that they can share the information they have to others.
2. Choosing a name
Choosing a name for your blog is sometimes one of the hardest things to do because it can be hard to narrow down something with meaning but also reflects that it’s a blog about a certain topic. When thinking about my blog’s name, I wrote down several ones I liked and also words that had meaning to me. I settled on “LiveLoveInspire” because I felt it encompassed the things I try to incorporate in my daily life… live better, love more, and inspire others. Some bloggers use their actual name, while others like to use something different. The best part is that it’s up to you.
If you’re stuck… try jotting down possible names for your blog by writing down words you like or that have special meaning or that maybe reflect your personal side. You may have to add filler words like “the”, “my”, “a”, to make it work, or you may have to choose other options other than .com, like .org or .net in order to get the domain you wish to have.
3. Getting your blog online
Now you need to have a space on the internet in order to put your blog. If you want to be a serious blogger, you really need to be using WordPress. When I started out, I used Wix, because I knew very little about WordPress. I wish now that I’d just started with WordPress because I’ve since switched over and I love it. I really wanted to monetize my blog and WordPress is the way to go with that.
If you plan to use WordPress, you will need to purchase hosting. I know this may sound daunting, but I promise it’s totally painless. I recommend using Bluehost for your website hosting. What Bluehost provides you is a place to put your blog on the internet for as little as $3.95/month plus they give you a free domain name and they offer excellent customer service and technical support, a fantastic price point and ease of use to get set up.
When signing up, you can go a few ways, and I’ like to point out that when just beginning in the blog world, all you need is a basic plan. Within the “basic plan” you can choose whether you want to pay upfront for 12 months (at $5.95/month paid upfront) to test out the water, so to speak, or secondly, you can go for 24 months (at $4.95/month paid upfront), or thirdly, you can sign up for the 3 years (at $3.95/month paid upfront) because while it costs a little more in the beginning, it secures your blog pricing at that incredibly low price for 3 full years. Basically, you’ll save more money that way, and hey, who doesn’t love to save money?
Again, I recommend the “basic” plan because it’s really all you need when you are getting started as it has all you need and gives you plenty of website space. You can always upgrade at a later time anyway.
Next you can pick out your free domain name (that you likely brainstormed about earlier). You can check the availability here and keep in mind you may need to tweak your name idea if the one you want is already taken with words like “my”, “the”, “blog”, etc.
The next screen is where you select your account plan (either 12, 24, or 36 months) and like I mentioned above, the best bang for your buck is the 36 month option because it secures the awesome $3.95/month price for a whole 3 years!
4. Installing & designing your WordPress blog
Thankfully, Bluehost makes it really easy to start your blog with WordPress. Once you’ve created your password, you are guided through the process that shows you exactly what you need to do to get set up with your blog.
You will be instructed to pick a theme (and don’t worry, if you change your mind later, you can change it any time).
Once you’ve picked a theme you just click on “Start Building” and you’ll instantly have your very own WordPress blog!
(To log into your blog at any time, just go to http://www.yourblognamehere.com/wp-admin which will allow you enter your password to log in and start working on your blog)
There will be some themes automatically added to your WordPress account and these are great first-time user options until you get familiar (and braver to use a really fancy version).
5. Writing your posts
This is the fun part – or at least I think so! Once in your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see the menu on the left with the “Posts” tab. Select ‘Add New’ and you’ll be presented with a screen like this:
Once you’ve finished adding your written content, you can add photos to your post by clicking on the “Add Media” button and uploading photos from your computer to your Media Library. Once photos are in the library, you can add them to as many posts or places on your site as you wish.
Once you’ve written your content and added any photos, you can then choose to “publish” your post right away, or you can “schedule” it for a date and time that you choose. This is super helpful if you are like me and write several posts at a time and like to schedule them for exactly what days you’d like.
If you’d like a little help in planning out your blog posts, grab my FREE Printable Blog Planner Worksheet to help you plan out the details of each post.
6. Promoting your blog
Setting up and writing posts is one thing, promoting your blog so the world knows it’s out there is the real “work” of blogging. The way just about everyone does this is through the various social media outlets. If you aren’t on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, BlogLovin’, etc, you need to seriously sign up for them now. This is how you can promote your posts and content for people to see.
Another popular method is by collecting emails so that they will be notified of your latest posts which is something that I do myself. It’s a nice reminder for people that you’ve published new content and a helpful reminder for them to check it out.
7. Monetizing your blog
There are several ways you can make money blogging and this in and of itself can be it’s own book, but to touch on the topic, some of the ways include:
- Selling your own products
- Selling courses/workshops/e-books
- Working with brands and doing sponsored posts
- Placing ads on your site through sites like Google Adsense, etc
- Placing affiliate links on your site
In options 1 & 2 above, it involves selling items you have created/developed. Such items could be digital like photos/online courses/downloads/etc or they can be physical items like books, merchandise, etc in which you send to customers. I personally do both of these. I have 2 different Etsy shops that I link to my website in which I sell mugs with trendy sayings, and I also sell digital printable planners and stock photos. I’m able to drive traffic to my shops via my blog which in turn generates sales for me.
In options 3, 4 & 5 above, it involves working with companies to either do sponsored posts where you are paid to write a post about a specific product perhaps saying why you enjoy/like/love the product or state why it has helped you, or you work with ad companies like Google Adsense in order to put ads on your website, or you can work with affiliate companies in which you become a type of partner who is given a link with tracking code and you will earn a commission if people buy a product or item through your link.
By following the steps above, you should be the owner of a fully functional blog now! Congrats!
Want some help getting your blog organized? Check out my PRINTABLE Blog Planner so you can be a blogging All-Star. This is the planner I created for myself after I couldn’t find a good planner that helped me get my blog organized and fully planned out. It covers everything from actual blog posts, to social media tracking, to collabs, to post worksheets, email and newsletter brainstorming and tracking, and so much more!
- I absolutely love the all new PicMonkey with so many templates and features so I can create all the trendy items I need. I use it for so many of the design elements of my blog and business. From designing social media posts like Pinterest pins and Instagram worthy items, to creating beautiful blog images, PicMonkey has it all. The best part – you can try it out for 7 days absolutely FREE!
- Using Tailwind has been a game changer for my blog. Using it has allowed my blog to grow by leaps and bounds and acquire more followers and frees up precious time because I can schedule my posts like a pro (even though I’m still a newbie) and still have time to get more of what I need to get done accomplished.
- Looking for awesome graphics to use in your projects? I love The Hungry JPEG for endless high quality graphic and font bundles. You can download amazing bundles for a fraction of their retail cost. Plus they have weekly freebies, $1 font specials, and even free fonts. They are by far my fave place to go when on the hunt for items for my blog.
- Bluehost is an excellent hosting company for your blog that allows you to keep your blogging costs to a minimum, especially when starting out. For only $3.95 month you can have your wordpress blog up and running in no time. Their seamless integration makes setting up your blog eazy-peazy in a matter of minutes.
- If you love shopping online then you need to join Ebates so you can start earning cash back on your purchases. I don’t know why I waited so long to get on this bandwagon but lemme tell you, I don’t want you to make the same mistake – so don’t make another online purchase without signup up for Ebates. (Canadian Ebates site and American Ebates site.) It’s totally FREE and if you sign up, you will get $10 as a bonus once you place your first order for $25 or more. Isn’t that incentive enough? Yah, I thought so.
Leave a link to your site in my comments… I’d LOVE to read your blog!