So you’re wondering how to start a blog in 2018 that you can make money from. That’s awesome and totally do-able. I love to make money blogging, it’s my new favourite thing! Before we dive into this guide I want to give you a little background on why I’m so passionate about this.
I remember when I first came across Melyssa Griffin’s blog income reports. It totally blew my mind when I saw how much potential blogging had! I’ve always been a big believer in working smarter not harder, and blogging is the perfect way to create the type of income people can often only dream about while making a real impact in the world.
*This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
But setting up a blog seems so overwhelming doesn’t it? There’s so much to learn, and it all seems so technical. Believe me, I get it. I felt that way too very recently. That’s why I’ve created this simple step by step guide and checklist to help you get started on the right foot and with minimal cost. I’ve tried to summarise my own experience in starting a blog, and recommend to you the products and services I have found useful. It might look like a lot of information at first, but try not to panic as the whole process actually only took me about 20 minutes tops!
How to Start a Blog For Free
You might be tempted to start out on a free platform like Wix or blogger but you really need to look further than that at the big picture. Free platforms give you very limited options to do things like allowing sponsored posts or advertising. Many brands won’t work with bloggers who are on a free platform either, so if your goal is to be an in a paid influencer that will limit your opportunities.
After you’ve been blogging for a while and you realise that actually, you want to make this your full-time career, it can be super awkward to have to move everything over from say Wix to a paid platform. as well as time-consuming, it can get quite technical moving all of your posts, pages and content from one platform to another, so you’ll probably need technical help from a web developer.
So although it may seem counterproductive to spend money on your blog when you’re first starting out and haven’t yet made any money from it, it will cost you less money AND stress in the long run. As you will see the cost to start a blog is minimal at best. Blogging, fortunately, has one of the lowest monetary barriers to entry of any business.
How to start a blog a Blog on WordPress the right way
There are other choices of professional blogging platforms such as Squarespace, however, I recommend starting your blog on WordPress.org for the following reasons:
- WordPress is easy to maintain and has a huge community of users, tons of YouTube videos dedicated to walking you through the different things that you might ever want to do with your blog, and there are both free and paid plugins to help you do just about anything you might want to do on your website.
- WordPress allows you to take complete control of the back end of your site, which means you can allow advertising and sponsored posts, work with brands, change your colours and fonts, change your theme, and do anything that you like relatively easily.
- And, as you start to get more advanced you may want to hire a web developer or designer to help you improve the site. Because WordPress is so popular you will always have a good and affordable choice of technical experts to pick from.
If you’re serious about creating a profitable blog that makes money you will now need to go ahead and purchase a domain name and web hosting for your site.
It’s important to have a niche within the blogging world. This enables you to talk to specific types of people and show that everything you’re saying is made just for them. So when you’re thinking about your domain name (this is the URL that will appear in the search bar at the top of the page) try to pick one that matches the niche or topic of your blog.
I would recommend checking that the name you have in mind is also available on social media. This means you can have the same name across all of the platforms that people might be looking for you. You can check this by going to Namechkr. Having the same name across platforms help you maintain a brand identity so that people aren’t just familiar with xyzblog.com, they are familiar with YOU!
When choosing a domain name for your blog just remember to keep it short and really easy for people to remember. Don’t use numbers or hyphens or underscores or anything which makes the name less memorable. People tend to remember .com better than any other url ending.
Once you’ve picked out your unique domain name that you can use across social media as well, you’ll need to get web hosting for your new blog. You can purchase a domain name and hosting separately if you prefer, but many hosts such as BlueHost, Offer a Total Package where you can get a domain name for free when you purchase hosting! Use the handy domain checker below to see if your chosen name is available.
How to Setup Hosting for Your Blog on Bluehost
What I loved about Bluehost is that it was so easy and quick to setup WordPress straight away. You need no technical skill at all. In addition to being super easy-to-use and making the whole process really quick, Bluehost is the leader in the web hosting market. They’ve been around for years and have millions of happy customers, which means you can trust them with your site.
So are you ready to dive in? Let’s get going!
Head on over to Bluehost through this link, where you can purchase your hosting package and get your free domain name.
Once you hit the green ‘get started now’ button it’s time for the fun to begin.
Follow the steps below to everything up and get your WordPress blog up and running.
First select your plan – the basic plan for $3.95 per month gives you 50gb of website space, 5 email accounts, 100 megabytes of email storage per account, and is more than enough for beginner bloggers.
Once you have selected a plan, you’ll see the option to choose a new domain name, or use one you already have. You can type the domain name you selected earlier into the new domain box, and follow the next steps.
Add your contact and payment information.
You can choose now to pay upfront for the 36-month package which gives you the best overall saving, or whatever package you prefer. I think that the longer, prepaid plans are the best option because if you forget to renew your hosting for any reason, your website isn’t going to just go offline!
You don’t really need the other options which are shown under package information so you can uncheck them. They won’t go anywhere, so if you want to come back and have a look and perhaps take one of those options later on you can do that.
On the next screen you will see a couple of offers which you (probably) won’t need or want, so just click on no thanks.
Now you will see the screen below and be able to create a password for the new account.
After you’ve chosen a password Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you, yay! See how easy that was? Congratulations!
You will now have the option to choose a theme. As you’ll probably be using a much nicer, premium theme shortly, I would go ahead and skip this step.
Now you can start building your new website!
How to Setup Your New WordPress Blog
To log in to your new WordPress admin area go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin (enter your new domain name there), and fill in your WordPress admin name and password.
Now you can follow the tutorial to setup your blog, but as a minimum, I would suggest going to users, and then ‘your profile’ where you will be able to enter a name, email, and bio that will be shown publicly on your WordPress posts. Then click on ‘update profile’ to save your profile.
Make It Pretty
You can stick with the free theme you chose to begin with or one of the others that WordPress offers. I recommend picking a professional premium theme as it will give you more options and look great straight off the bat with minimal effort needed on your part. The one I use on my site is by a company called Pretty Darn Cute. They make amazing feminine WordPress themes, which run on the Genesis framework (Purchased separately).
Why would I want to pay for a theme when I can use the free one?
Google and other search engines determine a website rank through a number of factors and one of them is whether the site is using a free or a paid theme. So from an SEO perspective, it’s better to get started on the right foot with a professional theme from the start.
Secondly, Premium WordPress themes usually come built-in with functionality that makes it easier for you to start monetizing your site straight away. They’ll be optimised for sharing to social media, adding adverts to your sidebar, and connecting to the various email service providers. You can do most of this with for free with plug-ins and free services but it will take you a lot of time and stress hunting around and then trying to piece everything together on your own.
Finally, a premium theme will be mobile friendly which is super important in 2018 because just about everybody now uses the internet on their mobile. The premium theme will make your website look professional and put together with minimum or no design or technical skill on your part aside from uploading and installing the theme.
Do I need the Genesis Framework?
I mentioned earlier that the premium theme that I’m using is on the Genesis framework which you would need to purchase separately. To understand this imagine that the Genesis framework is the car that you’re buying, then the theme (known as a child theme) is the paint that you put on the car to make it look nice! Genesis is the most robust and preferred platform of most web developers and it is constantly updated to stay in line with current web requirements.
You can use all types of premium themes, known as child themes, to ‘paint’ Genesis with, so you can make it look like a typical blog, a magazine, a shop, or anything you like. You can click here to purchase The Genesis framework, and then head to the lovely Pretty Darn Cute for a beautiful, feminine theme to dress it with.
How to Install Your WordPress Theme
To first install the Genesis Framework, click on appearance in your WordPress dashboard > themes > add themes, and then click upload theme. Select the Genesis zip file and click install now, and then activate. Genesis will automatically unpack the file and set everything up for you. Then follow exactly the same process for your new child theme.
If you prefer to purchase a theme that does not require the Genesis Framework, I recommend BluChic. They make stunning themes like Victoria below, which I had on this site until I switched recently.
How to make money blogging
So now you have your new WordPress site up and running and a pretty theme making it look lovely, you might be wondering how you can actually make money with your blog. There are lots of ways to make money blogging, including sponsored posts, affiliate links, coaching and consulting, online courses, digital products and advertising. I go into a little of this in my very first income report where I talk about how I made three figures in my first month blogging. Click here to read my first ever income report.
So there you have it, now you have everything you need to start a profitable blog in 2018. You have your domain name and web hosting you have a pretty premium theme, and your website looks great. You’re ready to start making money. All you need to do now is write your first post!
So sit back, take a break, have a cup of tea and give yourself a massive pat on the back.
The technical part of setting up a blog isn’t as hard as it seems at first. Take It step by step following my guide above, and you’ll have your new blog set up in no time. Don’t be intimidated by those big blogger income reports. Everybody started somewhere. If I could do all of the above to start my blog and make three figures in my very first month, I’m pretty sure you can too! I’m rooting for you 🙂
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