How to Start a Blog in Four Easy Steps

So, I haven’t been talking much on the blog about my blogging income, but since it’s increasing at a pretty decent rate I don’t feel I can keep this secret gem to earning extra income a secret anymore.

When I started this blog in January of 2013, I had not one clue about blogging or technical stuff like how to set up a blog. In fact, I hadn’t even read a blog until the end of 2012. I really was in the dark ages.

I always hoped to start making money online; after all, I’d heard these great stories about people doing so. And as much as I wanted to contribute to our family financially, being at home with the kids and home schooling them is top priority for me and for Rick. Having to take time out of my day to get ready for a job, to drive to the job, to get paid a pittance (I didn’t want a job that was a career if I had to leave the house) to drive home, etc., just wasn’t going to work and I knew it. The stress it would’ve placed on our family just wasn’t worth it.

Then I began to discover that making money from home online really does happen. My first serious online money making gig was a freelance writing gig. A blogging pal asked me if I’d like to write for his site. The pay was MUCH higher than I’d make at any store job, and I could do my work from the comfort of my own home when it was convenient for me to get it done. Soon I got more freelancing gigs, and then another blogging pal tipped me off to how I could make money with this blog.

Honestly, at that point I was considering selling The Frugal Farmer. As much as I loved sharing my heart and interacting with the readers, blogging was taking up time that I wasn’t being paid for and we had a serious need to get out of serious debt. Why not focus my time where the money was? I had a cash offer in hand and was pretty close to accepting the offer to sell the blog to make more time for freelancing gigs when my friend said, “Laurie, why don’t you take a year and try and monetize the blog, and then if you’re still not happy, sell it.”

I decided I’d give it a try. After all, I love the community we’ve created here and I love helping teach people how they can reach their financial dreams. My friend challenged me to make $500 a month off the blog in that first month. I made $430.

But the next month I blew that goal away and made over $1,100 blogging.  And things are only getting better. 

Friends, the money one makes by blogging is REAL. It’s a real way for you to bring some serious cash into your pocket doing something you love to do. If you search the Net you’ll find people who are making enough money blogging that they’ve traded in their day jobs for a job that takes MUCH less time and makes the same or more money than they were making while working a traditional job.

But I Don’t Know ANYTHING About Starting a Blog

LOL, that’ s the easy part, my friend. Hosting companies like Bluehost and blogging platforms like WordPress have made starting a blog so easy that anyone can do it. And the truth of the matter is that you’ll never realize your dream of making money by blogging until you start a blog. Let me give you a short tutorial on starting a blog so you understand just how easy it is. Here’s how incredibly easy it is to start your own blog.

Step 1: Set Up Hosting

There are many free blogging platforms out there. WordPress itself offers free platforms and hosted platforms. The problem with free blogging platforms is that advertisers and affiliates likely won’t give them a second glance. 

When a blogger won’t make the commitment to make their blog seem professional by paying for a hosted site, advertisers and affiliates assume that the blogger is just blogging for kicks.

On the other hand, when they see that a blogger has taken the time to make their site look professional by using a hosting company, they know that the blogger is serious about their business.

One of my favorite hosting companies is Bluehost. I’ve been a Bluehost user for nearly five years now. Why Bluehost? Here are some of the advantages of using one of the top hosting companies in the industry:

  • Extremely Affordable. When you use our personal Bluehost link you get hosting for only $3.95 a month. This means you can start your money-making blog business for only $48 a year
  • Free Domain Name. When you sign up for Bluehost using my link, they’ll also give you a free domain name to go with your account.
  • 24/7 Technical Support. Bluehost helps bloggers work their business on their own schedule by offering tech support anytime day or night
  • Super Easy WordPress Installation. Since Bluehost works mainly with WordPress, they’ve got a one-click installation button for WordPress users. It simply can’t get any easier, even for those who consider themselves technically challenged
  • Money Back Guarantee. Your Bluehost blog is risk-free. If you decide after trying blogging that it’s not for you, Bluehost offers a 30-day full refund guarantee. If you choose to cancel after 30 days, they’ll still give you a pro-rated refund.

Bluehost has years of experience helping bloggers get started so I find they’re by far the easiest hosting company to work with, especially for those who have never started a blog before.

When I started my first blog through Bluehost years ago, it was such an easy and stress-free process not because I knew what I was doing, but because Bluehost’s system has made it easy for everyone, no matter your tech level. Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Click on this affiliate link to go to the Bluehost website or click on any of the images within this article. This special offer  of $3.95 a month is available only through the links within this article or the articles of selected affiliate bloggers like The Frugal Farmer.

Here’s the screen you’ll see

 

 

You’ll want to click on the “get started now” button that you see on the affiliate link like the one below:

bluehost-1tff

Click on the “Get Started Now” green button and Bluehost will easily walk you through the process, and you don’t have to be a tech expert to understand it. Their super simple platform will work for even the most beginner bloggers.

Step 2: Register a Domain

One of the first things Bluehost will ask you for after you get started is to enter your domain. Your domain is the name that you want your site to have; the “www” title.

Check this interactive box now to see if the domain name you want is available. 

Your domain name should be catchy and should represent what you’re writing about. Don’t pick a domain that has nothing to do with what you’re writing about or is so off-kilter that people won’t remember it. For instance, if you’re writing about personal finance, pick a catchy domain that rolls off the tongue nicely and has a word relating to money in the title, such as www.mikesmoneytips.com .

The goal is to make your domain name easy to remember and to make sure it reflects your writing goals too.

bluehost-screenshot-3

 What if I Already Have a Domain?

No worries! Simply connect the domain you purchased through GoDaddy or another site to your Bluehost account by following the instructions after you enter your domain.

 

 Step 3: Install WordPress

I also highly recommend using WordPress hosted for your platform. Again, because they’re the best in the industry, they’ve created a system that I believe is the easiest to use especially for beginners.

Click on the tab entitled cPanel:

bluehost-screenshot-4

From there click on “Install WordPress” and choose the domain you want to install on. You’ll then set up your login details.

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That’s the hardest part!

From there you’ll go to your domain site on the Net, and add “/login” after the site name. That screen will look like this:

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If you’ve entered the correct username and password, you are now into your WordPress dashboard and can begin designing your blog and writing posts!

Step 4: Pick a Theme

This is where the real fun begins. On your WordPress Dashboard, you’ll notice a black bar on the left hand side. Scroll down to “Appearance” and click on it. From there you can click on “themes” and install one of hundreds of free themes that will help you to personalize the appearance of your blog. I recommend starting with the WordPress themes if you’re a new blogger as they’re super easy to use. WordPress also has a terrific support site that will help you to answer any question at all about how to set up and maintain your WordPress site.

Blogging Tips for New Bloggers

I’ve learned so much since I began blogging nearly four years ago. Do yourself a favor and catapult your blogging success by avoiding the blogging mistakes so many new bloggers make and consider following these tips for new bloggers.

Set Time Aside Each Week to Build Your Blog

It doesn’t have to be a ton of time, but if you schedule it in you’ll stay organized and avoid falling into the black hole of bloggers who give up way too soon. I’ve enjoyed many blogs with talented writers who definitely had the talent to make some serious online money but gave up too soon due to a lack of time. If you schedule in a few hours each week to build and maintain your blog, you won’t have that problem.

Be Yourself, Build Your Brand

You have a unique perspective that you can bring to the blogging world only because there’s no one else like you in the world. Blog readers like to read blogs that are written from the heart. When building your blog, make your brand about what’s close to your heart. If you love sharing parenting tips, focus on that. If you love teaching others about money, focus on that. Don’t make it about the success of the blog, make it about a serious desire to encourage and help others.

Give Yourself a Minimum of Six to Twelve Months

Successful blogs don’t happen overnight. It takes awhile to build an audience and to spread the word about your blog via social media, guest posting and commenting on other blogs. Give yourself time to learn the business and establish yourself in the community.

Be a Giver, Not a Taker

I’m not too sure about other blogging communities, but the personal finance blogging community is generally very uplifting and supportive. When you come onto the blogging scene in your niche, make a commitment to be a positive contributor to your fellow blogger community. If you continue to sow seeds, you will eventually reap a harvest.

Just Start

Many people are afraid to start blogging because they think they’ve got to produce a stellar product from the start. That’s simply not the case. As with any business, starting is the most important thing. And with Bluehost your startup is risk free thanks to their money-back guarantee and free domain bonus. Just click on this link for your guaranteed discounted price of only $3.95 a month and your free domain and get started today. Your blog will improve each and every week as you learn the trade, and eventually the money will come. So start today and worry about perfection later. The world is waiting to hear your voice!

If you have any questions at all about what it takes to start or run a blog, or how you might be able to start bringing in an income by blogging, feel free to email me by hitting the “Contact Us” tab at the top of the site. I’d love to answer your questions!

 

14 comments

  1. Great guide, Laurie! It’s exactly what everybody needs to get started with this and your extra tips are more than welcome and helpful! I am happy to hear that everything is going great with you and the blogging income!

  2. Michael says:

    Hi Lauri,

    You have built up an awesome platform! It is good thing that you did not trade in your blog.

    Do you share income / traffic reports?

    You have been blogging for almost 4 years now – that in itself is a tremendous accomplishment. Can you share some lessons learned and tips?

    –Michael

    • Laurie says:

      Hi Michael! NO, not sharing income reports yet – hubby is not quite on board with that, but I’ll say that it’s well over the $1k I was making. I’ll write a separate posts for lessons learned and tips but the four I shared above are definitely the most important ones I’ve learned.

  3. I haven’t monetized the blog (yet?) but that’s mostly for personal reasons.

    I’m really excited to hear you’re making some good money from blogging, Laurie! I think it’s great when people are rewarded for hard work and get to see the fruits of their labor.

    I’m still rocking Blogger and their $10 per year hosting fees, but I’m probably missing out on some of the neat functionality you’d get with WordPress…

    Here’s to some big future paydays for you!

    • Laurie says:

      I’d love to see you expand, DB40 – you write such great stuff! If you ever decided to, let me know, I’ll be happy to share what I’ve learned!

  4. Josh says:

    Wow between you & J. Money, that’s two potential blog offer writeups in one week. Congrats on sticking with it, it is a difficult choice to make going either way.

    I just started earning a few dollars at the 11-month mark. But, the blog was my portfolio for freelance writing, so it has indirectly earned me a decent amount of passive income since May (when I first took up freelancing).

    All great tips for new bloggers as well and they all hold true. Finding the balance between blogging, family, and regular work has definitely been a learning experience for me.

    • Laurie says:

      Freelancing has been lucrative for me too. I made five figures freelancing last year alone! Yeah, it’s tough to find the balance – especially if you love to write. Luckily I do my best work in the early morning, so most of my writing is done by the time the kids get done eating breakfast and watching cartoons. 🙂

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