Already convinced you’re going to be a blogger? Click on over to the cheapest place I’ve found to get started and follow along with the tutorial below!
What does it take to be a successful blogger in 2018? Really? Because anyone can start a blog, but making it successful?
That’s a little harder.
You don’t want to be that blogger only making 20 cents in three months’ time.
How do you start a blog that makes money? You’ve probably read a post or two about starting a blog >>> it sounds so easy right? You pick something you love, wave your magic wand, write about it and the money starts rolling on in as you ride off on your unicorn into six figure blogger sunset.
…if only it were that simple.
Why do so many bloggers want you to start a blog?
Most bloggers won’t tell you this, but I’m not most bloggers.
One of the main ways bloggers make money is through something called ‘affiliate marketing‘. How it works is a company gives a blogger a referral code attached to a product link and if someone makes a purchase through that link, the blogger makes a commission.
It’s easy, and means you do the work up front (writing a blog post) and reap the rewards, pretty much forever.
It’s also very lucrative.
Blog hosting companies, like BlueHost, SiteGround and (my personal fave) A2 Hosting? They pay out a LOT of money to bloggers per sale (up to $140+). Crazytown!
That’s a lot of money and it adds up fast if you’re good at convincing people to start blogging…
… which is why almost every blogger has a ‘how to start a blog’ post, regardless of whether they’re making 20 cents or $20,000+ a month.
And that begs the question:
Why Should You Start A Blog?
I’m going to be real real with you.
Not everyone is cut out to be a blogger. And that’s ok.
But, I still think you should give it a go… you know why?
Because if you’re looking to opt out of the workforce, leave a 9-5, become location independent, or be a stay at home mom for good, having a blog gives you an instant advantage.
7 Opportunities You Have as a Blogger That ‘Normal’ People Don’t Have
Making money is a big reason why people start blogs.
It’s why I started.
But, it’s not everything.
There are so many other things that having a blog opens you up to:
- free products and services
- getting paid to blog for or about a company
- media opportunities and speaking engagements
- running a successful business in virtual assistance, writing, social media, or teaching
- getting a dream work-from-home job for a tech startup (including all-expenses-paid quarterly meetups in fun locations, like Madrid)
- becoming a best-selling author on Amazon
- climbing to the top of your network marketing empire
Sounds good, right?
Let’s Start a Blog Right Now!
So. You’ve decided to start a blog.
1. Choosing a niche
The very first thing you need to decide is what your blog is going to be about.
Think back to your favorite blogs. Why are they your favorite?
Chances are they talk about something pretty specific. For example, you don’t expect your favorite food blogger to suddenly start talking about graphic design, politics, or the latest must-have stroller. Right?
Now there’s nothing wrong with having a blog that covers more than one topic, like a lifestyle blog, but… Let’s think back to that favorite blog of yours again… why do you like reading it?
In fact, why do people read blogs anyway?
Most people are looking for what’s in it for them.
It’s human nature.
That’s why a post like: My awesome trip to a farmstay, Is less interesting to a potential reader than: 7 secrets to planning the perfect farmstay vacation.
Once someone points out the difference, it’s obvious. Am I right?
When I started this blog, I treated it like a glorified public diary. Yeah. I did that. It was embarrassing.
Blogs aren’t really like that anymore.
Successful blogs especially aren’t like that anymore. And we want your blog to be successful!
But, back to your niche. You’re either overflowing with ideas right now or completely stumped. It’s cool. This isn’t an all or nothing kind of deal. You can change your mind later if you want to.
Grab a notebook, here’s some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- What topics are you passionate about?
- What are your hobbies?
- What do you have knowledge of?
- How can you help others with your blog?
You should choose something that you’re passionate about, as you’ll be blogging about it for a long time.
But, what about the money?
There is NOTHING wrong with starting a blog to make money. Writing blog posts take time, marketing your blog takes time, nurturing your readers and your email list… well it all takes time.
As a mom, my time is precious, and so is yours.
So please, by all means, start a blog with the intention of making money.
That being said, you shouldn’t jump in on a niche that isn’t a good fit for you simply because you think it’ll be profitable.
What to do instead? Take your ideas from the questions above and do a bit of research.
It’s a good sign if you:
- Find other blogs in your niche (if there are NO other blogs, it probably isn’t very popular or profitable.)
- Find products for sale or sponsored posts on those blogs.
2. Who are you blogging for?
A huge mistake new bloggers make is they tell themselves this:
“I’m going to start a blog about X. X is beneficial for everyone and everyone should do X. So, I’m blogging for everyone.”
This doesn’t work. Why?
Not everyone is interested in X.
Not everyone is going to be open to X.
Not everyone is going to want to learn about X… FROM YOU.
Not sure what I mean? Here’s an example.
I love reading blogs about digital marketing and blogging (yep, I really know how to party).
But, my favorite bloggers are moms. Especially moms with babies or toddlers, because that’s my reality.
It’s not that I can’t learn from non-moms, but often their advice is NOT going to work for me. I can’t just close myself off and work for even three hours at a time (unless I hit the naptime jackpot). Dinner doesn’t make itself and I still have a household to run.
Other moms understand that writing a welcome email series is vying for priority with doing the laundry and going for yet another park adventure.
So, the question is: who do you want to write for?
Psst… I often cheat with this question and just say I’m writing for me from a year or two ago. This is the easiest way to choose an audience.
3. Choose a domain name
Once you’ve decided on a niche and who you want to write for, your next step is to choose a domain name.
Yes, this is your blog name.
When I first started, I had no idea what a domain name was, what hosting was, and how they were different. It’s even more confusing because sometimes your domain name is thrown in for free with your hosting anyway.
There’s a few things to consider for your domain name:
Make sure it’s not already taken and the social media handles are available. You can check with the app Knowem that the social media profiles you might want in your blog’s name are available.
Should you go with a .com, .net, .org, or .ninja? Although I’d love to be a .ninja, my recommendation is to only use .com or a .co if you must. It’s the most common, and if you choose any other you’ll likely lose traffic to the .com version of your name.
One final note – there’s a lot of names that will be taken, so come prepared with a few options.
Are you ready to get your hands on your shiny new blog? Here goes!
I recommend hosting with A2 Hosting. They’re reasonably priced and have a great reputation for speedy websites, quality hosting, and awesome customer service.
Click this link to head on over to A2 Hosting so you can follow along with the tutorial.
- Click on Sign Up.
- Choose your plan. Lite or Swift are both good options and if you can spring the cash for Turbo, well it’s super fast!
- Type in your domain and click Check. This will check if it’s available. My fingers are crossed for you! If it is, click Continue.
- Choose whether you want your plan to be for 12 months or 24 months (you get more of a discount for choosing a longer plan).
- Decide whether you want to enable any of the extras A2 offers (you don’t need them).
- Click Continue.
- Check the box for DNS Management (it’s free and makes your site faster so why not?). I highly recommend springing the extra $ for ID Protection as it stops your personal information being available to anyone who looks for it. Check the box for email forwarding if you’d like your site email address to go directly to your personal email.
- Review the price and click Checkout.
- Fill in your personal details and billing information. Then click Complete Order.
- Click on Proceed to Client Area.
Phew! You’ve got hosting!
5. Installing WordPress
Ok, picking up where we left off. From the client area, click Login to login to your website.
Here we are in the backend. It’s a bit intimidating. But, don’t worry. Once we get things set up, you won’t need to come back here for a while.
Let’s install WordPress now.
- Click on WordPress A2 Optimized.
- Click on the Install tab.
- Choose Protocol – choose http:// from the dropdown box (if you’ve got an SSL, choose https:// – not sure? Choose http://, you can always change it later)
- Choose your domain from the dropdown box.
- Fill out your Site Name and Site Description (this can be changed later, so don’t agonize over this right now).
- Add your admin username and password here.
Quick note on passwords – make sure it’s an incredibly strong password. Don’t use any other password you normally use. Random generated is best with lots of characters and upper and lower case.
- Change the admin email address if you want. Some ideas: hi@yourwebsite, yourname@yourwebsite, admin@yourwebsite.
- Click Install.
WordPress will now install on your site! Congratulations – you have a blog!
6. What Next?
We can’t just leave you there!
The next thing you need to do is login to your site.
Click on the Administrative URL and login with the username and password you created in the last step.
This is what the backend of WordPress looks like. Get familiar with it. You’re going to spend quite a bit of time here working on your blog.
The most important navigation tool is the sidebar to the left.
This is where you’ll find:
- Updates – whenever WordPress, themes, or plugins you’re using get updated, you’ll get notified here.
- A2 Optimized/Jetpack/Clef – these are special options that you’ve got because you’re hosting with A2. You’ll find the settings for each of these different services/plugins there. As you add plugins to your blog, you’ll find that you might get more options appearing.
- Posts – this is where you can Add New blog posts, view and edit old blog posts, and add categories and tags to your website to use on your posts.
- Media – this is where any photos, videos, and documents live when you upload them to your site.
- Pages – this is where you can view, edit, and add new pages to your site.
- Comments – this is where you can see all the comments that have been left on your site.
- Appearance – you can change Themes, Customize your theme, add Widgets to your sidebars and footer, add or remove pages and posts from your menu, and get into the code editor (only if you want to).
- Plugins – this is where you’ll find the plugins you’ve installed and where you can add more. Plugins add new features and functions to your website without you needing to know any code.
- Users – you can add additional users here and edit your own profile. Make sure you’re happy with the way your user name is displayed publicly. Also you can add your gravatar here which will give you an avatar when you reply to comments on your site.
- Tools – some plugins will add options to the tools section. I’ve never really used this at all.
- Settings – there’s a lot of things you can edit in here.
- General Settings – update your site title and tagline, change your email address, set timezone and date/time formats.
- Writing – set default post category and format, set up post via email (I’ve never done this)
- Reading – decide whether to have your front page your blog roll or a static homepage. If you choose a static page, you have to choose which page you’ll use as your homepage and what page your blog will live on.
- Discussion – have a look over these settings for comments, fill in any that apply and check the boxes to your liking.
- Media – you can change image sizes here, I recommend leaving it as the default.
- Permalinks – make sure you’ve got Post Name This will remove the date from your URL.
Hi, I'm Cath
Blogger. Freelance Writer & Pinterest Manager. Mom of one. Keeps me busy! I’m also a corporate escapee, determined to help moms create options so they can stay home with the little ones and contribute to the family finances.