Blogging is fun, it has an amazing (and very supportive community) and it’s a great way to connect to other like-minded individuals all over the world.
Looking to monetize a blog? A monetized blog allows you to take control of your own time and money, work for yourself, and start the path to some amazing financial wonders. If you are not a person that likes to hit an alarm clock in the morning for someone else’s business and you don’t like being tied to timed lunch breaks and limited vacation days then being an entrepreneur and monetizing a blog could be a great option for you!
The best way to start is to just take the dive. It can be scary to start and the fear of failure is always there!
“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” – Eloise Ristad
There is a right way and a wrong way to start a monetized blog (or one you’d like to monetize eventually). We will walk through the right way to start your blog.
Why listen to me? I’ve been a designer for close to a decade and helped individuals and companies set up and monetize their websites. I can help you too.
BLOGGING FOR BEGINNERS: HOW TO START YOUR OWN BLOG
NOTE: If you’re at a stopping point here, thinking: “I’d love to start a blog, but I don’t know what to write about!” OR “I have no idea what my website name should be!” STOP HERE and move onto Step #3. With my background in advertising, I have some tips to share with you so that you can move forward!
What is hosting and why do I have to pay for it?
To start out, you need a place to host your blog. Hosting is a space where your website information is stored. When someone clicks to go to your website, basically, their browser pulls information from this storage place. It is vitally important for your website. Also, you can buy a domain name elsewhere and host separately but doing the all together is the most simple (and best) way to go!
- It’s cheap! At just $3.95 a month with a free domain ($15 value) when you click through my link here, it’s a super low cost.
- I’ve used many other web hosting platforms from GoDaddy to HostMonster, and Squarespace to blogger. In my experience, none of them give you such quality customer service OR such an easy-to-use platform to monetize. ALSO, if you feel like it’s just not working for you, Bluehost has a 12 month money guarantee. So, you are starting a blog at a low cost, for no risk.
- If you decide to monetize and show other people how to start their own blogs, Bluehost is an amazing affiliate with absolute basic qualifications. You can start making, base, $65 every time you refer someone. Isn’t that awesome?!
- If you want to monetize your blog, self hosted platforms with WordPress ARE THE WAY TO GO. Free platforms can be viewed by affiliate programs as unprofessional and you may run into substantial roadblocks when applying. There are also many other stipulations that can get in your way! Avoid the headache and start a clean path forward by low-cost but solid and effective self-hosting through Bluehost.
HOW TO START A PROFESSIONAL BLOG ON BLUEHOST
1. Click here to begin and we’ll move forward step-by-step.
Click the “Get Started Now” button on the Bluehost page and I’ll walk you through the rest.
If at ANY POINT you feel confused, stuck or frustrated, let me know! I am here to help.
2. Select the BASIC package
Once you’ve clicked “Get Started” on the Bluehost site, the next page asks you to select a package. All you really need to choose is the Basic Package. It’s $3.95 through my link + a FREE domain name ($15 value). If you ever want to upgrade to the other packages, you can do so through your account.
Keep in mind, you will later be promoted to pay for your hosting in month based plans:
- Basic 12 Months Price – $5.45/month = $65.40, a SAVINGS of $42.48 / 39% off
- Basic 24 Month Price – $4.95/month = $118.00, a SAVINGS of $84.96 / 41% off
- Basic 36 Month Price – $3.95/month = $142.20, a SAVINGS of $145.44 / 50% off -> This is the cheapest option and you aren’t locked into any contract. You can still cancel anytime if you want.
- Basic 60 Month Price – $3.95/month = $237.00, a SAVINGS of $242.40 / 50% off
3. Decide on your URL & name
The next screen will ask you to choose your new domain name or type in your existing domain you’d like to transfer. If you have a URL already, skip to: 4. Create Your Account & Select your Package Information
1. The first step is to choose your niche and/or blog topic.
If you are passionate about something, you can start a blog about it! Really. If you haven’t decided your topic, take out a piece of paper (or use a whiteboard) and write out some top things you love. If you want to monetize, take a look at your list and decide on a topic that will have the most reach: what will most people like to hear about and receive benefit from? Monetizing a blog is about helping others. Any business is as successful as it’s reach.
Remember to choose a topic you will enjoy and love writing about. Blogging is simply a conversation! You don’t have to be a good writer or have selected the best niche/topic in all of the world. The biggest thing is to start because most people won’t even get past this step! But you can.
(Having an extensive background in branding (which includes selecting URLs) for almost a decade, I have some advice here!)
- In the end, your name isn’t what matters the most. Your content is what matters.
- Having a “catchy” name is nice and is a better memory que for your audience. This has been called a “smile in the eye” because it is visually appealing and thus, memorable! Some great examples of this are the websites: rottentomatoes, lifehacker, facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. All have meanings we can immediately identify with and visualize. Again, don’t get caught up here on the PERFECT name. Google the top blogs and you will see that they don’t all have the best names or branding!
2. Creating your URL name. How we came up with names in some of the design agencies I was a part of:
- Write out everything you can think of that your blog will be about.
- Now circle keywords that describe your blog. List other words that are similar to your keywords.
- Example: What is my blog about?
Frugal, organization, life, budget, happiness, goals, parenting, how-to, advice
- Example: What is my blog about?
- Now draw a web out from these words: what are other synonyms to describe these words? Use a thesaurus.
- Lastly, look up some catch-phrases and idioms. Can you put any two words together that you like?
Again, in the end the thing that matters most is your content NOT your blog name. Actually starting your blog is the KEY. Don’t get hung up here!
4. Create your account & select your package information
Select your package information
Uncheck all the boxes. You may consider paying for domain privacy. This basically keeps all your information hidden. Without the privacy, your private information like your address, phone number and email can be harvested and you may get unwanted solicitations. With the privacy, Bluehost only shows their information.
Also, if you want to move over any other domains you have, you can do so for around $10. Once I started a blog on Bluehost, I moved my other domain name over as well.
- Go to Bluehost through my link here, then click the “Get Started Now” button.
- Select BASIC package.
- Choose your new domain name or type in your existing domain you’d like to transfer.
- Type in your account information.
- Select your account plan. 36 months is the cheapest plan. Uncheck all the boxes (for additional expenses) but consider domain privacy. Add in your payment information.
Congratulations, you now have your very own website domain!!!
Feel free to do a congratulatory “whoop!”
5. Install WordPress on your Bluehost account
Now, let’s start setting up your website! Yay!!!
Bluehost makes WordPress very easy to install.
- Once you’ve logged into Bluehost.com, scroll down till you see the “website” section.
Click “Install WordPress”.
- The next screen may take you to: “BlueHost Marketplace Powered by MOJO.” Click “Continue Installation.”
- Select your domain name from the dropdown and click “install.”
- The next screen will say, “WordPress Installed” and will list your URL, login URL, and username. DO NOT EXIT yet! Save this information and click: “configure your password.”
- After you are done entering in your password, click “complete setup” and you are done!
- Choosing a WordPress theme: many top bloggers use Genesis (not an affiliate link). Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, a finance and lifestyle blogger I follow, makes over 100,000 A MONTH and uses this theme. You could also check out free themes to start and get your feet wet for a couple months. Before purchasing a theme, check out some of the top blogs in your niche and see what themes they use. Use http://whatwpthemeisthat.com/ to check what theme they have. Note: I use a theme called Soledad. Unless you consider yourself pretty WordPress savvy, I wouldn’t recommend it.
- So, why pay for a theme? They are much more powerful and versatile. Almost all monetized blogs use a paid theme.
- Once you have chosen your theme and downloaded it, log into your WordPress admin page. Once you are in your dashboard, click on “Appearance” in the panel on the left and then “themes.” Upload the entire zip file you downloaded from your theme.
- Most themes come with documentation included in the zip file. This is important! Be sure to read through this in order to set your blog up.
- The most important thing to keep in mind is that WordPress can have a learning curve. Make the goal to push yourself to experiment and understand the panel on the left side of your dashboard. This will pay off! I promise that if you keep trying, it will get easier. Go back to your WordPress theme’s documentation or the support page where you bought the theme if you hit stumbling blocks. You can do it!
- Crash course basics of WordPress:
- To edit the theme (add your own branding, edit the look etc.), usually you go to “Appearance” and then “Customize.”
- To add a new blog post, go to “Posts” and “Add new”
- To edit pages, go to “Pages”
- Widgets are add-on items a theme may come with that adds features to further customize your blog. Check this out under “Appearance” and “Widgets.”
- Plugins are also important. You will see this on the left as well. Plugins are external features downloaded to add-onto your website. I have my e-mail subscription plug-in as well as PrettyLink
- To add images, click on “media” to upload
Monetize your blog THE RIGHT WAY
If you are looking to make some money or LOTS of money through your blog, affiliate income is one of the top ways to do so. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, a finance and lifestyle blogger I follow, makes over 100,000 A MONTH and much of it is through affiliate income. You can actually go to her website: makingsenseofcents.com and check out her income reports.
Her course: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, is PHENOMENAL.
I recommend setting aside the goal to go through it within a week to two weeks. I thought I knew enough about affiliate marketing to get my feet wet. Nope. This course blew me out of the water. I love how she goes into depth about all the legal sides of affiliate marketing and how to navigate this as well as what affiliates to apply to, how to get accepted and a polished additional guide to driving traffic (plus SO much more). There are a ton of worksheets that will leave you with a solid game plan on moving forward to working with affiliates. Check out her course through the button below: