Due to social distancing and staying at home with more free time than ever, this year is a fantastic opportunity to build a side hustle and finally start that blog you’ve been thinking about.
Maybe you’re out of work, are working remotely but want to prepare for the coming recession, have financial troubles due to the coronavirus outbreak, or are a business owner whose income has been affected due to the economic situation. In any case, starting a blogging business online, which you can run from the comfort of your home, and earning those extra $1,000 a month is the best you can do right now.
Follow the steps in this guide to start a blog during quarantine.
Starting a blog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken. It became the foundation of my online business and personal brand and a way to create multiple income streams (I earn from sponsored posts, selling my books and courses, affiliate marketing, and ads).
So I decided to create a guide on how to start a blog for anyone out there looking to change their life in the same great way.
I will keep this blogging guide updated as things in the field change all the time. If you’re a beginner blogger with no experience in the digital world, that’s okay. I too started from nothing and wasn’t tech-savvy either. But you learn as you go.
Following the steps below will show you how to start a blog and monetize it so you can make $1000/month. All this is necessary to build a name for yourself and start blogging for profit. From then on, the possibilities are endless.
It took me years to find the best hosting provider, fantastic WordPress plugins for free, to test different monetization strategies, read about other bloggers and how they were earning from their platforms, take my first online course, and more, till I got to earning over $5,000 from my blog.
I want to save you the time and trouble by giving you the best of the best when it comes to building a profitable and trusted platform that both readers and search engines love. So, let’s get to the point.
How to Start a Blog with No Experience and Earn Your First $1,000
Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide on how to start a blog (you can skip to any part you’d like):
Step 1: Know Your Why
Step 2: Choose Your Blog Niche
Step 3: Get a Web Host and Domain Name
Step 4: Install WordPress and Make Your Site Live
Step 5: Install Your WordPress Theme
Step 6: The WordPress Dashboard & Your First Pages
Step 7: Learn How Blogs Make Money
BONUS: Resources to Help You Make Money Blogging
1. Know your ‘why’.
Blogging can be a hobby, a therapy, an experiment. But this is a guide on how to start a blog. That means you’ll create content, gain traffic and have an audience that you will want to monetize in different ways.
This allows you to become self-employed, earn passive income, quit your day job and become location independent, travel while working or just do it from home. At the same time, you’ll be helping people achieve a certain result and will get paid for it.
Starting a blog to make money is for those who are determined to commit to it as a goal and won’t give up early on.
It might take some trial and error till you see your first visitors and even more till you make your first sales. Once you do, however, you will learn more about making money online and will be able to double your profits in no time.
The point is to start and stick to it until you begin earning from your blog. For that to happen, you’ll need a pretty good reason to keep you motivated. This is what I call your ‘why’ for blogging.
Maybe it’s to share your passion for crafts and teach people how to do the same from their home. Or it’s because you are sick of being part of the 9 to 5 lifestyle and want to spend your time more effectively. It could also be that you can’t wait to travel the world but would love to work remotely at the same time.
Some people invest all their free time for months to start a blog that will make them money forever. Then, they provide for their families and can leave anything else behind while devoting time to loved ones and business full-time.
Whatever your ‘why’ is, write it down and let it guide you along the way on your journey to building a profitable blog.
2. Choose your blog niche.
In the digital world, they say that the riches are in the niches.
There are 2 ways you can go about this: you can either choose a broad subject (like personal development) and niche down once you find your voice and have some readers. Or you can start blogging about something specific, which you have enough knowledge about, and see where that takes you (such as productivity tips for freelance writers, best places for digital nomads to work in Thailand, relationship advice for mums-to-be, etc).
Truth is, there’s too much of everything out there. So if you don’t have anything useful to say, your blog won’t stand out.
Make sure you know something about the topic you’ll cover, but also be interested in it, care about the problem you’ll solve with your content, and make sure there are others out there wanting to read about it.
You can dominate even a crowded niche if you’re serious about it, publish content frequently, include your unique voice, establish yourself as an authority in the field, and hang around long enough to be noticed and get traffic.
Once you find your niche, choose a domain name connected to it. That’s how your site is called, in my case it’s letsreachsuccess.com
3. Get a Web Host and Domain Name
There are 3 main elements to starting a profitable blog.
This is the technical part and it’s not complicated at all. The first one is your web host – a hosting company that provides space on a server to make your blog live and accessible on the Web.
Then, you’ll choose the name of your website (which is the next step of this guide on how to start a blog) and will install the content management system – CMS – in one click (this is the software allowing you to quickly and easily publish and distribute content from your new blog). To function, that content management system has to be installed on a web server.
We’ll now use WordPress as a CMS (it’s free, easy to use, and powers over 30% of the Internet), and SiteGround as a web host (there are many other hosting companies too but this is the one I recommend. Over 2 million websites owners have trusted them so far, and they offer affordable prices for new bloggers).
Now, let’s begin the process of building your money-making blog.
Step 1: Choose your hosting plan.
Head to SiteGround’s WordPress Hosting page and pick one of the 3 plans they offer.
The StartUp plan is great for beginners and it’s pretty affordable. At any next stage of your online business, you can upgrade.
The GrowBig plan, on the other side, is ideal if you are looking to host multiple websites and want to get a speed boost for your website, which is essentially important for Google ranking. The plan comes with SiteGround’s inhouse developed caching plugin – the SuperCacher, which speeds up to several times the performance of WordPress websites.
If you’re planning to have an eCommerce site or a high-traffic blog, you can also try the GoGeek plan for more server space and additional features to boost your site speed and growth.
Click ‘Get Plan’ and let’s move onto the next step of creating your website.
Step 2: Choose your domain name.
It’s time to pick and register your domain name. That’s the name of your site and it can be your actual name or the name of your blog (that depends on whether your business and brand will be based on you, or on your niche, content and products).
Here’s a helpful guide on how to choose a blog name you won’t regret.
On the next page of the signup process, you’ll see this:
If you already have a domain name, click that option and write it down. If you’re just starting a blog for the first time, then you’re registering a new domain name too so you can now type it and see if it’s available.
You can also pick any domain extension you want (such as .com, .net, .org, or else). Something you can’t go wrong with, though, is the .com option which is what I’m using for this blog. It’s the most popular one, especially if you plan to create evergreen content and have visitors from all over the world.
Domain registration has to be paid too but that’s the fee for 1 whole year.
When you click ‘Proceed’ and if the domain name is available, you’ll be taken to the next page.
Step 3: Completing your order.
Fill in your account information (email and password) as well as your client information (name and address). Next, add your payment details.
Finally, review the hosting services and extras.
Here, you can change your plan, choose which data center you want to use (if your audience is mainly in the US, then that’s the right location for your web host too so the content can be served to the visitor in an instant).
Now’s the time to also decide if you’re serious about your business website and pay for a whole year. With this, the site setup will be provided for free.
Click ‘Pay Now’ to complete your order.
4. Install WordPress and make your site live.
When your account is created and you log in the first time, you’ll see the option to ‘Set Up Site’. Click the button and choose ‘Start New Website’ on the next page.
Select ‘WordPress’, choose your email address and password for your WordPress account, and hit ‘Continue’.
The next page can be skipped and after that, your installation will be completed.
You’ll be able to view and access your new WordPress site directly from SiteGround.
Save your account information as you’ll need it.
So that’s how you set up a site with SiteGround and get it online.
Step 5: Install Your WordPress Theme
The SiteGround WordPress installation comes with a WordPress Starter plugin which simplifies the website building process.
Using it begins the moment you log into your new WordPress site. You can also stop the process any time by clicking ‘Exit’ at the bottom.
The WordPress Starter plugin guides you through the first steps of building your new blog.
Step 1 is choosing a theme.
Take some time to choose something which looks good but also makes it easy for the visitor to navigate.
There are plenty of choices, so just pick one you like, see it’s additional info and decide whether it’s the right one for your goals. Then, install it and play with it a little as there are ways to customize it and make it look even better.
If you want to check out some premium themes, ThemeForest are killing it.
The next step is to add some functionality to your site by choosing some of the following plugins:
The third step allows you to start growing your website through marketing and analytics and you can install these:
Step 6: The WordPress Dashboard & Your First Pages
Logging into your WordPress blog happens by heading to https:// [yourdomainname.com] /wp-admin/ and writing your username and password.
If you’ve never used a content management system like that, or even seen a dashboard, no worries.
Starting a blog was the key step. Using your WordPress dashboard is pretty easy and soon you’ll do all the possible things on WordPress effortlessly.
From now on, and what would possibly become your hobby and main free time activity over the next few weeks, you’ll be creating content and adding widgets and plugins to your site to let it do all the amazing things that it can.
In your dashboard, you’ll be seeing general stuff such as your blog traffic (not official data from Google Analytics, though, more on that later), all your posts and pages, comments, and other general info.
On top of the screen is where you can quickly add a page, post, media or else by clicking ‘New’.
Sometimes, after installing a caching plugin for instance, you’ll see other items added there. You might be able to delete unnecessary data from your site, or take other actions from that place.
What’s important is on the left side of the screen.
Below you’ll see how you’ll be able to install the so-called plugins. Then you’ll see them added to the dashboard too.
They offer you plenty of options, so don’t hesitate to go to Jetpack, and click Settings now.
You can activate some interesting features such as speeding up images, adding custom content types (testimonials and portfolios), add a like button to your posts, add sharing buttons (although I’ll show you how to do that better by installing a plugin, so wait till you read it first).
With Jetpack you can also generate an xml sitemap for your site (which is important for optimization, more on that later), verify your site with major search engines (will show you a more pro way to do that in a minute), block suspicious-looking sign in activity, and more.
Just a few clicks, and you now have more features on your site activated.
There’s more in the sidebar for you. There you can access all your posts, pages, media, comments, feedback and users.
The Appearance tab is where the customization happens mostly, in terms of design. We’ll use it in a minute.
Publish your first pages.
Some of the most important pages to add to your blog once you’ve designed it include:
- an About Me page where you can share your story, link to your top content, tell people to sign up for your newsletter, etc;
- a Contact page – make sure to make it professional by including a contact form. Do that with a plugin like WPForms (the best drag & drop forms plugin for WordPress).
- a Start Here page – on this one, you can tell people what your blog offers, link to the best articles and guides, promote your freebies and products.
You’ll also find interesting things under Settings.
For example, by clicking Settings and then going to Permalinks, you’re able to choose the url structure for anything you publish.
I suggest you go there now and click Post name. This will make every link that’s created for new pages and posts on your site easier to remember and better looking. No need to add extra stuff in it, such as dates or else, as Google wants to know what the text is about. You can state that by leaving only the most important words (the keywords) of your blog title in the url.
What we’re talking about is the part of any link to your site that comes after your domain and .com (or whatever you’ve chosen).
The next steps of customizing your new blog include choosing a WordPress theme and installing the right plugins to make your site powerful before you start making money blogging.
- Check out WPForms – the Number 1, Must-Have plugin to start generating and capturing leads.
Here are some articles to help you out:
Choosing The Right Plugins and Tools for Your WordPress Website
My New WordPress Theme and How It Improved My Blog’s Performance
For more tips, browse all the articles on the site related to starting a blog using the list below:
Step 7: Learn How Blogs Make Money
Once you’ve taken the steps so far, it’s time to think about monetizing your blog. Here are some resources to get you started.
Read: 6 Types of Blogs That Make The Most Money on The Internet
Check out my interviews with bloggers who started from nothing and now earn a full-time income and live their best life. They share their top strategies, mistakes and lessons related to starting and growing a blog:
How Cath Turned Her New Blog into a Full-Time Business in 1 Year
How This Lifestyle Blogger Grew Her Blog to $3,878/Month and 180K Page Views in 3 Months
How Samantha Successfully Monetized a Brand New Food Blog (And Reached 8 Million Page Views)
How to Build a Top Travel Blog and Earn $10K/Month with Blog Sponsorships
How Suzi Started a Blog as a Stay-at-Home Mom and Retired Her Husband at 30
How Caroline Used Pinterest and Affiliate Marketing to Build a $100K Parenting Blog
How This Couple Earns $100K/Month Blogging and Travels The World
And for the best ways to make money blogging, check out the infographic below:
How to Start a Blog Tutorial: Bonus Section
My Favorite Blogging Tools and Resources
On your journey to making money blogging, you’ll need the right tools and resources. Here’s my list of the top blogging resources that have helped me along the way.
The Passive Income Boss [Free Course]
In this free course, you’ll learn what passive income is exactly and how it works, how to get started with blogging and make your site powerful, and the 4 main passive income streams you can create using your blog.
Enroll in The Passive Income Boss for free.
My Monthly Income Reports – If you’re curious how bloggers make a living online, check out my income reports. I publish these monthly and share all the numbers together with the lessons I learned and the new things I’m working on.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
Many bloggers and online influencers skip over affiliate marketing. They either think it’s too hard, that it’s a waste of time, that they will turn followers away, or that their followers just won’t be interested.
However, if you’re not earning money through affiliate marketing, you are leaving money on the table.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a step-by-step affiliate marketing strategy course that shows you how to increase your affiliate income and make more money blogging. It’s also the first online course I ever purchased and totally worth the investment.
In it, she covers:
- What affiliate marketing is and how it works
- Why affiliate marketing is great
- The exact steps she’s taken to earn over $300,000 from a single blog post
- How to pick the right affiliate products to promote
- How to increase conversions
- How to build trust and not lose followers
- Required disclosures that you need to know about
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- Different strategies to use to promote your affiliate products
- How to use Pinterest to succeed at affiliate marketing.
Make Your First Money Online Freelancing [Free Course]
Freelancing is the quickest way to start earning money online. It’s what helped me become location independent and start making big changes to my lifestyle. So I created a free online course showing you the exact steps I took to get there. Now I make money both from that and blogging.
Enroll in the free course here.
How Bloggers Can Make $10,000 a Month from Home– Curious how bloggers get to 10K/month working from home and what you need to do differently? In this article, I discuss why it’s possible for everyone to make that much on a monthly basis and how to get there.
How to Write and Publish Your First Book in Less Than 30 Days – Check out my guide on how to become a self-published author in less than a month. I’ve published plenty of eBooks and have included all the steps you need to go through, from choosing your niche and word count and committing to writing the content to editing, formatting and marketing the book.
How I Make a Living with Sponsored Posts – My monthly income reports won’t be complete without sharing the how-to of sponsored posts. That’s how I earn half of my income. In this post, I share more about how I started with it and what I charge.
Mag – the premium theme I’m using for Let’s Reach Success.
Teachable – best place to create and sell your online courses.
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