One of my most daunting goals of 2017 was to start a blog.
Having absolutely no idea where or how to even start, I felt lost. Blogging is such a huge industry now that it feels like you’re a little fish in a big pond when you’re first starting out.
Now that I have actually started my blog (and already made money from it!) I want to help those of you who also want to start your own blog but aren’t quite sure where to begin.
So, whether you’re a new blogger with no idea where to start, or a seasoned blogger looking for tips to start making money from your blog, this simple guide will help.
Decide Between Free-Hosting & Self-Hosting
Before we get into how to set up your blog, you need to decide whether or not you want to pay for hosting.
Self-hosting is pretty much essential if you’re wanting to monetize your blog. However, most people will see free-hosting and gravitate towards it. l would really advise against setting up your blog on a free-hosted site, and here’s why:
- You don’t own your website/content. This means that your website/content could be taken down at any moment, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it (and yes, there are horror stories online of this actually happening to bloggers!)
- There are so many limitations in designing your website.
- When you’re ready to monetize your blog, there will be restrictions. Ads, for example, are almost impossible to put on a free-hosted website.
- Free-hosted websites seem less professional, thus creating problems down the road when you want to collaborate with businesses.
Don’t get me wrong, free-hosted blogs are still fun to create and if your only intent is to create content for readers, then it’s definitely an option! But, if you’re wanting to create inspirational content and make some sort of income as well, then you need to get on a self-hosting platform!
As far a self-hosting platforms go, hands-down I recommend Bluehost. I have had such a wonderful experience with their customer service, and they are excellent at assisting even the newest of bloggers!
With Bluehost, you get:
- 24/7 Customer Service
- FREE domain
- 1-click Install of WordPress (it’s such an easy setup!)
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee! If you decide that this whole blogging thing isn’t for you, you can get your money back! No harm done and no reason not to sign up!
Currently, it only costs 3.95 per month to run your website with Bluehost!
Now, I know It’s a big leap of faith to put money into your blog before you’re even up and running, but honestly I think of it as an investment. If you start thinking of your blog as a business, you will go far. Already, I’m making money from my blog in my second month, and everyday I’m seeing more growth. My point is that, if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith, I never would’ve made anything with my blog.
If you’re ready to get serious about your blog, you need to take that leap. Plus, you still have that money-back guarantee!
Go ahead and click ‘get started now’ and you’ll see the different packages offered by Bluehost.
These are your three main packages, which you can compare here. The basic plan is more than enough if you are just starting out, although as you grow you may find the other packages more suitable to your needs.
After selecting your plan, you should be brought to this screen:
If you are transferring an existing domain name over to Bluehost, you will put it in the box on the right. Otherwise, place your domain name in the box on the left.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a domain name, try this:
- Pick a niche/category that you are knowledgeable in and want to blog about.
- Write down a few keywords hat pertain to your niche.
- Look up synonyms of your keywords in a thesaurus or online.
- Now, put your words together!
For example, if you are a mom and want to be a DIY blogger, you could pick keywords like crafts, mom, DIY, homemade, mommy, etc. Your domain could then be theDIYmommy.com (which is already taken, sorry!)
Keep in mind that once you choose your website name, it is very hard to change it. Not only do you have to pay for a new domain name, but you also have to redirect your old pages to your new domain, which can get technical.
Next, you’ll be taken to your package information. There are a couple of add-on options, but the only one I would recommend you definitely get is the SiteLock Security. It will scan your website for malware and spam monitoring, ultimately keeping your blog safe!
Submit your payment and ta-da! You’re now a website owner!
Set Up WordPress
One of the great things about Bluehost is that WordPress is just a click away! Immediately after you set up your hosting account, you can install WordPress.
Log into your Bluehost account, and go to the ‘websites’ tab. Find the ‘Install WordPress’ icon, which should be towards the bottom of the page.
Next, click ‘Continue Installation’, and you’ll be taken to this screen:
Select your blog domain and hit ‘Next’.
Finally, follow through the prompts and select ‘Install Now’.
After your installation finishes, you should receive a message on your screen that says ‘Installation finished’ and that’s it!
You will need to keep up with your login info, so make sure you write it down or remember it!
WordPress’s dashboard can be overwhelming when you first see it. It’s not as bad as it looks! I may have more options in my sidebar than you do starting out, that’s just because I have more plugins. Once you start posting, everything will make more sense and be a little easier to understand. Here’s a breakdown of everything you will need to start posting:
This is where you can view all of your posts, as well as add a new post. You also have the option to create and manage your categories and tags, which help keep your blog neat and organized.
Categories are the major topics of your blog, while tags are the related words you might find in a particular post.
The ‘Media’ tab allows you to view your library of photos that you’ve uploaded as well as add new media.
Pages differ from posts in that they do not appear in the feed of your blog. An example of this is my About page, or Contact Me, which I have links to at the top of my blog’s homepage but are not found in my blog’s feed.
When someone comments on one of your posts, you will see them in this section. You can reply to them, approve them, etc.
‘Appearance’ is one of my favorite tabs! This is where you can pick the theme of your blog, customize widgets, change your header, etc. I would definitely spend some time going over all of the features in this tab, because there is so much you can do here to make your blog look exactly how you want it. This is one of the ways self-hosting differs from free-hosting!
Plugins are another way to customize your blog. They are another feature that you can’t really get with a free-hosted website. Think of plugins as apps on your blog that help you run it more effectively.
Now that you’ve set up your blog, it’s time to start writing!
If monetizing your blog is something you want to do, there is one piece of advice I can give you when it comes to writing blog posts, especially your first post. Creating quality content should be your #1 goal with each post. Create something that your readers can learn from and take away with them long after they’ve left your page. That will keep them coming back for more.
This post may contain affiliate links. That just means that if you buy a product through my link, I may get a small commission. This does not increase the price for you at all, and sometimes it may even save you money! For more information, click here.