Start a Blog on WordPress
Let’s learn how to make money blogging by starting a WordPress blog. You might have been wanting to start, but just didn’t know where and how to get started. You could write about an area of expertise, or a subject that you are passionate about. Most bloggers write as is it therapeutic for them to chronicle their ideas. You on the other hand will write a blog that is in demand based on the market.
If you want to start one for the purpose of a hobby, then this process will still help you. Running my own blog from home fits with my lifestyle, as I am a homeschool parent. The best thing about starting your blog is that anyone can start a blog. This blog can be started and grown while you are still working your regular job.
Disclosure: This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.
Finding Your Niche
Our first step is to go to Google Trends to see if what we have in mind is viable. We do not want to spend time writing about something that only a few people are interested in. We will use the trending Keto diet as our example. You see below that for the past 5 years, Keto has increased in the last 2 years.
Starting a blog about Keto lifestyle would be a viable idea and even better if you are passionate about it. Research your passions to see where they fall on the chart. You want to invest time in things that people are searching for. Once you determine what your area is, then it is time to determine a name.
Naming Your Blog
This can be a difficult part of coming up with your business name as we can overthink this part. Go to Name Checkr to see if the domain and social media names are available. Play around with ideas to see what is available. You want to keep a few general rules in mind when coming up with a name. First, look at your competitor’s names. Consider what your blog will be about and whose your target audience. If your blog is catered to women, then you can use more feminine words. Jot down words that jump out at you and go to an online thesaurus. Try starting with the popular name formula:
blog name = [end goal or transformation] + [topic or audience group]
An example would be ExpertCloudTech = [become an expert at cloud computing] + [cloud engineers]
Time to Create the Blog
I use Siteground, as I am a big fan of using their customer support chat for fast support. Siteground starts at ($6.99 a month) but the more affordable option is Bluehost for ($2.95 a month). They are actually the number one hosting site for WordPress blogs.
Note: Do not sign up for a self hosted with WordPress.com. When signing up for a hosting service, you will be using WordPress.org as a free install. Trust, you don’t want to waste your time and effort.
Starting with Bluehost or Siteground is pretty great, as they offer a 30-day money back guarantee. So if your feelings change within that 30-day window, get your money back. Your first step is to sign up for Siteground or Bluehost and then install your WordPress in one easy click. It is worth noting that the rate is lower if you sign up for a longer commitment. I initially signed up for their 6-month plan, as I was hopeful but not sure about my commitment to blogging.
Why Not choose a Free Blog Platform?
So why can’t you just go sign up for one of those free blogging accounts that you heard of? It is because you want to monetize your blog, which is extremely difficult to do on the free platforms. You want a self-hosted blog from Bluehost, Siteground, or etc., as you have more control over your blog. With the 30-day money back guarantee, you are not locked into it, should you change your mind. Here is a brief 1-minute video on what hosting actually is.
Below are the steps that you can take to get set up in a few minutes. I am posting instructions that should work for either Bluehost or Siteground. The best feature of both of these companies is that they both offer 24/7 support. For the purpose of this tutorial, I am going to walk you through setting up with Bluehost.
1. Buy hosting for your blog
Once you clicked on the get started now button, you will then be led to the hosting plan offers.
Sign up for the basic plan, so you can determine if this is a business choice that you want to pursue. You can always change this later and upgrade if you want. The pricing is better the longer the term you commit to. That is a choice that I will leave to you to decide.
Our next step is:
2. Register your domain name
Bluehost includes the domain name when you register for their hosting 🙂 That is a pretty good bonus at Bluehost. I suggest not coming up with an insanely long name, and nothing that is difficult to spell. Luckily, you can go ahead and start jotting down a few names that can be possibly available. You do want to make sure that the social media names are available. That will make sure that there is symmetry in your business. Use Namecheckr as a free tool to check for the domain name and availability all at the same time.
You will see that Bluehost also gives you the option to skip choosing a domain name and register it later. But come back to that step as soon as possible, as you want an active domain name.
3. Install WordPress
Go to your site tools in Siteground or Bluehost, click on WordPress, and click install. You will be shown different themes that you can now choose from that are mostly free. You can also explore other themes that cost and ranges in price. I am a theme junkie and will collect themes. Don’t copy that as it becomes pricey. If you want to choose the free themes, check out this tutorial from Siteground. For a more elaborate walkthrough video, click here.
4. Find Theme For Your Blog
My first theme purchase was from Studiopress, as so many other successful bloggers were using the popular Genesis Themes. I wanted to mimic their success, so I pursued that option. You would first have to purchase the Genesis Framework, then purchase the Genesis Child Theme that they sell. Quite a few developers also sell Genesis Child Themes. The child themes will not work without installing the framework, should you choose to go with this option.
There are other non Genesis themes out there, where you can purchase the themes without having to purchase the framework. For a feminine style Genesis Child Theme, check out this theme creator, Restored316. I am currently using a theme from Georgia Lou Studios. The place where I have bought the most themes from is Themeforest, as they have different styles to choose from.
5. Start Creating Blog Posts
You are an official blogger now! You have your site, domain name, and now it is time to start creating content. Now is the time to start jotting down your ideas on how your topics. I use both Air Table and Microsoft Evernote to write my blog topics and other ideas. These are both great productivity tools, especially if you are partnering with someone else on this endeavor.
6. Monetize Your Blog
You now want to make money blogging. We can achieve that by some of the following ways:
- Affiliate Income
- Google Adsense
- Sponsored Posts
- Creating Courses
- Selling Services
- Create Products
The first one that I will focus on will be affiliate income. You can earn commission by promoting other company’s products. For example, if you are doing a parenting blog, you can promote products that you are suggesting to your readers via Amazon. From there, you make about an average of 4% of each sale that that customer makes, even if they don’t buy your suggested product. It will be towards any purchases they make on Amazon over the next 90 days, as that is how long Amazon’s cookie lasts. Let’s say that you have a wedding blog and want to promote MyWeddingFavors.com. There cookie lasts 90 days as well and you make 12% for your first sale. Type in your blog niche along with the words “affiliate income” and you see the many choices that are available to you.
Sites to start with for affiliate income are:
Create a Course to Sell
Another favorite of mine is selling products, services, or courses. You can create a course on Teachable or Thinkific, about your niche, and set the price for whatever you believe is reasonable. Selling a course brings in more money rather than selling an ebook, as you are providing more content than your typical ebook would provide. When it comes to your products, I recommend installing either Woocommerce or Shopify to sell your products online.
As an example, I created a course using Thinkific. Click here to see an example of what a course will look like:
Selling Services and Products
You can attach your services to you blog, for example, I sell website design services. This is a digital product that you can easily set up using the Woocommerce plugin or the Shopify plugin. Both of these are e-commerce providers and are there to conduct the transactions. My products are all digital on my site. When a customer purchases an ebook, they are automatically sent the information as soon as they purchase.
Using SEO To Increase Traffic
This is the time that you want to install the plugin, Yoast SEO, onto your WordPress blog. Search engines rank sites and helps to pull up the best sites for the keyword that is being used. You want to make sure that when someone searches for a specific keyword, that they find you. There are tools that help you find the best keywords, steal your competitor's traffic, and help you to rank up.
I use the first two the most, as SEMRush is superb, but really is made for people on the pro level. Go to UberSuggest and type in a keyword that has to do with your blog post topic. For our example, let's do "keto diet."
The first image shows that 1.2 million searches are the average for the month but the SEO Difficulty (SD) is 68. The SD is how difficult it would be for you to rank up using that keyword.
The second image shows that you can easily rank for writing a blog post with the keyword "keto diet what to eat." Around 18,000 monthly searches are conducted for that keyword, as well as the other two below it. You can drive organic traffic to your site by titling your post, "What to Eat on the Keto Diet."
Time to Launch
Once your readership increases, it will be great to install Google Adsense to make money from ad revenue. Google pays you to get their client's ads in front of more of their targeted customers.
Here are a few tips on how to enhance your overall site and blog posts.
- Need to add pictures to your blog posts? Go to Media on the sidebar of WordPress, and upload from there.
- Want to create a new post for your site? Click on Posts on the left-hand sidebar of WordPress.
- Don't forget to explore the widgets that WordPress offers, as they can help to enhance your website's overall look. I would not add too many, as it can slow your site down as well.
- Need to get started on an email list to send to your subscribers? Use MailChimp for free, up until your first 2,000 subscribers.
- Need to make sure your grammar and spelling is tip top? Use Grammarly, which is completely free. Read more about Grammarly here.
- Need more tutorials on navigating WordPress? Use Bluehost's YouTube channel.
Don't get frustrated during this process. If you run into a technical snag, make sure to reach out to Siteground's 24/7 support team or Bluehost's 24/7 support team. They both have a chat option, that I use all the time, as I keep up better with seeing the responses and having a hard copy for my review.