How to Start a Blog on WordPress and Make Money
Are you interested in learning how to start a blog with WordPress to make extra money? There are many websites out there that claim that they will tell you how to make a blog. But when you read their post, it only explains how to pick a topic, and set up your hosting site. Then they leave you in the dust trying to figure out what you got yourself into.
Starting a blog is a lot more than just signing up for Bluehost. That’s why we want to explain each step of what you need to do to begin your blog the right way.
- Choosing a niche
- Signing up for your own domain and hosting
- Choosing a theme
- Publishing your first post
- Uploading photos
- Installing plugins
- Promoting your blog
- Learning how to make money from your blog
Why don’t you go ahead and make sure to save this image to your Pinterest account now. Then you can come back later, if you need to. I recommend going through each step of this post on a desktop or laptop computer, so you can work along the steps. 🙂
A LITTLE ABOUT MY STORY
When I left my job in a booming medical field to stay at home with my newborn, I was worried about how we would survive as a family of four on one income. My husband wasn’t making a lot of money, but I was determined to not go back to work after missing so many beautiful memories while working full-time when my first child was young.
I eagerly searched the internet for months, trying every idea I could find. I started selling my used clothes on Ebay, I took surveys, I became a mystery shopper. While I was able to make a little bit of money doing all of these things, it was not enough to make a lasting contribution to our family’s income.
Then I came across an article on Pinterest about how to start a blog. I had watched a movie about a Mommy blogger a few months ago, and thought, “Wow, I can do that.” I assumed it would be a breeze.
I knew some coding already, and enjoyed baking and crafts. I thought I found my calling. I would become a Mommy blogger and make thousands of dollars!
But it wasn’t easy at first. I made many mistakes in the beginning. That’s why I want to help you start a successful blog from the beginning.
I know how hard it is on a family to have to try to choose between staying home with your kids or working a full-time job. I know that so many dream of leaving behind the 9-5 office life and working while they travel, or becoming their own boss.
There are many reasons to start a blog. Maybe you want to start your own business and generate an income, outside of the normal 9-5 workforce. Maybe you want to travel the world while still bringing in a consistent paycheck. Maybe you want the financial freedom that a blog can bring. Or maybe you simply want to become a social media influencer.
No matter what the reason, I am here to help walk you through the process! I will help you easily set up your blog in roughly 10-15 minutes. And then, I will give you the steps you need to start working on it.
WHAT WILL I NEED TO START A BLOG?
To start a blog, you will need a computer, a good internet connection, a hosting platform, and a lot of dedication. Because this is not a get rich quick scheme. You can make very good money. But you will have to put in the hard work and many hours in order to get there.
At the beginning, you will be working a lot for free. But once you build an audience and start making real money, all those hours you spent will finally seem like they were worth it.
CHOOSE A NICHE
The first thing you will want to do is choose a niche that your blog will be about. There are many different topics to blog about but I recommend you focus on one of your interests. If you blog about something that you are passionate about, you are more likely to stick to it.
It is important to remember that if you do want to earn an income from your blog, some of the niches may not be a good choice. Do your research to make sure that the niche you choose has the potential to earn money.
For example, most people who visit food blogs will just want the recipe. But if you include affiliate links for products needed in the recipe (for example, a slow cooker, or Instant Pot), then you can earn a commission if one of your viewers makes a purchase through your link. You can also make money from using ads on these type of blogs or selling a recipe e-book.
Some great choices for money-making niches are finances, travel, lifestyle, frugal living, parenting, and more. Blogs focused on homeschool or crafts have the potential for more sales through recommending curriculum or selling your own worksheets and craft templates.
This is a very important step to consider before you make your blog, IF you are blogging to create an income.
*It is important to note that when you start a blog to make money, you want to solve a problem. Visitors will not be coming to your blog to read about your personal life. They will be coming to find solutions to a problem they have.
Whether it’s how to travel on a budget, or what type of homeschool curriculum to choose. How to potty train their toddler or ways to improve their marriage. Visitors want guidance, advice, and answers. They want you to help them.
They do not want to hear a post all about your children’s latest accomplishments. While your family and friends may want to read it, it will not build an audience for a money-making blog. This is very important to remember while picking your niche.
CHOOSE A HOSTING PLATFORM
The next step you will want to consider is what platform to start your blog on. While there are many free blogging platforms out there like WordPress.com, Blogger.com and Tumblr.com, serious bloggers who want to turn their blogs into a business must use a self-hosted site.
With a self-hosted blog, you have full control over your website and can monetize it through ads and affiliate programs. (More on these below). Free blogging platforms will run their own ads on your website and you will not have direct control over many features of your website.
Serious bloggers who want to turn their blogs into a business must use a self-hosted site. With a self-hosted blog, you have full control over your website and can monetize it through various sources. Free blogging platforms will run their own ads on your website and you will not have direct control over many features of your website.
You will also be able to use your own domain name with a self-hosted website, which looks more professional.
For example: www.theremotemom.com is my website.
On a free platform it would be: www.wordpress.theremotemom.com.
This doesn’t look as professional to your viewers and potential clients).
This is why I highly recommend using a web hosting provider such as Bluehost.
Why should you use Bluehost for your hosting provider? They are relatively cheap at only $3.95/month for their basic plan. If you purchase a 12 month or longer hosting plan through my link, you will get your domain and a SSL certificate for FREE.
You can save a lot of money by signing up for the 12 month hosting plan, and you will make your money back relatively quickly once you start to make money. If you really want to get the most for your money, you can purchase a 36 month plan to save even more.
Bluehost provides WordPress for free and you will also get a free domain. They offer phenomenal technical support if you have any trouble. They also make it easy to set up a WordPress blog. Using WordPress for your website is important because it contains many tools to help make your blog a success.
When I first signed up for my blog, I chose to do the 12 month plan with just the basics, because I didn’t want to invest more than that before I knew if I would receive a return on my investment.
It was $71.40 to sign up. At the time, it felt like a big commitment to spend that much on a blog when money was so tight, but I’ve made that money back and far more. It is a small investment to creating a business that could potentially make thousands of dollars every month.
And with my guide below, you won’t fail!
Click here to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost and then you can follow along for the step-by-step instructions on how to set up your blog:
Step 1: Select Your Plan:
The basic package is all you will need to start your blog. This price will include a FREE domain and a FREE SSL certificate. A SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is important because it provides an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This help ensures that any and all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private. This also helps your visitors feel that they can trust you and your business.
Step 2: Choose your FREE domain:
Coming up with a catchy domain name that tells the reader what your website will be about is your next step.
- Domain = theremotemom.com
- URL = https://www.theremotemom.com
Your domain name should be the name of your business. After you choose your niche that you want your blog to be about, find a catchy name that draws potential readers in. A shorter name is usually the easiest to work with.
I recommend a name with no more than four words, preferably a name with one or two words. It makes it easier for your readers to remember your website and find it. (“The Remote Mom.”)
One of my previous blogs was called, “How to Stay at Home with Your Kids,” and it was far too long which is why I ended up rebranding it later on. So it’s important to find a short name from the start so you don’t have to change it later.
After you choose the name, you then can go on to purchase and create your account! This is a very important step of your blog, so if you need more time to decide on a name, click on choose later to give yourself some extra time!
Step 3: Purchase your hosting plan
The next screen will take you to where you can purchase your plan. You will have the option to sign up for 12, 24, or 36 months. If you choose 36 months, you will save the most money by only paying $3.95/month. (This will be due in full for $142.20).
If you would rather sign up for the 12 month plan because your budget is tight, the price will be $5.95/month which comes to $71.40 for the full year. This is still a great deal and can give you time to build your blog and decide if blogging is for you.
You will receive the free domain when you sign up with my Bluehost link for 12 months or more. You can get by without any of the extras that Bluehost offers, so I would save your money and uncheck those items.
Step 4: How to Install WordPress on Bluehost.
So you have purchased your hosting… Now what?
Many bloggers will not give you any advice past this step. But purchasing a hosting site is only the beginning of starting a blog. And I want you to be successful, so I am going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to get started with WordPress.
The next step is to install WordPress.
After you have set up your account with Bluehost, you will be able to choose a theme. The theme can always be changed later so don’t worry about picking the perfect one. After you have chosen your theme, you can click on “Start building.”
You will now have your very own WordPress blog! That’s when the real work starts! Start creating content and building your business or blog.
Log into WordPress and on your dashboard, you will see a variety of options to choose from. To create a new post, click on “Posts” and “Add new.”
If you have the Gutenberg Block Editor enabled, you can return to the Classic Editor (above photo) by installing the plugin, “Disable Gutenberg.” This will allow you to create your posts using the above layout which I find to be much easier. If you know HTML or have code to insert, you will click on the Text tab to insert that data.
Once you have finished your first post, you can edit it and then hit Publish.
You can add photos by choosing “Media” from the list.
Then drag your photo to the screen or select a file from your computer to upload. You can access your photos by clicking on the Library in the Media tab on your dashboard.
If you would like to change your theme, click on “Appearance” and “Theme.”
As you see, I use SiteOrigin Unwind which is a FREE WordPress theme. It will not be installed right away for you. If you want to add it or a different theme from what is currently available, you would click on the Add New tab. I personally recommend this theme because I have found it to be the best Free theme available. A lot of bloggers also recommend using the Genesis theme because it has many capabilities.
After you choose a theme, you will see a live preview of your website. The left side will have options to customize your theme and will vary depending on the theme you choose. But it’s in these options that you will be able to input your title, logo, social media icons, and choose your settings for your blog.
WORDPRESS PLUGINS TO SET YOUR BLOG UP FOR SUCCESS
You can install plugins under the “Plugins” tool. There are a wide variety of plugins you can install for free, by choosing “Add New.” To view that plugins you have already, choose “Installed Plugins.”
Some of the plugins that I have installed and recommend are:
- GDPR Cookie Consent (this is a must to have on your blog for legal reasons),
- FMTC Affiliate Disclosure (if you use affiliate marketing on your website, you must legally disclose this information on your website).
- Social Warfare for social media sharing (to share your posts to your different social media sites, and to link your visitors to your social media to grow your brand),
- Yoast SEO for SEO assistant tools (this helps Google find your blog),
- Google Analytics (this tracks your visitors),
- Jetpack by WordPress (this will have many items that can help such as logging your traffic, about me, images, social media sharing, etc.).
These are all free plugins that will help your blog. There are many more out there to explore.
If you have questions about any of these things, feel free to leave a comment below or you can also use the technical support that Bluehost provides.
PROMOTING YOUR BLOG
In the day and age we live in, it’s important to have a social media following for your business. The most important social media site to have for your blog is Pinterest. You can also create accounts with Facebook, Instagram, BlogLovin’, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Each of these followings will grow your brand in their own way if you consistently work on them. I personally recommend choosing one or two of these social media websites to focus on growing at first, so you don’t become overwhelmed with all that you need to do.
If you found my website through Pinterest, you probably noticed the beautiful pin that you clicked on (located at the bottom of this post). Creating engaging and stylish pins is a big part of promoting your blog.
You will need to have professional, eye-catching images to use on your posts and to promote your business on different social networks. You can find free stock photos at Pixabay.com and Unsplash.com. Both allow you to use their photos for commercial use, which is a must for blogging. (You can get in trouble for using random images off of Google unless they are commercial free. This means that you can legally use them for business purposes.)
One of my problems as a new blogger was that my Pins and graphics for my website were horrible. They were the wrong size and they looked awful.
Here is a comparison of some of my first pins on my first blog compared to pins I use now:
Here are some of my pins from this website:
Do you notice the difference? The below pins are visually appealing and have better titles. They are the correct size for Pinterest and they include my blog’s name so people don’t steal my pin.
The biggest thing that I found helped was searching for Pinterest Canva templates on Google and Pinterest. Some bloggers offer free downloads of their Pin designs. This has been a huge game changer for my pins! By using Canva (a free photo editing software) you can edit those pins to fit your posts by changing the titles, logos, colors, and images. But those pins are a great template for fonts to use together and design layouts.
You can also create your own pins, logos, featured images, and more on Canva! Many others will recommend PicMonkey, which is just as good, but costs money. Bloggers like to recommend it to make a commission from your purchase, but Canva is FREE and works just as well if not better! There is a Pro version of Canva if you want to upload your own fonts into the program, but I have never upgraded from the free version.
Pinterest is a great way to promote your blog. I highly recommend setting up a business account through them and then enabling rich pins.
You can also automate your pins to your account and different tribes/groups through Tailwind. They offer a free trial to demonstrate how effective their program is. It helps you pin consistently and at the right times during the day to get the most views. You select pins that you want to schedule and the program does the work for you so you are not manually pinning at all hours of the day.
One of the other huge mistakes I made as a new blogger was only creating one pin per post. I would share it to my social media, and sit back. When I didn’t wake up to thousands of visitors to my website the next day, I wondered what I was doing wrong. Then I would also make the mistake of sharing the same pin over and over again. My followers were not pleased to see so much spam.
You have to make multiple pins per post! I typically make 3 pins after writing my post, then will create a new pin each week after to make sure the content stays fresh and continues to be seen on Pinterest. You should also share your pins to all of your relevant Pinterest boards. Join group boards for your niche and share them there, as well.
You will also want to install Google Analytics to track your visitors. This is one of the best things you can sign up for to keep track of your blog’s growth. It is free and allows you to know where your traffic is coming from and what posts are gaining the most views.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY ON YOUR BLOG
If you want to start using ads on your website to earn money, a good place to start is Google Adsense. They don’t require a specific amount of traffic like other companies, so they are great for those who are starting out with their blogs. After you begin growing an audience, I recommend applying to Mediavine to make more money from your ads. They do have requirements in order to join their program.
One of the best ways to make money on your blog is through affiliate marketing. What is affiliate marketing? Simply put, it is a way of earning a commission from promoting businesses on your website. When you, as a publisher, promote a company’s product, service, or site; they reward you with a percent of any sales they make or a fixed amount. Affiliate marketing is one the best ways to earn an income through your blog. These are my favorite affiliate programs that I use on my website:
The great thing about Bluehost is that they also offer an affiliate program. That means if you purchase a hosting plan through my Bluehost affiliate link, you not only get my special price and a free domain, but I receive a commission of $65 at no extra cost to you. If you start your own blog, you can also recommend Bluehost to your visitors to earn more money from your blog.
Another popular way to bring in money on your blog is through product sales. You can create your own digital products, ebooks, online courses, or other physical products and sell them through your website.
WooCommerce plugin is a great tool to sell your products directly through your blog.
I hope that this post has helped you get your blog off and running with minimal hassle. If you ever have any questions about any of the above, feel free to leave a comment below.
Save this image to your Pinterest account so you can come back later 🙂