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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? Do you scroll through Pinterest reading income reports about bloggers who make thousands of dollars every month with their blog and wish that could be you?
It can be you. You can make money from blogging.
Blogging has changed my life forever and it can change yours, too.
Blogging has allowed me to be able to stay at home with my kids and continue to earn money.
Blogging can help you:
- Stay at home with your kids
- Leave your 9-5 job
- Travel the world
- Save money for a vacation or other big ticket expense
- Create your own business and work for yourself!
- Live the life you dream of!
But it will not happen in your first month. Blogging is a long term game. It is a slow burn.
You might not see much money at the beginning right after you start your blog.
But, if you stick with it, you can become one of those very bloggers who are making thousands of dollars every month from their blog. The only thing I regret is not starting my blog sooner.
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 had 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 start so you can also avoid making common mistakes.
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.
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.
Are you ready to create the life you have always dreamed of? Then let’s get started. Woohoo!
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 of dedication 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.
Here is a FREE checklist (no e-mail required) to make sure you have finished all the steps before you launch your blog.
STEP 1: CHOOSE A NICHE (TOPIC) TO BLOG ABOUT
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 by selling products such as a recipe e-book.
Some great choices for money-making niches are finances, travel, lifestyle, frugal living, parenting, fashion, and more.
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 various revenue streams. 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 a FREE domain name, automatic WordPress install, and a free SSL certificate all at a great price.
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 create a business that has the potential to make thousands of dollars every month.
And with dedication and perseverance, you won’t fail. You can do this!
Click here to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost using our step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Select Your Plan:
The basic package is all you will need to start your blog. As mentioned before, Bluehost offers a FREE domain name, automatic WordPress install, and a free SSL crtificate.
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.
There are many varieties of urls that you can choose from, but the best option is to choose a domain with a .com. It is the most common url form and will be easier for people to remember your website.
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.
Don’t forget, if for any reason you decide that blogging is not for you, Bluehost offers you the opportunity to fully refund your money within 30 days!
So you have purchased your hosting… Now what?
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.
You will start by signing into your control panel.
From there, you will be able to fill out your site title and tag line. If you are creating a blog, you will click on the button to the right of the question.
From there, you will be able to choose a theme. The theme can always be changed later so don’t worry about picking the perfect one. Some good free themes that are available are: SiteOrigin Unwind, Astra, and Generate Press.
I recently purchased a pro (paid) theme for my blog and wish I paid for it years ago. My blog uses the Genesis Framework ($59 value) with a child theme of Blossom ($59 value). I purchased the Blossom theme through Creative Market and received both Genesis and Blossom for only $59.
Besides how professional and elegant my theme looks, it also recommends plugins that work with the theme and gives you instructions on how to set them up with your blog. Before I paid for a pro theme, I would have to find each plugin on my own and figure out how to get them to work. The pro theme was worth the cost for including the plugins and instructions alone, because of how much time I have wasted in the past to try to figure out this on my own and still not understand a lot of it.
To get your own pro theme, check out Creative Market. They offer many great deals, and I absolutely love them.
You can also skip choosing your theme for now, and come back to it later.
After you have chosen your theme, you can click on “Start building.”
You will now have your very own WordPress blog! Hooray!!
That’s when the real work starts! Start creating content and building your business.
GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR BLOG
To log into your account, you can go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin
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 that free themes do not.
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 on your left sidebar on your dashboard.
There are a wide variety of plugins you can install for free, by choosing “Add New.” To view the plugins you have already installed, 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),
- 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),
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.
Pinterest is a social network that you must join as a blogger and focus on from the start. Pinterest has the potential to give you thousands of website visitors every day before Google starts adding your site to organic web search results.
If you found my website through Pinterest, you probably noticed the beautiful pin that you clicked on. 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.
FREE STOCK PHOTOS
You can find free stock photos at many different places online. You can get in trouble for using random images off of Google for your blog unless they are licensed as commercial free. This means that you can legally use them for business purposes.Some websites to find free stock photos that you can use on your blog are:
Many bloggers use the photos on these sites for their pins and images, so you may find these photos all over Pinterest. If you are interested in finding photos that are unique and different from others, then you may also consider using paid stock photos such as from Shutterstock.
CREATING PINS FOR PINTEREST
One of the mistakes that I made 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 second set of pins are visually appealing and have better titles. They are the correct size for Pinterest and they include my blog’s name so people recognize my brand.
The best resource to help you create beautiful and eye-catching pins is to use Canva. This has been a huge game changer for my pins! By using Canva (a free online photo editing software) you can create your own pins based on their Pinterest templates to match your posts.
You can also create your own 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 to get started.
You can also automate your pins to be scheduled to your Pinterest 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 the same content on repeat.
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 Pinterest group boards for your niche and share them there, as well.
Another source of traffic should come from Google and Bing searches online. It is important to learn the significance of SEO and how to correctly set up your posts for success.
I recommend getting started with the Yoast SEO plugin. It will have a section at the bottom of your post that you can enter your keyword and your meta description. It will also give you useful tips on how to better improve your post for SEO.
SEO is so important because while Pinterest can drive traffic in the short-term, Google will drive a big portion of your traffic in the long-term through organic traffic. Google will be a better source of traffic in the long run because the Pinterest algorithm changes frequently which can make significant changes to your traffic.
I highly recommend taking a course on SEO so you can learn the proper techniques to get your blog to show up in the search engine results. It does take 3-6 months for new blogs to show up in Google search results, but the payoff will be worth the wait.
I took a long time to invest in courses for my blog because I didn’t want to spend the money, when I wasn’t making a significant amount of money in the beginning stages of my blog. I was also worried that I would be wasting money on information that could found online for free.
After I took Debbie Gartner’s course, I realized what a mistake it was. I couldn’t believe all the steps I was missing as far as on-page SEO. For such a small price, I was able to get several of my blog posts on the first page of Google. This has driven a large amount of traffic to my websites that I didn’t have before.
Grab Debbie’s course to get started: Easy On-Page SEO
TRACKING YOUR VISITORS
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. This information allows you to continue to update and promote those popular posts, as well as see what content your audience is interested in.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY ON YOUR BLOG
There are many ways to earn money from your blog through the use of: ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, creating your own products or courses for sale, etc.
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 and love Bluehost as much as I do, 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 guide was useful and can help you get started on your blog. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment below!
Good luck on your new journey!