How To Start A Blog
that makes money
The Ultimate Step by Step Guide
STEP 1 - Pick Your Niche
The very first thing we have to do is to find out what we want to blog about. Usually everybody has some ideas about blogging. Most of the people think that you have to blog about what you are passionate about.
It might be true and acceptable if you want it as a hobby, just because you have plenty of time and want to do something creative. Then do it this way.
But in this tutorial I want to show you how to create a blog that makes good money.
So set your first blog related WHYs like this:
- I want to blog because I want to help people.
- I want to blog because I want to make money with it.
And always keep these in mind in this order, not the other way around. However, there is nothing wrong wanting to earn money from your blog. Blogging is a job. And it's not an easy job.
So what should you blog about?
Actually you can blog about anything and you can be successful in any niche. However, there are some typical 'money-making' niches that get better traffic and make good money.
If you focus your blog on making money, success, enthusiasm, business, self-development and things like that, you can attract a lot of people.
These are evergreen topics and people will always be interested. They always want to know how to make money, how to become a better or healthier person, how to improve, so help them, answer those questions.
REMEMBER! People search the Internet for solutions!
You want to enter niches where you can regularly provide solutions for problems people have.
The best 'money-making' niches:
If you still don't have any idea which one to choose, do some research.
Pick one niche from the list. (These are all very broad niches.)
Now, start thinking what kind of problems and questions people may have regarding that niche. Search for niche-specific questions (in Google, Pinterest, Facebook, Quora, etc.), or simply ask some people what they want to know in that niche.
For example in the niche of Personal Development you could have questions like these:
How to Overcome Anxiety and Stress / How to Turn Failure into Success / How to Fear Less, etc. etc...
As you go on you will want to narrow down your niche, focus on a more specific topic only. Like this you can define your target audience much easier. Note: You don't want to write for everyone.
Collect at least 20 questions. If you feel you will be able to answer these questions then you can start your blog in that niche.
It's good if you are an expert in your niche, but it's not necessary. You can write about your own experiments or you can learn the things as you go.
STEP 2 - Select Your Domain Name
So, you have your niche. The next step is to choose a domain name for it. Your domain name is what people type into their browser to get to your website, for example: OnlinElla.com. This will be the address of your blog.
Take your time and find the best name, because ideally you choose it for the lifetime of your blog.
It might be tempting to choose something funny or flashy, but you shouldn't. Pick a domain that makes it easy for people to find you. It can reflect your niche, but it doesn't have to be keyword-specific.
It has to be as short, meaningful and memorable as possible. Avoid hyphens or numbers in your domain name, because people can easily misunderstand them and it’s not easy to remember them either.
A good option could be to use your own name like: YourName.com. With this you can build a brand around yourself and not your blog.
You can purchase your domain name through Godaddy, but Namecheap is a good option as well. Both are quality registrars you can trust.
But wait a minute, because in the next step (STEP 3 - Get Website Hosting) you will see that you can also buy your domain name together with your hosting plan (some hosting companies offer free domain - so check this option before you purchase anything).
Domain names cost about $12 these days and you will have to renew it every year.
Before you register your domain name, you will have to check if it's available. (You can do that at the registrar's page.)
The best and most desirable extension is .com (or .org and .net).
STEP 3 - Get Website Hosting
Hosting is one of the most critical elements of your website.
I don't want to talk about free blogging platforms like Blogspot.com, WordPress.com or Tumblr.com, because if you are serious about blogging you have to go for a self-hosted blog and pay for the hosting service (and the domain name).
Side note: in STEP 4 you will find a video about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
Some reasons why free blogs are not recommended:
- You can't fully customize the look of your blog.
- You can't add extra functionalities.
- It can be difficult to change for self-hosted blog (once you decide).
- Monetizing possibilities are limited.
- You don't own your domain name and it looks ugly and unprofessional: yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.blogspot.com instead of yourblog.com.
- You DON’T OWN your blog content.
- You can't share anything you want (Terms & conditions of your provider).
Order Your Hosting Plan
I give you 2 options to choose from: SiteGround and iPage. Both companies are reliable, you can go with any of them.
- Price: $3.95/month
- One Website
- 10GB Web Space
- Suitable for ~ 10,000 Visits Monthly
- 24/7 Support
- Domain Registration 11.95$
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
1. Choose your hosting plan
SiteGround has three plans, but for beginners I recommend the StartUp plan. It's perfect for people with one website.
2. Choose your Domain
Either you can buy a new domain, or sign up with an existing domain. (If you already have a website you can transfer it from your previous host for free.)
3. Review and Complete
Note: the screenshots were created about the GrowBig plan. The StartUp plan is $59.35 for a year with domain registration and without Site Scanner. Important: always check the price before payment! There might be some services added to your cart by default!
- Price: $1.99/month for 3 years (!)
- Domains allowed: Unlimited
- Disk space: Unlimited
- Bandwidth: Unlimited
- 24/7 Support
- Domain Registration: Free
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
1. Select Domain
2. Enter Your Billing Information
Enter your contact and payment information, then select your plan - 12, 24 or 36 months.
Important: always check the price before payment! There might be some elements added to your cart by default.
STEP 4 - Install WordPress & Initial Setup
Slowly we are approaching the fun part. So far we have our niche, domain name and hosting plan. There's only one 'technical' step left: to install WordPress.
From now on I will use some videos for this tutorial, because I believe, sometimes it's much easier to understand something from a video than just reading a plain text. MyThemeShop (I will talk about them later when we come to WordPress Themes) created great WordPress videos for beginners.
This first video explains what WordPress is, what advantages it has, and gives a basic knowledge about hosting and themes, too.
The second video is about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. I mentioned earlier that I don't recommend using a free blog service. This video shows you why.
Please watch both videos carefully, because it's important that you understand these things.
SiteGround offers EVERYTHING you'd need for installing WordPress.
iPage also offers WordPress one-click installer. With this tool you just have to follow the installation steps.
If you get stuck anywhere, contact support. That's what they are there for.
Important: Always read carefully the emails you receive from your Hosting company. Maybe you will have to confirm something or validate your domain. Don't miss these steps. Also, they will send the login details in email.
To get to your WordPress login page, add /wp-admin/ to the end of your URL like this: yourdomain.com/wp-admin/ and login using your login details.
If this is your first time in WordPress watch the following video. It provides an overview of the WordPress administration panel or dashboard.
In your dashboard go to Settings - General Settings.
- Add your Site Title and Tagline - you can change these later
- Set your URL preferences
- Set your time zone
Go to Settings - Permalinks and select Post name. Save your changes.
Create Your Main Categories
You can do this later, but if you already know some of your main categories then why not to set them now.
Also, change the name of the 'Uncategorized' category - this is a default category added by WordPress and if you don't select any Category for your posts then this will be used automatically and it doesn't look very good.
Go to Posts - Categories
As I wrote before, you can do this later, you can add or remove categories any time.
Set Up Your Essential Pages
There will be more about these pages later, for now it's enough if you just create them with some basic info.
To create a new page go to Pages - Add New
At this stage it might be useful to learn the difference between Posts and Pages. Watch the video, please:
STEP 5 - Select & Install a WordPress Theme
Design Your Website
Congratulations! You are done with the most critical and difficult part.
Now let's have some fun. In this step we will talk about the design of your blog.
From now on you will only need a little creativity. However, don't get scared if you are not creative. Fortunately everybody can create a beautiful website with WordPress. There are literally thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available.
The whole appearance of your blog depends on the Theme you choose.
Where Can You Find WordPress Themes?
First go to your dashboard and select Appearance - Themes
At the first page you will see the default WordPress Themes, e.g. Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Sixteen. You can choose any of them as your very first free theme.
You can see how the chosen theme will look like if you hover over the theme and click Live Preview or usually every theme has a demo site.
If you don't want these themes, then click the Add New button at the top. Always read the description of the theme carefully and check the ratings. Also, I always visit the developer's website to find out more about his work.
When you selected your theme just click Install and Activate.
Note: in free themes the customizing possibilities are (very) limited. There are free themes where you can change for example the font types or font colors, but not every theme can do it.
What To Look For When Choosing a Theme?
- Quality coding
- Good support
- The theme should be mobile responsive - so that it looks good on all devices like desktops, tablets, and mobile phones.
If you know what you want from a theme then you can start searching the premium themes.
It's not easy to choose from thousands of themes, but let me show you some good resources that you can trust.
My favorite theme shop is mythemeshop 🙂 They have premium quality free & paid themes and plugins. Click the logo to visit their site and you will see:
You can also find great themes at Themeforest, but here the different themes are from different developers, so make sure to do a research about support, quality, etc. before purchasing.
Side note: Currently for this blog I use the free version of GeneratePress Theme together with Elementor Pro page builder. It's because I wanted to learn how to create different pages (e.g. landing pages) with a page builder. I think they make a very good team together. It's not recommended for beginners though...
The Home (or Front) Page of Your Blog
Go to Settings - Reading and set your Front page to static page. If you don't do this, your latest posts will appear on your front page, but we want to create a nice, static home page for you blog.
To have a Home or Front page you will have to create it first - Pages - Add New