Ever wonder how to start a blog so you can work from home? Maybe you want to be a stay at home parent or just really love the idea of saying buh-bye to commuting. Today's step-by-step tutorial is going to show you how to set up a blog so you can start the exciting journey of finding ways to make money from home.
It's no secret that I love being a SAHM to my son, James. But I've been working since I was 15 and I just love the thrill (yes, I find it exciting!) of contributing financially to my family.
Back in 2015, my husband and I came to the agreement that I would either find a way to make an income from home or I would go back to work once our son was in preschool.
I'm excited to say that I won't have any reason to work outside the home again unless I really want to!
My blog has come a long way from Day 1 and the job is helping me pay my bills if my blog income reports are any indication. Here's an easy way you can start your own blog and begin that exciting journey to eventually earning money from home.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and if you click on them, I may be compensated by Bluehost at no additional cost to you. However, I only recommend services that I personally love and use. I use Bluehost to this day and would recommend them to my mother. :) You can read my full Disclaimer here.
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Think it's too late to start a blog? Girl, it's not. We need fresh voices like YOURS to bring new ideas in the blogging world. And it's not expensive to get started.
The first thing you need to know about starting a blog is that it takes a little money to make some money. But it doesn't take very much, so don't let that scare you away!
Do I need to pay for Bluehost and Wordpress? Can I just start a blog for free?
No, you cannot create a money making blogging business on a free platform like Blogger. If you do, it means that they own the content. They will completely be within their rights to close down your site if they decide to do so for whatever reason.
Before you start writing a post or imagining dollar signs, you need to purchase hosting and a domain (you do not, however, need to pay for any special plans with Wordpress.org because it’s free to use). By purchasing hosting, you are paying a company to provide space on their servers and equipment to store your blog. Your domain is your website url, such as www.mytotallyawesomesite.com.
I used Blogger for a short while and then made the move to a self-hosted Wordpress site. It was kind of a pain to deal with but it was necessary if I wanted to turn my blog into a business and start making money.
If you're serious about starting a blog as a business, I recommend using a Wordpress.org blog and hosting through Bluehost.
I've used Bluehost from the beginning and I've been very happy!
I started with the Basic package and was pleased with the site speed it provided until I hit about 100,000 pageviews/month, then I upgraded to the Plus package. In January 2016, I had over 300,000 pageviews with the Plus package and the site speed was still fast and it didn't go offline once. Needless to say, I am very happy with Bluehost!
Which niche is best for my blog?
It’s important to choose a blog niche that is both specific and can help readers solve a particular problem. You must be able to point to a narrow category and explain why you are an authority (though not necessarily an expert) on that topic, and why your content will be helpful to others.
It’s no longer a good idea to choose the general broad title of “mommy blogger” or “lifestyle blogger” anymore. Be specific! What kind of mommy blogger are you? What specific portion of motherhood do you write about? Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Here are 20 great blog topic ideas for 2019:
Service dog training
Canning and/or preservation of food
How to create/maintain desert gardens
Kitchen garden tips
Mini greenhouse tips
Organic farming tips
Baby food recipes
Homeschooling (homeschooling pros and cons, kindergarten homeschool curriculum, etc.)
Online singing lessons and tips (how to sing harmony, how to sing opera, how to sing falsetto, etc.)
Date night ideas (fun date ideas, romantic date ideas, etc.)
Ice skating tips and ideas (what to wear ice skating, etc.)
Youth basketball drills and tips
Christian tour ideas (Holy Land tours, etc.)
Traveling with kids (toddler traveling essentials, etc.)
Knitting for baby blankets, baby booties, etc.
Whittling / Wood carving
Workout plans for women at the gym
Want more blog niche ideas?Enter your info below and I’ll send a list of 160+ blog topic ideas to your email!
Now let's get on to the tutorial!
Signing Up with Bluehost
1. Purchase your own hosting and domain.
Go here and get started!
Choose a Basic, Plus, or Pro package.
Choose a new domain or enter your current one, if you've already purchased it from somewhere else.
Enter your account information and choose any package extras, such as Domain Privacy Protection (yes, you want this so the public can’t find your phone number or email!). Enter your payment information as well. Click Submit!
Do a happy dance because it's time to get crackin'!
Now set your password. Make it a good one and write it down.
If you've already purchased a domain through another company, no problem. You simply need to assign that domain to Bluehost by modifying the nameservers. Click the links here and here for further instructions.
I recommend Bluehost's Basic package to start with because it gives you the chance to test out the blogging waters and see if this career path is right for you.
I encourage you to purchase the Domain Privacy Protection to keep your personal information away from public eyes but if you don't want to, it's completely optional.
Bluehost offers refunds as well, so don't be nervous about signing up for the 12 month package. If you find that blogging isn't for you, you can say buh-bye to Bluehost and cancel within 30 days of signing up.
2. Change Your Nameservers (if necessary)
YOU ONLY HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR NAMESERVERS IF YOU'VE PURCHASED YOUR DOMAIN FROM ANYONE OTHER THAN BLUEHOST.
I've purchased many domains through GoDaddy and have had to change the nameservers in order to host the domain on Bluehost. Here's how I do it.
Log into your GoDaddy.com account and click on the My Products Tab.
Click the green Manage button, located on the right of the Domains area.
Click the Settings gear symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the domain you wish to host on Bluehost.
Click Manage DNS, then click Settings.
Find the nameservers section and click Manage.
Edit the nameservers to NS1.BLUEHOST.COM and NS2.BLUEHOST.COM.
Log into your Bluehost.com account.
Click Domains, then click Assign a Domain to Your cPanel Account (found under the Shortcuts box).
Follow those instructions to assign your domain. You can see screenshots of the process here.
3. Install Wordpress
Whew! You're almost there and pretty soon you can start cranking out some awesome content and monetizing your blog. Now you just need to install Wordpress (which is what I use) to create your blog.
Now you can choose your theme. (You can always change this later so don't overthink this more than 15 minutes or so.
Click Start Building so you can start setting up your Wordpress site.
Choose either Personal or Business site and follow the instructions. If you're choosing Business, they're going to help you with things like WooCommerce. If you don't need that quite yet, you can just choose Personal.
Click Launch Your Site (*Take a deep breath and just do it! ;)
Type in your site title (Just make this your domain name. Ex. Allison Lindstrom) and your site description (make this one sentence).
Yay! You're almost done! Now click Log in to Wordpress and follow the instructions.
Take the blogging world by storm!
That's it. Now you've got the platform to change people's lives with your awesome content.
(Psssst! FYI, the Wordpress system you'll be using for your blog is Wordpress.org NOT Wordpress.com. This may not be an issue for you if you follow these instructions to a "t" but I confused the two when I started my own site and it was a little headache to deal with. Just thought I'd clarify while I have you here in this tutorial :) )
If you're a little unsure about what to use for design, email marketing, etc. here are my top recommendations.
Blogging to Win is my course for blogging beginners, and it currently has over 3,000 students!
It’ll show you exactly how to build the foundation for a profitable blog
Guides you step-by-step through all the techie, planning, and brainstorming stages of creating a profitable blogging business
Gets you a jump closer to building a money-making blog so that you can create the life you want to live.
Includes 75+ videos and handouts
Can’t decide which blog niche you should write about? Grab my FREE list of 160+ blog topic ideas so you can find one that’s (1) a good fit and (2) has the potential to make good money!
Is the domain name you really wanted already taken by another blogger? Yep, I’ve been there and I can help you brainstorm. Grab my FREE list of 120 domain name modifiers here. It’ll help you come up with 100+ domain name ideas in less than 10 minutes!
I recommend Genesis for building the framework on your website. It does cost a little but I've used free ones in the past and they just didn't give me the professional look I was going for.
Pinterest Presence was created by Kristin Larsen, who grew her pageviews to over 240,000/month within a year after starting to use Pinterest. She eventually went on to quit her job and now makes a full-time income as a blogger!
Hate creating Pinterest pins? Oh me too, girl! Here are 9 pre-made Pinterest pin templates my friend Kristin sells. They are lifesavers!
Tailwind is my all-time favorite scheduling software for scheduling pins! Get a FREE month of Tailwind when you use my link right here!
Mailchimp is a cheap email provider to collect subscribers but I honestly ditched them when I decided to take my blogging business to the next level. It was the best decision I made! I use ConvertKit to handle ALL of my email marketing and subscribers. Friends, they are amazing! Here are my favorite features.
Their opt-in forms are responsive so they'll seamlessly appear regardless of whether your readers are using a tablet, smartphone, or computer.
They DON'T charge for duplicate subscribers! (Mailchimp does- booo!)
You can easily select a custom opt-in form for each post. For example, I have a budget spreadsheet opt-in form under budgeting posts and a meal planning worksheet under my food posts.
They offer drip emails, which can be great to use if you want to offer free or paid email courses on your blog, or just want to touch base with your readers without having to compose an email each time someone subscribes. For example, some subscribers request a free chapter from my book and I can create a drip email ahead of time to check in with them a week after they've received it. This drip email can inquire if they had any questions or if they wanted to purchase my book.
I could go on and on about ConvertKit. I highly recommend them if you're serious about building your email list and being a professional blogger!
How do bloggers make money?
If you find yourself wondering how to make money with a blog for beginners, there are actually several strategies you can use. They all fall into one of two categories: active income and passive income.
Active income includes all the ways that you trade time for money. For example, if a food blogger decides they want to offer personalized menu planning services this is active income. It requires them to spend time consulting with their client and then building a meal plan that is tailored to that person. They trade their time for the set price of the meal planning package.
With active income, you make money once on the time that you spend. This includes services like coaching and freelancing.
With passive income, you still invest some time, but then you're able to profit from it over and over again. Examples include things like ad revenue, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and product sales.
Let's go back to the example of our food blogger. If instead of customized meal plans, she decides to create a 7-day gluten-free meal plan she can sell that meal plan over and over again. Anyone that's gluten-free knows it might be a great fit for them. She spent the time once and is able to sell it a million times if she wants.
It's important that you keep this in mind when you are creating your plan on how to make money in your blogging business. One source of income is not better or worse than the other. It all depends on your situation and preference. I do recommend making sure you diversify your income streams though so you're never fully dependent on just one thing.
Here are some examples of how you can make money from your blog.
Write sponsored posts
Create and sell your own products
Provide a service such as coaching or meal planning
If you want more information on how to make money blogging here are some other articles to check out:
If you want to see how much I really make blogging, you can check out some of my income reports. I include a breakdown of my sources of income:
Should I start a blog even though so many people are already blogging?!
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Should I start a blog?" But then a minute later felt discouraged when you thought of all the other blogs that already exist. Should you even start a blog in 2019 when everyone and their brother already has one? The simple answer is...YES!
Here are 10 main reasons why you should start a blog.
1. You want to share your passion
2. You need an online resume
3. You want to fine-tune your skills at a certain hobby
4. You could use some accountability
5. You want to find new clients
6. You want to grow your brand
7. You want to add another asset to your business
8. You want to be pushed to be a little braver
9. You want to connect with other like-minded individuals
10. You want to develop your professional skills
What can I blog about to make money? If I choose a niche from your list, does that guarantee success?
To put it bluntly- NO.
Building a successful blog takes a ton of ingredients together. You need to:
Choose a narrow niche that helps people solve a particular problem or learn a particular skill
Invest in the time to write 50-100 incredible, long blog posts
Continuously market that content on social media, through email marketing, etc.
Infuse your personality in your content to create your own unique brand
Work tirelessly to continue to connect with and help your readers
Create multiple streams of revenue, through selling your own personal products (ebooks, courses, workbooks, etc.), earning ad revenue (here are some great ad networks you can work with), sponsored posts, affiliate links, and so on