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 bring in money from the comfort of your couch.
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 youngest 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 it’s safe to say the job is helping me pay my bills. 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. 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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Just click here to start a blog and follow the video or text tutorial below!
The first thing you need to know about starting a blog is that is 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!
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. 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.
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!
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!