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If you had asked me two years ago how I thought my blog was doing I would’ve laughed and said, “I quit.” Two years ago I was 8 months into my first blog and things weren’t looking great.
Fast-forward to today and I earn over $70,000 per year because of the connections I’ve made due to this little blog! What if I gave up like I was so tempted to do two years ago? I wouldn’t be staying at home with my babies full time, that’s for sure.
If you think that you can stick to a year (or sometimes more) blogging with little to no profit, then you can potentially break through and hit the profits you dream of.
In the next few minutes, I will walk you through the 5 steps you need to take to start a blog on WordPress. Whether you’re aspiring to be a hobby blogger, a side cash blogger, or a quit your day job blogger, then you’ve come to the right place!
Using my tutorial, you can have your blog set up and ready to go in less than a day.
Here is the catch; do not get hung up on the details. If you wait until your blog looks perfect and has 25+ posts before you launch, you’ll burn out before ever seeing any traffic or earning any money like I almost did. The goal is to get your blog set up and launched (while working through the details as you go).
After blogging for more than three years now, I can say that it is not easy. It is simple to start a blog, but it’s difficult to become a successful blogger and make money from it. Success will come when you learn to focus on the needs of your readers, social media marketing, and whatever it takes to grow your blogging income.
Why Start a Blog?
There are many reasons to start a blog. One of the most popular reasons I hear today is “to make money online.” It’s certainly understandable for any knowledgeable blogger to expect to make money from their dedication! Most readers will also understand that talented bloggers don’t share secrets, tips, or valuable information with no intent to make a decent income in return.
Keep in mind that making money blogging doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, I wouldn’t suggest you quit your day job until you’ve established an audience. Your audience might be in the form of a social media following or an email list (or preferably both). The most important thing is that you target your audience and then work on building it.
I will walk you through each requirement to start your blog on WordPress.
5 Steps to Start Your Money-Making Blog
Typically, a new blogger steps into the domain with the intent to make money. There are occasions, however, where writers are just looking for an outlet to share their story! Whether you are here to make money or just to have fun sharing your thoughts with the world, this tutorial will help you get started.
Step 1: Choose a Blog Niche
Many people will think this is such a difficult step that they allow themselves to forgo starting a blog because they don’t know how to choose a niche.
Don’t let this step deter you! You will probably pick a blog theme and topic and change it two weeks down the road, just like I did. The point is that it’s okay to change your mind and transition to a new subject! You have to find out what you love to write about and what your audience will love. And that takes time.
When choosing a subject for your blog, consider starting with the topics that interest you the most. That way you will look forward to writing your next blog post.
12 blog subject ideas to consider for your niche:
- Food and Recipes
- Parenting tips
- Health and Fitness
- Interior Design
- Trending Stories
Step 2: Select a blog platform
Choosing a blogging platform doesn’t need to be overwhelming. I’ve found that WordPress.org is best for a blog because it offers the most flexibility with free themes (templates) and plugins (features).
Because it’s the platform that I use and see success with, I will walk you through each step using screenshots and instructions for WordPress.
The reason I suggest WordPress is because not only is it the most popular blogging platform out there, but it is also one of the most affordable solutions. For just $2.75 per month using HostGator (I’ll talk about this next), you can run a blog. That’s no more than the cost of one cup of coffee from your favorite local coffee shop.
Step 3: Buy a hosting Package
You will need to buy a hosting package for your new WordPress blog. Think of a host as a “rental space” on the internet. It costs money to store your physical property in a storage unit, and similarly, it costs money to store your written blogs and images online.
Thankfully, there is an affordable hosting solution with HostGator. They have fantastic customer service and tech support and they are available 24/7 via Live Chat or phone.
Ready to get started?
First, click here to open HostGator. Select the yellow “Buy Now!” button below the plan of your choice. It’s okay to start with the most affordable option–you can upgrade later if needed.
Make sure to keep this page open in a separate tab so you can continue following the instructions below!
Step 4: Choose a domain name (URL)
If you do not already have a domain name, the next step will be to choose one. Another reason I love HostGator is that they give you a free domain name for a year if you sign up for a 12, 24 or 36 month plan. Doing so will get you the best deal–but you can go the more expensive route if needed–it’s still affordable.
For your domain name, you can choose anything from your full name (if available) to a unique sequence of words that summarizes your blog’s subject. If you decide to change it later, that’s OK! Most domain names are pretty cheap.
If you already have a domain name, toggle the tab to “I already own this Domain” and then enter it to continue.
Next, choose the Package Type and Billing Cycle. If you can afford to purchase three years of hosting, DO IT. It will save you the most money. If you decide that blogging isn’t for you a little while later, HostGator has a 45-day money-back guarantee.
You will now need to set up your account with HostGator. Fill in all of the required information completely and accurately, then type in a 4-digit pin. Keep it safe so that you can speak with support about your account!
Next, grab your credit/debit card and fill in your payment information
You will have the option to add additional services to your order. None of the add-ons are required, and you can usually find the same service using a free plugin directly on WordPress.
HostGator recommends the SiteLock Essentials add-on, but for security, I choose to use the free plugin called Wordfence.
You shouldn’t need to add a coupon code since I’ve already provided you with the biggest discount for using my link!
Review your order to make sure everything is correct! Your total may be different from mine based on the plan, billing cycle, and add-ons you chose.
HostGator is truly one of the best hosts for beginners. Their 24-hour support will help you choose a theme and set it up as soon as you’ve ordered your hosting package! Make sure to log into your new account and start a chat with tech support if you’re not sure where to go next.
Step 5: Start Blogging!
You can now add your very first blog post! Use this opportunity to introduce yourself, your mission, your expertise, and anything else that will tell readers why they should follow your blog. Set up your navigation bar (home, categories, about me, contact, etc.) so that visitors can easily peruse your blog. You can create additional pages or set up an eCommerce store if you have products to showcase!
What types of blog posts do people love? Try these:
How to, [X] Steps, Ways to
Blog titles that start with “how to…”, “5 steps to…” or “ways to…” are called tutorial posts, and they are crucial to help solve your readers’ problems. What do you know how to do that your readers might want to learn? Start there!
What do you use (products or services) that help you succeed at the things you write about or talk about the most? You can write honest reviews on those things for your readers to learn from!
Top lists, Best of
Top lists and best-of lists are popular, especially when coming from the perspective of someone who has experience with the items presented. This type of blog post is best written from the perspective of someone who has authority on a subject, whether it comes from trying each item yourself or from a reliable source.
We all know that not every writer has tried every list item they suggest; it would be naive to believe that. It is best when you can share an experience that shows why your audience should take your word for it.
If you are writing in an area that you do not have experience with, make sure to cite authoritative sources. That way your readers will know you are serious and not just pulling things out of thin air for a good read.
Example blog posts don’t have to be about you.
Let’s say that I am writing a post titled, “5 Examples of Writers Who Grew Their Reader Base in 30 Days.”
I might use myself as one example and explain how I grew my brand new email subscriber base from 0 to 100 in one week; but what about the other four examples I promised my readers?
Make a list of other people who have made similar accomplishments. It gives credibility to your topic to include other sources.
What little-known strategies have helped you succeed that your audience probably doesn’t know?
“5 Secrets that Will Keep Your Home Clean Forever” might be intriguing to someone who likes a tidy home but can’t seem to stay on top of it.
Sharing a secret (or 20) is a great way to gain interested readers who will actually come back to read more. You can even use “these secrets” to attract email subscriptions and loyal followers.
When considering what secrets are worth sharing, think about what has helped you succeed and how you can turn it around to relate to your audience so they can succeed too.
Remember, we are learning how to increase traffic to your blog. To do so you need to provide true value to your readers in a form that they like to read.
Tips or Hacks
Maybe you know a tip or a life hack that many of your readers don’t know and you want to share it with your readers. If it’s not a well-known hack but it gets searched for on Google or Pinterest often, you just might have hit the jackpot!
There are many other types of blog posts that add value to the reader while allowing you to use it as a platform to share about yourself and your life experiences. It is important to understand that there is a balance to this style of writing!
Bonus: How to Engage Your Audience
Here are a few tips to help bring readers to your blog (and keep them there).
1. Relate to your audience. Make it about them.
When someone reads your blogs, they don’t want to read about your life, they want to read about their own life.
Your readers want to see themselves in your story. They want to know how they can overcome what you overcame or how they can do what you did.
Sure, you need to tell them that you did it, but if you’re stopping there and not turning it around to be about them (and fast), you’re missing the point of blogging.
Storytelling is an outlet, but if you’re using it to increase traffic to your blog and a method to make money, you need to understand and cater to your audience.
Blogging is a way to relate to your readers and teach them something about themselves or how they can improve in certain areas.
2. Keep your anecdotes short (if it’s not short, it’s not an anecdote).
An anecdote is “a short account of a particular incident or event, especially of an interesting or amusing nature” or “a short, obscure historical or biographical account.”
You can absolutely tie in your amusing grocery shopping story, your birth story or your account of parenting when you write those blog posts.
Are they amusing, interesting and ultimately short?
Go back to your underperforming blog posts for a minute and measure what percentage of the post is about you and not about your readers.
Do you think there is a way to tweak it to include more “you’s” and fewer “I’s”? Likely, there is!
Your readers want to hear your anecdotes, but the random stranger doesn’t want to read a never-ending stream of “about me” blog posts.
Your audience can find your “about me” section quite easily if they want to know more about you.
3. Add value. Keep your audience wanting to learn more.
By now you’ve related your personal life to your audience and they want to know more about how they can do what you’ve done! This is where you want to be adding more value to your blog posts in order to increase traffic.
A valuable, engaging post will leave your audience with more than a story or a life lesson that you learned.
Ask yourself, if I was reading this same story about a stranger, would I be interested? Would I share it on social media?
To add value to your readers, try different types of posts. Even more importantly, be unique! If a subject you choose to write about is covered by 100’s of bloggers, chances are your posts will never see the light of day on Google.
What NOT to Do When Starting A Blog
If you’re really considering starting a blog, that’s GREAT! I am so happy to have others join me in this fun (yet sometimes difficult) quest.
Blogging is a way to voice your opinions, tell stories and help others better themselves. When striving to help your audience, you can truly succeed!
Before I walk you through the steps on how to start a blog, let’s briefly talk about what not to do when starting out.
1. Do Not Forget Your Audience
Though your audience and niche can develop in time, the most important thing to do is to remember your audience with every post you publish.
If you publish a fantastic, long, or perhaps funny blog post, but it does not help your reader or solve a problem, you are forgetting your audience.
Always remember who you are writing for and what problems you can help solve!
2. Do Not Think That Blogging is “Easy”
Even if you’re an avid writer and the words flow easily, that does not mean blogging for money is going to be simple.
Being a great writer will help you succeed, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. You need to remember that blogging includes writing, networking, daily learning, and much more.
Join my blogger support group on Facebook and ask your blogging related questions! The more help you accept, the easier it will get!
3. Do Not Set Too Many High Goals
Starting a blog is the easiest and quickest part of becoming a blogger. Once your blog is live and you’re ready to hit publish on your post, your mind will start to set unattainably high goals.
Rather than setting high goals, collaborate with other bloggers to determine goals each week or month that you can realistically accomplish. Perhaps your first goal is to write high-quality content, get backlinks to your blog, or gain a certain number of followers on various social media platforms.
Whatever goals you set, be sure that you keep them realistic and don’t beat yourself up if you miss a goal!
4. Do Not Give Up!
When you first start a blog, remember that whatever happens, do not give up! It will take time to develop a successful blog. Some bloggers will see success in the first week, while others will struggle to make their first dollar before 6 months have passed!
Remember that if you are seeking support and learning from other bloggers, you are well on your way to becoming successful.
It’s normal to not make much money in the first 6 months after launchingo, especially if you’re only working on it for a few hours per week. But in time, that work will pay off!
Are You Ready to Start a Blog?
Last, but certainly not least, sit back and admire your live blog!
Get to know your target audience and create content they love to read! You can always write about what you love the most and your audience will find you. It is always best to be proactive to get your blog in front of as many readers as possible.
Make sure to join Facebook blogging support groups, start a business Pinterest account, and start sharing your new blog as soon as it’s ready!
It’s easy to start a blog on WordPress. The difficult part is running and maintaining a profitable blog.