Blogging is such an awesome way to connect with the world and earn income. But you must know how to start a blog the right way for that income part to actually happen! I'll be honest, I had no clue about how to start a blog other than signing up with a free WordPress account and then just writing. Girl! That was that NOT the right way to do it! Fortunately, I love to research and just kept at it until I found the right resources and groups to help me learn how to start a blog so that it could actually earn money. I'm kind of glad I took the long route because it did enable me to learn about the various components to blogging and why it is important to do it right from the start. So here is my super-easy tutorial for those wanting to know how to start a blog and make it profitable from day one. (How to Start a Blog Course at end of post!)
Please note this post may contain affiliate links and ads, read my full disclosure here.
HOW TO START A BLOG
If you are looking to start a blog the RIGHT WAY, then you will want to start a self-hosted WordPress blog using Siteground for your web hosting service. You might be tempted to start a blog on a free platform or even a non-Wordpress platform. PLEASE DON'T!! There is a reason that WordPress is the top-rated blogging platform. Many others who begin on platforms such as Wix, Squarespace, or Blogger end up migrating to WordPress (costing them additional money!). Also, if your intention of starting a blog is to eventually make it truly profitable, the free platforms significantly limit your ability to do that! Treat how you start a blog in the same way you would treat starting a business and make sound investments from the beginning. You'll be able to place ads, use affiliate links wherever you want, and so much more. Be sure to also connect with my Girl Bosses Rock private Facebook group for daily blog training discussions (sorry – this is for the ladies only)!
PIN ME FOR LATER
Full disclosure – I actually DID begin my blog on a free WordPress platform. I quickly realized how limited I was and had to pay to have my URL redirected when I switched over. Why did I have to do that? With the free WP version, you actually have “wordpress.com” as part of your website domain name – yuck!! So I paid to have traffic that was going to that address redirected to my new address so I was able to retain my readers and not start completely from scratch. Save yourself time and money and start with a self-hosted WordPress platform from the start! This is a key factor in how to start a blog that you can monetize right away!
How to Start a Blog on WordPress with Siteground
Siteground is one of the best web hosting options out there. Many bloggers actually migrate to Siteground from their current web hosting because of the excellent service. I actually started with Bluehost but had nothing but problems with them. My site kept going down and their customer service reps were always trying to convince me I had to upgrade my plan to fix the problem. Seriously!! I finally had enough when my site went down during Black Friday week, costing me a lot of affiliate income (can't make money if your site is down!). I called Siteground, got signed up AND they did the migration for free! Guess what? It's been almost 5 months now and I've not had a single issue with my site!! Oh, and it now loads so much faster than before the switch. So, save yourself a headache and just start with Siteground today! Once you have signed up with Siteground, you'll be able to do a one-click installation of WordPress right from the site.
Other reasons you should start a blog with Siteground:
- Siteground is super-duper easy to use (even if you are techie-challenged like me!)
- If you get stuck on something, you can call or launch a chat and they actually respond right away!
- 24/4 technical support – and they actually answer the phone!
- Super-duper affordable – get started for 12-months for less than $50/yr (<$4/mo)
- 30-day MONEY BACK GUARANTEE – you won't need it but they still offer it!
- FREE SSL encryption (this is what makes your website secured (https instead of http) and is required for GDPR compliance
- FREE unlimited email storage and you can make multiple email domains for your blog (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc)
- Peace of mind that your blog is working and you aren't losing out on customers and affiliate sales
SELECT A THEME
WordPress.org software is free and easy with one-click installation. Once you install the software, you can begin setting up your site. One of the first things you will need to do is select a theme and layout for your blog. WordPress does come with a few free ones in your dashboard to use while you are still figuring things out, but I highly recommend investing in a paid theme as soon as you can because as with anything – you get what you pay for. Many of the free themes have limitations on adding widgets and stuff like that. If you plan to make your blog a business you really need to find a nice PAID THEME to maximize the potential of your blog. You can find some very nice ones for around $50 and you only have pay for it once! There are, however, many free themes available on the internet. If you are on a tight budget, it's ok to go with a free theme from a trusted site like through the WordPress Marketplace, but just remember that this will limit your ability to monetize your site and make it look exactly how you want it. Here are a few of my favorite places to shop for themes!
Depending on the theme you choose, you will also need to install a few (free) plugins to help optimize your site. Some themes come with some plugins already installed so just check to see. These are the plugins I suggest installing before you start writing and launch your blog (don't worry – these are all free). From your blog dashboard, select “Plugins” from the left sidebar, then search these names and install.
- Yoast SEO – This is your all-in-one SEO tool.
- Really Simple SSL – Makes your site SSL proof
- Nofollow Checkbox – Adds a checkbox to the pop up for inserting “nofollow” links which are required for affiliate links
- WP Smush– Reduce file size – very important when adding images and other large files to site to keep it from slowing down
- Google Analytics for WordPress – You will need a Google Analytics account, but this provides the ability to view your analytics right from your dashboard without having to go to the GA website.
Aside from these important plugins, you can also find plugins to do all sorts of stuff. There are plugins for adding an Instagram widget, Pinterest widget, bible quotes, and so much more. As you get more comfortable in your dashboard, if there is something you wished you could do, simply Google “WordPress plugin to ….” and several should come up. Always read the reviews on them to be sure they won't cause other issues to your site.
GET TO WRITING!
Before you go live, I recommend having at least five posts written so you aren't rushing to keep your readers' interest. I also highly recommend checking out other blogs just to see writing styles and stuff like that. You can also join several Facebook groups for Bloggers – which will enable you to check out blogs all over the world and find others in your niche to follow and learn from. These groups also help with getting initial traffic to your site after it is launched and provide so much support for problems that come up. Don't try to reinvent the wheel! Learn from these other bloggers so you can save yourself mistakes (and possibly money)!
You should also get hot on setting up your email marketing system before your launch. Most bloggers who waited to work on their email list wished they had set it up from the start. There are several email programs out there to choose from – ConvertKit is the preferred choice. You check out all of the tools I use (including some absolutely FREE resources) for setting up and running my blogs in my Bloggers Resource Library.
To make it super easy for you to figure this whole blogging thing out, I created GET YOUR BLOG ON- The complete guide to starting a profitable blog to walk you through all of the steps! This is the most comprehensive course you will find that doesn't break your bank account! I decided to make the course because I know that starting a blog requires a financial investment to get started and so many people get started the wrong way because they spend all of their money on courses learning how to do it! So ENROLL NOW (it's free) in Get Your Blog On and let's get that blog started!
Also, if you want to learn how to use Pinterest to increase your blog traffic, increase subscribers AND increase your blog income, check out Pinterest for Bloggers & Business and see how!