If you’ve considered starting a blog, you probably already know whether you want to make money from it or if you just want it for your friends and family to look at. If you’re looking to make money with a blog about things you are passionate about, you will be surprised to know how easy it is to get started. Here, you will easily learn how to create a blog on your very own without paying someone to do it for you.
First of all, should you use a free or self-hosted blog? That is actually an easy question to answer and I will explain why. If you are looking to start professionally and have the most control over your blog, then you should go the self-hosted route (I will show you a cheap way to do that – less than 4 dollars a month!). If your just blogging for fun without really thinking about financial gain that you can actually get from blogs, then definitely go the free route.
I will start out by listing the pros and cons of the two to help you make a decision on which route to take. If you already know that you want a professional money-making website, then scroll down to the section that says “starting your very own professional blog”.
Is a Free Blog Better to Start Out With?
Free (WordPress.com / Blogger)
- Well… its free
- Easy to set up and maintain
- Works great for a personal blog or a sharing platform for friends and family
- Many restrictions on how you can manage your website
- Your URL address will have to include the name of the free blog (example: www.thediscoveryapple.blogger.com instead of www.thediscoveryapple.com) The shorter the URL address, the better people will remember it.
- Driving traffic to your website is harder because search engines like Google generally rank them lower than self hosted websites
- Harder to make money because of limited advertisement options
- You have a limited amount of memory space
Self Hosted (WordPress.org)
- You have full control over your blog (layout, search engine optimization, advertising revenue)
- You will attract more visitors because your site will look more professional
- You’re free to place as many advertisement/banners on your site to make money
- Usually costs only a few dollars per month (I will show you a cheap and easy way to start!)
- Requires an initial investment (keep in mind that starting a blog can be the cheapest and most profitable business to start)
- Can be a bit scary at first for new bloggers
Starting your very own professional Blog
Anyone can make money with a blog as long as you love to write about something. It is definitely different from writing an essay in English class because you get to mainly choose the topic you want to write about. The best part is that you can do it all while wearing your Pajamas. If you follow the steps below, you will finally own a space in the internet world and a free domain (www.domainname.com). Basically, you will end up with a running online business costing you less than 4 dollars a month!
Step One: Choose your niche
A niche is basically a focus on a specific audience. Know what your blog is going to be about so that you can decide on a blog name. For example, you would not want your blog www.childrenstoys.com to be about home decor.
Take your time with this one. Write a list of many things you would want to write about then come up with a domain name to fit your topics. Remember to focus on a specific audience. If you are an educator, and you’re wanting to write about educational materials, then come up with a name to fit that. Keep in mind that you would want to come up with more than one name just in case one is already taken.
Step Two: Set up hosting to get your free domain name (URL)
After spending some time coming up with your niche and domain name, your finally ready to bring it to life. Similar to renting space for opening a cafe, web-hosting is like renting space on the internet. Without hosting services, your files won’t have a place to stay. Having a domain name without hosting it first will be be like a disconnected phone number; The phone number is there but no one can reach it.
Before running off to spend money on a domain that you can get free for your first year, I will show you how to set up hosting through Bluehost. Bluehost is a web hosting company that I recommend for 3 solid reasons.
- Fabulous costumer service: They are always there to help when you encounter a problem. Their wait time is usually less than 30 seconds.
- Money Back Guarantee: They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there is no risk if you change your mind.
- Free Domain: This is the best part. When you sign up for hosting, they will let you get a free domain name. Don’t worry if you purchased a domain name before, you can still use it with Bluehost.
Time to get started! The first thing you need to to do is go to Bluehost. After following my link, click the “Get Started Now” button on the screen.
On the next screen, you will need to select your plan. To get the cheapest price to start a blog, you would want to choose the “basic” plan. For starters, it will be enough. Keep in mind that as your blog grows and you start making money, you can always change the plan and pay the difference in the future for unlimited websites, storage, and stuff like that. For now, I would just go with the basic.
After selecting the plan you want, you will see a screen with two options:
If you have been following my directions from the beginning, you should have already came up with a few domain names which will be your URL. The left option (new domain) is where you will enter your first choice. If you would like anything else other than .com, the drop down menu will give you other options such as .net, .org, etc. I would recommend a .com because that is the most popular. After clicking next, you will know if it is available for you to have or not. If it is available, you can disregard the other names you came up with. If your first choice is unavailable, try your next choice and so on.
You will then be directed to enter your personal and payment information. After your registration is complete, you will receive a confirmation email which will provide you with information for you to continue. They will ask you to enter a password. Make sure your password is secure because it is very important.
Step Three: Install WordPress
It is finally time for the fun stuff. Bluehost makes creating a wordpress blog easy and I will show you exactly what to do.
Since you should now have your account information to log into bluehost, simply go to my.bluehost.com and log in. Your screen should end up looking like this:
At the top, you should see the word ‘website’ next to email and ftp. Click on “website” which should be under the “hosting” section. Your screen will then look like this:
Click “install now” under WordPress. You will end up with a screen like this:
Select your domain from the drop down menu and click next. You don’t have to worry about the prices shown at the bottom of the page. The prices are only if you want someone else to do it for you.
After clicking next, you will need to type in your site name or title, admin username, and password. Don’t use “admin” as your username or you will risk getting hacked. Create a username with different letters and numbers. After filling this information in, you can finally click “install now”. Do not forget to save your username and password to log into WordPress.
Congratulations! You now have your very own space in the world wide web. This is a huge accomplishment!
Every time you want to log into WordPress to work on your blog, go to www.wordpress.com/wp-admin which will take you to your dashboard after entering your username and password. This is where you can create new posts, pages, manage comments, design, and everything else dealing with your website.
Step 4: Designing your blog
In this step we will be working with themes. A theme helps you design your blog to look professional. You do not need coding experience or design knowledge to design your blog.
You will be surprised to find many free themes you can start out with. In your WordPress dashboard, on the left you will find where it says appearance. When you hover your mouse over it you can then click on “themes”. From there, you can click where it says “add more themes” and search through all of the free themes WordPress offers.
When you find a theme you like, just click on install then activate. You can always change your theme if you end up not liking it.
Finding a good theme that fits your style can take time. There are several premium themes you can get also. Premium themes are themes that cost money.
FAQ: Why should I get a premium theme if there are many free themes available?
Here are a few reasons why many people choose to go premium:
- You can expect something more unique that will stand out from the crowd.
- Premium themes are updated on a regular basis.
- They are designed with functionality in mind.
- You can think of it as a small investment for your business. You get the look you want and in the near future when you are ready, you can hire a professional to tweak a few things for you.
Here are some good places to browse around for premium themes:
Step 5: Install Plugins
Plugins add additional functionality to your blog and they are free. Don’t skip this step. The plugins that I list here will be important for reasons such as making your website code friendly for search engines like Google so that they can rank your site properly. This is important if you are serious about making money with your blog.
First, to add plugins, simply navigate to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard. You will then click install and then activate each of the following:
- All in One SEO – this is a powerful plugin which allows for your content to get ranked with Google
- Google Analytics by Monster Insights – This will allow you to track your blog’s traffic. This data will help you see what types of posts are getting the most views, where your traffic is coming from, where your visitors are from, etc. You can use this data to help with marketing and get more visitors.
- Jetpack by WordPress – This plugin enables powerful security, traffic, and customization services.
Browse around your WordPress dashboard and you will learn many features to help you expand your blog. Most importantly, remember to write great content. Great content and consistency in writing great content is what will drive traffic to your blog.