Are you ready to start a blog? Have you been researching how to start a blog to make money? Starting a blog is a great thing to do for many reasons. Here are the basics you will need to start a blog to earn an income.
Starting a blog can be a great writing relief and used as a hobby or it can become a way to earn an income. Depending on why you want to blog, will depend on what you need in order to create and start your blog.
For the purposes of this post, we are going to be talking about the things you will need to start a blog to make an income. It’s definitely possible to do this.
There are many bloggers who earn anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to earning six figure incomes a month and everywhere in between.
1. Plan out your Niche
There is quite a bit of research to do before actually starting your blog. The first thing you need to decide on is your niche.
Your niche is basically the topic of what you want to share on your blog and what you want to write about. Most people will tell you to “niche down” and decide on VERY specific things you want your blog to be about and stick to that only.
I agree and disagree with this for different reasons. I would recommend to stick to a general broad topic of things if you don’t want to niche down to super specifics. Your general or broad things you blog about could be crafts.
Crafting could include crafts for toddlers, crafts for older kids and a few family related crafts. But, I wouldn’t recommend blogging about crafting and something completely different, like music reviews or political topics.
If you’re going for a broader niche, keep topics related in some way. Think of your readers who you’re writing for and sharing information with. How can you help them learn about these topics and how can they all interlink together.
It seems to be that if you’re blogging about more than one specific thing, people will be calling you or categorizing you as a lifestyle blog.
Do a little research and jot down some notes on what you’re passionate about, what do you know about and want to share that knowledge with others? Create a list of topics and see what you come up with in the end.
2. Decide on your hosting company
In order for you to have ads and use affiliate links (and to look more professional), you need to have a self hosted website.
This means that you are going to be designing your site and pay a company to “host” it, to keep it available to be found on the web. They do a bunch of other technical things, but, in effort to keep this post simple, just know you need them.
There are quite a few options to choose from. When first starting out, you will see many people recommend two hosting companies, Siteground and BlueHost.
I have personally used both. I have also built my father in law’s art website and my father’s commercial and construction refrigeration site, both using Siteground as the host.
I started out with BlueHost because I had read decent reviews and they tend to run a decent sale consistently. But, I have learned throughout my blogging experience and life in general, you get what you pay for. They’re great for beginner bloggers- I recommend them for that, but once you’re established, it may be time to change.
You can’t beat their pricing structure as a newbie though!
After my time was up with BlueHost, I decided to switch to SiteGround. They were slightly pricier, but, I feel like they’re customer service is incredible. They have a step by step set up instructions on how to get everything started and have a live chat system to help you along the way.
There are other options, some I would and wouldn’t recommend. GoDaddy is not on my list of ones I would use. I have had issues with using them and personally, won’t again. Do your research and decide what is best for you.
3. Decide on your name and buy your URL
Most hosting companies have a place where you can buy your URL through them. There are other places as well to buy your website from. Most hosting companies have a checker function that can check to see if the website url you desire is available or not.
There are two schools of thoughts on what to do for your website url. You can think of something catchy and cute that will let the audience know what your blog is about or you can buy something simple like your first and last name dot com. This is an avenue many people use that way, they know it’s usually available and they can change topics of the site in the future if they desire and the url can still be used.
I chose to use a play on my last name and my topic for my parenting blog. If you didn’t know already, my name is Victoria Sharp. My blog name is One Sharp Mama. I have grown what started as a fertility and pregnancy blog, into a blog that discusses not only those topics, but parenting and things related to parenting (and now a section on blogging). See, you don’t always have to super “niche down” but, it should generally relate to each other.
Since starting the blog, I have also branched out into offering Virtual Assistant services for other bloggers and business. My biggest and most popular VA services are related to Pinterest. I’ll get more into that later.
4. Decide on your blogging or website writing platform
There are many options to choose from. Since we are discussing building a self hosted website here, DO NOT start your blog on WordPress.com you will have to transfer everything over to a different platform once you want to start making money.
Personally, I use and will always recommend using WORDPRESS.ORG . Some people say that there is a learning curve there compared to other avenues like Wix.
But, I didn’t find it that difficult and with the amount of information available in their help desk, on other blogs, on YouTube and Pinterest, I don’t think it is a problem for anybody.
Wix is a provider who is known to be easy to use to develop your site, but, having worked with a few Wix sites with clients, I don’t recommend them. They have made it so you have to code in a lot of functions that WordPress already has. You can’t even add share buttons on your posts so readers have a way to share your post with others. Trust me, just start building on the .org WordPress builder.
If you choose to host with SiteGround or BlueHost, they walk you through the steps of starting up with WordPress anyway- just another reason I prefer them.
5. Pick out your website theme
There are so many options for this. WordPress offers you a ton of free themes to choose from. Depending on your type of site that you want to have, they may not fit your needs.
I have used multiple themes from Pretty Darn Cute Design and I couldn’t be happier. If you buy one of her themes, she has so many tutorials or different options you can use and how to set them all up. They’re quite customizable so you can easily bring your vision to life.
Plus, they’re very reasonably priced and if you’re starting up a blog to make an income, you know you’ll be shelling out some money initially, so this is a nice place to not have to spend a fortune and still have something beautiful, functional and professional.
6. Decide on your branding
I know, by now all you want to do is start creating posts and content to share with your soon to be audience. But, if you want to have a professional and cohesive look from the beginning, I would recommend deciding on your site’s brand (another word for overall look and feel you want to portray.)
If this is something you need help with, reach out to me, as this is one of the services I offer help with!
With branding, you’ll not only be deciding on your colors and fonts, but, you should decide on your logo as well.
7. Set up your blog related email
You will want to have an email that you only use for blog related things. You can create a simple and free one through Gmail. If you’re looking to keep it more professional looking, most hosting companies can help you set up an email address using your dot com.
For instance, you can send me an email at email@example.com and I can use it to share with brands, other influencers, on my social media pages, on business cards, etc.
Bonus : You can and should also get started with an Email Service Provider for your eventual email list. There are many options for this as well. I have experience using two.
I first started out with MailChimp. I quickly realized that it couldn’t do the functions I needed it to do, so I switched to MailerLite. I have been extremely happy using them, but, will be switching to ConvertKit soon as I need more of the paid for functions that they offer as my blog and business continue to grow.
Using an ESP is very helpful in setting up automated workflows, like a welcome series for your email list and segmenting your list into different sections. More on this later, I don’t want you to get too overwhelmed now.
8. Get your Social Media accounts set up
Now that you have your URL, your website name, your blog or business related email address and your branding, you can get to setting up your social media pages for each platform. These are great ways to share your content with your audience.
In general, most blogs have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram page and Pinterest account. There are many other platforms you may wish to join and keep in mind that you DON’T have to join these either. These platforms may not be super helpful for every niche and some niches might benefit from using other platforms like LinkedIn, Youtube, Mix or others.
If you need help properly setting up your Pinterest account for success, let’s chat and let me help you get it up and ready to go successfully and on the right foot from the beginning! I’ve helped many businesses and blogs properly set up their Pinterest account so they’re ready to start sharing when they’ve created their content.
Now, start writing a blog
Now that you’re all set up and ready to go with a professional and branded look, get to writing! Share your knowledge and start building your audience.
Don’t be afraid to outsource or ask for help when starting your blog
If any of this seems a little overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you are starting a blog. You can try Googling or looking on YouTube, but, if you rather ask a person or business, there are many places that offer this kind of help.
Myself included! If you need more help designing and setting up your website, then please, reach out to me and see if I can help you! I have created multiple websites, both simple and complex, depending on my clients needs.
If any of this is something you think you would do better with by hiring someone else, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out via this form. Getting started can be scary and overwhelming, but, with the right help, it doesn’t have to be.
I hope these steps will help you feel a little more prepared to start your own blog today! Get set up correctly from the beginning and you will hopefully, be making a nice income in no time!