Learn How to Start a Blog and Make Money in less than 15 minutes. Click right here to jump straight down to step #1 and begin now.
How to Start a Blog (and Make Money) in 6 Easy Steps:
The Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog and Make Money on the Side
- 1. Pick your blog’s name and niche
- 2. Get your blog online (web hosting)
- 3. Design your blog with a free WordPress theme
- 4. Write your first blog post
- 5. Promote your blog and get readers
- 6. Make money from your blog
How to Start a Blog and Make Money In Easy Steps!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. When you purchase hosting using my Bluehost affiliate link, they compensate me, which helps make this guide free of charge to you. Know that I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind.
What is a blog?
A blog is a regularly updated website where new content is frequently published, typically written in an informal or conversational style—often with the goal of attracting readers and generating an online income. You’re reading on my blog here right now, and this easy-to-follow guide will walk you through learning how to create a blog of your own.
Should I start a blog?
Yes! Starting a blog is one of the easiest, most accessible ways to launch your own business and earn an income online (from anywhere in the world).
You don’t need to be a professional writer or web developer—and you don’t need any credentials, years of experience in your field, or a degree in order to blog and become successful with it. You can start blogging regardless of your age, location or experience level and still build a profitable online business.
Can I start a blog without any technical experience?
Even if you have no technical experience with websites, starting a blog has become so much easier in 2022. This guide was created with ease of use in mind, and I’ll walk you through every step of the way, so that you’re able to learn how to create a blog (very easily) today.
Is it still possible to make money from a blog today?
Yes, millions of people around the world are turning to making money from home—rather than pursuing a traditional 9-to-5 job. Blogging can be one of the most profitable online businesses with very low startup costs. You don’t need to blog full-time either. Even part-time bloggers can earn well into the six-figures from their blogs each year, like I’ve done for many years here.
Starting my blog (on the side of my day job) helped me build a six-figure freelance writing business. Eventually, I monetized more by taking advertisements and sponsorships, offering online courses, launching a podcast and more (which we’ll get to later).
How much does it cost to start a blog
Depending upon your goals and the type of blog you want to start, it costs around $34.50 to $65.40 to start a blog in 2022 and cover your first year of essential expenses (web hosting will be your primary expense). As you learn about starting a blog in this guide, we’ll walk through which blogging costs can be reduced or eliminated to help keep a tight budget.
Follow these 6 steps to learn how to start a blog and make money today:
If you’re ready to take the leap and learn how to start a blog that can grow into a source of real online income, then let’s dive in.
1. Pick your blog’s name and niche
First, it’s time to pick a name and niche for your new blog.
The name of your blog is what readers will see first (like yourblog.com), so it should ideally represent either the general topics you’ll be writing about—or it could be your own name, that of your business, a clever combination of words, or otherwise.
Your blog’s niche is the general topic area that you’ll be focusing your content around. Examples include topics like travel, food, fashion, lifestyle, technology, and otherwise. Incorporating a word or two that clearly signals what your content is about, within the name of your blog (like fashionbyjane.com or hikewithryan.com)—will be very helpful for your future blog readers.
What if I can’t decide on a blog name (or topic) yet?
If you’re coming up short on ideas for how to name your blog, or which topics you should blog about in the first place (aka your “blog niche“), just get started anyway! If you’re like the majority of us, you’ll find clarity by taking action and getting started today—rather than spending time trying to come up with the perfect idea. You’ll find your groove as you make progress.
What happens if the name I want to use isn’t available?
When you start your blog with a hosting company like Bluehost, they’ll let you choose your domain name later. If the domain name you want isn’t available, don’t get hung up at this stage—just select their option to choose your name later after getting everything else set up and you can have more time to think (remember, execution is what you’re here for, not perfection).
Can I change the name of my blog later?
Yes, you can easily change the name of your blog later, you’ll just need to buy a new domain name (around $10). While the name you choose for your blog is important, it’s something you can always change in the future—so don’t let this step hold you back.
2. Get your blog online (web hosting)
The second step in starting a blog, is actually getting your blog online. That’s what a web hosting company will do for you. In this step, you’ll be selecting the blogging platform and web hosting plan you’ll use to get your blog online.
What is web hosting?
To make your website accessible to other people on the Internet, you need a “host.” The host keeps all your website files safe, secure and makes sure that people can access your blog when they click on a link or type in your URL. Think of web hosting as being like your home. When someone comes over (types in your blog’s URL), they’ll be able to see what’s inside.
How much does web hosting cost?
Web hosting comes at a low cost (around $4/month) with a high quality hosting provider like Namecheap. Having a proper hosting company to power your blog is one of the most important investments you can make when getting started.
What’s the best web hosting service to use?
There are several great web hosting providers you can use to host your blog (on a budget). The company I’ve found that best checks all of the key boxes (and more) for new bloggers is Namecheap. Regardless of who you choose, you should be looking for a web hosting company that prioritizes speed, features, security, support and a reliable track record.
The combination of blogging platform & web hosting I personally use (and that most other bloggers use) is a WordPress blog, hosted by Namecheap. WordPress is a free publishing platform that’s been around since 2003 and now powers more than 60% of all blogs on the Internet. Namecheap is one of the most established, reliable companies in the blog hosting industry. This combination is what we’ll be using to start your blog. Now, let’s get your hosting set up.
—> Click here to head over to Namecheap and hit the “dotted three lines menu” button on right top
Choose your plan
First, you’ll select a hosting plan (inputting your blog name comes next). Personally, I recommend choosing shared hosting plan because it comes with Domain Privacy, which will protect your personal information (your full name, email address, phone number and home address) from being published anywhere online and it is cheaper.
Go to the menu
and choose shared hosting. Just click the “Get Started” button under your plan of choice:
Pick your blog’s domain name
Next, you’ll get to the page where it’s time to choose your blog’s domain name:
Once you get to this step in the checkout process, just type in the name of the domain name that you’d like your blog to have (mine is www.cardro.pro).
You just have to connect your domain either to your existing domain with Namecheap or you just enter new name and check availability then you choose it if it is available.
If you want to run a quick search to see if your domain name is available, you can do it on same page just as on above photograph
If your domain name of choice isn’t available, you can either try another option that comes to mind,
After either choosing your domain name or opting to select it later, you’ll be taken to the final step in the sign up process—creating your account.
Create your Namecheap account
Start by filling in your account details like your name, email address (it’s super important to use an up-to-date email address because this is where your login details and account information will be sent) and address. If you don’t want to enter your information manually, you can connect your Namecheap account with your Google account. Either works!
Woo! It’s time for a mini celebration 🙂
You’ve officially completed the first major step in starting a blog.
With the initial signup process complete, it’s time to move into the next stage of getting your blog fully setup and optimized.
On the next page, you’ll be guided step-by-step through the process of getting WordPress installed on your blog through Bluehost—and later on in this guide, I’ve got a ton of helpful tips for optimizing your blog, free and cheap plugins you can install to help get your blog looking great, and more.
—> Click here to head over to Namecheap and register your domain if you haven’t already.
Now, if you haven’t yet set up your web hosting and want to check out some other options—there are other web hosting providers worth considering.
The 2 best alternative blog hosting platforms worth considering
- Dreamhost — I’ve hosted literally dozens of websites on Dreamhost over the years (and I still do). All similar features like 1-click WordPress install, free SSL certificate and site security aside, one of the biggest pros of going with Dreamhost compared to other hosting companies, is that they offer a true pay-per-month plan that allows you to pay for the cost of your blog hosting each month with no strings attached. Here are a few other web hosting companies that also offer monthly payment plans.
- HostGator — The thing that sets HostGator apart from other hosting companies, is their fantastic level of customer support and the fact that they also offer a true monthly payment plan (which helps if you’re starting your blog on a budget). HostGator ranks amongst the largest hosting companies, now powering over 8 million+ websites around the world, making them a great partner to scale your blog with over time.
If you still want to evaluate more of the top blog hosting providers, then head on over to my breakdown of the best web hosting plans for bloggers to review this year.
Now we’re at the point in this guide where everything from here on out will be built upon the assumption that you’ve already registered your domain name and chosen the right hosting plan—so if you haven’t done so already, take just a few minutes to quickly get that set up.
I know first-hand that starting a blog on WordPress can be a daunting process.
So, if you need a little more detailed guidance, I put together a free master course that spreads all of this work out into a series of action-packed lessons, and goes into even more granular detail than this tutorial.
While the first crucial step to getting your blog started today is registering your domain name and setting up hosting, my free course expands into actually growing your blog. Throughout this 7-day course, you’ll go from zero to publishing (and promoting) your first blog post. I can’t recommend it enough.
Want our Free Course: How to Start a Profitable Blog in 7 Days? Contact us!
3. Design your blog with a free WordPress theme
When you’re still new to starting a blog, I don’t usually recommend buying a paid WordPress theme right away. Once you have some traffic and can justify the investment, then it’s smart to choose a premium theme with more features and options. For right now though, a complex theme will be a distraction from your most important priority of bringing readers to your new blog.
WordPress comes with a ton of free themes to choose from, so start with one of the options you like in Appearance > Themes > Add New Theme > Popular without spending much time on this for now. You can always come back and change it later.
I recommend choosing Kadence WP, Elementor for WordPress or Astra (all of which are 100% free, fast and have the ability to upgrade later).
I like these three fast WordPress themes most because they’re crisp, clean, simple and will get you set up without needing to invest in a paid theme as you’re just starting your blog. Later, you can evaluate more of the other WordPress themes out there or upgrade these ones to their premium versions for more features.
What if I want to choose a different WordPress theme (or switch later)?
Why design is so important when starting a blog
Even if you don’t really care about design yourself, your readers will shift their behavior dramatically based on the features of your blog layout. In fact, during a 2012 study from Google and the University of Basel, researchers found that users judge a website’s aesthetic beauty and perceived functionality in 1/20th – 1/50th of a second. Plus, thanks to a little psychological bias called the Halo Effect, people will extend that judgement to all aspects of your blog.
Good blog design builds trust. It tells people that you care enough about your blog to make it look nice. This doesn’t mean you need crazy animations or tons of fonts and colors. In fact, the best designs are simple, clear and easy to read.
Once you’ve settled on the right theme for your WordPress blog, it’s time to dive into the world of WordPress plugins, to help unlock even more customizations and prep work in order to give your blog a chance of developing into a real business.
7 essential WordPress plugins you should install on your blog today
WordPress plugins play a crucial role in how your blog will function, and getting the most essential plugins dialed in as quickly as possible is a major step that’s designed to serve both your audience and perform well for search engines.
What is a WordPress plugin and why are they important?
A WordPress plugin is a small piece of software that can be thought of as an “add-on” that gives extra features or functionality to your blog. Plugins let you add all sorts of features from collecting email subscribers, to nailing your blog SEO, tracking your website analytics, optimizing your images, increasing your page load speed and more.
The only problem with WordPress plugins, is that there are literally thousands of different plugins and blogging tools to choose from out there. To help you cut through all the noise though, these are the must-have WordPress plugins to install when you start blogging today:
- Yoast SEO: The more people that can find your content, the better your blog will do. The Yoast WordPress plugin helps you to optimize your blog post titles, descriptions, content length and other elements across your entire blog so that you can be found easier by search engines.
- WPForms: You’ll want your readers to be able to get in touch with you easily, which I highly recommend—as it’ll encourage other bloggers who want to collaborate with you an easy opportunity to reach out. WPForms is an easy-to-use plugin that allow you to drag & drop contact forms onto any page of your blog.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress: This is a 100% free Google Analytics plugin that allows you to see all of your relevant analytics data directly inside WordPress. Connect the plugin to your Google Analytics account (you can sign up for a free Google Analytics account right here) to find out who’s coming to your site, how long they’re sticking around, and what your most popular blog posts are.
- UpdraftPlus: Again, sometimes things will go wrong on your blog (and it won’t always be totally in your control). It’s always smart to have a backup plugin that’ll save all your hard work on a regular basis, and this free one stands high above the rest.
- WP Rocket: Faster websites rank better in Google and give your readers a better experience. WP Rocket is a plugin that caches your pages, reduces your file sizes, and does much more to ensure that your blog loads faster for everyone.
- MaxCDN: Speaking of speed, MaxCDN makes images and other static elements of your blog load faster as well, earning this plugin top marks to consider as a complement to also using WP Rocket.
- Insert Headers and Footers: Sometimes to edit your theme, you’ll have to add code snippets to your header or footer (it’s not as scary as it sounds). However, doing it in the code of your theme can cause issues. This plugin lets you add small snippets of code easily to select locations around your blog.
- Bonus — Lightweight Accordion: If you like the way I create the collapsible (accordion-style) content boxes here throughout this guide and in the FAQ section near the bottom of this post, then I recommend installing the free plugin I use to make those content sections come to life: Lightweight Accordion. In just a few clicks with this plugin, you can quickly add collapsible FAQ box functionality to your WordPress blog.
- Bonus — MightyShare: Automatically generate social share images in WordPress for free. Rather than having whichever boring social share image your blog uses by default, this free plugin automatically generates beautiful social images using multiple templates, fonts, color choices and robust customization. It includes support for all post types, multiple templates and new templates added monthly.
Basic WordPress blog settings to become familiar with now
There are many different reasons to start a blog and just as many unique blogging goals you may have in mind. Regardless, it pays to have a basic understanding of the broader aspects of how WordPress functions, so that you can control the visual appearance of your blog.
Let’s dig into a few of the bigger picture settings that you can find in your WordPress dashboard.
How to optimize your WordPress permalink settings (click to expand)
We touched on this in my walkthrough video (above), when I customized the URL for the first blog post I published. And when you set up your WordPress blog using Bluehost, the permalink settings will already default optimized to publish new blog posts in the format of domain.com/post-name (like you saw in the video).
If your permalink settings aren’t already set to this format, it’s important to change them right now. This’ll help you rank better in search engines like Google, because your title’s text will appear in each of your URLs.
In your WordPress dashboard, hover over “Settings” and navigate to Settings > Permalinks to make this adjustment. It should look like this here:
You’ll still be able to customize an article’s URL before publishing in WordPress, but now you’ve got a default URL structure that’s SEO-friendly.
Cleaning up your default site URL
How to clean up your default site URL (click to expand)
After your WordPress theme is installed, you’ll want to change the default URL of your website to include a “www” before your site URL.
That’ll bring you from a URL that looks like https://yourblogname.com over to a more visually appealing https://www.yourblogname.com.
You can change this quickly by going to Settings > General and following this action:
All of the pages on your blog will now be redirected automatically to the www version, which looks much cleaner and tends to feel more trustworthy to readers.
Setting your blog homepage
How to set your blog’s homepage
As I recommend in the tutorial video above, my advice is to just set your homepage to be where your blog posts display (for now) as you’re just starting your blog.
You have the option of setting your homepage to be a static, custom designed page that can serve to capture email sign ups, sell a product, or otherwise in the future. But for now, stick with just a list of your recent blog posts as you still navigate the process of learning how to blog.
If you’re setting your homepage to be the blog, then one thing you can consider is changing the settings to show the complete text of your blog posts right on the homepage, rather than a list that has short previews of each post.
Since you won’t have many posts on your new WordPress blog for the next few days or weeks, this’ll make it look like there’s more content in the short-term, and you can change the settings back to a list and preview format once you’ve gotten your first 5 or so posts published.
To change these settings, just go to Settings > Reading.
Setting up your blog’s menu
How to set up a menu on your WordPress blog
When you first start your blog, you won’t quite need a menu until you’ve published your key pages (About, Contact, Hire, Shop, etc), but when you’re ready to create a homepage or footer menu, just go to Appearance > Menus and you can create them in just a few clicks.
Alright, we’ve covered the basic foundations of getting your blog’s WordPress settings dialed in. Now, let’s dig into creating a few of the main pages on your blog.
You might not think much about it, but your About page can quickly become one of the most popular pages on your blog.
How to write your blog’s about page
Writing about yourself isn’t easy. So let’s start with a few basic questions that every great blog About page should answer:
1. What value are you creating for your readers?
It might be called an About page, but you don’t want to make the mistake of only talking about yourself. Yes, you’ll get to talk about who you are, but your About page should be just as much about your readers and the value you’re creating for them. Be clear on who your audience is, the value you create for them and answer why you chose to start a blog for them.
For example, my blog is all about helping people grow their blogs today, finding the best business ideas and launching profitable side projects. So, that’s exactly what I say at the top of my About page. This helps readers know that they’re in the right place.
2. Who is your blog for?
Your value statement will touch on who your ideal reader is, but you want to make sure when the right person gets to your blog they know they’re in the right place (and that you’re starting the right type of blog to achieve this aim). There are a couple approaches you can take to communicate this:
- Tell them who your blog is for: There’s nothing more basic than just saying who you are. So, for example, if you’re starting a blog on WordPress to create a community around cooking tips for working moms, just write: “Started in 2022 as a cooking resource for working moms.”
- Show proof that you’re part of their community: You can show your readers that you’re part of their community in a number of ways. Do you write for other blogs or sites that are in your niche or actively contribute to popular communities and forums? What about adding a testimonial or social post from someone in the industry who read and liked your blog.
If you have the ability to show your contributions to the broader community you’re blogging in, this is your chance to highlight it. Not only does this tell readers who you are, but you can also show social proof (that other people have recognized you as a thought leader).
Now, what if someone reads your About page and says “Well, this isn’t for me?” That’s perfectly fine. The more you know your ideal reader, the better your blog will serve that person.
3. Why should they listen to you?
If you’ve done a good job in the first few sections, your reader should have a pretty good idea of who you are and be able to decide whether or not they want to keep reading you. It doesn’t hurt to talk a bit more about yourself and sell them on why you’re the blog they should follow. Here are a few more ideas you can include:
- What types of blog posts you write: “If you love X, Y, and Z, you’ll feel totally at home here.”
- What they will get out of reading your posts: “I share everything I’ve learned building a 6-figure consulting business from nothing.”
4. Where should your readers go next?
The last (and probably most important) part of your About page is also the one that most people forget about. Telling your readers what to do next! Do you want them to read your latest blog post? Sign up for your newsletter? Follow you on Twitter? If someone has made it all the way to the bottom of your page, why leave them alone now?
I know that if someone’s made it to my blog’s About page, they probably just met me. Which means I don’t want to ask anything too taxing like signing up for a newsletter or following me on social media. Instead, I want them to get to know me better, so they can do that on their own. That’s why my Call-to-Action (CTA) is to simply read my best content.
Now you’re ready to write your first blog post
Once you’ve decided on the first blog post you want to write, you’ll navigate to the “Add New Post” section from your WordPress Dashboard.
Go to Posts > Add New which will look like this right here:
Next, you’ll be taken to a brand new article page that’ll look like this (a totally blank canvas 🙂):
Writing a blog post headline that encourages readers to click through
One of the reasons you’re blogging is to attract readers, right? Well, it pays dividends to put some effort into learning how to write a headline that’ll entice readers and most importantly—deliver on the promise of what your article is actually helping readers to accomplish.
So let’s say you’ve determined that your hiking blog (like Hike with Ryan) should start by breaking down some underrated hikes in Yosemite, compiling a list of the best hiking boots on the market, rounding up gifts for hikers in your life and talking about when to visit Yosemite during the year. Next, click into the “Add title” bar on your new post page and type in a title like.
As a starting point to writing a strong title, learn by observing the headlines of other successful bloggers in your niche:
- Do they often lead with numbers?
- How many of their article headlines include parentheses?
- Does it seem like a best practice to capitalize the first letter of every word?
Check out a few of the most recent headlines from our blog so you can get some inspiration on how you might want to structure your headlines (be sure to read my ultimate guide to writing blog headlines and my quick tips to killer blog titles).
If you’re still unsure about how to title a new post, then do a Google search for the target keyword phrase you’re going after and gather inspiration for the ways other titles are written—be sure not to directly copy other bloggers, but that’ll point you in the right direction.
Choosing an SEO-friendly blog post URL
It’s extremely important that you customize the URL of your new post, if you hope for it to rank well in organic Google search results.
Here’s how to create a basic blog content strategy today:
Define your blog goals: What’s your purpose for starting a blog? What do you want to achieve with your blog content? This goal might change as you grow your blog, but it’s still important to know it early on.
Get to know your blog readers (and where they hang out): Your readers will determine whether or not your blog becomes successful. To write for them, you need to really understand them—which is why it helps if you’re also writing for yourself. It’s useful to some research around the audience you’re writing for. Think about the demographics and psychographics of your target audience. Demographics are the quantitative traits of your readers (age, gender, location, job title) and psychographics are the more unmeasurable traits like values, interests, attitudes and belief systems. Once you’ve written down these qualities, you can start to come up with an audience persona—a fictionalized version of your ideal reader.
Decide on your blog’s main content pillars: When it comes to deciding what you’re going to write about, it’s good to have a few guiding categories that you’ll refer back to. I like to call these content pillars, as they’re the foundation that holds up the rest of your blog. For example, if you’re starting a blog about personal finance, your pillars might be: personal finance tips, interviews with experts, industry news, paying off debt or otherwise. Each of these pillars can have hundreds of blog posts written under them. They also all work together to show that you’re a thought leader in your niche.
Map out the content you’re going to create soon after starting your blog: Shortly after launching your blog, it’s worth taking a little time to plan out your content pipeline for the coming weeks (possibly months). You never know when your first blog post might go viral. In that case,
you’ll want to have at least a game plan to quickly engage the new readers you get. Even just one or two blog posts under each of your major content pillars is enough to start with, ideally in the form of evergreen content that’ll stand the test of time.
We’ve now come a long way in this guide. You’ve gone from learning the technicalities, all the way through to publishing your first post.
It’s time to talk about what happens after you’ve published your first blog post… promoting your content, driving traffic and eventually making money from your blog.