If you’ve ever searched for how to make money online, you’ve probably come across the idea of blogging.
For some people, blogging is a fun and creative hobby. For others, it’s an extremely profitable business!
There are a lot of resources out there about how to make money blogging. To start with, I held back from adding to the noise – because I wanted to prove that it was possible first.
Well, last month I officially made more money blogging than in my ‘real’ job…
So I decided it’s time to show you how!
Are you interested in the idea of starting a blog to make money? I’ve put together this simple step-by-step guide for beginners.
Why start a blog for money?
There are literally hundreds of different ways to make money online.
So why blogging?
Well, blogging is fun, creative and extremely profitable!
It’s a completely flexible side hustle. You can write about whatever topics interest you. You can set your own schedule and hours. This makes it easy to fit around a full time job or a family.
(Easier than getting a part time job, anyway!)
You will also learn loads of super useful skills, like copywriting, social media management, SEO and even basic HTML.
And when it comes to earning potential, the sky’s the limit!
Before you start, you should know that blogging is not an easy or quick way to make money online.
Blogging is a huge time investment.
Yes, we’ve all read these amazing case studies of bloggers who made thousands in their first few weeks.
But these people are the exception, not the rule.
From my own experience – and the experience of the many, many bloggers I’ve chatted to online – it takes about a year to make a consistent income.
But once you start making money from your blog, it gets easier and easier. It just seems to snowball!
If you’re interested, take a look at my income reports and see how my blogging income has grown.
Right. Let’s get started!
How to start a blog to make money: the step-by-step guide
First off, you need to decide the topic of your blog.
What should you blog about?
If you are serious about making money from your blog, it helps to choose a lucrative niche.
This post has some GREAT information on which niches make the most money.
However, it is possible to make money in almost any niche.
Some ideas include home decor, DIY, health, fashion, parenting, travel, food and pets.
My biggest tip is to choose something you can talk about all day. You will need to spend a LOT of hours on your site and write dozens, possibly hundreds of articles on this topic.
Don’t choose something you don’t care about just because you think it will make you money. You’ll probably burn out and give up.
Choose a domain name for your blog
A domain name is your web address. My domain name is www.boostmybudget.com
You want something that’s easy to remember and easy to spell. Shorter is better.
Google whatever name you come up with to make sure it isn’t taken and doesn’t have any weird connotations!
Your domain name is really important, so take some time to think it over.
Also, you will probably want to set up social media profiles in this name. Namechk is a useful website that lets you check whether a name is available across lots of different platforms.
Register all your social media profiles early on, even if you won’t use them right away, to make sure nobody else takes them!
You can register your domain name at the same time you sign up for hosting. That’s the next step.
Choosing a host for your blog
A web host is simply the platform that makes sure your website is online.
It sounds technical, but it really isn’t.
Think of it like renting a little piece of internet to put your website on.
I use SiteGround to host my blogs and I highly recommend them.
I have experience with three hosts: Bluehost, WebHostingHub and SiteGround.
Bluehost was ok, WebHostingHub was TERRIBLE and SiteGround is excellent! I now host all my sites on SiteGround!
My site speed is faster on SiteGround, their support team answers you straight away, they have almost no downtime, and they are simple to use.
SiteGround have a one-click website installer which is very easy even for complete beginners.
Also, SiteGround offers free https which will be a requirement for all websites in future and helps you do better in Google searches. Don’t worry about that too much if you’re a beginner, but trust me, you’ll be grateful further down the line!
What about free blogging platforms?
Why do I have to pay? Aren’t there free blogging sites?
Yes, there are sites that let you have a blog for free. However, these are really designed for personal blogs – the sort that you write as a diary and only ever expect your friends to read.
If you are setting up a blog to make money, you really need to pay for hosting and a domain from the start.
Firstly, the free hosts have some restrictions over what you can do to monetise your site.
Secondly, it doesn’t look as professional. Many brands won’t work with you, and it is harder to win trust with your readers.
Which looks more professional and authoritative: boostmybudget.com or boostmybudget.weebly.com?
Thirdly, you don’t own your content on these free sites. In theory the free blog platforms could remove your blog at any time.
I know several bloggers who started blogging on a free site and had to move over to a paid platform later when they were ready to make money from their sites. It’s possible to move, but it’s huge headache.
Trust me, if you want to blog for profit, you need to pay for a good hosting service!
Since professional hosting is only a few pounds per month it’s not a huge investment. It’s 100% worth it if you want to make money blogging.
How to start your blog on SiteGround
If you decide to go with SiteGround like me, just click here to sign up for your hosting plan.
You will see several options. I personally have the GrowBig plan because I have more than one site. However, if you’re just starting out and you only want one blog, choose the StartUp plan.
You can upgrade easily later on if you start another site.
Click ‘get started’ on your chosen plan.
Now you get to register the domain name that you thought of earlier!
Now it’s time to enter your personal details…
… and your payment info!
You can choose to pay monthly, or you can pay for one or two years upfront. The longer the period you sign up for, the cheaper it will be in the long run. I recommend paying for the longest period you can afford because you will save money over time.
Hurray! You did it! You are the proud owner of your very own blog 🙂
Click on the Proceed button to access your new blog.
Installing WordPress on your new SiteGround blog
Now you have your website and hosting set up, you need to install WordPress.
Ok, so SiteGround is the host that buys you a little piece of the internet and makes sure your blog is online. WordPress is the platform where you write posts, add images, change your blog’s appearance, answer comments… basically all the day-to-day blogging stuff.
I know all this makes your head spin when you’re new to blogging, but honestly, it all makes sense once you just get started!
One of the reasons I recommend SiteGround is because they have the one-click WordPress installation.
Once you finished your SiteGround registration, you should see the following popup. Click ‘Get WordPress’, and you’re done!
When the installation is complete, it will take you to your WordPress dashboard. It will look something like this (but less busy, since you won’t have any posts or plugins yet!):
In future, you will log into this WordPress dashboard to write posts and edit your site. You won’t actually have to use the SiteGround site very often. It will just buzz away in the background, doing its thing and keeping your site online 🙂
Writing your first blog post on your new WordPress blog
Blog posts are the most important part of any blog.
Ready to write your first blog post?
Click on ‘Posts’ from your WordPress dashboard, and then ‘Add New’. The post editor looks like this:
It is very easy to use. You can see that you can add text effects like bold, italic, bullet points and so on, just like in Word.
Wondering what’s the difference between a ‘post’ and a ‘page’?
Posts are for new content on the topic of your blog. You should add new posts regularly. They will show on the homepage of your blog (also called the ‘blogroll’) and in category pages, most recent first. They will usually show the date published (unless you specifically turn this off).
Choosing a blog theme on WordPress
The theme is how your blog looks. You can easily change this later on if you want, but it makes sense to choose one you like from the beginning.
When you first start, you will automatically have a free basic WordPress theme. You can keep this theme, or find a new one.
There are paid themes and free themes. Most themes are very customisable, meaning you can change the colours, fonts and even the layout.
However, if you find one you love from the start then it will definitely cut down on the time you spend fiddling with it!
Boost My Budget uses a free theme from Colorlib.
If you want to invest in a paid theme, there are hundreds of different options.
Bluchic has beautiful feminine WordPress themes.
Pipdig has stylish minimal themes which I love.
Themeforest has a HUGE selection of themes in every category.
You can even buy blog themes on Etsy! This might be a more personal touch and its always nice to support small businesses.
Once you’ve found your theme, you download it as a zip file. Then you can upload it in the ‘Appearance’ section of WordPress and apply it to your site.
How to make money with your blog
So, now you have a blog! But how will you actually make money with your blog?
Well, that’s a whole other blog post 😉
And if you haven’t set up your blog yet, here’s that SiteGround link to get your started.
In the meantime, start writing your first few posts and exploring WordPress.
Enjoy your new blog!
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