Have you been wondering how to start blogging for income? But not sure where to begin? This beginner’s guide will help you learn how to start a blog and make money.
How to Start a Blog and Make Money
I have been a professional blogger for several years now and am often asked questions about how to start a blog. And more often than not, most people want to know how do you make money from a blog?
How is that even possible?
In this post, I’m going to share the basics of getting started with your money making blog journey. But first let’s get started with the set up basics.
Choose Your Niche
Sit down and brainstorm topics that you would like to write about. What are some of your hobbies? What about passions?
Do you have a unique story to tell?
When I started my first site, it was definitely a hobby vs money maker.
I had just massively changed my lifestyle and it went something like this:
- City girl from Los Angeles moves to the country & marries a real life cowboy. And I’m talking deep in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. Major culture shock.
- I learned how to adapt, raise chickens, goats, and ducks. And my husband works on his family’s cattle ranch.
- Then I started to grow our own food.
First, my family was thinking, “what the heck are you even doing?” And then they were a little intrigued. So I started the blog to share the journey.
Now over time, I have worked hard to convert it into a money making business. And then I started another blog in a different niche.
So, really research what niche you want to start yours in.
Find a Good Host & Buy a Domain
Really do your research. There are tons of hosting companies out there, and I’ve definitely used my fair share.
Right now I use Agathon Group and am completely happy with them. Their service and support has been absolutely worth the price I pay for them. Remember, you get what you pay for.
So choosing a host that is a low cost or a great deal, will probably come back to bite you eventually. If you are serious about making a blog into a business, you really need to make a budget for great hosting.
I also understand that the cost might not be in a beginner’s budget. I started with Go Daddy and had major regrets. So, I switched to Black Chicken Host.
At about $10 a month, I would recommend using Black Chicken Host until you’re able to get yourself established a bit. And then I suggest upgrading to Agathon Group!
Both of these hosts will help you get your new site back end set up.
Here are three other hosting companies that I have had a negative experience with: Go Daddy, Bluehost, Siteground.
And I know they are wildly popular. I just spent a lot of tears and frustration working with them. So, I just want to share a bit of caution when you’re starting a new blog.
Set up WordPress
There are two different options. One that is perfect for a hobby and the other is for creating a blog that makes money.
When you set up WordPress on your new site, it is very important that you use the .org version of WP instead of .com.
One of the main reasons for this is because you will be very limited on what you can do. Using the .org version of WordPress and using a hosting company will allow you more flexibility with building your site.
And with monetization!
Other things that I would avoid in the beginning are getting set up with platforms like Blogger, Wix, and Squarespace. It is not completely impossible to get monetized using these platforms.
However, I know many bloggers who have experienced difficulty and frustration with limitations. WordPress.org has the best options for customization and getting your site monetized.
Choose Your Site Theme
What is a site theme btw? A theme is the technical word for site design. It is all of the coding for making your site look pretty.
You don’t need an expensive theme when you get started. But when you begin the process of learning how to start a blog and make money from it, you’ll want a theme that is functional.
My top two recommendations are Foodie Pro & Restored 316 Designs. I am using both for a couple of different websites. Both of these companies have great support, are user friendly for a beginners, and have tutorials for getting started.
Here are a couple of things to consider when choosing a theme design:
Make sure that the theme is mobile first optimized. The majority of people reading blog posts are using their smartphone. Having a mobile first design is super important.
Another important thing to check for, is that the site theme is optimized for speed. Google has made it very clear that page speed is a priority. And you definitely want to make for a great user experience on your site.
The themes that make your site look pretty are called “child themes”. You will also need something to give it structure. Most of these run on the Genesis theme. The place you purchase your child theme from will usually give you a package deal to include Genesis when making a purchase.
This is super important.
And after that, create an awesome About Me page as well as a place for your readers to contact you.
And another note, when you go into setting up your URL structure, I would recommend that you avoid adding categories or dates in the url. I’ve seen a lot of frustration from blogger friends when they need to update old content.
Save the headache for yourself!
Write Great Content
After you’ve gotten your site set up. The next thing to do is to write your blog posts.
Long posts are great for ads and making money. But having a variety in post lengths are great too. I would suggest writing posts in different lengths, depending on what your audience needs.
Ideally, a blog post should be evergreen. This means that it doesn’t just fade away. It is content that continues to be relevant over time. It can also gain traction over time, creating more traffic and more income.
A good blog post is informative, educational, and/or entertaining. Use your own voice and your readers will come.
But this isn’t Field of Dreams! They won’t come unless you promote and share your content with the world!
Promote Your Content
The best way to get your blog posts out to the world, is to share them!
How do you get started when you’re a beginner? There are a lot of different ways to market your new blog. And I will dive a bit deeper in all of this in future posts.
But when you are just starting your blog journey, it is incredibly easy to get caught up in trying to do too many things.
I would recommend choosing a couple of platforms for sharing content and learn them really well. Then you can add more.
It is so easy to get overwhelmed with trying to do all of the things.
The top two things that can help you with gaining traffic to make money are: learning SEO, and using Pinterest. These two things will help drive traffic to your site.
SEO is a longer term gain, so it is great to get started learning it early. And Pinterest can help you start gaining traction fast. I highly suggest checking out great podcasts for learning how to grow in these areas.
Start Making Money
There are a variety of options for making money with your blog. Running a blog as a business is a long game. It takes a lot of hard work, and consistent hard work to make it into a money maker.
Sure, some bloggers have quick success. But more often than not, it takes months and sometimes years for bloggers to begin to earn an income.
I don’t want this to scare you, I just want to be real with you. For my blogs, it has taken between 7 months to a year to earn a significant income.
The number one way that I make money is through my ad network. And the second is through affiliate programs.
And the third is through product sales.
How to Make Money From a Blog
This can vary from site to site and from niche to niche. And even some sites within the same niche do better than others.
There is also a ton of ways to earn an income from a blog. I’m going to share my top preferred methods of doing so.
Get your site to gain enough traffic that you qualify for an ad network. But not just any ad network, you want a great quality ad network that will help you earn awesome RPMs.
Better RPMs = more money.
There are two ad networks that I’ve used and recommend – Mediavine & AdThrive.
I’m currently with AdThrive and am incredibly happy with their help & service.
To qualify for Mediavine, you will need at least 50,000 sessions (not page views) in a 30 day time period. Until this year, it had been 25,000 sessions, but has increased.
And with AdThrive, they require 100,000 page views per month.
More Ways to Earn
I’m going to highlight just a few more great ways to consider earning money with your blog.
Join amazing affiliate programs. Choose the ones that align best with your brand and products that you are passionate about. It helps to increase conversions if you promote things you love and use regularly.
Create products to sell. Things like ebooks, physical products, courses, services, etc.
Get sponsored. Writing sponsored posts is a great way to earn regular income for your blog business. This is a great way to earn an income until you qualify for an ad network.
More Resources to Help You Learn How to Start a Blog and Make Money:
Treat your blog like a business and you will have success! Get yourself organized, and set regular work hours.