Follow these steps to find out how to start a blog and make money on a side
Do you want to learn how to start a blog?
You keep reading everywhere about how easy it is to start a blog and how you can make money blogging instantly.
You’ll learn how to start a blog today in 4 easy steps that’ll take about 10 to 15 minutes.
I have been blogging for the last 10 years and started several blogs. I also run large companies' blogs to increase their revenues with content marketing.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Bluehost and Wix, and will receive a commission if you sign up through my referral link. This is at no additional cost to you, and you will get great pricing and a free domain name through my link.
Click here to start a blog with WordPress, then use this tutorial below for easy directions.
If you’re looking to start a WordPress blog for cheap, then choosing Bluehost for your hosting needs may be your answer. Bluehost is a great web host and I personally have had a great experience with them.
How to start a blog and make money in 4 easy steps
Learn how to start a blog by following these simple steps:
1. Register your blog name and pick a niche
You can click here to purchase a domain name and create a blog, then continue to follow the easy steps below.
The very first thing you will need to do when starting a WordPress blog on Bluehost is to think about what you want your domain name to be. This can be tough, and I would give some serious thought to this.
I decided to come up with my own name and surname because I wanted to build a personal brand around Luca Tagliaferro. But this might not be your goal, so you might want to do something else with your blog. Choose a name that people can spell easily and without any spelling mistakes. As a general rule, the shorter, the better.
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 travelshouse.com or watchlucawrite.com)—will be very helpful for your future blog readers.
My top tips to pick a name are:
Catchy: pick a name easy to remember
Easy: make it easy to spell
Short: and sweet
Memorable: pick a name that relates to you and what you want to write about
Advantages and disadvantages of using your own name
Do you want to choose your own name? Great choice! One of the main advantages can be that the whole blogging activity will be associated with your name, and this helps spread your name around. When you'll write guest blogs, it's easier for you to be recognized as an expert in your niche.
On the opposite side, think about what your name means for the niche you have chosen. Probably not much. If your name is Joseph for example, and you want to write about travel blogs, your name doesn't mean anything. But that's not a problem, you can call it Josephtravels.com, for example.
What if I can't pick a name?
If you can't decide on your blog name, you can start today like most of us do. Start anyway! Blog niches and names are relatively important for the success of your blog. The most successful companies and bloggers have names that have literally nothing to do with what they write about or what they sell. I am an example myself. Or take Coca Cola, Apple, Google, Amazon. Imagine you didn't know those companies, do their name matter? Probably not.
Can I change my blog name 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.
What happens if my name 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).
2. Buy hosting for your blog (get it online)
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.
Before we go about selecting a platform and web hosting, let's talk about blog expenses.
In order to receive the cheapest alternative for web hosting, all you need to do is choosing the Basic option at $3.95/month. This is a special offer if you click on my link, it also includes 60 days refund guarantee, no questions asked. It's only valid for my link and if you buy for 36 months. If you sign up for 24 months, it will cost 20% more and if you buy for 12 months, another additional 20% extra.
The Basic plan is all you need, for now, you can skip the Plus, Choice Plus and Pro plans as they are more expensive. You can always change later when your blog will grow in readers and GB of storage. The amount of money you spend on the Plus and Pro plans is not justified at this stage, so you don't need them.
You also don't need to buy hosting for unlimited websites, if you are a single person blogger like myself, all you have is 1 website so the Basic plan will do perfectly fine, for the moment.
All the things that you need like SSL encryption to make your domain secure and 25 subdomains are, to be honest with you, even more than many standard websites even display.
As you can see in the image below, when you choose the 36-months plan, you'll also get a FREE domain name, which comes useful because you can save money. One domain name could cost you from $5 to unlimited money, I have seen domain names costing $5,000 for the value they convey in terms of marketing.
Also, another thing I have to say is that you probably don't need to buy the extra upgrades Bluehost is providing at this stage. The only one you really need is the Domain Privacy Protection, this means nobody can associate your personal name and home address with your domain name. It's a level of privacy I recommend.
But with regards to SiteLock Security and Codeguards, you can skip those ones.
After you have chosen a plan, the next step is choosing your blog domain's name.
During your checkout process, when you get to this point, you can create your domain name. If you don't have a domain name at this stage, you can skip this step. Even if you do have a domain name, but it's not available, you can still skip this section and add it later.
Have a look at the image below. Simply click to "I'll create my domain later".
Alternative web hosting platforms worth considering
Siteground - I have hosted 5 websites on Siteground in the last 3 years and still have a couple of them. They offer similar features as Dreamhost. They also offer 1-click Wordpress installation and for those blog wanting to offer e-commerce, they also offer WooCommerce installation. WooCommerce is the official WordPress e-commerce platform.
In terms of costs, they cost a much as Dreamhost at $2,95/month for their StartUp Plan, which includes 1 website, free WordPress integration and up to 10,000 visitors per month.
3. Install WordPress
Okay, this is probably the step that all of you have been waiting for. If you want to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost then continue reading.
This part isn’t hard at all. Bluehost makes it very easy to create a WordPress blog and it is FREE.
After you create your password, Bluehost guides you through exactly what you need to do in order to start a blog.
First, Bluehost will ask you to pick a theme. You can just pick a random one here or find one that you actually like. You can change it later so it’s not a big deal or just scroll to the bottom and skip this step. Remember, there are many free ones too!
Click on “Start Building”
On the next screen, you can choose “Business” or “Personal” – it’s up to you. Or, you can click the “I don’t need help.”
WOOHOO! You now have a WordPress blog. You will have to work on the design and producing high-quality content, of course. Good luck!
If you sign up for Bluehost, but you are confused for any reason (such as how to set it up, picking a plan, pricing, etc.), you can always send me an email and I can help you out. That’s what I’m here for so don’t be afraid to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. How to get content ideas
Think about this. What's the reason why you read a blog?
Does it look nice?
Do they publish frequently?
Are the articles long and informative?
All those things help, but they are not the main reason.
You read the blog because you care about what they say. Creating strong content is what will bring you readers and help you to eventually make money blogging can be a very profitable venture.
This is why the first thing you need to do, is come up with content ideas that people want to read about.
Here are 3 ideas for finding content people care about, with examples.
Idea number 1: writing based on your personal passion
While there are some risks in choosing a blog niche based on your interests, it certainly doesn't have to be a receipt for disaster. Using your own know-how to create interesting and valuable content can be extremely profitable.
For start, writing about your own passion can help you stay motivated because starting a blog and making money out of it, it's not simple and you'll have to overcome lots of hurdles and problems if you are deeply invested in what you are creating.
Eric Bandholz started beardband as a blog discussing sales and business strategy. Slowly, his passion for beards crept into the blog. Over time, he turned his passion for the bearded lifestyle into a separate and successful ecommerce business selling beard-grooming products.
Do I need to start finding my niche early?
The example above suggest you don't have to. You can write about things that simply interest you without a precise calendar or strategy. to stick to. However, it's advisable that you find a niche soon rather than later, the reason being that you inform your audience on how to find you and it's easier for when you connect with other bloggers.
Idea number 2: consider your professional experience
Has working in a particular industry made you know the ins and outs? Maybe you have a skill set that is particularly attractive and you can use it to start writing about a particular topic?
Turning your work experience into a blog is a smart way to enter a market with a leg up that isn't easy for others to copy and duplicate.
Retro Supply is an online shop that sells digital assets for graphic designers and illustrators inspired by history. Founder Dustin Lee, a designer by trade, pivoted from a running a freelance web design shop to generating more passive revenue through Retro Supply’s blog, then turning it into a digital shop.
Idea number 3: read customers reviews on trendy products
Whether you already have a blog or not, there is a wealth of insight you can glean from customer reviews.
If you already have an established blog that monetizes as a side income, you are most probably promoting other companies' products and you can see what customers are saying about the products you promote. Are there are any trends or interesting bits of feedback you can use as inspiration to write about?
If you don’t currently have a blog, have a look at customer reviews for other brands and products in the industry you want to explore. What “wishlist” feedback is being shared about potential improvements to already successful products?
You pick and choose lots of products online and check if they have an affiliate program. If so, you join as an affiliate and write reviews for those products.
Andrea Pilotti is the founder of GuidaAcquisti.net, the largest Italian reviews website for households products. Andrea and his team review on a daily basis washing machine, fridges, technology products. Then they join the affiliate programs and with this type of content, without even having an online shop, they generate six digits profit per year.
Conclusion and takeaways
Ultimately, growing a successful blog all boils down to being excited and engaged with your new blog. If you want people to read what you’re writing, you need to give them a reason to.
Write exciting content, connect with people in your niche and enthusiastically share what you’re working on.
The traffic, monetization and everything else will follow.
I wrote this guide because starting a blog has been one of the most empowering, life-changing decisions I’ve made in my life.
And I hope that by now you feel confident enough to go out there and start a blog of your own.
Quick summary of how ti start a blog in 2020:
Will you take the leap and start your own blog this year? Drop me a line in the comments below.