Starting a blog can be a profitable way to bring in an extra side income or even replace your income. Depending on your commitment, you can make as little as $100 to over $10,000 a month with affiliate income from your blog. If you are knowledgeable about a subject and good at writing, starting a blog is a great place to start in creating side income for you and your family.
The first step in starting a blog is determining what host you will use. I currently use Bluehost for my hosting. I originally started TheDebtDarling.com on Blogger, but I highly recommend hosting the blog yourself rather than going through Blogger. This is because Blogger (any free platform really) has complete control over your blog and can delete it at any moment they may see fit. With hosting the web site yourself, you have complete control over what you write, what gets published, and the affiliate and ads you place on your web site. Plus, Bluehost is super affordable and very reliable. As of writing this post, you can host your blog for as low as $3.49 a month, which is very affordable. Lastly, it’s a super pain to transfer your blog from blogger to your own hosting. It’s much easier to start off on the right hosting plan to begin with. Take it from someone who had to transfer their blog.
To go ahead and get started, head over to Bluehost and select the “Get Started Now” button.
The next step after selecting the hosting plan you would like is to select your “domain name.” This is the web site address such as the one I use: www.thedebtdarling.com. I would recommend going with something short and sweet. The longer the web address, the harder it is for someone to remember. Try thinking of something catchy that somehow indicates what the blog is about. For instance, I write a lot about paying off debt, budgeting, and saving money. So, I chose a domain with “debt” in the web address. For example, if you are writing about cooking, you would want to indicate something in regards to cooking in your domain name to give an indication to your audience about what you blog is about (i.e. recipes, cook, food, etc.). If you have already registered a domain somewhere else, you can put the web address is the box to the right that states, “I Have a Domain Name.”
Once you have chosen your domain, you will need to enter some basic account information and again select the hosting plan you want to use. Again, I recommend doing the “basic plan” when just starting out. You can also upgrade later if you find you need more options. There are other options here for backing up the site and other services. I would not recommend purchasing these. I do recommend backing up your site. However, I would do it somewhere other than your hosting company. You can use Dropbox to back up your blog by using a plugin called WordPress Backup to Dropbox. This is cheaper and probably safer than backing it up on the host.
Once you have entered your payment information, you will have more options for upgrades. Again, I would leave these for now and only purchase the hosting for your blog. Once you have submitted the payment information, you should receive a confirmation email from Bluehost. You will then need to go to Bluehost and log into your account. You will be asked to create a password for your account. Make it a good one and right it down if you forget your passwords like I do!
Once you have selected a password, the system will ask you if you want to install WordPress. Go ahead and install WordPress. When installing WordPress, you will need to select the correct domain name and leave the directory box blank. You can select the “show advanced options” and create a name for your site. This can be changed at any time if you need to. You will also need to create a user name and password for WordPress here. Lastly, make sure the following items have check marks next to them: “Automatically create a new database for this installation” and “I have read the terms and conditions of the GPLv2. Then, select “Install Now.” A pop up window will appear regarding themes. You can just close this pop up and wait for the green bar at the top of the screen to complete the installation of WordPress. Once it is completely installed, you will see a message that states “Your WordPress install is finished. Credentials.” Select the “view credentials” button here and be sure to save this information which includes your login information and the “admin URL.”
You will then need to open a new browser and go to the “admin URL” that was on the credentials that you just saved. Enter the login information from the “Credentials” that you saved as well. This will log you into the main dashboard of your web site. The next step is selecting a “theme” for your web site. The “theme” is basically coding that someone else has written (someone smarter than me) to give your web site its appearance. For instance, it will determine the layout of the page, where the menu is located, and even what the header (top of the web site) looks like. You can purchase a theme from many places. Also, please keep in mind each site and the technical support they offer. If you are not tech savvy, this will be an important factor in the place you go with as well as the complexity of the theme you choose.
Beautiful Dawn Designs – I recommend this web site because if you are not tech savvy, installing a theme and getting it to look like the demo can be very difficult. Take it from someone is who is not technical. This place actually offers to install the theme for you to make it look just like the demo. Take my advice, pay for this service. It’s worth the $35! Click here to visit Beautiful Dawn Designs and select a theme for your web site.
StudioPress Themes for WordPress – StudioPress also offers a wide range of themes for your web site. They have wonderful professional themes as well. Click here to visit StudioPress Themes for WordPress.
Once you have a theme installed, you can begin writing posts for your site. In addition, there’s a plethora of affiliate programs you can sign up for to promote products and services on your web site. You can promote these products and services in your posts, in ads on the side, or even in emails to your mailing list. Here are some to get started with that I recommend. However, you can easily do a Google search and find many more affiliate programs. Also, if there are specific products you want to promote that are in your niche, you can always go directly to that web site and locate the “affiliate” section to sign up as an affiliate. Most web sites have the “affiliate” link at the bottom of their site or in their “about” section.
Each of these offers tons of products and services that can fit any type of blog. Basically, you can promote them via posts or ads on your site. You receive a percentage of the sale or payment per click: Commission Junction, Shareasale, & Amazon’s Associates Program.
You can also choose to write a “sponsored posts” about a product or service for payment or allow a guest post regarding a product or service. Companies that offer this type of payment include Izea and Find Your Influence.
Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for Google Adsense. You can place ads anywhere on your site. When visitors click the ads, you receive payment. You do have to have at least $100 on your Google ads account before Google will issue a payment to you, but it’s so exciting when they do. I got my first $100 payment days before my wedding and didn’t even realize I was at the threshold for a payment. I was thrilled!