How to Start a Blog and Make Money – Your Guide to Success

start-a-blog-to-make-money-online

Blogging is the most simple and easy to understand job out there but learning how to start one can be the real challenge.

Being in the blog space for a little over 5 years now I guess you can say I know a thing or two about this whole blogging thing.

But that’s not the kicker either.

The best part about me showing you how to start your very own blog is that I am going to show you two different ways that it can be done.

One is the old school, traditional way and the other is the simplified, all in one spot for blogging.

Whichever route you do decide to take, it will show you how to start a blog of your own.

Why Start a Blog?


Where do I even begin?

I guess money?

The luxury of being your own boss, creating your own hours, and working wherever you want?

There are a million and one reasons as to why you would want to do such a thing and every single one of them was enough for me to quit my day job.

That’s what I did and here I am today showing others how to do the same.

Which is one of the best feelings in the world by the way.

Making money blogging is one thing but knowing I helped thousands of others start their very own blogs is an accomplishment in itself and one that I am a lot more proud of.

So if you want more freedom and the ability to do whatever you want, you’re headed in the right direction.

How to Start a Blog That Makes Money


Starting a blog is fairly straight forward.

As long as you have the necessary components, you can very much have your very own blog up and running in a matter of minutes.

Again, I have two options for you as I’m sure we all like choices.

This first approach is your traditional way to start a blog and is great for anyone who likes full control of things.

Every blogger has their format of starting a blog but I believe this is the first place you need to start.

It gives you direction and it gives you a better understanding of how your blog should be built.

Here are the steps to starting your very first blog.

1. Find Your Passion


surfing-passion

This is by far the most important part of the equation when it comes to starting a blog that you will use to make money with.

Now if this was just some regular old blog that you want to talk about life and the pizza you didn’t eat, then this won’t be that big of a deal.

When you start a site, you want to make sure it is on something you are at the very least interested in.

Most gurus will tell you to go after the money but I am a firm believer that ANY niche can and will make you money.

Chase the money first and you will find yourself scratching your head later.

When you think about the overall topic of your site, you want to make sure it is something you can go on and on about.

Not something you put together and get stuck come time to do your 2nd blog post.

If you’re interested in biking then biking it is.

Snorkeling?

Dogs?

I don’t care what you are interested in, you ALWAYS want to go with something that you can at least write 100 posts about.

If that can’t be accomplished then you might want to continue digging for another niche but do try and go with your passion.

Nothing is perfect and sometimes your first niche won’t be your last, so keep that in mind when trying to find your niche.

Once you have at least an idea of what you want your blog to be about then you can move on to branding.

2. Choose Your Brand


branding

Back in the day this was the last thing bloggers focused on.

These days, you can bet that this is more than a big deal.

This is going to be you.

This is going to be who people know you as.

It is going to be your .com.

Yourbrand.com is what you will be using as your new blog, so choose something that you will be proud of.

Write it down and get it ready for the next step.

And if you need help coming up with something amazing, you can go to Namemesh.com as they have all the examples you could possibly need.

My first blog was on the work from home niche and it had no brand whatsoever.

It did get a lot of traffic and made a ton of sales but it got to a point where things got a little bleh.

That then led to complacency, laziness, and a business that started to kind of plateau.

If I had a brand and something I was proud of, things would’ve been a lot different.

Just like Brokeveteran.com, I like the way it sounds, it’s memorable, and it has grown to be me.

It’s not the prettiest but it is my brand and a part of my life that I will never forget.

Think of something catchy and one that can be easily remembered.

What do people call you or see you as?

Your name is always a great place to start but I will be creating a post on niching down sometime next week, so you can use that as your guide.

Once you have these ideas in place, you can then start to look for a platform for your blog and some hosting, which are key components to your overall function of your site.

3. Choose a Blogging Platform


blog-with-wordpress

There are several blogging platforms out there and I will always recommend WordPress.

Even non-bloggers will know what they are and that is because they are the most used blogging platform out there.

They are trusted, secure, and work the best when it comes to making money with a blog.

I use them for all my sites and all big time blogs use them as well.

WordPress is free with most hosting providers, so you don’t have to worry too much about this step as they do come with all the best hosting providers out there.

However, I did want to mention the difference between a paid and free blogging platform as there is a way to get a site that does not require paid hosting.

Free Blogging Platforms VS Paid Blogging Platforms

As a blogger (looking to make money), I will NEVER recommend you go the free route.

Ever.

Not to say you can’t do it but it wouldn’t be wise to do so.

Free platforms come with zero control whatsoever.

You don’t get to brand yourself and you don’t get to decide on what is featured on your site.

And if you are willing to compromise security, then you can go with a free platform and risk that too.

So instead of yourwebsite.com, you will have to go with something like yourwebsite.com/freeblog.com.

That is in no way brand-able or easy to remember.

Not to mention it looks unprofessional and not trustworthy.

Then you can expect to have ads that make you no money and all the other nonsense that comes with using a free platform.

Now since you are looking to make money blogging, let’s go with what is NEEDED to accomplish such a thing.

Paid blogging platforms.

4. Get Hosting


siteground-web-hosting

Not all hosting providers are created equal and you can only understand this if you have dealt with it on your own.

Lucky for you, I have done enough testing for the both of us, so you get to go with the best.

There are dozens of web hosting services out there but I will only recommend a handful as there are only a few that I would ever use myself.

This is a big deal for your soon to be career and I wouldn’t settle for anything less.

Start with the best and you won’t have to worry about changing anything when you start making money.

For hosting, I personally use SiteGround.

They have everything you need and you can bet that your site will be up and running 100% of the time.

And if you come across any issues, their support is beyond helpful and they will take care of any complicated issues that you can’t handle on your own.

The thing about web hosting is the fact that pricing does not dictate performance.

SiteGround is one of the most affordable services out there and anyone will tell you that they are at least top 5 when it comes to hosting.

For $3.95/month, you can’t beat what they have to offer.

They are really that good and you can see that just from the way your site performs.

Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

Click Here to Save on SiteGround

 

Getting Started With SiteGround

sg-hosting-plans

To get web hosting you simply need to choose a plan that fits your budget and most especially your needs.

For starters, you will always be fine with the smallest plan as you can always adjust later.

Once your traffic starts picking up.

For now, go with the startup plan unless you feel that you will be using more than just one site, then you would want to go with the GrowBig plan.

Once you choose your plan, you will then need to choose your domain (yourdomain.com)

choose-domain-siteground

You can always purchase a domain elsewhere as it doesn’t really matter but SiteGround allows you to purchase one directly from them.

It will cost you $15.99 for a year but it would be wise to keep all your website’s components with one provider as much as you can.

If you already own a domain, you won’t need to spend anymore money but you will need to get it pointed over to SiteGround’s hosting if that’s what you want to do.

Once that is completed, you will then be directed to the “review your order” page, which will have everything you want or don’t want before you make the purchase.

Checking Out With SiteGround

sg-complete-registration

Make sure you have the right plan before you complete your order and make sure you don’t have anything on there that you don’t want.

There is a domain privacy option, which I do recommend if you can afford it.

If not, you can always add that later.

Do understand that you will be billed for the entire year, so if you chose the GrowBig plan, it will cost you $71.40 upfront.

There will also be a section that has different countries or cities, so choose one that you are residing in or one that your primary audience will be coming from.

So if you’re in the US or you plan on targeting people in the US, Chicago (USA) would be the city/country you would want to select.

Once you agree with the terms and conditions and make the purchase, your site will then be ready to go.

There several other hosting providers I recommend, so don’t feel obligated to going with SiteGround.

Bluehost and Hostgator will work just as great but don’t settle for anything less.

Click Here to Try SiteGround

 

5. Pick a Theme


mai-lifestyle-theme

Every website you land on will have its own theme, just like this one.

You can choose from thousands of free themes but there of course, will be paid versions that will cost you some money.

I started my blog with a free theme and upgraded to a paid theme, about 6 months into my journey.

Although that would be ideal for anyone starting out, I recommend you go with a theme that you are satisfied with to avoid any changes in the future.

As long as it is simple, easy to work with, and is responsive (works with mobile) you won’t have to worry about anything.

Paid or free, you don’t want to make any changes later on down the road, even if it is supposed to be “okay”.

You never know what Google’s plans are and you don’t want to lose any traffic from something so simple as a theme change.

Paid Themes VS Free Themes

If you can’t afford a paid theme, a free theme will work just fine.

Most free themes are basic so if you are looking for something more customizable you might want to purchase a theme.

This site uses the Mai Lifestyle Pro theme, which is sitting on the Genesis Framework.

I have messed around with many themes and I find that Genesis is best for simplicity and definitely for SEO purposes.

Other great theme providers are Thrive and Elegant themes but any of them will work.

Whatever route you take, you don’t want to spend too much time in this department.

Click Here to Try Genesis

 

6. Design Your Blog


thebikr-website

Themes do 90% of the work but you will still need to do something to get that brand of yours going.

Most people aren’t the best when it comes to designing anything and that is okay.

With sites like Fiverr.com you can higher someone to create a nice logo for only $6.

$5 for the designer and $1 for the company.

Now if you are somewhat of a designer or you think you can come up with something, I recommend sites like Canva.com which is where I design all the logos for my sites.

Just like the example above (thebikr.com) and even this site, I used Canva to design the logos for both of them.

They are a free service, so at least give them a try and put your creativity to use before having to pay for a logo.

Besides that, don’t spend too much time in this department either as you can always make changes further down the road.

7. Add Plugins


wordpress-plugins

Plugins are essential to all blogs.

I also have a love/hate relationship with them as we do need them but having too many can be a problem.

Whether you want to improve SEO or have a contact form on your site, it will most likely require a plugin of some sort.

You can have as little or as many of them as you’d like but you want to keep the number of installed plugins down.

But before you install any of them, let’s go over what they are and what they actually do.

So what are plugins?

They are the behind the scenes kind of guys but they allow all the little functions to happen.

From allowing others to share your content to helping your visitors navigate your site easier, they make things easier.

With the thousands of plugins offered in WordPress alone, which ones do you really need?

Well, I have put together some that I use and some that I think you should use, so pick and choose wisely.

  1. Yoast – Helps with search engine optimization
  2. Contact Form 7 – Allows your visitors to fill out a form to contact you or subscribe.
  3. Pretty links – Affiliate link cloaking
  4. Social Warfare – Social media sharing
  5. Akismet – Spam filter
  6. Classic editor – Old school version of WordPress
  7. Monster Insights – Google Analytics tracker
  8. SG Optimizer – Helps optimize images for faster site speed
  9. WP Review – Review widget for product ratings
  10. Genesis Simple Edit – Simplified theme functions

As you can see I have quite a number of plugins installed on my site.

Some are theme and hosting specific but I use them to help with specific functions.

Sometimes plugins aren’t compatible with themes and vise versa, so you need to go with what works for you and your site.

What works for one will not always work for you so use good judgment when it comes to installing plugins.

And if you aren’t using a plugin, you might want to delete it to help with security purposes.

8. Create Content


content

This is where the money is made.

Without it and you won’t make a single penny.

Not only are you going to blab on and on about your passion but this is where you will get the traffic.

Along with that traffic, this is also where your blog will make its money.

This is the biggest reason you should always go with your passion or interest and I hope you can see how they go hand in hand.

With content, you will create how to’s, best of’s, and anything related to your given niche.

Build it out, give quality advice, and the money will follow.

There’s no other way to do things, so focus on this part first and then we can talk about money.

Understanding Pages VS Posts

Every blog comes with two options when creating content.

You have pages and then you have posts.

But which one should you use?

There’s no real answer but I can give you a better understanding of how you can decide on what should be a post or a page.

Pages

I like to look at pages as the framework of your site.

This isn’t where you want to create your how to kind of posts but rather something that is more solid.

Something like your about me, privacy policy, contact page, or anything that is pretty much required on your site.

You can also use pages for your sales pages that can use something like a landing page.

Besides that, everything else should be a post.

Posts

This is where your site is going to be built out from.

I recommend you do your pages so you can see your site being formed and then you can start creating posts.

“10 best chicken recipes” (if you are running some kind of cooking blog)

“How to wax your surfboard” (if you decided surfing is your niche)

By creating at least 3 categories on your niche, you should never run out of things to talk about.

Keep creating content and this is when that little green paper will start coming in.

The most exciting but last thing you should be worrying about.

9. Monetize Your Blog


money-on-computer

Most of you might be fixated on this aspect of your blog and you can’t really say it is a good or bad thing.

It just is what it is and hey, that’s what we came here to do in the first place, right?

I did leave this towards the end of this guide for two reasons.

One, you can’t make any money without everything mentioned above and two, it will only get you in trouble if you worry about it first.

However, this whole process wouldn’t be complete if we weren’t making any money and there is a way that this is done.

So I guess I can explain how that is done next.

Advertising

This is the most common and “old school” way that bloggers can make money.

You see them all over the place and it is nothing new to you.

However, advertising can be done in different ways and only online marketers will know about it.

First, you have Pay Per Click (PPC) types of ads that reward you for a simple click that is implemented by one of your blog’s visitors.

You will make money just from someone clicking on an ad that you placed on your site.

Pretty cool right?

Well, this one is actually cooler and one that can pay a lot more as well.

Pay Per View (PPV).

With this kind of advertising, you will make money the minute someone sees an ad that is on your site.

And this goes for every single ad that is visible.

So when someone tells you that you can’t make money with a niche that has no actual products, just show them this post.

Affiliate Marketing

This is my most favorite way to make money with blogging.

It does require a little more work than advertising but the return is very much worth it.

With this method, you simply need to signup with a company that has products related to your niche.

Once that is done, you can then grab your affiliate links that you will place on your blog.

If one of your visitors click on that link and makes a purchase, then guess what?

You get paid.

Commissions can be anywhere from 3% up to as high as 75%, so the numbers will add up quickly.

I also created a complete guide on affiliate marketing, so you can always check that out as well.

Sponsorships

Lastly, you can make money through your blog by getting sponsorships.

Just like the ads work, sponsorships are kind of similar.

You will have ads on your site but this time the payment will be provided by the company who is wanting to advertise on your site.

This does pay a lot more than regular advertising but you will most likely need your blog to be established.

Why Any Niche Will Work

As you can see, there is more than one way to make money with blogging and that is exactly why I say that any niche can work.

Sure affiliate marketing is awesome because you can make more money initially but you can and should not cancel out any other money maker.

I recently added advertising to one of my other blogs and immediately added $1,000 + a month to my income.

Add affiliate marketing and other avenues and you’re looking at an income that most people will never see.

Now when you throw in the value of a single website, selling it can bring in thousands of dollars if you just so happen to get bored of it.

We’ll save that for another post though as I think you get the picture but the overall business model of blogging and whatnot is truly an amazing thing.

10. Set a Blogging Schedule


blogging-schedule

I don’t really look at blogging as a job (because it’s fun) but I do believe you need to treat it like one.

Especially if you plan on making it a career like I hope you intend of doing.

With that in mind, you need to come up with some kind of strategy to keep your business rolling.

There’s no better way to do this than to come up with some kind of blogging schedule.

Consistency is key and if you aren’t consistent, you can forget about getting ranked in the search engines.

Don’t do 10 posts in a row and then go two weeks without creating any new content.

That is the perfect way to not make money, so keep that in mind when you think about consistency and your blog.

Besides that, you should not have any problems starting a blog that makes money if you follow the simple steps in this guide.

But before that, I want to show you a more simplified way to do things for those of you who need that extra help with this whole blogging thing.

The Simple Way to Start a Blog


Sometimes the above mentioned can be complicated for some and that is why there is always a simpler way to do things.

This simple method is not only easier but it is highly recommended if you are new to the world of making money online.

Rather than getting hosting here, picking a domain there, and getting training from God knows who, why not get it all in one place?

Well that’s what you can do with this method and although it is not the cheapest, it is probably the best way to do things.

How is it done?

I have two words for you.

Wealthy Affiliate


wealthy-affiliate-blogging

Not only do you have everything you need to start and run a blog but you have many other things that are necessary to help with the money making process.

This is exactly where I got my start with blogging and I am actually still a member.

There are many benefits of choosing this route to creating a blog, so I want to go over exactly how you can create your site along with all the great benefits.

This is by far the simplest way to create a blog as it is really self explanatory.

On top of that, it is free to get started with WA, so you can actually test drive their platform before you commit to anything.

If you like what you see, it is going to cost you $19 for your first month and then $49 every month after that.

This includes ALL your websites needs along with other cool features that I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

Create Your FREE WA Account Here

Perks of Wealthy Affiliate


On top of the simplicity of creating a blog, Wealthy Affiliate provides you with a bunch of other tools and essentials to being successful with blogging.

You will not find any other platform like it out there so just trust me when I say this is the best.

And I would like to show you why.

1. Training


As a new blogger, you can find all kinds of training on the web but that is the best way to get confused, which will then lead to you quitting.

The training in WA is very straight to the point and it guides you from point A to point B without overwhelming or confusing you in the process.

2. Blog Enhancements


Starting a blog and creating content is only half the battle when it comes to making money.

With WA, you get all kinds of tools to help with your blogging needs.

Keyword Tool

A big part of blogging and SEO is doing some good keyword research.

There aren’t many tools that can help you with that but WA has Jaaxy, which is available to all premium members.

This is a big deal and you will learn more about that as a member inside of WA.

Blog Interaction

New blogs will always be left in the dust.

Competition is always going to be there but what if you can somewhat gain an upper hand?

Well, it is possible with features like “site comments”.

By getting some interaction going on your blog, you can have that much more of an edge, which will get you traffic, better rankings, and ultimately more sales.

Site Health

Knowing how your site is doing is nothing but a guessing game.

Unless, you are a member of WA then you can get a better understanding of what needs to be done.

This comes with your account free or paid and one that I’m sure you will appreciate.

On top of these tools, you get some of the stuff that is almost impossible to find unless you pay good money for it.

3. Support


Anyone can provide training but not many can provide support.

With WA, you have access to a community of thousands of online entrepreneurs that will help you along the way.

Along with the community and forum type layout, you get access to a live chat feature that you can use for all the simpler questions that come with blogging.

And if that’s not enough, maybe this will help.

4. One on One coaching


There are many members that are willing to give you a hand but what if you can get some personal help from me?

Well, just by signup up using my personal affiliate link (because WA has an affiliate program as well), you can gain access to me.

I will help you get started and I will help you along the way.

There is no extra charge and something I offer to anyone who uses my affiliate link.

You can spend thousands of dollars on a coach or you can get help from me without paying anything more than the price to be a member of WA.

Yes, I Can Use Your Help John

Starting a Blog Couldn’t Be Any Easier


Unless this was 2010, you can not build a website any easier than you can today.

Without dealing with any crazy computer codes, there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t start your very own blog.

I mean, what is cooler than being able to say that you own your very own piece of online real estate?

And what more cooler can it be to say that you make actual money from it?

There are many reasons to start a blog and you will only be doing yourself a favor if you started today.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so get started today and prepare yourself for the future.

Now there are some things that you need to KNOW before you even create your first site, so here are some pointers that can help you stay on track.

Before You Get Started


Making some extra might be your goal while making it a career might be some else’s goal.

Whatever it might be, here are some of the things you need to understand so that you don’t become another statistic.

Too many people quit for whatever reasons they may have but I find them to be nothing but excuses.

So before you become another whiner that didn’t make it, these are some of the things you NEED to understand.

Blogging Takes Some Major Patience


Blogging and not seeing any money sucks.

It sucks but it is something you need to deal with or you simply will not make it.

You can go months without seeing a single penny but that is all part of the process.

If you can’t understand at least that much, you might want to rethink the whole idea of blogging.

This might not be for you.

Money is Not Made Overnight


Too many people come into the blogging space thinking that they are going to become some kind of millionaire.

If it were that easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

These successful bloggers that you see all over the internet did not find success in a day and they most likely didn’t find it in a couple of months.

It took some work and determination before they saw any kind of money.

So if you’re thinking this is some kind of get rich quick kind of deal, again, this is not for you.

Most People Quite Right Before Success


I can not tell you how many times this happens.

I do also think that this is what separates success from failure and how the whole 1% is created with everything related to making money.

People start a blog beyond excited and eventually lose motivation at some point.

This will then lead to less posts and eventually quitting.

What blows my mind is that most people do it right before they are about to hit success.

It happens a lot more than we want it to but that’s just how it is.

Please don’t be another statistic and just keep pushing forward.

You Will Not Fail Unless You Give Up and I mean that.

Today is a Great Day to Start Your Blog and Make Money


We all procrastinate and there’s nothing wrong with that..

Now with the fact that making money with your blog is going to take some time, this is the best time to get started.

Whether you start blogging or not, it will only benefit you to at lest build the foundation for your future.

Most of you might even build a site and do nothing on it for months but that’s okay.

When you do have the time to really put in the work, your site will be ready.

I went four years without starting a site and it only set me back.

Don’t make the same mistake I did and create your blog today.

I hope this post has given you the best understanding on how to start a blog to make money online.

And if you feel it isn’t, then I can obviously improve it some.

So if you feel I didn’t provide you with that, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

Don’t worry, I won’t cry.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

 

Click Here to Start Your Very First Blog For FREE

 

2 thoughts on “How to Start a Blog and Make Money – Your Guide to Success”

  1. John, I like what I read however, I do not know you. Yes, John, I’m interested in continuing to blog, doing it better, and possibly in the future joining Wealthy Affiliate. I have a blog and for a very long time did nothing after starting it. Now you know a little about my situation and and eventually may know me better. What’s our next step?

    Reply
    • Well you have a blog in place, which is absolutely awesome, even if you haven’t done anything on it. It has age and is ready for you to start going in the right direction. Joining Wealthy Affiliate is going to help you tremendously as they literally have everything you need. There is a community of online entrepreneurs that can and will help you but the best part about that site is I’ll be there. Just give the free trial a try and you’ll see how you can take your blog to online success. Let me know if you need a hand with anything else Viv and I’ll help you more. And if you use my personal link, you will get my personal help. So get signed up and we can go from there Viv!

      Click Here to Create Your FREE WA Account

      Reply

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