How to Start a Blog and Monetize It For Beginners | FINANCE

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how-to-start-blog-2Here, I will explain the necessary steps it takes to start a blog and monetize it.

This step-by-step guide is easy to follow and requires minimal technical skills.

 

If you’re a beginner, you’re in the right place. It will save you from making the same mistakes that I made in the beginning. And best of all, it takes less time to get your blog started than it does to get ready for work in the morning.

WHY START A BLOG?

A blog gives one the potential to reach large numbers of people for a very low cost, and there’s literally no risk involved. It runs around $5/month and sometimes less. Although a blog can be a lot of work, you can do it in your free time, and earn passive income while you play.

WHO SHOULD START A BLOG?

  • Business Owners who want more exposure for their existing business.
  • Income earners who chose to work from home.
  • People who want to share their story for encouragement and build a community, like me.
  • Book Authors who want an online presence.

7 STEPS TO MONETIZING A BLOG

1. Find your niche
2. Decide on a domain
3. Sign up with a host
4. Install WordPress
5. Upload theme
6. Design your blog
7. Monetize It

Note: This guide outlines the steps to start a self-hosted blog that you can monetize using affiliate links. If you are not interested in making money with your blog, then this information can still be applied, just skip the last step.

Step 1: Find your niche

  • What are you going to blog about?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What’s going to make your blog unique?

I blog about traveling and living abroad, while I’m passionate about worldschooling my daughter as we live a healthy lifestyle. What makes my blog unique is that I’m a single mom heading the family, that’s thriving and surviving. I strive to inspire other single moms and provide value with a blueprint on how they can do it, too.

Choose something that no one else is doing. This will not only help your blog rank higher in the Google Search Engine, but will will set yourself apart as an expert in your niche. The goal is to become the go-to resource for this niche and brand it.

Of course, if you already have a business or organization, this step will be easy because your blog should relate to the products or services you provide, or the cause you promote.

Step 2: Decide on a domain

Decide on a domain that relates to your niche. Your domain is the first thing readers see, so it’s important that your domain includes words that describe what you are blogging about.

For example, SingleMomsAdventure.com is my domain.

You want quality traffic coming to your site, which means that the readers are interested in what you’ve written and want to stay and read more or perhaps return on another day. You don’t want readers going to your blog to discover that it’s not what they were hoping for and immediately leave.

Make your domain clear and concise, and use a .com extension if possible because it’s easier to remember and share. Don’t include hyphens, numbers or confusing strings of words!

Check to see if your domain is available. If it is, don’t buy it just yet – skip to Step 3 to see how to get it for free. If you already have a domain, you can transfer it in Step 3, as well.

Step 3: Sign up with a host

A host provides server space for your blog therefore puts it online for others to view.

I recommend Bluehost because they are….

  • The #1 Recommended Host by WordPress
  • Give you a free domain
  • Use a 1-click WordPress install
  • Provide 24/7 customer support
  • Affordable – as low as $2.95/month!
  • Have a money-back guarantee
  • Fast loading
  • Easy to use

A noteworthy Disclosure: This is one of those affiliate links I’ve been telling you about, so at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click on this link and purchase a hosting plan with Bluehost. If you’re interested in comparing other hosts for yourself first though, check out HostGator or GoDaddy because they have some great sales sometimes!

Are you ready? Once the page opens, click the green get started now button.

bluehost-homepage
FYI, the images you see here may vary slightly from the ones you see on your screen, but don’t worry, the general process is the same.

Select your plan

Choose the plan you think would work best for you.

I use the Plus plan because it has a lot of unlimited features and it’s just a few bucks more per month, but If you’re just starting out, go with the basic plan because you can always upgrade later as your blog grows.

All plans come with one free domain (for one year), so you can save some upfront money just by using Bluehost. Not many other hosts providers have this option.

Click one of the green select buttons to move to the next step.

bluehost-plans-and-pricesGet your free domain

In the left-hand box is where you will enter your new domain that you previously searched for. I recommend using a .com extension, but if you prefer a different extension, make sure to change it in the drop-down menu to the right.

If you already have an existing domain, enter it in the right-hand box (don’t worry, it won’t mess things up if you’re using the domain elsewhere, this only identifies your account for now).

Click the blue next button.

bluehost-domain-name-searchCreate your account

Enter your information.

bluehost-account-informationSelect a package

You previously decided on a monthly plan, but now you need to choose how far in advance you want to pay. Bluehost bills one to five years in advance.

I always choose the 3-year plan because it has the most reasonable monthly rate.

I don’t use many of the other offerings, but I do recommend the Domain Privacy Protection as this keeps your personal information private.

Note: The Domain Privacy Protection option only shows up if you registered a new domain above. It will not show up if you transferred an existing domain.

bluehost-annual-packages

Enter your payment information

Fill in your payment information, agree that you’ve read the fine print and then click the green submit button.

bluehost-payment-infoCreate a password

Click the blue create your password button.

bluehost-create-password

Choose a strong password

Use a password that you will remember.

For a strong password, use at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, a number and a symbol.

I find that with this above criteria, a password with 11 characters is very strong as you can see by the green check marks to the right of my password.

Click the blue Next button.

bluehost-create-a -strong-password

Login to your hosting account

Click the blue log in button

bluehost-login

Go to your cpanel

Once you’re logged in, you should already be in the hosting menu.

Click cpanel in the submenu.

STEP 4. Install WordPress

Like most bloggers, I use WordPress as my blogging platform. However, one thing that can be confusing to a lot of people is the difference between WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG.

Basically, if you’ve followed the steps so far, you’ve signed up for a self-hosted blog with WordPress.ORG, which can be monetized. In contrast, if you use a free-hosted blog, then you have a WordPress.COM website, which can’t be monetized by you but can be monetized by the site that owns it. For more details click here.

I highly recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog. 

Click on the Install WordPress icon.

bluehost-cpanel-install-wordpress

Continue Installation

Scroll down until you see the green Continue Installation button and click it.

bluehost-continue-installation

Select which domain you would like to install WordPress to

Choose your domain name from the drop-down menu, and leave the directory field blank. I usually choose the domain without www. added to the front.

Click the green Next button.

Note: Just below where you entered your domain, there are a few options for plug-ins, I uncheck these because the fewer plugins you use, the faster you site loads. You can always add the plugins that you need later.

bluehost-select-domain

Enter your WordPress user info

Enter your Site Name or Title (i.e. Single Moms Adventure). This is different than your domain name, which ends in .com or something similar.

Enter your Admin Username and Admin Password.

Enter your Email Address.

Enter your Admin Password.

Check Automatically create a new database for this installation and I understand that installing on the same domain will overwrite any files, if they’re not already checked.

Read and agree to the Terms Of Service.

Click the green Next button.

bluehost-WordPress-user-info

 

Wait for WordPress to Install

The WordPress installation will only take a few minutes, so be patient and don’t close the window. You can monitor the installation by watching the 0% Complete at the top of the page increase to 100% Complete.

bluehost-wordpress-installation-percent

 

Installation Successful

After WordPress has installed, the top menu bar will change from blue to green, and you should see a message saying Installation Successful!

You will notice that the green Overall site Progress bar is only at 45%. The rest will be finished inside the WordPress platform.

Click on view your credentials.

bluehost-view-your-credentials

 

Login to WordPress

Make note of your credentials, which will also be sent to your email inbox, and can be viewed in the My Installs section of Bluehost.

Click on your new URL.

bluehost-Install-Location

Whether you registered a new domain or transferred an existing one, you will know you have been successful if you can type your domain into any browser and your site appears.

Enter /wp-admin after your domain when you want to work on your blog.

i.e. singlemomsadventure.com/wp-admin

Enter your username and password.

Check the remember me box.

Click on the blue Log In button.

wordpress-login

IMPORTANT! If you had an existing domain, your new site will not display until you change your name servers from wherever your domain is currently registered.

To change your old name servers to your new Bluehost name servers, go to where your domain is currently registered (i.e. HostGator, GoDaddy, etc.) and enter the following information from the Bluehost help section, which will direct you to the proper link. It will look something like this

ns1.bluehost.com

162.88.60.37

ns2.bluehost.com

162.88.61.37

Note: Don’t change your name servers until your new site is set up and ready to go because your readers will immediately go to this new site. In the meantime, you can access your new WordPress blog with a temporary URL that you receive in your welcome email from Bluehost.

Step 5: Upload theme

Once you’re logged in to WordPress, you will see your dashboard on the left.

This is where you will upload your theme, create your awesome content and install plug-ins for your blog.

Familiarize yourself with the dashboard.

There are helpful YouTube Tutorials to show you what every tab does, just search for WordPress Tutorial for Beginners Step by Step for the latest videos.

On the top right, be sure to add a photo and fill out your profile information. This will be what the readers see at the the end of each blog post. It is optional to turn on or off. I like to keep mine on.

word-press-dashboard-profile

 Select a Theme

Choose your theme wisely as it could be difficult to change down the road once you have a lot of content.

You can manage and search for themes by clicking Appearance > Themes. Quite a few themes can be found by clicking WordPress.org and Premium Themes at the top of the page.

However, I highly recommend purchasing a theme at ThemeForest. They have a wide variety of Responsive WordPress Themes and a reliable support team. I like responsive themes because they can be easily viewed on mobile devices.

wordpress-themes

Go to ThemeForest, and type Responsive WordPress in the navigation bar. Explore thousands of themes and view the demos.

After purchasing your theme, you will return to your WordPress dashboard and click Appearance > Themes > Upload.

themeforest-navigation-bar

Step 6: Design your blog

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a self-hosted WordPress blog.

There are many things you can write about and I know your ideas are endless.

Write your first post

When writing posts, create compelling content that will help or solve a problem, teach something new, relieve a fear, inspire, explain how to reach goal or entertain your readers – something that your readers will want to share.

Put your readers first

Offer something for free like an eBook, travel guide, tutorial or video. Keep an email list of all your subscribers so that you can send them newsletters, special updates or offers later on.

Create a social media loop

Your readers will want to follow you, so make it easy for them to navigate from one social media platform to another.

Instagram > Facebook > YouTube > Pinterest > Blog

Always lead your readers back to your blog because that’s where all your awesome content is stored.

Plus, the more traffic you can drive to your blog, the more money you will make.

Brand your idea

Get your blog and all of your social media accounts under the same name. You can even create a logo – it’s fun and simple.

Add Plug-Ins

With plugins, you can customize your blog, keep spam to a minimum, manage your SEO and much more. Plugins can slow down your loading time, so only activate the ones you need to keep your site running efficiently.

Here are a few plugins I use on my site.

Akismet Anti-Spam
Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from spam. It keeps your site protected even while you sleep. To get started: activate the Akismet plugin and then go to your Akismet Settings page to set up your API key.

Contact Widgets
Beautifully display social media and contact information on your website with these simple widgets.

Google Analyticator
Adds the necessary JavaScript code to enable Google’s Analytics. After enabling this plugin you need to authenticate with Google, then select your domain and you’re set.

Instagram Feed
Display beautifully clean, customizable, and responsive Instagram feeds

Magic Action Box
Supercharge your blog posts!

Yoast SEO
The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.

WooCommerce PayPal Powered by Braintree Gateway
Receive payments using Paypal Powered by Braintree. A server with cURL, SSL support, and a valid SSL certificate is required (for security reasons) for this gateway to function. Requires PHP 5.4+

Step 7: Monetize It

Even if you’ve just started your blog, there are so many ways to earn money from it. Affiliate marketing is one of these ways.

You can start monetizing your blog from day one because your website hosting company probably has an affiliate program that you can refer others to.

Simply sign up for the program, and then attach the affiliate link to some text or image and place it in the sidebar.

There are so many affiliate programs out there, you will never have a problem finding something in your niche.

Finally, no matter how many visitors you have, as long as they are passionate about the same things you are and see value in what you’re promoting, they become a regular reader, click your links and share your posts with others.

I hope you found value in this post today. If you did, please share it with others who you think will find value in it, too.

If you’re interested in learning more, comment below with any ideas or questions.

Happy Blogging!

 

Free eBook

14 Ways for Single Moms to Earn Money While Traveling & Living Abroad

Follow Single Moms Adventure:

Beverly is single mom to Bella, traveling and living abroad. Native to Sweet Home Alabama, her southern roots run deep and she naturally spreads seeds of hospitality. Visiting over 14 countries since 2010, the idea of Single Moms Adventure grew when she realized the need for community for adventurous single moms like herself. In her blog, she discusses how to earn money while traveling and living abroad as a single mom, provides resources on how to get started, reviews travel destinations and compiles them into nifty Travel Guides & designs easy-to-read, kid-friendly itineraries. Ready to go?

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