How to Become a Blogger and Make Money
Becoming a blogger changed my life!
In a time when I had no chance to work outside the home (but desperately needed income) after the death of my daughter, I found out that I could start a blog, grow it into a business, and be in charge of my own income… at my own pace.
*This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase through these links, I earn a small commission at NO extra cost to you. Read more here.
In the almost two years that I’ve been blogging, my income will soon be higher than what I’d be making at a regular job. This site is my very own corner of the web that I own for $47 per year using Bluehost. (The 3-year plan has the best pricing.) I can’t think of a cheaper start-up cost for your own business!
This is such an exciting age when ANYONE can start a money-making blog for just a few dollars a month! I’ve recently qualified for an ad network which is one of several passive income opportunities that comes along with having a blogging business.
Ad networks will pay you monthly for the people who come to your site and read your articles. Your readers don’t have to click on anything … you simply make money for them being on your site.
Building a good readership and getting traffic to your blog can easily amount to a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month in passive ad income! How great is that?!
Another exciting income stream I’ve created with this blog is a partnership with Amazon. For any type of blog you’d like to create and monetize, Amazon is likely to have a product (or 50) you can offer to your audience!! And they’re very willing to partner with newer bloggers as well.
Want to start a crafting blog? No problem… Amazon has hundreds of crafting supplies to offer, and you get a commission from what you sell on your blog.
Are you an avid hiker or camper? Start a fabulous blog for outdoor enthusiasts and partner with Amazon, REI, Target… there are literally hundreds of companies to partner with to earn commissions with your blog.
Some of these companies pay bloggers a large fee to put a specific ad on your site as well. That’s for more established blogs, but it’s a great goal to have and makes awesome money!
Then come right back and don’t miss out on the special pricing Bluehost offers specifically to my readers for an entire year of website hosting AND a FREE name for your blog (your domain name)!!
You’re in the right place if you want the low-down on how to become a blogger the easy way! And I’ll throw in some extra advice for you that I WISH I HAD KNOWN BEFORE I GOT STARTED…you’re welcome! Most how-to articles about starting a blog or website are too vague.
Step One: Become a Successful Blogger by Choosing a Good Name and Topic
If you only want to write for fun and don’t plan on making money with your blog, then choosing a name isn’t such a big deal. If you have ideas about turning a blog into an online business, you’ll need to put thought into your domain name before you buy it.
The Value of a Good Domain Name
A domain name is “your chosen name” and then .com or .net etc. and is also referred to as your URL — the web address after “www” (www.myblogname.com). I wish I’d known not to pick something whimsical or cute. Don’t make my same mistake.
I named my first blog The Three Ring Circus in reference to my creative, and often chaotic, mind. Cute idea — but hard for readers to figure out the topic of my blog at first glance.
Make Sure Your Name Explains What You Blog About
The name changed to Healthy, Savvy & Wise a year later (it was a pain!). Now it’s pretty clear that I blog about health and being savvy with money. Changing names isn’t the end of the world, but it’s definitely not ideal once you have an audience following your blog.
If you want to become a paid blogger down the road, put some real thought into your domain name and whether a person can easily tell what you write about.
You’ll probably want to avoid really long names and weird spellings as well. Try this website that generates name suggestions based on a word or term.
**For more name help, read the section below about blog niches and topics first!!
Here’s where it gets really fun… type your chosen name into the domain search bar and see if it’s available! I’ll wait right here for you.
Once you’ve found that perfect name, we’ll move on to purchasing your blog hosting package for only $3.95 a month!
Starting a blog doesn’t have to break the bank. The 3-year plan is the best price, but you can start out with 12 months at a fantastic price as well! Becoming a paid blogger is one of the cheapest ways on the planet to become self-employed.
A Quick Talk About Niches (Topics) For A Money-Making Blog
I won’t go into extreme detail here, since blogging may be a new idea for you at this point. But if you’ve done some research, and know that blogging for money might be for you, then here’s some extra information I’d like to share to make it easier for you to earn good money with your blog.
There are a handful of niches that do very well when you want to attract a large audience as well as work with businesses to promote their products and earn commissions. Some people will advise you to “blog about your passions” and the money will come.
I have learned, through experience, that certain topics have plenty of subject matter people really want to read, attract a bigger audience, and provide lots of ways to earn. Here are some of the successful niches when it comes to making an income with your blog.
- Health and wellness topics
- Food, diet, nutrition
- Lifestyle (home decor, fashion, DIY etc.)
- Money, budgeting, and finances
- Working from home/earning money online
- Homesteading, gardening, simple living
You certainly don’t have to go with one of these main niches — it is possible to make money blogging in a specialized topic area. If you want to do that, think of things that have very loyal fans (who readily spend lots of money on that hobby etc.) … like scrapbooking, pets, and gaming, for a few examples.
*An important sidenote that you must know:
Becoming a blogger is no guarantee that you’ll make a full-time income anytime in the near future (and possibly ever!).
The brutal honest truth about making an income with a blog, is that you must be patient, persistent, AND invest in educational resources. Going the free route on everything for your business, will not work.
Step Two: Securing That Perfect Blog Name and A Hosting Package
Bluehost is one of the top blog and website hosting companies. I started both of my websites with them, and they offer great customer service, phenomenal pricing, PLUS your domain name for FREE through my link. Click here for their best pricing!
Here are the plans they offer:
The basic plan is just fine when you’re first starting out. Note that the $3.95 pricing is for a 36-month plan. It’s an amazing deal at less than $48 per year!
If that feels overwhelming, choose the 12-month basic plan for around $70 for the entire year. Either way, your domain name is FREE. I highly recommend the extra SiteLock security for $23 per year (only $1.99 per month), but you won’t need the other offers.
Here’s what you’ll see next — very exciting!! You’ll soon claim your own little piece of the web…it’s all yours, baby!
Step Three: Choose Your Blogging Platform and Connect With Your Host
All of these blogging terms are confusing — I know — I’ve been there too! A host is different from a blogging platform.
Think of your hosting company as a super organized filing cabinet that keeps all of your content, images, codes etc. nicely accessible when someone wants to visit your blog.
The platform is your lovely studio on the other side of that filing system. It’s where your visitors come to peruse the amazing content you’ve written and enjoy the ambiance of your space — all the love and care you put into the design and feel of your blog is in this platform.
Be Aware: There Are Two Versions of WordPress
The most popular and versatile platform in the world is WordPress. It’s what most online businesses, and certainly most paid bloggers, use for their online presence. WordPress.org is a self-hosting platform that requires a hosting service.
Bluehost provides a one-click install for WordPress that’s amazingly simple: click here to get started! The WordPress.org install comes free with Bluehost.
There is a free platform at WordPress.com if you simply want a hobby blog. You won’t have to pay a thing for hosting or a platform. It is hosted by WordPress.com itself but is very limited in storage, has very few design choices, and they run ads on your site if you choose the free option.
This is not the way to go for customizing a successful website, securely storing necessary files, or monetizing your blog down the road. It would be like opening a business in a garage — you’ll grow cramped and limited very quickly.
Platforms Other Than WordPress
Squarespace and Weebly are also blogging platforms, and Bluehost can work with either of those as well. They are user-friendly and mostly use a drag-and-drop functionality for the design. Again, this is a great option for beginners or bloggers who simply want to write for their own enjoyment.
**Another lesson I learned the hard way… I started with Weebly because I was intimidated by WordPress — I not only had to change my blog name after a year of hard work, but my platform as well. Once I decided to monetize my blog, WordPress was the obvious choice for customizing my site to earn money and grow.
The Most Customizable Platform Option
A WordPress blog through Bluehost offers millions of options for design, themes, storage, security and more. It’s a business owner’s paradise. It can have a pretty steep learning curve, but I’ve got you covered in the next section!
You’ll need to create login and password information as well as type in the name of your website. It’s good that you did your domain name homework earlier! Most people choose a site title to match their domain — that way the URL of the web address is the same as the name of the blog. This minimizes confusion for your readers.
Step Four: Time to Pick a Theme (Design) For Your Blog
After your WordPress install, you’ll get an email from Mojo Marketplace — this includes your website URL and all of your WordPress login information. So keep this safely in a file somewhere.
From that email, you’ll be able to navigate to the dashboard on your website. You’ll most likely have seen some options for themes to customize your site. It’s really fun to browse the various themes for ideas.
Are you looking for a glamorous feminine theme … or simple and clean-lined? There are plenty of free themes to choose from. However, there are pro themes that are far easier to customize if you want to become a professional blogger — they’re usually a one-time price of $49 and up.
Some Themes Are A LOT More User Friendly Than Others
Choosing the right theme was also a very big lesson I had to learn. I’m on my third theme now, and what I wish I’d known two years ago is some themes are much better for non-tech beginners.
Putting together a WordPress site can be like learning a foreign language. Be sure to take advantage of great instructional YouTube videos about WordPress.
Remember — be patient with yourself and enjoy the learning process — YOU’VE GOT THIS!!
Some advice about themes: The major thing to look for, if you’re not tech savvy, is a theme with a visual pagebuilder, drag-and-drop feature, or front-end editor (your theme is being designed right in front of you, not behind the scenes in a dashboard).
Some Top Themes for Beginners
I’ve heard amazing things about the Divi theme which has a completely front-end design feature. Both beginning and experienced bloggers rave about it!
Press Customizr (that’s the real spelling) is one of the premier theme providers in the WordPress world. Their Hueman Pro theme is a thing of beauty indeed. It also has front-end design. This was one of my favorite themes ever!
Two Great Drag and Drop Blog Themes
Kalium theme at Envato Market Keep in mind that most themes come with hundreds of variations that you can customize exactly the way you want — colors, fonts, page layouts etc. This image shows a handful of looks you can get with the Kalium theme.
The Jarida Theme, also at Envato Market, is a very nice drag-and-drop option also. For beginners, it features easily customizable pages, categories, fonts, and colors as well.
Step Five: Install Your Purchased Theme
Now that you’ve purchased a theme — after entering payment information, you’ll download the theme in a zip file to your computer. Choose a place, like your download file, where you can find it easily. The next step is to log into WordPress and head to your dashboard area.
**An easy way to get to your WordPress dashboard is simply to type in the URL of your website and add /admin.
Find “Appearance” on the left menu, and click “Themes”. You’ll choose “Add New” at the very top and then click “Upload Theme”. Locate your saved zip file of the downloaded theme and upload it. Here’s a great YouTube video to walk you through this process.
Step Six: Important WordPress Tips
Before you start working on writing blog posts, let’s get you set up properly with the way WordPress publishes your post URLs. This may not make much sense now, but when you become a successful blogger, you’ll be glad you chose this setting right from the start.
Go to your dashboard in WordPress and click on “Settings” and then choose “Permalinks”. Once you’re on that screen, you’ll want to choose the option for “Post Name” as you see in my dashboard below. This will make the URL of each post match its name.
You will also want to install the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress site. It’s free. There are thousands of plugins available that can add various functions to your site.
Think of them as apps for your blog — they are actually a bit of software code that can help customize your blogging business. Yoast helps you optimize each post so that Google has a better chance of sending traffic to your site.
Go to the “Plugins” menu on the left of your dashboard, select “Add New” and then type “Yoast SEO” into the search bar, download it, and activate. Again, this may not make sense now, but you’ll eventually learn that Yoast is a huge help with showing up in Google searches.
Step Seven: Time to Write Great Content for Your Blog
How to Begin Writing and Publishing Your New Posts
Congratulations!! You’ve finally made it to the best part of having a blog…writing your posts. The sky’s the limit for all the topics you can write about in your niche or areas of interest.
In your dashboard, go to “Posts” and click “Add New” — and now you’re ready to write. Think of engaging and “clickable” titles for your posts so people will want to read what you have to say.
As you’re working on your posts, make sure to consistently click the “Save Draft” (upper right side) and you can preview how it looks so far with the “Preview” button. When it’s all ready, hit “Publish” and you’ll officially be a blogger — that’s exciting!!
How to Come Up With Great Ideas to Write About
One last tip: Study a few of your favorite blogs. Pay attention to the subject matter that seems most popular with their audience. You can get great ideas from experienced bloggers. They’ve learned the secret sauce for how to become a blogger and earn money — they write for their audience, not themselves!
Never copy or plagiarize anyone’s work!! Instead, gather ideas and expound on them with your frame of reference and unique style. Keep this phrase in mind: “What’s in it for them?” — be a helper and problem solver for your audience, and you’ll attract a loyal following that’s interested in what you have to share.
Blogging resources to jump start your blog traffic and income
- Amazon – I love affiliate marketing on Amazon. For the last 2 months, I’ve been earning over $7,000/month just from Amazon. Here are 2 super helpful Amazon ebooks that allowed me to leap frog my previous results.
- Cracking the Code on Amazon – This is for beginners and really covers the types of articles you should be writing to drive Amazon commissions It’s for beginners.
- Niche Post Conversion Strategies – Seriously, I think this is the best ebook/course I’ve ever taken. I can not recommend this enough. You will not find these tips anywhere else. It skyrocketed my sales on Amazon.
- PINTERESTING STRATEGIES: – Pinterest is one of the easiest and most effective ways to drive massive traffic to your blog, especially if you are just starting out. I generally get 140,000 to 180,000 pageviews a month from Pinterest. If you want a jump start on how to use this amazing platform, check out Carly’s course. It is simply awesome. She is so down to earth and straightforward, and you’ll see that in her writing. I LOVE this course (it was formerly an ebook, but now it’s new and improved.
- SEO – As you know, I’m hugely into SEO and it has been the key to my success. I generally get 300,000+ SEO pageviews per month, and this traffic converts much better than Pinterest and other social media channels (especially when it comes to affiliate marketing, products and email sign ups. I estimate that every pageview from organic traffic is worth at least 3x as every pageview from Pinterest! Yes, 3 times as much! And, it’s much steadier, more sustainable and more passive. Check out my 2 SEO books.
- Affiliate marketing – I love affiliate marketing and have been earning over $7,000/month just from affiliate marketing. I highly recommend Carly’s affiliate marketing course. It’s amazing and half the price of some of the bigger bloggers’ programs…and I think it’s much better, too.
- Email marketing – Learn from the master, Jennifer Maker. She has over 100,000 subscribers in around 2 years. She’s an incredible teacher. Her ListLove course is amazing. Or get started with her FREE email course here.
- Sponsored Posts – Sponsored posts can be a great way to supplement your income, especially during the first few years. Many just don’t even know where to get started or how much to charge or how to create a media kit or where to find the best sources. Well learn from a master, Tracie Fobes. She’s been doing this for 10 years! And, she charges well over $2,500 + per post. Her course comes complete with a media calculator and templates to set you up for success. Check out Sponsored Success here. If you just need the sponsored post calculator, you can purchase it a la carte here.
- Getting started/setting up your blog – If you’re a very beginner and need help in just setting up your site and getting everything set up, check out Tracie Richmond Fobes’ FREE intro course. She goes over all that critical stuff at the beginning that no one seems to cover, but everyone needs to know such as site structure, how to set up google analytics correctly and google search console, which plugins to use (and which to avoid). She is a wealth of information. (and she has may other courses that are soooo good).
Please PIN and share– thanks so much!!