Blogging can be a great way to earn a nice side income from sharing your passions online. And it isn’t as difficult as one may think. If you have the willingness to learn and the follow-through to make it happen, you can have your blog up and running in no time. Follow these steps to start a blog and make money online.
How To Start A Blog And Make Money
Pinpoint Your Passions & Profit Potential
1. The most profitable, established blogs were built around a passion. It is absolutely essential that you choose a topic you find engaging as an individual. Choosing a field based on what others are doing or what you think will bring in the big bucks will get you nowhere fast. You will lose interest before your first paycheck. Identify your passions. What is it that you love to live, learn and share with others on a daily basis?
2. Your next step is to determine whether there is profit potential in the area that has you interested. The quickest way to do this is to ask, “what do I have to buy to make these dreams a reality?” Are there specific supplies necessary? Does your hobby require some kind of investment? If you are able to feed your obsession with free information alone, you may find your income potential is limited. There may not be many paying advertisers or affiliate programs available. That does not mean that you can’t make money, it may just mean you will be relying on avenues like AdSense.
3. Blog Setup
Once you have settled on your topic and you are confident that there is money to made, you need to start creating your online space. You will need three things to get your blog online:
- A compelling domain name
- Quality Hosting
- WordPress Installation
There are many reasons why HostGator is so highly recommended, but here are a few:
- Their service, reliability and usability.
- HostGator has worked hard to make their Control Panel easier to use.
- HostGator has partnered with MOJO Marketplace to make installing WordPress a breeze. They also offer managed WordPress hosting for those looking for a little additional help (HG will update your plugins, backup your site, speed up your site and more).
- They also offer courteous and professional 24 hour in-house technical support for your hosting account 7 days of the week all year long. That means when you call in at 1 in the morning on a Thursday, you are calling to the same place that your hosting account is at and some one there will be able to help you.
- Plans start as low as $3.95 per month. You can pay month-to-month or save big time paying annually.
Also, to help make sure that there is little to no risk for you, HostGator has a 45-day money back guarantee. So, if their hosting is not what you need or want, you can cancel at anytime.
To get ready, you will want to gather a few things beforehand to make the process even smoother. Here are some things you will want to have on hand:
- Think of a Domain Name – a domain name is the human recognizable companion to an IP address. The Domain name is tied to the IP address, so instead of typing in a string of numbers, we can simply type in something like “Google.com” and be taken to the correct web page.
- Your credit card or PayPal account for payment.
Set Up Your Hosting Account
To get started, go to HostGator’s home page.
Next, you need to choose a domain name for your site. If you already own a domain name, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to HostGator. If you don’t already own a domain name, you can purchase one now. It will cost just $12.95 for the first year with your hosting account purchase.
Once you have entered a domain name, you will fill in your personal information.
Then you will choose the hosting package you want. Normal shared hosting is priced at 1, 12, 24, and 36 month terms. The longer term you purchase, the lower the monthly rate is, which will save you money. For example, by choosing a 36 month hosting term, you can get the great introductory rate of $3.95 a month.
There are a few other offers here, which you can include at your discretion. One that is highly recommended is Domain Privacy, which will keep all of your personal information private.
After you have filled in your information and chosen your hosting package, you can click Next to complete your purchase. Now you will be asked to create a password for your account. You can use the Password Generator to create a strong password, or create one yourself. It is required to have both capital and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character (?!#, etc.) in order to have a strong enough password to protect your account.
Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you will be able to get started installing WordPress.
This may seem like the most complicated step, but HostGator has worked hard to make this one of the easiest things for you to do. They use the new MOJO Marketplace for installing WordPress (and other applications).
In your cPanel, scroll to the section titled “MOJO Marketplace” and choose the icon One-Click Installs. You are literally going to be setup in just a few minutes. Watch this video tutorial to see the step-by-step instructions.
HostGator is where I got my start and was a happy customer for years. Ready to get started? Sign up here.
4. Content Creation
Now your new blog is ready for content. You should have a bucketful of blog post ideas in the beginning. After all, you did think you could start an entire website about this topic. 😉 On those days you need a little inspiration, check out this list of writing prompts on Stringcan.
5. Get Traffic
Once you have a post or two published, it is time to start gathering your following. As a beginning blogger, you may not care too much about things like Search Engine Optimization. You just want to blog! I’m cool with that. Before you start smothering your passion with technical things (which you can learn later), let your excitement be your best promoter. As this is a blog created around your interests, you know where everyone is hanging out. You are probably a member of the forums. You know the best social networks for this industry. Get out there and grow your community.
When setting up your WordPress blog, you likely installed a plugin or two that allow readers to follow your site through social networks, RSS feed and email newsletter. Make sure those are configured correctly and always ask new viewers to follow you.
6. Create an Income
Most advertisers and affiliate programs will want to see that your site is established and has traffic before they are to partner with you. This can take several months and several thousand pageviews. That is one of the main reasons to blog about your passions. You do not want to burn out before any money is made available. After about three months of consistent blogging you can feel confident seeking out partnerships. A few of my favorites:
- Media.net – get an extra 10% on your earnings when you sign up through this link
7. Continue Learning
Once the content is flowing and your community is growing, do not stop learning. There are always skills that can help you take things to the next level. Every blog can benefit from search engine optimization and the occasional coding tweak. Don’t let yourself fall behind with this new technology. Follow a few “blogging blogs” in addition to those experts in your niche. A few of my favorite programs?